The Two Spies Report

The "Minority Report" from J. Michael Bennett, Ph.D, Emeritus Producer of the Future Quake Radio Show, and Author of the soon-to-be-released book series The Holy War Chronicles – A Spiritual View of the War on Terror

The REAL False Flag Operation, Part 3

NOTE TO THE READER: This is another topical blog post that gotten to be so long in content and scope, that as a courtesy to the reader I have split up into a series of posts. It concerns a topic now of interest to the new conspiracy-crowd that is the Religious Right, who has now as a late-comer embraced this viewpoint after introduction to the conspiracy-minded “don’t believe your eyes or the establishment” perspective from their extremist hard-right Christian and other Christian media outlets, both large and small, “mainstream” and small-time fringe blogs, podcasts, Facebook posts and tweets. Through this they have become versed into the old conspiracy concept that has historical precedents but is now-overused and supersaturated, that of the “false flag operation,” by agents provocateur in disguise, to implicate and discredit rival ideological camps. It reviews the latest popular arguments in conservative and Religious Right professional and social media that leftist radicals actually conducted the Capitol insurrection by those otherwise-plainly identified as right wing extremists in the “patriot movement,” including the cases of violent or provocative incidents in the years leading up to it. It explores the arguments popularly disseminated to date, who are the main figures formulating and dispensing these narratives, what are their histories, track records and possible motives for such, the extent of their accuracy or inaccuracy, and the appearances of a REAL “false flag” narrative being promulgated that is not what is being popularly identified in this public relations “sleight of hand.” It also painstakingly documents who the actual insurrectionists and inciters were in these events, based upon hard evidence of video and photo documentation, self-incriminating posts and writing, announcements of planned operations prior to the event, law enforcement investigations and legal filing and pleas, and statements by top government officials who admitted their intentions to incite, or were eyewitnesses to the culprits and the events.  In the introductory Part 1, we began by summarizing the key events and timelines of the pivotal day of the Capitol insurrection, how President Trump set the stage (including literally) to prepare the people for war beforehand (with the help of violent militia groups and others online), bring the people to Washington at the very hour of the election certification, and provoke them into the seditious mob and combination vandal gang and lynch mob, as well as identifying a few initial figures that have come from obscurity to experience a meteoric rise in the national media in capitalizing in those days on the dark and disturbing latent impulses now seething in the American public that they have exploited for immediate profit and future agendas of even higher ambition. Part 2 included a more in-depth profile of the individuals, leaders and organizations involved in the insurrection itself, derived from their writings and confessions, FBI reports and legal briefs, as well key representatives of some of our time-honored institutions (those revered by conservatives in particular) that shockingly had a pivotal role in the deadly event, and the demographics of the typical 2021 insurrectionist, with these findings having major implications in our society in the days ahead. In Part 3 of this series, we will explore how different elements of America’s faith community responded on the day of the insurrection, and in the aftermath how they perceived the true culprits, including major Christian and conservative media and their “Antifa” claims, how it was generated and spread (and by whom), allied conservative figures who joined in and later ashamedly renounced such claims to Trump and the public, and how the conservative citizenry ignored such debunking and has clung to the “Antifa insurrectionist” manufactured narrative, and associated myths.

In the last installment of this investigative series, we concluded by noting the demographics of the identified Capitol  insurrectionists as representing a broad cross-section of conservative America – mostly older, financially secure employed or self-employed “grass roots” types – and not just the minority who comprised the marginal, “on the edge” fringe of unstable and unemployed rabble-rousers commonly associated with the national militia groups and white-supremacist and anarchist groups who also played a role, and asked how we will deal with such a broad portion of our citizenry not only believing in aggressive and apocalyptic conspiratorial views, but also willing to take extreme actions on their behalf, and how we are to even deal with our own fellow church members in their ranks. Speaking of churches, there were also public expressions by members of the faith community on the day of the insurrection, and the days that followed – the main subject of interest of myself and the purposes of this blog and my books, to contemplate what our public statements, positions and actions say about us as self-professing followers of Christ, and the manner in which it honestly reflects the degree to which we actually “abide in the Vine.” On the day of the insurrection, The Salt Lake Tribune wrote that

On Wednesday morning, an interfaith group of religious leaders gathered outside of Luther Place Memorial Church in the nation’s capital. For two hours, the clergy prayed for an end to violence, for an eradication of white nationalism and for a groundswell of racial justice. Their small prayer circle surrounded a Black Lives Matter sign, created to replace similar banners repeatedly stolen and destroyed by the far-right Proud Boys in December. Near the end of the service, a gaggle of men adorned in patriotic clothing and “Make America Great Again” hats approached. One walked into the middle of the circle, pretended to fall, and laid on the ground while another man knelt on his neck — an apparent attempt to mock the 2020 killing of George Floyd at the hands of police. The group then walked across the street — where National City Christian Church had just unfurled a 16-foot Black Lives Matter banner — and repeated the performance in front of cameras…As Proud Boys arrived near the U.S. Capitol after Trump’s speech, people in attendance reportedly referred to them as “God’s warriors.” When the mob eventually breached the Capitol and violently stormed into the Senate chamber Wednesday afternoon — sending the Capitol region into lockdown — one insurrectionist could be seen carrying a white flag with a cross in the corner: the “Christian flag.” And after the mob took over the Capitol, some demonstrators unfurled a massive banner outside. It read: “Jesus 2020.” But Jesus was already invoked in Congress that day — albeit with a very different message. As the mob broke into the House chamber, lawmakers crouched in the balcony, desperate to shield themselves from impending attack. As what sounded like gunshots rang out, a CBS News video caught what appeared to be Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester offering her own response to the harrowing situation: She led her fellow lawmakers in prayer. The Delaware Democrat called on Jesus to protect members of Congress and to bring “peace in the land, peace in this country, peace in this world.”

However, the most conspicuous self-claimed representatives of Christ in our society, and known as our “Christian celebrities” with tremendous wealth, economic and political clout – the Religious Right – had a very different take and approach as to the crisis that day and the issues and developments behind it, as opposed to the prayer and peace-seeking objectives of these beleaguered people of faith we have just cited, who are generally not acknowledged to even be believers by the more powerful and ubiquitous Religious Right community of great numbers but still over-sized clout in political and social power and influence.

As an example, a week after the attack The Washington Post reported that

Images and references to being on the march for Jesus were common at the massive Jan. 6 rally — and later, riot — including among a segment of American Christianity that believes it has the power of prophecy. Some experts say charismatic, prophetic Christians who operate largely outside denominations make up U.S. religion’s fastest-growing subset. In recent decades, millions have been increasingly seeking out these prophets and apostles on YouTube channels, in books, group prayer calls, via regular group text chats and at conferences where breakout groups practice faith healing and raising people from the dead. And nothing has focused this disparate, independent group like Trump. Although mainstream evangelical conservatives, including Trump’s own evangelical advisers, didn’t appear at the event, the day had been heavily promoted and covered by media and leaders of this charismatic, prophetic segment of Christianity. “I believe something dramatic is going to happen before Congress votes on those electors. Something very dramatic that will change the outcome of that vote…the holy spirit will enter into this situation and it’s going to be something very dramatic,” televangelist Pat Robertson told his Christian Broadcasting Network audience Jan. 4, on the eve of two days of rallies in Washington…“We thank God for exposing and foiling all the plans of the enemy set against him. We affirm his lawful election and pray for four more years with Donald Trump as our president!” the 24/7 National Strategic Prayer Call, a 10,000-member Arkansas-based ministry that hosts weekly live prayer calls, told its listeners Monday.

The high-octane, emotional fight for Trump makes sense for these believers, who take the stories of Christian scripture literally and see daily life as a visceral struggle between God and the devil. Spiritual warfare is constant. Signs and wonders are everywhere. So as time passes and Trump’s options disappear, God’s move to keep him in power will be even more spectacular — evidence even more likely to spark a religious awakening or revival…[Prof. Brad] Christerson in his 2017 book cited the World Christian Database as saying between 1970 and 2010, independent apostolic and neo-Charismatic groups — other names for the charismatic Christians who believe in these unaffiliated prophets — grew the fastest of any other. Holly Pivec, another researcher who has written two books on the movement, estimates that about 66 million Americans have come into close contact with its teachings, through books or conferences or music. The numbers are much more dramatic overseas

The day after the insurrection, Slate had some similar things to document:

In the crowd of insurrectionists who seized the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Christian imagery was rife. Alongside Confederate flags and white supremacist symbols, protesters shouldered crosses, waved “Jesus Saves” signs, and hung oversized “Jesus 2020” banners. One rioter who made it inside the building carried a “Christian flag.” Outside, on the National Mall, people chanted, “Christ is king.” As the reporter Jack Jenkins noted, some in the crowd referred to the neo-fascist Proud Boys as “God’s warriors.” There was no denying the religious right’s role in Wednesday’s events. In the aftermath, many evangelical leaders condemned the violence—rarely to a warm receptionEric Metaxas, an author who has caused soul-searching among some evangelicals because of his vociferous support for Trump’s election fraud claims, was eager to pin the blame on antifa. He later insisted that the day’s violent events made no difference—that even still, “we must do all we can to expose” the fraudulence of the election… The televangelist Mark Burns called the assertion that Trump supporters were responsible a “lie from the gates of hell.” And while the evangelist Franklin Graham warned that “our country is in trouble” and called for Christians to pray for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, he also speculated that the people “who broke the windows” were “most likely” antifa.

These latter stories begin to point out the beginnings of the main point of this essay series. Throughout this lengthy work, I have tried to painstakingly document the different primary figures that have been confirmed to have been involved in the January 6 insurrection, based upon their plans and intentions they published online months, weeks or days beforehand, video, photographic and other documentation of them on site and engaging in the act, and then their bragging admissions of such on social media or other forums, often including their own photos or video shot within the Capitol during the assault, or while pummeling and overpowering law enforcement. I also carefully documented the groups of people confirmed to have participated in these acts, such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, white supremacist groups, retired or active duty military members, and even law enforcement and elected officials themselves, in the violent or other unlawful acts.

However, in spite of all this overwhelming evidence, we see our Religious Right national leadership – purported to be imbued with the Holy Spirit and the gifts of wisdom, prophecy, pastoring, administration and other gifts of guidance and leadership over America’s Christians – in the aftermath of this event, have commonly and consistently put the blame of the inevitable crescendo of violence that day that anyone with a modicum of foresight could foresee as coming from Trump’s enraged and provoked assembled masses, on the very people it appears we can confirm were NOT in the rioters’ ranksthe necessary “scapegoats” of their daily “Two Minutes of Hate,” the dreaded “Antifa.”

I daily “take one for the team” (i.e., my Christian brethren and other friends and neighbors), in addition to valuable time spend trying to document and preserve these records, in also forcing myself to watch as many of the popular Christian TV shows every day that I can, and can stomach without getting an ulcer, being heartbroken, pulling my hair out or wanting to throw a shoe at the screen. I know and observe each day how these people are enriching themselves in the name of Jesus by brainwashing gullible sheep with demagogue techniques of terrorizing, misleading and misdirecting them with partial or bent information, preying upon their pride and sense of superior “election” and looking down on those who are different, or routinely scaring them about the “barbarian at the gate” who is coming to “rape our white women,” and forcibly change the genders of our children, or worse yet, inform them and humanize those of other cultures and religions to them. They appeal to the basest, fleshly instincts of Christians to selfish self-preservation, resentment, fear and the anger it generates, and away from the call to be “salt and light,” “Greeks to the Greek” and to “rescue the perishing,” and most of all, to obey the Golden Rule and “love thy neighbor.”

Former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, who likes people to call him “Dr. Chaps,” hosts and produces one of these daily “Christian” political programs (called “Pray In Jesus’ Name” (which he has made “his brand”)) that seems to be very well-funded and resourced, with prominent guests and a tremendous amount of weekly produced, often remotely recorded material at Christian and political marches and the like. He received a Bachelor’s degree at the Air Force Academy, and “accepted the Lord” at a Pentecostal Bible study there. In 2006, The Washington Post reported concerning him that

A Navy court decided yesterday to reprimand and dock the pay of an evangelical Protestant chaplain after finding him guilty of disobeying an order by appearing in uniform at a political protest in front of the White House in March. The chaplain, Lt. Gordon J. Klingenschmitt, said he intends to “appeal by all means possible all the way to the Supreme Court.” Klingenschmitt, 38, who belongs to a small evangelical offshoot of the Episcopal Church, has been a vocal critic of the Navy’s policies on prayer in ceremonial settings. He has accused his superiors of pressuring chaplains to offer generic, nonsectarian prayers, and he has gained wide attention and sympathy among religious conservatives. Over the past year, Klingenschmitt worked closely with Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-N.C.) and other members of Congress to push the Bush administration to issue an executive order guaranteeing the right of chaplains to pray “in the name of Jesus.” So far, the White House has rebuffed the request. On March 30, Klingenschmitt wore his uniform at a news conference in Lafayette Square in which former Alabama chief justice Roy S. Moore and others decried President Bush’s lack of action on the chaplain’s complaints. Klingenschmitt maintained that his only participation in the event was to offer public prayers and that he had prior written permission to wear his uniform when conducting “a bona fide worship service or observance.”

During court-martial proceedings this week at the naval base in Norfolk, a military prosecutor, Cmdr. Rex A. Guinn, said Klingenschmitt had received clear orders from his superiors not to wear his uniform at media events or political protests. The event in Lafayette Square, he contended, was not a true worship service or observanceOn Wednesday, a jury of five Navy officers found Klingenschmitt guilty of one misdemeanor count of disobeying a lawful order. Yesterday, the same jury determined his punishment: a formal reprimand and forfeiture of pay at the rate of $250 a month for the next 12 months. That would amount to $3,000, or about 5 percent of his pay. But Klingenschmitt is unlikely to incur the full fine, for two reasons: The jury recommended that Rear Adm. Frederic Ruehe, commander of the Navy’s Mid-Atlantic region, suspend the financial penalty, and Klingenschmitt doubts he will remain in the Navy for 12 more months. “The letter of reprimand is actually the worst punishment because it will be used in a couple of months to kick me out of the Navy in a separate process called an administrative separation board,” the chaplain predicted…But among the documents that Klingenschmitt introduced in his defense during the court-martial was a March 22 e-mail from Vice Adm. John C. Harvey Jr., the Navy’s head of personnel, to Adm. Michael G. Mullen, the chief of naval operations, recommending Klingenschmitt’s “involuntarily release” from the Navy “due to lack of career potential.” The e-mail noted: “This officer is the individual who conducted a hunger strike in front of the White House several months ago and has engaged in other actions concerning [Defense Department] and Navy Religious Ministry policies.”

In 2014, eight years after the court martial he was still fighting, it was then further reported that

Former Navy chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, who has been in a long-running battle with the military over regulations requiring chaplains to deliver inclusive prayers at military events other than religious services, lost another round this week. In Klingenschmitt v. United States, (Ct. Fed. Cl., Nov. 24, 2014), the Court of Federal Claims rejected Klingenschmitt’s claims under the Tucker Act and the Military Pay Act. After recounting for some 19 pages the history leading up to the lawsuit, the court explains:

In this case, Dr. Klingenschmitt alleges that he was wrongfully discharged from the Navy and seeks an award of backpay and allowances and benefits retroactive to his separation date and reinstatement as a chaplain. Incident to that claim, he seeks removal of references to his 2005 and 2006 fitness reports and the CARE board’s recommendation from his record…. He also asks that the Court vacate his court-martial conviction and direct that references to the conviction, including the letter of reprimand issued pursuant to his conviction, be removed from his record…. Dr. Klingenschmitt’s complaint also includes a potpourri of other claims that appear to challenge Navy policies which he claims violate the First Amendment, RFRA, and 10 U.S.C. § 6031(a)…In dismissing, the court said in part: “the Court finds unpersuasive Dr. Klingenschmitt’s argument that his First Amendment right to practice his religious beliefs was infringed by Captain Pyle’s Order that he not wear his uniform to the media event held in Lafayette Park in March 2006. Captain Pyle’s Order was based on Navy regulations that prohibit the wearing of a uniform in connection with political activities….The Order did not limit Dr. Klingenschmitt’s right to engage in any religious practices (including presenting an opening prayer at the event or invoking the name of Jesus in his prayer). It simply prohibited Dr. Klingenschmitt from engaging in this activity while wearing his uniform at what was clearly a political event and not, as Dr. Klingenschmitt seems to suggest, a bona fide religious service. Therefore, taking this infraction into consideration in deciding whether to recertify Dr. Klingenschmitt as a chaplain did not violate either his First Amendment rights or RFRA.”

However, not surprisingly, you hear a very different spin on the matter from “Dr. Chaps” and his Christian media platform. He repeatedly alleges that he was smashingly successful in fighting the system in overcoming their Christian persecution by the godless military, to now permit, by his hand and activism, to “pray in Jesus name” – which has become his “brand,” in which he has in fact named his ministry, program and built his persona, as a successful Christian activist to garner monetary support from gullible Christians who are attracted to the victim complex, and too lazy or unwilling to check the facts. He is proud of the fact that he was able to secure a Colorado state House seat for one term from 2015 to 2017, and was later defeated in a 2019 campaign. He is often the subject of watchdogs of the Religious Right like Right Wing Watch, who point out his consistent buffoonish statements and absurd allegations that can be easily disproven, but evidently not by the many Christians too lazy or willfully misled to do so.

In 2014 and 2016 The Denver Post published another anthology of the exploits of “Dr. Chaps”:

Colorado politician Gordon Klingenschmitt is no stranger to controversy — having previously likened President Barack Obama to a demon and claimed that the Affordable Care Act causes cancerBut the Republican nominee for a seat in Colorado’s statehouse is triggering a new round of outrage after he alleged that a sitting member of Congress would kill Christians living in the U.S. — similar to how extremists with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria beheaded journalist James Foley. In an email alert distributed by Klingenschmitt, the self-described “motivational speaker” wrote that Colorado Democrat Jared Polis — who made history by being the first gay congressman to become a parent — wanted to execute U.S. Christians. “Democrats like Polis want to bankrupt Christians who refuse to worship and endorse his sodomy. Next he’ll join ISIS in beheading Christians, but not just in Syria, right here in America,” he wrote. The accusation prompted Mark Ferrandino, Speaker of the Colorado House, to condemn the remarks and demand that Colorado Republicans do the same. “I call on Ryan Call and other Republicans to denounce Mr. Klingenschmitt and his homophobic, extreme, and slanderous attacks against Congressman Polis,” said Ferrandino in a statement. GOP officials in Colorado have disowned Klingenschmitt before and this time was no different. “As Chairman Call has said in the past, Gordon does not speak on behalf of the Republican Party, and his comments in no way reflect the views of the Party. Gordon needs to give a sincere apology,” said Owen Loftus, a Colorado GOP spokesman, in a statement.

…After being asked about his statement, Klingenschmitt released a video in which he said his comments were “hyperbole” and that “some Democrats do not have a sense of humor.” He then did the “ice bucket challenge” for ALS awareness, though the bucket he uses in the video does not appear to have any ice. Despite being disavowed by both parties, Klingenschmitt has a good shot of being elected in November if voters cast their ballots along party lines. Though he won the Republican nomination by just 350 votes, he now faces Democrat Lois Fornander in an El Paso County seat that is heavily Republican, with roughly 18,000 registered Republicans to about 7,600 registered Democrats, according to state files.

Of course, subsequent to this behavior, the Republicans in Colorado elected him to public office 

As one might expect, mere months after taking office, The Denver Post was reporting on his statements that were “typical Klingenschmitt,” but now as a public official:

Several leading Colorado Republicans lashed out Thursday against state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, saying his “curse of God” comments about an attack on a pregnant woman whose baby was cut from her womb were “disgusting” and “reprehensible.” The lawmaker, who also is a minister, quoted the Bible in his “Pray In Jesus Name” program Wednesday and tried to link the crime to abortion. “This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb and part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our pregnant women are ripped open,” Klingenschmitt said. Among those who denounced the remarks: two fellow El Paso County Republicans, Laura Carno, who in January started a Facebook page called “Conservatives against Gordon Klingenschmitt”…“It’s disgusting. I thought Gordon Klingenschmitt would be our next Todd Akin,” Carno said Thursday. “I didn’t know he would be our next Westboro Baptist Church. This poor woman gets her baby cut out of her belly and he uses this tragedy to drive traffic to his ministry.” Akin is the Missouri U.S. Senate candidate who lost his bid in 2012 after saying women rarely get pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape.” The Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas has been described as a hate group and has been denounced by fellow Baptists and others for its attacks primarily on gays, including grotesque displays at funerals.

Sarah Zagorski, the executive director of Colorado Citizens for Life, the affiliate of National Right to Life, said…she also was critical of Klingenschmitt’s remarks. ”God did not will for this horrific tragedy to happen,” Zagorski said. “Sadly, Rep. Klingenschmitt’s comments take away from the seriousness of this tragedy and the aftermath Michelle and her family are facing.” Klingenschmitt’s remarks were first posted by Right Wing Watch, which said when he discussed the incident in Longmont he “tied it to a passage from Hosea in which God curses the people of Samaria for their rebellion by declaring that ‘their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open.’ “ Klingenschmitt’s colleagues in the House criticized his comments. “Rep. Klingenschmitt is politicizing a terrible human tragedy,” said Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver. “The statement was incredibly insensitive to a family that has been through an unimaginable horrific experience.” Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Douglas County, said she was “appalled.” “Gordon does not speak for his caucus,” said Lawrence, the House assistant minority leader. Steve House, the new chairman of the state GOP, said Klingenschmitt under the First Amendment has the right to say what he wants but “he does not represent the Colorado Republican Party”…Carno said she started the Facebook page at the start of the 2015 session because she believed it was only a matter of time before Klingenschmitt’s comments provoked an outrage, and she wanted Coloradans to know many Republicans do not side with him.

Soon thereafter, even the state Republican Party had to take action, as the Denver Post again reports:

The leader of the House Republicans on Monday stripped Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt from one of his two committee posts, saying the lawmaker’s “curse of God” comments about a woman whose fetus was ripped from her womb were in “poor taste” and “insensitive.” Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso said he removed Klingenschmitt from the Health, Insurance and Environment Committee because he believed “there needed to be some kind of disciplinary action”…Klingenschmitt, a Colorado Springs Republican, said he believes taking him off the committee was unfair, but on Monday he announced he was suspending his “television preaching ministry” for six weeks, saying it has “overshadowed” his job as a state lawmaker…A group called Right Wing Watch regularly posts Klingenschmitt’s comments from his daily video program “Pray in Jesus Name.” The left regularly pounces on his remarks, but Republicans were aghast at his comments last week when he referenced the attack on 26-year-old Michelle Wilkins of Longmont. She survived but her 34-week-old baby girl did not.

In an e-mail, he protested being bounced from his committee. “I am literally being punished for quoting unpopular Bible verses in my Sunday church, or interpreting the Old Testament differently than Leader DelGrosso interprets it, during my private ministry outside the Capitol. Is that suddenly a crime?” he wrote in the e-mail.

Just a few months after that, Denver television was reporting regarding Rep. Klingenschmitt that

The State House minority leader and the state GOP say the views of a Colorado Springs representative do not reflect how they feel about the Boy Scouts of America. State House LGBT committee members asked Colorado Republicans to condemn statements from Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt regarding the Boy Scouts of America. The Republican recorded an online video after the Boy Scouts formally ended its ban on gay Scout leaders this week. “The children are in danger. It’s not about the sexual pleasure of the adults,” Klingenschmitt says, wincing. “It should be about protecting the innocent children.” He then quotes Matthews 18:6, and says gay Scout leaders will harm children, and encourage them to sin. “This is what Jesus said about child molesters, ‘If you’re going to cause a child to sin, it’d be better if you just had a millstone hung around your neck and you were drowned in the depths of the sea.'” Further, he prays, asking for God to rescue the children and the Boy Scouts organization, for thumbing its nose at God. The House LGBT Caucus has called on Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso of Loveland, as well as the rest of the House Republicans, to denounce the commentary and take further action. “Gordon Klingenschmitt is inciting physical violence against scoutmasters for their sexual orientation, plain and simple. This type of language is hateful and certainly below the station of any elected official, especially in 2015,” a statement from the Caucus said.

…Wednesday afternoon, Asst. Minority Leader Polly Lawrence issued this statement: “As we have said before, even though Rep. Klingenschmitt is the duly-elected representative for House District 15, he does not speak for the House Republicans. Rep. Klingenschmitt’s inflammatory rhetoric was once again hurtful and does not represent the views of our caucus.” The Colorado GOP wrote this to 7NEWS: “We strongly condemn Gordon Klingenschmitt’s highly offensive comments. As we’ve said in the past, Gordon does not speak on behalf of the Party, nor do his words reflect our Party’s values.” In the spring, Klingenschmitt was removed, and then reinstated to the Health, Insurance and Environment Committee after comments he made about a woman whose fetus was cut from her body by a woman who lured the victim to her home with an ad for baby clothes.

He didn’t stop there. He added to the list of forbidden jobs for LGBTQ people in 2017, as reported byThe Huffington Post:

A former Colorado state representative has cited troubling claims against a Minnesota teacher as evidence that LGBTQ people, as a group, should be barred from the teaching profession. In December, police wrapped a four-month investigation into Aric Babbitt, a former teacher at Lincoln Center Elementary School in South St. Paul, Minnesota, and his husband, Matthew Deyo, who worked in information technology at the same school. The investigation found that Babbitt, 40, and Deyo, 36, had sexual contact with eight underage boys over several years, The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported at the time. Though the men were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide in August 2016, police conducted the investigation in anticipation of “pending civil legal action”…

The case’s grisly and disturbing specifics only served as ammunition for former legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt on the Jan. 9 episode of his “Pray In Jesus Name” radio program, however. Klingenschmitt…pointed to Babbitt and Deyo’s case while arguing that gay people should be “disqualified” from becoming teachers because of their sexuality. “There is a demonic spirit of child abuse,” he said in the Right Wing Watch clip above. “The demonic spirit of deception has taken over the school board, or whoever decided ― maybe the principal ― to hire these child abusers,” he added. No stranger to anti-LGBTQ declarations, Klingenschmitt then added, “If anything, they should’ve been disqualified immediately because of their immorality. The immorality inside of these two men [indicates] that they are unfit to be a good example to little children”…Last month, he blasted a Zales Jewelers commercial that featured a same-sex couple, saying the ad was proof that the television and advertising executives who produced it were possessed by a “demonic spirit.” 

There is much more outrageous material regularly provided by “Dr. Chaps” and dutifully documented on the web site of Right Wing Watch. In fact, he has tried at various times to shut down their Youtube channel that has video records of his shows and statements, and in 2013 was briefly able to get Youtube to do such (alleging a curious application of “claimed copyright,” although they were critiquing and not exploiting his work as their own product), although they were able to easily restore the Youtube channel upon appeal. He now leads Pray In Jesus Name Ministries, which broadcasts PIJN [Pray in Jesus Name] News on NRB Network. As painful as watching his demonstrably disprovable and often laughable allegations on his daily program, often featuring an elderly “correspondent” actually given White House Press Corp. credentials in the Trump administration (whose main concern appears to be how American policies benefit the atheist state of Israel), as well as top “Christian prophets” like Lance Wallnau he interviews at places like major Washington Christian marches, I expose myself to such as a form of “opposition research” (to use the political vernacular) to try to stay on top of who are the major movers and shakers influencing the perspectives and social and political views of the conservative Christian community of my heritage, along with a host of other “prophetic ministries,” prophecy specialists, “culture warriors,” “family issue ministries” and even sects like Messianic/Jewish Roots groups (Torah observant and Israel lobbying, and which is beginning to dominate Christian TV channels, in my view), because they are bringing in large revenues and thus major influence and audiences, and directly impact the values of “Bible believing Christians” and thus, the soul-winning/Great Commission effectiveness and advance of the Gospel and the Kingdom of Heaven in our society and world.    

The key reason I have taken the time to briefly profile “Dr. Chaps,” is because I have seen him on his show as one of the most consistent and persistent prominent Religious Right media celebrities pushing the thesis that the invaders in the Capitol insurrection were not Trump followers (with the Trump flags and paraphernalia, and prominently declaring their Trump devotion weeks and months in advance of the event online), but rather the dreaded existential threat, Antifa, even though to a rational (as opposed to emotion-driven) and facts-based person, such an argument is pitiful and absurd, and obviously disingenuous and agenda-driven. And to be fair to “Dr. Chaps,” there are many other major Christian celebrities and media figures who did or still espouse the same deceptive view. In my most recent lengthy post, I described what historians will inevitably see as the “Trump prophecy mania” period of hucksters and self-appointed “prophets” large and small clamoring for market position as the real fortune-telling prophet of Trump’s rise, and the revenues, following and influence that came with it, including assurances of “Heaven’s decree” of a Trump reelection, even after the Biden election had been certified, and in emboldening Christian “true believers” to act as crusaders leading up to and on site the day of the insurrection. The major figure cited in that post was Mark Taylor, often known as the “Fireman Prophet” or “Trump Prophet,” who rose from being a self-described PTSD-afflicted, unemployed insomniac firefighter to becoming a sensation in a best-selling biographical book published by Tom Horn’s Defender Publishing, and a feature-length film shown in theaters that was produced by Liberty University and based on Horn’s/Defender’s book on Taylor. It portrayed his incident of “hearing a voice” about Trump’s future while in a veritable trance while watching businessman Donald Trump on the television, with his private confessions of psychological messages to his private doctor being taken by his doctor’s “New Apostolic Reformation (NAR)”-minded wife throughout her social media and other networks to see him vaunted to a messianic prophetic figure in his own right, with their seeking his continued “oracles” from God. While in that post I show his proud affiliations with Q-Anon and in not-so-subtly insinuating that Christians should be prepared to use coercive means to “fight the Illuminati” and pedophilia-affiliated Democrats on behalf of a sustained Trump imperial rule, the following are brief excerpt clips from this last blog post of mine concerning both he, and the most prominent and influential NAR prophet Lance Wallnau, who also claimed the throne as the original “Trump prophet” based upon his book God’s Chaos Candidate, that consistently accused the the Capitol insurrectionists of being Antifa members in a false-flag operation, in the wake of this disturbing incident that served as the fruit of their earlier “holy war” proclamations:

Mark Taylor was guest on the Mc Files radio program (check out his “Q-Anon” figurine on the desk behind Taylor’s left shoulder – you can see it clearer in later interviews he does on video). In addition to speaking with certainty that Antifa was the actual group that broke in and performed violence in the Capitol…The following day after the insurrection (July 7), on another show with Paul Oebel of the Faith Unveiled Network (with about 100,000 views in two days’ time), “the Fireman Prophet” Mark Taylor added that “God spoke to me over the weekend… …This [the insurrection by middle-aged white men in the Capitol] is Antifa all the way…the Vatican owns all the satellites that did the hacking…In a radio interview by popular host Eric Metaxas the day after the insurrection, Wallnau talked of “the cosmic conflict that we’re in right now.” When asked as to the identities of the invaders in the Capitol, he replies, “I know its Antifa.” Metaxas says “this is like a Marxist coup.” I just found another Facebook video Wallnau posted on his site at 1:19 AM Friday morning on his site, entitled “Let’s Get This Straight”…supposedly just after having arrived back from Washington and the “Stop the Steal” rally…He begins by showing a video of Rep. Louie Gohmert on the TV (OAN Network), talking about his certainty that the middle-aged white folks storming the Capitol building were all Antifa, which Wallnau agreed, calling Rep. Gohmert “the only guy with a clear head” (it should be noted that Rep. Gohmert sued Vice President Pence to force him to discard the delegate slates approved by swing states and to substitute Republican ones, with the case immediately thrown out of court, leading Gohmert to say in an interview that the ramifications of “the ruling would be that you’ve got to go to the streets and be as violent as antifa and BLM“).

This viewpoint was not only shared by crackpot self-appointed “prophets” and TV evangelists fleecing the gullible Christian populace, but also by a number of prominent elected or formerly-elected national conservative officials. This not only includes darkly comical figures like Rep. Gohmert and the recently-disgraced conservative self-labeled “firebrand” Rep. Matt Goetz (who posited the possibility of the insurrection as an Antifa operation from the House floor just minutes after the assault), but also “classic” political favorites of the Religious Right. For example, former congressman Michele Bachmann said on air the day after the coup that she participated in the “Stop the Steal” rally, regarding the assault on the Capitol that “it reminded me of Moscow in 1917 with the Bolsheviks, where there were rabble-rousers who dressed up in the opposition’s clothing and had a violent event in the streets. And we saw what happened to Russia: Russia went into 70 years of captivity. I am telling you, I’m not a betting woman, but I would put $1,000 on any table to say this wasn’t the Trump crowd. This didn’t look anything like the Trump crowd or the prayer warriors. These were rabble-rousers. Paid rabble-rousers.”

However, when the major conservative national newspaper, the Rev. Moon affiliated Unification Church-owned Washington Times promoted the “Capitol insurrectionists as Antifa” lie using some type of facial recognition software as part of its ruse, and subsequently being promoted by Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz and Mo Brooks as well as Fox News, eventually the tall tale began to come apart:

Trump allies eager to deflect blame for Wednesday’s attack on the presidential vote count have claimed that the rioters were “antifa” infiltrators, citing a Washington Times report on evidence compiled by a little-known facial recognition company associated with a far-right blog. But the company at the center of the story says the Times article is a hoax and wants a retraction and apology. As Capitol Police struggled to clear the congressional complex on Wednesday evening, Times reporter Rowan Scarborough published a story claiming that obscure facial recognition company XRVision had proof that some of the rioters were in fact left-wing antifa agitators, including one “Stalinist sympathizer.” “Facial recognition firm claims Antifa infiltrated Trump protesters who stormed Capitol,” the headline on the story read. Scarborough’s article was based entirely on an interview with an anonymous “retired military officer” who claimed to have seen XRVision data that proved two of the rioters were members of “Philadelphia Antifa.” The story didn’t include any pictures of the supposed antifa infiltrators or other evidenceDespite the fact that Trump had promoted the rally for weeks while his supporters openly planned the riot on pro-Trump websites, the exculpatory idea that the riot was a secret antifa plot rocketed around right-wing media. Fox News host Laura Ingraham declared it a “developing” story, in a tweet that was recirculated more than 35,000 times.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) tweeted the story as proof of mounting evidence of an antifa scheme. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) even cited the Washington Times story on the House floor during the electoral vote count. “I don’t know if the reports are true, but The Washington Times has just reported some pretty compelling evidence from a facial recognition company that some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters,” Gaetz said. “They were masquerading as Trump supporters and, in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.” But XRVision, the company at the center of the story, says the Times story is totally made up. In a statement provided by the company’s attorney, XRVision said its facial recognition software had in fact identified two neo-Nazis and a QAnon supporter. “We concluded that two of [the] individuals (Jason Tankersley and Matthew Heimbach), were affiliated with the Maryland Skinheads and the National Socialist Movements,” the statement reads. “These two are known Nazi organizations, they are not Antifa. The third individual identified (Jake Angeli) was an actor with some QAnon promotion history. Again, no Antifa identification was made for him either.” XRVision has demanded a retraction and apology from the paper, according to the statement. “XRVision takes pride in its technology’s precision and deems the Washington Times publication as outright false, misleading, and defamatory,” the statement read. “Our attorney is in contact with the Washington Times and has instructed them to ‘Cease and Desist’ from any claims regarding sourcing of XRVision analytics, to retract the current claims, and publish and (sic) apology.” The Washington Times didn’t respond to a request for comment.

XRVision is closely tied to right-wing hoax blog The Gateway Pundit and often provides its technology, such as it is, to promote attacks on liberal figures and bogus claims about voter fraud. In 2019, The Gateway Pundit deleted a fake story based on XRVision “data” that falsely purported to show that the father of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was a Somali war criminal. This isn’t the first time the Washington Times has promoted a right-wing hoax by citing a retired military official. In 2018, the paper published a column by a retired admiral that claimed to prove that murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich and his brother Aaron Rich stole DNC emails and gave them to WikiLeaks. The paper later retracted the column and apologized for its publication, in a bid to settle a lawsuit filed by Aaron Rich.

The day after the insurrection, The Hill reported that The Washington Times quietly took down the story, noting that “XRVision did not identify any Antifa members. The Washington Times apologizes to XRVision for the error,” but they noted in the same retraction a “new version of the story” that “instead cites ‘other evidence’ that antifa members were at the riot.”

Alternatively, two days after the attack The Hill also reported that the FBI, who has the expertise, resources and mission to investigate and determine who were the culprits in the insurrection event, found no evidence of Antifa involvement – this found while the FBI was still under Trump’s Justice Department. They write that

No evidence has been found that members of the left-wing antifa movement were involved in this week’s storming of the Capitol building, the FBI said Friday, contradicting a narrative pushed by some Trump allies. “We have no indication of that at this time,” Washington Field Office assistant director Steven D’Antuono said during a briefing when asked about any potential involvement of antifa. The term is used to refer to the loosely connected network of far-left activists who say they are fighting against what they perceive as fascismActing U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin separately said Thursday that investigators had not seen evidence of antifa presence. Several figures on the right have attempted to pin fault for the mob that broke into the Capitol on Wednesday on antifa…Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) also suggested on Twitter that the riot had “all the hallmarks of antifa provocation,” while Fox News host Laura Ingraham gave air to the baseless conspiracy on television.
Blaming antifa for apparent instances of right-wing violence, and claiming such members are creating “false flags,” has become a popular deflection for some conservative allies of the president.

Even one of the “fringest” firebrands of the hard-right media, Fox News host Jeanne Pirro, was reported to relent and confess that Antifa had no role in the Capitol insurrection (possibly reacting to the immediate repulsion to the deadly event, as did Mitch McConnell and other conservative leaders, until things cooled and they found reason to soften their concerns to maintain the support of the Trump base):

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro didn’t hold back on Saturday night, scolding pro-Trump vigilantes who stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday, calling the actions of the looters “deplorable” and urging her viewers to stop blaming antifa. “I want to be clear. The actions at the United States Capitol three days ago were deplorable, reprehensible, outright criminal,” Pirro stated. “These frightening and repulsive actions represent the most significant breach on our Capitol in over 200 years. And I don’t care with happened in the past and or whether those who did it think the election was stolen. That is not justification. Seventy-five million of us are still angry about the election, but we don’t storm the Capitol.” The Fox News host then told her audience to stop blaming others for the illegal activities carried out by President Donald Trump’s supporters. “And stop looking for other people to blame, including those dirt-bag terrorists antifa. To those of you who did this, you did it, of your own will, and you will be held accountable. Take the veil of politics off,” Pirro continued. “Be totally objective, anyone watching this must condemn it”…The FBI said Friday they had “no indication” that antifa activists were involved in the Capitol raid. The claim that antifa was involved in the storming of the Capitol was first pushed by a now-debunked and retracted Washington Times report, but the story quickly spread in conservative circles nonetheless.

The following Monday, even the head of the House Republicans told their members to stop spreading lies of antifa involvement in the insurrection. At that time The Hill reported that

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told members of his GOP conference on a call Monday that the riot at the Capitol was not caused by antifa, urging lawmakers not to further spread misinformation about the pro-Trump mob that stormed the House and Senate last week. “McCarthy told all members on the call that he has been receiving FBI briefings and it is clear that antifa was not behind this,” one source familiar with the call said. “That it was in fact right-wing extremists and QAnon adherents, and he urged members to stop spreading false information to the contrary.” McCarthy’s comments come in the wake of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who made the unsubstantiated claim on the House floor that antifa was behind the violence that broke out at the Capitol on Wednesday…Other GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), doubled down on the claim on Twitter. “Evidence growing that fascist ANTIFA orchestrated Capitol attack with clever mob control tactics,” Brooks wrote at the start of a Twitter thread the day after the riot. McCarthy told his members it was determined to be right-wing extremists and supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which revolves around the idea that President Trump is working to expose an elite group of Democrats and media who are running an international child trafficking ring and controlling the government to try to undermine the president. The FBI said on Friday that it determined that no members of the left-wing movement antifa were involved in the storming of the Capitol. “We have no indication of that at this time,” Washington Field Office Assistant Director Steven D’Antuono said when asked about any potential involvement of antifa last week. Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin separately also said last week that investigators had not seen evidence of antifa’s presence.

It was also reported at the same time that the same Republican House Leader had to convince Trump himself that it wasn’t Antifa that was involved in the insurrection, even though Trump also implied to others how pleased he was with their actions, even telling Republican leaders the invaders were more concerned about the election than they were. They write:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is said to have had a difficult phone call with President Donald Trump on Monday in which he said Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election was “over.” McCarthy apparently grew exasperated after the president continued to complain about election fraud. An anonymous White House official told Axios that the California congressman interrupted: “Stop it. It’s over. The election is over.” McCarthy is also said to have taken the president to task during the 30-minute call for blaming last Wednesday’s insurrection at the US Capitol on leftists in disguise. “It’s not antifa — it’s MAGA,” McCarthy told Trump, according to two Axios sources. “I know. I was there.”

Trump and some of his followers have baselessly claimed that the Capitol breach was led by antifa members impersonating Trump supporters. The FBI has categorized antifa — an umbrella term for groups that confront neo-Nazis and white supremacists — as an ideology, not an organization. There has so far been no convincing evidence to support the notion of involvement by antifa. Many of the Trump supporters at the riot livestreamed themselves as it was happening, and scores of well-known figures were easily identifiable. Yet Trump allies quickly began speculating…In a letter sent to his Republican colleagues on Friday, McCarthy said there was “undisputedly” no evidence of antifa’s involvement and expressed frustration with the way the crisis had been handled…McCarthy has been a staunch supporter of Trump’s and repeatedly and baselessly claimed that Trump had won the 2020 election. On January 3, McCarthy told The Hill he supported challenges to Biden’s election…Following Wednesday’s rioting, McCarthy was among the GOP House members who voted to reject certification of Arizona’s election results, a measure that did not pass.

By early February, The Washington Post was reporting that, even after all these denials by even Republican and conservative officials and leading figures that should know better, and had every incentive to deflect the blame to a shadowy group like Antifa, the rank-and-file “Trump base” was undaunted in believing that Antifa was still the culprit of the insurrection, just like their baseless belief in the “fraudulent election,” in a culture that even added hard-right firebrands who had lapsed into a brief moment of honesty as “fake news” as this fantasy-reality took on a life of its own, like Frankenstein’s Monster or the Golem of Prague:

In the hours after the Capitol was overrun on Jan. 6, a theory quickly emerged in conservative media: This wasn’t us. It was them. The “them” was antifa, a loose-knit movement of sometimes violent activists focused on combating perceived fascism and racism. For months, President Donald Trump had been promoting the idea that antifa posed a dangerous, rampant, terroristic threat to the country. It was convenient for Trump, positing a shadowy left-wing group that demanded the response of a strong law enforcement hand. This was Trump’s reelection message, that he would hold antifa in checkAntifa didn’t actually pose the threat that Trump suggested. The Justice Department under the leadership of William P. Barr had increased its focus on the movement but never found much evidence to substantiate Trump’s concern. The bigger threat, as the Department of Homeland Security made clear last year, was right-wing extremism, particularly white nationalist groups. But the idea that antifa was a catalyst for unrest took hold among Trump supporters. So when unrest erupted at the Capitol that day, antifa predictably got the blame. Those storming the Capitol may have been wearing Trump gear, sure — but it was somehow antifa that was leading the charge.

That claim gained traction after the Washington Times reported that a facial recognition company had linked several of those photographed in the Capitol to antifa. That report quickly made it to Fox News and to the House floor, where Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) elevated the theory. Unfortunately for Gaetz and Fox, though, the report was entirely incorrect and was ultimately rescinded. The storming of the Capitol wasn’t by antifa activists. It was, as it seemed, by supporters of TrumpYet, in a poll conducted last month by the American Enterprise Institute, half of Republicans said they thought that it was mostly or completely accurate to say that antifa “was mostly responsible for the violence that happened in the riots at the US Capitol.” Overall, 3 in 10 Americans said that statement was at least mostly accurateA contrast worth noting: Republicans were much more likely to say that the antifa theory was at least mostly accurate than they were to describe as accurate the theory underpinning the QAnon extremist ideology, focused on child sex trafficking…“That wasn’t Trump people. That’s been a hoax from day one,” Michigan state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) said of the riot last week. He added that it “was all staged.” He later apologized for his remarks — but was caught on an open mic admitting that he still held those views.

By April 2021, news sources such as Reuters were reporting that, after the names of all the actual insurrection culprits and their identities and self-incrimination via social media were already widely reported for some time, roughly half of Republicans still considered the culprits of the insurrection were actually left-wing activists like Antifa in a false-flag operation. They write:

Three months after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to try to overturn his November election loss, about half of Republicans believe the siege was largely a non-violent protest or was the handiwork of left-wing activists “trying to make Trump look bad,” a new Reuters/Ipsos poll has foundSix in 10 Republicans also believe the false claim put out by Trump that November’s presidential election “was stolen” from him due to widespread voter fraud, and the same proportion of Republicans think he should run again in 2024, the March 30-31 poll showedThe rioters – many of them sporting Trump campaign gear and waving flags – also included known white supremacist groups such as the Proud Boys. In a recent interview with Fox News, Trump said the rioters posed “zero threat.” Other prominent Republicans, such as Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, have publicly doubted whether Trump supporters were behind the riot. Last month, 12 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted against a resolution honoring Capitol Police officers who defended the grounds during the rampage, with one lawmaker saying that he objected using the word “insurrection” to describe the incident.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll shows a large number of rank-and-file Republicans have embraced the myth. While 59% of all Americans say Trump bears some responsibility for the attack, only three in 10 Republicans agree. Eight in 10 Democrats and six in 10 independents reject the false claims that the Capitol siege was “mostly peaceful” or it was staged by left-wing protestors. “Republicans have their own version of reality,” said John Geer, an expert on public opinion at Vanderbilt University. “It is a huge problem. Democracy requires accountability and accountability requires evidence.” The refusal of Trump and prominent Republicans to repudiate the events of Jan. 6 increases the likelihood of a similar incident happening again, said Susan Corke, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups. “That is the biggest danger – normalizing this behavior,” Corke said. “I do think we are going to see more violence.”

…The disinformation campaign aimed at downplaying the insurrection and Trump’s role in it reflects a growing consensus within the Republican Party that its fortunes remain tethered to Trump and his devoted base, political observers say. According to the new Reuters/Ipsos poll, Trump remains the most popular figure within the party, with eight in 10 Republicans continuing to hold a favorable impression of him. “Congressional Republicans have assessed they need to max out the Trump vote to win,” said Tim Miller, a former spokesman for Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. “That that is the path back to the majority”…Last week, Republican congressman Jim Banks of Indiana said the party must cater to the working-class voters that comprise Trump’s political base ahead of next year’s critical midterm elections that will dictate control of Congress. “Members who want to swap out working-class voters because they resent President Trump’s impact… are wrong,” Banks wrote in a memo to Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy, contents of which he posted on Twitter. Banks was one of the 147 lawmakers who voted to block certification of Biden’s win, and he later voted against impeaching Trump…In the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, only about three in 10 independents said they have a favorable view of Trump, among the lowest level recorded since his presidency. Most Americans — about 60% — also believe Biden won the November election fair and square, and said Trump should not run again.

The window for the Republican Party to distance itself from Trump seems to have passed, Miller said. “There was a chance after January 6 for Republican leaders to really put their foot down and say, ‘We can’t be the insurrectionist party,’” he said. “Now that opportunity is totally gone.” The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,005 adults between March 30-31. The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 4 percentage points.

Six days after the insurrection, USA Today was already documenting the chain of events that led to the “Antifa guilt” story of the insurrection being intentionally spread widely (and, I may say, effectively):

After weeks of planting the idea, dozens of extremists used social media to promote an idea with no basis in reality – that the people besieging the Capitol were actually far-left agitators disguised as Trump supporters. The trickle of claims became a flood in a matter of hours. It started in secretive corners of the web such as 4chan, but tweets and articles from more and more mainstream conservative news sites followed. It began spiking around 1 p.m., just after rioters started breaching barriers outside the Capitol. Soon, Fox News personalities were sharing the same speculation that circulated among believers in the discredited QAnon conspiracy theory. By 10:15 p.m., the “false flag” story reached the House floor that rioters had invaded earlier in the day. Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida told his shaken colleagues in a speech: “They were masquerading as Trump supporters and, in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.”

USA TODAY worked with experts in disinformation and examined a variety of social and news media to trace how one false claim went from the fringe to Washington’s seat of power. The review found predictions of a Jan. 6 disruption by antifa, a loose collection of far-left-leaning “anti-fascists” who battle the far right, going back as far as December. The messages came more frequently as the event drew closer. Then, when the mob attacked the Capitol – inviting instant condemnation from virtually all corners – the idea of an antifa “false flag” operation exploded exponentially. In fact, the analysis shows, members of Congress were using language parroting extremist groups and platforms just minutes before the siege began. In that case, the false claims alleged massive vote rigging…The speed with which the antifa conspiracy theory crystalized Jan. 6 underscores the close alignment in messaging between extremists and some members of the institution that was under attack…Conspiracy theorists also claimed left-wing groups were secretly behind the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that drew white supremacists and turned deadly.

Rhys Leahy, a senior research assistant at George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics, watched the scene unfold in real time on the social messaging platform Telegram, which draws legions of Trump supporters. From her home computer, Leahy was monitoring a network of 300 right-wing extremist Telegram channels as Trump called on the crowd to march on the Capitol. She saw mention of antifa jump from a steady stream of a dozen Telegram posts per hour to more than 10 times thatBy 7 p.m., Fox hosts Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham were repeating the false claim that antifa agitators were storming the Capitol, booking guests like Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who spread the rumor on national television. “Then, a few hours later, we heard in Congress representatives repeating it,” Leahy said. “Seeing how that moves through the information ecosystem from these very fringe conspiracy sites on Telegram or 8chan or 8kun or 4chan to being in the halls of Congress within hours, while it’s still under attack: It’s crazy and it’s disturbing.”

Long before people gathered for the president’s Wednesday speech in Washington, Trump supporters shared rumors the event would be infiltrated by antifa, the confrontational “anti-fascist” collective of left-wing activists who often clash with police and conservative demonstrators. “We’ve seen the same rhetoric around antifa before,” Gogarty said. “The right has cast them as the boogeyman. It’s easy to point the finger at them.” On Dec. 31, a Parler user posted a message, since viewed some 74,000 times, claiming that antifa would be at the Jan. 6 march in Washington wearing MAGA hats backward so as to recognize one another. The Parler post included a photograph of a Nov. 10 tweet with the claim, suggesting the same antifa-in-disguise ruse had been used in the past. On Jan. 4, a 4chan user wrote, “Only violence will come from antifa.” Another wrote, “Man says DC police are escorting antifa into DC.” On Jan. 5, a 4chan user wrote, “Obvious antifa posing as Trump Supporters.” Another wrote, “antifa dresses as trump supporters and proud boys.” The claims continued as the riot gained steam on Wednesday. A 4chan user wrote, “those are probably disguised antifa” at 1:22 p.m., as protesters reached the Capitol building and the confrontation with police began. “I see ANTIFA!” wrote another at 1:47 p.m…Between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., the number of Parler posts mentioning “antifa” on Parler jumped from 800 per hour to 3,000 per hour, a USA TODAY analysis of data from the Social Media Analysis Toolkit found. On 4chan, a message board known for extreme content, the term “antifa” peaked at nearly 400 mentions per hour at 1 p.m., suggesting the discussion then jumped from 4chan to Parler or other platforms as the pro-Trump crowd approached the Capitol.

…A minute later, @intheMatrixxx, an influential QAnon supporter now suspended from Twitter, shared a video of the mob with the claim, “#antifa wearing #maga hats Protestors have entered the Capitol.” It racked up more than 1,200 retweets. At 2:36 p.m., the tweet was shared on Parler and, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Parler carried 7,300 mentions of “antifa,” up from 2,000 the hour before. On Twitter, the antifa claim was also spreading widely, cementing itself in right-wing media. At 3:05 p.m. the theory started reaching a truly wide audience. Ingraham, from Fox News, tweeted a video of rioters: “These vandals look like they could be straight out of Portland or Seattle,” alluding to two antifa strongholds. The thought racked up 4,000 retweets and 11,000 likes. Ingraham also brought up the claim on her television show later that night…At 3:21 p.m., user @SOPDN1 shared photos in a post that’s since been deleted of the rioters inside the Capitol with the message, “Coordinated antifa theater,” gaining more than 2,500 retweets including from conservative journalist Melissa Mackenzie, who shared it with her 56,000 followers. At 3:24 p.m., the Daily Wire’s Candace Owens tweeted, “Call it a hunch, but my guess is there are still ANTIFA thugs in the mix,” which was shared more than 30,000 times. And at 5:02 p.m., conservative author Paul Sperry tweeted that a source had told him “at least 1 ‘bus load’ of antifa thugs infiltrated peaceful Trump demonstrators,” gaining nearly 67,000 retweets. Sperry’s claim was soon picked up by right-wing news source Gateway Pundit.

Then, shortly before 10 p.m., Brooks, the Alabama congressman, shared a link to a now-corrected article from the conservative-leaning Washington Times. The story quoted an unnamed, retired military officer saying a facial recognition firm had identified two antifa activists from news footage of the Capitol mob. The newspaper subsequently apologized to the company and, in a correction, said it “did not identify any antifa members.” Gaetz also shared the antifa claim in his Twitter timeline. Then Gaetz gave his fiery floor speech about the matter. It was met with groans and incredulity from many in the chamber.

The New York Times added further details of how the Antifa lie was spread intentionally:

At 1:51 p.m. on Jan. 6, a right-wing radio host named Michael D. Brown wrote on Twitter that rioters had breached the United States Capitol — and immediately speculated about who was really to blame. “Antifa or BLM or other insurgents could be doing it disguised as Trump supporters,” Mr. Brown wrote, using shorthand for Black Lives Matter. “Come on, man, have you never heard of psyops?” Only 13,000 people follow Mr. Brown on Twitter, but his tweet caught the attention of another conservative pundit: Todd Herman, who was guest-hosting Rush Limbaugh’s national radio program. Minutes later, he repeated Mr. Brown’s baseless claim to Mr. Limbaugh’s throngs of listeners: “It’s probably not Trump supporters who would do that. Antifa, BLM, that’s what they do. Right?

…The conspiracy gained new momentum after The Washington Times, a right-wing newspaper, published an online article shortly before 2:30 p.m. claiming that a facial recognition firm had identified antifa activists in the crowd at the Capitol. The newspaper corrected the article less than 24 hours later, after its claims were proved false — but not before the story made an enormous impact. The article eventually amassed 360,000 likes and shares on Facebook, according to CrowdTangle, a tool owned by Facebook and used for analyzing social mediaFrom 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., the antifa falsehood was mentioned about 8,700 times across cable television, social media and online news outlets, according to Zignal Labs, a media insights company. “Remember, Antifa openly planned to dress as Trump supporters and cause chaos today,” said one tweet that collected 41,100 likes and sharesSnopes, the online fact-checking outlet, had already debunked the false antifa narrative — but its story attracted only 306 likes and shares on Twitter at the time, an indication of how difficult it is for fact-checking efforts to gain traction over the original falsehood. Mr. Gaetz, the pro-Trump congressman, was a super spreader of the Washington Times article: His Facebook post about it collected 27,000 interactions…

Falsehoods about busloads and planeloads of antifa activists traveling the nation to sow violence became a common trope on right-wing internet sites, even prompting some Americans to ask local law enforcement for help. At the first presidential debate in September, seen by 73 million people, Mr. Trump said “somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left.” (In the same answer, Mr. Trump declined to condemn the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group that has endorsed violence.) Hours after the attack, Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama, a Republican who had served as a warm-up speaker for Mr. Trump at the pre-riot rally, promoted the false antifa claims on national television. “We did have some warning that there might be antifa elements masquerading as Trump supporters in advance of the attack on the Capitol,” Mr. Brooks told the Fox Business host Lou Dobbs. He amplified his baseless claim the next morning in a Twitter thread that was retweeted nearly 19,000 times. “Evidence, much public, surfacing that many Capitol assaulters were fascist ANTIFAs, not Trump supporters,” Mr. Brooks wrote, providing no evidenceIn an interview last week, Mr. Brooks admitted that he had not verified his information before airing it publicly…Mr. Brooks now says that the role of antifa and Black Lives Matter “appears to be relatively minimal compared to the roles of more militant elements of other groups.” 

…Court filings in many of the criminal cases stemming from the attack quote pro-Trump rioters explicitly denying that antifa was involved and instead emphasizing their own participation, portraying it as an act of patriotism. To date, there is no evidence in case filings that any individual associated with antifa has been charged. Ms. Ingraham, who told Fox News viewers about “antifa sympathizers” at the riot, later shared on Twitter that the Washington Times article she cited had been debunked; she did not issue an on-air correction. Mr. Herman, the Limbaugh guest host who speculated about antifa, wrote in an email on Saturday that “it was clear a large group of Trump supporters entered the Capitol and assaulted people.” But he continued to assert, falsely, that antifa activists had plotted to impersonate Trump supporters.

In February, USA Today was further documenting new polling at the time on the views of Republicans as to who actually participated in the insurrection, the extent of their loyalty to recently-impeached Trump and even to their historically tried-and-true conservative firebrand news source, Fox News:

By double digits, 46%-27%, those surveyed say they would abandon the GOP and join the Trump party if the former president decided to create one. The rest are undecided. Half of those polled say the GOP should become “more loyal to Trump,” even at the cost of losing support among establishment Republicans. One in five, 19%, say the party should become less loyal to Trump and more aligned with establishment Republicans. The survey of 1,000 Trump voters, identified from 2020 polls, was taken by landline and cellphone last Monday through Friday. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. They express stronger loyalty to Trump the person (54%) than they did to the Republican Party that twice nominated him for the White House (34%). The overwhelming allegiance the former president commands among the party’s voters gives him the standing to weigh in on GOP primaries and seek retribution on those officeholders who voted to impeach and convict him. Trump voters are prepared to punish those who crossed him. Eight in 10 say they would be less likely to vote for a Republican candidate who supported Trump’s impeachment, as 10 representatives did in the House…Trump doesn’t need to form a third party, says Francis Zovko, 63, a Republican from Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania. “I think he’s just going to, you know, take over the Republican Party, much as he did in 2016,” the systems analyst says. Only 4% say the impeachment trial made them less supportive of Trump; 42% say it made them more supportive. Fifty-four percent say it didn’t affect their support.

Asked to describe what happened during the assault on the Capitol, 58% of Trump voters call it “mostly an antifa-inspired attack that only involved a few Trump supporters.” That’s more than double the 28% who call it “a rally of Trump supporters, some of whom attacked the Capitol.” Four percent call it “an attempted coup inspired by President Trump.” Law enforcement investigations found no evidence of a role by antifa, a loose alliance of leftist, anti-fascist groups that have staged demonstrations in some cities, particularly on the West Coast. Most of those arrested in the assault Jan. 6 identified themselves as Trump supporters…”There were a variety of people who were there,” says William Case, 40, an electrician and independent voter from Vacaville, California. “I mean, outside there was a bunch of Trump supporters that didn’t go in, but there’s video proof of other groups that did, antifa being one of them”In the poll, more than nine of 10 Trump voters say the former president isn’t guilty of inciting an insurrectionBy 2-1, 59%-29%, Trump voters say they want him to run for president again in 2024. If he ran, three of four, 76%, would support him for the nomination; 85% would vote for him in a general electionTrump voters aren’t ready to acknowledge Joe Biden as president despite his margin of victory of 7 million votes nationwideThree of four, 73%, say Biden wasn’t legitimately elected. Most don’t want their representatives to cooperate with him, even if that means gridlock in Washington.

There are disquieting findings in the poll for Fox News, which has prospered as the dominant news source for conservatives. In a USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll in October 2016, 58% of Trump voters said Fox was their most trusted source of news. In the new poll, that drops to 34%. Trust has risen in two relatively new outlets that have made their reputations by championing Trump. Newsmax is the most trusted among 17% of Trump voters, followed by 9% for One America News Network, or OANN.

If you would like more statistics, a few days before Trump left office (and after the deadly Trump-inspired insurrection and sacking of the Capitol), NBC News reported that

A new NBC News poll found that 43 percent of voters nationwide gave Trump a positive job approval rating, just barely down from 45 percent who said the same before the November election and the 44 percent who approved of his performance shortly after he took office in 2017. The same poll found that 35 percent of voters — including 74 percent of Republicans but just 30 percent of independents and 3 percent of Democrats — believe President-elect Joe Biden did not win the election legitimatelySixty-one percent of all voters — but just 21 percent of Republicans — say Biden did win legitimately. While a record 10 House Republicans broke ranks to vote for Trump’s impeachment last week, his approval rating among Republicans shows few signs that GOP voters are widely disillusioned with him. Almost 9 in 10 Republicans — 87 percent — give Trump a thumbs-up, compared with 89 percent who said the same before the November election…Among Republicans…who say they prioritize the party over the president, his approval still stands at 81 percent — virtually unchanged from October. In the NBC News survey, nearly a third of GOP voters surveyed — 28 percent — said Trump’s words and actions related to the violence at the Capitol reinforced their vote for TrumpJust 5 percent said they now regretted their support for him, and two-thirds — 66 percent — said their feelings had not changedWhile 52 percent of voters overall say Trump is solely or mainly responsible for the protests that led to rioters’ overtaking the Capitol, including 91 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of independents, just 11 percent of Republicans agree. (About half of Republicans, however, place responsibility on “social media companies” and “Antifa.”)

Previous NBC News polling has, indeed, found Trump’s approval among voters to be remarkably stable despite his tumultuous presidency, fluctuating only between a high of 47 percent and a low of 38 percent. The latter rating came in late 2017, after Trump was widely criticized for his response to violence after a gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia….The NBC News poll of 1,000 registered voters was conducted Jan. 10-13, 2021…The margin of error for registered voters is +/- 3.1 percentage points.

A February 2021 report by the Survey on American Life of the January 2021 American Perspectives Survey (a project of the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute) reveals that

Approximately two-thirds (65 percent) of the public say Biden’s victory in 2020 was legitimate, while nearly one-third (31 percent) say it was not. Nearly all Democrats (98 percent) and roughly three-quarters (73 percent) of independents believe Biden’s 2020 election victory was legitimate…Nearly two in three (66 percent) Republicans say Biden’s election win was not legitimateThere are stark divisions by education level among Republicans. Three-quarters of Republicans who do not have a four-year college degree challenge the legitimacy of Biden’s election, while college-educated Republicans are divided, with roughly as many accepting the legitimacy of Biden’s win as denying it (50 percent vs. 48 percent)Nearly eight in 10 (79 percent) Republicans have a favorable opinion of Trump, while one in five (20 percent) view the former GOP president negatively. In contrast, a majority of Democrats (95 percent) and independents (63 percent) have a negative view of Trump.

Nearly half (48 percent) of Americans believe Trump encouraged his supporters to break into the Capitol. Thirty-six percent of the public reject this as being untrueNearly nine in 10 (87 percent) Democrats believe Trump encouraged the attack on the Capitol, while only 15 percent of Republicans agree. About three-quarters (74 percent) of Republicans say this is untrueA majority (55 percent) of Americans say it would be a good idea for federal and state authorities to investigate potential crimes Trump may have committed while president, including a majority of Democrats (93 percent) and independents (58 percent). Less than half (42 percent) of Americans—and the overwhelming majority of Republicans (82 percent)—say this would be a bad ideaNearly three in 10 (29 percent) Americans say the statement that “there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election” is mostly (14 percent) or completely accurate (15 percent). More than half (52 percent) of Americans reject that voter fraud was pervasive in the 2020 election…The unsubstantiated claim of voter fraud is widely held among Republicans but rejected by most other Americans. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Republicans believe in widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, a view shared by only 22 percent of independents and 2 percent of Democrats.

The QAnon conspiracy theory includes a constellation of connected claims, but one core element is that Trump has been fighting a global ring of child traffickers with links to the political left…Only 15 percent of Americans believe that “Donald Trump has been secretly fighting a group of child sex traffickers that include prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites.” However, only 42 percent of Americans reject this conspiracy as being inaccurate, while 41 percent report being uncertain about itNearly three in 10 Republicans say the claim that Trump was fighting a global child sex trafficking ring is mostly (17 percent) or completely (12 percent) accurate. Roughly as many Republicans (30 percent) reject this claim as inaccurate, while 43 percent report being uncertain about itThe belief that antifa, the anti-fascist activist group, was responsible for the attacks at the US Capitol is another claim that continues to receive support despite the lack of evidence for it. Thirty percent of the public say the claim that antifa was responsible for the violence at the US Capitol is mostly (18 percent) or completely accurate. Half (50 percent) of Republicans, 28 percent of independents, and one in five (20 percent) Democrats say antifa was responsible for the attack on the Capitol.

Nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) Americans agree that American democracy serves the interests of only the wealthy and powerful. Seventy percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans hold this view.

More than one in three (36 percent) Americans agree with the statement: “The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it”…A majority (56 percent) of Republicans support the use of force as a way to arrest the decline of the traditional American way of lifeNearly three in 10 (29 percent) Americans completely or somewhat agree with the statement: “If elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves even if it requires taking violent actions”…Roughly four in 10 (39 percent) Republicans support Americans taking violent actions if elected leaders fail to act…Thirty-one percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats also support taking violent actions if elected leaders do not defend the country.

Despite a lackluster federal response to the COVID-19 outbreak and a violent assault on the US Capitol, Americans remain firm in their belief that American culture and the American way of life are superior to others. More than half (53 percent) of Americans say that the world would be much better off if more countries adopted American values and the American way of life…There is even greater agreement among the public that the US has always been a force for good in the world. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Americans agree, while about one in four (24 percent) reject the idea that the US has been consistently virtuous in its actions abroadFewer Americans believe the US has a special relationship with God. Nearly half (45 percent) the public believe that God has granted the country a special role in human history. Roughly half (49 percent) of Americans disagreeThere are massive generational differences in views about American exceptionalism. Young adults are far more likely to challenge notions that the US serves as a moral beacon. Less than half (43 percent) of young adults (age 18 to 29) believe the world would be better off if more countries adopted American values and lifestyle. In contrast, seven in 10 (70 percent) seniors (age 65 or older) agree with this statement. Young adults are also far less inclined to believe the US continues to be a force for good in the world.

There is one group who is particularly frustrated at Trump supporters’ assignment of the insurrection to Antifa groups – the actual Trump supporters who participated in the insurrection itself. At the end of February, CNN reported that

Nearly a dozen Trump supporters charged in connection with the US Capitol insurrection have said that Antifa and other left-wing groups weren’t involved in the attack, debunking a false-flag conspiracy theory that is gaining popularity in the pro-Trump orbit…according to a CNN review of court documents, nearly a dozen defendants have explicitly pushed back, saying that they and other Trump supporters deserve the credit for storming the Capitol – not Antifa. “There’s a lot of memes and posts flying around saying that the people who were fighting last night were all Antifa provocateurs etc.,” defendant Jose Padilla allegedly posted to Facebook one day after the January 6 attack. “I just want to say that as a first hand observer of every point of last night, that it was not Antifa. They were Patriots who were trying to Restore the Republic.” Another alleged Capitol rioter, Jonathan Mellis, posted, “Don’t you dare try to tell me that people are blaming this on antifa and BLM. We proudly take responsibility for storming the Castle.” He also used a vulgar term to imply that the left-wing groups were too cowardly to pull off an attack…Prosecutors say Mellis hit officers with a large stick, and that Padilla used a large metal Trump sign as a battering ram against the police line.

At least one speaker at CPAC this week promoted the lie…Conservative radio host Wayne Dupree said, “Antifa was there, BLM was there, MAGA people were there, everybody was there.” At a Senate hearing Tuesday about the security failures, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin brazenly promoted false claims that the mob was full of “fake Trump protesters” and “agents provocateurs”…One Capitol riot defendant called out GOP lawmakers for blaming Antifa. Thomas Robertson, a police officer from Rocky Mount, Virginia, touted his ties to law enforcement and conservative groups. He has since been fired from the police department, according to a press release. “I was in the Capitol building 2 days ago,” Robertson posted to Facebook, according to court documents. “I am a (pro-gun group Virginia Citizens Defense League member), NRA member and a serving Soldier and police officer. Damage control by the Republicans in DC is trying to say it was ANTIFA. It wasn’t. Possible some were there? Of course. Caused it?? Nope”…Another defendant even implored his fellow rioters to take pride in their actions that day.
Be embarrassed & hide if you need to — but I was there. It was not Antifa at the Capitol. It was freedom loving Patriots who were DESPERATE to fight for the final hope of our Republic,” tweeted Brandon Straka, who spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally on the eve of the insurrection. Some of the comments about Antifa from alleged rioters have been previously highlighted by the Huffington Post and the Washington Post.

In Part 4 of this series, we will review how an “Antifa apocalypse” hysteria wave had occurred as a precursor event a number of years ago, and how it was discovered to have come about, and who devised the scheme to exploit it.

Please check out my latest book, Two Masters and Two Gospels, Volume 1: The Teaching of Jesus Vs. the “Leaven of the Pharisees” in Talk Radio and Cable News. It is available at Amazon in paperback, hard cover and Kindle, Barnes and Noble in paperback, hardcover, dust cover, and NOOK (Epub), Walmart in paperback and hardcover, Books a Million in paperback, hardcover and ebook form, at the UK Gardners book chain distributor in paperback and hardcover, and in ebook form at Apple Books, Kobo, and many other places. The BookBaby Bookshop also has a special deal, offering all three ebook versions (Kindle, EPUB and pdf) for one price, and with an email address left at checkout, I will send an additional special written work not available for sale. Links to audio interviews about the book and new announcements can be found at my personal book site, www.mikebennettbooks.com, and my publisher’s site, www.akribospress.com.

Please, PLEASE, pass one the word about this blog and my book(s) in your social media circles, on blogs and forums, Youtube and personal family, friend and church contacts, because that is the ONLY way this conversation on these supremely important topics of our spiritual destiny and decisions and actions of eternal consequence will continue and expand on wider circles, since I have no staff or other outfit focused on publicity or public relations to engage social circles and influencers I am unable to reach with my limits on promotional time, activities, capabilities, connections and venues. Let’s work together to learn, grow and act in ever wider circles and influence, asking neglected and important questions, and expanding the Kingdom of Heaven, in our hearts, communities and societies! 

The REAL False Flag Operation, Part 2

NOTE TO THE READER: This is another topical blog post that gotten to be so long in content and scope, that as a courtesy to the reader I have split up into a series of posts. It concerns a topic now of interest to the new conspiracy-crowd that is the Religious Right, who has now as a late-comer embraced this viewpoint after introduction to the conspiracy-minded “don’t believe your eyes or the establishment” perspective from their extremist hard-right Christian and other Christian media outlets, both large and small, “mainstream” and small-time fringe blogs, podcasts, Facebook posts and tweets. Through this they have become versed into the old conspiracy concept that has historical precedents but is now-overused and supersaturated, that of the “false flag operation,” by agents provocateur in disguise, to implicate and discredit rival ideological camps. It reviews the latest popular arguments in conservative and Religious Right professional and social media that leftist radicals actually conducted the Capitol insurrection by those otherwise-plainly identified as right wing extremists in the “patriot movement,” including the cases of violent or provocative incidents in the years leading up to it. It explores the arguments popularly disseminated to date, who are the main figures formulating and dispensing these narratives, what are their histories, track records and possible motives for such, the extent of their accuracy or inaccuracy, and the appearances of a REAL “false flag” narrative being promulgated that is not what is being popularly identified in this public relations “sleight of hand.” It also painstakingly documents who the actual insurrectionists and inciters were in these events, based upon hard evidence of video and photo documentation, self-incriminating posts and writing, announcements of planned operations prior to the event, law enforcement investigations and legal filing and pleas, and statements by top government officials who admitted their intentions to incite, or were eyewitnesses to the culprits and the events.  In the introductory Part 1, we began by summarizing the key events and timelines of the pivotal day of the Capitol insurrection, how President Trump set the stage (including literally) to prepare the people for war beforehand (with the help of violent militia groups and others online), bring the people to Washington at the very hour of the election certification, and provoke them into the seditious mob and combination vandal gang and lynch mob, as well as identifying a few initial figures that have come from obscurity to experience a meteoric rise in the national media in capitalizing in those days on the dark and disturbing latent impulses now seething in the American public that they have exploited for immediate profit and future agendas of even higher ambition. In Part 2 here, I include a more in-depth profile of the individuals, leaders and organizations involved in the insurrection itself, derived from their writings and confessions, FBI reports and legal briefs, as well key representatives of some of our time-honored institutions (those revered by conservatives in particular) that shockingly had a pivotal role in the deadly event, and the demographics of the typical 2021 insurrectionist, with these findings having major implications in our society in the days ahead.

So – is it true what most conservative leaders now say, that Trump’s guidance for the rally to “fight like hell” and bring everyone nationwide to march to the Capitol could never have been foreseen as a call to take physical or violent action to invoke his directive, and thus must be the responsibility of those other than those long-time Trump followers and anarchists since documented as having participated, in videos, photos and their own postings online? Well, it is instructive AND EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to consider a press report early in the day of the event itself (Jan. 6), before violent events ensued, and what they foresaw as likely, based upon the various pronouncements up to the time of the rally:

With Congress convening for a joint session today to certify the electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden, Washington DC is bracing for violence from Proud Boys and other far-right supporters who are feeling legitimized by Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the election. Trump’s Dec. 19 tweet promising a “big protest in DC on January 6th” and calling on supporters to “be there, will be wild” galvanized supporters to mobilize for the day, and for the past 24 hours the president has been using Twitter to talk up his appearance at the rally. “Washington is being inundated with people who don’t want to see an election victory stolen by emboldened Radical Left Democrats,” Trump wrote on Twitter…”Our Country has had enough, they won’t take it anymore! We hear you (and love you) from the Oval Office. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Roughly a dozen senators, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), are entertaining the delusions of Trump’s diehard supporters by pledging to protest the certification of Biden’s election, while intrigue has swirled around the question of whether Vice President Mike Pence, as presiding officer, will certify the electoral votes…

Chatter among Trump supporters planning to attend today’s rally on Parler and other social media platforms has bristled with violence and threats to utilize firearms, in defiance of DC’s strict gun laws. Some Republican officials have stoked the violence, encouraging the temptation among Trump’s supporters to abandon democratic processes and resort to an armed uprising to prevent the peaceful succession of power. Responding to a federal judge’s New Year’s Day dismissal of a lawsuit aimed at pressuring Pence to overturn the results of the election, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said in an interview with the conservative network Newsmax: “If bottom line is the court is saying, ‘We’re not going to touch this, you have no remedy,’ basically in effect the ruling would be that you gotta go to the streets and be as violent as antifa and BLM. The message hasn’t been lost on Trump’s far-right supporters. A New York State Proud Boy posting on Parler under the screenname “NineLine” responded ecstatically on Monday, writing, “@RepLouieGohmert says that #Patriots need to be as violent as BLM/Antifa! That’s our go-ahead!!” On Tuesday, he announced, “Arrived in DC safe and sound!”

High-profile supporters like Lin Wood, an Atlanta personal injury lawyer who has rallied Trump supporters and promoted bizarre claims about foreign manipulation of the election, have become increasingly militant, making wild accusations against any Republicans perceived to be displaying the slightest disloyalty to Trump. Wood’s tweet on New Year’s Day predicting Pence will wind up in “in jail awaiting trial for treason” and “face execution by firing squad” was extreme even for many staunch Trump allies…But predictably, Woods’ fantasy about a violent political purge has shaped a narrative among far-right actors watching to see whether the vice president plays the heroic rescuer or despised traitor for their cause.

During a trans-Atlantic video chat on Sunday bringing together English far-right campaigner Tommy Robinson [a well-known anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant violent hooligan] with American Proud Boys Jeremy Bertino and Bill Whicker III, a man identified as “Ralph (The Patriot) Pina” described Pence as the crucial figure in the American election drama. “It’s going to go down one of two ways,” Pina told Robinson. “Either Pence is going to show himself to be a patriot, and he recognizes the truth of everything going on, right? And he lays it all out in the House and in the Congress on the 6th. However, should Pence prove himself not to be the patriot he needs to be, he’s just now opened the gate for Trump to call up the Insurrection Act and fix it from there. Either way it goes, there’s gonna be civil unrest in this country.” Like Wood and others in the Trump cult, Pina expressed faith in a rapture-like revelation of evil and corruption that will set the stage for a violent settling of accounts. “There’s not going to be a President Joe Biden,” Pina insisted. “It’s just not gonna happen…What I’m hoping for is Trump wins,” Pina continued as the other chat participants let out a peel of laughter, “the leftists lose their minds, and it gave me a reason to finally go out there and test some of the new firepower I’ve acquired in the past couple years.

Bertino, who was hospitalized due to a stabbing the last time the Proud Boys rallied in DC on Dec. 12, murmured, “In Minecraft,” a common refrain among far-right extremists used to gloss over violent threats with a veneer of plausible deniabilityDiscussion about guns and armed confrontation surrounding planning on Parler for today’s rally in DC is not rare. Discussion on the conservative social media platform also shows that Proud Boys and their far-right allies have turned decisively against law enforcement, growing out of their frustration that DC police prevented repeated attempts to march into Black Lives Matter Plaza and start fights with antifascists on Dec. 12. “If you’re going to DC expecting it to be peaceful, I wouldn’t bet on it lol,” wrote one Parler user on New Year’s Eve. “I think for anyone who has the balls to do so, you might want to bring some stuff. Things are already fired up now, just wait until more police thugs arrest non-mask wearers over the next few days. Let alone the antifa/BLM retards.” Another user responded, “I’m going to tell people to prevent the cops from arresting anybody on our side. I’m going to be there.” The second user added, “It’s time for some blue blood.” That user, whose account has since been taken down, is among Trump supporters who have discussed storming Congress to prevent members from certifying Biden as the president. “We’re gonna kill Congress,” he wrote. “Sorry to burst your bubble btw not a PB [Proud Boy] but I’m good enough with words I’ll get people to go in there anyways.” In another post, the man who described himself in his Parler profile as a “homeschooled masculine, intellectual militia member” who believes he has a right to own a tank, tagged Bertino in a post in which he advised bringing rifles to shoot at police helicopters and blocking streets with vehicles to create an urban battlefield.

…The discussion about bringing weapons and ammunition into the city has, to some degree, materialized in real life. DC police arrested Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio in the city on Monday, charging him with misdemeanor destruction of property after he admitted to burning a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from a Black church on Dec. 12. During the arrest, police discovered high-capacity firearms magazines in Tarrio’s possession. And on Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Post reported, DC police pulled over a North Carolina bus for a traffic violation, and discovered a person carrying two firearms — a rifle and a semiautomatic handgunalong with a drum magazine.”

On January 19 CNN reported that

Prosecutors on Tuesday filed the first significant conspiracy charge in the US Capitol attack, alleging that three members of the so-called Oath Keepers, an extremist militant group, planned and coordinated ahead of the January 6 assault. In an amended complaint unsealed Tuesday in federal court, an FBI agent divulged striking new details about the group’s efforts. Jessica Watkins, the alleged founder of an Ohio militia, had instructions to make explosives out of bleach printed out at her home, according to the court document. Chilling messages sent between the militants during the siege that are quoted in the complaint appear to indicate they were searching for lawmakers inside the building as they sought to stop Congress from certifying the presidential election. While at the Capitol, one alleged member of the conspiracy, Thomas Edward Caldwell, allegedly received a Facebook message reading “All members are in the tunnels under capital seal them in. Turn on gas.” In subsequent messages, an unidentified person appeared to give Caldwell directions inside the labyrinthian government building: “Tom all legislators are down in the Tunnels 3floors down” one says. “Go through back house chamber doors facing N left down hallway down steps,” says another, according to court documents.

The pair, along with Caldwell, are accused of moving together “in an organized and practiced fashion” as they pushed through a crowd towards a door to the Capitol building, according to a charging document. The three were part of a group of eight to 10 people all wearing paramilitary gear and Oath Keeper paraphernalia, signifying their affiliation with the self-styled militia that’s driven by anti-government conspiracies, according to an FBI affidavit…Prosecutors have called Caldwell an apparent leader of the Oath Keepers…Caldwell’s defense lawyer argued that he should be released because he is at risk of contracting Covid-19 in detention [not worried about his “risk” during the mob insurrection], his charges are not that serious and that he is a retired Navy captain who served the country…Caldwell said in court he still receives retirement payments from the Navy [i.e., gets a government welfare check, from the very government he is trying to nullify and overthrow]. “Seventy percent of Republicans believe that the election was fraudulent,” his temporarily appointed defense lawyer said… According to a recording of walkie-talkie-like communications that the militant group members were allegedly having during the riot, Watkins said that she was part of a team of 30 to 40 people. “We have a good group. We have about 30-40 of us. We are sticking together and sticking to the plan,” Watkins said, according to the affidavit. At another point in the recording, after Watkins reports to the group that unknown others were “throwing grenades” and “shooting people with paint balls,” a man responds to her telling her to be safe and adding, “Get it, Jess. Do your F**king thing. This is what we f**king [unintelligible] up for. Everything we f**king trained for.” In an interview, Crowl’s mother, Teresa Joann Rowe, said her son, who previously served in the US Marine Corps, has expressed increasingly hostile political views in recent years. “It felt like he did a 180-degree turnaround, felt like the world owed him a living and had a big chip on his shoulder,” she told CNN. “I don’t know if it’s because life didn’t go the way he planned.”
Asked why she thinks Crowl may have been joined to this extremist group, she said, “I would like to understand myself. I don’t get it”…She said Crowl served in the Marine Corps for about six years starting in the late 1980’s and in recent years has done “odd jobs, being paid under the table so that he doesn’t have to pay taxes“…She also said she recalled Crowl stating that “they were going to overtake the government if they… tried to take Trump’s presidency from him. So he did make that statement, but that was two or three years ago so I forgot all about it.”

Oren Segal, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said he’s concerned some of those arrested have US military backgrounds. “Some right-wing extremist groups, particularly the anti-government Oath Keepers, have a long history of recruiting from current and former members of the military and law enforcement,” Segal told CNN. “Oath Keepers are part of the resurgent militia movement, which believes the federal government has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights. Though the Oath Keepers will accept anyone as members, what differentiates them from other anti-government extremist groups is their explicit focus on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement and first responder personnel,” he added.

To provide further open-and-shut case evidence of the central role key portions of the Oath Keepers organization played in the attempted overthrow of our Constitutional government, in mid-April 2020 The Washington Post reported that

A founding member of the Oath Keepers arrested in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol pleaded guilty Friday and agreed to cooperate against others in the case — the first defendant to publicly flip in the sprawling domestic terrorism investigation that has led to charges against more than 410 people. The plea comes exactly 100 days after Jon Ryan Schaffer and hundreds of other supporters of former president Donald Trump stormed the Capitol, allegedly in an effort to prevent Joe Biden from being confirmed as the next president. Prosecutors hope Schaffer’s plea spurs others to provide additional evidence in hopes of avoiding long prison sentences. The plea marks a new stage in the historic investigation, as prosecutors seek to work up the chain of defendants to gather evidence and better understand the full scope of any planning and organizing of the violence — particularly among groups like the far-right Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys. Dozens of members from both groups appeared to act in concert to storm the building, prosecutors have alleged. Peter Skinner, a former federal prosecutor, called it a “huge” development, saying such cooperation deals are “what the government needs to investigate and possibly prosecute the leaders of the organization.” “Clearly, they’re trying to send a strong signal to other Oath Keepers and leaders that there’s somebody in the organization that is going to be telling them everything they know about the organization,” said Skinner.

Schaffer, 53, a guitarist and lead songwriter for the heavy metal band Iced Earth, was charged on Friday by criminal information, a type of charging document used when a defendant waives the right to an indictment. He was initially charged with six crimes, including engaging in an act of physical violence and targeting police with bear spraySchaffer pleaded guilty to only two charges, but both are felony offenses carrying serious penalties that federal prosecutors are relying on heavily in the wider probe. One, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison; the other, trespassing on restricted grounds of the Capitol while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon, carries up to a 10 year prison term…“You’re pleading guilty Mr. Schaffer because you’re in fact actually guilty?” the judge asked. “Yes,” Schaffer said.

Acting deputy attorney general John P. Carlin praised the FBI and prosecutors for averaging more than four arrests a day since the insurrection, saying they “have worked tirelessly for the last 100 days to bring those who committed criminal acts to justice.” Under terms of the plea deal signed by Schaffer and his attorney, Marc Victor, he faces a recommended prison term of 41 to 51 months…“He is the first person to plead guilty in this historic investigation to take responsibility for his role in the Capitol riot. He contacted authorities as soon as he discovered he was a person of interest, and he self surrendered,” Victor said, adding that travel was important to his client because he is “an internationally known musician and recording artist.” The agreement spells out that Schaffer is cooperating, which means his sentence could be cut further if he proves valuable to the ongoing investigation of any other rioters or conspirators.

In plea papers, Schaffer admitted positioning himself “at the front of a large mob” that broke open doors on the west side of the Capitol about 2:40 p.m., and being one of the first six people to enter. Prosecutors have alleged in separate filings that other Oath Keepers associates conspired to forcibly enter through the west Capitol Rotunda doors at about that time…“Schaffer admits that his belief that the electoral college results were fraudulent is not a legal justification for unlawfully entering the Capitol building and using intimidation to influence, stop, or delay the Congressional proceeding,” prosecutors said in a statement of the offense…He was photographed inside the Capitol wearing a hat that said “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member.”

The two charges Schaffer pleaded guilty to have been brought against roughly one-fourth of individuals charged to date — about 100 of more than 410 defendants — including those accused of the most serious offenses in the riot. Authorities have said the attack on the Capitol led to five deaths and assaults against nearly 140 police… prosecutors say he was an early backer of the group. Plea papers submitted by the government, agreed to under oath by the defendant, state flatly, “Schaffer is a founding lifetime member of the Oath Keepers”…The Oath Keepers are a large but loosely organized network of self-styled militias that recruit military, law enforcement and first-responder personnel with a disinformation-fueled ideology that the federal government is hurtling toward dictatorship and anarchy. At a pro-Trump march in November attended by Oath Keepers, the FBI alleged, Schaffer said: “We’re not going to merge into some globalist, communist system. It will not happen. There will be a lot of bloodshed if it comes down to that, trust me.” The FBI and Justice Department have hit a dozen members or associates of the anti-government group with conspiracy charges for allegedly planning and preparing for violence before Jan. 6. Court papers alleged that members who have been charged communicated with Rhodes and his on-the-ground deputy that day and breached the Capitol in formation after guarding GOP figures such as Trump confidant Roger Stone.

On April 18, 2021, CBS 60 Minutes did an expose on the Oath Keepers and their role in the insurrection, their makeup and their future plans. Here’s some of what they found that they published online from the piece:

The group recruited thousands, opening up chapters across the country. They formed a board of directors and ten orders to live by, elevating themselves to ‘guardians’ of the republic and the Constitution, vowing to protect against mass gun confiscation and a Marxist invasion. In 2014, they took their fight to the Nevada desert. Rhodes sent armed Oath Keepers to defend the rancher Cliven Bundy – who was in a 20-year battle with the federal government about public land use. And in 2015, months after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Oath Keepers arrived with AR-15 style weapons saying they were there to protect businesses. But in 2016, the Oath Keepers believed they finally had an ally in the White House. When President Trump warned of an invasion of undocumented migrants, the Oath Keepers called on members to patrol the border. And this fall when President Trump warned of election fraud, founder Stewart Rhodes appeared on “Infowars,” conspiracist Alex Jones’ talk show, setting the stage for what was to come on January 6.

Stewart Rhodes on “Infowars”: We have men already stationed outside D.C. as a nuclear option in case they attempt to remove the president illegally. We will step in and stop it. It’s either President Trump is encouraged and bolstered and strengthened to do what he must do, or we wind up in a bloody fight – we all know that. The fight’s coming.

But for some Oath Keepers, the rhetoric was too much. Former board members told us Rhodes adopted a more violent, militia-style ideology and it was tearing apart the group. Chapters in Virginia and North Carolina broke ties with national well before the 6th, citing a departure from the original mission. Others distanced themselves after the insurrection, including the country’s largest chapter in Arizona, where Jim Arroyo is vice president. While Arroyo doesn’t think the election was legitimate, he doesn’t think anyone should have stormed the Capitol.

They quote Arizona Oath Keepers Vice President Arroyo as saying on camera that “I wanna congratulate Stewart Rhodes and his ten militia buddies for winning first place in the ultimate dumbass contest, ’cause that’s what it was. That goes against everything we’ve ever taught, everything we believe in. It was pre-planned. It was pre-staged. Ten guys go and do something stupid and suddenly, we’re the devil.” The report adds that “In September, some Arizona members showed up armed at a Black Lives Matter protest in Prescott. Jim Arroyo told us law enforcement coordinated with him to help keep the peace. The local sheriff’s department told us they didn’t ask for their help.” Arroyo added regarding his fellow Oath Keepers that they are not weekend mercenary “wannabees,” rather asserting that “Our guys are very experienced. We have active-duty law enforcement in our organization that are helping to train us. We can blend in with our law enforcement and in fact, in a lot of cases, our training is much more advanced because of our military backgrounds.”

On the television program they play a video of Arroyo as his chapter meeting stating that “There’s nothing I love more than my AR-15 and my chainsaw and I don’t know which one I like more! (laughter)” That noted that the attendees are mostly retirees, and meet “to talk about how to survive disasters like forest fires, attacks on the power grid, and civil war,” and show Arroyo at the meeting stating that “So that’s why we talk about civil unrest, civil war. It’s not a joke. This can happen and we need to be ready for it.” The CBS producer noted Arroyo asked the attendees, “Do you think we’re in a civil war?”, to which “everybody nodded their heads and said yes,” and they show video of numerous attendees who explain why they think the civil war is underway. As an example, they show attendee “Gary Harworth,” who reportedly states on camera that “This country is divided right down the middle. And you’re on one side or the other. People have to realize that when things go crazy, things get a little chaos-y around you, you have to be able to take care of yourself, defend yourself, protect your family, those you love, that’s part of the Constitution.” When they were asked about the fact that their fellow Oath Keepers were confirmed as being part of the Capitol assault, they state that it “could have been BLM” or a “false flag.” They conclude by adding that

Photos and phone records place Stewart Rhodes on the Capitol steps on January 6, communicating with Oath Keepers before they breached the doors. But no charges have been brought against him. Rhodes declined to speak with 60 Minutes to tell his side of the story. He did appear again last month, on “Infowars,” this time from his car, saying he didn’t order Oath Keepers to enter the Capitol, but defended the members who are now in jail and criticized those who put them there. One Oath Keeper has pled guilty and agreed to cooperate in the ongoing investigation as new evidence suggests members stashed weapons at a nearby hotel as part of a ‘quick-reaction force’ – evidence a federal judge says is among the most troubling he has seen. Sources tell us prosecutors are looking to build a case against Stewart Rhodes and possible separate charges against the national organization.

The Oath Keepers were not alone in terms of an organization planning nationwide for a potential violent confrontation in Washington on January 6 – planning which was shown to have been prominent and “telegraphed” online beforehand – as is shown in another report by CNN a few days later:

Two prominent affiliates of the Proud Boys face new conspiracy charges related to the US Capitol riot, and another was arrested Wednesday, as the Justice Department laid out a planning and funding effort within the far-right extremist group in a major court development. The Justice Department unveiled the new conspiracy charge in a federal grand jury indictment of Nicholas Ochs and Nicholas DeCarlo. The indictment alleges the two conspired to block Congress’ certification of the electoral votes on January 6. Prosecutors say they planned and fundraised for the effort, then came to Washington, DC, and stormed past police and into the Capitol building as part of the violent crowd, according to a copy of the indictment. Wednesday’s indictment came shortly after the Justice Department made clear it had taken more investigative steps against Proud Boys affiliates related to the insurrection. The Proud Boys are a far-right group known for their clashes with Antifa and general support of former President Donald Trump, who even mentioned them in a presidential debate, telling them to “stand back and stand by.”

Also on Wednesday, the so-called Sergeant at arms of the Proud Boys in Seattle, Ethan Nordean, aka “Rufio Panman,” was arrested, then appeared in federal court for his role in the riot. Federal prosecutors wrote they believed Nordean asked on social media for help to buy “protective gear” and “communications equipment,” with the intention of organizing people before the January 6 siege, his charging document said. He is charged with three counts related to entering the Capitol, and the allegations he faces name several other Proud Boys affiliates among the crowd. At least 11 people with ties to the Proud Boys have been charged in connection with the Capitol insurrection, according to a CNN analysis of court documents and Justice Department statements. Prosecutors outlined that Ochs and DeCarlo, as part of the conspiracy, allegedly raised money online so they could fly from their home states of Texas and Hawaii to DC for the January 6 pro-Trump event. They also “publicized” their plans, the indictment said. The pair is alleged to have inscribed the words “murder the media” on a notable entrance to the Capitol, the Memorial Door. In previous court records, investigators showed a photo of Ochs and DeCarlo standing beside the etching with their thumbs up…One charge now accuses them of stealing from Capitol Police a pair of flex handcuffs — the same types of zip-tie-like restraints that the Justice Department has focused on in other cases as rioters potentially intended to take lawmakers hostage.

…To arrest them each, the FBI had described how both were believed to be inside the Capitol building and could be identified in photos and videos taken during the insurrection…During the riot, Ochs — the founder of the Hawaii chapter of the Proud Boys — tweeted a selfie of himself smoking a cigarette in the building…Ochs ran an unsuccessful campaign for the state legislature last year, winning an endorsement from Trump confidant Roger Stone, who recorded a video with him. He claimed in the interview with CNN that he was working as a professional journalist…DeCarlo also claimed he was a journalist…But he is not credentialed as a journalist by Congress, investigators said, and he operates a YouTube channel with Ochs and “purports to be an employee” of a group called “MT Media News,” standing for “murder the media news,” an affidavit supporting his arrest said. Nordean, a 30-year-old Washington state resident, is charged in the DC District Court…Investigators say he was marching at the front of the crowd near the Capitol, next to another prominent Proud Boys affiliate, Joseph Biggs…Investigators also say Nordean interacted with another person previously charged, Robert Gieswein, during their push into the Capitol. Gieswein went into a window in the Capitol that was first broken by another Proud Boys affiliate, Dominic Pezzola, who has also been charged related to the riot. Investigators also described his [Nordean’s] social media activity before January 6, including a video on Parler two days earlier in which Nordean said the Proud Boys should protect the community and respond to voter fraud beliefs with “that original spirit of 1776″…Two other Proud Boys affiliates, Pezzola and William Pepe, both of New York, are accused of working together during the attack of the Capitol, according to their indictment last week. A fixture and organizer in Proud Boys mass gatherings, Biggs, of Florida, is facing charges.

This depraved mob assault, leaving five dead and hundreds of policemen injured, led an alarmed and shocked law enforcement and and governing official community to take subsequent online chatter vowing for further violent upheavals at the time of the January 20 presidential inauguration ceremony understandably very seriously. On January 8 CNN reported that 

“Trump or war. Today. That simple.” “If you don’t know how to shoot: You need to learn. NOW.” “we will storm the government buildings, kill cops, kill security guards, kill federal employees and agents, and demand a recount.”

In the weeks, days and hours ahead of Wednesday’s siege on the Capitol by President Donald Trump’s zealous supporters, the warning signs were clear: online posts from hate groups and right-wing provocateurs agitating for civil war, the deaths of top lawmakers and attacks on law enforcement. And now, as the dust settles…experts warn that the calls for violence have only intensified ahead of Inauguration Day…”We are seeing…chatter from these white supremacists, from these far-right extremists — they feel emboldened in this moment,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League…”We fully expect that this violence could actually get worse before it gets better.” Wednesday’s chaos… [led to the situation that] Republican leaders that night — including Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — condemned the rioters in the strongest terms. But it all appeared to have little effect on the radicalized right. “Trump WILL be sworn in for a second term on January 20th!!,” said a commenter on thedonald.win, a pro-Trump online forum, on Thursday, the day after the siege. “We must not let the communists win. Even if we have to burn DC to the ground. Tomorrow we take back DC and take back our country!!”…John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the Citizen Lab — a group at the University of Toronto that monitors cybersecurity — said…”While the broader public was aghast at what happened (Wednesday) at the Capitol, in certain corners of the sort of right wing conversation, what happened…is viewed as a success,” he told CNN.

In the days and weeks before the attack on the Capitol, signs that the protest could spiral into violence were in abundance. Advance Democracy, Inc., a nonpartisan governance watchdog, highlighted red flags on social media. In the six days leading up to the event, for instance, there were 1,480 posts from QAnon-related accounts that referenced the event and contained terms of violence. On Parler, the report said, multiple posts referenced war, including statements like “the war begins today.” Ali Alexander, a political activist who has organized pro-Trump rallies, including one of the demonstrations that converged on the Capitol lawn Wednesday, accused the left of “trying to push us to war.” In late December, Alexander told followers on Periscope that he and three GOP congressman — Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona and Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama — were planning something big.

Several organizations that monitor extremism online issued warnings beforehand. On January 4, the ADL published a lengthy blog post detailing threats of violence pertaining to the upcoming rally. “In response to a user who wondered what happens if Congress ignores ‘evidence’ that President Trump won the election, a user wrote, ‘Storm the capitol,'” the ADL’s blog post says. Also on January 4, a risk analysis by the security firm G4S stated that “current rhetoric suggests that there will be attendees who have violent intent, including armed militia groups” between January 6 and Inauguration Day. The analysis cited numerous posts in recent weeks advocating violence on the right-wing site thedonald.win, including one from late December that said, “We will have to achieve an actual tactical victory like storming and occupying Congress, to have the intended effect.” Another said, “Patriots who STILL, AT THIS POINT IN TIME, are too cowardly to condone violence, are part of the problem.”

Steven A. Sund, who is resigning as chief of the US Capitol Police amid criticism over the apparent lack of preparedness to deal with the violent mob, said in a statement that the department had a robust plan to address “anticipated First Amendment activities.” “But make no mistake — these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior,” he said Thursday…It isn’t just the fringe elements who have gotten swept up in the current fervor. Mingling with the crowd of militia groups, white nationalists and high-profile conspiracy theorists on the Capitol lawn on Wednesday were other citizens who made the trip to challenge the certification. One was Texas resident and former mayoral candidate Jenny Cudd…After railing against what she described as voter fraud and a stolen election, she called for the death of those who have committed treason. “All we need is one public hanging, and then people will start acting right — kind of like it would be useful if we still had the firing squad for the death penalty,” Cudd said. “We shall see if there will be a public hanging in our future because it is still considered a valid form of death for treason.” Cudd posted a video the night before the protests, where she talked about how the next day was going to be a “ruckus.” “I don’t know what y’all think about a revolution, but I’m all for it,” she said. “Nobody actually wants war, nobody wants bloodshed, but the government works for us and unfortunately it appears that they have forgotten that, quite a lot, so if a revolution is what it takes then so be it.” Right-wing news network OANN posted a photo of Cudd on Twitter Wednesday afternoon showing her inside the Capitol, wearing a Trump flag around her as a cape. And that evening, she posted a video from her hotel, where she drank a beer and choked back tears as she took her followers through what had happened that day. “When Pence betrayed us is when we decided to storm the Capitol,” she said.

The Capitol Police were warned in intelligence briefings three days before the event that a violent confrontation at the Capitol Building was likely, based upon known militant/anarchist Trump supporters they were following, and who had announced their intentions online. On January 15 The Washington Post reported that

Three days before thousands of rioters converged on the U.S. Capitol, an internal Capitol Police intelligence report warned of a violent scenario in which “Congress itself” could be the target of angry supporters of President Trump on Jan. 6…In a 12-page report on Jan. 3, the intelligence unit of the congressional police force described how thousands of enraged protesters, egged on by Trump and flanked by white supremacists and extreme militia groups, were likely to stream into Washington armed for battle. This time, the focus of their ire would be members of Congress, the report said. “Supporters of the current president see January 6, 2021, as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election,” according to the memo, portions of which were obtained by The Washington Post. “This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent. Unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter-protesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th.”

A day before the attack, an FBI office in Virginia issued an explicit warning that some extremists were preparing to travel to Washington and threatening to commit violence and “war.” And dozens of people on a terrorist watch list were in D.C. the day of the riot, including many suspected white supremacists, as The Post previously reportedthe Jan. 3 intelligence report produced by his former agency includes chilling descriptions of the ferocity of the combat that activists appeared to be planning on forums where white supremacists and followers of the alt-right movement gather — presaging the mayhem days laterThe report said organizers were urging Trump supporters to come armed with guns and to bring specialized combat gear — including gas masks and military-style bulletproof vests called “plate carriers” — to Washington on Jan. 6. The memo concluded that Jan. 6 was shaping up to potentially be a perfect storm of danger because of the size of the expected crowds, the urgency of the group’s mission, the call for demonstrators to bring lethal weapons, the location of the two largest protests in proximity to the Capitol grounds and the fact thatboth have been promoted by President Trump himself.

“The Stop the Steal protest in particular does not have a permit, but several high profile speakers, including Members of Congress are expected to speak at the event,” the document stated. “This combined with Stop the Steal’s propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members and others who actively promote violence, may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike”…In July 2020, [report author] Donohue testified before the House Homeland Security subcommittee on intelligence and counterterrorism about how social media was being used to radicalize and foment violence in right-wing and left-wing extremist groups. He warned about the increasingly incendiary nature of events billed as free-speech protests and extremists’ attempts to harm government officials and police in their calls for insurrectionMeanwhile, an FBI internal report prepared the day before the attack by a field office in Norfolk described an online thread indicating that extremists were planning to travel to D.C. for “war.”

A few days before that, the Washington Post also reported that the FBI also had corroborating information that the Trump rally the following day was likely to be very violent, even though they denied it later:

A day before rioters stormed Congress, an FBI office in Virginia issued an explicit warning that extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and “war,” according to an internal document reviewed by The Washington Post that contradicts a senior official’s declaration the bureau had no intelligence indicating anyone at last week’s demonstrations in support of President Trump planned to do harm. A situational information report approved for release the day before the U.S. Capitol riot painted a dire portrait of dangerous plans, including individuals sharing a map of the complex’s tunnels, and possible rally points for would-be conspirators to meet in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and South Carolina and head in groups to Washington. “As of 5 January 2021, FBI Norfolk received information indicating calls for violence in response to ‘unlawful lockdowns’ to begin on 6 January 2021 in Washington, D.C.,” the document says. “An online thread discussed specific calls for violence to include stating ‘Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal”…The head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Steven D’Antuono, told reporters on Friday that the agency did not have intelligence suggesting the pro-Trump rally would be anything more than a lawful demonstration…Multiple law enforcement officials have said privately in recent days that the level of violence exhibited at the Capitol has led to difficult discussions within the FBI and other agencies about race, terrorism and whether investigators failed to register the degree of danger because the overwhelming majority of the participants at the rally were White conservatives fiercely loyal to Trump…the information it highlights to law enforcement is nonetheless troubling — including that there was data suggesting people might storm government offices or stage an uprising were Trump to be removed from office, the official said.

I hear many of my “Christian” friends, neighbors and other acquaintances assert what they hear on conservative TV and radio, in that the storming of the Capitol – which involved the violent deaths of a number of people, and the serious injury of hundreds – was in effect a relatively “harmless” exercise in a public airing of grievances by “patriots” and thus excuse it as spurious, because most importantly, was not “armed” regarding its participants and did not involve real “weapons,” as if it were a real insurrection. They believe the testimony of the main identified participants identified in video by authorities as having participated in the vandalizing, threats and violent acts against law enforcement inside the Capitol or in clashes near its broken windows and doors that were breached, as their being merely passive visitors who simply strolled though the wide open doors peacefully, without any confrontation with security or evidence that their entry was unlawful or against legal security protocols – refusing to acknowledge that these apprehended individuals are being directed to take such positions by their attorneys, who otherwise have little to use to excuse their often violent or threatening acts that are caught on video, and even bragged about by the defendants on their social media. In regard to this assertion of their “harmlessness,” often-ignored reports in Christian media of the weapons caches, planning and hidden or even brandished weaponry in the violent rebellion can be found for those who truly care to know the truth. For one example (for brevity sake) challenging the common conservative retort that they “patriots” were generally unarmed, consider the Jan. 9 report from Alabama station WVTM online about one of the common participants and the findings by law enforcement that have been buried by higher profile stories – in a city where both open and concealed carry weapons are widely understood to be illegal:

An Alabama man was arrested during Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., according to Capitol Police. Lonnie Coffman, of Falkville, is charged with possession of an unregistered firearm (destructive device) and carrying a pistol without a license. It is alleged that Coffman’s vehicle contained 11 explosive devices known as Molotov cocktails in mason jars and firearms. It is further alleged he was in possession of two firearms…the [excerpted] text of the complaint filed by Capitol Police:

“…The joint session began at approximately 1:00 p.m. Vice President Michael R. Pence was present and presiding in the Senate chamber. Shortly before the joint session was scheduled to begin, at approximately 12:47 p.m. on January 6, 2021, officers of the United States Capitol Police responded to the report of a possible explosive device in the vicinity of the National Republican Club…Shortly after the initial report of the possible explosive device in the vicinity of the National Republican Club, United States Capitol Police received a report of an additional possible explosive device at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters…Also as part of its response to the two reports of explosive devices, United States Capitol Police officers established a secure perimeter in an effort to protect the public and to facilitate the investigation of the possible explosive devices and any others in the vicinity. In connection with securing the area, canine units of the United States Capitol Police conducted investigative sweeps of the area. These investigative sweeps included canine sniffs and visual inspection of vehicles in the vicinity of the possible explosive device. While conducting these canine sweeps, two United States Capitol Police officers observed the handle of what appeared to be a firearm on the front right passenger seat of a red GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck…the Bomb Squad responded to the location of the Red GMC Sierra Pickup truck. One black handgun was recovered from the right front passenger seat of the vehicle. After locating the black handgun, officers proceeded to search the rest of the pickup truck, including the bed of the truck, which was secured under a fabric top.”

“During the search of the cab of the truck, officers recovered, among other things, one M4 Carbine assault rifle along with rifle magazines loaded with ammunition. In addition, officers recovered the following items in the bed of the pickup truck in close proximity to one another: (i) eleven mason jars containing an unknown liquid with a golf tee in the top of each jar, (ii) cloth rags, and (iii) lighters. Upon finding these materials, bomb technicians observed that the items appeared to be consistent with components for an explosive or incendiary device known as a “Molotov Cocktail”...A preliminary test by the United States Capitol Police Hazardous Material Team determined that the liquid in the mason jars was an igniting substance and that it had a spectrograph profile consistent with gasoline.

“…the officers asked the male passenger [who came at 6:30 PM to pick up his truck] if he would step out of the vehicle…Upon exiting the vehicle, the officers asked the male passenger if he had any weapons on his person, and he responded that he had a gun in his right front pants pocket…officers conducted a search of the right pocket which revealed a handgun, later fully identified as a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun…  officers conducted a further search of COFFMAN and recovered a 22 caliber derringer style handgun from his front left pocket…neither the firearms recovered from COFFMAN’s person or his pickup truck, nor the destructive devices described above, are registered to him…law enforcement asked COFFMAN a series of questions about possible explosive devices…law enforcement asked COFFMAN about the contents of the mason jars. COFFMAN stated that the mason jars contained “melted Styrofoam and gasoline.” An explosive enforcement officer with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives has advised that melted Styrofoam and gasoline are an explosive mixture that has the effect of napalm insofar as it causes the flammable liquid to better stick to objects that it hits upon detonation.”

People like Alabamian Mr. Coffman are our “God-fearing” neighbors, some of whom pursue such missions under our nose, and some of whom flaunt it out in the open. They do the latter in my neighborhood of “higher end” homes, with camouflage-painted monster truck/”assault vehicles” with threatening slogans and Delta Force-styled death and gun-obsessed mottos emblazoned on them (along with Trump defense slogans), and of course the obligatory display of numerous high-powered firearms and the long, “remote compound” survival beards – right here in the “buckle” of the Bible Belt, with many of these popular vehicles parked every Sunday in front of our local evangelical churches.

It’s ironic to consider further how, unlike quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whom the Religious Right long ago “cancelled” (themselves being the first group to establish the modern “cancel culture,” going back to the Moral Majority days of boycotts and blacklisting in the late 1970s) because he quietly and nonviolently “took a knee” before the flag and the National Anthem in the cause of justice for others, they and their conservative allies later showed their customary superficial patriotism and support for law enforcement and the flag and its honor that they make their brand-name by impaling Capitol police officers with American flags, used as pikes and weapons, as we saw in the horrific videos at the entrances to the Capitol Building.

In February 2021 The New York Times published a brief summary of some of the injuries given to the loyal law enforcement officers defending the seat of government that day, brutalized by the weaponless (?) “patriots” in league with the Religious Right and other white supremacists and their mutual undying devotion to Trump, and their willingness to retain power beyond any legal authority and to the point of violence and murder, or the excusing of such:

One officer lost the tip of his right index finger. Others were smashed in the head with baseball bats, flag poles and pipes. Another lost consciousness after rioters used a metal barrier to push her into stairs as they tried to reach the Capitol steps during the assault on Jan. 6…A little more than a month after the Capitol siege, a fuller picture of the injuries sustained by the police has emerged from court documents, footage revealed at former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial, accounts provided by officers and interviews with law enforcement officials and experts. The Capitol assault resulted in one of the worst days of injuries for law enforcement in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. At least 138 officers — 73 from the Capitol Police and 65 from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington — were injured, the departments have said. They ranged from bruises and lacerations to more serious damage such as concussions, rib fractures, burns and even a mild heart attackOne Capitol Police officer, Brian D. Sicknick, was killed, and investigators are increasingly focused on whether chemical irritants were a factor in his death…The Capitol Police said in a statement that Officer Sicknick died from injuries sustained “while physically engaging with protesters.” Two officers involved in the response have died by suicide, the local police have said.

The number of those injured does not account for the dozens, if not hundreds, of officers who law enforcement officials estimate will suffer in years to come with post-traumatic stress disorder and the dozens who most likely contracted the coronavirus from unmasked Trump supporters who overran the Capitol, the experts and officials said. At least 38 Capitol Police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus or were exposed to it…Nearly 200 National Guard personnel who were deployed to protect the Capitol in the weeks after the siege also tested positive, he said. “If you’re a cop and get into a fight, it may last five minutes, but these guys were in battle for four to five hours,” said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit that advises departments across the country…“You would be hard-pressed to find another day in history like this,” he said, “when the police encountered this level of violence in one event.”

The horror of the siege — which officers have described as “medieval” because of brute hand-to-hand combat and the use of blunt objects as weapons — received renewed attention this week at Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial…At the trial on Thursday, Mr. Cicilline listed a litany of injuries that laid out the effects of the siege on officers: concussions, irritated lungs and injuries caused by repeated blows from bats, poles and clubs. “Capitol Police officers also sustained injuries that will be with them for the rest of their lives,” he said. Washington police officers who had served in Iraq said that the Capitol riot “was scarier to them than their time in combat,” Mr. Cicilline said, quoting Chief Robert J. Contee III of the Metropolitan Police. Mr. Cicilline then played clips of rioters shouting to officers in the Capitol: “Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Traitor, traitors, traitors!”…a small portion of the injuries are severe and will require months of recovery, said Patrick A. Burke, the executive director of the Washington, D.C., Police Foundation. “A majority are bruises and sprains, but one officer had a mild heart attack after he was hit with a stun gun several times and had to be pulled out of the crowd,” Mr. Burke said. “Others had laser pointers to the eyes, which can cause long-term damage.”

…a review of footage shows that at least thousands swarmed the building. In addition to the blunt objects, some were armed with stun guns, bear spray and plastic handcuffs. At one point, one rioter took a fire extinguisher and slammed it on the ground. A loud explosive boom rang out, and white powder from the extinguisher filled the air….Some without helmets sustained brain injuries, one officer had two cracked ribs, two shattered spinal discs, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake, said Gus Papathanasiou, the chairman of the Capitol Police Union.

They saw that “actions speak louder than words,” and in the case of the Capitol Building vandal-pillager-vigilantes, their unique trail of wreckage and evidence strewn in their wake further reveals their values and opinions (and those not there that share their views) on a number of subjects, such as their trespassing in private offices in the building and terrorizing young and elderly support staff there, spreading defecation throughout the beautiful and historic building, and such. As one such example, The Hill reported that “House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Thursday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol Wednesday destroyed a display outside his office honoring the late congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis” (emphasis added). For those readers not familiar with Mr. Lewis, he was the son of black sharecroppers in Alabama who graduated from the seminary and was ordained a Baptist minister, a friend of his mentor Billy Graham, and best known for having his head beat in repeatedly by law enforcement figures on the streets in Alabama and elsewhere, in numerous civil rights marches where he never laid a finger on those trying to maim him, and continued to sit in at white-only lunch counters and such and other means to provide for rights of his brethren. He participated in the Freedom Rides to promote the enforcement of Supreme Court rulings outlawing segregated interstate transportation, having his face kicked in and thrown into notorious prisons for this “crime,” but he was always the consistent voice of non-violence. He was beaten with bats and wooden crates, and left unconscious at times. On “Bloody Sunday” in 1965, he led the march over Selma’s Edmund Pettis Bridge, and met by local law enforcement; when he led everyone to kneel and pray (before their beating), police used tear gas on these church going marchers, with mounted police beating them with nightsticks, as Lewis received a skull fracture and head scars for which he was known thereafter. In all his years as an activist, minister and later congressman, he always taught Christian forgiveness for their persecutors, and tried to demonstrate it. It is not surprising that these Trump defenders would have found such a man as repulsive, and unworthy of honor. He was indeed a God-fearing, and God-understanding, man, and unlike my Religious Right brethren, he emulated Jesus in that he stood for non-violence and forgiveness even while he received violence from others and on behalf of others, and not dishing it out in sacred fashion like the Trump mob, and those who sympathize with them and defend such.

The New Yorker published an excellent summary of the key players who participated in the Capitol storming event, since they had a reporter and camera man of theirs embedded in several leading edges of the assault, which may be useful for many of my Christian brethren who have been led by conservative talk radio and cable news to be confused as to who the actual participants were in the vulgar carnage, with their testimony backed up by video footage later widely distributed. It is a lengthy and fairly comprehensive work that I recommend everyone read and download at the above link before it disappears, but a few of the passages should be cited. They noted the specific participation of the well-known members of the Proud Boys, writing that “Members from Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oregon, California, and elsewhere were easy to identify. Most were dressed in the organization’s black-and-yellow colors. Some had “rwds”—Right-Wing Death Squad—hats and patches; others wore balaclavas, kilts, hockey masks, or batting helmets. One man was wearing a T-shirt with an image of South American dissidents being thrown out of a helicopter and the words “pinochet did nothing wrong!” Another T-shirt featured a Nazi eagle perched on a fasces, below the acronym “6mwe”—Six Million Wasn’t Enough—a reference to the number of Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust.” The writer had seen Proud Boys start fights with antifascists at a November 14 rally, and Trump subsequently tweet out that Antifa attacked the Trump crowd, but that “the people” fought back, according to Trump.

Consistent with the invaders’ vandalizing “editorial” on the John Lewis Memorial in the Capitol, the writer notes that on the streets of DC the day of the insurrection, “On Constitution Avenue, the Proud Boys encountered an unsuspecting Black man coming up the sidewalk. They began shoving and jeering at him. As the man ran away, several of them chased him, swinging punches at his back.” They add that

Officers had cordoned off Black Lives Matter Plaza, but the group soon reached Farragut Square, where half a dozen counter-protesters—two men and four women—stood outside the Army and Navy Club, dressed in black clothes marked with medic crosses made from red tape. They were smaller and younger than most of the Proud Boys, and visibly unnerved. As Schwetz and others closed in on them, the medics retreated until they were pressed against a waist-high hedge. “Fucking pussies!” Schwetz barked, hitting two of the women. Other Proud Boys took his cue, assailing the activists, who disappeared into the hedge under a barrage of boots and fists. Policemen stopped the beating by deploying pepper spray, but they did not arrest any Proud Boys, who staggered off in search of a new target. They promptly found one: another Black man, passing through on his bicycle. He wore Lycra exercise gear and looked perplexed by what was happening on the streets. He said nothing to anybody, but “Black Lives Matter” was written in small letters on his helmet. The Proud Boys surrounded him. Pointing at some officers watching from a few feet away, a man in a bulletproof vest, carrying a cane, said, “They’re here now, but eventually they won’t be. And we’re gonna take this country back—believe that shit. Fuck Black Lives Matter.” Before walking off, he added, “What y’all need to do is take your sorry asses to the ghetto.

This was the tenor of the next eight hours, as hundreds of Proud Boys, groypers, militia members, and other Trump supporters openly marauded on the streets around the White House, becoming more inebriated and belligerent as the night wore on, hunting for people to harass and assault. “Fight for Trump!” they chanted. At one point, Proud Boys outside Harry’s Pub ganged up on another Black man, Philip Johnson, who took out a knife in self-defense, wounding four of them. Police intervened and rushed Johnson to the hospital, where he was arrested…By eleven, I was following another group, which happened upon the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church…Outside the entrance, a large Black Lives Matter sign, illuminated by floodlamps, hung below a crucifix. Climbing over a low fence, several Proud Boys and men in red maga hats ripped down the sign and pried off boards from its scaffolding to use as weapons, eliciting wild cheers. “Whose streets?” “Our streets!”

The author also cites the central role of firebrand conspiracy radio host Alex Jones (a favorite of Christians) in the day’s events, and writes that

His [Jones’] usual security detail was supplemented by about a dozen Proud Boys, who formed a protective ring around him. The national chairman of the Proud Boys, Henry (Enrique) Tarrio, walked at his side…Although he served time in federal prison for rebranding and re-labelling stolen medical devices…Invocations of the New World Order often raise the age-old spectre of Jewish cabals, and the Stop the Steal movement has been rife with anti-Semitism. At the protest that I attended on November 7th in Pennsylvania, a speaker elicited applause with the exhortation “Do not become a cog in the zog!” The acronym stands for “Zionist-occupied government.” Among the Trump supporters was an elderly woman who gripped a walker with her left hand and a homemade “Stop the Steal” sign with her right. The first letters of “Stop” and “Steal” were stylized to resemble Nazi S.S. bolts. In videos of the shooting inside the Capitol on January 6th, amid the mob attempting to reach members of Congress, a man—subsequently identified as Robert Keith Packer—can be seen in a sweatshirt emblazoned with the words “Camp Auschwitz”…I fell in with a group of groypers [a name for Proud Boys-type white supremacist ultra-nationalists] chanting “Christian nation!” and “Emperor Trump!” I followed the young men to Freedom Plaza, where one of them read aloud an impassioned screed about “globalist scum” and the need to “strike down this foreign invasion.” When he finished, I noticed that two groypers standing near me were laughing…One of them, his voice high with excitement, marvelled, “He just gave a fascist speech!”

A few days later, Nicholas Fuentes appeared on an “InfoWars” panel with Alex Jones and other right-wing conspiracists. During the discussion, Fuentes warned of the “Great Replacement.” This is the contention that Europe and the United States are under siege from nonwhites and non-Christians, and that these groups are incompatible with Western culture, identity, and prosperity. Many white supremacists maintain that the ultimate outcome of the Great Replacement will be “white genocide.” (In Charlottesville, neo-Nazis chanted, “Jews will not replace us!”; the perpetrators of the New Zealand mosque massacre and the El Paso Walmart massacre both cited the Great Replacement in their manifestos.) “What people have to begin to realize is that if we lose this battle, and if this transition is allowed to take place, that’s it,” Fuentes said. “That’s the end.” “Submitting now will destroy you forever,” Jones agreed.

The writer/witness adds that “Crusader flags and patches were widespread at the Capitol insurrection.” He writes that at a similar rally weeks before in DC, “…people carrying religious signs approached. They were affiliates of Patriot Prayer, a conservative Christian movement, based in Vancouver, Washington, whose rallies have often attracted white supremacists. Kyle Chapman, a prominent Patriot Prayer figure from California (and a felon), once headed the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, a “tactical defense arm” of the Proud Boys. A few days before the march, Chapman had posted a statement on social media proposing that the Proud Boys change their name to the Proud Goys, purge all “undesirables,” and “boldly address the issues of White Genocide” and “the right for White men and women to have their own countries where White interests are written into law.” The founder of Patriot Prayer, Joey Gibson, has praised Chapman as ‘a true patriot’ and ‘an icon’…In December, Gibson led the group that broke into the Oregon state capitol.” He adds that as the insurrection started to wind down, “Later, I listened to a woman talking on her cell phone. ‘We need to come back with guns,’ she said. ‘One time with guns, and then we’ll never have to do this again’.”

In concluding, he adds the following phenomenon also occurring almost immediately in the aftermath of the event seen in real time on our nation’s televisions:

The morning after the siege, an alternative narrative, pushed by Jones and other conspiracists, went viral on Parler: the assault on the Capitol had actually been instigated by Antifa agitators impersonating Trump supporters. Mo Brooks, an Alabama congressman who led the House effort to contest the certification of the Electoral College votes, tweeted, “Evidence growing that fascist ANTIFA orchestrated Capitol attack with clever mob control tactics.” (Brooks had warmed up the crowd for Trump on January 6th, with a speech whose bellicosity far surpassed the President’s. “Today is the day American patriots start takin’ down names and kickin’ ass!” he’d hollered.) Most of the “evidence” of Antifa involvement seems to be photographs of rioters clad in black. Never mind that, in early January, Tarrio, the Proud Boys chairman, wrote on Parler, “We might dress in all BLACK for the occasion.” Or that his colleague Joe Biggs, addressing antifascist activists, added, “We are going to smell like you, move like you, and look like you.”

Not long after the Brooks tweet, I got a call from a woman I’d met at previous Stop the Steal rallies…She was upset—she did not believe that “Trump people” could have done what the media were alleging. Before I responded, she put me on speakerphone…it was plain that they desperately wanted to know the truth. I did my best to convey it to them as I understood it. Less than an hour after we got off the phone, the woman texted me a screenshot of a CNN broadcast with a news bulletin that read, “antifa has taken responsiblitly [sic] for storming capital hill.” The image, which had been circulating on social media, was crudely Photoshopped (and poorly spelled). “Thought you might want to see this,” she wrote.

These latter comments reflect the assertions I hear from my acquaintances and especially Christian friends, as to their confusion – whether unintended, delusional or disingenuous – as to who were the actual people (and their political persuasions) we were all seeing on our television sets (if they actually watch live political events, short of their pre-chewed analysis received from talk radio and cable news) assault law enforcement, vandalize, break in and desecrate the site of the seat of government, with the intention of killing or otherwise assaulting government representatives, to stop by violence what democratic processes could not secure – that being the overthrow of the otherwise constitutional and centuries-old process of verifying and certifying the will of the people via the ballot box, to pick and install their own governing representatives. In order to address this stupifying conundrum of dealing with the masses of my fellow Americans (most of them practicing evangelicals, and many of them residing in my part of the country) who cannot seem to accept what their own eyes are telling them (not surprising, since I think they have been in denial of reality and daily facts as well as timeless truths in their state of cognitive dissonance, at least for the last five years, and probably back to the “anti-sharia scare” a decade ago and probably all the way back to the Red Scare and Cold War), I hereby painstakingly document some of the different communities of culprits we can knowingly verify as active participants in the day of bloodshed, violence, cruelty and desecration, in addition to what I have already documented in this lengthy piece, which has often been authenticated and proved by video evidence, and most often by their own admission in social media, and their online published plans for their violent acts days or weeks in advance.

First of all, it was confirmed that a number of individuals already on the government’s terror watch list were discovered as ring-leaders in the Capitol assault. It was reported that

Dozens of people on a terrorist watch list were in Washington for pro-Trump events Jan. 6, a day that ended in a chaotic crime rampage when a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, according to people familiar with evidence gathered in the FBI’s investigationThe majority of the watch-listed individuals in Washington that day are suspected white supremacists whose past conduct so alarmed investigators that their names had been previously entered into the national Terrorist Screening Database, or TSDB, a massive set of names flagged as potential security risks, these people said…Other current and former officials said the presence of those individuals is an unsurprising consequence of having thousands of fervent Trump supporters gathered for what was billed as a final chance to voice opposition to Joe Biden’s certification as the next president…Several law enforcement officials said they are shocked by the backgrounds of some individuals under investigation in connection with the Capitol riot, a pool of suspects that includes current and former law enforcement and military personnel as well as senior business executives and middle-aged business owners.

Before the Jan. 6 gathering of pro-Trump protesters, FBI agents visited a number of suspected extremists and advised them against traveling to the nation’s capital. Many complied, but according to people familiar with the sprawling investigation, dozens of others whose names appear in the terrorist watch list apparently attended, based on information reviewed by the FBI…Separately, while the FBI is hunting hundreds of rioting suspects who have dispersed back to their hometowns, federal agents are increasingly focused on alleged leaders, members and supporters of the Proud Boys, a male-chauvinist group with ties to white nationalism, these people said….The group’s chairman, Enrique Tarrio, had planned to attend Trump’s Jan. 6 rally but was arrested when he arrived in D.C. and charged with misdemeanor destruction of property in connection with the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a Black church during an earlier protest in Washington. He is also accused of felony possession of two extended gun magazines…Privately, some federal law enforcement officials have described the group as roughly equivalent to a nascent street gang that has garnered an unusual degree of national attention, in part because Trump mentioned them specifically during one of his televised debates with Biden during the campaign. Other officials have expressed concern that the group may be growing rapidly into something more dangerous and directed.

A National Public Radio study has been documenting the diversity of participants in the assault:

Federal prosecutors say a former member of the Latin Kings gang joined the mob, as did two Virginia police officers. A man in a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt took part, as did a Messianic Rabbi. Far-right militia members decked out in tactical gear rioted next to a county commissioner, a New York City sanitation worker, and a two-time Olympic gold medalist…At least 18 defendants appear to have expressed support for QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory. At least 18 of the defendants appear to have links to the Proud Boys, a far-right gang. The group was recently declared a terrorist group in Canada. Their values have been widely described as racist, misogynist, anti-immigrant and hateful against other minority groups. At least 13 of the defendants have alleged ties to the Oath Keepers, which the Anti-Defamation League calls an “anti-government right-wing fringe organization.” The group is known to target and recruit current and former law enforcement officers and military veterans. At least three of the defendants are allegedly affiliated with the Three Percenters, another anti-government extremist organization…NPR found at least 15% of those charged had possible ties to the military or to law enforcement.

Twenty-two are accused of committing conspiracy, one of the most serious charges brought. At least 54 are accused of committing acts of violence, particularly against Capitol Police. At least 26 are suspected of causing property damage, like breaking windows or doors to gain entry to the building. At least 21 are accused of theft, like the man photographed carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern or one woman who allegedly took a laptop from Pelosi’s office.

Politico added that “One current Metro D.C. police officer said in a public Facebook post that off-duty police officers and members of the military, who were among the rioters, flashed their badges and I.D. cards as they attempted to overrun the building.” A week after the assault, The Washington Examiner also reported that “The man who stormed the Capitol wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt has been arrested. Robert Keith Packer of Virginia was taken into custody on Wednesday morning, according to CNN. A week earlier, he was identified as being among a group of Trump supporters who breached the Capitol.” They add that “Packer was photographed wearing a ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt, which was emblazoned with a skull and the phrase “Work Brings Freedom,” a rough translation of “Arbeit macht frei.” The German phrase was inscribed on the iron arch that stood at the gates of Auschwitz, a concentration camp where more than 1.1 million people were killed during the Holocaust. They also note that “Packer was not the only rioter to wear anti-Semitic clothing. Other participants were wearing ‘6MWE’ shirts, which is an acronym on the far-right standing for ‘6 Million Wasn’t Enough,’ a reference to the number of Jewish people who were killed in the Holocaust.”

Speaking of extremists, CNN provided a translation of the various flags of the different extremist groups present at the insurrection, which further proves their active participation. They showed the flag of the “Three Percenters” there as a variation of the original Betsy Ross flag, and note that most of their aggression is against leftists, antifa, Muslims and immigrants. They were also associated the “Release the Kraken” flag (with an octopus wrapped around an anchor), which referred to Trump and Michael Flynn attorney Sidney Powell’s public announcement to “release the Kraken” (the mythic sea monster), i.e. a cache of evidence that showed that the election was stolen and that the voting machines were compromised (although, in recent court testimony Powell herself said that reasonable people would not have believed her claims – a development I will cover in a future blog post). They further explain how the white supremacist community uses the “OK” hand signal as a means to show their allegiance, and is seen with some men who posed for pictures on the site of the Capitol invasion. Those having shown the hand gesture of white power on the grounds in photos also claimed to be members of the Proud Boys. They also show a green flag crossed by black and white stripes that resembles an old German Army flag in layout, with a white circle in the center with a number of capitol “I” and “K” letters symmetrically spaced, and is known as the “Kekistan” flag. It comes from the “4chan” online forum (the original home of Q Anon) and is dedicated to their fictional god Kek, and is displayed at rallies such as at the Capitol. They also note the presence at the rally of the altered Confederate (with the assault rifle and “Come and Take it” phrase on top) and Gadsden (“Don’t Tread On Me”) flags. Meanwhile, the Oathkeepers sported a simple dark blue hat with their name inside a yellow rectangle on front. There was also displayed an “America First” flag, with an “AF” joined, surrounded by a white circle on a blue field. One of the more interesting ones was the “Nationalist Social Club” sticker with a black flag inserted, and another version covering a skull and crossbones of a design looking just like the old Nazi SS symbol on their lapels. Pictures have surfaced of them having been stuck to Capitol Police riot gear. These are neo-Nazi organizations with chapters across the U.S. and the globe. Yet another prominent series of black shirts were seen with an emblem saying “MAGA CIVIL WAR,” with the date “January 6, 2021” already printed underneath it. Of course, they also mentioned the “Camp Auschwitz” shirt worn as well. All of these were displayed in full force at the Stop the Steal Rally and subsequent Capitol insurrection. I would bet that this incident is not the last time we see them widely emblazoned in the public.

Another group of the violent rebels since proven to have participated in the violent assault on Capitol police and vandalizing the seat of government and killing or capturing its elected officials is law enforcement members themselves, in essence waging war on their own fraternity in hand-to-hand combat. A week after the assault it was reported that

As of today, at least 26 sworn members of U.S. law enforcement agencies from at least 11 states have been identified by law enforcement agencies and local reporting as attendees of the Jan. 6 rally in support of President Trump that sparked a riot at the U.S. Capitol. [Update, Jan. 25, 10:00 a.m., Eastern time: One more law enforcement officials has been reported as having attended the rally, bringing the total to 39 individuals from 17 states.] Beyond that tally, several former law enforcement agents attended the rally, and still more current law enforcement officials are under investigation for making statements in support of the rally…The Bexar County sheriff’s office in Texas is investigating Lieutenant Roxanne Mathai’s attendance. She posted a photo of rioters on the Capitol’s balcony after they’d made it past the police, writing as the caption, “and we are going in… in the crowd at the stairs… not inside the capitol like the others. Not catching a case lol.” Mathai typically has 70 to 80 employees under her command. The Zelienople Borough Police Department (near Pittsburgh) is investigating Officer Thomas Goldie’s attendance. One photo shows him wearing a hat that appeared to say, “Trump MAGA 2020 f— your feelings.” Sheriff Chris West of Canadian County, Oklahoma, attended the Trump rally. West denied breaking any laws, but two posts from a deleted Facebook account that appeared to belong to West read, “I’m okay with using whatever means necessary to preserve America and save FREEDOM & LIBERTY… I want several in Congress… in prison, or worse.”

The New York Times reported that a man named Jeff told a reporter that he was an off-duty police officer in York County, Pennsylvania. “There’s a lot of people here willing to take orders,” he said. “If the orders are given, the people will rise up”…The Seattle Police Department has placed two officers who attended the rally on administrative leave…Sergeant T.J. Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker of Rocky Mount, Virginia, have been placed on administrative leave after photos emerged of them inside the Capitol…In a Facebook post…Robertson wrote: “CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business…The right IN ONE DAY took the f——— U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” Philadelphia police detective Jennifer Gugger has been reassigned pending an investigation into her attendance. Until last week, she served in the department’s Recruit Background Investigations Unit, and the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “until recently, [her] Facebook profile photo was a reference to the QAnon conspiracy movement.”

According to Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, two Capitol police officers were suspended and at least 10 others are being investigated regarding their behavior during the Trump riot. One of the two suspended officers wore a MAGA hat and “started directing people around the building”; the other posed for a selfie with a member of the mob. A House aide told CNN that “as many as 17 officers” with the Capitol police department are under investigation…Jurell Snyder, who was a police officer in Oakland, California, gave an interview to CBS affiliate KPIX explaining his participation and his support of the rioters. “What do you think is worse,” he asked KPIX’s Joe Vazquez, “storming the Capitol with a flag or committing treason against your country?”Several current Oakland police officers expressed support for Snyder’s radical views on Facebook, and the department is investigating its members’ potential support for radical far-right movements….Notably, John Catanzara, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, made several comments to NPR affiliate WBEZ echoing Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. “They’re individuals,” he said. “They get to do what they want. Again, they were voicing frustration. They’re entitled to voice their frustration.”

One Secret Service officer is under investigation for making a Facebook post in support of the rally. “Good morning patriots! Yesterday started out beautiful and as usual Antifa soured the mood and attacked police and an Air Force veteran was murdered,” the post read. “It’s OFFENSE time finally!!There is no evidence that anti-fascist activists were involved in the riot. In Kansas, a lieutenant with the Sedgwick County sheriff’s office voiced his support on Facebook. “If you are a police officer in Washington, D.C., or a federal officer working in the Capitol, remember that the people in these rallies are on your side,” Jason Gill wrote. “Remember your oath before your orders.” Sheriff Dallas Baldwin of Franklin County, Ohio, fired a civilian public information officer for writing a Facebook post that criticized Capitol police for failing to stop the Trump riot from breaching the building.

NBC News corroborated the report about Rep. Tim Ryan and the internal investigation of collusion with the rioters by multiple members of the Capitol Hill Police themselves. Politico added that “A video, with unclear context, circulated on social media of Capitol Police even opening and removing barricades to allow the rioters close to the Capitol…Other videos showed officers posing for selfies with rioters inside occupied Capitol office buildingsAn officer even held a woman’s hand as she was escorted out of the building and down the steps. By late afternoon, police had made fewer arrests (13) in the storming of the U.S. Capitol than are typically made at the New York Giants stadium during a home game (21).”

One other group of people that can be confirmed as participating in the rally and riot are active duty, inactive and retired members of the military. A few days after the insurrection, The Military Times reported that

The Justice Department is investigating 25 participants in the protest-turned-insurrection that ravaged the Capitol building on Wednesday, but it’s not clear who among them is either a currently serving member of the military, or perhaps a retiree subject to military criminal investigation. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who has been leading the Pentagon’s efforts to explain its role in the response to the riot, shared the 25 figure during a call with lawmakers Sunday. Some of those may be active or retired service members…“Any current or former military members who may have participated have disgraced themselves and committed serious crimes against the people of the United States,” Reps. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., and Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller on Sunday. “Any such individuals should have the book thrown at them for violating their oaths and duty to the nation,” they added. The exact number of service members and veterans among the rioters is unknown…Five people died in the violence, including…Ashli Babbitt, a Air Force veteran-turned-conspiracy theorist who was shot by security while trying to force her way into the House chamber…Capt. Emily Rainey, 30, a psychological operations officer, is under investigation by 1st Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, spokesman Maj. Dan Lessard told Military Times on Sunday…The Army is investigating Rainey, a psychological operations officer, who led a group of people from North Carolina to the rally in Washington…Capt. Emily Rainey was still on active duty during the Jan. 6 protest in D.C., but she had already resigned her commission, a defense official said…On Sunday, authorities arrested retired Air Force Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr. on trespassing and disorderly conduct charges for his involvement in breaching the Capitol. Photographs caught Brock with other rioters on the Senate floor during the attack, wearing military body armor with unit patches and carrying zip-tie handcuffs.

By January 14, The Air Force Times was reporting that retired Air Force officer Brock had been making bellicose and threatening statements online that concerned even his employer, as presented by the Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Weimer presented at Brock’s subsequent arraignment:

Weimer also read in court social media posts from Brock, including one posted on the day of the Capitol riot that said: “Patriots on the Capitol. Patriots storming. Men with guns need to shoot their way in.” Brock was arrested Sunday in Texas after being photographed on the Senate floor during the deadly riot wearing a helmet and heavy vest, and carrying plastic zip-tie handcuffs…“It’s all talk. It’s all speculation and conjecture,” said [defense attorney] Antonio, who noted Brock’s long service in the military, including being reactivated after Sept. 11 and his four tours in AfghanistanWeimer read a termination letter from Brock’s former employer that said he had talked in the workplace about killing people of a “particular religion and or race.” Weimer also read social media posts in which Brock referred to a coming civil war and the election being stolen from President Donald Trump. Weimer said Brock’s posts also referenced the far-right and anti-government Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters, a loose anti-government network that’s part of the militia movement. The Oath Keepers claim to count thousands of current and former law enforcement officials and military veterans as members.

Just over a week later, National Public Radio (NPR) was reporting that nearly twenty percent of the defendants of the insurrection charged to date had served in the military. They write that

…many of those who stormed the Capitol were military veterans themselves, who had once sworn to protect the Constitution. In fact, an NPR analysis has found that nearly 1 in 5 people charged over their alleged involvement in the attack on the U.S. Capitol appear to have a military history. NPR compiled a list of individuals facing federal or District of Columbia charges in connection with the events of Jan. 6. Of more than 140 charged so far, a review of military records, social media accounts, court documents and news reports indicate at least 27 of those charged, or nearly 20%, have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military. To put that number in perspective, only about 7% of all American adults are military veterans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Several veterans are charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. One of them is Larry Rendall Brock Jr. The Air Force veteran was photographed in a military-style helmet and tactical vest carrying flex cuffs inside the Capitol. He posted on Facebook that he was preparing for a “Second Civil War,” according to documents filed in federal court. In the weeks after Biden’s victory, Brock posted that “we are now under occupation by a hostile governing force.” “I see no distinction between a group of Americans seizing power and governing with complete disregard to the Constitution and an invading force of Chinese communists accomplishing the same objective,” Brock wroteHe ended his post with a reference to the oath taken by members of the military: “Against all enemies foreign and domestic.”

Some veterans who allegedly stormed the Capitol are still serving in some capacity. Jacob Fracker, 29, was an infantry rifleman in the Marine Corps and deployed to Afghanistan twice, according to the Pentagon. He now serves in the Virginia National Guard…He is also a police officer in Rocky Mount, Va. With him at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was his colleague from the Rocky Mount Police Department, Thomas Robertson, 47, who is an Army veteran also facing charges. Federal prosecutors have also alleged that multiple members of the right-wing extremist group the Oath Keepers took part in the “incursion” at the Capitol. The group has been known to target and recruit active-duty members of the military and veterans, in part for their specialized skills. Among those charged in relation to the storming of the Capitol are Thomas Edward Caldwell, a Navy veteran and alleged leader among the Oath Keepers, and Donovan Ray Crowl, a Marine Corps veteran. They have been charged with conspiracy to obstruct the Electoral College vote, among other alleged crimes.

Roughly one-third of active duty troops said they had “personally witnessed examples of white nationalism or ideological-driven racism within the ranks in recent months,” according to a 2019 survey conducted by the Military Times and Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families. Troops said they had seen “swastikas being drawn on service members’ cars, tattoos affiliated with white supremacist groups, stickers supporting the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi-style salutes between individuals.” At least one individual charged in connection with the assault on the Capitol allegedly embraced that extremist ideology. Timothy Louis Hale-Cusanelli, 30, is a Navy contractor who has worked at a naval weapons station with a secret security clearance, according to court documents….After the Jan. 6 insurrection, a senior defense official told NPR there were 68 notifications of investigations by the FBI last year of former and current military members pertaining to domestic extremismAs Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, testified to Congress, veterans and military personnel “have training that makes terrorist attacks more achievable and more deadly.” In 2019, federal prosecutors said that Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson had planned a series of violent attacks against liberal politicians, and was an avowed white nationalist for decades. Hasson ultimately pleaded guilty to drug and weapons chargesTimothy McVeigh, who carried out the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people, was an Army veteran who served in the Persian Gulf War. He had taken inspiration from the white supremacist novel “The Turner Diaries,” which continues to hold sway among far-right extremists.

So why would a high percentage of Constitution-defending military members make up a disproportionate percentage of the lawless insurrectionists that built gallows, donned military gear, pummeled law enforcement and sought to zip-tie and/or kill elected officials? First of all, it should be said that a large portion of military members I have encountered (particularly those with some education and higher in the officer ranks, but not exclusive to them) cherish law and order, democratic processes, and even peace and diplomatic efforts to live in tranquility with different cultures and empathize with their plights and perspectives, and even tolerate and defend the rights of those who burn flags and protest wars in which they have served in, or those of other political views. However, I think even they would agree that the military, law enforcement and similar institutions that offer a uniform and firepower can attract those recruits drawn to the coercive force of weaponry, and the institutional power and logistics to enforce their power trip. Many of the simpler recruits (including some who rise in the officer ranks) gravitate to simple “black and white” designations of “bad guys” and “good guys,” and a simplified mission to right wrongs and establish overwhelming authority for the ideological power brokers of their choice. They see physical force and firepower as ALWAYS the right solution. The Cold War provided them one of the best justifications for the policy of “the ends justifies the means” and sometimes brutality, when convinced (often for convenience, or in spite of contrary evidence) of a more brutal enemy.

Before this time, mere nationalism (or the precursor conservative imperialism, monarchism and royalism before it) and the sacredization of the nation-state and its symbols justified scorched-earth world wars, the ethnic, national and religious wars that continued unabated for over a millennium in Europe, and innumerable crack-downs by secret police and the state in civil wars and insurrections. Many of these brutal conflicts were sold to them in religious imagery, with the assurance that “God is on our side.” As Christian ethics professor David Gushee pointed out on my old Future Quake radio show, America has been on constant “red alert” since at least World War II, with a perpetual sense of the “barbarian at the gate” – be it a Communist, Muslim terrorist, or a Democrat or socialist – that requires continual measures of violent martial force to remedy, and thus are ripe to be “sold” such threats by self-serving demagogues with their own agendas since that time. It is in this milieu that these “warriors” find themselves, in a complex, confusing multi-dimensional world, and they understandably fall prey to simple slogans, missions and calls to action, and, having addressed prior social problems with a gun barrel and accustomed to having superior violent weaponry compared to their enemy du jour, they naturally gravitate to seeing a “nail” everywhere, when they are a “hammer.” Our conservative churches have helped rile such folk up and sacredize such acts, with the flags and other regalia on the altar, fiery calls from the pulpits (including invited hawkish military speakers), and other deification of the “warrior” and glorification of the confrontational “crusade.”    

Any thoughtful person amongst us should concede that returning veterans from our wars have typically served valiantly, in self-sacrificial manner and in loyalty to their comrades as well as the homeland, and sacrificed much back home, as well as their families. A minority of them have seen sufficient front-line combat to have mental scars as well as physical, and are deserving of all financial and medical support commensurate with the degree of their sacrifice and suffering, and our undying gratitude and assistance. Having said that, in a world rife with widespread mental illness (much of it undiagnosed) since the dawn of man, but apparently growing in intensity in recent years, further intensified and inflicted by combat or being exposed by it, there has been a perpetual concern of the mental suitability of some portion of returning combat veterans who have been desensitized to violence, or adopted a nihilistic view of life, understandably derived from the insane, senseless horrors of war. Some even desire to remain within a combat environment which has transformed them or in which they have made a mental “home” (no longer able to function within the decorum of “civil society,” seeing it as a naïve mirage compared to their experience of the hostile “real world”), such as in mercenary security forces, special forces or the like, in a world of constant danger to simple survival and a military comradery to which they have become accustomed. Yet others are merely drawn to the “rush” of wielding firepower and authority which gives them their identity, or the sanctimonious certainty and superiority of being a “crusader” in an existential ideological battle perceived to be won with force.

The dangers of returning warriors creating upheaval in the very societies they fought to preserve at least goes back to the returning armies of Rome, who knew of no “victory” in any struggle except by force – the technique of which they had become very accomplished and familiar. One fascinating modern scenario of which I just become aware occurred in 1946 in my adopted home state of Tennessee, in McMinn county not far from Chattanooga. In what became known as the “Battle of Athens” (of which you can read about it here), returning World War II veterans to the region were appalled to find rampant corruption by criminal political machines, in cahoots with local enforcement. Rightfully indignant at this state of despair and local oppression with no perceived means of correction – personified in what they viewed as “stolen elections” and ballot stuffing by corrupt local officials and poll workers, I might add – they resorted to a corrective means they knew best; not legal action, not federal intervention, but hands-on violence by the returning World War II veterans to “make it right,” and to certify a slate of military-approved elected officials. This remarkable incident culminated in the beating of law enforcement officers and election certifiers, the veterans arming themselves with rifles and Thompson sub-machine guns pilfered from the armory, corrupt political figures, sheriffs and deputies being chased into the city jail, surrounded by veterans who pinned them down in gunfire, led by a charismatic veteran Bill White who organized the veterans into units and giving them tactical operational orders, to the point of locating dynamite and blowing up police cars in front of the jail. They knew that had to strike fast to secure the ballots and force their certification, before federal forces and guard units arrived to restore order. The law enforcement officers and county election officials tried to certify the election in the jail while returning fire at the veterans (totaling from 600 to two thousand in number), who responded with their high firepower and military operational tactics from the bank across the street. After hours of gunfire and a number of the 200 sheriffs and law enforcement officers shot in the streets, along with the dynamiting of the front of the jail and police cars, the deputies surrendered with the ballot boxes.

In the subsequent hours, enraged veterans continued to blow up visiting police cars for hours across town. Methodist minister Bernie Hampton and others of the “Business Men’s Evangelical Committee” were chosen to maintain law and order, and the GI’s announced they would maintain control of the county until their slate of candidates were placed in office. Bill White, the ringleader of the violent veteran’s gang, was subsequently made a deputy, to keep in line the rowdy veterans who had been riled up in violence (shooting up residents’ houses and beating people up afterwards) like they had grown accustomed to overseas, and now were becoming a nuisance to the town they “delivered,” with White claiming he had to fight them in hand to hand battles in local bars to keep them from killing him. Athens’ mayor and other aldermen were forced to resign when veterans fired into their home windows, including when the mayor was made subject to gunfire from the local American Legion and VFW posts. Leaders of the veterans’ movement admitted  later that a more powerful political machine replaced the one they had disposed of with violence, and veteran-related violence continued on for some time. Other national newspaper editors and even national leaders like Eleanor Roosevelt warned of impending violence from returning veterans from World War II, with her surprisingly-popular recommendation that GIs should be checked for violent tendencies before being demobilized. In an interview Bill White gave to the University of Tennessee history department, he stated that “I didn’t think much of her when she first said that, old Lady Roosevelt, she said people like us, me, should be put into a camp and be re-evaluated before they turn them out on the public. I was mad at her because she said that, but as the time went on after I was out, I seen she was right. That we would kill. And we didn’t take no crap from nobody. And I knew that she was right.” We have just witnessed a large number of veterans alongside similar “men and women of action” stage a far more dramatic national insurrection within the very halls of the U.S. Capitol, far beyond the scale a Bill White would have ever dreamed. Is this just the beginning of such, and just the “firing on Fort Sumter” of a larger-scale civil war to come, with some of our disgruntled and unsettled veterans organizing and leading the resistance? Will peace-loving veterans be willing to square off against their fellow seditious veterans, if need be?

To be fair to these veteran/soldiers of fortune we have identified as being part of the insurrection, another community of individuals who waged lawless acts to stop the constitutional processes of duly-elected officials and overthrow our election procedures were actually national elected officials themselves. Although ten days after the crisis, data was still being gathered as to the individuals who were confirmed as having participated in the insurrection, and their being tracked and arrested was still in its early stages, Mother Jones and other media outlets were already reporting that

Among the pro-Trump crowd on January 6, when a mob stormed the Capitol and caused five deaths, were more than a dozen state lawmakers, many of whom now face calls to resignThe “Stop the Steal” protests were endorsed by Republican organizers across the country, and the fundraising arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association even sent out robocalls urging supporters to march to the Capitol and “call on Congress to stop the steal”…Here is a list of current lawmakers who were spotted outside the Capitol or at Trump’s rally on the day of the riots:

Alaska state Rep. David Eastman attended Trump’s rally outside the White House and later shared several posts on social media suggesting that Antifa was behind the Capitol riots…Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem was at Trump’s rally and made his way to the Capitolin his newsletter, Finchem falsely claimed that protesters did not attack the police and cited a baseless conspiracy theory that “a handful of individuals, who have been identified as ANTIFA infiltrators,” caused property damage…Colorado state Rep. Ron Hanks marched to the Capitol following Trump’s rallyFollowing the riots, Hanks was “absent for the majority” of the Colorado General Assembly’s legislative session that started on January 13, the Denver Post reported. His Facebook page has also been removed…Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller, who is married to US Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.), was filmed during the Trump rally criticizing “dangerous Democrat terrorists.” He had previously rallied outside the Illinois State Capitol in May during a rally where he called Gov. JB Pritzker a “domestic enemy”…Missouri state Rep. Justin Hill, a fourth-term lawmaker, attended Trump’s rally and…missed his own swearing-in to be at Trump’s rally…Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano spent more than $3,300 on charter buses to the Capitol ahead of the pro-Trump protests there…Rhode Island state Rep. Justin Price said in a series of now-deleted tweets that he “marched to the Capitol” with “peaceful patriots”Price, who also baselessly claimed in an interview with the Public Radio that the riots were instigated by Antifa, was urged to resign in an open letter signed by roughly three dozen state and local lawmakers...Price was also criticized for refusing to wear a mask during his swearing-in ceremony in Providence.

Tennessee state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, hours after violence broke out at the Capitol, posted a photo on Twitter with the caption, “Epic and historic day gathering with fellow Patriots from all over the nation.” Weaver…traveled to Washington, DC, to attend Trump’s rally…Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase… attended Trump’s rally and said in a video posted to her Facebook page, “When you back good people—law-abiding citizens—into the corner, they will push back.” Chase, who said she left Trump’s speech early on the advice of her security team, blamed the riots on “antifa or BLM agents of destruction”…Chase’s official Facebook page was eventually suspended… Virginia Delegate Dave LaRock acknowledged being part of the pro-Trump crowd in DC and…also shared the conspiracy theory that “paid provocateurs” were sent to infiltrate “this patriotic group for the purpose of inciting violence.” As calls grew from local leaders for him to resign, LaRock released an additional statement saying he has “no intention of caving to ridiculous politically motivated demands”…West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans filmed himself breaking into the Capitol and could be heard yelling, “We’re taking this country back whether you like it or not. Today’s a test run. We’re taking this country back.” Two days later, he was arrested and charged with unlawfully entering a restricted area, making him the first sitting lawmaker to be arrested in connection with the insurrection at the Capitol. After initially refusing to resign from his elected position, Evans ultimately stepped down…West Virginia state Sen. Mike Azinger was one of the Trump supporters who marched to the Capitol…As for the storming of the Capitol, he said, “The people that are responsible for that were Antifa.” In an interview with West Virginia Metro News, he added that the pro-Trump crowds were “inspiring and patriotic” and said he hopes Trump “calls us back”…Amid calls for him to step down, Azinger said, “I’ll resign when cows fly.”

Consistent with this, other television stations were carrying Associated Press reports that

State Del. Derrick Evans was among lawmakers from at least seven states who traveled to Washington, D.C., for demonstrations rooted in the baseless conspiracy theory that Democrat Joe Biden stole the presidential election. Wearing a helmet, Evans ultimately joined a screaming mob as it pushed its way into the Capitol building, and livestreamed himself joyfully strolling inside…Tennessee state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver said Wednesday night that it had been an “epic and historic day.” The Republican lawmaker told The Tennessean she was “in the thick of it”…In his now-deleted video, widely shared online, Evans is clamoring inside a jampacked Capitol building doorway, trying with others to push his way inside. He hollers along with other Trump loyalists and thanks a law enforcement officer for letting them in.

The Arizona Republic also added that politicians were even behind planning these events. They write in an editorial that

The right-wing political activist Ali Alexander says that Arizona Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs worked with him to plan pro-Trump rallies, including the one that ended with an attack on the Capitol. At the time the mob was making its move on Wednesday, Alexander, a national “Stop the Steal” organizer, posted a video of himself saying, “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.” A CNN investigative team that includes former Arizona Republic reporter Bob Ortega pointed out that in late December Alexander told followers on Periscope that he, Biggs, Gosar and Mo Brooks of Alabama, three Republican members of Congress, were planning something big. The CNN article noted that while Alexander did not call for violence, he said, “It was to build momentum and pressure and then on the day change hearts and minds of Congress peoples who weren’t yet decided or who saw everyone outside and said, ‘I can’t be on the other side of that mob.’ ” Investigative reporter Jason Paladino noted the same thing about Alexander and the congressmen on Twitter, writing: Organizer @ali claims he organized the insurrection “with congressman @RepGosar @RepMoBrooks and @RepAndyBiggsAZ. We four schemed up putting maximum pressure on congress while they were voting …”

The new Trump-affiliated Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville has kept an arms-length distance from Trump’s actions when it proved uncomfortable, but local Alabama reporters have been able to show that Tuberville had a role in the lead-up to the day’s rally and insurrection (waged against the building while he was inside), in contravention of some of his claims, as they write that:

Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville through a spokeswoman Tuesday denied meeting with the then-director of the Republican Attorneys General Association and others inside Trump’s private residence at the Trump International Hotel on Jan. 5 — on the eve of the deadly U.S. Capitol attack. But a photo posted to social media appears to show Tuberville in the hotel’s lobby that day, and a company CEO in a separate post describes meeting with Tuberville and others at the hotel that day and discussing “illegal votes.” Charles W. Herbster, who was then the national chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Advisory Committee in Trump’s administration, in a Facebook post at 8:33 p.m. on Jan. 5 said that he was standing “in the private residence of the President at Trump International with the following patriots who are joining me in a battle for justice and truth.” Among the attendees, according to Herbster’s post, were Tuberville, former RAGA director Adam Piper, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, adviser Peter Navarro, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and 2016 deputy campaign manager David Bossie.

A photo posted to an Instagram user’s account appears to show Tuberville standing in the lobby of the Trump International Hotel on Jan. 5. The user captioned the photo “Newly elected Senator Tommy Tuberville.” In two other separate photos, the person posted images of Flynn and Donald Trump Jr. inside the hotel on Jan. 5. Daniel Beck, CEO of an Idaho technology company, in a Facebook post at 10:27 p.m. on Jan. 5 wrote that he’d spent the evening with Tuberville, Trump Jr. and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, Michael J. Lindell, Navarro and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.  He wrote: “The Trump hotel is Amazing!! Fifteen of us spent the evening with Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, Tommy Tuberville, Michael J. Lindell, Peter Navarro, and Rudy Giuliani. We talked about the elections, illegal votes, court cases, the republics’ status, what to expect on the hill tomorrow. TRUMP WILL RETAIN THE PRESIDENCY!!!”  Herbster attended the Jan. 6 rally but said he left before the riot, according to The Omaha World-Herald. The newspaper also reported that Herbster “also met Tuesday in Trump’s private residence in his Washington, D.C., hotel with Trump’s sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, and other campaign advisers.” “They discussed how to pressure more members of Congress to object to the Electoral College results that made Joe Biden the winner,” The Omaha World-Herald reported. APR sent questions to a Tuberville spokesperson Tuesday afternoon asking whether Tuberville had attended a Jan. 5 meeting with Trump, Piper and several others at Trump’s hotel, and if so, why was he called to the meeting and what was discussed. The Tuberville spokeswoman replied in an email: “the answers to your questions are No and Not Applicable”…Herbster deleted his Facebook post after APR’s story published Tuesday evening …APR’s questions to Tuberville’s spokeswoman later on Tuesday clarifying that point, and asking whether Tuberville had met with Piper and others that night at the hotel, weren’t immediately answered. APR also sent the spokeswoman screenshots of the photo of Tuberville in the hotel’s lobby that day and of the Facebook post detailing the meeting. APR hadn’t received a response as of Wednesday morning.

To consider who might be the “ring leader” behind the gangs of seditionists – who inspired them, provoked them, instigated and enabled them – maybe we should listen to the man who has been the primary enabler and “fixer” for the exploits of President Trump (although Mike Pompeo, Bill Barr and Lindsey Graham would be in the running); the man who provided the critical political, legislative and procedural (even legal) cover for him and protection, including the decisive defense cover in both elections and two impeachment trials – the titular head of the Republican Party and conservatives at large, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. First, let’s hear his defense of the Constitutional process, and a rebuke of the rogue Republican movement to throw out the voter’s preference and install their own minority-supported candidate by means of unlawful legislative trickery by Republican state legislatures, in defiance of the final ruling by the Supreme Court, as he stated in the morning of January 6 to stamp out this act of constitutional rebellions by his Republican House and Senate colleagues who attempted to stop the Constitutional certification process that day, from an Associated Press transcript of his statements from the floor of the Senate before their action:

We are debating a step that has never been taken in American history: Whether Congress should overrule voters and overturn a presidential election. I have served 36 years in the Senate. This will be the most important vote I have ever cast. President Trump claims this election was stolen. The assertions range from specific local allegations to constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories. I supported the President’s right to use the legal system. But over and over, the courts rejected these claims — including all-star judges whom the President himself nominated. Every election features some illegality and irregularity and it’s unacceptable. I support strong state-led voting reforms. Last year’s bizarre pandemic procedures must not become the new norm. But nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale that would have tipped this entire election. Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break when that doubt was incited without evidence. The Constitution gives Congress a limited role. We cannot simply declare ourselves a national Board of Elections on steroids. The voters, the courts, and the states have all spoken. If we overrule them all, it would damage our republic forever.

This election was not unusually close. Just in recent history, 1976, 2000, and 2004 were all closer. This Electoral College margin is almost identical to 2016. If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We’d never see the whole nation accept an election again. Every four years would bring a scramble for power at any cost. The Electoral College would soon cease to exist, leaving the citizens of entire states with no real say in choosing presidents. The effects would go even beyond elections themselves. Self-government requires a shared commitment to truth and shared respect for the ground rules of our system. We cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes; with separate facts, and separate realities; with nothing in common except hostility toward each another and mistrust for the few national institutions that we still share…Our duty is to govern for the public good. The United States Senate has a higher calling than an endless spiral of partisan vengeance. Congress will either overrule the voters, the states, and the courts for the first time ever…or honor the people’s decision…We will either hasten down a poisonous path where only the winners of elections accept them… or show we can still muster the patriotic courage that our forebears showed, both in victory and in defeat. The framers built the Senate to stop short-term passions from boiling over and melting the foundations of our Republic. I believe protecting our constitutional order requires respecting limits on our own power. It would be unfair and wrong to disenfranchise American voters and overrule the courts and the states on this thin basis. And I will not pretend such a vote would be a harmless protest gesture while relying on others to do the right thing. I will vote to respect the people’s decision and defend our system of government as we know it.

In exchange for this principled stand, the Capitol invaders shouted out to lynch Mitch McConnell alongside Vice President Mike Pence (who similarly acknowledged his Constitutional role in certifying the will of the voters) when they burst into the building, and even took over the Senate chambers. When order was restored, the congressman were brought back in, passing their destroyed offices and the precious heritage of relics of American history damaged and desecrated within its halls, and reconvened to finish their final process of debate and certification that had been interrupted by the vengeance-minded rebels, and McConnell again shared these thoughts from the floor as the Senate proceeded to finish their certification process, as shown in this transcript from his Senate website:

The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs, or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation. We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution for our nation. And we are going to do it tonight. This afternoon, Congress began the process of honoring the will of the American people and counting the Electoral College votes. We have fulfilled this solemn duty every four years for more than two centuries. Whether our nation has been at war or at peace, under all manner of threats, even during an ongoing armed rebellion and Civil War, the clockwork of our democracy has carried on. The United States and the United States Congress have faced down much greater threats than the unhinged crowd we saw today. We have never been deterred before and we will not be deterred today. They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed. This failed attempt to obstruct the Congress, this failed insurrection, only underscores how crucial the task before us is for our Republic.

However, true to form, McConnell then set about protecting the President even during his second impeachment trial, when the prosecutors laid out the provocative acts and statements of President Trump, and his refusal to authorize life-saving National Guard defenses to save the beleaguered Capitol Police and the imperiled congressmen, requiring the sequestered Vice President Pence to finally authorize the rescue force. The Senate members had all been eyewitnesses and experienced these events, and seven Republican senators voted with the Democrats to impeach (the first time that many members of the same party as the accused agreed to do so), but McConnell assured that the majority to impeach would not become the required supermajority to reach conviction, universally understood so as to not upset and enrage the Trump base of support, and their needed future votes of which the Republicans were now the minority of the electorate.

In his typical connivery, McConnell said Trump could not be convicted, by applying a procedural loophole in that the Senate did not receive the impeachment articles before Trump left office (which most legal scholars said is still possible to impeach, by prior precedent), but neglected to mention that they were not received in time merely because McConnell refused to accept them and convene the Senate until a few days after Trump left office, fooling no one except the willfully fooled. Having assured that Trump would not be held accountable (and allowing Trump to cast a shadow over the party as a very possible nominee again in 2024), McConnell inexplicably chose to speak in condemnation of Trump right after the vote, when such statements were meaningless – evidently he thought he could avoid what history will inevitably judge as his Pontius Pilate hand-washing role in the Trump era, by such impotent, post-relevant sanctimonious piety. However in this moment of candor (permitted by its minimal impact), McConnell clearly spelled out, in possibly the most cogent and convincing way – and that from a primary Trump enabler! –  who was ultimately responsible for the insurrection in his post-vote statement from the Senate floor, as the transcripts of his remarks attests:

January 6th was a disgrace. American citizens attacked their own government. They use terrorism to try to stop a specific piece of domestic business they did not like. Fellow Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the center floor. They tried to hunt down the Speaker of the House. They built a gallows and chatted about murdering the vice president. They did this because they’d been fed wild, falsehoods by the most powerful man on earth because he was angry. He lost an election. Former President Trump’s actions preceded the riot or a disgraceful dereliction of duty. The House accused the former president of quote “Incitement.” That is a specific term from the criminal law. Let me just put that aside for a moment and reiterate something I said weeks ago. There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.

The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president and having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole, which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth. The issue is not only the president’s intemperate language on January 6th. It is not just his endorsement of remarks in which an associate urged, quote, “Trial by combat.” It was also the entire manufactured atmosphere of looming catastrophe. The increasingly wild myths about a reverse landslide election that was somehow being stolen. Some secret coup by our now president. Now I defended the president’s right to bring any complaints to our legal system. The legal system spoke, the electoral college spoke. As I stood up and said, clearly at that time, the election was settled. It was over, but that just really opened a new chapter of even wilder and more unfounded claims. The leader of the free world cannot spend weeks thundering that shadowy forces are stealing our country and then feign surprise when people believe him and do reckless things. I sadly see many politicians sometimes make overheated comments or use metaphors. We saw that. That unhinged listeners might take literally, but that was different. That’s different from what we saw. This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voter’s decision or else torch our institutions on the way out. The unconscionable behavior did not end when the violence actually began.

Whatever our ex president claims he thought might happen a day, whatever right reaction he’s says he meant to produce by that afternoon we know he was watching the same live television as the rest of us. A mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name, these criminals who are carrying his banners, hanging his flags and screaming their loyalty to him. It was obvious that only President Trump could end this. He was the only one who could. Former aides publicly begged him to do so. Loyal allies frantically called the administration. The president did not act swiftly. He did not do his job. He didn’t take steps so federal law could be faithfully executed and order restored. No, instead, according to public reports, he watched television happily as the chaos unfolded. He kept pressing his scheme to overturn the election. Now, even after it was clear to any reasonable observer that Vice President Pence was in serious danger. Even as the mob carrying Trump banners was beating cops and breaching perimeters their president sent a further tweet, attacking his own vice president.

Now predictably and foreseeably under the circumstances, members of the mob seemed to interpret this as a further inspiration to lawlessness and violence not surprisingly. Later, even when the president did halfheartedly began calling for peace he didn’t call right away for the riot to end. He did not tell the mob to depart until even later. And even then with police officers bleeding and broken glass covering Capitol floors, he kept repeating election laws and praising the criminals. In recent weeks, our ex-president’s associates have tried to use the 74 million Americans who voted to reelect him as a kind of human shield against criticism. Anyone who decries his awful behavior is accused of insulting millions of voters. That’s an absurd deflection. 74 million Americans did not invade the Capitol, hundreds of rioters did. 74 million Americans did not engineer the campaign of disinformation and rage that provoked it. One person did, just one.

I’ve made my view of this episode very plain, but our system of government gave the Senate a specific task. The Constitution gives us a particular role. This body is not invited to act as the nation’s overarching moral tribunal. We’re not free to work backward from whether the accused party might personally deserve some kind of punishment…If President Trump were still in office, I would have carefully considered whether the House managers proved their specific charge…But in this case, the question is moot because former President Trump is constitutionally not eligible for conviction. Now this is a close question. No doubt. Donald Trump was the president when the House voted. Though, not when the House chose to deliver the paper. Brilliant scholars argue both sides of this jurisdictional question. The text is legitimately ambiguousthis underscores that impeachment was never meant to be the final forum for American justice. It is not the criminal justice system where individual accountability is the paramount goal. Indeed Justice Story specifically reminded that while former officials were not eligible for impeachment or conviction, they were, and this was extremely important, still liable to be tried and punished in the ordinary tribunals of justice. Put another way in the language of today, President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office as an ordinary citizen. Unless the statute of limitations is run, still liable for everything he did while he was in office. Didn’t get away with anything, yet. Yet. We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation and former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one…  The Senate’s decision today does not condone anything that happened on or before that terrible day.

If the reader is desirous of yet further information as to the confirmed identities of the participants and their affiliations (and I always appreciate folks who are really committed to exhaustive review of the facts and data gathering), they can consider reports such as this one by the Associated Press, which notes that its findings contradict reports cited by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz’s claim hours after the insurrection that the Capitol invaders were members of Antifa (a subject we will explore in depth shortly), and lists other common, “salt of the earth” folk from “God’s country” in the Bible Belt who headed to D.C. with “armor piercing ammo” and aimed to “put a bullet in the noggin'” of Nancy Pelosi (as one such person bragged online, who also publicly stated his intent to run her over with his car, and stating that “I predict that within 12 days, many in our country will die”). They also note that this white man texted a photo of himself in blackface, adding that “I’m gonna walk around DC FKG with people by yelling ‘Allahu ak Bar’ randomly” (the FBI later arrested him and found “a compact Tavor X95 assault rifle, a 9mm Glock 19 handgun and about 100 rounds of ammunition, according to court filings,” and “also seized a stash of THC edibles and a vial of injectable testosterone.” They also cite participants recently released from prison for murder, and Q adherents, such as one arrested for chasing a lone black officer throughout the Capitol building, as well as middle-aged mothers arrested for being involved in the siege, a number of aforementioned military officers arrayed in military assault gear, members of the Proud Boys, small business owners and big-dollar Trump donor CEOs, Slavic immigrants such as an “ambassador” for Charlie Kirk’s Turning Point USA who tried to allege that “blinking lights” she saw on Georgia’s voting machines were signs of tampering (a claim local GOP leaders debunked), and law enforcement and elected official insurrectionists are profiled.

To give a broader context of the curious demographic of the typical Capitol insurrectionists based upon very preliminary data, The Atlantic reported on February 2 that

For the past decade and a half, our research team at the Chicago Project on Security and Threats has conducted demographic studies of international and domestic terrorists. Four years ago, our study of 112 people who U.S. authorities suspected were involved with the Islamic State undercut a widespread assumption that supporters of the group were uneducated, isolated, and unemployed. In recent weeks, our team of more than 20 researchers has been reviewing court documents and media coverage for information on the demographics, socioeconomic traits, and militant-group affiliations (if any) of everyone arrested by the FBI, Capitol Police, and Washington, D.C., police for offenses related to the January 6 insurrection. As of late last week, 235 people fell into that category, and the number is expected to grow. Of these suspects, 193 have been charged with being inside the Capitol building or with breaking through barriers to enter the Capitol grounds. We focused our research on these 193. We compared our findings on these suspected insurrectionists with demographic data that we had previously compiled on the 108 individuals arrested by the FBI and local law-enforcement agencies around the country for violence related to right-wing political causes from 2015 to 2020. We used the same methodology to analyze both groups: Our team reviewed all court documents related to each arrest—which include criminal complaints, statement of facts, and affidavits—and conducted searches of media coverage of each arrestee. Four findings stand out.

First, the attack on the Capitol was unmistakably an act of political violence, not merely an exercise in vandalism or trespassing amid a disorderly protest that had spiraled out of control. The overwhelming reason for action, cited again and again in court documents, was that arrestees were following Trump’s orders to keep Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the presidential-election winner. Dozens of arrestees, court records indicate, made statements explaining their intentions in detail on social media or in interviews with the FBI…Second, a large majority of suspects in the Capitol riot have no connection to existing far-right militias, white-nationalist gangs, or other established violent organizations. We erred on the side of inclusion; we counted an arrestee as affiliated with such an organization if any court documents or news articles describe the person as a member, refer to social-media posts expressing an affinity for a certain group, or attest to patches or apparel that directly indicate support. By these standards, 20 of the Capitol arrestees we studied— one-tenth—can be classified as supporters of gangs, militias, or militia-like groups such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Three Percenters. The role that such groups played in the riot has attracted considerable news coverage. But 89 percent of the arrestees have no apparent affiliation with any known militant organization. Connections were far more common among the suspected right-wing extremists arrested after incidents of deadly violence from 2015 to 2020. Of these, 26 percent were members of white-nationalist gangs (including skinhead groups and the Aryan Brotherhood), and 22 percent were part of militias and other organized groups (such as the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters).

Third, the demographic profile of the suspected Capitol rioters is different from that of past right-wing extremists. The average age of the arrestees we studied is 40. Two-thirds are 35 or older, and 40 percent are business owners or hold white-collar jobs. Unlike the stereotypical extremist, many of the alleged participants in the Capitol riot have a lot to lose. They work as CEOs, shop owners, doctors, lawyers, IT specialists, and accountants. Strikingly, court documents indicate that only 9 percent are unemployed. Of the earlier far-right-extremist suspects we studied, 61 percent were under 35, 25 percent were unemployed, and almost none worked in white-collar occupations.
Fourth, most of the insurrectionists do not come from deep-red strongholds…of those arrested for their role in the Capitol riot, more than half came from counties that Biden won; one-sixth came from counties that Trump won with less than 60 percent of the vote…We found that 39 percent of suspected insurrectionists came from battleground counties, where Trump received 40 to 60 percent of the vote; 12 percent came from counties where less than 60 percent of the population is white. In these and many other ways, the mix of counties from which the arrestees hailed was typical of all American counties. Importantly, our statistics show that the larger the absolute number of Trump voters in a county—regardless of whether he won it—the more likely it was to be home to a Capitol arrestee. Big metropolitan centers where Biden won overwhelmingly, such as the counties that include New York City, San Francisco, and Dallas, still have hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters. A third of suspected insurrectionists come from such counties; another quarter come from suburban counties of large metro areas. This breakdown mirrors the American population as a whole—and that is the point.

The information that our team analyzed has certain limits. While we studied only people whose alleged behavior triggered an arrest by law enforcement, different police agencies have different standards for when to act. Moreover, the arrests of suspected right-wing extremists as long ago as 2015 might lead to a years-long paper trail that includes evidence of militia or gang affiliations; in contrast, those arrested since January 6 might have affiliations not yet known to investigatorsWhat’s clear is that the Capitol riot revealed a new force in American politics—not merely a mix of right-wing organizations, but a broader mass political movement that has violence at its core and draws strength even from places where Trump supporters are in the minority. Preventing further violence from this movement will require a deeper understanding of its activities and participants…Americans who believe in democratic norms should be wary of pat solutions. Some of the standard methods of countering violent extremism—such as promoting employment or waiting patiently for participants to mellow with age—probably won’t mollify middle-aged, middle-class insurrectionists. And simply targeting better-established far-right organizations will not prevent people like the Capitol rioters from trying to exercise power by force.

This curious demographic data – if shown over time to have some validity – could partially debunk initial knee-jerk assumptions and biases of even people like myself, or other investigators or analysts, as to the causes and correlations of these types of views and behaviors with stereotypes, if we’re not careful. The bigger question is – how do we confront and manage a widespread close-minded, violent and aggression-oriented, and sometimes lawless cult of those we see as brain-washed and dangerous, if they come from amongst our own ranks, and from our neighborhoods and circles – and even churches?

In Part 3 of this series, we will look at how different elements of America’s faith community responded on the day of the insurrection, and in the aftermath how they perceived the true culprits, including major Christian and conservative media and their “Antifa” claims, how it was generated and spread (and by whom), allied conservative figures who joined in and later ashamedly renounced such claims to Trump and the public, and how the conservative citizenry ignored such debunking and has clung to the “Antifa insurrectionist” manufactured narrative, and associated myths.

Please check out my latest book, Two Masters and Two Gospels, Volume 1: The Teaching of Jesus Vs. the “Leaven of the Pharisees” in Talk Radio and Cable News. It is available at Amazon in paperback, hard cover and Kindle, Barnes and Noble in paperback, hardcover, dust cover, and NOOK (Epub), Walmart in paperback and hardcover, Books a Million in paperback, hardcover and ebook form, at the UK Gardners book chain distributor in paperback and hardcover, and in ebook form at Apple Books, Kobo, and many other places. The BookBaby Bookshop also has a special deal, offering all three ebook versions (Kindle, EPUB and pdf) for one price, and with an email address left at checkout, I will send an additional special written work not available for sale. Links to audio interviews about the book and new announcements can be found at my personal book site, www.mikebennettbooks.com, and my publisher’s site, www.akribospress.com.

Please, PLEASE, pass one the word about this blog and my book(s) in your social media circles, on blogs and forums, Youtube and personal family, friend and church contacts, because that is the ONLY way this conversation on these supremely important topics of our spiritual destiny and decisions and actions of eternal consequence will continue and expand on wider circles, since I have no staff or other outfit focused on publicity or public relations to engage social circles and influencers I am unable to reach with my limits on promotional time, activities, capabilities, connections and venues. Let’s work together to learn, grow and act in ever wider circles and influence, asking neglected and important questions, and expanding the Kingdom of Heaven, in our hearts, communities and societies! 

The REAL False Flag Operation, Part 1

NOTE TO THE READER: This is another topical blog post that gotten to be so long in content and scope, that as a courtesy to the reader I have split up into a series of posts. It concerns a topic now of interest to the new conspiracy-crowd that is the Religious Right, who has now as a late-comer embraced this viewpoint after introduction to the conspiracy-minded “don’t believe your eyes or the establishment” perspective from their extremist hard-right Christian and other Christian media outlets, both large and small, “mainstream” and small-time fringe blogs, podcasts, Facebook posts and tweets. Through this they have become versed into the old conspiracy concept that has historical precedents but is now-overused and supersaturated, that of the “false flag operation,” by agents provocateur in disguise, to implicate and discredit rival ideological camps. It reviews the latest popular arguments in conservative and Religious Right professional and social media that leftist radicals actually conducted the Capitol insurrection by those otherwise-plainly identified as right wing extremists in the “patriot movement,” including the cases of violent or provocative incidents in the years leading up to it. It explores the arguments popularly disseminated to date, who are the main figures formulating and dispensing these narratives, what are their histories, track records and possible motives for such, the extent of their accuracy or inaccuracy, and the appearances of a REAL “false flag” narrative being promulgated that is not what is being popularly identified in this public relations “sleight of hand.” It also painstakingly documents who the actual insurrectionists and inciters were in these events, based upon hard evidence of video and photo documentation, self-incriminating posts and writing, announcements of planned operations prior to the event, law enforcement investigations and legal filing and pleas, and statements by top government officials who admitted their intentions to incite, or were eyewitnesses to the culprits and the events.  In this introductory Part 1, we begin by summarizing the key events and timelines of the pivotal day of the Capitol insurrection, how President Trump set the stage (including literally) to prepare the people for war beforehand (with the help of violent militia groups and others online), bring the people to Washington at the very hour of the election certification, and provoke them into the seditious mob and combination vandal gang and lynch mob, and identify a few initial figures that have come from obscurity to experience a meteoric rise in the national media in capitalizing on the dark and disturbing latent impulses now seething in the American public that they have exploited for immediate profit and future agendas of even higher ambition.      

In the wake of the seditious Capitol insurrection on January 6, in which the attendees merely followed the commands of the Republican, conservative and “Christian” leaders at the nearby “Stop the Steal” rally minutes before to “fight like hell,” as President Trump told them to stop the lawful and normal Constitutional process of congressional acknowledgement of the electoral college certification of the election, or as Rudy Guiliani said there, telling the audience clad in body armor, camouflage, helmets and brandishing pikes, battering rams and stun guns to publicly begin the phase of “trial by combat” (to the cheers of the crowd), or Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks stated, who defines himself as a fine Southern gentleman who doesn’t even drink, who wisely and circumspectly told the openly armed attendees with “Camp Aushwitz” shirts and Odin tattoos and battle gear standing before him to “start kicking ass” minutes before the barbarian rampage on the seat of government, and subsequent vandalism and widespread manslaughter of the outnumbered law enforcement. The keynote speaker and messianic figure who drew the thousands there to be willing to commit acts of violence and murder and maybe sacrifice their own lives or freedom to come from across the nation and their white supremacist strongholds, Klaverns, compounds or churches, the recently defeated but ultimate “sore loser” Donald Trump, told the powder-keg audience of enraged nativists (“Christian” and Odin-worshippers both in unity) already “on the edge” that

…And Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t, that will be a, a sad day for our country because you’re sworn to uphold our Constitution. Now, it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down, we’re going to walk down. Anyone you want, but I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated.

At the end of his normally rambling, long speech of scattershot grievances, he concludes, as if to make sure the audience understands the purpose of this gathering and its agenda, that “…we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore…So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.” And then, exhibiting his typical bravery of being in the “line of fire” on behalf of his spellbound followers who would give their lives for him (much as he implored them to “patriotically” avoid wearing masks during the worst throes of the pandemic to show their loyalty to him, while anyone near him had to be carefully screened for the disease before near contact with him, and as his rally attendees had to accept waivers with their tickets to not sue the Trump campaign for contracting COVID under his “no mask” -expected event culture), media cameras showed that immediately after the speech – after the assembled mob followed orders to march on the Capitol right behind their fearless leader – Trump discretely slipped down back behind the stage, and into the security of his armored limousine and Secret Service to be quickly whisked away to the secure Oval Office, to watch the “entertainment” of his loyal followers bludgeoning law enforcement, killing and maiming and getting maimed themselves in life-threatening violence, as he comfortably watched the “spectacle.” As word came out that Mike Pence was being hunted within the halls of the Capitol, with a real gallows set outside that they said was earmarked for him, Nancy Pelosi and others (with Pence just missed by a few feet and seconds by the armed mob), when Trump received word and was asked by Republican leaders and staff to urgently intervene to spare Pence’s life (even though he stayed within Constitutional boundaries and did not attempt to interfere with the legal certification process), Trump sent out a broad tweet roughly 90 minutes after the beginning of the assault (2:23 PM EST) “calming” the situation of ongoing mortal combat by saying publicly to his followers there and the rest of the world that

Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!

Hours went by, as roughly 150 policemen were brutally beaten and five people were eventually killed (four of them officers) as the Capitol was ransacked, and a couple Congressional security agents barricaded the House chambers with Congressmen huddled in the balcony, firing their weapons as the mob attempted to break through, as they had already done in overtaking the Senate chambers. The acting chief of the Capitol police told Congress in testimony on Feb. 25 that their latest estimates were that over 10,000 people had invaded the Capitol grounds past police barricades in the riot, and over 800 of the insurrectionists actually entered the limited confines of the Capitol building itself, of which over 250 of the seditionists had been identified (either from their photo and video recognition and correlation to past profiles of right-wing extremist group affiliation, or simply bragging of and documenting their exploits on their own social media), to the point of already having been charged in court. During these fateful minutes when the lives of so many congressmen, the handful of policemen and the enraged mob hung in the balance, no one could get President Trump, the one man who could stop the blood-letting and potential massacre, from intervening, or from even being unglued from his television set, including interventions by his own staff and senior Republican figures, and reassessing his refraining from sending the National Guard to rescue the overwhelmed and doomed Capitol police. The Business Insider and many other media outlets reported that even Republican House Minority leader McCarthy, one of Trump’s biggest supporters and enforcers of his agenda, tried to plead with Trump and found him incredulous:

…former President Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had a testy phone call on January 6 as rioters overtook the Capitol. During the call, McCarthy pleaded for Trump to call off the mob, describing to him that rioters were breaking through his office’s windows. According to CNN, McCarthy told Trump that his supporters were leading the charge. “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump said, according to lawmakers who told CNN that they were briefed on the call by McCarthy. McCarthy reportedly snapped at the former president and told Trump, “Who the f— do you think you are talking to?” according to a Republican lawmaker who spoke with CNN. CNN cited conversations with several Republican lawmakers who were briefed on the call, including GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler issued a statement on Friday night confirming that McCarthy briefed her on the call...On January 13, McCarthy spoke on the House floor and said that Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack on the Capitol. McCarthy visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago in late January, where they discussed plans for the GOP to regain control of the House in 2022. (!)

Trump himself knew “something special” would be occurring on January 6; Reuters reported that on December 20 Trump was tweeting that ““Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!What did President Trump think would be “wild” – all the prayers of the Christians at their rally there that day as well? They also note that Trump later was prodded to take his “strong stand” against the violent mob as the hundreds of injured police and others were being tended to, saying via an impromptu video released hours later publicly and addressed to the white supremacists and others (who bashed in the heads of law enforcement and sought Vice President Pence and congressmen to hang) that “I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election…,” and they add that “He posted another message that called the mob ‘great patriots’ who were reacting to an election victory ‘viciously stripped away.’ Twitter later hid three tweets and locked Trump’s account.”

Other close devoted aides and advisors desperately attempted to get him to intervene as well; Politico reported that “Alyssa Farah, Trump’s former White House communications director urged him on Wednesday afternoon to ‘condemn’ his supporters who stormed the Capitol amid congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. ‘Condemn this now, @realDonaldTrump — you are the only one they will listen to. For our country!’ Farah wrote on Twitter. ‘Dear MAGA- I am one of you. Before I worked for @realDonaldTrump, I worked for @MarkMeadows & @Jim_Jordan & the @freedomcaucus,’ she added later Wednesday in another post to Twitter. ‘I marched in the 2010 Tea Party rallies. I campaigned w/ Trump & voted for him. But I need you to hear me: the Election was NOT stolen. We lost’. ” They also note that Trump’s hand-picked former homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, “called Wednesday’s insurrection ‘un-American’ — and pointed the finger directly at the man in the Oval Office. ‘The President undermined American democracy baselessly for months,’ Bossert tweeted. ‘As a result, he’s culpable for this siege, and an utter disgrace. Despite of him, not because of him, police will regain control and prosecute those involved’.”

Trump’s apologists later argued that Trump had “no idea” that the crowd of armed, military-wearing screaming rally attendees would actually LITERALLY “fight like hell” and “stop the steal” LITERALLY, with the meeting hailed in advance as an attempt to stop the congressional certification process that was underway (what he said would be “wild”) the very hour the rally was scheduled, as Trump publicly directed them to go down to the certification site itself at the time of certification to apply intimidating pressure of aggression to the elected officials. Their rapid denouncement of Trump and his culpability quickly vanished as soon as they saw that Republican support for Trump (particularly evangelicals, who are his primary apologists) had only become galvanized in support of Trump and in ignoring the plunder, death and terror brought on by these Holocaust denying, Odin worshipping, white supremacy and anarchy ideology-clad bezerkers – along with a bunch of “Jesus Saves” and similar “Christian” banner carriers allied alongside them, to be fair – as they brutally vandalized and hunted elected officials to lynch down the halls of the Capitol. After the smoke cleared (literally), Yahoo News and others were reporting that

Donald Trump’s incendiary speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 has been replayed and dissected endlessly on news broadcasts, and so has footage of the ensuing riot and invasion of the Capitol. But a new video released Monday seeks to connect the two events, intercutting the then president’s words with recordings of the crowd, soon to become a mob, cheering him on and chanting encouragement to “storm the Capitol.” The compilation, much of it from the now suspended right-wing social media site Parler, was produced by Just Security, an online national-security forum and think tank based at the New York University School of Law. The 10-minute video begins with a woman, identified as Jennifer Ryan, on her way to the rally, calling the day “a prelude to the war that’s about to happen.” “We’re here to take our country back,” she says. “There’s more of us than there are of them…We fight. We fight like hell,” he added. “And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” From the crowd came shouts of “storm the Capitol,” “invade the Capitol building” and “take the Capitol” as he spoke. Others could be heard mimicking Trump, chanting, “Fight like hell!” Hundreds of them did just that…“The video contains strong evidence that Trump did incite the insurrection, regardless of whether that was his intent,” Paul Butler, former federal prosecutor with the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department, told Just Security. “The rioter’s words ‘we were invited here’ were exactly right, and the refrain ‘fight for Trump’ was directly responsive to Trump’s demand. In criminal law, we would say this video proves the act but perhaps not the mental state — that Trump intended to cause the insurrection or knew it would happen as a result of his words.”

The Washington Post added more details about the Trump-loyal Republicans trying to urgently clarify to the President at the time of crisis that it was his followers doing the assault, and only he could intervene to save lives:

Hiding from the rioters in a secret location away from the Capitol, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) appealed to Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) phoned Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter. And Kellyanne Conway, a longtime Trump confidante and former White House senior adviser, called an aide who she knew was standing at the president’s side. But as senators and House members trapped inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday begged for immediate help during the siege, they struggled to get through to the president, who — safely ensconced in the West Wing — was too busy watching fiery TV images of the crisis unfolding around them to act or even bother to hear their pleas. “He was hard to reach, and you know why? Because it was live TV,” said one close Trump adviser. “If it’s TiVo, he just hits pause and takes the calls. If it’s live TV, he watches it, and he was just watching it all unfold.” Even as he did so, Trump did not move to act. And the message from those around him — that he needed to call off the angry mob he had egged on just hours earlier, or lives could be lost — was one to which he was not initially receptive. “It took him awhile to appreciate the gravity of the situation,” Graham said in an interview. “The president saw these people as allies in his journey and sympathetic to the idea that the election was stolen.”

Before the president’s remarks around noon, several of his family members addressed the crowd with speeches that all shared a central theme: Fight. Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, told the crowd that lawmakers needed to “show some fight” and “stand up,” before urging the angry mass to “march on the Capitol today.” Donald Trump Jr., another of the president’s sons, exhorted all “red-blooded, patriotic Americans” to “fight for Trump”… [during the siege] Conway immediately called a close personal aide who she knew was with the president, and said she was adding her name to the chorus of people urging Trump to speak to his supporters. He needed to tell them to stand down and leave the Capitol, she told the aide. Conway also told the aide that she had received calls from the D.C. mayor’s office asking for help in getting Trump to call up the National Guard. Ivanka Trump had gone to the Oval Office as soon as the riot became clear, and Graham reached her on her cellphone and implored her for help. “They were all trying to get him to speak out, to tell everyone to leave,” said Graham, referring to the small group of aides with Trump on Wednesday afternoon. Several Republican members of Congress also called White House aides, begging them to get Trump’s attention and have him call for the violence to end. The lawmakers reiterated that they had been loyal Trump supporters and were even willing to vote against the electoral college results — but were now scared for their lives, officials said.

…the vice president fielded calls from congressional leaders furious that the National Guard had not yet been deployed, this official said. Pence, from his secret location in the Capitol, spoke with legislative and military leaders, working to mobilize the soldiers and offering reassurance. Even as his supporters at the Capitol chanted for Pence to be hanged, Trump never called the vice president to check on him or his family. Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, eventually called the White House to let them know that Pence and his team were okay, after receiving no outreach from the president or anyone else in the White House. Meanwhile, in the West Wing, a small group of aides — including Ivanka Trump, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and Meadows — was imploring Trump to speak out against the violence. Meadows’s staff had prompted him to go see the president, with one aide telling the chief of staff before he entered the Oval Office, “They are going to kill people.” Shortly after 2:30 p.m., the group finally persuaded Trump to send a tweet: “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement,” he wrote. “They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” But the Twitter missive was insufficient, and the president had not wanted to include the final instruction to “stay peaceful,” according to one person familiar with the discussions.

McCarthy did eventually reach Trump, but later told allies that he found the president distracted. So McCarthy repeatedly appeared on television to describe the mayhem, an adviser said, in an effort to explain just how dire the situation was. McCarthy also called Kushner, who that afternoon was arriving back from a trip to the Middle East. The Secret Service originally warned Kushner that it was unsafe to venture downtown to the White House. McCarthy pleaded with him to persuade Trump to issue a statement for his supporters to leave the Capitol, saying he’d had no luck during his own conversation with Trump, the adviser said. So Kushner headed to the White House. At one point, Trump worried that the unruly group was frightening GOP lawmakers from doing his bidding and objecting to the election results, an official said. National security adviser Robert C. O’Brien also began calling members of Congress to ask how he could help. He called Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) around 4 p.m., a Lee spokesman said. In an unlikely twist, Lee had heard from the president earlier — when he accidentally dialed the senator in a bid to reach Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) to discuss overturning the election. Others were still having trouble getting through to the White House. Speaking on ABC News shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday, Chris Christie, a GOP former governor of New Jersey, said he’d spent the last 25 minutes trying to reach Trump directly to convey a simple, if urgent, message. “The president caused this protest to occur; he’s the only one who can make it stop,” Christie said. “The president has to come out and tell his supporters to leave the Capitol grounds and to allow the Congress to do their business peacefully. And anything short of that is an abdication of his responsibility.”

Trump aides did three takes of the video and chose the most palatable option — despite some West Wing consternation that the president had called the violent protesters “very special.” “This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people,” Trump said in the video, released shortly after 4 p.m. “We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel”…At 6:01 p.m., Trump blasted out yet another tweet, which Twitter quickly deleted and which many in his orbit were particularly furious about, fearing he was further inflaming the still-tense situation. “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so ­unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump wrote. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!

Days afterwards, according to The Hill, Republican Senator Ben Sasse was reporting on conservative talk radio that he heard from senior White House officials that President Trump was “delighted” to hear that his supporters were breaking into the Capitol building in a riot Wednesday that turned deadly. They write that, “As this was unfolding on television, Donald Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was as you had rioters pushing against Capitol Police trying to get into the building,” Sasse told conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt in an interview. “That was happening. He was delighted.” “I’m sure you’ve also had conversations with other senior White House officials, as I have,” Sasse told Hewitt.

Regarding who actually finally authorized National Guard to belatedly rescue the imperiled Capitol police and push back the violent mob hunting the congressmen whose actions they politically opposed (to hang or otherwise assault them), it was reported that “Public statements by acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and other top officials suggested it was Pence who ultimately approved the decision. Miller’s statement Wednesday seems to indicate he did not even speak with Trump, discussing the matter with his deputy instead as sources told CNN the President was reluctant to even denounce the violence being carried out in his name.” Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was asked about whether Pence and not Trump finally authorized the National Guard rescuers, and he replied that “I know the vice president has been in constant contact with us and also along with security inside the Capitol, I communicated with the vice president early on. It was in regards to getting the National Guard there. He said he will call right now,” which conflicted with the narrative of Trump press secretary and loyalist Kaleigh McEnany. They add that “Miller also confirmed that he and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, spoke with Pence, not Trump, on Wednesday afternoon. He also said he was in contact with top congressional lawmakers.”

So who were the mystery people who coordinated the assault on the Capitol Building? A likely “false flag” operation by leftist saboteurs, as we have been told by conservative media? Well, the planners and masterminds of the attack are well known, and many aspects of their plans were known well in advance. Buzzfeed News reported that

The supporters of President Donald Trump who rioted in the US Capitol building on Wednesday had been openly planning for weeks on both mainstream social media and the pro-Trump internet. On forums like TheDonald, a niche website formed after Reddit banned the subreddit of the same name, they promised violence against lawmakers, police, and journalists if Congress did not reject the results of the 2020 election. In one interaction four days ago, a person on TheDonald asked, “What if Congress ignores the evidence?” “Storm the Capitol,” said one reply, which received more than 500 upvotes. “You’re f___g right we do.” On pro-Trump social media website Parler, chat app Telegram, and other corners of the the far-right internet, people discussed the Capitol Hill rally at which Trump spoke as the catalyst for a violent insurrection. They have been using those forums to plan an uprising in plain sight, one that they executed Wednesday afternoon, forcing Congress to flee its chambers as it met to certify the results of the election.

Hundreds of extremists’ posts discussed bringing firearms in violation of Washington, DC, law. Nevertheless, people displayed weapons that they had brought with them. “All this bullshit about not bringing guns to D.C. needs to stop,” read one post from Tuesday with more than 5,000 upvotes. “This is America. F__k D.C. it’s in the Constitution. Bring your g___d___n guns.” According to Advance Democracy, a nonprofit research organization, all corners of the social web were signaling imminent violence in the days leading up to the riot. “On TheDonald, more than 50% of the top posts on January 4, 2021, about the January 6th Electoral College certification featured unmoderated calls for violence in the top five responses,” the organization found. “ARMED WITH RIFLE, HANDGUN, 2 KNIVES AND AS MUCH AMMO AS YOU CAN CARRY,” one post on the website said. This was also the case on Parler, ADI found. One account, with the name No Trump No Peace #GoTime, posted a GIF with a noose and a caption that said, “Who would you like to see ‘dispatched’ first? 1) Nancy Pelosi 2) John Roberts 3) Pence 4) other (please name) I was leaning towards Nancy, but it might have to be Pence”…Even on mainstream social media channels like Twitter and TikTok, calls for violence were easy to find…“No wonder the President said January 6 in DC was going to be wild.@LLinWood just told us many of our politicians are raping and killing children. They won’t be able to walk down the street,” a post said. Calls for violence could even be heard the night before the protests. “Tomorrow — I don’t even like to say it because I’ll be arrested — I’ll say it. Tomorrow, we need to go into the Capitol,” one man said on a livestream by white supremacist Baked Alaska, a far-right internet troll whose real name is Tim Gionet and who once briefly worked for BuzzFeed. The next day, Gionet was sitting in a Senate office, having stormed the building as part of the mob. On Facebook, a group called Red State Secession gathered nearly 8,000 members. The group sent people to a website that offered travel routes to DC and provided memes to post on social media. There was no channel that seemed more important than The Donald. “I’m thinking it will be literal war on that day,” said one commenter, according to the Daily Beast. “Where we’ll storm offices and physically remove and even kill all the D.C. traitors and reclaim the country.” A Jan. 4 post on the website featuring an image with the words “Pepe army” and “stop the steal” gathered 5,500 upvotes. “Stop the steal and execute the ‘stealers,’” the top comment read.

The day after the attack, Forbes added that one of the threats of violence on that day came from the organizer of the Stop the Steal rally itself, noting that ““We came up with the idea to occupy just outside the CAPITOL on Jan 6th,” the leaders of the Stop the Steal movement wrote on Dec. 23, with movement founder Ali Alexander telling Parler: “If D.C. escalates … so do we” (emphasis added). They also note that a graphic posted to the site [TheDonald] showed a map of key streets around Congress that protesters wanted to obstruct: “There’s 535 politicians and ~3500 guards.””

Near the end of that month, the Washington Post gave another glimpse of the kind of militant-type groups assembling nationwide to coordinate a violent assault on the Capitol on January 6, in the public forums online by self-identified people well in advance of the event:

When die-hard supporters of President Donald Trump showed up at rally point “Cowboy” in Louisville on the morning of Jan. 5, they found the shopping mall’s parking lot was closed to cars, so they assembled their 50 or so vehicles outside a nearby Kohl’s department store. Hundreds of miles away in Columbia, S.C., at a mall designated rally point “Rebel,” other Trump supporters gathered to form another caravan to Washington. A similar meetup — dubbed “Minuteman” — was planned for Springfield, Mass. That same day, FBI personnel in Norfolk were increasingly alarmed by the online conversations they were seeing, including warlike talk around the convoys headed to the nation’s capital. One map posted online described the rally points, declaring them a “MAGA Cavalry To Connect Patriot Caravans to StopTheSteal in D.C.” Another map showed the U.S. Congress, indicating tunnels connecting different parts of the complex. The map was headlined, “CREATE PERIMETER,” according to the FBI report, which was reviewed by The Washington Post. “Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in,” read one posting, according to the report. (emphasis added)

…Video and court filings, for instance, describe how several groups of men that include alleged members of the Proud Boys appear to engage in concerted action, converging on the West Front of the Capitol just before 1 p.m., near the Peace Monument at First Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Different factions of the crowd appear to coalesce, move forward and chant under the direction of different leaders before charging at startled police staffing a pedestrian gate, all in the matter of a few minutes. An indictment Friday night charged a member of the Proud Boys, Dominic Pezzola, 43, of Rochester, N.Y., with conspiracy, saying his actions showed “planning, determination, and coordination.” Another alleged member of the Proud Boys, William Pepe, 31, of Beacon, N.Y., also was charged with conspiracy. Minutes before the crowd surge, at 12:45 p.m., police received the first report of a pipe bomb behind the Republican National Committee headquarters at the opposite, southeast side of the U.S. Capitol campus. The device and another discovered shortly afterward at Democratic National Committee headquarters included end caps, wiring, timers and explosive powder, investigators have said. Some law enforcement officials have suggested the pipe bombs may have been a deliberate distraction meant to siphon law enforcement away from the Capitol building at the crucial moment. (emphasis added)

…One of the comments cited in the FBI memo declared Trump supporters should go to Washington and get “violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die.” Some had been preparing for conflict for weeks. Prosecutors say Jessica Marie Watkins — an Ohio bartender who had formed her own small, self-styled militia group and had joined Oath Keepers, according to prosecutors — began recruiting and organizing in early November for an “operation.” Days after the election, Watkins allegedly sent text messages to a number of individuals who had expressed interest in joining her group, which called itself the Ohio State Regular Militia. “I need you fighting fit by innaugeration [sic],” she told one recruit, according to court papers. The same day, she also asked a recruit to download Zello, an app that allows a cellphone to operate like a push-to-talk walkie-talkie, saying her group uses it “for operations.” In conversations later that month, Watkins allegedly spoke in apocalyptic terms about the prospect of Joe Biden’s being sworn in as president on Jan. 20. “If he is, our way of life as we know it is over. Our Republic would be over. Then it is our duty as Americans to fight, kill and die for our rights. . . . If Biden get the steal, none of us have a chance in my mind. We already have our neck in the noose. They just haven’t kicked the chair yet.”

In December, prosecutors say, Donovan Ray Crowl, a 50-year-old friend of Watkins’s, attended a training camp in North Carolina, while another friend, Thomas E. Caldwell, a 66-year-old Navy veteran from Berryville, Va., booked a room at an Arlington hotel, where Watkins also had a reservation for the days surrounding the Jan. 6 pro-Trump rally. Prosecutors say Caldwell had written earlier to Watkins that “I believe we will have to get violent to stop this, especially the antifa maggots who are sure to come out en masse even if we get the Prez for 4 more years.” In the week leading up to the rally and riot, Watkins and Caldwell were in regular contact as they talked about various groups of people meeting up on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, according to an indictment filed this past week against them…Caldwell replied that he was speaking to another person who expected a bus with 40 people to come from North Carolina. Caldwell allegedly told her that person, identified only as “Paul” in other court papers, “is committed to being the quick reaction force [and] bringing the tools if something goes to hell. That way the boys don’t have to try to schlep weps on the bus” — an apparent reference to weapons… Videos from the Capitol show Oath Keepers such as Watkins dressed in military-type gear, moving in coordination with Crowl through the crowds around the building. Watkins used the walkie-talkie app to tell others she was part of a group of about 30 to 40 people who are “sticking together and sticking to the plan,” according to court documents and as first publicly reported by WNYC podcast “On the Media.” Caldwell, for his part, posted images to Facebook, writing: “Us storming the castle. Please share. Sharon is right with me. I am such an instigator!” (emphasis added)

…In a phone interview this month, Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers…said the only “mission” the Oath Keepers had organized to undertake in D.C. on Jan. 6 was dignitary protection for far-right personalities who had traveled to the city to participate in “Stop the Steal” events. At the time of the riot, Rhodes said, he had just escorted one of the VIPs to a nearby hotel. Rhodes said one of his deputies “called and said, ‘People are storming the Capitol.’ I walked back over and found” fellow Oath Keepers, Rhodes said, but did not enter the building. Rhodes disavowed any meaningful connection to Caldwell or Crowl. Rhodes said Watkins had played an important part in the group’s mobilization in opposition to demonstrations around police abuse in Louisville last year…“Historically, within the right-wing extremist movements, leadership has produced rhetoric to spin up their members, increase radicalization and recruitment, and then stand back and let small cells or individual lone offenders follow through on that rhetoric with violent action,” said Thomas O’Connor, a former FBI agent who spent decades investigating domestic terrorists. “Domestic terrorism actually developed the leaderless resistance concept, taking the potential blame away from the leadership and putting it down into small groups or individuals, and I think that is what you’re starting to see here”…Colin Clarke, a domestic terrorism expert at the Soufan Group, said the Jan. 6 attack represents a “proof of concept” for dangerous extremists. “They talk about things like this in a lot of their propaganda, and the fact that the Capitol Police allowed this to happen, you can call it a security breach, or intelligence failure, but these people do not look at this as a failure, they look at it as an overwhelming success, and one that will inspire others for years.” (emphasis added)

Right-wing militia movement leaders like Rhodes, a Yale Law School graduate, former U.S. Army paratrooper, and former staffer for Republican Congressman Ron Paul, who in 2015 was disbarred by the Montana Supreme Court for conduct violating the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct, now leading a militia group of what they claim to be 30,000 ex- or current military and police officers, learned well from their experience in senior military, political and government positions of the concept of “plausible deniability,” and riling up the rabid followers and “patsys” (like a Lee Harvey Oswald) to “take the fall” in accomplishing their agendas – which is why they may admire Trump in his ability to obtain similar messianic devotion from the peasantry to take extreme actions and positions even against their own best interests but rather for Trump and his elite friends. It is also ironic, and probably essential on a subconscious, Freudian “id” level, that these meetup groups – planning to “fight to their deaths” for Trump if need be – were labeled “Cowboy,” “Rebel” and “Minuteman;” three of the most profound archetypes of deep meaning and symbolism to hard-right working-class citizenry of American heritage that gives license to the flesh-satisfying use of violence for so-called “sacred” causes to keep cultural outsiders and “savages” from “raping their women,” and worst yet, diluting their “superior,” “elect” Anglo-Saxon culture with notions of pluralism, diversity, democracy, mutual cross-fertilization and appreciation of different cultures, and the new ideas and deeper appreciation of others that comes with it, as well as accepting responsibilities to others across the ocean, or those of different cultures and even skin types or ethnic features on their own continent, which these three archetypes represent to some degree. 

On an archived copy of the web page of the rally organizer, “The March to Save America” (which was evidently disabled after the rally/coup attempt), announces the “rally” on January 6 by saying that “Join President Donald J. Trump outside the White House on January 6,” and knowing that the crowd will be dominated by militant mask and vaccine resisters (against the New World Order and Illuminati, of course), such resistance further encouraged by the speakers that consider COVID an overblown conspiracy like Dr. Simone Gold, of course requires the following waiver of COVID liability by the organizers of what they privately know is a real threat, signed as a requirement for attendance:

“By registering for this event, you understand and expressly acknowledge that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. In attending the event, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19, and waive, release, and discharge the host venue; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers from any and all liability under any theory, whether in negligence or otherwise, for any illness or injury. I accept the above COVID-19 disclaimer.”

After the rally and speakers near the white House, they note that “At 1:00 PM, we protest at US Capitol.” They add that “On January 6, 2021, millions of Americans will descend upon Washington DC to let the establishment know we will fight back against this fraudulent election. Take a stand with President Trump and the #StopTheSteal coalition… The fate of our nation depends on it. At 1:00 PM, we will march to the US Capitol building to protest the certification of the Electoral College.” They note that “Participating in the March to Save America” included groups like “WildProtest.com,” “Phyllis Schlafly Eagle Fund,” “Tea Party Patriots” and, more than ironic given the deadly lawless  mob action attempting to impale, gas and bludgeon police officers and vandalize and plunder the iconic Capitol spurred on by it, also included the groups “Peaceably Gather” and “Rule of Law Defense Fund.” Another sponsor of the rally/coup, “Turning Point,” as judged from its website, is “a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote freedom,” and is a “STUDENT MOVEMENT FOR FREEDOM ON OVER 2,000 CAMPUSES.” It is a splashy website with a lot of business going on everywhere and “in your face” images, evidently meant to attract young people, and promote activism, with a “live stream,” podcast and such. It offers a helpful “Professor Watchlist,” and features a tickertape-style “Trending Topics” including “Big Government Sucks,” “Cancel Culture,” “Woke Culture,” “Hypocrisy,” “Military,” “Riots,” “Capitalism,” “Gun Control,” “Leftist,” “Marxism,” “Regressive Left,” “Antifa,” “Black Lives Matter,” “COVID-19,” “Socialism Sucks,” and the like. It offers services to “Buy Coffee for Cops,” and shows big neon signs saying, “Big Gov Sucks.” It features wonderful shirts like the word “COEXIST,” made out of guns, ammunition and a gun sight. The bottom of the page says it was “founded by Charlie Kirk.”

Charlie Kirk is a twenty-something conservative talk show host, with the fifth-most followed Twitter account and the founder of Turning Point USA. He has had a similar path to the malevolent Stephen Miller, by being famous as a conservative high school activist in an essay on liberal bias in textbooks being featured on Breitbart, and later Fox News Business. He provided the pro-big business message and anti-poor assistance mindset that draws big-business and wealth class money to underwrite his message as their mouthpiece, executing this well-worn path to prosperity via the wealth of billionaire investor Foster Friess after the 2012 Republican Convention (the cowboy hat-wearing Wyoming resident is known for being a major funder of Islamophobia organizations like Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy (saying on the website of Turning Point (where he is on its Advisory Council) regarding Islam that it “is this threat to our western way of life is more powerful than Nazism or even Communism ever was in the 1900s,” and suggesting his “born-again” experience paying off by it subsequently having his financial “firm grow to a $15 billion portfolio”), and stating in the public media that the most proper contraception for women is to “put an aspirin between their knees“).

Forbes reported in December 2020 that President Trump was placing young Kirk (who had never graduated from any college) on a “commission [that] would promote ‘patriotic education’ and a ‘pro-American curriculum that celebrates the truth about our nation’s great history,’ rather than what he called ‘left-wing indoctrination’ in schools”; they also note Kirk’s assertion of the “rigged election” and that “the science around masks is very questionable, very questionable.” In December 2020 Vanity Fair reported about “the pro–Trump youth group Turning Point USA’s year-end gala, kicking off Friday night at Mar-a-Lago, and its annual Student Action Summit,” with 5,000 students expected, with “Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Matt Gaetz, Donald Trump Jr.” as speakers, and autograph signing by Rudy Giuliani. They pointed out the minimal COVID protections planned for the expected-rowdy party crowd, noting that, “Do not force me to wear a mask, it’s that simple. I’m not gonna do it, I’m not,” Kirk said during a rant on his podcast in July. “Every single time I go into one of these grocery stores, ‘Where’s your mask?’ I say, well first of all, the science around masks is very questionable, very questionable”…Kirk made the comments just days prior to the death of Turning Point’s other cofounder, Bill Montgomery, due to complications from COVID-19.

The non-profit watchdog Pro Publica (whom I routinely use to gather IRS data on non-profit organizations and their boards and donors) reported that “The conservative star [26-year-old Kirk] dines with the president at Mar-a-Lago and rang in the new year there. During each of the last two winters, he used the club to hold a formal fundraiser for his nonprofit, Turning Point USA, that featured Donald Trump Jr.,” and that “its revenue has ballooned, reaching $28 million, a sevenfold increase in four years. But behind the scenes, Turning Point USA has entered into questionable financial arrangements, particularly involving Kirk’s mentor, William Montgomery, the lesser-known co-founder who is credited with discovering Kirk.” They add that “The nonprofit has also made misleading assertions about its finances to state and federal regulators, according to interviews and an examination of tax and business records…the accounting firm Turning Point uses has engaged in multiple business relationships with Montgomery, who for years served as the nonprofit’s treasurer.” They add that “Turning Point was founded in 2012 by Kirk, then 18, and Montgomery, who invested in the young activist after hearing him speak at a small college in the state. At the 2016 Republican National Convention, Kirk met Trump Jr. and would soon accompany him on the road as an assistant. As Turning Point has thrived, Kirk’s salary has grown from $27,000 to nearly $300,000, and he no longer lives with his parents — last May he bought a $855,000 two-bedroom, two-bathroom oceanfront condo in Longboat Key, Florida, county property records show.” They write that “Turning Point amplifies White House messaging by regularly tweeting memes and one-liners supportive of Trump administration policies or politics to hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, and it retweets similar messages sent by Kirk, who is followed by nearly 2 million people. Meanwhile, Kirk’s and the group’s tweets are often retweeted by the president, promoting the young leader’s incendiary statements to more than 82 million followers, including his description of COVID-19 as the ‘China virus’.” They add that “Turning Point says it now has “a presence” on more than 2,000 campuses, 272 employees and an affiliated nonprofit largely focused on supporting Trump. Yet as the organization has expanded, it has on occasion been the center of controversy.”

In April 2020 the New York Times provided a more in-depth profile of Kirk and the “method” to his “madness,” and in particular how he has used the COVID crisis to to express seeds of doubt of the government and educated specialist experts, in wooing the support, resources and access of being a devotee of the Trump personality cult:

Shortly before midnight on Friday, and just hours after he had taken to Twitter to encourage Americans to “liberate” three Democratic-governed states from stay-at-home orders, President Trump reopened his Twitter app and went on another brief tear. He retweeted 11 posts by Charlie Kirk, a young right-wing provocateur with ties to the Trump family and a social media presence that attracts far more attention than some mainstream news organizations…One tweet accused the World Health Organization of covering up the coronavirus outbreak, and upbraided Democrats for opposing the president’s decision to cut the group’s funding. Another claimed Democrats were appeasing Beijing and not doing enough to help Americans left jobless by the pandemic. A few covered some of the president’s longstanding grievances, such as the conviction of Roger Stone and claims of voter fraud. A well-worn conspiracy theory about Hunter Biden’s dealings with China even made an appearance. Never mind that the W.H.O. — which Mr. Kirk called “the Wuhan Health Organization,” after the city where the pandemic began — issued warnings about the virus early and often, and that a number of the other tweets similarly misconstrued facts. Mr. Kirk doesn’t always let facts get in the way of scoring points, and in recent months he has been among the louder voices stoking conservative skepticism of the threat posed by Covid-19 and using the pandemic as political cudgel. In fact, Mr. Trump first introduced his more than 77 million Twitter followers to the phrase “China Virus” in a retweet of a post by Mr. Kirk on March 10 that linked two Trumpian obsessions: China and the border wall. “Now more than ever, we need the wall. With China Virus spreading across the globe, the U.S. stands a chance if we can control our borders,” Mr. Kirk wrote.

Mixing, matching and twisting facts, Mr. Kirk has come to exemplify a new breed of political agitator that has flourished since the 2016 election by walking the line between mainstream conservative opinion and outright disinformation. It is a style that often seems modeled on that of Mr. Trump himself. Backed by prominent Republican donors, and with a powerful ally in the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., Mr. Kirk both amplifies the president’s message and helps shape itThe president, in turn, has boosted Mr. Kirk’s reach, helping him secure a spot in the regular rotation of pundits who appear on mainstream conservative outlets like Fox News and bring his views to an even wider audience…In his zeal, Mr. Kirk even managed to get himself briefly banned from Twitter in late March, claiming that the drug hydroxychloroquine had proved “100% effective” in treating the virus (it has not), and that Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, had threatened doctors who tried to use it (she had not). Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, followed suit in his own tweet, directly quoting Mr. Kirk and getting his own account suspended…Mr. Kirk was an early and eager voice for reopening the economy, and last week urged on protesters who took to the streets in Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio. He spent the days leading up to Easter arguing that social-distancing prohibitions against church services were part of a Democratic plot against Christianity.

…it was at the [2016 Republican] convention that Mr. Kirk, like much of the Republican Party, began falling in line. And it was there he first met Donald Trump Jr. Sensing an opportunity, Mr. Kirk offered to help bolster his standing with young conservatives. He then essentially trailed the younger Mr. Trump in the final months of the campaign, ingratiating himself with the family. “I traveled the country for about 70 days straight carrying Donald Trump Jr.’s bags and getting his Diet Cokes,” Mr. Kirk told the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh in February 2019. “Helping book flights and taking pictures and coordinating media, essentially being the youth director of the campaign and also being Don Jr.’s body man.” The relationship has proved mutually beneficial as both men have constructed careers around the idea that left-wing culture has victimized and silenced conservatives. Mr. Kirk has used his Trump connections to raise Turning Point’s profile, and his own. Mr. Trump has used speaking engagements with Turning Point to burnish his own conservative bona fides. The relationship had other benefits, too. Last fall, Turning Point purchased about 2,000 copies of Mr. Trump’s book, “Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us,” helping push it up best-seller listsThe guests on Mr. Kirk’s podcast provide a useful measure of his influence: They have included Mark Meadows, the former congressman and now White House chief of staff, Senator Rick Scott of Florida, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and other leading Republicans. His allies credit his ability to tap into anger and frustration felt by conservatives and turn that into messaging. Fox News stars like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson may attract more attention from the political and media establishments. But Mr. Kirk boasts an equally impressive reach, albeit among a far-younger audience — an important political quarry for the president…Mr. Kirk speaks often at college events; his group has secretly funneled money into student government elections and maintains what it calls a “Professor Watchlist” of teachers who, it alleges, discriminate against conservatives or advance left-wing propaganda.

But Mr. Kirk’s combative style truly thrives on social media. In the final two weeks of March, for instance, his Twitter posts about the coronavirus garnered far more “engagements” — a combination of likes, retweets, comments and other interactions — than those of mainstream news organizations like The New York Times and CNN. Conservative outlets like The Daily Caller have not even come close to matching Mr. Kirk’s level of engagement. In that time, Mr. Kirk has…claimed falsely that officials in Portland, Ore., where a handful of businesses were vandalized after the state issued a stay-at-home order, were releasing dangerous inmates from prisons and ordering the police to stop making arrests. “Democrat logic,” he said, was responsible for vandals “smashing windows & destroying businesses.” And then, of course, there was his “China virus” tweet…the president had not used the phrase in public until he retweeted Mr. Kirk.

[After the founding of Turning Point when he was eighteen], over the next few years, as Mr. Kirk began making regular appearances on Fox News, Turning Point’s profile grew, attracting tens of millions of dollars from the Republican establishment. Though Turning Point is not required to disclose its financial backers, its roster of heavyweight conservative donors includes Foster Friess, an evangelical Christian businessman who provided the first big injection of cash; the foundation run by Bernard Marcus, co-founder of the Home Depot; and the foundation started by Richard and Helen DeVos, the in-laws of Betsy Devos, the education secretary. Its board members include Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Turning Point has also drawn controversy. A number of staff members have been fired for making racist and anti-Semitic comments, and the group has attracted support from white nationalists.

The Atlantic foresaw his rise as a 21-year-old as far back as March 2015, beginning to forge a message digestible for high-schoolers at an ideal time for his fateful intersection with the unexpected rise of the Trump campaign and movement. They write that

The first time Bill Montgomery met Charlie Kirk, then 18 years old, he gave him advice a fresh high school grad rarely hears. “You can’t go to college!” Montgomery…recalled telling him. Montgomery was at Benedictine University, in the western Chicago suburb of Lisle, Illinois, for the college’s Youth Government Day in May 2012. The slate of speakers “put the kids”—a few hundred high school students—”to sleep,” he told National Journal. But when Kirk took the floor, the energy in the room completely changed. The kids weren’t sleeping anymore. And their attention was rapt—on Kirk…That’s the effect Kirk tends to have on people. GOP donors, strategists, and even presidential candidates are awed by his composure, his intellect, his passion for politics.

“Standing behind free markets and limited government” is what 21-year-old Kirk told the National Journal his organization and mission was about. I don’t know if Kirk knows (or cares) that concepts like “free markets” and “limited government” were popularized in the burgeoning American media, based upon and coopting the minority views of isolated, often-eccentric academics before that time (some of whom had important questions to ask of the assumptions of Keynesian economic models), that was first forged en masse by the Gilded Age and “robber baron” early eras of the Industrial Revolution to derail counter-movements such as the Social Gospel, Progressive Era and New Deal that were bringing the well-being and interests of the displaced and powerless common folk and workers into the national mission and social concern, as I document in my book published last year, Two Masters and Two Gospels, Vol. 1. It played perfectly for a teenaged but hyper-ambitious Kirk who eschewed foundational education and growth for “grabbing the brass ring” when opportunity appeared, as wealthy mentors with their own agendas found him to be a useful mouthpiece. In turn he was willing to ingratiate himself to a demagogue-styled movement he saw on the rise, and do obeisance by literally “carrying their bags” and do their bidding in untapped youth markets that would be ordinarily repelled by such a selfish message and thus serve his overlords. He did this to the point to pushing absurd ideas even he must know are groundless but which the raging natives amongst the citizenry would be susceptible to, for the material “rewards” and ego-feeding influence in response have been so great for an immature young man willing to be resolute without being distracted by contemplation or introspection on the victims of his agenda, or by taking an early phase of life to first learn about and understand the world.

The Atlantic continues by noting that, at 2015, the time of their writing – before Trump-mania had spooled up – he had “built a network of thousands of student activists around the country, and been entrusted with, he says, at least $1 million by donors enthralled by his conservative promise. His backers swear he’s the future of conservative politics—and he’s only just old enough to drink.” When asked about their claims in these early days of one million dollars in income, they write that his older partner/mentor “Montgomery balked at questions about the implausibility of such a young organization, headed by such a young executive director, raising substantial money, insisting that the group wanted to maintain Kirk’s air of ‘mystique’.” They close by quoting investment firm chief Peter Huizenga and Montgomery in 2015, writing that

This guy has got all the qualifications that it takes to be president of the United States,” Huizenga told National Journal. In a separate interview, Montgomery agreed, saying, “That’s kind of the impression he gives people”…”Charlie is doing more in the youth movement than all of the other conservative youth organizations in the country,” Montgomery said. “He is the future of the conservative movement in my opinion.”

The Chicago Business periodical also took note of Kirk and his organization back in 2015, giving a glimpse of its type of operations. They write that

Turning Point displays at campus fairs are filled with colorful posters that cheer capitalism and boo big government. The most popular one right now spells out LOL, with the “O” styled after President Obama’s iconic campaign logo. The group’s field activists approach their duties with evangelical passion. When they reel in a curious student, out comes an electronic tablet with a questionnaire. “Where do you think the most cuts should be made in the budget?” asks one multiple-choice question. The options include defense, social programs, health care, environment, or “government itself.” The survey concludes with a place for respondents to list their name, graduation year, and e-mail address… Turning Point’s Texas field coordinator Stephanie Conway, who moved to Dallas after graduating from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2014, set up a display in the student union. Dressed in a Turning Point T-shirt that read “Big Government Sucks,” she asked passersby, “Hey, who wants to talk about the debt?”…The group’s paid workers are each supposed to make at least 1,500 student contacts per semester. About 20,000 people have attended a Turning Point event, posted on social media, or volunteered for the group’s events, Kirk says [in 2015]. Turning Point also registers voters in states that will be critical in 2016, including Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio…Turning Point’s headquarters have moved out of Kirk’s parents’ house in Wheeling and into a garage in Lemont, southwest of Chicago. (“Apple and Amway also started in garages, so we’re in really good company,” Kirk says.)

Although very young and inexperienced, and seemingly overly ambitious, Salem Communications, the mega-corporation radio juggernaut of the top conservative secular and Christian media celebrities, bypassed scores of conservative journalists with decades of seasoned, balanced and mature perspectives on the culture, in announcing in September 2020 that the twenty-something Kirk would have his own nationwide syndicated daytime radio program through them. Their press release states that “Salem Media Group is America’s leading multimedia company specializing in Christian and conservative content, with media properties comprising radio, digital media and book and newsletter publishing. Each day Salem serves a loyal and dedicated audience of listeners and readers numbering in the millions nationally…Salem provides compelling content, fresh commentary and relevant information from some of the most respected figures across the Christian and conservative media landscape.” Within the release they announce that

Salem Media Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: SALM) announced today that Salem Radio Network has signed an agreement with Charlie Kirk to host a daily three hour talk radio program beginning Monday, October 5th. The show will air live in the Noon to 3pm ET daypart and be available to stations either live or tape delayed…Today that organization [Turning Point] has a presence on over 2,000 campuses, directly engages over 250,000 students every year, and boasts a staff of over 450 full-time and part-time employees scattered across the country, all “playing offense with a sense of urgency to win America’s culture war”…Earlier this year he wrote the book “The MAGA Doctrine: The Only Ideas that Will Win the Future” that became an Amazon #1 best seller as well as a New York Times best seller for multiple weeks. “I grew up listening to conservative talk radio, so I’m excited to bring a new generation’s voice to the medium and I’m thrilled to work with SRN to do that,” said Charlie. “It’s time to work. The country is in trouble and we have to save it.” “Rarely do we find somebody as knowledgeable and talented as Charlie Kirk as a potential talk radio host,” said Phil Boyce, Senior Vice President of the Salem Radio Network. “He wants to change the world, and I think he’s the type of talent who can actually do that…Charlie is the host of one of America’s fastest growing podcasts called “The Charlie Kirk Show,” which in little over a year has quickly become one of the top ten podcasts according to the Apple News charts… Charlie has already reached lofty elevations in social media, with over 1.8 million followers on Twitter, 1.2 million followers on Instagram, 1.4 million followers on Facebook and over 165,000 subscribers on YouTube and growing fast. Salem President of Broadcast Dave Santrella said “Salem is always at its best when we stay in our lane and provide our consumers with the content they find most appealing. Charlie Kirk falls in the very center of that bullseye.”

Of course, with the emergence of such a “hot property” in hard right circles, it was not long before Liberty University could foresee some lucrative opportunities to associate with him, particularly during the President Jerry Falwell Jr. tenure. In 2019 Liberty made the following press release announcement:

A new, national think tank was launched today by Liberty University, the private Christian University in Lynchburg, Virginia, that is dedicated to renewing and defending God-given freedoms in America and restoring Judeo-Christian-based principles in our national policies, institutions, and culture. The Falkirk Center for Faith and Liberty was founded by Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk and will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty University under its 501(c)(3) charter. The mission of the center will be to “equip courageous champions to proclaim the Truth of Jesus Christ, to advance His Kingdom, and renew American ideals”…The need for the Falkirk Center has grown as powerful voices and institutions are increasingly seeking to eliminate Judeo-Christian principles from American culture and society. The news media, elected officials, academic institutions and special interest groups have used their platforms to deny America’s legacy of foundational Judeo-Christian principles and replace them with the creeds of secularism, influencing upcoming generations of Americans at alarming rates [i.e., the usual lineup of suspects]. To restore Christian principles and American ideals, the Falkirk Center will use a diverse variety of advocates and media strategies to promote the core beliefs of America’s Founders in limited government, free enterprise, individual rights and liberties endowed by our Creator, and their deliberate and intentional creation of a republic and not a theocracy. The Center will operate forthrightly to engage believers and non-believers alike in pursuit of renewing Christian principles across all sectors of society in the formation of public policies and in our cultural and government institutions… Commenting on the Falkirk Center launch, co-founder Jerry Falwell, Jr. said, “As attacks on traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs grow in frequency and intensity, the need has never been greater for a national revival of our foundational principles throughout our society and institutions in America. We are delighted that Liberty University can play a part in this mission for Christ and American ideals.” Reinforcing that sentiment, co-founder Charlie Kirk added, “It’s time we went on offense to stand up for the Church in America and to actively promote American freedoms based on the values enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. It’s an honor to partner with President Jerry Falwell and Liberty University on this purpose-driven mission that will be used to organize an army of believers in faith and liberty, from renowned pastors to young influencers, to renew our sacred freedoms and defend our deeply held convictions.”

Of course, we all know what happened to Jerry “Pants Unzipped, Wife-Adultery Peeping Tom” Falwell, Jr. shortly after this – with evidence that was considered controversial at the time in my 2020 book, Two Masters and Two Gospels, Vol. 1, but shortly thereafter was splashed across newspapers globally. And, with their commitment to adhering to the highest standards of academic excellence as an example to a skeptical, enemy secular world of higher education, it should be self-evident that Liberty University would immediately thereafter make the following announcement at their 2019 graduation commencement about the same young Charlie Kirk that never tried really pursuing a college degree, and rather launched into full-time firebrand, bomb-throwing extremist political demagoguery straight out of high school, and the subsequent dedicated “legacy” of several years of such as a high-paid provocateur during his youth:

Liberty Online Provost Shawn Akers then conferred a Doctor of Humanities degree upon Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, “in recognition of his work and dedication to courageously promote American freedom and defend our common liberties on behalf of young students in colleges and high schools across the country and for his example and inspiration to young people everywhere of what can be achieved when faith, conviction, and hard work are put into practice.” Kirk founded Turning Point as a high school senior in 2012 and serves as its director to champion free speech, limited government, and the market economy.

I really feel sorry for the Liberty graduates who toiled many long, sleepless days and nights for many years actually earning their doctorates and assuming unappreciated positions, but after the last few years I assume they are used to feeling sorry.

I did not mean to spend so much time in this blog post focusing on Mr. Kirk, whom I really did not know when I began this piece (and it is only tangentially relevant to the main thrust of this topic), but things have a way of turning out when the research leads certain ways when writing a post – whether these unexpected revelations turn out to be providential, time will tell. I do recommend that the reader keep an eye on Charlie Kirk in the days ahead – you will hear much more about him. Will he quickly become his generation’s Rush Limbaugh, or maybe the next head of the Trump movement and eventual President? He and Donald Trump Jr. (as well as his father) have exploited each other, and with this twenty-something having garnered the in-house support of a billionaire underwriter and the major conservative talk radio network, will he merely stand in support of a son of Falwell or son-in-law to inherit the throne, or rise to be their rival, along with Stephen Miller? Honestly, I haven’t seen this type of meteoric rise to power of a teen since the likes of Damien in Omen II (of course, we’ve yet to see what’s brewing within the noggin of the silent and mysterious Barron Trump).

So – where were we in this post narrative? Ah, yes, the March to Save America, held at the very time and place that barbarians of our populace showed support for our deposed president by ransacking our seat of government and attempting to lynch its elected officials, and our review of the other sponsors and organizations participating in the event, announced far in advance. One of the sponsors, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, announces on its website that “The Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF) is the public policy organization for issues relevant to the nation’s conservative attorneys general.” Another sponsor, Peaceably Gather, appears to be concerned about not restricting the meeting conditions in any case of churches in areas in the worst throes of the pandemic (because “Local and State officials have weaponized public health to sieze [sic] your God given rights”), which itself appears to be run by the First Liberty Institute, which provides legal protections for conservatives’ favorite institutions of the churches, military and such, and announces on its website that it implores its supporters to “Join faith leaders like Franklin Graham, Dr. James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Dr. Albert Mohler, Eric Metaxas, and others who are sending this letter to Congress to end the criminalization of churches and religious organizations once and for all“(a government decree which somehow I had missed having been approved by the Congress and President). Another, the Eighty Percent Coalition, makes the simple, straightforward declaration:

To the United States Congress: YOU WORK FOR US. On January 6, 2021, do not certify this “election” which is so clearly rife with fraud. We will not allow you to turn a blind eye to the corruption any longer. Honor your oath and remember who you serve: WE THE PEOPLE. To President Trump: Do not concede. We are here to let you know that we are with you in this fight to save America!” To those who wish to destroy America. We see you! You have slapped a lion on it’s backside and that lion will not turn away in defeat. Americans are awake and YOU WILL NOT WIN! It’s time for every person who loves America, who cherishes their freedom, the Constitution, keeping elected officials accountable, and preserving everyone’s rights to stand unified. The march for Trump continues and WE MUST stand TOGETHER and FIGHT FOR AMERICA!!!

The “Stop the Steal” sponsor shows on their website that they organized similar protests in advance in states all over America, such as the “Stop the Steal” protest in Arizona, organized by Rep. Paul Gosar, and another in Wisconsin, hosted by some folks known as “Milk and Cooks,” and “The Gay Who Strayed.” One of the most interesting, however, seems to be the one related to the “wild” statement by President Trump in advance of the event, called WildProtest.com. Their website states that “TRUMP WANTS TO SEE YOU IN DC,” with an announcement of a 1 PM, Jan. 6th event at the “Capitol,” for the “Wild Protest.” Their map says to “MEET HERE” on the northeast corner of the Capitol grounds, right by where the Capitol security barriers were breached, and nowhere near where President Trump was speaking far away near the vicinity of the White House. In fact, they note Trump’s pertinent tweet saying, “Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2020.” They add that

We the People must take to the US Capitol lawn and steps and tell Congress #DoNotCertify on #JAN6! Congress cannot certify this fraudulent Electoral College. Our presence in Washington D.C. will let Members of Congress know that we stand with Rep. Mo Brooks and his colleagues in the House of Representatives who will bravely object to the certification of the Electoral College. We’re in need of at least one Senator. We’ve identified six (seven including Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville) that could join our cause. StopTheSteal.us is working closely, whipping the vote up, with patriots in the Congress.

Their “all star” speakers there included Rep. Paul Gosar, event organizer Ali Alexander, Roger Stone, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rep. Lauren Boebert, Dr. Simone Gold (of America’s Frontline Doctors fame), “Ricky Rebel,” Lucian Wintrich, “Sabo” (?), and our buddy, the “chief prophet” Lance Wallnau. The 32-year-old Lucian Baxter Wintrich IV (shown on his Wikipedia page holding a martini glass in New York City’s Yale Club library) and originally Lucian Einhorn, evidently added his surname digits on the end fictitiously to “boost his public persona,” and is known as a correspondent of the far-right news site The Gateway Pundit, and reportedly the first member of the White House press corps to be openly gay. Evidently he appears on shows like that of Nicholas Fuentes, who doesn’t dispute his white supremacist reputation, as they discussed the genetic superiority of white people, and is also the founder of the “Twinks4Trump” photo series of shirtless, effeminate boy-men wearing MAGA hats, and referred to the survivors of the Parkland school shootings as “all trained actors who were recruited by Soros-linked organizations as spokespeople after a crisis,” in his Gateway Pundit position online. “Ricky Rebel” is a popular and flamboyant singer and dancer (known as a “glam rocker”), and proud Trump supporter in the entertainment community, LGBT activist and Fox and Friends guest. His website states that he “was invited to perform during the #DemandFreeSpeech Rally in front of the White House in Washington DC and the American Priority Festival at the Trump Doral in Miami with featured speakers including Donald Trump, Jr., and Sarah Sanders,” and “is a fashion contributor to Us Weekly, supported by MAC cosmetics and signed to Revry TV the world’s first LGBTQ streaming platform.” He has been described in the press as “The androgynous pop singer” who sings about his bisexuality in his songs like “Bos and Sometimes Girls.” These speakers spoke alongside the speaking platforms of our most LGBTQ-opposing Religious Right moral crusaders that day, united in their opposition to immigrants, non-whites and minorities of every stripe, and their human rights as reflected in the Trump administration.

There are other key, nationally-known figures involved in the events of the January 6 coup attempt, that can be documented. On February 1, The Wall Street Journal reported that

The rally in Washington’s Ellipse that preceded the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was arranged and funded by a small group including a top Trump campaign fundraiser and donor facilitated by far-right show host Alex Jones. Mr. Jones personally pledged more than $50,000 in seed money for a planned Jan. 6 event in exchange for a guaranteed “top speaking slot of his choice,” according to a funding document outlining a deal between his company and an early organizer for the eventMr. Jones also helped arrange for Julie Jenkins Fancelli, a prominent donor to the Trump campaign and heiress to the Publix Super Markets Inc. chain, to commit about $300,000 through a top fundraising official for former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, according to organizers. Her money paid for the lion’s share of the roughly $500,000 rally at the Ellipse where Mr. Trump spoke. Another far-right activist and leader of the “Stop the Steal” movement, Ali Alexander, helped coordinate planning with Caroline Wren, a fundraising official who was paid by the Trump campaign for much of 2020 and who was tapped by Ms. Fancelli to organize and fund an event on her behalf, organizers said. On social media, Mr. Alexander had targeted Jan. 6 as a key date for supporters to gather in Washington to contest the 2020-election certification results. The week of the rally, he tweeted a flyer for the event saying: “DC becomes FORT TRUMP starting tomorrow on my orders!”

The British Independent newspaper also added more critical details about Alex Jones’ involvement, and the “black propaganda” false narratives he tried to propagate afterwards when things went awry:

Mr. Jones explained his involvement in a video he posted from Washington DC on the day of the riots. “When I tell you this, it’s not to brag about my connection to this embattled president,” he said. “No one would book the Ellipse, no one would book the other areas. No one would pay for it. We went and paid for it.” Mr. Jones said that 80 per cent of the money used in the bookings was provided by a donor. He then claims the White House asked him to lead the march to the Capitol. In his words, the Secret Service was supposed to pull him out of the front row of Donald Trump’s speech about a half hour before it ended and move him to the march starting point. However, due to the large numbers of people who were still arriving even as Mr. Trump spoke, Mr. Jones ended up stuck between the group of people watching the president’s speech and a second group that was already marching on the Capitol building.

He then claimed – erroneously – that an army of “antifa” was there, and blamed the rioting at the Capitol on them. “And so, by the time I got out there 20 minutes, 30 minutes before Trump finished his speech there were already hundreds of thousands of people ahead of me marching. And before Trump ever took the stage, antifa, dressed up – over a hundred of them – as patriots, was there,” he said. Mr. Jones was reportedly seen later in the day, standing on top of a car near the Capitol building and shouting into a bullhorn…Mr. Jones told rally-goers at the “Million MAGA March” that Mr. Biden would be removed from office “one way or the other,” which prompted calls for the FBI and Secret Service to launch investigations. “We will never back down to the Satanic paedophile, globalist New World Order and their walking-dead reanimated corpse Joe Biden, and we will never recognize him,” Mr. Jones said during the Million MAGA March.

This is the definition of a well-financed and patronized, establishment “insider,” in service to “The Man.”

Less than a week after the coup attempt, Newsweek reported that our friend Charlie Kirk, who is also a Newsweek reporter, had said on his show that many of those who stormed the Capitol were not “insurrectionists” but merely showed “bad judgement” (even though they had to file past the bodies and blood of law enforcement officers beaten and impaled trying to enforce legal trespassing and safety protocols, and follow the armed and armored militia leaders chanting to “hang Mike Pence” and Nancy Pelosi, vandalizing the building and breaking into offices and congressional chambers along the way), but that his emphasis was misinterpreted by others. To be fair, they did note his tweet two days before the insurrection, stating that “The team at @TrumpStudents & Turning Point Action are honored to help make this happen, sending 80+ buses full of patriots to DC to fight for this president” emphasis added).

The struggle within conservative American Christianity as to its identity and future is still in flux, including within its primary denominations and flagship institutions. As an addendum, since this section was first drafted a new story emerged, first from The New York Times and then the conservative Christian ministry that serves as a watchdog of Christian organizations, Ministry Watch, who reported in late March that

Liberty University has declined to renew the contract for conservative activist Charlie Kirk at the think tank he founded along with Jerry Falwell Jr. Kirk has also revealed that he will be pivoting to a new faith-rooted initiative. Kirk’s departure, first reported by The New York Times, came more than a month after the evangelical Christian commentator and activist’s image briefly vanished from the center’s website. Kirk, 27, founded the center with Falwell, then Liberty’s president, in November 2019. Though they described the organization as a think tank, the founders brought on fellows such as Sebastian Gorka, onetime aide to former President Donald Trump, and produced $50,000 worth of pro-Trump digital advertisements for the 2020 election that brought accusations of having “pushed the boundaries” of political activity for a nonprofit university. Among the center’s other fellows is Eric Metaxas, a conservative Christian commentator who admitted to punching an anti-Trump protester last year and emceed a “Jericho March” in Washington after the 2020 election, at which speakers challenged Joe Biden’s victory based on disproven conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud. Another fellow, former Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani, appeared on a Falkirk Center podcast episode in the days after the election titled “Is the Election Really Over?”

During Kirk’s tenure at the school, he challenged faith leaders of a more liberal bent to a debate focused on the question “Was Jesus a socialist?”…The center also faced pushback from the student body. In December, a group calling itself Liberty United Against Falkirk published a petition signed by more 400 Liberty students and recent graduates insisting the school shut down the center. According to the Times, Kirk’s departure does not signal the end of his engagement with overlaps of faith and politics. He is reportedly planning a church-based “field program” known as Turning Point Faith, presumably connected to Turning Point USA, the conservative youth organization Kirk co-founded. The effort will seek out church leaders to participate in political actions ranging from the local to the national. As of Wednesday afternoon, Gorka’s image no longer appears on the think tank’s website, and the page now showcases a banner that reads: “Standing for Freedom Center.”

Part 2 will include a more in-depth profile of the individuals, leaders and organizations involved in the insurrection itself, derived from their writings and confessions, FBI reports and legal briefs, as well key representatives of some of our time-honored institutions (those revered by conservatives in particular) that shockingly had a pivotal role in the deadly event, and the demographics of the typical 2021 insurrectionist, with these findings having major implications in our society in the days ahead.

Please check out my latest book, Two Masters and Two Gospels, Volume 1: The Teaching of Jesus Vs. the “Leaven of the Pharisees” in Talk Radio and Cable News. It is available at Amazon in paperback, hard cover and Kindle, Barnes and Noble in paperback, hardcover, dust cover, and NOOK (Epub), Walmart in paperback and hardcover, Books a Million in paperback, hardcover and ebook form, at the UK Gardners book chain distributor in paperback and hardcover, and in ebook form at Apple Books, Kobo, and many other places. The BookBaby Bookshop also has a special deal, offering all three ebook versions (Kindle, EPUB and pdf) for one price, and with an email address left at checkout, I will send an additional special written work not available for sale. Links to audio interviews about the book and new announcements can be found at my personal book site, www.mikebennettbooks.com, and my publisher’s site, www.akribospress.com.

Please, PLEASE, pass one the word about this blog and my book(s) in your social media circles, on blogs and forums, Youtube and personal family, friend and church contacts, because that is the ONLY way this conversation on these supremely important topics of our spiritual destiny and decisions and actions of eternal consequence will continue and expand on wider circles, since I have no staff or other outfit focused on publicity or public relations to engage social circles and influencers I am unable to reach with my limits on promotional time, activities, capabilities, connections and venues. Let’s work together to learn, grow and act in ever wider circles and influence, asking neglected and important questions, and expanding the Kingdom of Heaven, in our hearts, communities and societies! 

The New “Lost Cause”: What Might Await Us – Part 3: The Stakes of Conservative Christian Leaders and “Prophets” on the Mythology of Trump’s “Lost Cause”

 

NOTE TO THE READER: This is another of those VERY LONG posts from me, although it is only one of many parts in this series. I confess that this is around 50 pages single spaced in Word, but it is all connected to a single sub-theme, and I couldn’t come up with a way to break it up and still maintain its interconnected coherence and “punchline.” Thus, just take your time reading this in stages at your leisure, but please remember it should all be considered finally in total to impress the lessons it has spoken to me and (hopefully) other readers. It has a lot of contemporary quotations and viewpoints of major Christian figures, and thus it is a good link to forward to other Christians you know via Facebook and other social media, and emails (please do) – particularly conservative ones like many of us have been, and I think it can be constructive if they are open to some constructive critique from a well-meaning Christian, and something I think we need to confront as a Body of Christ. I hope any readers will also consider reading the first two foundational Parts of this themed-series, and even the ones that come after this that further advance the premise, to maximize the recognition of the ramifications of these epochal spiritual crises we now face.    

 

Part 1 of this blog post series (posted two days before the Capitol domestic terror event) explored the historical roots of national “lost causes” – whereby a major portion of a nation’s public (or a major region) comes to believe that their political and social power has been unfairly or treacherously “stolen,” the mythology that is cultivated to propagate its message (often exaggerating history and facts or merely fabricating them), the “scapegoats,” “traitors” and other “boogeymen” proposed by demagogues by which to focus the pubic into a frenzy of action over generations, and the eventual underground vigilante and guerilla actions, movements and groups that seek to return the “power to the people” outside the rule of law or democracy. In Part 2, we briefly further explored some historical examples from our holy and ancient history texts, which reveal that when mythologized “lost causes” become religious-fueled “holy wars,” we see emerge the role of the “anointing priests” and “prophets” that foretell a spiritual, heavenly-empowered restoration and even revenge of prior “lost causes” that have particularly influenced devout monotheistic God-fearers and challenged their faith and self-respect, and the identification of a God-chosen “messiah” to “right the wrongs,” avenge prior defeats and humiliations, and restore a messianic “golden age” with God’s people in control. We also saw what lasting “fruit” is borne from such crusades, and their ramifications, to help us reflect on what to expect in the “Lost Causes” in our era and beyond. In this Part 3 of this series, we explore the conservative Christian/Religious Right community that has built such a mythology around Donald Trump as the symbol of their “lost cause” of “conserving” the status quo of the classes, races and institutional parties that are allowed to have a seat at the table of America’s social and political influence and power (with their seat as society’s Pharisaic moral arbiters and “culture warriors”), their unique “prophecies” that have guaranteed his 2020 victory to inspire the masses and to profit from them, and their imperative to bring about that vision to fruition and thus instigate their flock, at whatever cost or danger, to retain their own credibility and influence.

 

This blog, dedicated to the “Two Spies” Joshua and Caleb as a kind of “Christian Minority Report,” is focused on how the “Bible believing” religiously-conservative American Christians like myself perceive society and the world around them, how they process that perception within and inform their culturally-driven “biblical worldview” they have adopted and embrace (versus the timeless one they hear from the words of Jesus and the saints) and their innate religious culture that has been cultivated for generations, and how it impacts their public issue positions, statements and deeds, by both their recognized Christian leaders and celebrities, and the average practicing Christian citizen, on the national stage, on Facebook and online, and within their own churches, home groups, families, workplace and other circles. As someone raised in a classic, Bible Belt evangelical culture, I still believe in evangelizing, soul-winning and making disciples by “rescuing the perishing” and being “fisher’s of men,” one person at a time. I still believe in the born-again experience, and a Great Commission duty to share the “Good News,” and to proliferate not by family births and institutional infant baptisms and catechisms into one’s own cloistered religious culture or clan, but by combing the “highways and byways” and lifting the burdens of guilt and sin from seeking, searching individuals and to help provide their desired spiritual deliverance, or to inform them of what their spiritual and cultural darkness has blinded them as to a ‘better way,” and a path and ticket to an eternal “Kingdom of Heaven” of sustainable, fulfilling “life” in community with their Creator, and with others. If you have read this blog for any length of time, I am sure you have gathered that I am greatly concerned that the proud, hateful tone I hear from my fellow “Bible-believing” Christians here from their leaders nationally, and online and in local discussions, to the point that now it greatly distresses me to the suspicion that they have shipwrecked their testimony to the physically or spiritually needy, about whom they would rather spread the most paranoia and contempt, or even worse, simply don’t care about outreach to those in the margins of their society and are satisfied to combat and vanquish them, to secure an iron grip on an earthly kingdom here in America.

In the fall of 2011, six months before I concluded my Future Quake radio show, I began focusing on writing on what was going on then in the Bible Belt Christian community, especially here in the “ground zero” of middle Tennessee in the explosive rise of the “Islamophobia” and “anti-sharia” craze, centered on the new Islamic Center in nearby Murfreesboro. Anti-Muslim paranoia had a peak of sorts, understandably, in the wake of the spectacular and generation-defining 9/11 terror attacks, along with widespread conservative Christian community endorsement of Guantanamo mass-incarceration of innocents as well as the dangerous, jailing without trial (or only “secret” military trials) or witnesses, no identification of those witnesses or cross examination, inhuman torture tactics, illegal renditions off the street, set-up and contrived FBI “terror stings” of gullible, low-functioning simple folk, and the like, all enacted while conservatives were “in charge” during the Bush terms. However, I find of interest that a renewed and even deeper “wave” of interest within conservative circles in the “anti-Muslim mania” topic occurred in the latter years of the first term of the Obama administration, and as I document, became a “horn of plenty” for conniving demagogues and snake oil salesmen populating Christian media and rallies, including ex-Special Forces groups seeking vigilante movements, fake “ex-terrorist” defectors, and others with different angles to terrify and rile up the natives, all to make a buck. I thought the material might barely make a full book, but now I am on my 12th manuscript, being led to go back all the way to the first “holy war” of Cain and Abel, to find out how violent confrontations fueled by religious differences (or just rival religious leaders of packs seeking dominance) has defined the history of the monotheistic faiths, and how it reveals what they really believed about their “Master” and His values, priorities, goals, nature and agenda, like the man who buried his “one talent.” While I was aggressively trying to wrap up that extensive book series for publication before the material and era became a distant memory, friends like Adam Sayne were prodding me to write and focus on more immediate and new developments with the new era of conservative Christian messaging in the “Trump era” of 2015, prompting me to “come out of the closet” with my views on the controversial matter here on this blog in 2015, and to relent and divert my concluding efforts of the Holy War Chronicles book series in 2018-2019 to begin to document these new developments into what has become a three-volume Two Masters and Two Gospels book series (Volume 1 released in April 2020).

The narrower focus of this current blog post series looks at the roots of what prepared “Bible believing” Christians to accept a profane man of wicked history and contempt for other humans as not only their standard bearer, but a messianic deliverer and now apparently the leader of a delusional, conspiracy-obsessed death cult. However, in hindsight I can now see that the cultivation of the conservative Christian community, claiming to follow the “Prince of Peace,” to go “full in” on xenophobic hatred of Muslims and immigrants, fabricating evidence-free slanders of their communities (akin to the notorious “blood libel,” Protocols of Zion claims about Jews in 1920s-30s Germany (AND America!), led by the deep pockets of an exploitative conservative talk radio and cable news cartel (and even worse, the “Christian” variants)), disgraced and dangerous ex-commandos, mercenaries and intelligence officials with ignored skeletons in their closets, and other “strangers” with hidden agendas of wealth or covert agendas, actually set the stage for the wider-focused, and more extreme nature of the “Trump culture” who, like Dirty Harry, “hates everybody” outside their circles, and lives in a paranoid, evidence-starved world view once reserved for wackos in cabins in the woods, or in institutional care.

The real matter then becomes, with four years of daily outrageous statements and actions by Trump or his taxpayer-paid staff or media sycophants, known by all except those who only use Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Breitbart and such for their news (who daily omit these incidents, or somehow spin it as a positive (!)), such as the collusion of his campaign chief and chief national security advisor with Russian intelligence having been proven in court and grand juries, Russian advisors invited to Trump Towers by Trump Jr. to knowingly accept Russian data on a political rival (as Trump later met with top Russian officials with no other American representatives permitted), illegally withholding military aid approved by Congress to help ally Ukraine from an ongoing Russian invasion unless they generated fake dirt on his presidential rival (as attested by senior aids under oath), lying about his wealth and covering up his deep debts and vulnerability to foreign banks, tearing innocent children from their mothers, putting them in cages and permanently separating them from their families, etc., etc. – the daily list is far too expansive to recount – has the undying and critical support of “moral” Christian “values voters” for Trump wavered at all? In 2016, it was found that 81 percent of evangelical voters said they voted for Trump, as the essential voting block for his election, although as I show in my book, taking into account the relative percentage of evangelical voters who actually vote, only about one third of all evangelicals voted for him, although in practice they have come to be recognized as speaking for all evangelicals, and their actions certainly have dictated over his administration the execution of (1) the “bum deal” tax plan they subsequently foisted on lower and middle class citizens, (2) the skyrocketing deficits to support the halving of corporate taxes and the brackets of the highest wealth earners, and (3) the economic disaster long term of being a global pariah state for sabotaging all global economic trade and arms control treaties, and producing a future polluted and overheating world their children will suffer through, along with the crippling future debt they approved to enjoy their immediate materialistic excesses. After four years of such daily revelations – mostly told by Trump or his spokesman directly in public statements and rallies without any shame or opaqueness – has the cultish devotion to Trump wavered at all in the 2020 election? 

Well, the Gallop organization, considered the premier polling firm in the world and certainly Christian-friendly, has begun to compile and report such data. On November 13, 2020, they reported that “The AP VoteCast survey shows that 81% of White evangelical Protestant voters went for Trump this year, compared with 18% who voted for Biden. The Edison exit polls estimate that 76% of White evangelicals voted for Trump, 24% for Biden” – so, in other words, their support really has changed much at all. It is also interesting to note their report that “The Edison exit polls estimate that 52% of all Catholic voters went for Biden this year, and 47% for Trump. The Edison exit polls in 2016 showed a 46% Catholic vote for Clinton, and 50% for Trump”; it should be noted that amongst Catholic voters, a smaller proportion of them would likely be associated with the Religious Right (although many are pro-life), than with evangelicals.

The bigger question probably is – how many losing Republican voters, evangelical or not, accept the announced results of the 2020 election that was certified by Republican governors, secretaries of state, and confirmed by top Trump appointees at the head of the Department of Homeland Security for elections and his own loyal Attorney General, and verified in scores of court cases since then, or rather cling to the evidence-bereft Internet claims that it was “stolen” somehow, as a “lost cause” of unjust betrayal and a “stab in the back” by even these Republican authorities? On December 9, 2020, National Public Radio reported that “according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey…Sixty-one percent say they trust the results, including two-thirds of independents, but just 24% of Republican respondents say they accept the results.” They add that “Unlike past presidents, Trump has refused to formally concede. That’s something that two-thirds of Americans think he should do, according to the survey. Sixty-two percent of Republicans, however, don’t think he should,” and that “A strong majority of Americans — 60% — don’t want him [Trump] to run again, but two-thirds of Republicans do. That effectively freezes the potential 2024 Republican primary field.” They also note that “Sixty-one percent of Americans now say they will take a vaccine when one comes available, up from just 49% in September”, but that Republicans are evenly split down the middle as to willingness to take the vaccine, with only 34% of Republican women to do so.” They further state that “Also among the most reluctant to get the vaccine: Trump supporters (only 47% said they would), people who live in rural areas (51%), people without college degrees (53%), white evangelical Christians (54%) and non-whites (58%).”

I cannot impress upon the reader strongly enough the significance of these findings. This is not just disconcerting data about my favorite punching bag – my fellow beloved Religious Right evangelicals – but all Republicans, including the non-religious libertarian and big-business advocates, most of whom who refuse to believe the experts as to the accuracy of the national election (probably a first time ever), and continue to see it as “stolen” and an “illegitimate” “lost cause” of sorts, and remain devout to Trump in resisting a peaceful transfer of power, and in his long-term leadership of our nation, which carries over even into disbelieving health officials in their guidance that is trying to save lives, as they did to eradicate smallpox and polio, and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. This is not just a handful or brainwashed “Manson girls” we are talking about here, or a small paranoid compound or cult outpost; what will this suspension of belief in reality lead almost half of the American public to do in the months and years ahead in defiance to what they think was “stolen” from them by the “deep state” and their fellow despised citizenry, with an air of desperation and apocalyptic fervor they have adopted from the talk radio, cable news and online outlets that have cultivated it in a fashion that would have impressed a Joseph Goebbels? [NOTE: I wrote this preceding paragraph before the assault on the Capitol. Ed.]

And, as they say, “that’s nuthin’.” On December 17, 2020, our local Nashville newspaper The Tennessean reported that “Just 15% of Republicans in Tennessee believe President-elect Joe Biden is the legitimate winner of the November election, a new Vanderbilt University poll found…In addition to the vast majority of Tennessee Republicans believing that Biden did not legitimately win the presidential election, 70% of GOP voters said they thought the Democratic president-elect was trying to ‘steal the election,’ a claim that has been disproven as dozens of court cases brought by allies of President Donald Trump have been struck down” (emphasis added). they add that “By contrast, 70% of Tennessee Democrats believe Trump is attempting to ‘steal the election,’ the poll found. Among Republicans, 35% did not think Trump should concede after the Electoral College met. Only 12% of Republicans surveyed felt confident that votes nationwide had been counted fairly.” They noted “the state’s top GOP leaders also refusing to acknowledge Biden as president-elect,” and that “Gov. Bill Lee, who said last week he would wait to call Biden president-elect until the Electoral College met and the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on a legal challenge to reverse the results, said on Monday that he still was not ready to recognize the victory.” Furthermore, they acknowledge that “In separate statements provided this week to The Tennessean, the Republican state House and Senate speakers also declined to recognize Biden as the winner. Both Lt. Gov Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, and House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, said they would be more ‘comfortable’ with doing so after Congress counts the electoral votes Jan. 6 [Note: what exactly duo they have up their sleeves to at least attempt at that time? [Well – although I wrote that before the hijinks of January 6, now we know. Ed.]. Tennessee House and Senate Republicans have publicly endorsed Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the election through court challenges, and the state’s Republican attorney general signed an amicus brief supporting a failed effort to have the U.S. Supreme Court intervene.” Makes me so proud to be a Tennessean!

The conservative activist lobbyists were not idle either, in regard to this “threat,” so the “cause” will not be “lost.” By December 10, a collective lobby group called the “Conservative Action Project” announced online that “There is no doubt President Donald J. Trump is the lawful winner of the presidential election. Joe Biden is not president-elect. Accordingly, state legislatures in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Michigan should exercise their plenary power under the Constitution and appoint clean slates of electors to the Electoral College to support President Trump. Similarly, both the House and Senate should accept only these clean Electoral College slates and object to and reject any competing slates in favor of Vice President Biden from these states.” This action is to overturn the clear votes of the citizenry, whose results have been approved by these states’ Secretaries of State and governors (many of them Republican), the top Trump official overseeing elections (who has since been pressured to resign) and Trump’s selected Attorney General (who has also been pressured to resign). This document was signed by individuals such as Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, Alfred Regnery (head of Republic Book Publishers), Brent Bozell, Kenneth Blackwell, Morton Blackwell, former Sen. Jim DeMint, Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (surprise, surprise! – who took an oath to defend the Constitution), Rick Scarborough, Gary Bauer, Judson Phillips (founder of the lucrative Tea Party Nation), Rob Chambers (American Family Assoc.), and many, many others. Is this all that is required to take power – a document from some lobbyists, and some partisan dissatisfaction – to seize power, in dispensing with the massive national election process overseen by many thousands of American citizens in long-vetted processes, the long list of court hearings after considering and dismissing appeals, and even the response from the U.S. Supreme Court? Have we arrogantly taken our “sacred” voting process and its legitimacy for granted for too long, while we looked down on the corrupt circuses of such in the Third World and Communist countries? Will we ever have an accepted election and peaceful transfer of power again?

This development of a Trump loss (even though long foreseen by polling data all year) has been particularly thorny for the Christian community, and its “signs and wonders” sect in the charismatic/Pentecostal and even Messianic forms. The Religion Unplugged blog writes that Pentecostal or Charismatic Christians are “part of the world’s fastest-growing form of Christianity,” and that “There are about 66 million Pentecostal or charismatic Christians in the U.S.,” according to expert Holly Pivec; that’s twenty percent of ALL the population of the nation. This community has long been bold in its “prophets” – both the old ones who have amused us for years, and new ones that always come out of the woodwork, sensing “thar’s gold in them there hills!” – giving specific dates and events they foretell will happen, and when it doesn’t, no one seems to care or remember much about it. I should not pick on this crowd alone – the non-charismatic crowd I was raised in began to emphasize the “prophecy being filled today” mantra (and I say this as a believer in Bible prophecy myself) ever since Hal Lindsey’s Late, Great Planet Earth became a best seller in the early 1970s, and I admit the concept energized my own Southern Baptist religious practice. Soon thereafter with the advent of cable television, and the distribution of audio cassettes and later videocassettes, the prophecy industry/racket flourished, with each upstart needing to outdo the other in the brashness of their claims, and a “gimmick” slogan or angle to establish a footing in the market. Prophecy buffs were found to be as faithful as cigarette smokers, rock concert attendees and multi-level marketing wannabees in their devotion to the product, swallowing up any materials produced by these crowds, and attending every conference they could afford, although the crowd now is starting to considerably gray (and who thought long ago they would already be raptured out of here), although the Internet is also cultivating a younger crowd on Youtube videos and conspiracy materials, often for free since they can’t afford the conferences, books and DVDs (or don’t want to, saving their money for video games and such) like the retiree crowd. This sub-culture was found to be a perfect breeding ground for promoting a hawkish right-wing foreign policy (originally Cold War, right-wing Zionist, then anti-Muslim, anti-Iraq, anti-Iran, and generally whoever the enemy needs to be for the U.S. at the time, to “pin the tail on the Antichrist”) and domestic security state, centered on the mandate to supply overwhelming arms, military secrets, money and United Nations human rights-sanction cover for the largely-atheist State of Israel (as I have mentioned elsewhere, at one prominent prophecy conference I spoke at not long ago, I noticed an intimidating man in a suit and with an earpiece hanging up Israeli flags in the speakers’ lounge, and when I inquired, I was told by another speaker that he was sent by the Israeli government, and that they underwrote many of these meetings).

These prominent and well-compensated speakers made assurances that Jesus should return no later than the 1980s. Chuck Smith, the founder of the Calvary Chapel movement like the church I have attended in recent years, who hung their hats on Bible prophecy (which MUST be “pre-trib” to permit franchising as such) as a foundation of their brand, caught up in the Southern California euphoria of the 1970s and 80s as the home of Hal Lindsey and similar Bible prophecy operators), as an example, pushed the assertion in two of his books that Jesus would return by 1981 at the latest, and then held a 1981 New Years Eve service to await the end, leading many people to leave Calvary Chapel (but Bible prophecy, post-Smith, is still their foundation today). Another famous “date setter” was the book, “88 Reasons why the Rapture Will Occur in 1988,” drawing yet further ridicule. This was built on the “grand daddy” rapture prediction of the Seventh Day Adventists/”Millerites” experiencing “The Great Disappointment” when Jesus did not return in 1844 as their founder predicted, leading him to repackage the event as an unseen one in the heavens, which they still believe today, and set the template for managing future prophetic date-setting “PR disasters” by merely moving the goalposts. Ideal dates for the frenzy of Bible prophecy date-setting was obviously the year 2000 (deliciously baited by the Y2K scare, and a May 2000 astrological conjunction of the planets), and the 2012 date (foretold by a pagan Mayan calendar). Untold books have been published by special Christian publishers with these dates embedded in the titles, along with “Omega this” or “Armageddon that” and then come and go without anyone casually reflecting – probably much like how “prophets” routinely make prophecies that have not come true in otherwise exciting Pentecostal meetings over the years, and if someone pointed out their failure and the fate of the Hebrew prophets when they were wrong well, I guess that would spoil all the fun. Does anyone remember the “Blood Moon Rapture” a few years ago, where even parishioners at my church pressured leaders to announce its coming? Nashville has had its announcements of local doom announced on local billboards at least twice since I have been here – first by Harold Camping in 2011, and more recently by a group saying on local billboards that the End Times would begin when a nuclear bomb (detonated by Muslims, of course) would destroy Nashville on July 18, 2020 – an announcement also run in a full page age in the prominent local Tennessean newspaper. The Messianic/Hebrew Roots crowd also has their list of dates they announce through one or more figures, always based on the Law, Hebrew calendar or Kabbalah-style numerology. As of late, I am told that an asteroid passing by before long will somehow create the rapture here, and since they have spaced the event date to occur some time from now, they should sell a lot of books and other materials in the meantime. When these days come and ago, no one seems to care – except for the ones outside the Church who are yet again disappointed when they are seeking an authentic message of deliverance, but the Church folk particularly don’t seem to care about that.

Of course, the grand-daddy of “Trump-win prophets” has to be Mark Taylor, known as the “Fireman Prophet” or “Trump Prophet.” As I understand it, he was a firefighter without any theological or similar education who claimed he was unemployed and suffering from PTSD for years, watching TV a lot and having dreams of demons dragging him away, but while watching TV one day he believed he got a message in 2011 that Donald Trump on the television would be president. In 2016, the wife of his doctor uses this information shared by Taylor with his doctor (her husband) to start a “shofar prayer chain” to get Trump elected. She eventually even uses Israelis to blow shofars for their purposes. Tom Horn’s group Defender Publishing evidently saw a profitable opportunity with the gullible Trump Christian follower crowd seeking affirmation for their undying support for a thrice-divorced, adulterous Manhattan casino owner that bragged of sexually assaulting women, and quickly published his biography and “prophecies,” in a book called The Trump Prophecies. Liberty University, also one quickly to capitalize on financial opportunities with dubious collaborators (like Trump himself), subsequently produced a film for theater release in 2018. I saw the film, and a major part of its contents after a basic and brief historical re-inactment are a series of simple interviews with top Dominionist, New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) national leaders like Michelle Bachmann and Gen. Jerry Boykin, reiterating that Trump was “God’s man.” One major newspaper reviewer of the film stated that “Taylor has made other claims, which he calls ‘prophetic words,’ including that Trump will serve two terms, the landmark supreme court ruling on abortion in the Roe v Wade case will be overturned, and that next month’s midterm elections [2018] will result in a ‘red tsunami,’ strengthening Republican control of both houses of Congress, Barack Obama will be charged with treason and Trump will authorise the arrest of ‘thousands of corrupt officials, many of whom are part of a massive satanic paedophile ring.’ Trump will also force the release of cures for cancer and Alzheimer’s that are currently being withheld by the pharmaceutical industry.” On my own, I had noticed Taylor having new radical prophecies on an almost weekly basis, and having evidently found his “gig,” and noticed that people are eating it up. I heard from him that the Illuminati are using special weapons to alter the DNA of people like myself to not otherwise obviously support Donald Trump. He also revealed another time that Sen. John McCain did not die of a brain tumor like the “fake news” announced, but rather died in front of a firing squad for daring to get in the way of Donald Trump.

The “respected” Christian media outlet CBN News (Christian Broadcast Network, connected to Pat Robertson’s 700 Club) interviewed Taylor and his wife evidently in 2017, which can currently be viewed on Youtube, in which they point out his 2011 “prophecy” of Trump’s election (or, as I see as a alternative possibility, another incident of one of a million monkeys typing the complete works of Shakespeare (in other words, the one in a million coincidence guess) that he has capitalized on, a possibility I consider given the spiritual maturity and “accuracy” of his subsequent “prophecies” he has demonstrated). He recounted how his “word from the Lord” said that under President Trump, America would prosper more than ever before, with stronger ties with Israel than ever. During his bout of PTSD, he got help from “Christian physician Dr. Don Colbert,” and his wife saw notes of the prophecy Taylor had shared with his doctor (I don’t know how HIPAA rules apply in such cases), and she says in them “she saw the Father’s rhythm or frequency, because God has His own frequency.” She said for the prophecy to come true, it would take a lot of prayer (I don’t know, if it was a true prophecy from God, why it would need “help”), but she says she “got the prophecy in the hands of major leaders across the country, people that I knew were influencers in their church” (as they showed pictures of Kenneth Copeland and his wife) and started a prayer chain “that the Lord told her to do,” although she thought it would happen over the 2012 election. When that didn’t happen, Taylor said, “I thought I  missed it,” and even Colbert said she had doubts, but God told her to watch the Belmont Stakes horse race, where horse Creator beat horse Destined by a hair, and she noticed the CNN headline, “Creator wins by a photo finish,” to which she said, “God, you’re going to really do this” (of course, I also noticed the winning jockey also had a huge pentagram on his chest (no kidding), but no mention was made of that). The CBN interviewer brilliantly responded, “The horse’s name is Creator, God is the Creator,” to which Colbert replied, “God is the Creator, I win.” She further added that “God used Trump to stop an anti-Christian agenda.” Taylor added that his original prophecy said that the news media would eventually come to agree with everything that Trump is doing, to which he said that “God is looking for His millionaires and billionaires” to buy out the news media, and that under Trump “the Army of God will have victory after victory after victory.” The interviewer asked the “prophet” Taylor, seen as spiritually aware of God’s sure-fire plans by millions of Christians, “will there be an eight year Trump presidency?“, to which he replied, “Absolutely. I’m sure about that,” because when they see the “good coming to the country,” which he defined by its “prosperity” and “the economy,” “he will sail right in to a second term.”

The Trump Cult has taken its “prophet,” who had appeared to me from his own biographical details to be an unemployed man with self-professed PTSD and demonic hallucinations, to great fame, and probably much prosperity for his strong message of God’s certainty of His endorsement of Donald Trump, and the certainty of his reelection as well. Obviously, he has a lot at stake, as well as other Christian “prophets” who have told of the certainty of Trump’s reelection, in seeing that come to pass to salvage their reputation, and God’s endorsement on them as well as Trump. It is thus of no surprise that his Twitter account shows his passionate support of the “stolen election” narrative, and that God will still somehow leave Trump in office, having shown support for each lawsuit to throw out voting ballots along the way, including the “last stand” power grab by the House over the voters in January, to cancel the elected and certified electors. His December 11 tweet says, “This is your reminder that @realDonaldTrumpis the next President of the United States! Nothing can stop what is coming, Justice Inbound! The Victory is ours! FIGHT!”, and on December 16, “This is your reminder that @realDonaldTrump is the next President of the United States! Are you part of the Surrender Coalition? Why would you surrender when we have won? We will NEVER Surrender! We will NOT stop Fighting until we are Victorious! WE WIN! 5:5?” When popular Christian author Beth Moore came out in frustration of Christians’ veritable worship of Trump, and one of Trump’s strongest Religious Right supporters, Franklin Graham, merely thanked Trump for his four years and did not offer to fight, leading Twitter person “A Patriot” to say on December 15, “The DS [Deep State] church is well trained in mind control and Psyop warfare. This carefully crafted letter will essentially peel off those with shallow roots to give in to defeat. Next step- vaccination for the masses Syringe do your research and above all,” with Taylor retweeting and adding, ” Deep State Church leaders like @BethMooreLPM are more overt in there [sic] attacks. Others are more covert, sly and cunning, but they will always out themselves. I said on last night’s show to watch for others to join her. These DS Pastor’s have been activated!” Are we to the point to perceive that these traditional Christian leaders, who I also have my ethical issues with, all seen as “psy ops, mind controlled Deep State Church” functionaries? Where does this go? Regarding COVID vaccines, Taylor added on Dec. 10 that “When will we learn (They) are trying to kill us! No Vaccines!”

Since the day I originally drafted this section, we have had Trump supporters trampling the Capitol and trying to find and attack the congressional “traitors” (as they shouted) outside their chambers, breaking windows to get inside the congressional chambers. That night, Mark Taylor was guest about on the Mc Files radio program.(check out his “Q-Anon” figurine on the desk behind Taylor’s left shoulder – you can see it clearer in later interviews he does on video). In addition to speaking with certainty that Antifa was the actual group that broke in and performed violence in the Capitol, and that Pence is a “snake” that Trump should get rid of (with the host saying the President “had a knife stuck in his back” by him), and “gave his personal vote” for Gen. Flynn to replace him as Vice President, along with everyone else around Trump being purged (Taylor also quoted the wisdom of “Q Anon” extensively on understanding what is going on, Taylor said this was “the biggest war that ever existed since the resurrection of Christ,” and concerned that attorneys Sidney Powell and Lin Wood can’t reach Trump (we will hear more about them soon)). On the show he said that

The Lord told me over the weekend that if Pence didn’t do the right thing, that all eyes would be on me, Mark Taylor, and that I would have to go this alone probablythat everyone is going to be gunning for me personally, as a prophetic voice because I said Trump as going to be in for a second term…and what the Lord was saying is that you need to be prepared to go it alone, because I am going to show you who are true and the false is, and who has the fear of MAN, versus the fear of God…are we going to start seeing prophetic people apologizing? I don’t know…at some point I think God is going to issue a rebuke of these people.” (emphasis added)

I do agree with him about a “rebuke” from God coming.

The following day after the insurrection (July 7), on another show with Paul Oebel of the Faith Unveiled Network (with about 100,000 views in two days’ time), “the Fireman Prophet” Mark Taylor added that

God spoke to me over the weekend…this past weekend the Lord woke me up and spoke to me, and said that if Pence doesn’t do the right thing…you [Taylor] need to be prepared to stand alone as a prophetic gunslinger…I’m fixing to show you who is true and who is false… [God said] you will see those who will come out and apologize…they will go on an apology tour, these prophetic voices will. The pastors started it…right after November third. We had Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffrees, all these big pastors…saying “president elect” Biden, basically…if God has told you Trump would have a second term, why are you not standing firm in faith?…This is not close to being over. [repentant pastors] are committing a type of treason…saying we don’t need to be in the fight anymore, we need to pray for President Biden…this is pulling every single cockroach out of the cracks right now of the Deep State Church…they’re probably going to say I’m a false prophet, because they think it’s over…how can anyone give up right now, when God has said we have the victory? Donald Trump, Lin Wood, Sidney Powell, Mike Flynn said we absolutely won this…why would they all put their reputations on the line?…there will be a Red Sea moment…This [the insurrection by middle-aged white men in the Capitol] is Antifa all the way…the Vatican owns all the satellites that did the hacking…I believe [attorney] Lin Wood is being used as a soft disclosure for declass…he’s named…the VICE PRESIDENT being involved in some nefarious things…he’s called him out as a paedophile, he’s called him out as a child molester, and today he came out and said he likes 13, 14, 15 year old boys…a lot of ministries and churches are into child trafficking…

The host took courage in saying that President Trump did not concede. Seconds after he stated that, Taylor saw online the announcement that Trump would enable a peaceful transition, but the host said it would all be reversed, and Taylor said that Trump said, “Our journey is just beginning,” followed by the host saying, “the patriots are ready for a civil war,” and “we all know Trump plays with words.”

When Franklin Graham, an apologist for Trump and his worst excesses and earliest endorser of Trump’s political career as a messianic figure (going back to 2012, I believe), and staunch opponent of liberals (in particular young people and their concern for civil and human rights, like his father), posted on Facebook that Trump should welcome Biden and Harris and their spouses to the White House, Taylor responded via Twitter that “Why would @Franklin_Graham usher in pure Evil into the White House for the sake of healing? There’s NO compromising with Evil! Your [sic] giving up a fight when we already won? Some would call that Treason by leading people over a cliff!” The evolution of this “movement” is to now see “confusion in the ranks” and dissension amongst the politicians formerly in lockstep with Trump, amongst the punditry, and now even the Religious Right leadership, once Trump’s most solid unified base (with few apologies to date, however, and still his most deluded and ironclad core). Like amongst the allied enemies of God’s true people in the Old Testament when they came against them, is this yet again the hand of God intervening in our midst, or just the nature consequence of insane and unsustainable human folly?  

Many Christian pundits within the “signs and wonders” charismatic/Pentecostal crowd have jockeyed for airtime and microphone space to prophesy that Trump would win a second term (evidently knowing that prophesying such could be quite lucrative, having seen that it was for Mark Taylor the first time around) – so many that I could not remember the number or names of all I’ve heard so far, and that would only be a speck of those who are truly out there. I have seen some on shows I record, like Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural! show. The same Christian antenna television network aired an informercial I saved of a documentary produced by TBN Network founder Paul Crouch’s son entitled, Trump 2024, which has mainstream Christian leaders like Mike Huckabee expressing on air how Trump is God’s anointed man for the long haul, as they proceed to do a hard sell to Christians, imploring them to overlook Trump’s immorality, crudeness, lack of character and integrity, and rather look at what he’s transacted for them.

This began in earnest when “lightning struck” as Trump surprised the pollsters and pundits (and himself) by winning the 2016 election, as the bold speculators (er, “prophets”) in the televangelist fold who had “rolled the double zero” on the roulette wheel by predicting a Trump victory before the election (which was not that risky, since their gullible Christian followers are notoriously reliable in forgetting the many erroneous prophecies they make shortly afterwards) were rewarded with celebrity “prophet” status, and the gambit of many to use their “prophecies” and praying over the immoral Trump bought a good number of them special access as “court evangelicals” in the Trump administration and his circles. USA Today documented some of these successful “prophets” of this victory just after the 2016 election. They write that New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and Dominionist leader Rick Joyner (and a major subject of my Holy War Chronicles book series) had predicted/prophesied a Trump victory on Election Day 2016, and added that “Many evangelicals view Joyner, the founder of MorningStar Ministries in Fort Mills, as a prophetic voice who describes hearing and seeing divine revelations from God,” and that “More than 200,000 follow Joyner’s Facebook page, where he frequently posts about U.S. politics,” and added that “A video, dated Oct. 14, shows Jorge Parrott, Morningstar’s missions director, prophesying directly to Trump that he would become president.” More importantly, they add concerning arguably the most influential NAR “prophet,” that “Lance Wallnau, a Dallas-based business consultant, has been speaking and prophesying about Trump for over a year in videos to his Facebook page, which features 200,000-plus followers. He also heavily promotes his book released in September that describes ‘Donald Trump being God’s Chaos candidate.’ ‘I heard the Lord say: “Donald Trump is a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness”,’ Wallnau wrote in an Oct. 5 Charisma News article titled ‘Why I Believe Donald Trump Is the Prophesied President.’ In an Oct. 9 video, he called the surfacing of Trump’s Access Hollywood tape ‘the devil strategically exposing information in order to destroy a candidate.’ The video, titled ‘Prophetic Word on Donald Trump,’ received over 3.7 million views.” Wallnau added on a Facebook post that “He [Trump] doesn’t even have enough sense to shield himself from charismatics prophesying over him…I guarantee [Mike] Huckabee and [Ted] Cruz would never let you get them on a platform prophesying over them five days before the election. They know better…Trump is like a child when it comes to the kingdom. He’s open.” One thing that didn’t seem to occur to these nationally-known and influential “visionary” Christian leaders was that they were being played by a simple real estate showman whose whole “angle” in business has been playing to customers’ vanity and desire for “being somebody” rather than offering any valued-added product, and exploiting their darker elements as a simple con-game “mark.”

Wallnau elaborated on what he thought was going on in his October 5, 2016 article in Charisma magazine entitled, “Why I Believe Donald Trump is the Prophesied President.” He reveals the common thinking of these top Christian leaders when he writes,

The truth is, a relative few shape the culture, a remnant of elites in proximity to power. This is why you can’t evangelize a nation into transformation. Christians already outnumber other groups but keep losing influence. To put it in Christian terms, a remnant of gatekeepers who sit at the culture-shaping gates of influence are making the greatest impact. This powerful elite is made up of dense, overlapping networks located and largely concentrated in the coastal cities and distributed among the peak institutions of government, law, academia, journalism, banking and entertainment—institutions that touch us all… Revival ignites from the bottom up, but cultural reformation solidifies from the top down. You must occupy the gates! (emphasis added)

He adds that

The winner of this election will have the power to appoint three or four more Supreme Court Justices. To use a J.R.R. Tolkien analogy, this is the ‘one ring to rule them all.’ The winner has power to protect our constitutional freedoms or alter the meaning of the Constitution and punish, prosecute and persecute the opposition for the next 40 years…Spiritual warfare is all about whose version of reality becomes manifest on the Earth. Christians are about to make a big mistake in this election cycle if they buy into the wrong narrative about Trump...My first meeting with Trump was Dec. 30, 2015, in the boardroom on the 26th floor of Trump Tower. Most of those attending did not know each other personally prior to the meeting. It was a rather eclectic sampling of evangelicals…As individuals spoke, he [Trump] read them and weighed their relative power within the group. A Messianic Rabbi sitting near me said, “Your comments don’t always represent you in the best light. People want to know you have a presidential temperament. They want to know that you are a person they can trust with a finger on a nuclear button.” Trump pursed his lips in characteristic fashion, nodded thoughtfully and said, “I hear you”…Several of us exchanged glancesHe [Trump] would do as occasion required—until he clinched the nomination. As our meeting continued, I was surprised to find that Trump actually knew some of the preachers and teachers in the room, not because he had met them but because he had watched their TV programs. Media is one of his domains. He is very much dialed in on all sorts of TV programming, including Christian programming…Subsequent to this meeting, he proposed lifting the Lyndon Johnson ban on churches discussing politics that hangs like an IRS sword over the heads of churches in America…When the meeting broke up, I went home feeling certain there is some sort of anointing on this man. (emphasis added)

Wallnau was one of the early Religious Right leaders here to compare Trump to the great Persian king Cyrus, and his decree that facilitated the Jews building the “house” of the Lord, and his Persian king successors facilitating their operation to build the walls in Jerusalem. Waxing prophetic on these American Christian leaders’ repeated suggested connection of ancient Jerusalem and America, he opines that

These two phrases, “the house” and “the wall,” should make believers stop and wonder. This is a direct promise to the church and restoration to society. The controversy over “building the wall” in current-day politics is more symbolic than people think. What do walls represent in the Bible? Proverbs 25:28 says “He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.”…From my perspective, there is a Cyrus anointing on Trump. He is, as my friend Kim Clement said three years ago, “God’s trumpet.I predicted his nomination, and I believe he is the chaos candidate set apart to navigate us through the chaos that is coming to America. I think America is due for a shaking regardless of who is in office…He revealed how he views himself in contrast to pastors and clergy. Tapping his Bible, he said, “Look, I freely admit that while you all were pursuing a higher calling, I was running around building buildings and making money.”…Trump is more prophetic than most people realize…He sees the threat nobody else has courage to talk about until it’s too late. He sees it with radical Islam, he sees it with the soaring $19 trillion debt, and he sees it in America’s tinderbox of the inner city….Trump is not a perfect man or a flawless candidate. But I do believe I’ve heard God. (emphasis added)

To “prophet” Wallnau, other American Christian leaders and their flocks, and readers here, I ask – have the last four years of the Trump administration shown a man who “has rule over his own spirit,” as Proverbs 25:28 demands, or more like a “city broken down and without walls”? We should also remember that after the “miracle” of Cyrus, not long thereafter the Persian king in power was indulging in corrupt and heretical excess and bacchanalia, even using the religious symbols of God’s people in acts of decadent indulgence in mockery of them, like Trump with the Bible at Liberty University or over the bodies of protesters at the Washington church, leading the “finger of God” to declare “mene, mene, tekel upharsin” – “You have been weighed in the scales and found wanting,” followed by an immediate downfall. Will this generation also see a similar rapid collapse due to such corruption?

Wallnau has been able to parlay his “prophecy” about Trump into even more notoriety and financial enrichment, just like “Trump prophet” Mark Taylor. He was interviewed by the “Thrive Time” radio show, also listed on Youtube as a Nov. 20, 2020 show (after the election), who began their interview of Wallnau by stating that he is “a modern-day Judeo Christian prophet whom USA Today described as one of only three evangelical leaders to accurately predict Donald Trump’s Presidency from the moment he began his campaign. His best selling book, ‘God’s Chaos Candidate,’ broadcasts and viral media influenced 3-5 million undecided evangelical voters to vote for President Donald J. Trump.” They also mentioned Wallnau’s recent pronouncements just before then alleging widespread voter fraud, and the “Dominion” ballot counting software conspiracy. In terms of his “prophecies,” Wallnau said in the interview he considered himself a “futurist” who looked for “trends” in public events – sounds to me like he uses earthly means to fabricate a “prophecy” he can sell, like “mentalists” can use rapid fire questions and power of suggestion to audience members to “amazingly divine” details about their life. He says in the interview that

I started talking about him [Trump] as a Cyrus, and when he became a candidate, it became a justification for that forty percent of those evangelicals to say, “Well, wait a second, maybe he’s not one of us but he’s a Bible character, and that was helped rationalize the vote for many of them. And I found that out in research afterwards, when liberals were coming after me for linking Donald Trump to a Bible character, and I found out that helped get him elected. (emphasis added)

Ah, the power of the Internet, Twitter, social media and the old reliable Religious Right email chains and media to manipulate highly suggestable and gullible Religious Right voters to help fulfill the “prophecies” of their self-appointed “prophets” by the mere power of suggestion over weak minds, just like in the old tent meeting healing revivals. 

Wallnau also said in his first book he predicted the term “Trump derangement” before he got elected. In his second book [God’s Chaos Code] he released in July 2020, he said that the continuous flow of ballots after the election will turn his win into a loss “and as the courts deal with it on the side of Trump, and you will see the unleashing of hell in America’s cities.” (emphasis added)

In the approximate 60 court cases nationwide protesting the vote counting by the Trump attorneys, only one case had any acknowledgement of the veracity of their position, impacting only a tiny handful of votes of imperceptible impact.

Wallnau added that Christians who voted for Joe Biden were like Christians who voted for Hitler. They also talked about a fellow “prophet” Kim Clement as well (they also mentioned Wallnau at meetings alongside fellow “prophet” Hank Kunneman), and they asked him how things will unfold in the election, to which Wallnau answered, “Once when Kim was in my church, and we went through a terribly devastating ordeal – I used to be a businessman, and I pastored, and then I’m doing media – I went to him later and asked, “Why did you not tell me this thing was coming, and you’re a prophet, and you nailed everything, but this one big thing happened and you didn’t say anything!“, to which Kim Clement said the Lord did not make the outcome privy to him, like Elisha. Wallnau added that “The church has been weak and wimpy, it has not supported this president…I think this whole ordeal is to bring ourselves to lie down upon the corpse, and to bring life into it. I am confident God is going to bring resurrection life into the battle Trump has, but I’ll tell you this, Trump has a 20 percent Las Vegas chance of winning, and that is only going to give greater glory to God when a miracle happens.” In conclusion, the Christian interviewer told Wallnau, “Thank you for not being a false prophet, in this time when we need real prophets.” Wallnau concluded by saying that when Benjamin Netanyahu went to the White House, he told Trump, “You are Cyrus,” which confirmed to Wallnau that “I was hearing from God.”

My my – I guess Wallnau is a regular monitor of Las Vegas odds-making – maybe that helps with his “prophecies,” like the tent revival healer with the earpiece in his ear, and his “words of knowledge.” I have no idea what kind of business Wallnau was referring to, possibly in alliance with fellow “prophet” Clement, much less its “crisis” – I always figured he was just a full-time evangelist/”prophet.” On what appears to be his “Linked In” business page, Wallnau seems to describe himself as President of the “Lance Learning Group” for twenty years, saying that “We are a “transformational training company”…We understand that “cash-flow is the life blood of any organization. This is true for a business or a non profit, therefore our focus is on the creation of highly profitable fully aligned organizations…We understand the challenges of leadership and map out customized strategies for clients and organizations that shatter constraints and maximize profit…our passion is to reproduce trainers who know how to do what we did. We will get results and teach you our process and move on….because when you’re out to change the world you don’t stay in any one place too long.” At the top of his “Linked In” page, he describes himself as “Best Selling Author, Speaker, Educator, Trump Whisperer (The 7 Mountain Guy).” He proudly proclaims of himself at the top in his “About” section that “Dr. Lance Wallnau is one of 3 people recognized by USA TODAY for having accurately predicted Donald Trumps presidency – a year before it happened! Lance is a Futurist and frequent lecturer on culture and trends and known for pioneering the Seven Mountains concept with Dr. C. Peter Wagner. Based out of Dallas, Texas the Lance Learning Group is a global network of business, entertainment, ministry and government leaders.” In his twenty year career as a consultant, he says of himself that, “Speaker, author and consultant, Lance is a catalytic and entertaining thought leader who works with leaders who want to expand their impact and companies that want to explode their profits.” He claims a doctorate from Phoenix University of Theology, with advanced degrees in “Organizational Leadership, Marketplace, Human Potential,” and “Leadership in Organizational and Cultural Transformation.” Sounds like quite a salesman and motivational speaker – I’m sure the skills he has helps him “sell the goods” in both spheres, to much profit.

In a radio interview by popular host Eric Metaxas the day after the insurrection, Wallnau talked of “the cosmic conflict that we’re in right now.” When asked as to the identities of the invaders in the Capitol, he replies, “I know its Antifa.” Metaxas says “this is like a Marxist coup.” When he asked Wallnau if “the prophets got it wrong,” Wallnau replied in some opaque, indecipherable answer, talking about “prophets” being “goaded into a picture for an audience,” thus “creating a frame where you actually only saw one part;” he said that, “because he was part Jewish” (clarifying later he was 20% Askenazi, for some reason), he had a “dystopian view” and told his staff two years ago he was afraid Kamala Harris was going to be President, saying “I see her but we need Trump,” and his staff said to him that Trump was going to win. He said that “Trump never really stirs a crowd up,” and just said at the time that “we’re going to have a nice march up to the Capitol.” He said the next fight will be who controls the 75 million populists, and in 2022 we’ll have “our tribe” come back strong. So “prophet” Wallnau did not believe his own prophecy he sold so hard to us about Trump’s re-election, and had to be convinced by his staff? Note that Wallnau did not admit he had blown his prophecy, like a man (and like others have done), and the hurts of various forms it has imposed on gullible but somewhat well-meaning Christians who believed him, nor denounced the stunt by Trump and his “march” and provocation of the Proud Boys and others that led to a number of lives lost and many more people traumatized in the police and inside the building, or held any of them or other leaders responsible. It sounds like their prophecies were much like the prophecies of the false prophets of King Ahab, who flamboyantly prophesied a major victory for their leader in war, and only disputed by the lonely Micaiah, who was not popular online or with their national leader, the latter saying, “I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil,” thus earning him the “bread and water of affliction,” but was vindicated by a truthful pronouncement. More importantly, Micaiah said that “the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee,” to get the corrupt leader to march to his destruction. May we be witnessing this today, both in our corrupt leader, and in his most popular “prophets”?   

I just found another Facebook video Wallnau posted on his site at 1:19 AM Friday morning on his site, entitled “Let’s Get This Straight” (although Facebook covered it with the message, “False Information – Checked by Independent Fact-Checkers”, with a button labelled, “See Why”), supposedly just after having arrived back from Washington and the “Stop the Steal” rally with the President at the scene of the terror event instigated there. Wallnau is normally very polished as a speaker at stadium events to large audiences, speaking with much scripture sprinkled in with his inspirational “prophecies” according to his “anointing”; in this case, he is much more interesting, talking in a casual, intimate manner I assume is common in his alter-ego life as a corporate profit-maximizing advisor (as I just discovered and documented here), with more of a breathless “late breaking news” feel amongst confidantes, and a “street swagger” and smirk-laden ironic tone that is fatalistic in vibe. He begins by showing a video of Rep. Louie Gohmert on the TV (OAN Network), talking about his certainty that the middle-aged white folks storming the Capitol building were all Antifa, which Wallnau agreed, calling Rep. Gohmert “the only guy with a clear head” (it should be noted that Rep. Gohmert sued Vice President Pence to force him to discard the delegate slates approved by swing states and to substitute Republican ones, with the case immediately thrown out of court, leading Gohmert to say in an interview that the ramifications of “the ruling would be that you’ve got to go to the streets and be as violent as antifa and BLM“). Wallnau described battling “left wing wing-nuts,” and “mind-controlled senators” who are “weak,” such as Lindsey Graham and recently-losing (and fully Trump-devoted) Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler (whom Wallnau said “who proved to be as useless as we all feared she was”), who both withdrew subsequent protests of the swing-vote delegate slates to stop the violence in the Capitol that day, or as Wallnau put it, lamented that they cowardly “did not want to be associated with bad activity” that day. He minimized the severity of the events that day, saying they just had “one girl…who I think was shot in the back” by a “nervous policeman” (rather than the fact that she was shot climbing into a broken window into the actual congressional chamber where congressmen were trapped, and shot after warnings from the few security forces inside to back off, as attested by numerous witnesses on the scene; he also did not mention the policeman bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher by Trump supporters, or others who died at the scene). He said regarding the violence that “we understand the frustrations of people, though.” He says now “we are going to have to carve some of you weak ones out,” and that “we’re dealing with witchcraft at high levels.” He says a new populist party will be formed he called “the American Party” that will involve the “Christian populace” and others that “don’t like the manipulation of technology and the press” and will replace “weak” Republicans, and expect to have “30 percent of political spectrum with the next four years.”

Even more interestingly, he breathlessly told his tens of thousands of Christian confidants listening online at the time (if I transcribed it correctly) that “you guys got to get ready for the second round because its going to be an exciting year from now until 2022. Gonna’ have that glorious “Chaos Tour” into these states…The rallies are coming…Don Jr., Eric, Tiffany, Mike Lindell [MyPillow guy] and the President himself, Charlie Kent [head of Liberty Univ.’s think tank, I think], Eric Metaxas…it’ll be crazy, we’ll televise it, unlike anything you’ve ever seen.” It should be noted that Wallnau has virtually trademarked the “chaos” brand, with his best seller books God’s Chaos Candidate (which sold 100,000 copies in six weeks) and his recent God’s Chaos Code (published by Killer Sheep Media, Inc., and co-authored by Mercedes Sparks, who helps clients in “crafting the strategy to monetize their message,” selling #3 in Amazon Books under “Political Parties,” #3 in Christian Spiritual Warfare, and #4 in Christian Social Issues). His corner on the “Chaos” market might be challenged by Alexandyr Dugin, the Rasputin-styled “Vladimir Putin Guru” philosopher of “Chaos” theories as a disciple of Aleister Crowley, and the “circle with outward rays” emblem of chaos often worn by alt-right and white-supremacists; in any case, quite a distinction from the “God of order,” who saw chaos and darkness on the face of the deep. One thing Wallnau did not exhibit was any talk of God directly intervening to fulfill Wallnau’s “prophecies” on His own, rather trying to fulfill his prophecy in his own strength – I think a late-night moment when the normally-savvy Wallnau let his guard, for the few of us who are watching. The top of his Facebook page shows his appearance on Friday, January 8 on a “Flashpoint!” show with Kenneth Copeland, and fellow prophets such as Dutch Sheets and Kat Kerr – the latter peer “prophet” we’ll discuss about shortly.

I have tried to compile a list of popular Christian celebrity “prophets” who have guaranteed a Trump second term as I have come across them to file and compile – certainly only a small sampling – but the following Youtube link supplied to me by my good friend Adam Sayne is a great compilation of a good number of these ironclad “prophecies” whereby these practitioners stake their reputations on the certainty of the second Trump term as God’s man, including Pat Robertson, Hank Kunneman, Kenneth Copeland, Paula White, Nashville pastor Greg Locke, Lance Wallnau, “prophet” Chris Reed, Sid Roth, Curt Landry, “prophet” Tracy Cooke, “prophet” Albert Milton, “prophet” Robin Bullock, and how some (like Perry Stone, Dutch Sheets) tried to cover their tracks (or shame) by saying the election was “stolen” (out of the secure hands of God?). Another November 19 video form the same source includes former Senator and presidential candidate (and Religious Right darling) Michelle Bachmann, and also Kat Kerr, Robert Henderson, “prophet” Kent Christmas, “Fireman Prophet” Mark Taylor, and others.

Joining some of these Christian leaders who were “certain” of a second Trump term was Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn – who was Trump’s National Security Advisor (the top foreign policy post), and who resigned before being fired twenty two days into his tenure, when it was discovered he had lied to Vice President Pence and others about his communications with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak (he had been talking to him about relieving Russian sanctions while he was a private citizen, and as the Russians and Obama administration were both expelling each others’ diplomats), and later that year pled guilty to making false statements to the FBI; in 2019 he dismissed his attorneys and retained attorney Sidney Powell, who asked Attorney General Bill Barr to intervene and exonerate Flynn after he had agreed to plead guilty for a lesser term and cooperate with investigators. Two weeks before he was to be sentenced, Flynn withdrew his guilty plea, and Attorney General Barr told the Justice Department to drop all charges, but the judge put the court case on hold (although telling Flynn in court that “arguably you sold your country out”), leading Trump to pardon Flynn in November 2020.

His connections to Russia go way back to when he was a senior American military intelligence executive; in 2013, Russia’s GRU (top foreign intelligence organization) “invited Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, for a three-day visit to Moscow. Following a trail carefully blazed by several predecessors, Flynn laid a wreath at Russia’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and visited the GRU’s ultra-modern headquarters outside Moscow,” and he later hosted his Russian counterpart for dinner, although his desire for follow-up visits there were disallowed by American senior officials. He was criticized for his cozy relationship with Russians then, and in 2017 it was reported that “Several months after Flynn returned from his Moscow trip, he hoped to reciprocate by inviting several senior G.R.U. officers to the United States. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, cautioned him against it. Russia had recently annexed Crimea.” The same source noted that “In early November, 2015, a D.C.-based representative of RT [Russia Television, affiliated with the Russian government] contacted Flynn’s speakers’ bureau and invited him to Moscow for the channel’s tenth-anniversary celebration. The fee was approximately forty thousand dollars, according to a source familiar with the arrangement;” his old military colleagues tried to talk him out of it. They add that “Flynn stayed at a hotel near Red Square…Flynn was seated at the head table for dinner that evening. Putin sat to his left….After Putin concluded his remarks, Flynn, joining other diners, stood and applauded.” They note that “In part through his son, Flynn began flirting with an online community of conspiracy theorists and white nationalists who referred to themselves as the ‘alt-right’.”  Although Flynn had been critical of Turkey’s extreme Muslim government, once his consulting business got a contract from a Turkish business closely aligned with the Turkish leader to promote the pariah nation, Flynn proudly wrote in The Hill that Turkey’s leader was our “strongest ally” against ISIS. They discuss his senior role in the new Trump administration, and that “Flynn’s son, Michael, Jr., did a brief stint on the transition, before he was dismissed, after continuing to push on Twitter the fake-news story about Hillary Clinton’s role in a child-sex-trafficking ring in a pizzeria in northwest Washington, D.C.” Flynn Sr. was nervous talking with the reporter writing this story at the time, saying he was concerned that they might “rehash all this stuff about me being anti-Semitic and pro-Russia and an Islamophobe”.

The New York Times also reported that he had also failed to register as a lobbyist for Turkey, and ignored subpoenas from Senate hearings, and had not disclosed his payments from Russia when he took the administration job. They add that “In addition to RT, he received $11,250 from a Russian cargo airline, Volga-Dnepr Airlines, which had been implicated in a bribery scheme involving Russian officials at the United Nations. In October 2015, he was paid another $11,250 by Kaspersky Government Security Solutions, the American branch of a Russian cybersecurity firm.” On November 30, 2016, Flynn joined a meeting between Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and Kislyak at Trump Tower. Kushner wanted to use secure channels at the Russian embassy, but Kislyak declined.

Flynn joined his Christian “prophets” in the December 2 “Global Prayer for Election Integrity” event; his attorney Sidney Powell had to back out from attendance. It was reported that at the event Flynn praised Powell as a “spiritual warrior” and called her his—and America’s—“guardian angel of justice.” He urged people to pray for the “incredibly brave patriots” who have been coming forward to tell stories about alleged voting irregularities. They add that “Mario Bramnick, a religious-right activist who emceed the call, wondered out loud if there had been some kind of threat or intimidation against Attorney General William Barr that would explain Barr’s recent statement that he had seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.” Kevin Jessip, who worked with End Times author Jonathan Cahn to organize the Sept. 25 “The Return” rally on the National Mall, encouraged people to contribute to Defending the Republic, the legal fund that has been set up to support Powell’s election work. It also involved popular conservative pundit Eric Metaxas, who “noted that many of the people leading the charge on stolen-election claims—including Powell, Lin Wood, and Jenna Ellis—are ‘born-again believers’ and ‘serious Christians.’ Lance Wallnau, a ‘prophetic’ author and Trump supporter, also noted that the battle to overturn the election results is being ‘sustained by Christians’…Wallnau decreed that God would “overturn” the election because Trump’s “assignment” from God has not yet been completed.” They add that

Bramnick responded to prayers by “apostle” John Kelly by affirming that today’s apostles and prophets “don’t have to allow this” because they have been given “spiritual authority” to “shift” things on Earth. “We are not dependent on the Pennsylvania congressional leadership,” Bramnick said. “We, as Americans here and the nations joining us, can disallow any illegal verdict as it relates to the election and decree the verdict of Heaven and bring it down on the Earth realm.” Another prayer leader, Pam Olsen, declared that Trump’s scheduled Dec. 5 appearance with Georgia Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who both face Jan. 5 runoff elections, will be a “victory rally” for Trump as well as the senators. Other prayer leaders included Intercessors for America’s Dave Kubal, author and evangelist James Goll, and Cindy Jacobs, a leader in the dominionist New Apostolic Reformation…Jacobs prayed that all the ongoing prayer efforts would amount to a “nuclear bomb against the powers of darkness” and decreed that the intercession, engagement of angel armies, and legal work by Sidney Powell would amount to the “critical mass” needed for that “nuclear explosion.” Metaxas and Bramnick closed out the call. “We speak judgment over the deep state,” Metaxas prayed…Bramnick thanked God in advance for giving Trump victory, declaring, “Father, President Trump won in the natural, and Father, we decree that he will be seated as the president for another four years, Father. We bring that down on the Earth realm. We decree it.”

We will explore both Gen. Flynn and Sidney Powell in greater detail in the next part, and the importance of their actions in recent days.

The former crack and cocaine addict, MyPillow CEO and darling of Donald Trump that was brought in to the White House and Rose Garden for his “expertise” on patent medicines to address COVID as well as to campaign for him (see my earlier post), Mike Lindell, appeared just hours after the Capitol Assault that night on the Victory Live broadcast of the Eagle Mountain International Church. One witness of the video (attached to the upper link) said that “During a service last night at Eagle Mountain International Church, MyPillow guy Mike Lindell said the two Democratic Senate seats in GA were stolen, that Pence will form a committee to investigate the Presidential election, and that Trump will be President for the next 4 years.” Lindell added that

Those two Senate seats that they… stole yesterday… all eyes were on them. Now we’ve got more evidence, more… this stuff went to Pakistan. It went overseas to other countries, China, where these boats went over again. And they, you know, this attack on our nation. And with that happening, even if we were to won them both, they already have plants where they’re gonna… corrupt senators that are going to flip, and they were going to take the country anyway. So by taking the two, at least we got more evidence for it…Now, I bet my Twitter, my Facebook, everything is blowing up — my text messages — “Well, the vice president turned on the president.” No, he really didn’t. What he’s saying is… he’s not gonna do what he could do, but he’s gonna follow the procedure. He’s going to have to give a 10-day… I really pray. I think everybody needs to pray that he delays for 10 days and assigns a committee like Rudy suggested… assigns a committee to show all the evidence… that they can look at all the evidence. What should be done, and should be on national TV, like kind of like the O.J. trial. Here’s the evidence, we show everybody, because once you see what I have seen, once you see what I have seen, even the people on the left are going to go, “Wow, Donald Trump really won! I don’t like him, but he really won!” The truth is going to set us free. Mark my words, God’s got his hand in all of this, and Donald Trump’s our president for the next four years.

Kat Kerr, a self-proclaimed “prophetess” who is very popular with my fellow Christians, and author of the big seller books Revealing Heaven and Revealing Heaven II of her forays into the third heaven, is best known for her visions of Heaven in that Heaven has cows that drive tractors…In Heaven, kids take art classes taught by rabbits. Giant rabbits. Giant multi-colored rabbits…and There’s a city in Heaven made out of Jell-O where you can “eat the mailboxes.” In her biography on her website about her books, she writes that “Now President of One Quest International; a for profit corporation God downloaded into her spirit for His purpose of releasing products into the marketplace that bring Heaven to earth and generate Kingdom finances. The Father has told her that the Body of Christ is about to produce entrepreneurs through Heaven’s witty ideas, inventions and within a Holy Spirit inspired entertainment industry, things that will shock this world and shift the current economy.” She humbly adds that “Darkness flees from her presence as she walks in obedience to the commission Christ gave her.” Of course, she hasn’t missed being on the Trump prophecy bandwagon as well. Right after the Capitol storming, “Kat Kerr – Revelator” loudly pronounced to those (Christians, I guess) that want to give in to the “evil one” (Joe Biden?) that “I SAY NO – IT WILL NOT HAPPEN, IT WILL END AND WILL BE DONE BECAUSE I SAY IT WILL BE DONE…THERE WILL BE GREAT CELEBRATIONS IN THE STREETS OF THIS COUNTRY AND THE WORLD, BECAUSE OF THE GREAT VICTORY ON BEHALF OF THE BODY OF CHRIST, ON BEHALF OF MY AMERICA THAT I’M NOT GIVING UP TO ANY ENEMY,” in spite of the “lying, crying news,” for God says of “my plan in putting my son Donald Trump back in that White House, even if they inaugurate the villain, and try to put him there, I will kick him out, I will remove him.”

At her talk on January 11 at Glory Fire Church, Kerr, a 67-year old woman I believe, sporting her normal pink hair (“in obedience” to God’s command) and wielding a big stick (literally), stated that “Trump will sit in the White House for four more years – that will happen – and if he dies, I guess I’ll have to go resurrect him.” On her “Frequently Asked Questions” page at her website where she confirms what she literally saw in heaven based upon inquiries by her followers, she confirms that we will eat chocolate ice cream in heaven, there are T-Rexes and art easels there, there is a “fantastic amusement park” there with a roller coaster called “The Rush” and where you can learn to fly like Superman, she saw a Yorkie named Max and Sally, an 1,100 pound pig there, there are soccer fields in heaven and other sports, where “each team has a place on the scoreboard, but all the points go to Jesus,” they have a beauty salon there, but “they use no chemicals to curl or color your hair. It is done by light and only takes seconds,” and “you get amazing jewelry to wear and it is FREE!” When some asked her if God could send His own chariot to pick them up when they died, she replied affirmative, saying that “That is exactly what happened to Oral Roberts when he passed away; he was picked up in the Lord’s own chariot.” She has a huge and growing following of Christians who seek her for wisdom and reliable knowledge of the spirit world and God’s will, and accordingly she passes on the centrality of God’s endorsement of Donald Trump. People like Kenneth Copeland have her at conferences to give “prophetic utterances” along with Lance Wallnau and other “prophets,” and she is becoming better known as a popular, revered and respected “heavy hitter.” Outside of Nashville here in the summer of 2020, she “activated the Divine Counsel” (!) (why is Mike Heiser keeping that from all of us?). “Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties” (Jude 1:8 NASB).

On December 2, 2020 The Huffington Post wrote about why evangelicals refuse to concede that Trump lost the election. They note that Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, Franklin Graham, Paula White, Tony Perkins, etc. have either been quiet during the election dispute or openly support the fraud, and at a minimum withheld judgment until all court and other inquiries have been completed, but yet insinuating unproven fraud nonetheless. The theologians they cite as having been more strident their advocacy of alleging fraud the the legitimacy of Trump’s second term include Liberty University’s Falkirk Center (which includes Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis and Charlie Kirk as fellows), as well as right wing media host/activist Eric Metaxas. They also write that

The “alternate reality” embraced by some evangelicals could also stem from a “parallel culture” that the religious group has built in recent decades, according to Randall Stephens, a historian at the University of Oslo who has studied American evangelicalism. Evangelicals have established their own homeschooling curricula, higher education institutions and accreditation bodies. They’ve created a separate world of entertainment and consumer culture. They have their own alternative experts and fields of knowledge that are largely cut off from the wider academic and intellectual community in the U.S., Stephens said. “This parallel culture certainly now seems like it was primed for a figure like Trump to play a leading role in it,” he told HuffPost in an email. “Like so many believers, Trump was also skeptical of mainstream knowledge, climate science, vaccines, or the national origins of America’s first black president.”

For some Christians, the narratives about Trump being chosen for such a time as this weren’t just stories ― they were prophecies from God, waiting to be tested. According to André Gagné, a theological studies professor at Concordia University and an expert on the Christian right, the belief that God has restored the role of the prophet in modern times is most common among evangelicals from the “neo-charismatic” wave of Pentecostalism, which emerged in the 1980s. Neo-charismatic Pentecostals are a minority within American Christianity ― it’s more of a movement than a specific denomination. As a result, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how many Americans currently believe prophecies about God wanting Trump to be a two-term president, Gagné said. However, he added, Trump-supporting prophets have amassed substantial followings. They spread their ideas by working with well-established professional networks of like-minded preachers, Gagné said. And now, they are using their platforms to spread theories about election fraud and encourage their audiences to wait just a little longer for the truth to triumph. “People need to realize that these movements in evangelicalism are not fringe,” Gagné told HuffPost. “These people are really active and they’re successful.”

Lance Wallnau, an evangelical author who has enjoyed access to the White House under the Trump administration, claims that God revealed to him before the 2016 election that Trump would become president and act as a “King Cyrus”…He has been speculating about election fraud in a series of Facebook live videos for his more than 500,000 followers. Mark Taylor, a retired Florida firefighter, says that God told him in 2011 that Trump would be a two-term president. Taylor’s story inspired a Liberty University-affiliated film, “The Trump Prophecy,” that was released in over 1,000 U.S. theaters. Last week Taylor insisted on his YouTube channel that Trump would be declared president again and that faithful believers just have to be patient and continue praying.

On November 30, 2020, John Fea, Ph.D, Professor of American History at Messiah College since 2002, wrote that Donald Trump called to to Eric Metaxas’ show that day. He wrote that “Metaxas told the president that ‘Jesus is with us’ in the fight over voter fraud and said that he would ‘be happy to die in this fight’.” He recounts the texts of Jenna Ellis and Charlie Kirk of Liberty University’s think tank, as well as Lance Wallnau and Calvary Chapel’s Jack Hibbs, refuting the legitimacy of the election, and a desire to overturn the delegates chosen by the voters, as well as doubts by David Brody of the Christian Broadcast Network, and Dinesh D’Sousa.

Hank and Brenda Kunneman are co-pastors of an Omaha, NE church with the very intimidating name of “Lord of Hosts Church” (why can’t they use names like “Friends of Jesus Fellowship,” or such? Certainly more impressive than my pastor-friend’s lowly “Church of the Carpenter” name). I recently became familiar with them from seeing them on the parade of “prophets” on Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural” show, each having their own brand, and gimmick of a unique prophetic product and niche they carve out in the marketplace; I noticed how Brenda in particular has a lock on the “preacher voice” of authority and confidence in the status and content of her prophetic message, even if it is sometimes nebulous and virtually impossible to verify, as you can see if you watch her visit here on Mr. Roth’s show, and listen to her for a while; on other shows with him she comes on even stronger. Although I am not intimately familiar with the inside track of what is going on in the Pentecostal community, it appears that they have become somewhat “heavy hitters,” at least in their media circles. On their church web page that promotes their building and fund raising efforts, they boast of “Sunday services alone averaging over 20,000 unique online views weekly!”, for a period they have now uniquely branded and “prophesied” as the “Decade of Difference.” I was unable to find any detailed backgrounds of either of them online as to their lives prior to pastoring this church; in his biography at their own site of his pastoring era he says that “Pastor Hank is known for a strong prophetic anointing as he preaches. His ministry has been marked with an incredible accuracy in the word of knowledge and prophecy concerning nations and world events. He is used of God in demonstrations of the Spirit with many testifying of healing and miracles…He and his wife, Brenda, also preach as a team, flowing together uniquely in prophetic demonstrations including tongues and interpretation.” Her own biographical page there modestly says of herself that “Pastor Brenda is a captivating preacher with a powerful prophetic anointing. She preaches a cutting-edge kingdom message and lives have been changed by specific prophecies for both individuals and churches,” all “With a ministry of impartation and deliverance.”

Their “Products” page of books and DVDs they have authored includes titles such as, “The Anointing of Preservation,” “Decade of Difference,” “Favor of Separation,” “SOZO Power: Claiming Your New Spiritual Birthright,” “The Daily Decree Book,” “Activating Angels (“discover how to activate the ministry of angels as part of your divine birthright”),” “Prophets and Prophecy CD (including “Discerning the true and false in the prophetic ministry“),” “Opening the Heavens,” “Chaos in the King’s Court,” “Decoding Hell’s Propaganda” (“teaches Christians how to receive fresh, sound revelation, while being alert and discerning enough to recognize false teachings and deceptions“), “Don’t Leave God Alone,” “What Does The Future Hold?/Roadmap to Divine Direction,” “It Must Come to Pass,” “Evidence of Spiritual Maturity,” “Expect God to Answer/Made to Reign,” “How to Put Your Angels to Work,” “Increase Your Expectation,” “Kingdom Increase,” “Prophetic Promises of Divine Transfer/Positioning Yourself for Money Miracles,” “Spiritual A.D.D.,” “Decree and It Will Be Done,” “The Daily Prophecy/Prophetic Package (“Each prophecy is written as if God is speaking directly to you”),” “The Roadmap to Divine Direction,” “Prophesy With the Wind of God in Your Mouth,” “Throne Room Prophecy” (“When it comes to prophecy, how can we discern if the words being spoken are true, false, or wrong?…so that the words they share come from Heaven, not from their flesh, soul, or other sources. Hank Kunneman is a trusted father and mentor in the prophetic community…he teaches you to speak prophetic words that carry thunder from Heaven’s Throne Room! Learn to communicate messages from God with precision and accuracy…In this timely book you will learn…How to identify the characteristics of false “horned” prophets”). I’ll leave it to the reader as to if they detect any trends here in message.

In February 2020, Newsweek reported that “Hank Kunneman recently claimed that God will save Americans from the new coronavirus because President Donald Trump’s administration has ‘aligned themselves’ with the right side of life. Speaking to the Lord of Hosts church during a service in Omaha, Nebraska last Sunday, Kunneman prophesied that citizens in the U.S. will not have to fear the coronavirus because God will ‘give mercy’.” They quoted Kunneman quoting the very words of God given to him via prophecy, noting that God pronounced that “And because of the administration that stands in this land, who honor me, who honour the covenants of your forefathers and of the Constitution. And because they have aligned themselves with Israel and because they have sided on the right side of life—life in the womb, life given outside of the womb—there I give life to this nation and I give mercy,” Kunneman added. “Do not fear. This virus is the spirit of God.Well, given that roughly 400,000 Americans have been documented as having died of COVID at the time I write this, I guess so much for the “incredible accuracy in the word of knowledge and prophecy concerning nations and world events” and the “precision and accuracy” of his “anointed” gift of prophecy. 

Later that month on February 2020, it was reported that when Nancy Pelosi tore up Trump’s State of the Union speech papers after Trump had been impeached, Kunneman said as an official prophetic announcement on the video that “The attempt to tarnish this president’s name and time in office by impeachment vote and trial, the record of it will be torn in two. Removed and erased,” as he spoke on behalf of God. I don’t know if that also applies to Trump’s second impeachment. You can watch of video of this pronouncement here.

Regarding Kunneman’s prophetic pronouncements that Trump would serve a second term, he gets getting quite agitated of people’s expectations that Christian leaders who claim to speak the words of God as prophets must be accurate. A video of him from mid-December has his statements that

…and all of these quote “votes” that came that after hours, that they’re saying exists, was for one candidate…USE YOUR BRAIN! WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ABSOLUTE MARXIST TAKEOVER OF OUR NATION. They’re trying to steal our nation from us through fraud and lies. And you buy their lies? And you’re willing to concede? (congregation yells, “No!”)…Believe his prophets. God wants you to believe Him, but believe His spokesmen.

Now, I do not think for a moment that God’s leading prophets that have track records of very precise words have all missed it, and somehow the media is telling the truth. Have they told the truth in the last four years? (“No!”) Then why are we attacking the prophetic voices of the Lord? “And oh, I will just not follow anyone again…” but you’ll go and be a Fox News junkie who has sold out and betrayed this nation.

In a video from January 11, Kunneman says that Jesus Himself is coming “like Rambo” to expose the voter fraud – a myth that must be perpetuated for these “prophets” to maintain any shreds of credibility:

He’s [Jesus] is not coming with a little sweater… [in effeminate voice] “Father, I must go now and celebrate what is going to take place January 20th with the one that stole the election…I don’t think He’s coming like Mr. Rogers, in the Land of Make Believe. That’s what they want us to do, MAKE BELIEVE THAT IT WAS LEGITIMATE, MAKE BELIEVE THAT IT WASN’T STOLEN, MAKE BELIEVE THAT HE HAD MORE VOTES…He’s coming like “Rambo,” How’s that? [intimidating Rambo] “You drew first blood..” [pretends to fire an automatic weapon as the congregation cheers] That’s how He’s coming…and He’s gonna’ deal with the liars, the crooks and those who’ve committed treason.

Another “prophet” I have watched recently on Sid Roth’s parade of eccentric Pentecostal showmen with their own schtick has been Robert Henderson – an older, seasoned operator with the down-home “good ol’ boy” homespun voice and demeanor, but “upgraded” with what appears to be an expensive haircut and gelled, spiked hair, and as best as I can ascertain from hearing him, has a gimmick of having unique access to “Heaven’s Courts,” and can serve like a defense attorney for you there to serve your agenda, which of course the first priority is wealth and making money. He has his own answer to why his prophecies and those of his henchmen of a second Trump term will not come to pass, with a laughable answer that he knows the gullible Christian followers will swallow. Around the end of December it was reported that

Speaking on The Jim Bakker Show this Monday, Pastor Robert Henderson (who once suggested that his prayers were responsible for the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg) tried to do a little damage control in light of the fact that Biden is destined to be sworn into office. When asked by host Jim Bakker what he thought about Trumpworld’s recent string of defeats in the Supreme Court, Henderson said the SCOTUS “took the easy way out,” so now the matter is entirely up to the “courts of heaven.” Bakker then asked, “Is [Satan] coming against the United States in the courts of Heaven right now.” Henderson said yes, and added that while he thinks God clearly has the power to do whatever he wants, it’s up to Christians to give him a boost now and then, and a lack of enthusiastic Trump-supporting Christians could be responsible for Trump’s fledgling effort to overturn the election.

In a video clip of his comments from the show embedded in the story, Henderson adds that in his prayer meetings, “We have been contending in the court of heaven…I do believe that we are contending against legal claims that the Adversary says he has against our nation, and we have been seeking to undo those claims.” I am sure that their “messiah” Trump can relate to this, having spent most of his adult life in legal court cases over his discriminatory practices as a slum-lord with his father, many divorce proceedings, and efforts to cover up his mistresses, taxes, financial records, health records, and sticking it to his hapless business “partners” when he routinely folds up companies in bankruptcy suffering from his mismanagement, leaving them holding the bag, and now impeachment trials. To be fair, in this clip, shockingly Henderson says (the first time I’ve heard this) that he does not see himself as a full-time prophet (maybe to save face from the election outcome), but his regular pronouncements of what God purportedly privileged him to witness in the third heaven and the Father’s courts is exactly what the legitimate Old Testament prophets did in their office as prophet.

On January 7, the day after the Trump followers plundered the Capitol to destroy the Congressmen but they confirmed the Biden victory anyway, Henderson gave the following mea culpa and “weasel words,” in a sermon to a church flock, as this video attests:

A lot of people said, “Well, wait a minute, the prophets said that Donald Trump would be President.” I said, “Well, what did you want them to prophesy? Did you want them to prophesy that Joe Biden was going to be President? I said, “You don’t understand the nature of the prophetic.” I said, “The nature of the prophetic is, the prophets understand, when they prophesy a thing, it sets it in motion for it to become a reality…the prophetic is not just a forward telling, it is actually a setting in motion for something that can become a reality…I understand, that whenever we prophesy, or decree a thing, out of a spirit of God and do our best to hear the spirit of the Lord, we are setting that thing in motion. So I say to people, “What did you want them to prophesy? I believe they heard the word of the Lord, but here’s the deal…Just because somebody prophesies something, doesn’t mean its going to come to pass, because every prophetic word has to be prayed into reality.

There are some things Robert Henderson can take credit for; according to a late September 2020 video from his Waco church, Henderson claimed that his storming of the Courts of Heaven by prayer led to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, like a rabbinic Orthodox Kabbalah-style Pulsa DiNura death curse, (although they use black candles, and usually perform the magical ritual in a graveyard). He stated on the video that

We were in the meeting on Monday night in D.C., and I told them, I said, ‘Look, we need to go into the courts of Heaven right now while we’re on-site in D.C., and we need to shut the mouth of the lion, judicially. “‘We need to ask for a judgment against the lion that has actually been devouring and intends to devour from the Supreme Court. We need to get a judgment against this lion that Paul said God shut the mouth of.’ So, I led us into that place. Well, guess what? Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed away. President Trump will establish a new Supreme Court justice. That’s no accident…So someone said “How can you have the authority to do that?” Because we are a house of prayer…A house of prayer that represents a culture can stand in the Courts of Heaven and get verdicts rendered out of heaven that will allow God’s will to be done.

Huh…I thought as sinners delivered by God’s grace, and given a “message of reconciliation” and Good News to deliver to “set the captives free,” that praying to save Judge Ginsberg, or even just change her mind regarding abortion, might have been more proper, if folks like Henderson have that level of clout to get verdicts rendered in the courts of heaven. I guess it just shows the priorities and proclivities of the heart. I also guess guys like Jesus and Stephen the deacon martyr were “too wimpy” by asking God to “forgive them, for they know not what they do,” or to “lay not this sin to their charge.” As far as the “blood on the altar” he describes on the video from abortions that set demonic powers down to earth if they don’t stop it, folk like Henderson don’t seem to care much about the “blood sacrifices” of the Indians and Africans of old here, the unarmed black males shot by cops far too often in our streets, the refugees who succumb to the elements or dangers in ignored tent cities or migrating, or those dying of malnutrition, preventable diseases, or bombs dropped indiscriminately in a War on Terror, and the “demons” they all invite.

Sometimes, supernatural Pentecostal power is even better augmented and fortified with good old-fashioned earthly weaponry and militaristic bluster. The Friendly Atheist website reports that Pastor Brandon Burden of KingdomLife in Frisco, Texas covered all these bases during his sermon on January 10, 2021, writing that

During a long rambling sermon just days after the Capitol coup, he told his (maskless) congregation to stock up on weapons, celebrated a God-ordained siege of Washington, spoke in tongues to give his statements added oomph, claimed Apple would create a national blackout, railed against FOX News and Mitch McConnell for not being conservative enough, urged everyone to stock up on generators and food, and said with absolutely certainty that Donald Trump would be president for eight straight years. How would that last part happen considering Joe Biden‘s inauguration is next week…? With military tribunals that execute traitors, of course. It’s just an unhinged rant that shows how broken these people’s brains are. They live in a bubble completely untethered to reality.

[From ten minutes of his 90-minute sermon, they note his comments that] “We are locked and loaded at the Burden house,” he said. The pastor advised churchgoers that it’s illegal to shoot a trespasser on their lawn, but he said they can if someone tries to enter their home, citing the state’s Castle Doctrine [looking forward to the opportunity, evidently]. During the service, Burden shouted in tongues while a woman at the altar waved a large American flag in front of him. In his sermon, the pastor cited “prophetic voices” who have said God told them Trump would be president for eight years. “We have an executive order — not from Congress or D.C., but from the desk of the CEO of heaven, the boss of the planet,” Burden said. “He said from his desk in heaven, this is my will; Trump will be in for eight years.”

This is what happens when your church rejects critical thinking and embraces conspiracy theories that have the added weight of God’s approval. Burden is a cult leader. Is there any doubt that pastors like him are part of the reason so many Christian Nationalists stormed the Capitol last week? They believed they were on a holy mission. If Muslims did anything like this, you can bet the same Christians in this room would be screaming about the dangers of a holy war. Yet here they are, using God to justify their irrational and arguably dangerous beliefs about an election their side lost. They treat Trump as their savior but give Jesus lip service along the way, which allows them to ignore his corruption and bigotry and lies while endorsing their mythologized version of who he is and what he can do. Burden, by the way, was a candidate for the Frisco City Council a few years ago. He lost, but not by much.

It is so sad that I cannot disagree with the perspectives of this honest atheist in this last paragraph. Many moral atheists and agnostics seek authentic expressions of spiritual truth that are consistent, based on some rational underpinnings, and demonstrate personal moral and societal transformation, but sadly these folk in our Religious Right circles keep letting them down by showing a bigoted, hateful, xenophobic and even disgusting and lunatic profile that really lets these people down, especially when evangelicals are supposed to be “salt and light” and about “soul winning,” which they don’t seem to talk about much during their “culture war,” or their expressions of hatred and paranoia about everyone outside their circles during the Trump love-fest. I pray that God can sift out an authentic witness in our country that can earn the respect of these searching people, even as St. Paul did for the skeptics on Mars Hill. If I were not already “weaned” culturally throughout my life in the evangelical culture, I probably would have been their biggest critic, which would have been a tragedy to miss its eternally life-altering message, albeit given by spokesmen that make free eternal life seem unappealing.  

These Evangelical forces, both charismatic/Pentecostal “prophetic” and otherwise, converged in their mutual spiritual devotion to Trump in their zealous conference at Washington D.C. in mid-December 2020. Right Wing Watch describes the event this way:

Organizers of Saturday’s pro-Trump “Let the Church ROAR” rally on the National Mall—also referred to as the national “Jericho March”—were proud of the fact that the event’s organizers represented different strands of conservative Christianity. Jericho March, which has been encouraging activists to hold daily rallies at state capitols—was created by Rob Weaver, a Pentecostal Christian, and Arina Grossu, a Catholic. Both have worked for the Trump administration. The Pentecostal wing of Trump’s movement, which includes the dominionist “apostles” and “prophets” associated with POTUS Shield and the New Apostolic Reformation, was represented by speakers like Lance Wallnau, Cindy Jacobs, and emcee Eric Metaxas. The Messianic Jewish wing, which overlaps others, was represented by speakers like Curt Landry and End-Times author Jonathan CahnRight-wing Catholics were represented by Ed Martin, whose Phyllis Schlafly Eagles was an event sponsor, along with far-right Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a priest specializing in exorcism and “deliverance,” and “traditionalist” Catholic author and podcaster Taylor Marshall, who figured prominently in Kathryn Joyce’s Vanity Fair article “Deep State, Deep Church: How QAnon and Trumpism Have Infected the Catholic Church.” Marshall’s book “Infiltration,” which purported to expose a decades-long plot by communists and Freemasons to take over the Catholic Church as a means to achieving world domination, was a bridge too far even for many conservative Catholics.

George Michalopulos, who blogs at Monomakhos and has promoted debunked conspiracy theories about how the election was “stolen” from Trump, represented the Trumpist corner of the Orthodox wing of Christianity. “I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees,” Michalopulos told the crowd. “On November 3, Donald J. Trump won the most resounding reelection victory in history and is in fact the duly elected president of the United States.” He called Biden a “usurper.” Michalopulos recently admiringly reposted a comment from Roosh V’s blog calling on Trump to refuse to step down, use the military to “crush his enemies,” and “use his authority under the Insurrection Act to arrest and/or kill everyone who participated in this plot.” (Roosh is a former pick-up artist and alt-Right blogger who now runs an online “forum for Christian men.”) “It really says it all, doesn’t it,” Michalopoulos wrote of the call for Trump to arrest leaders of the Democratic Party and Big Tech and “everyone of significance in the mainstream media.” Michalopulos began promoting Jericho March and “Let the Church ROAR” in November, warning, “We have a Jericho within our midst … Behind its walls are people who are plotting to destroy this country and rebuild it into something of their own making, for they have no god. It grows like a cancer and it is evil. Their tentacles run deep and are stifling our very way of life in an effort to snuff it out completely.” “They have closed our churches and forced us into hiding,” he wrote, “Were it possible, they would burn this country to the ground and have said so many times. But God can be trusted. He has sent us a “commander of the army of the Lord to deliver Jericho into our hands and we are His army.”

Let the Church ROAR” also represented another kind of ecumenism, the kind on which adoration of Trump has brought together elements of overlapping right-wing movements in the United States. Also speaking from the stage were conspiracy-theorist extraordinaire Alex Jones and anti-government extremist Stewart Rhodes, leader of Oath Keepers, who warned that if Trump didn’t use his powers as commander-in-chief to defeat his opponents, it would be up to right-wing militias to do so in a “more bloody war.”

Even some conservative Christians were appalled by the display on the National Mall. “This is a grievous and dangerous time for American Christianity,” wrote conservative writer and Trump critic David French. “The frenzy and fury of the post-election period has laid bare the sheer idolatry and fanaticism of Christian Trumpism.” French warned that the kind of language used by Metaxas and others “embody a form of fanaticism that can lead to deadly violence.” “We’re way, way past concerns for the church’s ‘public witness,” French wrote, adding, “A significant movement of American Christians—encouraged by the president himself—is now directly threatening the rule of law, the Constitution, and the peace and unity of the American republic.” Writer and culture-warrior Rod Dreher, who frequently lambastes the left, was also appalled. He wrote about the rally and his reactions to it at The American Conservative: “I watched because I wanted to see how far the Christian Right — for the record, I am an Orthodox Christian, and a conservative — would go to conflate Trump politics and religion. Pretty far, as it turns out. Right over the cliff. You had to see it to believe it.…This phenomenon is going to matter. Divinizing MAGA and Stop The Steal is going to tear churches to bits, and drive people away from the Christian faith (or keep them from coming in the first place). Based on what I saw today, the Christians in this movement do not doubt that Trump is God’s chosen, that they, by following him, are walking in light, and whatever they do to serve Trump is also serving God. They have tightly wound apocalyptic religion to conservative politics and American nationalism.

Popular Baptist author and speaker Beth Moore denounced Trumpism on Sunday as seductive and dangerous, adding, “This Christian nationalism is not of God.” Moore’s comment drew plenty of blowback from Trump’s supporters, including one from pastor, White House guest, and online angry man Greg Locke, who responded to Moore by telling her she had “lost her mind,” and should “SIT DOWN.” Jenna Ellis, the Trump attorney and Rudy Giuliani sidekick who was just the recipient of a glowing profile from Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, responded with an “AMEN” and thanks to Locke. Trump “prophet” Lance Wallnau also slammed Moore, as did musician-politician Sean Feucht.

This same source also reported on Christian Rabbi Jonathan “Harbinger” Cohn’s participation at this event:

End Times author Jonathan Cahn delivered the closing speech at Saturday’s “Let the Church ROAR” rally…Cahn’s speech was an example of a primary strategy used by religious-right leaders to drive conservative Christian turnout for Trump: fostering fear of anti-Christian persecution…many of Trump’s religious-right supporters continue to believe and declare that God will yet intervene to give the “anointed” Trump a victory. The weekend featured calls for violence from Trump supporters on stage and actual violence from Trump supporters in the streets.

Cahn has sold a lot of books for his publisher Charisma by purportedly decoding and explaining a biblical “paradigm” he says God revealed to him, in which stories and prophecies in the Bible foretell specific events in modern history, from Mark Twain’s visit to Israel to the elections of U.S. presidents up to and including Trump. Cahn was one of the primary organizers of “The Return,” a Sept. 26 gathering on the National Mall that was meant to seal Trump’s reelection victory and spark a national religious revival…At “The Return” in September, Cahn smashed a clay jar to the ground as a sign of what will happen to the U.S. if it fails to repent and return to God… Cahn painted a dire picture of what the future will look like in an America that has “forgotten her God” and allowed a “spirit of radicalism” to sweep universities, the media, and the Democratic Party. He warned that those preparing to assume power in Washington “will seek to end the culture war with a total vanquishing of the opposition.” He warned of an America in which believers are forced to perform abortions and their children are indoctrinated into “the ways which war against the ways of God.”

Cahn called attention to the upcoming Jan. 5 runoff elections for the two U.S. Senate seats from Georgia…“Right now, we are standing only two votes, two Senate seats away from a government that is ready to enact the most radical anti-biblical agenda in the history of this nation, without any restraint,” he claimed. Noting that the rally was taking place during Hanukkah, Cahn drew a long analogy between the events the holiday commemorates and the position of Christians in the U.S. today. He described a time when Israelites were being forced to bow to a wicked government until “the deplorables of that nation” rose up in revolt, and despite being “out-financed” and “out-weaponed,” won the battle with God’s help.

[Cahn continued:] We will not surrender to the darkness. We will not give in to the night. No matter what happens in this world…no matter what thrones may decree, we will not bow down to Baal…We will not bow down to princes or kings. We will not bow down to the sacred cows of this age. We will not bow down to the edicts of immorality and the decrees of darkness. We will not bow down to a radical agenda and the totalitarianism of a political correctness. We will not bow down darkness, and we will not bend our knees to evil.

On January 14, The Washington Post reported on the attendees to the January 6 rally and riot that came because of the words of Christian “prophets” calling them and prophesying Trump’s reelection, and gave examples of such people, and then added the following narrative of what transpired:

Images and references to being on the march for Jesus were common at the massive Jan. 6 rally – and later, riot – including a segment of American Christianity that believes it has the power of prophecy. Some experts say charismatic, prophetic Christians who operate largely outside denominations make up U.S. religion’s fastest-growing subset. In recent decades, millions have been increasingly seeking out these prophets and apostles on YouTube channels, in books, group prayer calls, via regular group text chats and at conferences where breakout groups practice faith healing and raising people from the dead. And nothing has focused this disparate, independent group like Donald Trump. While mainstream evangelical conservatives, including Trump’s own evangelical advisors, didn’t appear at the event, the day had been heavily promoted and covered by media and leaders of this charismatic, prophetic segment of Christianity.  “I believe something dramatic is going to happen before Congress votes on those electors. Something very dramatic that will change the outcome of that vote…the Holy Spirit will enter into this situation and it’s going to be something very dramatic,” televangelist Pat Robertson told his Christian Broadcasting Network audience Jan. 4, on the eve of two days of rallies in D.C.

After the deadly Capitol siege, the prophesies continued – that Trump will remain in power. “Anyone who think this ends tonight is totally mistaken…you are still the president and we need you to stay on the front lines, sir,” prophet Mario Bramnick, one of Trump’s faith advisors, said Jan. 7. “We thank God for exposing and foiling all the plans of the enemy set against him. We affirm his lawful election and pray for four more years with Donald Trump as our President!” the 24/7 National Strategic Prayer Call, a 10,000-member Arkansas-based ministry that hosts weekly live prayer calls, told its listeners Monday.

“What’s different from the past [of apostolic, charismatic Christianity] is it’s just so wound up with the person and presidency of Trump,” says Peter Montgomery, who has studied and written about right-wing religious movements for decades. “Many of these prophetic leaders in 2015-2016 said Trump was anointed by God, divinely assigned to save America and protect religious freedom. And now with them believing that Trump is standing in the way of Christianity being criminalized in the United States, this is an existential moment.”

The high-octane, emotional fight for Trump makes sense for these believers…Spiritual warfare is constant. Signs and wonders are everywhere. So as time passes and Trump’s options disappear, God’s move to keep him in power will be even more spectacular – evidence even more likely to spark a religious awakening or revival. “Let’s pray like a field, moving forward, for the Lord to reveal his plans and seal our time together – as long as there is an intercessor there is still hope. We are needed at this time in our nation, we are an effective part of God’s plan for the United States,” a voice said on a call Tuesday to Intercessors for America, a Purcelleville-based ministry with 100,000 Facebook followers and a weekly prayer call. The call ended with a cacophony of callers praying in tongues.

Brad Christerson, a sociology professor at the evangelical Biola University who wrote a book about this phenomenon – which he calls “Independent Network Charismatic,” or “INC,” Christianitysaid it is changing the face of religion in America by making it more experiential, more experimental and less theological. “There is a breakdown in consensus about what’s scientific truth, a breakdown in faith in institutions. We’re in a period of high competition for ideas, and young people are fascinated by the supernatural. There’s more of an openness to all kinds of ways of thinking,” he said. Christerson in his 2017 book cited the World Christian Database as saying between 1970 and 2010, independent apostolic and neo-Charismatic groups – other names for the charismatic Christians who believe in these unaffiliated prophets – grew the fastest of any other. Holly Pivec, another researcher who has written two books on the movement, estimates some 66 million Americans have come into close contact with its teachings, through books or conferences or music. The numbers are much more dramatic overseas; prophets and apostles are promoted at many of the world’s largest churches, in Nigeria, Colombia, South Korea, Pivec says.

…Then-presidential candidates Rick Perry, in 2011, and Bobby Jindhal, in 2015, hosted “prayer” rallies of tens of thousands of people in huge arenas, featuring prophets. Prophet Lance Wallnau, who wrote a book predicting Trump’s election (“God’s Chaos Candidate”) has spoken at Values Voters Summits. Mario Bramnick met multiple times with Trump officials about immigration reform, among other things. Leaders of five White House “faith” offices were introduced at a prophetic event in Beltsville, Md., just before the 2018 midterms. And the charismatic queen of American prosperity gospel, Paula White, has been by Trump’s side through his presidency, overseeing his faith office. In November a video went viral of White prophesying that God has dispatched angels from Africa and South America to help Trump achieve victory.

…By Monday, Wallnau was urging followers to focus on true prophesies and disregard conspiracy theories making the rounds on prophetic sites – such as one about Trump being about to declare martial law, or another about how major social media sites are about to go black. In December, Wallnau said on a prayer call that God would “overturn” the election because Trump’s “assignment” from God has not yet been completed. Later that month, in a video on his Facebook page, he said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) congratulating Biden on his victory was just another example of the deep state that Trump was sent to fight. Now, Wallnau said Monday, the prophetic word he’s now hearing is “enlargement.” How God is just about to “enlarge his sphere on Earth.” As far as the false predictions, he asked: “Why is it our people are so vulnerable to this stuff?”

John Fea, Professor of History at Messiah College wrote that

In Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, I wrote extensively about the so-called Independent Network Charismatics (INC). According to scholars Brad Christerson and Richard Flory, INC is the fastest-growing Christian movement in both the Western world and global south. INC Christians are outside the network of traditional Pentecostals. Unlike the Assemblies of God, Church of God (Cleveland)…[etc.], INC Christianity is not a denomination. Nor are its networks affiliated in any way with the National Association of Evangelicals. INC Christianity is a network of authoritative spiritual leaders with very large followings. They are closely related to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). If I understand these movements correctly, INC Christianity is more open to the prosperity gospel than NAR Christianity, but there is a lot of overlap. Both groups believe in the traditional Pentecostal “gifts” (speaking in tongues, healing, miracles, and prophecy). They expect a great revival of the Holy Spirit will take place shortly before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and God will raise up “apostles” and “prophets” to lead this revival.

Some of the more prominent INC prophets include Che Ahn (Harvest International Ministries in Pasadena, CA), Bill Johnson (Bethel Church in Redding ,CA), Chuck Pierce (Glory of Zion Ministries in Corinth, TX), Cindy Jacobs (Generals International in Red Oak, TX), Mike Bickle (International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO), Lou Engle (The Call in Colorado Springs, CO), Dutch Sheets (Dutch Sheets Ministries in Dallas, TX), Lance Wallnau (Lance Learning Group in Dallas, TX), Jeremiah Johnson (Jeremiah Johnson Ministries in Charlotte, NC), Kat Kerr (Revealing Heaven Ministries of Jacksonville, FL), and Shawn Bolz (Bolz Ministries of Studio City, CA).

INC prophets and apostles believe that they have been appointed to serve as God’s agents in ushering in his future kingdom, a process that many describe as God “bringing heaven to earth.” They are thus deeply attracted to Seven Mountain Dominionism, the belief that Jesus will not return until society comes under the dominion of Jesus Christ…INC prophets want to reclaim seven cultural “mountains”: family, government, arts and entertainment, media, business, education, and religion. The goal is to place God’s appointed leaders atop these cultural mountains as a means of setting the stage for the time when God will bring heaven to earth.

As early as 2007, INC prophet Kim Clement received a word from God: “Trump shall become a trumpet. I will raise up Trump to become a trumpet, and Bill Gates to open up the gate of a financial realm for the church.” Early in the 2016, Wallnau received similar words: “Donald Trump is a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness.” When Wallnau’s prophecy caught the attention of Trump’s evangelical supporters, he was invited to attend a meeting with the candidate and other evangelical leaders in Trump Tower. As Wallnau listened to Trump talk about his desire to give evangelicals a more prominent voice in government, he sensed that God was giving him an “assignment”–a “calling related to this guy.” One day, while he was reading his Facebook page, Wallnau saw a meme predicting that Trump would be the “45th president of the United States.” God told Wallnau to pick up his Bible and turn to Isaiah 45. On reading the passage, Wallnau realized that, not only would Trump be a “wrecking ball” to political correctness, but he would be elected president of the United States in the spirit of the ancient Persian king Cyrus…Wallnau was shocked by this discovery. “God was messing with my head,” he told Steven Strang, the editor of Charisma, a magazine that covers INC and other Pentecostal and charismatic movements.

In early 2015, Cindy Jacobs claimed that God said to her, “I have a trump card in my hand and I’m gonna play it and I’m gonna trump the system.” When Trump announced his candidacy in 2016, Jacobs supported his candidacy through “prayer walks” through seven swing states. Jacobs was one of the religious leaders who stood behind Trump on the White House lawn when he announced an executive order on religious liberty on May 4, 2017. Frank Amedia, an INC apostle who claims to have presented Trump with a note at a campaign stop in Youngstown, Ohio, telling the candidate that God had revealed to him that it was a “forgone conclusion” that he would win the GOP nomination, worked as Trump’s “liaison for Christian policy.” Amedia has led several of these INC leaders in the formation of an organization called POTUS Shield. The clergy associated with this organization gather regularly to pray for Trump to protect them from the Satan-inspired attacks of his political opponents. The POTUS Shield prophets seldom appeared at the White House, but they served as a kind of spiritual support group for God’s new Cyrus, who will lead America back to spiritual and economic prosperity and help to set the stage for the dominion of Jesus Christ over all the earth.

Prior to Trump, INC and NAR prophets were on the fringe. The secular media didn’t even know they existed. The only outlet that covered them on a regular basis was Right Wing Watch, a project sponsored by People For the American Way. But in recent days, the Washington Post and New York Times have recognized the influence of these Christians and their massive followings…As might be expected, INC and NAR prophets prophesied a Trump victory in 2020. Some of them, including Johnson, apologized. Over at Religion Unplugged, Julia Duin has a piece on how Trump’s loss has divided the INC and NAR community [saying:]…At least 40 charismatic Christian leaders predicted Trump’s reelection starting around 2018, according to J. Gordon Melton, 78, the venerable compiler of the Encyclopedia of American Religions and an American religious studies professor at Baylor University. “Only a handful [of prophets] got it right on the 2016 election,” said Melton, “so they all jumped into this election and with one exception,” a Black prophet from North Carolina whose name he did not recall, “they were wrong.” This is the second major hit this movement has taken in less than a year, he added. The first was during a prophetic summit last year. “Last November when [evangelist] Cindy Jacobs had her meeting in Dallas, none of the prophets at that meeting – and it was the elite who were there – none of them hinted that anything like the coronavirus was coming,” Melton said. “That has come back to haunt them.”

Some in the movement are still holding out for some kind of last-minute miracle from God that would magically reverse the election and install Trump as president on Jan. 20. The Dallas-based Kenneth Copeland Ministries is one. On Jan. 7, host Gene Bailey and several other prophets appearing on a ministry broadcast known as Flashpoint, floated conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol. All of them encouraged listeners to continue believing in prophecies of a Trumpian victory. “Many are on the side of, ‘Let’s attack one another. Let’s get on social media and attack the prophets. And let’s draw the sword on one another,’” said the Rev. Hank Kunneman, pastor of Hosts Church in Omaha, Neb. “And I think that is the greatest mistake we can make as true patriots, true Christians, those of us that are in the body of Christ.” God had personally assured him there would be a miraculous outcome, he added. “I’m telling you that’s what we’re getting ready to see,” he said. “I don’t know how that’s going to play out. I just know this thing is not over.

In November after the election, the Religion Unplugged blog reproted that “Steve Schultz, founder of the prophetic website Elijah List, which has a YouTube broadcast called Elijah Streams, commented Nov. 10 that interest in the prophetic is so high right now, he’s getting 100,000 views for some of his broadcasts. ‘The prophets aren’t backing off what they prophesied,’ he said on the air. ‘They’ve known it, they’ve said it; they are not backing off’ (emphasis added). they add that

One such individual is Charlie Shamp, 38, a North Carolina evangelist who…affixed the title of “Prophet” before his name. Interviewed on Nov. 10 by Schultz, he said his fellow prophets had called the election correctly despite what the headlines say. “When you have tested prophets that have got numerous prophetic words over the years correct, you begin to question the narrative that is presented to us and stop questioning whether the prophets got it right or not,” he said. “When we have the church believing the media more than the prophets, there needs to be a discernment coming back to the body of Christ after four years of lies from the media.” [emphasis added] Shamp has prophesied that a sudden turnaround will happen in Pennsylvania and told Schultz that God will post a double rainbow around the White House as a sign. Without mentioning names, he took a shot at some prophets who had backed down from their predictions of a Trump victory. “Those who do not have a spirit of discernment, they are backing down but we’re not backing down,” he said. Noting that he had predicted two years ago that a “red tide” would sweep the 2018 elections (it didn’t), he excused his mistake by saying God had intended for that to happen, but “something not right in the American election system” had stymied the divine will.

They also write that “Kris Vallotton, 65, the resident prophet at the Redding, Calif., mega-congregation Bethel Church” was such a major prophet who confessed he had made a false prophecy, while denying he was a “false prophet” but now did have a “credibility gap,” and took full responsibility. However, they add that “Pushback within the movement was swift, and Vallotton quickly reversed himself, removing the video from his account. In a second video, he said he had gotten “thousands” of responses saying he had apologized too soon; that he was naively believing the media or that he was a coward” (emphasis added).

They also wrote that prophet-apologizers “include Los Angeles pastor and spiritual coach Shawn Bolz (who also prophesied last Feb. 28 that COVID-19 would die down quickly)” (emphasis added).

Speaking of prophets with egg on their face, and their cultural “home” with the popular Charisma magazine, on January 8 its editor Stephen Strang wrote a belated mea culpa entitled, “Regardless of the Election Outcome, God Has Plans and Purposes We Don’t Understand” for his confident and prestigious prophecy friends, and his earlier enthusiastic endorsement of them, in the latest prophetic “fail” which is commonplace but very obvious today (and which people will promptly forget anyway), writing that

As you probably know, I’ve not only written four books about President Donald Trump, but I’ve also been an unabashed Trump supporter for several years now. Now that the Senate has confirmed Joe Biden as the next president of the United States, I want to share my personal thoughts on the prophecies about President Trump and how Charisma Media will cover this going forward. My first book, God and Donald Trump, was really about his miraculous win…If you’ve read the book, you know I actually attended the victory party in New York City the night of the 2016 election. And even though in the natural, everybody said Trump would never win, I just thought, Well, the prophets prophesied, and I believed he would do itGod and Donald Trump is still a good read…It was successful enough that I wrote a sequel, Trump Aftershock. As the 2020 election drew near, I decided to write God, Trump and the 2020 Election…The first chapter is called “Why Trump Must Win,” because I thought…we just cannot turn this country over to the Left.

But the second chapter is “Why Trump Might Lose”…the other reason—and probably the main reason—I said Trump might lose was fraud. And I documented a lot of the potential fraud that we have since seen take place. When the election happened, officials stopped the voting the night of the election only in the states where it made a difference. It looked like Trump was way ahead, and by morning, they had mysteriously found boxes of ballots, and he was behind…I thought all these examples would be investigated, and the courts would step in to change the election outcome. And at the same time, a number of Christian leaders were saying that somehow God had said Trump would be in for two terms. There were several pathways to this outcome, including the U.S. Senate rejecting the electors for Joe Biden from the seven states that chose electors for both candidates or even only a couple of those states. And as it unfolded, we all got a civics lesson on how this could happen and even had happened earlier in our nation’s history.

During the period where it looked like the election might go in Donald Trump’s favor, we decided at Charisma Media and charismanews.com to play it fairly straight but avoid calling Joe Biden the president-elect until the election was certified. Now that the U.S. Senate has certified the election, we will, when appropriate, refer to him as President-elect Biden. And of course, after he’s inaugurated on Jan. 20, we will respect him as President Biden. We are instructed to pray for our leaders, which we will do.

In my books, I reported prophecies going back to Kim Clement in the 2007 time frame. He prophesied in a service in Redding, California, that God was going to raise up a person who loved him the way King David did. And he said Trump was going to be a trumpet, but he also said Bill Gates was going to be the gate that God would open. Again, his prophecy was somewhat ambiguous, but still interesting. So far Trump has been that trumpet for religious freedom. The prophecy about Gates has not yet come to pass. There were other prophets whom I also cited in my books.

I am not a prophet. I’ve never been a prophet; that’s not my gift. But there were a number of prophets who were very certain that Trump would be elected. Now that it has not happened, they are apologizing one by one. Since we covered their prophecies (and I personally hoped they were right), we are covering their apologies. So far, we have published two of them, from Loren Sandford and Jeremiah Johnson. I thought they both said it well. They refused to blame other people; they refused to say, “Well, Trump won, but the election was stolen“…I personally do believe Trump won, and I personally do believe the election was stolen. But it’s not my responsibility to fix that. I can’t make anything happen.we will grapple with how to understand times like this when God doesn’t come through in the way we thought He should.

In a way, many of these prophecies were…wishful thinking and praying that God would come through and turn things around in America…And the things the Democrats say they’re going to do are also very serious, but we just have to trust God…I don’t understand what’s happened, and I‘m not going to try to defend Donald Trump. He is who he is; he answers to God, not to me. But I also don’t back off from what I have written or from the different podcasts I’ve done. They were all sincere, and they were all from the perspective of what I believed God was saying. And I hope that you’ll give me the grace—and Charisma Media the grace—of missing this, in a manner of speaking.

I also want to go on record as saying we do not condone violence in any way, and we believe that apparent Trump supporters breaking into the Capitol is far worse than Black Lives Matter rioters burning a police precinct or burning down a store—which we also condemn. We’re sad for the loss of life of the woman who was killed at the scene [what about the policeman bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher by the Trump supporters?].

Well, so much for an “apology.” So, its more that the election is stolen, and not so much that the arrogant, presumptive prophets were “wrong,” nor do they owe refunds to all the gullible followers who bought their DVDs and books to tell themselves what they wanted to hear in their own pride. To merely vindicate the “prophets,” this rationale gives spiritual sanction to distrust the government, the courts (including Trump appointed ones who ruled against him amongst the sixty judges) and Republican lawmakers who accepted the will of the people via the ballot and a Constitutional set of delegates, and to take actions to bring God’s obvious “will on earth” – by force in disobeying government if necessary – so as to save the reputation of the “prophets,” because they CAN’T be wrong, otherwise maybe all of Christianity is suspect. 

After all this talk of today’s popular, money-making “prophets” suddenly “moving the goalposts” in terms of their flamboyant and definitive promises of President Trump’s second term as a sign of their divine appointment and authority, and all the excuses and pivoting they are so skilled at executing, maybe we should consult the One who supposedly sends prophets to let God-fearing people know God’s mind on the issues of the day, using His own words and thoughts as expressed through the universally-recognized prophets of the Bible. I hope this is helpful to charismatic/Pentecostal readers (including those who receive a link to this posting via email from fellow Christian friends) who have up to now been taking these men and women very seriously as the authoritative “man or woman of God,” to the point of adopting world views or taking significant actions or commitments (whether sending life savings, quitting a job or storming a Capitol) based upon their edicts. 

First, at the time God was first calling out His own nation of God-fearing people to be His, He laid the ground rules for how prophets should be discerned as speaking for Him:

I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.” You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed. Deut. 18:19-22, NIV

King Ahab did not want to bring the authentic prophet of God Micaiah before him and allied King Jehoshaphat of Judah, because while the false prophets patriotically prophesied success for the King in his agenda, like Donald Trump, Ahab hated genuine prophets of God that spoke “truth to power” and told the truth of the dangers of their actions. When Micaiah did it again and did not give God’s endorsement of the King’s actions, he further elaborated that sometimes God Himself will put lying words in the mouths of the prophets to help God bring down arrogant, corrupt kings by their own hubris, which we may be witnessing today:

“ ‘By what means?’ the LORD asked. “ ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “ ‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it.’ “So now the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.” 1 Kings 22:22-23, NIV

The real prophet Jeremiah told how in his days, where the nation of “God’s people” were slipping into delusions of “exceptionalism” that would keep them from God’s judgment, and with rising spiritual, economic and political corruption of their times, a sign of their imminent demise would be the appearance of many “prophets” that would merely confirm their delusions of self-importance and special, preserved status:

Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.” Jeremiah 14:14, NIV

Jeremiah elaborated further on their modus operandi, and His opinion of them and those who follow them:

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORDBut which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?…I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?…”Therefore,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. Yes,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The LORD declares.’ Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the LORD. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the LORD…If a prophet or a priest or anyone else claims, ‘This is a message from the LORD,’ I will punish them and their householdBut you must not mention ‘a message from the LORD’ again, because each one’s word becomes their own message. So you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God. This is what you keep saying to a prophet: ‘What is the LORD’s answer to you?’ or ‘What has the LORD spoken? …I will bring on you everlasting disgrace–everlasting shame that will not be forgotten.” Jer. 23:16, 18, 25-26, 30-32, 34, 36-37, 40 NIV

Such false prophets need to be called out specifically:

“But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.”…Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen, Hananiah! The LORD has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies. Jer. 28:9, 15 NIV

The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading. Lamentations 2:14 NIV

Isaiah saw the same thing in the same era:

[God] who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense… Isaiah 44:25 NIV

The prophet Ezekiel witnessed some of the worst corruption of his people amongst the powerful “religious caste”:

Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people. Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious peopleFor there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations among the people of Israel. But I the LORD will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay. For in your days, you rebellious people, I will fulfill whatever I say, declares the Sovereign LORD‘…Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins…Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the LORD has not sent them, they say, “The LORD declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words. Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The LORD declares,” though I have not spoken? ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign LORD…Now, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Prophesy against them…You have profaned me among my people for a few handfuls of barley and scraps of bread. By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live. Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When any of the Israelites set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet, I the LORD will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry. Ezekiel 12:2-3, 24-25, 3:2-4, 6-8, 17, 19, 14:4 NIV

The prophet Micah described a populace, and the religious leaders they follow, that is much like our own!

If a liar and deceiver comes and says, ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’ that would be just the prophet for this people! Micah 2:11

Jesus continued to warn about false prophets to the church, and their increased threat in the Last Days:

Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets… Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves…Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!‘…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Luke 6:26, Matt. 7:15, 22-23, 24:11-12, Mark 13:22 NIV

The Apostle Paul saw them in full force in the early days of the Church:

For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. 2 Cor. 11:13-15 NIV

The Apostle Peter foresaw the “modern TV prophet” in his day as well:

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies…Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them…This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord. But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understandFor they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 2 Peter 2:1-3, 10-12, 18 NIV

That’s why the Apostle John said:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1 NIV

 

A few of today’s “prophets” we have mentioned in this writing have humbly come public with apologies for their hubris, which is a rare observance these days and notable, even though as we have seen, God’s Word prescribes severe punishments for those who falsely take the prophetic mantle to speak “in the name of the Lord.” As one example, “prophet” Jeremiah Johnson wrote the following in Charisma magazine, called, “My Public Apology and Process”; it is a bold statement that in its sincerity and honesty, stands in condemnation of its “prophet” peers who have not been men enough or sincere enough to do the same, and I strongly urge each reader to read it in full:

Dear Saints and Leaders,

I have submitted this letter to senior, respected national leaders in the body who have now given their approval to publicly release it. I am also currently in relationship with local church elders where I reside, whom I greatly value and believe are essential for accountability in my life, marriage and ministry.

We have dialogued and prayed, and I continue to receive their instructions and corrections. I have learned some very hard and valuable lessons throughout this process, and I intend to be as transparent as possible in the following remarks. The prophetic ministry is simply one of the gifts that God has given His body, and we should always be actively seeking relationship and accountability, first at the local level and then nationally if that is where God’s calling leads us.

My aim in this public apology is twofold. First, I would like to repent for inaccurately prophesying that Donald Trump would win a second term as the president of the United States. I refuse to blame the saints and say, “It didn’t come to pass because they did not pray enough.” Nor will I proclaim, “Donald Trump actually won, so I was right, but now it has been stolen from him.” I believe the first statement seeks to alleviate the prophetic messenger from the responsibility of what he prophesied, and the second statement is filled with potential pride and an unwillingness to humble himself and admit he was wrong.

I want to go on record: “I was wrong, I am deeply sorry, and I ask for your forgiveness.” I specifically want to apologize to any believer in whom I have now caused potential doubt concerning the voice of God and His ability to speak to His people. As a human being, I missed what God was saying; however, rest assured, God Himself is not a liar, and His written Word should always be the foundation and source of our lives as Christians.

Second, I would like to explain my prophetic process along the way so that anyone desiring to grow and learn from my mistakes might have the benefit of doing so—especially other prophets and prophetic people. As a public figure, I recognize my mistakes often have public consequences, and I want to be as transparent as possible.

For those who follow our ministry closely, you will especially understand just how detailed my prophetic journey has been with Donald Trump since 2015. I believe I was given an assignment to help the body of Christ prophetically discern the plans God had for Donald Trump. However, my mandate has and will always be focused on preparing the bride of Christ for the return of our bridegroom King Jesus Christ. I have intentionally recorded my encounters concerning Donald Trump publicly for accountability purposes over the last five years.

To this open letter “prophet” Johnson added a more detailed narrative on his own website, which includes a timeline of his “prophecies” about Trump. I originally thought this looked like an apologetic for his actions by showing how he was originally accurate and why it was understandable why he was mistaken, and thus I was initially disappointed, but I did find within its timeline of his prophetic pronouncements a few good lessons, and some insight on the moral of this story that is about as thoughtful as you will ever see from this crowd. He begins by saying that in the summer of 2015 (notably, when Trump was getting a lot of press coverage for his provocative presence in the early debates), he first publicly prophesied Trump as the “new Cyrus,” and further “prophesied from God” that “many will be blessed because of his compassion and mercy. Though many see the outward pride and arrogance, I have given him the tender heart of a father that wants to lend a helping hand to the poor and the needy, to the foreigner and the stranger” (!) His later prophecies also showed that Trump’s arrogance might get the better of him, and the Church might look into the wrong things from him, like his wealth or their own. After his January 2018 “prophecy,” he wrote, “Could Donald Trump have been raised up by God Himself like a Cyrus and bring necessary change to America, but through his own pride, arrogance, and forsaking of the poor end as a type of Nebuchadnezzar? The answer is: ABSOLUTELY…  The truth is that many in the Church are guilty of idolizing and worshipping Donald Trump as the savior of America.” (emphasis added). He added parenthetically to this that “Upon its release in 2018, it was also primarily rejected by a majority of those who rejoiced at the original prophetic word I received in 2015.” In December 2019 he was given a “Dream prophecy” about the 2020 race, in which Trump struggled to win a marathon, but was helped when “Mike Pence, Franklin Graham, Donald Trump Jr., and his family were there to comfort him” (!) In October 2020, he wrote that “I became convinced that Donald J. Trump would win re-election and began to prophesy that without conditions,” and published that and two other prophecies that came true (including that the Dodgers would win the World Series, which seemed to be a concern for him (!)) in Charisma magazine then. In understanding his own prophecies and making sense of them (including the error of Trump’s reelection), he writes that he now thinks God’s message is that

God Himself anointed Donald Trump in 2016 and then removed him from office in 2020 because of his own pride and arrogance. Joe Biden’s becoming the 46th President of the United States is meant to humble not only Donald Trump but all those who worshipped him more than they kept their focus on Jesus Christ. For the record, if I myself inadvertently persuaded anyone to do this by sharing my prophetic dreams and interpretations with the world, I repent and ask for your forgiveness. I have stated all along, “Political figures can never solve spiritual issues.” Regardless of who sits in the oval office, we have a sin problem in America that the One who sits above the circle of the earth is calling us to give an account for…I am simply convinced God Himself removed him and there was nothing that any human being could have done about it. I prophesied inaccurately that he would be re-elected because of the dream I had in October 2020. Perhaps the first two parts were born of the Spirit and the third part was of the flesh—a soulish desire of mine that was not from God…I believe the Church would be much better off concerning these issues [abortion, Israel, marriage, etc.] under another four years of Donald Trump — if he had repented of his pride and the church had not put him on a pedestal — but this is not what happened, and I accept it as the will of God. We can kick and scream, or we can humble ourselves and get prostrate in prayer like never before. As difficult as it will be for millions of Christians in America to accept, I invite you now to consider that God Himself removed Donald Trump from office….Do not waste the next four years blaming and engaging in endless debates online about a stolen election. It will only cause more strife, division, and works of the flesh in the body of Christ…A humbling has come and is coming to the American Church like never before. How we choose to respond to this correction and judgment from the Lord will determine many outcomes in the years ahead…We must focus our efforts on preaching the gospel and making disciples like never before…I, for one, am choosing today to dedicate 2021 and beyond to the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Sadly, on the afternoon of January 10th, Johnson posted this on his Facebook page:

Over the last 72 hours, I have received multiple death threats and thousands upon thousands of emails from Christians saying the nastiest and most vulgar things I have ever heard toward my family and ministry. I have been labeled a coward, sellout, a traitor to the Holy Spirit, and cussed out at least 500 times. We have lost ministry partners every hour and counting. After publicly repenting on January 7th, I fully expected to be called a false prophet etc. in some circles but I could have never dreamed in my wildest imagination that so much satanic attack and witchcraft would come from charismatic/prophetic people. I have been flabbergasted at the barrage of continued conspiracy theories being sent every minute our way and the pure hatred being unleashed.

To my great heartache, I’m convinced parts of the prophetic/charismatic movement are far SICKER than I could have ever dreamed of. I truthfully never realized how absolutely triggered and ballistic thousands and thousands of saints get about Donald Trump. It’s terrifying! It’s full of idolatry! If I helped to prop up this ideology concerning him, I will need to repent again and stir up even more hell. On a personal level, I am just beyond relieved that President Trump was only an assignment for a season and never a mandate. Revival is never dependent upon who sits in the White House but rather who sits on the Throne in Heaven. I will continue to preach the Cross and the power of the resurrection…As we head into 2021, expect me to be more committed to the gospel and making disciples than ever before. By God’s grace I will walk in a greater measure of humility and repentance than ever before. I will learn from my mistakes and seek correction from Godly leaders always.

I’m going to read the Sermon on the Mount now.

“Prophet” Loren Sandford, Senior Pastor of NewSong Church, also swiftly placed his apology on the Charisma platform the day after the Trump supporter domestic terror attack, entitled, “Pastor Loren Sandford’s Open Apology: How and Why We Got It Wrong.” There he stated that

I promised long ago that if I got it wrong regarding the outcome of the presidential election and my prophecy that Trump would be reelected, I would publish an open apology. Since then, I have waited for procedures and challenges to run their course. Last night, the Congress counted the votes, and the election went to Biden. The president has apparently conceded, promising a smooth transition. So, now is the time.

I want to tell you how I got it wrong. This is a confession and an explanation, not an excuse or justification. Let me begin with this. I don’t believe in rubber prophecy, stretch-to-fit. I’ve spoken against that for a number of years. For example, many have already exhorted me not to apologize, insisting that Trump actually won and the election was stolen. Regardless, the fact remains that Joe Biden is confirmed as the president-elect. I will not protest that I was right to make my words fit the situation and deny getting it wrong. No rubber prophecyPart of my own prophetic discipline, laid on me by the Lord, has been never to feed on the words of other prophetic voices…The Lord told Jeremiah in Jeremiah 23:30 (NASB), “Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the Lord, “who steal My words from each other.” We sometimes hear what other prophets are saying, and it stirs us up emotionally. In that emotional stirring, we build a bit on what was said, adding to it in the rush of emotion, because the emotion carries us forward until the final product is no longer the word the Lord actually gave.

My first confession is, therefore, that I departed from that discipline. I allowed myself to be caught up in a prevailing stream and to be carried along by it. In doing that, I actually compromised what the Lord had already told me years before. The Lord told me in October of 2016, Trump’s first campaign, that he would win that election but that he would not serve…In the first week of December after that election, I saw in a vision the crisis that would strike in the fourth year…I warned from the beginning that his reelection was not a certainty if he didn’t learn to temper his rhetoric and stop insulting his enemies. I called for prayer that the Lord would change the president’s heart. I was roundly criticized by fellow ChristiansWhen I appeared on Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural, taped in June 2018 and aired in September that year, I warned that the president’s reelection was not a certainty, in spite of what other prophetic voices were saying, unless there was the kind of change of which I’d spoken. I should have stood on that word of uncertainty. I didn’t. I was wrong not to. Many who have a lot more fame and widespread credibility than I do were confidently prophesying a victory, and it fed into my own insecurity and need to belong or fit in. How could I be wrong when all those who have such wide credibility over mine were prophesying a certainty?

In 1 Kings 22, Micaiah came before the kings among 400 other prophets. The 400 prophesied a victory for the kings if they went to war against Aram. Micaiah stood alone to speak what was actually true. The kings didn’t listen to him, went with the 400 and lost the battle. King Ahab was killed…In this case, I compromised that and allowed myself to be caught up in the prevailing stream. For this, I repent before the Lord, and I humbly ask the forgiveness of the body of Christ. I have learned a hard lesson I pray I will not forget in the days to come. I will be redoubling my quest for intimacy with the Lord and His word in the quiet place.

Another element of how I got it wrong: The tendency we have to hear what we want to hear. Strong desire and strong opinions play a huge role in distorting the words we believe we hear, if we allow that to happen…I will say, though, that strong desire and a strong negative opinion of the Democratic Party played a role. The hard reality is that lots of us with sterling records of past accuracy got it wrong. I see this as a rebuke from the Lord for an imbalance the majority of us fell into, and I will take it to heart.

I am also refocusing the prophetic aspect of my own ministry to the core of prophetic ministry. The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus, pure devotion to Him and the revelation of who He isPrediction is really a lesser thread in the wide sweep of Scripture. The core calling of the prophetic is to separate the precious from the vile—the holy from the unholy—and to ensure that the devotion of the people of God is pure and uncompromised. In fact, prediction is often conditional upon the people’s response to prophetic calls for repentance and change. One often-missed purpose of prophetic ministry is found in 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 (NASB 1995): “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.” There’s the core of it. “convicted,” “called to account.” It seems like we too often miss or neglect those two significant words.

I apologize for allowing my own focus to be skewed. I ask forgiveness for allowing myself to be caught up in the stream of the 400 when God has called me to stand as a Micaiah. I apologize for allowing my own insecurity about belonging among other prophetic voices to carry me into error. And finally, our obligation now as a whole body of Christ is to obediently pray for Joe Biden and his administration, whether or not we like the outcome, their agenda or their party. And God bless you all.

Dr. Michael Brown, a conservative Christian radio host, charismatic/Pentecostal evangelist/pastor, and prominent national Christian leader, reflected on the current state of the Christian community and what these last few years and days of Trump-fetish have exposed about them, on the night of the Nov. 6 domestic terror attack, on the site of one of the most major conservative Christian (and Trump-supporting) news sites, World Net Daily. There, he writes:

There is nothing more powerful than faith in God…But faith is not fantasy. Faith is not simply affirming the figments of our own imagination. Faith is anything but delusional. That’s why faith is not moved by circumstances or feelings. That’s why faith rejoices before the answer comes. That’s why faith is sure even when there is every reason to doubt.

But what if we are believing something that is not true? What if we are convinced that God has spoken when He has not? What then? Right now, there are millions of Christians in America, including quite a few prominent leaders, who remain certain that Donald Trump will be inaugurated for a second term on Jan. 20. It doesn’t matter to them that the courts have rejected almost every single case of alleged fraud brought by the Trump team. It doesn’t matter that there is no political path for his reelection. They are convinced that God had spoken, and they will not be moved. Certainly, many of us can relate to this kind of faith, having believed God against all odds at other times in our lives. Our friends thought we were crazy. Family members thought we had lost touch with reality. All the evidence was stacked against us. “Just accept the facts,” we were told. “You will not get your miracle.” And yet we did get our miracle. God came through. Our faith was vindicated.

That is how many of these Christian leaders are feeling right now. They, too, are expecting their miracle. Trump will have four more years! No amount of factual, contrary evidence will dissuade them. On the one hand, this could be a great testimony before a watching world if the seemingly impossible happens. This could demonstrate that our faith is not a fantasy and that we are not delusional. What spiritual courage! On the other hand, when Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20, what will happen to our testimony before the watching world? It will be difficult for people to separate our faith in Jesus from our faith in Trump’s reelection, difficult for the world to distinguish between a written promise in the Bible and something we personally believe God has spoken. (In other words, to the non-believer, it will be difficult to distinguish between, “The Bible says that whoever believes in the Son will have eternal life,” vs. “I believe the Holy Spirit has spoken to me that Trump will be reelected.”) The truth be told, it will be difficult for many Christian believers to distinguish between faith in God’s eternal promises and faith in an alleged promise that Trump would serve a second, consecutive term.

That’s why I’m writing this article today, well before Jan. 20, 2021. That’s why I’m shouting this simple message from the rooftops. (And I shout it as a charismatic leader who believes in contemporary prophecy and prophetic ministry.) The Bible, God’s Word, stands alone. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. What God promises in His Word is 100% certain, more fixed than the rising and setting of the sun. You can bet your very life on it. Jesus died for our sins. He rose from the dead. And He will one day return. As it is written so it is, and so it will be. I stake my eternal dreams and hopes and destiny on these glorious truths…As for alleged prophetic words spoken today, including words we “sense” in our hearts or words to which our spirits bear witness, they are subjective and must be tested. And, even if they prove true, they are not equivalent to the Bible, they do not have the authority of Scripture, and they do not represent universal truths that are binding on all believers. When it comes to the presidential elections, God never gave me any assurance that Trump would be reelected (although, as any of my readers would know, he was my preferred choice over Biden). Nor did the Lord ever give me any assurance that the prophets, who to a person proclaimed a Trump victory, were right. That means that my faith will not be affected in the least with the anticipated inauguration of Joe Biden, although I will certainly be concerned with the direction he has pledged to take our country. The Bible never told me (or you) that Trump (or any other presidential candidate) would be elected. And I can give a list of reasons why so many prophetic voices and Christian leaders could have been so wrong in their pro-Trump predictions. (We will certainly address that when the time is right.) But my message to a watching world right now is simple: John 3:16 will remain true long after the Trump reelection prophecies are forgotten. Don’t confuse what is written in the Word with some alleged prophetic words.

On the 12th of January, Religion Unplugged wrote,

“People are speaking words without accountability,” said Michael Brown, a leader in a 1990s movement known as the Brownsville Revival and author of the 2018 book “Playing with Holy Fire: A Wake-Up Call to the Pentecostal-Charismatic Church”. “No major prophetic voices said the COVID crisis was coming and then – when some of them prophesied that it would end in April and it didn’t – no one apologized. So we came into the elections with a bit of a black eye. The prophecies had already been off for a major event”… The end result was dozens of prophets saying Trump would win; a situation Brown said “was the largest-scale deception I’ve seen in 49 years of following Jesus.” Brown was one of the few in the movement who sounded an early alarm that the prophets could be wrong when he published a cautionary Dec. 15 essay in thestream.org. His “Line of Fire” talk show now includes warnings against folks like Kerr and Kunemann, who he said “prophesy falsely” on a Jan. 11 broadcast. That has caused some backlash. “I’ve been called the servant of Satan and spawn of Baal because I caved and am not standing with the prophets,” Brown said. “I’ve been called Deep State and that I’m a Mossad agent.” (emphasis added)

They also write that

James A. Beverley, a research professor at Tyndale University in Toronto, went further in calling the matter “the most significant crisis in the history of modern charismatic prophecy” that he has seen in 40 years of studying the movement.“ The fight over the Trump prophecies has brought a deep division in the charismatic and Pentecostal world and it has given that branch of the Christian church a serious credibility issue,” he said. Beverley also believes that the QAnon movement’s wild speculations that Trump will engage the military to take back Washington have influenced some Pentecostal prophets. Released last month, Beverley’s new book, The QAnon Deception, explores how some famous Christian pro-Trump figures like Mark Taylor (known as the “firefighter prophet”) and Dave Hayes (aka the “praying medic”) have direct links to QAnon.

To be fair, there have been a few, isolated “voices crying in the wilderness” amongst our Christian celebrities and leaders, who have warned about this obsession with the volatile and troubled Donald Trump, and how this will irreparably damage our Christian witness in our society, in a problematic proclivity in our midst much bigger than Trump himself, some going back to Trump’s first campaign. The Religion News Service recently featured a listing of a sampling of such bold and rare “profiles in courage” of those in Christian positions of influence. They included  Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, who boldly proclaimed in The New York Times and on the Face the Nation TV program about the Trump’s campaign “reality television moral sewage.” In turn, on Twitter Trump called Moore “a terrible representative of Evangelicals and all of the good they stand for. A nasty guy with no heart!” They noted that “Moore has since changed the bio on his Twitter profile to reflect the jab: ‘terrible representative of evangelical Christianity, due to nastiness’.” They added that “Oak Hills Church pastor and popular Christian author Max Lucado said Trump wouldn’t pass the ‘decency interview’ he required for his three daughters’ dates.” Conservative blogger Eric Erikson “told Katie Couric in May, ‘If the Republican Party wants to go in (Trump’s) direction, I guess I’m not a Republican anymore’,” and that ” ‘Donald Trump has had no “road to Damascus” conversion. He only wants to date the preacher’s daughter,’ Erickson wrote.” Regarding Marco Rubio’s former faith outreach director, Eric Teetsel, they write that “Teetsel stood outside the Republican nominee’s June meeting with conservative Christian leaders in New York, protesting with a handwritten poster board: ‘Torture is not pro-life. Racism is not pro-life. Misogyny is not pro-life. Murdering the children of terrorists is not pro-life. Proverbs 29:2’.” A number of others were also listed.

In concluding this part of this blog post series and its topic, I just ask the discerning and contemplative Christian reader (who must be such if they hang in there this long in these tedious blog posts),the following inquiries:

(a) what does the love affair, or Faustian Bargain, of the Religious Right leadership and their massive ranks of followers with Donald Trump, and their overlooking of his absence of morality, almost daily acts of corruption, association with nefarious figures compromised with foreign intelligence and seeking their own financial enrichment and well as Trump, and nonchalant attitude about those on the margin, and even those vulnerable to COVID within their own families and churches, reveal about the core of their spiritual and humanitarian fundamental values, how seriously they take the most basic teachings of Jesus about the Kingdom of Heaven as well as the prophets, and what their real agenda is for the rest of us, including family members and those we have served alongside in our churches?

(b) Does the evolution in this movement as of late, and their blind devotion that begins to resemble a new religion or cult in all aspects, suggest anything about their general maturity, connection with reality and basic truths, discernment from evidence-based knowledge from distinguished sources versus “feel good” rumors from strangers on the Web, and their ability to take over the reins of government again that could later impact thermonuclear responses, war, foreign policy, pardons and executive orders that are graft-based or intended to target rivals, life-and-death policies towards immigrants and refugees, or even a mature, grown-up, responsible and credible government response to the next deadly global pandemic, if they come to power again?

(c) What does the embarrassingly immature, childish, selfish veneration by many of the American Christian masses of the cocksure, self-appointed “prophet” showmen and ego-scratchers who “guaranteed” them a second Trump term, say not only about their Bible literacy and circumspect discernment, but also their level of just basic “horse sense,” experiential “street smarts” and general grasp of logical principles, which may explain why many of their lives are a wreck of financial foolishness, poor life decisions and dysfunctional relationships and lack of discipline much worse than the average “pagan,” and their ability to be “salt” and “light,” and “guides” for society?

(d) How many of these spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and psychologically weak people will be “shipwrecked” in their faith when they see that God “did not come through” with the prophecies of Trump continued winning they were promised by conniving, financially exploitative Christian leaders they trusted, be they “prophets” or other Christian leaders, and what type of millstones do God have planned for the necks of these “stumbling blocks”?

(e) In this modern world, many thoughtful secular or inquiring, “free-thinking” individuals, as well as many of the millennial generation who are children of church-goers but haven’t had the societal imprinting to “go along” with church culture in spite of their legitimate questions and concerns (unlike myself and many other older readers raised in church culture), are desperately seeking an authentic, virtuous, inspiring source of truth that is felt in the soul as well as the mind, that offers plausible answers about our origins, reasons for our existence and consciousness, purpose in this reality and a potential satisfying destiny. Will they find this in America’s Religious Right “church crowd,” who are quite conspicuous in society with the vast Christian media presence their large incomes bankroll (along with corporate America), the secular conservative, wealth-class advocating talk radio and cable news institutions reading from the same playbook, and their emphasis on unapologetic hatred of anyone outside their circles (including their fellow Christians who ask too many questions, or advocate for others), particularly those on the margins without similar financial and political levers of power, such as the poor, immigrants, refugees, those of other faiths or other peaceful lifestyles, and assigning to them all sorts of ridiculous, nefarious agendas, of peoples most of them don’t even know personally? How much are these “soul winning” evangelicals providing the ultimate “stumbling blocks” to these folks otherwise coming to Christ, rather being concerned with their own selfish interests and ironically making their own earned, self-fulfilling prophecy of “Christian persecution” pushback, and is there any evidence they even care that they are destroying the means for widespread evangelization to occur in this spiritually-needy nation, or accept the duty of the Great Commission to be “fishers of men,” or rather be like the Pharisees, whom Jesus said laid heavy burdens upon men, but did not lift a finger to lighten their loads?

(f) Will any portion of their ranks look at the devastation wrought in America’s Christian witness, the wide, impassable gulf in worldviews in a split nation, and a wider gap of distrust, in the aftermath of an era of disaster exemplified in the “barbarians” recently storming the gates of Congress, who were seeking all, conservative or liberal, to “string up” in an orgy of berserk primalism (with maybe the worst yet to come), and recognize the contribution of their prideful hubris that contributed to the wreckage, like the prideful, patriotic, exceptional Jews in the wake of the needless and preventable sacking of Jerusalem, both in the first Exile and by the Romans by necessity again? Will they be motivated to pause and be introspective and soul searching, and apologize and serve those they have slandered and wronged, and humbly expend effort to build bridges they have destroyed, or will they just “double down”?

 

We have seen that the “prophets” we have quoted have hypothesized many scenarios of what “God was up to” in letting Joe Biden win, just like the Jewish leaders had to do after the Fall of Jerusalem, and a few of them, like in Jerusalem, have said that maybe God wanted to humble His people, or get them to trust in Him and not the “latest prophecy” when things don’t go their way, and their may be some truth in that. However, could there be even more that God is up to? Is it possible that in our society, just like in Prophet Micaiah we have discussed, God has sent “lying spirits” to the prophets as a form of judgment, to lead to the ruin of the corrupt leadership, flocks and government leaders allied with them? Is it more than a test of discernment of his people – rather, a judgment rendered to send away many of the professing Christian masses and their leaders whom He “never knew,” who lustily and recklessly lunged their mouths into the stream to lap up “waters” of revelation that fed their prejudices and pride, and rather only retain a remnant of those circumspect enough to carefully and slowly raise the water to their mouths while they cautiously look around them, doing their cultural and spiritual “threat assessment,” to serve as the small company God used with Gideon to do great things, and restore a wholesome and effective Christian witness in their land? I really hope that is not the case, for I would see many people I love and have served with for years be in perilous straights if that were to occur, and how might the Lord even consider me and my faults? It may indeed be that the momentous events of our days now, as related to our Bible Belt, dear conservative evangelical heritage, “signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Heb. 12:27, KJV).

As I said in Part 2 of this blog topical series, could the data shared here and in the subsequent Parts, which get into the events before and during the “Capitol Invasion” domestic terror event, and the role of the Christian leadership, media and supporters in helping bring that to pass, have some general reflection of or similarity to the prophecy of Daniel in Chapter 11, in which it is said in the future that “…the violent ones among your people will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they will fall down” (Daniel 11:14, NASB)? As I said in Part 2, did we just see “violent” ones with Christian flags and singing hymns not only bludgeon a police officer to death with a fire extinguisher and impale them with American flag poles, but also engage in other “violent” forms like the “psychological warfare” of “hearts and minds” of Christian and talk radio and internet rumors, the “holy war” pronouncements and calls to war of the Church’s “prophets” and bishops, and the aggressive threats I hear in church home groups, between neighbors, or in my local restaurants and supermarkets? Has the “ends justified the means” to “bring Heaven to earth” by conquering the Seven Mountains of Culture by force, or even illegal means by throwing out peoples’ votes and their electors, or other trickery if they get away with it, or making “deals with the devil” for short-term political or judicial gain, in order to “help God” to “fulfill the vision,” like some modern form of Rabbi Akiva? How “successful” does God’s Word show such worldly efforts will be successful, as the recent days’ headlines have revealed, in addition to the historical record? As we have seen, for many of the famous “prophets” we have profiled here and others, unlike the humble ones who have confessed their error and shame, they have shamelessly “doubled down” and migrated from lofty pronouncements of inspirational Bible passages of futuristic prophecy fulfillment and praise to God, to merely taking earthly means to “bring about the vision” with serious talk in hushed tones of civil war, disobedience, and resistance to God-appointed governments, like militia organizers without exhortations to wait upon the Lord, or learn from Him – just like the Zealots, Macabbeans, Bar Kokhba followers and Crusaders that came before them, who in their zeal led God’s people to ruin. Where will this lead us?   

In Part 4, we will consider how this recent “Lost Cause” has cultivated a whole new type of religion and cult that is way out of the control of the modern “prophets” and Christian leaders that toyed with it previously for their own agenda, and creating a new set of fundamental truths and canons for a major segment of American society, and how that began to build a brain-washed movement willing to take extreme and sometimes violent measures, only on the whims of their “messiah” or a Tweet, or the riddles of a mystery person online who may or may not exist, but whose gibberish is processed like Nostradamus Quatrains to construct some obtuse conspiracy narrative, that must may perpetually modified as daily events contradict it. The ramifications of these developments and their leading to the “Capitol Invasion” will begin to unfold as well.   

My new book, Two Masters and Two Gospels, Vol. 1 – The Teaching of Jesus Vs. the “Leaven of the Pharisees” in Talk Radio and Cable News, is available in paperback and Kindle ebook here at Amazon, in paperback, Nook .epub ebook and even two types of hardcover at Barnes and Noble, in ebook via Kobo/Walmart and paperback and ebook at Books A Million, and many other places; I also offer a special deal for ebook readers at the Two Masters site at Bookbaby (available here), which provides Kindle, epub and pdf versions together for one price, and if you leave your email there for my mailing list, I will additionally send you a special short work I have done, just for you. You can also catch a few of my recent interviews on my book at Conspirinormal, Iron Show, Binnall of America, Ryan O’Neal’s WQEE Classic Rock, Pastor Mike Spaulding’s Soaring Eagle Radio and Derek Gilbert’s View From the Bunker.

The website that chronicles and makes announcements about my books is www.mikebennettbooks.com.

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The New “Lost Cause”: What Might Await Us – Part 2: The Ancient Religious “Holy War” Lost Causes, and the Role of the “Prophets” and the “Messiah”

 

Part 1 of this blog post series (posted two days before the Capitol domestic terror event) explored the historical roots of national “lost causes” – whereby a major portion of a nation’s public (or a major region) comes to believe that their political and social power has been unfairly or treacherously “stolen,” the mythology that is cultivated to propagate its message (often exaggerating history and facts or merely fabricating them), the “scapegoats,” “traitors” and other “boogeymen” proposed by demagogues by which to focus the pubic into a frenzy of action over generations, and the eventual underground vigilante and guerilla actions, movements and groups that seek to return the “power to the people” outside the rule of law or democracy. In Part 2 of this series, we briefly further explore some historical examples from our holy and ancient history texts, which reveal that when mythologized “lost causes” become religious-fueled “holy wars,” we see emerge the role of the “anointing priests” and “prophets” that foretell a spiritual, heavenly-empowered restoration and even revenge of prior “lost causes” that have particularly influenced devout monotheistic God-fearers and challenged their faith and self-respect, and the identification of a God-chosen “messiah” to “right the wrongs,” avenge prior defeats and humiliations, and restore a messianic “golden age” with God’s people in control. We will also see what lasting “fruit” is borne from such crusades, and their ramifications, to help us reflect on what to expect in the “Lost Causes” in our era and beyond.       

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following content was not originally intended to be added to this blog post series of this theme, much less Part 2, which was intended to start exploring contemporary events that appear to be taking on a “Lost Cause” motif in America today, with information “pulled from today’s headlines.” However, at the conclusion of drafting a very lengthy Part 2, I found myself reflecting back to the historical events in “Bible times” that put the contents of that study of contemporary religious issues in a timeless context. Thus, near the end of that lengthy work, I elected to add to the end of that study and part of this series a description of similar “lost causes” that were fueled by religion in the era of our holy texts, and excerpted a big portion of an unpublished manuscript I had drafted years ago to include within it, to provide some historical data to bolster it. Afterwards and near publication, I decided (a) it made a very large work even that much more unacceptably long for the average reader, and (b) being of a historical and foundational nature, I decided it best be shoehorned ahead of the contemporary events studies to put the latter into better historical context, as with Part 1 of this series. Thus, the following work is a shorter review of “Bible era” “lost causes,” adopted primarily from my prior written work. Please stay tuned – Parts 3 and some additional parts have already been drafted, and will follow within 5-7 days at most to bring readers into pondering and analyzing our fascinating current events under this framework.

 

There is a prophecy of future events in the Book of Daniel, which may or may not have already occurred, or it might be a case of “recurring fulfillment.” Within its narrative of apparently sequential historical events that occur in the “to and fro” of the battles between God’s peoples and the nations and leaders opposed to them, that at least at some time in these events, “…the violent ones among your people will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they will fall down” (Daniel 11:14, NASB). Is that possibly the kind of thing that we have witnessed in recent days in America, as at least some kind of “fractal,” peripheral fulfillment or reflection of such? Did we just see “violent” ones with Christian flags and singing hymns not only bludgeon a police officer to death with a fire extinguisher and impale them with American flag poles, but also engage in other “violent” forms like the “psychological warfare” of “hearts and minds” brainwashing via Christian and talk radio and internet rumors, the “holy war” pronouncements and calls to war from the Church’s “prophets” and bishops, and the aggressive threats I hear in church home groups, between neighbors, or in my local restaurants and supermarkets? Has the “ends justified the means” to “bring Heaven to earth” by conquering the Seven Mountains of Culture by force, or even by illegal means, such as by throwing out peoples’ votes and their electors, or other trickery if they can get away with it, or making “deals with the devil” for short-term political or judicial gain, in order to “help God” to “fulfill the vision”? How “successful” does God’s Word show such worldly efforts will be successful?

The Jews of the First Temple era thought their “exceptional” status with God could help them avoid due punishment previously promised to them for their sins of omission and commission. He told them repeatedly, going even back to the original Mosaic Code, that not only their sins of idolatry would cause them to lose their privileged place of God’s favor, but more importantly, their ignoring of the Mosaic Law commands to ecologically “let the land rest” one year out of seven, rather allowing the poor and immigrant aliens to forage freely on it, or to “redistribute wealth” as the Mosaic Law commanded, in giving the lands confiscated by powerful financial lords in capitalistic fashion over the years back to their original owners every fifty years, the avoidance of the latter two provisions being those Jeremiah said were the cause of their 70-year Exile. God was “easy on them” in allowing Nebuchadnezzar to have a “light yoke” of tribute from them while they dwelt in their own land and worshipped as they liked, but their patriotic pride and arrogance led them to ignore God’s warnings and to rebel against the Babylonian king (who was far more humane than the sadistic Assyrians who took away their Israeli brethren) via inspiring Judean kings to “make Judea Great Again,” leading God to “bring” His “servant” Nebuchadnezzar to Jerusalem to sack it and cart off its political and religious leadership.

The Greeks were eventually welcomed with open arms by the Jewish leadership, flattering them by proclaiming that Alexander “fulfilled prophecy,” and thereby betraying the Persians who had been so kind to them and had let them return to Jerusalem and restore it and the Temple and walls. In due time, the Jewish priestly rivals fought so much and whined to the Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes over an inter-Jewish feud over Chief Priesthood rights (which was very corrupt at that time, like other eras), hitting him with their bickering right as he passed through Palestine after a humiliating defeat he just had in Egypt, that at that point the already temperamental king had “had enough” with the always-bickering Jews, and impulsively imposed very draconian restrictions on their priestly and religious rituals to frustrate both factions. In turn they famously decided to “fulfill the vision” by means of the “violent ones” in their midst – the Maccabeus brothers, celebrated in the (non-God commanded) patriotic ceremony of Hannukah. They led a presumptive, deadly civil war with Greece without God’s sanction, while their other brethren laid down their lives without resistance to avoid breaking their religious tenets, without starting a civil war themselves. Ironically, their “enemy,” Antiochus Epiphanes, died (by the hand of God, as the manner He evidently had intended to resolve the problem) shortly after they started – had they waited just a little, all the deadly troubles could have been averted. After considerable bloodshed and upheaval of many years, they chased the Greeks out and took over running the nation as their own Hasmonean dynasty rule for generations of trouble and rivalry. To add further tragic irony, their resolute fight to shed much blood to resist their people becoming “Hellenized” with Greek culture, led them to adopt Hellenized names and culture as soon as they took power over their own countrymen, like the “pigs” starting to look like the “farmer” in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. It also didn’t solve any lasting problems of foreign powers being over them – before long the Romans marched in and took over, just like their own “legitimate” prophets had foretold long before, which they could do nothing to stop in their “own strength.”

They still did not learn their lesson; in Jesus’ era, the Pharisees and many of the people sided with the “violent men of their people,” the Zealots, who were violent men who terrorized not only Rome, but even their own people. In the seminal moment of their peoples’ future destiny, the Pharisees goaded them to accept the patriotic killer assassin and thief Jesus Barabbas over Jesus of Nazareth – just as today’s Christians have been goaded to follow the “patriotic” (albeit self-serving) but depraved Donald Trump and his values over Jesus and His humble ways and teachings today. The “fruit” of their choice was their eternal city, governing authority and society being destroyed a mere generation later, along with the walls and gates of Jerusalem and all they symbolized to them and their independent pride and strength; this is why Jesus told the women He passed to “weep for themselves, and their children” as He drug His cross up to Calvary.

They still did not learn their lesson. A mere sixty years later, their religious leader, the “sage” Rabbi Akiva, whom they still consider “more important to Judaism than Moses,” would anoint Bar Kochba (or Kokhba) as the foretold Messiah of Israel to militaristically deliver them, and a fulfillment of a prophecy of a “star” appearing of deliverance. The following is an abbreviated excerpt of some of what I wrote about him in my soon-to-be-published volume of Judaism and Its Holy Wars:

The 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia entry for Bar Kokhba  notes that prior to the appearance of Kokhba on the world stage in Palestine, there had been an “insurrection of the Jews of Cyrene, Cyprus, and Egypt in the last years of the emperor Trajan”, when Hadrian took power in 118 CE, who “immediately after his accession to the throne, pursued a pacific policy toward the Jews, and made concessions to them”.  It also notes that “It appears that Hadrian had already granted permission for the rebuilding of the Temple”, and “the Jews of the diaspora had already begun to return to Jerusalem”.  It adds, however, that Hadrian “requested that the site of the new structure be somewhat removed from its former location – a condition which the Jews of course could not accept”; possibly this was desired to prevent its renewed use as a militarily strategic “high ground” as the Temple had been misused by the Zealots previously.  Subsequently, the article notes that “they took up arms and assembled in the Valley of Rimmon, on the celebrated historical plain of Jezreel, and a rebellion seemed imminent”, although a peaceful Jewish leader named R. Joshua b. Hananiah noted the danger of their rebellious acts and pacified them for a time.

In spite of this respite of sane reconsideration, the article notes that “the Jews remained quiet only on the surface; in reality, for over fifteen years they prepared for a struggle against Rome”.  It notes that “They converted the caves in the mountains into hiding places and fortifications”, and that “Preparation devised on so large a scale could hardly have been instituted without organization, and it may therefore be assumed that the leader, Bar Kokba, was already quietly preparing for this war in the first years of the reign of Hadrian”.  Most importantly, it adds that “It is thought that the travels of the celebrated teacher of the Law, Rabbi Akiba, were made with the intention of interesting the Jews of the most remote countries in the coming struggle, and these travels extended through Parthia, Asia Minor, Cappadocia, and Phrygia, and perhaps even to Europe and Africa”.  Regarding Kokhba’s given name, the article states that “it is certain that the name Bar Kokba is only an epithet derived from R. Akiba’s application of the verse to Koziba: ‘There shall come a star [“kokab”] out of Jacob who shall smite the corners of Moab and destroy all the children of Seth (Num. xxiv. 17)”.  It Is interesting to note that this same word for “star” in this verse (kowkab, Strong’s H3556) is also used in Amos 5:26, in which the prophet says of the Israelites, “But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves”, and cited by the deacon Stephen in Acts 7:43 (and which will be explored again in a later chapter). It is also interesting to note that the article states that “It must have been during this war, when he had already performed miracles of valor, that R. Akiba said of him, ‘This is the King Messiah’,” but that the arrogant Kokhba was said to have prayed to God, “‘We pray Thee, do not give assistance to the enemy; us Thou needest not help!’”.

The Jewish Encyclopedia article also asserts that “the statement that the Christians were tortured by Bar Kokhba if they did not deny Jesus, is made only by Christian authors”, such as Justin in his work Apologia.  It notes that while the Christians refused to unite with Jews in the struggle, “Jews residing in foreign countries also flocked in masses”.  Although Bar Kokhba and his fellow Jewish rebels had some early successes, the article notes that after they were defeated, “the land became a desert, and Jews were slaughtered en masse”.  It notes that “According to Dio Cassius, 580,000 Jews fell in battle, not including those who succumbed to hunger and pestilence”, and as a result, “the end of the Jewish nation had come”.  It adds that “This war, designated by the Mishnah (Sotah ix. 14) as ‘the final polemos’, had lasted three and one half years”, ending in 135 – 136 CE.  Letters from this period referred to him as “prince (nasi) of Israel.” Prominent Christian historian Eusebius (260 – 340 CE), in his work History of the Church, noted that Bar Kokhba “claimed to be a luminary come from heaven and was magically enlightening those who were in misery”, and noted in his work Chronicle that he “killed the Christians with all kinds of persecutions, when they refused to help him against the Roman troops”, and even noted the earlier historian Justin’s remarks that Kokhba commanded that the Christians “be punished severely, if they did not deny Jesus as the Messiah and blaspheme him.” The cited website also shows a coin minted by Kokhba that shows the Temple with the “messianic star” above it, which looks very similar to the Star of David, suggesting a common spirit of military rebellion with the secular Jewish nation that resides there today.

The Talmud’s Midrash Rabbah on Lamentations notes that when Kokhba led his men into battle they cried, “O God, neither help nor discourage us!”, to which the Talmudist rightfully quoted Psalms 60:2: “Hast not Thou, o God cast us off?  And go not forth, o God, with our hosts?”.  He was also said in the same Jewish reference as having killed a pious rabbi who prayed for God’s deliverance, fearing he may have allied with Hadrian, resulting in a heavenly voice announcing, “Woe to the worthless shepherd that leaveth the flock!  The sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye!” (Zech. 11:17).  In addition to the 580,000 Jews being killed, ten members of the Sanhedrin were also killed, in punishment by Rome for repeatedly starting insurrections.  Most of the Jews resident in the area that were not killed were sold into slavery and dispersed.  Jews were forbidden to worship there except for to mourn their defeat at the Western Wall each year at “Tisha B’Av” (the “ninth of Av” – a day on the calendar that coincided with the destruction of both Temples, the “bad report” of Moses’ Twelve Spies, and the defeat of the Bar Kokhba Rebellion – all signifying the fruit of when Israel had acted out of patriotic arrogance, and in defiance of the times and actions prescribed by God).

Further insurrections were attempted by the Jews, including in league with the Samaritans, and even the Persians in the early seventh century against the Byzantine Romans – all bitter enemies (even, as they understood, to God Himself) that they “forgave” in their greater zeal for nationalistic independence.  It also led to the center of Jewish community leadership shifting to those residing in the Babylon area, and their brand of Talmudic, rabbinical Judaism.

There is much more to be gleaned from the ancient historical records, and particularly the Jewish Talmud, regarding Rabbi Akiba’s use of Bar Kokhba’s Revolt to solidify his control behind the emerging rabbinic power center in Judaism, and to launch physical “holy war” attacks against the new rival branch of Judaism that embraced Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah.  Daniel Gruber, who is apparently a figure within the Messianic Jewish movement, as judged from his website (www.elijahnet.net), has written a number of books on related topics, but his book Rabbi Akiba’s Messiah – The Origins of Rabbinic Authority documents a plethora of historical and Talmudic citations that give copious further details of the devious aspects of Akiba’s agenda.  The findings in his book are so immense and compelling that they require an extensive citation in the remainder of this chapter and the beginning of the next.  Regarding Bar Kokhba himself, Gruber quotes the 1971 Encyclopedia Judaica article on the figure, stating that “Bar Kochba regarded himself as holding the authority of the Roman emperor and transferred the lands of liberated Judea to his own possession…he was empowered to exercise control over the lands of Judea and confiscate property for the public good” [Gruber, Daniel, Rabbi Akiba’s Messiah – The Origins of Rabbinic Authority, Elijah Publishing, Hanover, NJ, 1999, p. 51.].

However, the bulk of the book centers on Rabbi Akiba’s use of Bar Kokhba and the revolt for his own purpose of re-molding Judaism and its future, solidifying his leadership and that of his trained rabbinic successors, and launching his attack on Jewish Christians.  Regarding his controversial (and later embarrassingly erroneous) anointing of Bar Kokhba, Gruber notes that through his Talmudic writings “Akiba redefined the Messianic Age.  He separated it from the World to Come.  In so doing, he eliminated the supernatural and the exceptional from the Messianic Age and from the role of Messiah”, noting that Akiba believed no supernatural endorsement from God via signs and wonders was necessary to confirm Messiah, whereas Jesus spoke that “the very works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me” (p. 262).  Gruber notes that no one during the time is recorded as believing that Bar Kokhba was the Messiah, either before or after Akiba’s declaration, and other prominent rabbis even rebuked him for this pronouncement in their deliberations.  Akiba had not noted any special accomplishment of Bar Kokhba that justified the title, and Akiba was not predisposed against the Romans, and had seen the futility of fighting them as a young man.  The top rabbinic leaders publicly warned the people against revolt, and even Akiba was noted to prophesy (as recorded in the Talmud) that there would be suffering as a result of the revolt, happiness would be deprived them, and that distress was in store for them, rather than Messianic bliss (p. 264).  The great Jewish sage Maimonides noted that Akiba was Bar Kokhba’s aide-de-camp.  Gruber quotes a scholar who notes that the Hagada mentions that the revolt was schemed in the home of Rabbi Akiba with other prominent rabbis on the night of the Passover Seder, where it notes that “the scholars together with their disciples began to chant the old hymn of revenge” (p. 267).

One key provision to further Akiba’s aims with the revolt was the establishment by the rabbis of the term milhemet mitzvah, or “commanded war”.  This term, devised by the rabbis of Akiba’s era and his disciples, rescinded the voluntary participation options of the people as prescribed in the Torah, restricting its use only to what they designated the milhemet reshat, or “war of choice”, which permitted the newlywed husbands and others not so motivated to decline.  The latter category they ruled was akin to the wars of expansion fought by David, while the former included the wars commanded by God to conquer Canaan, and now included the Bar Kochba revolt, as determined by Rabbi Akiba’s henchmen on the rabbinic council.  This new designation, made possible by Akiba’s declaration of Bar Kochba as Messiah, accomplished several things for Akiba’s agenda: (1) it removed any opposition by the Sages (leading rabbis) of a different view, (2) it eliminated the need for Sanhedrin approval, (3) it forced Jewish disciples of Jesus, or Talmidei Yeshua, to fight to support a false Messiah rather than for nationalism, and (4) it enacted provisions for Christians to be thus executed by Jewish officials for dereliction of duty.  Regarding the first two aspects, Gruber notes that Jewish sage Maimonides states in his Mishneh Torah that “In the case of a religious war [i.e. a milhemet mitzvah], the king does not have to obtain the sanction of the Supreme Court.  He may at any time set out independently and compel the people to come out with him.  But in case of an optional war, he can bring out the people only by a decision of the court of seventy one” (p. 274).  This would explain the unity of the people behind Bar Kokhba, since any lack of military assistance would be a capital crime.

Gruber notes that Talmud rabbinic teaching at the time asserted that the Messiah would appear in a seventh year of war during a seven year period of turbulence, and that this war would be known as the ”beginning of redemption”.  For this reason, Bar Kokhba had coins struck during his brief reign that were stamped with the phrase, “Year 1 of the redemption of Israel”.  Gruber also notes citations of Bar Kokhba’s ruthlessness in the ancient records, including reports that he required all of his Jewish fighters to cut off one of their fingers to show their toughness and devotion, his shackling of soldiers and citizens who did not perform as desired, and even the kicking to death of his own uncle the priest when he was falsely accused of complicity with the enemy (p. 275).  This latter incident was said to have resulted in a Bath Kol (voice from heaven) declaring that Bar Kochba was the “worthless shepherd” of Zechariah 11, resulting in his killing and the end of the revolt, according to the Talmud (p.289), and leading his followers to flee to surrounding caves and eventually succumb to cannibalism (p. 290).  Gruber notes that Akiba could have anointed Bar Kochba as king but not Messiah, and the Jewish Christians could have assisted in the revolt.  However, the refusal of the Jewish Christians to fight under a false Messiah allowed Akiba to deftly create a split between them and the am ha’aretz (the common people of Israel) since they would not assist them in battle, for otherwise they would have had sympathies for the Talmidei Yeshua if the Sanhedrin had attempted the kill the Jewish Christians for other reasons.  Gruber cites passages from the Talmud that state that the Sanhedrin would re-gain such authority of capital punishment in the land during the acknowledged days of Messiah (p. 277) – and may yet again in a future “Messianic Age”.

Gruber further notes that the “holy war” persecution of Jewish Christians by the Sages (rabbinic leaders) had been going on for some time leading up to the revolt, using the same techniques now used against Jewish Christians in Israel today, Muslims against Christians, and even Christians against Jews at times in history.  He writes: “The Rabbis decreed that the Talmidei Yeshua [Jewish followers of Jesus] should be ostracized from public life.  Their legal rights were taken away.  Their books were burned.  They were turned over to the Roman authorities to be put to death.  It was lawful to cast them into a pit to die.  As Rabbi Akiba emphasized, ‘one is deserving of death for disobeying the rulings of the Sages’” (pp. 278-279).  He cites the Christian contemporary of Akiba and Bar Kokhba, Justin Martyr, who wrote that Bar Kochba targeted Jewish Christians and commanded them to deny Jesus and Messiah and blaspheme Him, and that “the Jews count us foes and enemies, and like yourselves they punish us whenever they have the power” (p. 279).  He also cites another popular Church Father of the era, Eusebius, who wrote that Kokhba “killed the Christians with all kinds of persecutions, (when) they refused to help him against the Roman troops”.  He notes the Mishneh Torah commented on the rights of a rabbinic court (such as one at Bar Kokhba’s stronghold of Bethar) to change the law itself for the sake of religious unity.  Maimonides is quoted as explaining it this way:

“The court may inflict flagellation and other punishments, even in cases where such penalties are not warranted by the law if, in its opinion, religion will thereby be strengthened and safeguarded and the people will be restrained from disregarding the words of the Torah…So too if, in order to bring back the multitudes to religion and save them from general religious laxity, the court deems it necessary to set aside temporarily a positive or a negative command, it may do so, taking into account the need of the hour.  Even as a physician will amputate the hand or the foot of a patient in order to save his life, so the court may advocate when an emergency arises, the temporary disregard of some of the commandments, that the commandments as a whole will be preserved…The king has a right to execute anyone who rebels against him” (pp. 280-281).

I don’t know about you, but some of these statements and phrases sound disturbingly close to that of many conservative Christian leaders today, in their goals to “take America back” as a “Christian nation”, and to win the “culture war”, doing whatever is necessary to obtain their goal and that they can get away with politically.  Just as the rabbinic religious/political leaders were willing to set aside Torah safeguards securing due process, trials, witnesses and mercy for the accused, many Christian political and religious figures today conveniently ignore Christ’s commands to “love your enemies” and “do unto others as you would have done unto you”, and remember “My Kingdom is not of this earth, lest my brothers would fight”, and “we wrestle not against flesh and blood”.  Even Paul reminded the Corinthian church that they should interact with “fornicators” and “idolaters” in this world and not judge them, saying “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without?” (1 Cor. 5:12).  Our Jewish Christian ancestors knew better than to be caught up into another religious, patriotic “holy war” in direct opposition to the teaching of our Lord, and for that they were accused of being unpatriotic traitors and paid the price – sometimes with their life or in other ways.  Do we have Christian leaders in America today who are strong enough to take the same stand?  Gruber cites Talmudic narratives that describe such trials of Christians in Jewish courts, apparently during the brief reign of Kokhba (p. 282).  Talmudic descriptions of their techniques of execution included lowering the condemned person into a pit of dung up to his chest, and then inserting a burning article into their mouth to burn them internally (ironically similar to how Jesus is described as burning in excrement in hell, according to the Talmud), and how a priest’s daughter was burned to death by placing burning faggots around her.  Given these examples and that of the witch and heretic burnings by the Church, is it fair to decry the Muslim religion as being especially barbaric for having used similar techniques?

This Jewish persecution, leading to the death of Christians, led Church Father Justin Martyr to note to the Jews that they then, even after the suppression of the revolt and restoration of Roman rule, were

“cursing in your synagogues them that believe on Christ.  For you have not authority to raise your own hands against us, because of them who are now supreme.  But as often as you could, this also ye did…In addition to all this, although your city has been taken, and our land laid waste, you do not repent, but dare even to curse Him and all them that believe on Him.  And, as for us, we do not hate you, nor them that because of you may repent and find mercy from God the Father of the universe, who is tender-hearted and full of compassion.” (pp. 294, 297)

One development introduced by Rabbi Akiba in the wake of the failed revolt and messiahship of Bar Kokhba fundamentally changed the mindset of Judaism from his time forward, and particularly in the twentieth century.  Before his time, it was understood from the writings of the prophets that the suffering imposed on the Jews by God through conquering nations by proxy (such as through the Exile) was to humble them, help them to understand the gravity of their offenses and their ramifications, and hopefully lead them to sincere contrition, repentance and acknowledgement of their sins, with such commitment to reform leading to their reconciliation with their God.  However, Rabbi Akiba changed the mindset of the role of Jewish suffering, and embodied it in his own supposed martyrdom at the conclusion of the Bar Kokhba rebellion.  Rather, Rabbi Akiba taught that the exile and suffering of a Jew alone, without the need to acknowledge sin or repent, would “earn” atonement and require God to restore them eventually.  Gruber notes this by stating that “Akiba did not attribute the failure, suffering, and exile to sin, but he did believe that ‘Exile makes atonement for iniquity’”, quoting from Akiba in the Talmud; Gruber adds that “He believed there was no sin involved, not even his own Messianic proclamation.  Even if there had been sin, exile would atone for it” (p. 301).  Part of his doctrinal innovation was to make the atoning services of the priests and Temple unnecessary, much less the atoning death of Christ for those who believed on Him.

Akiba added in the Talmud that “suffering is precious because it makes atonement for the sufferer”; Gruber in fact cites sources that state that later rabbis taught that Akiba’s death fulfilled Isaiah 53:12 (p. 301), which states, “he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” – a passage Christians universally associate with Christ.  Gruber also quotes another scholar who explains the modern Jewish view this way: “The willingness to offer one’s life has become a means of effecting mediation between God and Israel, a radical means especially necessary in the face of a reduction in traditional prophecy…The process is linked in turn to the concept of vicarious suffering.  Thus the prophet’s martyrdom is for the sake of Israel”, and explains the Talmudic view of the offering of Isaac in Genesis 22 led Abraham to state, “God will for himself see the lamb” (p. 305).  Note that this implied that God sees an atoning lamb offered by the sacrificial martyr himself, while the actual verse states, “God will provide himself a lamb” (Gen. 22:8).

Modern Christians today, in their embrace of all things Jewish, largely do not understand that the modern Jew does not think in terms of reconsidering prior historical acts as wrong, or in need of repentance before God.  The modern Jew sees his or her own suffering as the “ticket” to demand God’s restoration and blessing, as their own atoning sacrifice.  This is why they placed extreme emphasis upon the Shoah, or the suffering imposed by the Holocaust, as the means by which they were made righteous and therefore deserving of God’s favor by having “earned” it, either by means of privileges expected through the Zionist state of Israel, or other accommodations.  No need for humility or reflection is thus required.  When Christians go beyond regretting the suffering of Jews (and other victims) who endured the Holocaust, and even rightly promoting measures to prevent its reoccurrence, and instead rather “sacredize” the event and elevate the uniqueness of the suffering of the Jews over any other victims of genocide and persecution in history, and thus denote the divine “specialness” and special favors due to the Jewish people as a result, it reinforces the spiritual view of Jews that such suffering is adequate for their right standing with God – even regardless of past sins, and even if they may be atheists today!  It also implies a concurrence to them from their Gentile “lesser” brethren that their suffering has earned them a place of global spiritual leadership in the world at large.  For Christians, it should be obvious that this imposes a terrible spiritual disservice to our Jewish friends by denying their need to “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.  Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12).

Gruber concludes by noting several reasons why Jewish scholars and the Jewish community at large have been kind to Rabbi Akiba for selecting a false Messiah, and his role in the devastating Bar Kokhba Revolt and resultant Diaspora from Judea. First is Rabbi Akiba’s stated position in the Talmud, that a Sage, or noted rabbinic expert, is not held accountable for the results of their decisions; he quotes Akiba to declare to another mistaken sage, “You are absolved since you are an expert (Mumche), and whoever is an expert for the Bet Din [rabbinic council] is absolved from reparation” (p. 307).  Secondly, he noted that Akiba taught that the Law was entrusted to the rabbis, and not God, and even heavenly pronouncements could not overturn them (more will be said about his “advances” in Judaism such as this in the next chapter).  Thus, as Gruber notes, “If the Rabbis declare someone to be the Messiah, then he IS the Messiah, even if their declaration is factually wrong, it is still right” (p. 308).  He also notes that Akiba’s Theology of Suffering made the failure of the revolt a good thing, thus becoming a means of atonement.  Lastly, Gruber notes that “Akiba’s teaching was still sought because there was no other Judaism left in Israel.  He had defeated them all.  By various means, he had overcome the Priesthood, the Traditional Rabbis, the Scriptures, Prophetic Revelation, the Talmedei Yeshua [Jewish Christians], and God Himself.  Rabbinic literature exerted control over the synagogues” (p. 308).

As we conclude this chapter on Bar Kokhba and his failed rebellion, and the role of Rabbi Akiba, which not only led to the forced dispersal of the Jews away from Jerusalem, but also provided opportunities to wage a “holy war” on their fellow monotheists the Christians as well as the pagan Romans, we should note that the resultant attacks on their Christian rivals were not merely physical in nature.  Although this final rebellion by a Jewish community allowed them to briefly rule as sovereigns again in their own homeland, bolstered by their pride and self-sufficiency apart from their God (whose help was officially rejected by their anointed Messiah Bar Kokhba), their failure led not only to their loss of independence, but also the use of legal, police and military force against their new “holy war” rivals, the Christians.  As they lost such compulsory tools to subjugate and attempt to quench the Christian movement, they had to develop new tools to wage a more covert, “psy-op” holy war against the rising (yet persecuted) Christian faith that even allowed “unclean” Gentiles to join in sharing the fruits and blessings of God’s favor and fellowship.  It turned out that the significant evolutionary changes in the Jewish faith at the time, by means of rabbinic authority, substituting the Sages and synagogue for the Temple, Torah and priest, provided the tools to wage such a covert but momentous conflict.  In the hands of the all-powerful rabbis, no legacy of faith was too sacred to be changed, modified, reinterpreted or erased to deal with the Christian menace – not even the Torah and the writings of the prophets themselves, as we shall see.

…To put into perspective Rabbi’s Akiba’s role in the “holy war” of physical resistance, both against the Romans via Bar Kokhba and with rival Jewish sects by means of the rabbinic council, one might presume that his vision and efforts were abject failures, with the Bar Kokhba Rebellion a disastrous defeat, the Jews dispersed, and even Akiba himself suffering a painful demise as a result.  However, this circumstance serves as an ideal example of what usually transpires in history’s “holy wars” – what appears to be the “winners” and “losers” when the smoke clears are often deceptive, because the public rarely knows what are the true agendas of the “insider” instigators and supporters of these conflicts, which do not become clearer for many years later, if at all.  Akiba, who permitted himself to become a glorious martyr and venerated at an elderly age, actually accomplished all of his personal goals during these days of tumult.  Yes, he looks like he “bet on the wrong horse” with Bar Kokhba, but in fact he suffered no consequence for his decision, because meanwhile he had established the provision in his faith community that the findings of the rabbinic sage are not to be challenged – even by God Himself.  Rather, he used the ruthless brute Kokhba – who professed no need for God’s help – to force compliance to the rabbinic council and the Sanhedrin populated by his cronies, and put the “squeeze” on Jewish Christians to submit to them or be “unpatriotic” and subject to “Patriot Act”-style persecution.  The overt “Great Patriotic War” afforded Akiba the opportunity to cement the supreme authority of the rabbi “sages”, over rival rabbis and the priests as well as Jewish Christians, and use the draconian conditions of a military “holy war” as just cause for his religious subversion.

At that point in this book volume, I discuss in detail Rabbi Akiba’s historical “info war” on Christians, in describing as “fake news” the Old Testament Bible passages confirming the Messiahship and deity of Jesus from the Septuagint, the landmark translation of the Old Testament books hundreds of years before Christ’s era, and the definitive “Bible” of the Jewish community and the new Christian variant, with it becoming an inconvenient tool of the upstart Christians to successfully argue the prior prophetic fulfillment of Jesus. Thus Rabbi Akiba sought to create an alternative translation of these texts, using a disgruntled Jewish convert to Christianity who quit due to reprimands about his continued astrological pursuits, Aquila of Sinope, who was used by Akiba to develop a scrubbed text that downplays Messianic phrases, and which is largely expressed in our widely-used Masoretic Text. Bible students will often see Paul, Jesus and other New Testament figures that quote Old Testament passages that don’t exactly match most of their translations, but typically they do with the Septuagint, because it was the Bible of the early Church. This “holy war” thus became a “psychological operation” of controlling the “information space” and planting doubt, when physical forms of force, coercion, jailing and capital punishment were no longer available to them.

However, Akiba and his colleagues were not finished with other means of controlling the “information space” as a delayed waging of their prior “lost cause.” Resuming the narrative later in my draft manuscript,

Rabbi Akiba not only has played a central role in the propaganda “holy war” against Christians by means of his brazen intent to change God’s written word; he also influenced a direct disciple of his who produced apparently another fraudulent witness to history that still impacts Judaism today, and may show evidence of manipulating Bible prophecy to give sanction to Akiba’s presumptive act of military deliverance.  This disciple, Jose ben Halafta, was the originator of a new Jewish calendar and historical dating system, the Seder Olam Rabbah, which is still used in Judaism today, replacing a calendar based upon the beginning of the Greek Seleucid dynasty.  The 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia entry on Halafta notes that his family was of Babylonian origin,  and according to the Talmud “he was one of Akiba’s five principal pupils…his principal teacher was Akiba, whose system he followed in his interpretation of the Law”.  He was ordained in violation of a Roman edict, and was forced by the Romans to remain in the town of Sepphoris.  They write that “Like his master Akiba, Jose occupied himself with the dots which sometimes accompany the words in the Bible, occasionally basing his halakot [interpretation of Jewish law and practice] on such dots” (one could say he knew how to “connect the dots”). Most importantly, the article confirms that “Jose is considered to be the author of the Seder Olam Rabbah, a chronicle from the Creation to the time of Hadrian”.  The article adds that “One of his characteristic sayings is, ‘He who indicates the coming of the Messiah, he who hates scholars and their disciples, and the false prophet and the slanderer, will have no part in the future world’…According to Bacher…this was directed against the Hebrew Christians”.  They conclude by noting that “Owing to Jose’s fame as a saint, legend describes him as having met Elijah”.

The 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia entry on the Seder Olam Rabbah calls it the “earliest post-exilic chronicle in the Hebrew language”, cited in the Babylonian Talmud, and is “a chronological record, extending from Adam to the revolt of Bar Kokba, in the reign of Hadrian”.  It states that “The author probably designed the work for calendrical purposes, to determine the era of the Creation; his system, adopted as early as the third century, is still followed”.  It notes that it followed the Bible texts, and gave some historical dates not in the Bible, but which can be inferred from calculation; it does note that “In many cases, however, he gave the dates according to tradition”, according to “preceding rabbis and of his contemporaries”.  This article by Jewish authors notes that this historical chronological document, still used by Jews today in their calendrical dating system, only accords thirty four years for Persian domination.  As a result, they note that “It will be seen that the allowance, contrary to historical facts, of only thirty-four years for the Persian domination is necessary if agreement with the Biblical text is to be insisted upon” (emphasis added).  Their stated rationale for how this must obtain “agreement with the Biblical text” is based upon their argument in the article that the “seventy weeks of years” (or 490 years) prophesied by Daniel in chapter 9 of his book denotes the period of the start of their exile to Babylon, to conclude with the destruction of the Temple by Rome, thus requiring only thirty four years of Persian reign (since the Talmud stated that the Temple was destroyed after 386 years of Alexander’s domination over Palestine), which is counter to all historical knowledge.

This prophetic interpretation ignores the beginning of the “seventy weeks” to occur with the call to rebuild Jerusalem, as clearly noted in the text (Dan. 9:25).  Most Christian theologians who view this as a futuristic prophecy associate this beginning with Artaxerxes’ call to Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls in 445 BCE; given that the passage asserts that only “sixty nine weeks” (483 years) will occur until “Messiah be cut off”, they extrapolate that end date to approximately 32 CE (adjusting for the 360 day Jewish calendar and no year “zero”), which they assert possibly correlates with the date of Jesus’ Passion Week and His official rejection by Jerusalem.  Halafta and other Jewish scholars apparently also evidently conflate this closing prophetic event somehow with Bar Kokhba’s revolt, because the article notes that “from the destruction of the second Temple, which according to the Seder Olam, occurred at the end of the last week of the Sabbatical year, to the suppression of Bar Kokba’s revolt, or the destruction of Bethar, was a period of fifty-two years.  But the text here is very confused, and gave rise to various emendations and interpretations”.  Although the ancient document deals with the period of Kokhba and Hadrian in a few sentences at the end, the encyclopedia entry also notes that “originally the ‘Seder Olam’ was more extensive, and that it consisted of two parts, the second of which, dealing with the post-Alexandrian period, had been lost, with the exception of a small fragment that was added by the copyists to the first part.  Many passages quoted in the Talmud are missing in the present edition of the ‘Seder Olam’”.  Did the missing pieces attempt to correlate the prophetic Bible passages to the Bar Kokhba rebellion, or were they content to merely interpret the Daniel prophetic passage in a manner to preclude the association of the events of Jesus’ life with it (which had occurred not more than a generation or two beforehand) – even being willing to defy confirmable historical facts by artificially shortening the reign of the Persian kings?  Did the missing pieces disappear by accident, or was it intentional?

Whatever the reason, Jose’s work left an indelible imprint on the Jewish people and their history, by giving them a dating system and calendar significantly out of sorts from similar published Christian attempts to date world history from the time of creation based upon the Biblical record.  The most famous of such works is known as “Bishop Ussher’s Annals of the World”, written by James Ussher, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armaugh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625 and 1656.  His chronology was added to the King James Bible in its annotated editions at the beginning of the eighteenth century, as well as the later Scofield Reference Bible.  His work was translated into modern English and released as an almost 1000 page hard-bound epic volume in 2003 [Ussher, James, The Annals of the World (revised and updated by Larry and Marion Pierce), 2003, Master Books, Green Forest, AR.].  Appendix G in this work, entitled “The Seder Olam Rabbah – Why Jewish Dating is Different”, by Dr. Floyd Nolan Jones, addresses the discrepancy in dating between these two works.  According to his website, Dr. Jones served as a geophysicist in the petrochemical industry for sixteen years before leaving the field of science to pursue Biblical studies.  He notes his possession of a Ph.D as well as a doctorate of theology (Th.D.), and is an ordained minister with the Southern Baptist Convention.  He served as an adjunct professor at Continental Bible College in Brussels, Belgium as well as Chairman of the Department of Biblical Chronology at Pacific International University.  The contents he wrote in the cited “Annals” reference generally mirror that contained in Appendix I of his own work, Chronology of the Old Testament [Jones, Floyd Nolen, Chronology of the Old Testament, 1993, Master Books, Green Forest, AR.].

In his work in Appendix G of Annals, Dr. Jones notes that Ussher’s Bible-based dating research denotes Adam’s creation (based on its rendering of the Bible passage chronologies) at 4004 B.C., differing by as many as 243 years from the calendar used by the Jewish community today, as dictated by the ancient Seder Olam Rabbah.  He also notes that at the time the Seder Olam was compiled, Jews dated their years from 312 BC – the beginning of the Seleucid era, while the Seder Olam was only used by Talmud students for the next few centuries.  As such, the year 2012 in a modern Gentile calendar would correlate to 5772 in a Jewish calendar (adjusted for the fact that Gentile and Jewish New Years are on different dates, and with no “year zero” in the Gentile calendar).  Dr. Jones, in this document, painstakingly documents that many of these years can be attributed to simple Old Testament interpretation errors in many places, such as regarding the age of Abraham’s father, Abraham’s age at the time of his covenant, and the time of the consecration of the Second Temple.  Most importantly, he notes that the “abbreviated history” of the “Seder” during the period from the consecration of the Second Temple (351 BCE vs. 515 BCE) until its destruction by Rome comprised two thirds (and the remaining amount) of the entire discrepancy in time (164 years) between the two dating approaches, and was predominantly due to a radical shortening of the era of Persian rule (and removing three of the Persian kings).  Dr. Jones posits that this implausible shrinking of the Persian reign (to 53 years (34 after the dedication of the Temple) from the more credible 207 years from other historical sources) was done intentionally, and with the foreknowledge of the Jewish writers.  Further he notes that “present day Jewish scholars acknowledge that there is something enigmatic about the Seder Olam’s dating”.  As evidence, he cites the Jewish writer and commentator Rabbi Simon Schwab, who admitted that “the commonly received dates in the Ptolemaic chronology ‘can hardly be doubted’”, and who proposes in his writings the following reasons for the discrepancy:

“It should have been possible that our Sages – for some unknown reason – had “covered up” a certain historic period and purposely eliminated and suppressed all records and other material pertaining thereto.  If so, what might have been their compelling reason for so unusual a procedure?  Nothing short of a Divine command could have prompted… those saintly “men of truth” to leave out completely from our annals a period of 165 years and to correct all data and historic tables in such a fashion that the subsequent chronological gap could escape being noticed by countless generations, known to a few initiates only who were duty-bound to keep the secrets to themselves” (emphasis original) [Schwab, Simon, “Comparative Jewish Chronology”, Dr. Joseph Brewer Jubilee Volume, 1962, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch Publications Society, p. 188, as cited by Annals, p. 932.]

In turn, Dr. Jones makes the following response:

“This is an astonishing proposal!  Schwab, along with other Jewish commentators, further suggests that the reason God directed the sages of the 2nd century AD to become involved in falsifying the data was to confuse anyone who might try to use the prophecies of Daniel to predict the time of the Messiah’s coming.  This was supposedly done to honor Da. 12:4: ‘shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end’.  He adds that the reason the sages had adopted the non-Jewish Seleucid Era calendar was part of the scheme to do just that – to close up the words and seal the book of Daniel [Schwab, Simon, “Comparative Jewish Chronology”, Selected Speeches: A Collection of Addresses and Essays on Hashkafah, Contemporary Issues and Jewish History, CIS Pub., Lakewood, NJ, 1991, pp. 270-272, as cited in Annals, p. 932.].  Schwab also states that if the 165 years were included it would reveal, ‘we are much closer to the end of the 6th Millennium than we had surmised’ (Schwab mentions this date as the time when many rabbis expect Messiah to come).”

Jones continues:

“But can any sincere reader accept such a flimsy reason as justification for distorting history?  It actually accuses God himself of perpetrating a dishonest deception.  Indeed, it is manifestly apparent that the real reasons for the deliberate altering of their own national chronology in the Seder Olam were: (1) to conceal the fact that the Da. 9:25 prophecy clearly pointed to Jesus of Nazareth as its fulfillment and therefore the long awaited Messiah, and (2) to make that seventy week of years prophecy point instead to Simon Bar Kokhba!”

Dr. Jones concludes by giving evidence bolstering his assertions, such as the role of Rabbi Aviba in “anointing” Bar Kokhba as Messiah as well as mentoring Seder Olam author Yose ben Halafta, and the fact that the destruction of many Persian records after their overthrow provided the Jewish teachers with an opportunity to modify the records of the duration of their rule.  He finishes by saying, “The author offers the conclusions given herein as the only reasonable, logical deductions that can be drawn from the historical and blblical facts”.  Whether he is right in that the intention was to show Bar Kokhba as Messiah, or the Jewish Encyclopedia scholars in that the intention was to comply with their belief that the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel concludes with the destruction of the Temple, one cannot ascertain; possibly the additional material from the Seder Olam, specifically from this period of time, which has been removed from its text would offer answers, and the reason for its removal would be quite curious.  But it can be confirmed, from all sources both Christian and Jewish, that (a) an intentional effort was made to falsify the chronological record of the time, and (b) it involved getting the “desired answer” from Daniel prophecy, which was not that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the prophecy.

The shadows of the “lost cause messiah” Bar Kokhba still hang over the Jewish people, and particularly the militant, patriotic segment that reside in modern Israel. Later in this volume I write that

[According to the Jewish Virtual Library,] In the modern Zionist era, the popular Zionist youth movement “Betar” took its name from Bar-Kokhba’s last stronghold (the group adopted its leader, radical militant Vladimir Jabotinsky’s “Oath” that “I will devote my life to the rebirth of the Jewish State, with a Jewish majority, on both sides of the Jordan”, as “defense training was proclaimed the foremost duty of every member”, while fighting claims by other Zionists of their being fascists. Even a song in Israeli kindergartens today contains the refrain, “Bar Kokhba was a hero; he fought for liberty” [Lomsky-Feder, Edna, and Ben-Ari, Eyal, The Military and Militarism in Israeli Society, 1999, State University Press, Albany, p. 50.].

 

So, have we seen that when a “lost cause” over prior “Camelots” or “golden ages” of a culture that were lost, crumbled or pilfered, and desired to one day be restored, are energized with religious rationale and fervor, with the arguments of “prophesied” fulfillment and the “day of visitation” by the “prophets” of one’s era, there is almost nothing that the religious leadership will not resort to, and the devout people following them not swallow blindly to the point of offering themselves in violent or coercive struggles at the cost of their life or freedom? That “anointing messiahs,” and justifying their “non-messianic” traits to the gullible flock are often quite easy, if a little peer pressure or coercion is applied, only if a profane messiah figure appeals to their patriotic or cultural superiority pride, and energizes them with boastful words of “fights” against the “barbarians” that have previously subjugated them? That the first casualty in “lost cause” struggles is the truth and facts of today’s events and our history, and when they are forcefully made into religion-fueled “holy wars,” that even the sacred scriptures and prophetic promises are contorted to serve the ends of those who stand to profit from it? This work was not intended to merely disparage our Jewish brethren; of course, we can see incidents like the tragic Christian Crusades as such an example of religious and state leaders conspiring to build an external “boogeyman” of another religion and culture, suggest prophetic sanction and spiritual anointing by its religious zealot leaders, and energize an otherwise demoralized and low-esteem underclass of devotees to march off to waste their lives under the direction of insane religious zealots or shrewd, self-serving leaders. We witnessed a milder version 177 years ago, when the evangelicals under Baptist William Miller believed his interpretation of prophecy to await their Rapture in 1844, only to be led into the “Great Disappointment,” leading the failed leader and his cohorts to “move the goalposts” and redefine its fulfillment while still retaining a surprisingly large following, and while many more threw up their hands in disgust on the whole Christian experience. In Part 3 of this series, we will explore how such similar circumstances we are now living in amongst the Christian community during our current “Lost Cause” may witness similar outcomes.

my new book, Two Masters and Two Gospels, Vol. 1 – The Teaching of Jesus Vs. the “Leaven of the Pharisees” in Talk Radio and Cable News, is available in paperback and Kindle ebook here at Amazon, in paperback, Nook .epub ebook and even two types of hardcover at Barnes and Noble, in ebook via Kobo/Walmart and paperback and ebook at Books A Million, and many other places; I also offer a special deal for ebook readers at the Two Masters site at Bookbaby (available here), which provides Kindle, epub and pdf versions together for one price, and if you leave your email there for my mailing list, I will additionally send you a special short work I have done, just for you. You can also catch a few of my recent interviews on my book at Conspirinormal, Iron Show, Binnall of America, Ryan O’Neal’s WQEE Classic Rock, Pastor Mike Spaulding’s Soaring Eagle Radio and Derek Gilbert’s View From the Bunker.

The website that chronicles and makes announcements about my books is www.mikebennettbooks.com.

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The New “Lost Cause”: What Might Await Us – Part 1: The Historical Legacy of Perceived Betrayal and Vigilante/Guerilla “Justice”

 

Wikipedia defines “The Lost Cause of the Confederacy,” or the “Lost Cause,” as

an American pseudo-historical, negationist ideology that advocates the belief that the cause of the Confederate States during the American Civil War was a just and heroic one. This ideology has furthered the belief that slavery was just and moral, because it brought economic prosperity. The notion was used to perpetuate racism and racist power structures during the Jim Crow era in the American South. It emphasizes the supposed chivalric virtues of the antebellum South. It thus views the war as a struggle primarily waged to save the Southern way of life and to protect “states’ rights,” especially the right to secede from the Union. It casts that attempt as faced with “overwhelming Northern aggression.” At the same time, it minimizes or completely denies the central role of slavery and white supremacy in the build-up to, and outbreak of, the war.

One particularly intense wave of Lost Cause activity occurred during World War I, as the last Confederate veterans began to die out and a push was made to preserve their memories. A second wave of Lost Cause activity occurred in reaction to growing public support for racial equality during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Through activities such as the construction of prominent Confederate monuments and the writing of school history textbooks, the Lost Cause movement sought to ensure future generations of Southern whites would know about the South’s “true” reasons for fighting the war, and therefore continue to support white supremacist policies, such as Jim Crow laws. In that regard, white supremacy is a central feature of the Lost Cause narrative. Lost Cause narratives typically portray the Confederacy’s cause as noble, and its leaders and armies as exemplars of old-fashioned chivalry, whose defeat by the Union armies was because the South’s greater military skill and courage was overwhelmed by the North’s numerical superiority and immense industrial power.

In other words, believers of the “Lost Cause,” both at the conclusion of the war and since then, believed it wasn’t a “fair fight,” and that the deck was stacked against them from the start, and their beliefs in traditional values and the superiority of their culture were directly placed in jeopardy. From this, they never accepted the reality of the defeat, clinging (even up to today) with battle cries like “the South shall rise again,” and continue to raise the Confederate battle flag (which is becoming harder to do in more places, even with their modern leader, the Manhattan Yankee Donald Trump’s strong defense of such, but it was prominent at car races and southern rock and country music concerts in the era of my upbringing). They assert that their northern brutish adversaries used technology to steal the fight away from their higher character and ideals, as they then were forced to suffer under their dark and immoral national political leadership.

They quote Mick LaSalle in a 2020 article in the San Francisco Examiner that “They say that history is written by the victors, but the Civil War has been the rare exception. Perhaps the need for the country to stay together made it necessary for the North to sit silently and accept the South’s conception of the conflict. In any case, for most of the past 150 years, the South’s version of the war and Reconstruction has held sway in our schools, our literature and, since the dawn of feature films, our movies.” They have also emphasized over the years that Africans “had it easy” under their “Christian reign” of the antebellum South, and had no cause for complaint or accusations of unjust treatment, when given their “limited” innate abilities that the South tolerated.

The picture at the top of this post is by Henry Mosler, called “The Lost Cause,” and a famous work completed three years after the end of the Civil War.

They quote University of Virginia professor Gary Gallagher as writing that “The defeat of the Confederacy devastated many Southerners economically, emotionally, and psychologically. Before the war, many white Southerners proudly felt that their rich military tradition would enable them to prevail in the forthcoming conflict. When that did not happen, many white Southerners sought consolation in attributing their loss to factors beyond their control, such as physical size and overwhelming brute force [i.e., that it was a “rigged” operation]…They also wanted to provide their children and future generations of white Southerners with a ‘correct’ narrative of the war.” They add that the United Daughters of the Confederacy had been associated with the Lost Cause for over a century. However, Union Army General George Henry Thomas of Virginia wrote in 1868 that

[T]he greatest efforts made by the defeated insurgents since the close of the war have been to promulgate the idea that the cause of liberty, justice, humanity, equality, and all the calendar of the virtues of freedom, suffered violence and wrong when the effort for southern independence failed. This is, of course, intended as a species of political cant, whereby the crime of treason might be covered with a counterfeit varnish of patriotism, so that the precipitators of the rebellion might go down in history hand in hand with the defenders of the government, thus wiping out with their own hands their own stains; a species of self-forgiveness amazing in its effrontery, when it is considered that life and property—justly forfeited by the laws of the country, of war, and of nations, through the magnanimity of the government and people—was not exacted from them.

After 1900, the Lost Cause was perpetuated by the sudden production of heroic Confederate statues by Confederate-sympathetic organizations, and also helped justify the Jim Crow laws in the South to further extend their “benevolent” caretaking domination over African-Americans (the treatment of blacks in their region not being discussed in notable detail in their mythology). One of the best-known proponents of the “Lost Cause” was Southern Baptist minister and author Thomas Dixon, Jr., who proposed repatriation of African-Americans to Africa, with a “race war” a result if they didn’t, which he assuredly knew the white man would win, with three thousand years of civilization and advantage over the black man. He also thought that getting proper education to the black community was dangerous, and that racial prejudice was just “self preservation.” He was heard by millions of people, and his novel and play The Klansman (which includes a national political party taking power by enfranchising (giving the vote) to African Americans to overthrow the rival) was seen by four million people, which later was turned into the iconic film Birth of a Nation. This latter film (about the Klan saving the day), which featured Dixon’s normal narrative in his books of a black man attempting to rape a white woman until stopped by a white posse, was the first film seen in the White House, and by the Supreme Court and Congress the next day; more importantly, this film, considered the first “modern film” in narrative structure, was the inspiration for the founding of the new and far bigger Ku Klux Klan at Stone Mountain Georgia shortly thereafter. White women have since played a very strong role in defending the Lost Cause, through the United Daughters of the Confederacy and similar local organizations to defend their aristocratic values and way of life.

Soon after the Civil War, proud Southerners began to see even their fellow white Southern neighbors who helped bring down the Lost Cause by seeking reconciliation with their political opponents, or worse yet, empowering former black slaves to vote in large numbers and enfranchise them with easier means to vote (and thus unseat their privileged political and power control in their regions) as the most vile of enemy traitors who betrayed their own kind and stabbed them in the back, which they called “scalawags.” Ironically, at that time the party who wanted minorities and blacks to vote to unseat power was the Republican Party. These local Southerners were thought to be in league with the liberal northerners to destroy the South’s “traditional values” (i. e. white supremacy over a large black population in servitude).  It was said then pejoratively that a “scalawag” was a “Southern white man who said he was no better than a Negro.” One of the most prominent people considered then a “scalawag” was Gen. James Longstreet, the deputy general to Robert E. Lee. Even more ironically, this contentious situation of patriotic citizens distrusting and being aggressive to their own neighbors due to their intensely felt superior traditions and culture was eased after the 1876 presidential election, when the Democratic candidate won over 50% of the vote nationally and several percentage points over their Republican rival in an extremely high-turnout election, but lost the presidency by one elector when the Republication state representatives in three southern states and one western one overturned the Democratic majority public vote in each of them, and awarded Republican electors instead, with tension building right up to the reading of the electors by Congress later; war and crisis was averted by the government agreeing to end Reconstruction and the stationing of northern Union troops in southern states in exchange for a Republican presidency.

Scalawags were often threatened with violence by traditional conservative Southerners for violating the “traditional values” they stood for, of conserving who the ruling race and class of people would be in their region, often by means of the vigilante Ku Klux Klan outside of the use of government, law enforcement or legal means. The following picture is from an 1968 Alabama newspaper that showed what the KKK would do to native scalawags and Yankee carpetbaggers if their candidate won the 1868 presidential election:

 

Speaking of the Klan, the “Lost Cause” era after the Civil War produced a reaction shortly afterwards, as it does in all subsequent societal “lost causes,” when political and other “official” power and authority had been lost, under the guise of presumed unfair treachery and betrayal, leading the resistance of such to be taken “to the streets,” as a typical of grass-roots, semi-organized but organic form of dispersed “citizen vigilantism” in guerilla fashion to retain and restore some “power to the people.” The nature of these reactionary vigilante movements outside the bounds of civil and legal authority were meant to terrorize “up-starts” of influence in traditional societies, either from minorities, underclasses or “outsiders” from cultures outside their local traditions within their region, to intimidate them to withdraw from taking a seat at the table of societal influence and leadership. It is to “conserve” who are the “haves” of resources, wealth and influence from the traditional “have nots,” regardless of their resented new-found legal rights and authority, under the mask of defending “traditional values,” which no one otherwise prevented them from honoring within their own homes and circles.

Outsiders were firebombed and arson and terror tactics were used, as well as being directed at domestic “scalawags” of their own clan and culture who assisted them in “meddling” in their operation of the culture, but the most direct targets were African Americans attempting to exercise their new-found rights of voting. Every technique was devised, from “poll taxes” and guessing the number of marbles in a jar before voting, to intimidation by armed white men at the polling stations, to lynchings and other violent means afflicted on those (black and white) who signed up black persons to vote. Today in 2020 it is accomplished by “gerrymandering” districts,” devising additional identification and registration rules and complex means of assuring voter registration, discouraging sign up drives of immigrant and minority-class citizens, and using strange legal maneuvers after the vote to throw out large numbers of votes by legal, registered voters after the voting day has passed. The 2020 presidential election cycle, in which mail-in voting was encouraged during the worse throes of the COVID epidemic to limit its deadly spread with crowded election-day poll sites, these parties (which had discouraged people to mail-in vote, rather preferring they decline to participate due to safety, or be confronted by armed “poll watchers” on election day to intimidate them) even introduced a modern “advancement” in 2020, of setting out voting boxes marked “official voting box” (implying it is a voter ballot collection boxes run by the elections departments of the government) that are actually set up (without identification) by the California Republican Party. They ignored courted-ordered cease and desist pronouncements from deploying such by the state Attorney General and Secretary of State, as they set up 100 “official” ballot collection boxes, with no one knowing if they were forwarded intact to be counted by election officials. Techniques like this were used recently in addition to the scores of dubious lawsuits filed nationwide to throw out their fellow citizens’ votes of another party after the election, regardless of their evidence-free allegations that have not held up to even cursory review in any of these lawsuits, even among judges appointed by the same party. Minority groups of formerly-dominant cultural classes that cling to their stolen “lost cause” have always found such techniques most valuable for retaining power over the majority of their fellow citizens that seek to join the seats of societal influence via the ballot box.

The supporters of this original “lost cause” used terror groups like the Ku Klux Klan to intimidate the far larger ranks of minority and “outsider” underclasses with new-found rights and legal voting privileges by appearing in terror-inducing garb and brandishing weapons conspicuously, and “hunting” in packs, often without interference from “official” law enforcement that was sympathetic to them (and who often had their own ranks in these groups and under the masks), appearing to envy the unregulated power to bring terror and court and legal system-free “justice” on those they opposed that these vigilante groups exercised, and removing any recourse for victims to seek protection from authorities. They killed over 2000 potential black voters and their white sympathizers in Louisiana alone just prior to the 1868 election, whiles hundreds of such voters were killed in each county in Florida, as examples, and widespread votes in the primaries for Republicans by blacks and white sympathizers of minority representation in the electorate totally disappeared once the general election began across the South, as their votes were suppressed, or widely discouraged. Often the intimidation and control was accomplished without continued and widespread violence, and rather by conspicuously displaying their weaponry and ranks, and setting a few horrific “examples” to keep the masses docile. It featured many veterans of the last war, who thought the politicians had “sold them out” or not held out to defend their culture long enough, as well as current law enforcement figures and judges. In essence, these terrorist vigilante grass-roots populist movements became the alternative to earlier government authority to enforce the preferred political, economic and rights status of the traditional ruling race and class over the underclasses they had been exploiting, which was suddenly in peril by their increased voting capacity and legal rights to political participation. The first-generation Klan organization was organized officially during Reconstruction here in Nashville, prominently featuring veterans like Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest (who had massacred over three hundred surrendered black soldiers and white Southern sympathizers at the Battle of Fort Pillow) as its first national leader and Grand Wizard, and who is commemorated with an amazing statue of him on horseback here in Nashville, in view of the interstate, and “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day” is commemorated each year in Tennessee up through 2019.

The next embodiment in 1915, begun in the wake of the popularity of the aforementioned film Birth of a Nation (actually invoking the costumes and rituals invented by the novel and film itself), grew from 5,000 members in 1920 to 5 million members in 1925, or about 15% of the nation’s eligible population. It really grew amongst the grass roots who distrusted the “Swamp” establishment powers when the “Fake News Media” (national newspapers) and Congress condemned its hateful rhetoric and xenophobia, with new founder William Simmons adding thatIt wasn’t until the newspapers began to attack the Klan that it really grew…Certain newspapers also aided us by inducing congress to investigate us. The result was that congress gave us the best advertising we ever got. Congress made us” (emphasis added). This Twentieth Century embodiment was far more savvy in public relations, imagery, symbolism and messaging, and using the new mass media to promote their cause in advanced marketing and standardization of its organization and “franchise product.” Rather than just being vigilante terrorist posses in the night, they tried to project an air of conservative Christian “respectability” of preserving the nation’s Christian values, including to protect the “interests of white womanhood” and the home (and white suburbs and neighborhoods, as it exploded in the growing transplant communities of places like Dallas and Detroit) from ethnic minority community encroachment. Its founding documents explained its goals to “shield the sanctity of the home and the chastity of womanhood; to maintain white supremacy; to…conserve, protect and maintain the distinctive institutions, rights, privileges, principles and ideals of a pure Americanism.” In fact, their national messaging was virtually indistinguishable from the modern Religious Right messaging and priorities today. As alluded to in the pictures of their marches at the top of this post, they portrayed themselves as “Christian warriors” defending “Americanism” and its “Christian values,” such as Bible reading and prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments up in the courthouse, and warnings of the motives of non-Protestant religious groups in America, immigrants, as well as minorities of race, religion and ethnicity that were not Anglo-Saxon based, in their national motive to make America great again. Their ranks included judges and top state officials in both the North and South (with states like Indiana and Maine having some of the most prominent organizations). The similarity to today’s conservative and Religious Right movements don’t end there; the leaders of these movements were able to raise funds off of their paranoid warnings of “outsider” infiltration in America sufficient to obtain quite lucrative fortunes, and the decadent and hypocritical lifestyles out of the public eye that comes with it. By 1925, 40,000 unmasked Klan members were marching to the Washington Monument.

While these tens of thousands of “patriotic Christians,” proudly marching without their masks, got lots of attention of the Washington DC press in 1925 as the “next big thing,” one historical source reports that a few lone Christians dared speak up to this intimidating crowd of ultra-conservative “Christians” in their public show of strength. They note that a Thomas Avaunt there passed out flyers amongst the crowd, stating that “All Christian men and women bow their heads in shame when they know the streets of their city may soon be bathed in blood. Those of us who are Christians and believe in law and order cannot forget the scores of cities where similar parades of the KKK have been the cause of murder and bloodshed and without a minute’s notice men and women have been shot.” They source adds that “infowars”-style rumors of unattributed threats of armed “minority uprisings” and deadly counter-protests also spread around; they write that “Rumors began to circulate that the African American community had been arming itself to combat the parade, buying up all the rifles and revolvers in local thrift shops. The Metropolitan Police investigated the claims and debunked them. In a public statement, they were adamant that no such violence was planned. In fact, in hopes of avoiding conflict, police and African American pastors urged their congregants to steer clear of the crowds gathering around the parade.” They also note that 150,000 spectators watched these tens of thousands of Klansmen march to restore America. As they completed the several-hour march and began to ready the Christian Klan orators to inspire the gathered crowd, storm clouds began to form. They write that a local Klan leader tried to reassure the crowd with “Christian” words, saying that “‘I have faith enough in the Lord that He is with every Klansman,’ he told the restless audience. ‘You ought to have as much faith in Him as I have. We have never had a drop of rain in Washington when we got on our knees.’ Right about then, the heavens opened up.” The next night featured a cross burning there, reported to be eighty feet tall and thirty feet wide, which was lit as U. S. flags were mounted around it and on the speaker’s stand, as they played and sang “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “America” – a spectacle that stirs, inspires and invigorates the fleshly souls of “Western Christians” like the similarly staged Nuremberg rallies in Hitler’s Germany just a few years later.

Leader D. C. Stephenson made millions in the mid-1920s with an exclusive franchise racket selling Klan uniforms in Indiana, the state with the largest Klan population of 250,000, or one third or more of all of Indiana’s white males, and a governor a presumed Klan member as well as the majority of the Indiana General Assembly and other politicians (confirmed by Pulitzer Prize-winning press investigations), such that politicians needed Klan endorsement to be elected as a Republican, the party in which they focused their efforts (with Stephenson saying publicly that “I am the law in Indiana”), just as modern Republicans need Trump endorsement or face a primary rival in local offices. They emphasized strict morality and exposed “notorious sinners,” but much like today’s religious activist groups, it was found that leaders like Stephenson were exposed and convicted of decadent and violent sexual perversion (including chewing on a young lady Stephenson kidnapped and raped) and assault, leading to their general demise in this “mainstream” form in the late 1920s (he and pro-Prohibition Klan officials were found at trial to be alcoholics and womanizers). Just like today’s Tea Party organizations and “astroturf” fake grass roots organizations behind them, various Klan franchisees fought over assets procured from the lucrative racket funded from merchandise, public donations, fund raising and events, as their primary interest in the movement. During that time, cities like Indianapolis were controlled by the Klan, while smaller cities like New Albany fought them; street fights between Klan “Christian warriors” and minority groups were commonplace. In the community outside Louisville that my family members lived in after I left town, I found the community newspapers of that era show the Klan welcomed with open arms in the community and specifically within its conservative churches, where they had recruiting drives in the services much like the Gideon Bible distributors do today, albeit to arrange “god-fearing” men and pastors to resist dangerous minorities that threatened to move into or burn down white suburbs or rape their white women, as well as immigrants and non-Protestants (and including socialists and other leftists) that threatened their heritage and traditions of Anglo-Saxon Protestant control of America that they had to preserve. They had a major impact in governments across America, particularly in places like Maine and Southern California (future stronghold of the John Birch Society), where thousands of Klansmen were active in Orange County, and were elected in city council in Anaheim, and nationwide they were mostly supported or even led by Methodist or Baptist ministers. In Oregon, where the Klan swiftly took over, they brought in an “escaped nun” to tell made up terrors of the Catholic clergy (which sounds like much of the anti-Catholic, “Satanic Panic” and “Illuminati paedophile ring” whistleblowers I have seen peddled in Christian circles in my day). They bitterly divided every town and city they entered into opposed camps of the public, while ministers and politicians were usually too timid to stand up to them (and their supporters in the voting public) or take a principled stand, as the Klan controlled their seats of government in Oregon with only 2 percent of the population being members.

These prominent first and second generation Klan movements were just indicative of a long tradition of American vigilantism when law enforcement, the legal system or even the military were not “cutting it” in terms of satisfying the passions of the populists, going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. In Civil War times, they were often known as “bushwackers,” and spread death, arson, destruction and terror across the land. While not officially part of any government armed institution, they often coordinated with sympathetic law enforcement and military chains of command, doing their “dirty work” that the laws of policing and war would not let them, as a “force multiplier,” and even getting military ranks awarded at times, without the need to obey rules of engagement. As their movements that followed, often behind masks and at night, collapsed as a “Lost Cause” as feuds increased the body count and escalation, their new-found ability to break down the psychological barrier to and experience in killing in cold blood made these groups into excellent self-motivated violent criminal gangs in the aftermath in the Old West, such as by former bushwacker Jesse James, and subsequent guerilla and militia movements typically devolve from their “cause” and resort to violent, self-serving crime.

Later in the 1800s and 1900s it formed the basis of a far-broader citizen-led guerilla culture nationwide known as the “white capping” movement. When communities of people no longer had patience to deal with or confidence in legal institutions of law enforcement or the legal system when court rulings opened up opportunities for rival minority groups (blacks, immigrants and minority religious faiths) to conduct business, work and own property in their communities that went against their wishes of domination, collectives of working class nativist citizens nationwide took matters in their own hands and used their greater numbers, or terror tactics as a force multiplier, and formed groups like the “Night Riders” and “Bald Knobbers” across America, raiding minority families or their white sympathizers at night to whip and kill them, burn their houses or threaten them to leave their community and property behind, and not impact their communities’ economies with their work force or businesses. They also attacked those seen as a “welfare” drain on their communities by not working hard enough. Since that time, more modern groups such as The Minutemen, The Secret Army Organization (a paramilitary group that bombed buildings and shot pro-peace professors and such, being controlled by the FBI and Nixon White House, as it was discovered at trial and congressional testimony, including the planned false-flag bombing of the 1972 Republican Convention to blame on the Vietnam Veterans against the War), the Christian Identity militia movement that “successfully” killed hundreds of innocent civilians with the Oklahoma City bombing, the deadly bombings by the Jewish Defense League for decades, and the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and similar groups have kept up the tradition today, with the consistent help of significant portions of “official” law enforcement, and sometimes even the President. This is why federal authorities consistently report that right-wing anti-government paramilitary guerilla activities are the most frequent source of terror and hate crimes annually, and the greatest terror threat to American society. All these groups outside the law will eventually follow the same path of making killers of normal citizens (with the help of experienced veterans or law enforcement retirees, or even active duty sympathizers), without rules or laws, leadership subsequently devolving to the hands of the most ruthless, and despairing cynicism amongst all the lawlessness until they use their (sometimes newly learned) propensity to use violence and aggression for self-serving ends of crime, just as white supremacist groups, and even the Symbionese Liberation Army, use bank robberies, kidnappings and the like to enlarge their coffers and personal bank accounts, with new tools of cybercrimes and such now available. 

The revived Klan of the 1950s until today has focused on opposing civil rights, desegregation and black residents in communities in which they had a presence. They revived terror tactics, lynchings and hate crimes, including upon white human rights activists (whom they called “N___r lovers”), which included Northern students and civil rights figures who tried to support black and minority voters in Southern states, helping local authorities devise means of denying blacks voter privileges and representation on juries, and conducting bombings and burnings of churches with black members (either as majorities or minorities in white-majority churches), and local judges usually would not convict captured perpetrators. They responded to the newfound power of black and minority communities in removing roadblocks to their voting by means of 1960s legislation, and opportunities of housing outside their confined ghettos, or ability to organize into protest movements and marches to expose communities violating their legal rights. White populations saw this voting power and encroachment in their communities as a direct threat, and in addition to their efforts in trying to stop their votes or otherwise invalidate them, resorted to vigilante action outside the law, but with the common understood support of local law enforcement and judicial system, and with the help of many pastors and religious leaders. In 1979 KKK and American Nazi Party members pulled up by car and shot and killed five communist activists who were supporting black labor workers to join unions in Greensboro, NC; in 1980 three KKK members shot and killed four elderly black women in Chattanooga after a rally, and when caught, two of them were acquitted by an all-white jury, and the other served three months. Around 1980 in the same area outside Louisville, the attendance of some black Christians at a local Baptist church where my brother served for the time as an assistant pastor, resulted in a public threat at a church service by a member known to be a local Klan leader, and when my brother retorted that they would always be welcome in the house of worship, the man’s last threat was followed with deeds within a week, as the new church whose construction was just completed by the parishioners was burned to the ground, with investigators finding evidence of arson.

In recent years the Klan has been in decline, although it is somewhat due to the rise of many rival hate groups which are growing; the Klan has had a sudden rise is chapters opening since 2015. In February 2019, Goodloe Sutton, editor of the Linden (AL) Democrat-Reporter, wrote an editorial entitled, “Klan Needs to Ride Again,” saying they needed to “night ride” because of the “socialist-communist ideology” invading Alabama, and responded to complaints to it that, “The point of the editorial was ironic in that all these years, the FBI and the Department of Justice have been investigating the Klan and now, that shoe is on the other foot. (The FBI and Justice Department) are doing wrong and the Klan needs to investigate them.” He said regarding liberals offended by the editorial, “It’s not their country. It’s our country and if they don’t like it, they can go to hell.” He wrote concerning the aftermath of the editorial that “It got me about $10 million in free publicity. I know I would do it all over again”; the 80-year-old stated in a phone interview that he had resigned, and said “I’m going to drink beer and sex young women,” after receiving praise for the editorial in which he said that the Klan should “raid the gated communities” of Democrats. In the interview he said that Democrats should be lynched, and that ““we’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.” He added in an interview with the Montgomery Advertiser that the “socialist-communists” should be lynched, and balked at ideas the Klan were violent, saying, “A violent organization? Well, they didn’t kill but a few people,” Sutton said. “The Klan wasn’t violent until they needed to be.”

One essential element of fortifying and sustaining such populist movements in paranoid suspicion and contempt of their fellow citizens of other races, religions or economic class, is to control the information space and narrative, and for “Lost Case”-based movements, the historical record of what “went down” up to today, and its justification of the nature of the grievances and aggressive reactionary actions and initiatives. Even in December 2020, Nashville’s Tennessean newspaper reports on how the school textbook contents regarding the South’s “Lost Cause” has fomented these world views and strife for generations, right up to 2020. They write that, “For much of the 20th century, southern classrooms…Teachers taught students to sing Dixie and memorize long lists of forgettable governors. Civil War battles got described in detail. Textbooks celebrated the violent overthrow of democratically-elected, multiracial governments. Lynching went unmentioned. The evils of slavery got cursory acknowledgments — and quick dismissals,” with one 1961 Alabama textbook stating that “It should be noted that slavery was the earliest form of social security in the United States.” They add that “The same forces that took over public spaces to erect monuments to the Confederacy and its white supremacist tenets also kept a tight grip on the history taught to Southern pupils. The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) spent decades shaping and reshaping textbooks to put a strong emphasis on Lost Cause views of the Civil War and Reconstruction, which glorified the white supremacist foundations of the Confederacy and was used to justify segregation and authoritarian Jim Crow governance. While the UDC was responsible for erecting many of the Confederate statues that are controversial today during the Jim Crow era, Civil War legacy historian Kevin Levin is quoted as saying that, “With all the attention they received in terms of reference to the monuments, I think their most lasting impact was in controlling and censoring textbooks.” The article further writes that “Efforts to improve history education moved slowly. Lost Cause mythology came under sustained fire from academic historians starting in the 1950s, but that research took decades to reach classrooms. After a long court fight, Mississippi in 1980 adopted the textbook “Conflict and Change,” which confronted lynching and the dehumanizing aspects of slavery in ways previous textbooks had not. Later textbooks provided more information about slave life and abandoned earlier whitewashings of terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan. But change came slowly. Textbooks that said Black Southerners were content to be second-class citizens were in use in Virginia well into the 1980s. Mississippi students were not required to learn about the civil rights movement before 2011.”

This concept of a national “lost cause” betrayal, and the resultant populist covert wave of vigilante resistance to the powerlessness it imbued, is not just an American phenomenon, even in the 20th century. One such prominent example is the “stab in the back” myth, in which the Germans from 1981 to Hitler’s reign in the 1930s were led to believe that the vaunted German army did not actually lose World War I, but were “stabbed in the back” along with the German public by Jews and socialists, and the governing Weimer Republic that capitulated by signing the Armistice. This conspiracy theory and disbelief in their movement and ideology ever losing was made possible because the media sources their leader and aligned German media arms of government propaganda allowed them to be exposed to had led them to believe it was “impossible” to lose, that “God was on their side,” and that any events reported to the contrary were merely “fake news” – an alternative reality they clung to until their loss was sudden and inexplicable to them, to the point of disbelief. Actually, the army was well aware of their ultimate loss, and encouraged the settlement with the Allies, but shrewdly did not admit it publicly, and rather had the civilian authorities of Weimer sign the surrender documents, thereby giving them later plausible deniability, and placing all the blame on the hapless new government put in power at the end of the war (with its leader later killed for such “cowardice”). This similar disbelief due to the lack of their favorite leader-in-power-aligned media outlets not reporting the weakness of their leadership or its imminent peril has provided a similar public disbelief in electoral losses and the embrace of laughable conspiracy theories by today’s followers of the “invincible” Donald Trump and his “prophesied” victory in the 2020 election. As the Germans were led by their failing authorities and military heroes to blame scapegoats like socialists and Jews for the sudden loss as opposed to their own incompetence, Trump and his henchmen blame Democratic socialists, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, ballot stuffers, Republican governors, all major big city residents, and even voting machine software firms as all part of some coordinated mega-conspiracy to barely steal the election away, even with all their power, from the “overwhelming” popularity of Trump, who never reached 50% popularity at any time in his presidency, although all polling verifying such by anyone is also part of the cabal as well. The foreign government China is blamed as an international culprit, although no data has provided any evidence of such, and even North Korea is even blamed for bringing in fake ballots to Maine by ship (!) by Roger Stone, but the Russian government that all U.S. intelligence agencies have provided evidence of election tempering, as well as Trump’s own campaign chairman Paul Manafort giving key swing-state polling data to a top known Russian operative Konstanin Kilimnik (who used it in Putin’s Internet Research Agency to perform critical local social media campaigns in swing states) being proven in court to the point of conviction, is never mentioned or disputed. Those German officials who acknowledged the loss were castigated by the public when prodded by demagogues, no matter how patriotic they had been in the past (rather calling them “November Criminals”), just as mainstream Republican elected officials, and even Religious Right leaders like Pat Robertson, are now similarly treated as being “unloyal” for acknowledging the obvious of the major electoral loss and the clean nature of the election process, including the head of the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, both hand-picked by Trump himself.

This concept of German “betrayal” was first started from a sermon of a Protestant Court Chaplain, even before the war was over. It Germany it was the losing military leaders who originated this false conspiracy theory for the public, to save their reputations; in the U.S., it was the President and his allies who developed a similar conspiracy theory to cover his failure, although retired military leaders like just-pardoned Gen. Michael Flynn have also played a key role. The German military leaders used this lie and conspiracy theory to also delegitimize the new government that had come into power, and asserted that it had entered by duplicitous means, and that the public had experienced a “lost cause” of being cheated by connivers over their noble, unvanquished military heroes they had idolized in the past, just like Southerners in the U.S., or Trump followers today. They made these accusations before parliament inquiries into the matter in their testimony, which further cemented the idea in the minds of the pliable public. Even though the head of the Social Democratic Party that led the government complimented the German army for their valiant fighting and even let paramilitary Friekorps units form around the country (as militias who crushed socialist movements in places like Munich) without confronting them to avoid disturbances, the conservative German press still accused him of being a traitor to the army and the country and a “criminal,” as his fellow government officials who signed the Armistice were assassinated. This conspiracy theory that absolved the German people of soul-searching was exploited by skillful demagogues like Hitler and the Nazis to empower street militias to fight and kill socialists and Jews as the scapegoats, push out experienced mainstream politicians, and justify an extreme movement to avenge these manufactured “injustices” on a mass scale, with atrocities justified by this “betrayal”; what will Trump supporters now be willing to do in the aftermath of this “corrupt” election, perpetrated by leftist elements, local politicians and even accommodated by vile mainstream Republican leaders and pundits?

Not surprisingly, these two modern western “lost cause” movements, one in decline and another on the upswing (and who taught them a more militant and aggressive manner for daylight resistance against the government, and not just small groups of minorities),  would find “common cause” here in America. The online report by the Southern Poverty Law Center on the history of the Ku Klux Klan writes that

By the late 1970s and early 1980s, Klansmen and Nazis were beginning to see the value of cooperating with each other. Although they had roots in different traditions — the Klan in the post-civil War South and the neo-Nazis in Hitler’s Germany — they shared the same enemies and the same fanatic obsession with white supremacy. Some Klan leaders, like David Duke and Don Black, started out as Nazis. Former Nazi Glenn Miller incorporated the military fatigue uniform and the Nazi salute into his Klan organization in North Carolina. Ed Fields in Georgia brought both Klansmen and Nazis into the National States’ Rights Party; his virulently anti-Semitic publication, The Thunderbolt (later renamed The Truth At Last), was read by both groups. The combination of the Klan, with its historical foothold in American society, and the Nazis, with a modern militancy that appealed to many younger ideologues, resulted in a racist front whose potential for danger was evident by the early 1980s.

The Nazi influence radicalized traditional Klansmen. In secret camps across the country, white supremacists of all descriptions began training in the use of assault weapons, grenades, rocket launchers and explosives — all in preparation for what they believed would be a nationwide race war [which is what President Trump has been insinuating recently via Black Lives Matter and Antifa; Ed.]. In 1981, more than 1,000 people learned advanced guerrilla warfare techniques at an annual paramilitary training camp sponsored by the Christian Patriots Defense League in Louisville, Illinois, which had ties to the white supremacist pseudo-religion, Christian Identity. At a Posse Comitatus “survival school” in 1982, members received instruction in the demolition of roadways, dams and bridges. At the covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord Survivalist compound, members stockpiled weapons and explosives, and trained in urban warfare, martial arts and wilderness survival in preparation for “the coming war.” An FBI raid on the compound in 1985 yielded hundreds of weapons and bombs, and enough cyanide to poison the water supply of an entire city.

…In 1985, Glenn Miller changed the name of the Carolina Knights to the Confederate Knights and preached the need to secure the Southern United States for a white homeland. He told his followers at one rally, “We’re building up a white Christian army. We’re going to get our country back. We hope to keep bloodshed to a minimum, but anyone that gets in the way is going to be sorry.” With the name change, Miller’s group took on a new look — instead of wearing Klan robes to rallies and marches, members wore camouflage uniforms and army boots. Not only was Miller conducting the training he wrote about in his newspaper, he authorized his second-in-command to purchase a whole array of weapons that had been stolen from military bases. They included dynamite, claymore mines, grenades, plastic explosives, AR-15 rifles, gas masks, night scopes, chemical warfare items and light-weight anti-tank weapons capable of piercing up to 11 inches of armor. Miller also hired a military weapons expert to train his men in small teams at night, sometimes as often as twice a week. In the summer of 1984, Miller later admitted, he had received $200,000 of money stolen by members of the revolutionary group, The Order. In late 1984, Miller hooked the Carolina Knights into the Aryan Nations Liberty Net, a computer bulletin board which listed activities of various radical white supremacists around the country….Several months after his conviction, Stephen Miller and four other white patriots were arrested after they plotted to rob a Fayetteville, North Carolina, restaurant, buy stolen military explosives, blow up the Southern Poverty Law Center and kill Law Center Director Morris Dees…In April 1987, Glenn Miller, then in hiding, issued a “declaration of total war” against the government, blacks and Jews. In his declaration, Miller assigned a point system for the assassination of key minority, government and civil rights leaders, with Dees heading the list. Ten days later, Miller was captured in Missouri along with three other White Patriots and a cache of weapons that included grenades, pipe bombs, automatic rifles, shotguns, pistols and crossbows.

One last historical “lost cause” in the West that reveals further facets of modern populist resistance to the loss of a “Camelot” existence for one’s culture when perceived as being oppressed by a rival culture that had wrested political and institutional power from them by disputed means, is the struggle in Northern Ireland for many decades, commonly referred to as “The Troubles.” In fact, a bombing this week in my own hometown of Nashville caused my good friend Adam Sayne to suggest to me the potential of such an element of ideological violence to be featured in the years ahead within our own nation. The table was set for such cultural, political, economic class and even religious strife hundreds of years before “The Troubles” were officially recognized as such, with the forced colonial settlement of Protestant British subjects in the northern counties of the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Ireland, just as Africans were forcibly settled in America hundreds of years earlier to be exploited for literal slave labor, and an inevitable clash of cultures and interests. Eventually, Catholic Ireland won her independence from Great Britain via civil war after World War I, but the Irish Catholics in six northern counties were denied their desire to have a “traditional Irish Catholic” government in their region, and subject to Protestant votes and politicians in the equivalent of their “states” that secured governing authority. The multi-generation indigenous Catholics were often of poor and working class status, with positions of authority, privilege and wealth reserved for the British-sympathetic Protestant “unionists” (i.e. for remaining in “union” with Great Britain, rather than the “Irish Republicans” (who wished governance in line with their traditional Irish Catholic culture)). Both sides used their education (or lack thereof), wealth and professional class, and their religious tradition as grounds for animosity. Old religious partisan groups like the Protestant “Orangemen” from the late 1700s would still parade in Catholic neighborhoods in the attempt to provoke unrest (which my wife and I observed in our visit there in the mid-1990s), just like groups have done in our cities in 2020 to incite violent confrontations.

This long-term, guerilla-style resistance movement (short of full-blown civil war) is typically considered to have lasted in earnest from around 1969 until 1998, with usually a few hundred killed each year having direct connection to “the troubles,” with many, many more injured and maimed. However, this moderate to low-intensity insurrection had so many facets of violence – from police harassment, whippings, torture, forced suicides, false-flag terror, bombings, shootouts, conflicts between different sides of belligerents, and Faustian cooperation at times and outright personal selfish agenda “hits” and criminal activities of personal or group enrichment under the guise of “resistance” on either side, it is hard to ascertain the true number of casualties in the conflict, which was not restricted to colliding armies, rifles, and missiles. The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and Northern Ireland Defense Forces defended the Protestant dominance, and was assisted by the deployed British Army, in their longest deployment in their history. To resist them, paramilitaries were formed like the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO). To counter them beyond “official” government and military forces, the pro-Protestant citizenry also formed their own citizen militias, including the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV), Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Red Hand Commandos (RHC), and the “official” British military units would collude with these “extra-legal,” loyalist paramilitaries “off the record.” These days also resulted in public riots, mass protests and civil disobedience, with the formation of segregated communities and “no go” areas (which we witnessed while there, as it was painted right on the neighborhood sidewalks). Of the 3,500 people killed in the region during this period that was attributed to the struggle, just over half were non-participating citizens, and split almost evenly in perpetration by both sides.

While this land graft from native Irish Catholics and resettlement of Protestants in the 1600s caused an expected conflict of communities, that being between the native and transplanted colonist (as they have in America and elsewhere, and currently in Palestine), the Penal Laws by the British Crown removed the religious, political and legal rights of non-Anglicans, both Catholic and Protestant Dissenters. The era of extreme restriction, and then relaxation of Catholic rights (in the “wisdom” of the British government) that suggested a new imposition of Catholic rights on a new generation of Protestant residents unaccustomed to them, led to the formation of fighting factions back into the late 1700s. Ireland was forced into Great Britain in 1801, abolishing the Irish Parliament, and united Anglican and non-Anglican Protestants as “loyalists” of mutual cause, and although Catholics were officially given status to prohibit their discrimination in the 1800s, a “Home Rule” movement was started by native Irish Catholics to restore the Irish Parliament, and from the late-1800s to early 1900s, the political divide in Ireland was along native “republican” vs. “loyalist/unionist” grounds. As the “republican” independence movement gained strength and neared “home rule” status, the minority Protestant residents feared Catholic government and formed in 1912 the Ulster Volunteer Force (ULF), the first extra-constitutional militia paramilitary force. In turn, republican forces founded the Irish Volunteers to counter them in 1913, but before civil war broke out, the First World War took precedence, and the planned Home Rule for Ireland by the British government was also suspended. While many Irish republicans left to help Great Britain in the War, civil disturbances broke out back home, and in 1918 the Irish republican Sinn Fein party won the majority of seats in Ireland, which launched the Irish Parliament and set up the 1922 War for Irish Independence and the establishment of the Irish Free State in the 26 counties where Sinn Fein won, but the six northern counties where they did poorly were left out, as the Protestant leaders there “opted out” to become the Great Britain-affiliated state of Northern Ireland. Between this time and 1969, Catholics in Northern Island were intentionally kept from the best housing and jobs, and Protestant politicians gerrymandered districts to keep Protestant parliamentary representatives for Catholic communities, and ignored calls for respect of the 35% Catholic minority to prevent future acts of desperation.

In 1966, the Protestant fundamentalist preacher Ian Paisley, praised profusely by contemporary Christian documentarian Chris Pinto in his recent works, formed the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee (UCDC) and the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV) paramilitary wing, opening the raising of potential conflict with armed hostilities. The UPV was a loyalist and fundamentalist Christian paramilitary group who in the spring of 1966 bombed an all-girls primary school in Ardoyne, where talks to better relations between Protestants and Catholics were to take place. Soon thereafter in that year they killed a 70-year-old Protestant woman they thought was a Catholic next door, and then two Catholic men nearby, using firebombs and firearms, and declaring “war” on the IRA, as a fundamentalist Christian group successfully initiating a lengthy, deadly national conflict. By 1969 they were targeting the water supply and electrical grid used by Catholic communities, and often blamed on the IRA as false-flag events. Meanwhile, a non-violent civil rights movement had started to get more proportional job opportunities and housing for the large Catholic minority, an end to “one vote per household” which was meant to neutralize large Catholic families as well as the gerrymandering, and laws that had allowed arrests without warrant, imprisonment without trial and ban on assemblies and publications. Civil rights marchers began to be beaten routinely and without provocation by the police. What followed beyond that was a veritable melee of Northern Irish police, military and British military forces, along with republican and loyalist paramilitary groups, with children, woman and the elderly often the targets, large numbers of displaced civilians (mostly Catholics driven from their damaged homes), and a major refugee problem. Walls were erected separating Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods, like the Berlin Wall or the rest of the Iron Curtain. “Bloody Sunday” in 1972 described the killing of fourteen unarmed civil rights marchers by the British military. Outside nations and groups began funding and arming the various factions (such as from Libya for the IRA, and South Africa for the loyalists). British troops were often found colluding with loyalist forces, against their deployment mission, and helped them off-hours or smuggled them weapons. The society began showing all the social decay effects of an extended war zone, including increases in nihilistic behavior such as greater promiscuity, suicides, substance abuse and a distrust of social groups by young people growing up during the period. It also trained a generation of bombmakers and mercenaries, comfortable with remorselessly taking life, that also later found use as soldiers of fortune, criminals, corporate security commandos, and terrorists for hire around the globe.

 

Is this picture of sustained domestic bombing, rioting, kidnapping and sniper operations a possible scenario as an outgrowth of the extreme ideological conflict and schism our nation now experiences, in the near future? Will today’s “lost cause” of lost (or perceived stolen) political influence and cultural erosion trigger a reactionary aggressive and violent response from a people who feel they have no other options nor desire to evolve with changing times, to make such a dystopian struggle come true in our own land in the days ahead? If so, who will be the possible religious figures or group to start it, or other cultural icons or institutions as the catalyst? Or is this all just more paranoid conspiracy mongering and unjustified “Chicken Little” hand-wringing? Or – are its beginnings – the “shots on Ft. Sumter” – already underway?

Stay tuned for Part 2, which will discuss the seeds of such tensions in the last few years in our own country that mirror the elements and facets of such “Lost Cause” guerilla violence in the streets and towns that we have documented in this historical review. Please also check out my book, Two Masters and Two Gospels, Volume 1 – The Teaching of Jesus Vs. the “Leaven of the Pharisees” in Talk Radio and Cable News, which is available in ebook, paperback and hardcover in places like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the usual suspects. 

Update: Hydroxychloroquine and the Israeli Connection

Readers Note: I acknowledge that the following post is EXTREMELY long, even by my standards. You probably will want to read it in installments, and I recommend a laptop or tablet versus a phone to read. Many readers may decide it is TOO long for their interests and attention span, and each reader might suggest their own unique priority material within it, and suggestions for editing, as I often hear from my last book. However, it IS a very important topic that has been impacting our world, and an archetype of the similar issues we encounter in our complex world, and the nature of the players and strategies used by figures in society to inform our opinions, in (sometimes) issues of life or death. I would challenge the reader of such limited attention span and devotion to society’s issues and “being their brother’s keeper” (both attributes I recommend for all my fellow Christians) and ask them why such issues cause them to take such strong and passionate views on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere and in their interpersonal debates, and so forcefully express their views with such confidence, if they are not willing to devote a little bit of time to study and consider the data compiled at great expense of time by their brethren, in books, legitimate investigative journalism and serious fact-finding blogs like this one, to best round out their being fully informed and to ponder the implications, thus to justify their passionate engagement in the issues of the day.      

 

What would you think if it was discovered that a rogue foreign nation, considered a pariah globally and wanted for decades of human rights violations and aggression against their neighbors in the UN, responsible for assassinations of world figures, false flag operations (including attacking U.S. troops) that risked world wars, colluding with other despotic regimes that threatened the world, having built a covert nuclear weapons program and stockpile with European secret assistance (while denying its existence to U.S. administrations), known to be the biggest spy on the U.S. (including within the Oval Office) and for selling our most valuable weapons system designs to the Chinese, and an overwhelmingly atheistic society with a long-time leader indicted in national courts of crimes, was actually involved behind the scenes in the curious sudden promotion of hydroxychloroquine since March, as possibly part of a means to achieve economic “warfare” to seduce U.S. top officials with secret dual-agenda purposes, including their avoidance of U.S. sanctions against the corrupt and dangerous practices of their top corporate source of operating capital within the global and American marketplace?   

So – is it another intrigue by our enemy Cuba? North Korea?

Of course, it is the nation that best fits the description – Israel.

Before I proceed with this discussion, I should get out of the way, which becomes a requirement these days, that I am truly not anti-Semitic in any way. In my many years of writing, touching on the greatest of forbidden topics of critique among the Religious Right, the subject of Israel and Zionism ranks right up there with abortion, and even being above critiques of American divine destiny, its military-centric focus or the divine attributes of capitalism and unbridled free enterprise (I sometimes think that I should have labelled this masochistic exercise of blogging “The Third Rail,” instead of “The Two Spies Report”), even though we’re talking about a foreign, overly atheistic nation who is often caught acting secretly against our own nation, and risking our own troops and their well-being.

In fact, for the time being I still cling to the debatable doctrinal premise of premillennial dispensationalism, which concedes that God may still have a Last Days agenda in preserving a small remnant of those from the original Twelve Tribes of Israel, not of their inherent value (for even John the Baptist said God could raise up stones to be “sons of Abraham”), but merely to honor a promise He gave to a couple of His friends (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) to preserve their lineage and inheritance, even though any premillennial dispensationalist would have to admit that a literal reading of biblical apocalyptic literature would concede that an overwhelming proportion of those in Israel will die in the Last Days in unbelief, and possibly after coronating the Anti-Christ as Messiah in the new Temple they are trying to build todaya Temple many of my fellow evangelicals are excited to see built, and often helping financially where they can, to help get the Anti-Christ’s home of the “Abomination of Desolation” ready to go.

Although my Southern Baptist upbringing believed in the Second Return of Christ, it did not emphasize the detailed, church stage-length “prophecy charts” and obsessions of “pinning the tail on the Anti-Christ” until The Late Great Planet Earth book came out – the biggest selling non-fiction book of the 1970s, I am told – which my older brother picked up from a K-Mart in 1976, and which he and I read overnight in successive nights. Soon thereafter came cable TV and specialty prophecy shows on the Christian networks, like “The King is Coming” and Jack Van Impe, feeding the frenzy and obsession, and the Internet has only put it on steroids, with “prophecy boards” lighting up when Israel begins dropping bombs on neighboring villagers – often using “popcorn emojis” revealing their entertainment at the prospect of limbs of women and children flying around of the heathen “Amalekites” (using the term the Puritans used to describe the Indians they exterminated).

With the indoctrination of one into the “prophecy cult” (pertaining to a major part of the biblical record that I still regard as valid, important and part of the “blessed hope” of my Lord’s reign and our glorification and habitation with Him at the end of the age) comes an automatic, un-debated and critique-free adoption of the agenda of the secular, atheistic state of modern Israel, and its agenda and interests without question, including adopting its hatreds of its enemies, who often do not have to be enemies of ours, as Americans nor as Christians.

Just like the debasement of Religious Right Christians in their automatic, “no questions asked” undying and unflinching devotion to the Big Business, anti-poor and anti-immigrant stance of the Republican Party, their public unwavering support of secular Israel, in the face of atrocities and secret agendas exposed, similarly devastates the testimony of Christians to the overwhelming world populace that wants evil deeds by all parties to be held to account, and the world’s seeking of a Church that wants to preach the Gospel to people of all types (including the “Ninevites” that the Jew Jonah pre-despised), and that has the integrity to be loyal ultimately to the higher Kingdom of Heaven, and not some secular, foreign authority.

Not only do I not have any animosity to the Jewish community both globally and in the U.S. at large, readily acknowledging millennia of their persecution, pograms and discrimination, often by professing “Christians,” culminating in the ultimate evil of the “Holocaust,” a real event that killed real millions, but also the duty of Christians not only to acknowledge these things, but also to take real steps, both societally and in our own circles, to make sure they never happen again. Because of the propensity of the concept of the “wandering Jew” without a state during the age of the Diaspora to be consistently persecuted while residing as a minority wherever they exist, which appeared to be worsening with the “advanced” thinking of the Twentieth Century, I can sympathize with their goal of having a homeland where they will not be a minority and to preserve their human rights and prosperity – although, ironically, they have now built a land where they possess no State-acknowledged “Bill of Rights,” or even a written Constitution, as I understand it. Therefore, having conceded to them their desire to have a secure home that can provide for their protection (a right of security I think is due to Kurds, minority Iraqi Sunnis, and many other groups globally), as a Christian I still see no guidance at all by Christ, the Apostles or anywhere in the New Testament on how (or if) we are to “stand with Israel,” i.e. providing cover for their alleged human rights abuses and other misdeeds in the UN or elsewhere, providing them massive weapons systems of mass destruction (or just cash and business incentives), or using our governments God established for our own protection to serve the interests of foreign nation at a higher level than our own, or for Christians to cater to them even when they forbid our major Christian organizations that feed untold wealth into their coffers (as well as a cut for the ministries themselves) in the constant stream of “Holy Land Tours,” which are often conducted by Israel as veritable catered “Potemkin Villages” for political purposes of hasbara, I might add. As I document elsewhere in my writing, one thing these U.S. Christian ministries agree to do for the Israeli government in exchange for these lucrative tour approvals is to not “proselytize” Jewish residents – which is what I thought we “evangelicals” were supposed to be all about anyway. That is why you don’t see these Christian “leaders” preaching the Gospel at Western Wall – at least their Apostle predecessors were willing to be bold enough and devoted to Christ to do such previously, and take their beatings from the Jewish officials, as would happen today.

To be more precise, I do not have problems with the ideal of a kind, independent Israel that still obeys the “Golden Rule” with its neighbors and looks out for them as well, and really a major portion of Israelis agree with me – unfortunately, they comprise just under a majority of the Israeli public, which permits self-serving, corrupt men of minority support like Benjamin Netanyahu to worm his way into the Prime Minister slot in the multi-party, parliamentary workings behind closed doors; therefore, I am much more of an “anti-Likudist” than I am anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist or anti-Jewish by any measure, and I think the majority of Jews worldwide would agree with me in that position. Speaking of Jews who would agree with me in this humanitarian mindset – my fellow American evangelical Zionists, Hebraic Roots crowd and many ultra-Orthodox Jews here in the U.S. and in Israel would refer to such fellow Jews as “self-loathing Jews”; that image might be appropriate, which conjures up the publican in the Temple who smote his own chest and said, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner,” and was said by our Lord to “go home justified,” while the other crowd I have referred to comports with the Pharisee in the Temple, who prays that he is “glad he’s not like that sinner;” I just pragmatically say that those “self-loathing Jews” are “Jews with a conscience,” and God love’em. Furthermore, I could argue here how the story of Jonah shows what happens to Gentiles when they harbor Jews away from the trials their God sends their way to put them back on the right path to being a “light to the Gentiles,” the lesson God taught King Jehoshaphat of the perils of an overly-simplistic interpretation of how to “bless Israel” by means of military or economic assistance, or how Acts 3:26 gives the one biblical instruction on how to “bless Israel” that our Religious Right leaders largely reject, but I will save that for another day, but suffice it to say I love the Jewish people, the people of Israel and their right to peace and safety when they abide by the Golden Rule with their neighbors, and seek for them the greatest and only real blessing of all – their recognition of their “hour of visitation” and the acknowledgement of their Messiah, and deliverance from sin and to eternal life, even if most them of them do not believe in God or the afterlife.

Having gotten that out of the way, I want to say a few more things about some of the roots of the sudden and mysterious public relations push of the drug hydroxychloroquine, beyond that cited in my lengthy last post – its sudden and hard, elaborate promotion by figures not among the national or global leadership of experts on immunology, epidemiology or public health, but individuals of little national background, and relatively unknown underwriting (although their promotion and handling by a pro-Big Business national network of “astroturf” faux-grass roots organizations, including the Religious Right-affiliated Council on National Policy, was documented in the post), who gained sudden traction in the murky waters of Facebook and Youtube, and of course embraced without reservation by the conspiracy-obsessed Religious Right online community, leading to their promotion by alt-Right stalwart Breitbart. In my post and subsequent comments about Dr. Simone Gold, shown to be the ring leader and “headliner” of the movement (although her “Front Line Doctors” colleague and video co-star Dr. Stella Immanuel, and her widely publicized claims of women’s gynecological problems being due to “sleep sex” with demons, and the mind control terrors of the “Magic Eight Ball,” certainly garnered possibly most of the attention), I confess I had a good degree of reticence at the time about admitting her curious vocational biography of being a writer and researcher for Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, and her frequent obsession in her limited Facebook postings with the geopolitical interests of the State of Israel (even claiming in writing online that “Israel is the solution to the problems of the Middle East”), both being concerned that I would be black-listed as an anti-Semite for even observing and acknowledging it, and also conceding that it might only be an irrelevant “red herring.”

One thing I can say, commensurate in my decades of experience in investigating and writing about global and national issues that have some degree of relevance to the matter of Zionism and the interests of secular Israel, including my drafting of a lengthy volume (now planned to be two) in my Holy War Chronicles book series on the history of Judaism and its modern variants (including Israel and Zionism-based religion) and other manuscripts, is that hasbara (the rabbinic Judaism belief in the duty of Jews (including atheistic ones) to actively and aggressively promote the interests of secular Israel in whatever nations and spheres in which they reside, which has been adopted by Gentile Christian Zionists and Hebraic Roots and Messianic fringe movements) tends to produce supporters who are never “mild” Israel-defenders, rather embracing non-stop information warfare in bare-knuckles open combat in every forum of the public sphere (even in today’s “Wild West” propaganda wasteland of Palestinian/Arab/Islamic interests, white Christian European interests, etc.), who seem to “never sleep” and be driven by endless energy, that an aging “lone gun” researcher like myself cannot keep up with their output of their key figures in my own studies. Anyone who critiques their message, even if from one sympathetic to the plight of Jewry historically and worldwide like myself, will earn not a balanced, but rather a stern and threatening rebuke, which is notable if even driven by fears of rising anti-Semitism. Therefore, I have come to expect that those who show such devotion to their Zionism cause (not just Jewish human rights, but modern Israeli policy interests specifically) typically (but not always) usually are “all in” as it becomes the primary force behind their devotion and agendas, no matter how superficially marginal to the cause, and that effective voices on their behalf in some sphere of conflict will often find ample support from Tel Aviv or sympathetic underwriters from Wall Street, or similar communities of power. This activity may be legal, and an exercise of free speech and representing the interests of a legitimate community in the public debate, and I certainly defend their right to do so, but I wish they (and others) would at least be transparent and up front in the real core interest, agenda and underwriting they represent, which they should do willingly if their agenda is legitimate, honorable and just (and befitting the Golden Rule).

I would normally have left the material on hydroxychloroquine, a marginal issue to me and not one I feel called to pursue fanatically, and one I felt accidentally “drug in to” (excuse the pun) although it certainly has had its “moment in the sun” in stirring the public (and may not be done yet), and any debatable secondary agenda of Dr. Gold or a remote Israeli connection to the drug, alone and let it possibly fade into obscurity. However, recent data has come to light with some curious digging on my behalf, that suggests that there may be more that meets the eye (or the Hamza “eye,” in this case) in the association of at least some tangential nature of Israel or its key players and this hydroxychloroquine cultural phenomenon, which may be largely explained by some pragmatic, “Great City Babylon” economic manipulation, always anchored by a public relations “sorcery” core to serve a Mammon-focused agenda, as samples of such data I submit in the following for your consideration.

I should note that “doctor’s groups,” even those far bigger than the hundreds of physician signatories to the recent document insisting on the widespread implementation of hydroxychloroquine that was associated with “America’s Frontline Doctors,” have been used for a long time in swaying the public into adopting health and consumer choices with ludicrous health “enhancements” – of course, usually at the behest and generous financial renumeration of Wall Street big businesses, usually brokered by Madison Avenue. Probably the master of such use of ad hoc, recently-organized medical “authority councils” is the man commonly referred to as the “father of public relations,” Edward Bernays. In the 1920s he was asked by the Beech-Nut bacon and processed meat producer to increase public consumption of pork. Bernays found out that the public normally ate light breakfasts of coffee, orange juice and a roll. He was able to get his PR firm physician to write 5,000 fellow physicians to ask them if a “heavier” breakfast would be more healthy; in response, 4,500 physicians wrote back and agreed. Bernays was able to take those responses and massage them into a public “endorsement” of what he called the healthy “bacon and eggs breakfast” throughout the press, suddenly creating what became an American institution that many of us would have guessed went back naturally to far earlier days.

Of course, Bernays waded right into the Big Tobacco advertising mother lode in the late 1920s and 1930s, getting physicians to admit that cartons of a certain brand of cigarette he sent free to them (most of them were smokers) were easier on the throat, then to subsequently advertise them as physician endorsements of smoking and that brand in general. He was able to get women to begin smoking – at the request of a well-paying cigarette client, of course – even though they saw such as “unladylike” at the time, by making female smoking a political and cultural issue of “women’s liberation,” christening them “liberty torches” and organizing feminist parades in New York, and dispensing articles and “news” stories and press releases on the news wires using new public interest groups he set up. Thus, he made the smoking of a cigarette by a woman a political statement (actually to fill the coffers of a Big Business client), just as similarly others have sold the “political statement” of not wearing masks to protect their fellow citizens during a deadly epidemic, by redefining its meaning beyond the simple, common-sense life-preserving principles it entails. By the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s, the heyday of American public smoking and high-dollar advertising on TV and print (which would continue until around 1970 when it was banned, and a time I remember well, as they transitioned to NASCAR and other sports advertising), medical research and physician opinions began to get wise to the dangers of smoking, but ad hoc Big Tobacco-sponsored “research groups” continued to produce “medical research” from “doctors” that clouded the association of smoking with cancer, or outright disputed it, even after the seminal 1964 study providing widespread, confirming proof by the esteemed medical establishment, in international peer-reviewed repeated trials – the same establishment that smokers ignored or distrusted for decades, just as they have over the hydroxychloroquine issue today. It’s no wonder that Bernays wrote, in the beginning of his definitive 1928 book Propaganda about what he learned from his days doing wartime black propaganda and its peacetime applications on Madison Avenue, and the psychoanalysis discoveries from his cousin Sigmund Freud, that

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country….We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

I should first begin by saying that I don’t know if Dr. Gold has any direct connection to the working of the Israeli players I will now recount in this narrative, and it may be a mere coincidence that she is vehemently strong in her promotion of the State of Israel as well as being the central figure in the hydroxychloroquine soap opera, although her connections did spur my pursuit of seeking deeper connections between Israel and these mysterious public relations operations (although I documented previously that Republican forces in America saw the chemical as a means (whether it worked or not) to justify the reckless re-opening of the economy, without restrictions or precautions, in time for the 2020 election to temporarily raise economic conditions before the ravages of the inevitable COVID flash back could raise its head). However, Dr. Gold may have already paid a price herself for the aggressive and “in your face” public relations “Doolittle Raid” represented by the embarrassingly little-thought-out video promoted nationally by the cobbled together “America’s Front Line Doctors,” and its anticipated fallout. On July 31, Real Clear Politics and others reported that “She told FNC‘s [Fox News Channel] Tucker Carlson on Thursday that since appearing in the photo op, she has been fired from her job. ‘It seems like five minutes ago I was considered a hero,’ she said. ‘My own website was taken down and it has been interesting since.’ ‘A lot of people are saying negative things about me,’ she said.”

There is a group who came to the defense (sort of) of Dr. Gold and her “persecution” – the prestigious-sounding Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which was founded in 1944, but whose nature requires some explanation, because it shows the roots, generations ago, of an exploitation of an institution we have have often held in esteem and trust even above our clergy – the medical community – and its co-opting for Great City Babylon Big Business financial causes that history shows would have set back the public health – a threat that COVID and hydroxychloroquine has provided ample modern opportunity to demonstrate and perpetuate.

A 1944 article in Time Magazine announced that “Last week saw a portent in U.S. medicine — a new medical organization which claimed members in 48 states. Its name: the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Its aim: defeat of any Government group medicine,” getting its start when it “decided to combat the Wagner-Murray-Dingell bill (now in Congressional committees), which proposes Government medical insurance for most U.S. citizens.” Imagine the horror – all Americans having access to health care, to prevent expensive diseases and emergency room visits, and not be wiped out permanently by the expense of catastrophic, life threatening illnesses (even for those burdensome poor and elderly people!) – and the impact of providing such mercy and basic dignity to not ruin a common person due to unavoidable health misfortune, would have on the excess profits of the financial wealth class. Someone must put a stop to this travesty!   

Twenty-one years later, The New York Times was reporting that “The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons urged its 16,500 members today not to cooperate in the Federal Government’s Medicare program,” which was being established that year by the Johnson administration. How many of our Christian seniors these days, particularly since many of them are of a low and/or fixed income variety, would like to take this benefit away, in accordance with the agenda of the Wall Street/Big Business’wealth class political power brokers that lead their conservative political movement, to be consistent with their anti-government, anti-socialism “principles”?

In 1966 The New York Times reportedly stated that some of the leaders of the Association were members of the ultra-right conspiratorialist John Birch Society, which itself was early in its 1960s “golden age” at the time; in fact, the web page for Paul W. Leithart, M.D., on the John Birch website that is dedicated to him, notes his membership in the John Birch group by 1960 (two years after its founding) as a “chapter leader,” and adds that Dr. Leithart has been a “past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.”

The John Birch Society themselves have had a long legacy, in addition to asserting the real hidden Communist affiliations of Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, Martin Luther King, Jr. and (World War II and Cold War hero) Supreme Commander General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, of making similar allegations of a vast medical establishment community conspiracy globally on their own, such as concerning water fluoridation, the promotion of of laetrile (of what John Birch spokesman G. Edward Griffin labeled “Vitamin B17”) as the real universal cure of cancer that our doctors did not want you to have to get well. Of course, now they champion the position of a new conspiracy of vaccinations in the era of COVID-19, with collusion of diabolical henchmen like (universally well-respected in the global immunology community) Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Bill Gates (who’s spent his fortune trying to eradicate preventable diseases in Africa), with allegations of the proposed use of cellphone trackers of contacts by virus carriers, so people can find out if they’ve been exposed to someone later found out to be COVID positive. Former Congressman Ron Paul (a man I used to deeply respect, and in some ways still do) explained that the government should not have any say in how you conduct your business, including exposing unwitting others to your virus without their knowledge. He states, “It really boils down to this whole concept of who’s responsible for protecting against risk and obviously in a free society the individual is,” to which the Birch article adds, “Dr. Paul is exactly correct. In a free society, it’s up to individuals – not the government – to protect against risk. This is exactly why we shouldn’t wait for Fauci, Gates, Big Tech, large tax-exempt foundations, or the government to co-opt the narrative of the purported benefits of Americans giving of up our rights by submitting to a national health ID or coronavirus tracking through their cellular devices…Should these proposals be implemented, they also may give rise to mass forced vaccinations.”

Of course, even a small child could understand that your rights to do as you please makes sense, as long as it impacts only you, but not when your recklessness and disregard for others endangers other people you encounter without their knowledge of such risk, just like the use of masks in public is to acknowledge the rights of others not to be infected by you, no matter how macho, reckless and empty-headed you are, which sadly Religious Right Christians appear to be a majority of those of such selfish and uncaring attitudes focused their own rights, while being a dangerous bully towards others. Furthermore, cellphone tracking of COVID spreaders and contact tracing has quickly stopped an otherwise unrelenting spread of the disease in several advanced Asian countries like South Korea, saving countless lives and suffering by quickly quarantining outbreaks and even permitting a swift reopening of the economy, unlike the shameful and incompetent leadership in America that was warned, yet ignored the threat, resisting the acquisition of masks, test kits and shut downs until a nation with 4.5 percent of the world population had almost 25 percent of its COVID cases and deaths, even after watching the spread in China and Europe.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) originally established their pedigree with their own in-house medical journal, originally known as the Medical Sentinel, and in 2003 changed in name to the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. While all other medical journals tend to be boring affairs for the general public, focusing on data and concepts only conversant among medical experts, focusing on peer-reviewed sets of double-blind data trials held by numerous institutes, and on isolating true causation versus spurious noise or mere correlation, the journal of the AAPS can be viewed as focusing more on the promotion of a conservative-libertarian political agenda, back-filled with general medical discussions to give it a vague medical community sanction, and using an apparently ever-present minority community of estranged, rogue medical officials to give respectability to the most ludicrous positions and using language and rhetorical techniques that most learned individuals would find disturbingly out of place in a science-based academic journal.

To give a few examples, in one instance a 1999 paper in the Medical Sentinel “journal” by “Curtis W. Caine, MD” (and member of the Editorial Board) entitled, “Conspiracy – Part III,” warned of “unConstitutional (and thus illegal) activities in medicine and all other facets of our lives that have trampled on and outlawed our God-endowed freedom and liberty,” and that “Much of the absurd nonsense passed as liberal arts curriculum in institutions of both lower education and higher learning, blindly accepted as enlightened intellectualism (in apposition to old fogey, common, everyday horse sense) by a populace that has been deceived and brainwashed into believing the hoax that there are no moral values, right and wrong, absolute truth, marriage fidelity, oaths, sanctity of human life (abortion, euthanasia), Scripture (progressive revelation), ethics, integrity, etc. All things are relative, we are told, and must be reinterpreted ‘scientifically’.” Dr. Caine adds that

Likewise, that there is a Triune Creator/Sovereign of the universe ‘that rules in the affairs of men’ gets in the way of the proponents of the humanist religion. So He must be labeled a myth that must be expunged. God is a hoax, the line goes. He was concocted to frighten the simple, simplistic, ignorant, superstitious masses with mores – ethics, ideals, morality, principles, and standards… Humanists employ the slight of hand linguist trick of substituting the religion of evolutionary humanism for the creation religion of Jehovah by tagging the latter ‘religion, forbidden by the First Amendment’ and the former ‘scientific fact’…Variations on this theme are the basic politically correct (at present – but changeable at whim) philosophy and program and policy of HHS, the Supreme Court, the educational ‘system,’ National Geographic, the ‘welfare’ system, the ‘health’ system, the mainstream media, much too much of some ‘organized’ religions, ‘organized’ medicine — all of which are, therefore, particeps criminis in this obvious, self-evident inconsistent insanity…For in the dichotomy there are only two alternatives: man will voluntarily accept to be ruled by his Creator, or he will be involuntarily ruled by the all powerful State…History has again repeated itself. Good people, ‘it’s Boston harbor tea time again!’

Now – when’s the last time you read something like that in a scientific academic medical journal?

In the Winter 2007 edition of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, “Henry H. Bauer, Ph.D” argues that “doctors, scientists, and others who question whether human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) have been called the moral equivalent of Holocaust deniers; their employers have
been urged to dismiss them… Evidently those who make these attacks are absolutely convinced that HIV causes AIDS. That raises the question of how much certainty is ever attainable in science…, both official reports and the peer-reviewed literature afford substantive grounds for doubting that HIV is the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS and that anti-retroviral treatment is unambiguously beneficial.” As an example, he notes that President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa convened a group comprising both HIV/AIDS believers and HIV/AIDS skeptics, but that “the media coverage gave short shrift to the doubters’ views by comparison to the believers’ Durban Declaration with its 5,000 signatures, which asserted: ‘The evidence that AIDS is caused by HIV-1 or HIV-2 is clear-cut, exhaustive and unambiguous, meeting the highest standards of science…. It is unfortunate that a few vocal people deny the evidence. This position will cost countless lives‘.” He notes how the press treats fellow HIV denialists like Kary Mullis, whom he notes Harper’s as stating that “he has a wide range of odd beliefs. He does not believe in global warming, but does believe he might have been abducted by aliens and is partial to astrology.” The paper offers almost no data to bolster any alternative theories. 

Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, in their book Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues From Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, write that the Journal of Physicians and Surgeons, and their sponsor the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, have played a key role in the community of climate change deniers, and the Association had filed suit on behalf of Rush Limbaugh when his medical records were seized as part of his prosecution on drug charges, and noted that their journal articles which questioned the link between HIV and AIDs featured the commentary of Michael Fumento, a journalist who defended pesticides while accepting money from Monsanto, while other writers there stated the ban on DDT cost millions of lives.

Another of their 2007 Journal articles by scientists from their in-house Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, concludes with the following findings:

There are no experimental data to support the hypothesis that increases in human hydrocarbon use or in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing or can be expected to cause unfavorable changes in global temperatures, weather, or landscape. There is no reason to limit human production of CO, CH , and other minor greenhouse gases as has been proposed. We also need not worry about environmental calamities even if the current natural warming trend continues…Warmer weather extends growing seasons and generally improves the habitability of colder regions. As coal, oil, and natural gas are used to feed and lift from poverty vast numbers of people across the globe, more CO will be released into the atmosphere. This will help to maintain and improve the health, longevity, prosperity, and productivity of all people. The United States and other countries need to produce more energy, not less. The most practical, economical, and environmentally sound methods available are hydrocarbon and nuclear technologies. Human use of coal, oil, and natural gas has not harmfully warmed the Earth, and the extrapolation of current trends shows that it will not do so in the foreseeable future. The CO produced does, however, accelerate the growth rates of plants and also permits plants to grow in drier regions…Human activities are producing part of the rise in CO in the atmosphere. Mankind is moving the carbon in coal, oil, and natural gas from below ground to the atmosphere, where it is available for conversion into living things. We are living in an increasingly lush environment of plants and animals as a result of this CO increase.Our children will therefore enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life than that with which we now are blessed.”

They have remained consistent over the decades as to their political orientation. In 2013 they released a press release entitled, “Research Fails to Support Gun Control Agenda, According to Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons,” and began with the statement, “Organized medicine, especially the AMA and the American College of Physicians (ACP), is joining with the Obama Administration in calling for more gun control measures, but there is no “evidence-based” support for this, states Jane M. Orient, M.D., in the fall 2013 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.” They stated their opposition to universal background checks (favored by the overwhelming majority of Americans, including Republicans).

In 2007, National Public Radio published an article of the recent hiring of former business news anchor (and recent strong Trump supporter) Lou Dobbs and his new provocative views, such as a Sixty Minutes report on his earlier 2005 show from Christine Romans that suggested that there had been a huge recent increase in leprosy cases in the U.S. due to illegal immigration. They write:

“Romans’ story linked a rise in communicable diseases to illegal immigration. Romans then cited her source’s account of a rise from 900 cases of leprosy to 7,000 cases ‘in the past three years.’ Stahl said those figures reflected several decades of cases — not several years. And indeed, NPR found that federal health authorities cite a total of 6,500 recorded cases. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, new cases have been declining in the United States since 1988. In addition, NPR found problems with CNN’s source. The late Dr. Madeleine Cosman was a firebrand advocate against illegal immigration, a favorite of talk radio, who identified herself as a ‘medical lawyer.’ Her doctorate, from Columbia University, was in medieval literature, a field in which she was a frequent writer and lecturer. After her retirement as a professor, she earned a law degree from Cardozo Law School in New York, though her daughter was quoted after her death in 2006 by the San Diego Union-Tribune saying she never practiced law. But she wrote on many issues, and she told Romans she was frequently a consultant to doctors on legal medical issues. Despite Cosman’s background in academia, the article in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons that was cited by CNN’s Romans had footnotes that did not readily support allegations linking a recent rise in leprosy rates to illegal immigrants. (The journal itself is not considered a leading publication, as it’s put out by an advocacy group that opposes most government involvement in medical care.)

After being confronted with this information, Dobbs still stood by the story.

In a 2005 article in Time Magazine, which focused on the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) cracking down on physicians thought to over-prescribe opioid and other strong medications, they write that

“The pain wars escalated last April when Virginia internist Dr. William Hurwitz was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison after 16 former patients testified against him and a jury found that the death of another patient was caused by an overdose. Hurwitz’s assets were seized, and now he is appealing his conviction with the help of the pain foundation and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons…Prosecutors said Hurwitz prescribed ‘obscene’ amounts of medicine to patients he knew were addicted to cocaine and other drugs.”

Time Magazine also published a 2005 article in which the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) against physician board peer reviews of practices – meant to confirm quality control and the safety of patients from rogue doctors, and to maintain the integrity of the medical community itself. They write that “Physicians fear being sued by patients, a well-known fact, but many also worry about being targeted by fellow doctors through the process of peer review. Allegations of poor care or other serious complaints against a doctor go to a panel, consisting mainly of physicians, that decides in secret whether the accused has done wrong. That system is too open to manipulation and needs reform, says the 4,000-member American Association of Physicians and Surgeons.”

In 2009 the great investigative journalism institution and magazine Mother Jones published a brief article about the AAPS organization entitled, “The Tea Party’s Favorite Doctors.” They write:

“As tea partiers have become the leading opposition to health care reform, AAPS has lent credibility to their criticism of the emerging health care legislation. Before the big 9/12 rally in Washington, AAPS cosponsored a protest on Capitol Hill with the Tea Party Patriots that AAPS says attracted 1,000 physicians. The organization’s president, Mark Kellen, appeared with Georgia representatives Tom Price and Phil Gingrey—GOP members of the congressional doctors’ caucus—to slam the bill. AAPS docs hopped Tea Party Express buses to protest the American Medical Association’s annual meeting in Houston (the AMA endorsed the House bill)…When Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann called for tea partiers to come to the Capitol on November 5 to ‘kill the bill,’ AAPS doctors organized a national ‘tele-town hall’ to prep attendees. On Fox News and talk radio, AAPS docs often appear to offer an expert medical opinion against reform.”

“Some of its former leaders were John Birchers, and its political philosophy comes straight out of Ayn Rand. Its general counsel is Andrew Schlafly, son of the legendary conservative activist Phyllis. The AAPS statement of principles declares that it is ‘evil’ and ‘immoral’ for physicians to participate in Medicare and Medicaid…Its website features claims that tobacco taxes harm public health and electronic medical records are a form of ‘data control’ like that employed by the East German secret police. An article on the AAPS website speculated that Barack Obama may have won the presidency by hypnotizing voters, especially cohorts known to be susceptible to ‘neurolinguistic programming’—that is, according to the writer, young people, educated people, and possibly Jews.

“For decades the AAPS has opposed any attempt—real or imagined—to expand the government’s role in health care. Its last big moment in the spotlight came in 1993, when it sued Hillary Clinton to stop ‘socialized medicine’…The organization requires members to sign a “declaration of independence” agreeing to stop participating with any third-party payers—meaning not only government programs like Medicare, but private insurers, too. Basically AAPS doctors believe that medicine should be a cash-and-carry business. This free-market fundamentalism has made the AAPS a natural ally for big corporations. Documents released as a result of the tobacco litigation the 1990s and early 2000s show that Philip Morris officials worked with AAPS executive director Jane Orient to help the company’s ‘junk science’ campaign that attacked indoor smoking bans. The tobacco company also relied on AAPS to generate ‘third party press releases’ in support of its agenda, according to documents in the tobacco archives. In this fall’s edition of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, an economist who has previously received funding from Philip Morris wrote an article arguing that a tobacco tax ‘leads to deterioration in public health’—because it leads people to switch to cigarettes with more nicotine so they can smoke fewer of them.”

In 2015 USA Today re-published a 2010 article from the Louisville Courier Journal that stated that

“Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul belongs to a conservative doctors’ group that, among other things, has expressed doubts about the connection between HIV and AIDS and suggested that President Barack Obama may have been elected because he was able to hypnotize voters. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, based in Tucson, Ariz., advocates conservative and free-market solutions on health care and a variety of other political issues…Paul, a Bowling Green ophthalmologist, has touted his credentials as a doctor during this year’s Senate race against Attorney General Jack Conway, a Democrat. Speaking to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons’ annual conference last October in Nashville, Tenn., Paul said he has been a member of the group since at least 1990. ‘I use a lot of AAPS literature when I talk,’ he told the group…[AAPS chief Dr. Jane Orient] said the group has about 2,500 dues-paying members and a total membership of about 5,000. It counts among its members Paul’s father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, and Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, both Republicans. Its members are not required to be doctors. The AMA — which is often at odds with the AAPS — had a membership last year of 228,150…Dr. George Nichols, Kentucky’s former longtime medical examiner, said the association’s positions sound like a combination of ‘pseudoscience, public policy and mysticism’.”

“On its website, the association included an article in October 2008 titled, ‘Is Obama a Brilliant Orator … or a Hypnotist?’ It cites an unsigned paper suggesting that Obama used hypnotic techniques and speech patterns in his 2008 campaign. The paper bases its findings on the work of a controversial psychologist, Milton Erickson, who died 30 years ago and pioneered the also-controversial field of neuro-linguistic programming, which purports to use voice patterns to subliminally influence people’s decisions. The paper claims to examine Obama’s speeches ‘word by word, hand gesture by hand gesture, tone, pauses, body language, and proves his use of covert hypnosis intended only for licensed therapists on consenting patients.’ The paper goes on to say that Obama’s ‘mesmerized, cult-like, grade-school-crush-like worship by millions is not because “Obama is the greatest leader of a generation” who simply hasn’t accomplished anything, who magically “inspires” by giving speeches. Obama is committing perhaps the biggest fraud and deception in American history.’ The article notes that the Obama campaign logo ‘might just be the letter “O,” but it also resembles a crystal ball, a favorite of hypnotists.’ And it suggests that hypnosis is the reason some Jewish people backed him. ‘It is also interesting that many Jews are supporting a candidate who is endorsed by Hamas, Farrakhan, Khalidi and Iran,’ the article says.

“The association included in its journal an article criticizing government efforts to encourage people to stop smoking as costly and ineffective and suggesting that the focus on the addictive nature of nicotine is wrong. ‘Repeating the message that nicotine is habit-forming convinces some smokers that their habit is not their fault and that they would be silly to attempt to quit on their own,’ wrote Michael L. Marlow, a professor at California Polytechnic State University. Marlow has received grants to study smoking bans from the Philip Morris Management Corp., the parent company of the cigarette manufacturer, according to a note in the journal that accompanies the article.”

“The association opposes peer-review boards, which review complaints against doctors and punish those who make mistakes. On the group’s website, Dr. Lawrence Huntoon, a former association president, calls peer review “‘an insidious and spreading evil which threatens to destroy not only the integrity of the medical profession but quality care for all patients’…Its website contains a link to a story titled ‘The War on Pain Sufferers’ on a libertarian website. The article says “people who suffer chronic pain are routinely under-treated because their doctors fear that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will accuse them of being drug pushers, destroy their practices, wipe them out financially, and throw them in jail for good measure’.”

“In its fall 2003 issue, the association’s journal published a report suggesting that the twin towers at the World Trade Center collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, because the New York port authority, fearful of lawsuits and complying with new federal restrictions, stopped the use of flame-retardant asbestos midway through construction of the north tower. Asbestos, which had been used to fireproof buildings for generations before being effectively banned by the federal government, is a carcinogen that can lead to illnesses such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. ‘High concentrations of many useful substances cause, or at least facilitate, cancer,’ wrote Andrew Schlafly, the association’s general counsel. ‘Sunlight is an example. We do not prohibit items simply because they may be associated with cancer in high doses. Even useless substances like cigarettes are not banned from the market simply because they cause cancer.’ Schlafly also contends in the article that the use of asbestos might have prevented the tragedies involving the Challenger and Columbia space shuttles. Hans Gesund, a professor of structural engineering at the University of Kentucky…said other suitable insulating materials were used in the World Trade Center’s twin towers, which were destroyed when planes hijacked by terrorists flew into them.”

In 2015 The New York Times also reported on Sen. Paul’s association with the AAPS. They add that

“Back in 2009, when Rand Paul was pursuing his long-shot bid to win Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary, he spoke to a small physicians’ association that has publicized discredited medical theories…Mr. Paul, an ophthalmologist, was no stranger to the group, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. He boasted at its annual meeting that he had been a member for more than two decades and that he relied on its research, statistics and views about the role of government in medicine. ‘I am not a newcomer to AAPS,’ Mr. Paul said, referring to the group…Mr. Paul and the physicians’ association share a libertarian philosophy and deep skepticism about government involvement in medical care that often plays out in public health debates. ‘This is about channeling ideals of freedom, personal choice and liberty, even if you put the community in peril in the process,’ said Dr. Arthur L. Caplan, an expert in medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center. In an interview with Fox News in 2010, [Paul] lauded the organization’s tradition of fighting government intrusion into medicine, such as suing to stop the Clinton administration’s overhaul efforts in the 1990s and opposing the Affordable Care Act. He suggested that the association was expanding fast enough to rival the mainstream physicians’ group, the American Medical Association, which he said was out of step with doctors nationwide. ‘The A.M.A. has been struggling for years, and they do not represent doctors across the country,’ he said. ‘And AAPS has been growing dramatically as doctors who want to fight against big government join together under a different banner. The A.M.A. doesn’t represent me. I’ve never been a member.’ As recently as the summer of 2012, Mr. Paul was featured as a speaker at a teleconference town hall that the association hosted on the subject of Medicare reimbursement for doctors. The group has also provided the senator with modest contributions to his campaign, including $3,000 to his Senate candidacy in 2010…More than a decade ago, the group unsuccessfully urged the United States Supreme Court to release post-mortem photographs of a former Clinton administration official, Vincent Foster, arguing that they were needed to make certain that Mr. Foster, whose death was attributed to suicide, had not been murdered.”

Senator Paul’s involvement in rogue medical organizations that focused on economic financial advantages versus widely accepted standards of quality care did not begin with his involvement with the AAPS. During his early campaign activities, mainstream news reports were revealing Paul’s earlier role in setting up his own private competing ophthamological certifying boards to resist efforts of the accepted institutions to require ophthamologists to meet standards periodically in ten-year certifying tests to confirm the continuance of their skills and knowledge. Fox News published a report from the Associated Press that alleged the following:

“Rand Paul, who touts his career as a Kentucky eye doctor as part of his outsider credentials in his campaign for U.S. Senate, isn’t certified by his profession’s leading group. The libertarian-leaning Republican helped create a rival certification group more than a decade ago. He said the group has since recertified several hundred ophthalmologists, despite not being recognized the American Board of Medical Specialties – the governing group for two dozen medical specialty boards…Paul, who is continuing to practice in Bowling Green during the campaign, chafed Monday at questions about his certification. ‘It’s a personal assault on my ability to make a living,’ Paul told The Associated Press…’you vilify me and make it out to sound, “Oh, … there’s something wrong with him as a physician because he chose not to register“‘ with the American Board of Ophthalmology. Paul said he helped formed the rival group because the established organization exempted older ophthalmologists from re-certification…In the late 1990s, Paul was a driving force behind forming the National Board of Ophthalmology to protest the ABO’s exemption policy. Paul has been certified through the National Board of Ophthalmology since 2005. He is listed as the group’s president; his wife, Kelley, is listed as vice president; and his father-in-law is listed as secretary…Beth Ann Slembarski, administrator for the American Board of Ophthalmology, said less than 5 percent of the nation’s practicing ophthalmologists aren’t certified through her organization. Paul shrugged off his group’s lack of recognition by the American Board of Medical Specialties. ‘Do you think that they’re going to recognize a competitor?’ he said.”

In 2015 The Washington Post added,

“The board certified only 50 or 60 doctors, by Paul’s count, and was never accepted by the medical establishment. It failed partly because of resistance from the old guard — but also because Paul hurt his own cause with shortcuts and oversights that made his big effort seem small. The other officers of his board, for instance, weren’t ophthalmologists. They were his wife and father-in-law. His Web site was mainly a mission statement, and his mission statement had grammatical errors. And, after Paul missed a filing deadline in 2000, the state legally dissolved his board. Although Paul kept it operating, it remained unrecognized by the state until he officially revived it in 2005…Hilton Ashby, Paul’s father-in-law, was listed as the board’s secretary for much of its existence. Even he isn’t sure what he did. ‘I never did go to any meetings,’ Ashby said in a phone interview. ‘There was really nothing involved. It was more just a title than anything else, for me.’…Oddly, Paul also listed his address incorrectly in one filing with the state. In 2009, he signed the board’s annual report that said he, his wife and father-in-law resided at a house in Portsmouth, Ohio. But Paul lived in Bowling Green, as he does now. The occupant of the Ohio house at that time — a local pro wrestler and wrestling promoter named Dirk “Extreme” Cunningham — said in a phone interview that he’d never met Paul, and had no connection to the board…Most importantly, Paul never formally applied to have his board accepted by the American Board of Medical Specialties, the unofficial gatekeeper for new medical boards. Without its approval, Paul’s certification was close to useless. Many hospitals and insurance companies wouldn’t accept it as a valid credential.”

To be fair, Paul is not the only congressman affiliated with the AAPS organization. In February 2017, The Washington Post reported that Tom Price, who was being submitted as the Trump Administration’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, was a member of AAPS. They wrote,

“The Georgia Republican had already been a House member for a half-dozen years when he made the wisecrack at the 2011 annual meeting of a conservative, fringe medical group to which he belongs. Now that he appears on the cusp of Senate confirmation as the Trump administration’s secretary of health and human services, such remarks and his affiliations over a long career in medicine and politics shed light on the intensity of his beliefs — and show that he would lead a department whose mission and bureaucrats he has repeatedly deplored…The group, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), holds positions that are at wide variance with basics of federal health policy. It opposes Medicare, the government’s health insurance for older Americans…In 2009, Price received an award from a small conservative group called Doctors for Patient Freedom. The group was founded by a Florida neurosurgeon, David McKalip, who leads Florida’s chapter of the AAPS and is a past president of the Florida Neurosurgical Society. He gained brief notoriety that year after emailing to a tea party group an image depicting then-President Barack Obama in tribal dress with a bone through his nose…the AAPS had given [Price] its Shining Scalpel Award and praised him for “outstanding service to the American people and the profession of medicine by ‘cutting’ through the political rhetoric regarding ‘healthcare reform,’ and fighting for patient- and physician-centered healthcare legislation.”

The Corona-Virus/Hydroxychloroquine Deep State Conspiracy has been shown to be an ideal incident for the AAPS to enter the fray on the side of alleging that the entire global community of esteemed experts in immunology are part of an international cabal to destroy humanity, by means of discouraging the public from unnecessarily spreading a deadly pandemic disease by wearing a little cloth mask, staying away form large groups and exhibiting proper hygiene, as has been followed in all prior pandemics. By May 20, 2020, the aforementioned Dr. Simone Gold, the ring-leader of “America’s Frontline Doctors” along with her sidekick Dr. Stella Immanuel (the “Satanic ‘Magic 8-Ball’ as controller of our children” religious as well as medical expert), also formed another ad-hoc doctor’s organization called “A Doctor A Day” along with Newport Beach doctor Jeffrey Barke, intended to organize a petition of 600 doctors to implore President Trump to open the economy and remove any “stay at home” restrictions in the midst of the worst stages of the raging pandemic to date, and rather expose the public to carriers of the deadly virus to “protect their physical and mental health” (NOTE: today as I write this, I just saw my doctor to check on my statin drug dosage and get a mini-physical, give a blood sample and get a flu shot, as we all wore masks, and my health care (or mental health) was not impeded at all). Subsequently, in May 2020 it was reported that

“To collect signatures for the letter, Gold and Barke partnered with the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a group of doctors who…notably took part in legal challenges against the Affordable Care Act and advocated allowing doctors to use hydroxychloroquine on themselves and their patients…Gold, who is a member of the national board of directors of the Save Our Country Coalition – an assortment of conservative groups that aim to ‘bring about a rapid, safe and responsible reopening of American society’ – also said that she feared that his message about the misdeeds of closures is becoming politicized.“

On May 21 The Hill added that “Some of the doctors who signed onto the letter are aligned with a small right-wing medical organization called the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)…Gold said she does not belong to the group, but many of their members share her views about a fast reopening.”

By May, 24, 2020, the London-based Guardian newspaper gave additional details on what had become an international story as to the curious nature of President Trump’s infatuation with hydroxychloroquine, and his influences (more specifically, the AAPS) to embrace it and similar “rabbits out of a hat” in his search for quick solutions to deflect from critiques of his management of the crisis:

The group [AAPS] was recently cited by Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, to explain the president’s stunning announcement that he is taking the drug hydroxychloroquine in an attempt to protect himself against Covid-19 despite a lack of evidence of its effectiveness. When asked what evidence guided the president’s decision-making, Trump said: “Are you ready? Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it”…Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of AAPS, told the Guardian she believed the drug ‘should be prescribed more often,’ and in a statement based on a flawed database claimed the drug offered ‘about 90% chance of helping Covid-19 patients’…She did not say how many doctors she knew were prescribing it, and declined to answer whether she herself was prescribing it. ‘I don’t want to have a target put on my back … which could result in somebody wanting to scrutinize my entire practice,’ Orient said…’They seem frequently to offer advice and opinions about medical practice that are not consistent with evidence-based medicine,’ said Dr Michael Carome, an expert on drug and medical device safety at Public Citizen, a public advocacy group. ‘They’re aligned with the Trump administration, that doesn’t believe in science, doesn’t believe in fact. They’re completely compatible with the Trump White House‘…Trump’s first health and human services secretary, Tom Price, was a member of AAPS. In a 2011 video unearthed by the Washington Post, Price called Orient a ‘kindred” spirit.’ He said: ‘It’s always wonderful to be in the same room with Jane Orient. Jane has been a hero of mine.’ Price later resigned after spending $1m in taxpayer funds on private jets.”

They also show a May 19 tweet by Trump campaign manager Parscale that retweeted a story about the AAPS forwarding a letter to Arizona Governor Ducey about hydroxychrloquine’s supposed “90 percent effectiveness” (counter to several large-sample clinical trials), with Parscale adding that “The press is going nuts over @realDonaldTrump taking hydroxychloroquine (prescribed by doctor). Of course, if he’s doing it, they must oppose it. But the Assoc. of American Physicians & Surgeons says otherwise.”

By June 22, 2020 the AAPS released the following press release on their website:

“Today the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons filed its motion for a preliminary injunction to compel release to the public of hydroxychloroquine by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), in AAPS v. HHS, No. 1:20-cv-00493-RJJ-SJB (W.D. Mich.). Nearly 100 million doses of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) were donated to these agencies, and yet they have not released virtually any of it to the public. Millions of Americans fear attending political gatherings, religious services, and even large family get-togethers without the availability of early treatment if they were to contract COVID-19…’Why does the government continue to withhold more than 60 million doses of HCQ from the public?‘ asks Jane Orient, M.D., the Executive Director of AAPS. ‘This potentially life-saving medication is wasting away in government warehouses while Americans are dying from COVID-19.’ Today AAPS files its motion for a preliminary injunction to compel the government to release HCQ from its stockpile to the public…AAPS agrees with President Trump’s adviser Peter Navarro, Ph.D., who decries the obstruction by officials within the FDA to making this medication available to the public. President Trump himself has successfully taken this medication as a preventative measure, so why can’t ordinary Americans?A perfect storm of politics in this presidential election year, along with conflicts of interest at the Defendant federal agencies, has resulted in unjustified obstacles to access to HCQ’…AAPS writes in its brief being filed today in federal court. AAPS files with the court a chart showing how countries that encourage HCQ use, such as South Korea, India, Turkey, Russia, and Israel, have been far more successful in combatting COVID-19 than countries that have banned or discouraged early HCQ use, as the FDA has…’The interference with public access to hydroxychloroquine is disrupting our political processes,’ notes AAPS General Counsel Andrew Schlafly. “Perhaps that is what some want, in order to deter Americans from attending political conventions and even voting…‘”

When I saw the name of “Andrew Schlafly,” the general counsel of the AAPS, I knew that name rang a bell, in addition to being the son of what is undeniably the most effective conservative activist in American history (rivaled only by Ronald Reagan himself), Phyllis Schlafly. I had to go back and find a February 2017 blog post I had made about Andrew Schlafly, as the eccentric founder of “Conservapedia” and the “Conservative Bible.” I know this is a long excerpt of an older blog post of mine within and already very long blog post, but I think it illustrates the kind of crowd we are dealing with, with the AAPS, Dr. Gold and “America’s Frontline Doctors” and other hydroxchloroquine advocates, if any of us have any doubts:

This post topic came to mind the other day when I was reminded of a recent project I heard about that created a “Conservative Bible”…It was overseen by Andrew Schlafly, the originator of the Wikipedia variant “Conservapedia” (which only features data supporting conservative worldviews), and the son of conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly.  As a “grand dame” of the conservative movement, she shook the political world in 1964 with her book A Choice Not an Echo, and is recognized by historians by almost singlehandedly defeating the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, after it had almost passed enough state legislations, by means of her aggressive organization and activism.  Her organization “The Eagle Forum” was a bastion of conservative family and moral issues and their political and legal defense, and a prototype for later conservative “family” organizations.  As a staunch religiously-conservative Roman Catholic and defender of traditional Christian family values and role models, she embraced Donald Trump as such a role model and his 2016 campaign (ironically her son was also eventually “outed” as a practicing homosexual).  Her work also promoted the conservative values of unbridled capitalism (aka the Social Darwinist credo of “each man for himself”) and privatization to corporate control of the public interest.  And true to these values of unregulated corporate behavior, Schlafly’s own beloved Eagle Forum organization was subject to some type of hostile takeover by members of her own board of directors, including her own daughter, shortly before her death in 2016.  The cited online reference from its Missouri branch wrote that “Word has come of a rogue board meeting and an upcoming hostile takeover of Eagle Forum’s board and its assets. Phyllis Schlafly’s endorsement of Trump is a likely catalyst. But you can be sure the real objective is to control the Eagle Forum bank accounts and that the Gang of 6 will present a carefully crafted excuse for public consumption”.  She told World Net Daily that the coup was real and that “this may be my Dobson moment (when the board of Focus on the Family similarly forced founder James Dobson out), was based upon her endorsement of Trump, and was led by her own daughter.”

Her son, Andrew Schlafly, is a “chip of the old block” who has forged his own conservative venues, such as his online resource “Conservapedia”, which is intended to be a Wikipedia-like information source with only conservative-approved information.  A brilliant person himself with an engineering degree from Princeton and a doctorate from Harvard Law School, he founded Conservapedia in 2006 when he was alarmed to read a student assignment (as a homeschool teacher) using the now-accepted Common Era (C.E.) historical dating nomenclature, versus the Anno Domini (A.D.) earlier tradition.  Schlafly objectively explains on the “About” page on his Conservapedia site that “Conservapedia is a clean and concise resource for those seeking the truth.  We do not allow liberal bias to deceive and distort here.  Founded initially in November 2006 as a way to educate advanced, college-bound homeschoolers, this resource has grown into a marvelous source of information for students, adults and teachers alike”.   He adds that “We have received over 500 million page views!”, and notes that “A conservative approach to education is powerful and helpful in many ways. It equips students and adults to overcome inevitable obstacles, such as addiction and depression…There are few, if any, conservative schools…The truth shall set you free..No other encyclopedic resource on the internet is free of corruption by liberal untruths.”

To get a feel of the type of narrative and perspective provided on Conservapedia, a look at its front page on February 21, 2017 notes that its “popular articles” include those on “global warming”, “feminism”, “homeschooling”, “evolution”, “liberal claptrap”, “hollywood values”, “biblical scientific foreknowledge”, “Donald Trump”, “free market”, “George Patton”, “Globalism”, “Conservapedia proven right”, “Ex-homosexuals”, “Battle of Thermopylae”, “greatest conservative songs”, “counterexamples to relativity”, “liberal bias”, “liberal style”, “Chuck Norris”, “bias in Wikipedia”, “Mystery: Why do Non-Conservatives Exist?”, “Barack Hussein Obama” and “Professor Values”, to name a few.  It also features a late-breaking “In the News” segment, with story titles such as “White House Signals Reversal in Transgender Bathroom Policy, overturning another Leftist policy by Obama”, “Trump was Right: Riots Break Out in Rinkeby, Sweden”, “Conservapedia Proven Right, Again”, “More fake news by the lamestream media”, and “Melania Trump Recites the Lord’s Prayer at Melbourne Rally – CROWD GOES WILD!”, and many other such reference citations for academics and researchers.

Regarding its rival Wikipedia, its Conservapedia page dedicated to it notes that “Most of Wikipedia’s articles can be edited publicly by both registered and anonymous editors, mostly consisting of teenagers and the unemployed.  As such it tends to project a liberal – and, in some cases, even socialist, Communist, and Nazi-sympathizing-worldview, which is totally at odds with conservative reality and rationality” (emphasis added).  It notes that Wikipedia founders Jimbo Wales and “atheist philosophy professor Larry Sanger” are both atheists, and that “its articles are a mixture of truths, half-truths and falsehoods,” quoting World Net Daily editor Joseph Farah as saying that Wikipedia “is not only a provider of inaccuracy and bias.  It is wholesale purveyor of lies and slander unlike any other the world has ever seen.” It does fairly point out that “Wikipedia has millions of entries on trivia and mundane topics”, but smacks of that “systemic liberal bias that dominates Wikipedia”.  They also perceptively point out that “the ‘hammer and sickle’ of the leftist ideology which murdered millions in the former Soviet Union – is featured prominently on the instruction page as well as the tags that mark each uploaded image.”  They are also known at Conservapedia for taking a strong stand against what they perceive to be one of the greatest threats to political conservatism – Einstein’s general theory of relativity in physics.  Their page on the “theory of relativity” begins by warning that “The theory of relativity is defended with religious-like zeal, such that no college faculty tenure, Ph.D degree, or Nobel Prize is ever awarded to anyone who dares criticize the theory,” and its article titles within this topic comprise those such as “Lack of Evidence for Relativity”, and “Experiments that Fail To Prove Relativity.”  They note that “Despite censorship of dissent about relativity, evidence contrary to the theory is discussed outside of liberal universities.”  They add that “some liberal politicians have extrapolated the theory of relativity to metaphorically justify their own political agendas…Applications of the theory of relativity to change morality have also been common.”   The article is associated at its conclusion with other wiki topics, such as “Liberal pseudoscience”, which includes “Black holes”, dark matter” and “moral relativism”.  On the dedicated Conservapedia page “Counterexamples to Relativity”, they begin by noting that “The theory of relativity is disproved by numerous counterexamples, but it promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to pull people away from the Bible.”  This leads the prominent scientific magazine New Scientist to state, “In the end there is no liberal conspiracy at work.  Unfortunately, humanities scholars often confuse the issue by misusing the term ‘relativity’.  The theory in no way encourages relativism, regardless of what Conservapedia may think.”

Conservapedia does provide some pages with useful definitions of popular political terms today we can use for this post.  In their page on the topic “Liberal,” emblazoned with a picture of “Barack Hussein Obama” and stated to be the “least successful president in history,” states at the beginning that “A liberal is someone who craves an increase in government spending, power, and control, such as Obamacare.  Liberals also support the censorship and denial of Christianity.  Liberals who are a part of the secular left prefer the atheist religion over the Christian faith, as atheism has no objective morality to hinder their big government plans.” They add that “Liberals favor a welfare state where people receive endless entitlements without working,” and that “All liberals support, in knee-jerk fashion, the oppositive of conservative principles, while lacking an actual ideology or values of their own.  Many of them cannot understand Christian language.”  They are also known for (a) “Denial of science (especially creation science),” (b) “Hypocrisy,” (c) “The belief that terrorism is not a huge threat, and that the main reason for Muslim extremists’ hostility towards America is because of bad foreign policy,” (d) “Hedonism,” (e) “Rejection of Biblical standards,” (f) “Hatred,” (g) “Murder,” (h) “crying instead of accepting reality,” (i) “Cessation of teacher-led prayer in classrooms,” (h) “tyranny,” (i) “Treason,” (j) “pseudo-intellectualism”, (k) “genocide”, (l) “fascism”, (m) “Destroying conservative family values and replacing them with immoral Hollywood values”, (n) “High progressive taxes as a form of class warfare against wealthy business owners”, (o) “Sadism”, (p) “racism”, (q) “slander”, (r) “Obesity”, (s) “environmentalism”, (t) pedophilia”, (u) “mutilating corpses”, (v) “enforced homosexuality”, and many more unsavory attributes.  They add that, “In practical usage, the term ‘liberal’ is more closely synonymous with ‘radical’, ‘immoral’, ‘anti-freedom’, ‘elitist’, or ‘bad’”.  Their list of ‘Notable liberal ‘intellects’” includes “Barack Hussein Obama”, “Dracula”, “David Thorstad, a founding member of NAMBLA”, “Adolf Hitler”, “Karl Marx’, “Lee Harvey Oswald”, “Benito Mussolini”, “Margaret Thatcher” (for decriminalizing homosexuality), and “Osama Bin Laden”.  Their list of “Liberal Organizations” included AARP, AFL-CIO and others.

It also has a page dedicated to “Conservatism”. On it, it notes that “A conservative is someone who rises above his personal self-interest and promotes moral and economic values beneficial to all.  A conservative is willing to learn and advocate the insights of economics and the logic of the Bible for the benefit of everyone else.  A conservative favors conserving value by not giving handouts to anyone who does not really need them”. Regarding their “goals and principles”, they note that conservatives seek or support “capitalism and free markets”, “classroom prayer”, “the concept of retribution for crimes, including the death penalty for heinous murders proven beyond reasonable doubt”, “family values, including traditional relationships and division of labor within the household” (emphasis added), “The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms”, “Economic allocative efficiency (as opposed to popular equity)”, “Private medical care and retirement plans”, “cancelling failed social support programs”, “enforcement of current laws regarding immigration”, “respect for our military – past and present”, “rejection of junk science such as evolution and global warming”, “a strong national defense”, “A dedication to the truth, and an ability to seek it”, and “ending entitlement programs”, amongst others.”

“The contribution Schlafly and Conservapedia is most known for is their origination of the “Conservative Bible” translation.  The Conservapedia page on the “Conservative Bible Project”  notes that its goal is to “render God’s word into modern English without archaic language and liberal translation distortions”.  They add that the first draft of the Conservative New Testament was completed on April 23, 2010, and many of the Old Testament books are completed as well.  It adds that “Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations”, and that “the third – and largest – source of translation error requires conservative principles to reduce and eliminate”.  It notes that “As of 2009, there was no fully conservative translation of the Bible which satisfies the following ten guidelines”, including “Framework against Liberal Bias”, “Not Emasculated”, “Combat Harmful Addiction”, “Express Free Market Parables” (“explaining the numerous economic parables in their full free-market meaning”), “Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness”, and “Exclude Later-inserted Inauthentic Passages” (i.e., “excluding the interpolated passages that liberals commonly put their own spin on, such as the adulteress story”).  It notes that the “benefits” of the new Conservative Bible include “benefiting from activity that no public school would ever allow; a Conservative Bible could become a text for public school courses”, “political issues can become a pathway to evangelizing liberals”, and “this project has a unifying effect on various Christian denominations, and serves as an important counterweight to liberal efforts to divide conservative candidates based on religion”.  Some of the “Helpful Approaches” that are cited from the Conservative Bible include to “identify pro-liberal terms used in existing Bible translations, such as ‘government’, and suggest more accurate substitutes”, and “identify conservative terms that are omitted from existing translations”. They add that “Many consider the Conservative Bible project, as well as any other Bible translation projects, to be heretical and in opposition to Matthew 5:18, which was fulfilled in the King James Bible”.  They use as examples of censored Bible passages in the Conservative Bible such as Luke 23:34, “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’” (adding that, “Is this a corruption of the original, perhaps promoted by liberals without regard to its authenticity?”, since “This quotation is a favorite of liberals”), as well as Luke 16:8, where they change the “shrewd” manager of Christ’s parable to “resourceful”.  Among the “Advantages to a Conservative Bible” they list include “liberal bias – and lack of authenticity – becomes easier to recognize and address”, “supported by conservative principles, the project can be bolder in uprooting and excluding liberal distortions”, “the ensuing debate would flesh out – and stop – the infiltration of churches by liberals/atheists pretending to be Christian, much as a vote by legislators exposes the liberals”, “this would bring the Bible to a new audience of political types, for their benefit; Bible courses in college Politics Departments would be welcome”, and “this would debunk the pervasive and hurtful myth that Jesus would be a political liberal today”.

As example of the improvements provided by the Conservative Bible, in the Sermon on the Mount on Matthew 5 it says Jesus “began His Torah” instead of “He opened His mouth”, and states “Blessed are those who are not full of themselves” rather than “Blessed are the poor in spirit”.  In 2009 Stephen Colbert interviewed Schlafly about his Conservative Bible on his “Colbert Report” show .  There he states that Jesus’ parables were “free market parables”.  Salon Magazine actually listed verses from the Conservative Bible, where the term “Pharisees” has been changed to “liberals”, so that Mark 3:6 reads, “The Liberals then fled from the scene to plot with Herod’s people against Jesus, and plan how they might destroy Him”, and in Mark 10:23-25. they change Christ’s words “for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” to “for an idle miser to enter into the kingdom of God”.

I think this excerpt from an earlier blog post of mine reveals how people like Mr. Schlafly fit with the AAPS, Drs. Gold and Immanuel, and the hydroxychloroquine and Trump crowds, and their allegations of widespread conspiracy and exorcism of inconvenient “fake news.” 

As a bonus bit of material on Mother Schlafly herself, I have also noticed a mention of her in a 2006 biography of her that “Schlafly and other “moral conservatives” revolted at the 1960 Republican convention after Richard Nixon supported a civil rights plank (proposed by Nelson Rockefeller) demanding “aggressive action” against segregation and discrimination.” More importantly, I also bumped into an April 22, 2020 article in The Daily Beast writes that

Phyllis Schlafly was a secret member of the John Birch Society, the far-right group infamous for its support of segregation and its belief that a communist conspiracy had taken over the United States, according to documents newly obtained by researcher Ernie Lazar through FOIA requests…Throughout her life, Schlafly insisted she had never been part of the far-right group , as in a 1975 New York Times article that noted “Mrs. Schlafly’s opponents have hinted in the past that her campaign was financed by money from the John Birch Society. She denies it, as well as, denying having ever belonged to the ultraconservative organization.” Contradicting that claim was none other than the founder and chief of the Society, candy manufacturer Robert Welch, who referred to Schlafly as “a very loyal member of the Birch Society” in the February 1960 issue of the JBS Bulletin. But with Schlafly herself insisting otherwise, that could hardly be considered definitive.

In 1962, the JBS was the only group proposing that Barry Goldwater be the Republican candidate for president. That stance, and the group’s growing unpopularity with the public at large, led conservative opponents including American Enterprise Institute head William Baroody, philosopher Russel Kirk, and National Review editor William F. Buckley Jr., to meet in Palm Beach, Florida in January of 1964 to discuss the possibility of Goldwater running for president…In the next issue of National Review, Buckley wrote a 5,000-word attack on Welch, who had declared in 1958 that “my firm belief that Dwight Eisenhower is a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy is based on an accumulation of detailed evidence so extensive and so palpable that it seems to me to put this conviction beyond any reasonable doubt.” Welch added that the government of the United States was “under operational control of the Communist party.”

Hence, the dilemma facing Schlafly. As a major proponent of a Goldwater candidacy, and author of her own 1964 book favoring his run, A Choice, Not an Echo, Schlafly was now on the map as a principal figure who attacked the old GOP elite establishment and demanded that a true conservative and opponent of Communism become the party’s nominee and standard bearer. “Hundreds of thousands of copies were distributed in California before the crucial primary election and the national convention there,” The New York Times reported. In 2016, Schlafly — whose fight against the ERA is now the subject of a new FX on Hulu docudrama, Mrs. America, starring Cate Blanchett — penned her final book, The Conservative Case for Trump. In it, she argued that he represented the resurgence of the populist and nationalist movement she had always supported, as “on issue after issue Donald Trump has said what we’ve been told is the unsayable.”

Yet Schlafly denied to the end that she ever was a JBS member. I speculate that because it was because the group was so widely mocked and reviled — including in the Bob Dylan song Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues and The John Birch Society by the Chad Mitchell Trio, then featuring John Denver, both issued in 1962 — that she feared the association would have damaged first Goldwater and then her anti-ERA campaign. After that, perhaps it was too late for her to admit the deception now fully exposed by the new documents shared by Lazar. In the first of those, Schlafly wrote a letter on her personal stationary to Verne Kaub, head of the American Council of Christian Laymen in Madison, Wisconsin. She would be happy, she wrote on December 5, 1959, “to send you the list of persons who attended Bob Welch’s meeting.” She then added: “The John Birch Society is doing a (sic) wonderful work, and my husband and I both joined promptly after the Chicago meeting.” On August 19, 1964, Welch wrote a five-page letter addressed to Mrs. Tom Anderson, rather than by her own name Carolyn. The letter concerned books that the Society was pushing that would impugn Lyndon B. Johnson and praise Barry Goldwater. Welch was concerned that some JBS members had “made some brief rumblings” about their discontent that the Society was discouraging any “mass exploitation of Phyllis Schlafly’s A CHOICE NOT AN ECHO by The American Opinion Library in Nashville.” They took this course, he said, at “the request of Schlafly herself.” Despite some disagreement with her over one or two issues he did not specify, Welch wrote that her book was “excellent, and was going to be very helpful in the [Goldwater] campaign.”

Nevertheless, he noted that some top campaign officials were “extremely fearful” that the book’s influence could be harmed “if they could tie it in any way to the John Birch Society, and that any such development might actually damage rather than help the total Goldwater cause.” Next, Welch presented the bombshell. “Phyllis even resigned from the Society,” he wrote, “when she brought the book out, in order to avoid this possibility.” And with her “full knowledge and even appreciation,” Welch continued, “her book was never mentioned in the Bulletin of the Society nor even in American Opinion,” the Society’s magazine. Welch took care never to have her books shipped to them in bulk, or carried it in their wholesale department. Nonetheless, 300,000 books were distributed in California by the Society, ahead of the state’s primary and the party’s convention there that year. They were careful not to distribute them through Society bookstores “to any sufficient extent as to give the enemy a lever with which to raise the storm and smear that they would have liked to bring about.

Today, the conspiratorial mindset of the JBS lives on in the MAGA movement cheered on by the Society itself, which is still limping along. In a December 2016 interview in American Opinion, new CEO Arthur R. Thompson said…the Society’s job now is to keep Trump honest, noting that most of his campaign issues “were issues that our Society pioneered…when no other organization would touch them.” Trump’s movement, he boasted, “was created by the members of the John Birch Society, directly or indirectly.”

You can now see how with AAPS’s Andrew Schlafly, the “nut doesn’t fall far from the tree” (with emphasis on nut), and the generations-old playbook of how the right-wing fringe and their more popular public figures have become adept at covering their tracks, including the figures and forces behind the COVID/hydroxychloroquine conspiracy political agenda.

By July 22, the AAPS reported on their own website that

“This week the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons submitted additional evidence to a federal court for why interference with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) should end by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), in AAPS v. FDA…AAPS informed the court in its filing [that] “Countries with underdeveloped health care systems are using HCQ early and attaining far lower mortality than in the United States, where [HHS and the FDA] impede access to HCQ”…“Citizens of the Philippines, Poland, Israel, and Turkey all have greater access to HCQ than American citizens do,” observes AAPS General Counsel Andrew Schlafly. “In Venezuela, HCQ is available over the counter without a prescription…In its filing, the FDA insisted that the public has no right to access nearly 100 million doses of HCQ which were donated to the Strategic National Stockpile…”In some areas of Central America, officials are even going door to door to distribute HCQ,” Andrew Schlafly adds. AAPS filed this lawsuit to obtain legal redress in support of Trump, by ending the obstruction by the FDA of his policies that would save lives.”

So…we should emulate “countries with underdeveloped health care systems,” as well as Israel and Venezuela in their government policies and strategies? Why not mention Brazil? And who who donated the supposed “100 million doses of HCQ to the Strategic National Stockpile?

This “brief” (ahem) background information to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) was intended to assist you in putting into proper perspective the following online position of the AAPS on their website (from July 31) concerning Dr. Gold’s predicament (pertaining to her recent job loss, as mentioned earlier in this post), and to be fair, it actually does admit some real truths as to why a maverick doctor like Dr. Gold would be in jeopardy of her job with her very public, aggressive profile and dissident views, and the impact it has on her mainstream medical institution employer and their own standing within the medical community and public:

A doctor who is employed or has contracts with managed care is not really YOUR doctor, and constantly has to worry about what happened to Dr. Simone Gold, as reported by Tucker Carlson on July 30. After holding a press conference in Washington, D.C., she was fired from her job as an emergency physician. Previously, she had been reprimanded for prescribing hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for COVID-19Under the First Amendment, the U.S. Congress cannot violate your right to assemble and speak, but this does not apply to private entities. Most doctors have signed a contract permitting their employer to terminate them without cause. They have virtually no rights. Dr. Stella Immanuel, who gave a powerful talk at the conference, is in private practice and works for her patients. But like all licensed professionals, she could lose her privilege to work if the medical licensure board disapproves of what she says or does. She has been making her COVID-19 patients well (dare we say “curing” them?) by prescribing HCQ. After the press conference had garnered more than 20 million views, the social media giants took it down, and the website was deplatformed. They found a new platform, and America’s Frontline Doctors are back. The press conference was also preserved.

AAPS is right in this regard. A private employer who pays you to represent them and their board policies and community standing (intended to tamp down eccentric individuals who deviate from established, widely agreed-upon policies and procedures, to protect the public and the reputation of the medical community) has a right to defend the interests of the collective of medical professionals in their organization, the hospital and the organization itself when doctors go “rogue.” She presumably had signed a contract with this institution, agreeing to honor these policies as long as she was paid by them and represented them. Furthermore, she was generously warned by her employer to stop her deviant and very public activities prior to her dismissal, which she publicly ignored. The honorable thing for her to have done, if she were so convinced of the immediate public peril of not using the drug, was to honor her legal and employer restrictions and resign first – with the deep pockets of the Tea Party (as shown in the last post) more than capable of making her a well-paid, Balaam-styled “gun for hire.” Similarly, “Magic 8-Ball” Dr. Immanuel could be in jeopardy of her licensure with her discredited positions and posture that she has made front and center in the public, on behalf of a partisan political organization; if a license board does not police people for her eccentric positions, particularly when they could endanger the public health in her community and nationwide during a deadly pandemic rife with misinformation to which the ignorant and gullible public is vulnerable to when hearing short-cut “good news” via “patent medicine,” than what good are they for in ensuring the public interest?

A position of the medical “establishment” at any time may be debatable, and procedures have been established in the past for dissenting minority views within their practices to be debated, vetted, and long-term studies reviewed and repeated by differing institutions to slowly and carefully move the consensus in a responsible way. But, when one “goes rogue” by appealing directly to partisan political entities with a vested stake in the position, and then directly to an ignorant public with accusations of “widespread conspiracy” and appeals for immediate political hamstringing of accepted medical guidance, what does this do to the long-term integrity of a medical community we have all come to rely upon, even while investigators perform their role in keeping them honest, exposing fraud and corruption, and informing the public debate in fully vetted fashion? Do we now place yet another institution previously held to the highest degree of integrity and credibility practicable by means of licensing, peer review vetting and internal debates now subject to the whims of whoever makes the most exciting and scandalous pitch to the unlearned (or who can yell the loudest using the deep pockets and PR tools of special interests), like The National Inquirer, and a “Wild West” of “anything goes,” in which everything is “fake news” and nothing can be relied upon except our primal hunches and urges of what we want to hear? Are we now entering an era where the “Doctor Frankensteins” who refuse to be constrained by a moral deliberative medical establishment decide to “go rogue” and fire up the electrical laboratories and create “new life” with medical and ethical short cuts, convinced of their crusade by their own internal perverted moral justifications, and the impact to society for the short cuts be damned?

Another report on July 30 noted that

Frontline doctors from across the US held a “White Coat Summit” on Monday in Washington DC to dispel the misinformation and myths surrounding the coronavirus. The doctors are very concerned with the disinformation campaign being played out in the far left American media today. From their website: “If Americans continue to let so-called experts and media personalities make their decisions, the great American experiment of a Constitutional Republic with Representative Democracy, will cease.” Dr. Simone Gold, a board certified emergency physician, spoke this week at the White Coat Summit. After over 18 million views of their conference on Monday Google, YouTube and Facebook removed their videos. On Thursday night Dr. Gold told Tucker Carlson that she was fired from her position after 20 years as an emergency room physician because she appeared at the White Coat Summit this week. Dr. Simone Gold also told Tucker Carlson she has hired respected Attorney Lin Wood to represent her.

Among Dr. Gold’s many crusading conservative media interviews was with Glenn Beck, in an online-preserved interview entitled, “There’s More to the Left’s Hydroxychloroquine Hate.” Of course, Alex Jones was not one to miss such action, forwarding a story on the firing by the equally-incendiary Zero Hedge, with the obligatory opening line, “Just days after the establishment – via its Big Tech partners and liberal media propagandists – entirely disappeared a viral video of a dozen doctors discussing their real-life experiences of treating COVID-19.”

Videos from the notorious White Coat Summit of July 27-28, 2020 by America’s Frontline Doctors can still be seen on their website, including Dr. Gold, talks on “Medical Cancel Culture,” “Fear,” “Hydroxychloroquine’s USA Clinical  Experience” and “Doctor to Doctor” (featuring “Magic 8-Ball” Stella Immanuel), “Hoaxes in the Covid-19 era” and “Follow the Money.”

Well – the narrative so far was, of course, the mere preamble of the real story I see here. So, where did up to 100 million doses of hydroxychloroquine come from, for what agenda, what happened to them, as does it involve Dr. Gold at all, or even her strong promotion on Facebook of the nation state Israel?

I have no idea.

Just kidding! I wouldn’t have you read this long if I didn’t have any clues. To start our investigation, before we document those details let’s consider this first story by The Times of Israel, from April 2020, which considers the latest scientific data from both the U.S. and Israel regarding the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine for COVID mitigation:

A malaria drug widely touted by US President Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus and stockpiled by Israel showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in American veterans hospitals. There were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care, researchers reported. The nationwide study was not a rigorous experiment. But with 368 patients, it’s the largest look so far at hydroxychloroquine with or without the antibiotic azithromycin for COVID-19…The study was posted on an online site for researchers and has not been reviewed by other scientists. Grants from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Virginia paid for the work. About 28 percent who were given hydroxychloroquine plus usual care died, versus 11% of those getting routine care alone. About 22% of those getting the drug plus azithromycin died too, but the difference between that group and usual care was not considered large enough to rule out other factors that could have affected survival. Hydroxychloroquine made no difference in the need for a breathing machine, either. Researchers did not track side effects, but noted a hint that hydroxychloroquine might have damaged other organs. The drug has long been known to have potentially serious side effects, including altering the heartbeat in a way that could lead to sudden death. 

Israel has stockpiled both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine on the assumption that if trials find that it is beneficial in the treatment of COVID-19 this would spark a buying war for the drugs. Speaking to the financial daily Globes last week, Prof. Ronni Gamzu, a former director general of the Health Ministry who now heads the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, said the hospital had used chloroquine, but had seen no evidence of its efficacy in treating COVID-19. Jacob Moran-Gilad, a member of the Health Ministry’s Epidemic Management Team, told The Times of Israel earlier this month that Israeli doctors are allowed to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to their patients, and some are doing so. But he stressed: “The fact there is a stockpile of the drug does not mean there is official endorsement or encouragement to liberally use this drug.” Moran-Gilad said that the Epidemic Management Team discussed whether to give hospitals any directions regarding hydroxychloroquine, and decided not to. “At the moment there is no official guidance or endorsement by the Health Ministry that it should be used for COVID-19,” he said. “We discussed this in the national management team and we decided not to give guidance as there is no data to support the use of this drug.”

Earlier this month, scientists in Brazil stopped part of a study testing chloroquine after heart rhythm problems developed in one-quarter of people given the higher of two doses being tested. On Tuesday, the NIH issued new treatment guidelines from a panel of experts, saying there was not enough evidence to recommend for or against chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. But it also advised against using hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin because of the potential side effects. Many doctors have been leery of the drug. At the University of Wisconsin, Madison, “I think we’re all rather underwhelmed” at what’s been seen among the few patients there who’ve tried it, said Dr. Nasia Safdar, medical director of infection control and prevention.

This revelation of hydroxychloroquine’s inadequacy was announced on April 22, 2020. A month prior to that, the Israeli press made another announcement about Israeli’s largest company – a pharmaceutical company – going “all in” on hydroxychloroquine:

The global Israeli company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is donating more than 6 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets to hospitals across the United States to meet the urgent demand for the medicine as an investigational target to treat COVID-19…“Immediately upon learning of the potential benefit of hydroxychloroquine, Teva began to assess supply and to urgently acquire additional ingredients to make more product while arranging for all of what we had to be distributed immediately,” said Brendan O’Grady, Teva Executive Vice President, North America Commercial. “We are committed to helping to supply as many tablets as possible as demand for this treatment accelerates at no cost.” O’Grady said that additional production of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets is also being assessed and subsequently ramped up with materials that are being sent to Teva from its ingredient supplier. Teva will ship 6 million tablets through wholesalers to hospitals by March 31, and more than 10 million within a month. The company is also reviewing supply of both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine globally to determine whether there are additional supply and access opportunities for patients. Teva is a global leader in generic and specialty medicines with a portfolio consisting of over 3,500 products in nearly every therapeutic area. Teva provides more than 10% of the US drug supply, providing American patients with approximately 1 out of 7 prescriptions they take.

Israel’s political lobbyists and advocates wasted no time politicizing the Israeli connection to the supplying of hydroxychloroquine. Three days later (March 25), the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University posted an article entitled, “The Coronoavirus Pandemic: Israel Is America’s Friend in Deed,” stating that

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: When President Donald Trump and other medical professionals touted the decades-old antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible means of fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the Israeli generic drug giant Teva (the most popular big pharma stock on Wall Street) immediately announced that it will provide 10 million doses of its hydroxychloroquine drug to US hospitals free of charge. Rep. Rashida Tlaib and her fellow American detractors of Israel who claim that Israel does nothing but take from the US owe Israel an apology.

“We are committed to helping to supply as many tablets as possible as demand for this treatment accelerates, at no cost,” Teva executive vice president Brendan O’Grady said. Teva is the world’s leading generic drug manufacturer, employing 43,000 employees around the globe. In 2018, Teva produced 120 billion tablets, with one in nine generic prescriptions in the US containing the company’s productsMany American detractors of Israel are giving a new airing to the myth that the Jewish state receives the lion’s share of US military aid. The suggestion conjures the demon of an all-powerful Israel lobby that has turned the US Congress into its pawn. Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, are at the forefront of those detractors. President Donald Trump, along with many others, view Rep. Tlaib and her compatriots within the Democratic Party as antisemites, a perception they bolster by repeating the slander about Israel’s aid relationship with the US. The reality is that the US’s alliance with Israel is based on two key factors: intelligence sharing and ideological unity, according to Michael Koplow, a Middle East analyst at the Israel Policy Forum. The Teva announcement is clear evidence of this ideological unity…Another Israeli drug cited as possibly helpful is remdesivir, an experimental antiviral from Gilead Sciences. Israel and the US coordinate scientific and cultural exchanges and have bilateral economic relations…The top five US imports from Israel are diamonds, pharmaceutical products, semiconductors, medicinal equipment, and telecommunications equipment…The politicians, pundits, and IR scholars who accuse Israel and the Israel lobby of extracting the lion’s share of US military aid from a gullible Congress are either themselves hopelessly gullible or know full well that they are spreading lies. Israel receives a small fraction of the real outlays of military assistance the US indirectly gives its allies and other countries. These experts, if they are in fact experts, should also know that 74% of military aid to Israel was spent on American arms, equipment, and services. Under the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding, that figure will be changed to 100%. The experts simply cite the wrong statistics.

However, by mid-June, Israeli authorities were frustrated that all the free hydroxychloroquine provided to U.S. states and hospitals had gone unused – possibly due to the findings of its ineffectual use for COVID in both the U.S., Israel and elsewhere. By June 15 the news wire the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that

The state of Florida has not distributed most of the 1 million doses of the drug hydroxychloroquine, often used as a drug of last resort to help patients with COVID-19, which were provided free from the Israeli drug maker Teva Pharmaceuticals. The drug arrived in Florida in two shipments in April in a deal that Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said was facilitated by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Politico reported. Only a handful of hospitals have requested access to the hydroxychloroquine stockpile, according to the report. About 20,000 doses of the drug have been distributed to the hospitals, and the state is sitting on the 980,000 others, while patients with lupus, who rely on hydroxychloroquine to stave off organ damage, pain and disability, are having trouble finding the drug and in some cases are being forced to pay triple or to substitute the more expansive brand-name version, Plaquenil, the Fort Myers News-Press reported Saturday. President Donald Trump has publicly called hydroxychloroquine a “game changer” in reducing the effects of the coronavirus and promoted it in his daily briefings and on Twitter. His recent medical report made public by the White House showed that the president had been taking the drug prophylactically. Trump had to get involved in order for Florida to receive the drug since Teva manufactures the drug in India, where officials did not allow shipment to leave the country. DeSantis asked Trump to speak to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who agreed to make the exception for the United States, DeSantis told a news conference in April, according to Politico.

So – Israel and President Trump facilitated Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis, himself a sycophant of Trump and one of his biggest supporters, including his repeated denials of a statewide COVID “problem” in Florida, while it was raging particularly in the southern part of the state, as he insisted keeping the Miami and other beaches open and crowded during the explosion in cases. He, Trump and evidently Israel all saw an opportunity to be had with a publicly-perceived hydroxychloroquine “miracle” that they could display. So – if these millions of doses were provided “free,” then what advantage existed for this for-profit, mega-pharmaceutical global corporation?

A little more can be known about the Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva from a page on their website, called, “Our History“:

Since Teva’s establishment in Jerusalem in 1901, our aim has been to help patients live longer, healthier lives… Today its shares are listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange. In 1976, Assia merged with fellow Israeli pharma companies Zori and Teva to form Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Israel’s largest healthcare company…A year later the company started to expand internationally…In 1987 Teva secured its foothold in the US market through a joint venture with W.R. Grace, which in turn acquired Lemmon in Sellersville, Pennsylvania…During this period of significant growth, the company assumed leadership of the US generics sector and made major acquisitions in North America, Europe and other key markets.

The original press release by Teva, offering an initial ten million doses of hydroxychloroquine to U.S. hospitals, appears to have been first released on March 20. Meanwhile, the White House website features a transcript of a March 19 press conferencethe day before – by President Trump, suddenly announcing the mysterious “miracle pill” solution of hydroxychloroquine, which has been surprisingly made available to U.S. health care providers in large quantities. Are we not to believe that these actions were not coordinated behind closed doors beforehand, for their mutual ambitions?

President Trump stated at the press conference that the FDA had approved the drug for COVID treatment, although they evidently had only approved for academic clinical trials.  Almost immediately, preemptive hoarding and prescriptions for currently-healthy subjects – even provided over the counter and by medical personnel such as dentists – was creating shortages for sufferers of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis patients who urgently relied upon the drug, while Trump noted in his press conference the justification for his hard push on the FDA to promote it as, “I feel good about it. That’s all it is. Just a feeling. You know, I’m a smart guy.”

By May 25, National Public Radio and other outlets were reporting that “The World Health Organization says it is temporarily halting its clinical trials that use hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients over published concerns that the drug may do more harm than good. The move comes after the medical journal The Lancet reported on Friday that patients getting hydroxychloroquine were dying at higher rates than other coronavirus patients.” They added that “The WHO has 3,500 patients from 17 countries enrolled in what it calls the Solidarity Trial. This is an effort overseen by the WHO to find new treatments for COVID-19. The patients in the trial have been randomly assigned to be treated with hydroxychloroquine, which is a common malaria drug, or three other experimental drugs for treating COVID-19 in various combinations. Only the hydroxychloroquine part of the trial is being put on hold,” and although the large subject study was not the “gold standard” randomized control trial, it drew from a pool of 96,000 patients, and they would continue to monitor a hydroxychloroquine trial still underway in the UK.

By May 27, CBS News reported that

France has banned the use of the controversial anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat people with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The move follows the publication of initial findings from a large-scale study that found the drug offered no benefit to patients, and could in fact be harmful. The Lancet medical journal reported on May 22 that the observational study on nearly 100,000 patients from multiple countries found a higher mortality rate and an increased frequency of irregular heartbeats in patients who were given hydroxychloroquine. France’s health minister responded to the findings the next day by asking the French High Council for Public Health (HCSP) to review the situation, and it recommended halting the use of the drug. The findings also prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to announce Monday the temporary suspension of the malaria drug from a global trial looking at various potential COVID-19 treatments, pending a safety review. At least four people in France have died from complications linked to the side effects of hydroxychloroquine. An early study released in early April in the southern city of Nice found that 43 cases of heart trouble were linked to use of the drug…the French government decided at the end of March to allow the use of the drug in 16 clinical trials, and in the treatment of seriously ill, hospitalized patients. Those trials will now be halted. President Donald Trump has been a staunch defender of the drug and drew criticism from medical experts when he announced recently that he was taking it daily in a bid to prevent contracting COVID-19. Mr. Trump said on Monday that he’d stopped taking the medication. Italy and Belgium, which have also dealt with serious coronavirus outbreaks and had authorized use of hydroxychloroquine in severely ill patients under close hospital supervision, have both told doctors to suspend use of the drug, apart from in clinical trials, in the wake of the Lancet report.

However, it should be said that in early June The Lancet announced it would withdraw its influential study, because the contractor who provided the large data set would not provide it to third-party independent auditors, citing “privacy concerns.” This certainly raises a dark shadow over the impact of the study, although its public announcement and retraction does show that The Lancet itself is not part of some vast, global conspiracy to stymie hydroxychloroquine, other remedies, or the presidency of Trump, but rather subject to the normal review and verification process of the global medical community. To reassure the reader, by June 4 CBS News reported that

Results published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine show that hydroxychloroquine was no better than placebo pills at preventing illness from the coronavirus. The drug did not seem to cause serious harm, though — about 40% on it had side effects, mostly mild stomach problems…[Lead investigator] Boulware’s study involved 821 people in the United States and Canada living with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or at high risk of getting it because of their job — doctors, nurses, ambulance workers who had significant exposure to a sick patient while not wearing full protective gear. They were randomly assigned to get either the nutrient folate as a placebo or hydroxychloroquine for five days, starting within four days of their exposure. Neither they nor others involved in the research knew who was getting which pills. After 14 days in the study, 12% on the drug developed COVID-19 symptoms versus 14% in the placebo group, but the difference is so small it could have occurred by chance, Boulware said. “There’s basically no effect. It does not prevent infection,” he said of the drug…Results were no different among a subgroup of participants who were taking zinc or vitamin C, which some people believe might help make hydroxychloroquine more effective or fight the coronavirus.

There are some big caveats: The study enrolled people through the Internet and social media, relying on them to report their own symptoms rather than having them tracked in a formal way by doctors [NOTE: the subjects did not know if they were getting an active ingredient or the placebo, so as to not bias their reporting]. Participants were not all tested for the coronavirus but were diagnosed as COVID-19 cases based on symptoms in many cases. And not all took their medicines as directed. The results “are more provocative than definitive,” and the drug may yet have prevention benefits if tried sooner or in a different way, Dr. Myron Cohen of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wrote in a commentary in the journal…On Tuesday, the journal Lancet posted an “expression of concern” about a study it published earlier this month of nearly 15,000 COVID-19 patients on the malaria drugs that tied their use to a higher risk of dying in the hospital or developing a heartbeat problem…On Wednesday, the WHO said experts who reviewed safety information decided that its study could resume.

Ultimately, by June 15, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a 15-page reply to the request of Dr. Gary L. Disbrow, Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director, Medical Countermeasure Programs, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Office of Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR),
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They write that

This letter is in response to your request, dated today, that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoke the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for emergency use of oral formulations of chloroquine phosphate (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine sulfate (HCQ) to be distributed from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) issued on March 28, 2020. Like BARDA’s earlier request to FDA to issue the EUA, BARDA’s request to revoke the EUA is part of a collaborative, USG interagency effort to rapidly respond to this continuously evolving public health emergency. Today’s request to revoke is based on new information, including clinical trial data results, that have led BARDA to conclude that this drug may not be effective to treat COVID-19 [Coronavirus Disease 2019] and that the drug’s potential benefits for such use do not outweigh its known and potential risks.

They rescinded the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) because (a) “We now believe that the suggested dosing regimens for CQ and HCQ as detailed in the Fact Sheets are unlikely to produce an antiviral effect.” (b) “Earlier observations of decreased viral shedding with HCQ or CQ treatment have not been consistently replicated and recent data from a randomized controlled trial assessing probability of negative conversion showed no difference between HCQ and standard of care alone.” (c) “Current U.S. treatment guidelines do not recommend the use of CQ or HCQ in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial, and the NIH guidelines now recommend against such use outside of a clinical trial,” and (d) “Recent data from a large randomized controlled trial showed no evidence of benefit for mortality or other outcomes such as hospital length of stay or need for mechanical ventilation of HCQ treatment in hospitalized patients with COVID19.” Their cited data included a pool of 11,000 subjects in the Oxford University RECOVERY studies just concluding.

This “rocky road” is how science works when pressed for quick solutions from politicians and the public, but the slow, measured approach using a wide range of experts will eventually sort out noise apart from true findings, and verifiable solutions, but never on the timescale people want. I experienced this first-hand when I led a national and global team to develop fire fighting chemicals for onboard aviation use to comply with urgent environmental laws and regulations outlawing Halons and other ozone depleting and atmospheric warming chemicals. I and my colleagues were also pressured to find quick solutions, before the data was in and vetted, that did not impose any inconvenience or impact to the end user, and I and we were often blamed ourselves for the restrictions on the use of these chemicals, due to laws and treaties I did not have any role in enacting.

Either we believe the world-class experts who have devoted their lives for decades to provide this critical service to our global community, vetting each other in a urgent collaborative process, or we believe the “easy solutions” we want to hear by the “Association of American Physicians and Surgeons,” and “America’s Frontline Doctors” of the world, and the credibility we have observed from their types, and meanwhile decide that the esteemed scientists of diverse nations of varying political ideologies across the globe are all involved in one big conspiracy in cahoots with all the global media, which seems to be the preferable options for most conservative Christians I know these days, who believe little else from scientists or doctors on other matters as well.

Reflecting back on the company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, it is interesting to note that the non-profit and corporate tax and other data archivist and watchdog organization Pro Publica documents that Teva had at least four of their staff people transfer to prominent positions in the Department of Health and Human Service, Education and Labor Departments, and Federal Trade Commission (I don’t know how much more significant or extensive are the number of staff connections, nor if this is common in scale for other pharmaceutical and other major corporate staffs).

To better understand the motive Teva might have for such a “generous” donation of hydroxychloroquine, simultaneous with President Trump’s sudden press conference announcement of a “miracle” solution of the same product, we should consider Teva’s history in the U.S. pharmaceutical market and with its government regulators, at least going back to 2017. In February 2017 Reuters reported some VERY important findings that

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA.TA) was left without a permanent chief executive on Tuesday after Erez Vigodman stepped down, leaving new management to restore confidence in the world’s biggest generic drugmaker after a series of missteps. A string of costly acquisitions, along with delayed drug launches, have sent Teva shares plummeting and led to calls for management and structural changes, including a possible split into separate generic and branded medicine units. Teva, Israel’s largest company, said late on Monday that Vigodman was departing immediately…Teva, which faces pricing pressure in its core generics business and recently lost patent protection on its key branded drug Copaxone for multiple sclerosis, must choose a new CEO…Teva’s bad run continued on Tuesday, when the company said it was being investigated in Israel over the same issues that led to a $519 million U.S. bribery settlement in December over criminal and civil allegations that it bribed overseas officials to gain business. Compounding the challenge for Teva, U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged to crack down on drug prices and a number of shareholders are pushing Teva to split into separate branded and generic companies. Landa said Teva’s recent “fixation on mega-generic acquisitions” had “mortgaged its ability to make substantial investments in speciality drugs.” Teva shares fell around 2 percent in Tel Aviv on Tuesday following Vigodman’s departure, which comes after the head of Teva’s generics business, Siggi Olafsson, left…Teva’s New York-listed shares…tumbled to around 10-year lows last week after a U.S. court found Copaxone patents to be invalid. The drug accounted for almost a fifth of Teva’s revenue last yearTeva now has debt of nearly $36 billion, similar to its market value, making it difficult to raise new equity, Tamir said.

So, we have a company hemorrhaging money after a series of bad corporate decisions, legal findings and bribery charges in Israel and the U.S., and heat from President Trump beforehand on its prices, which led to further financial pressure, while unable to borrow money, costing the heads of the CEO and senior staff.

Back in December 2016, before President Trump had taken office, Kaiser Health News, a part of the health industry-affiliated Kaiser Family Foundation, reported that

The high prices Americans pay for generic drugs may have been cooked up by pharmaceutical salespeople on golf courses, at a New Jersey steakhouse or over martinis at a “Girls Nights Out” in Minnesota. Details emerging from an ongoing investigation show that drug company employees gathered regularly at such swanky locations and conspired to keep prices and profits high, according to interviews and a complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court by Attorneys General in 20 states…The lawsuit hits home for many middle-class families who have struggled in recent years to pay for generic medications while prices for some drugs soared more than 8,000 percent. The price for a decades-old antibiotic called doxycycline, for example, jumped from $20 for a bottle of 500 pills in October 2013 to more than $1,800 in April 2014That price hike was the result of secret efforts by generic drugmakers to make as much money as possible, the complaint says…The ongoing Attorneys General investigation began in 2014, according to the complaint, and has “uncovered evidence of a broad, well-coordinated and long-running series of schemes.” The companies accused of price fixing include Aurobindo Pharma USA, Citron Pharma, Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Mayne Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and Mylan Pharmaceuticals..Spokeswomen for Teva and Mylan denied any wrongdoing.

Generic drugs now account for 80 percent of prescriptions in the U.S., with sales of $74.5 billion in 2015…Medicaid plans spent more than $500 million from June 2013 to June 2014 on generic drugs whose prices more than doubled… In truth, the explanation for soaring prices is “much more straightforward and sinister — collusion among generic drug competitors,” the complaint said…Executives discussed how to divvy up market share to avoiding competing with each other for business, according to the complaint. Companies either declined to bid for certain customers or offered “cover bids” that they knew would be rejected. Companies knew they were breaking the law and took care to have most of these discussions on cell phones or in person, to avoid leaving a paper trail. Employees destroyed evidence from text messages and emails, the complaint said. Heritage and other companies routinely consulted their competitors before selling new medications so that they could avoid competing on prices, the complaint said. The agreement gave the illusion of competition, but kept prices high…Minnesota’s Swanson noted that some information in the complaint has been blacked out at the request of government officials…The investigation has uncovered a hidden side of the generic pharmaceutical industry, said Michael Carrier, a professor at Rutgers Law School who specializes in antitrust law in the drug industry. “It’s a bombshell,” he said.

Well, when the going gets tough, the tough get going…spending more money on PR and lobbying when you’re caught red-handed, if you are part of a major American industry. In April 2017, shortly after President Trump had taken office, the same Kaiser Health News reported that

Eight pharmaceutical companies more than doubled their lobbying spending in the first three months of 2017, when the Affordable Care Act was on the chopping block and high drug prices were clearly in the crosshairs of Congress and President Donald TrumpIndustry giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries spent $2.67 million, up 115 percent from a year ago as several companies embroiled in controversies raised their outlays significantly…Trump has come down hard on drugmakers..He has promised to lower drug prices and increase competition with faster approvals and fewer regulations…Thirty-eight major drugmakers and trade groups spent a total of $50.9 million..They deployed 600 lobbyists in all.

Drugmakers under fire more than doubled their lobbying dollars. Mylan spent $1.45 million during the quarter, up from $610,000 last year. The company’s CEO faced a congressional hearing in the fall when it raised the price of EpiPen to over $600. Marathon Pharmaceuticals spent $230,000, which was $120,000 more than last year. Marathon was criticized in February after setting the price of Emflaza, a steroid to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, at $89,000 a year. That angered advocates, Congress and patients who had been importing the same drug for as little as $1,000 a yearTeva and Shire also more than doubled their spending. Teva was accused as part of an alleged generic price-fixing scheme in December…Companies that make drugs for rare diseases also more than doubled lobbying dollars.

By the middle of 2019, Israeli company Teva was coming into the forefront of the growing U.S. investigation of widespread generic drug price fixing, in lawsuits and investigations now reaching 44 states. In May 2019 the business site CNBC reported that

U.S. states filed a lawsuit accusing Teva Pharmaceuticals USA of orchestrating a sweeping scheme with 19 other drug companies to inflate drug prices — sometimes by more than 1,000% — and stifle competition for generic drugs, state prosecutors said on Saturday…The 20 drug companies engaged in illegal conspiracies to divide up the market for drugs to avoid competing and, in some cases, conspired to either prevent prices from dropping or to raise them, according to the complaint by 44 U.S. states, filed on Friday in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut. A representative of Teva USA, a unit of Israeli company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, said it will fight the lawsuit. “The allegations in this new complaint, and in the litigation more generally, are just that — allegations,” it said in a statement. “Teva continues to review the issue internally and has not engaged in any conduct that would lead to civil or criminal liability.” [Sadly, they’re probably right about that.] The 500-page lawsuit accuses the generic drug industry, which mainly sells medicines that are off patent and should be less expensive, of a long history of discreet agreements to ensure that companies that are supposedly competitors each get a “fair share”…“Apparently unsatisfied with the status quo of ‘fair share’ and the mere avoidance of price erosion, Teva and its co-conspirators embarked on one of the most egregious and damaging price-fixing conspiracies in the history of the United States,” the complaint said. With Teva at the center of the conspiracy, the drug companies colluded to significantly raise prices on 86 medicines between July 2013 and January 2015, the complaint said…In some instances, the coordinated price increases were more than 1,000 percent, the lawsuit said…“Prices for hundreds of generic drugs have risen — while some have skyrocketed, without explanation, sparking outrage from politicians, payers and consumers across the country whose costs have doubled, tripled, or even increased 1,000% or more”…The lawsuit filed on Friday is parallel to an action brought in December 2016 by the attorneys general of 45 states and the District of Columbia. That case was later expanded to include more than a dozen drugmakers.

Two days later, CNBC also reported that these investigations soon led to immediate financial peril to the company:

U.S. traded shares of Teva Pharmaceutical plunged more than 16% on Monday after 44 states sued the company, alleging it orchestrated a sweeping scheme with 19 other drugmakers to inflate prices…The states, led Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, claim 20 drug companies, including Teva USA, “systematically” divided up the market for generic drugs to avoid competing with one another…“This is an organized effort to conspire and fix prices — a highly illegal violation of antitrust laws,” Tong said. The lawsuit comes as President Donald Trump and Congress attempt to bring down high prescription drug prices, which accounted for roughly 12% of total health-care spending in the U.S. in 2016. Just last week, the Trump administration announced it would required pharmaceutical companies to disclose the list price of their prescription medicines in television commercials in an effort to “shame” them into lowering consumer costs. In response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson for Teva said “the allegations in this new complaint, and in the litigation more generally, are just that – allegations”…Israel-based Teva is the world’s largest generic drugmaker.

It gets worse. Ten days later – May 29, 2019 – BBC reported that Teva was embroiled into an Oklahoma lawsuit along with Johnson and Johnson for being an addictive drug “pusher” by aggressively pushing opioids onto the public:

Johnson & Johnson, one of the world’s largest drug manufacturers, has gone on trial in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit by the US state of Oklahoma. Prosecutors accuse the firm of deceptively marketing painkillers and downplaying addiction risks, fuelling a so-called “opioid epidemic.” It is the first of 2,000 cases brought by state, local and tribal governments against pharmaceutical firms in the US. On average, 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2017, of the 70,200 people who died from an overdose, 68% involved a prescription or illegal opioid. In its court filing, Oklahoma alleged that Johnson & Johnson was the “kingpin” behind “the worst man-made public health crisis in [the] state’s history,” growing and importing raw materials which other drug-makers used for their own products. In opening statements in the city of Norman on Tuesday, the state said that Johnson & Johnson along with Purdue Pharma – which produces the prescription painkiller OxyContin – and Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals had pushed doctors to prescribe more opioids in the 1990s by using misleading marketing…Mike Hunter, Oklahoma’s attorney general, told the court that it was time to hold the companies “responsible for their actions”. “This is the worst man-made public health crisis in our state’s history. To put it bluntly, this crisis is devastating Oklahoma,” he said….Earlier this month, Teva Pharmaceuticals agreed to an $85m (£67m) settlement with Oklahoma over a similar lawsuit which claimed its opioids had contributed to the deaths of thousands of people.

By July 2019, the Israeli news site Globes was reporting that

In the 2016 US presidential campaign, it was Democratic Party candidate Hilary Clinton who aroused concern about restrictions on drug prices in the US. This pushed down the share prices of pharma sector companies on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), but it is now the election winner, President Donald Trump, who is taking matters a step further by advocating a reference index for drug prices, as is the practice in many European countries. Late last week, Trump ordered US administration officeholders to prepare an order to reduce the prices paid for drugs in the US to the level of prices in countries where they are the cheapest in the world. “Why do other nations like Canada pay less than us,” Trump asked rhetorically…In additional bad news for the pharma sector, Democrats in Congress aiming at transparency in drug prices and lower costs for consumers are likely to support Trump’s measures…People in the US pay double or more for drugs than consumers in other countries. A 2015 Reuters survey of the 20 bestselling prescription drugs in the US found that they were an average of three times as expensive as in the UK, more expensive than in any other European market, six times as expensive as in Brazil, and 16 times as expensive as in India…Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) share price is down 5.75% on the TASE, following a 3% drop on Wall Street yesterday…Trump’s order is a further blow to battered Teva, which is facing a decline in sales of Copaxone, its former flagship drug, and two major lawsuits, involving allegedly fixing the prices of drugs and selling addictive opioids.

Also in July 2019, The Los Angeles Times was also reporting that Teva was also settling a California lawsuit about their illegal practices to keep generic drugs off the market:

Two pharmaceutical companies will pay the state of California a total of nearly $70 million to settle allegations that they violated antitrust laws by making agreements to delay generic drugs from entering the market, according to the California attorney general’s office…Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. illegally maintained a monopoly over sales of narcolepsy drug Provigil by entering “pay-for-delay” agreements to keep a generic version off the market for almost six years, Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra’s office said in a statement Monday. Pay-for-delay agreements — under which the maker of a brand-name drug pays other drugmakers to refrain from producing a generic version after the drug’s patent expires — are not on their face illegal, but they can be used in ways that violate antitrust law. Regulators have said such deals also keep drug prices high. As part of the settlement announced Monday, Teva will pay the state $69 million, Becerra’s office said…The Israeli pharmaceutical firm will also be under an injunction preventing it from entering into pay-for-delay agreements for 10 years. Teva said the $69 million will come out of a settlement fund that was established after it settled a 2015 Federal Trade Commission lawsuit for $1.2 billion. In the settlement agreement announced Monday, Teva denied all of the state’s claims of unlawful conduct and said the agreement was not an admission of liability…Teva said it would pay the state $200,000 for its legal fees as part of this settlement…At the time, the FTC said such agreements cost consumers and health plans $3.5 billion annually. On average, brand-name drugs affected by pay-for-delay deals cost 10 times more than generic versions, according to a 2013 report from consumer advocacy groups CalPIRG and Community Catalyst.”

With these kinds of dollars they are pulling in for these despicable practices, it is clear that these big fines they pay are but a pittance, and the consumers pay needlessly through the nose. It also shows how benevolent these “job creator” corporations espousing “freedom” are as the “saviors” of society, as insinuated by Republican mythology.

Teva and their henchmen in the Big Pharma cartel have found even other devious means of feathering their beds in their attempt to deceive regulators, even to the extent of exploiting tax-free non-profits meant for helping low income people with health needs, to rather promote their products, this time in the domain of Trump-friendly governorship of Florida. In November 2019 Reuters reported that

A Florida-based charity will pay $4 million to resolve claims that it acted as a conduit for companies including Biogen Inc and Novartis AG to pay kickbacks to Medicare patients using their high-priced multiple sclerosis drugs, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday. The settlement with the patient assistance charity The Assistance Fund marked the third so far with a foundation linked to an industry-wide probe that has resulted in $850 million in settlements with drugmakers and charities. TAF like the other foundations provide assistance to patients seeking to pay out-of-pocket costs for medications and says that since 2009 it has provided assistance to 78,000 people…Biogen, Novartis and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, which the department said also provided the charity money, did not respond to requests for comment or declined to comment. Drug companies are prohibited from subsidizing co-payments for patients enrolled in the government’s Medicare healthcare program for those aged 65 and older. Companies may donate to non-profits providing co-pay assistance as long as they are independent. But the government has alleged that various drugmakers have used charities like Orlando, Florida-based TAF as means to improperly pay the co-pay obligations of Medicare patients using their drugs, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute…Co-pays are partly meant to serve as a check on healthcare expenses by exposing patients to some of a medicine’s cost [i.e., a co-pay tries to prevent consumer abuse of an otherwise no-cost option to them that promotes excessive use, at a high price that benefits drug makers, at the cost of the broad American taxpaying public, and de-incentivizing smart consumer choices]. The settlement with TAF centered on payments it received from three MS drug manufacturers, Teva, which sells Copaxone; Biogen, which sells Tysabri and Avonex; and Novartis, which sells Gilenya. The government alleged that TAF engaged in practices that allowed it to coordinate with Teva, Biogen and Novartis from 2011 to 2014 ensure that it used the companies’ money to support patients using their respective MS drugs instead of rival ones. The department said that TAF also solicited and received payments from Teva for the years 2011 to 2015 that correlated with the charity’s spending on patients using Copaxone.

A pharmacy based in Florida was found guilty in August 2020 of serving as a similar conduit for Teva to have special advantages to the consumer. Reuters reported that

A Florida-based specialty pharmacy will pay $3.5 million to resolve allegations it served as a conduit for a Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd subsidiary to pay kickbacks to Medicare patients, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday. The settlement with Advanced Care Scripts Inc was the latest to result from an industry-wide U.S. probe of drugmakers’ financial support of patient assistance charities that has resulted in nearly $921 million in settlements. Representatives for Teva and ACS did not respond to requests for comment. Teva has said it has been cooperating with the investigation since first receiving a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston in 2017…According to the government, until 2015, ACS served as a vendor for Teva Neuroscience Inc and provided, among other things, benefits investigation services to patients who had been prescribed its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone. As part of the settlement, ACS acknowledged it relayed data to Teva from two foundations that helped cover the co-pay obligations for Medicare patients using Copaxone, so the drugmaker could correlate the payments it made to the charities. Those charities were the Chronic Disease Fund, now known as Good Days, and the Assistance Fund. They previously resolved similar allegations with the government for $2 million and $4 million, respectively.

These recent revelations led the consumer watchdog group Restore Public Trust to denounce the connections these companies had to Trump administration officials, writing that “As people across the country read this latest story of corruption and malfeasance, they should remember that Big Pharma has infiltrated the Trump administration and is doing everything possible to influence policy and protect its own profits. In fact, top ranking officials in the administration have close connections to the very companies accused of paying kickbacks in Florida — which is just the latest reminder that Trump and Alex Azar are breaking their promises and putting the pharmaceutical industry ahead of patients and families,” and noted that Kate O’Scannlain, Department of Labor solicitor, represented Teva Pharmaceuticals of North America as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in 2017, Robert Charrow, general counsel at HHS, previously provided legal services for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Inc., and Christine S. Wilson, federal trade commissioner, served as representation for Teva Pharmaceuticals North America as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in 2016.

The “Florida connection,” and its coalition of a Trump sycophant Gov. Ron DeSantis (who was recklessly negligent in closing beaches and promoting mask and other restrictions that led to runaway COVID infections in Florida as a local disaster, as with many red-state governors) in a state with a large Israel-friendly population, is noted because of reports such as one from March 30, 2020, in which it was reported that

In a media availability Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed that Israeli-sourced hydroxychloroquine is already being used in South Florida hospitals. The hope is that hydroxychloroquine, approved for treatment of arthritis, lupus, and malaria, works off label, as a “right to try” medicine for those without other medical recourse. The Governor said Saturday the drug would be sent to hot spots for COVID-19, including Dade, Broward, Hillsborough and Orange counties…“I’m not a doctor. I’m not telling anyone to take it or not to take it,” DeSantis added. “This is just something that doctors may have at their disposal.” The Times of Israel reports that the initial donation to American hospitals will be 6 million pills. “We are committed to helping to supply as many tablets as possible as demand for this treatment accelerates at no cost,” said Brendan O’Grady, Teva executive vice president, North America Commercial. “Immediately upon learning of the potential benefit of hydroxychloroquine,” O’Grady said Teva “began to assess supply and to urgently acquire additional ingredients to make more product while arranging for all of what we had to be distributed immediately.” DeSantis credited U.S. Ambassador David Friedman for helping to source the medicine from Teva Pharmaceuticals in Israel. For DeSantis, the coronavirus crisis brought into play a relationship prized by the Governor, prioritized in 2019 with an Enterprise Florida trade mission to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Friedman, as the Tallahassee Democrat reported, said “Israel has no greater friend in all the 50 governor’s mansions than Ron DeSantis.” The venue was the Ambassador’s Residence in Tel Aviv, where Gov. DeSantis was guest of honor at a dinner where top-shelf wine and food was served up, a veritable banquet feast. The event was a capstone of a week in Israel, where DeSantis and Florida officials signed memoranda of understanding on issues ranging from academic partnerships to collaborations in space and emergency management. Beyond the hydroxychloroquine haul, some good news on the Israel front on testing also. DeSantis also divulged Saturday that DEM head Jared Moskowitz sourced 2,000 tests from an Israeli company, and those tests are headed to South Florida and Duval County.

It is starting to become more clear what is likely “up” during this curious “hydroxychlroquine” phenomenon; (a) Israeli company Teva is on the ropes financially due to widespread fraud, graft and huge financial penalties and settlements waged by U.S. federal and state governments as a result, and a departed CEO and troubled leadership, (b) a difficult initial relationship with President Trump, who publicly states that he wants to lower the drug costs that Teva is using every crooked and illegal means to keep elevated, or secure other advantages, (c) it exploits the special relationship with the Trump brown-noser Governor DeSantis, with his own motive for needing a “quick fix” to save his political career as well as President Trump, (d) the potential with a “transactional” President Trump who might “look the other way” as to their graft and crimes if they “scratch his back” with a “rabbit out of the hat” for COVID, which they can supply with a dirt-cheap drug of unproven provenance to publicly make President Trump look good, and (e) exploiting a Israeli government loyalist (maybe even higher than our own nation) from Trump-appointed U.S. Ambassador David Friedman -an Orthodox Jew and son of a rabbi who represented the Trump Organization in bankruptcy lawsuits over his casinos from shafted co-investors and other victims, himself funding illegal Israeli settlements in occupied territories (with extra funding from Jared Kushner’s organization) and operating an extremist Israeli media outlet Arutz 7 where he is a columnist, to exploit this confluence of events (or “perfect storm”) to advance the cause and PR efforts of Israel, save the largest company in Israel, and save Governor DeSantis and President Trump’s political careers from disaster – all via the enigmatic “hydroxychloroquine.”

Politico adds some further details of Desantis’ promotion of hydroxychloroquine in a report a week later (April 7):

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday used his coronavirus briefing to give a choreographed, live-streamed shout-out to hydroxychloroquine, a drug President Donald Trump has touted as a potential miracle cure for Covid-19. During the briefing, DeSantis took credit for loosening shipments of the drug from India and sought testimonials on the drug from doctors and a patient. “One of the number-one questions we’ve been getting in the state of Florida is what treatments are available,” DeSantis said. “One of the things that physicians have been using is this hydroxychloroquine, usually, combined with with Z-Pack.” The briefing included a videostreamed conversation between DeSantis and Dr. Sunil Kumar, a critical care and pulmonary physician at Broward Health. Kumar said the drug has helped patients fight the virus. The Food and Drug Administration… lifted years-old restrictions on India-based Ipca Laboratories, a manufacturer of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, in a bid to get more of the drugs into the U.S. at Trump’s urging. “As this thing was first discussed in Washington, and the FDA made their decision on it, you know, I reached out to physicians and just, you know, asked them, ‘hey, what’s the deal with this?'” DeSantis said…DeSantis then played video of a patient who gave a testimonial.

Israeli drugmaker Teva Pharmaceuticals provided Florida with a batch of hydroxychloroquine last month, and a second shipment was sent Monday. Teva manufactures hydroxychloroquine in India, where government officials forbade shipments from leaving the country. DeSantis said he had a hand in getting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow more of the drug to be shipped to the U.S. “I spoke to President Trump, and then he spoke to Prime Minister Modi, and Modi has made an exception for the United States,” DeSantis said. “Teva is bringing more of this into the United States, they have sent a second shipment already to a Florida hospital and shipped yesterday.” Amneal Pharmaceuticals also is sending a million doses of the experimental drug to Tallahassee, which are supposed to arrive Wednesday, the governor told reporters Tuesday. DeSantis isn’t the only public figure to take up Trump’s championship of hydroxychloroquine. Last month, Twitter asked Fox News host Laura Ingraham to delete a post touting the efficacy of the drug, saying it ran afoul of the company’s rules against misleading health information. The company also called out Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani for a post that made erroneous statements about hydroxychloroquine, calling it “100% effective” in treating Covid-19.

By the time President Trump waded into the matter, like a sudden “bull in a china shop,” other companies also “smelled blood in the water” and started to look into how to get a piece of the action of the “messiah drug” hydroxychloroquine, as in April 6, 2020 The New York Times reported:

President Trump made a rare appearance in the Situation Room on Sunday as his pandemic task force was meeting, determined to talk about the anti-malaria medicine that he has aggressively promoted lately as a treatment for the coronavirus. Once again, according to a person briefed on the session, the experts warned against overselling a drug yet to be proved a safe remedy, particularly for heart patients. “Yes, the heart stuff,” Mr. Trump acknowledged. Then he headed out to the cameras to promote it anyway. “So what do I know?” he conceded to reporters at his daily briefing. “I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense.” Day after day, the salesman turned president has encouraged coronavirus patients to try hydroxychloroquine with all of the enthusiasm of a real estate developer. The passing reference he makes to the possible dangers is usually overwhelmed by the full-throated endorsement. “What do you have to lose?” he asked five times on Sunday. Bolstered by his trade adviser, a television doctor, Larry Ellison of Oracle and Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former New York mayor, Mr. Trump has seized on the drug as a miracle cure for the virus…the president’s assertiveness in pressing the case over the advice of advisers like Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease specialist, has driven a wedge inside his coronavirus task force and has raised questions about his motives.

If hydroxychloroquine becomes an accepted treatment, several pharmaceutical companies stand to profit, including shareholders and senior executives with connections to the president. Mr. Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine…The professional organization that published a positive French study cited by Mr. Trump’s allies changed its mind in recent days. The International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy said, “The article does not meet the society’s expected standard.” Some hospitals in Sweden stopped providing hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus after reports of adverse side effects, according to Swedish news media.

Mr. Trump first expressed interest in hydroxychloroquine a few weeks ago, telling associates that Mr. Ellison, a billionaire and a founder of Oracle, had discussed it with him. At the time, Dr. Mehmet Oz, the host of television’s “The Doctor Oz Show,” was in touch with Mr. Trump’s advisers about expediting approval to use the drug for the coronavirus. Mr. Giuliani has urged Mr. Trump to embrace the drug, based in part on the advice of Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a self-described simple country doctor who has become a hit on conservative media after administering a cocktail of hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin and zinc sulfate. In an interview on Monday, Mr. Giuliani denied any financial stake and said he spoke with Mr. Trump only after the president had already promoted the drug publicly. Mr. Giuliani said he turned to the issue after researching former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in Ukraine.

Mr. Trump said the federal government would distribute 29 million doses and that he had called Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India requesting more. Dr. Fauci made his concern clear last week. “I think we’ve got to be careful that we don’t make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug,” he said on Friday on Fox News. “We still need to do the kinds of studies that definitively prove whether any intervention, not just this one, any intervention is truly safe and effective.” The same day, Laura Ingraham, a Fox host, visited Mr. Trump at the White House with two doctors who had been on her program promoting hydroxychloroquine, one of whom made a presentation on its virtues, according to an official, confirming a Washington Post report. The next day, Peter Navarro, the president’s trade adviser, who has been assigned to expedite production of medical equipment and become an advocate of the drug, upbraided Dr. Fauci at a White House task force meeting, according to people informed about the discussion. Mr. Navarro arrived at the meeting armed with a thick sheaf of papers recounting research. When the issue was raised, according to a person informed about the meeting, confirming a report by Axios, Mr. Navarro picked it up off a chair, dropped it on the table and started handing out copies. Mr. Navarro, who earned a doctorate in economics from Harvard, defended his position on Monday despite his lack of medical credentials. “Doctors disagree about things all the time. My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I’m a social scientist,” he said on CNN. “I have a Ph.D. And I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it’s in medicine, the law, economics or whatever.” Mr. Trump made clear on Sunday whose side he took in Mr. Navarro’s confrontation with Dr. Fauci. At his briefing after the meeting, he said it was wrong to wait for the kind of study Dr. Fauci wanted. “We don’t have time,” the president said.

Some associates of Mr. Trump’s have financial interests in the issue…Another investor in both Sanofi and Mylan, another pharmaceutical firm, is Invesco, the fund previously run by Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary. As of last year, Mr. Trump reported that his three family trusts each had investments in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund, whose largest holding was in Sanofi. Ashleigh Koss, a Sanofi spokeswoman, said the company no longer sells or distributes Plaquenil in the United States, although it does sell it internationally. Several generic drugmakers are gearing up to produce hydroxychloroquine pills, including Amneal Pharmaceuticals, whose co-founder Chirag Patel is a member of Trump National Golf Course Bedminster in New Jersey and has golfed with Mr. Trump at least twice since he became president, according to a person who saw them…Amneal announced last month that it would increase production of the drug and donate millions of pills to New York and other states. Other generic drugmakers are ramping up production, including Mylan and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Roberto Mignone, a Teva board member, reached out to the team of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, through Nitin Saigal, who used to work for Mr. Mignone and is a friend of Mr. Kushner’s, according to people informed about the discussions. Mr. Kushner’s team referred him to the White House task force and Mr. Mignone asked for help getting India to ease export restrictions, which have since been relaxed, allowing Teva to bring more pills into the United States. Mr. Mignone, who is also a vice chairman of NYU Langone Health, which is running a clinical study of hydroxychloroquine, confirmed on Monday that he has spoken with the administration about getting more medicine into the country. Dr. Daniel H. Sterman, the critical care director at NYU Langone Health, said doctors there are using hydroxychloroquine, but data about its effectiveness remained “weak and unsubstantiated” pending the study.

Evidently more organizations then tried to get in on the act of promoting the drug. On the same day (April 6), another source reported that

On Sunday, Trump reiterated his support for using it to treat coronavirus patients. “What do you have to lose?,” Trump asked, repeating his comments from Saturday. Trump also prevented Dr. Fauci from fielding a question on the use of hydroxychloroquine. It’s unclear why Trump has been such a proponent of hydroxychloroquine, but one answer may lie with the millions of dollars in political support he has received from the founder of a pharmaceutical industry-funded group that has been pushing him to make the drug availableOn March 26, Job Creators Network, a conservative dark money nonprofit, launched a petition, a series of Facebook ads, and a blast text message campaign calling on Trump to “cut the red tape” and immediately make hydroxychloroquine available to treat patients. “There is clear and ever-mounting evidence that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine can significantly help patients who contract coronavirus,” the petition states, despite the lack of rigorous clinical testing.

The Job Creators Network was founded in 2011 by billionaire Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, a major GOP donor who spent more than $7 million through outside groups to help elect Trump in 2016. Marcus has said that he plans to spend part of his fortune to help re-elect Trump in 2020. Job Creators Network has been funded by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a drug industry trade that counts among its members leading hydroxychloroquine makers Novartis, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Bayer. According to tax documents, PhRMA donated $500,000 to Job Creators Network in 2017. Novartis, Teva, and Bayer have all committed to providing millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine for clinical testing, and the companies potentially stand to profit if the drug becomes adopted as a common coronavirus treatment…Job Creator Network’s hydroxychloroquine campaign has been run in partnership with a nonprofit called Physicians for Reform, which works with FreedomWorks to promote deregulatory health care policies. FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy group that was founded by the Koch brothers, also receives money from PhRMA. According to tax documents PhRMA gave $100,000 to FreedomWorks in 2018.

The old business trick of Schick razor company was to give away the razors, to sell the blades; in the case of Teva, by April 23 reports announced that Teva could not keep up with the demand for the antibiotic azithromycin, which it manufactured and touted as the “tandem” part of the regimen of the use of its “headliner” hydrochloroquine, even as the Veterans Administration was finding with its patients that they had no better prognosis taking hydroxychloroquine, with or without azithromycin.

Within just a few weeks, Teva was “feeling its oats,” as my parents’ generation used to say, and basically “showing its hand” it was dealing with the hydroxychloroquine gambit, and its motives, in parlaying its role as potential savior of the world to turn away from its culpability in its recent graft and crimes with American and other governments, as reported by The New York Times:

In the coming days, the Justice Department will make an important decision: whether to file criminal charges against one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies for allegedly colluding with rivals to inflate the prices of widely used drugs. The company, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, is betting that in the middle of a deadly pandemic, the Trump administration won’t dare to come down hard on the largest supplier of generic drugs in the United States. It is a high-stakes gamble that could affect millions of Americans who rely on Teva’s dozens of inexpensive generic drugs, as well as its brand-name products like Copaxone, for multiple sclerosis, and Ajovy, for migraines. Teva officials say criminal charges could cripple the Israeli company and potentially leave it unable to sell drugs to federal programs like Medicare. For years, the Justice Department and state prosecutors have been investigating what they describe as a conspiracy by pharmaceutical companies to increase the prices of popular drugs. The department has already extracted guilty pleas and $224 million in penalties from four other drug companies.

Lawyers for Teva, which prosecutors believe was deeply involved in the conspiracy, until recently had been holding settlement negotiations with officials in the Justice Department’s antitrust division. But in April, the company all but walked away from the talks, essentially daring the Trump administration to file charges, according to people on both sides of the discussions. Teva officials have said that the company did nothing wrong and that they plan to vigorously defend themselves…Teva executives and board members believe that one reason the Trump administration will back down is to avoid the impression that it is harming a company that is helping the United States fight the coronavirus. A week or two before Teva’s lawyers pulled out of the settlement talks, a board member, Roberto Mignone, reached out to the White House to discuss the company’s efforts to provide drugs that might help treat the coronavirus…It had already donated millions of hydroxychloroquine pills to American hospitals.

On March 24, Mr. Mignone emailed a former college roommate of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. He wrote that Teva wanted the White House to help get the company’s hydroxychloroquine supplies out of India and to permit Teva to coordinate with rival drug companies to make and distribute the drugs. In an ensuing discussion with officials on the White House’s coronavirus task force, Teva positioned itself as a valuable partner in the manufacturing and distribution of potential medical treatments for the coronavirus, according to people familiar with the discussions, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about themTeva officials said there was no connection between the White House conversation and the yearslong antitrust investigation. [wink]

But, said Robert Field, a professor of law and health policy at Drexel University, “it’s hard to believe that Teva does not have that in mind and does not see some kind of absolution in producing a drug that might help us come out of a national nightmare while they are facing quite serious criminal charges.” Ronny Gal, a research analyst who follows the generic drug industry at the brokerage Bernstein, said Teva and other generic companies had seen working with the Trump administration as an opportunity not because more sales of hydroxychloroquine would be profitable — pills cost pennies — but because “they want to be viewed as a partner.” “It’s your chance, at a relatively low cost, to have a very large P.R. campaign,” he added. Teva had its conversation with the White House just as the company’s officials were reconsidering their settlement negotiations with the Justice Department, which along with other government bodies has for years had Teva in its cross hairs.

The investigation centers on allegations that Teva and a number of rivals illegally worked together to increase prices for widely used generic drugs like pravastatin, which is used to treat high cholesterol. Congressional investigators have found that Teva dominated the market for some of the drugs whose prices inexplicably rose and remained high. And nearly every state attorney general and the Justice Department’s antitrust division have identified Teva as a leading player in the alleged price-fixing conspiracy…they also feared an indictment, which would be likely to crush the company’s stock price. A criminal conviction would bar Teva from selling drugs to federal health care programs for at least five years. Avoiding such an outcome was a top priority for Teva, and a settlement seemed close at hand this spring, according to the people on both sides of the negotiations. The Justice Department was inking settlements with other players in the alleged price-fixing conspiracy. In March, the government announced a deal with the Novartis subsidiary Sandoz, another major generic drugmaker. Sandoz admitted to criminal charges and agreed to pay a $195 million fine, the largest ever in a U.S. antitrust case. Last week, another company, Apotex, agreed to a $24 million settlementIn mid-April, lawyers for Teva told officials in the antitrust division that they didn’t see a point in continuing with settlement negotiations based on their current trajectory, according to two people involved in the company’s internal discussions. At a board meeting last week, Teva’s directors, lawyers and executives decided to stick with their legal strategy. With the statute of limitations on the case expiring soon, they doubted that the department would dare to charge the company.

Because Teva makes 10 percent of oral generic drugs prescribed in the United States, Mr. Gal said, it has significant leverage in negotiating with the federal government, especially during the pandemic, when the supply of some drugs has been strained. The company has “a level of protection, where the U.S. certainly does not want the company to go bankrupt,” he said. Justice Department officials haven’t given up hope that settlement talks might resume before the statute of limitation expires in the next two weeks, at which point the government needs to decide whether to charge Teva or let the company walk. A Justice Department lawyer, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about an active investigation, said that while prosecutors were wary of seriously harming a major drug company in the heat of a pandemic, they were also worried about giving a company a pass for illegal behavior simply because of a national emergency.

The next day (May 16), the Times of Israel reported that

Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals is said to have essentially “walked away” from settlement talks with the US Justice Department’s antitrust division in a high-profile lawsuit alleging a price-fixing effort among drug manufacturers including Teva. The company is reportedly betting that the White House will not pursue charges given’s Teva help in the fight against COVID-19, specifically with an anti-malaria pharmaceutical drug touted by US President Donald Trump himself as a “game-changer.” Teva was named last year in an antitrust lawsuit brought by over 40 US states alleging a price-fixing conspiracy among drug manufacturers, with the Israeli company said to have raised the costs of some medications by over 1,000 percent. The suit came after a years-long investigation.

The lawsuit has worried the company. The firm, a leader in the generic drug market, has been grappling with declining prices for generic drugs, its core business, and the entry of copycat generic versions to its branded Copaxone drug for multiple sclerosis. The firm has also struggled to cut costs by closing manufacturing facilities and cutting its workforce globally in order to repay a massive $29 billion debt it accumulated due to a series of missteps, which saw it pay a high price for acquisitions that went sour. Approximately a week beforehand, a Teva board member named Roberto Mignone, reached out to the White House to discuss the company’s efforts to provide drugs that might help treat the coronavirus…In an email in late March to a former college roommate of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Mignone said Teva wanted to help the government with supplies for the drug and in an ensuing discussion positioned Teva “as a valuable partner in the manufacturing and distribution of potential medical treatments for the coronavirus,” according to the report which cited people familiar with the discussions. The lawsuit put Teva at the center of the investigation. During a 19-month period from 2013 to 2015, Teva is said to have significantly raised prices on around 112 generic drugs and colluded on at least 86 other drugs, the states said in the suit, according to the report. Some of the increases were more than 1,000%. The Justice Department, meanwhile, has reached settlement deals with four other drug makers and some $224 million in penalties so far.

 When this “statute of limitations” date came and went, public interest groups like Accountable.us wanted to know what happened to the Justice Department proceedings. They write:

Teva cozied up to Trump with hydroxychloroquine donation after he touted unproven COVID-19 drug as “game changer,” walked away from DOJ talks “daring the Trump administration to file charges”…DOJ had May 31st deadline to act….has not released an update since then.

Today, Patients Over Pharma sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr calling on him to release details about the status of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation into Teva Pharmaceuticals. Specifically, the letter seeks information regarding whether the long-running investigation has been influenced by Teva’s lobbying, close ties to the Administration, or donations of hydroxychloroquine immediately following President Trump’s endorsement of the anti-malarial drug as a COVID-19 treatment. This letter follows reporting that Teva “all but walked away” from settlement talks with the DOJ “essentially daring the Trump administration to file charges” against a company that appeared to be supporting President Trump’s COVID-19 response efforts, as well as reporting that the DOJ had a May 31st deadline to decide whether to bring charges against Teva, drop the charges, or reach an agreement with the company to extend the statute of limitations – which passed without any information released on the status of the investigation. We are concerned about the lack of transparency from the DOJ since the recent passage of a key statute of limitations deadline as well as the possibility that Teva’s attempts to curry favor with President Trump has impacted this investigation and could represent another example of DOJ decisions being influenced by political pressure…Last week it was reported that “Florida is sitting on more than 980,000 unused doses of hydroxychloroquine…provided free-of-charge from…Teva Pharmaceuticals.”

In their letter to Attorney General Barr, they write:

We are concerned about the lack of transparency from the DOJ since the recent passage of a key statute of limitations deadline as well as the possibility that Teva’s attempts to curry favor with President Trump has impacted this investigation and could represent another example of DOJ decisions being influenced by political pressure…On March 23, 2020, according to a whistleblower complaint, the General Counsel of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Bob Charrow, passed down an “urgent directive” from the White House to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) “to drop everything” to make donated hydroxychloroquine available to the public via an Investigational New Drug status that would have been even more permissive than emergency use authorization. Charrow joined the administration from Greenberg Traurig, and per his financial disclosure, his clients included Teva Pharmaceuticals. The whistleblower, Dr. Bright, “opposed the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as lacking scientific merit, even though the Administration promoted it as a panacea”…It was further reported that “Teva executives and board members believe that one reason the Trump administration will back down is to avoid the impression that it is harming a company that is helping the United States fight the coronavirus.” It was subsequently reported that the DOJ had until May 31st to decide whether to bring charges against Teva and seek an indictment, drop the charges, or reach an agreement with the company to extend the statute of limitations. But no additional information has been released since that reported deadline came and went…It was also recently reported that “Florida is sitting on more than 980,000 unused doses of hydroxychloroquine, a drug President Donald Trump touted as a ‘game changer’ in the fight against the coronavirus…few hospitals have requested the drug, which was provided free-of-charge from…Teva Pharmaceuticals.

They close with the following questions to Attorney general Barr:

(a) What is the current status of the DOJ investigation into price fixing by Teva Pharmaceuticals? (b) If there was an agreement reached between DOJ and Teva to extend the statute of limitations, will the details of that agreement be released, including information on the new deadline as well as who from DOJ was involved in the negotiations with Teva? (c) What role, if any, did DOJ leadership, the White House, or other political appointees play in any negotiations with Teva or internal DOJ decisions regarding the price fixing case? (d) What role, if any, did Teva’s donations of hydroxychloroquine play in the price fixing investigation, negotiations between DOJ and Teva, or any DOJ decisions regarding the May 31st statute of limitations deadline?

Well, Teva has been held accountable by the Feds at least to some limited degree. On August 27, the U.S. Dept. of Justice website wrote that

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. (Teva) has been charged with conspiring to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate customers for generic drugs, the Department of Justice announced today. According to a superseding indictment filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the company participated in three conspiracies from at least as early as May 2013 until at least in or around Dec. 2015…Count one charges Teva for its role in a conspiracy that included Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA (Glenmark), Apotex Corp. (Apotex), and others. On May 7, Apotex admitted to its role in this conspiracy and agreed to pay a $24.1 million penalty…According to the charge, Teva, Glenmark, Apotex, and unnamed co-conspirators agreed to increase prices for pravastatin and other generic drugs. Pravastatin is a commonly prescribed cholesterol medication that lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Count two charges Teva for its role in a conspiracy with Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. (Taro U.S.A.), its former executive Ara Aprahamian, and others. On July 23, Taro U.S.A. admitted to its role in this conspiracy and agreed to pay a $205.7 million penalty to resolve that charge as well as its role in a separate antitrust conspiracy. Aprahamian was indicted in February 2020 for his role in the conspiracy with Teva, among other charges, and is awaiting trial. According to the charge, Teva and its co-conspirators agreed to increase prices, rig bids, and allocate customers for generic drugs including, but not limited to, drugs used to treat and manage arthritis, seizures, pain, skin conditions, and blood clots.

Count three charges Teva for its role in a conspiracy with Sandoz Inc. and others. In March 2020, Sandoz admitted to its role in this conspiracy, as well as in conspiracies with other generic drug manufacturers, and agreed to pay a $195 million penalty. According to the charge, Teva and its co-conspirators agreed to increase prices, rig bids, and allocate customers for generic drugs including, but not limited to, drugs used to treat brain cancer, cystic fibrosis, arthritis, and hypertension.

Teva is the seventh company to be charged for its participation in conspiracies to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate customers for generic drugs…Four executives have also been charged; three have entered guilty pleas, and one is awaiting trial…Each of the charged offenses carry a statutory maximum penalty of $100 million for companies.

Donald Trump has operated his campaigns and presidency like he has his business operations – he “sells” an inspirational, utopian idea, built on fanciful imagination, and when the story comes apart as built on fraud, he quickly moves on to another sales “pitch,” and his handling of the COVID crisis has been no different. When the doubts and contradictory information about hydroxychloroquine began to pile up and could not be swept under the rug or diverted, Trump quickly moved on to another “messianic” solution to COVID to rescue the nation and world before the election, without explaining all the contradictions and corruption connected to his last “game changer.” This time, Trump relied upon a similar huckster of dubious background, but a darling on national TV with a lucrative sales pitch, and a darling with evangelicals – this generation’s “Ronco” and “KTel” TV pitchman, but with controversial political and other public activities, the “My Pillow” tycoon Mike Lindell, with his “solution” (as a non-medical (or non-trained in any respect) person) for the medical global scientific challenge of COVID.

I think Lindell, whose claim to fame was offering a firm pillow, and just selling only it (although he recently offers some associated bedding products), saw a kindred spirit in the salesman Trump, and got on board with his campaign before the election, and was subsequently invited to the presidential inauguration. A local Minnesota newspaper reported on Lindell’s inauguration experience in the following way, in an article entitled, “MyPillow’s Mike Lindell was the hot stud ladies man at Trump inauguration”:

…he’s going to have to stop running away with the hearts of all the conserva-gals who turned up for Donald Trump’s inauguration. Last week we brought you the story that Lindell, CEO of the oft-crticized-lately MyPillow empire out of suburban Chaska, might run for governor of Minnesota in 2018. In a subsequent interview with the Star Tribune, Lindell said no, he isn’t running for governor… unless God asks him to. Lindell was apparently singled out and summoned to meet with Trump in early 2016, so the Republican nominee could learn more about the magic behind these 100 percent American-made sleep rectangles. Lindell tells the Business Journal that during this meeting, Melania asked him to send them a couple MyPillows to check out. Lindell gleefully reports the Trumps received the pillows, and he got a “personal email” from Donald saying “he and his wife really liked MyPillow”…In return for his gift — well, that, plus the $2,700 donation to the campaign — Trump invited Lindell to his inauguration in Washington, D.C. last week. More important, Trump gave Lindell… some little pin with the date of the inauguration on it.

He also recruited Lindell to do, uh, something, though Lindell had trouble explaining it to WCCO’s Esme Murphy on Sunday. “It was on Tuesday that it was delivered to me, and I was so humbled. When [Trump] and I had met we had talked about what I’m going to be doing for the inner cities, with private funds, and everything that he believes in, and that I believe in, with helping the inner cities, and helping the economy. And to see it all come to fruition now, I just hope people give him a chance, because it’s going to be amazing. And when I got this from him, I was just, very humbled.”

 This is all prelude to the most remarkable Mike Lindell fact of the week, which comes to us via the New York Post‘s Page Six gossip trough. Take it away, Page Six: The divorced former crack addict-turned-strictly sober millionaire was swarmed at the Empire State Inaugural Kick-Off. While big names including Newt Gingrich and Jon Voight attended, women flocked to Lindell, a divorced father of four. He told Page Six, “A lot of people recognize me from the MyPillow ads, and they often stop and ask for pictures. It’s a blessing,” as a group of attractive blond women approached.

Six months after Trump took office, he was making pillow maker/infomercial star Lindell as a top-tier manufacturer guest alongside other titans of American industry at a White House forum:

As part of Made in America week, President Donald Trump is inviting American manufacturers to the White House. On Wednesday, Minnesota’s inventor of MyPillow, Mike Lindell, joined a small group of business leaders to meet with the president. They talked about ways to bring jobs back to the U.S. “And I’m very proud that every part, even the cotton is grown in the USA,” Lindell said at the meeting, while sitting next to President Trump. Congressman Erik Paulsen admitted to sleeping on a MyPillow at the meeting.

In another press release on the event, they write:

Attendees also included Vice President Pence, Labor Secretary Acosta and several members of Congress. “It is obvious that President Trump cares deeply for manufacturers and their employees,” said Lindell, who was seated immediately on his right…”I am proud to share that mission with Mr. Trump,” Lindell added. “I felt the overwhelming presence of God when I visited the White House – from the president and everyone on his staff.” Lindell first met with Trump in mid-August during the presidential campaign to discuss keeping manufacturing at home and reviving America’s cities. During a private meeting at Trump Tower, Lindell and Trump agreed this renewal begins in our inner cities and with blue-collar American workers.

For many readers who might know otherwise, in September 2017 the business media source CNBC published a belated mini-biography on Lindell and his background:

Mike Lindell says there aren’t many crack addicts who’ve become successful, but he’s one of them…The self-made multimillionaire and infomercial superstar created the MyPillow empire from scratch in 2004. He did it while addicted to drugs…He’s been clean and sober for over eight years…Then he tried to make money as a professional card counter in Las Vegas. It didn’t always go well…“They came around the table and picked me up and literally threw me through the front door.” Lindell’s other zany business ventures included trying to raise pigs. That went south when the pigs broke out of the pen he had set up in a residential area. Then “the hog market collapsed and I lost everything,” he says. That was followed by a lunch wagon business he started after hearing how successful they were in California…Eventually, though, Lindell started working as a bartender, and then buying a bar. “Probably wasn’t a real good idea because I was an addict at the time, a pretty hard-core cocaine addict.”

In 2004 the idea for MyPillow, a pillow that would hold its shape, came to him in a dream. “I got up in the middle of the night — it was about 2 in the morning — and I had ‘My Pillow’ written everywhere in the kitchen and all over the house”…Lindell dove in to the project, convinced the dream came from God…The pillow project kept Lindell’s cocaine addiction at bay, but it never went away entirely. “And then I got into crack cocaine,” he admits. During this time, Lindell’s marriage broke up, he lost his house, and he almost lost his businessIn March 2008, Lindell said, he was awake for at least two weeks doing crack. He tells an incredible story about his dealer, Lee, who put the word out on the street that no one was to sell Lindell any more drugs until he got some sleep. Even after all that, it would take another 10 months for Lindell to really hit bottom.

By 2011, MyPillow was getting some media attention. A local newspaper profiled Lindell and the company. The day the story came out, he was back in Vegas making some money at the card table…then he had another dream: Make an infomercial…“By the end of the year, we went from five employees to 500.” The company now has close to 1,500 employees…Over the last six years, Lindell estimates he’s spent $100 million on infomercials. The results? He’s sold 30 million pillows, and revenues have grown from around $100,000 a year to close to $300 million.

Lindell’s dream come true has had a couple of nightmares in the last year. First, California authorities sued the company for making unsubstantiated health claims. Lindell said he settled rather than go to court. “They would have run me out of money.” The settlement has forced him to redo advertising, and it caused a pause in sales that led to layoffs in the springThen the Better Business Bureau revoked MyPillow’s A+ grade, turning it into an F. The reason? The company’s never-ending 2-for-1 price “deal,” which goes against BBB standards because Lindell is manufacturing his own product and is therefore his own wholesaler…Lindell was an early supporter of Donald Trump, and that support has not wavered. Trump asked to meet Lindell last summer…“This guy is going to be the most amazing president in history”…There’s the upcoming book, and maybe a movie, with the help of his friend, actor Stephen Baldwin.

By 2016 Lindell and his company were paying heavy fines for proposing “miracle cures” with his pillow for ailments that they could not back up. In November 2016 NBC was reporting that

Minnesota-based company MyPillow was fined $1 million for running ads with false claims of the pillow helping with snoring, fibromyalgia, migraines and other medical conditions, NBC News reported. Prosecutors in nine California counties brought the charges against the misleading infomercials. MyPillow spends about $1.4 million each week on advertising and more than 18 million pillows have been sold in 10 years, according to the Boston Herald. The lawsuit alleged the company “knew or reasonably should have known” their claims were “untrue or misleading”…The company is no longer allowed to claim the pillows cure, prevent or treat any disease without reliable scientific proof.

There were also additional details reported about the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) downgrading of his MyPillow product in January 2017:

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has revoked the accreditation of Minnesota-based MyPillow, lowering its rating to an F based on a pattern of complaints by consumers…“Continuous BOGO offers, which can then be construed as an item’s regular, everyday price, violate not only BBB’s Code of Advertising – which all BBB Accredited Businesses agree to abide by – but also other state and national organizations’ rules.” The BOGO complaint was not the only issue or complaint the BBB brought to MyPillow’s attention. “As Seen on TV” claims are sometimes listed on MyPillow boxes where the content is NOT the same as seen on the company’s TV ads…Photos of MyPillow on some boxes show the premium, gusseted pillow, when the box actually holds their standard pillow. Claims of offering a “full warranty” when the warranty was not full (customers need to pay a fee to return the pillow).

A cagey businessman, Lindell also knew how to endear himself to the Religious Right populace – kiss up to their “Shangri-la” – Liberty University, as reported by the university itself:

12,000 pillows filled the arena seats for the first Convocation of the school year. The pillows, collectively worth $600,000, came as a gift to all in attendance from the day’s speaker, MyPillow inventor and CEO Mike Lindell. School of Business Dean Dave Brat introduced Lindell and presented him with an honorary Doctor of Business. Brat shared that Lindell’s immensely successful company employs 1,600 workers and has sold over 41 million pillows…Liberty President Jerry Falwell also welcomed Lindell, who is a personal friend. “I can’t think of anybody else who epitomizes the principles that built this school than Mike,” he said…He admitted that for many years after he founded MyPillow and wanted to use it to honor God, he was still mired in addiction…in 2016 Lindell found himself in New York City for a meeting with Donald Trump, who was a presidential candidate at the time…“When I met with Donald Trump, it felt like a divine appointment, and when I walked out of that office I decided I was going to go all in”…He previously appeared on the Convocation stage last semester…“You guys here at Liberty are the hope of the nation, and right now you are on the right paths that I didn’t take back then,” Lindell said….President Jerry Falwell Jr. gave students an update on the recent medical issues experienced by Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze.

Hugh Freeze’s program at Ole Miss was discovered by the NCAA giving players and recruits money, help on exams and other illegal favors, causing them to receive severe sanctions, and Freeze himself was found calling escort services on his school cell phone over five years there, and accepted the university offer for him to resign rather than being fired on the university “morals” clause; as you would expect, Falwell and Liberty immediately offered him what became a five year football coaching contract at Liberty.

Lindell was able to maintain direct contact with Trump through 2018, at least through Mar-A-Lago:

MyPillow founder Mike Lindell took a break from battling an F-rating by the Better Business Bureau to chat with the commander-in-chief at Mar-a-Lago over the Easter weekend. Trump told Lindell that he uses one of the Minnesota-based company’s products. “The President shook my hand and told me, ‘You are doing a great job, Michael.’ He also said he is sleeping great on his MyPillow,” Lindell told the Daily News in an email. “I told him, ‘People come up to me all the time to tell me what a great job you are doing and that you are in their prayers,'” Lindell said. “It was an honor to be at Mar-a-Lago on Easter weekend.” Lindell was a guest of a member of the Florida resort when Trump stopped by their table Saturday night…He tweeted on Monday that he wouldn’t be one of the many advertisers pulling TV spots from Laura Ingraham’s show, after its host mocked Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg for getting rejected from several California colleges.

By March 2020, Lindell was still involved in the administration’s activities, even being invited at the time to a Corona Virus task force briefing for the press, and offered to speak about and promote his company, as documented on the White House website in the following transcript excerpt:

[President Trump] A friend of mine, Mike Lindell of MyPillow. Boy, do you sell those pillows. That’s unbelievable what you do…And I just want to tell all of you that America is very grateful to you and what you’ve done. An amazing job you’ve done, and we thank you very much. I’d like you to come up and say a couple of words, if you might, about your companies. Mike, come on up. Come on up, fellas, please. Come on up. You have to say what you’re doing because it’s been really incredible. Go ahead, Mike.

MR. LINDELL: Okay, well, MyPillow is a U.S. vertically integrated company, which has been forced to adjust to the changing business environment as a result of the pandemic…Given our current business lines, we are experiencing the effects of this pandemic firsthand…I proud to manufacture our products in the United States, and I’m even more proud to be able to serve our nation in this great time of need. Thank you, Mr. President, for your call to action when — which has empowered companies like MyPillow to help our nation win this invisible war. Now, I wrote something off the cuff, if I can read this.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay.

MR. LINDELL: (Laughs.) God gave us grace on November 8th, 2016, to change the course we were on. God had been taken out of our schools and lives. A nation had turned its back on God. And I encourage you: Use this time at home to get — home to get back in the Word, read our Bibles, and spend time with our families. Our President gave us so much hope where, just a few short months ago, we had the best economy, the lowest unemployment, and wages going up. It was amazing. With our great President, Vice President, and this administration and all the great people in this country praying daily, we will get through this and get back to a place that’s stronger and safer than ever.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s very nice. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mike. Appreciate it. Please come on up. I did not know he was going to do that, but he’s a friend of mine, and I do appreciate it. Thank you, Mike, very much.

With this special relationship with the President, it was a ideal time to exploit to exploit a business opportunity created by the COVID crisis, even though he had just been fined for making dubious health benefit claims from his core product he sold to the public. To do this, however, he would need the help of another Trump administration insider on the Cabinet, with medical credentials but also a dark reputation of hawking products with disproven health benefits and wild claims of widespread healing potential.

Back in the fall of 2015, Ben Carson was a Republican presidential candidate, very popular with evangelicals and running against Donald Trump for the nomination. As his support levels were peaking, several news outlets noted his main selling point being his world-renown surgical expertise, and the curious reputation he had in endorsing a controversial medical supplement as a paid spokesman before his popular campaign, such as reported then by CBS News:

During Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate, Ben Carson put in a plug for Mannatech (MTEX), even while dismissing as “propaganda” the suggestion he had ties to the seller of nutritional supplements, which has a questionable track record that included claims its products could cure Downs syndrome, cystic fibrosis and cancer. Asked why he continued to be involved with the company even after it paid millions to settle a deceptive marketing lawsuit in Texas, Carson said: “That’s easy to answer. I didn’t have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda.” “I did a couple of speeches for them,” the retired neurosurgeon went on to say. “I do speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes, I think it’s a good product.” In an emailed reply to a request for comment, Mike Crouch, Mannatech’s director of communications, [said] The GOP White House hopeful is a “long-term customer and has spoken about his personal and professional experiences at Mannatech events.”

Carson was paid $42,000 to speak at a company event in 2013, while speaking fees for three prior events were donated to the Carson Scholars Fund, Crouch said. In 2004, Carson told a gathering of Mannatech sales associates that the company’s products helped cure his own prostate cancer, saying in a company video: “within about three weeks my symptoms went away, and I was really quite amazed.” The company’s events often feature testimonials making claims that the company’s products have “cured, mitigated, treated, or prevented diseases,” according to a 2007 petition filed by the Texas Attorney General that accused the company of deceptive marketing. “The whole purpose of the testimonials is to create a frenzy and motivate associates to see even more products, in large part through the relaying of deceptive claims set forth in the testimonials.”

Coppell, Texas-based Mannatech earned $6.5 million in 2014 on revenue of $190.1 million. It claims “glyconutrients” in its products contain sugars that bolster immune and digestive function. Mannatech’s business model involves multilevel marketing, a type of direct selling by independent associates not employed by the company, who purchase Mannatech’s products to resell or for personal use. A regulatory filing in August said 228,000 associates or members in two dozen countries had purchased its products within the last 12 months. Other multilevel marketing companies include Nu Skin Enterprises (NUS), Avon Products (AVP) and Herbalife (HLF). Some, most notably Herbalife, have faced claims they are pyramid schemes. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a pyramid scheme is a form of fraud in which “participants profit almost exclusively through recruiting other people to participate in the program.”

Mannatech’s website includes stories of individuals around the globe that have earning more than $1 million since they began working with the company, including the formerly stressed single mom working three jobs in Australia, who is now able to afford holidays and travel. “Basically what the company is doing is trying to find a way to restore natural diet as a medicine, or as a mechanism, for maintaining health,” Carson said in one Mannatech video. “That’s why I was drawn towards Mannatech because it recognized the influence on health of natural foods.” Dietary and nutritional supplements do not require approval by the FDA to be sold in the United States, due to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. “Carson chose to participate in videos while attending corporate events, where he gave his personal perspective and testimony,” said Crouch, who reiterated the candidate was not a spokesman for the company nor a “paid endorser.”

In March of 2014, Carson shot a PBS special touting “glyconutrients” in a similar vein as he had done in the company’s videos.

Under a 2009 settlement with the Texas attorney general, Mannatech agreed to stop false claims that included pitching its products as cures and treatments for a number of serious illnesses. The company agreed to pay $4 million in restitution to Texas consumers, and its founder paid a $1 million civil penalty. “Texans will not tolerate illegal marketing schemes that prey upon the sick and unsuspecting,” Greg Abbott, the state’s attorney at the time and current governor, said in a statement announcing the accord. The Texas AG’s civil complaint said the company had been notified multiple times by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that its marketing materials made illegal drug claims. Carson’s campaign did not return a request for comment.

I don’t know if the claims of the nutritional supplement of the company Dr. Carson promoted, Mannatech, that it could “cure Down’s Syndrome,” included changing the facial characteristics of those so afflicted, actually removing the extra chromosome from their DNA, or otherwise how it was accomplished.

By August 16, it was being reported that

To the alarm of some government health officials, President Trump has expressed enthusiasm for the Food and Drug Administration to permit an extract from the oleander plant to be marketed as a dietary supplement or, alternatively, approved as a drug to cure COVID-19, despite lack of proof that it works. The experimental botanical extract, oleandrin, was promoted to Trump during an Oval Office meeting in July. It’s embraced by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and MyPillow founder and CEO Mike Lindell, a big Trump backer, who recently took a financial stake in the company that develops the product. Lindell told Axios that in the meeting, Trump “basically said: …’The FDA should be approving it.’

It’s part of a pattern in which entrepreneurs, often without rigorous vetting, push unproven products to Trump — knowing their sales pitches might catch his eye. Trump will then urge FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to “look at” or speed up approval. In March, Trump personally lobbied Hahn to authorize hydroxychloroquine’s emergency use to treat COVID-19…Senior administration officials familiar with the internal conversations around oleandrin have raised concerns about the way this botanical extract — pushed by Andrew Whitney of Phoenix Biotechnology — is being promoted at the highest levels of the Trump administration. There is no public data showing oleandrin has ever been tested in animals or humans for its efficacy against COVID-19, but the extract has shown some evidence of inhibiting the virus in a non-peer reviewed laboratory study.

HUD Secretary Carson has enthusiastically promoted oleandrin to Trump administration officials and to the president himself. MyPillow CEO Lindell, who is a major advertiser on Fox News and a personal friend of Carson and Trump, helped Whitney get an Oval Office meeting with the president in July to discuss oleandrin as a potential COVID-19 cure…Lindell said that he, Carson, at least one lawyer and, briefly, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, joined Trump and Whitney for the meeting. Notably absent was Hahn, the head of the agency that studies and approves medical treatments. Asked why the HUD secretary was promoting an unproven botanical extract to cure COVID-19, a Carson spokesperson emailed the following statement to Axios: “Secretary Carson is a member of the Coronavirus Task Force, he has been directly involved with the Administration’s response to this disease from the very beginning…To suggest that Secretary Carson, who is a world-renowned expert in the medical field, shouldn’t be involved is not only absurd but unhelpful in our collective fight to eradicate the pandemic.” Whitney said he is pursuing multiple paths to getting oleandrin to market.

The first path is as a COVID-19 drug, which would involve a rigorous process that includes clinical trials.
But to hedge his bets, Whitney said he is also pushing the FDA to allow oleandrin to be sold off the shelf as a dietary supplement — a move that could be made immediately, Whitney has told administration officials.
Whitney has claimed to administration officials that oleandrin cures COVID-19 in two days, according to a source familiar with his private comments. But if the FDA allows oleandrin to be sold as a dietary supplement, the company would not be allowed to make medical claims about its ability to treat or cure COVID-19.

Asked about this claim about oleandrin being a “cure” for COVID-19, Whitney said he stands by it “100%.”
What they’re saying: “Now, there are all sorts of lawyers who would tell me I can’t say things like that, because you know you need to have years of studies, and you need to have this, that, and the other, and so forth,” Whitney said. “But as an American with a right of free expression, I’m telling you, I’ve seen it with my own eyes.”

Whitney said that by “cure” he means the symptoms go away quickly “in the vast majority of cases.”
A source briefed on the situation said Whitney has so far provided no evidence to give the administration confidence about his claims. Whitney disputed that. “Actually, we have provided that,” he said. Asked what human clinical evidence he has provided to the FDA to support his claim that oleandrin cures COVID-19, Whitney did not provide any additional evidence, saying, “At this stage it’s probably best left at that. The data is compelling…We believe we should be given the opportunity to demonstrate that in a hospital clinical trial setting and we believe that must happen now and not a month from now.”

Hahn appears to be resisting Whitney’s efforts — at least so far — despite Trump expressing his enthusiasm for the FDA to approve oleandrin.  Whitney…added: “The process is too slow…We ought to be given an opportunity to test this. Call my bluff!” Whitney has invoked his meeting with the president to apply further pressure on administration officials to approve or authorize oleandrin…Citing the University of Texas study and HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s belief in oleandrin, Whitney said regulators ought to take his product seriously. “This isn’t whipped up in a bucket in someone’s back garden,” he said. “There’s support for this.”

Whitney enlisted Lindell in his effort to speed up approval of the botanical product. In an interview with Axios on Saturday, Lindell spoke passionately in support of oleandrin and said he was such a believer in the botanical that he now has a financial stake in Phoenix Biotechnology and wants to ensure every American has access to this COVID-19 “cure.” Lindell said he first became aware of oleandrin when Whitney called him on Easter Sunday and said it could cure COVID-19. Lindell said he then took the information to Carson, who got on board.
Lindell said he has been taking the unapproved botanical and has shared it with his family and friends. He said he believes it has kept him from getting COVID-19 and has cured other people. (No published clinical studies show the botanical cures or prevents COVID-19. Nor has the FDA said the product is safe or fit for this purpose.) Told about the alarm inside the administration regarding his promotion of oleandrin, Lindell said, “This is the most amazing miracle thing I’ve ever seen in my life, so I went all in…. If you want to know what I think, I think it’s being suppressed because somebody doesn’t want this out there because it works“…Lindell said that in July’s Oval Office meeting, he was joined by President Trump, Carson, Whitney, and briefly White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Lindell said that Stephen Hahn — the head of the FDA, which studies and approves medical treatments — wasn’t there…Whitney said he approached Lindell because he thinks he’s one of the country’s greatest businessmen and was impressed that Lindell mobilized MyPillow to make face masks.

Caree Vander Linden, a spokesperson for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, emailed the following statement to Axios: “In May 2020, USAMRIID performed some preliminary testing of oleandrin against SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19]. Our results were inconclusive…Given our inconclusive results, and having other high priority therapeutics to assess, we did not continue with this line of research.”

By August 17 CNN reported that “Lindell was added to the board of Phoenix Biotechnology, which makes oleandrin, and received a financial stake in the company” and that he is “chairman of the Minnesota Trump campaign,” and is “very much” thinking about running for public office.

At the time Forbes reported that “Mike Lindell…said Tuesday he was asked by the administration to gather leads on potential treatments for the White House coronavirus task force,” and that “Lindell told CNN host Anderson Cooper that “this great administration” asked him to “bring back to the [White House coronavirus] task force” anything that is promising to fight coronavirus, be they “good sanitizers or cures.”

By September 4, CNN reported that

The US Food and Drug Administration has rejected a submission from Phoenix Biotechnology Inc. to market oleandrin as a dietary supplement ingredient, citing “significant concerns” about the safety evidence the company presented…On June 2, Phoenix Biotechnology submitted oleandrin to the FDA as a new ingredient in dietary supplements, describing the dosage and saying it’s intended only for adults…The FDA’s response letter, dated August 14, was posted by the agency on Wednesday. It said the company had already tested oleandrin as a potential prescription drug and could not at the same time seek permission to sell it as a supplement – a category with almost no oversight. Even if it hadn’t been excluded from the definition of a dietary supplement under the law, the agency had “significant concerns about the evidence included in your submission as a basis for concluding that a dietary supplement containing ‘Oleandrin’ will reasonably be expected to be safe” if used the way the company described…the safety evidence was not “qualitatively and quantitatively” related to oleandrin as a supplement.

Never fear – by August 23 President Trump had already moved on to yet another “magic bullet” to “pull a rabbit out of a hat” with a “miracle cure” before the election, rather than the responsible, adult, time-honored practices of using masks, socially distancing, and aggressively going through the safe, tested protocols for screening safe yet effective vaccines. But – the “snake oil” and “patent medicine” is so much more fun! This time, its a slightly more credible approach of using “convalescent plasma” of the formerly infected (even though its testing and widespread distribution at best would probably not outrace new vaccines in their advanced vetting stages), as The Washington Post reported on August 23rd:

On the eve of the Republican National Convention where President Trump hopes to revive his flagging political fortunes, he will announce the emergency authorization of convalescent plasma for covid-19, a treatment that already has been given to more than 70,000 patients, according to officials familiar with the decision…Many scientists and physicians believe that convalescent plasma might provide some benefit but is far from a breakthrough. It is rich in antibodies that could be helpful in fighting the coronavirus, but the evidence so far has not been conclusive about whether it works, when to administer it and what dose is needed…The president’s political advisers believe that having a vaccine by Election Day is key to his prospects for winning.
It also lands a day after the president without evidence accused the FDA of impeding enrollment in clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics for political reasons“The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics,” Trump said on Twitter on Saturday. “Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd….On Sunday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows defended Trump’s tweet. “I can tell you that the announcement that’s coming today should have been made several weeks ago,” Meadows said on “Fox News Sunday,” previewing the administration’s plans. “…Sometimes you have to make them feel the heat if they don’t see the light.”

 

Upon reflection on the last 33,400 or so words, do we detect a trend here?

Eras and ages of “old guard” members of the “traditionalist” villager populace (now known as conservatives) have historically been skeptical of “new fangled” innovations within science and new ideas, like sanitation, good hygiene, and vaccines. They have traditionally attributed them to conspiracies of witches, sorcery, “forbidden knowledge,” or approaches antithetical to the local fundamentalist “witchfinder general”‘s literal interpretation of a Bible passage, or evidence of a lack of faith in God to solely remedy a situation. Others did not want inconveniences or destroying foul crops or foods, boiling water, or refraining from certain dangerous roots or foods; many thought it infringed upon their “freedom,” even if it perpetuated a Black Death plague to their innocent neighbors, or a corona virus by arrogant unmasked neighbors who insisted on congregating together to flaunt their “freedom” to be reckless, and impose danger upon their more prudent neighbors, and definitely not “loving their neighbor.” This resistance has often been led by the local Christian leadership or wealthy noblemen who stood to lose wealth during such precautions, and both parties often fought a joint front against them. Health innovators or traveling experts, such as those who discovered the affects of poor sanitation and hygiene on disease and eventually the effects of “invisible” germs they could not show them, were usually held in great suspicion, and sometimes were in mortal danger.

However such villagers, including in “Christian” Europe, the Americas and elsewhere, always seemed to accommodate traveling “medicine shows” with “patent medicine” of unknown origin or safety, if the barkers were charismatic and told people what they wanted to hear, with simple, convenient and quick solutions for a “modest price” that went in the hawker’s pocket, and it helped further if they sprinkled some misappropriated Bible verses in their pitch and similar citations, and appealed to their pride. Whether its “patent medicine” they swallow down their gullets or adopt as their theology, the “good folks” have always (by and large) embraced whatever message reinforced what they always wanted to think about themselves, and quick answers that don’t involve sacrifice, inconvenience, patience, or neighbors encouraging and looking out for each other.           

Here, in the midst of the Internet Era and ‘Information Age,” with legitimate answers and vetting at our fingertips, has anything changed?

Now, as in centuries past, the “Bible-believing,” “enlightened” conservative/fundamentalist Religious Right community is among the worst offenders. Now, in our circles, we have “survival buckets” as the answer to an increasingly complex world from which they recommend to retreat, or dietary supplements like fermented mushrooms and the like for “What God Wants You To Do Now” and “How You Can Survive the Corona Virus.” These products not only pay the bills for these ministries, but they are quite lucrative, and the ticket for a prosperous ministry from a frightened follower base.    

It was traveling circus pioneer and exploitation oddity genius P. T. Barnum who was often mis-attributed the phrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” If researchers are to be believed, it should actually be attributed to banker David Hannum, who purchased a granite-made hoax statue called the “Cardiff giant,” from a George Hull who had it made in Ft. Dodge, Iowa and buried near his property to make fools of local Christians in his community, who thought it was fossilized remains of “Nephilim” giants – the same topic consuming the minds and discussions of my fellow Christians in my circles for years, with findings of “elongated heads” and tours being quite lucrative for certain “experts” in our Christian circles, developing into a large cottage industry that, in the vernacular of one of its practitioners, “is real, burgeoning and not going away.” When Barnum saw how people were such suckers for such pseudo-biblical relics, he made his own to tour around, leading to Hannum’s lawsuit against Barnum, and his statement of the gullibility of the Christian community. I personally witnessed the original “Cardiff Giant” “fossil” now housed in a museum in the town where it was made – in Ft. Dodge Iowa; where the enigmatic “R.C. Christian” resided that built the even-more enigmatic “Georgia Guidestones” monument (and likely inspired by the “Giant”).

The companies, individuals and organizations affiliated with the burgeoning and opportunistic “COVID miracle cure” industry and racket we have reviewed in this article remind me of another similar “inspirational” businessman and “job creator” who had a successful method of selling products of dubious safety on the gullible public:

LATE BREAKING UPDATE: Our blog friend Micah just sent me this link that shows video stills and videos, and links to detailed reports from the Washington Post that shows Dr. Simone Gold, founder and head of “America’s Frontline Doctors” and major proponent of hydroxychloroquine (and major subject of this two-part series), has been identified as one of the people who entered into the Capitol Building during the domestic terror rush to kidnap or harm congressmen voting to confirm the delegates for the Joe Biden election. In photos she is seen using a bullhorn, and is accompanied by a male colleague who said he was there “for her protection,” although she says she was just there for a conference. She is shown giving a brief speech inside a rotunda area there with her bullhorn before she and others were forced out, which cannot be heard but presumably was against the vaccine and other safety measures. She confirmed her presence inside the Capitol during the raid, but said she saw no violence act, although she is shown crowded around people, such as one man just behind her with the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. It also appears that she made it on an FBI poster, one version of which from the FBI entitled, “SEEKING INFORMATION – VIOLENCE AT THE UNITED STATES CAPITOL.” There’s no word if her cohort Dr. Stella Immanuel was there, dealing with the “witchcraft” others said was going on at the time, but there were no Magic 8-Balls to be seen there…

Hydroxychloroquine – The New “Vitajex” for “Vitality” (At Least For The “Wheels of Industry”)

The events here in the U.S. of the last few days and weeks, around what arguably may be one of the most impactful events globally of the last century – the COVID pandemic – has caused me to reflect on what is one of my very favorite movies – and of the many whom I have introduced it to – and I believe to be one of the most consequential films ever produced, even if it is largely forgotten by the modern public. It is called A Face in the Crowd, directed by the iconic Elia Kazan, and released in 1957, and a film I believe was 50 years ahead of its time. I am not alone in this assessment; in 2008 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” features an 8.2 rating on IMDB, and introduced the world to a mesmerizing Andy Griffith as the title character “Lonesome” Rhodes (as well as the debut of a young Lee Remick), in a role many believe for which Griffith deserved an Oscar nomination, but not for the folksy homespun decent man he would become as Sheriff Taylor, but something far darker and more real. It was written by Budd Schulberg, a man of Jewish upbringing (like many in the entertainment business in earlier days) whose father was a Hollywood film producer, but who left his family when Budd was young. In World War II he worked for the Office of Strategic Services, and was one of the first soldiers to release Jewish inmates from German concentration camps, and later was a key investigator to gather evidence against German defendants in the Nuremberg trials, even arresting “Triumph of the Will” producer Leni Riefenstahl in her chalet to force her to identify Nazi collaborator suspects from her films. He also won an Academy Award for his screenplay for On the Waterfront.

A Face in the Crowd concerns itself with Patricia Neal playing a small-town Mississippi radio producer/host of a show introducing a “man on the street,” and who in the local jail finds a grumpy and rough character whom the other captives avoid, and Neal is somehow charmed by him when he sees an opportunity to enrapture her and get release from his drifter lifestyle and frequent jail stays by use of his homespun witticisms and on-the-spot folk songs on the guitar. Before long, he finds his criticism of the jailer over the air causes the listening town folk to publicly protest his opponent, and when he defies the mattress company show sponsor, resulting in the towns people burning their mattresses, an enterprising and ambitious company employee quickly gets the newly christened “Lonesome” Rhodes to sign papers making him his agent, and arranging for him to audition to host the Vitajex Hour national broadcast from New York. We quickly see how a street-wise scoundrel and con man that is ruthless and a master manipulator of endless rural towns is an ideal fit for the Madison Avenue con game run nationally over the television networks, and “once a scoundrel, always a scoundrel,” and that “a leopard doesn’t change his spots” even if cleaned up for mass media, and rather being only a more dangerous con man with greater reach – a lesson we have certainly learned by this time in our selection of influential public figures, have we not?

One of the most fascinating scenes of a film filled with iconic scenes is the subsequent board room of the Vitajex Hour television program in New York, filled with Vitajex and television program executives, for the company owned by a “General Hainesworth,” whose name was on the top of every “Vitajex” bottle. They were struggling with declining sales and television ratings. The old-school Madison Avenue marketing executive suggested more television program specials focusing on the detailed health benefits of the “Vitajex” nutritional supplement pills with experts. The research chemist expert was brought in to the marketing meeting, who showed that the Vitajex pill was comprised of ingredients like dextrose (sugar) and caffeine, and mostly inert ingredients, and thus it was hard to argue scientifically that it was truly worthwhile, and said, “frankly, we have nothing to sell!” – a comment the marketing executive asked to have stricken from the minutes. He also asked the chemist expert if there was “anything wrong” with the ingredients of Vitajex, to which he replied, “It won’t kill you, if that’s what you mean,” drawing a smattering to giggles, and compared it to old patent medicines. The television execs then said they wanted to bring in country bumpkin “Lonesome Roads,” which the “TV shop” recommended. He was brought in with his hillbilly persona, making fun of the pill and the executives. He first told them they needed to make the pills yellow to make them appear to “give fellas some get-up-and-go and sets them up solid with the ladies,” and shows how to get your “batteries charged” by swallowing a pill, then commencing to laugh maniacally, saying he is “in the mood” and undergoing a”personality change” and proceeded to chase the secretaries around the table, saying, “That’s what Vitajex does to me, and I haven’t even swallowed them yet!” He then shows his on-the-spot songwriting skills by singing an infectious tune, “Vitajex – whatcha’ doin’ to me…you fill me full of ecstasy”. The film then cuts away to the “Vitajex dancers” on stage, and a collage straight from 21st century filmmaking sophistication, full of daring sexual innuendo and psychological and subliminal marketing techniques, rockabilly and racuous behavior, along with the chants of the audience, a cartoon of sexually charged pigs, and sultry girls with giant-sized Vitajex bottles for their “boyfriends,” while General Hainsworth calls in and tells them he loves it, as the ratings and sales take off.

General Hainesworth subsequently invites bumpkin Rhodes to his estate, to use his innate skills in manipulating the public via television to help him sell a stodgy Republican candidate for the next presidential election – a figure he has invited to the estate and its guest house. Rhodes’ previous publisher/lover calls Sen. Fuller the “last of the isolationists,” to which General Hainesworth tells her “that is what they say in the left wing New York newspapers.” Hainsworth offers Rhodes to “take him under his wing and educate him,” and make him another Will Rogers to be an influential political force, and a “wielder of public opinion,” and says that “history taught him that in every great society the masses had to be guided by the strong hand of a responsible elite,” and with “TV we have the greatest instrument for mass persuasion in the history of the world,” and thus the General decides to get him on the cover of Time and Life. Soon he is christening ships and mountains named after him. Eventually Rhodes and his manager show General Hainsworth their new invention of an applause and laugh track machine, called a “reaction machine” activated by “pushing little levers,” called the “Lonesome Rhodes Automatic Reactor.” Many more sordid personal events ensue with Rhodes, including his elopement with a teen-aged baton twirler he met at a high school competition, and a racy and gaudy marriage reinactment with her on his television program.

The Senator is then subject to “Madison Avenue coaching” of his presidential campaign and demeanor by General Hainesworth and Lonesome Rhodes, who forcibly make him into what he is not – a folksy character with a dog and a fun nickname, to get the “common man” to identify with him. The General says he needs “glamour” and says that since the majority of people didn’t believe his political positions, they had to come up with a product they would “love,” as Rhodes says he “needs a whole new personality,” and even change how he holds his lips on TV; privately, Rhodes tells the General he must bankroll Rhodes’ new “Lonesome Rhodes Cracker Barrel” TV show to roll out his home-spun political thoughts and on social issues, even pressuring the high-powered figure and threatening to go elsewhere for support. The new show even brings on the new Republican candidate with his new identity. Rhodes began to pontificate with his old country general store friends on air to make fun of America’s British allies as global has-beens, and then asks the Senator about “people wanting more and more Social Security,” to which the Republican says that “people are obsessed with comfort and security, they want protection, from the cradle to the grave – I say that weakens the moral fiber. Daniel Boone wasn’t looking for unemployment insurance and old age pension! All he needed was his ax and his gun, and a chance to hew his living out of the forest with is own hands, that’s the spirit that built this country!”; meanwhile cagey and world-wise reporter Walter Matthau tells the jilted Patricia Neal that he is writing a book about Rhodes called, “Demogogue in Denim.” Eventually she has enough and leaves Rhodes’ microphone on while his cigarette commercial says it “cleans your tobacco without a filter,” letting the whole public hear his contempt for their gullibility and stupidity, as well as the Republican candidate he was promoting, leading the public to denounce him on the switchboard, while he is singing, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.” After his demise, Matthau tells Neal that “he will be back on television after a cooling off period, in a cheaper form, after some of the people forget, in a smaller form it but won’t be quite the same, until new fellas come along to take his fans,” and they will then forget him, and tells the despondent Neal that “we all get taken in, but we get wise to them.”

Many commentators believe that the “Vitajex” nutritional product was an allusion to a popular nutritional substance of the early Twentieth Century known as “Hadacol.” Hadacol was known as a “patent medicine” invented by Louisiana State Senator Dudley J. LeBlanc, in 1943 in New Orleans. He was not a doctor or a pharmacist, but known as a “master of self-promotion”; Time magazine said that he was a “stem-winding salesman who knows every razzle-dazzle switch in the pitchman’s trade.” He evidently back-engineered a liquid a doctor gave him for foot pain, which was loaded with B-vitamins, and made sure it had up to 12 percent alcohol as a “preservative,” which made it very popular in the “dry” counties of the South (many pharmacies would not dilute it as prescribed, but rather give people straight shots).

Wikipedia notes that LeBlanc’s “Hadacol Goodwill Caravan” touring shows (the last of the big-time “medicine shows”) brought in Hollywood celebrities such as Roy Acuff, Milton Berle, Lucille Ball, Minnie Pearl, Mickey Rooney, Bob Hope, Cesar Romero, Dorothy Lamour, Carmen Miranda, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Judy Garland, Jack Dempsey, Chico Marx, Hank Williams and James Cagney to help him market the product. He also sponsored a separate touring show featuring notable Jazz and Blues musicians to attract black customers. Admission to the Hadacol gala was two Hadacol boxtops for adults, one for children. Considering that the 8 ounce bottle cost $1.25 and the “family size” 24 ounce bottle cost $3.50 each during the late 1940s, this was not cheap (Adjusted for inflation, the prices would be around $10 and $30 in 2007). Sales of the tonic at the shows were brisk. One entertainer participant said that the only way you could get into that show was with a Hadacol boxtop, and they played to crowds of ten, twelve thousand people a night.

In a 15-month period ending in March 1951, LeBlanc sold more than $3,600,000 worth of the tonic. In another six months, after LeBlanc sold his interest of the LeBlanc Corporation (Hadacol’s parent company) to investors for $8,200,000, the enterprise collapsed under the weight of debtors. It was discovered all too late that LeBlanc was spending more for advertising by that point than he was taking in as receipts (turning its $3,600,000 profit into a $1,800,000 second-quarter loss), had concealed both $2,000,000 in unpaid bills and a $656,151 tax debt.

Wikipedia also notes that a two-page advertisement for Hadacol appeared in the centerfold of the 1951 edition of Grier’s Almanac, an annual publication marketed to farmers in the Southern USA. The ad’s headline read (in very large type):

  • Don’t Be Satisfied With Symptomatic Relief! It’s Possible to RELIEVE THE CAUSE OF YOUR AILMENTS When Lack Of Vitamins B1, B2, Iron and Niacin Cause Stomach Disturbances, Gas, Heartburn, Indigestion, Nagging Aches and Pains, and Certain Nervous Disorders.

The ad continued with testimonials and a glowing plug for Senator LeBlanc, stressing the curative powers of Hadacol for a number of ailments “…due to lack of Vitamins B1, B2, Iron and Niacin”. A capsule version of Hadacol was briefly produced, consisting solely of a B-Vitamin and mineral mixture. LeBlanc promoted the tonic as a “Dietary Supplement” instead of a medicine, stating that it was “…formulated as an Aid to Nature in rebuilding the Pep, Strength and Energy of Buoyant Health when the System is deficient in the Vitamins and Minerals found in this Tonic.” The American Medical Association said in an official press release in 1951 that “It is hoped that no doctor will be uncritical enough to join in the promotion of Hadacol. It is difficult to imagine how one could do himself or his profession greater harm from the standpoint of the abuse of the trust of a patient suffering from any condition. Hadacol is not a specific medication. It is not even a specific preventive measure.”

LeBlanc flooded the airwaves with testimonials to the powers of the seemingly miraculous (yet foul tasting) brown liquid and turned the jingle called “Hadacol Boogie” into a popular recording. Promotional items included various fliers, signs and clocks, a “Captain Hadacol” comic book, T-shirts, lipstick, an almanac, plastic thimbles printed with the Hadacol logo, water pistols and cowboy-style holsters. Martin Gardner’s In the Name of Science (1952) mentions an interview that LeBlanc gave on Groucho Marx’s radio program: When Groucho asked him what Hadacol was good for, LeBlanc gave an answer of startling honesty. “It was good,” the senator said, “for five million dollars for me last year.”

 

So how was Lonesome Rhodes able to turn a medical/nutritional product of dubious benefit as determined by the experts, into a national phenomenon and a springboard into political influence and mastery over the public? Well, watch a clip of this ingenious piece of writing and filmmaking yourself:

 

 

The only reason I had even waded in to this powder keg (amongst many social and political “powder kegs” these days) of the “hydroxychloroquine” matter, was that I was generously invited by an overseas Christian podcaster to appear on his show not long ago. Since I had not heard his show before and not familiar with his style of interviewing, right before my appearance I decided to listen to a show uploaded right before my appearance, which featured the guest “Dr. Simone Gold,” and the discussion of the drug strongly recommended by President Trump, hydroxychloroquine, which she was strongly promoting as the solution to COVID-19, and further insinuated a cover-up amongst the medical establishment to stymie its use. As I listened intently, there were a few flags then, as an old show host myself, investigator and all-round nosy person, that instinctively compelled me to look around online to find out more about her background, and the origins of her very unique position on hydroxychloroquine as a doctor, in contrast to the position of an overwhelming number of doctors and established medical organizations globally, and large clinical studies done since Presidents Trump and Bolsonaro of Brazil began pushing it hard in late spring.

Before I forget to mention, I much enjoyed my interview with my new friend, which will be linked (in its both parts) on my website www.mikebennettbooks.com very soon. I did give him a heads up as to the contents of my following research, and assured him that my interest was not an indictment on his having her as a guest or his interest in the merits of the drug, but merely an outgrowth of the “mind wheels turning” his interview and his guest generated in me, as I shared my following findings with him a day before posting this, and we are on good terms (if I could fault him for anything, it would be for the inconsiderate outrage of his having an interesting guest and timely topic on his show that I cannot resist chasing down as a new “shiny object” for me, apart from my intended subjects of focus).

Having more than enough to do myself in promoting my book and its subject matter, and not needing to raise any further controversies in a world replete with them these days, nevertheless my curiosity drove me to recklessly pursue another very time-consuming rabbit trail in a quest to alienate more readers, including some supportive close friends who have strong opinions on the matter of masks and such. I just pass on this information for your general consideration and contemplation, and let you draw your own conclusions. I found a number of interesting stories that detailed Dr. Gold’s interesting background. During this early time near the first part of July, I found a particular story that caused me to look further into this a little, and then drop it after the interview (not needing new windmills to tilt at) until a friend (who most of you would know) prodded me to look further into this matter in the last week. Since this is another of my long-winded posts, and I expect m