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MAGA Isn't Just A Cult -- It Has Become A Murder Cult

MAGA Isn't Just A Cult -- It Has Become A Murder Cult

The aftermath of the August 8, 2022 search of the Mar-a-Lago club, former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, isn’t the first showdown between the FBI and a cult leader.

The Following, a 2013 Fox Pictures series, played out in similar fashion. Three seasons was enough for the producers and it’s been nine years since our introduction to Joe Carroll, English professor-novelist-serial killer, so there’s a spoiler risk -- but not enough to prevent the comparison.

Carroll (played by actor James Purefoy) breaks out of prison and meets up with his “followers” — so named because they follow him and also stalk one of Carroll’s enemies. They're basically, disaffected outsiders, obsessed fans who are willing to commit any act of violence to clear Carroll’s path - which seems directed toward reuniting with his ex-wife, Claire Matthews (played by actress Natalie Zea) and his young son — as well as establishing dominion over everyone else and indoctrinating them into his church of latter-day psychos and first-degree homicide.

After two episodes, the audience’s trust in introduced characters is limited because no one knows if the new face is a member of the cult or not. Local sheriffs, housewives, nurses, medical students, correction officers, ex-military have all enrolled in Carroll’s Following.

The man who caught Carroll the first time, retired FBI Agent Ryan Harding (played by Kevin Bacon), comes out of retirement to hunt Carroll again, somewhat ineffectively since the first season needs to last 15 episodes.

The compelling part of the show is the pre-planned nature of these attacks. The Following is organized; they wait for signals from Carroll and execute his designs pretty deftly.

His appellate lawyer, whose fingers have been cut off to persuade her to represent Carroll again, reads a poem in a press conference to incite the abduction of his wife.

In another scene, one Follower raises both of his arms and his colleagues cut the lights and start slitting people’s throats.

When Carroll’s ex, Claire, won’t engage with him, his acolytes start killing other women with the same name. One gets pushed out a high rise window. Another one gets spear gunned in her stomach in a diner booth.

Murder cultists work in concert to protect Carroll from the FBI and impress him with their slaughters, but as the show reveals some characters’ backstories, the audience learns that most have been killing all along; no one ever apprehended them. Their credo is: “In death there is life. In death there is love. In death there is everything.”

I watched it during my last year in prison and all the violence — the setting of unsuspecting people on fire, the slicing of security guards’ livers, the gouging of eyes — scared me more than usual. All I could think was: A few women in here don’t need any new ideas.

Since 2016, I’ve flashed back to various episodes. It’s often said that Trump supporters are a cult. That label needs to leap forward to reflect reality. MAGA is now a murder cult. It seems like no one’s come out and said this yet. There’s no firm definition of a murder cult. The phrase seems just to be a cult qualifier. The difference between a murder cult and a regular cult is their daily activities; murder cultists kill people while others work or chant or pray or study or get sexually abused by their leaders.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) came the closest to calling Trumpism what it is when she compared Trump to Jim Jones, the cult leader who led the mass suicide at Jonestown, Guyana. Speier would know: she was shot five times when she traveled in a congressional delegation to investigate Jonestown. She made the comparison during an appearance on Brian Selter’s Reliable Sources show on CNN last August.

The only difference between Jim Jones and Donald Trump is the fact that we now have social media, so all these people can find themselves in ways that they couldn’t find themselves before … both of them merchants of deceit,” Speier said.

A writer for The Federalist freaked out and accused Spier of defaming Trump in a 2021 article titled “CNN’s Brian Stelter Lets Congresswoman Compare Trump To Murder Cult Leader." Madeline Osburn’s indignant rejoinder is the first and only instance of putting Trump and ‘murder cult’ in the same sentence. She accurately pointed out that “Trump did not lead his supporters to feed 287 children a potion of Kool-Aid and cyanide, leaving them foaming at the mouth, convulsing, and then dead.” But Trump led his supporters to do other things to kill people, or at least die trying.

One Trumper is a literal murder cultist. “Blacks for Trump” founder Maurice Symonette, a.k.a. “Michael the Black Man,” the Black man positioned behind Trump at his rallies, was in a real-life murder cult following a man named Hulon Mitchell, Jr. who called himself Yahweh Ben Yahweh. Interestingly, Mitchell a.k.a. Yahweh was also a hotelier and real estate developer and lived in Florida. He exhorted his followers to slay at least 14 people, “white devils,” who were usually homeless people, unlucky well before they ran across one of Yahweh Ben Yahweh’s dispatched killers. There’s no allegation that Symonette was involved in any of the attacks.

In terms of murder, there’s the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol that ended six lives. And MAGA megafan Cesar Sayoc and his pipe bombs; luckily, no one died. The bombs planted at Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee could have taken out thousands of employees. One Trump supporter tried to cut the throat of a six year old Asian boy in a Texas Costco. A Penn State student threatened to put a bullet in an Indian student. Three men in Kansas plotted to bomb a building that housed many Somalis.

And there’s “Hang Mike Pence.” Because, at least on January 6, 2021, in Pence’s anticipated assassination, there was everything.

These are just a few examples. I suspect the death count from bloodthirsty Trump supporters was supposed to be higher. They’re not as competent as the Followers who have a writing room in West Hollywood to tie up the ends of their stories.

After the search of Mar-A-Lago, violent rhetoric surged again online. It could be tough talk or it could be terrorism, not to defend Trump but to indulge the violent, homicidal nature of some of his supporters.

About halfway through the first season, Claire asks her Follower, Charlie Mead (played by Tom Lipinski): "What is Joe doing? Why do you listen to him? What is this all about?”

“He’s teaching me to feel my life,” Charlie says.

It isn’t about the Deep State. It isn’t about stopping another witch hunt. It isn’t because of the search warrant executed at Mar-A-Lago. This is only about white supremacy because that it’s a simple way to identify targets for violence. How many of the Trump cultists are just murderers who found their justification in — and coalesced around —Donald J. Trump?

Chandra Bozelko did time in a maximum-security facility in Connecticut. While inside she became the first incarcerated person with a regular byline in a publication outside of the facility. Her “Prison Diaries" column ran in The New Haven Independent, and she later established a blog under the same name that earned several professional awards. Her columns now appear regularly in The National Memo.

Never Trumpers Bombard CPAC With Billboard Attack

Never Trumpers Bombard CPAC With Billboard Attack

Fifteen months after Donald Trump was voted out of office, countless Republican entities — from the Republican National Committee (RNC) to the Conservative Political Action Conference — continue to promote unquestioning loyalty to the former president. And a decidedly MAGA lineup dominates CPAC 2022, which commenced in Orlando, Florida on Thursday, February 24 and continues through this Sunday, February 27. But an anti-Trump conservative group, the Republican Accountability Project (formerly Republican Voters Against Trump) is reminding CPAC 2022 attendees that not all conservatives are Trump loyalists.

In Orlando, RAP has paid for more than 100 anti-MAGA billboards during CPAC 2022. One of them shows an Arizona-based Republican voter named Nancy, who is quoted as saying, “I’m disgusted by today’s GOP. No integrity. It’s all about power.” And in another RAP billboard, a Colorado-based ex-Republican, also named Nancy, complains, “I don’t recognize today’s GOP. Reagan wouldn’t either.”

A billboard featuring Washington State-based ex-Republican Daniel quotes him as saying, “I’m a Cheney conservative, not a Trump Republican.”

Arch-conservative Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, blames Trump for the January 6, 2021 insurrection and voted for his second impeachment later that month. Because Cheney has been so vocal in condemning the ex-president, she is facing aggressive GOP primary challenges from several Trump loyal loyalists in her deep-red state.

In an official statement on its website, RAP said, “Making excuses for the January 6 insurrection has become commonplace. The lies about the 2020 election grow louder every day. MAGA candidates are falling over themselves to prove how Trump-loyal and Trump-like they are, and they’re driving away key parts of their base in the process. We will be running over 100 billboards in Orlando, FL, throughout this year’s CPAC conference.”

RAP has often been compared to The Lincoln Project, another right-wing anti-Trump group. RAP and The Lincoln Project both supported Democratic now-President Joe Biden in 2020’s presidential election, and members of both groups can often be found on MSNBC and CNN bashing Trump and the far-right MAGA movement.

CPAC 2022’s uber-MAGA lineup ranges from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri to Trump himself. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who was among the many candidates in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, is featured as well.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Praised By Republican Presidents, Fauci Is Now Target Of GOP Attack Ads

Praised By Republican Presidents, Fauci Is Now Target Of GOP Attack Ads

Republican presidents of the past welcomed Dr. Anthony Fauci’s expertise, from Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush to his son George W. Bush. It was under the younger President Bush, in fact, that Fauci received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in 2008.

“For his determined and aggressive efforts to help others live longer and healthier lives,” Bush declared, “I'm proud to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Anthony S. Fauci.”

But that was before the Trumpification of the GOP and before Fauci was demonized by the far-right MAGA movement. In an article published by Politico on February 4, reporter Stephanie Murray stresses that an abundance of Republican ads are trying to fire up the GOP base with anti-Fauci messaging.

Anti-Fauci messages in Republican ads, Murray notes, are coming from everyone from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to Dr. Mehmet Oz — who is running for the U.S. Senate seat presently occupied by Sen. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania — to Mike Gibbons, a U.S. Senate candidate in Ohio.

In Gibbons’ ad, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky declares, “I’ve stood strong against the mandates of Dr. Fauci, but I need help. That’s why I’m endorsing Mike Gibbons for Senate. I know Mike Gibbons will join me in demanding that Fauci is immediately fired and removed from office.”

Oz’s ad, meanwhile, finds him saying, “The big government medical establishment came after me because I dared to challenge Fauci on COVID.”

“Anthony Fauci has been a GOP target for nearly two years, as the party cast the president’s chief medical adviser as a villain for pandemic-era policies,” Murray explains. “Now, he’s emerging as a star in Republican campaign commercials. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is appearing in spots across the airwaves this week as primary elections take shape and Republicans seek to tap into his unpopularity with the GOP base.”

In 2008, President George W. Bush was praising Fauci for working hard to save lives. In 2022, demonizing him is a way for MAGA Republicans to prove their street cred.

“Fauci is a particularly useful foil for GOP candidates in primaries because of Republican hostility toward his performance,” Murray observes. “Sixty-two percent of Republicans said Fauci was doing a ‘poor’ job handling the pandemic, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll. Meanwhile, 41 percent of Democrats said Fauci was doing an ‘excellent’ job in his handling of the pandemic — compared to just six percent of Republicans. The poll surveyed 2005 registered voters from January 28-30.”

The 81-year-old Fauci has served in the United States government since the late 1960s, and he was appointed director of NIAID under President Reagan in 1984.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Two Michigan Trumpsters Charged With Threatening Elected Officials

Two Michigan Trumpsters Charged With Threatening Elected Officials

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

In Michigan — which has seen more than its share of political extremism in recent months — state Attorney General Dana Nessel has announced criminal charges against two men accused of threatening officials on Tuesday.

The men are 62-year-old Daniel Thompson, who is from Clare County, Michigan, and 43-year-old Douglas, Georgia resident Clinton Stewart.

Thompson, Nessel's office alleges, made threats against Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Elisse Slotkin, both Democrats. Those threats, according to Nessel, include threats against Stabenow in a message left on Jan. 5 and threatening remarks during a Jan. 19 conversation with one of Slotkin's employees. In addition, Nessel's office alleges that Thompson made a threatening phone call to Slotkin on April 30, 2020.

According to Nessel's office, "The voicemail message for Sen. Stabenow left by Thompson, who identified himself as a Republican, contained vulgar language and threatened violence meant to intimidate the public officials. Thompson stated he was angry about the results of the November election, that he joined a Michigan militia and that there would be violence if the election results were not changed. In an e-mail to Stabenow's office, he reiterated the threatening remarks and used vulgar language."

Stewart, meanwhile, is accused of leaving a threatening voice mail for Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens in September and describing her as an "activist judge" whose rulings were favorable to then-candidate Joe Biden. Stewart, allegedly, believed that Stephens was making decisions in favor of mail-in ballots in the hoping of swinging the 2020 presidential election to Biden in Michigan.

The charge against Stewart was filed in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, while the charge against Thompson was filed in Livingston County, Michigan.

These indictments follow a great deal of unrest in Michigan in 2020, when Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer became the target of kidnapping plot by far-right extremists who were angry over COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing measures in her state.

In an official statement on the Thompson and Stewart indictments, Nessel said, "It is unacceptable and illegal to intimidate or threaten public officials. To those who think they can do so by hiding behind a keyboard or phone, we will find you and we will prosecute you, to the fullest extent of the law. No elected official should have to choose between doing their job and staying safe."