Tag: qanon
Why Republican 'Investigations' Are So Lurid -- And So Empty

Why Republican 'Investigations' Are So Lurid -- And So Empty

No matter how often they are disappointed, Republicans perennially repose their political hope in baroque scandals and conspiracies. The further to the right they lean, the more fascinated they are by the most absurd and lurid narratives — a tendency that spawned the full-blown destructive cult known as QAnon, which blends authoritarian politics with gory fantasies of pedophilia and cannibalism among the elite, usually topped with a smudge of antisemitism.

Not every self-styled "conservative" shares the perverse imagination of QAnon cultists like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and more than a few may have noticed just how many child pornographers and sex offenders have turned up among QAnon's top influencers.

But as America approaches another presidential election, we must expect top Republicans to declare ever more noisily that the scandal of the century has engulfed President Joe Biden, who is a Democrat and therefore guilty before any charges are specified, let alone proved. The project of smearing Biden began during the last election, in a still murky operation involving a laptop computer owned by his surviving son Hunter. Honest news outlets have openly questioned whether anything on that machine can be taken at face value, after it has passed through the hands of almost-disbarred Rudy Giuliani, grifter Steve Bannon, fraudster Guo Wengui and other discredited figures.

So, while far-right outlets still market "salacious" images from the Hunter Biden laptop, Congressional Republicans are out there pushing other supposedly incriminating themes and memes.

The latest is a document in the possession of the FBI, which is said to reveal a "tip" from a foreign figure about alleged influence peddling by Joe Biden back when he was vice president. Both Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., who chairs the House Oversight Committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, whose specific role is obscure, have threatened to find FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt for withholding this document, although both now admit that they have seen it already.

Asked by reporters what the FBI document shows, Comer and Grassley have refused to divulge its allegedly explosive contents. Then Grassley exposed the hollowness of their "investigation" during a Fox News interview on June 1, when he said, "We are not interested in whether the allegations against Vice President Biden (sic) are accurate or not." He and Comer were only concerned, the Iowan declared, to make sure the FBI "is doing its job."

Evidently the FBI finished that particular job some time ago, when former President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr still controlled the Justice Department. According to CNN, Barr distrusted the document's validity and its origins among Giuliani's sources in Ukraine (who are notorious for providing voluminous amounts of fabricated information). And neither the FBI nor prosecutors could find any corroboration of its claims about Biden.

In short, the new improved scandal is going down the same soiled chute as so many others that have targeted Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and nearly every Democrat who has run for president since 1980.

For instance, Americans recently learned that when Trump left the White House, the federal investigation of the Clinton Foundation finally ended, with no evidence whatsoever of wrongdoing. Not only did the nonprofit that former President Bill Clinton founded more than two decades ago save and improve millions of people's lives across the world, but it has also achieved those objectives with transparency and integrity. Yet Republicans spent millions of public dollars on endless investigations, aiming to degrade its reputation for partisan advantage.

The smear attacks on the foundation began with a 2015 book called "Clinton Cash," sponsored by Bannon, promoted by The New York Times, and cited by Trump to justify the FBI probe during his presidency. Its litany of false accusations damaged Hillary Clinton badly during her presidential campaign, just as they were concocted to do.

Proof has since emerged, ironically enough, that it was Bannon who profited from a fraudulent nonprofit, swindling rubes who wanted to "build the wall" on the Mexican border — and that it was Trump who operated a family foundation to evade taxes and glom large sums for his own benefit. Indicted for those financial crimes, Bannon accepted a pardon from Trump, who had already been forced by New York authorities to dissolve his own phony foundation. By then the political damage to the Clintons, and the nation, had been done.

When Grassley confessed that he doesn't care whether the accusations his party publicizes are true, he blundered into a profound truth. The Republican Party's leaders are no more interested in uncovering corruption than they are in reducing deficits or preventing child abuse. They care about power and its rewards, and nothing else.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Janae Shamp

Arizona GOP State Senator Promoted Neo-Nazis And QAnon Antisemites

Arizona state Sen. Janae Shamp has promoted antisemitic influencers on her Facebook page. Her sources include a neo-Nazi who previously said he wants a picture of Adolf Hitler in “every classroom”; a Gab user who urged readers to “Fight the Jews on Every Single Issue”; a QAnon influencer who dreamed of the day that Jewish people would be “gone”; and a neo-Nazi radio host who served a prison sentence for issuing violent threats.

In addition to her repeated promotion of antisemites, Shamp has also forwarded QAnon propaganda dozens of times, which Media Matters reported on earlier this week. QAnon itself is steeped in antisemitism. Shamp has notresponded to reporters’ questions for comment about her QAnon activity, but she has taken down some of her posts.

Shamp has also compared people who oppose the COVID-19 vaccine to victims of the Holocaust. In one instance, Shamp shared an image of the Jewish badge with the word “unvaccinated” written over it.

She also posted an image comparing the treatment of the unvaccinated to laws targeting Jewish people in Nazi Germany.

Shamp’s sharing of bigoted accounts is part of a larger pattern of Republicans who have promoted antisemitic media figures and outlets. Those officials include fellow Arizona politicians Rep. Paul Gosar and state Sen. Wendy Rogers. Both of them, along with former President Donald Trump, endorsed Shamp's campaign.

The following are numerous examples of Shamp promoting the accounts of antisemites.

Shamp Promoted Neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell’s Anti-Soros Post

Shamp shared an anti-George Soros post that was credited as “Via Gab - @RealBlairCottrell.” (The writing was originally posted on a QAnon-themed Telegram account.) Blair Cottrell is a pro-violence neo-Nazi who has written of Hitler: “There should be a picture of this man in every classroom and every school, and his book should be issued to every student annually." He has also said, “The Jews are as small physically as they are degenerate in character,” and claimed that Jewish people "infiltrate and subvert entire generations of other nations in a bid for world power.”

The Gab account Shamp directed people to includes Cottrell praising Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers' Party (also known as the Nazi Party). He wrote: “The reason nobody will recreate National Socialism any time soon is because the NSDAP was built from the ground up by a decorated war veteran and thousands of high-stock, stoic German soldiers, frustrated and forced into political action by Germany’s terrible conditions following her defeat in the First World War. … Personally, I don’t even feel like I have the right to call myself a National Socialist. I work hard and am in good condition, however I don’t live morally enough yet.”

Gab itself is a haven for antisemites, neo-Nazis, and white nationalists. It is run by Andrew Torba, who has repeatedly made antisemitic remarks.

Shamp Promoted The Website Of Neo-Nazi Hal Turner

Shamp shared a COVID-19 conspiracy theory article on the website of white supremacist radio host Hal Turner. The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote:

On his radio show, Turner has ranted about “bull-dyke lesbians,” “savage Negro beasts,” “f------,” and even joked about a “portable n----- lyncher” machine. He has a nasty history of threatening political enemies, saying that they deserve to be killed and posting their addresses online. That practice caught up to him in August 2010, when he was convicted of threatening to assault and murder three federal judges.

The SPLC also documented Turner’s history of antisemitism. Publications including The New York Times and NPR have described him as a neo-Nazi.

Shamp Cited InevitableET, Antisemitic QAnon Influencer

Shamp shared election denial content credited to QAnon influencer InevitableET. Vice News wrote that InevitableET (real name Craig Longley) is “a leading and hugely antisemitic voice in the Q community.” The publication reported that he has imagined “the day Trump would leave the White House, suggesting that all Jews would be ‘gone,’ using the antisemitic three brackets ‘echo’ symbol to identify Jewish people. … He has taken part in the ‘Blue the Jew’ movement, where anti-Semites Photoshop images of Jewish people blue, a technique developed on fringe websites to use visual clues to disseminate hateful antisemitic messages while avoiding triggering mainstream platforms’ hate speech rules.” Vice added that Longley promoted the virulently antisemitic text The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Shamp Shared Clinton Conspiracy Tweet From “Groyper”

Shamp shared a tweet from a now-suspended Twitter account named “wxgroyper” that pushed the conspiracy theory that Alabama reporter Christopher Sign’s death was related to the Clintons. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue defines groypers as “a loose network of white nationalist activists and internet trolls who gravitate around several key online influencers. Their goal is to push and normalize white nationalist ideas within mainstream conservatism.” Holocaust denier and antisemite Nick Fuentes is a leader of the groypermovement, which pushes antisemitism.

Shamp Promoted Antisemitic QAnon Influencer Jordan Sather

Shamp shared a quote from QAnon influencer Jordan Sather, who has a history of antisemitism. He has written: “What is the real virus plaguing our world?” He then wrote the echo symbol that’s been used by antisemites to symbolize Jewish people: “(((Them))).”

Shamp Promoted Gab Account Of Antisemite Wyatt, Austere Deplorable

Shamp shared a conspiracy theory post from the obscure and virulently antisemitic Gab account Wyatt, Austere Deplorable. That account, which also supports QAnon, had previously posted antisemitic remarks:

  • “Are we, as Gentiles - Satan's Creation, going to sit back and allow this to happen? Or are We going to Fight the Jews on Every Single Issue and put a END to their plan for world domination? I REFUSE TO BE A SLAVE!!” [Link]
  • “The little jew started all this and now they are trying to sit back and watch the people devour themselves. This is a classic method of the jews. This is the same thing they did in WW2 and in all other historical times, such as the Roman Empire.” [Link]
  • “The jews are very good when it comes to causing wars, frail and afraid when its to carry them. So what do they have to do, is cause Gentiles and other States to fight for them. The jewish oligarchy is pushing Gentile Soldiers to actually do what the jews don't want to do.” [Link]

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Uh-Oh: QAnon Cult Has Seized Control Of Arizona's Republican Party

Uh-Oh: QAnon Cult Has Seized Control Of Arizona's Republican Party

When Arizona Republican legislators recently debuted a committee that was accused of QAnon signaling with its acronym, chair and state Sen. Janae Shamp responded by claiming it was “a goofy accusation.” But a review of Shamp's own Facebook posts found that she has frequently promoted the conspiracy theory: She has posted QAnon videos; forwarded conspiracy theories from QAnon influencers; and shared QAnon slogans, including the phrase of the acronym in question.

Republicans in Arizona set up a committee chaired by Shamp to purportedly “examine federal, state and local efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.” (Its most recent hearing was filled with COVID-19 conspiracy theories.) They named it the Novel Coronavirus Southwestern Intergovernmental Committee, using the acronym “NCSWIC.” Reporters and QAnon experts soon raisedquestions about whether they were nodding to QAnon, which uses NCSWIC to stand for “nothing can stop what is coming.” (QAnon followers basically believe what’s coming is Trump arresting or destroying the supposed deep state.)

Arizona state Senate GOP spokesperson Kim Quintero called the line of questioning about QAnon “absolutely ridiculous” and “BS.” And Shamp responded to the controversy by tweeting: “What a goofy accusation! Sometimes an acronym is just an acronym.”

Yet Shamp herself has repeatedly shared the phrase “nothing can stop what is coming.” And her Facebook page leaves no doubt that she’s a QAnon devotee who is deeply immersed in the violence-linkedconspiracy theory.

The following are among numerous examples of Shamp promoting QAnon-tied propaganda on social media. (This is just a sampling of her voluminous activity.)

  • In a post claiming the 2020 election was stolen, Shamp shared the QAnon phrase “Nothing can stop what is coming.” (She copied the post from a QAnon-supporting Telegram account)
  • She also shared a Trump campaign image that includes the phrase “Nothing can stop what is coming”
  • Shamp shared the QAnon phrase “WWG1WGA” (“where we go one, we go all”).
  • Shamp shared a video she credited to the Gab account Qanon211 to downplay the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
  • Shamp has frequently promoted content she credited to the QAnon influencer collective We The Media. Her shared content includes a false claim about Dominion Voting Systems stealing the election and a video downplaying January 6. She also shared their pro-QAnon video that featured the “where we go one, we go all” phrase.
  • Shamp additionally shared a We The Media video featuring QAnon imagery, writing: “I know I've shared this video before but I do believe it is worth sharing a thousand more times!”
  • Shamp posted a video including the text “WE ARE THE STORM” -- a popular phrase among QAnon followers.
  • Shamp posted a video titled “The Trump Wave by ItalyQanons.”
  • Shamp said that she listens to the QAnon show X22 Report “nightly” and also likes the QAnon show BardsFM.
  • Shamp shared a post from a QAnon-themed Twitter account which pushed the conspiracy theory that the Clintons killed Monica Petersen because they wanted to hide their sex trafficking.
  • Shamp has cited Ron Watkins (aka “CodeMonkey”), a QAnon influencer who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in Arizona, in pushingelection conspiracy theories.
  • Shamp hasrepeatedlyshared content that she’s sourced to Praying Medic, a QAnon influencer.
  • Shamp shared election denial content that she attributed to QAnon influencer Stormy Patriot Joe.
  • Shamp shared a quote that she attributed to QAnon influencer Jordan Sather.
  • Shamp shared election denial content that she attributed to QAnon influencer InevitableET.
  • Shamp shared election denial content that she attributed to QAnon influencer KanekoaTheGreat.
  • Shamp has repeatedlyshared the QAnon-promoting account AnonPatriotQ, including to push election denialism.
  • Shamp shared a video from the QAnon influencer aTimeQ that features the QAnon-alignedslogan “the Great Awakening.”

In addition to Shamp, Arizona state Sens. David Farnsworth, Wendy Rogers, and Justine Wadsack have endorsed or promoted QAnon. Arizona sheriff Mark Lamb, who is running for the U.S. Senate, has also been attempting to appeal to QAnon followers.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

White Nationalist Streamer Promotes 'Collab' With Don Jr.

White Nationalist Streamer Promotes 'Collab' With Don Jr.

White nationalist ally and misogynistic content creator Sneako (real name Nico Kenn De Balinthazy), who was recently pictured with former President Donald Trump at an Ultimate Fighting Championship event, told his followers during an April 11 livestream that Donald Trump Jr. informed him that he hopes the pair can collaborate on projects.

During his livestream, De Balinthazy gloated about hanging out with the Trump family.

“Shout out to Barron Trump,” De Balinthazy said. “Shout out to Donald Trump Jr. Donald Trump Jr. streams on Rumble. Talked to him.”

“Donald Trump Jr. says that he would like to do a collab,” De Balinthazy continued. “That’s going to be great. … He’s entertaining, he’s a good speaker, and he streams on Rumble.”

De Balinthazy also shared a congratulatory letter from Rumble for “surpassing 100,000 followers.”

Various other creators, including DJ Akademiks, JiDion, Adin Ross, Steve Deleonardis, Jorge Masvidal, also appeared at the UFC event alongside Trump. Akademiks claimed that Rumble set up the meet-and-greet.

Rumble is a far-right video hosting platform thatfeatures bigots, conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, and QAnon content creators. De Balinthazy currently has 214,000 subscribers on the platform.

De Balinthazy, who has been described as “a cheap imitation of [Andrew] Tate,” rose to prominence on YouTube for posting gaming, motivational, and man-on-the-street interview videos. De Balinthazy later shifted toward making misogynistic and hateful content.

De Balinthazy has gained notoriety for his connection to white supremacist Nick Fuentes. Both De Balinthazy and Fuentes have proclaimed their admiration for each other online, and the influencer worked with Fuentes and Milo Yiannopoulos on Ye’s (formerly Kanye West) unofficial presidential campaign.

During an appearance on the No Jumper podcast together, De Balinthazy and Fuentes made antisemitic remarks.

The influencer has churned outmisogynistic and racist content, including videos on “why ugly girls think they’re beautiful” and “how women manipulate men.” De Balinthazy has also made anti-LGBTQ and anti-vaccinecomments.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.