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Tag: qanon cult

Prominent QAnon Anti-Vaxxer Who Called For Fauci 'To Be Hung' Dies Of Covid

QAnon supporter Cirsten Weldon was among the far-right anti-vaxxers and coronavirus truthers who railed against COVID-19 vaccines in 2021 — and on Thursday, January 6, according to The Daily Beast, she died of COVID-19.

Weldon, who called for Dr. Anthony Fauci — President Joe Biden’s top White House medical adviser — to be executed, was known for posting videos of herself berating people who were waiting in line to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Weldon falsely claimed that COVID-19 vaccines were dangerous, and she said that Fauci “needs to be hung from a rope.”

The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer reports, “Cirsten Weldon had amassed tens of thousands of followers across right-wing social media networks by promoting the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy under the screenname CirstenW.’ She was prominent enough to become a sort of QAnon interpreter for comedian conspiracy theorist Roseanne Barr and started recording videos about QAnon with her.”

In one of her videos, Sommer notes, Weldon can be seen yelling at people who were waiting to get vaccinated for COVID-19 — saying, “The vaccines kill, don’t get it! This is how gullible these idiots are. They’re all getting (the) vaccine!”

Weldon became ill in December, describing her symptoms in her videos and saying that she had “bacterial pneumonia.” But she continued to oppose COVID-19 vaccines.

In a December 27, 2021 video posted on Facebook, Weldon told viewers, “I didn't think I was going to make it. I'm sorry. I'm exhausted, and I have no — I'm very, very weak. I have no strength. I haven't eaten in four days.” Weldon described having “fever, chills, sweats.”

According to Sommer, Weldon posted her final video on December 28, 2021 and was “hospitalized in Camarillo, California” three days later.

Sommer points out that Weldon is “just the latest instance of a far-right personality who opposed vaccination being killed by the virus.” Others have included radio host Douglas Kuzma, who died on January 3 — only three days before Weldon — and QAnon supporter Robert David Steele, who described COVID-19 as a “hoax” before dying from it in August 2021. QAnon supporter Veronica Wolski, another anti-vaxxer, died of COVID-19 the following month.

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

QAnon Cult Split By 'Civil War' Sparked By Lin Wood's Attacks On Michael Flynn

According to The Daily Beast, the latest Make America Great Again (MAGA) intraparty feud involves Trump-loyalist and conspiracy-driven attorney Lin Wood and former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Although Wood has a reputation for backing far-right conservatism and conspiracy theories, most recently he has faced scrutiny for attacking other well-known conservative figures and releasing incriminating audio clips.

During a recent segment of the podcast Fever Dreams, co-host Will Sommer shed light on the clash between Wood and Flynn. Per Sommer's report, the controversy surrounding Wood escalated when he released audio clips of Flynn. The incriminating audio reportedly featured Flynn's deeply critical remarks about the "pro-Trump conspiracy theory" QAnon being a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-backed plot.

In the wake of Flynn's remarks, Sommer noted that “QAnon’s been very good to Michael Flynn. Some of them believe he’s Q… I mean this is a guy who is thick as thieves with QAnon. But privately, [he calls it] a ‘CIA operation. It’s nonsense.’ So this is a pretty big break from what he does publicly.”

The whole ordeal has contributed to a domino effect on other issues. Per The Beast: "As a result, pro- and anti-Flynn factions inside QAnon have been ripping into each other on Telegram and other right-wing social media platforms."

Sommer also expounded on the aftermath describing it as a form of "civil war."

“This has basically started a big civil war… including, I should say, the JFK Jr. people in Dallas. So they’ve all sided with Lin," Sommer said. "Michael Flynn, obviously, has his own adherents—but this has really, like, started a lot of drama."

He added, “They’re calling it a civil war but maybe it’s more like a prison riot… this has also set off a lot of people who have beefs with people on the other side, but that are totally unrelated to this. But now they’re seeing this as their opportunity to settle scores with their rivals… things are all on fire over there.”

After Slandering All Democrats As 'Communists,' Greene Cries She's 'Most Attacked'

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

If it seems like it was just yesterday that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene labeled the President of the United States and in fact every Democrat in the country “communists,” it was, which is why it might seem strangely hypocritical that the Republican from Georgia is labeling herself the “most attacked” freshman member of Congress in all of U.S. history.

“Joe Biden is a communist,” Greene declared strongly Thursday evening. “And that’s who the Democrats are – they’re communists.”

“You know, a lot of people are swallowing down the word ‘socialist,’ but that’s not a good enough word for Democrats – they are communists,” Greene told her supporters, clearly ignorant of the words’ meanings.

“That’s the word we need to keep using with them,” she continued. “Because they’re using these unprecedented, authoritarian, tyrannical controls on the American people to force people to comply.”

But Greene was singing a very different tune Friday afternoon.

“I have been the most attacked freshman Member of Congress probably in United States history,” Greene cried in a video she posted to social media. “The media has defamed me. They have completely smeared my character. Called me names and labeled me horrible things, none of which I am. None of the things they have said are true about me.”

What has been said about Rep. Greene in the legitimate media? Unlike her videos, there’s a high degree of likelihood it’s mostly true.

Here’s a portion of what The New York Times wrote in January:

Marjorie Taylor Greene had just finished questioning whether a plane really flew into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and flatly stating that President Barack Obama was secretly Muslim when she paused to offer an aside implicating another former president in a crime.


“That’s another one of those Clinton murders,” Ms. Greene said, referring to John F. Kennedy Jr.’s death in a 1999 plane crash, suggesting that he had been assassinated because he was a potential rival to Hillary Clinton for a New York Senate seat.
Ms. Greene casually unfurled the cascade of dangerous and patently untrue conspiracy theories in a 40-minute video that was originally posted to YouTube in 2018.

Ms. Greene suggested in a 2018 Facebook post, unearthed this week by Media Matters, that a devastating wildfire that ravaged California was started by “a laser” beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family with connections to powerful Democrats. She endorsed executing Democratic lawmakers, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She served as a prolific writer for a now-defunct conspiracy blog called “American Truth Seekers,” writing posts with headlines including “MUST READ — Democratic Party Involved With Child Sex, Satanism, and The Occult.” And she argued that the 2018 midterm elections — in which the first two Muslim women were elected to the House — were part of “an Islamic invasion of our government.”


Ms. Greene has repeatedly claimed in multiple videos and social media posts that several school shooting massacres were “false flag” events perpetrated by government officials in an attempt to drum up support for gun control laws. In an October 2020 video surfaced on Friday by Mother Jones, she said that the “only way you get your freedoms back is it’s earned with the price of blood.”
Ms. Greene is perhaps best known for having endorsed QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy movement that claims that Mr. Trump was facing down a shadowy cabal of Democratic pedophiles.

That was almost an entire year ago. You’re probably more familiar with all the baseless and unfounded attacks she has made since.

Greene has made lying about and attacking Democrats part of her weekly, if not daily routine. Sometimes those attacks have been very personal – and very close. Like when she followed Parkland shooting survivor and gun control activist David Hogg around the streets of D.C. He said he felt she was threatening him. Or more recently, when she verbally assaulted U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of Congress. That was one of her countless attacks against the New York Democrat who Greene seems disturbingly obsessed with.

But if indeed Greene is the “most attacked” freshman member of Congress in all of U.S. history, she has only herself to blame.

Flynn Aiming For A Violent, Ultranationalist, Theocratic Coup Against Democracy

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Michael Flynn is always in the news for the worst reasons.

Today, it's because of the former Trump advisor's feud with Lin Wood and the leaking of messages and audio recording during which he calls QAnon “total nonsense” as well as a CIA psy-op. Last time, he was calling for a single religion in the United States. Time before that, QAnon members accused him of being a Satanist for a sermon at a church drawing from a former New Age apocalyptic leader.

Next time, it may be for something worse. In any case, everything Flynn has been doing suggests that QAnon or not, his audience, his rhetoric and his goals are far more concrete and far more sinister than the mocking media coverage suggests. Let’s start in September.

On September 17, Flynn was at the “Opening the Heavens” Conference at the Lord of Hosts Church in Omaha, Nebraska. That event claimed to be “an annual, multi-day event where the prophetic heart of God and the manifestation of His supernatural power are demonstrated to those in attendance and [those] viewing online around the world!”Flynn spoke alongside a number of “prophetic” pastors, including Gene Bailey, executive director of Kenneth Copeland ministries, whose spiritual warfare preaching got the heavy-metal treatment last year.

Flynn’s speech made news due to QAnon’s reaction to it. It was said to be Satanic, ironic given QAnon’s resemblance to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. Flynn’s speech resembled a 1984 sermon by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, founder of the Church Universal and Triumphant, a New Age apocalyptic group best known for their move to bunkers in Montana to await a prophesied nuclear apocalypse in 1990. Not only was it a failed doomsday cult, but it was a theosophic movement, something associated with Lucifer by its 18th-century founder.

Flynn said he felt called to St. Michael, the archangel and his namesake. While the link between Prophet and Flynn is interesting, the text of Flynn’s “Archangel Prayer” is all by itself not so great:

We are your instrument
Of those sevenfold rays
And all your archangels, all of them
We will not retreat, we will not retreat
We will stand our ground
We will not fear to speak
We will be the instrument of your will
Whatever it is
In your name, and in the names of your legions
We are freeborn, and shall remain freeborn
And we shall not be enslaved by any foe
Within or without
So help me God.

“Seven rays” is a concept used in theosophy and in the Summit Lighthouse. Prophet’s prayer to Archangel Michael, which people have compared Flynn’s sermon, is not only part of the theosophic movement, but an aggressively anti-Communist talk, ending:

Archangel Michael, Stand with me!
Save my child!
Save my household!
Save my nation and bind those Communist hordes!

Others can analyze the I AM movement and its issues, but the use of militant religious language and the comparison to an aggressively apocalyptic, anti-Communist doomsday cult is bad enough.

Then in early November, Flynn and Wood had a series of exchanges -- people have focused on the audio recording of Flynn calling QAnon a CIA disinfo operation — but more worrying was the fact that he told Wood, on November 3, to read an article proving QAnon is a fraud.Why more worrying? Because it was written by Hal Turner, a neo-Nazi radio host who’s promoted various QAnon conspiracies and served time for threatening elected officials -- he advocated murder repeatedly. The article is incredibly scary. It included this passage:

The Trump Anon believers want SOMEBODY ELSE to do it for them. Well, I’ve said this before and I will say it again now: Nobody is coming to save them/us. Nobody is coming to save the country. If you want something done, you gotta do it yourself. And until someone (but not me) decides that it is finally time to throw away all the comforts of this life, and brutally slaughter the people who are doing all these things, (and by “slaughter” I mean exactly that) then all these things will continue, unabated, to the destruction of our country and our oh-so-comfy lives.

This is standard Turner fare -- to preserve white nationalist power, people have to murder others, including elected officials -- but to have someone with Flynn’s background and his elite status within QAnon conspiracy and other movements promoting it is infinitely more terrifying than the entertainment value of seeing him bashing QAnon.A week later Flynn and Wood were in Springfield, Missouri, at a “Preserving America” event billed as “Come and listen to America’s tier-1 patriot speakers and learn about preserving America under the Constitution.” Outside of the Springfield News-Leader, it garnered little press -- but one local sheriff attending claimed he had, “A great conversation with General Flynn. He wanted me to know the American Sheriff is the last line of defense for our freedom. I agree!”

Flynn has spoken with Richard Mack for the “Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association” podcast, an anti-government extremist group that works to recruit sheriffs into the “patriot” militia movement. The comment should be taken in that light.

Then there is Flynn’s ongoing “Reawaken America” tour, the most recent news items before the Wood blowup. On November 13, the tour was at the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, John Hagee’s church.Hagee is an apocalypse-minded Christian Zionist and his son and executive pastor of the church, Matt, was on stage for the event. The “Reawaken America Tour,” a QAnon speaking tour, has numerous pastors presenting -– Dave Scarlett, Mark Burns, Phil Hotsenpiller, Leon Benjamin, Greg Locke, Jackson Lahmeyer, Brian Gibson among them. All have pushed the Big Lie and Christian Nationalism.

On stage, Flynn said, “if we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion. One nation under God, and one religion under God.” The clip got widespread media play, but it is much more important in that broader context. “Reawaken America” has events in Dallas in December at Elevate Life Church in Frisco, where Pastor Keith Craft runs men-only “Warrior Nights,” dresses in militant garb, and mocks mask-wearing and the government.

In January, they’ll be at Dream City Church in Phoenix, which had hosted a Trump rally in 2020 and had been sent a cease-and-desist about promoting a fraudulent air filter system that June.

In February, they’ll be at Trinity Gospel Temple in Canton, Ohio, where Pastor Dave Lombardi tweeted out on November 3: “‘King Cyrus’ will prevail! Christian principles will prevail!,” and “the ‘Walls of Jericho’ will fall tonight! The Gospel message will prevail! The March continues!”

Both ideas have violent overtones — the fall of the walls of Jericho is followed by the massacre of all inhabitants. “King Cyrus,” a reference here to Donald Trump, destroyed the empire of the Babylonians.

These events are linking congregations nationwide in a specific project -- to build an ultranationalist Christian right to control of America.

Flynn’s fall events show it is not as simple as whether or not he’s a grifter who pretends to believe in QAnon. He is. He’s a fraud. He’s corrupt. And we already knew this. But he’s also a corrupt fanatic, who believes in overthrowing the government and imposing a theocracy. He certainly seems comfortable reading and promoting neo-Nazi articles advocating the literal slaughter of enemies while doing so.

Stop laughing at Michael Flynn.

He’s dangerous.

Driving him out of QAnon is great, but the other groups he’s engaged with, the other ideologies he’s a part of, are no laughing matter.

J.D. Vance Joins The Jackals

The question of what will become of the Republican Party in the post-Trump era seems to be on everyone's lips. A New York Times survey found that Republicans themselves have five distinct views of Donald Trump, including 35 percent who are either "Never Trump" or "Post Trump." But 65 percent fall into the "Die-hard" camp (27 percent), the "Trump Booster" faction (28 percent), or the "InfoWars" segment (ten percent).

Whatever the future of the Republican Party will be, the shape-shifting J.D. Vance sheds light on the dynamics of how we got here and where the Republican Party is headed. This week, billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel announced that he is donating $10 million to a super PAC supporting Vance's potential run for the United States Senate seat from Ohio.

Vance today is a fixture of the Trumpist right, but that isn't the way he debuted. Not at all.

Rarely does a nonfiction book make the kind of splash Hillbilly Elegy did in 2016. I was part of the cheering section. Vance emerged as an authentic voice of the working class — a self-styled "hillbilly" no less — to declare that the problems of many working-class people were largely self-inflicted.

Or perhaps a better way to say it is that their problems are a matter of personal choices. Drug abuse, welfare dependency, domestic violence, irresponsible spending, and family disintegration were all omnipresent in Vance's family and community. The stories of his upbringing are harrowing. He described his home life as "extraordinarily chaotic." His grandmother once attempted to murder his grandfather by dousing his bed with gasoline and lighting a match (he survived).

In a 2016 interview, Vance told Rod Dreher that his mother probably cycled through 15 husbands/boyfriends during his childhood. Family disintegration was the greatest handicap Vance and others like him were saddled with. "Of all the things that I hated about my childhood," he wrote, "nothing compared to the revolving door of father figures."

His depiction of working-class life wasn't a complete rejection of his origins. He stressed that he loved his family, and that a majority (even if a bare majority) of his community does work hard. For children trapped in dysfunctional homes, one can have nothing but sympathy. And he believed that elites did fail to evince much understanding for people who were struggling. On the other hand, he was keen to counter the pervasive sense of helplessness in the community he was raised in. "There is a lack of agency here — a feeling that you have little control over your life and a willingness to blame everyone but yourself."

In a sense, Vance was the anti-Trump. He was a true son of Appalachia striving to lift his community, in contrast to the faux populist from Manhattan seeking to flatter and exploit them. Vance felt that they needed hope and a generous dose of honesty. Trump offered fantasies and cunningly curated hatred.

During his 2016 book tour, Vance was not shy about his disdain for Trump. When NPR's Terry Gross asked how he planned to vote in November, he said: "I can't stomach Trump. I think that he's noxious and is leading the white working class to a very dark place." And appearing on the podcast I hosted at the time, Need to Know, Vance recalled texting his editor to say that, "If Trump wins it would be terrible for the country, but good for book sales."

But a funny thing happened after the introduction of J.D. Vance, anti-Trump voice of the working class. He began to drift into the Trump camp. I don't know why or how, but Vance became not a voice for the voiceless but an echo of the loudmouth. Scroll through his Twitter feed and you will find retweets of Tucker Carlson, alarmist alerts about immigration, links to Vance's appearances on the podcasts of Seb Gorka, Dinesh D'Souza, and the like, and even retweets of Mike Cernovich. But the tweet that really made my heart sink was this one from Feb. 12: "Someone should have asked Jeffrey Epstein, John Weaver, or Leon Black about the CRAZY CONSPIRACY that many powerful people were predators targeting children."

By citing the cases of Jeffrey Epstein and John Weaver, one a convicted abuser of underage girls and the other an accused abuser of teenage boys, he is whitewashing the QAnon conspiracy.

Jeffrey Epstein was a despicable creep. John Weaver seems to have done bad things (though he has not been convicted of anything yet). But the QAnon conspiracy teaches that a cabal of leading Democrats and Hollywood celebrities sexually abuses not teenagers but little children, and then eats them. No decent human being should in any way remotely suggest, far less with all caps, that those conspiracies might not be so crazy.

I'm not sure which is worse: that Vance, who just four years ago lamented the rise of conspiracy theories on the right, is now helping to foment one of the worst, or that the Republican base is so warped that ambitious men feel the need to sink into the sewer in search of political success.

Vance's slide from path-breaking writer to Trumpist troll tracks perfectly with the decline of the Republican Party. Peter Thiel clearly believes his new incarnation will win votes. And it may. But to quote Vance back at himself, if he does win, "it will be terrible for the country."

Mona Charen is policy editor of The Bulwark and host of the Beg to Differ podcast. Her most recent book is Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com