Tag: qanon republicans
The Children's Hour: Why So Many Proto-Fascists Are Also Pedophiles

The Children's Hour: Why So Many Proto-Fascists Are Also Pedophiles

Ladies and gentlemen, please follow me to a corner of the American Freakshow tent where a group of tubby white guys who got into politics as family values Republicans hang their heads in shame. Faith-based to a thinning hair, while sipping Diet Cokes at local Trump campaign strategy meetings, or representing conservatives in Congress and state legislatures, they were apparently lining up sex with teens and children or -- eek -- flicking through child porn.

If you hang out in right-wing social media silos, you have no problem believing that the Democratic Party is teeming with baby-abusing demons and witches, fanged affiliates of the George Soros global elite pedophile cabal. You have seen Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene shrieking about liberal groomers whenever a TV camera points her way. Perhaps you even belong to QAnon, the fascist movement/religion that holds Donald Trump was sent to Earth to rescue trafficked children. As of last year a majority -- 52 percent -- of Republicans believed in its central tenet, that top Democrats are involved in sex trafficking rings.

Out here, outside the silos, we find this obsession baffling. Why do our proto-fascists see pedophiles under every proverbial bed?

Quite possibly, it’s because they do see them all the time - in broad daylight, in their own ranks.

I’ve always believed that if you prick a rock-ribbed conservative, the kink oozes out. Bullwhips and dominatrices, shoe fetishes, latex, all of it, smashed back in the closet. But what I didn’t see coming was the simultaneous emergence of men whose craving for juvenile flesh is on display and sometimes leads them to prison, belonging to a political party devoted to fanning the flames of a moral panic about the other side trafficking children.

The recent news of Stop The Steal organizer Ali Alexander’s habit of grooming teenage boys for sex -- he solicited dick pics from a number of them by text — got me thinking about this crazy confluence of desire and denial among the hard right herd.

A casual search hauls up an astonishing number of rightist characters from Dixie to DC to the Dakotas who have quite recently, many within the last five years, resigned from office or political jobs, or pled guilty, or been convicted, and are in prison. I’ll flip thorough the rogue’s galley quickly and then discuss what this is. Details are lurid. If you really want more, links are in the resource list at the end.

In Washington, last April, a jury convicted anti-abortion activists and former Republican National Committee staff member, Ruben Verastigui, was caught in a federal sting of a ring of men that traded child porn, including of babies. He admitted to possession of 152 videos and 50 images of child pornography and to receiving and distributing sexual depictions of children. He is serving a 12 and a half year prison sentence.

Two months ago, in Minnesota, a jury convicted Republican political operative Anton Lazzaro of seven counts involving child sex trafficking of 15 and 16 year old girls. Lazzaro “conspired with others to recruit and solicit six people under the age of 18 to engage in commercial sex” between May and December of 2020. Some of the victims testified that he would take them to his luxury Minneapolis condo and feed them Everclear, a 190 proof booze. Each of the seven counts carries a ten year mandatory sentence.

In Oklahoma, former Republican state senator Ralph Shortey was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison in 2018, on a child sex trafficking charge. Shortey was a county campaign coordinator for Trump in 2016. He pled guilty to child sex trafficking after being accused of soliciting sex from a 17-year-old boy in March. Shortey had voted for a measure the Oklahoma legislature passed that would allow business owners to discriminate against gay people.

Clockwise from top left: Folmer, Neal, Lazzaro, Pressler, Moore, Verastigui, Shortey, Koskan. Center: Trump kissing a teen.Image from American Political Freakshow

In Pennsylvania in 2019, Republican state senator Mike Folmer resigned after being arrested and charged with possession of child porn for uploading images to a Tumblr account in 2019. He spent a year in prison and now must keep authorities apprised of his whereabouts.

In Tennessee last May, federal prosecutors charged Putnam County Commissioner Jimmy Ray Neal with possession and distribution of child pornography. He allegedly went by the handle “Tennesseemaster” on an app used to share pictures of pre-pubescent children.

Last November, Joel Koskan, running for the third time as a Republican candidate for the South Dakota legislature, was charged with felony child abuse, after a family member reported that he groomed, molested, and raped her for years, starting when she was 12.

One state closer to Canada, in North Dakota, last spring, the state’s longest serving state senator, Ray Holmberg, resigned after reports that he exchanged a stream of text messages with a man jailed on child porn charges. Holmberg exchanged 72 text messages with Nicholas James Morgan-Derosier, who prosecutors say possessed several thousand images and videos depicting sexually abused children and took two children under the age of 10 from Minnesota to his Grand Forks home, with the intent of sexually abusing them. Holmberg said he couldn’t recall, but thought the texts exchanges were about a patio.

In Texas, anti-gay activist and one-time chairman of the Houston area Republican Party, Jared Woodfill, conceded in a deposition that he ignored complaints about the behavior of his law partner, the Baptist preacher Paul Pressler, with young men. A young man accused Pressler of repeatedly raping him in a church youth group. Woodfill had been informed that the preacher was a predator, who liked to tell young men lewd stories about men “naked on beaches” trying to lure them to skinny dip at his ranch.

In 2020, Trump campaign operative George Nader pled guilty to child porn and sex trafficking and was sentenced to ten years in prison. Prosecutors accused him of possessing pornographic images of children including some featuring toddler-age boys, baby goats, and other farm animals, and of arranging to transport a 14-year-old boy from the Czech Republic to his Washington home.

Trumpworld was creepy with men who had a thing for teens, starting with 45 himself. Alabama’s 2018 U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, was a notorious teen-girl harasser. Six women accused him of pursuing sex with them when they were as young as 14. Moore was so aggressive toward high school girls that a local mall actually banned him, according to the New York Times.

The revelations did not lose him Trump’s endorsement.

An Uncle Fester getting gnarled hands on a nubile is nothing new in conservative circles. The OG of Republican perviness was the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), whose sex with a 15-year-old produced a child when he was in his 20s, and who went on to marry women one half and one third his age. Former Rep. Dennis Hastert, the longest serving Republican House Speaker, pled guilty to trying to pay a almost a million dollars in hush money to a teen wrestler he sexually abused while a wrestling coach in Illinois between 1965 bands 1981. At least six Republican Congressmen pleaded with the judge to give him leniency.

Is it just a coincidence that the rash of recent arrests and revelations about Republicans came in the wake of the election of a man who has bragged about walking in on half-naked Miss Teen USA’s getting dressed when they were in his pageants? Might there be something in the MAGA water?

Fascist author and pseudonymous Twitter personality Bronze Age Pervert, intellectual leader of young rightists, in his book Bronze Age Mindset, classifies humanity into three categories: superior men who "desire one thing above all, ever-flowing eternal fame among mortals," natural “bugmen,” dullards and serfs who make up the majority of men, and an intermediate class who alternate between serving the natural aristocracy and enforcing the hierarchy. In the Bronze Age Mindset, women “drain” men of their vitality and are responsible for all the world’s problems.

In the actual Bronze Age, slavery was common, girls were marriageable at 12 and probably younger, first cousins married each other, and females had little agency about who they had sex with. BAP, as he’s known, doesn’t explicitly say it, but an element of the Bronze Age Mindset’s vital male is that he be free to do what he wants with and to the bodies of “lesser” people - usually women, but also, perhaps, children, male or female.

This fantasy appeals beyond incel circles. As feminism empowered adult women, it has become more difficult to carry them off into proverbial caves. Are these self-considered superior men - -the Matt Gaetzes of the world, say -- turning to younger and younger girls?

The right studiously ignores this flaw in their project of elevating the neolithic male model. They blame liberals for a supposed epidemic of child sexualization, while in their ranks, sex criminals are going to prison.

State and federal laws apparently haven’t caught up with the Neanderthal trend.

I am not the first to point out that moral panics, like QAnon’s about children, erupt regularly in response to threatening social change. I recommend terrific discussions about how women going to work gave rise to Satanic panic hysteria in day care centers during the 1980s on the Conspirituality podcast. There are also many great essays, including one in Mother Jones, from which I excerpt:

With Pizzagate and QAnon, the molesters have changed from day-care workers to the liberal elite, and the politics behind the theories now are more explicitly spelled out. But the general context is more or less the same: conservative retrenchment after a period of progressive social gains. If women’s entry into the workplace in the latter half of the 20th century triggered deep anxieties about the decay of traditional gender roles and the family unit, in the 21st century it was same-sex marriage, growing acceptance of transgender rights, and the seeming cultural hegemony of a social justice agenda.

The twisted reality of conservative attitudes toward sex, women and children means that even as their ranks are infiltrated with pervs, they consistently use supposed dangers to women and children as a political cudgel against the other side. “I’ve noticed an alarming pattern when it comes to Judge Jackson’s treatment of sex offenders, especially those preying on children,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) tweeted before the Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court confirmation hearings. “Judge Jackson has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker.”

In fact that was a lie.

Republicans are the strongest defenders of Lolita-loving state laws allowing child marriage. Between 2000 and 2018, 300,000 girls between age 15 and 17 were married in the U.S. A significant portion of them -- 60,000 -- were under the age of sexual consent in their states. “Run Josh Run” Hawley hails from the great state of Missouri, which just happens to be a “destination wedding spot for 15-year-old brides,” per the Kansas City Star.

Hawley’s Deliverance home state had such lax laws about girl-man marriage that between 2000 and 2014, thousands of children were legally married there, many of them impregnated teens. The state recently increased its legal marriage age to 16, against the objections of legislators who openly supported child marriage. During recent debate about anti-transgender care legislation, one of them, Sen. Mike Moon, doubled down again apropos of parents’ rights to marry off (heterosexually of course) their children, whenever they want. Moon, who had voted no on the bill to raise the marriage age from 15 to 16, asked the legislature, “Do you know any kids who have been married at age 12?” When one of his colleagues replied, “I don’t need to.,” Moon -- a Republican, of course -- replied: “I do, and guess what, they’re still married.”

Related resources

Mike Folmer

Ruben Verastigui

Ralph Shortey

Woodfill and Pressler

Joel Koskan

George Nader

Jimmy Ray Neal

Ray Holmberg

Ali Alexander

Rep. Mike Moon

Conspirituality podcast (I recommend the episodes on “Michelle Remembers” and recovered memory connections to Satanic panics.

Strom Thurmond’s Lolita

Mother Jonesessay on moral panics

Child marriage in America

Nina Burleigh is a a journalist, author, documentary producer, and publisher ofAmerican Political Freakshow, a Substack on politics. Her journalism has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Airmail, and New York. She is the author of seven books including most recently Virus: Vaccinations, the CDC, and the Hijacking of America's Response to the Pandemic and an adjunct professor at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

Please consider subscribing to American Political Freakshow, from which this is reprinted with permission.

Greene Told Trump That Her QAnon Cultists Would Join January 6 Protest

Greene Told Trump That Her QAnon Cultists Would Join January 6 Protest

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who pushed the debunked conspiracy theory that “Antifa,” not a pro-Trump mob, was behind the Capitol attack, informed former President Donald Trump that her supporters, including some QAnon cultists, would attend the January 6, 2021, rally that preceded the Capitol attack, ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told the House Select Committee.

The House panel’s latest release of full transcripts cache featured two more interviews with Hutchinson, its star witness, conducted last May and June that mentioned prominent Trumpworld figures including Greene, Trump himself, and his administration’s fourth and final chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

As Hutchinson recalled in the June closed-door deposition, Greene had brought up QAnon in several conversations with then-President Trump and in private communications with Meadows, the Independent reported.

“I remember Marjorie Taylor Greene bringing QAnon up several times...in the presence of the president, privately with Mark,” Hutchinson testified.

“I remember Mark having a few conversations, too, about — more specific to QAnon stuff and more about the idea that they had with the election and, you know, not as much pertaining to the planning of the January 6 rally,” she added.

Hutchinson also testified that Greene broached the outlandish conspiracy theory on January 4, 2021, during a campaign rally in Georgia that Trump attended to stump for then-Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Republicans.

“... We were on the ground in Georgia… Mr. Meadows and I were having a conversation,” Hutchinson said, “Ms Greene came up and began talking to us about QAnon and QAnon going to the rally, and she had a lot of constituents that are QAnon, and they’ll all be there.”

“And she was showing him pictures of them traveling up to Washington, DC, for the rally on the 6th,” she added.

When the select committee’s vice chair, outgoing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) asked Hutchinson if she recalled Trump talking about QAnon, the former aide disclosed that Greene had lauded her QAnon-supporting constituents in a chat with the lame-duck president.

“I heard him talk on the plane that night because Ms. Taylor Greene gave him a very similar spiel: These are my constituents. Look, one of them had a Q shirt on. They are on the plane,” Hutchinson said. “And she showed him a picture of them, saying: Those are all my people.”

In the days preceding January 6, Greene falsely accused “Joe Biden and the Democrats” of stealing the election, claimed without evidence that “President Trump won by a landslide,” and urged supporters to “flood the Capitol building.”

Yet, Greene told Lindell-TV, a disinformation platform owned by pro-Trump conspiracist and MyPillow magnate Mike Lindell, that anti-fascists were behind the Capitol attack and “no one can convince me it was so-called Trump supporters.”

Hutchinson also told congressional investigators that she recalled other right-wing luminaries discussing QAnon and far-right militias — the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys — including “several other members of Congress.”

Greene participated in these discussions with Trump and Meadows, said Hutchinson, and so far-right Reps. Scott Perry (R-PA), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Mo Brooks (R-AL), and former Trump White House adviser Peter K. Navarro.

“I remember Mr. Meadows and Mr. Perry talking about all of the groups [the Oath Keepers, QAnon, and the Proud Boys] and with several other members of Congress,” Hutchinson informed panel investigators.

“I remember Mr. Brooks mentioning some of the groups. Mr. Biggs, Ms. Marjorie Taylor Greene… Mr. Navarro had talked about them a couple of times,” she added.

QAnon’s Takeover Of GOP Surging With 72 Candidates Pushing 'Pedophilia' Lies

QAnon’s Takeover Of GOP Surging With 72 Candidates Pushing 'Pedophilia' Lies

The long-running gradual consumption of the Republican Party by the authoritarian QAnon conspiracy cult is nearing the terminal takeover phase: A recent survey by Grid found 72 Republican candidates with varying levels of QAnon affiliation. The most salient fact, however, is not only is the cult presence growing, but not a single Republican in any capacity can be found who either denounces the trend or works in any other way than in concert with it.

That reality is terrifying not just because QAnon has a long record of inspiring unhinged, violent behavior with its fantastically vile beliefs and rhetoric. Most of all, QAnon at its core is deeply eliminationist, with an agenda calling for the mass imprisonment and execution of mainstream Democrats for ostensibly running a global child-trafficking/pedophilia cult—which seamlessly fits the people being targeted by Fox News and mainstream Republicans as “groomers” for opposing the right-wing attacks on the LGTBQ community.

Grid’s survey was based on a review of “public records and reporting, social media posts, and campaign materials and events,” which its team of reporters used to identify and confirm QAnon-aligned candidates for public office in 2022. They found at least 78 of them in 26 states, all but six of them Republicans, mostly running against other Republicans in their state primaries.

“They’re running for governorships, secretaries of state, seats in the Senate and House, and in state legislatures,” the study says. “They have raised over $20 million this cycle — and over $30 million since 2018.” Its simple summary: “QAnon appears to be a growing political movement with increasing clout and significant mainstream appeal.”

The highest concentration of these candidates is in Arizona, which has 13 of them; Florida is a close second with 12, while California has 10 and Texas has six. Over a dozen of them are incumbents, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado. Another 14 serve at the state level, mostly in legislatures.

One of the incumbents, Arizona House member Mark Finchem, participated in the 2021 Capitol insurrection—as did several other QAnon candidates—and has been subpoenaed by the House January 6 committee.

Most of these candidates, indeed, have never held public office and have dubious (at best) records of achievement:

  • Shiva Ayyadurai, who has four degrees from MIT and is running for the Massachusetts governorship, runs a website claiming that he is the inventor of email.
  • Ryan Dark White, who’s running for a U.S. Senate seat in Maryland and goes by the name Dr. Jonathan Ambrose McGreevey, has also pleaded guilty to illegal weapons charges and to fraudulently obtaining more than 80,000 doses of opioids.
  • Carla Spaulding, a candidate seeking to be the GOP nominee to run against Democratic House whip Debra Wasserman Schultz for her Florida seat, pays herself a hefty $60,000 salary out of her campaign contributions while running up a six-figure campaign debt. Nonetheless, she has far outraised her Republican competitors for the nomination; she’s number three on Grip’s QAnon fundraising list.

As Grid notes, “Q himself may be on the ballot this year.” In Arizona, Ron Watkins—the longtime 8kun site administrator who is believed to have authored at least some of the “Q drops” that fueled the cult between 2017 and 2020—is running in for the U.S. House in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, though his candidacy is considered a long shot at best. Watkins vowed to raise $1 million for his bid, but so far appears only to have raised about $50,000.

In a rational world, QAnon would have shriveled up and blown away after all of its cherished predictions and beliefs about “the Storm” led by Donald Trump and his allies that would sweep up these evil pedophiles and put them in prison to await execution were completely demolished by the cold reality of Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election. But instead, it kept spreading and growing, its fanaticism helping fuel the January 6 insurrection, and providing a driving force for the ongoing anti-democratic insurgency that has followed. In states like Oregon, it now fundamentally controls the Republican political apparatus.

QAnon reared its ugly head in the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson. As Alex Shepard observed at The New Republic, much of the questioning from Republicans revolved around the core QAnon beliefs:

The Q-inspired pedophile smear is consuming Republican politics. “The phrase ‘child porn’ (or ‘pornography’ or ‘pornographer’)” was mentioned 165 times during Brown’s confirmation hearings, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank tallied. “I’m not suggesting she likes what’s happening in child pornography,” Senator Lindsey Graham said Monday. But “she ha[d] a chance to impose a sentence that would deter [child pornography], and she chose not to.” Senator Josh Hawley, meanwhile, referenced QAnon in his own remarks. “Judge Jackson’s view is that we should treat everyone more leniently because more and more people are committing worse and worse child sex offenses,” he said, while also stating that “we’ve been told things like child pornography is actually all a conspiracy, it’s not real.” The lunatics who follow QAnon may just be onto something, in other words: The truth is out there.

Shepard also notes that there are concrete reasons for Republicans to permit themselves to be subsumed by an authoritarian cult: It polls well. “Nearly half of Republicans (49 percent) and 52 percent of Trump voters believe that Democrats run child sex-trafficking rings, per YouGov polling conducted during Jackson’s confirmation hearings,” he reports. “Even though only 18 percent of Republicans had a positive view of QAnon (compared to 16 percent of all respondents), 30 percent of all respondents believed that ‘top Democrats are involved in elite child sex-trafficking rings,’ suggesting the wide reach of the conspiracy theory.”

What all this tells us is that Democrats this fall will be facing a multipronged attack by Republicans, all based on hysterical fantasy: Democrats are soft on crime, they want to push critical race theory and “transgender ideology” on your kids, and they’re pro-pedophile. All three are designed to appeal to the lizard-brained lowest common denominators: the people inclined to violent eliminationism. Candidates should come prepared.

Crazy QAnon Terrorists Force Butterfly Sanctuary To Close

Crazy QAnon Terrorists Force Butterfly Sanctuary To Close

The bottom-feeding, deranged and conspiracy-laden cult of QAnon made headlines after claiming a Texas nature preserve is, in fact, a secret front for George Soros and Hillary Clinton's child smuggling cannibal cabal, which leads us remaining thinking people to believe that we've been living in a simulation ever since Mango Mussolini usurped democracy in 2016. It seems that the threats being leveled from these bamboozled and psychotic cultists were so severe that it resulted in the National Butterfly Sanctuary closing its doors for the immediate future.

"The safety of our staff & visitors is our primary concern," said Dr. Jeffrey Glassberg, president and founder of the North American Butterfly Association. "We look forward to reopening soon when the authorities and professionals who are helping us navigate this situation give us the green light."

The center initially closed its doors for three days last week due to an onslaught of threats from a former state official and the We Stand America event. But it seems the center has dealt with constant harassment in recent years after waging legal challenges against the Trump administration over the use of the center's land to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. It seems the big and beautiful wall would have disrupted the habitat for many species of butterflies that are found at the preserve, including the endangered Monarch.

And like with every conspiracy manufactured by these lunatics, QAnon continued to believe the center was involved in sex trafficking despite not a single investigation from Texas authorities. This is just one of many examples of the morally, intellectually, and democratically bankrupt cesspool Trump left behind.

Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist. Follow his work on Facebook and TikTok