Domestic Terrorism Open Thread: Just Another MAGA ‘Patriot’


(GWUPOE — I didn’t recognize it, either — is the Program on Extremism at George Washington University)

From the Washington Post:

Christopher Paul Hasson called for “focused violence” to “establish a white homeland” and said, “I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth,” according to court records filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland. Though court documents do not detail a specific planned date for an attack, the government said he had been amassing supplies and weapons since at least 2017, developed a spreadsheet of targets that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and searched the Internet using phrases such as “best place in dc to see congress people” and “are supreme court justices protected.”…

Hasson, 49, of Silver Spring, is expected to appear before a judge for a detention hearing in federal court in Greenbelt at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Hasson was arrested Friday on ­charges of illegally possessing weapons and drugs, but the government said those charges are the “proverbial tip of the iceberg.” Officials with the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland outlined Hasson’s alleged plans to spark chaos and destruction, describing in court documents a man obsessed with neo-fascist and neo-Nazi views.

“Please send me your violence that I may unleash it onto their heads,” Hasson wrote in a letter that prosecutors said was found in his email drafts. “Guide my hate to make a lasting impression on this world.”…

Hasson has been working at the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters in Washington since 2016, according to court documents filed by prosecutors. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1988 to 1993 and in the Army National Guard for about two years in the mid-1990s, the filings state….

Court documents do not detail what prompted federal law enforcement to begin investigating Hasson but contend that Hasson had been studying the 1,500-page manifesto of right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who unleashed two attacks in 2011 that killed 77 people in Norway, and echoed Breivik’s attack preparations…

In an email drafted in June 2017, he contemplated biological attacks and targeting food supplies, according to the court filings. He considered the merits of a “bombing/sniper campaign.” And he included a “Things to do” list that mentioned purchasing land “out west or possibly NC mtns” for family and researching tactics used during the civil war in Ukraine.

“During unrest target both sides to increase tension,” Hasson wrote in the email, according to the court filings. “In other words provoke gov/police to over react which should help to escalate violence. BLM protests or other left crap would be ideal to incite to violence.”…

I’m with Mr. Pierce on this:

… [T]his really may not have been the best day for the president* to be calling media outlets enemies of the people. After all, there are some people out there who still take him seriously.



Late Night RussiaFvckery-Adjacent Open Thread: All-American Con Artist Indicted

Another two-bit grifter who’d still be safely under the radar if only Trump hadn’t been inserted into the White House by a foreign power:

Paul Erickson became the subject of public interest after his girlfriend, Maria Butina, was charged last year and pleaded guilty to conspiring with a senior Russian official to infiltrate American conservative political circles as an undeclared agent for the Kremlin…

As part of that plea, Butina admitted to working with an American political operative to forge connections with officials at the National Rifle Association, conservative leaders and 2016 presidential candidates, including Donald Trump.

The political operative has been identified by government officials as Erickson, a longtime GOP political adviser from South Dakota, who managed the 1992 presidential campaign of Pat Buchanan. Erickson’s lawyer, William Hurd, has said he is a “good American” who “has never done anything to hurt our country and never would.”…

One of the money transfers listed in the indictment as an instance of money laundering is a $20,472 payment Erickson made in June 2017 to American University — the school Butina attended…

Didn’t have a chance to post this earlier, but it would seem relevant. From the NYTimes, “N.R.A. Seeks Distance From Russia as Investigations Heat Up”:

When a delegation of high-profile donors, boosters and board members from the National Rifle Association traveled to Russia in 2015, they visited a gun factory in Moscow, took in a ballet and met with members of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

But now the N.R.A. is seeking to distance itself from the trip, after revelations that a Russian woman who helped arrange it, Maria Butina, was conspiring to infiltrate the organization.

The trip has been a subject of scrutiny in at least four inquiries into the N.R.A.’s ties to Russia; questions about the N.R.A. have also surfaced in the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Newly empowered congressional Democrats are now stepping up efforts to uncover how much money the N.R.A. received from Russia, and whether the group served as a conduit for Russian funds into the 2016 Trump campaign…
Read more



The Special Forces of Liberty is My USO Tour Cover Band Name! MAGA-Dopes on Patrol Edition

As we make our way through this long Friday afternoon waiting to see what, if anything, comes from the sealed documents/indictments that the Special Counsel’s Office filed yesterday and trying to make sense of why the President thinks the Federal government can negotiate “cash on hand” contracts (Narrator: the Federal government cannot negotiate cash on hand contracts), we should check in on the MAGA-Dopes and their ongoing, low intensity warfare campaign of terrorism across the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Let’s start with the snark…

We interrupt this snark for the actual factual information, from Courthouse News (emphasis mine):

HOUSTON (CN) — Christian activists who tried to stop Houston libraries from hosting “Drag Queen Storytime” because it allegedly promotes the LGBT community’s “secular humanist” religion lack standing, a federal judge ruled Thursday, dismissing the lawsuit.

Three Christian men, including a pastor, sued Houston Public Library Executive Director Rhea Lawson and Mayor Sylvester Turner in October 2018 after an online petition and a protest outside a city library did not persuade Lawson to cancel the events that the library advertised as “an imaginative storytelling experience.”

“Picture books and songs shared by vibrant performers will excite and instill a love for reading for the entire family,” the library said on its website for the story hours it hosted once a month from August to December 2018.

Lead plaintiff Tex Christopher said in the lawsuit that “‘gay marriage’ is ‘fake marriage’” and that, as a Houston taxpayer and library cardholder, he has standing because the library specially ordered books for the story hours and made flyers for them.

“The plaintiffs believe that LGBTQ ideology is immoral, obscene and subversive to human flourishing and that the LGBTQ ideology is inseparably linked to the religion of Secular Humanism,” the lawsuit states.

The plaintiffs said in the complaint that the library was “brainwashing the children of Houston” while denying Christian groups’ requests to host Christian-related events.

U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal dismissed their lawsuit Thursday for lack of standing and failure to state a viable First Amendment Establishment Clause claim.

Rosenthal said the men could not prove the threshold issue that they had been injured by the story hour because it’s unclear from their pleadings that any of them attended the events.

“The plaintiffs assert the very opposite: they purposefully avoided ‘Drag Queen Storytime’ because of its alleged immorality and potential to harm their children. Instead of witnessing the event, the plaintiffs ‘researched [it] online,’” Rosenthal wrote in a 19-page order.

Rosenthal said their allegations of injuries are much broader than “Drag Queen Storytime” in Houston libraries, and that shutting down the events here would not redress their grievances.

She said they are using the litigation to “protest the gay-rights movement and the legal rights federal courts have recognized for members of the LGBTQ community.”

Plaintiff Chris Sevier is also a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit in Lafayette, La., that led that city’s library director in October 2018 to “stand down on planning a Drag Queen Story Hour” while the litigation is pending, court records show.

Rosenthal also rejected the plaintiff’s claim that they have standing because they pay sales and property taxes in Houston that were used to fund the story hours.

“The plaintiffs allege the purchase of children’s books and creation of a flyer but fail to allege that either were ‘a measurable appropriation’ of the Library’s $40,000,000 budget, or both cost more than a de minimis amount. These costs, individually or in the aggregate, do not confer standing,” wrote Rosenthal, chief judge of the Southern District of Texas.

She refused to credit the Christians’ claims that because the LGBT community practices the religion of secular humanism, “Drag Queen Storytime” violates the Establishment Clause, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

The judge found that even if she accepted that secular humanism is a religion under the Establishment Clause, there is no evidence that any drag queens discussed it at the events.

“Because the plaintiffs do not allege facts that do or could show that the event is a religious activity, there is no issue of establishment of religion,” she wrote.  

In his original complaint, Christopher said he sued “in his capacity as a community leader,” and that he and his co-plaintiffs, including De Factor Attorney Generals and Special Forces of Liberty, “have been violently and/or viciously persecuted by the LGBTQ church and devout members of the Secular Humanist religion for refusing to respect and endorse a worldview that is objectively immoral, obscene, and subversive to human flourishing.”

We now return you to the regularly scheduled snark.

I really do not want to know what evidence that Christopher submitted in support of his claim that he’s be violently and/or viciously persecuted by the LGBTQ church and devout members of the Secular Humanist religion.

Unfortunately one of the Special Forces of Liberty, or was it one of the De Factor Attorney Generals – who can keep them straight without a program? – decided to take his 2nd Amendment rights out for some exercise…

From The Independent (emphasis mine):

Donald Trump supporter reportedly armed with a gun barged into a Texas library in an attempt to stop a drag queen reading books to children.

James Greene was arrested on suspicion of trespassing after refusing to leave Houston’s Freed-Montrose Library, but claimed he was detained for being a “white Christian” and accused staff of satanism.

He had entered the building to protest against Drag Queen Storytime, a programme of events in which performers read children’s stories to families.

The conservative radio host has previously been banned from the library for filming children during similar demonstrations.

Footage filmed by Mr Greene and posted on YouTube shows him remonstrating with police officers as they ask him to leave the building. Another clip shows him being handcuffed in the libary’s car park.

He added: “He was previously banned for filming children at the library, and has been known to cause disturbances. Several officers had to escort him out.”

Mr Greene later recounted the incident in a Facebook video, wearing a Make America Great Again hat in front of a cardboard cut-out of Mr Trump. He claimed he was “arrested for being a white Christian” and accused a librarian at Freed-Montrose of being a “satanist”

Of course he did…

Bless his heart!

Remember, the only thing that can stop a bad MAGA hat wearing guy with a gun is a Drag Queen with a children’s story book.

Alright children are we ready? Good! See James be creepy at the library. See library officials ask the strange men who likes to act out in front of children in public to leave. See James threaten the nice library officials. See the library officials call 911. See the police officer ask James to leave. See James refuse because he’s a white, Christian man and this is Texas by God! See James get taken into custody and not shot because he’s a white, Christian man and this is Texas by God! And every one lived happily ever after. Now who’s ready for another story?

While I wish it wasn’t the case, this kind of stupid behavior will eventually stop when one of these morons pulls this stuff on a financially well off, professional ethnic and/or religious minority who both conceal carries and lives in a Stand Your Ground state. At that point they will learn the hard way that the old maxim that “God made man, Samuel Colt made all men equal” doesn’t just apply to white guys. And then things are going to get really exciting.

Open thread!



There’s Dumb and Then There’s Katrina Pierson Dumb!

Who wants to tell her?

She might want to try using one of these:

Don’t be like Katrina Pierson!

Open thread.

Yes, I know the article she’s linked to is from 2017, but the tweet is from today.

 



An Answer to Adam Weinstein’s Question Regarding Mariia Butina

In Anne Laurie’s post earlier today, one of the embedded tweets is from Adam Weinstein. As is the case for those doubly blessed to be named Adam and from Florida, he asks an excellent question:

While Mig Greengard’s response below was good, I think there is, if not a better explanation/answer, a complementary one.

As some of you are aware, I have something of a hobby of staying current with the “armed intelligentsia”. This is a combination of two things. The first is they do really good gear reviews for outdoors equipment. The second is left over from my early, first career in academia where I did comparative research into domestic American extremists, contrasting them with those in other countries. These days I’m just largely interested in how Americans understand the history of and around the 2nd amendment and how it has changed over time. As I’ve indicated several times in comments, the best real history book on the topic is Saul Cornell’s A Well Regulated Militia. I also highly recommend his edited volume dealing with the history of modern American 2nd amendment jurisprudence. However, if you want to see what gun enthusiasts – from sport shooters to hardcore 2nd amendment absolutists – you need to read the comments. It may come as a surprise to some people reading this, but it is amazing what people will write and post as a comment when using a pseudonym. I know you’re all just shocked, shocked that such a thing could happen…

I’m not looking to pick a fight with anyone, but here are the links to the heaviest trafficked firearms website/blog on the Internet and how they covered Mariia Butina, her organization Right to Bear Arms, and gun rights/issues in Russia. Take a gander into the comments, do you notice anything? A lot of wishful thinking about how “the natural, civil, and constitutional” right to keep and bear arms might just be catching on and spreading to Russia. The truth is it isn’t. But what these comments tell provide us with an answer to Adam’s excellent question. It points us back to what Rick Perlstein wrote about several years ago in The Baffler (emphasis mine).

It would be interesting, that is, to ask Coulter about the reflex of lying that’s now sutured into the modern conservative movement’s DNA—and to get her candid assessment of why conservative leaders treat their constituents like suckers.

The history of that movement echoes with the sonorous names of long-dead Austrian economists, of indefatigable door-knocking cadres, of soaring perorations on a nation finally poised to realize its rendezvous with destiny. Search high and low, however, and there’s no mention of oilfields in the placenta. Nor anything about, say, the massive intersection between the culture of “network” or “multilevel” marketing—where ordinary folks try to get rich via pyramid schemes that leave their neighbors holding the bag—and the institutions of both evangelical Christianity and Mitt Romney’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And yet this stuff is as important to understanding the conservative ascendancy as are the internecine organizational and ideological struggles that make up its official history—if not, indeed, more so. The strategic alliance of snake-oil vendors and conservative true believers points up evidence of another successful long march, of tactics designed to corral fleeceable multitudes all in one place—and the formation of a cast of mind that makes it hard for either them or us to discern where the ideological con ended and the money con began.

The conservative movement, and the political party that it is currently attached to, have so closed their informational system – from what sources are acceptable to what information is automatically deemed incorrect – that they are basically propagandizing themselves at this point. They only speak to each other, whether it is on Fox News, talk radio, social media, comments sections, what have you; they have imbued the language and terminology of American civic discourse with a special meaning that only really makes sense to themselves; and, as a result, they are susceptible to a variety of grifts. Once you’ve convinced yourself that the real reason for the 2nd amendment was to explicitly enumerate the natural and civil right for self defense – against both individuals and the state – in order to protect and safeguard all the other enumerated and unenumerated rights, you’ve also made yourself susceptible to believing that everyone else should be doing this too. And so when a somewhat attractive young woman shows up and tells you that a movement to establish the right that you think is the most important is taking root in Russia, you’ve already set yourself up to buy into the con. Because all of the resources that would quickly disabuse you of this notion are outside of the informational sources that you have been conditioned to find acceptable, all of the actual information that could be used for a reality check is going to be ignored, if it was even looked for at all. This is why Ben Carson thinks the 2nd Amendment has something to do with the Holocaust. It doesn’t. It is why the “armed intelligentsia” is convinced that Israeli teachers are armed. They’re not. The reason that conservatives in general, and the 2nd amendment absolutist community in specific, fell for this Russian active measure is that like with so much else, they’ve conned themselves.

Open thread.