Leviathan Vs. Kraken
Starting this week and running through at least Inauguration Day, armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols and at the U.S. Capitol, according to an internal FBI bulletin obtained by ABC News.
The FBI has also received information in recent days on a group calling for “storming” state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event President Donald Trump is removed from office prior to Inauguration Day. The group is also planning to “storm” government offices in every state the day President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated, regardless of whether the states certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump.
“The FBI received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, DC on 16 January,” the bulletin read. “They have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment, a huge uprising will occur.”
Along those lines, this is going around on right-wing social media:
What do these fools hope to accomplish? “Demand freedom”? “End the corruption”? Empty words. Are they coming out with their guns to frighten people? What they’re going to do is draw down the full weight of the state onto them — and for what?
There is nothing good, pure, noble, heroic, patriotic, or godly about any of this. And among other things, it’s dumb as hell. Here’s a great piece by Nicholas Grossman, a professor who teaches about national security.
Grossman write, addressing “the QAnon community, and others involved in storming the Capitol”:
You cheered on lawyers who said they’d release the Kraken. But now you’ve poked Leviathan.
What does he mean? Excerpts:
The Deep State is real, but it’s not what you think. The Deep State you worry about is mostly made up; a fiction, a lie, a product of active imaginations, grifter manipulations, and the internet. I’m telling you this now because storming the Capitol building has drawn the attention of the real Deep State — the national security bureaucracy — and it’s important you understand what that means.
You attacked America. Maybe you think it was justified — as a response to a stolen election, or a cabal of child-trafficking pedophiles, or whatever — but it was still a violent attack on the United States. No matter how you describe it, that’s how the real Deep State is going to treat it.
The impact of that will make everything else feel like a LARP.
U.S. code defines “sedition” as using “force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.” That’s what you did. And the legal process you tried to stop is one of the most important in American democracy.
Five people are dead, and it could’ve easily been more. You beat a police officer to death and injured others. You set up a gallows and chanted “hang Mike Pence.” While some goofy attention-seekers attracted the most focus at first, it’s increasingly clear that some who stormed the Capitol, likely members of far right militias, were searching for Vice President Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and other national leaders, and would’ve killed them if they had the chance. That’s terrorism, fortunately thwarted by Capitol security and luck.
Compare that to, for example, riots this past summer. Looting is bad, but it’s a problem for police and insurance companies. Trying to burn down a police station or courthouse is worse, but that too is a law enforcement problem, perhaps one requiring federal assistance. Storming the Capitol, forcefully hindering the execution of U.S. law, and trying to kill top elected officials is a national security problem.
What you did was on another level, and the reaction will be too.
You really do need to read the whole thing — especially if you or anyone you care about is involved with QAnon or adjacent movements. People are going to destroy their lives. This is not a game.
Look at this guy:
People who broke into the Capitol Wednesday are now learning they are on No-Fly lists pending the full investigation. They are not happy about this. pic.twitter.com/5GfHo1eVU8
— Ray [REDACTED] (@RayRedacted) January 10, 2021
He’s crying like a baby because — surprise! — he’s on the no-fly list. He wails that they’re trying to ruin his life. This is coming. You know how I talk about us getting a Chinese-style social credit system here? This is part of it. What happens when everyone associated with QAnon or one of these protests gets put on the no-fly list? In China, if you behave like what the government considers to be a bad citizen, you get put on things like no-fly lists, and can’t go anywhere that you can’t get to by car.
They can do many, many other things to you. You can be shut out of whole areas of the economy. Hey, if you are only on the no-fly list, that means you cannot get a job that requires you to fly. Maybe a company looking to hire you — a firm more sophisticated than Bubba’s Bait Stand — does a background check on you, and finds that you’re on the no-fly list. They call you in to explain that — if you’re lucky. They’ll probably end up just throwing your CV in the trash can, because who wants to take a chance on a guy who ended up on the no-fly list by being part of a seditious action.
Nicholas Grossman is trying to tell y’all to wake up and understand what the Trump insurrectionists have done to anyone active in that movement. He says in his piece that the entire government system set up to fight Al Qaeda is going to turn on domestic terrorism. Because everything is connected in this wired world, you could end up in a world of hurt — again, in an American social credit system (except in China’s social credit system, you can earn your way out of a low rating; that’s not going to happen to those involved with seditious and violent activities).
In the UK, far-right figures who have not been involved in any crimes have lost their banking privileges — not by state action, but because their bank did not want to do business with them anymore. There’s no law forcing a bank to do business with you. I think there should be, as a protection for all people from politically motivated punishment by banks. But I’m fairly certain that in the US, that law does not exist now, so if a bank verified that you are on some sort of list of political extremists, they have the right to cut you off. There are lots of banks in the US, so you might be okay. But what if credit card companies refuse to issue you a card through your local bank?
You see how this might work? The state doesn’t have to move against you in any serious way for you to have your life radically changed by your involvement with QAnon and other groups like it.
The day may come when simply being a conservative or a particular kind of Christian will land you inside the informal social credit system. If that is the price of practicing my faith or standing up for my political convictions, I hope I have the courage to withstand the punishment. But if it should come to that, then I hope I will have taken a stand for something that matters, and not because I lost my damn mind to a crazypants political cult, or wanted to take my gun to the State Capitol to make some sort of statement on behalf of Donald Freaking Trump.
Let’s say you take your gun to your State Capitol, and because you live in an open-carry state, it’s legal. What happens if some excitable demonstrator starts shooting? Even if you get out of there alive, you can be quite sure that your face will have been captured on video by law enforcement, as well as Internet activists who will be eager to dox you and make sure your employer knows that you were part of that crowd. And then what?
The point is, last Wednesday was a bright red line. There’s no going back from it. And there will be no mercy for those who live the QAnon/seditionist lies going forward. You LARPers are putting the liberties and the livelihoods of all of us people on the Right at risk, for no good reason.
UPDATE: Reader Jonah R. left a good comment on the Lost MAGA/QAnon souls thread, but I’m afraid y’all won’t see it if I don’t publish it here. It fits:
I’m not a Republican, I’m only moderately conservative, I’ve considered Trump a con man from day one, and I don’t at all believe the election was stolen. I’m furious at those fools who stormed the Capitol last week and I look forward to their criminal sentences.
That said, I’m not surprised that people have been pushed toward insane ideas, because our media is a mess, Democratic politicians are hypocrites, and the standards for both decorum and truth change by the nanosecond.
In the District of Columbia, the city government endorsed Black Lives Matter and gave them their own special plaza, where they had massive demonstrations and street parties, sometimes with thousands of people, during a pandemic where we’re all supposed to be socially distant. Meanwhile, DC churches had to sue the government simply to hold small outdoor services, which didn’t happen until October, seven months into the pandemic.
We’ve had TV journalists literally standing in front of burning buildings insisting that demonstrations are peaceful. There’s been no federal manhunt for “riot tourists” who fly from Portland to DC on a whim to burn and break things. And nobody has criticized Antifa for bullying and threatening journalists who try to cover them, which has been happening for years.
And then there’s Governor Cuomo, who’s done a lousy job during COVID but somehow gets praise and a book deal. Leaders in cities all across the country tell us not to go to restaurants, not to leave our homes at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they’re traveling, ignoring their own quarantine restrictions, getting special service at restaurants and hair salons, visiting family, and apparently living pretty normally.
Joe Biden, a political punchline since the ’80s, gets the presidential nomination even though he’s clearly past his prime. His VP choice is as tough on crime as a “Contract with America” Republican–but she makes dance videos and is brown and went to Howard, so all is forgiven.
And then there’s the Covington schoolkid who did nothing wrong except stand there wearing a hat he bought at a tourist stand, and the entire media jumps him.
And let’s not forget the governor of Virginia, who wore blackface and/or dressed as a Klansman in medical school, long after he should have known better. He doesn’t get hounded out of office because doing so might put a Republican in office. He goes on with his life. Roseanne Barr, who holds no power over anyone’s government or life, cracks a nasty joke about a black woman and her career is over.
Then you turn on the TV looking for same late-night laughs, and all of the shows have turned into recitations of Democratic talking points. One night back in the spring, all four of Jimmy Kimmel’s guests were Democratic politicians or pundits. You’re dying for someone to lob a softball at a Democrat, even a feeble joke about how Joe Biden looks like one of Jeff Dunham’s ventriloquism dummies.
And those are just the examples off the top of my head. Imagine turning on the TV, seeing this stuff, and wondering: Why isn’t anyone stating the obvious? Why aren’t these people consistent with their stated beliefs?
The QAnon stuff is asinine and leadership on the pro-Trump right is a clusterfudge of con men, blowhards, and loonies, but is it any wonder that there were people and groups waiting to tell the Trumpers they weren’t crazy for seeing what they plainly saw? Who’s more ripe to be conned by a cult than people who already know they’re being conned by someone else but aren’t sophisticated enough to grope toward the truth on their own?
All true! But are we on the Right really going to let the Democrats and the media get away with that by turning ourselves into crazy, violent people?
UPDATE.2: Reader Chris R.:
There’s an obvious reason why just about everybody in America has lost his (or her) mind: COVID. Our social fabric was already fraying, and fear and paranoia were already the driving forces in American politics, but the virus dropped a cinderblock on the fragile Jenga tower which is American society—with rapid-onset wokeness, riots, and QAnon cultism being the predictable results. People feel impotent . . . because they are impotent. They’ve been forced to endure a year of economic ruin; a year without personal progress; a year of endless crisis; a year without hope. They’ve been forced to hide their faces from each other like Afghani women. They’ve sat at home while their fathers and grandmothers died alone in nursing homes. They’ve been given an ultimatum: Either live in isolation, or live through social media. They’ve been told by journalists and epidemiologists that this hellish reality is just a “new normal” we’ll all have to accept for years—or maybe forever. Plus, they’ve seen all the hypocrisy that Jonah R. mentions.
All this is why the number-one priority of anyone in any branch of government ought to be ending the pandemic and returning to normal. Not lingering in half-lockdown for three years. Not masks for eternity. No. Going back to the way things were. The mental breakdown will continue, and the violence will worsen, unless and until people have reason to get off social media and regain a modicum of control over their own lives.
The vaccinations can’t happen quickly enough.
Good comment. But just to note, my mom, who is 77 and a prime candidate for the vaccine, was hesitating about taking it because of crazy conspiracies she read on Facebook. Nothing I said to her changed her mind. It took the family doctor speaking to her and telling her to please put her name on the list for her to do it. She awaits the shots now. Point is, a lot of people who ought to be getting the jabs aren’t going to do it because they’ve come to believe something that they learned through the polluted information environment.
UPDATE.3: A reader says, of the guy in the video above:
Snopes is reporting that the “no-fly list” video is miscaptioned. He was not denied boarding because he was on the no-fly list, nor is there any evidence that he was involved in the Capitol riots. He was denied boarding because he refused to wear a mask.
So noted. That might be the reason for that guy, but you can be sure that no-fly lists are coming.