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Tea’s Weird Week: Conspiracy Theory Trainwreck

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Yesterday, a man named Eduardo Moreno, a locomotive engineer from San Pedro, drove a train at full speed toward the Port of Los Angeles. He was holding a safety flare in the train’s cab as the train burst through a series of barriers. Moreno was hoping for an action movie like stunt where the train would jump the rails at the end of the track and fly through the air and crash into the nearby docked USNS Mercy hospital ship, which had recently arrived to help with hospital overflow from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Scene of the trainwreck.

The train skidded out in a gravel lot, about 250 yards from the ship. No one was injured, though there was a “substantial amount of fuel oil” that needed to be cleaned up. Moreno was immediately arrested and charged with “train-wrecking,” which has a sentence of up to 20 years.

Moreno told authorities his goal was to “wake people up,” and said “you only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will.” It’s not known yet exactly what Moreno was hoping to wake people up to, other than he believed the Mercy was part of a plot for a “government takeover.” Conspiracy theories about COVID-19 are thick and heavy and often revolve around the virus being a bio-weapon or a hoax, designed to implement a Deep State coup followed by martial law.

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The Mercy in the Port of Los Angeles

This story is familiar to me. I have a new book coming out in August titled American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (Feral House). American Madness tells the story of a man named Richard McCaslin, who styled himself as a conspiracy commando and called himself the Phantom Patriot. Heavily influenced by Alex Jones (of InfoWars), Richard raided a secret society retreat called the Bohemian Grove in 2002, where he was arrested. He was hoping to “wake people up” to the alleged human sacrifices going on there. My book tells his story, but it also follows a pattern. Richard was the first one who took drastic action after listening to the words of Alex Jones (and others of his ilk) but not the last.

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Richard McCaslin in his Phantom Patriot costume.

Some other conspiracy theorists who have snapped include Byron Williams, aka the I-580 Shooter, who had a shoot out with the California Highway Patrol after he was pulled over on his way to shoot up charities associated with liberal boogeyman George Soros in 2010. Oscar Ortega pulled up to the White House in 2011 and fired shots at it after seeing an Alex Jones documentary titled The Obama Deception. Jared and Amanda Miller, InfoWars fans, killed three people and themselves in a Las Vegas shooting spree.

In 2016, Edgar Maddison Welch, armed himself and raided a Washington DC pizzeria named Comet Ping Pong. Like McCaslin and Moreno, Welch was hoping to “wake people up” to a Democrats child sex trafficking ring being run out of the restaurant’s basement. That same year, two Georgia men named Michael Mancil and James Dryden Jr. were arrested in a plot to drive to Alaska and sabotage the HAARP facility, based on a conspiracy that says it’s a government brainwashing facility.

Was Moreno inspired to drive his crazy train by Alex Jones? We don’t know yet. But I doubt he came up with this theory out of the blue. Someone put the idea in his ear and I don’t think it was Rachel Maddow or Anderson Cooper. Like a bad penny, InfoWars is the one who usually shows up in these cases.

Source: “Man charged with intentionally derailing train near hospital ship Mercy over coronavirus concerns,” Los Angeles Times

Update, April 4: Moreno has been denied bail and will be arraigned May 7. It looks like a probable influence on him was QAnon, who have been spreading conspiracies about the Mercy. QAnon is saying the Mercy will be shipping COVID-19 patients to Guantanamo Bay as well as other theories that the disease is a bio-weapon designed by China and/or Bill Gates to discredit Trump. But they’ve also said the virus is a hoax to implement martial law. Let’s not forget that about two dozen of these people have campaigns running for Congress this year: https://teakrulos.com/2020/02/13/teas-weird-week-there-are-two-dozen-members-of-qanon-running-for-congress/

Source: “Coronavirus conspiracy theorists are too nuts even for a zombie-apocalypse movie scenario,” Daily Kos

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture, including QAnon. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

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“Journalist Tea Krulos has made a curious and enlightening career out of examining groups of people with odd beliefs.” — Skeptical Inquirer


Oh yeah, and don’t forget that our president is a conspiracy theorist! This week’s #TrumpConspiracyCounter 2020 (now at 177 clicks) column talks about Trump’s theory that there is a face mask black market. Read it here:
https://teakrulos.com/2020/04/01/trumpconspiracycounter-april-1/


This Saturday have some social distancing quarantine fun and play Tea’s Weird Week Trivia! You can win copies of my book, books from my library, and goofy fun prizes like bigfoot socks, shark hologram bookmarks, and more. It’s at 5pm central via Facebook Live video: www.facebook.com/theTeaKrulos 

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#TrumpConspiracyCounter: April 1

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Unfortunately, none of the contents of today’s #TrumpConspiracyCounter are an April Fool’s Day joke. In the time of a deadly pandemic, ask yourself– do you want someone who believes, promotes, and incites conspiracy theories and gross misinformation as your leader? Trump brags that his daily coronavirus press conferences are a “ratings hit.” But is his bloviating against the “lamestream media” often dumps practical information for a “hunch” or “theory.”

Meanwhile, conspiracy continues to spread like a brush fire. Conspiracy theorists at first speculated coronavirus was a bioweapon developed by Bill Gates before settling into the idea that the virus is a hoax. The latest theory is that Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force is a Deep State “Democrat plant” being used to discredit Trump. They’ve nicknamed him “Dr.#FearPorn.”
Source: “Right Wing Influencers Are Convinced Dr. Anthony Fauci is Working WIth Hillary Clinton to Undermine Trump,” Buzzfeed News

To be honest, I’ve not been staying on top of the conspiracy counter with everything else going on. But here’s some noteworthy recent hits:

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175. March 29: At a press conference, Trump floats his theory that face masks are being sold on a black market and that’s why a huge jump in demand has happened rather than the obvious cause of a rapidly escalating pandemic:
“How do you go from 10-to-20-to-300,000…even though this is different. Something’s going on…Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door?” And at the same press conference: “I don’t think it’s hoarding, I think it’s maybe worse than hoarding, but check it out. Check it out. I don’t know, I don’t know. I think that’s for other people to figure out.”

Source: “Trump Comments About Hospital Mask Thefts Spark Backlash From Doctors,” Newsweek

176. March 31: Bongino! Trump retweets conspiracy monger Dan Bongino.

177. March 31: Retweets Charlie Kirk of Turning Point America.

That’s all I got for this report. #TrumpConspiracyCounter will return in two weeks.

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

 

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

Tea’s Weird Week Trivia: Round 1

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I had a fun first round of Tea’s Weird Week Trivia this last Saturday. Congrats to Sharon who was the overall winner and Estephanie who won the Cursed Objects round and picked out a category for this week– “Famous Missing Persons Cases.” Other rounds will include the man vs animal “Animal King, Dumb,” classic “UFO Files,” and stories about “Xtreme Social Distancing.” Prizes will include books (authored by myself and others) and other weird swag. This Saturday, 5pm (central), on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/theTeaKrulos 

Here’s the questions from last week if you didn’t get a chance to play. You can get a feel for the trivia and host your own trivia session with your roommate.  Answer key is way at the bottom of the post. For this week, I am encouraging that trivia players send donations/ shop at the International Cryptozoology Museum: www.cryptozoologymuseum.com

Special thanks to American Ghost Walks to providing tickets for a prize!

(You can see the video of the trivia session and see how people did here: https://www.facebook.com/theTeaKrulos/videos/511195046147212/)

Cryptozoology

1.) In the late 80s/ early 90s there were several sightings in Bishopville, South Carolina of a cryptid commonly called:

A. the Bishopville Dogma
B. the Bishopville Lizardman
C. the Bishopville Octopusman
D. the Bishopville Birdman

2.) A classic examination of cryptids is the 1970 book Strange Creatures Out of Time and Space. Who was the author?

3.) Where is the International Cryptozoology Museum located? City and state. 

4.) This Australian animal was thought to have gone extinct after the last one died in captivity at the Hobart Zoo in 1936, however cryptozoologists believe it might still be alive. You can give the scientific or common name.

5). One of the big cryptozoology stories this month are pictures circulating that purportedly show a Sasquatch peeking into a couple’s mobile home. Scott Yeoman reports that the couple smelled something he described as a mix of “rotting animal flesh, vomit and excrement” before spotting the cryptid and snapping photos of it. Which state did this happen in? Picture in comments.
A. Colorado
B. Idaho
C. Washington
D. Wyoming

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Conspiracy Theories in the News

1.) In a Tea’s Weird Week column last month, I reported that at least 24 people had launched 2020 campaigns for Congress that follow what conspiracy belief?

A. That Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer
B. QAnon
C. Flat Earth Theory
D. 9/11 Truthers

BONUS: Which two states have the most candidates? 

2.) Alex Jones of InfoWars was issued a cease and desist by the New York attorney general for trying to sell what product he claimed would “kill the entire SARS-corona family at point blank range.” when used. Was it: 

A. A hand cream
B. Toilet paper
C. Toothpaste
D. Condoms

3.) Pour one out for “Mad Mike” Hughes, a daredevil who died when he bailed out of his homemade rocket and his parachute malfunctioned on Feb.22 outside of Barstow. What conspiracy message was written on the side of his rocket?

A. Epstein didn’t kill himself
B. Birds don’t exist
C. Trump is a Reptilian
D. Research Flat Earth

4.) Last month Trump retweeted a publication that was founded by a Chinese American spiritual movement called the Falun Gong. The publication has endorsed QAnon and other conspiracies and through sockpuppet accounts spent over 9 million dollars on pro-Trump ads. What is the name of the publication?

5.) During a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans last month a float depicted Jeffrey Epstein being strangled by what politician?

Cursed and Possessed Items

1.) Murder, car accidents, gangrene, drug overdoses, and house fires, are just a few of the stories associated with this gem that is currenly on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of National History.


2.) This Raggedy Ann doll is supposedly possessed and was kept in a glass case by demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. There’s a recent movie series based on the doll. What’s the name of the doll?


3.) The Curse of the Chicago Cubs supposedly was set in place in 1945 after a tavern owner was kicked out of Wrigley Field with his smelly pet. What type of animal was it?

A. An alligator
B. A skunk
C. A billy goat
D. A pig

4. A mass produced painting popular across England in the 1980s was said to be cursed. Supposedly a series of  house fires left only the paintings behind. What did the painting feature?

A. A crying boy
B. A girl playing the violin
C. A child peeking out from a red door
D. A 3 toed sloth hang gliding with a portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald in its claws

5. Zak Bagans Haunted Museum in Las Vegas allegedly has a haunted or cursed mirror that belonged to which horror icon?

A. Stephen King
B. Edgar Allan Poe
C. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
D. Vincent Price
E. Bela Lugosi

Epic Social Distancing Champions of History

1.) This actress known as the “Swedish Sphinx” who once said in a movie “I vant to be alone” retired in 1941 at age 36. She refused to do autographs, interviews, award shows, or fan mail and lived alone in Manhattan. 

2.) In the 1970s this musician mostly stayed at home in bed getting high and recording music known as the “Bedroom Tapes.” Though he would sometimes be spotted at night at LA clubs in his robe and slippers. 

3.) This writer had a famous novel published in 1951. After his last story was published in 1965 in the New Yorker the already reclusive author secluded himself in a cottage in New Hampshire. 

4.) After forfeiting his world champion title in 1975, this chess player became reclusive, disappearing from the public for long periods of time until he died in 2008 in Iceland. 

5.) Tristan da Cunha most remote populated place in the world, over 1300 miles from their nearest populated neighbor, located between south america and africa. A mail ship stops by only once a year.  2019 estimated population was: 

A. 99
B. 3
C. 246
D. 500

Answers below!

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

 

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

 

ANSWERS (click on highlighted answers to see more!)

Cryptozoology: 1. B. Bishopville Lizardman 2. John Keel 3. Portland, Maine 4. Thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger 5. A. Colorado

Conspiracy Theories in the News: 1. B.QAnon, BONUS: California and Florida 2. C. Toothpaste 3. D. Research Flat Earth 4. The Epoch Times 5. Hillary Clinton

Cursed or Possessed Items: 1. the Hope Diamond 2. Annabelle 3. C. billy goat 4. A. a crying boy 5. E. Bela Lugosi

Epic Social Distancing Champions of History: 1. Greta Garbo 2. Brian Wilson 3. J.D. Salinger 4. Bobby Fischer 5. C. 246

Tea’s Weird Week: Notes From the Quarantine, Part 1

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What a time– I hope everyone is doing ok and hanging in there. A majority of my friends are artists, musicians, writers, teachers, small business owners, service industry workers or some combination thereof– all hit hard by the COVID-19 quarantine that has shut down daily life as we know it. People are stuck at home, worrying about making ends meet. I’ve also seen some inspiring acts of people caring for each other and supporting each other as a community.

I don’t have anything profound to say other than I’m wishing you all well. This is a crazy crazy time but I know that readers of Tea’s Weird Week are creative and resourceful and we’ll make it through. For this column, I just want to share some stuff I’ve been into the last few days.

Listening:

–I saw this shared somewhere, and this is my favorite new site: Radio Garden. It allows you to drag a cursor around a globe and click on livestreams of radio stations around the world. Listen to broadcasts in Kalamazoo or Amsterdam or Cape Town. I don’t know, there’s just something nice about hearing that other people are out there in the world and hear what they’re currently talking about and rocking out to.

–Feral House (publisher of my upcoming book American Madness) did a podcast episode interviewing Aton Edwards of director of the International Prepardness Network. Insightful with good tips. Listen here: https://feralhouse.podbean.com/e/special-episode-march-14-2020-preparedness-now-pandemic-prep-w-aton-edwards/

–I’ve been listening to the daily CNN podcast Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction. It’s a short listen with episodes 7-15 minutes in length. Great to listen to while during tasks around the house. If you’ve followed this column you know there is a metric shit ton of misinfo out there, so a dose of factual reporting feels great.

Watching:

I think it’s really cool that everyone from the Dropkick Murphys to the Paris Opera are offering free streaming performances. Lots more of these are popping up, so do some online searching for your favorite artists/ genres and I’m sure you’ll find something. I watched the Murphs live in Boston and enjoyed it. It’s not different than concert video footage, but there was a little bit of excitement that they were live, doing it for their fans, who were watching live with you around the world.

Other virtual events include movie watch parties via Facebook and other platforms and having an online happy hour on-nomi (Japanese: “online drinking”) party on video conferencing sites like Zoom. My friends have been doing this and I can’t wait to join in.

Another way of taking a look at the world while stuck at home is taking a virtual tour of museums. I haven’t checked these out yet, but I will be next week. I’m planning on deliberatly scheduling them like I would normally do something (like write “check out the Lourve, 5pm Tuesday” on my calendar.)

Mental Floss has a listicle of 12 online museum tours here: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/75809/12-world-class-museums-you-can-visit-online

Writing:

This might be a shocker, but I didn’t get into writing to be rich or famous. It’s something I love to do and it’s therapeutic for me. It is sometimes all I got. This is a good time for you to try it out and work on your writing ideas, even if it’s something that never gets published. On Friday the 13th I started a “Plague Diary” in an empty notebook I had stashed away in a desk drawer. I haven’t done much journaling in life (usually too busy chasing someone else’s story) but I thought now was a good time to spend some time each day writing down some of my emotions, thoughts, and anything else that crosses my mind– I had a strange dream that my grandfather was still alive and hosting a quarantine party, for example.

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This journaling might lead to something (I’ll probably share some excerpts from the journal in this column in the future), or we might all hit the sunny streets when this is all over and it’ll be forgotten. But it might be of interest to look at this 10, 20 years from now and remember the COVID-19 days of 2020. Writing is my way of making sense of things. For you, it might be creating art or music. I hope you are not spending all of your time worrying and have something to like this to offer some balance.

Reading:

It’s a good time to catch up on your reading list. I’ve got a stack of books I’m cruising through. I also read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.” Pandemic dystopia reading probably isn’t for everyone at this time, but I like to take a deep dive into things so I’ll be reading more stuff along these lines.

My friends at Lion’s Tooth are doing an online fundraiser toward getting a brick and mortar location and they’re offering pledge levels for receiving a subscription package of cool zines and books. In light of the quarantine, they’re offering to send off your first subscription package right away. I can’t think of anything better than a surprise package of good reading material right now. Check out their Indiegogo for more info here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/support-milwaukee-s-newest-bookstore#/

Here’s links to two of my Tea’s Weird Week reading lists, all titles on them recommended:

Fall Reading List / Winter Reading List (I’m working on a Spring one now).

Of course, I would be poor at self-promotion if I didn’t plug my own books for quarantine reading. I’ve lost some work so buying a book (or buying me a coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/TeaKrulos) is very much appreciated. Now is a good time to read Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers which talks about prepping and apocalyptic visions and I also have a collection of the Tea’s Weird Week columns I wrote in 2019 as a Kindle e-book ($1.99/ free on Kindle Unlimited) Tea’s Weird Week: 2019 Review.

Stay tuned because tomorrow I’ll be offering a FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY CONTEST here at teakrulos.com for copies of my books!

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Conspiracy News

As always, click the highlighted links to see my source material. I’m still following conspiracy theory news (I can’t help it, old habits) and as you can imagine, there is a tidal wave of conspiracy, fear, paranoia, and anger crashing in. (See my last column, “M-M-M-My Corona” for some examples). The COVID-19 shutdown has caused people to snap. Witness the defiant dumbness of Kid Rock, who refused to close his bar or the total Twitter meltdown from former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke Jr., who urged people to defy orders to stay home and tied the pandemic to conspiracy boogeyman George Soros.

I’ve seen a couple puzzling posts floating around saying “Anti-vaxxers sure are quiet right now” and “where is Alex Jones in all this?” Umm– no they are not and believe me, he’s as loud and shrill as ever. Alex Jones, along with televangelist Jim Bakker were both ordered to stop trying to sell phony coronavirus cures. Bakker had a bogus silver solution and Jones made the claim that his special Anti-coronavirus toothpaste “kills the whole SARS-corona virus family at point-blank range.” New punk/metal band name: Alex Jones and the Anti-coronavirus Toothpaste Sham.

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Celebrity gossip columnist turned QAnon theorist Liz Crokin.

I also discovered the craziest coronavirus conspiracy theorist of all time, Liz Crokin. Crokin used to be a celebrity gossip columnist (her specialty was celebrity breakups) until she had some serious medical issues. Afterward, she became known as a feverish Trump supporter and QAnon advocate. QAnon believes that Trump is secretly working on a program called “The Storm” which will round up a Democrat-Satanic-Pedophile ring. Her recent theories related to the pandemic:

–Coronavirus is a cover story so the military can round up and make mass arrests of the Deep State unnoticed.

–Beloved actor Tom Hanks is an example of this pedophile ring which is why the story leaked that he had COVID-19. (Note: he’s since quickly recovered, so it wasn’t a very good cover story, apparently. But then she said that the virus was real and celebrities like Hanks and Idris Alba were contracting it from drinking adrenochrome.

–She also tweeted “I grow my own cultured mud scrubs in my backyard, but right now it’s probably best to not wash your hands at all- skin mites and oil are all you need to combat this bacteria.” Yick. Thankfully, her Twitter account was suspended.

I think I’ve been on the Internet too long.

Please Clap Dept.: Thank you, Cult of Weird, for including my upcoming book American Madness on this list of “5 Upcoming Weird Books You Can Pre-order Right Now” at: https://www.cultofweird.com/books/upcoming-weird-books-2020/

The #TrumpConsiracyCounter is taking a quarantine break, but will be back next week. 

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

 

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

Tea’s Weird Week: M-m-m-my Corona

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I met with my editor for my upcoming book American Madness (out in August) the other day. Among other things, we discussed in-store appearances to promote it. Oh yay, that’s the fun part! After years of quiet, careful work, I get to see your beautiful faces and tell you all about it.

But wait a minute now– as my editor pointed out, we don’t really know where in the world things will be with this coronavirus pandemic. Everything is getting canceled– South by Southwest, Coachella, live studio audiences for TV shows, classes, political rallies, and the entire NBA season. Will we all be locked down in quarantine? Will I be giving a book presentation to a group of people in hazmat suits?

Everyone is suddenly an expert, and the prognosis ranges from apocalyptic plague to just a case of the sniffles. As you can guess, one of my keen interests in all this is the viral spreading of conspiracy theories, which are flying like a sneeze in a hurricane.

Just a rundown– QAnon believes this is either a plot by the Deep State to discredit Trump or, alternately, a cover story initiated by Trump and company to act as cover for them taking out the Deep State as in yeah sure, that evil pedophile Democrat died of coronavirus, wink wink. Meanwhile, Anti-vaxxers are pinning this on go-to conspiracy villain Bill Gates. They say he cooked this up in a lab and the virus is a “false flag” so we all are forced to get mandatory vaccines that contain a brainwashing drugs or microchips. Others say the CIA cooked the virus up as a bio-weapon against China, while British conspiracists say it was invented to stop Brexit. Internet rumor says gargling bleach or ripping lines of cocaine can stop the virus and scammers are trying to cash in with snakeoil products. We are really living in a Rennaissance period of conspiracy theory.

While scrolling through articles on the coronavirus, I was amused to see everyone’s favorite parodist musician “Weird Al” Yankovic get pulled into the discussion. Al’s fans were rallying him to do a parody of The Knack’s 1979 hit “My Sharona” (if you’re a true fan, you know he already has– his early hit “My Bologna.”)

Al responded on Twitter: “Yeah, no, sorry. Not going to do ‘My Corona.'”

I get it. Al’s family-friendly style isn’t suited for making joke songs about a disease that’s quarantined entire countries and has already killed a couple thousand (and counting) people around the world. I don’t want to make light of that either, and I feel really badly for the many small business owners and people in the entertainment industry who struggle to make ends meet to begin with and are now facing financial disaster.

Instead, I’m focusing my parody hit single, “My Corona,” on the conspiracists and con men spreading misinformation for monetary or political gain. I constructed it based on articles I’ve read in the last week or so– click the highlighted lyrics to see the sources. (And if any musicians want to record this, let me know– you might have extra time now that you’re on lockdown.)

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Ooh my little greedy one, my greedy one
Jim Bakker tried to scam some cash, Corona!
that move is total scum but not as dumb
as Anti-vaxxers spreading lies like a rash, Corona!

Coronavirus is creating a fake-news nightmarescape
and check out the kinky gas mask on Matt Gaetz
but now he’s quarantined for my, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Corona!

Cough a little closer, huh, a-will ya, huh?
try not to lose your lunch, Corona!
when you hear Trump say “derp dee duh”
he says it’s based on his “hunch,” Corona!

Democrat hoax, false flag, and Deep State
Mike Pence will pray it away, not so great
Trump says it’s “fake news,” but the fake is yous
My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Corona!
M-m-m-my Corona!

Please don’t drink bleach or use cocaine as your treatment plan
and be sure to spend 20 seconds when you wash your h-h-h-hands Corona! Woo! M-m-m-my Corona!

The #TrumpConspiracyCounter has mutated into its own separate post, published the same day as this column. This week we talk about “Nero Trump” and his signaling to QAnon. To read it, scroll down or click here: https://teakrulos.com/2020/03/12/trumpconspiracycounter-march-11/

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

 

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

#TrumpConspiracyCounter: March 11

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#Trumpconspiracycounter2020 (7)Coronavirus is the hot topic of the day and source of conspiracy theory spiraling out of control. Trump’s number one media advocate, Sean Hannity hosts a QAnon believer to tell everyone is a “Deep State” fearmongering plot. Trump tried to brush it off initially, claiming the outbreak was hype meant to damage his presidency, though as the virus has turned out to be a pandemic, he’s been trying to show he’s putting forward efforts to combat the coronavirus.

In today’s Tea’s Weird Week column (CLICK HERE) you see examples of scams and conspiracies blowing up over the last week. [For more, I recommend reading “Coronavirus is creating a Fake-News Nighmarescape,” Vanity Fair.]

120.) March 8: Hashtag #NeroTrump trends after Trump posts a bizarre meme, shown in the graphic above. It shows Trump playing a fiddle, with lettering reading “My next piece is called…nothing can stop what’s coming,” retweeting Dan Scavino, Director of Social Media at the White House.  Trump commented, “Who knows what it means, but it sounds good to me!”

Um, a couple things. First, the timing, during a coronavirus pandemic and a stock market crash, immediately brought to mind Nero fiddling while Rome burnt.

“Nothing can stop what’s coming” is language frequently used by QAnon to describe their theory of “the Storm,” a day that Trump’s “Deep State” enemies– Democrats, the FBI, Fake News media, etc., will be rounded up for running a pedophile sex trafficking ring and other crimes, according to QAnon lore. This looks like Scavino and/or Trump directly appealing to the Q cult.

121-122.) March 9:  Retweets of Lori Hendry, who has promoted Pizzagate and other conspiracies.

123-134.) March 9-10: Blast of retweets and endorsement of Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk and his new book, The MAGA Doctrine: The Only Ideas That Will Win the Future.

135.) March 9: Retweets someone named Jose Deynes, I italicized part that warrants an entry here:

The President has a duty to protect the American people from two equally dangerous threats: 1)the coronavirus and 2)the mass hysteria that MSM wants to create with the sole purpose of politically hurting the President.

136.) Counting this tweet for “Deep State” content:

“Trump has outmastered the Deep State. He’s light years ahead of us.” MSDNC. I disagree. We have a long way to go. There are still some very bad, sick people in our government – people who do not love our Country (In fact, they hate our Country!).

137.) March 10: We’re going to count this tweet as it implies Democrats have some secret agenda to eliminate cars.

If you like automobiles, how can you vote for a Democrat who all want to get rid of cars, as quickly as possible, especially if they are powered by gasoline. Remember also, no more than one car per family. I, on the other hand, have new plants being built all over Michigan, Plus!


Twitter: #TrumpConspiracyCounter

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

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Tea’s Weird Week: The #TrumpConspiracyCounter Zooms Past 100

TeaWeirdWeek

When Democrats choose their candidate, they’ll have to face the storm of a massive propaganda machine– Russian troll farms, targeted disinformation campaigns, and a tidal wave of vomit spewing forth from the Alt-Right and conspiracy theorists filled with lies, fear-mongering, and every dirty trick in the book. And nobody does this better than Donald Trump himself.

With my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness out in August, I thought that I would do a project this year where I try to catalog all of the times Trump promotes conspiracy theory. What I’ve seen in just two months is frightening, but not surprising.

To recap some #TrumpConspiracyCounter rules: In addition to his direct promotion of a conspiracy, I tally every time Trump retweets or endorses a known conspiracy theorist or outlet, even if he is just retweeting them saying “have a nice day” or something. Why? Because Trump is the President of the United States. He has a huge platform of 72 million plus followers on Twitter (though many are bots) and his tweets get retweeted tens and hundreds of thousands of times. That’s introducing these people and their ideas to a huge platform.

I try to keep track of things best I can, but you could have a whole team devoted to this and I’m just one guy. So think of the #TrumpConspiracyCounter as a highlight reel to what I can catch, which is still enough to keep the counter clicking away rapidly. Just over two months into the year and we’re already at 119.

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Biggest stories so far: Some of the noteworthy stories from the last couple months include Trump awarding vile gasbag and conspiracy monger Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the State of the Union address. He also heavily defended his former advisor, 7-time felon, self-described “dirty trickster,” Batman villain, and conspiracist Roger Stone. Over the last week Trump (along with Limbaugh, FOX News, and other outlets) have pushed the narrative that the threat of the coronavirus is a Democrat/ Fake News “hoax” to damage Trump’s reputation. He even suggested in an interview with Sean Hannity that coronavirus was equitable to common influenza and people would be fine going to work with it and in true Trump fashion said his info was based on a “hunch.” (Tea’s Weird Week health tip: don’t go to work if you have the coronavirus.)

The coronavirus conspiracies have spread faster than the virus itself. Anti-vaxxers, QAnon believers, and others are passing around theories that the virus was cooked up by mad scientist Bill Gates and that the government will enforce a mandatory vaccine as part of a mass brainwashing program.

Most under the radar story: A couple weeks ago, I wrote a column about how two dozen people in the 2020 race for Congress are QAnon supporters. Trump has retweeted DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero, a QAnon believer running against Nancy Pelosi, several times. I’m surprised I haven’t seen more press on this. My column is here: “There Are Two Dozen Members of QAnon Running for Congress.”

Most frequent: In our fist #TrumpConspiracyCounter entry, we talked about conspiracy in Trump’s daily language as he uses terms like “witch hunt,” “hoax,” and “fake news” (and I admitted I couldn’t tally it all due to the frequency he uses it). He’s also very much still obsessed with “Spygate,” the unfounded theory that Obama (with help from the FBI) wiretapped Trump Tower in 2016. He’s brought it up frequently this year, including at the Milwaukee Trump rally I attended and in January, he tweeted out the image below.

EPA3p4FUYAAyFUW

The most frequent theorists he’s retweeted so far include Dan Bongino, an InfoWars favorite and author of a book on Spygate and Tom Fitton, who runs a “watchdog group” called Judicial Watch which has spread conspiracies about voter fraud, climate change, and the “Deep State.”

Conspiracy outlets Trump has retweeted: Trump has retweeted these sources, which frequently pump out conspiracy: The Blaze (a media outlet run by Glenn Beck), Breitbart News, The Epoch Times (run by the Falun Gong, they’ve promoted QAnon and have spent over $9 million on Trump ads and created hundreds of fake accounts to promote them), and Big League Politics (started by a former Breitbart writer who says Alex Jones was “his Walter Cronkite.”) among others. Here’s the counter tallies from Feb. 20-March3.

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#Trumpconspiracycounter2020 (6)97-100.) Feb. 20: Quadruple Hit! “… it appears that Trump combined claims of Democratic voter fraud, unfair media bias, intelligence-community misconduct, and the misreporting of his crowd sizes into one big mess of paranoia.” We’re counting that as 4.
Source: “Trump Enters Full Conspiracist Mode at Colorado Rally,” New York magazine

101.) Feb. 20:  At the same Colorado rally, Trump brought up a frequent enemy: wind turbines. In the past Trump has bizarrely claimed that the sound of wind turbines causes cancer, that they are a mass bird killer (they do kill birds, but not nearly as much as windows, cats, and electric lines do) and, despite claiming “I know windmills very much,” says that people won’t be able to watch their TVs on a calm day, due to lack of power.

Here’s a line from his Colorado rally: “Blow wind please; please keep the birds away from those windmills, please.”

If you think it’s a little…I dunno…out of character for Trump to have an animal rights activism streak for the birds, you’re right. Trump does not give a flying fuck about golden eagles. In actuality, Trump began his quixotic quest after windfarms were proposed in proximity to his golf course in Scotland. Trump became furious at the idea of “ugly” wind turbines ruining the view of his golf course, saying it was an act of “public vandalism.” His crusade against these “eyesores” has been blowing in the wind ever since. Much like his theory that energy-efficient light bulbs make your skin look orange, this is a Trump conspiracy born of his own vanity.

Sources: “Trump Condemns California Wind Farm as Decrepit Eagle Killer,” Forbes.
“Trump resumes fight against windfarm near Scottish golf course,” The Guardian.

102) Feb. 21: Retweets Charlie Kirk (Turning Point USA).

103-104.) Feb. 24: two retweets from Lori Hendry about the plight of Roger Stone. Has promoted Pizzagate and a number of other anti-Democrat conspiracies/ falsehoods, including one that Chuck Schumer raped his 16-year-old daughter’s friend, who comitted suicide. That’s false. Here Trump was retweeting Hendry’s tweets about Roger Stone.

105-107.) Feb. 25: More Retweets and a tweet claiming Roger Stone got an unfair trial.

108.) Feb. 26: Retweets Eric Bolling of The Blaze conspiracy site.

109.) Feb. 26: Retweets Tom Fitton (Judicial Watch).

110-112.) Feb.26: 3 retweets from Mark Levin (The Blaze), 2 on Roger Stone.

113.) Feb.26: Retweets DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero, one of the two dozen QAnon believers running for Congress this year.

114.) Feb.27: Trump met for 45 minutes with the cast of a “low budget conservative play about the Deep State” titled FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers by playwright Phelim McAleer.
Source: “Trump Spends 45 Minutes With ‘Deep State’ Play Actors Amid Coronavirus Mayhem,Daily Beast.

115.) Feb. 28: Trump joins in with Rush Limbaugh, FOX, and others in saying that concerns about the coronavirus are a “hoax” to make him look bad. Source: “Trump calls coronavirus Democrats’ ‘new hoax,’” NBC News.

116.) Feb.29: We’re giving one point for Trump attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). It’s a den of Alt-Right characters and conspiracy. Here’s an article about last year’s conference: “The Conspiracy Theory President Finds His Comfort Zone at CPAC,” Washington Monthly. This year, coronavirus conspiracies were a popular topic.

Interesting side note: Owen Shroyer of InfoWars was kicked out of CPAC this year after ambushing pundit Seb Gorka at the conference. That led Alex Jones to do the rational thing– he called  CPAC Seb Gorka “a gay whale” and “snakeoil salesman” and challenged him to a bare-knuckle boxing match.

117-118.) March 1 & 3: Tweets endorsement of Charlie Kirk‘s (Turning Point USA) new book The MAGA Doctrine.

119.) March 3: Retweets Dana Loesch, a Blaze, Breitbart, and former NRA-TV personality.

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

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Tea’s Weird Week: Laughing My Ass Off at These Bonkers Trump Paintings

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Art by J.Jason Groschopf!

“Art is in the eye of the beholder, and everyone will have their own interpretation.” — E.A. Bucchianeri
“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy, you can do anything.”– Donald Trump

I’m not sure how I stumbled on the works of Jon McNaughton, a painter from Utah who specializes in “highly detailed religious and patriotic subjects.” His bio also says that “there are three kinds of people who view my paintings: those who like it, those who hate it, and those who simply don’t understand.”

Boy howdy, McNaughton, I’m definitely 2 out of 3! I see Trump as everything bad in America– a greedy 2-bit con man who instills fear and paranoia instead of hope, all 7 deadly sins rolled into one foul, bloviating persona. McNaughton’s take, you’ll see, is a little different. But first, let’s dive in take a look at one of McNaughton’s pre-Trump era pieces:

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This painting, “The Forgotten Man,” was completed in 2010. It’s a Rembrandt of nuttiness. Here we see that McNaughton’s poor “forgotten man” is not a black person sent to prison for life for smoking weed or stealing $9, or a refugee thrown into a border concentration camp, but your average white dude slumped sadly on a park bench. A stern-looking President Obama has his arms folded and is ignoring him. The U.S. Constitution is pinned under Obama’s shoe like yesterday’s news. Also gathered around the poor guy, hashing out his plight: every president ever. Here’s what they’re saying:

James Madison: “Dude, seriously?! You’re stepping on it? Do you know how much time I spent writing that thing?! It’s like, over 200 years old!”

Abe: “Hey! Hey buddy, turn around! What’s your problem, man?!”

Clinton and the Roosevelts: clap clap clap, “bravo, bravo, Obama.”

Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson: “I’m also pointing.” (oddly subdued– you’d think he’d be the first one to throw a punch.)

JFK: “Hey aaaa, look ovah there, they elected aaaa black guy for the aaa presidency!”

W: “Wait a minute, are you sure I’m not supposed to be over there by Washington and Kennedy?”

Old Mother Reagan: “Where am I? Why are we gesturing at this guy?”

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Based on the old chestnut that you can “give a man a fish, and you feed him a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him a lifetime,” this work, “Teach a Man to Fish” is a hilariously failed metaphor. Here we see another poor white dude who has put down his books about socialism and is saying “duhhh, what are these things?” while benevolent Trump shows him how to tie a lure in a tranquil forest. Here’s the thing, I don’t think “patient teacher” springs to mind when describing Trump. I’m also guessing he doesn’t know how to fish. Do you think young Trump sat on a pier attaching a squirming nightcrawler on a hook? If he ever has been out to fish, he probably paid someone to set up the rod for him, much like Don Jr. pays someone to drop him in an enclosed area so he can trophy hunt endangered animals.

I think a more accurate metaphor would be Trump running away from an angry fisherman (with an unpaid bill in his hand) with a flopping fish in between his teeth, like Yogi Bear stealing a picnic basket.

crossing-the-swamp-frames

This painting, “Crossing the Swamp,” (a parody of “Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Leutze) shows the danger in trying to create any depiction of the Trump administration as a coherent team. Of those featured here, almost half the crew has walked the plank: Nikki Haley (resigned), James “Mad Dog” Mattis (resigned, Trump says he fired him), Jeff Sessions (forced to resign), Sarah Sanders (resigned), John Bolton (HA! resigned, Trump says he fired him) and John Kelly (forced to resign). Trump better hope that Ben Carson and Ivanka can navigate that thing.

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“Expose the Truth”: Trump: “C’mere you lyin,’ crooked FBI man! Let me grab you by the fucking tie and get a good look at you! A real good look, with my magnifying glass!”

modern-day-paul-revere-small-4

This “Modern-day Paul Revere” is supposed to be obnoxious FOX News personality Sean Hannity, the top dawg at the station after Bill O’Reilly was fired (6 sexual harassment cases totaling $50 million finally did it). Instead of riding town to town to warn of the British invasion, you’ll hear Hannity call out things like:

Halloween is a liberal holiday because we’re teaching our children to beg for something for free!” and “I define peace as the ability to defend yourself and blow your enemies into smithereens!”

you-are-fake-news-small

This is McNaughton’s latest, “You Are Fake News.” For more on Trump’s clown problem, see my column HERE.

Wheeeew! Final thoughts:

Conspiracy News Dept.: Flat Earther and homemade rocket pilot “Mad Mike” Hughes died after a malfunction with his parachute as he attempted flight on Feb.22 outside of Barstow. An upcoming show, Homemade Astronauts was at the launch to shoot footage.

Meanwhile, during Mardi Gras, an “Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself theory” float depicting Hillary Clinton strangling the deceased sex predator rolled down St. Charles Avenue while a group of dancers– “the Swingin’ Epsteins”– danced in grey wigs, prison jumpsuits, and bedsheet nooses around their necks.

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

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“This chatty, fast-paced volume will entertain those who enjoy reading about unusual subcultures.”– Publishers Weekly (on Apocalypse Any Day Now)

 

The#TrumpConspiracyCounter just passed 100. I’m skipping analysis until next week, where I’ll discuss what we’ve seen so far.

Tea’s Weird Week: There are Two Dozen Members of QAnon Running for Congress

TeaWeirdWeek

“That being said, I do believe there is a group in Brussels, Belgium, that do eat aborted babies.”– Matthew Lusk, QAnon member and Florida Congressional candidate

Red Valentine Countdown Social Media Post

L-R: Twitter page of Joanne Wright, California’s 34th district, Danielle Stella (w/ a Q necklace), Minnesota’s 5th district, QAnon supporter at a Trump rally, campaign website (misspelling “where”) of Christine Scott, Florida’s 22nd district.

I wish I were joking with this week’s column title, but I’m not. Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog group that monitors right-wing media, has identified 24 candidates (though two have already dropped out) who have launched 2020 campaigns that are promoters of the QAnon theory. Yikes.

QAnon is a cult-like conspiracy following that believes in a Trump Messiah. I wrote about them in a chapter of my upcoming book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (Aug.25, Feral House) in a chapter titled, simply enough, “Q.”

QAnon beliefs go in a number of crazy directions, but the heart of the belief says that Democrats are running a secret satanic pedophile ring (the Pizzagate theory ties into this) and are practicing cannibalism. They believe Trump is silently plotting a day of reckoning, referred to as “The Storm” when all of these liberal villains– “Crooked Hillary,” Obama, “Nervous Nancy,” members of the Fake News media, and everyone else part of the “Deep State” will be rounded up, given military tribunals and sent to rot in Guantanamo Bay. Cryptic messages about this “Great Awakening” are sent to the initiated by a figure known as “Q.” There is much speculation on who Q is. Some say it is John Kennedy Jr., who faked his death and is secretly helping Trump out, or that it is Trump himself or someone in his inner circle. Spoilers: Q is probably an Internet troll. 

There are many times QAnon has pointed to Trump supposedly acknowledging them– most recently I was amused to see that the Associated Press talked to QAnon members at the Milwaukee Trump rally that I attended and said they “believed the president had traced the shape of the letter ‘Q’ as a covert signal to followers of QAnon.” [“‘QAnon’ conspiracy theory creeps into mainstream politics,”Associated Press.]

You can identify QAnon believers by the lingo they use, often signaled as hashtags. “Where we go one, we go all” (abbreviated to wwg1wga) is the QAnon phrase of solidarity. “The Storm,” and “The Great Awakening,” refer to the QAnon revolution and “trust the plan” is another common signature. Q leaves “drops” and “breadcrumbs” as clues.

Some analysis of the QAnon candidates: Twelve states have QAnon candidates. California and Florida are tied with the most QAnon Congress hopefuls at five each. California has two vying for the 36th district (a huge mass of land east of LA in the Joshua Tree State Park), while in Florida, two are also competing for the 22nd district (which includes Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton). Texas follows with three (though one dropped out) and Minnesota with two. The candidates are split almost 50/50 between men and women. All but one (a Libertarian) are running as Republicans.

The most infamous of these contests include Matthew Lusk, running in Florida’s 5th district (which includes Tallahassee, Jacksonville) unopposed, meaning he’ll be running in the general election against Democrat Rep. Al Lawson. Lusk’s website includes a page devoted to Q, which only has three words of information on it:

Matthew Lusk QAnon campaign site

Danielle Stella of Minnesota is running against Ilhan Omar, a favorite liberal villain.  Stella says Omar hired a hitman to kill a woman and was banned from Twitter after tweeting that Omar should be hung for treason. She’s been a guest on InfoWars, and on a QAnon YouTube channel called “Patriot’s Soapbox.” She apparently also has a problem with shoplifting “cat merchandise.”

Another QAnon contender (and InfoWars guest) is DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero, running against top Trump enemy Nancy Pelosi in California. As noted in the #TrumpConspiracyCounter, Trump has retweeted Tesoriero.

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Here’s the list of known QAnon members running for office in 2020:

  1. Daniel Wood, Arizona’s 3rd District
  2. Dan Belcher, Oklahoma’s 5th District
  3. Matthew Lusk, Florida’s 5th District
  4. Michael Blumeling Jr., Florida’s 21st District
  5. Jeremy Brown, Florida’s 14th District
  6. Christine Scott, Florida’s 22nd District
  7. Darlene Swaffer, Florida’s 22nd District
  8. DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero, California’s 12th District
  9. Erin Cruz, California’s 36th District
  10. Ignacio Cruz, California’s 39th District
  11. Rhonda Furin, California’s 45th District
  12. Patrice Kimbler, California’s 36th District
  13. Joanne Wright, California’s 34th District
  14. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia’s 14th District
  15. Steve Von Loor, North Carolina’s 4th District
  16. Rich Helms, Texas’s 33rd District
  17. Michael Moates, Texas’s 26th District (dropped out after sending creepy messages to teens)
  18. Joe Walz, Texas’s 22nd District
  19. Nichole Williams, Tennessee’s 1st District
  20. Gary Heyer, Minnesota’s 3rd District
  21. Danielle Stella, Minnesota’s 5th District
  22. Bobby Jeffries, Pennyslvania’s 10th District (has reportedly dropped out)
  23. Jo Rae Perkins, Oregon’s 4th District
  24. Lauren Witzke, Delaware, candidate for U.S. Senate

Source: “Here are the QAnon Supporters Running for Congress,” Alex Kaplan, Media Matters for America.

This is crazy, damn damn damn crazy. It shows how important local elections can be. Please look into your local elections and VOTE. Don’t let these candidates and their imaginary friend Q get into office.

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture, including QAnon. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

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“Journalist Tea Krulos has made a curious and enlightening career out of examining groups of people with odd beliefs.” — Skeptical Inquirer

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As noted in today’s column, Trump has already gotten a number of hits on the #TrumpConspiracyCounter by retweeting followers of QAnon, including some this week. Here’s the tallies for Feb.6-12.

64.) Feb.6: Trump, furious at Romney for voting for one of the articles of impeachment, posts a video that promotes Mitt Romney as being a “secret Democrat asset.”

65.-71.) Feb.6-7: Bongino! Dan Bongino has racked up the most #TrumpConspiracyCounter points so far this year. He’s a former InfoWars regular, NRA-TV host, and now a FOX contributor and author of conspiracy book Spygate.

72.) Feb. 6: G’day, mate: Trump retweets Australian conspiracy theorist Miranda Devine, who has promoted the white genocide conspiracy theory, as well as climate change hoaxes, including a strange one that suggests Boeing planes crashed because of pressures to make them more eco-friendly. Make your brain hurt here: “NY Post Columnist Miranda Devine Bizarrely Blames Climate Concern for Boeing Disasters,” Daily Kos.

73.) Feb.6: Trump retweets Charlie Kirk, founder of college orientated Alt-Right Turning Point USA, promotor of many conspiracies, most recently Iowa voting theories.

74-75.) Feb.9: Retweets of Big League Politics. Started by a former Breitbart News writer Patrick Howley, who has called Alex Jones “my Walter Cronkite.” Formed in 2017, the site has promoted several conspiracies including QAnon, the Clinton Body Count, and Charlottesville false flag conspiracies.
Source: “Roy Moore Consultants’ New Project: A Conspiracy-Theorizing Pro-Trump News Site,”Daily Beast.

77.) Feb.9: Trump retweets Red Pill Report, sharing a video of House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler being shouted at by a heckler. The video was made by a QAnon YouTuber called “In Pursuit of Truth.”

78.) Feb. 9: Trump goes on an ALL CAPS Tweet freakout, ranting about the Spygate conspiracy. It read, in part:

SIMPLY PUT, THE PARTY IN POWER ILLEGALLY SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN, BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER THE ELECTION, IN ORDER TO CHANGE OR NULLIFY THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTION. IT CONTINUED ON WITH THE IMPEACHMENT HOAX. Terrible!

79.) Feb.10-12: These could be stretched out to several counts, as over two days Trump tweeted and spoke to the press in defense of his old campaign advisor and conspiracy theorist (and possible Batman villain) Roger Stone.

Stone has a hand in Trump becoming president, being one of the early people to suggest a White House run to him in the 1980s. In 2015, Trump tapped him to unleash the “Stone’s Rules” playbook. Stone has a long career as being a self-described “dirty trickster” as well as being a conspiracy theorist, spreading ideas like the Clinton Body Count, the Deep State, and many others. He teamed up with Alex Jones and had his own InfoWars show.

Although Trump claims “nobody really knows what he did,” the 7 felonies charged against Stone are specific– obstructing an official proceeding, witness tampering, and five counts of making false statements to Congress for his roll in trying to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from WikiLeaks and intimidating witnesses to lie from him.

After the Department of Justice announced a 7-9 year reccomended prison term, Trump vigorously defended Stone, saying his sentence was a “miscarriage of justice” and “very unfair” and that the Stone prosecutors were “rogue prosecutors maybe? The Swamp!” Attorney General Bill Barr stepped in to say that the sentence wasn’t reasonable and would not “serve the interests of justice.” The four prosecutors who made the sentencing recommendation all withdrew from the case, with one quitting the Department of Justice completely. Many have speculated Stone will end up being pardoned by Trump, though he wouldn’t provide an answer when the press asked him.

More on Stone’s dirty trickster history:  “A Brief History of Roger Stone,” The Atlantic.

80.-82.) Feb.10: Retweets of Tom Fitton/ Judicial Watch. Fitton is president of conservative activist group Judicial Watch, which has spread conspiracies about the Clinton Body Count, voter fraud, Spygate, George Soros, climate change, and others.

You can find the #TrumpConspiracyCounter on Twitter: twitter.com/TrumpConspirac3

 

 

Tea’s Weird Week: The Top 7 Flattest of the Flat Earth Hip Hop Songs

TeaWeirdWeek

An Examination of One of Music’s Strangest Sub-genres, Plus the #TrumpConspiracyCounter Hits 063

In past “Tea’s Weird Week” columns, I explored conspiracy theories and urban legends about musicians, everyone from The Beatles to Tupac Shakur to Kurt Cobain to Ace of Base. You can read part one HERE and part two HERE.

But what about music by the conspiracy theorists, for the conspiracy theorists? Although there’s examples of  JFK Assassination Folk and Extraterrestrial themed pop-punk out there, no conspiracy topic has as well-rounded (sorry) of a musical output as Flat Earth Theory, as I discovered when I attended the Flat Earth International Conference in Dallas this last November. Flat Earthers create music in a variety of genres, but the bulk is hip hop, or as I like to call it, “flat hop.” You might be as surprised as I was to learn that there is more than one flat hop artist, and more than a dozen around the world (sorry)… but probably not much more than a dozen.

Bust out a big piece of cardboard, Globeheads, find a flat surface (again, sorry) and get ready to start break-dancing because here is…

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7. “Get Over It,” Mr. Matty Moses

Choice rhyme: “You’re digger deeper and you don’t know what to believe/ you’re getting pissed off that you’ve been duped and deceived/who do you blame NASA? The elites? (both of ’em)/ a lot of darker voices hiding our reality that…the earth’s flat, flat flat get over it.”
Notes: Mr. Matty Moses isn’t having it and wants you to get over the globe lies. To prove he’s tough on this, he’s rapping atop a pile of pallets behind a factory and other urban environments.  Bonus point for working in a diss on Greek philosopher Pythagoras (credited with being one of the first to realize the world is round) into the rap.

6. “The World is Flat,” B.A.G.D.A.G. featuring D. Marble

Choice rhyme: “I’m on a mission to go out and wake the masses/ Like this is They Live, and I’m handing out glasses/ Like ‘put these on quick and you can see how fake space is’/ Like I was sent here to tear down the Matrix.”
Notes: These guys are super stoked about their personalized flat earth sweatshirts. Which came first– the song or the sweatshirts? I’m betting sweatshirts. They Live and The Matrix are frequently referenced in Flat Earther culture (and conspiracy believers in general).

5. “Round and Curvy,” Friend of Yahweh

Choice rhyme: “I want to flow with the planets/ but oh well I can’t get past the firmament/ Just too round and curvy/ think I’m just too round and curvy/ I’m just too NASA nerdy.”
Notes: Wow-weeeee, I’m speechless. This is a (sometimes shot-for-shot) parody of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “White and Nerdy” video (which is a parody of “Ridin'” by Chamillionaire). This parody of parody is told from the perspective of a complete tool who believes in, you know,  science, and features alien marionettes and a rapping “round and curvy” earth. Does the world– round or flat– need a “Flat Earth Weird Al” Yankovic? The answer is NO.

4. “It’s Flat!,” Curved Water

Choice rhyme: “It’s flat/ and now it feels so good to me/ I’m waking every day with this smile/ full of positivity/ waited all my life just to think for myself/ just a little bit more critically.”
Notes: I don’t know that this technically counts as hip hop, but I had to include it because of the damn hot flat earth passion! Most flat hop is about dissing NASA, mainstream science, the Illuminati, etc., but this song is about the pure ecstasy of discovering that the world is flat. It’s a flat earth song to make sweet love to.

3.  “Dear NASA, Why Are you Lying?,” ODD TV
Choice rhyme: “NASA’s missions to the moon were never completed/ they just filmed them in a room and people believed it/ I used to wonder what it’s like to be an astronaut/ now when I seem em acting I can’t help but laugh a lot.”
Notes:  ODD TV is one of the grandmasters of flat hop, no doubt. Check out my note about the playlist I made at the end of this article for more ODD tracks like “Cartoon Ball.” I chose this one for the sick Chili Peppers sample and the overall Flat Earth mood.

2. “Flatliner,” B.o.B.

Choice rhyme: “Woo!/ Use Use your common sense/ why is NASA part of the Department of Defense?/ they divided up the seas into 33 degrees/ feeding kids masonry bruh, be careful what you read.”
Notes: This is a Neil Degrasse Tyson diss track! After B.o.B. talked about the world being flat in an interview, it sparked a beef between the rapper and the astrophysicist. B.o.B. recorded this diss track and Tyson appeared on Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore to literally drop a mic to demonstrate gravity. Guys, slow down! Remember what happened to Tupac and Biggie!

1.  “Flat Smackin’ (The All-Star Remix),” Wes Blaze Muzik featuring Amber Paster, Sebastian Calico, ODD TV, DECM, Flat Earth Man, The Watcher, D, Marble, and B.A.G.D.A.G.

Choice rhyme: “Eat. Sleep. Debunk the globe, repeat.”
Notes: I have some sentimental value to this song because I saw it performed live at the Flat Earth International Conference last year and it was my awakening to the fact that flat hop was a thing. Just a couple great things about this track: 1.) “Flat smacking” is a Flat Earther term that refers to dropping knowledge on unsuspecting “globeheads” that the world is flat. 2.) Flat Earth Man is the biggest Flat Earther music star, a British dude that sings country songs about flat earth. He joins in the all-star rap here in the greatest country/ hip hop crossover since “Old Town Road.”

Please Clap Dept.: I’ve just created an American Madness Channel on YouTube, please subscribe. I haven’t uploaded any of my own videos yet. So far I got 4 playlists rolling: Flat Hop, which features all the songs on this list (plus several more), playlists with videos on the Bohemian Grove and Denver Airport Conspiracy, and a Tea Krulos Interviews list which has a few of my appearances on various podcasts. More playlists to follow soon.  Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoFCwzjjghaVXSWUwEZx27g/playlists

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My upcoming book American Madness features my experience at a flat earth conference, among many other conspiracy encounters. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

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HAPPINESS

#Trumpconspiracycounter2020 (4)Flat Earth hip hop, Reptilian aliens, and Kevin Spacey murder theories all just seems like stupid crazy stuff. But conspiracy can be dangerous, especially as it is being weaponized for the 2020 elections. The contents of this week’s #TrumpConspiracyCounter is alarming stuff.

57.) January 30: Trump retweets The Epoch Times. The newspaper (and related media) was founded by a Chinese cult called the Falun Gong, who believes a judgment day is nigh and that “Trump was sent by heaven to destroy Communism.” The newspaper is saturated in conspiracy theories, including promoting QAnon and Anti-vaxxers. In December 2019, Facebook took down 600 accounts tied to The Epoch Times that had created fake, A.I. generated user profilers and spent $9.5 million on pro-Trump ads. Source: “Facebook say a pro-Trump media outlet used artificial intelligence to create fake people and push conspiracies,” NBC News.

58.) January 30:  Retweets DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero, who is running against Trump enemy Nancy Pelosi and is a regular on InfoWars. Tesoriero is one of 12 QAnon believers running for Congress. Source:“GOP’s ‘QAnon Conspiracy Followers Running for Congress,” The National Memo.

59.) January 30: Trump retweets Dawn Michael, a sex counselor and member of QAnon. For more on Michael and Tesoriero, read:
“Trump Retweets InfoWars Regular And QAnon-Supporting Sex Coach During Impeachment Trial,” Newsweek.

60.) January 30: It’s hard to make the distinction of what to list as conspiracy and what is just wacky Trump bloviating, but we’re going to count this Trump statement at an Iowa rally: “The Green New Deal, which would crush our farms, destroy our wonderful cows. They want to kill our cows. You know why, right? You know why? Don’t say it. They want to kill our cows. That means you’re next.” The Democrats Want to Kill Your Cows and Then You Theory.

61.) February 4: Honorary Counter Click for Rush Limbaugh. Trump’s State of the Union speech contained a lot of lies but was light on conspiracy. That’s not surprising as in situations like this we get “Teleprompter Trump.” But one shocking moment was when he awarded Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom…during the speech. First Lady Melania hung the medal on him as Trump commended his long time friend, who recently announced he is on his way out with stage 4 lung cancer.

Limbaugh is the original Alt-Right. He paved the way for every angry, obnoxious, far-right blowhard that followed– Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, and the FOX News personalities, just to name a few. He has a long legacy of disgusting racist, sexist  comments and, of course, promotions of conspiracy theories. To mention just a few of his greatest hits: Birtherism, the Clinton Body Count, the theory that the 2018 New Zealand mosque mass shooting was a “false flag” to smear conservatives, that Hurricane Irma was a liberal hoax, and that mail bombs sent to Democrat targets were being sent by the Democrats themselves.

62.-63.) February 5: Retweets of Michael Lebron aka Lionel, radio and YouTube personality and promoter of QAnon and other conspiracies. See “Trump meets with promoter of ‘QAnon’ in White House,The Hill.

Well, here we are. Just over a month into 2020 and Trump has already promoted conspiracy theorists and ideas over 60 times. Rush Limbaugh has won a medal that is supposed to go to Americans who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” These are dark times.

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