Emerging during the summer of 2022, he relentlessly harassed the Christofascist cult with obscene stickers, chalk pentagrams and drive-by attacks on a bicycle (allegedly).
Creativity not being the strong suit of 1776RM, they called him Biketifa, since he was Antifa on a bike.
They tried to dox him and failed, identifying him as an Arlington attorney named Grant. How did they settle on this candidate? He rode a bike and lived in Arlington – it had to be him!
Supporters of 1776RM harassed Grant and his family, thinking it was Biketifa.
After 1776RM was driven out of DC by trolls (like Biketifa), a few remnants, the dregs of the dregs, joined a new right-wing cult: Freedom Corner. Led by Ashli Babbitt’s mom, they hold a nightly vigil outside the DC Jail where they demand freedom for January 6th insurrectionists and the hanging of Nancy Pelosi.
Biketifa turned his talents against this squalid little group, plastering the neighborhood around the DC Jail with posters mocking their nonstop grifting, boozing and incompetence.
He’s a multimedia artist, capable of working in numerous materials and forms. Along with the posters, he turned to chalk, covering the sidewalk by the jail and the US Courthouse with colorful curses, pentagrams and insults.
The chuds of Freedom Corner were outraged, complaining to the authorities about the chalktifa witchcraft. But chalk can’t hurt you – or can it? While one of his curses was literally a Rickroll in Latin, it had results, with one of the Freedom Corner members dying under mysterious circumstances and another being arrested for assault.
Biketifa also works in video, mocking the chuds with music video creations featuring kickass soundtracks. But this is more than just comedy. One of his videos reveals the grubby truth about Freedom Corner: they’re all paid protesters, caught on camera receiving checks from a mysterious benefactor.
After nearly two years of digging, the chuds finally discovered the real name of Biketifa. They put it online, encouraging their followers to harass him. It’s what the right does. Doxxing means that the chuds will send him and his family death threats and try to get him fired.
But let me tell you who Biketifa really is:
A kind and gentle father.
Happily married to a trial attorney.
Employed by nonprofit organization.
An award-winning artist.
Born in the Panama Canal Zone (like John McCain).
Biketifa is Will aka ArlingtonAF. Fighting fascists is just one part of his identify. He also advocates for safe streets in Arlington, sells his art in local shows and is involved in local politics. Check out his profile in ARNow, where he talks about how his hilarious anti-pickle ball posters were influenced by Soviet art nouveau (seriously).
Follow him on ArlingtonAF to get news on his upcoming art shows where you can buy an original Biketifa/Will/ArlingtonAF.
I did! I love to buy art made by friends. It’s a watercolor of Anarchy Princess, based upon a photo I took of her on Halloween. The frame is made of recycled wood. In this digital age, it’s very cool to own something made by hand.
And if you want to see more great chud trolling, cash him up at Venmo.
There is nothing more American than a road trip. Hitting the highway is a chance to leave your humdrum daily life behind and find new people and possibilities as you traverse the continent.
The Take Our Border Back Convoy (TOBB) generated real excitement in the right-wing universe for this reason. It was an opportunity to recapture some of the magic of the the People’s Convoy (TPC), which for a few brief days in 2022, looked like it might become a political movement before falling apart due to greed and infighting.
This time would be different and social media was soon flooded with the news that 700,000 trucks were headed for the border. Images of the trucker convoy from 2022 were recycled as the joyous misinformation spread that Americans were going to shut down the border, ending the flow of drugs and immigrants.
The band was getting back together, as TPC live-streaming grifters reemerged, with the prospect of a new rolling con exciting their empty bank accounts.
I watched the excitement bubble up on Freedom Corner, the pro-J6 vigil outside the DC Jail that had reached a dead end, literally and figuratively. It had become a home for TPC members who had lingered in the area, following the collapse of the convoy and its successor, the 1776 Restoration Movement.
The livestreamers of Freedom Corner abandoned the vigil for a convoy that was little more than a typo-ridden web site that was light on details.
Day One: Left Behind at Buc-ee’s
The convoy ran into trouble before it began. When the over-eager livestreamers of Freedom Corner arrived at the rally point, an outlet mall in Norfolk, they were kicked out by security. TOBB hadn’t gotten permission to use the parking lot.
TOBB was more than just a reunion of chuds; it also brought the troll community back together, those of us who had monitored, mocked and disrupted TPC, 1776RM and Freedom Corner. We were as excited as they were for this new season.
On the morning of January 29th, I tuned in to the livestreams to see…. nothing. The chuds were in a different parking lot. No trucks. Twenty cars. No organizers.
Eventually, the TOBB organizers arrived in a luxury RV (just like how the TPC organizers had traveled). After speechifying and praying, the convoy left, more than an hour late.
This would be a pattern.
Problems developed almost immediately, as the Zello channel used by TOBB was infiltrated by people shouting, “Howard Stern’s penis!”
The convoy rumbled slowly on. Their plan of reaching Jacksonville in nine hours was hopelessly optimistic; it would take them fifteen.
“Leave no man behind” is one of the credos of the patriot movement. Yet, at a Buc-ee’s in South Carolina, they did just that, stranding Daniel, a man that trolls had nicknamed “MAGA Super Mario” for his resemblance to the video game character. He was kicked out and left behind without his wallet or ID.
“Sorry things didn’t work out!” one of the livestreamers shouted as she drove off.
Day Two: Vehicular Mayhem
The convoy was again late. Again, they had lost their rally point, leading to a late-night relocation to a truck stop rather than their original destination (getting permission before parking overnight having never occurred to organizers).
On the TOBB web site, they had pledged to follow all traffic laws.
The convoy began the day, as they would all days, by rolling through red lights and blocking intersections in a display of selfish and dangerous driving. Being in a convoy means that the laws don’t apply to you.
This included cutting off working truckers, the people that they claim to support:
After another fifteen hour day of driving, more Zello infiltration and another Buc-ee’s stop (no one marooned this time), the convoy arrived in a Baton Rouge truck stop. Without any trucks.
Day Three: The Trolls Bite
Did I mention that the border convoy wasn’t going to the border? That was brought up by the organizers at the some point. 700,000 trucks were not going to the border (not that they had any trucks), instead they would have a rally outside Austin and then a religious revival at a ranch.
Did this matter to the livestreamers? No. It’s the journey, not the destination. The convoy was the point, at least as long as the donations flowed in, which they did through YouTube, Cash app and other methods.
And the trolls were getting to the convoy. They had discovered the “secret” Zello channel and were insulting the livestreamers. They made nasty comments in the chat. The memes were getting to them, leading to one grifter saying what they all thought: they were entitled to break the law because they were patriots!
I’ve watched a lot of chud nonsense. I’ve heard sovereign citizen silliness from J6 prisoners calling in to Freedom Corner. Listened to 1776RM talk of a constitutional republic as code for ending democracy. Seen truckers threaten to citizens arrest the Mayor of DC because they peed their pants.
I speak chud. But the political rally held by TOBB on February 1 at a fascist-friendly Dripping Springs distillery was nearly incomprehensible to me. It began with one of the organizers reading a statement that all federal agents in the audience were required to identify themselves. “You been put on a notice,” he declared.
It went downhill from there.
The chuds were excited that Ted Nugent was scheduled to appear. Arriving in a helicopter, he played one song and left.
Sarah Palin got up and accused Joe Biden of treason. She’s a Texas resident now.
Then appeared Ivan Raiklin, a Michael Flynn goblin who is a regular presence at right-wing rallies in DC. Hobbling up on stage in crutches (he was injured in a toboggan accident), he vowed that he would be Trump’s “Secretary of Retribution” and that he had a list of Democrats, liberals and others who were targeted for assassination.
Several J6ers also took the stage, claiming that they had been targeted by the Deep State (despite taking plea deals where they admitted their guilt), and Lara Logan with her pneumatic boobs gave a surprisingly foul-mouthed speech threatening the media.
But that wasn’t even the craziest part. I was half-watching when I suddenly heard shouts of “Allah Akbar” erupt from my computer.
It was Michael Yon, a journalist. He yelled that the Jews were responsible for the immigration crisis at the border and that Muslims from the border were coming to kill them. It was so nuts that I had to rewind to make sure I heard it correctly.
Listen for yourself (turn down your speakers):
Here at the Take Our Borders Back rally, Michael Yon was just SCREAMING into the microphone about migrant terrorists being funded by Jewish money. He was sure to say “Jewish” several times. This was immediately after other speakers said they met with #txlege. Just listen. pic.twitter.com/ozdwhTN6HC
Hours after dark, and after an assault by hail, the convoy trickled into the Cornerstone Children’s Ranch.
Day Sixth: February 3th
Was the Take Our Border Back Convoy nothing but a con? It lured hundreds of people to an isolated South Texas ranch for a religious revival and fundraiser.
Rather than taking back the border, the attendees listened to speech after speech under the hot sun and were baptized in a horse trough.
The “tell” that it was a con was there all along. It was in the banner that they used: February 3th.
They didn’t even bother to proof their own banner because they knew it didn’t matter. The call of the convoy was enough to get the MAGA crowd out and rolling. No more details were needed.
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. But it’s been farcical since the first convoy got stuck in an endless loop on the Washington Beltway. After they dissolved in bitter recriminations, the 1776 Restoration Movement took up the grift, only to spectacularly implode after a month of being trolled in the nation’s capital. From them begat Freedom Corner, a non-moving convoy of lawn chairs and live-streamers that grows smaller and smaller in a vigil on a dead-end street in DC.
And if there’s one constant in the freedom movement, it’s the lawn chairs. They are essential to any right-wing gathering. Chuds don’t walk. They sit.
After a day of sitting near the border, but not reaching it, the Take Our Border Back Convoy has come to an end.
Freedom Corner has freed no one. The nightly pro-January 6th vigil outside the DC Jail has, however, prompted an outpouring of art mocking them – gifs, memes, AI creations and, most hilariously, music videos.
I give you, Freedom Corner: Only the Hits.
Get your ass up and hurrah….
Something about chuds dancing to old school rap is instantly hilarious. MAGA women gyrating to the obscene lyrics of Ice Cube’s “You Can Do It” as created by Spinnaker had me laughing all day.
I posted the above for Peter Navarro Sentencing Day. Trump supporters got big mad that I was celebrating the sentencing of a “good man” to four months in prison for Contempt of Congress. “Soon you will be in jail,” they vowed.
So, I shared another Spinnaker creation, another delicious combination of chuds and rap. It was from last weekend’s reunion of the 1776 Restoration Movement. They expected thousands to attend; they got a dozen.
Biketifa is a genius. He’s produced so much art (including posters and framed art) that it’s hard to know where to start. So here’s a video featuring Anarchy Princess (famous for trolling Peter Navarro), Biketifa and myself up to various anti-fascist shenanigans on the streets of DC.
Here’s another jamming tune from last summer during the Chalktifa Wars, when Biketifa triggered the chuds of Freedom Corner with messages in chalk outside the Federal Courthouse in DC. “Chalk can’t hurt you,” I told them. But maybe it can.
It’s more than just mockery. Freedom Corner films themselves doing everything (just like 1776RM did, the chuds having learned nothing). They like to call other people “paid protesters” but Biketifa put together a video, from their own clips, demonstrating that they’re all being paid by a Hitler apologist:
No post on the music videos of Freedom Corner would be complete without a Baldy Banks submission. This is my favorite, featuring an off-screen Anarchy Princess paired with the music of Joey Valence & Brae:
In case you think this all too mean, a quick reminder. Freedom Corner is led by Ashli Babbitt’s violent and insane mom, who has repeatedly called for the hanging of Nancy Pelosi. Members of this squalid little cult outside the DC Jail have attacked counterprotestors, stalked women to the Metro and provide a home for J6 insurrectionists, Nazis and white racists.
Spinnaker provides a nice summary in the pitch-perfect parody, “Chudfellas.”
It’s a weird little cult that chants “Ashli Babbitt” every night while demanding the release of the J6 “hostages” from the “DC gulag.” The MAGA movement is sort of like an adult day camp, where Boomers can revisit their youth while letting out their worst impulses.
In other words, it’s like a grown-up version of the Peanuts.
2100 M St NW – that has to be a typo, I thought to myself, as I read the announcement the Artomatic was returning in March.
With a need for tens of thousands of square feet for artists, they must’ve meant 2100 M St SW or SE. The massive free art show is typically done in transitional neighborhoods using buildings that have just been constructed or about to be torn down. Past shows have occurred in NoMa, Waterfront and other locations just before they were gentrified.
2100 M St NW is prime downtown real estate – or is it?
In fact, the building has been empty for years. Constructed in 1969, it housed the headquarters of the Urban Institute until 2017. Since then, it’s been boarded-up and empty. It will be converted into multifamily housing.
Covid accelerated a trend toward telework that existed before the pandemic. Now, most white collar workers in DC are remote for at least part of the week. With fewer people going to offices, fewer offices are needed.
I haven’t been in an office since March, 2020. But before then, I worked for a variety of organizations in downtown DC, taking part in the familiar rituals and customs of office life that now seem outdated and strange – wearing a tie, signing birthday cards for coworkers, going to happy hour with your boss.
With so much memory imprinted upon my brain, I imagined that this life still exists downtown. But it doesn’t.
The good news is that some of these buildings are being converted to much-needed housing. In addition to 2100 M St NW, other nearby office buildings are being converted to apartments, including one at 20th and L, former home to the Peace Corps.
My first job out of college was across the street. Never did I imagine that people would one day live in what was the bustling heart of the “office district.”
2100 M St NW was too ideal of a location to stay empty forever. Located between Dupont Circle and George Washington University, with two Metro lines nearby, and lots of foot traffic, Artomatic will thrive there when it opens in March.
And it will make a convenient, walkable home for hundreds of people when it becomes apartments. This is much better for DC than office workers who commute in from the suburbs and leave.
That is what’s great about cities – they change and adapt, capable of turning cubicle farms into space for artists and then transforming into housing for families.
Artomatic runs from March 8 to April 28. It’s free and will feature hundreds of artists and performers. Don’t miss it!
“This is political street theater,” the organizer said, as men stripped down in front of the White House.
It was a demonstration of the cruelties inflicted upon the Palestinian people by Israel, complete with a woman playing the role of a soldier in green with a Star of David patch on her chest.
It was a frigid day, with a brisk wind. Men and boys, evidently volunteers, took off everything but their underwear and had their hands secured behind their backs with white plasticuffs. The sound of crashing bombs played over a speaker. The faux soldier walked down the line of men issuing instructions.
Belatedly, the organizer issued a trigger warning. “Parents, if you have kids, you might want to remove them. What happens next may be upsetting.”
I had seen enough. Leaving, I watched as a man dressed as Spiderman with a keffiyeh around his neck approached. Was he part of the street theater, too?
And aren’t all demonstrations in a sense street theater? Earlier at the March for Gaza, I talked to a guy with an Irish flag and a Sinn Fein shirt. Too young to remember the bombings committed by the terrorist group, he said that he was there to return the support that Palestinians had provided to the Irish in “our struggle.” He was American.
Also at the march was Nadine, who comes to every anti-fascist march and is known for her huge “Trump Indicted” banner. I first met her when she tangled with the trucker convoy remnants known as the 1776 Restoration Movement. Photo editors love her for her passion and strong visual sense; I’ve seen pictures of Nadine in Politico, ABC and everywhere else. She was carrying a banner reading, “Never Again, For Whom????”
Earlier in the week, I participated in my own form of political street theater, going to the US Court House, where Trump was making an appearance in his Presidential immunity case.
It was cold and rainy but I wanted to be there, having missed the freak show in August when Trump was arraigned. I was biking across the Netherlands at the time, and stayed up late in my hotel room to watch this scene of American dysfunction on CNN. It was surreal to recognize Nadine and her huge banner in the live shots.
This time, on a dreary Tuesday morning in January, there was hardly anyone there. Except for Anarchy Princess, waiting in line with her umbrella. She was there for the Trump appearance and the sentencing of a January 6er.
“Have you seen the chuds?” she asked.
I hadn’t, it evidently being too early in the morning for Trump supporters.
We had just seen them a couple days earlier, on the anniversary of January 6th, where the Freedom Corner crowd held a rally by the Justice Department and then attempted to march to the Capitol.
Their continued stupidity astounds me. Rather than rallying on Pennsylvania Avenue, where every other group demonstrates, they held their demonstration on a side street, with almost no pedestrian traffic.
Being a dedicated chud watcher, I arrived at the start time of the rally – 1 PM – where a dozen or so January 6th supporters stood on a traffic island in the middle of the road opposite the Department of Justice. It was awkward, with their only audience being me and a counterprotestor.
They didn’t have a sound system, allowing them to be blasted out by Patricia Eguino and her death metal screams of “TRAITORS!”
No signs either. A few tourists wandered by on their way to the Natural History Museum and asked me what was going by. I told them – they support January 6th – and they were repulsed.
This was poor street theater.
The weather was unspeakably miserable – 35 degrees and raining. I left to get a Guinness.
The march, a gaggle of people with American flags, continued to the Capitol, surrounded by an envelope of police.
And then they got big mad. The Capitol Police wouldn’t let insurrectionists march to the Capitol on January 6th.
A hilarious clip to watch as you’re sitting in a bar with a beer and a Shepherds Pie.
The unstoppable Eguino had continued to trail them with shouts of “TRAITORS” following them all the way around the Capitol in a punishing rain-drenched slog.
Anarchy Princess then popped up, the mere presence of their antagonist and her rainbow umbrella enough to send the J6ers into paroxysms of rage. They think that the Capitol Police work for her.
This was political street theater live-streamed for me to watch from the comfort of a warm bar.
Clips, photos, memes and stories from the protest soon made their way online, as people joined in the mockery of the fascist fail march.
That is why political street theater matters, for these visuals enter and influence the debate. They inspire others. They get people to show up on rainy days to counterprotest. That is why they matter.
On January 6th, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued an order telling people to stay away from downtown, for violence was expected. All the businesses downtown closed – boards covered the buildings, turning the streets dark and ominous at night.
Disgracefully, hotels remained open as greedy corporations used the insurrection as a chance to grab a cheap buck.
On the morning of the 6th, I saw Trump supporters pour out of their hotels and march downtown. They came to fight. Men were kitted out in flack jackets, helmets, bear spray, clubs, tasers and other weaponry. They hooted and hollered as they called for another 1776.
Individually, they looked like your neighbor. Hell, they could be your neighbor. This was a white, middle-class riot. Who else could afford to go to DC in the middle of the week?
But clad in Trump gear, and one of thousands marching for the wannabe dictator, they felt empowered. They had come to fight for Trump.
We were naive. “Stop the Steal” was the name of the rally on the Ellipse. How else were you going to stop the steal without stopping Congress from certifying the vote? Disrupting Congress – a polite euphemism for murder -was the plan all along.
I was naive. While Trump supporters had posted online about storming the Capitol, and even shared maps of the tunnels under the building, the unthinkable couldn’t occur. Our vast security state was prepared. Our legislators, even the Republican ones, would do the right thing. Violence and chaos wasn’t the American Way.
I watched in disbelief as the mob I had seen in my neighborhood stormed their way into the Capitol, stopping the certification of the vote, and disenfranchising millions of Americans.
The Capitol Police had guns; I had seen them with AR-15s on the Capitol steps. They had shooed me away on occasion when I was biking by.
But on January 6th, they didn’t use them (with one brave exception).
“Shoot them!” I screamed, watching the coverage. All those years I had followed Capitol Police instructions and here was a white mob breaking windows and assaulting officers with no response at all.
It took hours but the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the DC National Guard restored order. Washington, DC, rescued democracy on January 6th.
The coup plotters hadn’t planned on this. It was a close-run thing. The mob had come within feet of Vice President Pence, who they planned to hang.
I watched the Trump mob return. They were proud of what they had done, celebrating their great accomplishment: they fought for Trump! That night, they partied in their hotels. It was the most disgusting thing I had ever witnessed.
Even the next day, and seeing the terrible media coverage of the event, they were still proud and running around the city in SUVs bedecked with Trump flags.
I confronted some of them outside the Mason & Rook Hotel. I said that they were a fucking disgrace. One of them shoved me with a huge flag pole that he was carrying (they love using flag poles as weapons). Unhurt, I crossed the street, called the cops and jawed back and forth with the group as they waited for the valet to bring up their car.
By the time the police arrived, they were gone – after promising that they would return with their guns. The MPD went inside to look at the security camera footage while I waited in the lobby.
A curious, post-adrenaline calm came over me as I watched families in MAGA gear check out of the hotel, grab coffee and chitchat.
I suddenly understood why photos of hangings often look like carnivals: because they were. It wasn’t a shameful event for the community; it was a party, a chance for everyone to come together in communal hate and then celebrate their achievement.
These people milling about in the lobby, checking their phones and chowing down on croissants, were going back to their middle-class lives with no consequences at all.
The MPD officer returned. The security camera footage was blocked by a giant truck parked in front of the hotel. She gave me a case number and left.
No One is Coming
Democrats like to talk about how the long arc of history bends toward justice. Be patient and have faith in the goodness of American hearts to deliver democracy.
But justice isn’t inevitable, as even most casual reader of history can tell you.
The long arc of history doesn’t bend on its own; it is bent by all of us and our individual choices.
The January 6th coup attempt nearly succeeded. If Trump had thought to bring MPD in on the plot, it would’ve. He won’t make that mistake again.
Don’t count on the Supreme Court or brave state legislators to prevent the return of Donald Trump.
No one is coming.
We’re going to have to save ourselves.
What You Can Do
How do we do that? Here are three things that you can do:
Vote for Biden. He is the only candidate who promises to respect the election results. A vote for anyone else is a vote for a never-ending Trump family dictatorship in the North Korean style. Failing to vote is throwing your rights away through inaction.
Fight the Big Lie. Republicans want to turn Ashli Babbitt into a martyr and proclaim January 6th as Patriots Day. Wrapping themselves in the flag, they claim that they had a right to storm the Capitol. But we all saw what happened. Stop people when they speak revisionist nonsense.
Expel Trumpkins from Your Life. Why would you be friends with someone who wants to take away your right to vote? If the Trump mob had succeeded on January 6th, the votes of millions of Americans would’ve been discarded. Trump voters want him to be dictator – what do you think that will mean for you? Why would you associate with someone who wants to turn you into a second-class citizen? Send a message by ostracizing Trump supporters.
January 6th will not be forgotten. We will not move on. The day was a warning that democracy is far more fragile than we believed. We must fight to protect it.
How do you sum up a year? Looking back at 2023, these are my highlights.
The year began with Georgetown Glow, an annual show of light art in Washington, DC. This piece along the Potomac was a good reminder of how ephemeral our lives are. Time is running out for all of us.
Later that month, I was in the right spot at the right time to capture the perfect photo of a chud facing justice.
This wasn’t luck. I knew who this strange character was: Ron J Spike, a “rapper” associated with the Freedom Corner January 6th cult outside the DC Jail. I saw him causing problems at the Women’s March and figured that he was dumb enough to get himself in trouble. He slapped at a woman and was detained.
March brought the cherry blossoms again. I read an article about this persevering cherry blossom tree and visited a couple times before I made this photo.
The Rage Against the War Machine Rally brought together many surreal sights, including seeing Code Pink collaborate with the Proud Boys against aid for Ukraine. But what was most shocking for me was seeing Communist emblems in the heart of Washington. I thought we won the Cold War?
The mountains of North Carolina are my happy place. Visiting in April, I got to experience multiple seasons as I went up and down elevations. Spring had just begun in Waynesville when I arrived.
This was the year I became Red Bike Guy. If I knew I was going to be on TV, I would’ve dressed better, lol. Everyone should be famous for fifteen minutes just to feel what it’s like. It was thrilling, gratifying and overwhelming all at once.
Right after I became famous, I went to the Sunshine State for a family event, where I was blissfully unrecognized. Florida is a different kind of place, where free-range roosters are not unusual.
Back in DC, I went to one of my favorite events of the year: Exposed DC. This annual photography show features views of DC that you won’t see in any tourist brochure. I’ve had photos in the show before. In 2023, the photos were displayed in a Mount Pleasant alley.
And then came the highlight of the year for me: biking across the Netherlands! Four friends, five bikes, six days and countless adventures as we biked from Amsterdam to Bruges. A life-changing journey that taught me that a better world was possible, one in which the auto doesn’t reign supreme. If you want to see what heaven looks like, visit the Netherlands.
I wasn’t the only troll who went famous in 2023. Anarchy Princess did too, after triggering Peter Navarro with a sign reading, “Trump lost (and you know it).” It was surreal to see her blast off on the same rocket I did. She deserves all the fame and accolades for harassing the fascist 1776RM and Freedom Corner movements.
Anarchy Princess became a meme and then her words became chalktifa outside the Federal Court House, part of the trolling shenanigans in DC.
Open Streets Georgia Av is one of those beautiful urban events that sadly only occurs a few hours a year. In Europe, the streets would be closed to cars but open to people all the time. Georgia Avenue was transformed as people of all ages got to enjoy the street (briefly) before it reverted to a traffic sewer.
Beyond Granite was a wild series of art installations that livened up the august spaces of the National Mall. The Soil You See… by Wendy Red Star is a monumental fingerprint with the names of the Apsáalooke (Crow) nation chiefs who signed treaties with the U.S. government, in dialogue with the nearby 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence Memorial.
The photo is blurry but trust me: I yelled at Trump. Less than a hundred feet away and he definitely heard me. After seeing his mob trash my city, this was a moment that I can only describe as cathartic.
Not a good sign for the environment, but this year featured some incredible sunsets.
No one does Halloween like the people of Capitol Hill. Hats on the Hill featured black hats hanging from wires as if they were floating in air.
The workers of the Washington Post went on a one-day strike for better pay and benefits. Sadly, Jeff Bezos continues to gut the paper as writers and columnists take buyouts and leave.
The best Christmas tree in Washington is not at the White House or the Capitol, but at the Canadian Embassy.
The year ended as it began, with Georgetown Glow. Is this a preview of what is to come? Taking Heads by Viktor Vicsek highlights how we’ve invested too much in our machines and not enough in people. Now, they threaten to overtake us, and replace us with a world of ones and zeroes, with a few billionaires at the helm.
Rudy Giuliani owes Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss $148 million.
The election workers were awarded this sum by a DC jury after being wrongfully accused by Giuliani of stealing votes and passing around a “USB port like a crack vial.”
He was unrepentant to the end as he continued to smear the women even during his trial.
I saw him outside the federal courthouse in Washington, DC, before the verdict.
Hannah Arendt was right about evil: it is banal. Giuliani did not look like a villainous traitor as he emerged from the courthouse and made a beeline for the press in his slow, shambling fashion.
Approaching the microphones he insisted that he wasn’t going to comment before doing nothing but commenting.
It was an astonishing performance. Reporters had been speculating if Giuliani would be dumb enough to imperil his case by talking to reporters again. He was.
Fresh after being chastised by the judge for repeating his election lies the day before, he came up with new, fantastic lies, rambling about how the election workers that he defamed were connected to Hunter Biden and Burisma.
I snapped photos, amazed that he could be so dumb. He was alert and cogent as he continued to spread the lies that forced Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss to go into hiding.
He knew that what he was doing was evil yet he did it anyway, again and again, like Satanic Tourette’s syndrome, in a desperate bid for attention. Again and again, he said, “I can’t talk about that” before talking and talking as his nurse boy assistant tried to guide him to his car. This was a man with no soul, an empty vessel, who lived only for the glare of TV lights.
If ever there was a chud who deserved to be mocked, it was Giuliani.
Fortunately, Anarchy Princess was on the case, standing behind him with a sign behind him reading:
Rico Rudy, Buckle your pants! Racist pig!
His nurse boy tried to box her out but AP has dealt with the violent chuds of Freedom Corner and the oily Peter Navarro; nurse boy didn’t have a chance.
She followed him to his car, yelling at him. Like the former mayor, AP is from New York, so this is personal for her.
Another AP opponent is Micki Witthoeft, the mother of Ashli Babbitt, who has repeatedly demanded the hanging of Nancy Pelosi.
She makes her violent threats at a nightly vigil outside the DC Jail. “Mama Micki” and her supporters sing patriotic songs and eat dinner in a picnic atmosphere. They call it Freedom Corner, their little open-air traitor party outside the jail.
The banality of evil is eating casserole off a paper plate while you summon a lynch mob to hang your enemies.
Like Giuliani, she knows what she’s doing.
On Friday, after the $148 million award was announced, Giuliani again came out of the court to lie to the press.
This time, there was a new court watcher in the crowd: Bryan Betancur. He’s a mentally-disturbed January 6th rioter who has expressed the desire to shoot up a school.
He’s also stalking Anarchy Princess.
A Freedom Corner regular, and a close friend of Micki Witthoeft, he’d shown no interest in Giuliani until he saw that Anarchy Princess was there.
Rudy Giuliani smeared Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman knowing that his followers would drive them underground – or worse.
Donald Trump spread lies about the election knowing that his supporters would “fight like hell.”
Micki Witthoeft calls for her enemies to be hanged knowing that one of her people might just take her up on the offer.
Giuliani, Trump and Witthoeft are cowards who won’t do the dirty work themselves. But they know if they demonize their opponents enough, someone will do it for them.
Moms for Liberty, founded in Florida, has worked with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to ban books in public schools. Novels by Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Jodi Picoult, Art Spiegelman and, of course, Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale.
In America, it’s said that everything not forbidden, is allowed. The new laws in Florida flip that on its head: only books approved by Moms for Liberty are allowed. Everything else is forbidden.
Teachers can be charged with a felony if they shared an unapproved book with a child. This has had a chilling effect, where many schools have responded to the new law by removing all the books from classrooms.
The Minivan Taliban, as they are known, will not be satisfied with banning books for kids. They also plan to target public libraries, so that they can take books out of the hands of adults, lest they be exposed to progressive ideas.
I went to high school in Florida.
And read many of the books now banned, including Slaughterhouse-Five. This brilliant novel by Kurt Vonnegut is filled with real horror, not the macabre kind, containing the truth of what men with access to fleets of airplanes and high explosives can do to helpless civilians. There are also some sex scenes, as well as time-jumps and other features of experimental literature. It changed how I looked at fiction, teaching me that novels didn’t need to be linear and orderly. They could be as chaotic as the real world.
The sex scenes did not turn me into a rapey Republican who preaches morality while breaking his marital vows to be in a throuple. Being exposed to Slaughterhouse-Five did not make me a book-banning hypocrite who wants to use the power of big government to restrict choice.
I read Slaughterhouse-Five as a senior in AP English. Not surprisingly, Ron DeSantis and the Minivan Taliban want to end Advancement Placement courses in Florida, too, the “champions of freedom” seeking to prevent exposure to liberal ideas while they engage in gross, tanned Sarasotan perversion. Sunshine State kids will receive an inferior education due to the work of this tiny group of hypocritical Christian fanatics.
Books will not make you a pervert. Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler, and Moms For Liberty cofounder Bridget Ziegler, did not get the idea for a throuple from Slaughterhouse-Five or any other novel that they may have read in high school. Their twisted, violent hypocrisy came from another source: the Republican Party.
With the removal of Kevin McCarthy from his post as Speaker of the House, has the long-expected Republican Civil War kicked off?
For “moderates” in the party (moderate in the sense that there’s a moderate Taliban), it is far too late to expunge the radical elements in the GOP. The time to fight this civil war was years ago, when Trump was in the 2016 primaries or, failing that, in the wake of January 6th.
Instead, Republicans embraced the chaos, dysfunction and treason of the Trump era as Kevin McCarthy put aside his scruples and flew to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring of the mob boss.
Everything which has happened since then was inevitable.
Rather than repudiating the bomb-throwers, moderate Republicans invited them inside the tent.
Nancy Pelosi was able to govern with a narrow majority but Republicans could not, failing to pass a budget and relying upon Democratic votes to bail them out to prevent a government shutdown.
Kevin McCarthy then bad-mouthed the Democrats that had saved him, dooming his fate.
Moderates are a step behind, failing to imagine that what the bomb-throwers want is a not deal or a compromise, but to burn the country to the ground. They want to finish what they started on January 6th.
MAGA voters are marching with banners reading, “Trump or Death” and moderate Republicans think that they can finesse this issue, rather than realizing that they are in a life-and-death struggle for their party, democracy and the survival of the United States.
I watched House members exit after overthrowing their Speaker and leaving the institution leaderless.
Rather than stay and elect a new Speaker, they were going on vacation for a week.
But the visual was like a scene from the West Wing, all these august white men (and they were virtually all white men) descending the marble steps of the Capitol to talk to the press.
Watching this serene and somber moment, you could imagine that democracy in our nation is timeless and secure. But just 1000 days ago, a Trump mob stormed up these steps and sacked the Capitol.
Democracy is fragile, and there are millions of our fellow citizens willing to do away with free and fair elections if it means that they can remain in power.
For moderate Republicans, it is far too late. They had multiple opportunities to rid themselves of Trump and his mob but they were too weak and self-interested.
Now, they have reached the finding out stage, as the bomb-throwers will tear apart the party from within.
As President Biden said in March, 2021, about the 2024 election, “I have no idea if there will be a Republican Party.”