The Music of Freedom Corner: Only the Hits

Chudfellas
Chudfellas

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.

Freedumb Corner Dance Party

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.

Get Steppin’

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.

Chud Tactics

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:

Chudfellas

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.”

 

Peanuts

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.

Driving Around

Would you livestream yourself driving down the road in a snowstorm while reading and responding to chats on your iPhone?

Probably not. But this kind of distracted driving is routine among the always-online chuds (despite one of them wrecking his car). The meandering is captured in this work by the Electrical College:

Biketifa has to let it be in his multimedia spectacular, A Chud is a Chud is a Chud, featuring the iconic chorus, “GloryBeef, GloryBeef, GloryBeef.”

What Does the Chud Say?

And don’t pass up on one of the earlier Freedom Corner videos, The Chud (What Does the Chud Say?) which has some killer lyrics.

Unstoppable

Finally, there is the iconic video of Anarchy Princess squaring off against fascists from her first days against 1776RM to her viral encounter with Peter Navarro. She is unstoppable.

Artomatic Goes Downtown

2100 M St NW - Artomatic will be there in March
2100 M St NW

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.

Instead, what once was the heart of the white collar world in DC, now has empty storefronts and ghost buildings lacking workers.

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.”

Housing coming to 20th St
Housing coming to 20th and L NW.

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

"This is political street theater."

“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.

No one is above the law

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!”

Patricia Eguino yells "TRAITORS" at pro-J6 demonstrators in Washington, DC

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.

The tie-ranny!

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.

No One is Coming to Rescue Us: The Lesson of January 6th

Tributes to Officer Brian Sicknick at the Peace Monument
Tributes to Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was killed by the Trump mob on January 6th.

Watching a Trump mob attack my city on January 6th destroyed any remaining faith I had in American institutions, radicalized me and turned me into Red Bike Guy.

January 6th

Everyone in DC knew that something terrible was about to occur.

When Trump supporters rallied in the city in November and December 2020, they had run amok, attacking innocent people that believed were antifa and vandalizing black churches in the city.

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.

January 7th

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.

I mocked the Patriot Front as Red Bike Guy because I was incensed at what Trump mobs did to my city on January 6th. Since then, I’ve used my skills as a writer, photographer and digital shitposter to monitor and disrupt fascist fail groups like the 1776 Restoration Movement and the traitorous J6 supporters of Freedom Corner.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

2023 Highlights

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.

ALL THE LIGHT YOU SEE - ALICIA EGGERT

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.

pro-Trump rapper Ron J Spike gets detained outside the White House for shoving a woman at the pro-choice Women's March

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.

Stumpy the persevering cherry blossom tree

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?

communist at the Rage Against the War Machine rally

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.

two red chairs

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.

Rachel Maddow show appearance

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.

rooster in Ybor City

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.

Exposed DC 2023

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.

we biked across 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

Anarchy Princess became a meme and then her words became chalktifa outside the Federal Court House, part of the trolling shenanigans in DC.

Trump lost (and you know it!)

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.

pickle ball at Open Streets Georgia Av

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 Soil You See… by Wendy Red Star

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.

Trump blur

Not a good sign for the environment, but this year featured some incredible sunsets.

sunset and the Washington Monument

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.

Hats on the Hill

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.

STRIKE! Workers at The Washington Post on a one day strike

The best Christmas tree in Washington is not at the White House or the Capitol, but at the Canadian Embassy.

Christmas Tree at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, DC

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.

Taking Heads by Viktor Vicsek at Georgetown Glow

Rudy Giuliani, Micki Witthoeft and the Banality of Evil

Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani outside the court house in Washington, DC.

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!

Anarchy Princess and Rudy Giuliani
Anarchy Princess and Rudy Giuliani

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.

Bryan Betancur

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.

I Read Banned Books in FL and Did Not Become a Pervert (unlike the Florida GOP and Moms for Liberty)

Banned books at the Writer's Block in Winter Park, FL
Banned books display at the Writer’s Block in Winter Park, FL

It was an eye-catching headline:

Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler, husband of Moms For Liberty cofounder, accused of sexual assault by alleged menage a trois lover

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.

Scenes from the Republican Civil War

House members leave after removing Speaker McCarthy
House members leave after removing Speaker McCarthy.

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.”

I Yelled at Trump and Other True Stories from Washington, DC

motorcade arrives
Trump motorcade on L St

Trump was late.

He was scheduled to speak at 7 PM at the Concerned Women for America conference at the Washington Hilton but here we were, on the sidewalk, near the side entrance and he was nowhere to be seen.

Anarchy Princess, famous for upstaging former Trump advisor Peter Navarro during his impromptu post-conviction press conference, waited with her “Trump Lost Badly” sign, megaphone and a neatly organized cart full of protest supplies.

I was there with my camera. I didn’t have a picture of Trump. For all four years of his administration, he hid behind walls and phalanxes of Secret Service agents, never interacting with the real city. He rarely even left the White House, which he turned into a fortress during the tumultuous year of 2020.

Flashing red and blue lights appeared, blocks away. His post-presidential motorcade was smaller than expected. When he was President, motorcycle cops blocked intersections for his progress through the city, trailed by media trucks, communication vehicles and an ambulance – all the trappings of empire, roaring through the city as a helicopter hovered protectively overhead.

Now, he was reduced to a motorcade of just six vehicles, escorted by a couple of cops with lights and sirens, fighting their way through Friday night traffic on L St.

The black SUVs didn’t look much different than the Ubers that had been dropping off passengers at Shoto, the fancy sushi place across the street. People continued to come and go from the restaurant, Washingtonians accustomed to the continuous presence of sirens in the city.

Only a cluster of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers at the side entrance of the Hilton were a clue that a VIP was arriving.

When Trump emerged from his SUV, I couldn’t see him, though he was less than a hundred feet away – far closer than I ever imagined. It was dark and he was surrounded by agents and his entourage.

I glimpsed a hunched figure and a shock of orange hair. I clicked away but none of my photos came out, so I shouted, “Fuck you, Trump!”

It was cathartic, refreshing, a joyful moment, a message from DC residents like me who suffered through four years of horror culminating in the January 6th terrorist attack on the city.

While I couldn’t see him, you can spot him in the zoomed-in and enhanced video by Anarchy Princess (AP). Does he hear us? Does he react? The viewer can decide.

During this whole scene of yelling and sirens, a hotel staffer in gray had sat on the curb playing a game on his iPhone, ignoring everything. Amazing.

There is no better city for people-watching than Washington, DC. The arrival of Trump was high tension – me and AP keyed up, police officers in protective mode and bystanders suddenly pausing on the sidewalk.

But once he was inside, everyone relaxed. Not knowing that he would ramble for more than an hour in front of the Concerned Women of America on subjects diverse, we waited for his return.

We had a very interesting discussion with the MPD officers about crime, drugs and kids. Drivers kept pulling into an empty parking spot near the side entrance, oblivious to the massive security presence, and then getting annoyed when the police waved them off.

Anarchy Princess: Trump Lost Badly
Anarchy Princess: Trump Lost Badly

A couple of tourists came up to us and asked us what was going on.

“Trump is inside,” AP said with careful neutrality. To say his name is the ultimate litmus test. There is no neutrality; everyone has picked a side.

“Oh god,” they replied. They hated him.

And they were so excited to have the ultimate Washington experience of seeing an ex-President and his motorcade.

The police had come to attention. Lights and sirens were being turned on, there was activity around the side entrance.

“Stand back,” I told the tourists. “It’s about to get loud.”

Anarchy Princess fired up the speaker on her cart. If you’ve been to anti-Trump protests, then you know this song, the chorus of which now echoed off the buildings of L St.

Fuck Donald Trump

Fuck Donald Trump

Yea, yea, fuck Donald Trump

I didn’t even try to get a photo this time; instead, I concentrated on my yelling and obscene gestures. The motorcade went right by me, the orange head of Trump behind a window, just feet away. They made a left on 15th St and the sirens trailed off.

“Well, that was exciting!” the tourists said.

Anarchy Princess packed up her gear. She was going to follow Trump to his second speaking engagement of the evening in Woodley Park.

I was going home. Satisfied. Ever since witnessing the Trump mobs on January 6th in my neighborhood, in my city, I’ve wanted payback.

And I got a small measure of it on that night on L St.

Freedom Corner Veers into Absurdity

George Santos and Anarchy Princess
George Santos and Anarchy Princess

Chaos continues in the nation’s capital as the government slides toward shutdown, Congress talks impeachment and Freedom Corner veers into absurdity.

The pro-January 6th “prisoner vigil” outside the DC Jail has long been a comedy of right-wing dysfunction but it reached new heights of ridiculousness last night.

George Santos came to visit Freedom Corner and the chuds demanded action from him, as if the Congressman could do something about judges and juries delivering long prison terms to the Proud Boys and other insurrectionists. He’s not going to be in Congress much longer and soon may be inside a jail himself.

He was far more interested in the newly-famous Anarchy Princess and crossed the street to get a selfie with her. After she trolled Peter Navarro with a “Trump Lost” sign, she’s rocketed from zero Twitter followers to more than 44,000  in less than two weeks, and you’ve probably seen her all over your TV, especially if you watch MSNBC.

As Santos left, he was heckled by another powerful woman, Patricia Eguino, who taunted him about his future in prison. She is currently an ANC Commissioner but will one day be Mayor.

But the evening was not done yet. One of the chuds, Jericho Steve, recently assaulted Anarchy Princess outside the United States Courthouse where the J6 trials have taken place.

This was an assault that was seen on CNN and recorded from multiple angles. The chuds came to DC more than a year ago with the 1776 Restoration Movement yet they still haven’t learned not to film their crimes.

He got a late night visit from Park Police investigators, who seized the flag pole that Jericho used to assault AP. All this talk of standing up to the deep state but he just wilted when confronted with a pair of officers.

The encounter was helpfully filmed by the chud known as Meatwad. Yes, the same Meatwad who inspired AP to troll Peter Navarro leading to her viral fame. He rode on a train for 26 hours just to get back to DC for this moment.

You can’t make this shit up. To add a new character this late in the second act, and make him so central to the drama, is such a brilliant turn that not even Shakespeare could pen. This is why Freedom Corner has such a devoted audience (of trolls) who follow along at #freedomcorner.

And let’s not forget the voodoo. Earlier in the day, Biketifa chalked a series of curses on the sidewalk at Freedom Corner designed to upset Jericho Steve and the others. It did.

Chalktifa at Freedom Corner
Chalktifa at Freedom Corner

And then a few hours later, the police showed up at Jericho’s van.

So maybe I was wrong about chalk. It can hurt you. Voodoo is real. The chalk never lies.

As I watched all of this unfold last night on Twitter and YouTube, I thought: this is only 2023! What kind of craziness will arrive with 2024 and the most consequential election of our lives, when America will choose between democracy and tyranny?

Brace yourselves.

UPDATE: Sept 14, 2023

Gaetz and Meatwad
Gaetz and Meatwad

Things can always get weirder on Freedom Corner. The night after the Santos stunt, Congressman Matt Gaetz arrived. Unlike Santos, he was willing to appear on camera and gave a short speech on releasing the J6 tapes (do they really want that? It would be a boon for Sedition Hunters.)

Gaetz didn’t spend more than five minutes there but the ubiquitous Meatwad managed to get in the shot several times. He is the Zelig of Freedom Corner.