Lazy Caturday Reads


Black Cat Halloween, by Iva Wilcox

Good Afternoon!!

I’m moving slowly today, because I have what I think is just a cold. I don’t have a fever, but I’m still feel pretty sick. So I’ll get right to the news.

The top story yesterday and today is the violent attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi, who is second in the like of succession to the presidency, was the target of the attack, but she was not home at the time. The attempted assassination overshadowed what would have been the top story–Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. Dakinikat wrote about both stories yesterday.

Here’s the latest news and commentary on the attack on Paul Pelosi:

The Los Angeles Times: Accused Pelosi attacker David DePape spread QAnon, other far-right, bigoted conspiracies.

In the months before police accused him of attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Friday morning, David DePape had been drifting further into the world of far-right conspiracies, antisemitism and hate, according to a Times review of his online accounts.

In a personal blog that DePape maintained, posts include such topics as “Manipulation of History,” “Holohoax” and “It’s OK to be white.” He mentioned 4chan, a favorite message board of the far right. He posted videos about conspiracies involving COVID-19 vaccines and the war in Ukraine being a ploy for Jewish people to buy land.

DePape’s screeds included posts about QAnon, an unfounded theory that former President Trump is at war with a cabal of Satan-worshipping elites who run a child sex ring and control the world. In an Aug. 23 entry titled “Q,” DePape wrote: “Either Q is Trump himself or Q is the deepstate moles within Trumps inner circle.”

DePape’s daughter, Inti Gonzalez, told The Times that her father wrote the blog. She said that she and her mother were reeling from the news that DePape had been arrested in connection with the attack on Paul Pelosi.

“I’m a little shocked,” she said, “but not really that shocked, in all honesty.”

Authorities have not revealed a motive for the attack at the Pelosi home in San Francisco early Friday. But law enforcement sources said the assailant shouted, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” before confronting Paul Pelosi, and San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott called the attack “intentional.” [….]

DePape followed a number of conservative creators online, including Tim Pool, Glenn Beck, DailyWire+ and the Epoch Times. He also followed an account on YouTube called Black Pilled and reposted several of its videos on his blog. “Blackpilling” is internet slang for coming to believe supposedly unacceptable facts about society, and the reposted videos include accusations such as the FBI covering up child rape.

Read more at the LA Times link.

a740c3b4fcbfc1977ceb7a82e23a9017There are more details about DePape’s on-line activities in this story at Vice News: Man Accused of Attacking Nancy Pelosi’s Husband Left Trail of Far-Right Hate.

The man who allegedly broke into Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home and bludgeoned her husband Paul with a hammer appeared to ascribe to a grab bag of far-right conspiracy theories online, including Holocaust denial, election fraud, and Pizzagate.

VICE News identified several blogs under the name David DePape that contained rambling screeds against minorities, politicians, and women….

VICE News found two online blogs under DePape’s name: “The Loving God” and “Frenly Frens.” One of them, which was updated the night before the attack and frequently over the last months, features a wide range of topics, including “pedogate, “great reset,” “voter fraud,” “da jewbs,” and “Covid.” Many of the tags referred to women, including one directly about Amber Heard—the target of many misogynistic attacks stemming from her lawsuit with Johnny Depp.

Recent headlines on “Frenly Frens” include “It’s OK to be White,” “Faking of Adolf Hitler for History,” and “Q.” The posts go on long diatribes against women, Jewish people, and Black people. One recent post referred to the Holocaust as a “hoax.” The writings also touch on popular far-right culture war topics, like “drag queen story hours,” “cultural marxism,” and child “grooming.”

Yet another post references frequent visits and posts to the /pol/ board of 4chan, an infamous board for racism and bigotry.

Searches on each blog turned up no posts with “Pelosi” within them.

VICE News took numerous steps to verify that the blogs belonged to DePape. Public records indicate that there’s only one person named David DePape in the state of California. An SFgate article from 2013 about a Bay Area woman named Gypsy Taub, who was planning a naked wedding, identified “David Depape” as the best man and a “hemp jewelry maker.” The article also reported the two lived together.

There’s much more at the link if you can stomach it. It’s all very familiar and it’s obvious that this man was influenced by Trump and his followers. Of course Republicans are taking no responsibility for spreading the Trumpist lies that DePape bought into or for spending years attacking Nancy Pelosi.

The Washington Post: Attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband follows years of GOP demonizing her.

In 2010, Republicans launched a “Fire Pelosi” project — complete with a bus tour, a #FIREPELOSI hashtag and images of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) engulfed in Hades-style flames — devoted to retaking the House and demoting Pelosi from her perch as speaker.

Eleven years later, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) joked that if he becomes the next leader of the House, “it will be hard not to hit” Pelosi with the speaker’s gavel.

And this year, Pelosi — who Republicans have long demonized as the face of progressive policies and who was a target of rioters during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol — emerged as the top member of Congress maligned in political ads, with Republicans spending nearly $40 million on ads that mention Pelosi in the final stretch of the campaign, according to AdImpact, which tracks television and digital ad spending.

The years of vilification culminated Friday when Pelosi’s husband, Paul, was attacked with a hammer during an early-morning break-in at the couple’s home in San Francisco by a man searching for the speaker and shouting “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” according to someone briefed on the assault.

Many of the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 also chanted “Where’s Nancy?”

db456e1da1a12e75da5a72eb0362bd73Police arrested the suspect, 42-year-old David DePape, who attacked Paul Pelosi, 82, and authorities plan to charge him with attempted murder and other crimes, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said at a news conference Friday. Paul Pelosi was taken to a hospital and is expected to make a full recovery, the speaker’s office said.

The Washington Post corroborated that a voluminous blog written under DePape’s name and filled with deeply racist and antisemitic writings — as well as pro-Trump and anti-Democratic posts — belonged to the suspect. In a single day earlier this month, the blog had seven new posts. The titles included: “Balcks Nda jEwS,” “Were the Germans so Stupid?” “Who FINANCED Hitler’s rise to Power” and “Gas chamber doors.”

For many Democrats, the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband represents the all-but-inevitable conclusion of Republicans’ increasingly violent and threatening rhetoric toward their political opponents — a phenomenon that escalated under former president Donald Trump, who prided himself on his inflammatory oratory and who was often reluctant to denounce white nationalists and others spewing hate speech.

“Sadly this attack was inevitable. Political violence is on the rise,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), said. “And instead of GOP leaders condemning it, they condone it with silence or, even worse, glorification.”

Read the rest at the WaPo.

The New York Times: Pelosi Attack Highlights Rising Fears of Political Violence.

Members of Congress have watched warily in recent years as threats and harassment against them have crescendoed, privately worrying that the brutal language and deranged misinformation creeping into political discourse would lead to actual violence.

The assault of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, inside their San Francisco home early Friday morning by an intruder who shouted “Where is Nancy?” and bludgeoned him with a hammer before being taken into custody by police seemed to confirm their worst fears, vividly bringing to life the acute danger facing elected officials amid a rise in violent political speech.

And it revealed the vulnerabilities in security around members of Congress and their families — even a lawmaker as powerful and wealthy as Ms. Pelosi, who is second in line to the presidency and has her own security detail — as midterm congressional campaigns reach their frenzied final push.

Nearly two years after supporters of former President Donald J. Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, inspired by his lies of a stolen election, sending members of Congress and the vice president fleeing for their lives, the toxic stew of violent language, conspiracy theory and misinformation that thrives in digital spaces continues to pose a grave threat.

“When we see things like what happened last night at the speaker’s home; when we see things like plots to kidnap governors; when we see overt acts ramping up; we see, frankly, a whole host of indicators suggesting that we’re really at a crisis point,” said Peter Simi, an associate professor at Chapman University who has studied extremist groups and violence for more than 20 years.

The latest news and commentary on Musk’s Twitter takeover:

Bloomberg: Musk’s Twitter Roils With Hate Speech as Trolls Test New Limits.

In the wake of Elon Musk buying Twitter Inc., a tide of slurs and racist memes swelled on the platform, sparking concern that the site is entering an era of hateful speech.

Vintage-Halloween-Postcards-3Twitter has long wrestled with how to enforce content policies fairly on its platform in order to appease the advertisers, users and powerful world leaders that use its service. But as Musk, a self-styled “free speech absolutist,” took over ownership of the company, some conservative officials, partisan extremists and conspiracy peddlers saw reason to celebrate the change.

“It seems like this is a group of people who think the rules magically changed as soon as he signed on the dotted line,” said Katie Harbath, the chief executive officer and founder of Anchor Change and former public policy director at Facebook.

Dr. Rebekah Tromble, director of the Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics at George Washington University, said as soon as Musk took control of Twitter, online trolls began encouraging each other to push the boundaries on Twitter.

“Unfortunately, this spike in hateful language is entirely predictable,” said Tromble, who has studied Twitter for years. “For most of these trolls, it’s a game. But for others, including certain political influencers, saying hateful, outlandish things helps them increase their audience and make money. And they see this as a golden opportunity to gain even more attention.”

The flood of speech underlines the difficulty Musk faces in fulfilling his promise to restore people’s ability to speak freely while managing the palatability of the platform for advertisers, to whom he pledged in a letter Thursday that Twitter would not spiral into a “free-for-all hellscape” under his leadership. Musk has repeatedly opposed Twitter’s enforcement strategies, such as banning some high-profile accounts permanently.

Musk tweeted that Twitter will form a content-moderation council that includes “widely diverse viewpoints.”

The Washington Post: Twitter workers await their fate as Musk deputies evaluate their work.

Twitter employees waited anxiously Friday for the next shoe to drop as the reality of Elon Musk’s ownership set in among its thousands of staffers.

In offices in San Francisco and New York, and on company Slack messaging channels, they searched fruitlessly for news of who might be fired, how their jobs would change under Musk and any official confirmation that the Tesla CEO had actually bought the company, according to interviews with employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal matters.

b107882463cb257c9f3af320f629e824The company’s remaining senior leaders — four had already been unceremoniously fired the previous night — huddled privately in offices with Musk’s team and didn’t emerge, the people said. Inside Twitter, in a highly unusual arrangement, engineers from Musk-led Tesla were examining the company’s code as the tech executive sought the input of his technical experts he trusted. Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro was directing some aspects of the transition.

Musk’s new ownership is expected to bring sweeping changes to the social media company, which has long been regarded as an underperformer in Silicon Valley. Musk broke with the previous management over basic matters such as how to police speech online. He is expected to ease its content moderation efforts, though he said Friday that his team had not yet made changes to those policies at Twitter.

But nowhere inside the company is the uncertainty as evident as around potential staff cuts and changes, as workers have waited for weeks to learn if they might still have a role at Twitter following the acquisition.

If you’re interested in this story, you can also check out this long analytic article by Seth Feigerman at CNN Business: Elon Musk owning Twitter should give everyone pause.

More reads, links only:

The Washington Post: Key Proud Boys Jan. 6 co-conspirator pleads guilty, Tarrio lawyer says.

The Wrap: Penguin Random House Staffers, Others Call for Canceling of Amy Coney Barrett Memoir.

Robert Draper at The Atlantic: A Political Party Unhinged From Truth.

The New York Times: Federal Judge Allows Activists to Stake Out Ballot Boxes in Arizona.

Thats it for me. I’m going back to bed. Take care everyone and have a nice weekend.

20 Comments on “Lazy Caturday Reads”

  1. dakinikat says:

    I love the Halloween cats!

  2. dakinikat says:

    Here’s something scary

  3. dakinikat says:

    Well, look! The second largest owner of Twitter is the oppressive monarchy of Saudi Arabia. This does not bode well.

    • Ronstill4Hills says:

      Birds of a feather fuck shit up together.

    • NW Luna says:

      Erggh. Not a good sign at all.

    • quixote says:

      Dave Troy, who seems to know what he’s talking about, has an excellent article about Muskmelon and the Birds: No, Elon and Jack are not “competitors.” They’re collaborating

      Some info in there that beggars the imagination a bit, but knowing how loosely connected techbros are to reality, it may not be impossible that they believe it.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I read that yesterday. I was trying to tell Dakinikat about it but I didn’t do a good job of explaining. Jack and Elon are both into longtermism and getting to Mars. They’re both wackos.

        • quixote says:

          I saw your comment about it yesterday. One of the reasons I read that article when I found it 🙂 . My first thought, I think like dak’s, was long-termism? We need more of that! Then you find out what they mean is that the future of humanity depends on becoming an intergalactic empire (I exaggerate. I think??). So there’s no point helping the poor, or setting things up to reduce starvation, or do anything else that doesn’t lead (in their tiny mind) to an intergalactic empire.

          Funny, as in eww, convergence with evangelicals figuring there’s no point worrying about Earth since we’re all just going to the hereafter.

          And those loons are the ones with all the money. Why? Why??

    • dakinikat says:

  4. NW Luna says:

    BB, I hope you feel better soon. Snuggle up in bed or on the couch with blankets, a good book and a cup of hot tea.I hope rest will help ease your symptoms.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks Luna.

      • quixote says:

        Courage, as Dan Rather used to sign off. I was just thinking the only good thing about the pandemic is fewer colds. Doesn’t make them any better when they do arrive though. 😦

        • bostonboomer says:

          I don’t know how I got it, unless I picked it up at the doctor’s office last week.

        • NW Luna says:

          This fall the influenza data indicate that cases are more severe. Hope everyone is immunized against flu!

          • bostonboomer says:

            I got a flu shot and a 4th covid shot.

          • NW Luna says:

            Good! I didn’t mean my comment to be directed at you in particular; apologies.

            I got my flu vaccine and my bivalent Covid vaccine today, in different arms. The flu vax was the more painful of the two. The nurse said she’d been hearing that from patients and was wondering if the needle was different (didn’t look so to the naked eye) or something about the vax solution itself. We joked that it could be a QI project.

  5. NW Luna says:

    Will be interesting to see just what these “widely diverse viewpoints” are. Certainly lies, threats, and libel should be banned.

  6. dakinikat says:

    I’ve always said tax cuts for the rich are the Republican version of apple cider vinegar for what ever ails the country.