by Bob Cesca
In the aftermath of the April, 2015 unrest in Baltimore, and just about a month before Donald Trump announced his campaign for president, I made a rather ominous prediction regarding how he'd handle the crisis: "Trump also promised to 'fix it fast,' so I suppose that'd mean, what exactly? Using deadly force against looters? Declaring martial law? Shutting down the city like Escape from New York?"
18 months later, a few days after the election, I wrote about Trump's authoritarian tendencies and observed, "He’s also talked about solving crime during week one, which can only mean some form of augmented police force or full-on martial law packaged in some other politically friendlier term."
Fast forward to this week. While watching Tuesday night's edition of The O'Reilly Factor, the president tweeted the following:
"Send in the Feds" doesn't mean Census workers.
While we're reminiscing, you might recall how radio conspiracy theorist and throat-polyp sufferer Alex Jones has spent most of his career both exploiting the paranoia of his audience while screeching about incoming martial law inside the United States. One of the most famous examples of Jones's martial law obsession came when Jones manufactured a theory about how the routine Jade Helm military exercises were the portend of a military occupation of Texas and other areas of the southwest.
So, where's Jones now that the president he endorsed is threatening to apparently send federal troops or the National Guard into African-American neighborhoods in Chicago? As of this writing, there's only one article posted on Infowars about the Chicago tweet, and it's a syndicated post from The Daily Caller. Suffice to say, had it been President Obama who threatened to send feds anywhere, Jones's egg-shaped head would explode.
Realistically, we all know why Jones hasn't leaned on the panic button yet. Trump's threat involves cracking down on African-Americans. If we were talking about Jones's home city of Austin, Texas, Jones would be literally bouncing off the walls, screaming the word "impeach!" -- further wrecking his already cocaine-wrecked voice (allegedly).
Perhaps it's also because Trump has decided to legitimize another conspiracy theory popularized by Jones. This, of course, is the ludicrous and provably false conspiracy theory that three million "illegals" voted for Hillary Clinton in California and New York. If true (it's not), conspirators decided to augment Hillary's vote totals in states where she absolutely didn't need the help. Even if we subtract 1.5 million votes from California, and 1.5 million from New York, Hillary still wins those states. Stupid nonexistent conspirators. Furthermore -- and I can't believe we have to do this -- why didn't these invisible enemies cast their votes in swing states like Florida and North Carolina -- hell, what about Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania? Clearly because it never happened.
The theory started as a pair of tweets by some guy. Seriously. Just some guy. Some guy on Twitter fired off two tweets (here and here) about how millions of "non-citizen" votes were cast for Hillary in California and New York. No evidence to back it up was posted, and the only further comment offered by some guy was a promise to release the data at a future date. This was late November and no data or evidence has surfaced -- because it's all bullshit. It's bogus. Voter fraud, especially of this magnitude, doesn't exist.
A gigantic, gaping hole in the story didn't stop Alex Jones's "editor-at-large," Paul Joseph Watson, from writing up a breaking news item for Infowars about the three million "non-citizen" votes. The article was quickly debunked by Snopes, which ruled it "unproven." It was also debunked by Politifact, which ruled it as "false." Because of course it is.
It's germane to note that Watson has a history of posting articles that are quickly debunked as fake. Most recently, Watson was scammed by a Scottish prankster who texted Watson a completely made-up tall tale about the impending release of a damning Trump tape just before the inauguration. Naturally, Watson ran the story without confirming it, subsequently embarrassing both himself and Boss Jones. A while back, Watson also posted a story about how a "Common Core teacher" (such teachers don't exist) instructed her kindergarten-aged students how to use a dildo. It never happened. Obviously.
This is where the president is getting his news about voter fraud (which doesn't exist) and who knows what other forms of hooey.
I've resisted pulling an "I Told You So" regarding my concerns about Alex Jones and, for that matter, Trump, but I can't help but to recall how often I was told, pre-election, that I should just ignore Jones, and, worse, that I shouldn't panic about Trump because he'll never win. It turns out Jones is far more powerful than the left anticipated, and now, Trump is getting his policy ideas from a known flimflam artist whose entire shtick revolves around cynically taking advantage of easily-led, possibly mentally ill followers. And now, Trump seems to have adopted the same business model.
This should terrify everyone -- not just Trump parroting Jones, but chiefly the threat of martial law as well as the inevitable restrictions on voting rights that'll surely follow Trump's voter fraud investigation, despite its bogus origins. It should also trigger a very serious discussion about the 25th Amendment and removing the president due to being mentally incapacitated. Trump's devotion to Jones is all the evidence we need. Meanwhile, keep a close eye on what hits the front page of Infowars because it could trigger the next Trump executive order.
One last thing: no one -- and I mean no one -- wishes I had been wrong about Jones and Trump more than I do.