Update to QAnon Cult Supporters Running For The Arizona Legislature (and Congress).
New York Magazine has a lengthy, truly disturbing report, QAnon Goes to Washington:
81 so-called QAnon candidates ran for the Senate or the House this year, according to a master list maintained by Alex Kaplan of the liberal site Media Matters. With primary season over and a bunch of candidates culled, the list is now finalized: There will be 24 QAnon candidates on the federal ballot in November — 22 of them Republicans and two independents.
If you are not yet familiar with this ‘Collective Delusion’, this is the cult’s core beliefs:
Q’s posts formed the nucleus of a collective belief system that became known as QAnon, whose premise was this: Hollywood and the U.S. government were teeming with pedophiles and demon worshippers, whom Donald Trump was trying to bring to justice with the help of unlikely allies such as Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation of the president was, in fact, a false-flag operation.
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The movement has grown large enough to include several splinter factions, including one group that believes John F. Kennedy Jr. is alive and working with Trump to bring down the cabal, and even apostates, like ex-QAnon social-media personality Dylan Wheeler, who believes the Trump-endorsed drug hydroxychloroquine is not, in fact, a COVID-19 prophylactic but a deep-state designer drug that enables 5G cell towers to microwave human organs.
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Q also cribs from a number of classic conspiracy clichés identifying George Soros, the Rothschild banking family, and the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia as an unholy triumvirate pulling the strings of the pedo cabal. Basically, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, if it had been marinating in speculation about the Clinton Body Count, plus any number of outré paranoid fantasies that have grown up on the far-right fringe in the decades since — from Barack Obama’s being a Muslim to Michelle Obama’s being a man.
“[T]he emergence of Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and the QAnon candidates suggests not so much a collective mental breakdown as a rupture in the fabric of shared reality.”
And about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: Gregory Stanton, who has studied and worked to prevent genocide for forty years at Genocide Watch and the Alliance Against Genocide explains, QAnon is a Nazi Cult, Rebranded:
A secret cabal is taking over the world. They kidnap children, slaughter, and eat them to gain power from their blood. They control high positions in government, banks, international finance, the news media, and the church. They want to disarm the police. They promote homosexuality and pedophilia. They plan to mongrelize the white race so it will lose its essential power.
Does this conspiracy theory sound familiar? It is. The same narrative has been repackaged by QAnon.
The plot, described above, was the conspiracy “revealed” in the most influential anti-Jewish pamphlet of all time. It was called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It was written by Russian anti-Jewish propagandists around 1902. It collected myths about a Jewish plot to take over the world that had existed for hundreds of years. Central to its mythology was the Blood Libel, which claimed that Jews kidnapped and slaughtered Christian children and drained their blood to mix in the dough for matzos consumed on Jewish holidays.
The Nazis published a children’s book of the Protocols that they required in the curriculum of every primary school in Germany. The Nazi newspaper, Der Stürmer (derived from the German word for “Storm”) spread the Blood Libel. Hitler’s Mein Kampf, his narcissistic autobiography and manifesto for his battle against the Jewish plot to rule the world, copied his conspiracy theories from the Protocols.
“QAnon’s conspiracy theory is a rebranded version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Way to go Republicans! You should be so proud of yourselves.
On this disturbing note, The Republic reports 2 Arizona congressional candidates have posted about the QAnon conspiracy theory:
Two Republican candidates for Congress from Arizona have posted frequently on social media about QAnon, a conspiracy theory that imagines a child sex-trafficking ring run by politicians and celebrities will soon be exposed by President Donald Trump.
Josh Barnett, who is running against Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, and Daniel Wood, who is running against Democratic Rep. Democrat Raúl Grijalva, join a host of congressional candidates nationwide who have expressed an interest in Q.
Additionally, two Republican candidates for the Arizona Legislature, Suzanne Sharer, of the Ahwatukee Foothills area of Phoenix, and Justine Wadsack, [LD 10] in Tucson, are followers of Q.
Two sitting Republican state legislators, Vince Leach of Saddlebrooke and Jay Lawrence of Scottsdale, have also posted about Q on Twitter, though Lawrence later said he regretted it, calling some of the movement’s followers crazy.
Another lawmaker, David Farnsworth of Mesa, according to the Arizona Mirror, exchanged text messages with a Mesa man in which he supported Q theories about sex trafficking.
From The Arizona Mirror report:
Ethan Watkins, a conservative from Mesa and political ally of David Farnsworth, shared the text messages with Arizona Mirror in the hopes that it will expose just how deeply the QAnon conspiracy theory is permeating the Republican Party and the broader conservative movement.
“I think it’s dangerous, and I think it’s corrupting some honest foundations of the Republican Party and the conservative foundation that has existed for some time here in Arizona,” Watkins said. “I feel like people need to know these things about their elected officials.”
Farnsworth has often courted people with beliefs that are on the political fringe — or beyond.
In an interview this month, Farnsworth first told the Mirror that he “didn’t know anything about” QAnon. However, when presented with his text messages, he acknowledged believing in the baseless claims that the group propagates.
“My basic impression is that they are a credible group,” Farnsworth said. He added that he has never done his own research and has instead relied on the research of other “credible people” he trusts. Farnsworth wouldn’t identify those people.
Farnsworth also denied knowing that QAnon had been deemed a domestic terror threat by the FBI more than a year ago.
“Quite frankly, I don’t have time to look into things like that,” he said.
In another text, Farnsworth wrote that he believes billionaire Jeffrey Epstein didn’t commit suicide in a federal prison in 2019, but was murdered because he could blow the lid off of the alleged sex-trafficking network that is at the core of QAnon.
“I have no proof. But, from all I have read, I have come to this conclusion,” Farnsworth told Watkins.
Farnsworth also stood by his claims that he believes Epstein did not commit suicide.
Farnsworth isn’t the only Arizona politician who dabbles in the conspiracy theory and is not the only tie the state has to it. Arizona’s QAnon ties run deep.
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Farnsworth is finishing up his final term in the Arizona Senate. His replacement will be Republican state Rep. Kelly Townsend, who has occasionally posted QAnon content on her Facebook page.
“This very well may be the answer to our question as to why,” Townsend said in a July Facebook post of a QAnon YouTube video with a flaming Q as the thumbnail.
The 47-minute-long video claims that the “virus is real but the pandemic is fake” and that “they” are working to use the virus to “establish a new world order.” Townsend has been a vocal opponent of the economic restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and she has denounced mask-wearing as a public health hazard.
But unlike Farnsworth, Townsend said she doesn’t ascribe to QAnon.
“If I promoted it, it was not intentional,” she said. “I don’t support that, by any means at all.”
Townsend said that she follows accounts that like her posts on Twitter and expressed surprise that the video she shared had come from a QAnon account and that she had been following QAnon accounts on Twitter.
“I don’t necessarily look for people to follow,” Townsend said. She said that she had seen some posts about QAnon and thought the group was merely going after pedophiles. Townsend said she will always support any group that goes after pedophiles, but she is not a Q supporter.
Like Farnsworth, she also pleaded ignorance about violent incidents linked to QAnon, including the ones in Arizona, and she stopped short of criticizing the group for its outlandish beliefs.
“I don’t want to impugn a group (for) an unstable person’s actions,” she said.
Farnsworth, in an interview with The Arizona Republic on Wednesday, clarified that he does believe that powerful people are involved in an international sex-trafficking ring, but said he didn’t care much what it was called.
“I get irritated when people ask about QAnon because I’m ignorant about it,” he said. But, he said, he had no doubt about the sex-trafficking conspiracy. “The only question is who’s involved and how far-reaching it is.”
David Farnsworth is a QAnon true believer, but “I’m ignorant about it.” Well, Farnsworth is one of the most ignorant members of the Arizona legislature, I’ll give him that, but he does not get a pass for his ignorant beliefs. This just makes him a danger to society.
Barnett, who is making his first run for Congress in District 7, has said in recent weeks on Twitter that he doesn’t believe in Q. But, in previous months, he shared posts about the theory without voicing skepticism.
Wood, in a phone interview, said that he was trying to stay neutral on the topic, but added that he followed the postings of Q and found truths in them. He also expressed frustration that The Republic was calling to discuss QAnon and not the issues facing District 3, which he hopes to represent.
Wood, whose congressional bid is his first foray into politics, wrote a lengthy post on Facebook in August explaining why he follows the conspiracy postings.
He said that a majority of people who follow it “want America free of corrupt politicians and believe in bringing power back to the people and away from the over-reach of big government.”
Wood, in a phone interview on Sept. 18, said he found out about Q while watching a Trump rally and seeing people holding up Q signs.
“I said, ‘What is this?’” Wood said. “Then I started researching it.”
Wood said that in his research he saw that years ago Q had predicted mass riots and a COVID-19-like virus. “And now we’re here,” he said.
Wood said his research convinced him there was “enough for me to say there’s something there to keep in mind.”
Wood did not want to detail what aspects of Q’s writings he believes, nor whether he believes a global ruling cabal runs a child-trafficking ring.
“I look at the facts,” said Wood, a retired law enforcement officer. “Let’s say QAnon is saying that (about sex trafficking). Then, I see documented arrests.”
In February, Wood predicted that “we are about to witness something very profound,” punctuating it with the hashtag, #TheGreatAwakening. For Q followers, the great awakening phrase has been used to describe the event when the powerful elite are imprisoned by the military and made to atone for their many crimes.
Though in the interview, Wood said that the promised “great awakening” could also be a takeover of Congress by Republicans and Trump’s reelection.
Wood has also shared other conspiracies.
In April, he posted a story that suggested Gov. Doug Ducey stood to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic through his largely ceremonial position on the board of directors of TGen, the nonprofit biotech company that has been working on a potential vaccine and tests.
Wood stood by that belief in a phone interview. “His involvement with pushing tests out to Arizona,” he said, “he needs to step down from it.”
Wood, this month, also shared a photo of men he said were members of Antifa who were posing in wildfire tactical gear in order to intentionally set wildfires.
While there have been isolated arrests for arson, mainly in urban areas, the FBI issued a statement dismissing that wildfires were deliberately started by left-wing activists.
Wood said in the interview on Sept. 18 that he had read information that led him to believe the FBI statement itself was untrue.
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Barnett, the other congressional candidate who has posted about QAnon, said he knew next to nothing about Q. He did say he thought it was interesting so many liberals were obsessively worried about others following it.
“I honestly don’t know much about Q at all,” he said during an interview on Thursday, adding that he didn’t know what websites or other places where he could learn more. “I don’t know anything more than anybody else.”
In an Aug. 15 post, Barnett said all he knew about Q “was that it exists.” He said, “I don’t believe Q is a real thing.”
In a Sept. 7 posting, Barnett feuded with a man who called QAnon a domestic terrorist threat, as the FBI labeled the group in August 2019.
But Barnett wrote, “I only see Antifa causing problems and burning up cities. I have never seen ‘Q’ doing anything like that so I do not know what you are referring to as ‘terroristic’ threat.”
Barnett, that same day, wrote that he only became familiar with Q “somewhat recently.”
However, three times between October and April, Barnett reposted missives that contained QAnon phrases.
In October, he sent out a message from a QAnon account that said, “Nothing can stop what’s coming,” followed by a string of QAnon hashtags that included #WeAreQ #WeAreLegion and #SheepNoMore.
And in March, Barnett wondered why the phrase “Who is Q” was trending on Twitter. “Is there something I don’t know happening?” he wrote.
Barnett, in the interview, said he didn’t pay attention to hashtags accompanying posts he shared. He said those were “irrelevant.” He said he didn’t recall why he sent the “Who is Q” Tweet in March.
Barnett, however, does raise as a signature issue what his website calls the “legalized child trafficking” done by the Arizona Department of Child Safety.
Barnett said that he believes the agency has a profit motive for removing children from homes, citing the money paid to foster families for each child.
He also cited a statistic about how many children who report being sexually trafficked came out of the foster care system. Barnett said he thought some children in state custody end up in the hands of sexual predators after payments are made.
“It needs to be looked into,” he said. “Why it’s happening and who’s letting it happen.”
Barnett said he didn’t think the state’s link to sex trafficking was a conspiracy theory, but fact. He said he hoped proof could come from investigations done at the federal or state level.
“Q, I don’t care or know what that is,” he said. “For me, it’s about child trafficking or human trafficking.”
Just say no to QAnon cult members. They are detached from reality, and are a threat to society.