Trump Dupes and Waiting for JFK, Jr.

Plus, a sign from the golf gods.

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AMANDA CARPENTER reviews the new Woodward / Costa book on the last throes of the Trump presidency.

When a blockbuster nonfiction book like Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s Peril comes out, the media will typically gorge on a few juicy excerpts released before the book hits the shelves. Woodward’s longtime publisher, Simon & Schuster, is an expert at goosing sales for his books using these bursts of controversy over select revelations.

Typically, everyone soon moves on to the next controversy of the day. But Woodward and Costa’s deeply reported book warrants more thorough discussion.

If you listened to the hype, Peril seems like another in the parade of new books about Trump palace intrigue, bombastic personalities, behind-the-scenes controversies, disgruntled officials, and f-bomb-dropping pols. It is all that. But tucked in the book’s pages is another story—a story about how various elites kept getting duped by Trump and are setting themselves up as his stooges once again.

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Should the government really be run like a business, or just be run really well? Author Donald Cohen debates Charlie Sykes on today's podcast.

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THOMAS LECAQUE has this must-read on what is so twisted about the Dallas QAnon vigil where conspiracy minded people are awaiting the return of JFK… Jr.

Some of the more laughable images from the QAnon presence in Dallas have been of Protzman with a bird on his shoulder, showing the long single file of Q adherents a nonexistent Illuminati (an organization that doesn’t exist) pyramid on the Book Depository. False prophets with bizarre birds are not new. In the People’s Crusade, one of the episodes that monastic chroniclers repeatedly mock were preachers following animals. Albert of Aachen wrote of a “gathering of people on foot, who were stupid and insanely irresponsible,” who claimed “that a certain goose was inspired by the Holy Ghost, and a she-goat filled no less with the same, and they had made these their leaders for this holy journey to Jerusalem.” Ekkehard of Aura wrote it as “the silly tale about the goose who is supposed to have led her mistress and many others of that sort.” It was very easy for Christian monastic authors to make fun of it, safe in their monasteries and not dealing with the consequences. Another version of the tale, though, starts similarly but ends in tragedy. In the chronicle of Solomon bar Simson, a twelfth-century edited collection of Jewish historical accounts, we find that that, “One day a Gentile woman came, bringing a goose which she had raised since it was a newborn. The goose would accompany her wherever she went. The Gentile woman now called out to all the passersby: ‘Look, the goose understands my intention to go straying and desires to accompany me.’” Despite this, groups gathered and used this so-called “wonder” to threaten the Jewish community of Mainz, that the magic goose was a “signal that they should exact vengeance from their enemies.” The crusaders and the townsfolk fought, until a crusader was slain, at which point the group called out, “The Jews have caused this,” and both groups joined forces to attack the Jewish community.

Protzman has some 97,000 followers on Telegram, and while the number of Q types gathered in Dallas has dropped from 350-500 in the first few days to perhaps 75-100 now, more than a week after the original promised deadline for JFK’s reappearance, they are still there with him. Protzman seems to believe that JFK and Jackie Kennedy were the second physical incarnations of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and direct descendants in a genealogy so bizarre not even Dan Brown would touch it, with JFK Jr. as the Archangel Michael and Donald Trump as the Holy Spirit. And while all of this is outrageous and unhinged, he is apparently pushing anti-Semitic films and ideasEuropa: The Last Battle and Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told—and leading his followers into ideologies ever more divorced from reality. QAnon is already based in part on medieval blood libel myths, used by Christians to justify massacres of Jewish communities. Protzman’s group is spreading even more direct versions while waiting for the sign for their own crusade, bolstered by apocalyptic visions, the reemergence of dead celebrities to cheer them on, and inevitably the violence and massacres that must follow to create their Promised Land over the bodies of their enemies.

The longer they stay, though, the worse it gets. According to a new report in Vice, the people remaining with Protzman have handed over money, are having their communications monitored, and, according to family members, are “being forced to drink a hydrogen peroxide solution and take ‘bio pellets’ to ward off COVID-19 and stay healthy.” And the fear now is less that this particular band will turn to external violence—though that should never be underestimated—so much as they will end up a Heaven’s Gate or, worse, a Jonestown.

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Happy Tuesday! It’s windy and sunny here in Southwest Florida. I’m a little out of practice, so I gave up after 9 holes earlier today to get you some Overtime.

When one of your shots ends up in a tree, and you lose a ball on every hole, the Golf Gods are sending you a message.

Speaking of Florida… A shockingly predictable consequence of the “pro-vaccine” stalwart Governor Ron DeSantis…

Who could have predicted this would be a magnet for bad cops?

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“Everything on TV is all so damned depressing anyway,” I really enjoyed this profile of Beryl Novak in the Duluth News Tribune. Beryl has lived in a one room cabin on 40+ acres of land he bought for a few hundred(!) dollars in 1966. (That’s like $6,000 in today’s money.

Remembering Marion Montgomery, ten years later. Ten years ago today, the poet Marion Montgomery passed away. Poetry is not my forte, but Montgomery was the father of Priscilla Jensen, one of our great colleagues at TWS and Joseph Bottum wrote up an obit that’s worth reading.

As we go into Thanksgiving, these two lines are worth remembering:

The importance of life comes from the future, while the richness of life comes from the past. We look ahead, we plan, we scheme, and all of it matters because we can see the future roaring down upon us and our children like a freight train. 

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.