Republicans are using lies and projection to create danger for teachers, librarians and the LGBTQ community
In a scene from his new HBO documentary This Place Rules, Andrew Callaghan interviews QAnon influencer Dave Todeschini, who tells him that self-confessed sexual predator Donald Trump: “is about as far from a pedophile as you’re gonna get. He’s after these people and that’s why they’re after him.”
Callaghan then holds up a series of photographs showing celebrities and Democratic politicians and asks Todeschini to comment.
To a picture of Oprah Winfrey, Todeschini responds: “Pfff. Pedophile.”
To Hillary Clinton, he says: “Pedophile, definitely. Because she eats the babies.”
To Biden: “I call him creepy sleepy chomo Uncle Joe.”
Asked what “chomo” means, Todeschini replies: “Chomo is a jailhouse term for child molester.”
Shown a picture of the actor Jonah Hill (who produced the documentary), Todeschini replies: “Pfff. Pedophile.”
At this point, Callaghan pulls out a file of paperwork and says: “There’s something I need to talk to you about.”
The folder contains documentation of Todeschini’s past conviction as a child rapist.
“On May 19th, 1999,” says Callaghan, “you were convicted of sexual abuse in the first degree and sodomy in the second degree of an 8-year-old boy in New Jersey. So, according to this paper, you are a registered sex offender and a convicted pedophile.”
“On a false conviction,” says Todeschini. “I pled,” he says. “I did what Michael Flynn did. I knew I couldn’t win.”
“Have you ever heard the term projection before?” asks Callaghan.
“Yeah,” says Todeschini. “Hillary Clinton does it all the time.”
“Do you feel like maybe you’re projecting by—”
“No, I’m not projecting. I am engaging in revenge.”
“How are you going to get revenge?”
“I’m going to get revenge by taking down the whole goddamn cabal,” says Todeschini. “Like a protagonist in Law Abiding Citizen, I’m going to pull this whole fucking corrupt temple down around your fucking head. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Who are you calling a pedophile?
If any political party in America has a pedophile or “grooming” problem, the evidence would suggest that’s the GOP.
When it comes to child sex traffickers, child rapists and child porn perverts, the Party of Trump has offered a “Big Tent” to accommodate everyone from Matt Gaetz to Josh Duggar to Ruben Verastigui to Adam Hageman to Anton Lazzaro to Joel Koskan to name just a few.
Back in 2016 (as I wrote here in February 2020), the Pizzagate conspiracy theory gave Trump, Russia, the GOP and Fox News a convenient way to deflect and distract from Dirty Old Donald’s history of preying on women and girls, not to mention his documented habit of attending sex parties at child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s NY mansion.
While it’s impossible to know how much Pizzagate contributed to popular-vote loser Trump’s razor-thin 2016 victory (by a combined 77,000 votes in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan), we do know that: a) falsely smearing Hillary and Democrats as “pedophiles” was an element of the 2016 campaign; and b) that was just the start.
Today, QAnons and Tucker Carlson viewers are parroting demented talking points to accuse teachers, librarians and the LGBTQ community of being “pedophiles” and “groomers”—despite all evidence to the contrary.
And, as with the 2016 attack on Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant, the far-right’s stochastic terrorists are succeeding in promoting real-world violence against innocent people.
As Luke O’Neil wrote on his Welcome to Hell World newsletter in June 2022:
Violence and discrimination against LGBT people is not some hypothetical future we’re talking about. We’re not at the top of a slippery slope looking down at what may come to pass we are halfway down the fucking slide. It’s here now. It’s already happening and it’s only going to get worse.
Following the deadly mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Spings in November 2022, O’Neil highlighted again these words he wrote in June:
The conflation of LGBT people and those who support them with pedophiles is stochastic terrorism in its clearest form. It’s a license to murder. Wouldn't you want to protect children from people seeking to harm them after all?
O’Neil calls out even “centrist” media such as The New York Times who are, like Tucker Carlson (seen here the night before the Club Q shooting), “just asking questions” about trans people and their rights, warning that “the tip of the spear of American fascism at this point in time begins with transphobia and moves outward from there.”
The NYT’s still asking questions. Todeschini has it all figured out
In an earlier interview segment shown in This Place Rules, Dave Todeschini (aka “The Inglorious Patriot”) claimed that he had knowledge that was “kinda like intuitive” about “alien X-files type of shit.” This intuitive knowledge ran the gamut from Pizzagate to John F. Kennedy to Satanic rituals that involved “sacrificing children to Molek.” Todeschini claimed that “the pieces of the puzzle only fit together one way” and, having figured that puzzle out, the convicted child rapist told Callaghan he was ready to “pick up one of those weapons I showed you” to defend “my country.”
“You might kill me,” said Todeschini. “But I’ll get a whole goddam bunch of yous before I do that.”
It’s time to push back on the false “groomer” rhetoric
Regular readers of this newsletter have heard of Todeschini before. When I interviewed @cajsa (the Twitter user documenting #RepublicanSexualPredators) in December 2021, she called him out as “a Q-Anon peddler of pedophile conspiracies, including the idea that Hillary tortured children and drank their blood.”
Since then, the pedophile conspiracy theories have only gotten worse, becoming not only more physically dangerous but—as the attacks have broadened to include Drag Queens, teachers and librarians—also more harmful to our communities.
If you’re not fully aware of what’s happening across the country, listen to the abuse this Catholic grandma is getting simply for trying do her job as a librarian in Michigan.
It’s more important than ever that sensible people push back against the false “groomer” and “pedophile” rhetoric being promoted by bad actors from QAnon to QElon, from Fox News to the “Free State of Florida.” The lies and conspiracy theories are part of a culture war that has nothing to do with protecting children—but everything to do with giving Proud Boys and MAGA morons an invitation to commit more violence against the LGBTQ community.
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I propose a reality show where false accusations are the theme.
The premise would be to chose a list of extreme right wing conspiracy theorists in important local positions and use their own rhetoric against them. Turn up the heat on their personal life just the way they target their enemies.
Have a supposed advocate in the mix to defend them while actually catching them in a reverse sting. They get to feel the horror that they help inflict on others. A taste of ther own medicine will produce compelling television.
When the big reveal comes where the show's actors let them in on the schtick.
When shown just how wrong, unfair, vindictive, and evil the treatment of their targets actually is, perhaps cracks will start to form in this wall of hate impeding our humanity.
Call it "The Sting."