UPDATE: Greene was removed from both her committees this evening in a large bipartisan vote, 230-199, including 11 Republicans-- Young Kim (CA), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), Carlos Giménez (FL), Chris Jacobs (NY), John Katko (NY), Adam Kinzinger (IL), Nicole Malliotakis (NY), Maria Salazar (FL), Chris Smith (NJ), Fred Upton (MI), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA). With the exception of Kinzinger, who wants to run for statewide office, all of these Republicans represent swing districts. Every Democrat voted to kick her out as well. (Liz Cheney reverted to form and voted against expelling her.) Greene said she doesn't care and that it will just free her up to campaign for her far right agenda and raise money. Many say she is going to run for the Georgia U.S. Senate seat next year that Raphael Warnock won in November in a special election.
But even in politically backward northwest Georgia where that state melds into Tennessee and Alabama, people feel embarrassed to have sent-- and by over 74%-- QAnon psychopath Marjorie Taylor Greene to Congress to represent them. They wanted a defiant voice, but not a raging, damaged maniac on anabolic steroids. Reporting for the NY Times this morning, Rick Rojas wrote that in a congressional district proud of its ranking as one of the most conservative in the country, voters drawn to Greene's unapologetic intensity are now also brushing the limits of their support.
“It’s embarrassing,” Ashley Shelton, a stay-at-home mother who voted for Ms. Greene, said of the controversy. She thought former President Donald J. Trump would serve another term and saw Ms. Greene as “a backup, a comfort.”
“I think she’s kind of a loose cannon,” Ms. Shelton said before paraphrasing a line from the Old Testament: “The wise are the quiet ones,” she said. “The more she opens her mouth, the less evidence of her wisdom.”
Georgia has been gripped by a political tug of war, as the once reliably Republican state was won by President Biden in November, the first Democrat to do so in nearly three decades. And last month, the state’s two Republican senators were replaced by Democrats, tilting control of the Senate to that party.
Ms. Greene’s district represents the other end of the rope — a largely white and rural corner of the state dominated by Republicans. Sprawled across a dozen counties, the 14th Congressional District reaches from the outer suburbs of Atlanta to the outskirts of Chattanooga.
Despite her promotion of conspiracy theories during the tightly contested primary and runoff, Republicans said Ms. Greene gained traction by hewing to core conservative themes-- defending gun rights, opposing immigration and supporting Mr. Trump. She covered a lot of ground, too, sometimes attending as many as five campaign events in a day.
“A lot of people here feel like they really know her,” said Luke Martin, a local prosecutor and chairman of the Republican Party in Floyd County, which is in her district. “They’ve met her. They’ve spoken with her. She never talked about that stuff. It’s kind of confusing to a lot of people. The person they think they know is not this person.”
Maybe crackpot Josh Hawley, the least bipartisan member of the Senate-- and the only senator to vote against every single Biden Cabinet nomination-- will pick Greene as his running mate. Or maybe Greene will opt to be the first female president of the New Confederacy. Who knows which possibility is more realistic. Today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a piece by Chris Joyner, Militia alliance in Georgia signals new phase for extremist paramilitaries. This is Greene-World-- literally. The Georgia III% Martyrs were her private paramilitary, neo-fascist, security militia. They're worried that law enforcement is "hunting down and arresting" violent, murderous insurrectionists. I'm worried that no one has hunted them down and arrested them.
The head of the Martyrs, Justin Thayer, says he's "formed alliances with other far-right groups to advocate for Georgia’s secession from the union, following the arrests of participants in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol... Thayer said the Martyrs have allied themselves with fellow 'Three Percenter' militia the American Brotherhood of Patriots and American Patriots USA (APUSA), a north Georgia group headed by Chester Doles, a Dahlonega resident who belonged to various racist and neo-Nazi hate groups before forming the new group in 2019. The combined groups will advocate for Georgia’s secession from the union through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution or through 'the collapse of the American experiment,' Thayer said. 'For the last 150 years, the Imperial Yankee culture of the northeast has been molding Georgia-- and the South in general-- into its perfect image,' he said."
They whine that the ballot box doesn't work for fascists like themselves. Doles sniveled to the AJC that "We’ve seen our last Republican president in American history. The ballot box-- we tried as hard as we could try. It’s not working." This is the milieu in which slime like Greene flourish-- here and, apparently in the House Republican Conference.
Researchers who study the far right say political unrest over the past year gave extremist groups opportunities to collaborate across ideological divides, forging alliances based on common grievances and enemies. The November presidential election and the proliferation of baseless conspiracy theories about its outcome only pushed groups closer together.
“We saw members of traditional militias, white supremacists, QAnon and other people in the same spaces and claiming very similar enemies,” said Amy Iandiorio, an investigative researcher with the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.
This “shared victimhood narrative” around the outcome of the presidential election created the opportunity for “tactical” alliances among groups that normally wouldn’t mix, she said.
The Martyrs raised eyebrows this fall when they appeared as private security for then-candidate Greene at a rally in Ringgold with former GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Greene posed for multiple photos with the militia and said she needed them to protect herself from unspecified death threats she said she had received.
On Jan. 6, Thayer joined throngs of pro-Trump supporters who rallied to hear the former president’s baseless claims of a “stolen” election and condemnation of “weak Republicans,” but he said he did not take part in storming the U.S. Capitol immediately after it.
Doles has been working longer to build support for his political group, staging occasional public rallies and motorcycle convoys from his north Georgia base. He claims to have walked away from his career as a white supremacist activist with groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the National Alliance, while also maintaining ties to some figures in those movements. His attempts to insinuate America Patriots USA into mainstream conservative politics have met with limited success, however.
Doles championed Greene’s candidacy on his website and on social media, often posting a photo of Greene posing with APUSA members taken during her Republican primary campaign.
But when he tried to attend the Ringgold rally in September with members of his group, Greene had the Martyrs remove him.
Thayer said he and Doles have patched things up since then.
“We both have the same objective and work with other organizations,” he said in a text. “So it was in the best interest of the movement to become ally’s (sic) and work together.”
...The Martyrs’ connection to Greene, who spent years promoting the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, illustrates the toxic blend of ideologies at work in the post-Jan. 6 extremist world. The alliance between the Martyrs and APUSA mixes a deeply anti-government ideology with a group rooted in white nationalism.
Conspiracy theories, like those expressed by QAnon adherents, and groups with white nationalist ties provide “onramps” for militia sects to transition into more violent rhetoric, Stall said. QAnon conspiracies about underground pedophilia rings run by Democrats and celebrities already are common inside online militia chatrooms, he said.
“Pretty much every Three Percent chat since 2018 has Q people in it,” he said. It’s a troubling development because of the the militia movement’s firepower, he said.
“The QAnon people are trying to figure out how to take their struggle into the world,” he said.
Since Jan. 6, the FBI has been appealing to the public to identify alleged rioters from photos posted on social media, while also defending itself against criticism that intelligence failures allowed the attempted insurrection. Kevin Rowson, spokesman for the Atlanta field office of the FBI, declined to comment on the announced alliance between the militias and APUSA saying the agency does not investigate people based on ideology.
“Regardless of group membership, our investigations focus solely on criminal activity of individuals,” he said. “Our efforts are focused on identifying, investigating and disrupting individuals that are inciting violence and engaging in criminal activity.”
They want to secede again? I have a feeling this time there will be far less resistance to the idea, although I doubt Atlanta and its suburbs will be interested in joining. Not Savannah or Macon or Columbus either. In fact... in Georgia, Bibb, Calhoun, Chatham, Clarke, Clay, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Dougherty, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hancock, Henry, Jefferson, Liberty, Macon, Muscogee, Newton, Randolph, Richmond, Rockdale, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taliaferro, Terrell and Warren are all normal, patriotic counties that have no interest in succession or in kooks like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Justin Thayer, Q, Chester Doles or Lin Woods.