Role reversal: In custody trial, Kelly Jones is the Infowarrior and Alex Jones the status quo


Good Wednesday Austin:

The Travis County courtroom where the Alex Jones-Kelly Jones child custody trial is taking place is very small.

The first few days of the trial I sat hugging the back wall to be close to an outlet where I could keep my laptop plugged in.

But then Judge Orlinda Naranjo last Wednesday ordered all the electronics in the courtroom unplugged, and distributed yellow pads and pens to reporters in attendance.

Thus liberated from my electronic umbilical cord, I crept forward in the courtroom, which is only a few rows deep, and the last several days have sat front row center, giving me a direct view of Alex Jones, seated about two feet away.

More than most anyone I can think of, Alex Jones’ face is an open book, and a page turner at that.

Much to the exasperation of Kelly Jones’ lawyers, and the repeated scolding of Judge Orlinda Naranjo, Alex Jones’ face registers, second by second, his reaction to every bit of incoming stimulus. Sometimes he adds head shakes and nods for emphasis, but even stock still (though with his nervous energy, he is never really stock still), his face illuminates his every impression.

So, with my front-row seat yesterday, I watched Jones with great interest as his ex-wife, to whom he was married for a dozen years and with whom he has three children whose fate is now the subject of the trial, spent most of yesterday on the witness stand.

When Jones testified last week, he was cross-examined by Bobby Newman, an attorney for his wife, who asked him to describe Kelly Jones’ good qualities as a mother. Jones, staring directly at Kelly Jones, paused, considered the question and then answered, “I cannot perjure myself. She doesn’t have any good qualities.”

That answer was so severe I wondered if, deep down, he really meant it.

And, watching him as Kelly Jones testified for most of a long day in court yesterday, I wondered whether, if he were asked the same question again after watching her in action he might answer differently because, even as she savaged him as a“violent, cruel and abusive man” who is “enraged and out of control most of the time,” there was something in her performance that I thought might resonate with her ex.

The Kelly Jones who took the stand was different from the person I had expected, especially for all the talk and expert testimony during the trial till now suggesting that she suffered from emotional dysregulation and even transient psychosis, which were new terms to me and, especially emotional dysregulation, seemed a kind of eye-of-the-beholder catchall for an emotional reaction that didn’t fall within normal or acceptable bounds.

I figured that meant her testimony would be a tightrope walk that might see her plunge into a dysregulatory state that would seal her fate.

Instead, Kelly Jones was the picture of calm and composure. She did descend into tears a couple of times, but only briefly. Otherwise, she appeared steadfast, in control and unflappable, even as she was confronted by answers she gave in an earlier deposition that did not always exactly align with statements she made yesterday.

And, unlike Alex Jones, Kelly jones often spoke directly to the jury.

This was in contrast to her ex-husband who, for all his experience being “on,” proved eminently flappable when he testified last week.

Alex Jones has made a hugely successful career out of regularly dysregulating against the global elite on Infowars, but on the witness stand, he was incapable, for example, of delivering a more jury-friendly answer when asked if he could say anything positive about the mother of his children.

But, what made yesterday’s scene even more deeply interesting, was the line of attack that Randall Wilhite, his lawyer, employed in an effort to undermine Kelly Jones’ credibility, a line of attack that ought to have had a familiar ring for Alex Jones.

Earlier, at great length, Robert Hoffman, Newman’s co-counsel representing Kelly Jones, wrote the names on an easel of some 27 experts – therapists, counselors, supervisors, the guardian ad litem in the case, the case manager – all of whom, according to Hoffman and Newman and Kelly Jones, for all their supposed smarts, got the family dynamics in the case upside down.

“I think they got it wrong,” she said firmly. “I think they got it backwards.”

Hoffman made the case that the experts did not understand how parental alienation works – the ways in which one parent, in this case Alex Jones, can turn the children against he other parent, in this case Kelly Jones – and didn’t have the foggiest notion of how to assess it and deal with it.

And how they were all well compensated for getting it consistently wrong and to the benefit of Alex Jones.

Of the participation of all those experts, Kelly Jones aid, “I think it’s made it worse.”

But Wilhite catalogued her doubts about all those experts with all their training and degrees, and all the lawyers – and money – she has gone through before finding the current capable legal team, to build a case that Kelly Jones must be some kind of a nut – that everyone else can’t be wrong, so she must be wrong, and maybe crazy.

As I wrote yesterday:

He presented her as a woman who was distrustful of virtually all the other parties in the long life of the case — the therapists, counselors and even the judges — depicting them as all in league against her.

“They were all swayed by him (Alex Jones), they’re all wrong, they’re all corrupt, they’re all biased,” Wilhite said of her mindset.

Kelly Jones, who remained calm though out her long day of testimony — while tearing up on a couple of occasions — said that was more or less correct, though by corrupt she didn’t mean they were taking money under the table, but that they were exceeding their authority and not faithfully executing their duties, and that sometimes the bias she referred to was a confirmation bias, in this case a shared prejudgment that Alex Jones was right in her disputes with him and that he didn’t require any scrutiny while she received microscopic attention.

As I watched Alex Jones I wondered if it could be lost on him that in this legal proceeding, Kelly Jones was playing the role of Alex Jones – albeit a quieter and more composed Alex Jones – that she was the Infowarrior, while he and his attorney were playing the role of the status quo and the global elite, attempting to crush Kelly Jones because she was challenging those with the power and the money and the degrees and the titles, crushed because she dared to call a conspiracy a conspiracy.

The difference, aside from their tone, is that while, for Kelly Jones, it is the Travis County Family Court system that is rigged, for Alex Jones it is the whole wide world.

Indeed, even as the trial was ongoing, Chobani Yogurt filed suit this week against Jones and Infowars  for what would appear to be classic Infowars’ kitchen-sink conspiracy-theorizing about them.

From Christine Hauser at the New York Times:

One of the InfoWars stories that is the subject of Chobani’s lawsuit involved a 2016 sexual assault in Twin Falls that drew national headlines. The InfoWars video promoted on Twitter on April 11 reported that three children involved in the assault were refugees, and then it gave details of Mr. Chobani’s policy of hiring refugees in the city.

The Twin Falls county prosecutor, Grant Loebs, said in an interview on Tuesday that the assault case had nothing to do with Chobani. He said he was not authorized to speak about the details because the case involved minors, although he noted that the local news media had been reporting on it since it happened last year.

Mr. Loebs said that on June 2, 2016, a 5-year-old girl at an apartment complex in Twin Falls was sexually assaulted by three boys, ages 7, 10 and 14. Two of them were refugees from Eritrea, and one was from Iraq. The children pleaded guilty to separate charges including sexual exploitation of a child and misdemeanor battery.

“There was no gang rape, no knife attack, and we did not charge anybody with rape because no rape occurred,” Mr. Loebs said.

The lawsuit filed by Chobani said Mr. Jones and his companies had declined to remove the reports or publish a retraction despite multiple written demands.

It said the defendants acted with “actual malice” to harm Chobani’s reputation and to discourage customers from purchasing its products. The lawsuit is seeking a jury trial, and the amount of “substantial damages” Chobani has suffered will be provided at a trial.

The lawsuit also noted that Mr. Jones was “no stranger to spurious statements.” It cited his previous contentions that the Sept. 11 attacks were orchestrated by the United States government and that the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was a hoax concocted by those hostile to the Second Amendment.

And, from Derek Hawkins at the Washington Post:

In an audio statement posted on his YouTube channel Monday night, Jones said “sources” in the White House and Congress told him that billionaire George Soros, a frequent target of Jones’s attacks, was behind the lawsuit. Soros is not named in court documents, and there is nothing suggesting he is involved in any way.

In other words, even as Alex Jones’ attorney was attempting to carve up his ex-wife for what was suggested was her unfounded conspiracy mongering, his client was in real-time involved in a far more obviously tenuous flight of conspiratorial fancy.

But, if deep inside, Alex Jones yesterday was watching Kelly Jones’ performance and remembering why he fell in love with her, and perhaps feeling the stirring of a nostalgic  “atta girl,” he didn’t show it.

And yet, they were a couple, and even as Kelly Jones yesterday denounced what she described as Infowars’ “hateful” turn, until the divorce she part of the management at Infowars, and one simply does not fall in love and marry Alex jones, and Alex Jones doesn’t fall in love and marry you, if you do not share a certain conspiratorial turn of mind and emotional identification with what Alex Jones describes as the resistance to the powers that be.

Now, I have not the slightest idea whether Kelly Jones’ claims are justified. But, it doesn’t surprise me at all that a particular court system – or the culture of any particular corporation, college administration, police force, military detachment, fraternity or any other institutions – could find itself corrupted by a status quo, this-is-how-we-do-things self-interest.

After all, isn’t that what Republicans think government is, a bunch of back-scratching,  featherbedders?

The whistle-blower in these cases is frequently denounced as a malcontent or a loon.

Alex Jones is always complaining that his detractors call him crazy.

The real surprise, then, is not that Kelly Jones should be denouncing the Travis County Family Court system as beholden to the powers that be, but that Alex Jones should find himself, in this context, a member in good standing of the powers that be.

One might expect the smart set not to become enmeshed with someone as socially unacceptable as Alex Jones, who, after all, has added to the pain of the parents of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre by suggesting that their children’s death may have been a hoax – and he thinks it’s OK to keep saying that because he is careful now to say that it is not an open-and-shut case.

But, remarkably, most of the people involved in the child custody case seem to have little or no firsthand knowledge of what Alex Jones does on Infowars. They have simply never watched or listened to him. Ever.

Kelly Jones obviously knows all about it, but I think her lawyers really have a cartoon version of Infowars as unrelievedly vile, which it is not.

And, I think the strategy of Alex Jones’ lawyers is, the less they know about the show the better.

Judge Naranjo and any number of expert witnesses said they had never caught the show – at least until whatever was shown at this trial.

And, as Hoffman pointed out repeatedly, Alex Jones seemed to “fly under the radar” of these experts’ professional curiosity, which zeroed in almost exclusively on Kelly Jones and her emotional dysregulation as the problem.

It would be as if experts brought in to examine the Donald Trump-Ivana Trump divorce some years ago knew nothing about Donald Trump and his public persona, and thought that he did not merit some psychological probing. (Ivana got the kids.)

Even Alex Jones’ parents, Carol and David Jones, who testified they now make millions working with their son in what Carol described as the “family business,” seemed to have only the most passing acquaintance with their son’s show.

When David Jones was asked Monday if he thought it was healthy for his three grandchildren to be exposed to what his son broadcasts, the elder Jones said “99 percent of the material on Infowars I would like the kids to be exposed to.”

Well, that suggests that either David Jones spends very little time listening to the enterprise which so richly rewards him, or he has a warped sense of what his 14-year-old grandson, let alone his 9 and 12-year-old granddaughters, ought to be imbibing.

I suppose he might say this falls within the 1 percent that might not be so edifying for the grandkids, though Alex Jones contended that any sophisticated viewer would realize this was “tongue-in-cheek.”

But then, one never knows what will pop up on Infowars, as in say 40-odd minutes deep in this very odd return to Sandy Hook report, which was posted on Infowars this weekend, smack dab in the middle of this child custody trial.

When I was 16, I didn’t want to party any more. I didn’t want to play games any more.

I grew up. I’d already been in the fights, all the big rituals. I’d already had probably – I hate to brag, but I’m not bragging, it’s actually shameful – probably 150 women, or more, that’s conservative. I’d already had over 150 women. I’d already been in fights with full-grown men. I was already dating college girls by the time I was 15-years-old. I was already a man at 16.

Can what he said possibly be true?

That would mean that, if he spread the action over his 14th, 15th and 16th years, he would be having sex with a new and different woman – not counting any repeats – on the average of about one a week every week for three years.

It gives new meaning to, “How was your day son?”

And it makes one wonder whether David Jones brought the same scrutiny to what was happening in his own home that he now brings to monitoring the content on Infowars.

Unless, of course the story is apocryphal, and Alex Jones is just making it up, but that is just as odd.

(There is also no explanation of what Jones is referring to when he says on the same video, By 24, I had a son. Jones turned 24 in 1998. That would that make that son 18 or 19 now. But the son whom he is seeking to retain custody of in court is 14.)

The big hurdle for Kelly Jones is to explain to the jury how she, the mother, ended up with virtually no access to her children a couple of years after her divorce. Why did Alex Jones get custody of the children?

The obvious answer, according to Alex Jones’ attorneys, is her “emotional dysregulation.”

But Kelly Jones argued again yesterday that she was, effectively, railroaded by a rigged system that included her own lawyer at the time.

“I did not sign that decree,” she said yesterday. “I never saw it and didn’t sign it.”

Last week the jury heard an audiotape of Kelly Jones, at an arbitration hearing on the divorce settlement, railing on everyone, including her own lawyer.

Here are some snatches I took down as quickly as I could on my legal pad.

I am an American. I have constitutional rights. I protest. I am a constitutional American. You cannot take away my due process. You cannot take away my constitutional rights. You cannot do that.

I’m not crazy. This is a secret tribunal arranged by big money.

It’s an abomination. I’m a constitutional American.

And, in what must have been a remark aimed directly at  Alex Jones: You are laughing at me, Mr. Constitution.

She does sound a bit hysterical on the tape.

But she sounded anything but hysterical yesterday.

Wilhite made sure the jury knew that Kelly Jones had taken Propranolol – a beta blocker known as the stage fright drug for its ability to ease anxiety.

In other words, he wanted the jury to know that if the Kelly Jones they were seeing was not the round-the-bend Kelly Jones they had been led to expect, it was because she was on drugs.

But Kelly Jones was unfazed by that line of questioning.

Did she think that her regularly taking Propranolol meant she a “drug problem,” Wilhite asked her.

“No,” she said, “I absolutely don’t.”






`I am Enemy No. 1.’ The trials of Alex Jones.



Good morning Austin:

You think you’ve got stress? You think you’ve got a lot going on in your life? You think you’re all that?

No. Not compared to Alex Jones.

Today, his child custody trial will reach its emotional pitch with the testimony of his ex-wife, Kelly Jones.

But, not only is he involved in a super high-conflict child custody case, but he is the No. 1 target of the globablists seeking to stem the nationalist tide sweeping the world — from Brexit to Donald Trump to Marine Le Pen.

And then, yesterday, he gets sued by America’s No. 1 Greek yogurt.

From the Washington Post:

Chobani, the maker of Greek yogurt, is suing right-wing provocateur Alex Jones, claiming he published articles and videos that falsely linked the company to child rape and a tuberculosis outbreak near its plant in Twin Falls, Idaho.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Idaho state court, says Jones’s Infowars website defamed Chobani and owner Hamdi Ulukaya in reports alleging the company’s practice of hiring refugees had brought crime and disease to the town of 45,000.

Idaho Yogurt Maker Caught Importing Migrant Rapists,” read an April 11 tweet from Infowars highlighted in the complaint. The tweet linked to a video containing what Chobani said were false statements about the company. The complaint also cited an August 2016 article that suggested Chobani was responsible for a “500% increase in tuberculosis in Twin Falls.”

Chobani said Jones had ignored requests to remove the reports, which as of early Tuesday were still accessible on the “Alex Jones Channel” on YouTube as well as the main Infowars site. As a result, the lawsuit said, some customers had called for a boycott of the company’s products.

“The Defendants’ defamatory statements have caused and continue to cause harm to Idaho residents, including Chobani employees, their families, and other members of the Twin Falls community associated with Chobani,” read the complaint.

In an audio statement posted on his YouTube channel Monday night, Jones said “sources” in the White House and Congress told him that billionaire George Soros, a frequent target of Jones’s attacks, was behind the lawsuit. Soros is not named in court documents, and there is nothing suggesting he is involved in any way.

Jones vowed to fight the case, saying it was without merit.

“I’m not backing down, I’m never giving up, I love this,” he said in the recording. “They have jumped the trillion-pound great white shark on this baby.”

What’s going on?

Here are four videos from yesterday alone from Alex Jones — all done in the margins of a full day in court.


The Globalists are panicking. They are throwing everything they’ve got at Infowars right now. They are trying to destroy my name, because they’re desperate. They know the planetary awakening to their tyranny is accelerating and the fact that they are now admitting I am Enemy Number 1 shows the fact that they understand they are imploding.

As everyone has noticed, in the national news in the last two weeks, I am now  been attacked as much as President Trump. You have to ask yourselves why am I being attacked at the level that the president is.

I mean, just six months ago, the president was being attacked 20 to 30 times more than I was, and I was the second most attacked person. Then was Steven Bannon. That is quite the xcarlett letter to wear on you, isn’t it? But I’m very, very  proud of it and I know, the weeks to come, we will be able to fully expose why they are doing that.

But here’s the main reason. Even in their cooked polls in France, Le Pen is now ahead of the other ten candidates. She’s a nationalist. She’s a patriot. It’s the equivalent of Ron Paul about to be elected president of France. Nigel Farage is getting to run for the prime minister of England. His movement, his libertarian movement, that  was pretty much launched by Infowars in his own words – our listeners in England – he’s now sweeping Europe for nationalism and free market capitalism.

I had Nigel Farage on  15 years ago and he was saying, in ten years, and he was saying UKIP’s been around 10 years ago, now it’s 25 years – he was saying, its’ been around for a decade or so – now 25 years – and we didn’t get any traction, but as soon as your show got popular in England, on the internet – I did a lot of radio interviews in England – it exploded.

That’s not a credit to me. I’m just a focal point for you. You helped launch the nationalist movement for Brexit, that’s now moving forward for the UK to leave the EU. You helped launch the nationalist movement in France, that was already there, but our listeners in France turbocharged it. You get the credit. People like Matt Drudge get the credit. And the reason I’m giving credit here is so people understand why they’re attacking us. Because we have power. We are promoting ideas of freedom and elected government, and not foreign, unelected, corporate, TPP, NAFTA, GATT, WTOs, IMF, World Banks, UNs.

Trump has a lot of problems, but overall he’s a nationalist, he’s returning power to America and he’s our president now. And America is now calling the shots for our country. Trump’s foreign policy is one of engagement with our allies for U.S. interests and for mutual respect and prosperity. But America isn’t controlled by the Davos group and that’s all over the news, Washington Post, Associated Press, the Davos … is dead, globalism is dead. They denied globalism existed a year ago and said I was insane. But so many people researched it and found out that global corporate government is real.

They can’t hide it anymore so now they want to destroy the leaders of the resistance – Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen,  myself and many others. Because I am flamboyant and use satire and do things like that, they have picked me to take out of context, to demonize and destroy, to then demonize and destroy the rest of the movement. I’m the beta test and if I fall, they believe other dominoes will fall. If Trump falls they believe nationalism, it’s gaining speed and accelerating because of the fact that it’s based on liberty and justice and prosperity, the believe that will stop the domino effect of globalism collapse.

They are hitting the alarm bell everywhere, ladies and gentlemen. They know they’re in crisis. So I want to encourage all of you to realize that the reason every major comedy show, every major late night show, CNN, ABC, Fox News, all of them, are attacking me on every news show, every hour, saying nothing but pure lies, knowing I can’t respond mainly because only the View – ABC News has been lying about me without calling – only The View and only Good Morning America and few others have called me out of hundreds of shows have said, “Why don’t you come on and respond to all this disinfo,”

We did a test in the office and reached out and none of them responded. So they sit there and lie about me and what I stand for and what I promote and what I believe in and saying on the news, “Did you hear, Alex Jones says he’s a total fraud, just like Donald Trump and he’s lying to people.” I never said that. They have demonized me in little pieces where I have done satire – the Joker is one of the big ones – and I say I’m playing the part of an evil guy to illustrate secret testing on the public – you know the Joker in Batman lore is famous for putting stuff in the water, cosmetics and stuff, so that is the character that I chose over the years to play a few times to say, “Oh, drink the fluoride, take the shots,’ and they go, “Oh, you believe in all this, you believe in  fluoride and shots,” and I’m “No, I’m being an actor there,” and they go, “Oh my gosh, we’ve got you.”

I know you as a thinking audience realize that’s a fraud, but they are trying to brand  the people that haven’t found Infowars yet. They’re trying to psychologically brand Infowars, with branding, that we’re this big fake thing like the Onion, because we’re not fake, we’ve educated people about globalism and how it really works, and so that’s why they’re so upset, that’s why they’re so scared, that’s why they’re coming after us. And I know that you as an audience know this, but understand this, now more than ever, stand up for Infowars.

Point out the fact that they hate us because we’ve pointed out thousands of real news stories and had the will to be demonized and not care what happens to us and get the truth out and support us, spread the links, spread the videos, spread the articles. where we are exposing false flags in Syria, or exposing what Kim Jung-un’s up to, or exposing the unelected TPP and educating the public so Trump can vote to kill it.

We’ve come so far together. We are battling to keep the economy turned on as the globalists try to kill it. We’re battling to tell the truth about the good things Trump is doing and we’re battling to be the loyal opposition to expose the bad things he’s doing.

They hate us because they know we’re not controlled. They know whistle blowers are getting us intel every single day that’s changing the world. They know we’ll go with stories that others are too scared to publish ….

Then there was this:

Infowars and yours truly, Alex Jones, has been one of the big stories of the last week-and-a-half. It is the attempted crucifixion of yours truly as a archetype, as a symbol of someone who would dare challenge the establishments, someone who would go up against the norms, and someone who doesn’t care if they get demonized and attacked by MSM.

That’s why I’m under attack. To send a message to everybody else, that you keep your head down and you shut up and  you keep your mouth shut and you do what you’re told or we’ll call you a racist, we’ll call you Hitler, we’ll claim you raped the Easter Bunny, the sky’s the limit, we’ll say you’re a Russian spy if you don’t tie the line …

And this:

And finally, this…

All in a day’s work.

In the middle of a wrenching child custody trial.


In midst of custody battle, Alex Jones reveals that at 16, ‘I’d already had over 150 women.’

Good Monday Austin:

On Saturday afternoon Alex Jones tweeted this.

It leads to a very perplexing video he recorded over the weekend, all the more perplexing because it comes at the midpoint of his two-week child custody trial at the Travis County Courthouse, which resumes today.

The video is entitled, LIVE: Alex Jones Responds to Sandy Hook Vampire

And, it promises, New Sandy Hook/Newtown Information Released.

It seemed an odd choice of topic.

Jones’ assertion that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was, or may have been, a hoax, is probably the most off-putting conspiracy theory he has put forward in a career of conspiracy theorizing – the one that more than any other a lot of people can’t forgive him for.

But the weekend video was way odder and more perplexing than that.

It promised new information about Sandy Hook, but never provided any.


Instead, it is a discursive, hour-and-six-minute report – beginning with scenes from the science fiction movie Soylent Green – in which Jones talks about startling and what seemed to be previously undisclosed elements of his biography.

Most provocatively, there is this:

When I was 16, I didn’t want to party any more. I didn’t want to play games any more.

I grew up. I’d already been in the fights, all the big rituals. I’d already had probably – I hate to brag, but I’m not bragging, it’s actually shameful – probably 150 women, or more, that’s conservative. I’d already had over 150 women. I’d already been in fights with full-grown men. I was already dating college girls by the time I was 15-years-old. I was already a man at 16.

When he was 16, Alex Jones, who was born in Dallas in 1974, would have still been living in Rockwall, outside Dallas. He moved to Austin in 1991. He turned 17 in February of that year.

For a young lad growing up in Rockwall to have had sex with 150 women  – conservatively – by the time he was 16 seems extraordinary.

But, if it’s not true, why would he say it?

And yet, if it is true, why would he say it now?

A lot has been written about Jones. I haven’t read all of it, but I don’t recall seeing any mention of anything like this.

From a March 2010 Nate Blakeslee profile in Texas Monthly.

Jones, the son of a dentist and a homemaker, grew up in the Dallas exurb of Rockwall and moved to Austin in 1991, where he attended Anderson High School. Jones describes himself as a “socially oblivious” teenager who was more of a reader than a TV watcher.

And from a March 20111 profile by Alexander Zaitchk in Rolling Stone:

Jones was born in Dallas in 1974, the descendant of two lines of Texas frontiersmen. He describes a childhood that will disappoint those searching for the Freudian roots of his crusade. His parents, a dentist and a homemaker, raised him with love in the manicured suburb of Rockwall. “I was the all-American kid with a great family,” he says. “I read Time-Life books, played football, was friends with everybody.”

Home life was intellectual, but not overtly political. “My parents were careful not to give me political views almost as an experiment to see what I’d turn into,” he says. “The closest thing to a childhood political training was some neighbors who were members of the John Birch Society. They’d come over for dinner and I’d be exposed to those ideas, starting at around age two.”

It was in high school that Jones discovered a corrupt, Blue Velvet underbelly to his town. At weekend parties, he watched as off-duty cops dealt pot, Ecstasy and cocaine to his friends. “A truck would appear, sometimes with a guy still in uniform inside,” Jones recalls. “Then, on Monday, they’d have D.A.R.E. and drug-test us for football.” Jones, a young var­sity lineman, did not appreciate the irony. “I was like, ‘You want to drug-test me, when I know you’re selling the stuff?’ I called them the mafia to their face. At the time, I didn’t know anything about CIA drug-dealing.”

Things came to a head during Jones’ sophomore year, when he was pulled over while driving without a license, a six-pack of beer under the passenger seat. Jones told the cop he was corrupt and had no right to enforce laws. “They brought me to jail,” Jones says. “Afterward, one of the cops told me to wise up, or they’d frame me and send me away.” The following week, his father was so spooked that he sold his dental practice and moved the family to Austin. A few months later, Rockwall County’s sheriff was indicted on organized-crime charges.

For Jones, the encounter with state hypocrisy was transformative. “The Rockwall cops were lowbrow thugs, and Alex was a hell-raiser,” says Buckley Hamman, a cousin who grew up with Jones. “The conflict with the cops started Alex down the road of his current pursuit.”

In Austin, Jones quit football and smoking pot (“It made me paranoid”), and began consuming history: Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. “I started understanding that governments have been staging terror and dealing drugs throughout history,” he says. “The whole program was there.”

Well, if what Jones said over the weekend is true, Blue Velvet is about right, and he may have had more reasons than some police corruption for leaving town.

From the sound of it, Jones experience in Rockwall wasn’t The Last Picture Show. It was the Adult Megaplex.

If what Jones says is true, and Alex, a minor, had sex with more than 150 women, many of them apparently over 18, there might have come a point when it was prudent to get out of town and head o Austin.

If what Jones says is true, it also make me rethink this from his appearance on the stand last week.

The only other explanation for what Jones said over the weekend is that Jones is playing a character in this video – that this is an example of his penchant for satire.

But no.

Watch it yourself.

He gets to the key passage at the 48-minutes mark.

He appears dead serious in what amounts to an illustrated lecture – he draws stick figure graphics as he speaks –  on how modern society has undermined the crucial, age-old natural rites of passage for young men, but how he proved a rare and stirring exception.

There was also one other, what appeared to me to be new piece of the known Jones biography revealed in the video.

While talking about how he had grown up appropriately fast, Jones says that unlike his arrested-development friends:

By 24, I had a son.

Jones turned 24 in 1998. That would that make that son 18 or 19 now. But the son who he is seeking to retain custody of in court is 14. So, if Jones had a son when he was 24, that was another son. That’s completely possible. And, he is, of course, under no obligation to tell writers when they are doing profiles of him that he has another son. It’s just that it’s not something that’s been mentioned in anything I’ve read about Jones.

It’s just all very perplexing, all the more so because on Friday, Jones issued this statement, about the trial.

Above all this is a private matter. This is about my family and only my family. I have endeavored very faithfully for three years to keep this circumstance confidential for the sake of my children to protect their innocence. I urge the press to be respectful and responsible and to show due deference to the process of the law and respect the boundaries defined for this case so that a fair result can be found. As there is a gag/protective order on the trial of the safety, welfare and protection for our children’s private rights and what is in their best interests, I am holding my responses until the end of the trial.

And yet, here I am writing this, not based on any prying or probing. All I am doing is repeating what Alex Jones, for whatever reason, decided to put out the day after he issued the above statement.

That does not mean that what he says in the video is a violation of gag order. He does not talk about the details of the child custody case per se – except to say how the media is attempting to use the case against him but only succeeding in driving more traffic to his site than at any time except Election Week 2016.

But I can’t help but feel that when his lawyers told him to have a nice weekend when they parted company with Jones Friday afternoon, they weren’t expecting this.

Below is an illustrated transcript of the key passages. In all cases, it is Alex Jones speaking.

We need to go back to being human. Are calculators great? Yes, but nobody since Texas Instruments came out with one 40 years ago  knows how to do math anymore. They didn’t let us have calculators in school. Now that’s all they’ve got. It’s an example of how some progress brings us back. like flying in a spaceship to Mars in a year, 14, 15-month mission when Mars is closest to the Earth. Does it make your body stronger or weaker? It makes it weaker. You’re in a high-tech spaceship but you’re going to an environment that has less gravity as well. We need the gravity of mental exercise, of physical exercise, of intellectual exercise or we implode and we fall apart, we become Dory the Fish that has a seven-second memory.

Everything is memory. Everything is remembering, the space-time continuum, what happened five years ago. That is experience. That is knowledge.

Let me explain something. There’s information, there’s knowledge. Let me show you a little graph here.

Here’s information. OK. When you’re five-years-old, OK,  you can interface the internet. You can speak. You can do basic things. But you don’t know from life experience how to trust the info, whether it’s accurate or not.

You don’t have the time or the memory of when you’re 75, before average cognitive decline begins to make you more like a child, because, you see, you’re once the man or woman and twice the child.

You start out with low cognitive ability. You go to a peak of training, experiences, life, revelations. You hit a peak, then your brain cells begin to die.


You begin to do less and less, you become a child again. Once the man, that’s William Shakespeare, twice the child. You’re only once the man. You’re twice the child.

No one’s ever done that graph, but believe me, that’s how it works.


Here it is in life, going up. But if you don’t have memory, if you don’t train yourself to have a long attention span –  that’s the best part of life to have a long, deep attention span. If you don’t to that, if you’re transient, if you don’t care, you’re not involved, you don’t develop the neural pathways in your entire life.

This is a five-year-old. On average, by the time, and it wasn’t just Jews, in most European cultures and others, even in China it was the same, at 13 years of age they would normally do a culture test to see if you were a man, and then patch you into manhood or womanhood the next year or the next year. It was like school, done by the local priest, the shaman, the tribal leaders.

Depending on the culture, at 12, 13 or 14 you would go through testing and through rituals, of hunting, of science, of different tests by the different elders to see if you were an adult yet.

When they decided you were an adult then you could decide whether to leave your parents’ house, live somewhere else, do something else, go live with an uncle in another tribe 100 miles away or whatever. Or you could get married and stay in the tribe, or wait, but had to decide, if you were a man or a woman, to leave or to stay.

Now, normally by the time you were 16, you were always kicked out, unless you had special needs.

Ladies and gentlemen, they’re telling people now that 35 in the new adult.

Thirty-five is the peak in terms of overall mental and physical overall prowess.

You then can gain knowledge up to this level.

But at 35, by then, you are at your peak – women and men – you are at your peak, peak, peak, peak, peak, peak, peak.

But, if they arrest your development, and most men I know … most men at 35 still act like they’re 16. They still want to hang out with men. They still want the approval of men.

They act like boys. They wear sports jerseys. They want to play, they want to party all day. They are not serious-minded.

And most of them at 35, what do they not have? They don’t have CHILDREN.

You’re supposed to have children in every culture biologically  by 16 .

If you’re not having them by 16, there’s something wrong with you.

Oh, but you see, there’s college – the priesthood you’ve got to get into.

And then by then, oh you’ve got to make money because you’re in debt. Oh, don’t have time for kids. You got to get out of debt. Oh, you’re 40, you’re finally halfway out of debt, you want to have some fun now. Oh you try to find a woman. She’s barren. She’s doing the same thing.

By the time you want to find out, you want to live. by the time you hit 16 at 40 – I’ve giving you the big knowledge folks, at 40 – and they do this by design – by 40, you are the equivalent of a 16-year-old.

When I was 16, I didn’t want to party any more. I didn’t want to play games any more.

I grew up. I’d already been in the fights, all the big rituals. I’d already had probably – I hate to brag, but I’m not bragging, it’s actually shameful – probably 150 women, or more, that’s conservative. I’d already had over 150 women, I’d already been in fights with full-grown men. I was already dating college girls by the time I was 15-years-old. I was already a man at 16.

At 21, I was a leader. At 21, I had a radio show on one of the biggest stations in town, and by 22 I had top ratings. By 23, I was syndicated.

By 24, I had my son.


By 24, I had a son. I had the beginnings of a media empire that was reaching millions of people and everybody couldn’t believe it.

Ladies and gentleman, Thomas Jefferson was leading Virginia by the time he was 24. Thomas Jefferson had four college degrees by 22. Thomas Jefferson was designing architecture at 20, building and getting contracts by 22. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was the leader of the Illuminati by 34, worldwide. And I don’t mean the modern, devil-worshiper Illuminati, that’s the counterfeit of the, quote, Illuminated, and they were Masonic, and they weren’t devil-worshipers, and they created the country, and I’m not Masonic, I’m just giving you the historical facts. The rites of passage are all being removed.

I’m not bragging about my success. It was normal. I was not arrested in my development.

All the archetypes were unlocked at a very young age because of rites of passage that were still taking place when I was a young man that are no longer even available to most people. The rites of passage are all being removed and yes, brutal, brutal fights was one of the rites of passage, sex was a rite of passage, having access to literature and art and culture and history, and the occult and Christianity, all of it was a rite of passage. Other rituals  I was a part of –  were all rites of passage. Elders constantly explaining things to me was rites of passage. They’re stealing the future.

So am I bad questioning a government known for lying, a media known for lying, that  lies and gets us into wars that kills millions of kids, that are obsessed with abortion and cultures of death and all this evil, to question them? Absolutely, I’m right. Did I say nobody died and it’s all bull? Yeah, they took the clip out of context. (unclear) devil’s advocate in a debate. I didn’t say that’s what I believed. I said that I could see both sides. They hope you don’t see the truth. They hope you don’t research it. They hope you don’t find out for yourself because they think you’re stupid and want to defeat you.

Now I know you understand that. Many of you are more advanced and smarter than I am. We’ve got to reach out to many of those who have been put in arrested development, so that they can bloom and blossom because that’s how we are going to have a future.

I’m going to end this video with a couple of videos together – Gulf War Propaganda Babies in Incubators, and False Flag Video Montage, and then I’m going to come back briefly with the fact that they want to put Donald Trump in a mental institution and we know why they want to do it, here exclusively we’re going to break it down.

But the bottom line is the Vampires of MSM and corporate media and that whole system are the ones feeding off the dead children of all these mass shootings and tragedies, some of which the government and other groups have been caught being involved in, to go to us who have ethics and care about kids and get us to give up our guns and our right to self-defense as if we somehow did it. They project these crimes and their horrors on us when they’re the ones in Chicago, New York and other victim disarmament zones who have the highest crime rates in the world, like Mexico does as a country,  they do as cities, because they, the elites, have guns, but the people don’t.

And they’re the ones who are literally behind the carnage and the sadness and enslavement, and that’s why they are the Vampires of Sandy Hook and the people that feed off those deaths and use it to take away our Second Amendment and more of our rights, and we see through it and how they back all these crimes worldwide and just how nasty they are.

Here is a sampling of comments that appeared on Twitter and on Infowars to Jones’ weekend video.


Sex and drugs and alcohol, gleanings from the Alex Jones Famous Fiction Writers School

Good morning Austin:

I was sitting on a bench yesterday in the Travis County Courthouse where the Alex Jones-Kelly Jones child custody trial was in its fourth day, my head down looking at my laptop, when I heard a low muttered growl and something about “famous fiction writer.”

I looked up and saw it was Alex Jones, breezing past me on the way back into the courtroom.

Narcissist that I am, I thought Jones was talking about me.

Until I read Charlie Warzel’s report on the Day in Jones in the Daily Beast:

Earlier in the hallway, he referred to a group of reporters as “famous fiction writers” and told another reporter “man you must be so desperate.”

OK.  Famous Fiction Writers, plural.

Oh well, so he wasn’t talking about me, he was talking about we, the collective that could be called the Alex Jones Famous Fiction Writers School.

Even before the Great Age of Fake News, it has always, of course, been a problem, separating fact from fiction.

And I fully understand that Family Court is not place to let you freak flag fly.

But my distinct impression of the Alex Jones I have observed on Infowars and in every bit of his public persona is that he is a man’s man, or really a caveman’s caveman.


By all rights his theme song ought to be courtesy Ian Dury.

Sex and drugs and rock and roll
Is all my brain and body need
Sex and drugs and rock and roll
Are very good indeed
Keep your silly ways or throw them out the window
The wisdom of your ways, I’ve been there and I know
Lots of other ways, what a jolly bad show
If all you ever do is business you don’t like
Sex and drugs and rock and roll
Sex and drugs and rock and roll
Sex and drugs and rock and roll
Is very good indeed
Every bit of clothing ought to make you pretty
You can cut the clothing, gray is such a pity
I should wear the clothing of Mr. Walter Mitty
See my tailor, he’s called Simon, I know it’s going to fit
Here’s a little piece of advice
You’re quite welcome it is free
Don’t do nothing that is cut price
You know what that’ll make you be

Gray is such a pity.

But the Jones presented by his lawyers is just Good Old Dad, filing the breach when his wife freaks out, not letting his day job as the most influential conspiracy theorist in American history get in the way of just being Dad, who likes to make dinner and, as he testified under oath, “watch .Gilligan’s Island.”

“I don’t think about work at home. I like to swim in the pool and eat hamburgers.”

Just Dad.

Sure, he acknowledged on the witness stand, “I think I do provocateur some things,” but “not to the extent of the media editing it to make it more provocative.”

In fact, Jones said yesterday that he considers himself to be “kind and gentle” 95 percent of the time on Infowars.

It’s just that “that’s not what gets cherry-picked” by his critics.

Yes, he said, he is a performance artist at times, but not “the media interpretation of that.”

Meet Alex Jones, sketch artist.

But, some of the best moments of the trial have come when the real Alex Jones has come into conflict with the Bob Newhart Alex Jones. (Once upon a time I would have said Bill Cosby, but that obviously doesn’t work so well anymore.)


So, for example, Kelly Jones’ lawyers showed the jury a video of Jones appearing quite drunk in Washington for Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Now, Alex Jones would have you believe he wasn’t drunk.

But, really why shouldn’t he be drunk.

It seems to me if you’re Alex Jones and you have gone from doing a cable access show in Austin to really and truly playing an instrumental role in electing a president of the United States, and that presidential candidate has courted you and that president pays attention to you and takes you maybe more seriously than you may have taken yourself, and his narcissism makes you look like the Dalai Lama, well, you have a right, a duty, to tie one on for his inauguration.

Jones’ wee inaugural inebriation also led to one of my favorite all-time Alex Jones riffs, what I referred to in a previous First Reading as Alex Jones’s Night(cap) at the Newseum.

The premise here is that Jones, who was broadcasting from Washington for inaugural week, visits the Newseum – the museum of news – treating it as a museum of dinosaurs, with its line of newspaper front pages displayed out front, papers like, as Jones puts it, the Los Stegosaurus Times


Oh dear. Shades of Elvis.

It would, it seems to me, be better if Jones followed the lead of his mentor-in-Trump and this week his sometime Infowars guest host while is in court – Roger Stone.


When you smoke it you become very paranoid and want to got to a Chinese restaurant.

From The Stone Cold Truth on March 31:

When President Trump was still Candidate Donald J. Trump, he made many remarks regarding honoring States Rights when it came to the individual States to decide on the issue of marijuana.

In the now famous November 23, 2015 GQ video, then Candidate Trump talks about legalized marijuana, and in it he said “Legalized marijuana is always a very difficult question . . . for medicinal purposes, for medical purposes . . . absolutely, its fine”.

Tens of millions of Liberty minded Americans believed him when he said this and took his message to heart, fully expecting him to end the ineffectual and wasteful War on Weed.  Americans were not wrong to believe President Trump, as he was also on record a month earlier in the Washington Post, on October 29, 2015, being quoted as saying “”In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state.”

These voters were relieved that is, until the position of Attorney General Jeff Sessions reached the public domain.  While Jeff Sessions is an excellent jurist and an astute politician, he unfortunately is also an adherent to outmoded thinking on marijuana.  As a product of the Religious South, it is natural that AG Sessions would take the dimmest view of marijuana, but there is little room left for debate as to the origin of the marijuana prohibition laws and how they were formulated as a tool to bludgeon both the poor and minorities, the largest consumers of the formerly legal plant. Perhaps Attorney General Sessions has forgotten his Genesis from the Old Testament:

“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”     Genesis 1:29

Or perhaps he was never familiar with some of the lessor known quotes of Thomas Jefferson:

“If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”    Thomas Jefferson

But, instead of what ought to be Jones’ libertarianism on marijuana, what we got out of Alex Jones in court yesterday was some aspiring Junior G-Man, a la Elvis.

And yet, read this from Smithsonian Magazine:

Elvis was traveling with some guns and his collection of police badges, and he decided that what he really wanted was a badge from the federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs back in Washington. “The narc badge represented some kind of ultimate power to him,” Priscilla Presley would write in her memoir, Elvis and Me. “With the federal narcotics badge, he [believed he] could legally enter any country both wearing guns and carrying any drugs he wished.”
Kelly Jones’ legal team also started to play a clip to the court yesterday from Joe Rogan’s February podcast with Jones, a la sex and drugs and alcohol, (on Trump’s famous, “grabbing women… “remark, Jones says, when “a woman is climbing on top of you, that is what mammals do”), until, a few minutes into it, his attorneys all of a sudden realized that this was a video that Judge Orlinda Naranjo had not approved to be shown to the jury.


Never mind.


From my story today:

(Kelly Jones attorney Bobby) Newman used the March deposition testimony to tie Jones up in knots about whether he had acknowledged having sex with a woman, who remains a friend, even after his new wife, Erika — who is now eight-plus months pregnant — moved into his home after their engagement in November 2015.

In the deposition, Jones acknowledged that he continued having sex with the other woman until about March 2016. But, when Newman pressed Jones to confirm his previous testimony, Jones offered a befuddled look and said, “I’d have to see a calendar.”

He later denied that he had sex with the other woman after his engagement.


All this gets confusing.

I don’t have a calendar in front of me.

I told her all about that.


I mean it seems like if you were sleeping with another woman after your fiance moved in with you, you would remember that.

And if a calendar would help, well, what else, who else, is on that calendar?

And then there was Newman asking Jones about an ad Newman said Jones’ new wife, then a massage therapist (“yoga instructor,” said Jones), ran six years ago seeking hotel clients in search of  a “sensual, sophisticated and intelligent companion.”

To which, Alex Jones offered the ultimate Infowars reply.

We’ve done a forensic investigation. This is an identity theft issue.

But wait, Newman told Jones his wife acknowledges all this in her deposition.

Hadn’t he read her deposition?

“I scanned it,” Jones said in the not the most ringing terms.

“You didn’t have a conversation about services she provided to men in hotel rooms?” Newman asked.

“I know all about her house getting broken into and a lot of stuff planted,” Jones said.

And then, “I just don’t trust you man.”





Alex Jones: `We’re the most bona fide, hard-core, Real McCoy thing there is.’

Good morning Austin:

I don’t know, but I think before the Alex Jones trial is over I may have to put some money in the Infowars coffers and buy me some Caveman.

It’s the ultimate in true paleonutrition with bone broth, turmeric root, chaga mushrooms and seven total primal superfoods in a single great-tasting formula. Caveman. It’s those people, living in the wilds, actually having to build civilization that are our superior ancestors, and we need to do everything we can to recapture that.

Jones, who does the ad, is, of course, its best advertisement, from his trademark growl to his indefatigable energy.

I offer as evidence the following Infowars video.

I don’t know exactly when he taped this, whether it was before court yesterday, or immediately after, but just as I filed my story yesterday evening for today’s paper, there in my inbox was an email from Infowars with this.

Jones took the stand late yesterday afternoon in his child custody trial, and testified for a little more than an hour under the encouraging questioning of Randall Wilhite, his attorney.

Note, that, as I wrote in a story in Monday’s Statesman, it was Wilhite who signaled that in the trial unfolding this week and next in a Travis County courtroom, Jones’ lawyers would argue that the character Jones portrays on Infowars should not be mistaken for the real Alex Jones, level-headed father.

At a recent pretrial hearing, attorney Randall Wilhite told state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo that using his client Alex Jones’ on-air Infowars persona to evaluate Alex Jones as a father would be like judging Jack Nicholson in a custody dispute based on his performance as the Joker in “Batman.”

“He’s playing a character,” Wilhite said of Jones. “He is a performance artist.”

Jones will return to the stand this morning and, when Wilhite finishes questioning him, he will get a much rougher going over from Bobby Newman, a lawyer representing his ex-wife, Kelly. For more on this read Ken Herman’s column in today’s paper.

But, in that context, yesterday’s Infowars video from Alex Jones is vintage Jones and great stuff.

It begins with a review of recent coverage around the trial and the performance artist strategy, followed by Jones’ reply.

Do watch it, but what follows the video is my illustrated transcript of what Jones had to say.


First off they love to brand us as fake news or the media loves to attack us and say, `He dresses up in lizard suits,’ like Gorn, or whatever the guy’s name is from the Star Trek episode, the famous one where he’s fighting Captain Kirk, and then the news asks me, “Are you serious,” and I say, “That’s satire.”

I’m being an actor acting like I’m a space alien that wants to exterminate the population of the Earth to try to sell you on taking vaccines. I don’t actually believe that the Star Trek character is real.

And they go, “Oh my gosh. Alex Jones is fake. He says he’s an actor.”

“Look he was in A Scanner Darkly.”

“And he was in Waking Life.”

They think you’re completely stupid and they think you’re completely mentally ill.

If I put a top hat on and play the head of Goldman Sachs, saying “I’m screwing you over, I love the mega banks, I am going to rob you, world government’s good,” I’m illustrating how George Soros and others think of you. I don’t literally believe that.

The times that I put on clown makeup and play the part of the Joker saying, “Drink your fluoride water, and take your vaccines because you’re going to see pretty colors kids,” people got freaked out and said, “Oh my gosh, you’re not real because you act like a nice guy on air, but then you acted like a monster for an hour on TV.”


It was powerful. It was a powerful performance.


That’s why people were freaked out and said, “What’s the real you?”

You know I keep thinking people are smart.

This is the real me. The Bill of Rights. The Constitution. The Republic. Changing the world. Brexit. Nationalism rising. Second Amendment. Family.  Delivering the goods. Getting people elected. Patriot congressmen and women. Taking over the House of Representatives. And they’re listeners folks. Freedom Caucus. Every one of them basically.

They can’t stand that. This platform of people like David Knight, Paul Watson … and Ron Paul and Col. Shaffer and countless other people and our great writers and researchers. Are they actors? Are they fakes?  Do I screen them before they come on the air. No. Do we tell guests what they can talk about on air? No.  Everybody else does. We don’t do pre-interviews.

Ask anybody. We’re the most bona fide, hard-core, Real McCoy thing there is. And everybody knows it and we’re delivering the goods.

But they sit there and they play games. There are headlines in BBC, Reuters, AP, “Infowars host Alex Jones plays a character, is different in real life.”

What? I didn’t say that.

And then they show an image like I was being arrested like they always do.

This is the kind of deception that’s going on. Because I say ‘I wanna knock somebody upside the head,” they say, ” Oh, we’re going to charge you for that.”It was a figure of speech to make my point. So it’s, “Oh, then you’re fake, you really don’t want to punch me in the face?”

They play these semantical lawyer games, ladies and gentlemen. It’s ridiculous.

We’re defending the Republic. We’re defending he border. We’re defending he Second Amendment. We’re defending people’s right not to be forcibly injected with vaccines or eat GMOs. We’re fighting Islamic global slavery that the media makes jokes about it and says, “Is it real?” even though we have mainstream news of them selling women as sex slaves in Libya and the video of it, which was so horrible we didn’t even air it last week but we should probably play some of that over me or show some of the articles.

They don’t like us because we are able to get a talking point out that’s true and the system wants a monopoly of control over the news and over the information. That’s why they lie and say we’re fake news. That’s why they lie and say, “Jones has to be banned off Google. He said it was probably a false flag in Syria, two weeks ago.”

Meanwhile, my own listeners are saying I sold out because I’m waiting to see what happens in Syria.

We exposed the false flag, we had the first news articles.

Then Ron Paul comes out. Then Putin comes out. Then Assad comes out. And then the news, the Economist, you name it, says I got the false flag from Assad. Noooo. I got it from four chemical attacks pointed at the rebels, two of them they got caught doing. That’s UN, Associated Press, Reuters confirmed.

Four days later Assad goes on BBC and says everything I said. I didn’t get it from Assad. He got it from the news, from the facts, from the reality. But they say I got it from Assad because I’m an actor, I don’t have any original thoughts. Everybody tells me what to say. That I’ve got teleprompters in here. No I don’t.

I can’t even read off a teleprompter. I can’t even control myself. Everybody knows that around here. I’m the opposite of some scripted person.

When you talk about being an actor, I imagine the globalists and how they hate us and how they think they’re better than us and a breakaway species, in their own words, and they absolutely have disdain, so I can then put a lizard mask on, and “Oh, New World Order, please take your shots,” and just act like a high school skit to illustrate it, and you know I don’t hardly do that anymore because it confuses people, because the news is so hard-core that I will just illustrate it with the absolute facts because even when we put satire on the article, in the headline, people think we made it up because people don’t know what satire is any more. Exactly.

So it’s like when I saw they ordered 40,000 pairs of 5X, or whatever they were, underwear, I made a joke out of that.

That was actually a real story.

So, there you go.

So, that said, here’s the big news. Drum roll, ladies and gentlemen. Google takes out major contract to de-list Infowars from its search index. We got this from a top insider, confirmed source for us.

Bunch of media said that I was a liar. It was totally insane. Google did not have contracts out to de-list us for having Ron Paul on.

They actually said, “He is de-listed for Ron Paul.” They actually said, “He had Ron Paul on, that’s not credible. Nyet. You’re baked.”


And I played a Putin clip. They said I’m not allowed to do that. And then I pointed out the mainstream news played Putin saying it was a false flag. And they’re like, he’s got Putin and Trump on his page and those aren’t credible, so they’re banned.

People said, “Oh, you’re not banned, you’re not that important.”

I’m just in a thousand newspapers a day right now being attacked. Yeah, we’re not important.

Folks, we are important because we represent the people. We represent you. We represent victory against the fake media.

The dinosaur media are a bunch of slime. They’ve already collapsed. They are a bunch of frauds. You wouldn’t believe the stuff I’ve seen in my own personal life in the last week. Total inversion of reality.

And these reporters ask why I won’t talk to them. I say, “Just make up what you’re going to make up bro’.”

You know like 3-year-olds learn the trick of lying. I learned to stop telling lies when I was 3 or 4 years old. Truth has power.

The video ends with the Caveman ad.



Jones: I’m a long way from the caveman our ancestors were but I’m sure as hell trying to get back to that essence that made us what we are and this is a big part of that.

Question: Would it be a conflict of interest if I ordered and ingested some Caveman while still covering the Alex Jones trial?

Especially with state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo yesterday ordering reporters to unplug and cover the rest of the trial using a pen and pad, a little Caveman seems in order.


In Alex Jones’ moment of truth, the call should go out, `Get me Roger Stone’


Good morning Austin:

Alex Jones is expected to testify at the child custody trial he is engaged in with his ex-wife Kelly Jones at the Travis County Courthouse today. Meanwhile, Roger Stone – devoted friend and ally – will be filling in for him hosting Infowars.

But where Alex Jones really needs Roger Stone is as part of his legal strategy team.

As he prepares to testify, Jones’ lawyers have placed him in a bit of a bind by making the case that Jones is not really whom he appears to be on the air, that the raging, bellowing Jones of Infowars is a character, a role he is playing, performance art.

But, what they really need is a lighter, surer touch.

In other words, at some point, the call should have gone out, as it did when James Baker was commanding the Florida recount for George W. Bush in 2000: Get me Roger Stone.

Stone is in Austin all week, filling in off and on for Jones at Infowars and, while he is here, doing a series of  events for his book, The Making of the President 2016, in which, he writes:

Alex Jones and his Infowars’ umbrella of radio shows, YouTube and Facebook broadcasts, Internet website and tweets turned out to be Trump’s secret weapon.

I caught up with Stone last night at Big Daddy’s Burgers and Bar in North Austin where he was speaking to Speaking of Liberty,  the lively Republican/Libertarian Toastmasters group hosted the first, third and fifth Tuesdays of each month by Andy Hogue of the Travis County Republican Party.



Stone asked me how the trial was going and I quoted Stone back at him.

Roger Stone:

That’s one of my rules. Don’t mistake me with Roger Stone, the character I sometimes play.

I understand the point they were trying to make, but it could have been put so much more effectively.

`Of course I’m an entertainer. If you’re not entertaining, you don’t have any opportunity to get your point of view across. So, yes, I can use dramatization, satire  and humor to make my point. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe what I’m saying.’

I said that I didn’t think that Jones’ attorneys really get him.


No they don’t.

If he were a true believer but he was boring in his presentation, he would have no following at all and we wouldn’t be  talking about him because we wouldn’t even know who he was. If you can’t sell, if  you’re not interesting, nobody will follow you, nobody will pay attention.

So of course he’s a showman. Ronald Reagan was a showman. Every great political figure was a showman. Franklin Roosevelt wore a cape and the glasses that were out of fashion for 40 years. It was part of his schtick.

I get what (they’re) doing. But to say he’s an actor. That implies he doesn’t believe in what he’s saying.

Jones himself has described what he does as performance art. He acknowledges that he can go over the top. But, unlike his attorneys, I don’t think he would liken what he does on Infowars to Jack Nicholson playing the Joker in Batman.

He pushed back on that on his drive to court on Monday (with 119,000 views, and counting).

He refers here to his recent diatribe on Infowars about U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which even Stone, who was on the air with Jones when he went off,  blanched at. (Extreme language warning.)

Kelly Jones’ lawyers very much wanted to show this clip to the jury as evidence of his unhinged personality, but Judge Orlinda Naranjo said no.

As Jones said on the drive to court Monday:

It’s tongue-in-cheek, it’s how dare you say that, I will slap you in the face with my glove. It’s theatrical, but I meant I’m pissed off, but it’s not literal. And they go, `Oh, he says he’s fake. Alex says he’s fake because he didn’t mean that.’

Whatever, I’m about free markets, cutting taxes.

I 110 percent believe in what I stand for.

He pushed back against it in his Crucial Message to All Centipedes on Infowars Monday Night.

They’ve got articles out today that I say I’m a fake, all of this other crap. Total bull! People ask, `What about when you’re in a Joker outfit, is that what you really think?’ No, I’m being an actor there.

The media is deceiving everywhere. I, 110 percent, believe what I stand for. We’re changing the world with you. The globalists are panicking and trying to shut us down and calling us fake news, just like Communist China does because we’re kicking their ass.

But Jones also knows a couple of other of Stone’s Rules.

As I quoted Stone saying about Jones in a story in the Statesman back in October: Austin’s Alex Jones: The voice in Donald Trump’s head:

Let’s go back to Stone’s Rules. The only thing worse in politics than being wrong is being boring. The guy’s never boring.

Yes, the dirty little secret of Alex Jones – especially to those who know him only by reputation – is that he is fantastically entertaining, whether it’s the all-nighter he and his team pulled off waiting in vain for what was to have been the original release of the Hillary Clinton WikiLeaks (here is the First Reading on that), or his recent, neither-here-nor-here Louis C.K.-ish riff on looking in vain to buy some slacks with his kids at some deserted mall. (Don’t have a link for that.)

And, then of course, there is this Stone’s Rule.

And so, in that spirit, here, from Alex Jones is an excellent roundup of recent coverage, including everyone from Stephen Colbert to, wow, an instant of me.

We’ll see how it goes today when Alex Jones takes the witness stand.

It is going to take every bit of performance artist in him to strike just the right balance.

But I would never underestimate him.

After all, in my 40th year as a reporter, the greatest ripple I have produced in my career may have been this tweet from yesterday.

Thank you Alex Jones.


On the eve of his own child custody trial, Alex Jones suggests Obama’s daughters aren’t his own


Good morning Austin:

I had not intended to write about Alex Jones in today’s First Reading.

I have a story in today’s Statesman about a child custody trial involving Jones and his ex-wife that I’ll be covering for the next two weeks, so I figured I would leave it alone. But then on Saturday, I was following Taylor Goldstein’s excellent coverage of the rally at the Capitol demanding that President Trump release his tax returns – one of a coordinated set of rallies across the country timed to Tax Day – when this happened.


Yes indeed.

But, of course, there is no such thing as a random man.

Not in Austin, Texas.

Not in the hometown of Alex Jones.

The Clinton rape campaign was actually the brainchild of Roger Stone.

From Stone’s book, The Making of the President 2016:

Since the best message is a simple message, the Bill Clinton “RAPE” t-shirt was born from my fertile mind. Modeled after the “HOPE” posters from Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, the Clinton “RAPE” shirt became reality when I baited the press in Cleveland. It was an immediate hit.

Soon after it was printed, the shirt started showing up at Clinton rallies. This wasn’t an accident.

Alex Jones offered $1,000 to anyone who could get on TV wearing the shirt and $5,000 to anyone who wore the shirt to a Clinton rally and could be heard shouting “Bill Clinton is a rapist!” Jones paid out more than $125,000!

The game was on.

The T-shirt began appearing everywhere.

Here were the rules of the game from Infowars in early October.

Alex Jones reveals an exciting new contest paying thousands for exposing rapist Bill Clinton.

The protests are part of a contest announced Friday on the Alex Jones Show offering payouts to anyone who can do one of the following while on local or national television:

a) $1k for visual: Wear Infowars “Bill Clinton Rape” shirt on television for at least 5 seconds

b) $5k for visual/audio: Anyone who can be vocally heard saying “Bill Clinton is a rapist” while wearing the shirt or displaying similar imagery.

In order to qualify, participants must follow the contest rules as well as any applicable laws – both local and federal.

The contest will continue through the election, or until $100,000 in prizes have been given out. Prizes to be awarded at Infowars’ discretion.

Entries can be emailed to

Of course, the offer has ended, but when I saw the man who had seized the mic Saturday to chant, Bill Clinton is a rapist, it all made sense.

It was Mike Cernovich, the man who Andrew Marantz wrote about in October in the New Yorker  in a piece headlined, Trolls for Trump: Meet Mike Cernovich, the meme mastermind of the alt-right. 

In late August, Hillary Clinton announced that she would soon give a speech, in Reno, Nevada, linking Donald J. Trump to what has become known as the alt-right—a loose online affiliation of white nationalists, neo-monarchists, masculinists, conspiracists, belligerent nihilists, and social-media trolls. The alt-right has no consistent ideology; it is a label, like “snob” or “hipster,” that is often disavowed by people who exemplify it. The term typically applies to conservatives and reactionaries who are active on the Internet and too anti-establishment to feel at home in the Republican Party. Bizarrely, this category includes the Republican nominee for President. It also includes extremist commentators, long belittled or ignored by the media, whom mainstream pundits are now starting to take seriously.

The afternoon before Clinton’s speech, Mike Cernovich, a thick-chested white man in his late thirties, sitting on a veranda in Southern California, opened the live-streaming app Periscope on his iPad and filmed a video called “How to fight back against Sick Hillary and the #ClintonNewsNetwork.” By “Clinton News Network,” he meant CNN and other corporate media outlets. The word “sick” described Clinton morally and physically: Cernovich was among the first to insinuate publicly that Clinton had a grave neurological condition, and that the media was covering it up. By “fight back,” he meant, basically, tweeting. Internet activism is sometimes derided as “slacktivism”—a fair characterization when an online campaign tries to, say, cure AIDS or end child labor. When the goal is to seed social media with misinformation, though, online organizing can be shockingly effective.

“Tomorrow, everybody’s going to be Googling the alt-right,” Cernovich said. He has an adenoidal tenor and a lisp, but when he is indignant he can be an impassioned orator. “The narrative is being written, and you’d better get off your fucking asses and write your own.” His feed filled with real-time comments. (@beelman_matt: “PC is for PUSSIES”; @ciswhitemale: “Mike is a bosss.”)

Cernovich wore a plaid shirt, partially unbuttoned to display his chest hair. Visible behind him were a swimming pool, trimmed boxwoods, and a mountain glowing in the afternoon sun. (@CanadaUncuck: “nice pool.”) Cernovich often blogs about fitness, and he publishes self-help books for men. He also writes about how to build a personal brand online; his maxims include “Conflict is attention” and “Attention is influence.” Although he doesn’t appear on Fox News or syndicated radio shows, he is an expert at using social media to drive alt-right ideas into the heart of American political discourse.

In their shared allegiance to Trump, Jones and Cernovich became allies, and Cernovich a frequent guest on Infowars.

Cernovich came to Austin for a long weekend, beginning with an appearance on Infowars on Friday.

Then he made his impromptu splash at the tax rally.

And then Easter Sunday brunch with Alex Jones.

If you click below you can watch a little of Jones and the Cernoviches at the Corner Restaurant at the J.W. Marriott downtown.

As to the small disturbance he created at the tax protest, Cernovich tried very hard to coax someone into taking a swing at him and eventually succeeded.

From Joe Biggs, formerly of Infowars, who was with Cernovich Saturday.

But, more on this later.

Because what really interested me was something that Jones and Cernovich said, almost in passing, on Friday’s show, which was noticed by Media Matters for America, which listens to even more Alex Jones than I do.

ALEX JONES: This is out of The Hill, Obama reportedly spending a month in French Polynesia, where there is no criminal extradition to the United States and it’s funny they just brought that to me because the word is Trump tried to get them just to back off, go into absentia like Napoleon and just stop it. But they won’t stop. They know the deep state — it came out in the news, they said they were planning to overthrow Trump. So little birdies have told me and then Trump came out on air two days ago on Fox Business and said she’s guilty, Hillary, and she should be criminally gone after. So Cernovich, just briefly, because I want to go to these calls and hear what you have to say to the callers because they have been patient, what are little birdies telling you?

MIKE CERNOVICH: I’ve heard the same thing and that’s another story that I’m — there’s a lot of stories that I’m sitting on because some of the stuff that I know, and that you know too, we get called conspiracy theorists and lied about all the time, even though our news is important, so yeah there’s a lot of really funny business going on with Obama, but if we said it right now on air we would be so attacked and it wouldn’t even be worth it. But there are some real shady things going on with Obama right now. And where’s Michelle Obama?

JONES: He openly funded the Arab Spring.


JONES: Think of how ballsy it was six years ago with Google and Facebook and they all went to that big hotel north of London where they had Bilderberg the next year, this was in the news later, and organized the Arab Spring and the overthrow of all these secular governments and blowing up churches and he actually — his family laundered the money in and it all came out in court. It’s like you got to actually hand it to him. He actually tried an Islamic Jihad takeover with [Angela] Merkel, opening the borders, bringing them all in. I used to hear people like [David] Horowitz say that 15 years ago, I thought he was crazy.

CERNOVICH: And he’s completely abandoned his daughter who is making her rounds through the New York party scene.

JONES: Shaking her ass on TV.

CERNOVICH: And the drugs and everything. Remember when Jenna Bush went out and drank a little bit of beer, I think actually in Austin, Texas.

JONES: It was the end of the world.

CERNOVICH: It was a big story. Obama’s basically an absentee father, abandoned — a lot of sad things going on there.

JONES: The word is those aren’t even his kids.

CERNOVICH: I’ve heard that too.

This is Alex Jones on the Friday  before the Monday his custody trial begins.

His lawyers intend to argue that he is a “performance artist.” That doesn’t necessarily mean that he doesn’t, in some general sense, believe what he is saying, though it doesn’t mean that he does.

But it does suggest some of the ruffles and flourishes are an act.

So, for example, in this last exchange with Cernovich on Friday’s show, let’s say that, in the realm of performance art, his bit about  former President Obama hiding out on an unextradictable island because President Trump now intends to lock him up right next to Guilty, formerly Crooked, Hillary, is within the bounds of artistic license.

From Infowars, April 12, 2017: Trump: “Guilty” Hillary Was “Saved” By FBI Head: POTUS says Hillary would be going to trial if it were not for Comey

But then Jones, on the eve of his own child custody trial, goes one step further and talks about how Malia Obama is “shaking her ass” in New York, and, having gone that far, decides to go one step further.

JONES: The word is those aren’t even his kids.

CERNOVICH: I’ve heard that too.

Well, I suppose there is only one way to settle this. We need to see the Obama girls’ birth certificates.

Maybe President Trump can set his birther private investigators loose on this.

By the way, the idea that the Obama children are not Barack and Michelle’s is not new. Google it. The proof positive is that they can’t be his natural-born children because Michelle Obama is a proven transsexual.

Anyway, before I was aware of these comments by Jones and Cernovich on Friday’s show, I went over to a 5 p.m. happy hour gathering Sunday that Cernovich had tweeted an invitation to at the Marriott street-side bar at 2nd and Congress so I could get a first-hand, blow-by-blow account of his encounter at the anti-Trump tax rally on Saturday.

Mike, Shauna and baby Cyra Cernovich at the Corner Bar at the J.W. Marriott in Austin.

I introduced myself. We talked. I took a few photos. All very cordial.

And I’ll tell you what he told me about what happened at the rally at the end of First Reading.

Then I went the couple of blocks to Gus’s Fried Chicken to get something to eat and get started on writing First Reading, which I still thought would be about Cernovich and his Saturday encounter.

But  I had seen some mention of there being a segment on 60 Minutes about Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where on Dec. 14, 2012, a young gunman killed 20 six- and seven-year-old children and 6 educators.I wasn’t sure whether I had that right, and why that would be, or whether I just had too much Alex Jones on my mind.

I checked and indeed, there had been a report that had just aired: 60 Minutes returns to Newtown – 4 years later, Scott Pelley returns to Newtown, Connecticut, and speaks with families who may never move on, but are finding ways to move forward.

Anyone who knows anything about Alex Jones knows that his suggestion that  the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax was probably his worst hour. I had missed 60 Minutes but realized I’d better watch it online right away, which I did.

There was no mention of Alex Jones, but, after watching it, it was hard not to think about Alex Jones and Sandy Hook on the eve of his child custody trial. Jones has insisted that he did not really say what people think he said about Sandy Hook.

Here is his final statement on Sandy Hook from November.

Here is a transcribed excerpt courtesy of Media Matters for America.

By all means listen to the whole thing. And imagine you are a Sandy Hook parent.

ALEX JONES: I do want to reach out to the victims of criminal crime out there, whether it be a baseball bat, a car, a gun, a knife. I want to reach out to my listeners as well and just clarify where I stand on the reported tragedy at Sandy Hook that took place at that elementary school.

For the last three or four years, it’s been mainstream media’s number-one attack against me to say that I said there was never anyone that actually died there. I’ve hosted debates against both sides, and I’ve been criticized by both sides — people that say that no one died there and people who say that the official story is exactly as we’ve been told. And I’ve always said that I’m not sure about what really happened, that there’s a lot of anomalies and there has been a cover-up of whatever did happen there.

There’s a few clips Hillary used in her campaign of me out of context saying I can see how people that look at all this evidence say no kids died there and this whole thing is a giant hoax, but at the same time there is some evidence that people died there. They take that out of context and misrepresent it. That’s why they’re the deceptive corporate media. But for those who do have an attention span for, say, 10 minutes or so, I will present to you the questions. And I’m going to be quite frank, I don’t know what really happened. I know there are real mass shootings. I know people lose children. I’m a father. It hurts my heart. So I don’t know what the truth is. All I know is the official story of Sandy Hook has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.


This is a tragedy. I wish it never would have happened. But quite frankly, I wish that the official story was true because that’s a lot less scary than them staging something like this. But when you think about how they staged [weapons of mass destruction] to kill over a million Iraqis, when you think about all the other hoaxes, all the other lies, all the other rigging, and the way they’re freaking out about it and trying to cover up every level of it, it just makes me ask what really happened there?

From the Associated Press on Dec. 7:

A Florida woman has been charged with making death threats against the parent of a child killed in the Sandy Hook school massacre because she thought the attack was a hoax, federal authorities announced Wednesday.

Lucy Richards, 57, of Tampa was arrested Monday after a grand jury indictment on four felony counts of transmitting threats, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

The threats were made Jan. 10, according to authorities, and included messages that said, “you gonna die, death is coming to you real soon,” and “LOOK BEHIND YOU IT IS DEATH.”

Another threat said, “there’s nothing you can do about it,” according to court documents.

The indictment said the threats were made in Palm Beach County to a person identified only by the initials “L.P.” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Schall wouldn’t say how the threats were delivered or provide more details, nor would she provide details about why federal authorities said Richards thought the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., was a hoax.

The messages quoted in the indictment match a series of voicemails released online in January and this week by Lenny Pozner and others who have sought to debunk conspiracy theories surrounding Sandy Hook and other mass slayings. Pozner’s 6-year-old son, Noah, was in his first-grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School when he was killed.

A friend of Pozner confirmed that Pozner was the target of the threats detailed in the indictment released Wednesday.

The friend responded on Pozner’s behalf to emails and other messages sent to Pozner, saying the family had been told by federal prosecutors not to talk to the media about the case. He spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of fear of retaliation by people who believe the shootings did not take place.

A year ago, Pozner and his ex-wife called on Florida Atlantic University to fire a professor that the couple said taunted them with blog posts about the Sandy Hook massacre being staged.

“The heartache of burying a child is a sorrow we would not wish upon anyone. Yet to our horror, we havefound that there are some in this society who lack empathy for the suffering of others. Among them are the conspiracy theorists that deny our tragedy was real. They seek us out and accuse us of being government agents who are faking our grief and lying about our loss,” they wrote in an opinion piece published by the Sun Sentinel.

The professor was fired in January, and he is now suing FAU for violating his constitutional rights.

Others linked to the Sandy Hook massacre also have reported harassment by conspiracy theorists who argue the event was staged to erode support for the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

A New York City man accused of approaching the sister of slain Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto and angrily claiming the massacre hadn’t happened was sentenced to two years of probation in April as part of a plea deal. A teacher in the Newtown School District told a court in September that he had brought a weapon to school because he feared for his safety after receiving what he said were threats from conspiracy theorists. A Connecticut man was charged in September for allegedly phoning in a threat to the new Sandy Hook Elementary School, which opened this fall to replace the school demolished after shootings.

From Barbara Demick in the Los Angeles Times in February.

If there is anything worse than losing a child, it is losing a child and having people taunt you over the loss.

That is what happened to the family of Noah Pozner, a 6-year-old with tousled brown hair and lollipop-red lips, the youngest of the 26 children and staff members gunned down in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

In the years since the massacre that shook the country and opened new anxiety over gun violence, the family has received hate-filled calls and violent emails from people who say they know the shooting was a hoax. Photos of their son — some with pornographic and anti-Semitic content — have been distributed on websites.

These outlandish theories, which hold that the Newtown school shooting was a staged mass murder engineered by gun control advocates, have lived until now in the dark corners of the Internet.

But they have gained fresh momentum in the last several months, residents here say, at a time when conspiracy theorists across the country have attained the status of celebrities, and the nation as a whole is engaged in a contentious debate over the nature of truth.

President Trump and his national security advisor, Michael T. Flynn, have been open enthusiasts of Alex Jones’ Infowars, a Web-based radio and video network that has relentlessly pushed the theory that Sandy Hook was staged by Democrats to advance a gun control agenda.

An unabashed Trump supporter during the campaign, Jones says he received a personal call of thanks from the president-elect days after the election.

Although Trump has not spoken publicly about Sandy Hook, many residents here say he is nurturing the culture of exaggeration and paranoia on which conspiracy theorists thrive.

“Maybe it has nothing to do with Donald Trump, but somehow these hate creeps have been less shy about their beliefs,” said Noah’s father, Lenny Pozner, an information technology specialist. “They’ve been emboldened.”

Mark Fenster, a law professor at the University of Florida and author of a book about conspiracy theories in American politics, said the Sandy Hook hoax theory was a response to a Democratic-controlled White House of a kind that often shows up in political extremist circles.

“Conspiracy theories are pervasive in American politics and they target whoever is in power,” Fenster said. “I think it won’t be long before the Alex Joneses of this world are saying that Trump is part of some conspiracy.’’

The town of Newtown is drafting an official letter to the White House demanding that Trump sever his ties to Jones.

“Jones repeatedly tells his listeners and viewers that he has your ears and your respect. He brags about how you called him after your victory in November. Emboldened by your victory, he continues to hurt the memories of those lost, the ability of those left behind to heal,” reads an excerpt of the letter that was shared recently with the news media.

Family members who lost children at Sandy Hook say they find themselves twice victimized.

As pleasing as Gus’s Fried Chicken is, after watching 60 Minutes and thinking about Sandy Hook, I was feeling a bit queasy.

And then I stumbled upon what Jones and Cernovich had said about Obama and his daughters.

I had just talked to Cernovich without asking about it because, when I had talked to him, I didn’t know anything about it.

I walked back over to the Marriott hoping he’d still be there, but Cernovich, his wife and baby were gone.

I had written about Cernovich in a First Reading just before the election: Sid Miller and the C-word: On the cowboy commissioner’s posse in the alt-right manosphere

Cernovich’s blog is called Danger and Play.

From that New Yorker profile:

Nowadays, the blog is mostly a platform for pro-Trump spin, but at first it was about how to pick up women. Its name comes from Nietzsche. (“The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything.”) Early posts included “Misogyny Gets You Laid” and “When Should You Compliment a Woman?” (Answer: “During or after sex.”)

Early in Shauna’s relationship with Mike (Shauna is his second wife), she read Danger and Play, including such posts as “How to Cheat on Your Girlfriend.” She said, “I would come home from work crying—‘How can you write such rude things?’ He’d go, ‘You don’t understand, babe, this is just how guys talk.’ ” (Advice from the blog: “Always call your girl ‘babe,’ ” to avoid mixing up names.) Shauna, who has stopped working, continued, “I was still upset, though, and he eventually deleted some older posts.”

“I rewrote some of the wording,” Mike insisted. “I never disavow things I’ve said.” Throughout our September conversations, he referred to his more misogynist remarks as “locker-room talk.”

His political analysis was nearly as crass as his dating advice. In March, he tweeted, “Hillary’s face looks like melting candle wax. Imagine what her brain looks like.” Next, he tweeted a picture of Clinton winking, which he interpreted as “a mild stroke.” By August, he was declaring that she had both a seizure disorder and Parkinson’s disease.

“There are a million things wrong with Hillary,” Cernovich told me. “She’s a documented liar. She’s massively corrupt. She wants to let in more so-called refugees, which makes her an existential threat to the West.” (He calls the Syrian refugee crisis a “media lie.”) “But I was looking at the conversation online—what was getting through to people and what wasn’t—and none of that was sticking. It’s too complex. I thought that the health stuff would be more visceral, more resonant from a persuasion standpoint, and so I pushed that.”


Cernovich says that during college, at the University of Illinois, he was socialized to be submissive. “I was friends with a lot of girls who had crushes on me, but I was too polite to f*ck them,” he said. After his divorce, he reinvented himself as an alpha male. His self-published 2015 book, “Gorilla Mindset,” is a manual for men who want to “unleash the animal” within them. The book is filed under Gender Studies in the Amazon Kindle store. Until recently, it was the top seller in that category, ahead of “We Should All Be Feminists,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.


On his blog, Cernovich developed a theory of white-male identity politics: men were oppressed by feminism, and political correctness prevented the discussion of obvious truths, such as the criminal proclivities of certain ethnic groups. His opponents were beta males, losers, or “cucks”—alt-right slang for “cuckolds.” “To beat a person, you lower his or her social status,” he wrote on Danger and Play. “Logic is pointless.”

Although he disdained electoral politics (“No thinking man buys into this two-party political system”), he was in an ideal position to foresee Trump’s rise. In July, 2015, he tweeted, “I said if a Republican acted like me and ran for office, it’d be a movement. Donald Trump has proven me right. People are tired of pussies.” Politics is a blood sport, but, during the primaries, Jeb Bush and the rest of Trump’s “cuckservative” opponents preferred to be genteel. “What are Trump’s policies? I don’t particularly care,” Cernovich wrote on Danger and Play. And, in another post: “If Trump offends you, it’s because you live in a cucked world where no one speaks their minds.”


Here is Cernovich’s account of what happened at the tax rally.

He was in Austin, had been told about it and showed up.

I went there to Periscope it.

But, at some point, between speakers, the podium and microphone were momentarily left untended.

I’m not going to go take a microphone away from somebody forcefully. I waited until (the last speaker) walked away from it and there was a 30-second opportunity and I took it. People were upset but that’s the nature of the game.

As he was being gently maneuvered, Cernovich can be heard loudly protesting that he is being assaulted and denied his rights.

That was just me having fun. That was more satirical and ironic.

But, he said:

I was punched on the walk out. Joe Biggs has that on tape. We were waking with the police and a guy took a shot at me.

Biggs: You can see the guy run up to him

Cernovich: He missed my head and knocked my phone out of my hand.

Cernovich: He took a shot. I took a shot.

And then Joe Biggs took a shot.


Cernovich will do Infowars today.

Roger Stone, who is coming to Austin tonight and will be in and around town through Friday, will be doing the show Wednesday.

Paul Joseph Watson, another key Infowarrior, is in from London.

My guess is they are all gathering in Austin in an act of loyalty and camaraderie to help fill in for A.J. while he is tied up in court, though no one has told me that.

As Cernovich tweeted ahead of his visit:




Under disability flag, advocates held all-night vigil at Capitol seeking decent pay for attendants



Good morning Austin:

About 25 people in wheelchairs and other disability advocates spent last night into this morning on the sidewalk in front of the south sate to the Capitol, an all-night vigil to protest to a state budget that they say, unless it is changed, will decimate services, especially attendant care, without which many of those with disabilities will not able to continue to live independently and will have to rely on far more expensive and less desirable nursing home care.



Here is Cathy Cranston of ADAPT of Texas and the Personal Attendants Coalition of Texas, explaining why they were there.

It was a somewhat familiar scene.

From a First Reading in May of 2015, Kafka’s Law: `You never look good arresting disabled people ‘

Shortly after ten last night, 15 advocates for the disabled and the attendants who serve them, many of them in wheelchairs, were charged with criminal trespass for refusing to leave the Governor’s Reception Room and the area surrounding the entrance to the Reception Room, which they and about 15 others had been “blockading” for nearly 12 hours. The Capitol generally closes at 10, unless the House or Senate or a hearing is running later than that.

From my story in today’s paper, written before the arrests, the advocates wanted Gov. Greg Abbott to throw his weight behind raising the base pay for those home care attendants serving those on Medicaid to a more livable wage of $10 an hour.

Roughly 30 advocates for those with disabilities were demanding that he press the budget conference committee to raise the pay of community-based home care attendants to $10 an hour.

Right now, the base wage for those attendants is $7.86 an hour, without any benefits, sick leave or vacation, which the advocates say makes it hard to find and retain people who can help the elderly and those with disabilities who are eligible for Medicaid. Attendants assist with the basic tasks of everyday life and enable their clients to stay in their homes and out of nursing facilities.

The House budget would add $60 million to the state Health and Human Services Commission to increase that wage by 14 cents an hour. The Senate budget would add $38 million, increasing it by 11 cents an hour. The governor’s budget proposal asked for $105.3 million to “recruit and retain personal attendants,” increasing the base pay by 40 cents, but still well shy of the $10 that advocates said would make the work competitive with the fast-food industry.

Bob Kafka of the disability rights group ADAPT of Texas, said it would cost $480 million over two years to raise the base wage to $10 an hour.

Flash forward nearly a year.

Last year’s protest yielded a 14-cent increase in the base wage, up to $8 an hour.

And, that’s where it will remain unless some new money is found or some change is made in the budget in conference.


I will tell you, the whole atmosphere this session is so much different. Texas is always conservative. We’ve had bad sessions. But this one, we feel, is more targeted on Health and Human Services.

I think there is a hatred for Medicaid in this state. People, when they think of Medicaid they think of Obama and they think of Obamacare and they can’t get away from that. From the top to the bottom.

From the very beginning when the Health and Human Services commissioner (Charles Smith) showed his exceptional items there were two things there that were fairly decent exceptional items. The wage (for attendants_ was going to be raised from $8 to $8.50 and the waiting list (for disability services)  they had like a 20 percent reduction.

When (Smith) made the first presentation to the Finance Committee, the $8.50 disappeared, it was gone.

We’re assuming he got orders from the top.

Since last session, Walmart committed to a $10 minimum wage, Buc-ee’s is at $12 to $14, all the major corporations. So now the competition for low wage workers is going to be more difficult and since there are no benefits in the Medicaid system, no sick leave, no vacation, we think there is going to be a crisis. There is a crisis.

The conference committee is the last bastion.


Josue Rodriguez, an advocate from El Paso

Kafka, Cranston and a few other advocates met with Gov. Abbott in his office on Jan. 11, a meeting that was arranged after they showed up last year at a signing for the Governor’s book, Broken but Unbowed, a few blocks from the Capitol at the Texas Public Policy Foundation building on Congress Avenue.

They met with Drew Deberrry, the governor’s policy director, and MC Lambeth, Abbott’s adviser for the Department of Aging and Disability Services.

And then with Gov. Abbott.

The meeting with the governor was cordial, Kafka said.

“The only thing the governor said was that this was a tight budget,” Kafka said. “He said he would look at it.”

“I don’t know even what prompted it,” Kafka said of the meeting. “But we have met with every governor since Ann Richards. We’re equal opportunity. We slept over when Ann Richards was governor,

And then this, from the AP’s Jim Vertuno on April 10, 2003.

Twenty-five activists for the disabled, most of them in wheelchairs, were charged Thursday with criminal trespassing when they refused to break up a protest in and in front of Gov. Rick Perry’s Capitol office.

Chanting “Gov. Perry, What do you say, How many crips have you cut today?” the disabled-rights group ADAPT staged a demonstration to protest potential budget cuts in services, including in-home attendant care and medication.

Perry met with them.

Abbott, of course, like Kafka, uses a wheelchair.

“He usually ignores disability services,” Kafka said.

“He made a commitment to meet us again,” Cranston said.

Early last evening there was one hopeful sign. Perhaps.

A thin man in a gray suit and a kindly manner approached the temporary encampment on 11th Street and greeted Cranston.

He asked her to give him a rundown of where things stood and what they were looking for.

It was John Colyandro, executive director of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute and the Texas Conservative Coalition, and a close adviser to Abbott.

Kafka and others had met with Colyandro a couple of times before Abbott became governor.

“It was a good relationship,” Kafka said. “Colyandro really built that relationship.”

Before the vigil, the disability advocates had done a mock funeral procession for community attendant services through the Capitol.

“We were marching through the hallways earlier, (Colyandro) came down one of the hallways, came over and shook hands and said, `Hey, Bob.’ I didn’t give him any materials.”

That would explain him dropping by later to ask question.

To what end?

“We’re hoping that they are going to find money basically to improve the health and human services and especially those things that will keep people out of institutions,” Kafka said. ‘It’s the old Midas commercial, You can pay me now or you can pay me later. It’s just simple economics.”

The decision to do the all-night vigil as tactic this year was a group decision.

“We have this thing called the democracy of the doers,” Kafka said.

“That’s how it works,”

After a dismal hearing in the House that seemed to doom their chances of getting what they needed out of its budget, Cranston said, they met to plot what to do next.

“We threw out a lot of ideas,” she said.

“We thought about having somebody coming down on a string in the middle of he rotunda,” Kafka said, a la Mission Impossible.

Or, Cranston, “taking over a hearing or going into (Appropriations Committee Chairman John) Zerwas’ office.”

“From our perspective, where could we have some impact or get this,” she said, referring to some media attention.

Danny Saenz, an Austin advocate, speaks before a television camera at the vigil.

The group chose the vigil.

“And the sad part about Texas is, as low-budget as we’ve been, we have been moving forward, but this session is I think unique in terms of so much is being targeted on the programs that keep people out of institutions,” Kafka said. “Somewhere it’s going to bulge out with more institutions or there is going to be abuse and neglect.”





It’s not lack of an ID but the `uninformed and misinformed state of the Texas non-voting electorate’ that tamps down turnout

(A voter ID ad being used as part of the voter education campaign by the office of Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos.)

Good day Austin:

Voter ID in Texas is back in the news.

As Chuck Lindell reported in today’s Statesman:

The Texas voter ID law was enacted in 2011 with the intent to discriminate against minority voters, a federal judge ruled Monday, handing the Republican-backed measure another in a string of legal defeats.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos dismissed Republican assertions that the voter identification law was intended to combat fraud, calling that rationale a “pretext” to suppress the voting rights of Hispanics and African-Americans, who overwhelmingly support Democrats.

“There was no substance to the justifications offered for the draconian terms of SB 14,” the Corpus Christi judge said, concluding that the law known as Senate Bill 14 violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act.

Ramos’ ruling followed a July decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the law had an improper and disproportionate impact on minority voters because they were less likely to have an acceptable government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, U.S. passport or state handgun permit.

The appeals court returned the case to Ramos, who originally declared the law unconstitutional in 2014, to determine whether the voter ID law was intentionally written to be discriminatory.

On Monday, Ramos said it was — a conclusion she had also reached in 2014.

As Lindell reported back in August, Ramos had temporarily revised the voter ID rules for 2016:

Softening a strict Texas voter ID law that had been found to be discriminatory, a federal judge Wednesday ordered the state to accept a wide range of identification for the November general election.

Texans without a photo ID will be able to cast ballots by showing bank statements, utility bills and other forms of identification, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos said, accepting without change an agreement over how to handle the Nov. 8 election that had been reached last week by state officials, the U.S. Justice Department and civil rights groups.

As part of Ramos’ order, the Texas secretary of state’s office was required to implement a $2.5 million voter education campaign to inform voters about these alternative forms of identification.

That voter education campaign did not succeed, according to a new study released Monday by the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs – The Texas Voter ID Law and the 2016 Election: A Study of Harris County and Congressional District 23. The study found that there were exceedingly few potential voters who did not have one of the ID’s that would have made them eligible to vote in 2016.

The study revealed that what really inhibited some voters not to participate was not their lack of an ID that would have met the requirements of the law as it applied to the 2016 election, but confusion over that law, confusion that a wholly inadequate state voter education campaign by the Texas Secretary of State’s Office failed to allay.

And, while this is not part of the study. an argument can also be made that an unintended consequence of  the intense Democratic outrage about Republican voter ID efforts, is to reinforce those efforts by creating precisely the atmosphere that inhibits participation because potential voters assume the requirement is more onerous than it actually is.

The principal investigators for the new study were Mark Jones, of University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs & Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, and Renée Cross and Jim Granato, both of the Hobby School of Public Affairs.

From Mark Jones yesterday.

One of the lessons is that only one to two percent of these registered voters who didn’t turn out to participate – so they represent about half the (potential) voters in the election – only between one to two percent didn’t have one of the state-approved forms of ID that they would have needed to  to vote last fall. And if you dig deeper, you found that only one out of 819 people surveyed fit the category of not having a photo ID and saying the lack of a photo ID is the principal reason they didn’t turn out to vote.

From the study:

Virtually all registered voters in Harris County and CD -23 who did not participate in the November 2016 election possessed one of the state approved forms of photo ID needed to cast a vote in person. All together, 97.4% and 97.8% of non-voters in Harris County and CD-23 possessed an unexpired state- approved photo ID, with these proportions rising to 98.5% and 97.9% when photo IDs that had expired within the previous four years were considered (in 2016 IDs that had expired within four years of the voting date could be used to vote in person).

The most common photo ID held by non-voters was a Texas driver license, with 82.9% and 84.1% of Harris County and CD-23 non-voters possessing an unexpired Texas driver license. Among those between the ages of 18 and 25 (who in theory would be the principal beneficiaries of an expansion of the forms of state approved ID to include public college and university IDs), 97.4% and 97.5% of Harris County and CD-23 non-voters possessed an unexpired state approved photo ID, rising to 100% in Harris County (and remaining at 97.5% in CD -23) when expired IDs were considered.

Approximately three-fifths of non-voters in Harris County (58.8%) and CD-23 (63.6%) agreed that one of the reasons they did not vote was because they didn’t like the candidates or the issues, making it the reason for not voting with the highest level of agreement in both locales. At the other end of the continuum, approximately one in seven non-voters in Harris County (16.5%) and CD-23 (14.8%) signaled a lack of possession of a state approved photo ID as one of the reasons they did not participate in the 2016 election. Among this sub-set of non-voterswhose nonparticipation was attributed at least in part to the photo ID requirements, approximately two-thirds of those with a preference would have voted for the Democratic candidates in the Harris County District Attorney and Sheriff races and in the CD-23 race.

This suggests that had these individuals participated , the Democratic candidates in the former two contests would have enjoyed even larger margins of victory and the Democratic candidate in CD-23, Pete Gallego, would have defeated his Republican rival, Will Hurd, instead of losing to Hurd by 1.3% of the vote

 However, when pressed to give the principal reason why they did not cast a ballot in 2016, only 1.5% and 0.5% of non-voters in Harris County and CD-23 identified a lack of a state-approved photo ID as the principal reason they did not vote. Among this handful of non-voters, 86% actually possessed an approved form of photo ID, while 14% did not. While the photo ID law at least partially discouraged some people from voting, an actual lack of a state approved photo ID kept virtually no one (only one non-voter among the 819 surveyed) from turning out to vote in 2016.



Once again in 2016, Texas had among the most abysmal voter turnout rates in the country.

Jones and his colleagues did a comparable study,’albeit limited to CD-23, in 2014, with similar findings:

This study suggests that the most significant impact of the Texas voter photo ID law on voter participation
in CD – 23 in November 2014 was to discourage turnout among registered voters who did indeed possess an approved form of photo ID, but through some combination of misunderstanding, doubt or lack of knowledge, believed that they did not possess the necessary photo identification. The disjuncture between the proportion of voters who listed a lack of an ID as a reason or the principal reason they did not vote
and the proportion of these individuals who actually did not have an ID highlights the potential for a future voter education campaign to clearly explain the types of photo identification required to cast a vote in person in Texas
This education campaign however needs to be designed based on a comprehensive study targeted at understanding the sources and causes of confusion which resulted in so many Texans believing they did not have a required form of photo ID when in reality they actually did. This study also examines the potential impact of the Texas voter photo ID law on the outcome of the 2014 election in CD -23. It
suggests that the presence of the law kept far more Gallego than Hurd supporters away from the polls last fall.
Comparing the two studies, Jones said yesterday:

I think last time we were pretty confident that if the voter ID law had not been in place, that  Pete Gallego would have won. I think this time it’s more , had the voter ID law not been in place, Pete Gallego might have won. The implication was that he was hurt by it, it’s just not clear that he was hurt by it by a magnitude that’s great enough to account for Hurd’s margin of victory. It certainly worked against him.

The most important thing, Jones said, is clarity.

The overwhelming is evidence is that most people have a photo ID.  It’s only a small percentage that don’t, and there is probably something about those people, which is why they don’t have a voter ID .Some of them don’t want to have an ID, or It’s  such  low priority that they are not going to go out and get one.

To make sure that the uninformed and misinformed voters of 2016 are not repeated in 2018  is to engage in a far more aggressive, transparent and robust education campaign statewide, so more registered voters are aware of what the rules are

The best thing the Legislature could do, Jones said, would be to keep the new rules as similar to the rules that were in place in 2016 instead of making changes that would only sow further confusion.

From the new study:

Only one in five non-voters in Harris County (21.1%) and CD-23 (17.9%) could accurately identify the photo ID rules in effect for the 2016 election. Three in five non-voters in both jurisdictions(58.4% and 59.7%) incorrectly believed that all voters were required to provide a state approved form of photo ID to vote in person, unaware that voters who did not possess a photo ID could still vote if they signed an affidavit and provided one of several supporting documents. In both Harris County and CD-23, Latino non-voters (15.1%and 14.8%) were significantly less likely than Anglo non-voters (24.3% and 27.6%) and, in Harris County, than African American non-voters (27.9%) , to accurately understand the photo ID rules governing the 2016 election. Latino non-voters in both locales also were significantly more likely than Anglo (and

in Harris County, African American) non- voters to believe that the 2016 photo ID rules were more restrictive than they actually were. Three out of four Harris County (74.2%) and CD-23 (75.1%) non-voters incorrectly believed that only an unexpired Texas driver license qualified as a state approved form of photo ID to vote in person in 2016.

A mere 14.4% and 13.8% of non-voters in these two jurisdictions were aware that in 2016 an expired Texas driver license could also be used as long as it had expired within the past four years. In Harris County, Latinos (82.4%) were significantly more likely than Anglos (72.3%) to believe they could only use an unexpired Texas driver license as a form of photo ID to vote in person in 2016. In CD -23 there were however no significant differences between Latino (75.4%) and Anglo (76.8%) non-voters.

The survey data clearly indicate that non-voters in Harris County and CD-23 did not have a good understanding of the voter photo ID rules in force for the 2016 election. Only one in five non -voters were aware that it was possible for registered voters who did not possess one of the seven state approved forms of photo ID to still vote in person by signing an affidavit and providing one of many easily obtainable supporting documents. And, only one in seven non- voters knew that an expired (within four years) Texas driver license qualified as a state approved photo ID for the purposes of voting in person in 2016.

The uninformed and misinformed state of the Texas non-voting electorate in 2016 highlights the need for a more robust state-sponsored voter education campaign to increase public knowledge regarding the photo ID rules that will be in effect in 2018 when Texans vote in races to choose elected officials for positions ranging from U.S. senator and governor to county judge and constable.

 Of voter education, Jones said:

You can’t expect the state to do on its own.  You probably do need media outlets, civic society, the parties, all playing their role but the state is the first mover because, in the end, the state’ss the one that’s in charge of running the elections and it’s the state that’s decided to change the rules of the game. If you’re changing the rules of the game about how people vote, then the burden is on you to make sure voters understand  the changes and how they are gong to participate in the process.

Democrats are naturally incensed by what they consider Republican machinations to use voter ID laws to reduce Democratic turnout, particularly among Hispanic voters.

But there is a danger that Democratic efforts to turn Republican voter ID efforts into a campaign issue can actually have the perverse consequence of enhancing the impact of those efforts.

For Republicans, Jones said:

If you’re lucky Democrats will fall into your trap and start a public relations campaign about how Republicans have adopted a draconian voter ID law designed to disenfranchise Latino voters which will then  result in a subset of Latino voters believing they do not have the right ID and therefore not turning out.

I think that was a trap that Democrats fell into in 2014 because they tried to make so much hay out of a broad-based Republican strategy designed to disenfranchise minorities  that they  used language like, `this was the strictest voter ID law in the country,’ so that they may very well scared off a set of voters who actually had the approved IDs they just were worried about, they’re saying this new ID law  and if you have Republicans saying you can be arrested for fraud, then maybe I shouldn’t, and it’s not a large number of people but one or two percent, that can be consequential in places like CD 23.

I think the further peril for Democrats is an inflated sense of just how consequential voter ID laws are in reducing Democratic turnout. If you listen to a lot of Democratic rhetoric, voter ID laws are the return of Jim Crow. It isn’t, and most Americans don’t think it is.

Moreover, some of the research purporting to show a large impact is suspect.

From German Lopez at Vox ‘on March 15: A major study finding that voter ID laws hurt minorities isn’t standing up well under scrutiny. A follow-up study suggests voter ID laws may not have a big effect on elections.

It was supposed to be the study that proved voter ID laws are not just discriminatory but can also have a big impact on elections. And it was picked up widely, with outlets including ThinkProgress and the Washington Post reporting that the study found voter ID laws hurt Hispanic voters in particular and skewed elections to the right.

But a follow-up study suggests the findings in the original were bunk. According to researchers at Stanford, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania, the original study was based on surveys of voters that are extremely unreliable — skewing the results. On top of that, several calculation errors led to even more problems. When the errors are corrected, the follow-up researchers found, there’s no evidence in the analyzed data that voter ID laws have a statistically significant impact on voter turnout.

In other words, it’s possible that voter ID laws still have an impact on elections, but the original study just doesn’t have the data to prove it.

The findings aren’t too surprising. Looking at the broader research, the empirical evidence has tended to find that voter ID laws have a small impact on elections. While they still may be racially discriminatory or unnecessary, ultimately voter ID laws may not have a strong enough effect on voter turnout, based on the available research so far, to swing anything but the closest election. And the newest study backs that up.

 An earlier piece in November by German at Vox: The silver lining of voter ID laws: they aren’t effective at suppressing the vote. That doesn’t make these laws less racist.

There is little doubt at this point that voter ID laws are discriminatory. Many Republicans, who have pushed these laws in recent years, have admitted as much. Studies show the laws have a disproportionate impact on black and brown voters. And there is a very long history of voter suppression against black voters in the US. All of this adds up to what’s fairly described as a constitutional crisis depriving people of their most fundamental democratic right.

But there’s some good news: Despite Republican legislators’ best attempts to suppress minority voters, study after study has found that voter ID laws have little to no effect on voter turnout. At worst, the effect is small — barely detectable even in studies that employ multiple controls. At best, there’s no effect at all or even an increase.

That doesn’t, of course, mean that the laws are okay. The intent behind the laws is still clearly abhorrent — with some Republicans admitting that they are meant to suppress minority voters. The good news is that so far the intent, no matter how bad, hasn’t led to the effect Republican lawmakers apparently desire.

The research suggests voter ID laws have a tiny effect on elections. Studies on voter ID laws are surprisingly consistent: No matter what, the effect seems to be fairly small.


The education of Briscoe Cain: On the schooling of Jonathan Stickland 3.0.


(An image passed around by members of the Texas House after the confrontation between Reps. John Zerwas and Briscoe Cain during the budget debate last week.)


Good morning Austin:

Briscoe Cain is a great name. Just a classic Texas name.

The Education of Briscoe Cain sounds like a John Ford Western.

John Wayne might have played the strong, silent Briscoe Cain.

Or maybe John Wayne was the one doing the educatin’ and Briscoe Cain, played by Jeffrey Hunter, was the one with some learnin’ to do.

Either way, there is no showdown that this Briscoe Cain is not prepared for. No shootout where Briscoe Cain doesn’t reach for his gun second, but hit his mark first.

That’s Briscoe Cain.

Except that isn’t how it went in Thursday-into-Friday’s marathon House budget debate when the real, live Briscoe Cain, a freshman Republican from Deer Park in Harris County, ended up in an epic confrontation with Dr. John Zerwas, who, as the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, was really the founder of the feast that was the 16-hour debate.

Cain is 32, a father of three boys, but he looks a decade younger. In the long-term, this will stand him in very good stead. But in the meantime, he looks like a precocious high school student who won a Lion’s Club  essay contest and with it, an all-expense-paid trip to Austin where he gets to be an honorary legislator of the day but somehow, that day happens to have been last Thursday and, in a fantasy run amok, our own Alex Keaton …

ends up in a startling one-on-one with the revered and beloved Dr. Alex Stone in the person of Dr. John Zerwas.

You can watch it here, and then we will break it down.

Here is a frame-by-frame, Zapruder accounting of the full encounter, which extends a little longer than the video.

CAIN: Members, this amendment seeks to get rid of what I’ve nicknamed kind of the advisory death panel. In 2015 the Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council was established by HB 1874. An amendment to HB 1874 called for patient advocates  to be appointed to the panel to ensure adequate representation of patient concerns. The panel is required to issue a report biennially, and to date has issued one report.

When the program was started, an initial earmark thorough a rider allocated $142,000 and $135,000 for Fiscal Years ’16 and ’17 to establish the system through the HHS system support funds. Since the program is new and not eligible for sunset review, depending on the program needs and the broader needs of HHS, earmarks should not be assumed for a new, untested program.

Zerwas enters the frame right here, moving in on Cain and giving him what in Latin might be called morem pellis hispidus distentione nervorum. The hairy eyeball.

CAIN: To the point, although a patient advocate category was established for the council with the goal of ensuring that the needs of patients and their advocates were adequately addressed, no one in the state-maintained list of patient advocates has been appointed.

CAIN: Really, no one. No one’s been appointed. The list is on-line.

Tony Tinderholt, a tea party representative from Arlington, has moved into the frame, casting a protective eye on his young ally.

CAIN: Instead now the council is severely imbalanced,  consisting now almost entirely of medical professionals and few if any speaking for the patients.

This truly is a blue ribbon committee for the death panel commission. And we don’t need it.

OK, Cain has thrown down the gauntlet Zerwas is back in the frame, staring at Tinderholt.

CAIN: Move adoption.

The camera shifts to the back mic where Nicole Collier, a Fort Worth Democrat, speaks up.

Collier: Will the gentleman yield for a question?

COLLIER: I was just reading over your amendment and I want to understand how much money is allocated for border security right now. Are you aware?

What? Huh?

This is Cain looking at his paperwork to see if there is some instruction there on how to answer a colleague who has just asked a totally irrelevant question.

CAIN: Um, I’m not sure. We’re on page 176. This has nothing to do with border security.

Is Collier engaging in standard-issue freshman hazing of Cain?

Or is it just a stall to give Zerwas a moment to get from the front to back mic.

Voila. There he is.

COLLIER: I’m going to yield to Dr. Zerwas so he can ask you a few more questions.

And so it begins in earnest. Note, Tinderholt and Matt Rinaldi, another Cain ally from Irving, have positioned themselves behind Zerwas in the camera frame and where Cain can see them.

Zerwas: Mr. Cain, you made a passing comment at the end of your layout, regarding a death panel. Did I hear you say that correctly?

CAIN: Absolutely sir.

ZERWAS: Would you please describe for me what a death panel is?

CAIN: Mr. Zerwas, respectfully, if you ask me a question please allow me to answer it before asking me a second one.

ZERWAS: Explain to me what a death panel is, Mr. Cain if we can just start with that question.

CAIN: Yes, Mr. Zerwas, a death panel is whereby a group of individuals unrelated to the person in the hospital decide whether or not that person will live or die, making decision for a person in place of their own, or their family.

ZERWAS: Have you ever understood really what palliative care is? Can you tell me what the definition of that is?

CAIN: Mr. Zerwas, being in your profession I am sure you could inform this body better than I could.

ZERWAS: I’m asking you because it’s your amendment. Tell me what you think it is.

CAIN: Mr. Zerwas, the purpose of this has to do with a panel for palliative care, which my understanding of it is essentially a blue ribbon committee that looks at death panels, sir.

ZERWAS: So you’re unaware of the fact that a report has been generated on his subject. Is that correct?

CAIN: That’s a fair statement, Mr. Zerwas.

ZERWAS: And are you aware that there’s actually, I believe, a sunset on this particular committee, so once they do their work, it’s over.

Are you unaware of that?

CAIN: I’m unaware.

ZERWAS: OK. Do you have an understanding of what end-of-life circumstances are and the role of palliative care in terms of end of life. I will tell you, there are many of us here who can attest that and to the importance of that and the role that palliative care plays in that.

Are you aware of that?

Note that Zerwas lost Cindy, his childhood sweetheart and wife of 35 years in August 2013, 18 months after she was diagnosed with brain cancer.

From Peggy Fikac in the San Antonio Express-News: House Appropriations chair shows mettle in budget debate

There’s a backstory, as many of Zerwas’ House colleagues know. He lost both of his parents and his first wife, Cindy, to cancer in 2012 and 2013.

That approximately 15-month period “was an incredibly difficult time for me and my family with the loss of loved ones to cancer,” said Zerwas.

“But one of the really silver linings that come out of all that is something you discover, or are a part of, that makes you realize that even in those final days of life, there are things that can really just help make that journey and transition easier,” he said. “Palliative care is one of those things.”

Note also that Charlie Geren of Fort Worth, like Zerwas a top Straus lieutenant, and Garnet Coleman, a Houston Democrat, are now lined up behind Zerwas, backing him up.

CAIN: Mr. Zerwas, would you like to ask me a question about this panel?

ZERWAS: The panel is dealing with palliative care. Are you not aware of what that does?


ZERWAS: OK. Do you have an understanding of what end of life circumstances are and the role of palliative care? I will tell you there are many of us here who can attest to that and the importance of that and the role that palliative care plays in that. Are you aware of that?

CAIN: Mr. Zerwas, would you like to ask me a question about this panel?

ZERWAS: The panel is dealing with palliative care. Are you not aware of what that does. You’re characterizing it as a death panel. And so I think that is one of the most mischaracterizations I have heard in over ten years of my serving in this House. So if you want to go up and characterize something in such an offensive way, I would hope that you would have a little better understanding of what you’re talking about.

Note the approach of Stickland.

CAIN: Dr. Zerwas, how should I define a committee of individuals deciding the life of another?

ZERWAS: No, I think you have totally mischaracterized that. I think what you have is the intent by the panel to create a greater awareness about an emerging discipline that deals with palliative care. And I will tell you, you could probably ask 50, 60, 70, 100 members in this House who have had somebody in their family with a serious illness who has dealt with this particular issue, and there is simply an effort to bring greater awareness around palliative care.

Stickland is now in close proximity to Cain, presumably telling him to back off, to abort the mission.

CAIN: I recognize that you know about this and I don’t. My apologies.

CAIN: Move adoption.

REP. KYLE KACAL of College Station, presiding as the chair: The chair recognize Rep. Davis in opposition.

SARAH DAVIS: Move to table.

KACAL: The chair recognizes Rep. Cain to close.

CAIN: I don’t need to close.

KACAL: Rep. Cain sends up an amendment. Rep. Davis moves to table.

A little bit of time passes in silence.

KACAL: The amendment is withdrawn.

OK. That’s it.

Let’s pause here to listen to The Band play one of the most beautifully mournful ballads of all time  – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down –  which is about Virgil Caine, not Briscoe Cain – but works pretty well with only a little rewriting.

Virgil Briscoe Caine is the name, and I served on the Danville Stickland train
‘Till Stoneman’s Straus’s cavalry came and tore up the tracks again
In the winter spring of ‘65, ’17, we were hungry, just barely alive a meme.
By May the tenth April 7, Richmond Austin had fell, a it’s a time I remember, oh so well
The night they drove old Dixie Briscoe down, and the bells were ringin’
The night they drove old Dixie Briscoe down, and the people were singin’
They went, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na

But, if you thought Briscoe Cain was daunted by this experience, well, you don’t know Briscoe Cain.

Where a lesser man might have spent the rest of the last week’s debate marathon underneath his desk in the fetal position, that very same day, actually the wee hours of Friday morning, Freshman Cain was back at the front mic.


So Rep. Joe Moody, an El Paso Democrat, offered an amendment to ban spending on any elective surgeries for prisoners, without singling out trans-gender individuals. Cain accepted it and it passed.



(Joe Moody was wearing his Tupac tie for the contentious budget debate.)


As the marathon session ended and the members headed home for the night I caught Cain and Stickland as they were leaving the chamber.

Ror all practical purposes, the approval of the budget was a great triumph for House Speaker Joe Straus and his leadership team, beginning with Zerwas.

For the hard-core tea party resistance it was, in the estimation of U.S. Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, at night’s end, “a bloodbath … but a good day for democracy.”

The tea party stalwarts were mocked.

But Stickland and Cain were unfazed.

What did they make of what just transpired?

Stickland:  Same old same old. There were, in my opinion quite a few more blatant maneuvers by the leadership team against myself. I’ve never seen some of the lines that were crossed to be crossed, that was interesting. As far as everything else, par for the course.

Cain: It seems one set of rules apply to some and another set of rules apply to others.

Why vote against the budget?

Stickland: Spends too much money. Not interested in raiding the rainy day fund, and priorities are not what we think they should be.

How did  Stickland and Cain end up desk-mates on the floor?

Stickland: I needed to train him in the art of politics, and I needed someone to read the bills for me.

Cain: That’s not the real answer. When you are part of a small minority in the House of Representatives, you’ve got to stick together. It’s a small group so you have to have friends.

Do you feel defeated?

Stickland: It was a winning night from the point of view that voters get to see where legislators stand on the issues. You saw a lot of contrast. You got to see the difference between a conservative’s voting record on the issues and one of the establishment members.

I”m not sure even a lot of the members know what they voted on today in many case. So I think there are going to be a lot of disappointed voters back home when they see some of the things that so-called Republican voted for.

It was Cain who, during his campaign successfully sued the Texas Ethics Commission to strike down a law barring the use of footage produced by the Legislature, including, for example, the archived footage of the live stream of yesterday’s session, in political ads and social media.

From David Saleh Rauf in the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News last May.

AUSTIN – A Harris County state district judge ruled Tuesday that a state law barring the use of audio and video produced by the Legislature in political ads likely is unconstitutional, blocking enforcement of a two-decade-old ban that critics said was aimed at protecting incumbents from election challengers.

A tea party House candidate challenging one of Speaker Joe Straus’ lieutenants in a runoff sued the Texas Ethics Commission to strike down the law that prohibits the use of audio and video from the floor of the House and Senate, along with committee hearings, in political ads.

 State District Judge Brent Gamble granted a temporary injunction requested by Briscoe Cain, a Harris County lawyer in a May 24 runoff with state Rep. Wayne Smith, R-Baytown.

Cain wants to use footage in his campaign ads of Smith from the House floor during the 2013 and 2015 legislative sessions. According to a court filing, Cain is planning to use the taxpayer-funded footage of Smith in ads on social media websites.

Cain didn’t end up using any of the House videos in his successful campaign against incumbent Wayne Smith.

“We didn’t need it,” he said.

Cain defeated Smith in the runoff by 23 votes.

I asked Cain whether he expects scenes from the budget debate just ended to end up in political ads and on social media?

Cain: A lot of them will end up on the internet.

Did anything surprise him about the budget debate.

Cain: The amount of power that would cause people to pull down their amendments without even letting anybody vote on them. So, tonight was also a show of courage.

I asked Stickland why he looked so much wearier than Briscoe.

Stickland: Hes a young whippersnapper. I’m an old fart now.

But Stickland is still the original – sui generis –  or perhaps, considering the role that feral hogs played in the budget drama  – sooey generis. He is the Super Fly in the ointment.

Matt Rinaldi may be Stickland 2.0. Cain may be Stickland 3.0. But miniaturization is not everything.

Stickland is now in his third session, but more than ever, the deliberations of the Texas House – and much of the drama of the budget debate – appear to be a Jonathan Stickland vs. most of the rest of the Texas House of Representatives cage match.

(Jonathan Stickland’s annotated copy of the vote to strip hie hometown Bedford of transportation funding. While the amendment passed, Stickland considered all the “no” votes a strike against “tyranny” and a significant victory for him.)



I have written a lot about how Donald Trump’s campaign was informed by his immersion in the world of professional wrestling – he is in the WWE Hall of Fame.

For Stickland, all that is missing on the floor of  the Texas House are the ropes and turnbuckle.



I talked to Cain over the weekend.

I asked about the wisdom of a freshman legislator going after  funding for a Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Council, created by legislation authored by Zerwas, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and approved without opposition by both the House and the Senate.

Cain said his amendment was being scored by Texas Right to Life.

That is correct.

Votes on the following issues are eligible for scoring in Texas Right to Life’s Pro-Life Scorecard for the 85th Session:


He said he ultimately withdrew the amendment because, nothing good was going to come at the end of my time at that microphone.

CAIN: I still think the panel that I was trying to get rid of was bad.

I didn’t back down on policy.

Afterwards I had tons of people come up to me and say, `Hey that was a great amendment but you did the right thing not marching down that way. We couldn’t have voted with you. Our hands are tied. You walked into a hornet’s nest, there might have been a good reason, but we can’t vote with you buddy. We may agree with you on policy. We’re just not going down that road with you. It’s a suicide mission.”

Nothing good was going to happen. It would have caused a lot of may friends to take a vote against their own policy to avoid having their heads cut off.

Cain said Stickland did signal to him to back off at the end.

And thank God for him. If he had not, I would have marched all the way down. If you could not tell, I was willing to take it all the way.

“Jonathan Stickland trained me and others trained me, never back down it’s a sign of weakness,” Cain said. But this was an occasion when discretion was the better part of valor.

Cain said he did not back off because Zerwas is the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, but out of personal regard for him and his personal loss, which he had not been aware of.

As Stickland said when I talked to them just after the budget session ended, “We all have heart for each other on a personal level. We all love John.”

And Cain said, I backed down because it was not the right thing to do at that moment  and to keep a lot of my friends from taking a hard vote that Texas Right to Life would have scored against them in order for them to avoid upsetting Dr. Zerwas.

Cain: We withdrew out of respect for the members and Dr. Zerwas, not out of fear.

Of his amendment to end funding for gender reassignment surgery for prisoners, Cain said the compromise with Moody to end funding for all elective surgeries was that rare compromise he thought made sense and, in fact, “we got more than we wanted.”

CAIN: We were able technically to ban elective surgical abortions for women who were pregnant before going into the prison population.

I thought it was a good compromise, not because I thought I was getting something over on Moody but I could truly accomplish the same goal without using hateful language and I agree with Moody about that.

I’m not always a jerk.

Cain has legislation – HB 1004 -that would codify what he won in his lawsuit – that it is legal for candidates to use audio and visual materials produced by the Legislature, but that it won’t pass and doesn’t need to pass.

It doesn’t need to be law for it to be law. It’s already law. I don’t need to codify it.

And, he said, he is as happy if legislators remain unaware that the tapes can and will be used against them in campaigns because it means they will continue to “say dumb things just for us.”

He said he is not worried about an opponent using his confrontation with Rep. Zerwas against him. He doesn’t think it would hurt him with his constituents

Early in the session, Cain was one of three new legislators interviewed by the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith.

Cain: The only reason to be here is you like controversy.

Smith: Well success. You are going to get what you came for.

“Politics is part showmanship,” Cain told me this weekend.

“This kid’s wicked smart.” Stickland said in the wee hours of Friday morning as he headed home and Cain headed back to his office. “He’s way smarter than me, honest to God, but I’m way more politically savvy.”

“I’m like a Chihuahua,” Cain said. “I’ll chase a pit bull, it might be a bad idea for the Chihuahua, but I’ll chase him.”