Megyn Kelly: ‘Reckless accusation, followed by equivocation and excuses is classic Alex Jones’


Good Monday Austin:

Alex Jones and his comrades on Infowars  popped the cork on some champagne last night to celebrate his victory over Megyn Kelly on her new show, Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly.

Jones, Mike Cernovich, who the New Yorker last fall dubbed the “meme mastermind of the alt-right,” and who has emerged as an integral part of Infowars, well-sourced in the Trump administration, and Andrew Torba, the founder and CEO of the newish free speech social network, who was new to me, joined in the toast on an Infowars broadcast simultaneous with the airing of Kelly’s report on Jones based on her recent interview of him here in Austin.

Did Jones and company have reason to celebrate?


If you are a citizen in good standing of Jonestown and enjoy the Alex Jones Kool-Aid, there is probably nothing in last night’s report that will cause you to stop imbibing from that Dixie Cup of flavored water.

And, if, perhaps, you knew nothing about Jones but have been desperately looking for a madcap messiah who you can listen to four hours a day, six days a week, who will reveal to you, hour by hour, day after day, the way the world really works, then maybe last night was Kismet.

But, if you are not prone to conspiracy thinking, and you did not come to last night’s show with a strong sense of who Alex Jones is, my guess is that you were left with the impression that he is a dangerous crackpot with no regard for the truth or the damage his on-air theorizing can cause and the pain it can inflict.

And you may wonder, and even worry, about what is it about President Donald Trump and Alex Jones that has made the latter a trusted news source for the former.

Alex Jones is an interesting character. The fact that he has such a vast audience says something about something, and is worth trying to figure out.

But what really makes Alex Jones newsworthy and consequential is his influence on the president of the United States, who has all or our lives in his hands.

Megyn Kelly doesn’t, on her NBC show,  have the confidence and mojo she had when she was the Queen of Fox, back when she was confronting Donald Trump at the first Republican presidential.

But, as tentative and scripted as she sounded last night, ultimately, she had Alex Jones’ number.

From Hank Stuever at the Washington Post:

Megyn Kelly’s interview Sunday night with the bellicose conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was certainly dreaded, but, in execution, it was far from dreadful. Kelly, who has many miles to go before she finds her footing as a big-time newsmagazine anchor, can and has done worse.

To the slightest relief of decent people everywhere — some who may have been watching NBC’s “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” against their better nature — the host was tougher on Jones that she was with Russian President Vladimir Putin a couple of weeks ago. She challenged Jones, whose Infowars radio show and multimedia platform draw millions of followers, on some of his wildest and most dangerous assertions, including his statements that the 2012 massacre of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., was an elaborate hoax.


Unsettling as it may be to have to aired it at all, Kelly’s 20-minute segment on Jones and his influence (his fans include President Trump) seemed to have benefited greatly from the pre-criticism and brouhaha that swirled around it last week (one NBC-owned station declined to air it; an advertiser backed out), assuring that Kelly and her producers delivered a tightly edited, firmly reported, no-nonsense story about someone who tells dangerous lies. Kelly’s instincts here aren’t wrong: Viewers who don’t want to hear a single word from Jones need to know more about him and the people who believe him.

Rather than let Jones run away with it, “Sunday Night” let him show himself to be an impertinent, ill-informed, foulmouthed, possibly deranged egomaniac with a forehead constantly beaded in sweat. It showed viewers how Infowars grew and sustains itself by peddling right-wing merchandise and Jones-endorsed dietary supplements. It looked briefly back at Jones’s early days as just another cable-access kook in Austin, and revealed the flimsy, almost nonexistent definition of “research” (articles he and his staff find online) that sets the Infowars agenda.


The segment didn’t rise to the vaunted effectiveness of the 1954 “See It Now” showdown between CBS’s Edward R. Murrow and Sen. Joseph McCarthy, but, in the often selective memory bank of American culture, nothing ever will.

So yes, even as he was being exposed to a larger audience as a creepy and unseemly figure, Alex Jones and Infowars may also benefit from last night’s show and have reason to celebrate.

Here’s how Megyn Kelly’s 17-minute report on Jones opened last night. (Transcript courtesy NBC via RealClear Politics.)

MEGYN KELLY: First tonight, our report on the incendiary radio host, Alex Jones. For years, Jones has been spreading conspiracy theories, claiming, for instance, that elements of the U.S. government allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen and that the horrific Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax. Some thought we shouldn’t broadcast this interview because his baseless allegations aren’t just offensive, they’re dangerous. But here’s the thing: Alex Jones isn’t going away. Over the years, his YouTube channel has racked up 1.3 billion views. He has millions of listeners and the ear of our current president. We begin our report with his reaction to the recent terrorist attack in Manchester, England.


ALEX JONES (May 22, 2017 YouTube video): A big bomb goes off at a pop star’s rock concert bombing a bunch of liberal trendies.

MEGYN KELLY: You said, “It was a bunch of liberal trendies who were killed, the same people who are promoting open borders, bringing Islamists in.


MEGYN KELLY: In response to which, many people looked at the victims, many of whom were 15, 14. There was a little eight …

ALEX JONES: No. I’m sorry I didn’t blow ’em up. I know. But I did something bad, though?

MEGYN KELLY: No, that – that you …

ALEX JONES: Oh, no, no, no, no …

MEGYN KELLY: … would suggest that …

ALEX JONES: ‘cause …

MEGYN KELLY: … that an eight – that an eight-year-old, right? There was Saffie Rose Roussos, eight years old, that she was a liberal trendy, right? ‘Cause that’s what you said about the victims is what has people upset …

ALEX JONES: No, that’s – yeah, no, no. The media misrepresenting and clipping that the way you did. I got home at, like, 6:00, heard about it. The ages of the victims weren’t even known. But they were saying it was jihadi. And I said, “How crazy is it that liberal trendies are now the victims?” And then I start going and looking. Of course, if there’s kids being killed by Muslims, I’m not saying that it’s their fault.


That pretty much nails it.

Like President Trump, the narcissist in Alex Jones makes it impossible for him to ever truly admit he is or was ever wrong, or to genuinely apologize for anything he’s ever done.

From Jack Shafer at Politico: Megyn Kelly Pantses Alex JonesFor all the pre-interview fuss, NBC’s new star exposed the InfoWars host for what he is. But the controversy was never really about him.

When Kelly’s show finally aired, she took the mendacious Jones apart in such a textbook manner you had to wonder what all the shouting had been about. The Jones pattern, she said at the segment’s top, is making “reckless accusations followed by equivocations and excuses” when questioned. The two best examples of this are his promotion of the “Pizzagate“ lies about a satanic child porn ring and his wild allegation that Chobani was “importing Migrant Rapists,” as InfoWars hyped its report on Twitter. In both cases, lawsuits have forced Jones to retract and apologized for airing these dishonest stories, and yet in conversation with Kelly he still hedges and quibbles like a con artist in an effort to have his conspiracy pizza and keep his yogurt, too. Likewise with the pathetic claims about the Sandy Hook killings. He’s still throwing the see-through drapery of devil’s advocacy to blur the fact that on most subjects he’s talking out of his tinfoil hat.

Short of waterboarding him, I don’t know what more Kelly could have done to expose Jones’ dark methods. She was needlessly defensive in her presentation, acknowledging that some people thought the segment shouldn’t have been broadcast because it would increase Jones’ profile. But as she pointed out, Jones isn’t going away, and his audience is growing. What’s more, Jones “has the ear of our president,” and spurious things InfoWars says have a way of getting repeated by his phone-pal President Donald Trump, who has saluted the InfoWars host in the past. She didn’t take Jones down, but really, who could have in a newsmagazine segment? But she did do a credible job of exposing his lies. Give her a B+.

Megyn Kelly kept her eye on the ball – the ball being Jones’ connection to Trump.


DONALD TRUMP (On Alex Jones’ show December 2, 2015): I just want to finish by saying your reputation is amazing.


DONALD TRUMP (On Alex Jones’ show December 2, 2015): I will not let you down. You will be very, very impressed I hope and I think we’ll be speaking a lot.


ALEX JONES (February 24, 2017): I agree with Trump on that. He agrees with me. And then we got articles, “he’s following Alex on coal.” “He’s following Alex on guns.” “He’s following Alex on borders.”


MEGYN KELLY: You have said that it’s surreal to say something on Infowars and then hear it come out of the President of the United States’ mouth a couple days later.

ALEX JONES: I mean, that has happened. But, I mean …

MEGYN KELLY: Do you think he’s watching?

ALEX JONES: I mean, I know Trump watches and sees the clips and things.


INFOWARS REPORTER: We actually witnessed a drug smuggling operation from Mexico into the U.S. …


DONALD TRUMP: Big story, it’s all over the place now – guys swimming across, and big bags of stuff, it’s drugs, swimming across the river.


ALEX JONES (September 25, 2016): I think she’s going to show up – on drugs though – she’s going to be whacked out.


DONALD TRUMP (October 15, 2016): We should take a drug test prior, because I don’t know what’s going on with her.


ALEX JONES (February 22, 2017): Donald Trump calls me. The secretary says, “Donald Trump would like to talk to you, Mr. Jones, would you like to talk to him? Yes, boom.”


ALEX JONES: I think my influence on Trump is way, way lower than what MSM has said.

MEGYN KELLY: Well, what kind of access do you have?

ALEX JONES: He’s just called sometimes and, you know, talked about politics or thanked me, stuff like that. That’s it.

MEGYN KELLY: Would you describe yourself as friends?


MEGYN KELLY: Friendly?


MEGYN KELLY: And how many times has he called you?

ALEX JONES: I don’t want to get into all that.

MEGYN KELLY: What is it, do you think, about Alex Jones that President Trump finds so amazing?

CHARLIE SYKES: That’s a scary question.


CHARLIE SYKES: Obviously, there’s a conspiratorial turn in the president’s thinking and in his imagination. And those darker impulses are fed into by Alex Jones.

Jones greatest vulnerability with the broader public – the easiest way for his detractors to identify the careless, callous poison of his words – is his assertion that the  Sandy Hook shootings were a hoax.

He now offers mealy-mouthed explanations that he was merely playing the devil’s advocate by expressing the conspiracy theorizing of his listeners, that he was “war-gaming” the situation, that, yes, it was not a hoax, that children really died – probably, maybe, I don’t know – because he can never completely overcome his conspiratorial gut instinct, let alone genuinely express regret about the pain and anguish he caused.

Which is why his video message to Sandy Hook parents yesterday is truly breathtaking in its smarminess.

Watch this.

Alex Jones:

I woke up this morning, on Father’s Day, I was holding my young infant daughter in my arms, looking into her eyes, sitting out on the back porch, hearing the birds sing and it just brought tears to my eyes, thinking about all the parents who have lost children on Father’s Day or Mother’s Day, who have to then think about that. Parents should never have to bury their own children.

And that’s why on Father’s Day I want to reach out to the parents of the slain children of that horrible tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut, and give you my sincere condolences.

I’d also like to reach out to any of the parents who lost a child at Newtown to invite them to contact me to open a dialogue because I think it’s really essential that we do that instead of letting the MSM (mainstream media) misrepresent things and really try to drive this nation apart.

Right now is a time for unity and peace in our country, I think now more than ever.


I can’t really think of anything in my experience quite as shameless as this.

I don’t think even President Trump could pull this off.

I can’t imagine a Sandy Hook parent watching this without becoming physically ill.

From last night’s show.


ALEX JONES (on his show): It took me about a year with Sandy Hook to come to grips with the fact that the whole thing was fake.

MEGYN KELLY: You said, “The whole thing is a giant hoax. How do you deal with a total hoax? It took me about a year, with Sandy Hook, to come to grips with the fact that the whole thing was fake. I did deep research. And my gosh, it just pretty much didn’t happen.”

ALEX JONES: At that point, and I do think there’s some cover-up and some manipulation, that is pretty much what I believed. But then I was also going into devil’s advocate. But then we know there’s mass shootings, and these things happen. So again …

MEGYN KELLY: But you’re trying to have it all ways, right?

ALEX JONES: No, I’m not.

MEGYN KELLY: If you wrongly went out there and said it was a hoax, that’s wrong.

ALEX JONES: But what I already answered your question was, listeners and other people are covering this. I didn’t create that story.

MEGYN KELLY: But Alex, the parents, one after the other, devastated. The dead bodies that the coroner autopsied …

ALEX JONES: And they blocked all that. And they won’t release any of it. That’s unprecedented. Even …

MEGYN KELLY: All of the parents …

ALEX JONES: … even the reports.

MEGYN KELLY: … decided to come out and lie about their dead children?

ALEX JONES: I didn’t say that …

MEGYN KELLY: What happened to the children?

ALEX JONES: I will sit there on the air and look at every position and play devil’s advocate.

MEGYN KELLY: Was that devil’s advocate? “The whole thing is a giant hoax. The whole thing was fake.”

ALEX JONES: Yes. Because I remember, even that day, to go back from memory, then saying, “But then, some of it looks like it’s real.” But then what do you do, when they’ve got the kids going in circles, in and out of the building with their hands up? I’ve watched the footage. And it looks like a drill.

MEGYN KELLY: When you say, “parents faked their children’s death,” people get very angry.

ALEX JONES: Yeah, well, that’s – oh, I know. But they don’t get angry about the half million dead Iraqis from the sanctions. Or they don’t get angry about all the illegals pouring in …

MEGYN KELLY: That’s a dodge.

ALEX JONES: No, no. It’s not a dodge. The media never covers all the evil wars it’s promoted and all the big things …

MEGYN KELLY: That doesn’t excuse what you did and said about Newtown, and you know it …

ALEX JONES: Oh, but I – here’s the difference. Here’s the difference. I looked at all the angles of Newtown. And I made my statements long before the media even picked up on it.


ALEX JONES: I tend to believe that children probably did die there. But then you look at all the other evidence on the other side. I can see how other people believe that nobody died there.







ALEX JONES (on his radio show): You got to go to and actually see the photos and videos inside these places.



ALES JONES (May 17, 2017): On behalf of Infowars, I regret that we mischaracterized Chobani.

MEGYN KELLY: You misstated facts about Chobani and its owner, which you could’ve found out, if you just had a reporter do a little shoe-leather reporting, pick up the phone, call, check out the facts. You never would’ve had to retract that or apologize.

ALEX JONES: This is my statement on that. We know that that was, basically, a PR event. And what happens is you’ve got a year of reporting on the reported sexual assault.

MEGYN KELLY: All of which has nothing to do with Chobani.

ALEX JONES: Yeah. I know you’re not going to let me get it out, are you?

MEGYN KELLY: I’m going to let you get it out. I just want to make sure the record’s straight. ‘Cause I don’t want to smear the man. You are the one who said that you were wrong about Chobani. You said that.

ALEX JONES: Well, that’s because they chose to go after me. And so I simply pointed out that we were reporting on other people’s reports that were not entirely accurate. And for that, we were sorry. ‘Cause it was true.

MEGYN KELLY: You don’t sound very sorry.

ALEX JONES: I’m – well, the media said stuff about the settlement that wasn’t true.

MEGYN KELLY: But you said things about Chobani and its owner that were not true. Are you sorry?

ALEX JONES: I’m going to tell you again. There – the media really was upset that they said that it was a hoax …

MEGYN KELLY: It’s not the media …

ALEX JONES: And so what they did …


ALEX JONES: And so what they did …

MEGYN KELLY: Are you sorry …

ALEX JONES: And so what they did – so what the media did, and we know it was the media, and we have the PIs and the law firms. And we’re working on it right now. Let’s just say Chobani was real happy to get out of that lawsuit.


But don’t let any of this confuse you.

Alex Jones is ever and always the victim.







Megyn Kelly told Alex Jones that during child custody trial, `You just became very fascinating to me.’

Good Friday Austin:

Ahead of Sunday’s airing of his interview with Megyn Kelly for her NBC show, Alex Jones last night released some audiotape of his telephone conversation with Kelly, days before the interview, in which she assured him she would be fair to him, that she means him no harm, and that she became fascinated with him while following the coverage of his child custody trial here in Austin back in April.

Oh Megyn.

Oh my.

Here she is:

Megyn Kelly:

The reason you are interesting to me is I followed your custody case and I think you had a very good point about how the media was covering it and for some reason treated you and your family and what was going on as fair game when they never would have done that, if you will, to a mainstream media figure, and I saw a different side of you in that whole thing.

You just became very fascinating to me.

I wonder what the precise moment was that Kelly fell for Alex Jones.

Oh, wait, I know.

Or maybe it was this moment, from his time on the witness stand.

When (attorney Bobby) Newman asked Alex Jones to describe Kelly Jones’ good qualities as a mother, Jones, staring at his ex-wife, said, “I cannot perjure myself. She doesn’t have any good qualities.”

Or the testimony, by his ex-wife and others, which apparently carried the day with the jury, that Jones had – in what is known as parental alienation – turned his children against their mother.

Megyn Kelly:

I just thought maybe you were this one-dimensional guy, like this is your thing, and the comments I heard from you during the course of that trial and your plea to the media to be respectful of you and your kids, just reminded me you’re just like anybody, you’re a dad, you go through the same things we go through. Now that would be an interesting story to tell.

You’re a dad, you go through the same things we go through.

Yeah sure.

Like this.

Jones’ retrospective analysis of  Kelly’s pre-interview massaging of his ego, and what followed, is truly classic:

Now I don’t know why I accepted this challenge. It’s like some subconscious algorithm that leads me with the with the assurance of a sleepwalker.

But I knew if I entered the labyrinth of the Gorgon, of this modern-day Medusa, that through the process others would understand the larger deception.

And here is what Kelly Jones, at her post-trial site,, has to say about Megyn Kelly’s interview with her ex.

I’m so disappointed that Megyn Kelly has decided to do this show, and worse, to air it on Father’s Day.

Alex has made fun of deceased children as recently as the Manchester Attacks and has fomented ongoing hate and lies about the Sandy Hook tragedy.  It is appalling and continues to be a nightmare for these families, years later.

If Megyn wants to shine a spotlight on who the real Alex Jones is, she should talk to me.  I was with him and married to him for 15 years. Alex is hypocrite who lies and reverses track repeatedly.  He cannot be trusted to tell the truth and will do anything for hype and to control.

Shame on Alex Jones and Megyn Kelly for using the Sandy Hook Tragedy to get ratings at the cost of the innocent lives lost at Sandy Hook and the poor Sandy Hook parents.

I have reached out to Megyn and available to talk to her anytime to help set the record straight about who Alex is, what he believes, and what he has done to his own children.

I hope NBC will pull the show and make it right by interviewing the Sandy Hook parents and me.  If they just cancel the show, Alex will once again have profited from the hype of national media attention.  It’s time for him to be held accountable and for people to hear the real story of who Alex Jones is.

Backing up, here is more from Jones reveal of the audiotape last night:

Alex Jones:

Megyn Kelly waltzed in here and said she wasn’t going to talk about Sandy Hook. She wasn’t going to talk about Pizzagate. She wasn’t going to talk about Chobani Yogurt. That she wasn’t going to talk about Islamic terrorism. That she wanted to do a softball profile of Alex Jones. And when she got here with her crew of intelligence operatives, she did the opposite of what she said and so I was recording the whole time.

From her pre-interviews, right through the interview, we have a record of it, so you can decide for yourself what I really said and what I stood for. These tyrants haven’t figured it out yet that information warfare is a two-street. And we’re going to give as good as we get.

You alone will be the judge. You alone will be the jury of who’s fake news and who stands for America and who stands against it.

Megyn Kelly:

Well I’ve started my new job. You may have heard … It’s a news magazine show across from 60 Minutes. It’s sort of a good opportunity for long-form story-telling. It’s not like the 3-minute interview of people. It’s like the in-depth profiles of people. And at the top of my list was you.

Alex Jones:

So it’s like an investigative report of fake news.

Megyn Kelly:

Nnnooo. No. What we’re doing? No.

Alex Jones:

Yeah. Come on.

Megyn Kelly:

No, no, no.

The reason you are interesting to me is I followed your custody case and I think you had a very good point about how the media was covering it and for some reason treated you and your family and what was going on as fair game when they never would have done that, if you will, to a mainstream media figure, and I saw a different side of you in that whole thing, You just became very fascinating to me.

I just thought maybe you were this one-dimensional guy, like this is your thing, and the comments I heard from you during the course of that trial and your plea to the media to be respectful of you and your kids, just reminded me you’re just like anybody, you’re a dad, you go through the same things we go through. Now that would be an interesting story to tell.

Alex Jones:

Now I don’t know why I accepted this challenge. It’s like some subconscious algorithm that leads me with the with the assurance of a sleepwalker.

But I knew if I entered the labyrinth of the Gorgon, of this modern-day Medusa, that through the process others would understand the larger deception.

If I didn’t take the challenge then good, or at least an open heart, would be hiding from evil. And so that’s why I let Megan Kelly set up this conflict on her own terms, on her own battlefield, because despite the fact that she was delusional and believed that she would deceive me and my viewers, at the end of the day she failed.

Alex Jones:

 Sure, but wouldn’t the argument be in the show – I see it as a standard Democratic talking point – I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing, well, he asked for privacy for his family but he didn’t do that in Sandy Hook, and he didn’t do that for the pizzeria.

Megyn Kelly:

No, I can ask you about that. It’s not going to be a contentious sort of gotcha exchange. That’s not what this show is and that’s not what I really want to do. I want to do in-depth profiles of people. Just interesting people. So I can ask you that. This is what the critics say, but this is not going to be an ah-ha, play a clip.

I’m sort of, for lack of a better term, trying to create a different kind of program. And it’s fine.

I’ll ask you about some of the controversies, of course, and you’ll say whatever you want to say, but it’s not going to be some gotcha hit piece, I promise you that.

It doesn’t serve me. It doesn’t do me any good. If I do that you go out and say, “She did a hit piece on me. this is what she said and this is what she did,” and then the next time she wants to get somebody, they are going to say, “Look at what you did to Alex Jones, so screw you.”

So I promise you, that’s not what this is going to be. It’ll be, it really will be, who is this guy?

And we’ll talk about some of the controversy and I’ll ask you and you can respond and we’ll get into what have you been through the last year.

My goal is for your listeners, and the left, which will be watching some on NBC, to say, “Wow, that was really interesting.”

I can just give you my word. If there is one thing about me, I do what I say I am going to do and I don’t double cross, and I promise you, when it’s over you’ll say, “Absolutely, she did what she said she was going to do,” and you’ll be fine with it.

I’m not looking at portraying you as some boogeyman, or do any sort of a gotcha moment. I just want to talk about you. I want people to get to know you. And the craziest thing of all would be if some of those people who have this insane version of you in their heads walk away saying, you know what, I see the dad in him, I see the guy who loves those kids and is more complex than I had been led to believe.

I have not enjoyed being on the pointy end of the political spear. It was not something I ever wanted to do

I would say I’m a combination of Mike Wallace, Oprah Winfrey and Larry the Cable guy

Alex Jones:

Ha ha. Larry the Cable Guy’s a good guy.

Megyn Kelly:

I love him. That’s what you’ll get in the interview – a little bit of all three of them, and everybody will walk away feeling like they had a good dinner, nutritious, some red meat, with some dessert at the end.

Alex Jones:

But separately, you guys won’t show where my office is or anything like that?

Megyn Kelly:


To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what all the controversies surrounding you are./I know you make waves and people have this reaction like  “Oh, Alex Jones, oh my God.”

So I’ll look at some of that and I’ll ask you about it. You’re going to be far more versed in all of this stuff than i will be. And you’ll have the chance  to say whatever you want to say. If I ask you have about any controversy, you’ll have the chance to say whatever you want to say.

If I ask you have about any controversy, you’ll have a chance to answer it and I’m not going to cut you in a way that will take down the heart of your explanation, the real substance of it. I won’t do that to you.

I’m grateful. Thank you for saying yes.

Alex Jones:

Can’t wait to meet you.


Alex Jones:

Megyn Kelly is a puppet. She is a beautiful woman who the corporate structure uses to push its agenda.

From Hadas Gold at Politco Morning Media this morning.

THE MEGYN KELLY/ALEX JONES SHOW — The Megyn Kelly and Alex Jones drama heated up considerably on Thursday night. The show is still set to air on Sunday night and whether or not you agree or disagree that Kelly should have interviewed Jones in the first place, the entire drama surrounding it is turning into a full blown issue for NBC. Not only are there grieving families of innocent young children on one side of Kelly and the network, there’s a conniving conspiracy-theorist adept at manipulating the media on the other.

Case in point: Overnight, Jones released some audio of a pre-interview Kelly conducted with him (interspersed with Jones’ commentary).

“It’s not going to be a contentious, sort of gotcha exchange,” she says explaining further that the show is not about such moments, just profiles on interesting people, but that she will be asking him about his more controversial views.

Immediately after playing that clip of Kelly, Jones, sitting in his studio, talks about his conspiracy theories that Sandy Hook was not real but that in “hindsight, it probably did happen.” Jones says that once Kelly arrived for the interview, she “attacked me” about his conspiracy theories.

“It really will be about ‘who is this guy?’ … I’m not looking to portray you as some boogeyman or just any sort of gotcha moment. I just want to talk about you,” Kelly says in further clips. “The craziest thing of all would be if some of the people who just have this insane version of you in their head walk away saying, ‘you know what, I see the dad in him.”

On the other side are the families. POLITICO has obtained a letter sent by a law firm representing several of the families who lost loved ones in the 2012, suggesting that NBC faces ramifications should the interview air. The letter is addressed to NBC President Andy Lack, Megyn Kelly’s executive producer David Corvo and NBC’s General Counsel Kimberly Harris. In the letter, the families say that while “NBC is not responsible for the harassment and abuse Alex Jones has cruelly visited on our clients,” by choosing to air the interview (on Father’s Day no less), NBC has helped legitimize Jones’ view. By airing the interview, NBC “implicitly endorses” the notion that Jones’ conspiracy theories and lies are “worthy of serious debate.”

“We urge you to consider the ethical and legal ramifications of broadcasting this interview to millions of Americans. By now, it should be clear to NBC that airing the interview will cause serious emotional distress to dozens of Sandy Hook families. NBC – and NBC alone – has the power to prevent that harm.”

— An NBC spokesperson had no comment Thursday night on either the Jones’ recordings or the letter from the families.

MEANWHILE, NBC REPORTEDLY ‘OVERHAULED’ SUNDAY’S SHOW Page Six reported, as Kelly and NBC are now said to be including families of the Sandy Hook children, and are “editing her interview with Jones to be tougher on him.” That being said – NBC and many in television news would say pieces are often edited and changed up until the last minute.


Alex Jones calls Megyn Kelly interview with him a plot against fatherhood and Father’s Day


There’s no such things as bad publicity, like P.T. Barnum said. But I’m not P.T. Barnum. I stand for what I believe in. I’m not fake news.

Alex Jones on Infowars Monday.

Good day Austin:

Alex Jones had a eureka moment yesterday, an epiphany that led him to go on the air after his usual show, at 4:30 in the afternoon our time, and join Sandy Hook parents, and advertiser J.P. Morgan, to call on NBC to cancel airing his interview with Megyn Kelly on her new show Sunday night.

The Sandy Hook parents and J.P. Morgan have different reasons than Jones for wanting the airing of the interview canceled or, in Jones’ case, at least postponed.

The Sandy Hook parents and J.P. Morgan want the show canceled because they consider Jones a despicable man who suggested hose parents may have faked their children’s deaths and inspired some of his followers to take actions against them based on their believing what Jones told them.

No, the reason Jones wants the airing of the interview canceled, or at least postponed, is that epiphany yesterday, the moment he realized that Megyn Kelly had set him up by insistently, pleadingly pursuing an interview with him, relentlessly bringing up Sandy Hook in the interview, and, then editing his answers (he presumes – he hasn’t seen it) and lighting him in the most ghoulish Halloween fashion, all for a show that would air – and this is the big reveal –  on Father’s Day.

It is all, Jones said he realized in a flash of insight, a plot against fatherhood, against him as a father, and against Father’s Day.

I kid you not.

Watch the video.

His Father’s Day moment comes at the 8-minute mark.

Alex Jones:

I clicked this morning and went, that’s Father’s Day.

They want to sit there with fathers and families together and they know how I’m a father, the whole piece is about how I’m a father, and it all clicked. They want to make fathers look bad. Remember the Super Bowl, two years ago and then again this year, they had all the controversy about all the ads that demonized fathers and said that fathers were bad and fathers weren’t good.

And it clicked. I went, oh my God, they want to drive a wedge with a guy that looks like a classic American father, but lit from the bottom, like a Halloween deal, with light under my face to look scary and sit there and edit, because she kept saying, over and over again, things I didn’t say, were out of context, and so I realized something was weird and how she was tying fatherhood and my being a father and my children and then bringing up Sandy Hook, and then it all clicked today.

It’s Father’s Day.

Of course, it’s all part of the global conspiracy against Father’s Day, against fatherhood, and against Father Jones, who, one might recall, was recently involved in a child custody trial in which his ex-wife was granted primary joint custody of their three children, though his lawyers are seeking to set aside the jury verdict, and in the meantime, he has a an infant child, born at the beginning of May, to his new wife.

As for those anti-father Super Bowl ads, the only evidence Jones offers is this reference to an Audi commercial.

Here is the ad.

I am as suspicious as anyone of the dubious link between progressive values and driving a German luxury car. There might even be something pernicious about it.

But the message of the ad hardly seems like a part of some sinister assault on fatherhood.


I have watched many scores of hours of Alex Jones over the last year or two.

But as I watched Jones monologue from yesterday, I was reminded how deeply, dangerously self-involved he can be, how effortlessly and fluently he can spin a fully-formed conspiracy out of thin air and how he is one of perhaps ten people in the country – maybe far fewer – most responsible for constructing the political reality and the “news” environment in which President Donald Trump lives and breathes and on which he depends.

From Warzel:

The argument behind the outrage suggests that featuring Jones on a primetime network television interview show is an irresponsible use of a powerful news platform. To sit Jones across from one of America’s most recognizable (and highest-paid) news personalities is to legitimize a man with fringe views that many find abhorrent. Furthermore, they note, such exposure could theoretically extend Jones’ reach; what if malleable minds see something they like in Jones’ interview and become fans or regular viewers?

It’s a valid argument, but one that misunderstands the media’s role in the Trump era — not to mention Jones’ role inside the pro-Trump media ecosystem. Like it or not, Alex Jones is an architect of our current political moment, and as such, the mainstream media shouldn’t try to shield its audience from him or pretend he doesn’t exist — it should interrogate him.

Jones is a far-fringe personality, and a wildly popular one. While his more outlandish views suggest a man embraced only by the tinfoil hat community — he’s alleged that 9/11 is likely an inside job and that bombs engineered by the government to control the population have turned our frogs gay — Jones’ influence is real and widely felt. If you attended any Trump rally in the lead-up to the 2016 election, you likely saw his ubiquitous navy “Hillary for Prison” T-shirts, which Jones hawked through his Infowars store (until they sold out, that is). At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last summer, Jones was greeted like royalty.

Since Jones backed the Trump campaign in 2015, his influence has grown significantly, especially among young males. “So many people watch him now, he’s almost the mainstream,” one of the broadcaster’s young supporters told the New Republic last summer. That piece, which interviewed a number of newly minted Jones fans, describes a similar pattern of conversion: young men intrigued by a viral Infowars video and subsequently won over by Jones’ charisma and message.

According to audience measurement outfit Quantcast, pulled in 476 million views during 2016; Alexa suggests that currently receives 340,625 daily unique visitors. And that doesn’t begin to account for the scores of listeners Jones brings in over terrestrial radio or the millions of video views amassed on YouTube.

If Donald Trump were not president, Alex Jones would be a bizarre and riveting odd fellow, a brilliant madman with a ballistic bullhorn.

But Donald Trump is president.

If Kelly’s justification for interviewing Jones is reasonable, that doesn’t mean it will be well executed and end well, and the oddly flirtatious run-up to the interview – or at least that’s how it appeared – gave reason for worry.

MEGYN KELLY: I’m here.

JONES: She’s there. So you just interviewed Putin, that was a big, big news maker and next it’s what — really? What’s airing this next Sunday?

KELLY: You’re in good company. This Sunday, Erin Andrews.

JONES: OK. Erin Andrews. And then when’s Trump?

KELLY: As soon as he says yes.

JONES: OK, well I heard–

KELLY: I’m going to use you as a lure to get him.

JONES: Are you going to be sweet to him?

KELLY: What do you mean? I am very sweet. He and I are all good.

JONES: Would you sit in his lap?

KELLY: Move on.

JONES: I know, I’m just having some fun. OK, Megyn Kelly. That’s actually a look-alike. That’s actually not Megyn Kelly. Thank you, Megyn. I got to say, she’s prettier in person.

KELLY: I never know whether that’s a compliment or not in my line of work.

JONES: No, no, no. I mean it, I mean it. You’re prettier in person. OK, well thank you, Megyn.

After watching Jones’ latest, my suggestion is not that Kelly cancel his appearance on her show Sunday, but that she scrap her interview and instead, after a brief introduction, run this tape, uncut, or just the first 11 minutes if that’s the time that that segment of her show allows.

I know this is counter-intuitive, that the idea is to submit him to an intense interrogation and bury him with context and consequences.

And yet, I think, watching him unedited and without interruption, tells you everything you need to know about just how truly wack Alex Jones is.

Will the show come off as scheduled?

Probably, but who knows.

Here is an overnight rundown on the story from Joe Pompeo, with Alex Weprin, at POLITICO Media:

TALK ABOUT STEPPING IN IT – By the time Megyn Kelly woke up yesterday morning, a teaser of her upcoming sit-down with Infowars boss Alex Jones had begun circulating online. By the time Kelly went to bed last night, she’d entered full-on media controversy mode, as she faced heavy criticism for her decision to interview the far-right radio host, conspiracy maven and Sandy Hook skeptic. There was fierce backlash on Twitter, including from family members of Sandy Hook victims . Calls for a boycott of Kelly’s new NBC News show, “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly,” made headlines. At press time, at least one sponsor, J.P. Morgan, had reportedly pulled its ads. On the other end of the spectrum, Infowars was accusing Kelly of being a shill for the so-called “deep state,” and Jones himself was calling for her to pull the interview , scheduled for Sunday, on the basis of Kelly “misrepresenting my views on Sandy Hook,” he claimed on Twitter.

The irony here is that Kelly, who made her NBC debut less than three weeks ago, had finally escaped the scandal-infested waters of Fox News — and in fact the seas over there were looking pretty calm yesterday by comparison, with little more to speak of than an announcement about six executive promotions (more on that below) — only to find herself enveloped in a different sort of sh-t storm. NBC reps weren’t responding to reporters, but one would expect they’ll have to say something beyond Kelly’s Sunday evening tweet explaining her news judgment on the matter: “POTUS’s been on & praises @RealAlexJones’ show. He’s giving Infowars a WH press credential. Many don’t know him; our job is 2 shine a light.”

Late last night, CNN published some quotes from an interview with Kelly’s executive producer, Liz Cole: “As journalists it’s our job to interview newsmakers and people of influence no matter how abhorrent their views may be. … Giving him a platform would mean he goes unchallenged, and that’s not the case in any way. … Viewers will see Megyn do a strong interview where she challenges him appropriately … Until you see the full program, in the full context, I wouldn’t judge it too much.”

Here is Jones from yesterday afternoon.

Last week Megyn Kelly, who has launched her big NBC Show, came down here  to Austin to interview me and they were from from 9:30 in the morning to almost 11 at night.

And Megyn Kelly lied to me.

Several weeks before she came here and she said that the interview was not going to be about Sandy Hook and the mass shooting there, and that it was not going to be about Pizzagate and these other issues that the media always obsesses on and misrepresents what I’ve said and what I’ve done.

She said, `Oh we might mention those but she said, “It’s really just a profile on you,” and I said, “No it’s not.”  Because all MSM does is hammer on that continually. It doesn’t affect my listeners. They know you’re liars.  But I’m not going to do it.

Just today I called The View and said I’m not going to do an interview with them in two weeks. They want me on as well. Been on the view. It’s boring. Zombies watch it. I don’t need MSM. I don’t need their, quote, validation, or their attacks, any of it.

They have zombies watching, so it would be like giving a speech to a graveyard. It has no effect.

But I decided to do the Megyn Kelly interview because I wanted to get the anatomy of a true PSYOP.

Of course I taped my conversation with her and I taped our interview, so I could show, just like we’ve done with other reporters, how they edit.

So I’m not going to say, “Watch out, you might have been taped.” You were taped.

That’s the anatomy of propaganda. I wanted to go inside and see what she would do.

She’s a lawyer. It was a total cross-examination.

She spent almost two hours on Sandy Hook and a few other issues, and when I said I believed children died there, as I’ve said for years, she kept coming back with answers saying, “You believed nobody died.” “You believe Anderson Cooper was involved. You believe Robbie Parker (he father of victim Emilie Parker) was involved.”

And on and on and on.

I said, “No. My listeners questioned it. I had debates with both sides. I played devil’s advocate and said maybe none of it happened, maybe it was all fake, just like they lied about WMD’s in Iraq, and had all those fake sanctions that killed over a half million Iraqi children.

This is a frequent Alex Jones trope.

Because George W. Bush misled us into war in Iraq, the parents of children who were murdered at an elementary school in Connecticut were fair game for the suspicion that they faked their children’s death.

And, Jones insisted, as he has, that when he ranted about how the murders were fake, he was merely playing “devil’s advocate,” voicing the suspicions of some of his listeners, though how those or any listeners were supposed to know when he was ranting his own true beliefs and when he was channeling some listener’s suspicions, is not at all clear.

And this is perhaps where Alex Jones is most disappointing, where he is simply not a stand up guy.

I mean, if you are going to be the nation’s preeminent conspiracy theorist, if you are going to spin a reality that is going to inform the president of the United States, at the very least, own your conspiracies, own that alternate reality.

This is the dossier from Media Matters for America, which tracks Jones and Infowars, on exactly what Alex Jones has said about the Sandy Hook massacre: “Staged,” “inside job,” “undoubtedly there’s a cover-up,” “giant hoax,” “the whole thing was fake,” “in my view, manufactured”

And here is PolitiFact Texas on Alex Jones and Sandy Hook from September.

And, indeed, it appears, even in his current, y’all got me wrong about this mode, he is still not really sure what he thinks about Sandy Hook, unready to completely commit and oblivious to why that is a problem.

Back to Jones:

Then the other side of me believes those parents I see on TV and real mass shootings do happen, so it probably did happen.

But why is Anderson Cooper on a green screen when he claims he’s there? Off air, she’s (referring to Megyn Kelly) like, “Oh yeah, we fake locations all the time.” That’s known. That’s not saying they’re involved in it. So what they do is they clip and they misrepresent.

Last year I shot a video and said my final statement on Sandy Hook.

And in there I break down the fact that the public doesn’t believe the media and what happened, because the media’s been caught lying so much and has a six percent approval rating, but that I tend to believe that people did die there, they were just using PR teams to go in an exacerbate it and hype it up to get the maximum effect and blame the American people and blame gun owners for what happened.

But they’ll never put out my full statement. They’ll never put out the full spectrum of it. Only take out of context because I have a wide form broadcast.

Full spectrum? Wide form broadcast?

What Jones is referring to is the fact that Infowars is on four hours a day, and that is a lot of time to fill, and that people don’t tune in to find out there isn’t a global conspiracy or that virtually everything isn’t a false flag or an inside job, and that’s what he’s really, really good at and what has made him very successful and,  beyond his wildest dreams, very influential and now very rich.

Alex Jones:

And I told her (Kelly), “Listen, they use this (his statements on Sandy Hook), out of context, to be hurtful – I told her on the phone and in person – to people who  have lost children in real tragedies. And I said, if you want to bring up Sandy Hook, I am going to bring up the half million dead Iraqis  when the Clintons expanded the sanctions that (former Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright admitted killed a half million Iraqi kids.


She said, “Oh no, we’re not really going to go there, its’ a profile on you,” and I said, “Bull, every mainstream article’s the same thing.” I understand there’s a hit piece out on me to try to destroy independent media, and then sure enough, they came here at 9:30 … until almost 11, and it was cross-examination.

The one-minute-twenty-nine second promo piece that they put out last night that created this national firestorm and that did not have me in there saying I believe children didn’t die at Sandy Hook. They had it edited where it sounded like I was saying nobody died, and the headlines were that I doubled down, and that’s why I’m asking for the piece not to air on Father’s Day.

This is where he went into his Father’s Day epiphany, about how he “looks like a classic American father,” before the NBC crew throws the Halloween lighting on him.

So I agree with the victims, the families of Sandy Hook and I agree with the Big Banks who say they are going to boycott if it’s not being pulled.

I agree. I didn’t want to talk about Sandy Hook. They are going to edit it where I say Sandy Hook never happened, which they always do, and I don’t want to be part of MSM’s  fake media and their hoax.

I do not want to be part of this, because I believe mass shooting happen. I believe they exacerbate it and blame it on the general public, when the general public has nothing to do with it.

Our same liberal media calls for bringing Islamics into the country that bomb and shoot and attack, and she asked me about the Orlando nightclub attack and she said, “You think gays did it.” And I said, “What the hell are you talking about. I said liberals who are open and bringing the Muslims are the target. I didn’t blame the gays.” And she said, “You just did.” And I said, “No I didn’t lawyer. Who the hell would do that?”

So you see they’ve got a problem, they’re bringing in the radical Muslims who are killing the gays. So what do they do when I’m exposing it. They say I’m blaming them and ask some Perry Mason question.

And she would just sit there out of the blue and say, “Oh, so you blame the children that got blown up in Manchester,” without even asking a question. It’s all just zingers, just to cut in, just like Hillary did in the campaign ads with me in 2016 when I was having a debate on air and I was saying the whole thing happened like they said it happened at Sandy Hook, and the whole shooting was real, but then another part of me thinks the whole thing’s fake and staged because of x, y and z.

I can see why the public doesn’t believe the media.

I have a four-hour show every day. It’s teleprompter free and they use that against me and they cut it altogether.

And by the way, I’m not saying all of this because they are hammering me on Sandy Hookor any of this is hurting us.

We have more affiliates, more sponsors, more listeners, we’re expanding, we’re hiring tons of people, we’re building a huge new studio, we’re getting affiliates in D.C., Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Frankfurt.  I  mean it’s all being set up. We’re exploding. We’ve got $500 million in venture capital that wants to fund us. I’ve never even taken a loan.

We’re the zeitgeist. People really know we have 45 million listeners a week, exponentially growing.

But I really want to have integrity. I want to get up and explain why our listeners questioned Sandy Hook Day One. We looked at the anomalies and saw that they were doing some staged media stuff there, really pulling heart strings. The evidence points to real people being killed, and I’ve been criticized by the other side who thinks nobody got killed.

And I told Megyn all of that, but then, when she got in the interview with me, she didn’t go there, and she continued to hammer down over and over, to misrepresent where we stand and so I agree with the families of the victims of Sandy Hook, that Alex Jones profile/interview with Megyn Kelly does not need to air, it needs to be shelved, and it needs not to be aired on Father’s Day.

It’s not appropriate and it misrepresents what I said, And I told them I had a final statement last year and if they wanted to see what I said it was in there and they said over the phone, “We don’t want to go there,” and we might just briefly ask you about it, and then she asked me five, six, seven times and debated me and argued and said things I never said, looking at me to my face.

And so they are going to misrepresent and I don’t want to be part of that.

I wished they’d have had armed teachers at Sandy Hook to protect the children.

If you if cut off there, that’s about 11 minutes of screen time for Alex Jones, just about about what Kelly needs for Sunday’s show, on Father’s Day.

But Alex Jones is just getting started.














`In Austin, Texas, Austin, Texas, owns your trees.’ On the poetry of Gov. Greg Abbott


Good morning Austin:

First Reading has in the past taken note of the found poetry of American politics.

When Donald Trump announced for president on June 16, 2015, the next day’s First Reading  was headlined, `It’s not great again.’ The poetry of Donald Trump

For example, his poetic takes on the flawed announcement events of two rivals.

On Rick Perry

And, I can tell

Some of the candidates,

They went in.

They didn’t know the air-conditioner didn’t work.

They sweated like dogs.


Lincoln Chafee’s Metric of Failure

They didn’t know the room was too big,

because they didn’t have anybody there.

How are they going to beat ISIS?

I don’t think it’s gonna happen.

Hey, look, it’s Ben Jacobs, who was recently in the news himself for getting body-slammed by Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte, who has since been elected to Congress, apologized to Jacobs and agreed to plead guilty to assault.

Even  before writing about the poetry of Trump, inspired by a visit to BookPeople in Austin by Mike Huckabee to sign copies of his  book – God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy – in preparation for a second run for the White House, I devoted a February 2015 First Reading to Gravy on a bagel: An anthology of Republican verse from Abe to Huck.

From Huckabee:

Gravy on a Bagel (On first visiting Zabar’s)

Gravy on a bagel

Just doesn’t work for me.

If I want to chew that hard,

I’ll take up chewing tobacco,

Which I won’t.

I’m not even that rural.

Enter Gov. Greg Abbott.

Unlike Trump or Huck, Abbott’s poetics were not so obvious.

That was until last Monday, when I heard him speak at the Bell Country Republican Party Dinner in Belton, where he made his memorable and quite lyrical remarks about Austin, which I have entitled:

The Smell of Freedom (Austin stinks)

As I was coming up here from Austin, Texas, tonight,

I got to tell you.

It’s great to be out of the People’s Republic of Austin.

As you leave Austin and start heading north,

You start feeling different.

 Once you cross the Travis County line,

It starts smelling different.

And you know what that fragrance is?


It’s the smell of freedom

That does not exist

In Austin, Texas.

It turns out, this was not a one-off.

As I listened last week to Abbott on a series of drive-time and conservative talk radio shows – the favored forum of the Republican slam poet – I heard a recognizable style.

In Austin, Texas, Austin, Texas, owns your trees.

We have a problem here in Austin, Texas

I don’t know if you guys have up there.

In Austin, if you buy your own land,

to where you own a house, a ranch, or whatever,

you may think you own the trees on your land.

That’s not the case.

In Austin, Texas,

Austin, Texas, owns your trees.

That is insanity.

And that’s a violation of private property rights

in the state of Texas.

And we want things like that repealed.

Greek Chorus: How did that happen? What kind of law is that?

It’s socialistic,

is what it is.

I had a house.

Because I’m governor of the state of Texas

I live in the Governor’s mansion now.

But, before that,

I had a house.

I wanted to cut down a very common pecan tree in my yard.

And the city of Austin told me,


I could not cut it down.

And I had to pay money to the city of Austin

to add more trees to my yard

Because I wanted to cut down





that was in a bad location.

Pretty good, right?

I mean compare that to what is probably the most famous poem of all about trees  – Trees by Joyce Kilmer – a treacly, soft-minded confection compared to Abbott’s muscular verse.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

And for this Joyce Kilmer gets a rest area named for him on the New Jersey Turnpike?

Credit: AA Roads.

I prefer the Ogden Nash knockoff: Song of the Open Road.

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I’ll never see a tree at all.

As is evident in the two Abbott poems, Austin is his muse, if animus be inspiration.

But, I suspect the relationship is more complicated than it at first appears.

From my Sunday story on the governor calling the special session.

Gov. Greg Abbott began his Tuesday announcement in a scolding tone.

“We should not be where we are today. A special session was entirely avoidable,” Abbott said before summoning lawmakers to return to Austin to tackle an expansive conservative agenda. “There was plenty of time for the House and the Senate to forge compromises to avoid the time and taxpayer expense of a special session. Because of their inability or refusal to pass a simple law that would prevent the medical profession from shutting down I am going to call a special session to complete that unfinished business. But if I am going to ask the taxpayers to foot the bill for a special session, I intend to make it count.”

The next 17 minutes, as Abbott unveiled the packed agenda for a 30-day special session to get underway July 18, were probably the best, and for him, the most satisfying, of his 2½ years as governor.


On a Wednesday appearance with Hal Jay on WBAP radio in the Metroplex, Abbott sounded delighted with what he had wrought and how thoroughly he had blown up under-the-dome assumptions.

“One of the fun things I have is I get to see all the speculation that people have, whether it could be about the special session or other things and, as usual, it turns out all the speculators are wrong,” Abbott said. “No one saw this coming. But I knew if we were going to have a special session, by God, it was going to be on issues that I consider to be important.”

The concern about cost is mostly rhetorical.

The main expense of a special session is the $190 per diem that each of the 182 members of the House and Senate collects for each day they work. That’s $34,580 a day. If the governor had called a special session just to pass a measure keeping the Texas Medical Board and four other agencies operating, he could have had a discount special session for only about a $100,000. If all 182 legislators work all 30 days, the price tag will be a little over a million dollars.

From the Statesman’s Elizabeth Findell: How could Abbott’s ‘war against cities’ special session affect Austin?

A special session of the Legislature that Mayor Steve Adler called a “war against cities” will be fought on at least nine fronts for the city of Austin.

Gov. Greg Abbott called the monthlong session, beginning July 18, after a regular session heavily focused on overturning local measures that Republican lawmakers consider governmental overreach.

Nine of 20 Abbott-proposed bills for the special session specifically target local authority. Some, like a lower property tax increase cap and municipal annexation reform, echo bills heavily debated during the recent session. Others, like calls to speed up local permitting and bar ordinances from affecting already-begun construction projects appear new — and mystifying to city leaders.

And local tree ordinances are on Abbott’s list.

Overturn rules protecting trees

Abbott said he would like a bill preventing cities from regulating what property owners can do with trees on private land. If that bill resembles Senate Bill 782, which never made it out of committee this session, it would specify that a landowner owns the trees on his property and can do as he wishes with them, and it would limit the tree removal fees that cities charge.

About 50 Texas cities have tree protection ordinances, including Round Rock, Pflugerville, Sunset Valley, Lockhart and West Lake Hills. Austin’s ordinance requires landowners to get city permission to cut down any trees with diameters of more than 19 inches and prohibits removing “heritage trees” — certain species with diameters of at least 24 inches — unless the tree is a safety risk or is preventing reasonable land use. From 2014 to 2016, the city preserved 43,000 trees, approved removing 23,000 and required the planting of 24,000 replacement trees.

Well, one of the 43,000 trees Austin saved – that pecan tree that was in a bad location on Abbott’s lawn – may ultimately prove costly to the city.

Or not.

I mean, follow the money, and the anti-Austin special session is revealed for what it really is – an Austin boondoggle, in which Texans from Amarillo to Corpus Christi are taxed $1 million, money that is entirely – and then some – directly injected into the Austin economy.

Where else do you think that $190 per diem is going?

For food and drink in Austin. For new sublets, hotel rooms and Airbnb’s for lawmakers whose regular session living arrangements in Austin have lapsed.

Have an extra room in your house? Put it on Craig’s List. And, whatever you think is a fair price, double it.

And, in the opening shot in his war on Austin, Abbott on Sine Die, in what he called a “celebration of freedom and free enterprise,” signed legislation bringing Uber and Lyft back to Austin just in time to cash in on the special session.

Gov. Greg Abbott used four pens to affix his signature to House Bill 100, taking ride-hailing regulation statewide in Texas, rendering moot the Austin ordinance that Lyft and Uber disliked, and simultaneously removing their reason for declining to arrange rides in Austin, Texas. TRICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Indeed, the positive economic impact on Austin of a special session will undoubtedly far exceed the $1 million in collective per diems.

While I couldn’t find any figures on the Visit Austin website over the weekend, I did find this from a January 2001 story by future Houston Chronicle Pulitzer Prize winner, then AP writer, Lisa Falkenberg.

AUSTIN {AP} — When the great legislative cattle call rings through the Capitol chambers Tuesday, its effects will echo through every sector of Austin, stimulating liquor sales, stocking hotels and restaurants and further-frustrating the city’s trudging traffic.

The Capitol hummed with activity Monday as freshmen found their offices, aides unpacked boxes and workers delivered the last loads of lamps and endtables to offices.

Cynthia Maddox of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau (now Visit Austin) said the Legislature’s impact on Austin will be substantial.

“It’s a huge monster,” she said.

But a generous one.

Entertainment expenditures such as alcohol, food and hotel and housing revenue racked up over 140 days by lawmakers and lobbyists will boost the local economy by at least $50 million, Maddox estimated. That amount will soar higher if tedious debate on issues such as redistricting drags on into special sessions.

“With all the attention on the political scene in Texas with the new governor and redistricting, it could be as high as $60 to $65 million,” she said.

From another AP story in 2005:

When the Legislature is in session, an estimated $26.3 million flows into the local economy, according to a report sanctioned by the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“The excitement created around the Legislature being in town keeps us in the spotlight for 140 days,” said Robert Lander, president and chief executive of the visitors bureau.

According to the report, lodging, food, transportation and retail sales stand to gain the most from the biennial lawmaking frenzy.

An estimated $8.9 million will be spent on lodging and $17.3 million on retail sales.

Goodnight said business increases, on average, 25 to 35 percent during years when the Legislature convenes. This year looks to be no different.

From Drew Scheberle, senior vice president for federal/state advocacy with the Austin Chamber:

We certainly welcome the Legislature back to spend their money in our great watering holes and restaurants to figure out how to reduce their reliance on 1.1 billion in Austin property taxes over the next two years to fund the education system.

As Matthew Odam wrote in the preface to his session dining guide earlier this year – Legislative eats: 85 restaurants within one mile of the Texas State Capitol – When the Texas Legislature is in session, the northern parts of downtown are swamped with lawmakers, staff, lobbyists, news crews and concerned citizens.

It is time for all these restaurants to devise some summer special session specials.

And why not some special theme events.

How about a Byron Cook’s Tour of Culinary Austin?

A Four Price Prix Fixe at Dai Due?

A Freedom Caucus Steiner Ranch Steakhouse Sunset Dinner?

What fun!

Or a Dan Patrick inspection tour of outstanding Austin restaurant bathrooms.

The men’s room door at the Russian House in Austin.

If you can name four or more of the men pictured here, the U.S. House and Senate Intelligence Committees would like to speak with you.

And the Texas Chili Parlor really ought to cash in on the notoriety it got from Alex Jones’ suggestion in his testimony at his recent child custody trial at the nearby Travis County Courthouse that it was a place of laughter and forgetting.

But no, that wouldn’t be good. That wouldn’t be in the spirit of Gov. Abbott’s call.

From Abbott’s slam Wednesday on Chad Hasty’s radio show in Lubbock.

Put your work hats on

We don’t need to have them waste time by coming in at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

And then adjourn at 5 o’clock in the afternoon.

They need to come to ‘Austin with their work hat on.

Go to work at 8 o’clock in the morning.

Work all day.

And pass things out.

They’ve got plenty of time to get it done,

If they don’t get it done

It’s because they’re lazy.

It’s because they lacked the will.

They lack the desire

To get this done.

And the taxpayers of the state of Texas

are not going to tolerate it.



Alex Jones: ‘I felt zero attraction to Megyn Kelly’

Good day Austin:

So, it wasn’t a love connection.

After a couple of weeks of pre-interview, long-distance flirting, Megyn Kelly spent Tuesday in Austin interviewing Alex Jones for her new NBC Sunday night show, and, Jones said on yesterday’s Infowars, “I got to tell you, having Megyn Kelly yesterday here until like 10:45 at night was a soul-sucking experience.”

Tuesday offered such promise. There, in person Tuesday in his South Austin studio, Jones was telling Kelly how she was even prettier in person than on television.

But yesterday, Kelly gone, he reported that, alas, Kelly was “not feminine.”

She was “cold, robotic, dead. I felt zero attraction to Megyn Kelly. That’s not an insult to Megyn Kelly. I talked to a lot of other folks that know her, they said, `No, it’s the same.’ Because you’re dealing with a sociopath? A psychopath? I don’t know.”

“But I wanted to see it for myself. The girl next door sitting there with the toad creature,” Jones said.

“She should be in the new Bladerunner as the new replicant robot. I’m like this fat toad creature.”

Not that the beast didn’t try to romance the beauty.

He piled on the Alex Jones charm.

He talked about the skyrocketing incidence of pediatric cancer.

He told Kelly, “Your children are going to die of cancer.”

“You’re going to outlive your children, Megyn,” Jones said he told her.

But, it seemed, Jones could not melt Kelly’s cold cold heart.

I wrote in yesterday’s First Reading  how I had gone from steak emporium to steak emporium in Austin Tuesday night hoping to happen up Jones and Kelly at a celebratory post-interview dinner, only to learn later that they had a quicker, less romantic early bird dinner at Rudy’s

But I guess that was because they had to get back to work.

From the top of yesterday’s show.

Alex Jones:

I got to tell you, having Megyn Kelly yesterday here until like 10:45 at night was a soul-sucking experience. I tell ya, I take my licks to get the word out, but man, dealing with lawyers that make being sociopaths an art form really lets you know why society is in so much trouble.

Later in the broadcast I think I’m going to talk a little bit about her visit and this report that’s supposedly going to air in the next few weeks, this profile, but it’s really an investigative report, masquerading as a profile, but really fake news in my view.

I mean nice people, nice producer. I felt like the lady that’s the lead producer – nice southern belle lady, older lady – is like somebody that leads you to the gas chamber, or to the hangman’s noose, or to the electric chair. They comfort you, give you your last meal. They tell you that heaven is on the other side of electrical volts that will be pouring through your brain. Heh, heh, heh.

But I know that MSM’s discredited, I know it’s so rigged. So occasionally I go into the lion’s den, so that we can illustrate what we’re looking at, and the arrogance of the power structure that put out the fake polls for Hillary, that tried to steal the election, that’s done all these other things, that we would accept having al Al-Qaeda and ISIS brought into our country. The arrogance of MSM will be its undoing.

I mean imagine, they were here from 9:30 in the morning to 10:45 at night – that’s when we stopped doing interviews. I said sure. So they could edit it down to eleven minutes and make me look as bad as possible.

But think of how far we’ve come together, that they’ve got to do stuff like this and attack us on every platform, on every news channel there is constantly because they’re scared of what we’re covering, they’re scared of what we’re doing. They’re scared of nationalism rising. America is back.

In fact, Eric Trump said last night on Hannity, “America is back, that’s why the globalists are panicking.”

Here’s a clip of yesterday’s show courtesy Media Matters for America.

Alex Jones:

I hate the polished professionalism of the globalists as they track whatever the best course is for their own personal power at the expense of humanity. I said some pretty mean things about Megan Kelly. She’s sending me nice voice mails and stuff, but it was not nice during the interview.

But I’m not even afraid of that. It’s weird how they want to say they are not being mean when they are. It’s like this mind game and not pretending like MSM has this agenda when it does, not like they are following an exact script to destroy me, so they can have this example to others to say, `You better not stand up, or we’ll crush you.’

I’m not afraid of her trying to destroy me. I’m not. I’m afraid of them trying to intimidate you.

It was a little later in the show, that Jones got into pediatric cancer rates.

Again, courtesy Media Matters.

ALEX JONES: When we do the right thing, we join our ancestors in the great quest. In God’s great plan. The “New World Order” will fail. It will fall. All of these arrogant sellouts that serve the globalist program will be punished in this life. They all lie to themselves and think they’re part of the power elite. I told Megyn Kelly last night while she was kind of snickering about world government and forced population control. I said pediatric cancers are up over 10,000 percent. Fifty years ago, a doctor would fly across the country to see a child with cancer. Now you go to the mall, to your left, to your right, the kids have got their shaved heads, they’ve got their brain surgery marks all over them. I mean, I was in one restaurant and there was four kids you could tell had brain surgery stumbling around with their motor functions hacked in half from whatever hellish testing they’d gone through — poor little babies.

And I said, “Surely, surely by the time you’re an old woman, most of your family will be dead from cancer.” And I said, “Your children are going to die of cancer.” And the people around were like, “Whoa.” Her crew, she had a big — they were like “Whoa, can we spin that? Like he’s hoping they die of cancer?” And I said, “I’m not hoping they die of cancer.” But I said, “Surely, know that if it’s 10,000-plus percent now — and that’s an old number — it’s going to be 20-, 30,000, 40,000 percent just the next few decades, it’s estimated. And it’s going to kill your children, Megyn. You’re going to outlive your children, Megyn. And I’ve got children on this planet too as well and I want to reverse this, so you think about working for those psychopaths.”

Go ahead and show some pictures of her. You think about working for the “New World Order” long and hard. And everybody at Media Matters and all the rest of you, you think about that. Because you can have that painted-on Joker smile all you want. And those lawyer sociopath eyes.

But at the end of the day, I’ve spoken the truth, and I’ve warned you, and I’ve laid out the facts. Because I have basic humanity. And I know that’s not the trendy mainline culture that’s pushed — and I’m not even singling Megyn Kelly out and saying she’s the end-all, be-all of evil.

But not feminine — cold, robotic, dead. I felt zero attraction to Megyn Kelly. That’s not an insult to Megyn Kelly. I talked to a lot of other folks that know her, they said, “No, it’s the same.” Because you’re dealing with — sociopath? A psychopath? I don’t know.

But I wanted to see it for myself. The girl next door sitting there with the toad creature.

And again, she can come off like the sweetest, nicest person. She told me point blank in a long phone conversation that she wasn’t going to get into the things and wasn’t going to focus on the things that I knew she was coming for. And then for 90 minutes — that was the last interview of three yesterday — she did everything she said she wouldn’t in spades. And I knew that from before she ever came. But I wanted to see it for myself. And so that we could all see it for ourselves as well and experience what it is to serve the force that is strangling this country.

He returned to his discussion of Megyn Kelly with sidekick Owen Shroyer.

OS: We’re not going to go down the Megyn Kelly road but she thinks we’re stupid, she thinks she’s a higher intellectual person than me. It’s not even close

AJ: You kind of got in a big argument with her.

OS: I didn’t get in an argument with her. I threw a couple of jabs at her. She thinks she can come in here and she thinks we’re really going to think she’s a big deal. I really couldn’t care less about Megyn Kelly to be honest.

AJ: I really don’t want to be mean to her.

OS: She was mean to you, Alex, don’t forget what she did to you.

AJ: Oh I know, you’re coming to do the Pizzagate and the Chobani Yogurt, and the rest of it, and Newtown, that’s just the thing they hammer on like it’s some defeat for us or whatever, and she goes, “Oh, no, no, no.’

OS: Or gay frogs, which is provable

AJ: And then constantly, that all it was for hours, she asked me the same question over and over and over again all day long.

OS: For an eleven-minute piece.

AJ: And I felt completely empty at the end of it. So that’s why I don’t do these pieces, because…


OS: Don’t feel empty Alex, you did the right thing.

AJ: I’ll tell you though, she should be in the new Bladerunner as the new replicant robot. I’m like this fat toad creature.

And apparently, as we close the book on Megyn Kelly’s visit with Alex Jones, the frog did not get a kiss.

Abbott calls special summer session; Alex Jones and Megyn Kelly had their special session yesterday


Good morning Austin:

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 63, which is very old, or at least the oldest I’ve ever been.

Busy day. Very busy.

Gov. Greg Abbott called what promises to be an extra-special special session for the last half of July and the first half of August.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott arrives at a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday where he called for a special legislative session to begin on July 18, 2017. (TAMIR KALIFA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

And Megyn Kelly came to Austin for her own special session with Alex Jones.

These are both big events in my world.

This is a photo I took at the January 2016 Republican presidential debate in Iowa.

Here is the glimpse we got of Kelly on yesterday’s Infowars.

Here’s a transcript from Media Matters for America, which keeps a close eye on Jones because they think he is up to no good.

ALEX JONES (HOST): She’s standing where Matt Drudge was about a year-and-a-half ago in the last big interview he gave. But you can’t see her. You can see her white blouse. Princess Leia with blond hair. Megyn Kelly is here. Go ahead and kick the florescent lights on, we’ll see if we can see her there. So there you go, the conspiracy theory is true. Megyn, you know some people are saying that you’re not really here actually to interview me.

MEGYN KELLY: I’m here.

JONES: She’s there. So you just interviewed Putin, that was a big, big news maker and next it’s what — really? What’s airing this next Sunday?

KELLY: You’re in good company. This Sunday, Erin Andrews.

JONES: OK. Erin Andrews. And then when’s Trump?

KELLY: As soon as he says yes.

JONES: OK, well I heard–

KELLY: I’m going to use you as a lure to get him.

JONES: Are you going to be sweet to him?

KELLY: What do you mean? I am very sweet. He and I are all good.

JONES: Would you sit in his lap?

KELLY: Move on.

JONES: I know, I’m just having some fun. OK, Megyn Kelly. That’s actually a look-alike. That’s actually not Megyn Kelly. Thank you, Megyn. I got to say, she’s prettier in person.

KELLY: I never know whether that’s a compliment or not in my line of work.

JONES: No, no, no. I mean it, I mean it. You’re prettier in person. OK, well thank you, Megyn.

Jones’ flirtation with Kelly, and vice versa, began weeks ago.

And, plainly, each step of the way Jones has been trying to ramp up the sexual tension.

From Media Matters:

On his show, Jones has repeatedly discussed the possibility of participating in an interview with Kelly.

He first raised the possibility during his May 15 broadcast. Jones said that Kelly called him and promised him he would “like” the outcome of the interview, but he also expressed skepticism that the interview was a setup:

ALEX JONES: She’s a really smart lady, a good-looking lady. And she’s sitting there going, “You’re number one on my list. Alex, I’m kind of obsessed with you.” Oh I’m sorry — this is off record. “Alex, I’ve got to have this interview, Alex.” And, “We’re going to do this interview, Alex, and it’s going to happen, and it’s going to be good, and you’re going to like it, and I pledge to you it’s going to be real, and I’m going to let you talk and this isn’t a hit piece, Alex.” And I’m going to stop right there because the rest is off record. But I was just like even though I knew I was being sold by the greatest used car salesman on earth, I thought P.T. Barnum had been reincarnated right in front of me. I wanted just the experience of her coming to Austin.

Moments later in the broadcast, Jones made sexual comments about Kelly. He first said, Kelly “thinks I’m a Texas hillbilly and that a hot woman telling me how much she wants to interview me and how she’s obsessed with me will get me to talk to her. And even though I know it was BS, it still worked, so I’m going to be doing the interview.”

He then repeatedly asked Stone whether he should “put her over my knee,” later adding he was talking about “putting her over my knee politically,” and said, “Can we put [the late model] Betty Page on screen please, putting a girl over her knee?” He said that those comments were “trolling” because “I can’t help it. I can say anything I want and it’s all over the news the next day.”

Here from the June 1 show.

Then more on June 4.

Here’s the Infowars’ take on Kelly’s interview last Sunday with Vladimir Putin, the premier of the new NBC show that she came to Austin to interview Jones for.

Jones has had a bone to pick with Kelly for a while for allegedly editing him to make him sound crazy.

In any case, by showtime yesterday, Jones was clearly excited, even by his own amped-up standards.

(Carusone is president of Media Matters for America.)

Jones did a pretty good riff in which he acted out being a distraught leftist whose world President Trump is destroying.

We have turned the tide. Their global government TPP is destroyed. Their global carbon tax, the Paris Accord, is on fire. This is irrevocable damage to the New World Order, the above-the-law corporatocracy, that they denied existed. Bildeberg and all the rest of it. It’s out in the open.

And then Hollywood all the low-information voters on Facebook are all , “He’s stomping the Earth. He hates the Earth. Now America and Europe won’t be the only ones with carbon taxes to shut off our economies.”


“Oh no.”

“Now those dirty plants in China won’t get built there. They’ll be built here where it’s totally clean.”


“No-o-o, it’s not true. No Trump. Don’t kill the Earth. We’re saviors of the Earth.”

“We’ve been cast as the saviors. We’re just a bunch of idiots that don’t have jobs and have two or three college degrees that are worthless, but we listen to Stephen Colbert and we want to feel important, but you’re the bad guy hurting us, and trying to keep the jihadis out.”

I mean think of how crazy he is. In total failed states where the imams issue the passports, like Somalia. He says they can’t come in. From Somalia.


“Bad Man.”

Expect to see a little clip of that on Kelly’s show.


Meanwhile, the night before – on Monday night – I saw another expert troll at work.

Who knew?

“As I was coming up here from Austin, Texas, tonight, I got to tell you, it’s great to be out of the People’s Republic of Austin,” Abbott told the Bell County Republican Party Dinner at the Bell County Expo Center, just under 60 miles up the road from Austin in Belton.

“As you leave Austin and start heading north, you start feeling different,” Abbott told the appreciative audience. “Once you cross the Travis County line, it starts smelling different. And you know what that fragrance is? Freedom. It’s the smell of freedom that does not exist in Austin, Texas.”

An excerpt:

But that smell is not freedom.
It is fear burning hot in pockets.
It is the sweat-drenched uniforms
of people trying to just pass.
It is a fire that you set
as you burn your name across the state.

I had to stop watching Infowars yesterday to head over to the governor’s press conference.

I was a few feet from Abbott but didn’t actually see him yesterday. I didn’t even know that Chief of Staff Daniel Hodge was there until I saw the photo today.

Nonetheless, it was an Abbott tour de force.

You want a special session?

I’ll give you a special session.

So is this some kind of record?


Not even close.


What else from Hobby’s record-setting special session.

  • Amending the Constitution to provide for State-wide prohibition. [Mon Jul 7, 1919]


From, Texas, a Modern History, by David G. McComb/



Also, some justice for remarried Confederate widows.

      – Amending Section 2 of House Bill No. 25, passed by the Thirty-third Legislature at the Regular Session, 1913, and approved April 7, 1913, as amended by Chapter 86 of the General Laws of the Regular Session of the Thirty-sixth Legislature, approved March 20, 1919, relating to the prorating of the appropriations providing that women now widows, who were the wives of Confederate soldiers and sailors and who after the death of such soldiers or sailors have remarried, may be eligible to the grant of the pension… [Tue Jul 1, 1919]

And a bunch of gummint interference.

  • Amending Chapter 160 General Laws of the Thirty-sixth Legislature, Acts of 1919, establishing an Industrial Welfare Commission, and regulating the employment of women and minors, so as to remove from the Industrial Welfare Commission the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and to provide for the appointment of a person as a member of said Commission in lieu thereof. [Tue Jul 8, 1919]


  • Requiring owners and operators of oil and gas wells to report to the Railroad Commission of Texas the amount of oil and gas produced and disposed of… [Fri Jun 27, 1919]
  • Requiring those engaged in the business of a wholesale or retail dealer of pistols or in the business of leasing or renting pistols to make quarterly reports to the Comptroller… [Fri Jun 27, 1919]
  • Placing all employment in the service of the State upon a basis of competency and individual merit [Sat Jun 28, 1919]


I left the Capitol a little before 8. It was still my birthday. But I had some unfinished business rattling around in my head.

Somewhere in Austin, Alex Jones and Megyn Kelly were getting dinner, “a nice big steak.”

I wanted to find them.


I don’t know.

The thrill of the hunt.

And I felt a little bit responsible for Megan Kelly coming to interview Alex Jones.

The story I had written in April advancing Jones’ child custody trial had raised the question of whether Jones was for real or a performance artist or a bit of both, and I figured that made him a more intriguing figure for Kelly, who probably thought she could come to Austin and unmask the real Alex Jones, just the way she didn’t unmake the real Vladimir Putin.

I felt somehow obligated to try to record, first-hand, her visit here, which after all, would, however it turned out, only vault Jones into a higher orbit.

I left the Capitol garage and drove to Austin Land and Cattle at 12th and Lamar.

Nope. Nothing happening there.

I drove back downtown, into the heart of Austin’s steak district, parked, and set out on foot.

Bob’s Steak and Chop House.

Seemed like a good prospect. Private rooms. Nice rooftop.

Checked it out top to bottom.





The Capital Grille?

Uh uh.


I had gone here a few weeks ago with Roger Stone when he was in town doing Infowars.

I thought this might be a little too see-and-be-seen public for Alex and Megan, but it’s the class of the field.

Where every other joint was dead on a Tuesday, the scene at Perry’s was lively.

And I did hit pay dirt, of sorts, here.

As I was exploring the nooks and crannies of the seating at Perry’s out from a private room in back came the Austin bureau of the Dallas Morning News, looking all happy and well fed.

I was disoriented.

Lauren McGaughy wanted to know what I was doing there.

I wanted to know what they were all doing there.

At Perry’s

“Is it Christmas already?” I asked.

“End of session dinner,” said Robert Garrett.


End of session dinner? At Perry’s?

I was feeling all kinds of hurt and deprived and then I remembered that only a couple of hours before I had had my end of session repast – a Payday bar, a bag of peanut M&M’s with all of eight or nine M&M’s in it, and a dregs-of-the-day cup of coffee at the Capitol Cafeteria just before closing. But it was the only thing I had had to eat all day, which, as you may recall, was my birthday.

Lauren wanted to know what I was up to.

Oh no, can’t say, I told her. Very hush-hush.

After all, if I told them what I was up to, they would think I was insane.

And, anyway, let them wonder what I was onto as they digested their Perry’s steaks and whatnot.

I wasn’t done.

I had to keep going.

I checked out the Roaring Fork. Unlikely, unless she was staying at the Stephen F. Austin, and I had her pegged more for the W or the Four Seasons.


I walked down to the Corner at the JW Marriott at 2nd and Congress.

When Alex Jones pal Mike Cernovich came to town, he had a meetup here, and Jones did a segment with Stone from right out in front of the Corner,  so I thought maybe it was in his comfort zone.

Nope. Nothing.

There were other possibilities, but I was tired and hungry and it was well past 9. They were probably done with dinner, wherever they were.

I decided to go back to the rooftop bar at Bob’s for a martini before heading home.

I had my laptop and I decided to check on-line if anyone had spotted Kelly and Jones out and about in Austin, as I had before I embarked on my steakhouse odyssey.

And there, on Twitter, it was, It had been there even before I had set out on my hunt, but I guess I hadn’t scrolled far enough back on my Twitter feed to see it.

I was stunned.

I had wasted my night, my birthday night, for no reason.

But I was also disappointed. And, frankly, disgusted.

Rudy’s. Rudy’s? At 6 p.m. Early birds?

Well, maybe Kelly was flying back to New York last night.

Maybe there was not time for Bob’s or Sullivan’s or Perry’s.

Maybe she said, “You know Alex, I can get a fancy schmancy steak anytime in New York. Take me someplace simple, down-home, and really Texas.”

But, I don’t know, Alex. Rudy’s? That’s your play?

We’ll have to wait to see how the interview comes out and whether Jones acquits himself as well as Putin did, but, as of last night, my expectations for the whole Kelly-Jones affair are considerably diminished.






Did Roger Stone elect Robert Morrow Travis County GOP chair? Only Roger Stone knows for sure.


Robert Morrow and Roger Stone at Brave New Books in November 2015.

Good day Austin:

Congratulations to James Dickey, who was elected Republican State Party chairman Saturday by a one-vote margin.

Dickey replaces Tom Mechler, who resigned two weeks earlier, precipitating the vote by the State Republican Executive Committee. Mechler evidently thought the short notice would give the edge to Rick Figueroa, his chosen successor. But Dickey got in quickly and ran a lightning campaign that took advantage of the fact that the SREC was split down the middle about Mechler and that there is an institutional aversion in the SREC to being told what to do.

With his victory, and his ascension to state party chair, Dickey can put behind him the ignominy of his defeat last year at the hands of Robert Morrow for the Travis County GOP chairmanship in the March 1, 2016 primary that made Morrow the perverse toast of Rachel Maddow as a mockery of the Texas Republican Party.

RACHEL MADDOW (HOST): Austin is a great place, it is a liberal place. Keep Austin weird, right? And that’s part of why I think it was a shock today in Austin, and maybe even in the rest of Travis County, Texas, when they woke up this morning and realized who Travis County Republicans had just elected as their new party chair.


That’s the new head of the Republican Party in Travis County, Texas, who was just elected last night. And he spent his election night promoting his book, with a series of tweets that are not necessarily showable on basic cable. I’m going to try. You may want to hide the children and also forgive me. This one started with the bush family deserving prison and ended, “Rick Perry is, was, a rampaging bisexual adulterer.” This one, I’m still trying to decide whether I can read this one about Hillary Clinton. Yeah. I can’t read that. Okay. This next one, this one’s about presidential timber, by which I do not mean lumber. This is a guy who will now be in charge of the Republican Party in the part of Texas where the governor lives, in the state capital. And local Republicans are not just seeing this as, you know, doing their part to keep Austin weird. Local Republicans are sort of losing their minds over what has just happened. Quote, “We have someone who ran here, who absolutely has no intention of serving the Republican Party with leadership and faithfulness. He is a total disaster.” “I will not rest until we remove him as chairman. He’s going to be an absolute embarrassment to the party.” Sometimes that happens in politics, right? And yeah, so sometimes that happens in politics, right? The establishment of a particular party wants a particular person and instead you get some fringe guy selling his conspiracy theories book and tweeting about presidential timber. Right. It happens. Sometimes. Sometimes an unexpected political rise comes with a bunch of other stuff the party would prefer not to have tagging along.

Well, these things happen.

The working theory of how Morrow beat Dickey is that most people don’t know for whom they are voting when it gets way down the ballot to chairman of the county party, and that this was especially true in 2016 because of droves of new voters drawn to the polls because of Donald Trump. In that context, it was thought, it proved decisive that Morrow’s name was listed first, and,  that for smirk-worthy reasons, given the choice, people will choose a Morrow over a Dickey.

Makes sense.

Something similar happened in the 2014 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, in which Kesha Rogers, a follower of Lyndon LaRouche, the grandaddy of weird American conspiracy politics – kind of Alex Jones without the gravel in the throat and the glint in his eyes – managed to finish second and force a runoff against David Alameel, a well-heeled dentist.

As I wrote at the time:.

In a five-person field in the March 4 primary, Dr. David Alameel of Dallas won 240,000 votes, or 47 percent of all votes cast, to 110,000, or 22 percent for Rogers. Alameel, who made a fortune selling a chain of dental clinics he had built, spent $4.6 million, almost entirely his own money. Rogers spent $55,000.

It was a surprisingly strong performance considering Rogers’ top priority is impeaching President Barack Obama and her most attention-getting prop is her poster of Obama with a Hitler mustache. LaRouche considers Obama responsible for the “degeneration of the national mind” and called him “criminal trash” in a webcast this week.

One theory is that Rogers did well because she had the most familiar last name in a field of unknowns named Alameel, Fjetland, Kim and Scherr. Also, her first name — short for Lakesha — correctly identified her as both a woman and an African-American, important Democratic constituencies.

Anyway, Morrow’s election seemed an occasionally inevitable outcome of people casting votes in elections in which they really have no idea who is who, or what they stand for.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

But then, I was watching a live stream of a Friday evening forum in which Dickey and Figueroa answered questions from the SREC, and I was surprised by one of Dickey’s answers.

It’s here just past the 20-minute mark.

Q: Tell us of one of you greatest failures and how you overcame it.


So you may have hard heard that I lost an election once.

What you may not have heard is Robert Morrow, the guy  to whom I lost the election, who is a very colorful figure, he also co-wrote a book with Roger Stone.


You may remember Roger Stone. He was fired middle of last year by President Trump after having consulted a while for the campaign. Roger Moore, er, Roger Stone, did 20,000 robocalls to turn out Trump voters and ask them to vote for Trump and Morrow in the primary.

But that’s not really the important thing. The important thing is not, have you ever had something go bad. The important thing is how do you respond and what do you do. I could have slunk away, embarrassed, frustrated, annoyed

No, we changed things in the Travis County Republican Party and since then we have had the highest level of fundraising, half are new donors, increases in precinct chairs, three people wanting to set up to be chair.

We took that lemon and made some serious lemonade.

Very good.

But wait. I had never heard Dickey offer that explanation for why he lost to Morrow before. That seemed odd, because, if it were true, it was a lot better explanation for losing than simply that he was caught napping and lost to an eminently odd man with a superior ballot position and more pleasing surname.

I tweeted what he had said Saturday morning, and texted Roger Stone about it.

Stone responded with a tweet, seemingly denying responsibility.

But I recalled that Stone had sent a gloating tweet just after Morrow’s election, in which he took credit for Morrow’s victory with a reference to Caligula, who, were the prime space on Stone’s back not already occupied by Richard Nixon, might have merited consideration.

Roger Stone’ back from the documentary Get Me Roger Stone.

When I arrived at the Wyndham Garden Hotel about an hour later for the SREC meeting I asked Dickey about the Stone robocall claim. He said it was the first time he had raised it and that was because another Stone tweet from right after the 2016 primary election had just been brought to his attention.

It turned out his source for the claim that Roger Stone had arranged for 20,000 Trump-Morrow robocalls was none other than Roger Stone.

In other words, the source for the assertion that Roger Stone was denying was Roger Stone.

The question is which Roger Stone to believe.

Quite conveniently, Robert Morrow – who had also announced for state party chair but didn’t have  a member of the SREC to place his name in  nomination – was only a few feet away in the Wyndham lobby, so I put the question to him.


With Roger Stone, as regard to what he says, you don’t take it with a grain of salt, you take it with a pillar of salt. So Stone never sent those robocalls.

It would seem Morrow would have known if Stone had arranged for 20,000 robocalls on his behalf.

It also seems as if Dickey would have known at the time if 20,000 Republican voters in Travis County had received robocalls asking them to vote for Donald Trump and Robert Morrow.

So, it would seem the odds are that there were no such robocalls.

I texted Stone again, pointing out that the source of Dickey’s claim – the claim Stone had denied – was Stone’s own post-election tweet about the robocalls.

“Which may or may not even be true,” Stone replied.

I told him that I had come up with an alternative definition of the Stone Zone:

The Stone Zone: A murky place of indefinite blame or credit designed to enhance the reputation of Roger Stone and keep people guessing about just what he is capable of.

I reported to Stone that Morrow said there were no robocalls.


If Morrow said something is not true, the odds that it is (true) are overwhelming. The rest is disinformation, rumour or a cover-up to mask the facts – I can’t remember which.”

(I liked Stone’s British spelling of rumor, which suggested his Roger Moore/James Bond persona.)

Gone were the halcyon Stone-Morrow days, such as they were, as when I attended their book talk and signing for the Clinton book at Brave New Books in November 2015.

The book had some consequence in the Trump-Clinton election.

As I wrote then:

I think the Clinton campaign is depending on Stone’s and Morrow’s approach and reputation to inoculate them from suffering the ill-effects of The Clintons’ War on Women.

But Stone intends to raise money to make ads in which some of Clinton’s victims will tell their stories.

There will be women, different kinds of women, who will be saying that Bill Clinton sexually abused them.  Should that happen, those ads may be far harder to dismiss than the book, particularly in the new age of Cosby.

In her introduction to The Clintons’ War on Women, Kathleen Willey concludes:

In this book, you will learn that the Clintons are not the ambassadors of goodwill and progressivism you might think they are. And even though Hillary portrays herself as a champion for the rights of women and girls, she is not fighting for the best interests of women. She is the war on women. The stories of everyone who has been hurt by the Clintons deserve to be told.

The Stone-Morrow book turned into the Trump playbook at a crucial juncture in the campaign. After the release of the Trump Access Hollywood grab them by the … tape, Trump turned to a very Roger Stone tactic and held a press conference ahead of the second presidential debate with four of the women who had accused Bill Clinton of improper sexual behavior with them, and then had those women seated in the audience for the debate.

It was also on that visit to Austin that, as I wrote then, On Alex Jones’s radio show Monday, the host seemed pleasantly nonplussed when Stone suggested he would hook Jones up with Trump as a guest on his show because he thought they would hit it off.

Stone delivered on that promise soon after.

In the meantime, Stone’s odd couple relationship with Morrow soon began to deteriorate.

And, when Morrow turned against Trump with a vengeance in the spring of 2016, that was that.

When Trump came to Austin for a rally in August, Morrow, who at the time was  chairman of the Travis County Republican party, was there – for a while.


I witnessed that protracted scene. I was actually talking to Morrow when security came over and told him he had to leave. But I had no idea that it came at Stone’s direction.

Or did it?

I texted Stone Saturday asking how it was that he, wherever he was that day, was able to get Morrow removed …. at my direction.

“Simple,” he replied. “I’m Roger Stone.”


BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel recently did a great podcast with the four directors of the documentary Get Me Roger Stone, who admire Stone’s genius and abhor his baleful impact on American politics.

What It’s Like To Spend Six Years With Roger Stone On a special episode of No One Knows Anything, we talk to Morgan Pehme, Dylan Bank, and Daniel DiMauro, the directors of the new Netflix documentary, Get Me Roger Stone.

On a special episode of No One Knows Anything, we talk to Morgan Pehme, Dylan Bank, and Daniel DiMauro, the directors of the new Netflix documentary, Get Me Roger Stone.

It ends with Warzel asking the ultimate question about Stone: Can he really take credit/blame for the things he takes credit/blame for, or is it all just bluff and self-promotion.


 Yeah, he might always be in the room but his influence is sometimes unclear. Is it just that he is really good at being in that room where the things happen or is he the one who is constantly the actual change agent?

Where did you guys come down on that line? Is he the guy who is in the rom and he’s just sort of saying he’s in the room and he’s making some stuff up, or is he, anytime he is the room,  the actual agent of change?

The answer from one of the directors (and this being a podcast I’m not sure which one) was:

Roger never met a scandal he didn’t like and we’re living in this Russia hearing world where it’s very difficult to tell  whether Roger had anything to do with it, whether he knew  any advance knowledge  or whether he just bragged that maybe he did and it’s coming to bite him in the ass, but it doesn’t’ really bit him in the ass  because he’s on TV and we’re talking about him aren’t we.

And Roger has the uncanny ability to either find himself in the room  saying the nefarious things, or people thought he was the guy in the room saying the nefarious things and he’s more than happy to take any sort of credit that he can.

As to Stone and Trump’s Russia connection, I wrote a First Reading about getting together with Stone last week at the Russian House in Austin, where he could, in essence, troll U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and who has raised questions about Stone’s role – which Stone says is baseless – as the potential go-between between Trump World, WikiLeaks and the Russians.

But looking back at the November 2015 First Reading on his book talk at Brave New Books I was struck by the ending.

I left Brave New Books Saturday night for the Continental Club to see the Siberian surf rockers, Igor and the Red Elvises, here performing, “I worked at Taco Bell; She worked at KGB.”

I thought Stone might be intrigued, but he had other equally exciting Saturday night plans – “a burger with a bunch of Birchers.”

Meanwhile, Stone, who will be anchoring an expanded nighttime broadcast of Infowars from Austin and Miami beginning in July, was on with Jones here in Austin last week when Jones announced that Megyn Kelly, who debuted her new NBC show last night with an interview with Vladimir Putin, was coming to Austin this week to interview Jones. (Something NBC has not yet confirmed but seems entirely plausible.)

Trump loyalty an issue in Dickey-Figueroa contest for Texas GOP chairmanship

Candidates to become chairman of the Texas Republican Party James Dickey, the current chair of the Travis County Republican Party, and Rick Figueroa, a Houston-area businessman, recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of a meeting of the Texas State Republican Executive Committee at the Sirloin Stockade in Round Rock June 1. 06/01/17 Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Good day Austin:

The 62 members of the Texas State Republican Executive, meeting at Austin’s Wyndham Garden Hotel, will choose a new Republican State Party Chairman Saturday to replace Tom Mechler of Amarillo who resigned two weeks ago because, when you get right down to it, he would rather spend time with my 6 children, 16 grandchildren, and my beautiful wife Becky, than the 62 members of the SREC who are so divided down the middle in all matters Mechler that Amy Clark, the party’s vice chairman and top ranking figure with Mechler’s resignation, might have to break a tie vote to determine his successor.

There are two candidates – Rick Figueroa of Brenham and James Dickey of Austin, the chair of the Travis County Republican Party. (A third candidate, Robert Morrow, tweeted he was running but that’s it so far, and he will not be a factor in the race. See my recent First Reading: Robert Morrow throws his jester’s hat in the ring for Texas GOP chair on an ‘Impeach Trump’ platform;)

On the face of it, Figueroa ought to have he edge.

He is the favored choice of Mechler, who named him ten months ago as co-chair of the Republican Party of Texas’ New Leaders on the Rise Committee, and in recent months has been crisscrossing the state with Figueroa on the Republican Party of Texas Hispanic Engagement Listening Tour.

Figueroa is also in good with President Trump, serving on his Texans for Trump leadership team and on his National Hispanic Advisory  committee and now President Trump’s National Coalition of Hispanic Leaders.

And, maybe it’s me, but wouldn’t the Texas Republican Party benefit from the headlines that it had selected its first Hispanic chairman?


Dickey also comes with a couple, three strikes against him.

  1. He managed to lose the chairmanship of the Travis County Republican Party in the March 2016 primary to the aforementioned Robert Morrow, no mean feat and one that made the Travis County Republican Party an object of intense and sustained national ridicule.
  2. While he says he was never a “Never-Trumper” he was part of a movement to “free the delegates” to stop Trump, until Trump became the nominee, when Dickey climbed on board the Trump train, but for those punching tickets, that was a mite late.
  3. Trump won 27 percent of the vote in Travis County.

Normally, three strikes and you’re out. But in this case, I’m giving the slight edge to Dickey.


  1. He is a far more familiar figure to the members of the SREC, somebody who knows them, who they know, who knows the rules and seems more likely to follow their lead than lead them where he wants to go, and won’t get too big for his britches. He’s paid his dues.
  2. He is not Mechler’s choice.
  3. While naming an Hispanic chair might seem, symbolically and practically, a good thing to do, this is the Republican Party, which rejects anything that smacks to them of pandering, and are particularly disinclined to choose someone for the symbolic value if that’s the reason they are picking him.

Here is a summary of the argument against Dickey from Travis County Republican Bill Crocker, a former Texas national committeeman and former RNC general counsel, in an endorsement letter he wrote this week for Figueroa.

When his county chairman’s seat came up for election in 2016, Dickey spent very limited time and money in the first reporting period campaigning to defend his turf. And in doing so, lost his seat to a conspiracy theorist who made Texas an international laughingstock. When Dickey had the opportunity to make amends for this stinging loss and be a unifier at the 2016 National Convention, he instead chose to attempt to subvert the will of Republican voters all across the nation by being a leader in the “Never Trump” and “Free the Delegates” movement. At the same time, Rick was working to unite the bitterly divided factions of our party. In fact, during one particularly heated moment in our Texas caucus, I am told that a Cruz delegate and Trump delegate were on the verge of a physical fight. Rick approached this altercation to talk with both of them, and by the end of it the three of them were praying together. The mark of true leadership is the ability to lead and find peace in even the most difficult of situations.

Mr. Dickey also has a spotty record of raising funds for the Travis County Republican Party. When he lost his seat to Robert Morrow, the Travis County Republican Party was in rough financial shape. The most important job of the Chairman is to raise funds. During election years, the RPT will need to raise a minimum of 2-3 million dollars, just to ensure we maintain our current seats. A person who struggled to keep money in the bank is not a person with the capability of raising that level of funds.

Finally, Dickey does not have a strong record of success in his current position. In addition to his inability to maintain his own seat, Dickey has failed to hold on to the precious few Republican seats in Travis County. In fact, from my research, of the 56 partisan elected seats in Travis County today, only 2 are held by Republicans. Friends, we cannot let Texas begin to look like Travis County.

Most of these issues were addressed last night at the last in a series of public forums across the state on the choice of chairman.

Last night’s well-attended event was at the Sirloin Stockade in Round Rock.  I sat with the indomitable Amy Hedtke, who, while I recently wrote a First Reading all about her – Some like it hot: How Amy Hedtke went from Scout mom to anarchist Republican and James O’Keefe heroine – I was meeting in person for the first time.

Hedtke was live streaming the event on Facebook, as she has each of the forums for the chair candidates

I’ve posted it here, with the small caution that it includes a little of Hedtke’s anarchist/Republican/pro-Dickey color commentary.

Michael McCloskey, an SREC member from Cedar Park, who has not declared his preference in the chair’s race, moderated and did a good job of asking some pretty pointed questions.

Some background:

Dickey was one of four Texas delegates to send a July 9 letter to their fellow Texas delegates asking them to support an effort to Free the Delegates, which was associated with an effort to deny Trump the nomination.

From: <> Sent: Saturday, July 9, 2016 10:13 PM
Subject: National Convention – URGENT

Dear xxxx:

We’re looking forward to seeing you in Cleveland in just a couple of weeks, but the situation with our presumptive nominee has become so dire that we felt we must reach out to you in advance.

You’ve seen the news stories, the polls, the video clips, and the embarrassing tweets. It’s now clear that Donald Trump does not share our conservative values and will lose to Hillary Clinton in a landslide that will debilitate the Republican Party for a generation.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We, the delegates to the national convention, have the authority and the duty to give voters a real choice in November. Delegates in Texas and across the nation are banding together to assert the right of every delegate to cast his or her vote according to conscience and to have that vote accurately recorded by the convention secretary.

This grassroots delegate movement is gaining ground fast in Texas. Please see this article from the Houston Chronicle. It’s growing nationwide as well. The Wall Street Journal reports a whip count of 890 delegates for Trump, 680 anti-Trump, and 900 “in play.”

We already have a confirmed majority of delegates in Bexar County, and we believe a majority throughout Texas as well. We’re writing to ask if you’ll join our efforts at the convention to affirm the rights of delegates.

We have a plan, and with your support, we’ll have the votes. We will be asking those who share our goals to join us in communicating to members of the Convention Rules Committee and to other party leadership that Texas stands strong for the rights of every delegate to vote his or her conscience. And we will ask each of you to vote for who you truly believe should represent our party and our conservative values as our nominee for president.

Finally, we ask for your prayers. We realize we are fighting an uphill battle against the establishment and those who seem to be blind to the disaster ahead and who do not realize that a pretense of unity will not save our nation or our party. Please join us in praying as our forefathers did for God’s favor, intervention, and protection.

If you will stand with us in Cleveland, please call or write back and let us know ASAP we can count on your vote. We look forward to meeting you in person at the convention!


WES BRUMIT, Longview, Northeast Texas Lead

JAMES DICKEY, Travis County, Central Texas Lead
GRANT MOODY, Bexar County, South Texas Lead

SONDRA ZIEGLER, Lubbock County, West Texas Lead

PS: We are well aware of the potential for strong-arm tactics by the Trump campaign and the well- publicized bullying and violence of Trump partisans. If you choose to support this effort, we will not release your name to the media without your permission.

McCloskey asked Dickey about all this last night.


The bottom line is I’ve never been so glad to be wrong in my life. President Trump has turned out great.

I have gladly gone on TV to defend him, numerous times, in Austin, on numerous channels, where I’ve stood up for his appointment of Neil Gorsuch, where I said that in the first hundred days – you can check out the clips, they’re all on-line – where I said the first hundred days, that everything where he had control, his appointments, his executive orders, that he has really upheld conservative principles and I’m very glad.

Dickey also said that, by the time he got to the convention, he thought freeing the delegates would actually  help Trump.



By the time I got to the convention, I wanted whoever our nominee was to have the boost that they would have from a completely voluntary, non top-down vote, and I was completely convinced  by then that, given the primary results, completely unbound, the delegates would vote  for Trump because who would want to go home and face the wrath of voters.

When he reclaimed the chairmanship of the Travis Country Republican Party, he defeated Austin political consultant Brendan Steinhauser (who was nominated by Crocker) after answering affirmatively that he would be voting for Trump for president, an answer that Steinhauser said he could not give.

From my Sept. 21 story when he was elected chairman

But, when it came Dickey’s turn to answer the question, he said that, while Trump was not his original candidate and while he had been an advocate at the Republican National Convention for the right of delegates to vote their conscience, he was never a “never Trump” person and felt a party chairman really had to support the whole ticket from top to bottom.

Dickey said that while Trump was “not my guy” before he became the nominee, neither was Mitt Romney, John McCain or Bob Dole in years past.

“I’ve had decades of `not my guy’ and I still go out there and work for my nominee,” Dickey said to applause.

Dickey also said that Trump’s ability to enlarge the electorate by bringing new voters to the polls offered an opportunity for outnumbered Travis County Republicans against what he described, in Clinton, as the weakest Democratic nominee since Michael Dukakis.

It was that unusually high turnout in the March primary that spelled doom for Dickey and victory for Morrow, a man whose provocative persona and fringe politics would have alienated an electorate that knew more about him but may have been drawn to him by his common name and his being listed first on the ballot.


And here from an email Dickey sent out this week replying to these concerns.

The truth is:

  • I supported Ted Cruz for President and make no apologies for doing so, as I think Ted Cruz is a solid conservative,
  • As part of my support for Senator Cruz, I ran to become a National Delegate and carry the vote of Texas Republicans to Cleveland,
  • Our Party does not have a nominee until the National Convention votes,
    Once the Convention did vote and President Trump was the nominee, I supported him wholeheartedly and still do, and
    I went on television to defend him as nominee and since then as President many times in the most liberal area of the state–Travis County. Watch here: v=IHIOW4-U5M0

Even more proof exists from my election as Travis County Chair last year, when I was asked directly whether I would support President Trump, then our nominee, in the general election: news/state–regional-govt– politics/james-dickey- reclaims-leadership-the- travis-county-republican- party/GWyO9UtC6NJwVpzdVGOFPO/

 Here’s a recap of how that very public statement of mine went:

 “Dickey… said that, while Trump was not his original candidate and while he had been an advocate at the Republican National Convention for the right of delegates to vote their conscience, he was never a ‘never Trump’ person and felt a party chairman really had to support the whole ticket from top to bottom.”

This is the advantage of always trying to do what is right and not changing based on political winds–the record shows the truth.

The fact that I supported a different candidate in the primary yet wholeheartedly supported the nominee in the general shows you what kind of Chair I will be–one that brings all factions of the Party together and vigorously supports our Republican nominees up and down the ballot.

 The fact that I fought for delegates to have their right to vote also shows you what kind of Chair I will be–one that will fight for the voices of those I represent, whether that’s the voices of the delegates at a Convention or the voices of our grassroots Republicans in the Legislature.

Given an opportunity to come back on Dickey on all this, Figueroa was instead conciliatory. He talked about breaking up a fight between Trump and Cruz supporters in the Texas delegation in Cleveland, telling them they were better than that, and getting them praying together.

McCloskey then asked Figueroa, who was a member of Trump’s National Hispanic Advisory Committee, during the campaign,  about some criticism he had made of Trump’s Phoenix immigration speech last August, a speech that led some members of the advisory committee – but not Figueroa – to resign in protest.

From my Sept. 1 story:

Rick Figueroa, a finance executive and Republican activist from Brenham, tweeted, “I am very disappointed in Mr. Trump’s immigration speech,” expressing his regret that Trump had ignored the “wise counsel” being offered by his Hispanic supporters.

“It was a leadership mistake. It was a political mistake. It was a moral mistake,” Figueroa tweeted.

But Figueroa wrote, “With all his flaws, Mr. Trump is still a better choice than Hillary Clinton.”

Figueroa delivered a rip-roaring warmup speech for Trump at the Austin rally, recounting his meeting with Trump as part of the advisory council.

“He said, ‘Tell me your heart,’ and he listened,” Figueroa told the rally at the Travis County Exposition Center.

“He’s a leader. A leader listens. Don’t believe the media. He listens. He cares,” Figueroa said at the rally. “You know what I told him? `What the hell do we have to lose?’”

It seems a bit of a stretch for Dickey to somehow portray himself as more loyal to Trump than Figueroa.

Figueroa was playing a high-profile role for Trump and, while he did criticize Trump, he stuck with him, and, as he noted Thursday, he was just at the White House as part of Trump’s National Council of Hispanic Leaders.

In a post endorsing Dickey, Matt Mackowiak, the Austin political consultant who serves as executive vice chairman of the Travis County Repubilcan Party, went even further:

I do not personally know Rick Figueroa, which is saying something as I have been working in Texas politics for 15 years, have helped elect three of our Texas members of Congress, and have personally traveled to all 21 media markets in our state and have worked on races in our top four largest media markets over that time.

Rick Figueroa appears to be a good man, with a large family, who has had professional success. He appears to be a strong Christian. These are all laudable things.

No matter who is elected Chairman, Tom’s successor will need support from all of us.

But on June 3, the SREC has a choice to make.

Candidly, several things about Rick Figueroa concern me.

First, it is not clear to me that he understands the many roles of Chairman. Perhaps most importantly, the Chairman must support the platform and advocate for it.

His many statements about immigration raise questions about whether he can put aside his personal views and effectively and actively promote the platform of our party, and especially the key immigration planks.

His strong criticism of our-then nominee Donald Trump’s immigration speech last September showed a fundamental disagreement with the Republican Party of Texas’s fundamental core position on this top policy issue.

He said in his tweet, according to the Austin American Statesman, “I am very disappointed in Mr. Trump’s immigration speech,” expressing his regret that Trump had ignored the “wise counsel” being offered by his Hispanic supporters. “It was a leadership mistake. It was a political mistake. It was a moral mistake.”

That was just 9 months ago. His view, which sounded more like John McCain or Lindsey Graham, was diametrically opposed to our Party. Is this what a potential Chairman Figueroa will try to do to our platform? How will each SREC member explain that to their district Republicans?

Like Dickey, for Mackowiak to seriously question Figueroa’s loyalty to Trump seems strange.

From a First Reading the week after the election, when Mackowiak was elected vice chairman of the Travis County Republican Party: A week after (now deleted) tweet to Trump to `Go F*** himself,’ Matt Mackowiak wins Travis County GOP post

Matt Mackowiak was elected vice chairman of the Travis County Republican Party Tuesday night, precisely one week since he tweeted at Donald Trump, “Go f**k yourself. You just conceded the most winnable election in 50 years against the least popular Dem nom ever.”

And that,”the lede of your NYT obituary will be that you are a loser, losing the most unlosable election in modern American history.”

And that, “You win particular credit for running the most inept, unserious presidential campaign in a century. Staffed by clowns, wasting money.”

And that, “Your natural instinct will be to lash out at everyone. You own this defeat. It’s yours. You earned it. No one else. Process that.”

It was all part of an epic tweet storm – which he deleted and apologized for, but the content of which was preserved by Fortune – from the Austin political consultant and regular contributor to the Statesman opinion pages as the polls were about to close in Texas last Tuesday.

Mackowiak had just pored over exit polls showing that Trump was going down to an ignominious defeat nationally. Then there were the early vote totals for Travis County that suggested that Trump was dragging down with him local Republican candidates, like Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman, candidates on whose behalf Mackowiak had toiled.

But, as the night wore on, and it became apparent that Trump was headed not to a humiliating demise but to perhaps the most stunningly surprising electoral triumph in American political history, those tweets curdled.

I don’t know any more about this, but clearly, Figueroa is about continuing Mechler’s leadership – harvesting the seeds Mechler planted, he said last night – and Dickey is about a new regime.

From Mackowiak’s post:

After 5+ sterling years under the tireless work and dedication of Chairman Steve Munisteri, RPT was at its strongest position in a very long time. It boasted of experienced staff, adequate savings, and made important investments that led to crucial election victories.

While many people have worked hard, the simple and objective fact is that RPT has taken several steps backwards since Munisteri left as chairman.

The result has been decades of lost experience from staff who have left, financial uncertainty, and a divided State Republican Leadership Committee (SREC), with several divisive 31–31 tie votes that the Chairman has had to break, a rare occurrence.

(I didn’t like the lighting last night, and switched to my iPhone noir setting because it looked less bad.)

Afterward, I noted to Figueroa that I thought he had pulled his punches a couple of times during the night, not attacking when he could have.


“You noticed that,” he said. “It was intentional.”

Figueroa said he’d like to win, but if he doesn’t, it will be OK. He has a great life for which he is very grateful.




Roger Stone tangos in Austin. Will anchor Infowars by night. May let a flat.



Good morning Austin:

It looks like Roger Stone may soon be living in Austin, at least part-time, to anchor a nightly show on Infowars as Alex Jones expands his broadcast schedule and strengthens his ability to gain scoops straight from the Trump White House.

“Soon, it’s five nights a week with Roger Stone. You heard it here first folks,” Jones said on his show yesterday.

Stone, who lives in Florida and has a place in New York, confirmed for me that he is ironing out details with Jones and that he may take an apartment in Austin as he expands his role on Infowars

Beginning with the 2016 presidential election, Roger Stone has become a close political friend and ally of Alex Jones and his frequent collaborator – in person and remotely – on Infowars.

Stone came to Austin for most of a week back in April to help fill in for Jones during Jones’  child custody trial, with his ex-wife, Kelly Jones.

Roger in the Rotunda. Photo courtesy Greg Lewis.

Stone was back for three days of doing shows with Jones in mid-May.

On the last night of that stay, Stone called to see if I wanted to get dinner. Jones, he said, had him on an all-Mexican diet and he was ready for a steak.

We met at Perry’s Steakhouse.

Stone looked good but exhausted, as one might after spending three days with Alex Jones.


Stone was revived by a Stoli martini, steak tartare, wedge salad, New York strip, double Espresso and a good cigar.

I walked Stone back to his hotel. It was near the Russian House, a favorite spot of mine, and I recommended it to Stone, who has been implicated, he says without a shred of actual evidence, by those investigating the relationship between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Stone has volunteered – really demanded –  to testify publicly before Congress without necessity of a subpoena.

The walls of the Russian House are replete with images of Russian politics and history.


Better yet, as you walk in the door there, on the right, is a selection of Russian military garb – coats and hats – guests can dress up in.

Stone had work to do, so I went to the Russian House by myself that night.

Stone was back in Austin this week, filling in for Jones who was back at the Travis Country Courthouse for a post-trial,follow-up hearing with Judge Orlinda Naranjo Tuesday.

Alex Jones’ attorneys are seeking to set aside the jury verdict granting Kelly the status of primary parent in the joint custody of their three children, meaning that for the first time since before their 2015 divorce, the children will live with her and visit their father, rather than the other way around.

Naranjo did not hold a hearing on that motion Tuesday.

That night Stone texted me to see if I wanted to join him for dinner with Rick Derringer – who was his guest on Infowars that day – at Uncle Julios.

I couldn’t make dinner and Stone suggested drinks afterward at the Russian House, and so we met there.

Stone dressed up.

He posed next to a Russian bear.

Under a hammer and sickle.

And by a Nixonian caricature of Leonid Brezhnev, and a photo of Brezhnev kissing East German leader Erich Honecker.

The Nixon tattoo on Stone’s back. From the documentary, Get Me Roger Stone.

It was tango Tuesday at the Russian House.

It was an intense scene.

These tango dancers are serious and in the zone.

After a brisk discussion with self-described “conspiracy factualist” Elizabeth Everett, on whether Antonin Scalia was murdered, and didn’t die in his sleep, at a West Texas ranch, Stone and Everett tangoed

Stone was back on Infowars yesterday – with Alex Jones and Mike Cernovich, along with Stone another part of the developing Infowars lineup who is also well sourced in Trumpland.- and then hosting the last hour by himself.

Alex Jones:

Roger Stone is here in Austin. He is going to be in studio with us.

Why is Roger Stone here?

Because I am planning to launch in the next month and a half – I’ve just got to set an absolute deadline to go with it, I’ve got to come up with the names of the shows, and all the people in place, the equipment – to launch, basically, a TV network.

We’ve already got the satellites and some cable and some TV stations picking us up. But cable TV that’s in a talk radio format, something that I launched, 15, 16, 17 years ago, that’s basically tailored to talk radio.

So that’s what’s going on, that’s what’s being built, that’s what’s being set up.

Cernovich is going to have his own show, Stone’s going to have his own show, David Knight’s going to have his own show, Owen Shroyer’s going to have his own show, and they’re going to be somewhat roundtables for part of it because a lot of our hosts will be remote, but will also be anchored by professional stuff, with HD audio and video here in Austin, Texas.

We’re about to upgrade everything here in Austin, Texas. We’ve got a new, huge half million dollar studio going in, just the studio. Another quarter million in equipment – that sounds like a lot but that’s cheap to build a TV studio.

But these are nice and we’re really making a run at them. So I’m so excited and I know in my heart and my spirit that this Kathy Griffin, CNN is a terrorist organization meme is going take over. And again, it’s not just CNN, it’s any MSM, you want to target. They’re all in on it.

Here is an explanation of that meme and Jones’ new contest, the brainchild of Cernovich.

Remember during the 2016 presidential election, the establishment media tried to falsely manufacture stories about Trump being a sexual predator.

We knew it was essential that we point out that this tactic was simply a projection because the Clintons knew their big weaknesses were Bill Clinton’s sexual predatory past and Hillary Clinton’s history of defending rapists and child molesters when she was a lawyer.

That is why we launched the “Bill Clinton is a Rapist” operation, which became one of the main pivot points in the campaign.

Now we the American people, sick and tired of the bullying fake news media and their war on free speech and independent press, are standing up to this intimidation.

We encourage everyone to not just hold up signs to point out that CNN is ISIS and that MSM are terrorists, but to also use this campaign as an example to point out when mainstream media and entertainment writers, editors and hosts are calling for violence against Trump and against his supporters for simply only trying to make America great again.

Here’s the contest rules and here’s to our famous “Bill Clinton is a Rapist” successes. I salute you all; happy hunting!

CNN is ISIS contest!

We want you to win and do not want to create a bunch of boring rules. We also don’t want to play games. If you make a good effort, that might get you a prize.

$1,000 prize for anyone who is seen on TV with a “œCNN is ISIS” t-shirt or sign.

$2,500 prize for anyone who is seen on TV with a “CNN is ISIS sign” and who also is heard to say,

Follow the law. Do not trespass or violate any other state or local law.

This contest is open for the next 30 days, or until $200,000 in prizes have been given out.

You can get the shirts here, but you can also make your own shirts and own posters with the associated text.

Here’s the shirts available at To order, click on the shirt you like:

From yesterday’s show:


The media now if they could push a button and kill all of your children they would in a second, they hate us. They hate us.


And by the way, Cernovich is not just saying this. The left are mentally ill people. Losers, scum and sociopathic and psychopathic elites. They want to conquer us. They see us as schmucks that want open free societies. They see us as jokes who actually care about free markets and actually care about people’s freedom. They are affiliated with authoritarianism because they worship at the dark altar of tyranny.


Alex Jones:

This is an historic fact. But they want a war? Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war?

They want to kill the Republic. Well the ghost of our king, Jesus, is now ravenously walking, you know, the battlefields of the mind, and they have sown the wind, they are now reaping the whirlwind politically. They hope for violence because they are intellectually losing the war of ideas with us.


All that pro-pedophilia stuff comes from the left as well. Pro pedophilia, pro terrorist, pro broken homes. We can now declare the left as a death cult. This is 100 percent fact. They worship death.S


Stone on Kathy Griffin:

This just shows you how sick Hollywood has become, how sick the Hollywood-New York axis has become.

Yesterday we had the rock legend, Rick Derringer, with us. He and his wife described how they  have been snubbed, insulted and abused, all because of their support for Donald Trump,  by the Hollywood left, by the entertainment industry. Instead you get freaks like this getting incredible coverage.

Alex Jones:

Exactly. And it’s been in the news. I heard about it years ago. But I’ve had top producers visit me, I mean guys who put on shows on television that have budgets of $150 million. I mean people bigger than Chris Carter, I’ll just leave it at that, and they’re in secret societies and have to have secret, conservative libertarian meetings in LA, in Houston and other places, and I’ve been invited to them, and I said, “Yeah, maybe, sure sometime, I’m pretty busy.” I’m not snubbing them, I just don’t have time to go to secret right-wing meetings, whatever.

Alex Jones:

But it just shows how crazy this country has gotten that people that have made hundreds of millions of dollars – they are not even conservatives, they’re just libertarians. Like Kurt Russell’s one of the few guys who said, “You know I like George Washington, I like America, I like freedom, I’m not liberal, I’m not conservative, but they won’t allow me to be who I am. They call me a right-winger and I’m sick of it, and the Second Amendment’s a good thing.”

And all these rich people have bodyguards, but they don’t want the public to have it. It’s a load of crap, and they try to get him in trouble. The truth is most people in Hollywood are libertarians. It’s the big producers and the Democratic Party that run it, that use it for propaganda, that threaten them with their jobs, if they don’t stay on the plantation.

Jones claims an ongoing relationship with President Trump, including Trump calling him on his Hawaii honeymoon  just before his inauguration, to congratulate Jones on his recent wedding, and offering to come back on the show, an offer that Jones said he declined because he thought it would be used against Trump.

Yesterday, Jones said that when he’s on the phone with the president, Trump is so quick and in touch that “he finishes my sentences for me.”

Credit that as you may, but with Cernovich and Stone officially on board, Infowars will undoubtedly generate some real news out of the White House – or at least some informed speculation, with potentially unsettling consequences for those who prefer to dismiss Infowars as fake news, period.

From Oliver Darcy at CNN:

Two of the Internet’s most notorious right-wing provocateurs are joining forces.

Mike Cernovich, a self-described “New Right” Internet personality, will begin regularly hosting part of “The Alex Jones Show” on InfoWars, a far-right media organization known for peddling unfounded conspiracy theories.

Cernovich, a 39-year-old lawyer from California, who guest hosted some segments on InfoWars last month, will host the fourth hour of Jones’ show once a week, starting today, but moving to Friday afternoons the following week, a representative for InfoWars told CNN.

While Cernovich will only initially be hosting an hour each week, the elevation to InfoWars host represents the meteoric rise in his profile over the past year.

Cernovich was an obscure writer and blogger before first surfacing on the political scene last year as a staunch supporter of then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. He gained notoriety as an online troll who peddled conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s health, among other things, frequently drawing ire from both conservatives and liberals alike for making inflammatory comments on a host of issues.

Cernovich has since amassed a large and highly engaged online following and even appeared to cultivate White House sources which have seemingly produced scoops. For instance, a small handful of stories he’s published in recent weeks have later been corroborated by more established news organizations, resulting in praise from the White House. Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, recently tweeted out a link to Cernovich’s Medium page. Donald Trump Jr. said he deserved the Pulitzer Prize.

And now he’s one of the first online right-wing trolls of the 2016 election cycle to take his act professional, if not quite mainstream. InfoWars and its founder Alex Jones spread conspiracy theories, but are also carried by 200 radio stations across the country, and visited by millions of readers online each month.

“I look forward to breaking huge stories on InfoWars,” Cernovich told CNN. “Although I enjoy political commentary, breaking news is even more important these days, and InfoWars is a great platform with a massive audience of news and information addicts.”

While Cernovich may break some news, he certainly does not do so in the traditional sense. In the stories he’s authored that have checked out, he’s played loose with the facts and applied a partisan spin to advance a narrative. In others, he’s made wild claims without sufficient evidence to support them.

Jones is similar. President Trump may have praised his reputation as “amazing,” but the radio and television personality is arguably the nation’s leading conspiracy theorist, if not the world’s. He posited that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax, contended the US government was behind the September 11 terror attacks, and has advanced over the years a number of other unfounded conspiracy theories.

In many ways, the marriage between Cernovich and InfoWars is a perfect fit. Both represent a brand of journalism perhaps best comparable to the National Enquirer. Each hawks sensational and often wildly inaccurate or misleading stories to their audiences, but mixes them in with a smattering of items that appear to hold some water.

Such a strategy helps create a defense against critics who categorize InfoWars and Cernovich under the so-called “fake news” umbrella. While most of their reports may not be accurate, they can point to legitimate scoops corroborated by mainstream news outlets as evidence they should be trusted on everything else they report, blurring the lines for news consumers.

The move for Cernovich to join forces with InfoWars may foreshadow further coalescing in a far-right universe that had thus far largely been composed of loosely affiliated allies. That has already been happening to some extent. Earlier this year, InfoWars hired Jerome Corsi, a far-right bestselling author, to serve as its Washington bureau chief. Roger Stone, a longtime Republican political operative who in the past served as an adviser to Trump, regularly fills in as a host for Jones.

It also signals a splintering from the more traditional conservative media industrial complex. While Cernovich and other right-wing provocateurs share viewers with outlets like Fox News, they’ve drawn on an entirely different infrastructure to get their messages out — one which appears to be growing larger and stronger by the day.

And from Charlie Warzel, the Buzzfeed reporter who I met when he came to Austin to cover the Alex Jones trial, and finish his Jones profile.

As he writes here, What Happens When The Pro-Trump Media Get Actual Scoops? Major scoops by former trolls have short-circuited the bullshit detector of the mainstream media.

Last March, in a 60 Minutes segment on fake news, CBS’s Scott Pelley introduced a vast new audience to Mike Cernovich, touting the pro-Trump blogger and self-help author as a troll “who has become a magnet for readers with a taste for stories with no basis in fact.” For viewers at home, it was a reassuring characterization: Cernovich, who championed rumors of Hillary Clinton’s poor health during the final months of the election, was a troll masquerading as a journalist — fake news through and through.

But the early months of the Trump administration have proven Pelley wrong; certainly, they’ve complicated the once black-and-white characterization of the pro-Trump media as purveyors of fake news. In recent weeks especially, the pro-Trump media has frequently seized control of the political news cycle via an unexpected tactic: real and, at times, well-sourced reporting.

Since April, Cernovich has broken a number of significant national security stories, many of which have been subsequently confirmed — at least in part — by mainstream outlets. In early April, he correctly reported that former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice had requested to unmask the identities of Trump associates. Days later, Cernovich tweeted, “Breaking news! Possible air strikes by the U.S. in Syria tonight” just 30 minutes before President Trump authorized the evening’s attack. He followed that up with another story that the national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, had drawn up a potential plan to bring ground troops into Syria. A number of details in the story were confirmed days later by Bloomberg.

And the scoops kept coming. Cernovich, an expert self-promoter, even took a victory lap with a Medium post titled “7 Stories Mike Cernovich Had Before the Mainstream Media — How Can They Call Him ‘Fake News’?”

The question in the headline is one that’s legitimately vexing, especially for the reporters who’ve been forced to follow, read, and react to the torrent of tweets, videos, and posts Cernovich churns out. Big scoops by personalities who rose to prominence online by crossing the line into trolldom have short-circuited a mainstream-media bullshit detector that once spotted fake news by bylines alone. “He’s definitely really sourced up in DC, and it’s mind-boggling,” one White House reporter told BuzzFeed News.

Cernovich himself appears to be taken aback by his new role near the center of the political news cycle. “It’s kinda surreal actually,” Cernovich told BuzzFeed News.


All of this is uncharted territory. The implications of legitimized, proudly ideological former trolls breaking news and gaining trust could further blur the lines between fact and fiction and lend credence to their older, provably false stories, like Pizzagate. Still, dismissing this emerging pro-Trump media outright could prove perilous for newsrooms. Especially in traditional conservative media, Cernovich and company’s national security sources are potentially worrisome for outlets that might have expected better access in a Republican White House. Alex Jones seemed to sense this when he snatched up Cernovich late last month for a regular hosting spot on Infowars.

And no one’s political relationship with Trump is longer or deeper than Stone’s.

From Lizza’s piece:

On May 11th Roger Stone, Donald Trump’s on-again, off-again political adviser for several decades, had just wrapped up a pair of morning television appearances when, according to two sources with direct knowledge, he received a call from the President.

Just a night earlier, Trump claimed that he was no longer in touch with Stone. In the weeks and months ahead, the relationship between Trump and Stone is expected to be a significant focus of investigators, and their call raises an important question: Why is the President still reaching out to figures in the middle of the Russia investigations? Previous reports have noted that Trump has also been in touch with Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, two figures targeted by the F.B.I.’s Russia probe. Add Stone to the list of former top Trump aides who, despite being under investigation, are still winning attention from the President.


Stone has been through this cycle many times over. As Stone left the studio on May 11th, the President, who the evening before had essentially pretended not to know him anymore, had a simple message: good job.

With Stone officially in the Infowars fold it seems only a matter of time before Trump does the show again.

Maybe the president will even come to Austin and do it live.

And maybe if and when Donald Trump comes to Austin, he’ll stop for a drink at the Russian House.

Russian House bartender  Giovanni Colapietro,

I mean, with more than 50 different types of vodka and 101 infused vodkas, why wouldn’t he?

Oh, wait, the president doesn’t drink.

Well, there’s always the Ukrainian borscht.

I’ve had it a few times. It’s quite good.