Michael Flynn purchases home to settle in Englewood, Fla.

Michael Flynn, wife Lori (to his right) and family swear “where we go one, we go all,” a QAnon slogan, on July 4, 2020. (Image: CNN)

April 21, 2021 by David Silverberg

Michael Flynn, the disgraced former national security advisor to President Donald Trump, and his wife Lori have purchased a home in Englewood, Florida in the Boca Royale Golf and Country Club in Sarasota County.

The home was purchased on April 9 with a $208,750 mortgage, according to court records. Zillow estimates the property value at $543,005. It is a 2,236-square foot single family home with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms that backs onto a lake.

Flynn was in Southwest Florida last month to address private gatherings in Naples and Fort Myers. Both events had to be moved to concealed locations when the management in their original restaurant venues declined to host them. Initially, Flynn was to have been accompanied by Red Pill Roadshow, a traveling production that promotes the QAnon conspiracy theory in a tent-revival atmosphere.

Flynn has been closely identified with the QAnon movement. On July 4, 2020 he and his family posted a video in which they swore “Where we go one, we go all,” a QAnon slogan. (For an excellent in-depth examination of QAnon, including elements of Flynn’s role in it, see HBO’s six-part documentary “Into the Storm.”)

Flynn and his wife previously resided in Middleton, Rhode Island. Lori Flynn declined to talk to the Englewood Sun newspaper, when its reporter contacted her.

Liberty lives in light

© 2021 by David Silverberg

Michael Flynn tries to rally dispirited conservatives during Southwest Florida visit

Michael Flynn attends a Trump rally in Phoenix, Arizona in 2016. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)

March 18, 2021 by David Silverberg

Michael Flynn, former national security advisor and lieutenant general, tried to rally dispirited Trumpers with a message of continued effort and community engagement during a series of appearances in Southwest Florida last week.

Flynn also said he was looking for “America first” candidates for future races at the local and state levels to promote elements of Donald Trump’s previous agenda.

“This is a very interesting time for our country, to say the least,” he said in a brief address at a private home on Tuesday, March 9. “…Engage people. Get in people’s faces. Engage people. And I’m going to tell folks tomorrow, get out and engage their communities wherever they’re from. And maybe they’re from around here but as we carry our message, there are people from Michigan, people from Oregon. But we have to engage and I’m telling you, much, much more than we ever have in our lifetimes.”

In an online interview with Brendon Leslie, a local independent conservative blogger and netcaster, Flynn said, “We’re seeking candidates, people, who want to step up to the plate and run at the local level, at the state level,” who share his beliefs.

Flynn completed his tour of Southwest Florida last Thursday, March 11, just as he was facing a new investigation from the US Army Inspector General, according to The Washington Post.

Despite his affiliation with the discredited QAnon conspiracy theory, Flynn’s message was largely one of encouragement for demoralized followers of former President Donald Trump and recommitment to traditional conservative values.

Flynn addressed groups in Naples and Fort Myers in addition to a gathering at a private home. All gatherings were unmasked and ignored social distancing guidelines.

In Naples, Flynn spoke on the evening of Wednesday, March 10, at a gathering at the Naples Beach Hotel. Originally scheduled for Shula’s Steakhouse, the venue was changed when Shula’s management declined to host it. The event was made “secret” except to ticketholders.

That event was organized by Christy McLaughlin, a former Republican congressional primary candidate and conservative activist, who also organized an unannounced appearance by Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio in Naples on Dec. 3. Initially intended to benefit McLaughlin’s Constitutional Warriors Political Action Committee (PAC), the March 10 beneficiary was changed to something called SAVA-PAC, which is not registered with the Federal Election Commission.

In Fort Myers, Flynn spoke on Thursday, March 11 at the Ter-Tini’s event venue after the Roots Restaurant and Treehouse Rooftop Lounge in the Bell Tower Shops declined to host that gathering. As originally planned the Fort Myers event was organized by Red Pill Roadshow, a QAnon-promoting traveling show. This event venue was also concealed following the Treehouse cancellation and a report on it by NBC-2 News.

Flynn’s Fort Myers appearances were organized by The Florida Conservative blog, written by Michael Thompson, a Republican Party activist based in eastern Lee County. Initially intended to benefit a Florida Conservative PAC, a luncheon and benefit for veterans was added, with proceeds going to the Southwest Florida Heroes Foundation, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit corporation founded by Thompson to benefit first responders and veterans.

A consistent theme of all of Flynn’s remarks was the need for Trump believers to stay involved in their communities to spread their message and not surrender to demoralization.

Flynn’s fullest and most articulated explanation of the beliefs he brought to Southwest Florida preceded his visit. He expressed them in a March 8 essay posted to the conservative website The Western Journal, titled “5 Lessons I Learned When the Deep State Came After Me and My Family.”

In the essay, Flynn decried the “downward slide” of America based on “the shifting definitions of right and wrong blindly accepted by many Americans today.

“Our leaders would have us believe that these changing values are inevitable and that they are good. That is why they are called ‘progressive.’

“Yet to those of us who still believe in the immortal truths upon which America was founded, their so-called ‘progress’ is alarming, to say the least.”

Flynn argued that there is no alternative to the United States in terms of opportunity and freedom and that those who believe in it cannot retreat or disengage from continued effort.

“God enabled me to endure a years-long campaign by the left to destroy me and my family. They wanted me to serve as an example to anyone who would defy the entrenched bureaucrats of the swamp.” However, he wrote that he had emerged victorious.

Flynn attributed what he considered his victory to his religious faith and urged readers to “make faith an essential part of your battle strategy today.”

He also stressed the importance of family, friendship and fighting for conservative ideas.

“We need those who will stand against failed Marxist ideologies that have invaded the mainstream of our consciousness like a network of choking vines seeking to strangle the mighty American oak tree,” he wrote. He warned of the dangers of technological censorship, “cancel culture” and charged that opponents of conservatism want to force Americans into servitude, taxation, and “want to take our children from us, forcing them to look to Big Brother government.”

In that essay and in his Southwest Florida appearances, Flynn urged his audiences to stay engaged.

In a message to his followers on the Telegram messaging application that he sent out on March 10, Flynn was more blunt: “As I recently said, we need to get involved in our communities & ensure our system functions the way it is suppose to BECAUSE it broke down. Let’s stop kidding ourselves with shoulda-woulda-coulda-and instead get involved in our communities.”

Analysis: Martyr or menace?

Flynn’s Southwest Florida trip was not the QAnon extravaganza it initially was intended to be, given his past fealty to the bizarre conspiracy theory and the presence of Red Pill Roadshow (and the reluctance of local venues to host that sort of thing).

It was not a Proud Boys celebration despite Christy McLaughlin’s past history of having Proud Boys show up invited but unannounced at an event she organized. (One alleged Proud Boy, Christopher Worrell, who was present at her Dec. 3 event in Naples, was arrested in East Naples on Friday, March 12, by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents for allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection.)

Proud Boy Christopher Worrell, who was arrested in East Naples for his alleged participation in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, at a Dec. 3 event in Naples. Worrell is in the back row, to the right of Christy McLaughlin, making the “white power” sign. (Photo: Facebook)

It was not a mindless repeat of the Big Lie that Trump won the election and had it stolen from him. In fact, it was not much about Trump at all, at least not by name.

Nor was it about the Jan. 6 insurrection, riot or attempted lynching of Vice President Mike Pence. Nor did it touch on the infamous White House meeting on Dec. 18 when Flynn was widely reported to have advocated that lawyer Sidney Powell be appointed a special counsel, that the US Army take over vote counting in five key swing counties and rerun the election and that martial law be imposed to invalidate the initial results. (Flynn maintains that is not what happened in an extensive interview with Western Journal.)

In fact, what is striking about his Southwest Florida trip is the degree of Trumpist demoralization that Flynn felt he needed to counter. In his Telegram message, Flynn told his followers: “I sense your frustrations. We are not giving up our pursuit for the truth.” In his March 9 remarks he told his audience: “I will tell you that you have to be positive. You have to fight tooth and nail. And I always tell people like, Abraham Lincoln, he just—I said this to Kim [a member of the audience]—that guy lost like seven races and he’s the greatest, you know, top three, maybe [presidents].” In his Western Journal article, which was addressed to a broader audience beyond Southwest Florida, he wrote, “Sadly, some will allow this alarm [over changes in America] to grow into defeatism. They will turn their faces away from the battle before us in hopes of finding a position to retreat to.”

Flynn’s Southwest Florida tour was part of the post-insurrection, post-presidency Trumpist rebuilding process that is strongly akin to Adolf Hitler’s post-putsch rebuilding of the Nazi Party. However, there was no advocacy of violence, no incitement to continued insurrection, no calls for any illegality that can be ascertained by this author. Ostensibly, Flynn was calling for a renewal of bedrock American values.

However, it needs to be remembered that Flynn, his professed allegiance to truth, justice and the American way notwithstanding, has quite a checkered record that belies his current conservative portrayal as a Trumpist martyr. After a military career in which he rose to the rank of lieutenant general, he was fired as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency after two years. (Retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Colin Powell stated: “I asked why Flynn got fired. Abusive with staff, didn’t listen, worked against policy, bad management, etc. He has been and was right-wing nutty every [sic] since.”). According to a Defense Department Inspector General report, before his 24-day stint as Trump’s National Security Advisor, Flynn allegedly received $530,000 in payments to serve as a foreign agent for Turkey without receiving Defense Department permission to do so, which may have violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause. He received $45,000 from RT, the official Russian television channel, to legitimize the channel by attending a dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia and conversations with Russian officials, in particular Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, although he subsequently withdrew that plea. In the final days of the Trump administration, when Trump was trying to cancel the election results, he allegedly advocated overturning the election. The only reason he was free to speak in Southwest Florida was because he was pardoned by a president who was twice impeached.

For all that, Flynn, perhaps more than Donald Trump himself, realizes that meeting his ideological goals is a long game that will be built on grassroots organizing and local electoral engagement. He is taking the first steps in that direction.

In his interview with Brendon Leslie, Flynn made the observation that “There’s two sides to the truth. No, there’s actually three sides to the truth. There’s your truth. There’s my truth. And then there’s the truth itself.”

True enough. And in another insight, Flynn has written: “I was once told if we’re not careful, 2 percent of the passionate will control 98 percent of the indifferent 100 percent of the time.”

In Southwest Florida as much as anywhere else, that is absolutely true.

Liberty lives in light

© 2021 by David Silverberg

UPDATED: Michael Flynn, QAnon-related show cancelled in Fort Myers, new location concealed

Michael Flynn, center, pledges “Where we go one, we go all,” a QAnon slogan, in a July 4, 2020 video he posted that was reported by CNN. (Image: CNN)

March 3, 2021 by David Silverberg

The dinner and fundraising event featuring Michael Flynn, former national security advisor, and Red Pill Roadshow, a QAnon-promoting traveling production, which was scheduled to come to Fort Myers, Fla., on March 11, has been cancelled in its originally scheduled location.

A new location will be revealed only to ticketholders 12 hours before the event, according to its organizer, The Florida Conservative blog.

Management at the Treehouse Rooftop Lounge, an entertainment venue in the Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers, where the event was to have taken place, confirmed its cancellation there.

Word of the cancellation was also spread yesterday by an officer of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

The fate of a “secret” Michael Flynn dinner in Naples scheduled for March 10 remains unclear. (For more on the Fort Myers event, Red Pill Roadshow and background on QAnon, see: “QAnon show, Michael Flynn, coming to Fort Myers.”)

Local television reporter Amelia Fabiano with NBC-2 News interviewed Red Pill Roadshow’s president, Brian Gamble, on Feb. 26, who denied that the production company promotes the QAnon conspiracy theory.

“I’ve never really believed in the Q doctrine, but I believe that Americans should have a right to free speech,” Gamble told Fabiano. “To say we’re a Q event or anything like that – nothing could be further from the truth. We’re a free speech event.”

The new announcement was made the day before some QAnon cultists hold out hope that Trump will somehow take power on March 4, when inaugurations occurred prior to passage of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution in 1937.

Liberty lives in light

© 2021 by David Silverberg

QAnon show, Michael Flynn, coming to Fort Myers

Michael Flynn, center, pledges “Where we go one, we go all,” a QAnon slogan, in a July 2020 video he posted that was reported by CNN. (Image: CNN)

Feb. 23, 2021 by David Silverberg

Michael Flynn, the disgraced former national security adviser, and a QAnon-promoting traveling roadshow are coming to Fort Myers.

Two fundraising events with Flynn are scheduled for Thursday, March 11. One will be a dinner at the Roots Restaurant and Treehouse Rooftop Lounge on Bell Tower Drive in Fort Myers, according to the organizers.

The event marks the emergence of Flynn from a previously announced “secret location.” He was to have been the main speaker at a fundraising dinner in Naples on March 10.

However, when the original venue, Shula’s Steakhouse, canceled the booking, the dinner was moved to the “secret location,” according to its organizer, Christy McLaughlin, a former Republican congressional candidate and conservative activist. That dinner was intended to benefit her Constitutional Warriors Political Action Committee.

In the past, McLaughlin had organized a Naples fundraiser that featured Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio, who appeared unannounced at the event. McLaughlin also promised unnamed and unannounced guests at the Flynn dinner.

The new dinner is being presented by The Florida Conservative, a conservative blog, and Red Pill Roadshow. No names for specific individuals are provided by either organization’s website.

Red Pill Roadshow is a traveling production that promotes the QAnon conspiracy theory in a tent-revival atmosphere. It was born out of a 2019 Washington, DC rally called “The Great Awakening,” which in QAnon mythology is an apocalyptic battle between Donald Trump supporters and their enemies. (In American history “the Great Awakening” was a religious revival that swept the American colonies in the 1730s and 40s.)

QAnon is a widely-repudiated online conspiracy theory holding that a secret cabal of Satan-worshipping, cannibalistic pedophiles are running a global child sex-trafficking ring and controlling the country and its culture. The cabal was said to be plotting against Donald Trump who was secretly fighting them while in office. This battle was to culminate in “The Storm” or “The Great Awakening,” when Trump was going to round up members of the cabal in mass arrests. Q is supposedly a high-level intelligence officer who chronicled the battle.

Red Pill Roadshow was founded in 2019, according to its website, and is dedicated to “Bringing The Great Awakening to your town.” The “red pill” is a reference to the 1999 movie The Matrix, in which a red pill reveals the truth about a falsely constructed world.

The video on the Red Pill Roadshow website features a “Great Awakening” event in Washington, DC event held on Sept. 11, 2019.

“While putting the show together, we experienced how the fake media and big tech worked hand-in-hand in attempting to silence our opposing political views,” states the text on the website. “However, their efforts to censor us and to deny us our right to peacefully assemble and to free speech didn’t have the desired outcome the opposition had hoped for.

“So, now enter the Red Pill Roadshow, created specifically to bring The Great Awakening free-speech events to your town!” 

According to the website, Red Pill Roadshow has been banned from Twitter and Instagram.

In Florida, Red Pill Roadshow has held events in Jacksonville and Tampa. An extensive account of the August 2020 Jacksonville event appeared on the website DailyDot.com, an online news outlet, in an article, “On the floor for the Red Pill Roadshow, a QAnon tent revival.”

According to that article, McLaughlin addressed the Jacksonville crowd, saying that “If Donald Trump isn’t re-elected in November, America will cease to exist.” The article quotes her saying  she was “thrown out of law school for being a conservative. ‘Now I’m Florida International University’s worst nightmare,’ she snarled, then suggested defunding colleges.”

The article also stated that: “A stack of fliers on a trashcan encouraged joining right-wing militias, including Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Three Percenters.”

QAnon was specifically condemned by a resolution passed in the US House of Representatives in October 2020, which found that “the conspiracy theories promoted by QAnon undermine trust in America’s democratic institutions, encourage rejection of objective reality, and deepen our Nation’s political polarization.” The resolution passed by a vote of 371 to 18, with two of Southwest Florida’s representatives voting for it. (Then-Rep. Francis Rooney was absent.)

According to the announcement on the Florida Conservative blog, the Fort Myers event consists of two fundraisers, one for SW Florida Heroes Foundation, Inc., which benefits first responders.

The beneficiary of the second fundraiser is not revealed in the announcement.

In the past, McLaughlin has been an adamant opponent of  COVID-related masking. While the event announcement does not say if masks and social distancing will be required, the likelihood is that it will be unmasked.

Liberty lives in light

© 2021 by David Silverberg

Donalds sides with Marjorie Taylor Greene while Diaz-Balart votes against her, bucking Republicans

In first floor speech, Donalds attacks $15 minimum wage, Biden plan to aid the needy

Forced to wear a mask under House rules, anti-masker Rep. Byron Donalds delivers his first speech on the floor of the US House yesterday. (Image: C-SPAN)

Feb. 4, 2021 by David Silverberg

Tonight, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-19-Fla.) voted to allow Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-14-Ga.) (also referred to by her initials, MTG) to retain her committee assignments in the House of Representatives—in contrast to fellow Southwest Florida congressman, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.), who voted to strip them away.

Donalds, along with fellow Southwest Floridian Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.), was in the minority and House Resolution 72 passed by a vote of 230 to 199.

Committee assignments are critical for members of Congress to have input into legislation, represent their districts and contribute to governing the United States.

Greene had propagated baseless conspiracy theories like QAnon, called for the assassination of fellow members of Congress, including House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-12-Calif.), denied the reality of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, said the Sandy Hook and Las Vegas shootings were fake and staged by anti-gun activists, made anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic accusations including that lasers in outer space run by the Rothschild family created California wildfires, and supported former President Donald Trump’s contention that he won the election, which he has conclusively been shown to have lost.

The resolution was extremely short and simple:

“Whereas clause 1 of rule XXIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives provides, ‘A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.’; and

“Whereas Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene should be removed from her committee assignments in light of conduct she has exhibited: Now, therefore, be it

“Resolved, That the following named Member be, and is hereby, removed from the following standing committees of the House of Representatives: Committee On The Budget: Mrs. Greene of Georgia. Committee On Education And Labor: Mrs. Greene of Georgia.”

House Resolution 72

As of this writing, Donalds had not issued a statement on his vote.

In contrast, Diaz-Balart tweeted: “I’ve previously stated that MTG’s comments are unacceptable, & today I voted to remove her from her committee assignments.” Diaz-Balart went on to list Democratic members whom he thought should also be punished for their remarks including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-5-Minn.), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-43-Calif.) and former representative Cynthia McKinney. “If MTG is being removed from her committee positions for her past inappropriate comments, then these members should’ve received the same treatment. I’ll continue to demand that Democratic leadership & the press stop the double standard & hold these members equally accountable.”

As of this writing Steube had not issued a statement on his vote but had tweeted criticism of Democrats for not wishing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance before House Judiciary Committee hearings.

Donalds denounces Biden

In addition to his vote to protect Greene, Donalds delivered his first floor speech on Wednesday, Feb. 3, denouncing President Joe Biden’s plan to stimulate the economy and assist Americans in need due to the pandemic.

Donalds participated in the debate over House Concurrent Resolution 11, establishing the US budget for fiscal year 2021 and setting future budget levels for the decade ahead.

The bill passed by a party-line vote of 218 to 212, with Donalds voting against it.

“This budget resolution is not about economics, it is not about COVID-19, it is not about helping our schools reopen,” Donalds said in his 4-minute speech. “This budget resolution is purely politics. It is an opportunity to push through an agenda through budget reconciliation where, if you actually studied our economy, and studied the fact that now close to 40 million Americans have been vaccinated by the vaccine from the tracks that are getting reopened. We should study this. We should be more targeted and we should not be putting forward a massive spending bill where no study has ever been given.”

In the speech he argued that $1 trillion from the previous year had already been appropriated and not yet spent. He argued that opening up economies—despite the pandemic—was the best way to fight unemployment. He also opposed raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, which is in the Biden plan, arguing that it would actually decrease employment.

He opposed a $170 billion provision to help local school districts reopen, pointing out that teachers picketing for safe schools, particularly in Chicago, would not help schools reopen, unlike Florida, where schools are opening despite the pandemic. “All they need is leadership,” he said of schools. “They don’t need more money.”

He also opposed any aid to state and local governments. “If you want to help state and local governments take care of their revenue problem, you should open up. They should not come back to this Capitol and get money. Because why should Florida pay for New York?”

He also sent a letter with his objections to Pelosi.

Donalds now on committees

Donalds has now received his committee assignments and sits on the Committee on Oversight and Reform, House Budget Committee, and House Committee on Small Business.

On the Oversight and Reform Committee, Donalds will sit on the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee and the Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee.

Other well-known members of the full Oversight and Reform Committee include three Democratic members of the progressive “squad:” Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-14-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-13-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-7-Mass.). Rep. Jim Jordan (R-4-Ohio), a vocal defender of Donald Trump, sits on the Republican side.

On the House Budget Committee, Donalds will be serving with Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-3-Colo.) an extreme right-wing member. This was the committee on which he would have served with Greene had she kept her assignment.

Liberty lives in light

© 2021 by David Silverberg