We all have guilty pleasures, from a Real Housewives binge-a-thon or ending the day with some ice cream and dismemberment. Mine happens to be messing with trolls online. For those unfamiliar with the term, Trolls are people who say and do things on online comment boards to get others unjustifiably pissed.
They say things to screw with me, I say things that are pithy and sharp with just enough fact to make it stick, there's hopefully a laugh and then we all get stoned. It's a game – a messed up one, but harmless none the less. But, in real life, trolls are a little harder to come by, unless that is you see anyone with the LaRouche PAC. They are proof that not even the Internet has the ability contain all of the insanity of humanity, with it too frequently spilling out into the real world.
Stepping out of the air-conditioned Charles/MGH station into a hot and sticky Wednesday morning I found myself staring at a hand—scrawled announcement, “HILLARY REVEALS OBAMA LIED” tacked onto a stand covered in various campaign stickers and slogans. To those lucky enough to only be passing the booth it would have seemed like an overly prepared political group setting up for a day of canvassing.
For the unfortunate souls who stopped to check it out, or were finally pestered enough to stop walking, the truth was much more depressing.
Stepping up to the booth and seeing the amounts of cheaply self—printed asinine literature overflowing with too many pictures of eagles to be rational, I can almost feel the insanity approaching. At the same time, I am too drawn in to a potential new political fix to turn away.
Within moments of stopping, an unnamed campaign worker, sun—glazed and slightly sweaty looking like a coked—out Florida Republican dressed in a blue polo, pastel shorts, boat shoes and the requisite douche—aviators.
“Are you with us in impeaching the president?” He says a little too loudly with a nasal-wine. He then launches into an old screed in new wrapping paper. The Benghazi (yes, the Steve Prefontaine of pointless issues) theory he spins involves a new book recently released by a former Hillary Clinton friend reportedly detailing Clinton's initial reluctance to go along with the “official line” but was forced into line by Obama.
After mentally dismissing this weak conspiracy theory (we caught the mastermind – what more do they want?) I start asking questions about the other planks in their platform. On the surface, they could be mistaken as reasonable; they want Glass-Steagall reinstated, Wall Street Bankrupted (totally ruined). Then he starts saying that they are looking to bring America back in line with the founders intent.
Now, I should have read the signs and figured hey wouldn't be too happy to respond to questions, but I make the mistake anyway, “What do you mean by that?”
Every political group invokes the founders – at this point, I would be much more inclined to listen to someone who started their speech with, “Fuck the Founding Fathers, here's our plan.” I might not agree, but I do respond to novelty than ill—defined placations.
This is when I become personally acquainted with the debate style the LaRouchies are known for: he loudly declared that I was too stupid to understand what he was saying. Personally, I don't consider myself a genius or anything of the sort; I'm a Political Science major at a well respected Boston—Area School and have been on the deans list every semester.
Continuing his barrage through my repeated requests to educate me, he continued to call me dumb and refused to move on from the point. Over his yelling insults, I thanked him for his time, returned his paper and moved on. For most this would be the end of the story. Most aren't political junkies that just had a fix removed from right underneath their nose.
After a quick Internet search, I begin to understand just how close was to one of Americas most notorious “political cults.” Starting off as a far—left organization fueled by Trotsky inspired rage, Lyndon LaRouche began a movement that transcends the normal definitions of the spectrum in their never—ending pursuit of his delirious ramblings.
Officially the group claims to be “Democratic/Liberal,” yet most of the main stream support they have received has been from far—right activists. This is mostly due to the fact that anytime a LaRouche “Democrat” runs for office, the winner tends to be a Republican thanks to the insane talking points they waste no time in spouting.
Whatever type of national authority they once (may have) had evaporated in 1989 when Lyndon LaRouche and several of his subordinates were convicted on various counts of fraud. Though he was sentenced to 15 years, he was back out in the public eye in 1994.
Two years after being released from prison, he made another attempted run for the Democratic party's nomination for President. Though he posed no real risk of taking the nomination away from then—president Clinton, he was specifically excluded by the Chairman of the DNC at the time, Donald L. Fowler.
After LaRouche qualified for several primaries, Fowler issued a letter to all state party chairs stating in part, “Lyndon Larouche [sic] is not a bona fide Democrat...this determination is based on Mr. Larouche's expressed political beliefs, including [those] which are explicitly racist and anti-Semitic...and on his past activities including [the] exploitation of and defrauding contributers and voters.”
It wouldn't be the last time he ran for president, but it would be the last time anyone could be confused about his “legitimate” status as a candidate.
Since then, he has continued to grow his organization and spread wild conspiracy theories, such as: Being one of the first groups to spin a 9/11 truth story, the theory of climate change (not the actual event, only the theory) is a ruse by the Environmentalists to institute a “population reduction agenda,” according to one of their recently supported candidates, Kesha Rogers from Texas. Another, the US has a weather—controlling device that could end the drought in the Southwest, but isn't because of...I can't tell.
FEC filings show that so far in 2014 the group has raised and spent more than 4.2 million dollars, while only officially donating five-thousand to the failed Rogers campaign. So, the most apparent question turns out to be: Where did the rest of the 99.94% of their cash go?
By the time I finished my basic research, there were certainly more questions than answers. After pushing myself through the wet heat back to their stand, I was disappointed to find they had packed up and left (or kicked out). Undeterred, I called their office to get some better information.
As with many political organizations, they have a dedicated press line. The conversation I have with their spokesperson (I can't be sure – they aren't much into identifying themselves) confirms to me personally they are more of a cult than anything.
“Hello, are you with us in impeaching the President?” Is apparently the standard greeting for the group because this is the answer line for their press number. I ignore the bate and introduce myself – she has me spell my name twice. The Woman sounds like she would be a loving grandmother, kind but stern. She returns my greeting and is about to ask my feelings on impeachment before I stop to get her name, “Susan Director.” Not fishy at all.
She has some technical difficulties and asks me if she can call me right back, “I have your number here,” she reads the digits back to me, then disconnects. After spending an hour reading about the groups history of going after journalists, this is the only time I'm happy being a non—professional.
Calling me back from a Virginia number, Director confirms the money has been spent on outreach. “We invest a lot of our money in our outreach efforts,” Director says, rather curtly because I seem less than interested in their plans to impeach the President.
She insists that what they do is more than simple canvassing, “We are the only [PAC] doing what we do...Engaging the public and trying to open their eyes to the truth.”
Any organization that spends more than $4 million in less than a year on outreach would be bound to attract some type of media attention; the biggest blow to their credibility (or the largest confirmation of a media 'conspiracy'), a Google News search primarily returns links to their own publication, The Executive Intelligence Review, and not much else.
Her tone make the words sound less like political talking points and more like dogma. “The main stream media is brainwashing the American Public and we are trying to stop them.” When I ask her for any specific instances of brainwashing, things get weird.
“I'm suspicious of you,” she says abruptly. “I can see that you're trying to be objective – We can't be covered objectively.” The dogma returns. “The objective reporting [is turning American] citizens to spectators at their own funeral.”
The grandmotherly act quickly disappears and her inner troll comes out, “you are refusing to answer my questions about impeaching the President so I cannot tell if you are with us or against us.” She then decided to give me some writing tips, “if you want a good story, you need to talk about a grass-roots organization taking on a sitting US President and instead focusing on number crunching.”
Trying to keep her on the phone I try and get some information about the “weather machine” that LaRouche demands be turned on. “You can find all of that information on the website,” she dismisses me than hangs up.
The problem with this group isn't that they are crazy, or that they choose to hold the ramblings of a felon as close to their souls as dogma. I completely understand that we all are someone else's moron, no matter who you are. What needs to be publicized about this group is the probable fact they are stealing money from those who donate to them.
According to their spokesperson Susan, the members of the LaRouche PAC are committed to saving civilization and have a quality of passion that others cannot hope to attain. So be warned, if your travels bring you to a group that seems professional but feels crazy – you could very well be dealing with trolls in people's clothes.