Those angry right-wing truckers are still promising that at least 3,000 of their number will be showing up in Washington, D.C., this weekend to bring traffic along the Beltway to a grinding halt as part of a protest of what organizers call “the blatant disregard of our Constitution.”
It’s not so clear, however, whether the protest organizers will be able to deliver on those promises. Some participants appear to be backing out – or at least tempering their rhetoric – and the protest so far appears to be, as a conservative Washington Timescolumnist put it, “disorganized and confusing.”
Much of the confusion was spawned by a participant named Earl Conlon, a Georgia trucker who earlier told U.S. News and World Report that the protesters intended to arrest President Obama and members of Congress. A couple of days later, he told aWashington Post reporter that the whole thing was a hoax and that he wouldn’t be showing up after all.
However, Conlon was never one of the organizers of the event. That title belongs to Zeeda Andrews, a former country singer who appeared on Glenn Beck’s television show this week to explain that, indeed, the protest was proceeding according to plan. At the protest’s Facebook page, Andrews and other participants dismissed the Washington Poststory as disinformation ordered by the Obama administration.
Andrews told Beck that she had 3,000 “RSVPs” from other truckers. She also urged non-truckers to participate by refusing to buy anything on the weekend.
However, Andrews’ credibility is probably not much greater than Conlon’s, considering her lengthy history of dubious pronouncements. As Ben Dimiero at Media Mattersexplored at length, Andrews has a considerable record of imbibing bizarre antigovernment conspiracy theories.
They include her belief that Obama is actually Osama bin Laden in disguise, as she described in a YouTube post: “He is alive call me crazy but, Osama Bin Laden is our Obama do your research,” she wrote. “The CIA has been preparing for this since he was a boy. They have same height, bone structure, hands and ears both are left handed the Osama face was created by Hollywood. The fox is in the hen house.”
The report also demonstrates that Andrews has a history of posting racially incendiary material, including photos suggesting that Obama is a secret Muslim, to her Facebook page. Among her “likes” are a variety of conspiracy theories, including so-called “chemtrail” theories positing that passenger jets flying across American skies are secretly poisoning or drugging the population.
Also, as we noted earlier, the truckers’ protest is employing far-right radio host Pete Santilli as one of its chief media spokesmen. Santilli is perhaps best known for wishing on the air that he could shoot Hillary Clinton in the vagina. As RightWingWatch notes, Santilli angrily denounced Conlon’s threat to arrest members of Congress, saying the truckers only were demanding the impeachment of Obama.
But on Wednesday, as Media Matters reports, Santilli called for violence if the trucker protest fails. Santilli referred to a group of militiamen who dub themselves “Three Percenters” – that is, a tiny faction willing to take violent action – in the rant: “If we do not rise up this week, peacefully, there is going to be Three Percenters who I will also join, to make it not so peacefully. That's what's going to happen,” he said.
“Okay, our country will be saved,” Santilli continued. “There is a select few of us, we'll call them Three Percenters that will take the next logical step to stop our domestic enemies. It will be stopped, I'm going to say this, this is not a threat. We will defend our nation to the absolute death.”