Hello my habibis! I hope you all had a blessed Easter holiday. Just some quick updates for anyone who missed out:
I wrote a piece about Qanon and the Rapture.
There is a podcast that discusses this piece.
If you want to hear me cry talking about Jesus in the podcast, skip to minute 33.
Writing this piece was really difficult, cathartic, painful, illuminating, and blissful, all at once. I know personally that it has led to some difficult conversations and I deeply appreciate that. I generally feel that the more difficult the conversation, the better. Americans have a tendency to avoid the most contentious topics (politics, religion), when those are the topics we should be discussing the most, so long as you always have those conversations with grace and understanding. I hope you’ll give the piece a read and the podcast a listen.
I know the title of this week’s newsletter refers to Matt Gaetz. We will definitely talk about that chucklehead. But I think the biggest story last week was actually the trial of Derek Chauvin,1 even though Gaetz dominated the headlines.
I really cannot overstate this: The prosecution in this case has been masterful. They have called numerous experts who have all convincingly testified that the cause of George Floyd’s death was - without question - Chauvin essentially suffocating him to death by using his knee. There has been a long discussion about the role Floyd’s drug use played in his death. Multiple experts called by the prosecution testified that Floyd’s drug use was not only not at overdose levels, but that they were even below levels of intoxication in similar individuals. In other words, not only would Floyd have survived the amount of drugs in his body, he would have effectively been able to drive a car (albeit impaired). One expert stated explicitly that if a totally “normal,” healthy person had been subjected to what Floyd had, they also would have died. Even a witness that many thought would be more favorable for the defense - Dr. Andrew Baker - stated unequivocally that Floyd’s death was a homicide.
If you want to follow along with the trial, the New York Times has a really good summary at the end of each day, and I think they are sending those out as push notifications on the iPhone app. I’ll say this one last thing: Juries are hard to predict and the defense still has to call their witnesses, but all that said, I would be shocked if the jury did not return a guilty verdict for any of the charges.
Let’s talk about Matt Gaetz. If you are not familiar, Gaetz is the Florida Man/Congressman from the Sunshine State’s panhandle who is currently being investigated for both child trafficking and sleeping with a minor. The whole narrative behind this story has been really interesting, so buckle up.
On March 30th, Axios came out with a weird piece that puzzled a lot of people: They reported that Gaetz was considering retiring from Congress to take a job at Newsmax. The language in the piece was specific: It did not say that Gaetz was going to forego running for reelection in 2022. Instead, the piece said pretty explicitly that he was going to retire or resign from Congress to take on a new job.
The New York Times lifted the veil later that night: Gaetz wasn’t considering retiring because of a new job offer; he was doing so because he was being investigated for sex trafficking. Either Gaetz or someone else on his team tried to get out ahead of the New York Times story and floated a lemon to Axios.
Since then, it has been one bad headline after another for Gaetz. His investigation is tied to the prosecution of his buddy, Joel Greenberg. The most recent New York Times piece on Greenburg describes him as, “Like the Tiger King got elected tax collector.” There are reports that Greenberg is playing ball with prosecutors, which means Gaetz’s goose is pretty close to being cooked.
I think there are a few key points to keep in mind:
One of the biggest problems with journalism is that while a journalist is supposed to ask questions and break news, sometimes those aspirations conflict with the goals of law enforcement. For instance, if a journalist breaks a story that Matt Gaetz is under investigation by federal prosecutors, it will allow someone like Gaetz to clam up and hide all of his communications before the investigation is complete. That hurts law enforcement, who is trying to build a comprehensive investigation. That means they have to stay quiet and hope that their target is unaware of the investigation. However, since the Gaetz story broke, it seems like federal officials have been more than willing to talk to the Press (anonymously, of course). To me, that means that the investigation is nearly complete and Gaetz really is the goose on Christmas Eve Eve.2 I think it’s safe to say that he is about to be cooked.
Gaetz is a spoiled brat who is in Congress solely because his father is Don Gaetz, a heavily connected former State Senator. A good example: Gaetz got arrested for drunk driving and got off likely because his Daddy stepped in. If Gaetz sees even an ounce of justice, it will be a long time coming.
Florida politics is pretty incestuous and a lot of people in Gaetz’s circle run in the circles of other prominent politicians such as Marco Rubio and Ron DeSantis. Briefly: On Thursday CNN reported that a politically-connected physician, Dr. Jason Pirozzolo, had his girlfriend recruit women for Gaetz (yuck). As someone who is embedded in Florida GOP politics, Pirozzolo is familiar with DeSantis, Rubio, and also newly-minted Sunshine State Resident Donald J. Trump. There is a good chance this starts and ends with Gaetz, but it could get juicy.
One final note on Gaetz. When I started reading the stories about him, I could not help but say, “Of course!” It was really obvious that Gaetz was a creepy weirdo, and a lot of that tied back to his fervent support for one of the most immoral men to occupy the modern Presidency. I think there really is a lesson here: If you have a friend who was able to single out a guy like Gaetz out and clearly identify him as a bad guy, maybe it’s not that the liberal media is out to get conservatives and maybe you just have poor discernment? In the age of Trump, I think it’s pretty clear who the bad guys are.
Moving on to links: Derek Thompson has a really great take on Georgia’s voting law. His promo tweet actually summarizes it nicely:
Going back to Florida, I think 60 Minutes aired what can definitively be called an outright deceptive piece of reporting on DeSantis’s vaccine rollout program in Florida. I do not think that DeSantis has been a stellar example of conservative stewardship on COVID-19 (that would actually be Maryland governor Larry Hogan), but he has also gotten a lot of criticism that has been unfair. If you want a conservative take on what 60 Minutes got wrong, read Charles Cooke. If you want a more lefty take, read Erik Wemple in The Washington Post. I think conservatives hail DeSantis too much in his handling of COVID-19, but that should not excuse CBS from essentially lying about his Administration.
I want to end the newsletter on a really important note.
This is a cocktail called Outlaw Country, which is served here at Denver’s Death and Co. It is:
1 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz Pineapple Rum (Plantation)
1/4 oz Rum
1/4 oz Averna
1 tsp Vanilla Syrup
1 dash of Angostura Bitters
You are probably saying to yourself, “That is nuts, who has pineapple rum sitting around their house?” So here is me pleading with you: We are coming up to the end of a global pandemic and you are about to enter Hot (Insert Your Name Here) Summer. Pick a cocktail, buy the ingredients, and make it throughout the Spring and have a small mini-party. No one is going to die if you buy a bottle of Averna. Let us all partake in a little bit of joy and celebration.
Last pic is from our hike in Golden this past Easter Weekend. I will probably be back at some point mid-week because who doesn’t want to continue talking about Qanon??? Have a great week my beautiful, beautiful babies.
Quick refresher: Chauvin is the former police officer who has been charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
2021 is the year I make the Christmas/Christmas Eve goose. I will write a Jackal about it. Marking my territory right now and I expect all of you to hold me accountable.