Joe Henderson: Jan. 6 Committee puts the spotlight on Florida extremism
Members of Congress go to bat for the treatment of insurrectionsts.

The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers believe they're saving the 'real' America from all those other faux Americans who don't think like them.

Cable news hosts have to give around-the-clock attention to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, but most Americans prefer the abridged version.

So, as a public service to those with actual lives to live and families to feed, here goes: Florida is turning into a cauldron of crazy.

You may believe that’s not news, but as the Palm Beach Post and Sarasota Herald-Tribune combined to report, right-wing Florida groups have raised the stakes.

They said Florida leaders of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys strategized together before the Capitol attack. They kept in touch with Florida men Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, who are close buddies of disgraced former President what’s-his-name from Mar-a-Lago.

Flynn and former Overstock President and CEO Patrick Byrne of Sarasota County attended a Dec. 18 meeting at the White House. Byrne reportedly advocated having the National Guard seize voting machines.

The news outlets based this story on the evidence presented to the Jan. 6 committee.

Facts can be such inconvenient things to conspiracy theorists, which may explain another statistic.

Florida leads the nation with 94 individuals facing insurrection-related charges. The state is home to 43% of the Oath Keepers and 34% of the Proud Boys arrested in connection with the attack.

I used to believe the people in these groups were yahoos who loved playing weekend soldier games and drew straws to see which one got to be Clint Eastwood. If nothing else, the Committee hearings show what’s really afoot.

Maybe this was just the next logical progression.

Florida, after all, is no stranger to extremism. The Ku Klux Klan, for instance, had a strong presence in Florida during the early and mid-1900s. Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa were hotbeds of Klan activity.

This is different, though.

As terrifying as the Klan was, it couldn’t match what we see today. Its members didn’t own high-powered weapons and a sense of mission. Today’s groups are highly motivated individuals with a warped sense of patriotism. While some rioters may have gotten caught up in something they didn’t anticipate, the leaders of the coup attempt believed they could keep the Mar-a-Lago menace in power.

They bought the lie of a stolen election, a myth that wingnuts continue to insist is true.

They believe they’re saving the “real” America from all those other faux Americans who don’t think like them.

That includes gays, immigrants, progressives, feminists and Jews — and that’s probably the shortlist.

When the useful idiot we know as the former President took office, it was Christmas morning for these people. That gave them validation to press the attack.

The Oath Keepers believe the federal government is part of a vast conspiracy to rob “real Americans” of their rights. During the 2016 presidential campaign, an article on their website stated that if Hillary Clinton won the election, it likely would trigger an all-out civil war.

And they are in our backyard.

Conservative media basically has ignored the House Select Committee findings, probably because it rips the scab off their narrative. This stuff is real, though, and it’s naïve to believe a damning report and a few arrests will shut it down.

That should scare everyone.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Elliott Offen

    July 13, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    Certain areas of Florida need military intervention to smash the right wing terrorists. Send tanks…

  • Jerry

    July 13, 2022 at 8:12 pm

    Economic report today shows inflation up 9 points. 13 straight months of inflation. This country is heading towards an economic crash. And we want to talk about a kangaroo committee on a fishing expedition?
    This committee is a farce. They highlight testimony that confirms their narrative and then refuse to allow anyone to testify that might contradict the narrative. They have Hutchinson testify but refuse to let the Secret Service (who was actually in the car) testify. That right there is all the proof I need that this whole committee is a gigantic waste of time designed to push the left-wing narratives. It has zero credibility. Any attempt to bring charges against anyone is going to fall apart in the courts immediately. Nearly all this “evidence” would be inadmissible in a criminal trial.

    The Democrats are terrified that MAGA is going to win again. They should be scared. The president has an approval rating in the low 30s and looks more and more like he should be in a nursing home. The economy is falling apart. Polls shows Hispanics are moving away from the Democratic party. Republicans have over a million new voters nationwide since 2020. Liberals have offered nothing to Americans but bigger government, less freedoms, and endless lectures how everyone with pale skin is automatically as racist. You are going to lose!

    • Jim

      July 13, 2022 at 8:38 pm

      You are supporting a crook and a criminal Jerry. Anyone who feels the way u do about this country is evil, like your idol dear cult leader. What’s your wonderful party doing for you!? Absolutely nothing. It’s the party of liars who are fine with committing treason. The take away party- taking away voting rights, a woman’s right to abortion, and per Senator Rick Scott— wanting to sunset social security and Medicare! Yeah man, that sounds great, I’ll vote for that! Do your research and wake up before you’re living in an Authoritarian governement.!

      • Jerry

        July 14, 2022 at 7:26 am

        The Republicans didn’t try to force me out of a job because I refused to inject myself with experimental vaccines. The Republicans aren’t trying to destroy the 2nd amendment. The Republicans are not trying to censor the internet. The Republicans aren’t trying to pack the courts and make radical changes to our institutions. We have an attorney general that considers it domestic terrorism for parents to speak up at school board meetings. But the Republicans are the authoritarians?

        Voting rights? Who’s being prevented from voting? You got more than a month of mail in voting. You got over 2 weeks of early voting. Yet you have liberals claiming they don’t have enough time to vote???? What the hell are you talking about? No we are not going to mail ballots to everyone and go door to door collecting them. No. No. We aren’t doing that. If you are too lazy to get off your tush to put a ballot in your mailbox I don’t want you voting. We all have responsibilities as adults. We have to pay our bills. We have to renew our drivers licenses. We have to do our tax returns. These things all have deadlines or else bad things happen. It’s part of being an adult. If you want to vote, be an adult and follow the rules and vote before the deadlines. It’s not hard. I’ve worked 60-hour weeks and still found time to vote. People who say they can’t find time get no sympathy from me.

    • Susan Booth

      July 17, 2022 at 1:48 pm

      “Methinks thou dost protest too much.”

  • Tom

    July 13, 2022 at 8:50 pm

    Hardly, this is a new low for Joe H and FP.
    Jim, Elliott, and Joe you can disagree with the 6th and still not agree with the star chamber. No cross examination, no constitutional protections, due process and on. This is just a side show, Pelosi dis information campaign. Cheney will get crushed in August primary. The Cheney’s aren’t happy as long as they can maim American boys for their meaningless wars, Pelosi hated Dick Cheney,

    Joe you are just trying to pump up Murphy, she’s going no where.

    Jerry is correct, Biden Harris cause Americans to eat dog food now with inflation. It’s always about the economy.

    Dems will lose Congress, they and Biden have destroyed American economy.

  • ScienceBLVR

    July 13, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    Joe always speaks the truth..some folks just don’t want to hear it, and can’t climb out of the conspiracy theory rabbit hole to realize it. The Proud Boys and other cowardly men, and lets emphasize the word “boys” here because women don’t do stupid violent stuff like this, must be suffering from some kind of “wish mine was bigger” envy. The Republican Party supports and encourages this idiocy. Vote them out!

  • Jim

    July 13, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    What’s wrong Tom? You don’t like FACTS? These are REPUBLICANS testifying under oath. You think they’re all lying? Cmon, quit kidding yourself! Cheney knows she’s going to lose. I’m sure at this stage she doesn’t care. It’s about FACTS and trying to wake up half the country that doesn’t want to admit to how sickening Jan 6 was! Something this republican party of today doesn’t seem to want to hear about. Pretty darn pathetic.

  • Tom

    July 13, 2022 at 9:54 pm

    Yeah talk about pathetic, your potus snd v potus are pathetic with cabinet, staff.

    Jim, I said you can disagree with Jan 6 and still not agree with the constitutional abuses. There are plenty. Do you view these incompetents star chamber members March in like a Stalin tribunal.

    This is impeachment # three. Which is a witch hunt clearly, Joe and FP have reached a new low with this. Anything that has scum bags like Cheney and pathological liar Adam Schiff is a fix.

    I don’t know what Repub. you reference, Cheney has scraped so much off curb, she had Adam schiff in her nails. She will get annihilated. Kinzinger was gerrymandered by your Dummycrats in Illinois. They have been dropped by party.

    This clearly is a partisan political witch hunt. Hunter Biden is a sick pathetic human. You, media and Dems would be urinating in pants if these were the Trump family.

    You and mis believer are partisan hacks.

    Spare us.

    • tom palmer

      July 13, 2022 at 10:26 pm

      Treason is a federal crime, you know. Quit whining about the failed coup leaders who are facing the charges they deserve and maybe the guy who looks good in orange will be next somewhere down the line. There is no star chamber, no Stalin show trials. Everyone will get due process guaranteed by the Constitution. Merrick Garland, who in a more politically honest world, would have been on the Supreme Court but is now–despite criticism from the left–making sure no one who doesn’t deserve to be prosecuted will be dragged into court. Trump and his minions wanted it otherwise. The idea that everyone who doesn’t agree with you politically should assassinated, as your buddies advocated is un-American .Maybe you should go back to Manchuria.

      • Tom

        July 14, 2022 at 8:16 pm

        No one has been charged with
        “treason” no one, ocean.

        Stop making Stalin star chamber accusations with no facts like Adam take a Schiff. Really ocean Joe.

  • Jim

    July 13, 2022 at 10:14 pm

    Are u even capable of making a logical thought? I just decided I was arguing with a crazy person who’s in denial of FACTS. I’d get a better response talking to a brick wall. I guess u are just fine with being lied to by minions for a con man. Got news for u— your idol LOST BIGLY— by 8 million votes ( NOT FAKE NEWS!)…. and it could be republican testimony that puts him in the slammer where he belongs. That’s my last response to you. Go climb back down your rabbit hole!

    • Tom

      July 14, 2022 at 8:37 am

      It is a star chamber, they March in together and march out.

      There is no due process, none.
      It’s a joke, not even open and honest.
      Two pathetic replies, by hacks of hate.

      Nothing proved, nothing provided.
      Schiff, Lofgren and Raskin will be expelled from the new Repub. majority in Congress. They are scurrilous and pathetic liars.

      Ocean your reference to Garland is hysterical. He wouldn’t even defend the Supremes safety.

      You don’t get to decide if and when to offer due process, it’s automatic, constitutional, not a whim based upon Cheney, Schiff and other star chamber narratives.

      Pelosi refused national guard.
      Stalin star chamber ain’t playing in Peoria, is the old line.

      Jim you are a partisan political hack.
      Ocean just a lost liberal.

      • Ocean Joe

        July 14, 2022 at 10:31 am

        Tom, Garland is weak, better suited to be a scholar on the court, but your party denied the constitutional authority of an elected president to fill the vacancy so he got a consolation prize as AG from Sleepy Joe.
        Have been watching the Jan 6 hearings. Agree they are more presentations, but the ugly truth is being distilled, just as Watergate hearings did.
        I am reminded of that West Virginia grandma, who was interviewed by reporters as she brought her grandson, a newly elected member of the WVa state house, home from jail for his role on Jan 6: “Thanks Mr. Trump for starting that riot down at the White House.” She gets it. Why don’t you?

        • Tom

          July 14, 2022 at 11:51 am

          Ocean, you know I appreciate you but you are way off.

          Garland is an embarrassment.
          It is not mandated that any potus who is presented a vacancy on the scotus is assured of approval. Regardless, his inaction and allowance of the supremes under attack is horrible.

          Repubs would have been better off voting him down; but they refuse to fill it. Same difference. Majority rules in legislative bodies. Scalia seat was not going to a Dem. period.

          As for your hearings love affair. It’s a kangaroo court, to drop in public hearings, after months of closed hearings, some 120 days before elections is a charade.

          Cheney hates Trump, as does Schiff, Raskin, Lodfen, Murphy, and Pelosi.
          Schif, Raskin, and Lofgren will be expelled in new congress.

          With today’s 10% producer price inflation, we are in a recession. Dems may lose 70 house seats. Biden/Harris are anemic.

          As for the your papering over due process, right of appeal, and justice applied equally it iis appalling that the Dems have tuned into a Stalin like party. You are subject to prosecution if you take the fifth, a Const right. Due process is not selective.

          To be clear, the re alignment is deep,
          The party of FDR is no more. Dems have abandoned the middle class, blue collar, working class. As above snd Hispanics and Asians are fleeing them. Over the culture issues that the media snd Dems wage. Legal honest immigrants see the similarities with Marxist and Socialists, Dems.

          Everyone has a right to due process, not baaed upon Schiff snd Cheney.

          Over 2/3 of public are not paying attention. The watergate hearings, in which I recall were not this one sided and horrendous.

          As for Pelosi, she refused to accept Nat guard. That’s fact, as did the incompetent DC mayor.

          Save it joe.

        • Tom

          July 15, 2022 at 7:48 am

          Ocean, It’s called dereliction of duty, under the law. Weak is a poor excuse, offering forgiveness.

          Also, No one has been accused or charged with treason.

    • Jerry

      July 14, 2022 at 6:06 pm

      This is a political witch hunt. There is no cross examination and the committee refuses to hear any testimony or evidence that contradicts their narrative.
      They make a big thing out of Hutchinson’s testimony even though it’s complete hearsay. The Secret Service contradicts her claims, but the committee won’t listen to them. Then the media keep repeating the claims in dispute as “facts.”

      This is a joke! It’s a clown show designed to distract you from the economic crash that’s about to happen. They are not interested in truth. They are trying to paint a narrative. But they will fail. No one is falling for this.

  • Bo Redfolkes

    July 14, 2022 at 3:30 am

    “The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers believe they’re saving the ‘real’ America from all those other faux Americans who don’t think like them”
    Same thing you and the other wokeys say, just from the other perspective. Takes one to know one, I guess. And we just gotta keep talkin’ and writin’ and arguin’ and fightin’, don’t we? What else is there to do? Watch Biden grump and spit at reporters? Eh, Jack?

  • Tom

    July 14, 2022 at 12:00 pm

    Again, you can disagree with the 6th, nor support but disagree with the Stalin star chamber. They never should have gone in the capital.

    Due process is not a whim. It’s a guaranteed application of the law and Const. The Clinton’s and Obama have corrupted the DoJ.

    The hearings are a sand bag, they ain’t watergate either,

    Garland is am embarrassment. No potus and or nominee guaranteed a seat. Scalia seat wasn’t going to a Dem, majority rules on vote.

    Pelosi was offered the Nat guard, as was DC mayor. Can’t have it both ways.

    No body else is watching but you 5% Manchurians.

Comments are closed.


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