What you weren’t taught in school about how your government works.
Who appoints our Supreme Court? The President? Or a Catholic fundamentalist who controls a network of right-wing groups funded by dark money?
A few days ago our colleague @AltDIA made an interesting discovery. Twitter bots tweeting identical messages: “As a Hoosier, I’m calling on @SenDonnelly to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.”
You can see this botnet in action here.
We thought this was unusual, and somewhat disturbing. A Twitter botnet lobbying for a Supreme Court nominee? Is this really what our Democracy has come to?
The Kavanaugh Twitter Bots
We had a closer look at the image in these tweets. JCN? Judicial Crisis Network? Who are these people?
A quick search of Twitter led to this interesting bit of research by @RobertMaguire_. Apparently someone had set up several websites in support of conservative judicial contenders, even before Kavanaugh’s nomination was announced.
On July 9th, these sites were all in “maintenance” mode:
> Confirm Kethledge for Raymond Kethledge
> Confirm Barrett for Amy Coney Barrett
> Confirm Hardiman for Thomas Hardiman
> Confirm Kavanaugh for Brett Kavanaugh
As soon as Kavanaugh’s nomination was announced, his site went “live”. And sure enough, there is a link to Judicial Crisis Network at the bottom of the page.
Justice Kennedy announced his resignation on June 27. Did Judicial Crisis Network set up these domains and websites that quickly? How far in advance was this planned? We were curious, so we checked the dates of the domain registrations and hosting.
Turns out this was planned LONG ago.
The Confirm Kavanaugh domain was purchased in February 2017. The Confirm Kethledge and Confirm Hardiman domains were purchased even earlier — in December 2016! Hosting was set up for those three domains in May of 2017. Confirm Barrett was purchased and hosted in November of 2017.
Guess it always pays to be prepared. You never know when a Supreme Court vacancy might be up for grabs.
Can seats on the Supreme Court be purchased? Can United States Senators be influenced by bot infested social media propaganda? Is this how Democracy is supposed to work?
Follow the Money
Who are the people behind Judicial Crisis Network? Whose money are the spending in their effort to swing our Supreme Court to the far right?
Judicial Crisis Network spent $7 million to block the confirmation of Merrick Garland and $10 million on ads to secure Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation.
Where did they get this kind of money? Mainly from a single anonymous donor. Someone donated nearly $18 million dollars to this organization. Who was it? No one knows. Here is an interesting article about Judicial Crisis Network.
Did a single, anonymous donor buy a seat on the United States Supreme Court?
And who is calling the shots at Judicial Crisis Network? Who is buying those domains? Most importantly, who is creating that short list of judicial nominees for Trump to “nominate”?
That man is Leonard Leo. Read this beautifully researched Daily Beast article about him. Read it and weep.
Right-Wing Dark Money
A Catholic fundamentalist who controls a network of right-wing groups funded by dark money. Leonard Leo is on leave from the Federalist Society to personally assist Trump in picking a replacement for Justice Kennedy.
His beliefs? Human life begins at conception. Homosexuality is immoral. Food is for nourishment. Sex is for procreation. This man is working to send us back to the days of public stonings for immoral behavior. Back to the days of shame and intolerance.
Is this the man we want to shape our future as a nation?
And I suppose if we want a glimpse on the next three Supreme Court Nominees we only need to look here:
We are now in a country where a select few are making the decisions that affect all of us. There are no more rules. Not for them.
Read @mikefarb1‘s thread about this on Twitter, here.
For more information on how to spot a bot, see our Bot Tutorial.
Written by Unhackthevote
Read More Commentary about Social Media:
Fake Social Media Accounts, Real World Impact
Yellow Vest Twitter Bots Pushing for Violent Revolt in America
PewDiePie and Amplification of White Supremacist Rhetoric on Twitter