Stories Chosen For You
On Friday, CNN reported that one of the people who tried to "influence" the testimony of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, did so on the request of Hutchinson's former boss, Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
"Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the vice chairwoman of the committee, brought up two examples of possible witness intimidation at a hearing featuring Hutchinson, who was an aide to Meadows in the Trump White House, earlier this week, without naming a witness or who made contact," reported Zachary Cohen, Ryan Nobles, and Annie Grayer. "Sources now tell CNN that both instances recounted by Cheney were directed at Hutchinson, and that Hutchinson believes the messages were intended to impact her testimony."
"In one instance, Cheney said a witness received a call in which someone said: '(A person) let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he's thinking about you. He knows you're loyal, and you're going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition,'" said the report.
According to the report, Meadows' team vehemently denies anything of the sort happened, with Meadows spokesperson Ben Williamson saying, "No one from Meadows camp, himself or otherwise, ever sought to intimidate or shape her conversations with the committee."
Legal experts have suggested that Meadows is facing serious liability for his active involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 election, with former prosecutor Larry Hitman saying that the Justice Department is likely to make Meadows the subject or target of a criminal investigation.
Hutchinson provided a number of explosive new details about Trump's alleged behavior on the day of the attack, including that he demanded rioters be allowed to march to the Capitol even knowing that they were armed, and that he assaulted his own protective detail after the Secret Service told him he couldn't join his supporters at the site of the attack.
Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Friday denied being in a feud with a three-year-old Muppet in his latest incident involving a resident of Sesame Street.
The brouhaha started when the educational TV show ran a public service announcement in which Elmo gets vaccinated.
In the PSA, Elmo's dad Louie says he had questions about the vaccine and spoke with the family's pediatrician.
"I learned that Elmo getting vaccinated was the best way to keep himself, our friends, neighbors, and everyone else healthy and enjoying the things they love," he said.
On Tuesday, Cruz complained that Sesame Street had Elmo "aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5."
CBS News published a story under the headline, "Elmo talks about getting COVID vaccine; Ted Cruz has a problem with that."
Days later Cruz was still thinking about the fictional character known for referring to himself in the third person.
"Corporate media having fun pretending I’m in a fight with the red furry muppet Elmo. Nope," Cruz claimed, on day three of his complaints about vaccinations.
He then launched the conspiracy theory that the PSA, "spread dishonest government propaganda to toddlers."
And this was not the first time he's complained about a resident of Elmo's neighborhood getting vaccinated.
In November, the Harvard-educated lawyer attacked Sesame Street after Big Bird was vaccinated and received mockery so widespread he was roasted on "Saturday Night Live."
\u201cIt's okay to have questions about COVID-19 vaccines for children! Elmo's dad Louie talked to their pediatrician, and learned that Elmo getting vaccinated is the best way to keep him and his whole neighborhood safe and healthy! #CaringForEachOther\u201d— Sesame Street (@Sesame Street) 1656423000
The movement is anti-government in nature, and its followers believe they’re immune from the laws of their government. They also have a proclivity for violence, as demonstrated by a number of high-profile incidents, including an armed standoff in Massachusetts in July 2021.
As a behavioural scientist and researcher of this movement, I have been monitoring Romana Didulo, a conspiracy influencer based in British Columbia, who has proclaimed herself “Queen of Canada,” “commander-in-chief,” “Head of State and Government” and “president and national Indigenous chief of the Kingdom of Canada.”
Recently, Didulo has promoted herself to “Queen of the World.”
‘Queen of Canada’ tours the country
She tours Canada in a recreational vehicle, accompanied by an entourage. They hold “meet and greets” where Didulo speaks formally. These are recorded and posted on multiple channels on Telegram, an encrypted messaging app.
Didulo has nearly 66,000 followers, known as “I AMs.” They are currently raising funds to purchase a new $65,000 RV for their queen.
Didulo is a sovereign citizen of a different variety. She espouses a dogma comprised of a mixture of QAnon conspiracy theories, pseudo-legal sovereign-citizen beliefs and new age spirituality.
She tells her followers of her supernatural abilities. She claims she can become invisible by “cloaking” herself. This power is not unusual for beings of her race, she says. She is not of this Earth. She is a member of a highly advanced, alien race — an Arcturian, an alien being with special celestial powers.
They possess “med beds.” Med beds, according to Didulo, are advanced healing chambers that cure medical ailments, regrow limbs and organs, reverse aging and can even make one immortal.
She promises full access to these beds, complete with their miracles, to all of her followers. Telegram posts suggest that many of her followers are fervently awaiting her promised technology, possibly delaying legitimate medical care.
A follower asks Didula a question about Med beds on her Telegram page.
Didulo’s speeches are filled with fantastical stories, including how she became the reigning monarch of Canada. She claims the Chinese military had clandestinely invaded secret, underground tunnels that criss-cross Canada. With great difficulty, she commanded her forces and cleared the tunnels of the Chinese communists.
She also claims to have access to the billions of dollars stored at the Vatican. She claims to be a “shape shifter” who can assume any physical appearance she chooses. The “U.S. commander-in-chief” has assigned Didulo to end the war in Ukraine by acting as the “mediator” between United States and Russia. She claimed recently that Russian President Vladimir Putin, a close friend, had personally gifted her an autographed watch.
It’s tempting to take Didulo lightly, but she is not an innocuous figure. She has strong influence over her many followers. Most recently, she has “decreed” that in Canada, all utilities are free, taxes are optional and all debts have been wiped clean. In response, some followers have stopped paying their bills, have had their utilities shut off and lost their homes.
Didulo followers ask for help on her Telegram page.
Last year, she instructed her followers to send “cease-and-desist” letters to school and health-care officials involved in COVID-19 testing, vaccines or masking efforts.
Didulo believes that anyone who received the COVID-19 vaccine has had their DNA restructured and is slowly, but inevitably, turning into a controllable robot. She does, however, offer a cure that requires listening daily to sounds at certain designated frequencies.
In 2021, she was detained for allegedly encouraging her followers to “shoot to kill” anyone involved in vaccinating young people against COVID-19, adding that the “traders” — or traitors — will face a military tribunal punishable by “fire squad or hanging.”
One of her followers was subsequently arrested after posting online threats aimed at his daughter’s school.
Didulo seems to have a vindictive streak. She brags about being a dictator. Anyone complaining that her decrees are ineffective will be banned from her Telegram pages. Ex-followers report that she has threatened to shoot them or “hang them …from military helicopters” and hover them “above a volcano or commercial crocodile farms…”
She commonly refers to herself in the third person, often proclaiming her importance. She says she renamed the city of Victoria “Queen Romana City” and Prince Edward Island to “Province of Queen Romana.”
Didulo is deceiving her followers. Her decrees are hurting them. Nothing she suggests is legal or true. Her followers are hurt, but they are not blameless. They are drawn to her because of greed. They want something for nothing. She promises them free money, no bills, no taxes and all they have to do is believe.
In reality, they are trying to steal gas, electricity, water and to refrain from repaying the money they’ve borrowed from banks. As they see it, they are entitled to free money and utilities. They want gas without paying for it. They want to stop paying the mortgage company, but still hold onto their homes.
For people motivated by greed, her philosophies and teachings offer a justification for thievery. All they have to do is believe that the real leader of Canada and the world is a shape-shifting alien, a starseed from Arcturia.
Like most followers of conspiracy theorists espousing outlandish falsehoods, Didulo’s disciples will learn the hard way that they’ve been duped. In the meantime, they can cause serious real-world problems, and even terror, for their fellow law-abiding citizens. That’s why Didulo’s rise must not be ignored.
Her tactics and edicts are nonsense with no basis in reality. They do not work and will never work. They are not legal, and there are no loopholes that excuse people from being good, responsible citizens.