There's nothing quite like watching a website get scrubbed, while you are on it.
You might want to grab a seat. This could take a while.
It all started when I stumbled on a typically awful Tweet from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But nothing new there. What really caught my eye was one particular response.
He seems so enthusiastic, doesn't he? So proud of what he's doing. Why, he wants everyone to know! Hey, guys, I'm making an accountability list, want to join in on the fun? We're naming "every Administrative staffer, campaign staffer, bundler, lawyer who represented them – everyone."
I'll give you a moment to let the shudder pass.
But here's where the real fun begins. In the tweet to which he was responding AOC warned of a "decent probability of many deleted tweets."
And then he goes and deletes his own tweet.
And hides the list he was making.
And locks up his account.
Apparently not everyone was as enthusiastic about his little project as he was, and was letting him know it.
Before we move on, what is this Trump Accountability Project? Oh, just your ordinary everyday civic exercise in total transparency.
"We should welcome in our fellow Americans with whom we differ politically."
Sounds benign enough, assuming you want to be "welcomed in" to their project. That's an odd word construct, but purposeful.
"But the world should never forget those who, when faced with a decision, chose to put their money, their time, and their reputations behind separating children from their families, encouraging racism and anti-Semitism, and negligently causing the unnecessary loss of life and economic devastation from our country's failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic."
See, it's just a civil political discussion and not at all a TDS-fueled recitation of unhinged talking points.
During the course of Friday evening, as I was doing my research, there was a subtle change made.
They added this sentence:
"But those who took a paycheck from the Trump Administration should not profit from their efforts to tear our democracy apart."
It's as if they are trying to make all this okay by adding a personal pecuniary element because money = evil, but as we will see later, they're not even doing that.
That this part of the website remains largely unchanged as of this writing should tell you a lot about the expansion of the Overton Window with regards to political discourse in this country, but there were other, more material changes made if you scroll just a bit lower.
This was how the lower part of the page appeared around 6 PM or so Friday evening. (I still had the old web site up and in cache so I could do a screen capture.) There are six categories of identified enemies of the people.
And this is how it looked about an hour later.
Oops. We're missing some categories aren't we? "Those who served him," "Those who supported him," and "Those who represented him."
Why those three?
It will help if we take a look at the enemies list now. And we can still do that because the Internet lives forever.
The list they were compiling consisted of a Google Docs spreadsheet, (that's the Wayback link), however it looked less like the slick product of sophisticated political operatives and more like the hastily thrown together product of a 16-year-old high school sophomore who forgot he had a project due tomorrow.
Before we go further, keep in mind that this is a list that promised accountability of Trump-related officials while its founder runs and hides and tries to burn all the files.
Like a typical Google spreadsheet, the categories are organized into tabs arrayed across the top.
The first category, or tab, is the overview. It parrots the website with one important, chilling difference.
"This Google Sheet is the BEGINNING of this effort."
Let the purge commence!
The second tab is "Campaign Staff." These are the people working within the framework of a constitutional republic to elect a candidate of their choice through free and open elections.
That is why they must be punished.
Next up is "Administration," the vast majority of which appears to consist of a data dump from a White House document titled "ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS ON WHITE HOUSE OFFICE PERSONNEL" dated June 30, 2017. (I redacted these names as I don't feel the need to publicize non-public people any more than necessary to get my point across.) As such, it includes such sinister Trump collaborators as stenographers, staff assistants, and other clerical and support personnel making forty-something-grand a year.
Clearly, they must be made to pay for their complicity in bringing coffee and tea to the Great Satan and his minions, the better they could separate families and foment racism because it's hard to do those things effectively when you're drowsy.
Next up are "Appointees," which consists entirely of a list of judges.
I wonder what brought that on.
The Donors list has two entries for a total of $109,300.
No wonder he's losing the election.
Under "Law Firms," there are exactly three, followed by "Endorsers," which consists of a single name, Lindsay Graham.
This is when you realize the list is starting to seem not so much chilling as sad.
Finally, there is the "Denounced" list, which appears to be, aside from the wrong form of the word, a list of people, or in this case, person, since there is also one entry here as well, who worked for the Administration and later denounced it.
Keep in mind that when you click on the original link to access the list you get denied. This list of which they were so proud is now kept out of view like an embarrassing uncle shuffled into a back room when company arrives.
Now let's return to the modified web page.
First, notice what's missing. A link to "The list." That's gone in its entirety as noted before. (The email solicitation stays the same, it just got pulled up.)
As for the categories:
"Those who served him," is gone, that's because it consists of those "appointed by Trump… to the judiciary."
Yes, they thought it best to remove the mafia hit list.
Then there are, "Those who supported him," or "Individuals… that publicly endorsed… Trump."
Someone probably pointed out that threatening a sitting U.S. senator does not quite make the "Good Ideas" list.
Finally, there is "Those who represented him," such as "Law firms that worked for… Trump."
And it's equally unwise to threaten law firms since they are known to be, you know, FULL OF LAWYERS.
Who stays? The more defenseless the better. "Those who elected him," this is campaign staff, people who aren't judges, lawyers, and sitting senators.
Then comes, "Those who staffed his government," the public servants who work for the country and who are also not judges, lawyers, or sitting senators.
And finally, "Those who funded him," perhaps the smallest and least influential of all. As little as $1,000 over an entire election cycle gets you on this list. These are regular American citizens without connections, without prep school buddies, and with little to no recourse.
And, it should be highlighted, did not take "a paycheck from the Trump Administration" or "profit from their efforts to tear our democracy apart," as promised earlier.
Like a schoolyard bully, these courageous social justice warriors are, after the first whiff of opposition, choosing to pursue the weak over the strong.
It's still not clear what The Trump Accountability Project is beyond a website and a Twitter account that appears to have been launched on election day. The website itself has absolutely no information about the group or who is part of it, even before the changes last night.
Interesting given its mission to hold people accountable.
To give you an idea how fast things are moving, this tweet was live when I started pulling this piece together around 9 PM Friday night. It was gone as of 11 PM or so, and her account is now protected.
It's not clear who "we" is, who "should never forget." Perhaps part of that "we" is another former Pete Buttigieg staffer, Hari Sevugan a well-known Democratic operative.
(Whoops! It looks like he scrubbed it in the past week or so since this was originally published. Not to worry, Hari, I saved a copy for ya.)
So, we have a couple Butigieg operatives it would seem.
While their efforts out of the gate come across as pathetic and amateurish, make no mistake, their aims are downright Stalinist.
As of this writing, Sevugan has not deleted these tweets nor protected his account. He did, however, make a change to his profile.
The original one had not only his association with Buttigieg, but his occupation: NYC Public School Teacher.
(Special thanks to Leslie McAdoo Gordon for this screen capture. She took a very similar journey through this muck and is definitely worth checking out.)
Poof. All gone.
I lived in New York for a while. I know what it's like to walk into a room and turn on the light and watch the cockroaches scatter.
No insult to cockroaches intended.
Make no mistake. These are Stalinists. These are threats, maybe not bodily harm, yet, but to shame you, make you unemployable, make you a social outcast.
And just because they are hiding, for now, doesn't mean they still aren't moving forward.
And there are more out there.
And they want you to feel pain.