FTB Presents: A Dark Intellectual Web (Episode 1)

As the night consumed the last rays of sunlight, the glowing neon lights of Lucy’s Bar and Grill stood out in the darkness like a lighthouse in a sea of ripe cornfields.  The residents of Gabrel’s Crest, population 300,  had long since retreated to their homes after an afternoon of trick or treating.  Curtains covered all the residential windows.  Not a single porch light was turned on.  Mary’s Meat Shop and Joe’s Relics, the only two businesses in Gabrel’s Crest, were closed for the night.  Cars streamed towards Lucy’s, like illuminated blood flowing towards a glowing heart.  Lucy’s full parking lot forced most of the guests to line their cars along Gabrel’s Crest small roads.  The visitors to Gabrel’s Crest, many wearing costume masks and almost none wearing protective masks, filled the otherwise still cool fall air with laughter and chatter as they walked towards Lucy’s.
A portable sign promised a “Very Special Halloween Party.”  On top of the sign, an LED display scrolled the following message:  “Abandon your cares and hope you have a good time at Lucy’s.”
Several yards away, a black pickup truck waited near the intersection of State Highway 1 and Chris Road.  The four occupants each wore dark neck gaiters and baseball caps.  One detached a badge from her belt.
(The story continues tomorrow at Freethinking Ahead!)

Bolingbrook Antifa repels invasion by the Edgar County Irregular Militia (Fiction)

The first day of early voting in Bolingbrook started with Antifa repelling the Edgar County Irregular Militia’s attempt to “secure” the Fountaindale Library.

An alleged photo of Bolingbrook Antifa’s tank

“It was a war zone!” said Patricia, who lives in the Beaconridge subdivision.  “All the drones, bear mace, milkshake mix and paint was too much!  I know Bolingbrook is the best place to live, but why are armed (expletive deleted) from Edgar County so obsessed with us?”

Joyce, a New Lenox resident who asked that we not use her last name, spotted the militia convoy while on a walk:

“They were all riding in black pickup trucks.  Most of the trucks were flying Trump and US Flags.  Everyone one of them was armed and none of them knew a thing about gun safety.  I’m surprised they didn’t shoot each other.  When the convoy stopped, they told me to take off my mask and ‘resign.’  Whatever.  One guy was nice and told me to stay away from the Fountaindale Library.  What really scared me was the artillery the rear trucks were towing. So I warned my friends in Bolingbrook Antifa that they were coming.”

According to sources embedded within Bolingbrook Antifa, Antifa launched scout drones to observe the approaching convoy.  The militia responded by shooting down several of them.  

Pete, a Bolingbrook resident, claims that militia scouts accosted him while he was walking with his wife  towards the library:

“These strange men were wearing Hawaiian shirts and bulletproof vests.  They walked up to us and tried to convince us that residents of DuPage Township weren’t allowed to vote early.  I tried to ignore them, but they said they were doing me a favor.  They said if we didn’t go home, the Edgar Calvary would arrive to perform a mass citizens’ arrest.  I asked them what gave them the right to arrest Bolingbrook voters.  They said the Illinois Code gives Edgar County Residents the right to pass judgment on the rest of the state.  That explains a lot of things.”

According to Pete, and other eyewitnesses, the scouts stopped harassing voters when an apparent group of protesters marched towards them.  From the distance, they carried the following two banners:  “Pineapple Pizza Forever!” and “Ketchup and Hot Dogs go together!”

“Stand your ground!”  Yelled one militia member as he raised his rifle.

“You can’t shoot protesters!” protested Pete.

“Why not,” asked the militia member.  “I feel threatened, so I can shoot anyone I want, and true patriots will give millions of dollars to our lawyers.  Then we can make a living collecting speaker fees from conservative think tanks.  Why wouldn’t I shoot protesters?”

The militia members opened fire on the protesters, which turned out to be mannequins mounted on robot vacuums.  As the militia members examined the remains of the mannequins, Antifa members, hiding behind trees, tossed milkshake mix grenades at them.  The militia members retreated.  

According to Pete: “They said their shirts were ruined and we laughed at them.  They did look silly after all.  Anyway, they ran away, and said we were going to be sorry.”

When the main convoy drove into Bolingbrook from South Bolingbrook Drive, Antifa used their robot vacuums to drag spike strips onto the road.  The spikes took out several of the trucks.  The leaders decided to set up a “beachhead” in the Bolingbrook Commons parking lot.  

As the militia started to set up their artillery, milkshake mortar shells rained down on their base.

“Do not resign!” yelled a militia leader, according to eyewitnesses.

Ken, a Romeoville resident who asked that we not use his last name, said:  “I felt like I was back in Iraq, only the insurgents were fighting with dairy products instead of IEDs.  I guess if we have to descend into civil war, I’d rather deal with dairy stains than bombs.”

According to radio and internet messages intercepted by reporters and other experts, the militia planned on firing “COVID” shells at the library.  From the chatter, the shells would explode over the library and rain droplets filled with the COVID-19 virus.  It is not clear whether the shells really contained the virus.  Some of the militia members seemed to believe that their COVID attack would drive away “libs” while Republicans would stay in line to vote.

Then, according to eyewitnesses and sources close to Bolingbrook Antifa, the steering committee asked for air support.  Antifa members replied that the planes were stuck on the runway at Clow Airport due to the lack of a flight plan.

Steve, a Bolingbrook resident, claims he overheard the steering committee meeting while going for a walk:

“On the other side of the fence, they were arguing how they were going to get the planes off the ground.  One of them spoke up and said it was time for a leadership moment -Whatever that means.  Any way, he must have called Clow Airport because he demanded to speak with the traffic control manager.  Then he did the best impersonation of (Former Mayor Roger Claar) that I ever heard.  It was like: ‘You know who I am?  Good!  Get my planes off the ground now, I  may not be the mayor, but my campaign fund is bigger than yours, and I know how to use it!  No, you should’ve had them off the ground five minutes ago!’  I hope Roger doesn’t find him, because I know he hates it when people impersonate him.”

Seconds later, private airplanes dropped cluster paint bombs on the militias, ruining their uniforms, guns, trucks, and equipment.

“Remind me to never play paintball with Bolingbrook Antifa.”

Witnesses heard the militia members complain about being unable to access the Edgar County Watchdog’s web page. 

“Fall back!” yelled one of the leaders.

“But we swore not to resign!”  said a member.

“We’re not resigning.  We’re reassigning!  Big difference!”

Under attack, the militia retreated south.  As they left, some witnesses said they saw DuPage Township Trustee Alyssia Benford run after them.  According to the witnesses, she yelled: “You can’t leave!  Kirk said you were going to liberate the township.  Don’t leave me!”

Bolingbrook Antifa released a statement following the clash with the Edgar County Irregular Militia:

“To paraphrase Roger, there are residents and there are foes.  Today, we defeated the fascist foes of democracy in Bolingbrook.  We will resist any fascist attempt to intimidate or harm the residents of Bolingbrook.  But we can’t do it alone.  We need every resident to vote in this election.  We’ll punch the downstate fascists for you.  You just need to vote against fascism in this election.  Together, we’ll keep Bolingbrook the most awesome community in Illinois!”

A spokesperson for the Edgar County Irregular Militia referred all questions to the Edgar County Watchdogs and added: “We will not resign until Trump is named the rightful President of the United States, and DuPage Township is dissolved!”

A person who claimed to be a member of the Edgar County Watchdogs denied any ties to the militia:

“You don’t like us, and since we’re friends with Alyssia, you must not like her too.  Since you don’t like her, that makes you a racist!  You must resign.”

Also in the Babbler:

State Representative Tom Morrison accused of spraying pheromones at voters
Here we go again: Covid Restrictions return to Bolingbrook
Aliens deliver humanitarian aid to Clow UFO Base’s ‘Doomsday Crew’
God to smite Bolingbrook on 10/24/20

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

James Randi dies at 92 (Non-fiction)

Jame Randi and me at Tam 8.

I wish this was fiction, but James Randi died yesterday. For decades he was the most famous advocate for skepticism.  From the 1970s on, he was often brought on by television to debunk psychics and other paranormal claims.  He was a frequent guest on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show  His feud with Uri Geller was legendary and the source of three lawsuits and other legal threats.   He was one of the co-founders of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, which later became the Center for Skeptical Inquiry. He later went on to form the James Randi Educational Foundation, which hosted The Amazing Meeting, which was the premier event within the skeptical movement until the foundation’s restructuring in 2015.

He was the most famous founder of the modern skeptical movement, and he was the closest equivalent to their patron saint.  But he couldn’t prevent the movement from fracturing.  The “deep rifts,” his failure to stand up to the extremely problematic leaders of the movement, and the demise of the JREF under DJ Grothe lead to the downfall of what was a growing movement.

Despite his flaws, he did inspire many to embrace science and reason and reject blind faith in the supernatural.  He might have even inspired others to go further and reject a belief in God too.

I was one of those people he influenced.  His demonstrations and writings helped make the long transition from a believer to someone who tries to practice skepticism.  He was also one of the reasons I became involved in skeptical activism in Chicagoland.

I was fortunate enough to get to know him at two TAMs, and I got to introduce him to my future wife.  He said he liked my writing in the Babbler and was always friendly towards me.  I was fortunate to meet him just before things went crazy within the movement.

One of my fondest memories of him was the night before my first TAM.  We’d gathered at one of the South Point’s Casino’s bars to chat and drinks.  After about an hour, one person stood up and started clapping.  Others started to join him.  I looked around and saw that Randi by one of the stairs to the bar.  I joined the standing ovation.  For that moment, the conflicts in the movement–The religious versus atheist skeptics, the skeptics who favored expanding the scope of skepticism versus skeptics who feared “mission drift”– didn’t matter.  We were united in our love for James Randi and his work.  He was the reason we were gathered and the reason many of us embraced the cause of skepticism.

His memory and his example will be a blessing to me.

Dr. David Gorski on the ‘Great Barrington Declaration’ (Non-Fiction)

Dr. David Gorski over at Science-Based Medicine has a great post on the Barrington Declaration:

As for herd immunity, listen to this epidemiologist explain why, without a vaccine, trying to reach herd immunity is unlikely to be successful without massive death:

The main problem is something very basic — herd immunity requires IMMUNITY to the disease. When people are proposing herd immunity as an exit strategy for COVID-19, what they are implicitly arguing is that, once infected, you cannot get the disease again — you are immune.

Unfortunately, we know that this simply isn’t the case. There are already widespread reports of people getting reinfected with COVID-19, and worryingly some of these people are having MORE severe infections the second time around. This makes herd immunity in the traditional sense largely unreachable, because some people can clearly get infected and transmit the virus on to others over and over again.

We also don’t know how long the immunity will last even in people who get infected and are then immune. Some people may be immune for months, some for years, some for their entire lives — we simply have very little idea and won’t know for sure for a while yet. If large swathes of the population are infected this year but do not develop long-lasting immunity, chances are we’ll have epidemics in the future as well.

He also notes that this pretty much demolishes the Great Barrington Declaration’s suggestion to have nursing homes staffed only with people who’ve recovered from COVID-19. Why? Because it’s unknown how long their immunity will last, and that immunity might be very transient!

While COVID fatigue is a problem in the United States, Gorski shows that giving up on public health isn’t the answer, and is an act of genocide.

QAnon and George Soros clash at the Bolingbrook Golf Club (Fiction)

A red Q with "5:5" printed inside.

Qanon graphic

What was supposed to be a debate between QAnon and George Soros quickly devolved into a series of personal attacks.The event was sponsored by the Bolingbrook Jaycees Secret Alumni Society.

“You’re poisoning democracies with your lies and recycled anti-Semitism!” charged Soros.

“There’s nothing wrong with spreading a little blood libel,” countered QAnon, a leading member of the Illuminati.  “You, on the other hand, promote open societies over secret societies.  That makes you the real monster!”

“I survived the Nazi occupation in Hungary and escaped communism,” Soros replied.  “How dare you call me a monster!”

“And I survived being an Illuminati Standard Bearer!” she snapped back.  “You don’t get any lower than that.  So spare me all of your anti-Semitism kills crap.  I’m the real victim here!”

QAnon and the socially distant audience were at the Bolingbrook Golf Club, while Soros addressed the audience over the Internet from a secret location.

The debate started with formal opening remarks.  QAnon talked about her rise from lowly Illuminati employee to the leader of a growing political movement:

“It’s been an amazing journey.  I’ve gone from posting others’ propaganda to creating my own reality.  I took the ashes of the failed Pizzagate conspiracy and turned it into a religion!  I’ve turned Donald Trump from a broke pervert into an anti-pedophile superhero.  Every time they say I’m going to fade away, I come back stronger than ever.  Oh sure, I kind of got lucky when COVID-19 hit, but I was going to come back anyway!”

Soros used his opening statement to talk about the Open Society Foundations:

“Humanity is best served by governments that are accountable to their people, not to secret societies.  Governments function best when they allow the free and open exchange of ideas.  Secret societies promote neither.  That is why I hate both the Illuminati and the New World Order.”

“Okay,” QAnon replied as she made the “Okay” sign.  She then looked down and said: “Hey, Dad!  If you’re looking up at me, you just saw me trigger George Soros.  He still doesn’t know who you are, Dad.”

Before the debate ended in a shouting match, Soros said he did consider membership in the New World Order, but declined the invitation:

“I’m glad they want global stability, but in the end, they’re a secret society, just like the Illuminati.  Secret societies shouldn’t be deciding the fate of nations, and I couldn’t justify being a member of one.  The New World Order can’t be reformed, and neither can the Illuminati.”

QAnon replied: “And yet the world will remember you as the root of all evil, while I will be compared to Jesus!”

“The Illuminati and their allies have recycled anti-Semitic conspiracies and replaced ‘Jew’ with ‘Soros.’  Secret societies have a long and shameful history of framing the Jewish people for their actions.”

“What are you complaining about?  The Pax Aeternum started that practice centuries ago.  You should be used to it by now.  It’s nothing personal.”

“Only an antisemite would think it wasn’t personal.”

“Don’t call me an antisemite.  I used to have a Jewish friend.”

“Used to?”

“Yeah, until she accused me of using her as a shield, and broke it off.”

Both of them then started shouting unintelligibly for several minutes until the organizers ended the debate.

“We were hoping for a thoughtful debate on the future of humanity,” said Barb X. Yount, one of the organizers.  “We want to believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant, but weeds also like sunlight too.”

Barb said that the sponsors were open to hosting separate speeches by QAnon and Soros in the future.

Two members of the village board were present at the debate.

Trustee Robert Jaskiewicz, a member of the New World Order, said: “I can’t believe I risked my life to attend this shout fest.”

Deputy Mayor Michael Lawler, a member of the Illuminati, said: “I was just here to perform the Glowing Orb Ritual.  I think I did a good job.  I didn’t really pay attention to the debate because I’m still getting texts from residents asking me why I’m not the acting mayor.  Would you want to be the acting mayor right now?”

Also in the Babbler:

Men in Blue foil militia’s plan to bomb Clow UFO Base
Kamala Harris sends a video message to Clow UFO Base’s ‘Doomsday Crew.’
Wereskunk arrested for eating yard signs.
God to smite Bolingbrook on 10/15/20

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

Rebecca Watson: Masks don’t increase Your CO2 (Non-fiction)

From: Rebecca Watson:

Web Exclusive: Ives campaign cancels ‘Casten You to Hell’ hell house (Fiction)

 

The Ives campaign cancels their Rep. Sean Casten themed haunted house due to COVID restrictions.

Jeanne Ives, the Republican candidate for Illinois’ Sixth Congressional District, will not be hosting her “Casten You to Hell” hell house this year due to statewide COVID-19 restrictions.

A press release from the Ives campaign stated: “Our governor, who doesn’t know Jesus Christ, is oppressing good Christians by banning our hell house!  Since we are forgiving Christians, we leave judgment of the governor to Christ the King. Our fearless volunteers will knock on every door in the Sixth District to show voters the horrors that will follow the reelection of (Representative Sean Casten.)”

According to sources, “Casten You to Hell” would have featured such “horrors” as gay marriage, Christians forced to smoke cannabis,  a vegetarian meal, children with tablets glued to their eyes, transgender employees, and an actor portraying Casten bludgeoning creationists with science books.

“Governor Pritzker thinks we should hold a hayride instead.  Just as he doesn’t understand the joy of bacon, he doesn’t understand that Hell Houses must be held indoors, and illicit as much screaming as possible!  We did our part and stayed at home for a little bit, and sometimes wore masks.  Now we demand that you let us show the Sixth District voters that they should fear gay adoption instead of the deadly fake China virus!”  

Cindy, an Ives staffer who asked that we not use her real name, claims that the hell house was really closed due to virus concerns:

“We think Sean’s secret crew is releasing real viruses at our events to make the fake virus seem real, and to frame Jeanne as irresponsible for holding mask-less events during a pandemic.  Who knows what the Casten Crew would do to our hell house?”

Peter, another staffer, claims Ives’s volunteers are needed elsewhere:

“As much as I love playing a demonic rioter, basic training for Trump’s election day army starts this week.  I think Jeanne is going to lead the Sixth District Battalion’s march on the DuPage County Clerk’s office.  Let’s just say it will make the Brooks Brothers Riot look like a sandbox fight.  General Roger Stone will be proud of us!”

When reached for comment, Ives said:  “What a fake story.  You should report on real stories, like how Sean is hiding from me.”

“Um,” said a man who sounded like Casten.  “I’m right here, and we’re about to debate each other on the radio.”

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

Village of Bolingbrook employees scramble to prep the emergency pontoon boat for launch (Fiction)

Village officials are racing against time to get Bolingbrook’s floating command center ready for launch.

“We need a third command center,” said a village employee who asked to remain anonymous.  “2020 isn’t finished with us.  The White House and the Senate are COVID hotspots!  If the Vice-president goes down, there will be a legal fight over whether Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Grassley, or Mike Pompeo will take over.  Then we’ll have to worry about what’s left of the Trump campaign contesting the election results.  At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up in a nuclear war—”

Another village employee shouted: “Don’t give 2020 any ideas!”

According to various sources, Bolingbrook currently has two emergency command centers:  One is a bunker under Village Hall.  The other is a hidden bunker under the Bolingbrook Golf Club.  Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Golf Club bunker houses an alternate village board, while the current board members work at Village Hall.

In 1997, the village secretly purchased a pontoon boat to use as a floating command center.  At the time, Bolingbrook’s flood plain was expanding and some officials feared a village-wide flood.  It was hoped that the command center would allow the government to keep functioning during the theorized super flood.

After 2002, with the construction of the Golf Club, and ten pillars secretly built under Bolingbrook, the village was no longer in danger of facing a super flood.  Instead of selling the boat, the village hid the boat in then Mayor Roger Claar’s backyard— in case Bolingbrook faced a 100,000-year flood, and the mayor needed to quickly get to the boat.

“Roger liked to do ‘command drills,’” said Pete, a former Bolingbrook employee who asked not to be identified.  “Honestly, we’d do a short drill, then drink beer and go fishing.  The pontoon was state of the art at the time, and is still a good boat.”

The Public Works Department was planning on selling the pontoon until Village co-administrators Ken Teppel and Lucas Rickelman ordered the boat to be “converted back into a command center.”

Stephanie, a village employee who asked that we not use her real name, claims the boat is under-equipped:

“Someone stripped the electronics to make room for a bar and freezer.  I won’t say who.  Anyway, now we’ve got to get it ready in a week and find ways to keep it out of the budget.  We don’t want ‘them’ to know about it.  So far we’re pretending that we bought a new police car, and are using the money to equip the boat.  We’re hoping all the watchdog groups are too obsessed with DuPage Township to notice what we did.”

According to Stephanie, once the boat is equipped, it will be moved to Whalon Lake.  In an emergency, designated village officials will board the boat and cast off.  In theory, all emergency services could be coordinated through the boat’s Internet connection.  Stephanie says village officials believe it is important to have a floating command center:

“Rioters won’t be inclined to swim towards it.  Fires can’t harm it on the lake, and if 2020 throws a flood at us, we’ll be ready!  Plus, the commanders will always have access to fish and water!”

Stephanie also believes that there is a debate over which village officials should be stationed on the boat:

“(Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta) thinks she should be on the boat because she’s the mayor.  The co-administrators think they should be because the Mayor is now a symbolic position.  I’m sure they’ll work it out.  Everyone agrees that (Trustee Robert Jaskiewicz) will not be allowed on the boat.  If he wants to be on the water he can rent a rowboat!”

Trustee Michael Carpanzano denied the existence of the pontoon boat:

“You are such a negative reporter!  There are so many positive things going on in Bolingbrook, and you would know that if your calendar section worked with my Facebook Page instead of with the Bolingbrook Events page!”

In the background, a woman who sounded like Alexander-Basta, said: “I just approved Trick or Treating in Bolingbrook this year.  So now I’m the #1 fun mom of Bolingbrook, and I don’t want to mess it up with any distractions.  So we’re going to let you go if you promise not to act like a masked vigilante.”

“I still need to know how you figured out my secret identity.”

“Simple.  Your costume is made of the same material only one company in Bolingbrook uses, and you’re the only person in Bolingbrook who could afford to buy and customize an AGMV.”

“Curses!  But you need me.  Don’t you watch Fox News?  Chicago is burning, and the flames will soon reach Bolingbrook.”

“Chicago isn’t always burning, and when it is, we don’t need real-life superheroes.  We just block the entrances to the Promenade with snow plows and that keeps the looters away.”

Also in the Babbler:

Bolingbrook Antifa conducts ‘Proud Boy’ exercise
Vampires to hold an emergency blood drive in Naperville
Representative Bill Foster escapes President Trump’s biological attack
God to spare Bolingbrook this week

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group. 

Rabbi Adam Chalom’s humanistic messages for the 2020 High Holidays (Non-fiction)

Kol Hadash Humanistic congregation, based in the Chicago area, held its High Holidays services last weekend.  The full services, lead by Rabbi Adam Chalom, can be viewed here.  Below are the messages from each service:

Before I met my wife, I never imagined myself being involved in a religious humanistic community, let alone one centered around Jewish traditions.  Honestly, I’m still learning about the community, even after seven years, but I enjoy learning and experiencing this community.  I’m also proud of how we’ve handled the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and pulled off virtual services.  Though it will be nice to enjoy an oneg once we can stop social distancing.

Video: Babbler columnist survives academic panel (Fiction)

By Wendy Onofrey
Webmaster for the Bolingbrook Babbler

My brother, who writes a column for the Babbler, managed to get himself invited to a very special panel discussion last weekend.  Considering that he only has a degree in journalism, I think he did pretty well.  I think he came across as the second most reasonable person on that panel.

Note:  This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer.  Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group.