Does this man look like a terrorist to you?

No? A nebbish in glasses and a suit, especially a white nebbish, doesn’t fit your picture of a terrorist? Adjust your search image. That’s Matt Shea, an elected Republican representative from Washington state whose activities have been investigated in a report with this alarming conclusion.

Based on evidence obtained in this investigation, it is more probable than not that Representative Shea is likely to plan, direct and engage in additional future conflicts that could carry with them significant risk of bloodshed and loss of life. It is the professional opinion of the Investigators, that on a more probable than not basis, Representative Shea presents a present and growing threat of risk to others through political violence.

That conclusion was reached not by criticizing his badthink, but by looking at what he has actually done. We’re talking about more than just openly despising the federal government (I’m guilty of that one), but also actively conspiring with violent organizations, such as various militia groups.

He also used his position in the government to obtain and leak information about police responses to those terrorists to the terrorists. He’s also a Christian theocrat, of course: “Representative Shea unveiled the Biblical Basis for War that offered his view of God’s authorization for war. [At] the same meeting Representative Shea distributed the Restoration document which was his blueprint for rebuilding after the fall of the US Government.” The Biblical_Basis_for_War is, naturally, abortion, homosexuals, and those goddamned Commies.

The Seattle Times is calling for his expulsion from the legislature. I’m sure that will persuade his constituents in Spokane. For those not familiar with Washington state politics, the west side of the state, and especially Seattle, is the relatively wealthy, democratic, populous and urban side, while Spokane and the eastern side in general are rural, sparsely populated, agricultural, and very conservative; for sure, there are knees jerking hard in sagebrush country, and a recommendation from the Seattle Times will be reflexively opposed. Coincidentally, Shea also sponsors the idea of splitting the state in two, with a new state called Liberty formed from the most impoverished region in the state, but where Christian Dominionism could flourish.

One note of hope, though, is that it is Republican officials from the eastern side of the state who are begging that he be stripped of power. I guess there are limits to what kind of violent lunacy even Republicans will accept.

For the rest of us, absorb this important lesson. That bland doughboy at the top of this page is the real face of domestic terrorism.


  1. says

    I grew up in Eastern Oregon, but I live in Portland now. There’s a very serious lesson to be learned with this whole “Liberty State” nonsense. The big cities pay for the rural cities and townships to function. My taxes pay for roads and infrastructure in Eastern Oregon. People in Seattle are paying taxes to keep rural Eastern Washington from turning into a barren wasteland. That’s the number one problem I see with this whole “Liberty Movement”.
    Part of me is of the “Let ‘Em Try” attitude. Let them try to maintain themselves and be self sufficient. It won’t work. It’s too bad it would lead to actual suffering for real people otherwise it would be a good illustration as to how blatantly flawed these secessionist movements are.

  2. christoph says

    Shouldn’t this guy be in prison, or facing trial? Why is he even walking around free with these charges against him?

  3. says

    @2 Eastern Washington. That’s why. From Spokane to Pasco, things are more like Northern Idaho, than Seattle. Lots of Nazis and white supremacists up there. Here in Oregon, we’re really close to getting rid of our last Republican Representative. Mr. Mannix, please take your things and leave. Even Burns is sick of you.

  4. zenlike says

    for sure, there are knees jerking hard in sagebrush country, and a recommendation from the Seattle Times will be reflexively opposed

    And for sure, one of the most recent comments on the opinion piece:

    I don’t know much about Matt, but considering how he is disliked by “hate-free” Seattle socialists, he must be doing something right.

    The tribalism is staggering, but should not surprise anyone who has been paying any kind of attention.

    (Oh, and as usual, don’t read the comments if you want to keep your sanity.)

  5. William George says

    A nebbish in glasses and a suit, especially a white nebbish, doesn’t fit your picture of a terrorist?

    These days? Yes. To paraphrase Chris Rock: If I see one of these walking jars of mayonnaise get on the elevator with me I dive out the door.

  6. laurian says

    Matt Shea didn’t drop full formed from the head of Zeus. Matt has been in the House for 9 years and until a year ago the Washington State GOP was fine with putting him in leadership roles. He isn’t some Nazi crank who got elected on a fluke; he was a prominent face of the Republican Party for years.

  7. Akira MacKenzie says

    christoph @ 2

    Shouldn’t this guy be in prison, or facing trial? Why is he even walking around free with these charges against him?

    Because he’s white and Christian. If he were non-Anglo-European and/or Muslim, he’d be either dead or being tortured at a black site long ago.

    Besides every time anyone even recommends watching these militia kook scum, the Republicans howl that Big Gov-ment is persecuting “patriots” and gun owners, while some liberals will start to wring their hands about Ruby Ridge and Waco (Boo-hoo, those poor, poor rednecks!) and how we can’t provoke the far right into committing another Oklahoma City.

    And we wonder why the far right is gaining momentum in American society.

  8. Akira MacKenzie says


    blockquote>A nebbish in glasses and a suit, especially a white nebbish, doesn’t fit your picture of a terrorist?



    He may look like a dweeb, but he’s obviously got enough education and organizational skills to stich together enough backwoods malcontents to be a threat. To bad no one beyond The Guardian can see that enough to do anything about it.

  9. Akira MacKenzie says

    stroppy @ 3

    (Best Val Kilmer in Tombstone impression) “Something around the eyes… I don’t know… reminds me of… me! No, I’m sure of it. I hate him.”

  10. raven says

    Xpost from Dispatches

    The problem isn’t really Matt Shea.
    He is just an average white racist, fundie xian, and N‌azi.
    His district, Washington 4-Spokane Valley, is filled with N‌azis, fundie xians, and white racists.

    Spokane police investigating rumors of neo-N‌azi h‌ate camp … › stories › aug › spokane-police-investigating…

    Aug 10, 2019 – Our intel suggests it is being held outside Spokane County,” said a … Spokane police are investigating rumors that members of a militant neo-N‌azi group … another terrorist group that has been linked with killings and has …

    Matt Shea has been a known extremist and terrorism supporter for many years.
    His district keeps reelecting him because they agree with him.

  11. Akira MacKenzie says

    zenlike @ 5

    So not approving of “hatred” against marginalized people means I’m expected to not “hate” a right wing terrorist who, according to his own writings, wants to kill me? That’s this clown’s definition of “hypocrisy?”

  12. raven says

    Xpost Dispatches


    Far-right extremists well entrenched on Washington-Idaho …
    https://www.peninsuladailyn… › news › far-right-extremists-well-ent…

    Jun 4, 2019 – In 2018, at least nine hate groups operated in the region of Spokane and
    … Despite his background, the Kootenai County Republican Central …

    The Spokane Valley is right next to the Hayden Lake, Idaho center of N‌azis and shares the same culture and ideology.

  13. raven says

    Xpost Dispatches

    Matt Shea is a violent, unstable kook and has been in trouble with the law before.

    Shea was divorced from his first wife, Lisa, in January 2008.[15] She was granted a protective order by a court after filing court documents complaining that Shea treated her “as a possession,” and was physically and emotionally abusive.
    In November 2011, Shea allegedly “pulled a gun during a confrontation with another motorist” in what police reports described as an incident of road rage.[41] Shea was initially charged with possessing a loaded handgun in a vehicle without a concealed weapons permit; the charge was ultimately resolved under a “stipulated order of continuance,” in which “Shea paid a $75 fee and agreed that the information in the police report is correct” and the charge was dismissed after the passage of one year with no criminal violations.[41]

    Doesn’t take much to be a fundie xian hero. Domestic abuse, road rage with a gun, calling for the mass murder of tens of millions of people is no problem.

  14. Akira MacKenzie says

    His district keeps reelecting him because they agree with him.

    I recently got into a very heated argument on FB with another lefty over this. They clamed that America’s right-wing have been duped into racism, sexism, religious fundamentalism, and “voting against their best interests” by the 1%. If it were not for Fox News and Breitbart, they’d be on our side. I, having lived most of my life in rural America, argued that the prejudices and superstitions of rural America have ALWAYS been there, and it didn’t require Rush Limbaugh or Prager U. to make them bigots, nor will trying to educate them help change their minds because their political and religious beliefs are central to their identity. While the upper class may organize and use them for their own interests, no one “duped” them into being right wing. They were like that to begin with.

    This got me dubbed a “classist” and the “debate” degenerated from there.

  15. Akira MacKenzie says

    stroppy @ 14

    Not that it will be much comfort, but I backhandedly comparing myself to Shea, not you.

  16. blf says

    The Grauniad and several other sites were instrumental in uncovering previously-unknown actions of, or linked to, this kook, ultimately leading to the commissioning of the report. In their article on the report, Republican Matt Shea ‘participated in act of domestic terrorism’, says report, this is the bit which perhaps best represents this nutcase’s “thinking”:

    The report further contends that in a document entitled the Biblical Basis for War, Shea advocated the replacement of US democracy with a theocracy and the killing of all males who do not agree.

    (That “plot” is rather reminiscent of a certain novel, but that’s neither here-nor-there.)

  17. mnb0 says

    @1: “It’s too bad it would lead to actual suffering for real people”
    My suggestion is to give them a generous welcome when they flee the secession disaster. That’s my take on Brexit too – good riddance and give any Remainer who wants to get out of the UK a permit to stay immediately.

  18. swk444 says

    Why is it always the ugly ones who turn racist? We may never know

    @8: But kids died at Ruby Ridge and Waco! Kids who would certainly NEVER have grown up to become bigots like their parents! Truly, America must mourn their passing.

  19. Marissa van Eck says


    Gaaaah, yes. My first response to the question “Does this look like a terrorist to you?” was “Well, let’s scroll down and look at ohjesushiseyeswhatthefuckiswrongwithhisEYES?!

    That is the distant, unseeing, glassy-eyed stare of the true fanatic. The eyes are open too wide, the mouth is in a position of half surprise and half undead cognitive surrender, and the eyeshines are dead and polluted, like a greasy oil slick on an asphalt road.

    Yes, that looks like a terrorist, and the worst possible kind, the kind who can perpetrate his terrorism with the full faith, consent, and enthusiastic support of dozens or hundreds of people just like him in positions of wealth and power.

  20. Muz says

    People should listen to the Bundyville podcast if they have not. It’s a good rough guide for the unfamilar.

    re: Ray Ceeya @ 1

    I heard a quite intelligent piece of politcal theorising about that kind of thing in wake of Brexit et al from Alex Andreou. He was suggesting that this new populism around the world will probably result in a rise of city independance, if not outright city states again. The Anglo democracies and others in the ‘culture war’ tussle have now been gamed so thoroughly to hand Right wing power over on the backs of minority rural resentment (as ever) and a class distinction drawn on education and other new-ish axes. But unlike in the past, the cities are no longer so materially and financially dependant on the local hinterlands and are often supporting rural areas fading under corporate consolidation.
    His notion is that cities and their considerably more vast populations and resources will get tired of being pushed around in this fashion pretty fast, if they’re not already, and start cutting them off. What kind of polity this produces could get kind of interesting.

  21. unclefrogy says

    yes he does look like a terrorist, he has done with thinking and he will act. it is what is often under the sheets given a secure white collar job for a couple of years

    hearing in my head still “the times they are a changin”
    it will not go easy or nicely either it has not so far.
    uncle frogy

  22. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @16: To be fair to your interlocutor, you may be being a bit artificially myopic in when you draw the line on class influence and organized attempts to deploy racism, sexism, etc. Yes, if one literally refers to PragerU and FOX News, then obviously racism preceded those institutions. Duh. But if one is talking about the broader history of racism, sexism, etc., it’s a fair point that elites have always used those cleavages to their advantage. Since even before the founding of America as America, Southern planters seemed to quite consciously split black and white workers up. The “psychological wage of whiteness” is real, and it has always been used as an alternative wage.

    My problem with the approach of your interlocutor is threefold.

    1) It denies the agency of the working class and paints them as mere objects instead of subjects. In so doing, it ignores those members of even the white male etc. working class who behave differently and make better choices. These people have failings that they have to face. We do them no favors by pretending that parochialism, bigotry, selfishness and sadism aren’t issues these communities have to confront.
    2) It misses the point. We can blame FOX all day long, but how do you get them to stop watching FOX? The drug pusher got them hooked on the drug. You can’t just tell them how nice things are without the drug. You have to face the addiction head on. The problem with this kind of class-focused leftism is that it almost always leads to people saying “And therefore to succeed we just have to talk about class solidarity and economic issues”. But that’s putting the cart before the horse. The reason, or at least one of the reasons, why the working class isn’t united is because they have other cleavages that are given immense importance, especially when they’re fighting over so little else. Working-class and even middle-class women, people of color, LGBTQ folks, immigrants, etc. are almost certainly willing to confront broad class problems in a coalition, but they’re not going to do that if it means silencing themselves or having to swallow being around more bigots. There have to be ways of directly addressing the lack of trust and suspicion between people in the working class. That means directly and honestly talking about race, gender, etc.
    3) Historically, it ignores that racism and sexism precede capitalism. There is a reason why Europeans chose to demonize the folks they did, exploit the folks they did, etc. There’s a reason the white working class was vulnerable to appeals along fundamentally ethno-colonialist lines. And, more broadly, trying to pretend that everything boils down to class and economy is just wrong. We live in a multicausal world.

    Heck, to some extent this is why Marx rejected the lumpen as a viable revolutionary group. (The validity of his general approach versus, say, Bookchin or Albert’s criticisms are something else entirely, of course). There is some argument to be made that rural people by sheer economic reality tend to be distant from a variety of experiences and often default to a kind of folk conservatism which can include ugly identity politics. So this attempt to rehabilitate the white rural working class is funnily enough not even in line with traditional Marxism, despite me hearing this kind of approach quite often from supposed Marxists.

  23. says

    Does this man look like a terrorist to you?

    No? A nebbish in glasses and a suit, especially a white nebbish, doesn’t fit your picture of a terrorist?

    I imagine this is how Heinrich Himmler’s defence lawyer’s speech would have opened at Nüremberg had the scumbag not poisoned himself before he had to answer for his crimes…

  24. Muz says

    Unclefrogy @25

    Indeed it will not, I suspect. It will put a lot of lefties in a bind and we’ll get a lot of soul searching debate points. Some of which can be see in posts #16 and #26. On the one had there’ll be a desire not to completely disavow one’s fellows and to stand up for the working poor, for fairness and justice and representative democracy across the board. Desires which have at least partly created the national and civic structures we have generally undestood for some time now.
    On the other hand deeply unpleasant authoritarian people intend to use these structures against us and to rule us, so to defend progressive justice against that it might be necessary to break this system.

  25. David Utidjian says

    I think he is in violation of Title 18 Section 2385 of the US Code ‘Advocating overthrow of Government’ (by force or violence.) But that code was mainly written for godless commies… If you are a Rethuglican then I guess it need not apply.