We bearded white guys all look alike

It’s creepy. Even the expressions are the same. If one of them committed a crime, I wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a lineup.

Fortunately, it’s easy this time, because they all committed a crime. These are some of the Michigan yahoos who plotted to kidnap the governor and start a civil war.

The FBI revealed Thursday that it thwarted a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, unsealing charges against six people who it said contemplated a violent overthrow of the government as state authorities charged seven more who they said wanted to attack police and ignite a civil war.

The plotters, according to an FBI affidavit, seemed to be motivated by their belief that state governments, including Michigan’s, were violating the Constitution. One of those involved complained in June that Whitmer (D) was controlling the opening of gyms — an apparent reference to coronavirus shutdown restrictions. But unbeknown to them, the FBI had confidential informants recording many of their discussions, according to the affidavit.

President Trump has been publicly critical of Michigan’s leaders because of the state-imposed measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus, tweeting in April, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN.”

I don’t think they’re antifa supporters. These are members of a right-wing militia, and our president hasn’t yet figured out who is really fomenting the violence. Lock them up, and hey, let’s get a president who can figure out who the real problems are.

Meanwhile, am I going to have to shave? No, wait, then I’d look like a neo-Nazi. Maybe it’s not the beards, or the sullen expressions…is it the skin color? Because I can’t fix that.


  1. cafebabe says

    Scary indeed. Back in the 60s I was in a police line-up of bearded people. Two witnesses came out and walked the line. It was a sexual assault case and one of the witnesses took their time and eyeballed each person for maybe 10 seconds. At that point I started feeling decidedly uneasy, and I am sure that I looked as guilty as all hell. Running through my mind was … I sure hope these witnesses can tell one bearded dude from another!

  2. PaulBC says

    Upper left and lower right have very distinct eyebrows that are different from the others. And I’m not sure I could tell them apart. Are you sure they’re not the same guy? Lower left has a head like a butternut squash with ears. I don’t think I’d mistake him for anyone.

    I am sure they are very fine people.

  3. Nemo says

    I’m pretty sure the guys in the first row are the same as the guys in the second row, in a different order, with one more in the second row.

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    We bearded white guys all look alike

    The only times I look that dyspeptic are when I’ve missed a couple days of my Metamucil.

  5. wzrd1 says

    The arrests were conducted in coordination with state law enforcement and the number of arrested, both in federal custody and state custody is now up to 13.
    They were trying to also bring in some “militia”, as they claimed to be needing at least 200 for a coordinated attack on the state capitol.
    All, ostensibly, because the state ordered gyms closed due to COVID-19 and that’s tyranny in their view.

  6. wajim says

    I dunno. I’ve always had some suspicions about you, PZ. Little too beardy, and you seem easily irritated by stupid people. And spiders now. Didn’t Himmler like spiders? Or was that Hess? Can’t remember

  7. some bastard on the internet says

    Maybe it’s not the beards, or the sullen expressions…is it the skin color? Because I can’t fix that.

    If Trump can, then so can you!

  8. nomdeplume says

    America seems to be turning into a failed state like, oh, I don’t know, Iraq, where armed militias roam the land and democracy is impossible. Nor is it wanted by Republicans and their supporters.

  9. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Another baddie trope is the shaved head. I finally went there after self buzz-cuts that I thought didn’t look that good. At least when done shaving my head, it is all the same length. And if I do it only once a week, and it looks consistent. And could be considered a “Nazi” trope. No tats though.

  10. says

    “Meanwhile, am I going to have to shave? No, wait, then I’d look like a neo-Nazi.
    I feel you. German features, blond hair, blue eyes, I look like I belong in the Hitler Youth. People made fun of me for years because of it. Also I can’t grow a beard to save my life. So I really look like a NAZI.

  11. stwriley says

    These are members of a right-wing militia, and our president hasn’t yet figured out who is really fomenting the violence.

    Here I have to argue with you PZ. Trump absolutely knows who is causing the violence. He knows and wants to foment more of the same, because he thinks this will be a way to disrupt things enough to let him stay in power, no matter what. It’s why he popped out with the “stand back and stand by” line for the Proud Boys during the debate: he believes that if push comes to shove he can use their violent reaction to his loss to his benefit. It’s straight out of the Fascist playbook. Fortunately for us, most of these yahoos are about as competent as this little “militia” group.

  12. whheydt says

    Re; Nerd of Redhead @ #13…

    When my mother was young (b. 1912) she had a school teacher who was an American Nazi (they were considered legitimate at the time) who thought my mother was a shining example of being Aryan. Blonde, blue eyed… Just perfect! Kind of helped that both her parent were immigrants from Denmark…

  13. chrislawson says

    By closing gyms, the governor was infringing on their constitutional right to bare arms.

  14. wzrd1 says

    @chrislawson, odd, I have bare arms right now and am decidedly away from anything even vaguely, during an LSD trip or sober, reminiscent of a gym. Indeed, a gym is actually contraindicated for me, due to an ill monitored AAA. My stomach, while prone, resembles a scene from any of your choice Alien movies.
    Yeah, not the automotive club. Last I saw, back when I still had transportation, it was only 2.7 cm dilated, that was before another thyroid storm and resultant hypertensive crisis.*
    Still, are you sure it’s bare arms? I thought it was arm bears! Boy, if I’m wrong, my face will be ever so red!

    @whheydt, I incessantly remind folks that the US, especially the older GOP wanted to bring fascism to the US and that whole war thing kind of derailed their desires.

    @stwriley, those “militias”, which are unlawful in every state and territory, would be shocked to learn that the real organized militia, the National Guard, are entirely competent and experienced. I was part of the effort to drag them kicking and screaming into compliance with DoD and Air Force and Army regulations and qualifications. I served with them in war, I’ll stack them as peers to my old active component members any day.
    Which is something I’d never have considered saying when I first was assigned to a Guard unit.
    I’ve a trophy collection of sorts. Senior ranks and names of those relieved for cause because of the modernization efforts I was involved in. A few single silver stars, a handful of silver eagles, assorted silver and gold fig leaves, a dozen silver bars, a smattering of single bars of both colors. I went against the egregiously incompetent and ensured that they’d stake their reputation on something utterly wrong, then sealed the case – frequently, via their own E-4 mafia.
    We’ve all been wrong before, it’s how you address being wrong. When you insist that wrong is right, despite evidence and law contradicting you, I have no pity for that level of malfeasance, as that would get good men killed – literally.
    And barely got them trained and experienced to standard before 9/11 sent them abroad, to only lose a few. Most of those friends, who had the same goal. We weren’t assigned to straighten out a force or unit, it was part and parcel of our sworn duties.
    Don’t get me started on idiots with molotovs and peashooters trying to take on artillery, MLRS systems, bombers, smart bombs, dumb bombs, mortars, crew served weapons, grenade launchers, grenade machine guns, tanks, trains and automobiles… ;)
    Which is largely why the arrests didn’t number 200+, they’re not idiots either. They’re at least as bright as we crayon chewing warfighters.

    By the wet nogging of Neptune! I’ve now a full half dozen e-mails from the state about my ballot “on its way” and content stating it’s being prepared. Am I getting a half dozen of them? Putting a reminder to make a call in the morning to see WTF is going on with their alert system, lest we give Trump ammunition that carries no charge.

    *Yes, I’m serious, a bounding abdomen enough to disturb a water glass resting on my belly, but not spilling said water. Had a scare once, felt like someone took the Star Trek original series giant snow monster spear the size of a telephone pole and stabbed it straight through my upper abdomen, close to the solar plexus, straight into my vertebra. By the time I got to hospital, I considered the differential, in between waves of severe nausea and flat out agony. I figured it was an obstructed sphincter of Oddi and yeah, it resolved during imaging and simultaneous emesis. Gallstone, trapped at precisely the wrong place – in a man lacking a gallbladder, which is a known occurrence, typically a decade on after removal.
    Boy, was I stoned on endorphins!
    A decidedly unpleasant experience entirely. But, when in pain, try to figure out what’s going on and see if anything could mitigate it, even a little.

  15. wzrd1 says

    Sent a nice nastygram to York county and the Governor about the multiple e-mails. Governor works a tad faster than county administrator e-mails.
    Looks like a flag is being mistagged or misread, triggering spam.
    On occasion, I’ve fucked up either a Boolean or RegEx filter, with fascinating results. :/
    Which I also mentioned. On error, goto human. Then, sanity testing, which share much in common and I’ve included within a routine or seven, depending upon the level of creativity of the garbage inputters.

    And I’m old enough to wade through FORTRAN and COBOL, hating life the entire way.
    Assembly, I’m rubbish at, I can gather a hint of intention on disassembled code, but I can call a full dozen competent programmers to reverse engineer disassembled code far faster.
    Load accumulator A with crap, now what? ;)
    Still, don’t get me started on garbage accumulation…

  16. oddie says

    You would think these idiot republicans would have learned their lesson after Palin got Giffords shot in the head.

  17. lumipuna says

    I’m seeing some speculations that these terrorists intended to murder Whitmer, after holding some mock trial for her. What else could have been their end goal, in the context of “overthrowing a government”? Yet headlines speak of “kidnapping plot” rather than “murder plot”. Is it just because there’s not enough evidence to charge them for plotting murder?

  18. unclefrogy says

    might be what the initial charges are?
    might be related to some presumed innocence of sorts. the main stream and the “liberal’ press do seem kind of reluctant to grab the bull by the horns and really describe those kinds of accused criminals with anything like accurate terms that might be construed as political or inspired by “conservative ideas”. The right wing press has no such inhibition in using inflammatory language at every opportunity warranted or not however.
    uncle frogy

  19. says

    Come on, PZ, you’re giving up too easily! You could do the treatment that the author of Black Like Me did, or IIRC there’s a silver compound which can stain your skin a sort of dark blue-ish hue.

    Or you could simply dye your hair — if you had powder blue or cotton-candy pink hair, and put flowers and ribbons in it, you might conceivably match some other people but you would be unlikely to be considered a lookalike of any of these guys.

  20. cartomancer says

    The thing you’ve forgotten, PZ, is that you’re an OLD bearded white guy. That puts you in a completely different category.

    As an old bearded white guy you are considered comically harmless, and thus have to be either a grumpy old porch-dweller who shouts at the youth to get off his lawn or a bumbling old boffin tinkering with fripperies of no possible benefit to mankind. Or possibly a creepy uncle.

  21. kurt1 says

    Pff, my beard is way more glorious compared to these losers. Also I look nicer (or at least friendly and less psychotic). Why are the last three wearing the same shirt?

  22. hemidactylus says

    @22- lumipuna

    ATTENTION: Person of Interest spoilers follow.

    That trial thing sounds similar to a plot line in Person of Interest when a radical privacy oriented group called Vigilance kidnapped multiple characters in the series and put them on trial for nefarious deeds. At points in the series I thought Vigilance might be the good guys despite their brutal methods given they were striving to shut the AI panopticon down, but they wound up unwittingly to be a false flag front for Decima (the worst baddies).


    Given the trial storyline in this show I wonder where this real world group got the idea if speculations are true.

    BTW there is an upcoming show Next that seems a hybrid of Person of Interest and 24 though may capitalize on fears of Terminator singularity scenario. Given episode names they may be riding Mr. Robot coat tails too.


    Guess I missed first episode.

  23. PaulBC says

    I’m just amazed that any arm of the Trump administration was able to investigate this. I’d have expected Bill Barr to invite them to dinner and say something like “Calm down, boys. You’ll get your turn later.”

  24. jenorafeuer says

    The idea of ‘citizen grand juries’ has been part of the sovereign citizen/militia stew of ideas for a while… kidnap someone, arrange a ‘trial’ for ‘treason’ against their particular funhouse-mirror idea of ‘the law’, and pass sentence. Usually it has been judges this sort of thing has been planned against rather than governors, admittedly. From the RationalWiki page on Robert Beale:

    Further crankery came out in his trial in April 2008, where a group of his tax protestor followers tried to “take out” the judge.[2] The FBI testified that Beale was a “member/leader” of an extrajudicial “Common Law Court” in Ramsey County, Minnesota. (The full title of this court includes “a superior court for the People, original jurisdiction under Almighty Yahweh exclusive jurisdiction in and for confederation-government United States of America.”) The group convened a “grand jury” and issued writs, subpoenas, summonses and arrest warrants for the judge and various law enforcement officials.

    Beale then directed his fans to track down where the judge lived. One follower, Frederick Bond, presented a subpoena at the local Sheriff’s Office listing her home address, and demanding that she appear at the Little Canada Old Fire Hall on April 15 for a hearing before the “court.”

    There are better examples, this was just the first one I could think of. But yeah, kidnapping people to try them for ‘crimes’ against the militia is something that has been going around the sovereign citizen movement for years; they just rarely organize this well, or keep it this secret.

  25. kome says

    Various right-wing pundits and outlets – including Laura Ingraham – are trying to paint them as left-wing anarchists, because of course they are.

  26. stroppy says

    Villains kidnapping people and putting them on trial has been a fairly popular trope on TV. Though not always with sovereign citizens.

    For some reason not everybody gets the moral of those stories. There are always seems to be those puffed up, retrograde, dim bulbs who figure that kangaroo courts are a really good idea.

  27. Michael says

    I would say they look like the American Taliban but that might be insulting to the Taliban.

  28. magistramarla says

    I think that this just might be happening in any state with a Democratic governor. I read the site called NextDoor here in my area. Even in California, there are a number of right wing nutjobs who post there and grumble to each other about almost everything.
    They have some very awful nicknames for Governor Newsom and keep “hoping” that something terrible will happen to him.
    Their latest thread on the site was complaining about him issuing some new guidelines about mask-wearing and staying safe, even when eating outdoors. He was probably addressing the same article that I read recently – that people who were diagnosed with COVID 19 had a 50% higher chance of having eaten at a restaurant in the week before falling ill, even if they ate outdoors.
    I’m happy that our governor is paying attention and is trying to keep us safe.
    These nutjobs were calling him names and calling for his ouster as governor.
    I’m wondering if the same thing is going on in other states with Democratic governors? It could play into Trump’s plans, too.

  29. PaulBC says

    They have some very awful nicknames for Governor Newsom

    I call him Gavin Nuisance, a name that popped into my mind years before he was governor when he was flooding my email with requests for campaign contributions. (Yeah, I bet other people came up with this witticism.)

    Of course I voted for him, and I suppose he’s OK. I actually really liked Jerry Brown though… speaking of cloning… it might not be such a bad thing after all. And don’t get me started Kimberly Guilfoyle. The “elites” really ain’t like the rest of us. How much do I trust someone two steps removed from Don Jr.?

    That said, I wish him to remain in good health and effective as governor. I realize my criticisms are coming from the different place from the people you’re talking with.

    And NextDoor, the nosy neighbor society. Around here, the discussion tends to be polite and about stuff like catalytic converter theft from Priuses.

  30. brightmoon says

    Black Like Me, oh boy did that book make me laugh. He dyed his skin black with black shoe polish . I always thought that book was fake, no Black person has skin that color. Eh but his heart was in the right place.

  31. answersingenitals says

    @22- lumipuna

    “Yet headlines speak of “kidnapping plot” rather than “murder plot”.”

    The prosecutors told the court that they have much more evidence to present that is even more incriminating. It is a common ploy in prosecutions of cases like this with multiple defendants to start with a lesser charge than there is evidence for and use the threat of upping the charges to get one or more of the defendants to turn states evidence, i. e., rat on their co-conspiritors. I suspect the prosecutors will have most of these numb-nuts begging to go first in spilling everything (and everyone) they know related to this plot. The fact that they face the prospect of spending most, if not all, of the rest of their lives surrounded by individuals who would not normally be their first choice as friends will probably be a big inducement for them to seek lesser terms.

    A gratifying, but at the same time very frightening aspect of this case is that these nut jobs are total idiots, blasting their intentions all over social media using a totally ineffective encryption and a Marvel comic book level of organization. The law enforcement officers that had infiltrated their group must have needed phenomenal restraint to not crack up laughing during their meetings. The frightening aspect is that another such inclined group might not be so stupid and thus might have a chance at success. In the mean time, we have to wonder if Trump will keep his promise and pay for their defense.