Steve Baker - TPC
News • Politics • Writing
What I Saw on January 6th in Washington, DC
This is a Reprint of an Article First Published on January 13, 2021
April 24, 2023
post photo preview
Screen grab from video I captured on January 6, 2021

NOTE: Due to renewed interest in a few of my earliest observations about January 6, I've decided to repost this article -- originally published on January 13, 2021. I've changed nothing -- save for fixing a few grammatical issues -- as this was an accurate snapshot of what I observed then, over two years ago. Some of my initial conclusions may have been wrong, but I've left those errors intact. (You can judge for yourself.) Some of those conclusions have proved to be more accurate than I'd even imagined. We've had access to so much evidence during the last 27 months, and using that I've tried my best to correct my errors in subsequent articles, podcasts, and interviews. 


 

The morning began with a hearty breakfast at a Crystal City diner. I don’t typically eat before noon, but my friend and I knew it was going to be a long day on our feet. At about 9:15 am we Uber-ed straight from the diner to the Washington Monument and began looking for a decent place to observe the proceedings. Already by 9:35, there was no real chance of making it anywhere close to the stage, near The Ellipse, though we tried. The crowd was already immense, and we were at first caught in a crush of humanity so dense that we could barely move in any direction. We retreated to the Washington Monument lawn.

There was a satellite viewing screen and remote loudspeakers, but we were two football fields’ length away from the screen. We took up position and waited. The crowd continued to grow until — in every direction, as far as the eye could see — was a solid teeming mass of humanity. Tens of thousands waved flags, banners, signs, and placards. Trump flags predominated, but every other patriotic symbol, including myriad versions of the Stars and Stripes, were also on display. Hundreds of Gadsden flags, pro-2nd Amendment flags, and every manner of ethnic and nationality pro-Trump signs and banners. Of the last, the far most common were Chinese-Americans who wielded signs that both supported Trump and condemned the CCP. (Hmmm. What do these people know?) Just in my eyeshot, alone, they numbered in the hundreds.

Yes, I saw two Confederate flags amongst the thousands of others. Which have I seen most often in MSM coverage since Wednesday? (One guess.) I even heard an NPR lead storyline in which the anchor said the Capitol had been assaulted by white supremacists” waving all manner of racist flags and signs.”

Way to go, NPR. True to form, focusing on the smallest minority of fringe wing-nuts, they never seem to notice all the communist flags and hammer & sickle imagery flaunted at BLM marches or Antifa riots. 

First impressions of the preparedness of this event were not good, the most obvious being the lack of portable restroom facilities. I know a bit about outdoor event planning and knew this was going to be a big problem. Additionally, the audio-visual preparation was less than third-rate. The audio pregame and interlude music — as well as the voices of the early speakers — were going in and out, with volume levels oscillating wildly. There was no electronic time delay between distant PA locations to compensate for the sound travel speeds, so it was often just a jumbled, unintelligible cacophony. Another of my friends later described the entire production of the event as having been put together by the Z team.”

Still, I’ve never witnessed anything like the size of the crowd. I’ve heard estimates ranging from 600,000 to 1.5 million. I’ll go with something closer to the lower number, but really . .  . who can know? It was nonetheless breathtaking, and I couldn’t stop taking it all in and videoing 360-degree panoramas of the scene.

It was windy and cold, but not bitter. The wind whipping an endless sea of flags added to the spectacle. The early speeches from the likes of Rudy Giuliani and Don Jr. were less than awe-inspiring and did nothing to warm up the crowd. Then, President Trump’s appearance was an hour late, so we stood around listening to many of the same songs over and over again, badly jumbled by the poor audio. (Who in the hell showed up with a playlist of so few songs?)

Shivering, and legs stiffening from not being able to move around, we had time for some analytical conversation — my friend being a widely-published political writer. My first question to him during the long wait for Trump to take the stage was, Are we looking at the power of the Trump Cult or a sea of disaffected patriots seeking an answer to their frustrations with our government?” He simply answered, A little of both.”

At another point, I mused, You know, this rally is on a Wednesday morning. Conservatives tend to go to work on weekdays, but 100s-of-thousands of people have traveled from all over the country to be here. Do you think a significant percentage of these folks are currently unemployed because of COVID?” He shrugged.

Maybe they all believed Trump would this day finally unveil The Kraken.” That long hoped-for piece of evidence that was going to eradicate the phrase, “President-elect Joe Biden” from the media’s vocabulary. It wasn’t to be. No Kraken ever emerged from the depths of the Deep State.  Still, he’d tweeted this meet-up was going to be “wild,” so, there we were.

Trump finally took the stage at 11:57 but, from our vantage point, everything he had to say was garbled by the overlapping audio coming from unequally distant PA placements and the continuous volume dropouts. From what we could make out, it was not his finest speech or presentation. From a show business perspective, he did not rise anywhere to the occasion offered him by such a throng. A crowd size surely unprecedented for any non-inaugural presidential address in history.

We were bored, cold, and needed to get our blood flowing, so we decided to make a move toward the Capitol building long before the President’s ramble concluded. Winding and bumping our way through the sea of people, we finally emerged onto the boulevard with the Capitol directly in our sights and made a quick pace of the long walk. We weren’t alone. Tens of thousands had the same idea and were headed in the same direction. At one intersection I counted seven streets full of people marching toward Capitol Hill. I’ll confess to being truly inspired at the sight of so many patriots about to make what would surely be a powerful visual statement to the oath-breaking criminals who – at that very moment – were debating the certification of the Electoral votes. Not that it would ultimately matter to any of them, but damn . . . this might at least give them something to think about if they looked out their windows and saw so many flag-bearing patriots marching in their direction.

My backpack was beginning to weigh rather heavy on my shoulders, loaded as it was with my camera tripod, microphone, cables, computer, and several bottles of water. (The water remained untouched once I’d assessed the woeful lack of porta-potties.) I brought all this with me in hopes of accomplishing my true intent of this trip, which was to record and document as much as possible, and maybe even get a few interviews from rally participants, or from any VIP upon whom I might chance.

It’s no secret to anyone who has followed my writings these past years, that my early #NeverTrump stance evolved into an ambivalent, issue-by-issue #GoodTrump or #BadTrump, as deserved. My recent endorsement of his 2020 run came for two reasons:

First – the Bolshevik Democratic Party machine is now a fully-realized, openly neo-Marxist organization, and it must be stopped. Also, no other 3rd party had a chance in hell. 

Second – the wishful thinking that Trump — for all his faults, (and maybe because of them), would finally be exposing and bringing down the Deep State.

Timelines are important at this point. I took one video of the Capitol building about two-thirds of the way from the Washington Monument. This was 1:10 p.m., which meant Trump’s 70-minute speech was nearly over, but 10s-of-thousands of people were already at the Capitol, and more were on the move. As we arrived at the reflection pool, it was obvious something serious was already happening. We saw the fluorescent-sleeved jackets of Capitol Police officers racing down steps toward the first upper tier above street level. I looked at my friend and told him we needed to see what was going on — there — so we hurried our way to the stairs which I believe are on the House Chamber side of the building.

At 1:19 p.m. I captured my first video of the melee, already fully underway, which was of a man and woman receiving first-aid” for the pepper spray in their eyes. Both were on their knees with other individuals pouring water on their faces and eyes. Both were in agony. This was my first such riot ever to see in person. Frankly, I was overwhelmed by the spectacle and certainly missed a lot of detail while taking in the bigger picture. One detail I didn’t miss was how many of the protestors” were wearing gas masks. I saw it, and even commented on that to my friend, but wasn’t nearly ready to begin processing the ramifications of that reality as the violent action was unfolding in front of my eyes.

Capitol Police, some in riot gear, but many with no special protections at all, were already tightly lined up and defending the next level of the building access with only bike rack fencing between them and that portion of the mob attempting to break through. The police were using only non-lethal riot control measures that we’ve seen far too much of post-George Floyd. Individual agitators would rush up and try to pull down a section of bike rack, get pepper-sprayed, and retreat. Sometimes they would go in waves and try to push police back. Sometimes the streams of pepper spray were coming from the mob, directed at the police line. Many police officers were themselves having to retreat from the line to receive aid, of some form or another, as a result of the mob attacks.

Pepper spray seemed the best deterrent for most trying to cross the barrier, but flash bangs and gas grenades were also in use. It was so windy that gas had little effect, but if you were innocently downwind from one of those pepper streams you were likely to get an unwanted dose. My friend and I tried to keep up with each other, but it was the pepper spray that permanently separated us for the remainder of the day. He’d taken eight or nine leeward doses and decided to take up an observation post on the windward side of the action. I took only one indirect hit — a splatter off the actual intended target, to whom I was much too close — and that was enough for me. The rest of my time was spent operating the camera while keeping both eyes darting back-n-forth between those officers operating the spray guns.

Unlike myself, many of those present obviously came prepared for such a confrontation. From protective eye goggles to full gas masks. Tactical helmets to protective vests. Some even wearing full body armor. In fact, after pouring over the video footage and seeing dozens of people in body armor, helmets, and gas masks, my mind woke to the reality — beyond any shadow of a doubt — that Trump didn’t incite this violence when he encouraged rally supporters to walk down to the Capitol” after his speech. This assault was planned well in advance. The frontline attackers didn’t even hear his speech. How could they? You’d have to accept the proposition that after hearing Trump tell them to move to the Capitol, they suddenly ran home through almost a million people, geared up, and got back to the Capitol before Trump even finished his rambling 70-minute talk. I’d left the rally long before the speech concluded, and when I arrived on the scene, the scrum line was already fully engaged. I’ve seen video reports that “protestors” were arriving at the Capitol building as early as 8:00 a.m., and that the outer barricades were breached as early as 9:30.

(Breached,” or opened” by Capitol Police, themselves, is for another discussion.)

I’ve spent many sleepless hours combing through all my videos. I am fully prepared to tell you that my original eyewitness” assessment was tainted by my virgin riot observer’s adrenaline-of-the-moment. The crowd gathered on the level where the violent attacks were taking place was overwhelmingly, 90-95%, flag-waving Trump supporters, but the hyper-violent, small minority were all-too-apparently prepared for exactly the type of non-lethal agitation we’ve witnessed in dozens of American cities during much of the latter part of 2020. Pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades . . . no problem. Even more telling were the fully-armored professional press photographers — using very expensive gear — also already on the scene before Trump’s speech was over. Some even had official-looking press credentials.” Point is, they were ALREADY THERE and geared up well in advance of Trump’s alleged marching orders.

Am I prepared to assign blame to any one political faction for what I’ve witnessed up close and personal? Absolutely not. I am willing to wager there were at least three types of agitators present. Two of which harbored premeditated intentions.

There is no doubt in my mind that both extreme leftist and right-wing instigators were on the front line of this event. Michael Yon, America’s most experienced war correspondent describes them as “Agent Provocateurs.” (AP) He describes such a scene, thusly:

“Those who control the megaphones can cleave off some portion of any crowd and direct it to do work. Old tactic. Anyone can learn AP tactics and run a crowd. Basic carnival work. ‘Step right up! You there! Come here!’ Take social media, as example. The APs are the owners.”

I’ll go with the pro on that one. It was exactly what I was seeing.

What the AP knows — and the less experienced don’t — is once they get the battle started, emotions, passions, and adrenaline begin heating up inside many of those protestors who never had any intention of participating, and certainly didn’t arrive prepared for violence. Hell, the vast majority of those close to the action hadn’t even imagined such a thing was going to take place when they boarded a charter bus from Bumfudge, Iowa in hopes Trump was going to work electoral magic in the nation’s capital on January 6th. But, engaging in the battle scrum is exactly what many of those formerly “peaceful protestors” absolutely did.

We saw this when the mob actions of the Minneapolis riots began to domino across the country. The difference is, they’re not releasing pent-up anger over systemic racism,” but against the systemic malfeasance that’s been emanating from that very building where they now found themselves in the middle of a street brawl. Suddenly, those Capitol Police were the objects upon which to take out the frustration of progressively having their liberties taken away, while trillions of their dollars were also taken and misused. Wasted on foreign aid, foreign wars, $800 toilet seats, and on the enrichment of the occupants of that building, who were at that very moment certifying an election that 99% of those assembled fully believed had been stolen from them. Add to that the loss of income from untold numbers in that crowd due to COVID-19 lockdowns, followed by the inability of Congresspersons — who’d never lost their paychecks during these lockdowns — to provide a genuine relief package in which 75% of the spending was going to non-COVID, foreign, special interest payoffs.

How about the near evisceration of the 1st Amendment in the last year? They can’t go to work, can’t go to church, can’t assemble in any other meaningful format, and the very act of asking questions about election integrity, or offering opposing data on all things related to COVID lockdowns is now a reason to have our speech utterly revoked by Big Tech . . . while Congress does NOTHING with regards to Section 230?

Yep. That can create some pent-up anger.

Certainly, some folks might have come itching for a fight, but the notion of this riotous crush to enter the Capitol building somehow being a coup d’état” or insurrection” or “sedition” or “domestic terrorism” against the government of the United States is the height of laughable absurdity. First of all, the only persons possessing deadly weapons — even real weapons of war” — were the Capitol Police and the various other law enforcement groups that arrived to assist. As of this writing, only one arrested member of the coup” was found to have a concealed handgun and only 25 rounds of ammunition. (There are media claims of gun caches stashed around the Capitol, but no such evidence has yet been presented.) Another arrested was found to have a couple of weapons back in his automobile, many blocks away. The idea of a coup d’état, with no firearms, to overthrow the most powerful government in the world, in a building protected by snipers patrolling the rooftop and scores of other armed police on site . . . not to mention thousands of military troops within minutes of said building . . . come on. Really?

Still, the vast majority of the gathered crowd stayed far back from the fighting and taunting. They just waved flags and joined in chants of USA, USA, USA,” or, Whose house, OUR house!” They even sang “The Star Spangled Banner” at one point.

There was no rocket’s red glare, but there were plenty of flash bangs and smoke to stir the patriotic emotions, I suppose.

More and more of the rally attendees became too curious to stay away from the action and joined the crowd on the upper level. I could see obvious signs of what might otherwise clearly be Antifa and Black Bloc pros, (if not for the Trump logos), geared up, and slyly acknowledging each other before making their next moves. By contrast, I watched a MAGA hat wearer bend down and retrieve a pipe — which could be used as a weapon — and hand it to one of the growing number of police on the bike rack line, rendering it inaccessible to the mob. Teenagers and 70-year-olds are pressing forward and being repelled by pepper spray. One lady is wearing a full-body American flag/Trump jumpsuit, with what looks like a laboratory-grade or hazmat crew face mask. It makes no sense to my mind, at all. Except that there is a handbook for this type of deception, and the concept of “false flag” has never been more literally on display than this day.

Reinforcements have arrived, and the police line is now two and three layers deep, all the way across. It’s 1:33 p.m., and that level of the Capitol exterior is crushingly packed with people. At that time I’m beginning to notice action on the other side of the platform that would soon most occupy my interest. The more creative element of the insurgents and APs were taking position inside the scaffolding structure and trying to make their way around the police line. The scaffolding and the canvassing around it provided better protection from the pepper spray and less ability of the police force to prevent forward progress. Eventually, this strategy and area of the attack became the focal point of the more experienced rioters, and they were encouraging the easily recruited to join them in their endeavors, vigorously waving to the crowd for additional bodies to help with the ascent up through the bleacher scaffolding. At 1:49 p.m. much more heavily riot-gear-suited police began to arrive, while at the same time other police began running up two more levels — in the direction where, ostensibly, those working their way through the scaffolding might have emerged on the top side.

At this point, I work my way over to a position directly under the scaffolding where the canvass had been ripped away, and from which  I could see a swarm of bodies attempting to push and climb their way up through a maze of support piping. Others hung from the exterior, waving and encouraging more people to join them. Meanwhile, there are moments of absolute chaos behind the police line as they try to figure out from which direction the next surge is coming, and are constantly having to retreat and treat their own from chemical agents and dangerous objects being hurled in their direction.

Way up above, the snipers just watch from the edge of the roof, chatting amongst themselves. Surreal.

Many times I see and hear older protestors — mostly military veterans — come up to the police line to engage in civil pep talks with individual officers about their constitutional duties and oaths. This happens quite often.

More police arrive, with more forceful countermeasures. At 1:53, the Qanon Shaman — or, Viking dude” — who has popped up in my camera lens at various locations since I arrived, has now made his way up to the scaffolding ascent entrance. By 2:00, the scaffolding is packed with people pressing forward and upward. Many climbing, but for the first time I can now see what appears to be a staircase under the canvassed framework. One video frame reveals several individuals with full tactical gear and a variety of militia patches making their way up that staircase.

Yes, I said “militia.”

Slowing the video down to one frame at a time reveals an unbelievable amount of data, but then requires many questions to be asked. Yes, you can see raised fists by some adorned in all black, but you also see the OK” symbol being waved by some in camouflaged tactical gear. Two disparate groups, (Antifa, and Trump-supporting militia), working together, or are both just looking for a fight in the most obvious place du jour? While the Proud Boys might seek out Antifa, (and vice versa), on Main St. USA, here on Capitol Hill, they appear to have similar objectives. Or, do they? Maybe one simply revels in anarchic chaos, while the other thinks they are on a mission from god?

Either way, those snipers could end this whole thing by taking out a couple of the AP carnival barkers . . . from either, or both teams. The attempted ascent up Capitol Hill would surely come to an end, but a hundred people might die in the ensuing stampede to get off the building.

At 2:03 a loudspeaker begins to roll a dystopian prerecorded message warning that anyone remaining in the area was now subject to arrest, and that riot control agents and impact weapons” were going to be employed. The number of flash grenades launched into the crowd began increasing, and serious heavies from the Metropolitan Police arrived and began taking the fight to the middle of the crowd. This was now the heaviest sequence of violence of the day. People were getting hurt.

Then . . . inexplicably . . . at 2:15 p.m., the staircase under the scaffolding became a free-flowing mass of human beings moving upwards, unimpeded. The violence on my level stopped, and everyone began moving toward the stairs. I decided to join in the flow.

At 2:17 p.m. I emerged on the next upper terrace, outside — which is the main floor level of the Capital Building itself. People are coming up by the scores, (and then by the hundreds), exuberant at the sight of 10s-of-thousands of protestors on the streets below. People were cheering, smiling, taking selfies, waving flags . . . and the police are now standing off to the side, no longer interfering with the crowd’s passage through an open door directly into the Capitol Building. Armed police officers are idly chatting amongst themselves, completely ignoring the crowd, having obviously been given orders to stand down.”

Again, surreal. It’s like a switch was thrown between the lower and upper levels. Chaos and anger below, and celebration above.

Why? What was going on? In another published video, (not of my own), there is a door that is seen to be opened by police officers themselves, with a line-up of more than 20 Capital Police standing off to the side, offering no resistance to the incoming crowd. One of the protestors is heard saying, Theyre going to lock us in!” Not an unwarranted suspicion in such a surreal moment.

Why did they let them in?

Make no mistake: The building which represents the seat of power to the most powerful country in the world was now being occupied by an UNARMED group of mostly passive and curious participants, who’d only been witnesses to a scene that was played out before them by a very small group of both leftist and right-wing militant forces, (also unarmed), against an ever-growing police presence that had the weaponry to stop that entire charade in a matter of seconds.

Charade. Theater. Things are not as they seem. And things are not remotely close to the narrative being cast by the mainstream media since late Wednesday afternoon . . . and I have the video to prove it.

Or, maybe they simply didn’t want to kill anyone? Looking out the windows and seeing 10s-of-thousands of people who might be . . . MIGHT BE willing to join the scrum . . . and it was just best to throw the doors open and let the common folks revel in a measure of victory and enjoy a free selfie tour through the Capitol?

Who knows?

I live by a handful of axioms. The first, and most important is:

Theres the world we want vs. the world in which we actually live.” That one, alone, guides my pragmatism.

Then, there’s this:

If the New York Times, CNN, NPR, et al, dont cover it, then it never happened.” Also, if that cabal decides to create something out of thin air, then it becomes some version of Orwellian truth, and quintessentially, fake news.”

 I now have a new axiom:

“The only thing you can trust right now is what you see with your own eyes. But, even then, go back and review the video.”

At this point, at least a hundred people begin filing up a long wheelchair ramp that leads to the now-open door into the Capitol building. I see a couple of young professionals wearing neckties, dress overcoats, and red MAGA hats. They are followed by two guys who look like they’re going deer hunting, with camo Trump hats and flags. Coming from somewhere I hear, “I don’t like it. I don’t like it.” I take my place in the line of smiling faces that are calmly headed up the ramp. Loud chants of “OUR HOUSE . . . OUR HOUSE” can be heard coming from those already inside the building.

When I reach the door — which swings open toward the outside — I notice both panes of glass are shattered, but not broken open. There were no holes through which to reach in and unlock the door. Someone had to have opened that door from the inside. In one still video frame I can see the entire upper half of the door’s outer edge, and there are no pry marks. As I pass through the doorway, I’m in the middle of a large group of reveling Trump supporters, none of whom had the marks of battle from down below. Yet, someone had already been up here moments before and shattered those glass panes. And, someone else had opened the door from the inside to let everyone in.

Just as I enter, two “militia”-looking guys in tactical gear are watching people enter from the left. On my right, is a guy in black tactical gear. (I only caught this on a frame-by-frame review of the video.) I take a right into the crowded hallway of Trump supporters, chanting, “USA, USA, USA,” and, (back to frame-by-frame), a tall, long-bearded man in olive green clothing and toboggan, with no Trump labels, is moving against the flow of traffic carrying a long, hardwood stick with grip tape on one end. This is no flag pole. This is for breaking stuff or breaking heads. (I recognize him from one of the FBI photos.)

“Stop the Steal,” “Our House,” and “USA” chants continue, people are hugging each other, and hundreds of cell phone cameras are variously capturing the celebrations or the majesty of the building. As I enter one of the statuaries, certain characters are making sure their face and eyes remain fully covered, and at the very entrance of the larger room, one of the carnival barkers from the scaffolding is waving people into the room while joining in the “Our House” chant. There’s no reason for him to be doing this — as the celebrants are willfully on the move — but it must be his assigned job. Additionally, on multiple occasions, those in full tactical gear with faces and eyes still obscured — though now indoors — can be seen. Even, young women.

More than a hundred people are packed into this one room, but . . . No police presence, whatsoever. More chants and celebrations. (Stop the tape!) Frame-by-frame I see four very serious men in a huddle. One, in a green tactical helmet, has his head on a swivel and is looking back and forth, while an older, very serious man is wagging his finger in the face of someone wearing a black helmet as a fourth man with face and eyes covered looks on. With each passing frame, it is obvious the black helmet is getting a good rebuke . . . from his commander? Eventually, the black helmet lowers and turns in my camera’s direction. It is the body language of someone having just been chewed out by a superior. It’s a young, fresh-faced, 20-something. None of these four were wearing Trump logos.

At 2:31 p.m. I entered the Capitol Rotunda. By this time the initial surge of bodies was spreading throughout the building, so it was a much thinner group in the larger hall. It looked like a normal day of tourism in the building. People were calmly milling about, taking photos and videos as on any other day, save the jubilant shouting of “This is our House!” No violence. No looting. No damage.

At 2:34 p.m., I came upon the entrance to The Speaker of The House chambers. Nancy Pelosi’s office. No one is entering that particular office hallway, but a crush of dozens was exiting. I attempted to go against the oddly singular flow of traffic, but there were too many bodies in too tight a hallway for me to get through. (Stop the tape!) In the next frame-by-frame examination, I see three very interesting persons emerge from the next office doorway forward and to my left. One was a 50-something gentleman wearing drab green, leading two military-garbed men in full face-covering gas masks and black helmets. There is no gas in this area. There is another group of suspiciously-attired individuals moving into the hallway from other rooms. Everyone is leaving the House Speaker’s chambers, and I am still the only person going against the flow. (I will be offering a subsequent, frame-by-frame analysis of this encounter in a follow-up to this report.)

At this point, I came upon the first open door of someone’s office and saw overturned chairs and a table, a bookshelf that had been rifled through, and papers scattered about. This was the first damage and or looting that I encountered. I immediately decided it best not to proceed further and turned back toward the chamber’s entrance. As I exited, a handful of protestors were breaking into pieces a wooden sign with Nancy Pelosi’s name and keeping pieces for souvenirs. The first overt destruction of Capitol property I’ve witnessed.

I’m now back into a growing, larger press of bodies moving their way through Statuary Hall and then toward the House Chamber, where the election debates had been taking place. Most are staying within the rope line as they calmly move through the hall. No one wreaking any kind of havoc or damage. Emerging into the hallway that leads to the House Chamber door, protestors are chanting, “Stop the Steal! Stop the Steal!” Of the roughly 100+ people pressing toward the Chamber door, they are 95% Trump supporters, still carrying flags, banners, and signs, with only the occasional more shady-looking characters with faces fully obscured and not participating in the chant. They are intent on the Chamber’s occupants hearing their protests. I maneuver to the side of the wide hallway where I can get away from the crush. People are now banging and pressing against the Chamber door.

I shut my camera off while I climb up on a bench to get a better vantage, but then all hell breaks loose. Shouts of “TEAR GAS” are heard and the crowd reverses direction, now running back the other way. With my camera off, I miss the opportunity of capturing this episode. At 2:46 p.m. I start recording again, but by this time only a few stragglers remain in this hall and near the Chamber door. The dissipating tear gas is seen, still obscuring the Chamber door, and I begin moving in that direction, into the gas.

It was this very moment when a particular photo was captured and used in a MarketWatch story, where I can be seen, from behind, walking into the gas cloud. My backpack, camera tripod, black jacket, jeans, red Yorktown ball cap, and long hair are all that can be seen. Not my face, as I’m walking away. One of the men in that photo is on the FBI search list. My back is visible even in their photo line-up.

I pause for a moment, waiting for the gas to dissipate further, then begin moving toward the chamber door. I can now see that quite a few people are still gathered at the Chamber door. Tactical-geared militia, some Trump supporters, a few shady-looking guys, and three Capitol Police are in the area. The police are not engaging with the protestors at all, chatting with each other, then they turn and walk away from those remaining bunched up at the House Chamber door. Odd. Something else now has their attention. There’s a definitive mood change. As the tear gas dissipates, the celebration turns to tension. I follow the police officers, and we pass a camouflaged man with a fire extinguisher at his feet. (Hmmm.) He seems to be struggling from the tear gas. One of the three officers breaks away to assist him. I keep walking.

Right at the doorway of The House Ways and Means Committee room, police officers are gathering, and several protestors are hurriedly retreating. (2:46 p.m.) I encounter the first officer to be carrying an automatic rifle. Some protesters are blocking a doorway into a large staircase area. I push past them and see several police with handguns drawn. You can cut the tension with a knife. They are now holding protestors back, using their drawn weapons for emphasis. Through the passageway on the other side of the stairway lobby, I can see protestors lying prostrate on the floor. At least five officers have their weapons drawn. One protestor on my side tries to enter the area and is aggressively ordered back. (Everything has changed.)

One policeman is panting furiously. I’m concerned. I ask him if he’s going to use that gun on us. He responds, “If one of you has a gun . . .” I interrupt him and say “None of us has a gun. We have cameras.”

He nods and calms down. He then says, I’m trying to explain what’s going on. It’s not us. We’ve got reports of shots fired.” I can now see ATF police in full tactical gear in the stairway lobby. It’s complete turmoil, and police radio chatter is loud and confused, all receiving different signals and commands from their various agencies. “The third floor, the third floor. We need you on the third floor,” blares across one radio as a Capitol cop races up the stairs. Just then, an ATF agent raises his rifle and I see a lone protestor carrying an American flag descending the stairs. They give him a quick pat-down and send him out of the area. 

This group of Capitol police officers are clearly harried. I recognize a couple of them from outside, on the scrum line I’d covered earlier. Some are covered in white powder. One is using a face mask to try and clear his eyes. They’ve already been through the wringer. One is particularly nervous, gun held tightly to his torso in the ready position with his eyes darting back and forth. He’s nervous, (or scared), as hell. He’s the only one I’m worried about. The rest seem in control of their emotions at this point. I keep my gaze squarely in his direction for several moments.

A radio blasts, “We need assistance on <unintelligible> to assist with triage.” Suddenly over two dozen Capitol Police emerge from downstairs on the other side of the lobby to assist with clearing out the large number of protestors remaining in the adjacent hallway.

It’s now 2:53 p.m. I’d just overheard an elderly man ask a female officer if there was a public restroom in the area. She said she didn’t know because this was a part of the building where she rarely worked. She pointed him downstairs. It’s now been over six hours since I’d been to a restroom, and I may not have even thought about it had I not heard that conversation, but . . . nature was suddenly calling. I turned off my camera and headed down the same staircase. My biggest regret of the day, having stopped recording.

My biggest regret of the day is . . . I’d now stopped recording.

At the bottom of the stairs, I was alone. I was looking around for any sign of public accommodations, when suddenly a very young, short female Capitol police officer took me by my right arm and said, “Sir, can I lead you safely out of the building?”

I asked, “Do I need to be led safely out?”

“Yes, sir. Please let me lead you safely out.”

I complied, and we began walking toward an exterior door. She was shaking as she had her arm in my own. Then, she repeatedly asked me the oddest question as we walked together. “Do you feel safe?”

“Yes.”

 “Sir, do you feel safe?”

 Again, “Do you feel safe.” 

 “I’m fine. Do you feel safe,” I asked.

 “No,” she replied.

 It dawned on me that she was trying to keep my eyes and attention on her, but there was a great commotion immediately to my left, and it was then that I turned my head to see — only six feet from me — a team of police working feverishly to resuscitate someone who was bleeding profusely about their head and face.

“Did he get shot?” 

“Yes.”

“Why did they shoot him?”

He pulled a gun on us.”

He? Him? We’d both said it. She didn’t know, either. The person receiving emergency care was shirtless as they aggressively pumped the chest, but with the various hands and arms of the attending officers obscuring my view, I couldn’t see that it was actually a female.

We get to the door, and she says, “Please be safe.” I exit just as an EMT crew was racing a gurney up the walk ramp and through the same door. I now found myself outside the Capitol building but inside a police line and barricades. No one is paying attention to me, so I position myself outside that door to capture whatever would happen next. At 2:59 p.m. I restart my camera, now aimed directly at that first-floor door directly below the House of Representatives Chamber. Police officers calmly stroll past me. Even though I’m inside their barricade, none of them bother me or attempt to move me outside their bike-racked perimeter. 33 seconds later, the double doors swing open. 28 more seconds pass and I see the gurney which was preceded by several heavily armed officers. I follow the cart down the ramp, videoing all the way. Not until they reach the bottom of the ramp, past three or four pillars and into unrestricted view, am I able to clearly see the bloodied face and bare breast of a woman . . . as an EMT continued pumping her chest.

In that very instant I knew she was already gone.

I decide to exit the police barricade, then follow the woman’s blood trail down the sidewalk. For some reason, none of this is affecting my emotions . . . yet. After almost 2 hours of stimulus overload — since first coming upon the riotous battle line — I’m running on automatic. I’ve even forgotten my recent need for a restroom. I’ve long since lost track of my friend, and cell signal bandwidth is almost impossible to find. At 3:03 p.m. I managed to get a text out to him:

“Shots fired. Civilian down. I saw her getting CPR. She’s not going to make it.”

At this point, I’m clueless as to where to go or what specifically to look for. I just keep running video and capturing images on the other side — the east side — of the Capitol building, where protestors are still gathered in numbers much smaller than on the west side. It’s also infinitely calmer. No skirmish line. No violence. I’ve no idea what might have transpired on this side, earlier, if anything. Shortly after sending that text, mine and everyone else’s phones are getting alerts that the DC mayor has announced a citywide curfew from 6 pm to 6 am.

I’m going to now end the timeline narrative. I captured more videos. I interviewed with WUSA9, the DC CBS affiliate station. They distilled over 30 minutes of material into about 30 seconds of chop-edited, out-of-context statements that made me sound like a radical. But, they used some of my video footage, crediting me on the 11 O’clock news, securing my status as a “citizen journalist.”

I eventually walked about a half mile from the Capitol and found a sandwich shop with a long line for two restrooms. An elderly gentleman in front of me was in great pain. He couldn’t hold out any longer and created a large puddle of urine on the floor of the sandwich shop. He was next up. My heart broke for him in his embarrassment.

I ordered a sandwich and someone from WUSA called again. One of their anchors asked if I could do a Zoom interview. I had all my gear with me. Why not? I set up my tripod on the sidewalk, made the connection, and he began asking questions. He was very nice, appreciative of my effort to accommodate, and seemed sincerely interested in what I’d seen and had to say. The next morning he narrated two pieces using my video. One was just the video, with credits. The next was another hatchet piece. 15 minutes edited to a couple of again out-of-context sentences. His commentary was condescending and designed to make me the fool. “Self-proclaimed citizen journalist,” he scoffed. Yeah . . . well . . . I got better videos than your pros, and you even wanted more. Bastard.

Darkness has now set on the city, and I walked back to the Capitol. There’s that curfew at 6 p.m., but the rumors were that Antifa would be causing more problems. As soon as I arrived, long lines of riot troops were beginning to form and clear the entire property of the remaining protestors. Fewer than a couple hundred were still there. More like a peaceful vigil at this point. Someone had set up a portable PA system and they were playing old protest songs.

“All we are saying, is give peace a chance.”

There was no protesting, no demonstrations, and no violence. But the assembled police forces were having no part in the vigil and began aggressively pushing people further and further away from the building. They’d establish a perimeter, then more reinforcements would arrive, and they could extend the perimeter. Maryland police, DC City police, unidentifiable troops in full riot gear, and even the FBI. Eventually, both the Army and Air Force National Guard arrived with full-body-length shields and nightsticks. They’d push, form a new line, then push back some more — eventually well past the Capitol property itself. There were still a few bullhorns in the hands of those giving the cops and National Guard lectures on their Constitutional duties, and their right to disobey unconstitutional orders.

Some international news crews were still on location doing live reports with the troops and Capitol in the background. I heard German, Chinese, Spanish, and a couple of other languages I couldn’t make out.

Antifa was long gone and didn’t return for a late-night skirmish, so about an hour after curfew I walked far enough past all the closed roads to order my Uber back to the hotel. 

Despite all I saw that day, my pragmatic patriotism remains intact, no matter what conflicts I might have in my own mind during the processing of everything I experienced. There’s still “the world I want, vs. the world in which I actually live,” but it’s becoming much more difficult to keep emotions in check — yea, pragmatic — when we see the accelerated elimination of our civil rights. They eviscerated the 1st Amendment during COVID lockdowns. No gatherings, no church, no bars, no water-cooler chat at work. Then, they began to delete our posts on social media that questioned the narrative of the disease as presented by the government. Yes, government leftists and Big Tech’s technocratic cartel began silencing voices with fact-checker warnings, content blocks, reach throttling, suspensions, and de-platforming.

Hypocritical mayors, governors, and other bureaucrats — by the hundreds — have been caught on video engaging in activities that they strictly forbade us to do because of COVID-19. Indoor dining, travel, family holiday celebrations, hair salon visits, and far too many others to recount.

With our own eyes, we saw vote counting suspended in Georgia because of an alleged water pipe break. After all GOP poll watchers were cleared, suitcases full of ballots were retrieved from under tables and added to the tally. Now, if we but mention that which we’ve seen with our own eyes, we are being accused of instigating the violence that occurred in DC last Wednesday. They are comparing our speech to that of shouting “FIRE” in a crowded theater. Well, I’ve got news for you. If there IS fire in the theater, I’m going to scream f-ing “FIRE!”

We’re frustrated. We’re mad as hell. We’ve been pointing out the “slippery slope” more in the last ten months than in the rest of our lifetimes, combined. Now, suddenly, after the election and January 6th, the slippery slope is a greased, triple-black diamond ice slope. Liberty is in free fall.

But . . . does that justify the violence on Wednesday?

The violence and property destruction was not a protected 1st amendment activity — as was often and hypocritically argued by the left during the 2020 BLM riots. Some will argue it was inspired and justified by other Founding Father quotes. A fair debate, but certainly not a valid legal argument. The rally itself, the march to Capitol Hill, and the peaceful assembly by 100s-of-thousands were protected by the 1st Amendment  — stolen election, or not. Yet, the MSM, politicians on both sides of the aisle, Big Tech, and now many other crony corporatists are allowing no distinction between the 99.9% of those who did nothing but wave flags, chant “USA,” and sing the National Anthem, and the less than 1/10th of one percent who engaged in varying levels of violence, destruction, and looting.

Remember the phrase “mostly peaceful protest,” after streets full of buildings had been burned and looted. Okay . . . I’ll both concede the math and the accurate use of the word, “mostly.” I do believe that most of the BLM protestors did not participate in criminal behavior. That said, not a single one of those post-George Floyd “mostly peaceful” protests came anywhere near the size of the Stop the Steal rally, last Wednesday. I was there and have it all on video. I can tell you that those doing violence and causing mayhem were a fractionally smaller number than in any BLM rally in 2020. Therefore . . . if we’re going to be consistent, fair, and throw off all garments of hypocrisy . . . the January 6th protest in DC was a MORE “mostly peaceful” protest — by the MATH — than any of the other protests so deemed by the MSM in 2020.

Period.

Unfortunately, though . . . just as it is with COVID-19, the left could care less about the math. With a 99.8% survival rate, as an average across all age groups . . . they are still locking us down. And those lockdowns apply to both our jobs and our speech. The math matters not . . . so they’re eliminating both.

I might as well go ahead and mention, right now, that every single action I engaged in on January 6th was legal, and within the protections of the Bill of Rights. My stated purpose for going to DC — as posted on all my social media platforms, well in advance — was to observe and document” the events of the day. I didn’t throw a brick, break a pane of glass, kick open a door, assault any police officer, charge upon any barricade, or so much as touch any item inside the Capitol building. But, once the breach was accomplished . . .  or doors opened by police, themselves . . . and crowds began pouring in, the “story” I was following had moved to the inside, and I did just as I did on the outside. I got as close to what was happening as possible to observe and document. I entered peaceably, under no constraint from any authority, and I exited peaceably at the very first request to do so by a Capitol Police officer.

My conclusions, assessments, and predictions?

Sure. Why not.

The video I posted on the evening of the 6th contained an observation that later needed some modification after reviewing my videos. I’d said that most of the violence I saw was coming from Trump supporters, though Antifa was certainly in the crowd. That observation still holds true . . . mostly . . . but I am now prepared to amplify my suggestions of the levels of culpability, from both sides. I don’t care if you like it, or not, but I’m only going to tell the truth about what I saw.

First of all, there were a significant number of “god and guns” American militia members who came ready and willing to knock heads and push boundaries. They came without their guns . . . this time. Their god . . . I’m not so sure about that. Many did come with full body armor, radios, organization, pre-meditation, and planning. Like it or not, they were there.

There were a significant number of retired American servicemen also getting involved in the mayhem. Whether that was by design, or they just caught up in the moment, I saw veterans of all ages giving it and taking it on the barricade lines. Even some older guys, wearing parts of their old uniforms. taking direct shots of pepper spray and police batons.

There were also far too many “formerly” peaceful protestors who were drawn into the frontlines of the scrum by the carnival barkers or agent provocateurs of the very visible Antifa presence. Antifa was there in much greater numbers and had far more impact than I first realized, but they were still far outnumbered by the Trump supporters who either planned for confrontation or were simply caught up in the moment.

Let’s be perfectly clear. This was a planned event. Reports state that early groups of people were staging up at the Capitol as early as 8 a.m. One Congresswomen tweeted that she saw a large number of protestors out her window by 9:30 a.m. Trump did not take the stage down at The Ellipse until 11:57 a.m., and didn’t finish his speech until 1:11 p.m. Long before Trump concluded, the initial breaching of outer barricades had begun. Some were deliberately pushed over by antagonists who arrived early, but we’ve also seen a video of one Capitol policewoman open a gate and enthusiastically waving protestors up to the next level.

Depending upon your location at the rally, the walk to the Capitol could be anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes at a normal pace. When I arrived at the reflection pool it was obvious the battle was fully engaged on that side of the building. I was there videoing at 1:19 p.m.

This was not spontaneous. This was not the result of incitement by Trump or Giuliani. The players in this spectacle were already geared-up, suited up, and had taken on their assigned roles long before Trump even hit the stage. Antifa had their megaphones, gas masks, shields, and medics already positioned. The militia guys, many of whom were outfitted in top-of-the-line tactical gear, were there in equal numbers. Professional and amateur camera crews were also there, already suited up for frontline “war zone” coverage.

Who planned this? Were the good ole boy militias in cahoots with Antifa? Was this a military psyop? Were the Capitol Police working with either or both sides? Did Trump’s team orchestrate this? The Dems?

Let me ask you a question:

Whose image was most damaged by this event?

Another one:

Whose voices are now being silenced following this event?

If your answers were, “Those on the American right,” you’d be correct. So unless this was a feint within a feint, (aka: 9-D Trump chess move), by intention or luck, the incoming Democratic juggernaut won the day in a walkover.

I still have far too many questions, and I trust no one in government will give us truthful answers. Not the Dems. Not the GOP. Not the FBI.

In fact, I trust no one right now. Full stop.

I find it difficult to even trust myself right now. Even purposefully staying out of the fray on Wednesday, I could feel and relate to the heat, anger, and passion being directed at the occupants of that Capitol building. They are liars. They are power mongers. They do not care about us and put their own interests and prosperity above those of the American people. They are deliberately spending us into inevitable economic collapse, and chipping away at more and more of our individual rights with each passing year. In the last 10 months, that has accelerated exponentially. I cannot count on my two hands the number of CongressCreeps I respect after this past year. I am a man who has had his career and income completely stripped away, and no one in the building came to my rescue, or to help the millions like me in similar circumstances. I’ve never been part of MAGA, but because my voice proceeds from the right side of the political spectrum, I’m now taking the same abuse, from the left, as the most ardent Trumpophiles.

I just know what I saw. I saw bad people doing bad things. I saw good people doing bad things. I saw good people doing good things — trying to stop others from getting hurt or breaking stuff. I also saw and videoed some things I can’t yet share. I’ve been advised not to . . . for my own protection.

Why?

Because I was told not to trust anyone right now.

In the first WUSA Channel 9 interview, I was asked if I supported what I saw. I said, “Yes. 100%.” Not the senseless violence and death, but the spirit of resistance against an oppressive state . . . even if misplaced and misapplied on that day. Their camera placement had me framed with the Capitol dome, behind. I turned my head, pointed over my shoulder, and said to the reporter, “There’s a darkness in that building, and what happened today may have just been a test run. The next time they may return far better prepared — a Million Gun March, of sorts — and if they come back in the same numbers, there’s no way they can be stopped. We may have heard the first shot, today.”

She responded, “Literally.”

They didn’t use that exchange on the 11 O’clock News.

community logo
Join the Steve Baker - TPC Community
To read more articles like this, sign up and join my community today
3
What else you may like…
Videos
Podcasts
Posts
Articles
Bongino Says He Loves Me

I got a shoutout from Dan Bongino yesterday. 😄

00:01:25
Locals Exclusive Video Message

Hello All!

I just need 8 minutes of your time to tell you about my doings in DC next week. Please check out the attached video.

Thank you!!

Steve


A one-time donation here on Locals:

https://thepragmaticconstitutionalist.locals.com/donate

PayPal is the easiest and quickest:

https://paypal.me/SMBMgmt

Or, for larger contributions for which you need a tax-deductible receipt, mail a check payable to: "FormerFedsGroup Freedom Foundation" - and send it to:

Steve Baker
3903 Carpenter Pond Road
Durham, NC 27703

00:07:42
The Left Have Lost Their Minds Today

But even NC's GOP Sen. Tillis called Tucker's story last night, "Bullsh-t."

This short video shows how successfully pervasive was the #Jan6 disinformation narrative. From my appearance on Good Morning Britain, last year:

“The building is now pretty much back to normal. You can’t see any scratches or bullet marks.” -Lorna Shaddick (GMB)

Bullet marks? 🙄

If GOP lawmakers are also so brain-damaged by the left's successful propaganda, you know a DC jury has no chance of rendering a fair and impartial verdict for J6 defendants.

(BTW . . . A 15-minute interview cut down to less than 15 seconds. Not much allowance for context. Ha!)

00:01:00
TNN Live This Morning

This was an interesting - and primarily non-J6-related - discussion with Dan Newman this morning. We spent quite a bit of time discussing this new "weaponization of rape as a tool of war" in the Hamas/Israel conflict. We also cover a couple of other things, including a teaser of something else I'm going to be looking at in my upcoming visit to the Capitol CCTV viewing room.

TNN Live This Morning
TNN Live Today, w/ Dan Newman

Dan and I spent quite a bit of time today discussing the coming 'Big Story," as well as the recent Stephen Horn case and conviction.

TNN Live Today, w/ Dan Newman
This Morning on TNN Live!

If you haven't noticed, this is a pretty big news day, and Dan and I get into a lot of it. Definitely worth a listen. I especially express my frustrations with the do-nothing GOP, when so much CAN be done right now, about so MUCH that is going on.

This Morning on TNN Live!
Late, but ...

Because of my last-minute trip to DC this week, I didn't even have time to post about my daily work. With the crazy stuff that happened yesterday, this may seem late, but it's connected. (I'll explain how later.)

This is my first shared byline with Joe Hanneman. I'm so excited to announce that he has joined the Blaze team. Even though I worked with him almost every day for the last couple of years—while he was with The Epoch Times—we were rarely able to share the extent to which we were collaborating on so many things. Now, it's official, and I couldn't be happier.

https://www.theblaze.com/news/pro-life-groups-slap-back-at-terrorist-designation-from-fort-liberty

More on Fort "Liberty"

On Thursday, BLazeTV launched our brand new show, Blaze News Tonight. I was between meetings somewhere in Virginia and had just pulled into the parking lot of a cigar lounge to get some work done when I got a message from a BNT producer asking if I could make a last-minute appearance on the 2nd show to discuss my Fort Liberty story about how they'd designated pro-life groups as "terror organizations."

I was over an hour's drive from DC, and I told her I was on the road and would need to find a studio. She told me that we could tape my segment at our studio in DC if I could get there in time. I had about 2 and 1/2 hours to spare, so I headed toward DC. I made it in plenty of time to find parking and change clothes.

My segment begins at 21:23 ...

Well ... Here we go

I couldn't have imagined that after only three weeks, this photo I posted last month would not only be more relevant but not at all humorous.

I have a lot to say, but I'm still processing. I just spent the last several days in highly confidential meetings in DC. I wasn't quite off the grid, but several times, I had to be. I was only a half hour out of DC - heading home - when Trump was shot. It was very frustrating being in my car with all my DMs pinging non-stop and the phone also incessantly ringing. (People think I know stuff. Ha. Maybe I do.) ;)

To give you guys some quick early thoughts before I write up something more detailed;

1 - This is very likely not an assassination conspiracy by the Deep State. (It could be, but the early signs aren't yet there.)

2 - This was a failure marked by incredible incompetency on the part of the Secret Service. Think DEI ... and the FACT that they were woefully undermanned for such a large event. The Secret Service was also denied the extra manpower ...

post photo preview
post photo preview
Bull City Syndicate - 23 Years, and Done
New beginnings and the end of an era as I retire my bands

On December 8, 2023, Bull City Syndicate (BCS) played its final show. We went out with a bang, performing a top-shelf corporate holiday event to 700 enthusiastic attendees. Appropriately, in the city of the band’s birth — Durham, NC — The Bull City. I considered booking a final public show, but after much thought, I decided to retire the band in a more low-key, less public manner. 

In November of 2000, I answered an ad from an established local band then known as Soul Kitchen & The Bull City Horns. (SK) I’d spent a year getting my trumpet chops back into shape after a decade in the music business, managing other artists. I did not intend to do anything in SK other than return to my first love: just playing the trumpet. I didn’t want to manage the band and certainly had no interest in ownership. I just wanted to play again. Money didn’t matter. And in those days, even as one of the premier club bands in the Raleigh/Durham market, my share of earnings from a 9-piece horn band rarely covered my bar tab.

For many months after joining Soul Kitchen, I managed to avoid being involved in the business of the band. When asked by band members what I did for a living, I always lied and gave them a different story each time. (I remember once telling them I was in the CIA. Ha!) Finally, after a Sunday night rehearsal, drinking and smoking on the back deck of our original drummer’s house (Dave Wilkins), Dave suddenly demanded, “Baker. What the f—k do you do for a living?”

“You really want to know?”

“Yes!”

“I manage bands for a living.”

“WHAT!? Why don’t you manage this band?”

“I don’t want to. I just want to play trumpet.”

At the next week’s rehearsal, Dave handed me a manilla folder that represented the totality of the band’s “business.”

“You’re in charge now,” said Dave. 

(Sigh.)

Bull City Syndicate opening for Eddie Money in 2008

From that point forward, things began to change quickly for SK. First began a radical updating of our set list designed to draw more people to our shows and more dollars for the band. I began to pursue more private events and larger public shows. Some of the original band members were not happy about the extra demands and work required to make the move from a fun club band to a serious special event band, and we began to replace members. With the band growing in popularity, we were able to attract even more versatile and better-trained musicians. We went from being a really good band to a great "horn band," packing out every live performance and fielding requests for those higher-paying private events.

We then began to spin off a few side projects. The first of those was our pop-jazz 4-piece called Cafe Mars. Then, in 2006, we launched an aggressive recording project led by award-winning local producer John Custer. After six months in the studio, “You Make Me Feel” was released in 2007. An album paying tribute to North Carolina songwriters, and for which I’m really proud of the final product. Especially the original tunes written for the album by Custer himself. It was because of that album that Soul Kitchen & The Bull City Horns became Bull City Syndicate. (There were 17 other bands named Soul Kitchen at the time, and with an album containing original music, we didn’t want to deal with any trademark issues.)

Durham Herald Sun Magazine feature in 2008

When the economy began to tank in the summer of 2008 and into 2009, so many local music venues didn’t survive or cut their live music budgets drastically, and private event buyers were forced to hire smaller bands and DJs. Bull City Syndicate made the decision to add a female lead singer to the line-up — as that was a requirement of so many private event and wedding buyers. Our 9-piece “all dude” band became a 10-piece outfit, and the additional female lead remained a feature of the band for its remaining years.

Anyone managing a 10-piece band knows that turnover is going to happen — even when there’s no drama or interpersonal issues. People move away, change jobs, etc. Life happens. But, somewhere around 2010, there was a particular tumult that caused five of our members to leave, and suddenly, with no remaining original members, Bull City Syndicate became “my” band. We were able to fill the missing spots quickly, and the band really took off. No longer led by a “committee,” I was able to take the band to the next level, particularly as a private event and festival band.

Bull City Syndicate Christmas show in Raleigh, NC - 2016

There were many highlights through my time with both incarnations of the band: SK and BCS. My very first gig with SK was an opening date for Kool & The Gang. Our last such brush with greatness was when Dolly Parton joined us onstage performing her classic hit, “Jolene.”

We were honored to be the headlining entertainment for the last two NC Governor’s Inaugural Balls. We performed for some of the largest companies and charities in America: SAS, Glaxo, AT&T, American Heart Association, and too many others to list. We traveled throughout the Mid-Atlantic region for shows — as far north as Maryland and even down to Florida.

Our first spin-off, Cafe Mars, eventually became a 6-piece version of the band called BCS Express. Then, 10 years ago, we added a “yacht rock” version of the band called Captain & The Keels. (C&K) The same line-up as BCS, doing the smooth rock hits from ’75 to ’85, with appropriate foolish costumes.

Captain & The Keels in Hampton, VA - 2016

In 2018 came my most fun spin-off. A David Bowie Tribute act called The American Bowie Experience. (ABX) With that group, we moved our bassist, Randy Ines, over to keys (because of his virtuoso piano chops), and brought my son Duncan in on bass guitar. (Bowie’s son is also named Duncan. Just a coincidence.) Despite the growing popularity and demand for ABX, that band didn’t survive the COVID-19 pandemic after a year and a half of lockdowns. It was everything I could do just to get BCS back to work.

American Bowie Experience at House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, SC - 2019

The aftermath of the pandemic was the beginning of the end for BCS. My life began to change drastically. For more than 25 years I’d been a hobbyist political writer and commentator. My writing chops began to take shape in the early days of the Internet. AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy eventually became MySpace. MySpace became Facebook, where my online following really began to take off. 

In early 2020 — long after the four versions of the band had become my full-time job and main source of income — “Two Weeks to Flatten the Curve” became two months of COVID lockdowns, and none of the band projects were allowed to do live performances. It was then that I decided to monetize my writing “hobby,” moving that to the captain’s seat of my endeavors and BCS and its spinoffs to the co-pilot’s seat. By 2022 and into 2023, my journalistic efforts were being rewarded with significant media attention, and my travels were keeping me away from the band and its needs with increasing frequency. 

In the summer of 2023, I was approached by Dallas-based Blaze Media to become a contributing writer. I was now splitting most of my time between D.C. and Dallas, and the bands’ bookings were suffering. With that came the hard decision that ultimately led me to retire from the BCS and C&K brands, make the total life transition and reinvention to a full-time writer and investigative journalist for The Blaze.

An appearance on The Glenn Beck Show in 2023

I’ve been doing music in one form or the other for over 50 years. At 19 years old, I was traveling the world playing trumpet. In the 80s, I was working for churches doing music and promoting contemporary Christian music concerts with the biggest names in that industry. Into the 90s, I became manager to national acts touring around the world — which caused me to put my horns in the closet for about 10 years. By 1999, I just wanted to play music again, and I answered that ad to join Soul Kitchen & The Bull City Horns.

Obviously, this telling is the very short version of that 23-year experience, and what became such a significant part of my life. There were hard times and bad times, but mostly wonderful times with all the guys and gals I was honored to perform with. We played for near-empty rooms and for as many as 40,000 at festivals. We shared the stage with famous artists and many of the best local musicians and bands. I will always cherish every moment.

BCS Express in Cary, NC - 2013

I want to express my heartfelt thanks and admiration to all the fantastic musicians who made those 23 years unforgettable. And to the fans who continued to show up for our infrequent club shows in the last couple of years. Many who’d been coming to see us for over 20 years!

At our final Durham show on December 8, I stepped off the stage a few times just to watch and soak it in. After the last song, and when we began the final tear-down and load-out of the gear, one of the guys said to me, “You know you’re going to miss this.”

Yes . . . I am.

Read full Article
post photo preview
A Brief Summary of My Personal January 6 Story Timeline (Then ’til Now)
Mainly For Newer Followers, Not Yet Up-to-Speed on My Work

A more detailed account of my day on January 6, 2021, can be found here:

https://thepragmaticconstitutionalist.locals.com/post/3897816/what-i-saw-on-january-6th-in-washington-dc


 

-On Dec. 21, 2020 — two days after Trump announced his own "wild" J6 rally at The Ellipse in D.C. — I posted this announcement to my social media accounts:

“Regardless of how you feel about the election results, this might be a spectacle worth observing up close and personal. (I'm predisposed to believe this crowd will not riot, loot, and burn the city.) I might begin my northeast run on this date, in DC. Anyone else going? #tpcroadtrip2021”

Well . . . they didn't "burn the city."

——

-In my email newsletter that went out on January 4, 2021, I made the following comment:

“I am headed to DC on Wednesday. Why? Not because I think a crowd of any size is going to force government into a real investigation of the election results, but because the “powers that be” on all sides of the political equation need to see WE THE PEOPLE in force, letting them know that WE ARE WATCHING. WE are engaged! WE are not going to lay down to any level of tyranny — whether it comes from the right or the left, the Democrats or the GOP. I’m also hoping to document on video anything “special” that might happen, and perhaps get a few interviews from a variety of voices.”

-By “special” . . . it was rumored there would be some big announcement on the election controversy, (a release of The Kraken, maybe), about which I hoped to get comments from members of the crowd. There was nothing special announced from the stage, by Trump or any of the others. The “special” came later . . . unexpectedly.

——

-I arrived at the Washington Monument at about 9:30 am on January 6, and spent the next three hours watching the crowd grow to an enormous size — documenting it on video.

-Trump took the stage almost an hour later than announced, at 11:57 pm. His “warm-up” acts were ‘meh,’ and his speech was equally ‘meh.’ Because of the cold, windy conditions, the poor audio, and wanting to get ahead of the throng that was scheduled to march on the Capitol for the other events, I left the Washington Monument lawn about halfway through Trump’s speech and began a brisk walk toward the Capitol Building . . . along with thousands of others already peeling off from Trump's speech.

-I arrived at the Reflection Pool on the west side of the Capitol at about 1:15 pm, where I was hearing police sirens and what sounded like explosions. From there, I could see smoke and the arrival of DC Metro PD (MPD) units pouring down the steps toward the west terrace. I made the decision to sprint up to the terrace, where I turned on my camera at 1:19 pm, and for almost an hour filmed the violence and surging crowds in that area.

-Just after 2:00 pm I began to notice signs of Capitol Police (USCP) withdrawal. Shortly thereafter, there was a sudden surge of protestors up the stairs underneath the scaffolding on the northwest side of the terrace. Hundreds of protestors were now in unrestricted movement up those stairs, so I followed.

-At approximately 2:21 pm I followed hundreds of protestors through what some call the “Senate Wing door.” This, I would later learn, was the site of the first breach of the building. I did not see the breach, as it occurred at approximately 2:13 pm, while I was still on the lower terrace.

-For almost 40 minutes I captured scenes inside the Capitol Building, before exiting at about 2:59 pm, at the exact location where FBI tactical unit medics were trying to save Ashli Babbit’s life. Just over one minute after I exited through the South door, I filmed Babbitt’s extraction through that doorway, while the D.C. Fire EMT crew still worked feverishly on her lifeless body.

Screenshot from my video - January 6, 2021 - of Ashli Babbitt being evacuated from
the Capitol Building by D.C. Fire Department emergency medical techs.

-Shortly thereafter, I gave a couple of interviews to local media, found a restroom and a sandwich, then returned to the Capitol to witness the arrival of the Army and Air Force National Guards finalize the clearing of the entire Capitol grounds. I then returned to my hotel in Arlington sometime after 7:30 pm.

——

-For the next five days I began frame by frame review of my videos, and then started writing my first story about the event, which was posted on January 13, 2021:

https://thepragmaticconstitutionalist.locals.com/post/3897816/what-i-saw-on-january-6th-in-washington-dc

-On February 24, 2021, I published my second story about J6:

https://thepragmaticconstitutionalist.locals.com/post/3897816/what-i-saw-on-january-6th-in-washington-dc

-As I’ve pointed out many times, I got a few things wrong in my earliest analyses. I’ve tried to correct those over the following months and years as new evidence has presented itself. But, those two articles remain as written — errors included.

——

-Because I engaged in no violence, property damage, chanting, singing, carried no flags, and wore no political messages on my clothing . . . as the months wore on I began to think maybe I was going to have the same respect as so many other journalists who were not being rounded up in the J6 dragnet. But, on the morning of July 22, 2021, I received a phone call from FBI Special Agent Gerrit Doss. After he asked me for a voluntary interview, I immediately turned that over to my local attorney, and they worked together with all our schedules to arrange a date for the interview.

-The first attempt at scheduling the FBI interview was aborted on-site, on the morning of August 5, 2021. The reason given — after my attorney and I had already arrived at their Cary, NC filed office — was that they could not interview me, “because of my press status,” until after they received a letter of approval from the U.S. Attorney General’s office.

-My attorney worked with an assistant USAG, they negotiated a proffer agreement for the interview, and it was rescheduled for October 18, 2021. I was interviewed for two full hours, under the agreement that nothing I said in the interview could be used against me — should charges be made against me — in court . . . unless I perjured myself. (That didn’t happen.)

-On November 17, 2021, my attorney received an email from Assistant U.S. Attorney Anita Eve — out of Philadelphia — stating, “Your client will be charged within the week.”

-On Monday morning of Thanksgiving week — November 22, 2021 — we sent out approximately 200 press releases to all manner of media sources, stating that I — an independent journalist — was about to be prosecuted for nothing more than the act of “journalism” on January 6.

-At approximately 1:00 pm that same day, AUSA Eve sent my attorney a copy of that press release, stating, “We’re not happy about this.” He responded, asking, “Are you saying my client should forego his 1st Amendment right because he is being persecuted by the federal government?" There were a couple of other exchanges between my attorney and the AUSA before she went silent. I assumed that was because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

-My phone began to ring from interested media sources, wishing to cover my story.

-On Tuesday evening — November 23 — I received a call from Senator Ron Johnson (WI), asking me how he could help. As the minority leader of a Senate J6 investigative committee, he put me in touch with his investigators.

-On Wednesday morning — November 24 — I was contacted by an attorney who practices criminal law in D.C., who happened to be a federal prosecutor for more than 20 years. After a three-hour phone call, I engaged his services.

-On Monday — November 29 — my new attorney reached out to AUSA Eve by both email and phone, and she never responded. We never heard from her or the FBI again . . . until yesterday — August 5, 2023 — more than 20 months later, when my Raleigh attorney received a call from the FBI notifying him that they had “service of process” for me.

-This turns out to be a Grand Jury subpoena, requesting my January 6 videos. My attorney received that on Monday. We have been able to determine the DOJ has reopened its investigation into my January 6 activities. I volunteered to give those to the FBI during my interview in October of ’21, but they never followed up and requested them. The most unfortunate fact is . . . grand juries are not convened to investigate misdemeanor crimes. For unknown reasons, they are apparently considering a felony recommendation to the grand jury. As of this writing, that is all we know.

——

-Since January 6, 2021, as well as the time since my threatened prosecution, I have been very active in investigating many aspects related to January 6. Something I never expected to be engaged in. I have broken original stories, developed Capitol Police whistleblowers, met with Congress Members, and engaged with congressional staffers and investigators. All of that has been well documented in my blogs.

-In the fall of 2022, I covered every day of the first, nine-week-long Oath Keepers trial, at the District Courthouse in D.C.

-I’ve been interviewed for my work by innumerable media sources — large and small — from Tucker Carlson on Fox News, to reporters with both NBC and the New York Times, to smaller podcasters. I’ve also collaborated on several stories with The Epoch Times, and have been one of a small hand full of journalists who’ve been given access to that “41,000 hours of J6 video” by Speaker McCarthy’s staff. I am just now entering into a “contributor” relationship with Blaze Media.

placeholder

As I said in the beginning, this is an abbreviated overview of my personal “January 6 story.” I have no idea what the government’s renewed interest is in me or my videos. The only “crime” I committed on January 6 — technically speaking — is to have entered a restricted building. But, so did some 80 to 100 other journalists who have not been charged with any crimes. We all simply followed the story where the story went that day.

It would be easy to speculate that I might be being singled out because I haven’t conformed to the “preferred narrative,” or because of the sensitivity of certain stories I’m currently working on. I simply have no idea, so can’t really go there. Not at least until I see the subpoena on Monday, and we can get some questions answered about the status of my case . . . which went from “Your client will be charged within the week” to total silence from the DOJ for more than a year and a half.

Some say there are “no coincidences” in this particular game . . . but we’ll know more on Monday.

Stay tuned . . .

Steve

P.S. I have no idea what they're looking for in my videos. What's so special, that it requires a Grand Jury subpoena? All the good stuff is already posted online:

placeholder

 

Read full Article
post photo preview
Tweetstorm Rollout on Secret U.S. Army SpecOps Deployed on January 6
Having no name, this top secret group is referred to as “the activity,” “the unit,” or “orange”

THREAD: Two and 1/2 years ago, in my 2nd article about #Jan6, (Feb. 24, 2021), I revealed a “very high probability that both [Army] ’Special Forces’ operatives and U.S. Marshalls were mixed in with the crowd that entered the Capitol Building.”

https://thepragmaticconstitutionalist.locals.com/post/3842175/who-was-up-the-chain-on-january-6

——

10 months later (Jan. 3, 2022) Newsweek confirmed my sourcing with a story headlined, “Secret Commandos with Shoot-to-Kill Authority Were at the Capitol.” saying, “The role that the military played in this highly classified operation is still unknown.”

https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-secret-commandos-shoot-kill-authority-were-capitol-1661330

——

I have quietly investigated this discovery ever since and eventually revealed my knowledge of a SpecOps group deployed on J6 to be a top-secret SIGINT group from Ft. Belvoir, just outside D.C. (I have no info if this is the same group Newsweek reported.)

——

I have long been aware of a current member of this “unit” deployed to the Capitol on J6. Late in 2022, I was introduced to a retired member of the same SpecOps group. In short, he was highly impressed with my knowledge of that unit, as they officially . . . “do not exist.”

——

They may not officially “exist,” but in 2007, British author @MickWSmith revealed the existence and history of this U.S. Army SpecOps group in his book, “Killer Elite: The Inside Story of America's Most Secret Special Operations Team”

https://www.amazon.com/Killer-Elite-Completely-Americas-Operations-dp-1250006473/dp/1250006473/ref=dp_ob_title_bk

Unlike the SEALS or Delta Force, this secretive Army team does not have a name. Only their specific operations are given a name, and they are otherwise generally referred to as “the activity,” “the unit,” or “orange.”

——

My source, who is a retired member of “the unit” does not believe his former group could possibly have been used for any purpose on J6, as it is outside the operational protocols of their mission. Namely, when he was a member, they would never be used for domestic operations.

——

Also, he says they would never have been “seconded” to @FBI. They have a specific chain of command within the Army hierarchy and are only ever seconded to the CIA in overseas ops. That said, he has been retired from “the unit” for almost a decade.

——

In my recent interactions with congressional members and staff, I have been informed that they are aware the “the unit” was operational in some capacity on J6, but have been unable to get answers from @DeptofDefense, specifically because they “do not officially exist.”

——

In recent weeks, trying to get more information, I’ve read another team of special ‘intel’ investigators into my research on this subject. Our most recent discovery is that they have been able to identify another current member of “the unit” who was at the Capitol on J6.

——

Before I go any further in this narrative, I'll emphasize that I've never implied “the unit” was deployed on J6 for nefarious purposes. In my 1st story, I theorized that they were simply there to “take care of business” should protestors get out of hand, using lethal weapons.

——

That established, their presence and deployment raises serious questions. Why are military forces being deployed in violation of posse comitatus law? Is it common practice for @DeptofDefense to allow military SpecOps to be used at domestic protest events?

——

More importantly, if this is not common, and was a one-off operation . . . having “the unit” seconded to @FBI on J6 . . . WHY? What did they know, requiring “the unit's” presence at the Capitol, and what was “the unit’s” “posture” on J6?

——

We are seeking more information, and answers to those questions, but do not expect to receive those directly from @FBI, @CapitolPolice, (if they even knew), or from @DeptofDefense. But, you may be asking why I’m talking about this without having all the facts nailed down.

——

My @FBI whistleblowing friends, @KyleSeraphin and @RealStevefriend have advised me that “daylight” is not only the “best disinfectant,” but also the best “protection” when one is hovering this close over the target. 

——

I don’t have the same covering as that afforded a reliable MSM journalist - as when @FBI had Newsweek’s @warkin release a one-year anniversary CYA story about their deployment of every 3-letter agencies’ tactical teams and military commandos with “shoot to kill” orders on J6.

——

So . . . I’m letting @FBI and @DeptofDefense know that I’ve now read three other friendly journalists, a team of think tank investigators, and several congressional staffers into the details of this story. “Whacking” me, to stop my work, will probably be counterproductive.

——

But, they are welcome to reach out to me and answer my questions. (I also have more.) I’m certain they already have my number. 

Stay tuned. More on this, and even more important J6 stories are in the pipeline. 

——

On Twitter, (or, X):

https://twitter.com/TPC4USA/status/1686907274692861952

Read full Article
See More
Available on mobile and TV devices
google store google store app store app store
google store google store app tv store app tv store amazon store amazon store roku store roku store
Powered by Locals