Right-wing extremist Ali (Akbar) Alexander came out of hiding recently to state, via video, that he would testify before the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection -- mainly because he does not have the funds to fight the committee's subpoena, and "I don't want to go to jail." Alexander made his statement in front of what appeared to be a poster of Johnny Cash, with the iconic singer displaying a gigantic middle finger.
The two dominant images behind Alexander were the word "Cash" and the middle finger, (Did we mention it was gigantic?) Was that a matter of happenstance? Dana Jill Simpson, an Alabama progressive activist/whistleblower/retired attorney, is a former Republican who testified before Congress, and appeared on 60 Minutes, about the political prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Simpson knows what it's like to sit in the witness chair before a Congressional committee, and she has written online about unpleasant experiences she's had since coming forward in support of Siegelman.
In short, Simpson has reason to know that Alexander might be rattled by the notion of testifying before Congress, given that he was the self-described organizer of the Stop the Steal rally that turned into an assault on the U.S. Capitol. Simpson also knows how folks on the right tend to think. With that in mind, Simpson says she suspects Alexander's use of the Johnny Cash image -- gigantic middle finger and all -- was a way of sending a not-so-subliminal message. Wrote Simpson on her Facebook page:
I find it interesting Ali is standing in front of a Johnny Cash (poster), shooting a bird with the word "Cash" written on the poster . . Ali is notorious for doing these kinds of things, and the way I read it is "FU, I need Cash." I'm guessing, but this is probably aimed at Republicans not supporting him now.
Simpson then notes that my post about Alexander and the Jan. 6 committee includes details about some of the experiences she attributes to Alexander and his allies:
I might add Shuler uses the threat Ali made directly to me and my Husband in a post on October 23rd, 2013, at the Stacy McCain blog, saying basically he was coming to get me when he dined with the Governor and important lawyers. And he did really screw up my life for a while with his tricks. I, as most of y'all know, went to the FBI, but they did nothing to him or Baron Coleman (Alexander's Montgomery-based lawyer) and let them basically grow the Proud Boy organization, which I helped document with Roger Shuler over the years -- and I actually warned folks in the days leading up to events on January 6th what Ali and Coleman were up to, as we, my husband and me, with Roger's help, outed their Stop the Steal LLC, along with the Southern Poverty Law Center outing it.
Simpson suggests there might be more to the story of Ali Alexander and Jan. 6 than currently meets the eye:
We all in Alabama knew Ali.was up to an insurrection because we all have been dealing with this jerk for years. He was assigned to harass me by the John McCain and Karl Rove bunch, starting in 2007. I have been complaining to Siegelman lawyers . . . for years. This nut case even had my Husband threatened about marrying me. It has been ongoing ever since. He worked directly for Karl (Rove) and Grover (Norquist), running their Republican blogger club that was funded by their donors. The day Ali was leading this deal in D.C, he was captured on tape saying he did not disavow what was happening.
At the very same time, Karl Rove was on Amelia Island, saying he was taking back over the Republican Party.
If Rove was taking back the Republican Party, who was he taking it from? Donald Trump? If Rove and Trump are grappling for control of the GOP, and Alexander has a history of working for Rove, why was Alexander's Stop the Steal ostensibly designed to keep Trump in office? Or was something else going on?
As the Jan. 6 committee will eventually find out, if it doesn't know it already, the road to answers about the Capitol insurrection is filled with sharp and winding turns -- and at least one gigantic middle finger.