Tag Archives: QAnon

Let’s do sciencing! Science and tech links

We’ve lost so much polar ice to global warming, it’s shifting Earth’s axis of rotation.

Are unidentified drones in the midwest just a new UFO myth? It seems not.

The NYPD introduced a Robodog to fight crime. The public objected.“Do not think that thoughtful design is just for the elderly, or the sick, or the disabled. In the field of design, this is called “inclusive design” for a reason: It helps everyone. Curb cuts were meant to help people who had trouble walking, but it helps anyone wheeling things: carts, baby carriages, suitcases. Closed captions are used in noisy bars.” — from an article on why good design for the elderly can benefit everyone.

The Netherlands may have reversed the decline in its bee population.

Speaking of bees, here’s how honey can stay edible for centuries.

Florida has banned social media companies from censoring journalism or deplatforming candidates, but Disney + gets an exemption.

Three years ago, a piece of the Vesta asteroid crashed into Botswana.

There’s a global shortage of semiconductor chips — and even dog-washing is suffering from it.

Arkansas is pushing creationism back into schools.

Azimuth Security has hacked iPhones for the government. Apple does not approve.

Why does QAnon enthrall people? A game designer’s analysis says it’s beautifully designed to lead you away from reality and into a maze of mystery.

#SFWApro. Covers by Sheldon Moldoff, Murphy Anderson and Jack Kirby

 

 

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According to Republicans, the Democrats are always bringing socialism to America.

My right-wing friends on FB have shifted from Oh No, Joe Biden to saying he’s fine but puppet-master Kamala Harris will bring socialism to America! But as the WaPo points out, stuff we now take for granted — Social Security, Medicare — was also going to bring socialism to America. The memes about how erasing college debt insults everyone who paid off their student loans would have been just as usable against the G.I. Bill decades ago (“My father fought in WW I then went to college on his own dime! Why are you dishonoring his hard work?”). But now, of course, this stuff is accepted as normal government services. Plus the older-skewing Republican base actually uses Social Security and Medicare and isn’t worried about paying off college debt.

While I didn’t shrug off all the comparisons between the Trump regime and dictatorships I’ve seen since 2017, I didn’t think we’d go as far toward tyranny as we have. At this point, I take articles like this one a lot more seriously. Ditto speculation about what happens if Trump refuses to admit he lost. The Prospect looks at how much damage he can do. And human pus-bag Roger Stone suggests Trump simply become dictator if he loses. I suspect this is mostly Stone pretending he’s a badass, but that’s not to say Trump wouldn’t try it. Yet we get arguments this is all the Democrats’ fault.

Oh, and Trump now wants to cut off federal funding from cities he doesn’t like.

In Pasco County Florida, the sheriff relied on a computer program to identify potential future criminals, then harassed them (yes, the article does mention Minority Report). Surprisingly the program didn’t focus on minorities primarily, it’s just a really bad idea.

Our country is trapped in a pandemic spiral which keeps us from getting control of the Trump Virus. Among the problems: a desire to return to normal, even when we can’t; refusing to make systemic changes; reacting rather than being proactive.

After the Charlottesville protests of several years ago, Donald Trump declared there were very fine people on the white supremacist side (supposedly not white supremacists but some nonexistent other group protesting there). Now Republicans are trying to  deny he said it.

“The core of the problem is that conservatives have decisively lost a lot of empirical debates. There was a time when conservative ideas about gender, race, genetics, and geology might have been true — they were open questions. But for the last hundred and fifty years or so, the evidence has been piling up on the other side, and, in more and more areas, the questions are basically closed. ”

The supposedly vast anti-Trump conspiracy.

“For most of its history, white evangelicalism in America was not opposed to selling children to rapists. ”

Creationism as conspiracy theory.

Trump claims diversity training is anti-American propaganda. Of course if you fantasize real Americans are all white, I suppose it is.

Media Matters reports a Texas assistant AG is a racist QAnon supporter. In a pleasant surprise, Texas’ response was to fire that sucker.

There’s nothing surprising in Trump declaring Americans who died for their country were losers, but it’s worth mentioning.

A white college professor built her career on claiming she was black.

So the Green Party screwed up in Wisconsin and didn’t get on the ballot. Their solution: with the help of Republican lawyers, file a lawsuit that may screw up the entire vote-by-mail process.

When Trump called on North Carolina Republicans to vote twice to prove how easy it is to cheat the system, he committed a crime. But AG William Barr says he has no idea what the law is.

Trump is determined to rush a Trump Virus vaccine into circulation regardless of safety and testing.

The players in the various Trump scandals often overlap. And it’s amazing how many new scandals they’re embroiled in. But hey, it’s not like their crooked boss is going to care if they’re dirty — he probably thinks that’s smart.

A grim story about the plight of the almost homeless.

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Down the QAnon hole

As I mentioned last week, I now have two hgh-school friends posting QAnon memes and hashtags on FB. I suspect I’d see more if I didn’t use the “take a break” option to keep from seeing friends’ FB pages that are nothing but Hail Trump! memes.

One of the reasons it’s taking such root is that the current right wing is fertile ground. As Paul Campos says, a large part of white America has been freaking out since feminism, gay rights and the civil rights movement took “their” country away and Trump is their God. Or Texas businessman Al Hartman, who pressures his employees not to wear masks at work (not that the article says he’s into QAnon, but he’s already ignoring reality). A theory that explains contrary to all evidence, they’re right, Trump’s right and the evil liberals are indeed evil. Just by posting the memes, they’re saving the (non-existent) children! And with Republicans incapable of tackling the pandemic perhaps it helps Republicans stay loyal to the party. And anti-vaxxing and other crackpot stuff feeds the QAnon fire, much as incels and online misogyny have begun feeding into white supremacy. And there are lots of other conspiracies to keep them enraged.

And like any conspiracy theory, believers can screen out any contradictory evidence: faux prophet Mark Taylor, for example, explains Trump not taking the opportunity to support QAnon proves he supports QAnon (“It’s not time for the president to come out yet and say Q is legit.”). Because QAnon isn’t even connecting dots, it’s making them up, it’s easy to turn anything into evidence: A Wisconsin cheese festival is part of the Satanic conspiracy because ““What’s in the codeword ‘cheese,’ people? If you know anything about anything, ‘cheese’ is little girls in the world of pedophilia.” That would be funny except that, as Nietzsche said, when you grapple with monsters you become one. The story discusses how QAnon believers, having been persuaded various child-care service are part of the Sinister Conspiracy, are now kidnapping their kids to keep them safe (more here).

Not that surprising. Embracing this kind of belief was never going to lead to a mentally healthy place. As the blogger Hilzoy puts it, this kind of self-righteousness — you’re virtuous, your enemies are monsters — is addictive. Once you start down the rabbit-hole it’s hard to let go of the glorious feeling of virtue and justified hate: “The more you nurse your hatred, the larger a part of your identity it becomes. But hatred is a poor substitute for a genuine self, and the more you come to depend on it, the hollower you become, and the harder it is to let it go.” You see grey as black, then you see white as black, all so you can keep the hate going. As Roy Edroso says, Republicans have held the White House and the Senate for three-plus years, they’ve appointed dozens of far-right judges, gutted the eeevil environmental regulations, but they’re still furious. They’re hooked on their own rage; they love Trump, in part, because he eggs them on. And Republicans exploit this.

And meanwhile it seems Trump’s Russian business contacts include criminals and people who really do engage in human trafficking. Somehow I don’t see QAnon being bothered by this.

The extremists are a minority within a minority party, but our system of government gives them outsize influence. I don’t know what we can do but voting against them in November is a start.

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This is your brain. This is your brain on QAnon.

Sixty-two Republican candidates this year have signaled their support for the QAnon conspiracy theory. Twelve of them have won primaries. This is not good.

QAnon, as you may know, is the completely irrational conspiracy theory that a)Trump’s opponents are a vast web of Satan-worshipping pedophiles and murderers; and b)all these apparent investigations into Trump’s corruption are a brilliant cover story to hide the real investigation Trump has organized which will culminate in the mass arrest of all his opponents and the triumph of Real Americans, glory Hallelujah! While most conspiracy theories are irrational, this one is particularly so: it’s not based on anything. No victims have come forward. No-one has provided any sort of evidence. Every Q prediction has failed (the mass arrests should have begun a copule of years ago). But the belief seems to be growing stronger. And weirder.

Part of the appeal may be that at this point QAnon can fit many equally crackpot theories. This Sovereign Citizens radical thinks QAnon confirms her belief about the illegitimate federal government so she can kidnap her kids. Another believer is also an anti-vaxxer whose beliefs led to her daughter dying from contracting the Trump Virus at a church COVID-19 infection party. The Operation Rescue forced-birth group has embraced nonexistent QAnon messages that Trump is going to destroy Planned Parenthood.

And part of it, as Fred Clark says, is that they hope it’s real.

Is there really a “global cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles” secretly pulling the levers that control government, media, art, entertainment, and business all around the world? Maybe, maybe not. But Lauren Boebert says she hopes there is.

This doesn’t seem like anything that anyone should hope to be real. Even the apparent true believers like Greene, Perkins, and Vandersteel who claim to think that it is real ought to be wishing it weren’t so. There ought to be some measure of “alas, would that it were not true” about their purportedly devout belief in this evil conspiracy. But there’s never even a whiff of such sadness or lamentation in their enthusiasm for this conspiracy. The overwhelming sense one gets from them, rather, is that they are thrilled and excited at the prospect of it. They desperately, cheerfully “hope that it is real.”

If it’s not real, after all, then where will the true believers find anything else so exciting to provide meaning for their lives? If there isn’t a massive secret global network of Satan-worshipping cannibalistic pedophiles, then what’s even the point of anything? They hope that it is real. They want it to be real. They desperately need it to be real.

As Clark says, it’s a way to give meaning to their lives. They matter, because they live in a world with an evil comparable to Hydra, and they’re the Agents of SHIELD! Of course they don’t actually seem to do much to fight Hydra or save the victims of the evil Satanist pedophile cabal, though ironically that’s a good thing. All they have to do is vote Republican and feel superior to their evil, evil non-Republican adversaries.

In Trump we’ve already seen what happens when you get a president who defines reality by the Fox News worldview (that’s hardly the sole cause of his problems, but it’s a factor). God knows what a decade or so of QAnon will produce.

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