Conspiracy Theorists

Large percentage of insurrectionists had "financial troubles"

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But efforts to make this a cause & effect are flawed:

Nearly 60 percent of the people facing charges related to the Capitol riot showed signs of prior money troubles, including bankruptcies, notices of eviction or foreclosure, bad debts, or unpaid taxes over the past two decades, according to a Washington Post analysis of public records for 125 defendants with sufficient information to detail their financial histories.

The group’s bankruptcy rate — 18 percent — was nearly twice as high as that of the American public, The Post found. A quarter of them had been sued for money owed to a creditor. And 1 in 5 of them faced losing their home at one point, according to court filings.

At the risk of coming off as "elitist," and with an acknowledgment that economic hardship is a reality that many Americans face each day, I categorically reject the "this is why they did it" explanation for attacking Congress:

QAnon suffers a possibly fatal blow with Inauguration

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The threads of this crazy quilt are coming apart:

For years, legions of QAnon conspiracy theory adherents encouraged one another to “trust the plan" as they waited for the day when President Donald Trump would orchestrate mass arrests, military tribunals and executions of his Satan-worshipping, child-sacrificing enemies.

Keeping the faith wasn’t easy when Inauguration Day didn’t usher in “The Storm,” the apocalyptic reckoning that they have believed was coming for prominent Democrats and Trump’s “deep state” foes. QAnon followers grappled with anger, confusion and disappointment Wednesday as President Joe Biden was sworn into office.

Of course you can't get rid of crazy that easily, but you can cause it to chase its tail for a while. The fact they put so much emphasis on Trump as the hero of their fantasy has doomed this particular cult to an embarrassing ending, as their hero slinks down to Mar-A-Lago to lick his wounds and try to figure out how to avoid the monstrous karma wheel that's about to crush him. And his apparent "weakness" has driven the Proud Boys and other right-wing groups to turn on Trump like rabid dogs:

Trump's legal challenges crash into an impenetrable wall of evidence

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Our legal system has many flaws, but fantasy isn't one of them:

During a Pennsylvania court hearing this week on one of the many election lawsuits brought by President Donald Trump, a judge asked a campaign lawyer whether he had found any signs of fraud from among the 592 ballots challenged. The answer was no.

Trump has not been so cautious, insisting without evidence that the election was stolen from him even when election officials nationwide from both parties say there has been no conspiracy.

One of the most ironic aspects of this is how many Republicans, who won their elections, are backing up Trump's baseless election fraud claims. Truth be told, most of them know it's bullshit. But they're still afraid of him. They're still afraid of his crazy Q followers. So they're playing along, and making the problem much worse by doing so. It's the height of irresponsibility, but they don't really care about any ill effects it may cause:

Over 1/3 of Americans are prone to conspiracy theories

This research is long overdue:

In the most comprehensive analysis to date of people who are prone to conspiracy beliefs, a research team in Atlanta sketched out several personality profiles that appear to be distinct. One is familiar: the injustice collector, impulsive and overconfident, who is eager to expose naïveté in everyone but him- or herself. Another is less so: a more solitary, anxious figure, moody and detached, perhaps including many who are older and living alone. The analysis also found, at the extremes, an element of real pathology — of a “personality disorder,” in the jargon of psychiatry.

First let's look at my introductory sentence above. It is based on a (maybe) subconscious belief that conspiracy theories have not been taken seriously by the mental health community, when in fact delusions have been studied intensely for at least the last half-century. It's easy to be reductive; to discount the efforts of professionals on a wide range of subjects, while having no direct knowledge of those efforts. That is not analysis, it's throwing poop from one's cage. Let's talk about that first group of people, the injustice collectors:

The Coronavirus Infodemic: Conspiracy theories are a coping mechanism

Never underestimate our capacity for foolishness:

“People are drawn to conspiracies because they promise to satisfy certain psychological motives that are important to people,” Dr. Douglas said. Chief among them: command of the facts, autonomy over one’s well-being and a sense of control.

If the truth does not fill those needs, we humans have an incredible capacity to invent stories that will, even when some part of us knows they are false. A recent study found that people are significantly likelier to share false coronavirus information than they are to believe it.

You don't have to be a full-fledged, New World Order-fearing nut-job to fit into this category. We're all susceptible to this piper if we're not careful. It's tempting to create monsters where they don't (necessarily) exist, because monsters can be slain. But a natural world that is inherently dangerous and uncertain, that can create a virus so small it's invisible to the naked eye yet kills tens of thousands, is simply terrifying:

Tarheel Conspiracy Theorists: Ronald Rabin

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Talk about falling off the fringe:

"The current threatened invasion of our Southern border is not spontaneous. It is funded by internationalists like Soros and Never Trump special interests and engineered by liberals who have high-jacked the Democrat Party. Have you not noticed these are well fed, well clad people? Do you think they are walking 2,300 miles? Walking at 60 miles a day (5 mph for 12 hrs) it would take about 38 days. Do not be recieved (sic). This is an organized event designed to influence voting during mid-term elections. A Nation without borders is not a sovereign nation. Get the military to the border, now."

Filed under: "That boy ain't right." Unfortunately, he's not the exception to the rule amongst General Assembly Republicans, a supermajority of the supermajority are delusional. I don't care if they "get help" or not, as long as they're no longer traveling to Raleigh to pass their unconstitutional laws...

Alex Jones banned from Twitter, but lunatic fringe lives on

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No more yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater:

Twitter has permanently banned the accounts of right-wing conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones and InfoWars for violating the company's abusive behavior policies, the company said Thursday. The ban appears to be related to a heated exchange between Jones and a CNN reporter Wednesday, which Jones live-streamed on the Twitter-owned video service Periscope.

"We took this action based on new reports of Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts' past violations," the company said in a series of tweets. "We wanted to be open about this action given the broad interest in this case."

You can place me firmly in the "good job" column on this. Usually not a big fan of censorship, but Jones has proven himself a danger to the public, especially after the crazy "Pizzagate" incident where an (of course) NC citizen grabbed his guns and assaulted a DC restaurant looking for an imaginary child sex operation. Unfortunately, Jones is not a "Lone" nut-job. A lot of the more dangerous elements in the White Supremacy crowd are incubated on virtually unregulated platforms like 4Chan, and I was pleased my local newspaper reprinted this deep dive on the subject originally published by WaPo:

Liar-in-Chief implicated in Seth Rich conspiracy theory

Methinks he doth protest against fake news too much:

An investigator who worked on the Seth Rich case claims Fox News fabricated quotes implicating the murdered Democratic National Committee staffer in the WikiLeaks scandal and that President Donald Trump pressured Fox to publish the story. The investigator, Rod Wheeler, sued Fox for defamation on Tuesday.

Wheeler, a Fox contributor who looked into Rich’s July 2016 murder for the family, said Fox made up quotes attributed to him saying there was contact between Rich and WikiLeaks, and that someone — possibly Democrats or Hillary Clinton’s campaign — was blocking the murder investigation. Rich was killed in what Washington police believe was a botched robbery. The lawsuit said Trump pushed to get the story out. There was no immediate response from Fox or the White House.

Like any good conspiracy theory, you have to have a compelling motive upon which to build your fiction. In this case, it was fabricating a connection between Seth Rich and Wikileaks. Couldn't go forward without that. And make no mistake, Trump needed that false narrative badly, after telling Hillary Clinton (on national television, no less) that he was going to put her in jail. It's absurdity on top of absurdity with this administration, and we are at risk of arriving at a new norm where the truth has been so eclipsed by fiction we might not recognize the truth on the rare occasion it surfaces. But you know what? We asked for it. We watched as a candidate continuously lied during the campaign, and instead of escorting him off the stage, we put him in the White House. You're upset I'm using the pronoun "we" instead of "they"? Good. Stay upset.

Oh, Cary. Flat-Earthers to attend conference in Triangle

But if you fly here in a jet at 27,500 feet, and look out the window...*sigh* Never mind:

The Flat Earth International Conference will be Nov. 9-10 at the Embassy Suites off of Harrison Avenue. The event’s 525 tickets sold out in May, according to organizer Robbie Davidson. But he’s working with the venue to accommodate 50 to 60 more people.

Alternative theories about the planet’s shape vary within the flat-earth community. But most globe skeptics contend the earth is a disc surrounded by an ice wall, otherwise known as Antarctica, and that the sun and moon are lighted orbs that move around a dome that encloses the disc.

File this one under, "It's even crazier than you thought." A dome? With lighted orbs? I have so many questions, but probably the most nagging question is: How can these people actually have jobs that would allow them to afford going to the Embassy Suites for anything other than directions to their psychiatrist's office? Scratch that, they wouldn't be able to afford a psychiatrist, either.

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