Friday, May 22, 2020

Conspiracies. They're Everywhere.

More than a few times, Trump has declared himself “the most transparent president” in history. Last week, in only nineteen words, Joe Biden summarized the truth: “It seems the way to get fired by President Trump is not to commit wrongdoing, but to investigate it.” 

Transparent. Perhaps Trump was referring to how easily one can see through his attempts to hide truth, how obvious his lies are to people who aren’t doing the three-monkeys thing. After all, Trump entered the political arena by flogging the lie that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Remember when he sent his “investigators” to Hawaii and said they were finding “amazing things”?

It fit perfectly into the demographic at which he was aiming: conspiracists; resentful people, hungry for lies, long as they fit their worldview. People who harbored unarticulated anger; who needed someone to blame for whatever it was in their world that needed blaming. He spoke, and up their ears they pricked.  

Transparent. Hiding promised tax returns, blocking people from testifying to Congress. Soviet-style purges, ousting revealers of the swampy corruption he brought to the White House; firing Inspectors General, five so far, who looked into it, like Trump’s phony “state of emergency” declaration, allowing arms to Saudi Arabia without Congressional approval. Or the one investigating Moscow Mitch’s wife.

Accountability? Not for Trump. Because these expulsions validate their paranoia, Trumpists are unbothered. People who oppose him are part of a worldwide conspiracy whose aim, among other things, is to rape and sell children in the basement of a pizza joint with no basement.  

If Trump is ignorant of everything a leader of the United States and, until recently, of the world must understand, he’s a stable genius when it comes to knowing his audience. He began with and is now staking his reelection on people who hear noises at night and think flying saucers. Facilitated enthusiastically by the co-conspirators of rightwing media, it works.

As his incompetent coronavirus failures became undeniable, he turned to blaming everyone except himself. And to distraction. Circling back to his original objet d’artifice, he’s feeding them “Obamagate!!!” Echoed by every rightwing disinformationist and Congressperson, this transparent fakery is being lapped up like fetid water by thirsty desert-wanderers. Trump’s confabulations fit his idolaters like a bandoleer. 

And oh, the unmasking! Horrifying!! Jim Croce tried so hard to warn us. How many Trumpists even know what it means? How many find it disturbing that Trump’s unqualified but loyal Director of National Intelligence released names of some who requested unmasking Michael Flynn, as if to suggest a nefarious plot; as if it wasn’t an all-but routine, justifiable request? How many know the unmasking requests fulfilled in Trump’s time number over thirty-five-thousand? Wild guess: none. 

Nor do they see anything wrong with a “president” turning the DOJ and intelligence agencies into instruments of personal power, vengeance, and, in the case of Bill Barr, erasing history. Russian interference? Never happened. Whole thing was a made-up coup attempt. 

Why would Trumpists see anything wrong? He’s not only their ticket to Heaven, but their protector from all the world’s evil, the people coming after them: One World Government, the W.H.O. and CDC, commies (not Putin, though, or his internet trolls), the Trilateral Commission, Agenda 21, lizard people, the Illuminati. The Deep State. Jews, Muslims, the non-white. Climate scientists, doctors, educators, journalists. Vote-by-mail. Liberals. Bill Gates. 

Evolutionary biologists theorize susceptibility to conspiracy theories, currently most associated with Trumpism and certain fundamentalist religious sects, derives from an evolutionary advantage to seeing patterns, even where they don’t exist, as a way of assessing possible threats to survival. Makes sense. But, like creationism, evolution is imperfect. (Hemorrhoids.) 

In America, that proto-beneficial wiring has short-circuited. Trumpists see sinister patterns everywhere, causing them to overlook, excuse, even celebrate his uncaring lies and petty nastiness. Attacking the press; promoting and taking dangerous medicine and, with revelatory ignorance, rejecting evidence of its ineffectiveness; creating distrust in elections; firing those who speak out; scapegoating; claiming he’s treated horribly: these are positives in a God-sent savior who strikes at dangers only they can see. Belief in conspiracies provides community, too, and feelings of control in a world spinning out of it. 

As if custom-made for and by Trump and Trumpists, the ultimate manifestation of this psychic agoraphobia is QAnon. If not all supporters are that far gone, anyone still with him must be close. Have clean underwear handy and read all about it.

[Image source]


  1. I assume the Croce reference is "You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you don't mess around with Jim"?

  2. We have much to learn from our poets and musicians.

  3. There's got to be some way to apply "Leroy Brown" to Trump. Thinking parody thoughts, thinking parody thoughts ... :-)

  4. I have a Question for QAnon.

    Why would any believer of Jesus seek enlightenment from "Q"? Jesus made it very clear that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. Anyone who seeks truth through other gods is denying the words spoken by Jesus. Some so-called evangelical preachers claim credibility by contradicting the most important commandment we need to follow, "love your neighbor as He has loved us". There is no salvation in searching for another God.

  5. Well, Sid, I tried, but, let's just say the Atlantic ought to consider an article word limit in place. Bigger than 800, but, far, far smaller than 9,800. I made it as far as 2,727, but, since I had found nothing edifying, decided it was time for the digital round file. It's not over disagreement with the author, a young executive editor for The Atlantic, it's just that there must be something worth reading in an article that long. I'll take someone else's word-for-it that there is.
    She's an excellent writer! My compliments to her skill and abilities with verbiage (and verbosity?). Alliteration not intended, those are the words!
    I do wonder why Jack thinks that just because a young writer calls something called QAnon a religion, that he thinks others think of it that way? Here's a definition I found that best fits the young writer's use of the word. But, drawing a connection between it and faith in the Truth is an interesting diversion. No one answered Jack's question on your prior column-blog. Perhaps he was asking rhetorically.
    (Sid, you recognize him now? I loved the picture he had sometime ago with his grandchild, though perhaps that was his great-grandchild? If not, soon maybe.)
    [and, to answer Jack's question towards me; I don't think Harry is going to contribute to this blog. I think all would agree there would be quite a disconnect, especially with Sid's reproof of him in all of our last days at The Herald.]
    I do have a question though, do you really think QAnon is relevant? I've never heard it mentioned among the aged crowds, many of them Trumpists, that I gather together with, though that's currently not allowed. When we get back to some form of normal, I'll ask if anyone has ever heard of it, but I'd be amazed if anyone has.

  6. Oops, forgot the link:
    I liked it because it didn't attack faith in the Truth, like most of the other definitions I looked at.
    Most people don't understand that they are more akin to antonyms than synonyms. Those who study are better at realizing that.

  7. Yahoo News has an article "Is QAnon the new American religion" written by Bonnie Kristian yesterday. It is much briefer than the Atlantic treatise.
    It is not surprising to me that people who do not identify with an established 'Faith' community are attracted to a "new" religion that meets their own secular (often political) world view. Scientology is an example of this phenomenon. Jim Jones and David Koresh and several other cult leaders have attracted congregations with similar results. In my opinion anonymity is not a logical tactic for credibility and future success.

  8. Much easier of a read. Love the writer's use of "a portent of things to come", since I always view that cliche' as redundant.
    Silly is as silly does, so, I'll leave the concern for that subject in the capable hands of those concerned, which isn't me.

  9. Maybe it should be you: Oregon Republicans just selected a QAnon acolyte to be their US Senate nominee, against Merkely.

  10. What could I do about it if I were concerned?
    Merkley won by a large margin in 2014. Do you think he's concerned?

  11. Not my point, as might have been too subtle. Merkley will win, and she'll get her conspiratorial ass handed to her.

    The point is that if a person like that is the nominee of a state that produced such decent Republicans as Tom McCall and Mark Hatfield, it says a lot of how far down Trump has brought that party, and who'll be gaining even more influence if he's reelected.

    The point is that among Republicans, the mindset of QAnon is becoming mainstream. As I wrote: it's the ones Trump is appealing to, and the ones such deplorables as Moscow Mitch and Lily-liver Lindsey are, too.

  12. There was a paper published in 2018 titled, "Something’s Going on Here" Psychological Predictors of Belief in Conspiracy Theories" The first sentence of its abstract hits the Trumpian bullseye (emphasis added):

    Research on individual-difference factors predicting belief in conspiracy theories has proceeded along several independent lines that converge on a profile of conspiracy believers as individuals who are relatively untrusting, ideologically eccentric, concerned about personal safety, and prone to perceiving agency in actions and profundity in bullshit.

    There's been some press lately that the strongest factor explaining the polling differences between Trump and Biden is education. In the majority of cases I think that it's difficult to get through college without being challenged to think critically, even if one naturally does so. High school? Not nearly so much. Education can't explain it all, but if your tool box is mostly empty I can see how some people would follow Trump anywhere.




  16. Thanks for those links, Smooth and Sid! Here's another that you've probably seen already —

    Transition to Grape-Nuts!!

  17. Equal parts unsurprising and deeply disturbing, DrS.

  18. Regarding my last, my take on Trump's latest word lump is not an unenlightened and disrespectful comment on mental illness or those so afflicted.

    But it is an evil desire for a certain person to suffer a harmless micro-stroke in his Broca area, rendering him unable to pronounce his word lump correctly.

  19. More evidence:

  20. What I'd like to say to some of these virus denier moonbats:

    "If you jump off the observation deck of the Space Needle, you're going to turn into a pile of something resembling chunky salsa when you get to the bottom. Whether or not you believe in gravity is irrelevant."

  21. Re: Space Needle

    When I was young one of my good friend's brothers was the "crew" (i.e. just one), who's job was to pick up the splatter after the jumpers (back then, no bungee cords). The stories we heard from him were unreal as to what happens to the human body. I'm not even curious to see what's on the internut regarding that, since I'm sure that anyone can find something like that with simple search methods.
    I remember vividly that he had to catalog the parts to make sure he found all of them.

  22. And, no "100" level back then either, not that that makes much difference to the jumper.

  23. "There's been some press lately that the strongest factor explaining the polling differences between Trump and Biden is education."

    This is the equivalent of a 3rd world country. These people are too stupid to save themselves.

  24. Am interested that Gates is included in QAnon pursuits, along with lizard people.
    Does that make this author QAnon? (the writer's column inspired this comment)
    Some people recognize true evil for what it is, and, where it is. Glad it's not just me.
    The simple explanation, is, ALL is given away when we die. That's the cleansing.
    (written at risk of being labelled, but then, that's nothing new, i.e. MD's hilarious deception. It was funny; hook, line, sinker... :-)
    The funniest part of the "Gates" approach is his declaration to continue controlling all after his death, at least for 10 years (won't trust his kids!). You can find that evidence in writings about the ridiculous "The Givings Pledge" garbage.
    Maybe "they" can bury his head with Ted Williams in the seed vault. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if that's already happening with the most depraved the world has ever produced who can keep paying Bill after their deaths, too.
    For learning on this subject, the anonymous catalogue of depravity, the IRS has many resources on "getting our arms around the Bill-ionaires". One is fun: Note Chart 2, and consider how that will change things over the next 20 years, not that that will matter to me (I'm not in their numbers).
    Google-search "irs+report+of+the+most+wealthy+people" Love the search finding proclaiming the IRS won't audit them, since it's too hard to do so. Is there a way of doing a squiggle line on the internut text happy face?
    [good column this week, btw. Forgot to mention that]

  25. Hi Sid and Everyone,

    Another great column, Dr. Schwab. Since you know I mostly always agree with you, I'll just leave it at that. I'm grateful you are still contributing to the Herald.

    I have been mask-making like mad! Well over 100 done so far to Western State Hospital and the Interfaith Family Shelter in Everett. If anyone here has not contributed anything to the County support efforts, you can see where you might be of use at the following link. I got hooked up with them when I volunteered to Providence back in early March. I urge you to pick some organization and help them out.

    Filling my days with sewing masks, quilting, gardening, reading, etc. Every time the moron president comes on TV, I turn it off. Listening to the scientists and Doctors only and wondering how many Cultists will die because of their blind allegiance. As I've said before, however many of them lose the battle with the virus, I see it as Darwin's Revenge in action. Bon chance, dopes.

    Looking forward to next week's column!

  26. Thanks, Mary Ellen, and kudos for the work you're doing. We've been giving both food and money to the newly-opened food bank on Casino Road, under the auspices of VOA. And to a couple of local businesses for their laid-off employees.

    The Republican Party has, as you said, become a cult. That's what it takes, along with the aforementioned conspiracy mindset, to remain faithful to such an inadequate, incompetent, and nasty human. I don't want any of the churchgoers to die (except for a couple of their self-important preachers -- it's okay if they have a painless death, though: I'm not a monster) but having a few get sick enough to rethink their cultish ignorance might do some good.

  27. November can't come soon enough. For fun, look to who will change their tune immediately following. There are less "few" than you might think. Turning off the lunacy at this point has been my recommendation, glad to hear it from another.
    The only think worse than a lunatic is a lame duck lunatic. It will do me in, so I know it won't happen. (that's faith, for Jack)

  28. Allow me to quicky cuew up some Talking Heads...

    Same as it ever was

    Richard Hofsteder wrote The Paranoid Style in American Politics talking about the conspiracy-minded folks taking over the Republican 1963

    Trump isn't the disease Trump is the symptom.

    There's a direct line from the Joe McCarthy to the Birchers and Barry Goldwater in 1964 to Qanon and Trump today. The "We woulda won in Vietnam, but the degenerate left stabbed us in the back", "Bill Clinton was running a drugsmuglging ring and Hillary had VIbce Foster Murdered", "9/11" was an inside job.", "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth", "Deep State". the absurd conceit that the REAL conspirators with Russia were the Democrats.

    None of this is at all new and none of it is because of Trump.

    Trump is because of that long sordid history of conspiracy mongering by the fascist right in this country.

  29. Thanks for your mask-making, Mary Ellen. My wife has been doing that, too. She's done around 120 so far, with most donated to the UW hospital, some to a clinic in Albuquerque, and some to friends, relatives and neighbors.

    She's gone through 4-5 design variations and finally settled on one that seals really well. I like ties on them but she's now using elastic.

  30. Totally agree, Bruce.desertrat, and I've said so many times, many ways on this blog. And it's implicit in my saying how Trump plays to those people: he couldn't if they weren't already there.

    But he's turned them loose in ways previously unseen. If it was kinda on the fringes of the R party back then (McCarthy notwithstanding; and it was Goldwater who told Nixon to resign or be impeached). Now, the R party is pretty much consumed by them. 40% of Fox viewers believe Bill Gates wants to implant chips in their brains. Pretty much all of them believe climate change is a hoax.

    Even if Trump loses in a landslide (unlikely) they'll still be around. Maybe they won't feel quite as empowered, but they won't go away.

  31. seeker of wisdom and truthMay 24, 2020 at 11:42 AM

    Personally, I believe that Melinda and Bill Gates represent the absolute best of humanity regarding their commitment to using their tremendous wealth for godly humanitarian purposes. Warren Buffett is also high on my list of billionaires who utilize their wealth for worthy causes. They do not believe that women who have abortions are condemning their souls to eternal hell. The Gates' and Buffett's believe supporting those women is an act of mercy and love. Only God is qualified to judge their motivations. The misguided critics of the good people of billionaire financial status is unjustified, hate-filled, and hypocritical.
    Some of them actually consider the current White House occupier to be morally superior to the good billionaires.

  32. Hi Dr. Strangelove,

    I prefer ties too, but most people like elastic so that's mostly what I'm doing now, too. Elastic was in very short supply at the beginning of mask-making, so ties were the only option. I'm a ponytail wearer--especially now that haircuts are a thing of the past--and the ties work great.

    Give your sweet wife a high-five from me! Hang on until November, friend. Rally your troops, as I am doing too in limited ways, because no doorbelling, no meetings.

    Gonna go on Twitter now, and harass the doofus. Because I can. And he can't block me. It is childish but gives me a little satisfaction.

  33. "good people of billionaire financial status" Now that is a worthy research project!
    Probably won't get funded, though.
    I did some searching on the B&MGF (it's not M&BGF, though it's listed right on their financials that M is mostly involved in selections), and I found an utterly fascinating page that will surely involve me for months. $5.6 Bill-ion thru-put, exempt from Federal taxes! (that report is a mere 45 pages long).
    The yearly report of who-got-what is 1,444 pages long! (no kidding, honest!) And the IRS won't audit, because, well (?), they just won't! I've already mined a few of them, and there are a notable number of foreign grants, B2B grants, B2B grants to foreign B's.
    I have yet to find anything involving food to feed people, but I'm just B-ginning. Only cursory browsing so far, and a few of the businesses drilled into to see what their financials look like, and their facilities. Won't be able to find out much about foreign concerns though. Especially in India.
    I've already reviewed a number of the "moral" Bill-ionaires on the Forbes listings. Always understand those moral people are evaluated by the fictional wealth associated with the marginal share value(s) of their holdings at market closing(s). Always understand their true crime is the actual money they get from the 90% when they sell their 1's and 0's to the everyman's IRA's, a phenomenon only established a few decades ago, one that literally drives our economy in the escalating, exponential greed we've seen during the last few presidents, who clearly cater to that illusion of prosperity.
    Hyperbole isn't adequate to describe what they've done, and are currently doing to the disadvantaged in our country, and the world.
    But, worse, realize they think they're saving the world in this. A few of them, anyway.
    It will be awhile before I can characterize things with this transparent benevolent Bill-ionaire. Heck, if the IRS won't do it, what can be expected from a fool like me?
    Would it be OK for the misguided to look into the not-good(nik$)?

  34. seeker of wisdom and truthMay 27, 2020 at 12:54 PM

    Are the people who have been betrayed by the pastor from Oso and later on Camano Island Fools, or just dupes of a criminal preacher? One of the former parishioners who testified in court, said she did not hate him for his deception, but regretted not being more aware of the plot.
    "A fool and his/her money are soon parted". It is easy for a predator con man to deceive gullible people by appealing to their good intentions. I believe the people who trusted Bill Gates to act legally and honorably with their decision to invest their money in his corporation were not deceived or misled.

    Very interesting, very revealing, look at notes 3 and 4 regarding the cash assets, and wonder on the wonder of that.
    Not sure what they have to do with Oso and Camano Island, but, perhaps you'll explain?

  36. seeker of wisdom and truthMay 27, 2020 at 6:05 PM

    I did not read the financial records but my concern is not the revelations of the legal financial documents submitted by a billionaire but the illegal actions of a small-time con man
    who scams unaware donors.
    Gates may support causes that some people disagree with, but that is not a legitimate reason for hating him. He has encouraged other billionaires to support his foundation or to establish their own charitable organization.
    The "current occupier" and his family used their foundation for unworthy personal enrichment.

  37. We all have our own concerns, no?
    Until Teddy and the "trust-busters" went to work, monopoly was legal, too.
    There is all sorts of stuff that's legal that shouldn't be.
    It's the stuff of camels and needles; and the fulfillment of the law...

  38. Frederick Douglas wrote that the slaves used to argue about who had the best master. Not much has changed.
    "Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves." Herbert Marcuse


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