in all my infinite wisdom

Category: Cults

Dear Trump Supporters

Written by Lachlan

Trump’s taxes have finally been leaked. And wouldn’t you know it, he’s a total fake. He’s not a billionaire. He’s 421 million dollars in debt and is about to get foreclosed on. I pay more taxes than Donald Trump and so do you. Because he’s losing so much money, he’s paid zero in federal taxes 10 of the last 15 years. Two of the years he did pay it was less than 1,000 bucks. He’s been living off credit and hot air. It was all a scam. Just like his college, just like is charity, and just like his political career.

You were so easy for him to scam. He knew you’d be impressed with of all of his boasting. He knew you’d never spot the difference. He knew he’d win you over by taking advantage of your ignorance, your fears, your insecurity, your racism, and your ethnocentrism. You were like shooting fish in a barrel for him. He’s convinced you the real news is fake, and the fake news is real. He has you cheering for authoritarianism over democracy. He has you scared and fearful of your neighbors but not of COVID-19. He actually convinced you that he is a Christian.

As a former top aide to Vice President Pence just revealed, he thinks you are “disgusting”. He’s not just a fraud, he’s a criminal. He’s everything he convinced you that Hillary Clinton was four years ago. He’s the one who deserves to be in prison and soon he likely will be. He’s not a Republican and he’s not a Democrat. He’s not a conservative and he’s not a liberal. He’s human trash looking for suckers to take advantage of. And my goodness did he ever find a willing group of suckers. You should be ashamed of yourself. I know people who voted for him in 2016 and quickly realized they made a mistake. But not you, not you. You dug in. You doubled down.

You embraced Russian style propaganda over the American free press. You embraced conspiracy theories over science and reality. He’s lied to you over 22,000 times since taking office and you never batted an eye. He’s made a fool of this nation. I imagine Trump and his propaganda news outlets will attempt to continue the scam, at least for another six weeks.

I also imagine some of you, through some unimaginable mental gymnastics, will continue to allow yourself to get scammed. But Trump is going down on November 3 and the American justice system will come after him and his cronies. I may be nice to you on the street but do know that you absolutely let this country down. You allowed our republic to get damaged in ways never seen. In the process you exposed some incredibly ugly things about yourself I just can’t forget. Thanks for reading!

QAnon is a prank started by a couple of 4Chan guys as a social experiment.

The target; baby boomer Trump supporters. The prank has worked and most of those taken in are deluded, gullible, weak-minded, lack common sense, and look ridiculous.

QAnon Is A Fake, Decoy Imitation Of A Healthy Revolutionary Impulse

Thursday, 20 August 2020, 4:25 pm
Opinion: Caitlin Johnstone via www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1905/S00134/how-you-can-be-100-certain-that-qanon-is-bullshit.htm

Today the US president moved from tacit endorsement and evading questions on the toxic QAnon psyop to directly endorsing and supporting it, telling reporters “I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate,” and saying they’re just people who love their country and don’t like seeing what’s happening in places like Portland, Chicago, and New York City.

Asked about the driving theory behind QAnon that Trump is waging a covert war against a satanic pedopheliac baby-eating deep state, Trump endorsed the idea but reframed it by saying that he’s leading a fight against “a radical left philosophy”.

“If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there,” Trump said in response to the query. “And we are actually. We’re saving the world from a radical left philosophy that will destroy this country, and when this country is gone, the rest of the world would follow.”

Of course Trump did not claim to be fighting any satanic pedovores, because he is doing nothing of the sort. Nor is he fighting the deep state; despite all the virulent narrative spin he’s been a fairly conventional Republican president in terms of policy and behavior in all the usual depraved and disgusting ways, and has done nothing of note to stand against the unelected power establishment known as the deep state. He absolutely has been brutalizing protesters in places like Portland and attacking socialism in places like Venezuela and Bolivia, though, so he can indeed safely admit to that.

The disingenuous nature of Trump’s endorsement hasn’t done anything to dampen the excitement and enthusiasm of QAnoners online, though.

He basically confirmed the movement. We, together with the US military, are the saviors of mankind.

What an incredible time to be alive. pic.twitter.com/O5O6rt5TAE

— Sokrates (@Sokrates_17) August 19, 2020

I write against QAnon periodically for the exact same reason I write against the plutocratic media: it’s an obvious propaganda construct designed to manufacture support for the status quo among people who otherwise would not support it. It presents itself as an exciting movement where the little guy is finally rising up and throwing off the chains of the tyrannical forces which have been exploiting and oppressing us, yet in reality all it’s doing is telling a discontented sector of the population to relax and “trust the plan” and put all their faith in the leader of the US government.

And that’s exactly what makes QAnon so uniquely toxic. It’s not just that it gets people believing false things which confuse and alienate them, it’s that it’s a fake, decoy imitation of what a healthy revolutionary impulse would look like. It sells people on important truths that they already intuitively know on some level, like the untrustworthiness of the mass media, that the official elected US government aren’t really the ones calling the shots, and we need a great awakening. It takes those vital, truthful, healthy revolutionary impulses, then twists them around into support for the United States president and the agendas of the Republican Party.

And now literally any time I speak out against Trump doing something self-evidently horrible like orchestrating the extradition of Julian Assange or assassinating Iran’s top military official, I get QAnon adherents in the comments section telling me to “relax” and “trust the plan” because this is actually a brilliant strategic maneuver against the deep state. Any argument against any longstanding evil Fox News Republican agenda that Trump advances has a widely promulgated explanation for why it’s actually good and beneficial among the QAnon crowd.

A healthy impulse to fight the power is twisted into support for the most unconscionable aspects of the ruling power establishment. You see healthy impulses twisted and corrupted like this all the time, all across the political spectrum. The healthy impulse to fight racism and bigotry is twisted into support for the warmongering, oppressive and exploitative Democratic Party which is nothing but destructive toward the populations it pretends to protect. The healthy impulse to defend the helpless and fight tyranny is railroaded into support for acts of regime change “humanitarian” interventionism.

How You Can Be 100% Certain That QAnon Is Bullshit

“Here are three reasons you can be absolute, 100 percent certain that it’s bullshit:” #QAnon#WWG1WGA#Q#MAGAhttps://t.co/qAxdiItXFO

(@caitoz) May 26, 2019

Caitlin Johnstone

The fact that people need to be deceived by their healthy impulses in this way is a good sign; it means we’re generally good people with a generally healthy sense of which way to push. If we were intrinsically wicked and unwise their propaganda wouldn’t hook us by telling us to fight tyranny, defend children and tell the truth–it would hook us using our cowardice, our hatred, our greed, our sadism. People are basically good, and propagandists use that goodness to trick us.

But good will and good intentions aren’t enough, unfortunately. Even intelligence, by itself, isn’t enough to save us from being propagandized; some fairly intelligent people have fallen for propaganda operations like QAnon and Russiagate. If you want to have a clear perspective on what’s really going on in the world you’ve got to have an unwavering devotion to knowing what’s true that goes right down into your guts.

Most people don’t have this. Most people do not have truth as a foremost priority. They probably think they do, but they don’t. When it comes right down to it, most people are more invested in finding ways to defend their preexisting biases than in learning what’s objectively true. If they’ve got a special hatred for Democrats, the confirmation biases that will give them leave them susceptible to the QAnon psyop. If they’ve got a special hatred for Trump, they’re susceptible to believing he’s controlled by some kind of Russian government conspiracy. There are any number of other directions such biases can carry someone.

Only by a humble devotion to truth that is willing to sacrifice any worldview or ideology to the uncompromising fire of objective reality can skillfully navigate through a world that is saturated with disinformation and propaganda. Sincerely put truth first in all things while doing your best to find out what’s actually going on in our world, and eventually, you’re guaranteed to free yourself from any perceptual distortion.

Climate-change denial and the coronavirus “hoax” are the same conspiracy theory

Coronavirus denialism is built on the same template conservatives have used to deny climate change for decades

AMANDA MARCOTTE
JULY 7, 2020 7:51PM (UTC)

The worldwide conspiracy is vast — so vast that most of the world’s scientists, journalists and political leaders are in on it. Somehow, in all this time, not a single one of the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of conspirators has grown a conscience and decided to blow the whistle on the conspiracy. Their goal? To ruin everything that right-wing America holds dear: the nuclear family, NFL football, needlessly enormous vehicles, the specials menu at Hooters.

To accomplish this dastardly goal, the conspiracy will fabricate a worldwide threat. They will falsify the data and use the power of institutions like governments and universities and scientific journals to perpetuate this hoax, tricking billions of people into believing this threat is real and needs a drastic response. The only people in the world who see through the hoax are right-wing Americans, of course, who know what lengths the “socialist left” will go to in order to destroy Mom and apple pie. 

Coronavirus denialism has, in the period of a few short months, become one of the most serious political problems in our nation. It’s a major obstacle to both containing the virus and reviving the economy, which can’t happen until the virus is contained. 

Coronavirus denialism isn’t just flourishing on social media, but emanating from both right-wing media and from Republican leaders, most notably Donald Trump. Over the weekend, the president declared that “99 percent” of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless,” a claim that isn’t just false but part of a larger pattern of Trump’s statements suggesting that the threat of the virus is being faked in order to harm him politically.

In other words, it’s a conspiracy theory, one that dates at least back to February, when Trump claimed that fears of the coronavirus were a “new hoax” designed by Democrats to ruin him.Advertisement:

The rapid spread of this conspiracy theory is puzzling, especially as it requires many leaps of faith, including the belief that literally millions of professionals who don’t know each other — scientists, journalists, government employees, health care providers and so on — are working to perpetuate this hoax. 

There’s a simple reason why right-wing America was so quick to rally around a conspiracy theory that’s so utterly preposterous. They spent years training themselves by indulging in climate-change denialism.

It’s not a stretch to say that climate-change denialism and coronavirus denialism are basically the same conspiracy theory. In fact, it often seems like coronavirus denialists have simply copied and pasted their talking points about climate change and adjusted the wording a bit to be about virus spread instead of carbon emissions. 

But the basic parameters are the same: a worldwide conspiracy, threats that are invented or exaggerated for supposed political gain, a sinister hidden agenda — whether that’s bringing down capitalism or ending Trump’s presidency. 

The content of coronavirus denialism can be somewhat diverse. This article from the New York Times chronicling the struggles of nurses to convince family and friends that the coronavirus is a real threat gives a good overview of the range of different flavors. Some folks insist the virus isn’t real at all. Some accept that it’s real but believe the danger of death or serious injury is being wildly exaggerated. Some deny that it’s as communicable as public health officials believe. Some claim that deaths from other causes are being falsely attributed to the virus. 

We see the same kind of diversity in the world of climate-change denialism. At first, conservatives flat-out denied that climate change or “global warming” was even happening. But as evidence for changing temperatures grew, the flavors of denialism did too, with some denialists claiming it was just a natural fluctuation not attributable to humans, others saying that the effects wouldn’t be so bad, and still others saying it was too late to do anything about it so we should just give up. 

What holds all these flavors of denialism together is the conspiracy theory undergirding them: The people raising the alarm about this problem are in cahoots with each other, and have ulterior motives. 

Climate-change denialists have long held that progressives, and the scientists and world leaders who supposedly share their radical agenda, aren’t really concerned about species loss or rising sea levels or the devastating effects on poor people or any of that. Instead, they argue, these concerns are being faked to create a justification for an all-out assault on capitalism and “freedom.” 

Similarly, coronavirus denialists argue that health care workers and scientists warning about the coronavirus are insincere, but instead are part of a larger — again, worldwide! — movement to take down Trump by making him look bad. 

The rhetoric between the two forms of denialism is almost comically similar.

In September, Fox News host Laura Ingraham declared that teenage climate-change activists were part of a sinister plot to seize control of “our economy, our way of life, our way of transport, how many children you want to have.”

In May, she made the same arguments about recommendations to wear face masks to slow the coronavirus spread, claiming it was about “control over large populations” that is “achieved through fear and intimidation and suppression of free thought.”

In case the link wasn’t obvious, Ingraham made it herself, saying, “They’ll say this whole mask thing is settled science, just like they do with climate change.”

It’s not possible that both things are just settled science, of course. It’s all just a massive conspiracy!

It’s the same story with Fox News superstar Tucker Carlson, who argued last September that climate strikes are “not about the environment” but are a left-wing scam meant to create “an emergency big enough to justify grabbing more power.”

Carlson copy-pasted those same arguments to deny the dangers of the coronavirus months later, claiming that the scientific evidence that it’s dangerous and communicable is overblown, and being exaggerated by people who are hungry for “power” and want to see Americans following “orders.” 

Both climate change and coronavirus denialism are given a boost by the tribalist politics of right-wing America. For decades now, one of the ways for conservatives to indicate their skepticism of climate change and fealty to the right was to buy giant, gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks, making quite clear to anyone looking that they don’t care one fig about your fears of carbon emission. 

The same logic is driving the anti-mask phenomenon, where some of the most fiercely loyal Trump supporters make a big show out of refusing wear a mask, because they don’t care one fig about your fear of catching a potentially deadly virus. 

It was clever of Trump and his media followers to encourage his supporters not to wear masks. That kind of showy public defiance has helped normalize coronavirus denialism, and exerted pressure on other conservatives to follow suit to show their tribal loyalties. It serves the same function as mocking people for driving fuel-efficient vehicles did, using peer pressure to get people on board with a right-wing conspiracy theory. 

Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with climate-change conspiracy theories, once they take hold, it’s very hard to pry people free from their delusional beliefs. If you confront them with the evidence that the threat is real, they simply move to claiming it’s overblown. George Soros will probably be blamed. Or they’ll come up with excuses for why they personally won’t be affected and so shouldn’t care. Or they’ll just shift to casting aspersions on the motives of people who do care, whether that’s Greta Thunberg or Dr. Anthony Fauci, accusing them of being tools or power-hungry schemers. They’ll embrace any view, really, except admitting that the problem we’re all facing is real and that yes, we have to do something about it. 

AMANDA MARCOTTE

Amanda Marcotte is a politics writer for Salon who covers American politics, feminism and culture. Her new book, “Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself” is out now. She can be followed on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte.MORE FROM AMANDA MARCOTTE • FOLLOW AMANDAMARCOTTE

Donald Trump is an almost perfect living, breathing example of the Dunning-Kruger effect

When stupid people think they’re smart, they do maximum damage. That’s where we are with Trump and the pandemic

article by CHAUNCEY DEVEGA for Salon Magazine

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a term that describes a psychological phenomenon in which stupid people do not know that they are in fact stupid.

Writing at Pacific Standard, psychologist David Dunning — one of the social psychologists who first documented this type of cognitive bias — describes it in more detail:

In many areas of life, incompetent people do not recognize  —  scratch that, cannot recognize  —  just how incompetent they are, a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Logic itself almost demands this lack of self-insight: For poor performers to recognize their ineptitude would require them to possess the very expertise they lack. To know how skilled or unskilled you are at using the rules of grammar, for instance, you must have a good working knowledge of those rules, an impossibility among the incompetent. Poor performers  —  and we are all poor performers at some things  —  fail to see the flaws in their thinking or the answers they lack. What’s curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.

The Dunning-Kruger effect manifests in the form of the drunk at the bar who weighs in on every conversation with unwanted advice, the online troll who monopolizes comment sections, or the person who reads one book (or perhaps the introduction) and then acts like an authority on the subject.

Visionary science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov signaled to the Dunning-Kruger effect with his famous observation in 1980: “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”  

Donald Trump is the Dunning-Kruger president of the United States.

But he is also something much worse than that. Donald Trump is an almost perfect living, breathing example of the Dunning-Kruger effect: a president in a time of plague whose ignorance and stupidity are amplified through apparent and obvious mental illness as well as cruelty, compulsive lying, grand immorality, corruption and evil.

Americans have already died because of Trump’s false claims about the novel coronavirus pandemic. Many more will die in the weeks and months ahead.

At Tuesday’s coronavirus White House “briefing” (another version of Trump’s ego-stroking carnival political rallies) he made another “expert” suggestion about how to defeat the novel coronavirus pandemic: Wear scarves instead of masks for protection.

In fact, scarves offer no protection against the coronavirus.

Several weeks ago, Donald Trump visited the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control where he made this astonishing claim: 

You know, my uncle was a great person. He was at MIT. He taught at MIT for, I think, like a record number of years. He was a great super genius. Dr. John Trump. I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this? ‘ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.

Apparently, Trump believes he knows more than some of the best trained and experienced doctors and medical researchers in the world.

Trump also believes himself to be an expert on the types of medical equipment needed to fight the novel coronavirus. He has suggested that governors in New York, New Jersey, Michigan and elsewhere are intentionally exaggerating the number of ventilators needed in hospitals to care for victims of the pandemic.

On multiple occasions, Donald Trump has claimed that there is no ventilator shortage in New York. According to him, ventilators and other medical equipment being stolen by doctors, nurses and other medical staff who are selling them, bringing them home for personal use or perhaps even hoarding the equipment in private.

Donald Trump claims to have magical powers. He has repeatedly said that the novel coronavirus will disappear at some future date which only he can predict.

Trump has said he was the first person to label the novel coronavirus a “pandemic.” And because he believes himself to be an expert on all things, Trump can pivot without pause, apprehension or doubt from claiming that the novel coronavirus was a “hoax” to embracing the view that it is a dire threat that could kill hundreds of thousands if not millions of Americans.

Trump is also an epidemiologist or virologist, at least in his mind. Last week he said, “You can call it a germ, you can call it a flu, you can call it a virus, you know you can call it many different names. I’m not sure anybody even knows what it is.”

Medical professionals know what the novel coronavirus is and have been warning the Trump administration about the threat for months.

Most likely for partisan reasons and also because of racism (Trump’s immense disdain for Barack Obama), Trump’s administration also ignored the step-by-step suggestions for fighting a pandemic outlined by the National Security Council in 2016.

Donald Trump has evidently made decisions about which Americans should live and which should die based on their perceived partisan loyalty.

The Dunning-Kruger president is an expert in so many things that it is difficult to keep track of them all. Writing at MSNBC, Steven Benen made a valiant effort at cataloguing Trump’s claims to preternatural expertise:

About a year ago, for example, Trump was reflecting on technology measures that have been deployed along the U.S./Mexico border, and he assured the public, “I’m a professional at technology.”

What kind of technology? He didn’t say, but we can probably assume he meant every possible kind.

As we discussed at the time, Trump has also claimed to be the world’s foremost authority on everything from terrorism to campaign finance, the judicial system to infrastructure, trade to renewable energy. NowThis prepared a video montage on the subject a while back, and it was amazing to see the many subjects on which the president considers himself a world-class expert.

A belief in their inherent intelligence and great skill in all things is a common trait among authoritarians and other demagogues such as Donald Trump. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to national legend, could shoot guns better than a trained sniper at age three. At age eight, he was a daredevil truck driver. Adolf Hitler and his acolytes also made claims to greatness and superhuman abilities.

Trump’s embrace of stupidity and ignorance reflects much deeper problems in the United States generally, and the Republican Party and the conservative movement in particular. 

Today’s Republican Party and conservative movement possess a deep disdain and hostility towards true experts and qualified, proven professionals. Such people are slurred as being “elitists” or not “real Americans,” and are suspected of being liberal Democrats who belong to a “deep state” cabal working against Donald Trump and his army of real Americans, with the goal of enslaving them to “political correctness.”

Many of Trump’s strongest supporters are Christian nationalists who aim to overturn the Constitution and destroy secular, science-based, empirical reality and society. Such people believe in magic, and are the most stalwart, influential and loyal members of Trump’s political death cult.

Historian and political scientist Richard Hofstadter famously warned that Republicans and other conservatives had succumbed to the allure and power of anti-intellectualism. Hofstadter’s “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” was written in 1963.

Writing in 1947, Albert Camus reflected on Nazism and authoritarianism through the metaphor of misery and suffering caused by a plague:

The evil in the world comes almost always from ignorance, and goodwill can cause as much damage as ill-will if it is not enlightened. People are more often good than bad, though in fact that is not the question. But they are more or less ignorant and this is what one calls vice or virtue, the most appalling vice being the ignorance that thinks it knows everything and which consequently authorizes itself to kill. The murderer’s soul is blind, and there is no true goodness or fine love without the greatest possible degree of clear-sightedness.

Some 70 years later, Camus’ warnings resonate in the age of Donald Trump.

People such as Donald Trump are all too common among humanity. Unfortunately, some of them rise to great prominence during the most dangerous and troubled times — times when their ignorance and hubris has the power to kill hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. Such a time is now.

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