Misinformation networks are killing us


They misspelled “disinformation”

Something called the Red Pill Festival went down in Idaho recently, led by the odious Matt Shea. It was the usual bullshit from the Christian Right.

The Red Pill Festival served as a rendezvous point Saturday for those who traffic in anti-government conspiracy theories and as a recruiting event, given credibility by a lineup of state lawmakers from the Christian conservative wing of the Republican party.

What I found interesting, though, was the next step in pandemic denial. Here’s a fellow who had COVID-19, is suffering from serious respiratory issues and in a wheelchair, and he still refuses to accept the reality of the virus.

Steve Black, a 72-year-old from Spokane, was directing cars to the parking lot from the back of a utility vehicle. Saturday’s event was the first time he had been out of the house for about a year after COVID-19 left him with some challenging health issues, he said. He surmised COVID-19 was a “political thing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they sprayed it out of the air.”

Asked to clarify, he said “chem trails,” a debunked suggestion that condensation trails from aircraft is actually a government ploy to crop-dust citizens with some nefarious substance.

Wow. It’s easier for him to believe the US government is intensionally hosing its citizens with a poison to kill them than to think a disease, of the kind that has plagued humanity for millennia, might be responsible? Impressive twisty logic there, guy.

And then we have the father of a survivor of the Parkland shooting. For years, I sent my kids off to public school every school day, and if one of my children had suffered through that kind of terror, I’d be totally wrenched, I’d feel like I’d never be able to offer enough love and support to compensate. Not this guy!

He was part of the final graduating class of survivors of the 2018 shooting, and they all had just marked the third anniversary of the day 17 people were killed, nine of whom were Bill’s classmates.

But Bill also had to deal with his father’s daily accusations that the shooting was a hoax and that the shooter, Bill, and all his classmates were paid pawns in a grand conspiracy orchestrated by some shadowy force.

Bill had worked hard to get over his survivor’s guilt after the shooting, but for the past five months, his own father has been triggering it all over again.

“He’ll say stuff like this straight to my face whenever he’s drinking: ‘You’re a real piece of work to be able to sit here and act like nothing ever happened if it wasn’t a hoax. Shame on you for being part of it and putting your family through it too,” Bill said in an anonymous post on Reddit last week.’

How could this be? You know the answer: QAnon.

As is true for many who fell down the QAnon rabbit hole in recent years, Bill’s dad’s descent coincided with the pandemic.

“It started a couple months into the pandemic with the whole anti-lockdown protests,” Bill said. “His feelings were so strong it turned into facts for him. So if he didn’t like having to wear masks it wouldn’t matter what doctors or scientists said. Anything that contradicted his feelings was wrong. So he turned to the internet to find like-minded people which led him to QAnon.”

But until January, that was as far as it went. Then Bill’s father saw a video of Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene harassing Parkland survivor David Hogg in 2018, while he was visiting Washington to advocate for stricter gun control. Greene has repeatedly voiced support for QAnon and claimed the Parkland shooting was a hoax.

“He is a coward,” Greene told her followers.

Ever since then, Bill’s father has become convinced the shooting his son survived was a so-called “false flag” event and that the shooter was “​​a radical commie actor.”

Q isn’t going away soon, but it will go away. One of the things I note in all these stories is how most of the fanatics are my age or older — it’s a movement of the decrepit. We’ll all die off eventually, and I expect the younger folk out there to do better.

Comments

  1. raven says

    Wow. It’s easier for him to believe the US government is intentionally hosing its citizens with a poison to kill them than to think a disease,…

    Strangely enough, the chemtrails missed most people and only affected some people such as Steve Black of Spokane.

    It looks like most of these people have given up on understanding reality and retreated to their fantasy worlds.

  2. raven says

    The family of an unvaccinated woman who died from COVID-19 say they still refuse to get the jab, report says Sophia Ankel June 26, 2021

    The daughter of an unvaccinated woman who died from the coronavirus said her family will still not be getting their shots, according to the Daily Beast.

    Molly Hart, a physical therapist from Bradenton, Florida, was left devastated after her mother, Mary Knight, passed away from complications related to COVID-19 last week. However, the tragic event did not change her stance on getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

    “No one in my family will be getting the vaccine,” Hart confirmed to the Daily Beast.

    Hart said she believes her mother, who was 58 years old, did not die from the coronavirus but that it was a “freak thing” caused by “stress.”

    This woman won’t get the Covid-19 vaccine because her mother, who died from the Covid-19 virus, didn’t die from the Covid-19 virus.
    You can’t argue with logic like this.

  3. sarah00 says

    The Cognitive Dissonance podcast has just had a very interesting (and quite explicit) interview with Mike Rothschild, author of The Storm Is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy of Everything. He did a great job of explaining the long roots of QAnon, how the pandemic caused it to explode, and why it’s unlikely to die out any time soon.

  4. Reginald Selkirk says

    “He’ll say stuff like this straight to my face whenever he’s drinking:…”

    Let me guess, that is pretty often.

  5. nomaduk says

    Q isn’t going away soon, but it will go away.

    I think you’re being a bit too optimistic here.

  6. kome says

    Q might go away, but only to be replaced by something else, just as Q has become a specific replacement for the attempts to organize around conspiracy theories that came before it. And this isn’t just an old person thing either. Or even primarily an old person thing. Remember how radicalized into violence a lot of young men are due to various internet hate-conspiracy groups on reddit, 4chan, etc. that fuel a mindset among young white teenagers and men that they’re owed sex by women and subservience by non-whites. Dylan Roof, Elliot Rogers, Kyle Rittenhouse, and the like are just as representative of the underlying mindsets that Q conspiracies are founded on as Steve Black and Bill’s father in the stories you linked to here. QAnon shit is just the latest incarnation of something that has plagued us for probably centuries now: conspiracies that exist to cast the majorities and the powerful as victims in order to justify further violence and oppression against the marginalized.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    Has anyone doxxed the person/persons behind Q?
    If I get Ebola I will know who to hug before I die.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    The red pill festival should be spoofed by someone in medieval garb pulling a cart and shouting “bring out your dead!”.

  9. says

    Stack up artificially generated conspiracy theories and let the nutters try to sort real conspiracies from fake ones. Oops, the only way to tell what’s real is evidence? Checkmate, bullshitters.

  10. says

    birgerjohansson@#8:
    Has anyone doxxed the person/persons behind Q?

    Jim and Ron Watkins. Its all about the monetized clicks. Also, kid porn, go figure.

  11. Akira MacKenzie says

    Q isn’t going away soon, but it will go away.

    Before Q, there was the Satanic Panic. Before the Satanic Panic, there was “International Communism.” Before that, there was the Blood Libel. Q is just a new version of the same paranoia that comes when civilization threatens to change and the common knuckle-draggers can’t cope with it. It may go dormant for a few years, but it will rear it’s ugly head again. Only the names of diabolical forces that threaten to usurp and control us will change.

    One of the things I note in all these stories is how most of the fanatics are my age or older — it’s a movement of the decrepit. We’ll all die off eventually, and I expect the younger folk out there to do better.

    You can expect nothing of the sort. Every single generation says this, and every single generation is wrong. There are millions of Americans, my generation and younger, who will happily wave the flag for Trump, fascism, and jingoistic bullshit. They will replace them with their children, and so-on. Fortunately, thanks for the unrelenting use of fossil fuels the human race has probably killed itself, so we won’t have to put up with them for much longer. Unfortunately, they aren’t going to make our species’ death painless.

  12. donfelipe says

    How can anyone who claims to have been red pilled could associate with Christians?

    Traditionalist views and the status quo, the things that someone who is red pilled should wake up to being wrong, are impossible to separate from Christianity. Throw in the superstitions and man in the sky is my imaginary friend, and I couldn’t come up with two more distinct and diverging views. It never ceases to amaze me people can claim to so deeply believe things that they never have scrutinized and don’t even logically fit together. There’s not much hope that these groups will listen to reason if they don’t even listen to each other.

  13. Akira MacKenzie says

    <

    blockquote>How can anyone who claims to have been red pilled could associate with Christians?

    If you know anything about the last 2000 years of Christianity, very easily.

    Traditionalist views and the status quo, the things that someone who is red pilled should wake up to being wrong, are impossible to separate from Christianity.

    Ah, but in their upside-down worldview, the secularist, “liberal” materialist world is the lie that the red pill is waking them up from. What you would call “traditionalist views” are really The Truth (e.g. the evil of same-sex-marriage, legal abortion, evolution, and letting trans people roam the streets un-stoned) that is being repressed. What you would call the “status quo” is the world God intends for humanity to live, something THEY are keeping you from doing.

  14. Aoife_b says

    Despite being chock full of assholes from my state, the event looks like it was in Montana

  15. snarkrates says

    When they trace the origin of the Q-morons back to the ultimate source, they will find that the innermost nesting doll is Putin. Like all things supporting Darth Cheeto, everything comes back to Russia.

  16. davidc1 says

    The really sickening thing is those people who said that is all a hoax ,get the virus ,and then after the docs and nurses have used modern medicine to save their lives ,turn round and say that god was using the medical staff to save them .
    Bastards ,everyone of them.

  17. says

    When they trace the origin of the Q-morons back to the ultimate source, they will find that the innermost nesting doll is Putin.

    If the Russians were behind it, they’d have done it better. After all, they have real secret intelligence they could drop in to make the conspiracy worse. It’s more reasonable to assume it’s some greedy web know-nothings who started off on a lark and then realized they could clean up on clickbait.

    Putin’s not some evil genius, it’s just that his opponents are morons.

  18. says

    Wow. It’s easier for him to believe the US government is intensionally hosing its citizens with a poison to kill them than to think a disease, of the kind that has plagued humanity for millennia, might be responsible? Impressive twisty logic there, guy.

    Yeah. We all know that the government would never deliberately expose citizens to a deadly disease without telling them. Certainly not by airplane. (And certainly not after already spraying other toxic things from planes as well. Why, that’s just crazy talk. It’s certainly not as thought the majority of the WikiPedia entry on “unethical human experimentation in the United States” consists of things the US government itself did to citizens. And of course they would never secretly do something which was noticeably bad for most of the population for the benefit of a single wealthy corporation, let alone a few of them. They would never be so shortsighted as to deliberately undertake policy decisions which necessarily would eventually harm the entire country.

    The reason that sort of conspiracy theory continues to have traction is that the US government, under both major parties, has done (and eventually openly admitted to doing) things every bit as bad as what are claimed. You can’t ridicule this guy for believing things which aren’t half as evil and nonsensical as, say, the School of the Americas (which was recently in the news again). Nobody who, for instance, thinks the Obama administration had a positive effect on the world at large has the right to belittle this guy on those grounds.

  19. woozy says

    “But Bill also had to deal with his father’s daily accusations that the shooting was a hoax and that the shooter, Bill, and all his classmates were paid pawns in a grand conspiracy orchestrated by some shadowy force. ”

    I …. honestly can’t comprehend. I don’t think I could ever be persuaded by 3rd party against something I directly experienced. There is something very weird in the human psyche we just don’t understand….

    “… used modern medicine to save their lives ,turn round and say that god was using the medical staff to save them .”

    That’s the thing. Not many actually say that. They say the virus is a hoax, they nearly die, and they continue to say the virus is a hoax and the fact that got the virus and it nearly killed them is completely unrelated to the virus hoax. …. It’s weird. beyond twisted logic. It’s no logic at all.

  20. unclefrogy says

    . Fortunately, thanks for the unrelenting use of fossil fuels the human race has probably killed itself, so we won’t have to put up with them for much longer.

    well maybe not the entire species but modern civilization as it is constituted just now will most likely not survive the coming bottleneck. This little pandemic could be just the beginning as if itself is not just beginning its adaptation to us as a host, there are many others with the potential of devastating our population. The climate crisis and the great die-off are a thing as well
    What will come out the other end is the question, something but not this mess surely if the past is pro-log something just as bad only different
    I think the roots of Qanon like all the previous incarnations is in ignorance, fear and our ability tell stories of human beings the need to have clear definite answers, those roots give us religion and trump-ism as well.

  21. Ted Lawry says

    I think this sort of denial is the ultimate survivor’s guilt. If your anti-vax fantasy actually caused your nearly fatal illness, or the actual death of another, imagine how stupid, arrogant, and guilty you would feel. Compared to that, denial is bliss!

  22. says

    It would be fitting if the event were in Idaho but I have to admit, St. Regis is in Montana, my home state. I wish this event hadn’t been hosted there because St. Regis has next to nothing by way of mental health treatment facilities.The need is so obvious.

  23. oddie says

    Qanon isn’t going away, they are running for local government and they are transnational and a serious problem. Deriding them might make you feel good, but those were many of the people storming the capital and should be taken seriously as the threat that they are

  24. hemidactylus says

    The Bavarian Illuminati conspiracy theory was a feature of the Adams-Jefferson election cycle. Pat Robertson toyed around with it decades ago. It got revamped by David Icke with transdimensional lizards.

    I kinda like aspects of the Illuminati ideal though they got creepy with the esoteric and clandestine stuff. Understandably staying in the shadows was wise for freethinkers at the time:

    “The real Illuminati was founded by a disgruntled Bavarian Jesuit named Adam Weishaupt. A professor of canon law at the University of Ingolstadt, Weishaupt had become disillusioned with the Catholic Church by 1776. Believing that only a secret society could spread secular, rationalist ideas in a repressive, religious environment, he founded a small group modeled on the Freemasons, with which he hoped to someday found a new society altogether, based on a rational government free from religious influence.

    Weishaupt recruited young noblemen for his new group, seeking acolytes both rich and impressionable; gradually, the group expanded from a few dozen to several thousands. In 1784, Charles Theodore, the Duke of Bavaria, banned all secret societies, hoping to suppress the Illuminati specifically. Two years after that, his police conducted raids on the houses of several high-profile members, confiscating essays deemed heretical that defended atheism and suicide, promoted counterfeiting and abortion, sketched out plans to include women and claimed the Illuminati had power over life and death. Sunlight proved a powerful disinfectant, and, once illuminated, the Illuminati dissolved.”
    […]
    “Though the Bavarian Illuminati may have been dead by the mid-1780s, Barruel’s insinuation gave it new life. Whispers of these dangerous atheists found their way first to England with the publication of John Robison’s 1797 pamphlet, Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All the Religions and Governments of Europe Carried on in the Secret Meetings of the Freemasons, Illuminati, and Reading Societies.”

    https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/03/29/illuminati-conspiracy-theory-thomas-jeffersion-1800-election-152934

    So QAnon narratives may just morph and splinter into other things. McCarthyism never really went away as it recently morphed into tagging China as ChiComs, blaming them for COVID, and making a bogey of Critical Race Theory. Ironically shades of the finger pointing over “Who Lost China”.

    Are Birchers still a thing?

  25. magistramarla says

    “We’ll all die off eventually, and I expect the younger folk out there to do better.”
    Don’t count on that. We’re both your age, and both liberal Democrats. So are 4 of our 5 children.
    However, the youngest girl married a tRump supporter, and the two of them, along with their so-called friends have gone very, very far down the rabbit hole. I talk to her regularly so that I can check on her welfare and that of my 11 year old grandson,
    I do everything that I can to steer the conversation away from anything political, but I am often regaled with the latest QAnon conspiracy theories. I cringe every time that I speak with her, and I feel quite shaky afterward.
    I worry about what that little boy is learning from his (very immature) parents.

  26. hemidactylus says

    Forgot to add to my @26 that conspiracy theories are as American as apple pie. Not going away.

  27. says

    Akira McKenzie

    Fortunately, thanks for the unrelenting use of fossil fuels the human race has probably killed itself, so we won’t have to put up with them for much longer. Unfortunately, they aren’t going to make our species’ death painless.

    Could you maybe not? I don’t look kindly on people who are cheering for my kids to die a horrible death for the good of whatever.

    Magistra Marla
    I’m sorry to hear. I hope one day your daughter will snap out of it and know that her parents still love her and will catch her.

    +++
    I read the article on Vice and I’m so sorry for that kid. I’m angry at his father, I’m angry at the people who fed him the lies, and I’m fucking angry at his mother, who knows her husband is talking bullshit, but who prefers staying with him to supporting her son. This isn’t blaming a woman for what a man does. I’m not expecting her to fix him, but I’m expecting her to take care of her traumatised child.

  28. says

    @gijoel (29)
    Orac has the best and most succinct description of the Proud Boys I’ve read so far:

    Proud Boys, you’ll recall, is a group of neo-fascists. They are similar to Hitler’s Brownshirts in that they love to brawl in the streets. Their specialty is to provoke fights, respond with overwhelming violence up to and including deadly force, and then blame “Antifa” for having started the fight and claim that they were defending themselves.

  29. John Morales says

    Giliell:

    I’m fucking angry at his mother, who knows her husband is talking bullshit, but who prefers staying with him to supporting her son. This isn’t blaming a woman for what a man does. I’m not expecting her to fix him, but I’m expecting her to take care of her traumatised child.

    You really don’t know her circumstances, but you’re angry at her. OK.

    (Perhaps consider she may be traumatised as well)

  30. says

    You really don’t know her circumstances, but you’re angry at her. OK.

    (Perhaps consider she may be traumatised as well)

    Yeah, I don’t really know the circumstances of the father either, maybe he’s just a hurt soul who is also traumatised. Really, have some more compassion for the poor guy!
    John, do you ever have anything productive to contribute or are you only here for dunking on people you don’t like? I mean, it’s ok for you to not like me, it just seems like you increasingly don’t have a point beyond that.

  31. John Morales says

    I do mostly like you, Giliell. As I’ve told you before, and despite the fact that you don’t like me. Not that it’s relevant; I address what you write.

    And my point, in this case, is that your anger is rather hasty, and purely based on a report based on some anonymous person’s claims. Again: you don’t know her circumstances, yet you pass judgement.

    Also, the OP is about Qanon and its effects on those who fall for its allure (rather like religion, actually), not about this guy’s mom who allegedly won’t stand up to her husband.

    And hey, the chap (traumatised child, as you call him) is 18 years old. In most times, in most cultures, an adult.

  32. gijoel says

    @31 SQB yeah but it’s a special kind of awful to protest wearing face mask outside of a hospital that treats breast cancer.

  33. KG says

    The reason that sort of conspiracy theory continues to have traction is that the US government, under both major parties, has done (and eventually openly admitted to doing) things every bit as bad as what are claimed. You can’t ridicule this guy for believing things which aren’t half as evil and nonsensical as, say, the School of the Americas (which was recently in the news again). – The Vicar@20

    It’s not a question of how evil the things done versus the things believed are, you unbelievably stupid numpty. It’s a question of whether there’s any plausible reason why they would be done. The School of the Americas is evil, but its evil makes sense in the service of US hegemony. Poisoning large parts of the US population doesn’t.

  34. myoga57 says

    “I expect the younger folk out there to do better”. I dunno about that. Seems just yesterday that those shout-y old farts, those deluded old boomers were the dewy-eyed harbingers of the Age of Aquarius. The guys who were going to bring about “The Greening of America”. Humanity’s best bright hope…

  35. says

    John Morales

    And my point, in this case, is that your anger is rather hasty, and purely based on a report based on some anonymous person’s claims. Again: you don’t know her circumstances, yet you pass judgement.

    Call me old fashioned, but I believe that the people who bring a child into this world have a duty of care towards that child. Clearly, the father has abandoned that duty of care, yet the mother has done the same. I’m also somebody who was abused by one parent and whose other parent decided to let it happen. The people who have the most power over you deciding to fuck you over is traumatic.

  36. snarkrates says

    Vicar@20,
    The issue is not that people distrust the ebil gummint. That is simply good sense. The issue is that the seize on the most ludicrous and improbable theories as the explanation. It is hard not to conclude that we are dealing with people who are utterly incompetent at interpreting information.

    Their idea of “research” is reading websites that tell them what they already believe.

    And it isn’t just government they mistrust–they mistrust expertise in all its forms, especially science. It is not a coincidence that most of these idiots are fundie xtians or Ayn-Rand-loving glibertarians. This is the product of a lifetime of believing over thinking.

  37. says

    I can’t say it’s a complete solution but pressing people with misinformation to demonstrate what they claim, and taking advantage when they can’t, has a use. The audience sees they can’t explain themselves. On issues of life or death they should be eager to try. Instead they use the “do your own research” so any reasoning and logic problems remain safe from attack, and there is no one to act as a counterpoint to what is being researched.

    The value of the information is in it’s utility and they don’t get that far. Useless beyond political manipulation. They have the courage to do what they are doing, they can scrape up the courage to do more or whine about having to show the bad thing they claim exists.

    The instincts behind “crying wolf” have a reputation component we have to install.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cry_Wolf

  38. seedye says

    Vicar@20

    The fact that conspiracies have happened becomes fuel for conspiracy theories. It’s often the #1 reason why conspiracy theorists cling to their theories even when you point out that their reasoning is specious and evidence is not conclusive. It’s not OK to excuse people for believing in conspiracy theories because a few conspiracies proved to be true. Just like it’s not OK to excuse people for believing in psychics because the cold reading had a few hits, despite all the misses. As other commenters have pointed out above, there’s been way more conspiracy hoaxes that led to tragedy than there’s been actual conspiracies.

    You can’t possibly know a conspiracy is taking place until it is exposed, so assuming that there is a conspiracy because of past conspiracies is not logical. Skeptics should take the same burden of proof for conspiracies as they do for the existence of the supernatural — you can’t rule it out, but it should take extraordinary evidence before you entertain the possibility that it exists. The more mundane explanation is probably more likely. By all means, follow the money, hunt down the documents, uncover the conspiracy and get that Pulitzer, bring the villains to justice. But until then, don’t create new QAnons by telling people they’re justified in believing conspiracies.

  39. unclefrogy says

    @37
    having been their I was under the impression that the “boomers” were not very monolithic. That there was a considerable variation in beliefs and action in that cohort.
    You seem to be trying to say that you think that the problem is all the “Dead Heads” and “Hippy Peace niks” now supporting the alt-right and qanon.
    Again having been there I have to say that those kinds of “postholes” were well represented in the “boomers” as were all the other common forms of bigotry. Do you think it is all the dead heads and hippys back to nature folks with the huge collection guns? why do you think that you can easily find organic produce so easily today because it was pretty hard to find during the Kennedy admin.
    Things changing takes time but they do change the question really will they change fast enough to save civilization or will the insane fantasy thinking doom us to oblivion
    sorry you have a resentment for you parents and grand parents

  40. says

    @#36, KG:

    I can easily think of a plausible reason why the government would want to kill most of us. It’s blindingly obvious, and has been for several years now.

    Climate change is here, it’s already causing large numbers of deaths in various horrible ways (like the 500 or so Canadians who just died of the heat the other week), and it’s only going to get worse. (In fact, I suspect that food prices are going to skyrocket across the board over the next year and never really come down again because of climate change. A third of Chinese grain fields are flooded, Brazil is issuing warnings over expected crop failures, northern Europe is similarly flooding, vast amounts of marine life in the northwest of North America have died from the heat, etc. etc. etc.) Forget the 2030 deadline from the UN; I suspect we have at most 5 years before climate chaos reaches the point of directly overthrowing major governments. The Russian revolution of 1914 didn’t happen because the Communists were eloquent or convincing, it happened because the Russian monarchy horribly mismanaged the country’s economy and agriculture and there was mass starvation. Now imagine that that happens everywhere at once because nobody has food.

    Bloomberg has already reported that billionaires head for bunkers in New Zealand when things get rough. Professor Douglas Rushkoff reported over a year ago that the rich have already decided there’s going to be an apocalypse, and they plan to leave the rest of us to die.

    It would not even be remotely surprising for the rich to decide that it would be good for them to kill most of the rest of us in a passive way. Less competition for dwindling resources, and fewer people to storm the bunkers after the collapse. And no sensible person would believe that the US government would hesitate for an instant to undertake such an order — just look at Flint; American governments are willing to let whole regions get poisoned to lower taxes by some tiny percentage for the very rich. Or look at Prohibition, where the government started adding poison to industrial alcohol and refused to stop even when coroners started protesting at the numbers of dead. To keep the rich alive and safe, what won’t they do?

    @#39, snarkrates:

    And my point is that if you want to mock them, don’t do what PZ did and mock them for believing that the government wants to kill us, because that’s entirely plausible. As it happens, chemtrails aren’t real, but they’re entirely plausible. Releasing poisons from planes is a thing the US government has already done (see the links in my original post), and subjecting most of us to slow death or an epidemic of subclinical disease to sap society’s ability to riot is entirely in character* — look at the last year and tell me that Biden, who wants coronavirus funds to be used for police, wouldn’t be willing to at least consider that option.

    *As I recall, one of the unredacted parts of the MKUltra documents which were forced into the public record says that they actually tried experimentally to summon demons with black magic, to sell their souls to advance the goals of the very-right-wing late-1960s CIA. Naturally, they failed — but the US government literally would make a pact with the devil for short-term gains if it could, and it’s important to remember that.

    @#42, seedye:

    The thing is, though: some conspiracy theories are not merely plausible in motivation but not physically impossible. In the last 40 years, the government has conspired to:
    • Sell weapons to its expressed enemies, both state (Iran-Contra) and non-state (ISIS/Al Queda under GWB and Obama)
    • Lie about intelligence data to start wars, both under Republicans (Iraq) and Democrats (Libya)
    • Lie about climate change, which is going to kill us all if we let it
    • Prevent any discussion of single-payer or a government-run public option, so as to protect mandatory private insurance
    • Cover up the actual facts about drone bombing (they just sentenced a guy to prison for whistleblowing about it, in fact)

    What makes you think that a government which was willing to kill a million people in Iraq at a cost of trillions of dollars in public money — and that includes 3 of the 4 most recent Democratic presidential nominees, and the fourth wasn’t in Congress at the time, so don’t pretend that this isn’t a bipartisan choice — would be unwilling to act against the public interest by killing some or most of us, too? Sociopaths are sociopaths.

  41. KG says

    The Vicar@44,

    Thanks for once again demonstrating that you really are as breathtakingly stupid as I said. Deliberately poisoning millions of its own citizens would inevitably weaken a state relative to rival states, because it cannot be done without massive economic and social dislocation. Moreover, targeting the poisoning to avoid members of the elite (who you suggest would be the ones ordering the state to do it) would be technically very difficult.

  42. KG says

    Sociopaths are sociopaths. – The Vicar@44

    Says the man who wanted Trump to win the 2020 election in order that Boomers would be alive to suffer as much as possible during the resulting collapse of the USA.

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