The “surreal goddamn nightmare” lives of QAnon followers’ loved ones

One sure-fire way to see if something is a cult is what happens within their families and friends. If they are so devoted to a group that they cut themselves off from everyone who does not share their beliefs, then they very likely belong to a cult. The responses to a survey of people who used to have relationships with those they knew who became QAnon devotees shows all the signs that it is a cult. One of them said that the best way to sum up the situation is as a “surreal goddamn nightmare.”
[Read more…]

A victory for a Republican QAnon devotee

While on the Democratic side we have seen a steady increase in the numbers and popularity of candidates with progressive views, it is the opposite on the Republican side, with candidates with extreme right wing views doing well. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Georgia where a follower of the conspiracy cult QAnon who has in addition made racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic comments, has won the Republican nomination for a congressional seat. Given that district’s strong Republican leanings, she will very likely win the November election and be in Congress starting next year. (Watch out, Louie Gohmert! You are in danger of losing your title for being the stupidest member of Congress.)
[Read more…]

The weird QAnon cult

I have long been fascinated by the sociology of cults, the psychology of cult members, and the conspiratorial thinking that afflicts them. I think my interest is because I was a religious believer well into adulthood and now I find myself wondering how I could have believed for so long in things that I now feel are patently nonsense. One factor is that I was born into a religious family and when growing up one tends to unthinkingly absorb the influences of one’s immediate surroundings. Though I grew up in a liberal Christian tradition that did not require me to believe in the more outlandish things that fundamentalist, evangelical, and biblical literalist Christians do, even the most stripped down versions of Christianity require believing in some pretty wild things. So to some extent, I shared similarities with cult members.
[Read more…]

The tightly knit but strangely solitary world of QAnon cult members

Sometime ago, I wrote about the mercurial rise within about a year of the QAnon phenomenon, one of the more bizarre political developments of the internet age, that says that Donald Trump is a genius who is cleverly drawing his enemies out into the open before he and his allies in the military suddenly swoop and arrest all of them. The evildoers include “the global banking elite, death squads operating on orders from Hillary Clinton, deep-state intelligence operatives, and Pizzagate-style pedophile rings.”
[Read more…]

What will Trump say about the Wolverine Watchmen?

We know that Donald Trump cannot bear to say anything negative about white supremacists, white militia groups, QAnon crazies, and all the other flotsam and jetsam that can be found in the fever swamps of right wing extremism in the US who see in him the leader they have longed for. So it will be interesting to see his response to the reported plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan and attack the state capital building. (Back in May, Trump was calling on people to “Liberate Michigan” (presumably from their despotic governor who was mandated mask wearing) and spoke of the heavily armed Michigan militia members as ‘very good people’. It was after that episode that this plot apparently started gaining steam.)
[Read more…]

What’s the matter with Delaware Republicans?

Lauren Witzke is yet another QAnon supporter who has won a Republican primary and is going to be the party’s candidate for a federal office, this time for the senate seat in Delaware. But it appears that QAnon is not the only thing she believes in. She also has dabbled with flat-Earth and 9/11 conspiracy theories. She will challenge incumbent Democratic senator Chris Coons.
[Read more…]

Michele Bachmann resurfaces and hilarity ensues

Were you wondering what the nutty former Minnesota congresswoman and onetime contender for the Republican presidential nomination was up to these days? Me neither. After deciding not to seek re-election in 2018 where she faced a good chance of losing, she faded away. Or so I hoped. But there she is in the news again spouting one of her trademark nutty theories, and this one is a real doozy.
[Read more…]

The extinct ‘liberal Republican’

On NPR news yesterday that I listen to when I am in the kitchen doing various chores, I was startled when they announced the death of James Thompson, who had been the longest serving governor of Illinois. What startled me was not that he had died (at the age of 84, he had been out of politics for a long time) but that he was referred to as a ‘liberal Republican’, a political label that one never hears these days.

It made me realize how things have changed because there was a time, not that long ago, when that description was not obviously an oxymoron. There used to be John Lindsay, mayor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller, governor of New York, and Jacob Javits, New York senator, the first two of whom were considered potential Republican presidential material despite having views that were classified as liberal.

Nowadays, everyone in the Republican party runs as far away as possible from the liberal label. Even the labels ‘moderate’ and ‘centrist’ are seen as poison. Conversely, there seems to be no extreme right wing label that they will shy away from, even if it has racist and sexist and xenophobic overtones or is even outright bonkers such as being called a QAnon sympathizer.

The parties really know how to pick ’em

Just after virulently anti-gay Bob Good won the Republican nomination for a Virginia congressional seat, another hateful nutjob is likely to win the party’s nomination for a seat in Georgia. (Thanks to commenter Tadas.)

The House’s highest-ranking Republicans are racing to distance themselves from a leading GOP congressional candidate in Georgia after POLITICO uncovered hours of Facebook videos in which she expresses racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views.

The candidate, Marjorie Taylor Greene, suggested that Muslims do not belong in government; thinks black people “are held slaves to the Democratic Party”; called George Soros, a Jewish Democratic megadonor, a Nazi; and said she would feel “proud” to see a Confederate monument if she were black because it symbolizes progress made since the Civil War.
[Read more…]