Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sometimes You Simply Must Do What Is Right

The events of January 6th at the Capitol were an evil that must be dealt-with.  We have long had federal laws in place that deal with insurrections (which is exactly what we saw),  as well as sedition,  and treason.  This law needs to be used to correct the dangerous behaviors we all saw.  The false beliefs that drove this are simply too widespread to ignore.  Our democracy is in serious danger,  from what amounts to a large potential number of political-extremist domestic terrorists,  inflamed by lies. 

Here is the relevant federal law for the insurrection that we all saw happen at the Capitol on the 6th:

18 USC Part 1 Crimes Chapter 115: Treason,  sedition,  and subversive activities

§ 2383. Rebellion or insurrection

Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)

I suggest we apply it to many persons,  in multiple roles ---

All those “protestors” who scaled the steps and entered the Capitol building on January 6th:

“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection” – they all would seem to be guilty in a slam-dunk case,  as evidenced by what was seen on the live TV feeds,  and the testimony of those inside the Capitol who were threatened by it. 

President Trump:

“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection” – he would seem to be guilty in a slam-dunk case,  as he literally told the insurrectionists to go to the Capitol in his speech the morning of January 6th. This was evidenced by what was seen on the live TV feeds.

“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection” – he would seem to be guilty in a slam-dunk case,  as he has claimed “election fraud” and “stolen election” since the night of the November 3rd election,  and claimed these things wrongly,  as the 60-some court cases and the Department of Justice investigations have determined.  These claims were used to inflame the emotions of supporters over the election result,  which is the very definition of the word “incite”.

Either of these two readings of the law are in accord with the wording of the Article of Impeachment pending against Mr. Trump,  now awaiting a Senate trial.

Congressional figures giving “reconnaissance tours” on January 5th:

“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto” – these persons would seem to be guilty in a rather credible case,  with actual evidence to be turned up by appropriate investigation.  So far,  I have seen the names of 3 House members alleged to have done this.

Update 1-23-21 Because these names are already a matter of public record,  it cannot hurt the case for or against them, if I mention them here:  House members Andy Biggs (R-AZ),  Paul Gosar (R-AZ),  and Mo Brooks (R-AL).  There may,  or may not,  be others. 

Congressional figures communicating helpful information to the insurrectionists during the event:

“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto” – such persons would seem to be guilty in a rather strong and very egregious case,  with evidence to be turned up by appropriate investigation.  So far,  I have seen the name of 1 House member alleged to have done this.  This behavior could very credibly be construed as not just assisting,  but actually engaging in,  the insurrection.  Such is very serious indeed!

Update 1-23-21:  Because this name is already a matter of public record,  it cannot hurt that I mention it here:  House member Lauren Boebert (R-CO),  a known Qanon follower.  There may,  or may not,  be others. 

Congressional figures persisting in claiming disproven election fraud as the basis of their electoral tally objections:

“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto --  these persons would seem to be guilty in a fairly strong case,  evidenced by the roll call of electoral tally objection votes even after the insurrection was over,  despite the pre-insurrection proof that these claims were false! 

Update 1-23-21:  there has been filed a Senate ethics committee complaint,  for spreading the election fraud lie that inflamed the insurrection,  both before and after the insurrection.  Those named are Senate members Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO).  There may,  or may not,  be others.  

There is plenty of latitude to adjust the penalties to the severity of each case:

“shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” – could be a fine or imprisonment,  or both.  That choice,  and the amount of the fine,  is thus left up to the judge.  Imprisonment is limited to 10 years max,  so it could be anywhere from 0 to 10 years.

Here is the part not left to the discretion of the judge:

“shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” – this part is mandatory and it is permanent (meaning life-long),  no matter what else is done!  It has the benefit to the entire country of ridding a political party of certain proven-dangerous extremists as feasible candidate choices.

Update 1-23-21 in addition to Mr. Trump himself,  there are also close associates and family members under suspicion of inciting,  or aiding-and-abetting,  the insurrectionists.  There are also members of the Capitol police who may, or may not,  have aided-and-abetted,  or actually participated-in,  the insurrection.  The FBI is certainly pursuing the insurrectionists themselves.  We'll see what transpires as the various investigations unfold. 

As for the possible Senate impeachment trial results:

There are two stages to this,  guilt-or-acquittal,  and penalty determination if guilty.  Note that acquittal is not the same as innocence,  the definitions of those words differ!  It is my opinion that acquittal would be a serious miscarriage of justice,  but that is for the Senate to decide,  not me.  Conviction requires a 2/3 majority vote.  Determining the penalty after conviction requires only a simple majority vote.

Under impeachment,  the penalty has to be voted upon by the Senate,  but only if convicted.  I believe they will use the cited law to guide what they can and cannot do.  For insurrection per section 2383,  ineligibility to ever hold federal office again is mandatory,  but with great latitude regarding fines and no more than 10 years of imprisonment.  (Permanent ineligibility,  fines of at least $10,000 and at least 5 years of imprisonment,  or even death,  are the penalties for treason in section 2381.) 

My Own Take:

There are many people who need to be called to account for what took place at the Capitol on January 6th.  I have mentioned only some in this article.  The FBI is certainly trying to do their part to bring insurrectionists to justice.  I do worry about figures in positions of power who might not be called to account for their parts in this.  That is why I wrote this article.  We will see how that goes,  as these events continue to unfold. 

What I Suggest:

Watch closely what your Representatives and Senators actually do.  In addition to the impending impeachment trial,  they need to police their own,  as I indicated above.  Contact them frequently,  and tell them in no uncertain terms what you want done,  and that you are watching closely.

If you don’t understand that there was no fraud/steal to the 2020 election,  I sincerely urge you to re-examine not only your beliefs in light of the observed facts,  but also the credibility of the sources who convinced you of those falsehoods.  It is essentially impossible to make good decisions based on bad data.  Therefore it is incumbent on you to make sure those data you use are good.

And Another Thing:

Every federal officeholder takes a form of the same oath taken by those who enter the military (and I did,  so I know firsthand):  “to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies,  foreign and domestic”.  A very clear implication of that oath is that the good of the country takes precedence over all personal or political considerations.  Such is too often forgotten today. 

I would like to see two things done:

(1) that implied top priority of the good of the country be made explicit in these oaths of office,  and

(2) the breaking of that oath of office needs to be made a crime.  The specification of that crime should explicitly include behavior that demonstrates prioritizing personal or political advantage over the good of the country. 

That last sure would clean up a lot of Congressional misbehavior,  now,  wouldn’t it?  And maybe some misbehaviors we have seen in recent decades in the Executive branch as well.  (Doesn’t matter which party you favor,  they have both routinely misbehaved.)

Closely-Related Articles on this Site:

10 January 2021              It Ain’t Over Yet

1 January 2021                 Observations About the Mainstream Media,  and Much More

18 December 2020          Q As A Threat to the US

13 February 2020            Beware of Leader Cults

You can access any of these quickly using the navigation tool at the left side of this page.  Click on the year,  then click on the month.  Then click on the title,  if more than one shows for that month. 

Warnings:

Keep your eyes peeled for more insurrection or related violence directed at the Inauguration on the 20th,  and around the country after that.  So says the FBI.

Keep your eyes peeled for more similar violence after the Senate impeachment trial of Mr. Trump,  especially if he is convicted.  That is my prediction,  based on the Qanon “fearless leader” cult built around him ever since the 2016 election.

If you recognize a perpetrator,  I do encourage you to turn them in to the FBI.  That is your duty as a citizen of this Republic,  especially since such violence borders on treason.  Not reporting actual treason that is known to you is also a crime,  under another section of the same law I cited.  (Go look for yourself:  it is section 2382 Misprision of treason.)  Insurrection isn’t defined as treason,  but it is very close.  That is the implication of the law I cited.

Update 1-20-2021 

The massive presence of protective troops seems to have deterred any sort of mob violence or assassination attempt at the inauguration in DC.  Similar precautions seem to have deterred problems at the state capitals.  

That's good,  but when the protection relaxes,  the risk is still there.  Those extremists are still out there,  still large in number,  and still believing the lies that motivated the insurrection on the 6th. 

The next "sore point" that may provoke further mob action will likely be the Senate trial of Mr. Trump's impeachment.  The date for that has yet to be revealed.  Keep your eyes peeled.  

Update 1-23-21 that date for the start of the Senate impeachment trial is now said to be the week of February 8. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

It Ain’t Over Yet!

My friend and colleague Bill Whitaker did an excellent job with his column in the Waco Tribune-Herald calling out the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th,  as the abomination that it was.  Many are now asking “why this happened”?  Here is my take on “why”.  Be warned,  many of you will not like this,  because to tell you that “why”,  I might have to challenge what you may believe.

The Trump presidency continues until noon January 20th,  unless he is removed from office earlier in some way.  What you may not yet know is that his “fearless leader” cult,  the Qanon community,  are pushing for him to declare martial law,  despite the failed coup attempt on the 6th.  This is now to be justified by the supposed presence of "Antifa terrorists" masquerading as Trump supporters. 

These ringers supposedly actually started the break-in as a false-flag operation to discredit the real Trump supporters.  I got this first hand from a youtube video from one (of many) known Qanon outlets (David Zhang's "Beyond the Noise"),  forwarded to me by a friend whom I know to be a fervent Qanon believer. 

By way of reality check,  there is no single,  or even a few,  organizations that could be called "Antifa".  That is merely a label applied to an unorganized and rather-varied class of leftist extremists.  Some of these are no doubt terrorists,  but they are more of a threat individually,  not as an organization.  So the latest ploy of blaming Antifa,  instead of Trump supporters incited to violence,  is simply untrue.

The real organized threat here is the Qanon community itself,  which is a definite (if informal) organization,  now communicating on the GAB and PARLER services,  having just been chased off Twitter and Facebook (for being a dangerous organization promoting violence.)   And,  they have been identified as a serious domestic terror threat by the FBI.  We just saw this warning come true,  with the events of the 6th. 

Here is the danger:  the only people still close to President Trump are those advisors who are known to be Qanon believers.  Those include Michael Flynn,  Sidney Powell,  and to one extent or another,  Rudy Giuliani.  Their Q-derived falsehoods are essentially all he hears!  And we know already that those falsehoods can incite violence out of people.  

As long as he holds the presidency,  Mr. Trump still has his finger on the nuclear trigger,  as well as the ability to order conventional war.

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Update 14 January 2021It appears that the mob had insider help getting into the Capitol,  and insider help for locating those they intended to kidnap.  (It also appears that insider help was not just a officer or two letting them in.)  And,  I presume that the mob intended to execute their prisoners,  because I saw on the video the gallows they had set up.

Move On has published the names of 3 Republican Congressmen they accuse of participating in the planning of the attack,  with a reconnaisance tour the day before.  We will see if that accusation bears up.  And I suspect there are more instances of such treachery.  

Move On has also repeated the accusation that I heard earlier off mainstream reports that known Qanon believer Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) was tweeting Nancy Pelosi's location to the mob during the attack.  That does not surprise me,  given the other things she has said.  

If proven to be true,  these allegations just go to prove my point about how dangerous this Qanon conspiracy really is,  when added to all the far-right extremist groups out there.

As I said,  I think more of this treachery will be revealed.  Those who did this must be held accountable,  and it's not just Trump,  that is for sure!  

We will soon see if the Senate can act for the people in Trump's second impeachment case,  under the condition that about two thirds of Republican Senators seem to be partial or total subscribers to the Qanon lies.  The first time around,  they essentially admitted that he "did it",  but they still did not choose to convict. 

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Further,  the risk of more mob violence to stop the transition of power between now and January 20th is still quite serious,  precisely because there are still hordes of rabid Trump supporters unwilling to accept his election defeat,  instead sincerely believing it was stolen by fraud!  The inauguration itself will prove to be the next target.  The same kind of crowd that attacked the Capitol on the 6th is now threatening on-line to bring their guns to the inauguration.

The best estimates I can find indicate that something like half to three quarters of Republicans and Trump supporters believe at least some of the false Qanon claims about reality.  Many of them may not really know where these claims actually come from,  getting their supposed news and information from social media “echo chambers” that (until recently) were entirely unpoliced for truth. 

Qanon is a “fearless leader” cult around Trump that started in 2017,  not long after he was elected (see the Wikipedia article about Qanon for a good start at understanding this).  It has very definite fascist or authoritarian roots in its beginnings on the internet.  Almost none of those who lean Democrat are involved with this,  and apparently few of them know much about it.  However,  it is always best to understand a potential adversary,  which is why I have investigated this cult. 

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My version of the list of those claims follows,  with some notes about them that are my opinions: 

#1. There is a stealthy cabal of Satan-worshipping child-traffickers that controls everything,  known as the “Deep State”,  which is composed mostly of Democrats,  plus some Republicans-in-name-only.  Mr. Trump is secretly leading the fight to overturn this cabal.  This claim dates to the beginning of the Qanon community. 

Typically,  only the true believers say much about this claim.  The politicians who merely pander to the believers among their constituents,  rarely say much about this one.

Update 1-23-21:  Why would this claim be true when the other 4 claims are false?

#2. There is supposed to be an event called ”the Storm”,  in which the “Deep State” is overthrown by Trump with the US military,  leading to mass arrests,  imprisonments in Guantanamo Bay,  military tribunals,  and mass executions.  In its most extreme form,  the secret executions have already begun.  This claim,  too,  has been around since the beginning of the Qanon cult.  However,  not much has been said about this claim since Trump’s November election loss,  to the best of my knowledge.

Again,  this one was typically mentioned only by the true believers,  and not much at all by the pandering politicians.

Update 1-23-21 Trump is out of the presidency,  and is headed for a Senate impeachment trial sometime after Feb 8.  The military is demonstrably loyal per their oaths to the Constitution,  and so to their new commander-in-chief,  President Joseph Biden,  per the inauguration on the 20th.  There was no "Storm".  There will be no "Storm".  That claim is demonstrably false.  

#3. The SARS-CoV-2/Covid-19 pandemic is an overblown hoax;  the disease really being only an ordinary influenza,  with medical entities paid by the government (the “Deep State”) to inflate disease and death figures.  Extreme forms make false claims about the purpose or safety of the Covid-19 vaccines.  Another common corollary is that wearing a mask to slow disease spread is somehow unAmerican,  or an infringement on liberty.  These claims date to 2019,  right after the disease first appeared in the US.

Both true believers,  and pandering politicians,  make this claim.  This false belief and the irresponsible behavior it engenders,  is why Trump rallies and parties have been superspreader events.  That is not to say that holiday gatherings and people gathered in bars are not also superspreader events,  because they are.

Update 1-23-21 stats say 500,000 dead by February,  which is substantially larger than those we lost during WW2.  This disease is on track to exceed the toll of the 1918 pandemic in a shorter period of time (675,000 dead in 2 years).  The claim is demonstrably false on the face of it.

#4. The November 2020 election was a ”win” for Trump,  stolen from him by massive election fraud.  Despite the lawsuit record of 60+ lawsuits thrown out by courts for a total lack of any credible evidence,  this belief persists very strongly!  It is the primary incitement motivation for the attempted insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th.  This is a very dangerous belief!

This is a very fervent belief among Qanon true believers,  and also among the many who believe only part of the Qanon claims,  and it has been widely disseminated by many Republican politicians,  who pander to the believers among their constituents.  This falsehood is the basis for the GOP Representatives and Senators who objected to the electoral vote tallies from the swing states.

Update 1-23-21 this claim was demonstrably false,  and that was known before the insurrection on the 6th!  The 60-some court cases thrown out for lack of credible evidence are rather conclusive,  not to mention all the election officials' certifications regardless of their party affiliations,  and ex-AG Barr's statement about there having been no massive fraud,  despite his prior unflinching support of Mr. Trump.  

#5. The mainstream media are “fake news”,  being controlled by the “Deep State”,  and lying to the public for them.  We have heard from Mr. Trump’s own mouth the epithet “fake news” since his original run for office.  He may,  in fact,  be where the Qanon community got this phrase,  and incorporated it into their ”Deep State controls everything” falsehood. 

This one is quoted by true Q believers,  and by the Trump supporters who do not necessarily subscribe to all the claims,  and until recently by some of the pandering politicians.  It’s not really a screening tool.  It may actually be a corollary to claim 1,  but it does predate that claim.

Update 1-23-21 events through the inauguration have unfolded exactly as reported by the supposedly-"fake news" "mainstream media",  and not at all in accordance with the Qanon claims.  Proof enough that the "mainstream media" are not "fake news" at all.  This is quite obviously a true statement when you understand that "mainstream media" means the 5 broadcast TV news outlets and their websites,  not the bullshit seen on cable TV,  or internet social media,  or heard on talk radio.  

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Now you know why some folks believe strange stuff politically,  and behave the way that they do.  And you also now know how to tell who they are.  And why the very serious risk to democracy continues as long as this leader cult’s false belief system persists.  

I do think we have to do something about some of the falsehoods that spread all across the internet,  specifically those that could incite riots or worse.  Especially those that are already revealed to have caused violence. 

But we have to be very careful how exactly we do that.  The elements are (1) falsehood,  and (2) dangerous to the public safety.  It has to be both.  This is exactly like it being illegal in all 50 states to yell “fire” in a crowded theater,  when there is none.  People could be hurt or killed by that.  False plus dangerous.  See?

These many internet communication services,  big or small,  are all owned and operated by people.  Those people seem to be completely un-responsible for the damages done (or risked) by any lies told on their services.  So,  such are unpoliced. 

I suggest we make those owners and operators responsible for the damages risked or done by lies told on their various services.  Personally responsible. With big fines that their organizations cannot pay for them.  Jail time if egregious-enough a case.

It’ll take an example or two before the word gets out that we-the-people are serious about this.  But once the word does get out,  these owners and operators will police their own services for dangerous content.  And the reach of violence-inspiring conspiracy theories like Qanon will be greatly reduced.

Many will object to this,  on the basis of “restricting free speech”.  But my counter argument is that NO right is absolute!  All rights have common sense limits! 

·        My right to swing my fist ends BEFORE I strike another.  So does yours. 

·        My right to carry and use a gun ends BEFORE I shoot somebody else,  except in self defense,  and only as a last resort.  So does yours. 

·        My right to free speech does NOT include yelling “fire” in a crowded theater when there is none.  Neither does yours. 

·        Etc.

And THAT is my take on it!

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Closely-related articles on this site include the following list.  Use the navigation tool on the left to find them quickly.  Click on the year,  then the month,  then the title (if necessary). 

1-1-21          Observations About the Mainstream Media,  And Much More

12-18-20      Q As A Threat to the US

2-13-20        Beware of Leader Cults

Update 1-17-2021:  add "Sometimes You Simply Must Do What Is Right"  published 1-17-2021. 


Friday, January 1, 2021

Observations About the "Mainstream Media", And Much More

I see a lot of claims coming from all over the political right,  about the "mainstream media" being "fake news".  Details vary,  but the common thread is that they are left-wing (or are controlled by the far left) and they are very untruthful,  especially regarding President Trump.  

The "far left" is NOT the same as the "mainstream media",  despite the false claims.  Ultimately,  these false claims derive from far-right or extremist sources coming off the internet.  There are several,  but perhaps the best known of late is the Qanon internet community,  which has fed claims to many others. 

In contrast to the claims about the media being "fake news",  here are some observations of my own about the "mainstream media":

There are 5 national TV networks that offer news.  Each has a cadre of professional journalists,  and each has an overt or covert editorial slant,  imposed from above in the case of the 4 commercially-owned networks.  My own evaluations of these features follow:

NBC News,  good quality journalism,  openly left-wing editorial slant,  but not really far-left. 

CBS News,  good quality journalism,  rather centrist editorially.

ABC News,  good quality journalism,  centrist editorial slant,  entertainment news overprioritized by ownership (unsurprising since that ownership is first and foremost an entertainment company:  Disney).

Fox News,  good quality journalism,  openly right-wing editorial slant,  with rather far-right opinions freely and frequently mixed in with the news.  According to its founder (Rupert Murdoch),  it was actually created to be right-wing entertainment,  not news. Yet there really is news content. 

PBS Newshour,  excellent journalism,  mostly centrist in editorial slant (NPR radio is more left-wing,  but it is not far-left).

As for the cable news services,  I don't often see them anymore,  not having cable TV out here on the farm.  But when I do see them,  I am NOT impressed!  Dilute content repeated endlessly,  for the most part.  Some (most egregiously the cable outlet for Fox News) freely intermix opinion with news as if the opinion were fact,  when it is not.  I do NOT consider these outlets "mainstream" despite their prevalence.

I don't consider radio much of a news source anymore.  Especially not "talk radio".  That stuff is all opinion,  and usually quite extreme.  Factual content is very,  very low.  Such is true whether right-wing or left-wing,  but my impression is that right-wing talk radio dominates the field.  None of this qualifies as "mainstream media".  

Newspapers seem to be a mixed bag.  Those few I am familiar with seem to report accurate news,  colored somewhat by one or the other editorial slant.  Usually,  with newspapers,  it is clear what is opinion,  and what is presented as fact.  

My own hometown paper seems rather centrist in its slant on its op-ed page (despite many letters to the editor claiming otherwise),  and I cannot at all quibble with what it publishes as actual news facts. Those facts seem quite consistent with the facts reported on the "mainstream" TV network news shows. 

Media vs Covid-19 Vaccines

I have even seen one claim coming from a far-right source that the "mainstream media" are the ones saying the new Covid-19 vaccines are unsafe.  That is patently ridiculous,  as direct observation easily confirms.  

The "mainstream media" (meaning only the 5 broadcast networks offering news!!!) all repeatedly point out that a big fraction of the public are reluctant (or worse) to take the new Covid-19 vaccines.  They repeatedly ask proper health industry or government sources why this is so,  and if the vaccines are actually safe.  While opinions vary as to why there is vaccine hesitancy,  the media repeatedly and uniformly publicize the answers about vaccine safety:  that no corners were cut,  that they really are safe.  

NONE of these mainstream news networks make any claim that it is unsafe!  NOT ONE!!!  It's right there in the public records for anyone to go and see for themselves.  Any such claims are therefore (by my own direct observation) NOT (I repeat NOT!!!) coming from the "mainstream media" (as defined just above). 

How This Relates to Qanon

Most of the disinformation about these new vaccines being unsafe (or the closely-related claims that the disease is not the threat that it really is) come from the social media sources that I personally despise as "propaganda-liars-for-profit",  and ultimately it traces (if you bother to trace it) to the far-right extremists running the Qanon (and closely-related) sites,  which all exist fundamentally to make a profit from sowing division and discord.  

These extremists and the allied neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups are collectively what the FBI recently classified as likely sources of domestic terrorism.  I think the FBI is quite right about that. Believers in this stuff have recently committed more murders than any leftists I ever heard of,  over the same time span of the last few years.

The Qanon sites were the message boards 4chan,  then 8chan,  then 8kun,  in turn feeding disinformation content to a variety of monetized blogs and youtube channels,  such as "the X-22 Report".  People forward me youtube videos like that all the time.  They are filled with egregious nonsense.  

The anonymous poster (or more likely posters plural) who is "Q" seems to have been relatively quiet posting on 8kun,  ever since the election that Trump lost.

People otherwise smart enough to know better,  spout this Qanon-based bullshit at me all the time!  They are all strong Trump supporters.  They are not dissuaded from believing these lies by any facts,  because this is NOT a knowledge system,  it is a belief system,  almost a religious cult!  And a very dangerous cult at that!  It inspires violence in its most rabid followers.  We have already seen it.

Is Russian Disinformation Involved?

It would NOT surprise me in the least to learn that one of the multiple entities masquerading as "Q" on these "sources" turns out to be (at least sometimes) one or another of the Russian intelligence groups planting disinformation to divide us.  They've been all over the other social media giants for at least half a decade now,  doing exactly that.  

I've seen some of the same disinformation claims on the likes of Sputnik and RT ("Russia Today"),  which are known Russian propaganda organs freely operating legally in the US (something I'd like to see changed).  

Their modus operandi is to mix big lies with some kernels of truth,  to make the lies seem more credible,  then rely on repetition to create the illusion of total truth. Sound familiar?  Both the Nazis and the Russian communists used this propaganda tactic,  along with many other evildoers. 

So,  The Vaccines Really Are Safe Enough

Operation "Warp Speed" is one of the very few really good things that Mr. Trump did while president!  By guaranteeing to buy the vaccines whether they were approved or not,  this program cut years off the usual development-to-deployment schedule.  With profit guaranteed,  the companies were well-motivated to expend the resources up-front,  to do this job as fast as they have.  

No corners were cut,  not by the companies,  not by the regulators,  and not by the advisory groups to those regulators,  despite the unethical political pressures that got applied.  

The two vaccines so far approved are indeed safe enough,  and a lot more effective than most of the ordinary flu vaccines.  That is remarkable!  And more are coming.  There were half a dozen or more,  still in development when the first two were approved. 

Whether these vaccines remain effective as the virus mutates with time,  remains to be seen.  So far,  the thinking,  and what little evidence there is,  would suggest they still are effective.  

Conclusions Regarding "Mainstream Media"

The vaccines are safe and people should take them.  So say the experts,  and so say the reports coming from the "mainstream media",  as I defined them here for this discussion.  These reports seem reliable enough to me,  on this (and most other topics).  Which means those far-right claims of "fake news" really are the utter bullshit that I said they were,  just a few paragraphs above.  

And that judgement includes Mr. Trump,  who has used the phrase "fake news" in mistreating reporters,  ever since he took office.  He has since added "coronavirus hoax" and "stolen election" to the claims he makes,  all of which started with the Qanon community.  

That is enough to conclude that many of his beliefs are driven by the those of the Qanon community.  And that is quite dangerous for a person in his job,  those all being disinformation. No one can make good decisions based on false data.

Final Comments

This "exrocketman" blog is about my own opinions,  and about what I do factually know that folks might find useful in some way.  I try to distinguish opinion from fact (this entire article is an opinion piece,  except for facts noted as such).  

Fact:  This blog is NOT monetized!  I make NOTHING from these postings!  Include THAT in your judgements about what I have said here! 

There is a closely-related article that goes into more detail about Qanon and the threat it poses with the lies it spreads.  It is "Q As A Threat to the US",  dated 18 December 2020. 

There is another closely-related article that documents my analysis of leader cults (which Trumpism definitely is),  whether political or religious or both.  It is "Beware of Leader Cults",  dated 13 February 2020.

Update 1-10-2021:  there is also "It Ain't Over Yet!",  posted 1-10-2021.

Update 1-17-2021:  add "Sometimes You Simply Must Do What Is Right"  published 1-17-2021. 

The easiest way to find these articles is with the navigation tool at the left side of this page.  In general,  you just need the date and title to find something very quickly.  Scribble it down so you don't forget.  Click on the year,  then click on the month,  then on the title.  You're there.

One Final Thing:  

The Qanon aspect of this topic is very important;  and here is why:  since the election loss,  the Qanon community has been pushing for Mr. Trump to declare martial law prior to the scheduled transition January 20th,  using falsely-claimed election fraud as the excuse.  This would be to re-run the recent election "under military supervision",  presumably to see that a Trump "win" results.  Given sufficient military support,  he could thereby become a dictator over the US.  

Unfortunately,  there are those in the military that might actually support this overthrow of representative democracy,  they being part of the Qanon leader cult!  Retired Gen. Michael Flynn is one example we already know from news reports,  there are others similar to him ***,  and some others who still serve on active duty.  

If this martial-law-based attempted coup actually happens (nothing is certain),  it could easily lead to some sort of civil war!  

Don't ever say I didn't warn you!  Because I just did!

GW


***PS - Besides retired Gen. Michael Flynn,  there are other military officers and civilian figures who have embraced Trump's adoption of the Qanon nonsense (first "fake news",  then "coronavirus hoax",  and now "stolen election").  Flynn is the one along with former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell,  who called for martial law and a re-run of the election overseen by the military.  

Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has been a vocal Q advocate,  but seems to have backed off from the martial law coup prospect,  according to some reports.  

3 other military officers who are known to be part of this group of Qanon advocates are retired Gen. Anthony Tata,  retired Gen. Thomas McInerny,  and former USAF Captain Scott O'Grady,  recently nominated by Trump for an Assistant Secretary of Defense position.  Some Special Forces vets say that there are many more.  

When flag-rank military officers believe in this bullshit,  we really do have a problem on our hands!

Update 1-3-2021:  

The recorded phone call now widely publicized is a slam-dunk case of Trump pressuring an official to overturn the results of an election.  That is a crime under both Georgia state law,  and federal law,  and state law in most of the rest of the states.  No presidential pardon can save Trump from prosecution under state laws.  It is felony-level,  I believe.  

I think the Georgia secretary of state's rebuttal of election fraud claims was right on the money.  The source of those false claims is ultimately the on-line Qanon community,  and it is clear that too many Americans believe that trash,  including President Trump himself. 

My interpretation of this is that this egregious and obvious illegal action is Trump's "next-to-last" desperate attempt to stay in power after January 20th.  These clearly-illegal attempts at pressuring officials to overturn their states' election results will be rebuffed.  As well they should be.

The last desperate action available to Trump for staying in power,  is to declare martial law and try to use it to effect a military-supported coup,  thus establishing the Trump dictatorship that I warned you about.  There are still 17 days left in which Trump might yet make that last desperate move.  

If he does,  and it is successful (given sufficient military backing,  as I also warned you about),  it may well precipitate civil war.  A real shooting war of a civil war.  Beware!

Update 1-6-2021:

I TOLD YOU SO!  

The coup to try to take over America as a Trump dictatorship began today,  but it failed! Trump supporters storming the Capitol is proof of what I have stated in this article and the two related articles referenced here.

Had there been sufficient violence to be the excuse,  the next step would have been for Trump to declare martial law nationwide.  He only drew tens of thousands of his followers to DC,  and only some of those actually stormed the Capitol.  Not enough. 

The step after that would have been to assess how much of the military would support Trump in his coup attempt. Without that,  the takeover would fail anyway.  So far,  it appears our military supports our Constitution,  and not Mr. Trump. 

But that risk is really there,  as I have pointed out,  because there really are flag-rank officers who believe in the Trump falsehoods about the election.  Those ultimately come from the on-line Qanon community,  as I have pointed out. 

We have,  by the narrowest of margins,  avoided going down the same path to hell that Germany took in the 1930's with Hitler and his Nazi party!  All should mourn with me,  that so many wanted to willingly follow Trump down that well-known path to hell. 

It is sad,  but also extremely dangerous,  that these Trump supporters so honestly believe the falsehood that the election was stolen from Trump,  that they would commit violent insurrection!  That is criminal seditious behavior,  something close to treason.  

Mr. Trump must now account for his own seditious (or possibly treasonous) deeds,  along with many other known misdeeds during his term.  Two more weeks is too long for this man to remain president.  

He is simply too dangerous to remain freely at large in America,  much less remaining our president.  He currently still has his finger on the nuclear trigger,  although he is demonstrably unfit,  as this failed coup attempt proves.  

An example must be made of him.  That might shake his supporters out of their leader cult delusion.  Although I doubt it will work.

Update 1-8-2021:

It ain't over until it's over!  There are still 12 days remaining in the Trump presidency,  unless he is successfully removed from office in some way.  His fearless leader cult,  the Qanon community,  are pushing for him to declare martial law,  despite the failed coup attempt on the 6th,  now to be justified by the supposed presence of "Antifa terrorists" masquerading as Trump supporters,  who supposedly actually started the break-in as a false-flag operation.  

I got this first hand from a youtube video from known Qanon outlet (David Zhang's "Beyond the Noise"),  forwarded to me by a friend whom I know to be a fervent Q believer. 

By way of reality check,  there is no one,  or even a few,  official organizations that could be called "Antifa".  That is merely a label applied to an unorganized and rather varied class of leftist extremists.  Some of these are no doubt terrorists,  but they are more of an individual threat,  not an organization to be feared,  as the Qanon community is claiming. 

The real threat here is the Qanon community itself,  which is a definite (if informal) organization,  now communicating on the GAB and PARLER services,  having been chased off Twitter and Facebook.  (They were removed for being a dangerous organization promoting violence.)   And,  they have been identified as a serious domestic terror threat by the FBI,  a designation already seen to be true,  with the events of the 6th.  (Update 1-23-21:  Parler is now off Amazon.)

Here is the danger:  the only people still close to President Trump are those advisors who are known to be Qanon believers.  Their falsehoods are essentially all he hears.  And we know already that those falsehoods can incite violence out of people.  

12 more days in which more chaos might break out!

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Update 1-23-21:  Mr. Trump is now an ordinary civilian,  and he is facing a Senate impeachment trial in February for his part in inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on the 6th of January.  Mr. Biden is now president,  and doing the people's work as best he can.  

Chaos can no longer break out,  although there can still be violence perpetrated by Trump supporters.  The biggest risk of that violence is right after the Senate impeachment trial ends,  particularly if there is a conviction.  And a conviction is richly deserved,  in my opinion.  

There are federal cases being built and filed against the insurrectionists.  It is my hope that there will be similar consequences for those in Congress or the police forces or in Trump's inner circle,  who might have aided and abetted the insurrectionists.