Experts Parse the Future of QAnon

QAnon is a religion
Imge: Yahoo.com

Vox has an interesting piece on the future of QAnon as described by journalists and researchers who have covered and studied the group. While the entire article makes fascinating reading, here is a crystallization of the experts’ thinking:

  • QAnon should be thought of as a religion, not a political movement.
  • Its religiosity enables it to survive, despite its prophesies failing to materialize.
  • To the QAnon devout, Q’s true identity does not matter.
  • The recent purging of QAnon believers from mainstream social media has reinforced their self-perception as persecuted renegades.
  • Democratic lawmakers should be careful about framing the GOP as the “QAnon party” because it could drive the GOP deeper into the fringes.
  • Violent extremists are actively working to radicalize QAnon believers for their own purposes.
  • Even in the absence of Trump and regular messages from Q, the tagalong theories — 5G, vaccines and alternative medicine — represent significant risks to the public.

Dr. Democrat: The GOP Will Do Itself In, Just Be Patient


Dear Dr. Democrat,

I have very mixed feelings about cheering on the end of the Republican party. Not because I don’t want to see it shrunken and changed, but because I don’t see encouraging signs of declining power. I think the country is experiencing what we in Florida have gone through for years, which is minority rule based on gaming the system.

Republicans have gotten so good at this that it’s all they need to stay in power. They don’t need to convince the electorate of their rightness, they don’t need to win hearts or minds, they just need to keep suppressing the vote that would go against them and playing to their base. And if they all stick together, as McConnell has trained them to do, they not only win, they keep all the power and make all the decisions.

We got rid of Trump, maybe, but we are still in trouble. The work we still need to do is crushing and I don’t know if it’s even possible to succeed at it.

Please give me some encouragement that all is not lost.

Worried in Wakulla

Dear Worried,

I think you’re right on all counts, but I also see the Republican Party as weak and crumbling, which may be a product of my learned environment. But it’s difficult to operate politically for very long based on lies, which was the point of Tom Nichols’ recent piece in The Atlantic.

One of their biggest runs before now were the GOP’s anticommunist witch hunts. They started in the House around 1947-48, moved to the Senate in 1950 and then were obliterated with the “Have you no sense of decency?” episode in June 1954. A tremendous amount of damage was done in those few years – even though the lies were not promoted from the White House, either by Truman or Eisenhower (unlike Trump). And they didn’t have Fox News.

My point is, something will happen that will expose them or pop the bubble, but it’s going to have to be something irrefutable that even Fox, et. al., can’t ignore or spin – something like a Bush-Katrina moment that brings them down.

Crushing them at the polls would be a start. I thought we were going to do it last year, but … SOCIALISM! Thanks, Bernie and AOC.

I might sound like Paul E. Anna here, but I really believe it can’t last.

Sincerely,

Dr. Democrat

Progressives Punch Back at Conservative Propaganda with ‘Good Information’

Image: auth0.com

It’s a common refrain from Democrats and progressives that they can’t compete on a level playing field with conservative and right-wing media. The reason? They’re just too nice and don’t play hardball the way righties do. They can’t imagine launching a Fox News or OANN for the left.

But there’s a movement afoot to counteract that sentiment, with a planned $65 million behind the effort, according to Vox’s Recode.

The organization, whose formation hasn’t previously been reported, is called the Project for Good Information (PGI). It’s being created by Tara McGowan, a Democratic strategist who has spent the last few years at her current organization, Acronym, trying to encourage her party to counter far-right media with liberal content. She has fans among influential Democrats and donors but has also attracted controversy from journalism groups concerned that her advocacy efforts masquerade as unbiased media, as well as from some fellow Democrats who worry that she can push the envelope too far.

McGowan, who declined to be quoted for the Recode story, has explained that the current effort, dubbed Courier Newsroom, differs from former attempts by disengaging the media effort from obvious linkages to political entities.

“In order for Courier to be really successful, it is very important that over time it is not affiliated with a political organization or entity. We haven’t made any decisions related to that yet, but I think that there is a lot of fair criticism that we are reflecting on and thinking about,” McGowan said in an interview with Fast Company published in December.

“We need new business models,” McGowan said with regard to what a revamp of Courier would look like.

For our part, we wish McGowan good fortune in her pursuit of Good Information.

Trump’s Delay in Signing the December Relief Bill Cost $17.6 Billion That Should Have Gone to Those in Need

Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

Just because Trump is out of office, it’s too soon to stop hating him. Especially when we keep finding out more about how incompetent and self-absorbed he was as a president, including when it mattered most, toward the end. That was when the pandemic was out of control, thanks to his mismanagement.

A new report from the Century Foundation shows that by playing golf on Christmas Eve 2020 instead of signing the bill to extend pandemic relief to out of work Americans, he cost them — and all of us — about $17.6 billion.

One month after the law’s enactment, nearly a quarter of the states have not resumed paying out federal pandemic aid. Moreover, an additional twelve states took three weeks or more to start up the payment of PUA, and fifteen states needed three weeks or more to reup PEUC.

By our calculations, these delays have resulted in shortchanging jobless workers by about $17.6 billion in benefits for the first four weeks in January 2021—38 percent less than these workers were due to receive. This is money that these workers and their families needed to pay rent, put food on the table, stay out of poverty, and keep America’s economy running while they looked for work.

You probably remember Trump’s grandstanding about signing the bill. […]

Rick Scott is the U.S. Senate’s Whiner-In-Chief

Photo: Rolling Stone

The image is pathetic: Florida’s freshman U.S. Sen. Rick Scott sitting by his pink princess phone, waiting for the call that never came. Then whining on the Fox News Rundown podcast:

“He’s not called me to say ‘Oh, how can I be helpful in the things that are important to your state?’ … He doesn’t care one iota. He just has this radical left agenda he’s fulfilling, but it’s not good for American families.”

The image is also a complete fantasy. As is the notion that the incoming president of the United States should take the time out of his first busy week in office to call the freshman senator from a state that didn’t support him in the recent fair and legal election.

We would wager that Rick Scott is pretty close to the bottom of the list of 100 U.S. senators Joe Biden is likely to call — ever.

But Scott isn’t done whining. His idea of bipartisanship, apparently, is: If I go to your inauguration, you have to call me.

“President Biden’s been pretty disappointing to me,” Scott noted. “I went to his inauguration. He gave a talk about unity. And then he spent the next seven days doing everything but unity.”

This from the guy who voted against Biden’s cabinet nominations for Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Oh, and he was also among the 45 senators who voted that Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial is unconstitutional.

Not to mention he was one of eight Senate Republicans to vote against certifying the election results.

Hey Rick, stay near that phone. I’m sure Joe’s call will come any minute now ….

Amanda Gorman’s Inauguration Poem: ‘The Hill We Climb’

Photo: Maclean’s

Mr. President, Dr. Biden, Madame Vice-President, Mr. Emhoff, Americans and the world,

When day comes we ask ourselves,
Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice.
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished […]

Daily Mail: Blood on Trump’s Hands

One woman has been shot inside the US Capitol after President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the building and violently clashed with police in a bid to stop Joe Biden's victory being certified - as Washington DC authorities declared a 6pm curfew amid the violence. Violence broke out after dozens of Trump supporters breached security perimeters at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon with lawmakers inside the House Chamber urged to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda. The woman was reportedly shot in the chest and is in a critical condition. It was not immediately clear who shot the woman. Police could be seen treating her on the floor of the iconic building.

Daily Mail: One woman has been shot inside the US Capitol after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building and violently clashed with police in a bid to stop Joe Biden’s victory being certified – as Washington DC authorities declared a 6pm curfew amid the violence. Violence broke out after dozens of Trump supporters breached security perimeters at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon with lawmakers inside the House Chamber urged to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda. The woman was reportedly shot in the chest and is in a critical condition. It was not immediately clear who shot the woman. Police could be seen treating her on the floor of the iconic building.

Ask Dr. Democrat: Is Gavin Newsom Getting Recalled?


Dear Dr. Democrat:

Politico says it’s time for concern about efforts to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) — and this is just as he’s about to appoint at least one (but let’s face it, probably two) senators. Should I (we) be concerned?

Half-Baked in Bakersfield

Dear Half-Baked:

Republicans are bestirring themselves in California. That is true. But the article’s reference to the state’s “Republican establishment” is laughable — probably as laughable as Florida’s “Democratic establishment.”

This part is correct:

A recall by Republicans, who still have the albatross of Donald Trump, an unpopular president in solidly blue California, around their necks, remains a longshot. And Democrat Newsom still enjoys the strong approval of the majority of Caifornians, the latest Public Policy Institute of California poll showed.

Hillary won by 4.3 million in California. Biden won by 5 million and change — 11 million to Trump’s 6 million. Newsom is over 60% in the polls.
[…]

Texas Can’t Let Go of ‘Negro’

Topozone

NPR has dug up a story that contains these elements: ingrained Texas racism, racially pejorative names assigned to geographical features, a weird twist in federal beaurocracy and a clear lack of desire to rectify an ongoing racist practice.

In 1991 when then-Gov. Ann Richards signed a bill authorizing changing the names of 19 sites across Texas that were considered racially insulting to Blacks, everyone thought that was the end of it. They even submitted substitute names that celebrated African Americans who had made significant contributions to the state.

But in the 30 years since, only one of the 19 cliffs, rivers, creeks and valleys with the word “negro” in its name was changed. The other geographical features were not renamed due to local resistance and the limits of federal jurisdiction.

[…]

The Deadliest Days in American History Lie Ahead

Business Insider

Here are the deadliest days in American history:

1. Galveston Hurricane – 8,000
2. Battle of Antietam – 3,675
3. Battle of Gettysburg – 3,155
4. September 11 – 2,977
5. Last Thursday – 2,861
6. Last Wednesday – 2,762
7. Last Tuesday – 2,461
8. Last Friday – 2,403
9. Pearl Harbor – 2,403

Former FDA Commission Scott Gottleib told CBS News the U.S. could reach nearly 4,000 deaths per day from the pandemic in January.