by Errington C. Thompson, MD –
Conspiracy theories are not new.
Many Americans believed that FDR knew about the attack on Pearl Harbour and let it happen so as to galvanize public opinion in favor of our entering the war. Sure, there is no evidence to support this, but there are still thousands of Americans who believe it. For them it is easier to believe that our President orchestrated Pearl Harbor rather than stomach that we were surprised by a bold Japanese attack.
During the 1960s and 1970s there were Americans who would swear that we never went to the moon. They “knew” that it was all a Hollywood hoax. In the 1980s many believed the crack cocaine that flooded the Black communities was planned and executed by the CIA. Cocaine was an effort to control and kill off Blacks, according to this theory. Multiple investigations by the House and Senate found no evidence to support these ideas. Yet, they persist.
PizzaGate and QAnon
Edgar Maddison Welch was a warehouse worker who listened to the noise from far-right knuckleheads like Alex Jones. Jones spews nonsense. He is too crazy for Fox News or most conservative media. Because of this he has a private podcast where thousands can listen to his far-out tales. Alex Jones pushed one tale (lie) involving Hillary Clinton. She was the head of a pedophile sex ring. Hillary wasn’t just a bad person, according to Jones, she was also leading a satanic cult that was capturing children and killing them.
Mr. Welch decided that if no one else was going to stop Hillary Clinton, he would take the matter into his own hands. He drove from his home in North Carolina to Comet Ping Pong in Washington, DC. His research confirmed that this was the spot.
Armed with an assault rifle, Welch fired into the pizza joint then stormed the building. He searched from room to room as frightened customers ran outside. Finally, there was a locked door. This was it. This door would lead to children in chains. He would be a hero. He shot the lock off the door just like they do in the movies. He ripped the door open and found … a small computer room. He was arrested. There were no children in chains. There were no Democratic leaders heading a satanic cult. There was just a pizza joint where you can play ping-pong. That was it.
One would figure that a high-profile failure like this would quell the thirst for conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, Pizzagate happened before QAnon was dreamed up and pushed onto the American people. QAnon is a single mysterious guy in the bowels of the US government who is fighting for hard-working Americans who support Trump. He is fighting against the Deep State. (The deep state is never ever defined by Q or the far right. We should assume that the Deep State is anyone in the government who didn’t go along with Trump’s plans.)
The fact that Q did a lot of posting on weird message boards like 4Chan, but never really did anything, didn’t seem to bother the QAnon followers. He wrote these cryptic notes that seem to resemble the clues in the Hollywood movie, National Treasure starring Nicholas Cage. There was the Q post that Hillary Clinton had been indicted and her arrest was imminent. (Hillary Clinton was never arrested.) There was a subsequent post stating that the Navy SEALs acting on Donald Trump’s orders had arrested Hillary Clinton and taken her to Guantánamo for trial. (This, too, never happened, but somehow the number of Q’s followers grew with every false prediction.)
At its heart, QAnon is about stopping Satan-worshiping pedophiles who have infiltrated the heart of the American government—a premise which, I guess, anyone can support. But, to me, QAnon seems to be a brilliant means to keep a group of people activated and ready to react. The target varies as the conspiracies morph from one outlandish issue to another.
It used to be that QAnon followers believed that The Storm, a great mass event, in which tens of thousands of politicians and actors would be arrested and face their day of reckoning, was coming soon. When that didn’t come to pass, crazier conspiracies followed. Trump was going to be reinstated as president in March. No. Not March. It will be June. Nope … Target keeps moving and the followers just keep following. They are a bizarre mix of right-wing ideology, a small sprinkle of Christian theology, and the ability to make confused, isolated people feel wanted. QAnon is not going away anytime soon.
It sort of reminds me of the crazy old guy with a long beard standing on the street corner waving a sign that “the world will come to an end on Date X, Year Z.” And when the appointed time passes with no apocalypse, well … “We miscalculated. It’s actually going to happen on …”
Tragically, Bill Cosby was released from prison by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Basically, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that one of the prosecutors promised Bill Cosby that he would not be tried for his crimes if he confessed and came clean. Bill Cosby admitted to drugging and having sex with one of his victims. Nearly a decade later another prosecutor found this confession and used it against Bill Cosby to gain a conviction. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that this was wrong and released Bill Cosby from jail almost immediately.
Nearly 60 women came forward and accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault/rape. In our male-dominated society, these women have been robbed of justice. Bill Cosby is a serial rapist. He belongs behind bars for the rest of his life. Now, because of prosecutorial negligence, these women will never see justice.
The United States has pulled out of Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, where we have been operating continuously for over 20 years. Closing the Bagram base shows that we are serious about leaving Afghanistan. It also shows that we are serious about ending the longest war in our history.
Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under two presidents, recently died in New Mexico. Rumsfeld was famous for three things. First, he was “the youngest Secretary of Defense ever,” appointed at age 43 by Gerald Ford; and later the oldest (at the time) under George W. Bush. Second, he made such absurdist—though fundamentally true—statements about “known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns,” and “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time,” as well as ridiculous claims that war against Afghanistan, or against Iraq, would take weeks or months rather than years. And, most prominently and tragically, he was the architect of those wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
In 2002 and 2003 we had the Taliban on the run. Suddenly, without finishing the war in Afghanistan, he and George W. Bush—while keeping Secretary of State and retired four-star General Colin Powell out of the decision-making process—decided to start the war in Iraq. We pulled resources away from Afghanistan, which allowed the Taliban to re-strengthen and regroup. Now, eighteen years later, as we’re finally pulling out of Afghanistan, the Taliban are as strong as ever. The failure of Donald Rumsfeld to finish our mission in Afghanistan will haunt us for years to come.
The Trump organization as well as its chief financial officer, Alan Weisselberg, were charged with 15 counts of avoiding to pay taxes on multiple different sources of hidden income. While on the surface, this doesn’t seem to be the home run that we are waiting for, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office hasn’t finished their investigation and has publicly stated that their investigation is ongoing.
Although the mainstream media would like us to panic over gas prices, immigration at our southern border, and the economy, let us move that panic button out of our reach. Let’s understand that we have a normal president. He doesn’t have to tweet-storm 15 times a day to get attention. Instead, he is getting the job done. The economy is coming along just fine.
For the month of June, the US economy added over 850,000 jobs. This is good. This shows that the economy is moving in the right direction. It also shows that the aggressive stimulus plans that the Biden administration has implemented are working. There is no need to panic, Uncle Joe is steering us in the right direction. This is reality!
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed here, as well as assertions of facts, are those of the author. They do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of The Urban News.