Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Conspiracy Theories Can Kill

Well, I'm totally convinced - NOT!

Aside from my focus on religious freedom issues, I try to keep Augoeides relatively apolitical, but this is just getting ridiculous. On Sunday, a man armed with an AR-15 rifle walked into the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington DC to "investigate" the fake story that has come to be known as "pizzagate." According to this bizarre conspiracy theory, the Clinton presidential campaign was operating a child sex ring out of the restaurant's basement.

Washington police said Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, walked into the front door of the Comet Ping Pong restaurant Sunday and pointed an assault rifle in the direction of a restaurant employee, according to The Washington Post. The employee escaped, but Welch allegedly fired the rifle while inside, officials said.

Welch, who is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, told police he was there to "self-investigate" a conspiracy that likely involved internet rumors that Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign operated a sex ring out of the site's basement. The hoax conspiracy, known as "pizzagate," is a fake news story that emerged during the presidential election.

I have a number of thoughts about this incident. First off, this isn't a joke any more. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed this time around, but if we keep taking implausible nonsense like "pizzagate" seriously, I guarantee that somebody will be. Over nothing. Not only that, one of the people who isn't giving it up is Michael Flynn Jr., the son of Donald Trump's nominee for National Security Advisor. As reported by that Slate article, Flynn Jr. believes all sorts of crazy stuff, which suggests that critical thinking was not at all stressed while he was growing up.

I also want to point out that critical thinking is vital to pursuing magical spirituality, at least if you want to get anywhere with it. So if you happen to be an occultist who took this story seriously, knock it off. Right now. Even marginal critical thinking skills should lead anyone to the conclusion that this is made up. And sure, you could look up this comprehensive debunking over on Snopes, but you shouldn't even need to go that far. Just think about it for a minute.

Bill and Hillary Clinton are two of the most intensely scrutinized individuals on the entire planet, and have been throughout their political careers. It makes absolutely no sense for either of them to be engaged in anything as illegal as a child sex ring - because look at how much bullshit gets spun about their legal activities by their political opponents! Yes, the Clintons try to protect their privacy despite all that, which sometimes reads as dishonest even when they're telling the truth - but seriously, given their history, can you blame them?

I did not support Clinton in the Democratic primary, but this strange notion that candidates you don't support have to be irredeemably evil in some fashion boggles the mind. My issues with Clinton are based on her history of working with the Democratic Leadership Council, whose legacy was to make the Democratic Party more conservative and corporatist. That's a real issue. Meanwhile, there are folks out there - even some occultists! - who believe that the Clintons go around murdering people.

Can I just point out, as a friend mentioned on Facebook, that the continued survival of Anthony Weiner pretty much proves that the "Clinton body count" is a lie? Talk about a political liability! Not only that, the guy who made up most of the story (and admitted that he made it up), David Brock, worked for the Clinton campaign. Would anybody who thought that the Clintons randomly murder their staffers ever take a job with them?

Oh, and on top of all that, the restaurant doesn't even have a basement. Just saying...

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Imperator David Griffin said...

The entire Pizzagate flap is a thinly veiled psy-op my mainstream media to ridiculise the content of the Podesta emails, diverting attention from the REAL misconduct - that has to do with the Clinton Foundation being used as a money laundering and influence peddling slush fund for grifters, not any Satanic ritual abuse.
Secondly, mainstream media is using this "Pizzagate" psy-op to accuse alternative media in America of psy-op number two, "fake news," when indeed it has all along been the same mainstream media that has been hyping the hell out of the Pizzagate psy-op all along, not algernative media.
Note that these are the same corporate "Fake news" outlets that tried to rig the election by rigging the polls for Clinton by oversampling Democrats. The polls were not wrong. They were rigged by dishonest media.
Pizzagate is a "psyop" being used to usher in a new epoch of Internet censorship. Clinton losing has not stopped this globalist plan. They lost the presidency and thus the Supreme Court majority, so they will no longer be able to easily censor the truly FREE press in America on the Internet.
This has not stopped the globalists, however. Instead, they are going ahead with their plan, only relying on the globalist controlled EU for the roll out of censorship instead of the USA.
Facebook, Google and Twitter just got a 24 hour warning from the unelected EU commissars to remove all "hate speech" including "fake news" sites within 24 hours and face fines.
On the list of sites allegedly spreading "hate speech" in the form of "fake news" are The Drudge Report, InfoWars, Breitbart, WND, the Daily Caller, etc.
In other words, the entire non-controlled press on the American right.
Europe will now have to deal with this further erosion of the freedom of the press.
Thankfully, it will not gain ny real traction in the USA, since Clinton lost the presidency and consequently the the globalists lost the Supreme Court majority that would have backed Clinton's play to usher the era of Chinese style internet cenrsorship being introduced in the EU as we speak.
So when you hear "pizzagate" - think "media psy-op to usher in net censorship" and things all of a sudden don't sound so silly as they did before.
To those of you still gnashing your teeth because Clinton lost the electino, maybe you should move to Europe and enjoy the new internet censorship we nearly had in America with Clinton.

Scott Stenwick said...

There is a lot to respond to here, but I will give it a shot.

(1) Calling propaganda a "psy-op" is a pretty overdramatic, IMO. Propaganda is just propaganda, and it's been going on since we've had media.
(2) So far I have yet to see any real evidence of misconduct at the Clinton foundation. What I have seen is evidence that foreign actors tried to influence Clinton as SOS through the foundation, but it appears to have failed in every case.
(3) I don't consider Infowars and Reddit "mainstream media," but I suppose YMMV. Both are responsible for hyping the pizzagate thing.
(4) Nate Silver explained the situation with the polls pretty well, and none of it involved them being "rigged." He pointed out that if white turnout in the rust belt was up and minority turnout was down due to voter suppression laws and the like, Trump could eke out a narrow electoral college win - which is exactly what looks to have happened.
(5) As an EFF cyber-libertarian, I oppose censorship 100%. As I pointed out on FB, that's not the point of this article - rather, the point is that I'm admonishing folks to use some critical thinking before doing anything rash.
(6) Actually, the press on the right is being accused of spreading hate speech AND fake news - two distinct things. Actually, the "fake news" thing is a little misleading, in that it makes those outlets sound like they're The Onion when really, a significant percentage of their stories are just batshit crazy. Again, I don't support censoring those stories or outlets, rather I'm admonishing folks to use critical thinking rather than blindly accepting stuff like pizzagate that is obviously bullshit.
(7) It seems to me that critical thinking is something everybody should be able to get behind, regardless of political orientation. I'm no big fan of the Clintons, but at the same time I do think the amount of nonsense thrown at them is pretty unbelievable. As I said in the article, my issues with them stem from my opposition to their work with the Democratic Leadership Council - a real political issue.
(8) And just as a point, isn't Trump the one talking about censoring the media, or at least "de facto" censorship based on letting people file libel suits for just about any negative coverage? I heard nothing of the sort from Clinton during the campaign.

Imperator David Griffin said...

Sorry. Oversampling Democrats in the polls by sometimes up to even 30% is RIGGING the polls, and the press did it deliberately to help Clinton. Think what you like. Just look at the underlying metrics in a sampling of polls and analyse the oversampling for yourself. The data is still available on-line.

And you are mistaken. In the EU, they are now labling "fake news" AS hate speech.

And by the way, this is not about parties. It is about keeping mafia out of the presidency. The Bush family equally as criminal as the Clintons.

About critical thinking, you and I are on the same page. It is as important to read the Daily Kos, Politico, and RT as it is Drudge, Breitbart and InfoWars. Only by getting broad perspectives can you suss out the truth in an era when corporate media has declared war on the American people and on the truth.

Scott Stenwick said...

I am not trying to argue that no polls oversampled Democrats, or that no media outlets had biases in Clinton's favor. That would be ridiculous. I'm talking about the overall aggregates. I also don't personally think that any sort of organized plot was afoot aside from the usual slant, but I suppose time will tell on that one.

Regarding my "fake news" comment, I was talking about America, not the EU. But it is also true, depending upon the content, that some "fake news" is hate speech. Clearly not all, but some. I don't approve of censoring even that, but I do think there should be some consequences associated with inciting people to commit violence, and for sending death threats and the like.

Imperator David Griffin said...

The "fake news" of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq verifiably led to countless deaths. The fake news spread by the Clinton campaign alleging Donald Trump is a white nationalist, led to riots following the electino The fake news that Hillary was leading in the polls nearly skewed the election itself. No doubt of it.
The problem is that the Clinton/Bush/mainstream media combine doesn't want to do anything about all of the fake news that THEY have been spreading and continue to do even today. They want to silence any and all narratives that do no support their web of deceit.
Yes. Let's do absolutely something about fake news by reinstating laws forbidding domestic propaganda and by holding those TRULY propagating fake news responsible for their actions, namely corporate media and the George Soros funded globalist organisations that have been the funding propaganda narratives in their war on truth against the American people.
Let's just not let the globalists use this "fake news" narrative to censor alternative, truly free media.

Imperator David Griffin said...

Also, I agree with you about the death threats. All of the incitement to violence against the President-elect on social media shoud end immediately. Those on-line assassination threats need to end NOW.

Scott Stenwick said...

How you thread the needle between no censorship and forbidding propaganda is pretty difficult. Canada has a "truth doctrine" where media outlets can be held responsible for spreading stories that are shown to be objectively false, and maybe something like that could be adapted here. But it's hard to say whether it would work or whether it would have unintended consequences.

I say that death threats, rape threats, and incitement to violence or threats of violence against ANYONE should be stopped NOW. I agree with you that this is as true with respect to the President-Elect as it is with respect to everyone else. People just need to knock this shit off, period, and that applies to people on all sides of the political aisle.