For many years, I've been arguing that while science fiction can't predict the future, it can reveal important truths about the present: the stories writers tell reveal their hopes and fears about technology, while the stories that gain currency in our discourse and our media markets tell us about our latent societal aspirations and anxieties. In Fake News is an Oracle, my latest Locus Magazine column, I use this tool to think about the rise of conspiratorial thinking and ask what it says about our world.
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Rick Wiles, host of the racist and anti-semitic "Christian" media outlet TruNews, reveals that meatless burgers are “plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products, is part of a satanic plot to alter human DNA so that people can no longer worship God.” Listen up:
When you go to your favorite fast food restaurant, you are going to be eating a fake hamburger. You’re going to go to the grocery store and buy a pound of fake hamburger or a fake steak, and you won’t know that it was grown in some big corporation’s laboratory. This is the nightmare world that they are taking us into. They’re changing God’s creation. Why? Because they want to be God....
God is an environmentalist. He takes this very seriously. He created this planet, he created the universe and he’s watching these Luciferians destroy this planet, destroy the animal kingdom, destroy the plant kingdom, change human DNA. Why? They want to change human DNA so that you can’t be born again. That’s where they’re going with this, to change the DNA of humans so it will be impossible for a human to be born again. They want to create a race of soulless creatures on this planet.
(Patheos via Daily Grail)
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In 1947, an extraterrestrial spacecraft and its crew (or a weather balloon, or a nuclear test surveillance device) crashed on a ranch about 75 miles north of Roswell, New Mexico. That 78 acre property has just changed hands for the first time since the early 1950s when it was purchased by the Bogle family. Dinwiddie Cattle Co. now holds the deed on the legendary site and the still-standing shed where the crash debris was held until the Air Force retrieved it all. From the Roswell Daily Record:
Without a strong personal interest in the UFO connection at this time, (new property owner Tommy) Dinwiddie said he can’t say for sure whether the crash-site property will be made available to the public.
“I just don’t know a whole lot about it,” Dinwiddie said. “The guy who is running the ranch over there for me knows quite a bit about it, and after we kind of get our feet on the ground running it, we will do some more talking about it and figuring out what we want to do.”
The Bogle family hosted tours of the site during the most recent UFO Festival in July, marking the first time that the group provided visitor access during its 66 years of ownership of the land. Prior to that, only researchers or documentary makers were given permission to be on the property.
"Site of alleged 1947 UFO crash changes hands" (via The Anomalist)
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M'm! M'm! Good! Tweeting conspiracy theories about George Soros is bad for your career. Just ask Campbell's Soup Company former vice president of government affairs, Kelly Johnston. Read the rest
Qanon (previously) is an eye-wateringly stupid far-right conspiracy theory whose proponents spend hours trying to decode alleged ciphertexts created by the cult's leader or leaders.
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Qanon is a person or group behind an unhinged right-wing conspiracy theory that is really too stupid to elucidate (you can listen to this Reply All if you're really interested); it's a kind of trumpian Pizzagate successor that includes great, unhealthy lashings of secret Democratic pedophile rings (because far-right assholes are more worried about imaginary children in nonexistent pizzeria basements than they are actual children in ICE cages).
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The bottom is falling out on the right, which is to say that there is no bottom there. The weapon—unsubstantiated accusations of pedophilia and fig-leaved fantasies of violence—is crude. But it works for their audience, and justifies whatever happens next.
Jones took on a particularly insidious tone during his Monday show, accusing Mueller of violent child sex acts before dramatizing a hypothetical "wild west" shootout with Mueller, a Republican appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to lead the Russia investigation in May 2017. ...
"It's going to happen, we're going to walk out in the square, politically, at high noon, and he's going to find out whether he makes a move, man make the move first, and then it's going to happen," Jones said as he pantomimed shooting at Mueller.
"It's not a joke. It's not a game. It's the real world. Politically. You're going to get it, or I'm going to die trying, bitch. Get ready. We're going to bang heads," Jones continued, pretending to fire a gun at Mueller.
Zuckerberg's vacuous blather about the good faith of holocaust deniers, waffling from Facebook's executives about InfoWars itself, and the growing impression of ideological fellow travelers atop Twitter (or at least a paralyzing fear of the right there) has made conservative provocateurs think that the bar for survival on social media is lower than they thought. So they're stepping over it and going to town. Read the rest
Robert F Kennedy Jr. is calling for a new investigation into the 1968 assassination of his presidential candidate father.
"I didn't feel it was something I could dismiss," said RFK Jr. who recently met with Sirhan and looked over his father's autopsy report. "I was disturbed that the wrong person might have been convicted of killing my father."
Sirhan Sirhan is serving a life sentence for the murder that he confessed to but claims to not remember.
From CBS News:
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On the night of June 5, 1968, Kennedy was celebrating his victory in California's Democratic presidential primary. As he was leaving, he was shot three times...
Sirhan was standing in front of Kennedy at the time of the shooting, but an autopsy report found Kennedy was shot at point blank range from behind. Over the years new evidence reportedly shows as many as 13 shots were fired that night.
But Sirhan's gun held only eight bullets. That's one reason why many now question Sirhan's guilt – including Robert Kennedy Jr.
"There were too many bullets. You can't fire 13 shots out of an eight-shot gun," RFK Jr told the Post.
Taco Bell's new Illuminati-themed ad campaign spurred a warning from southern rocker Charlie Daniels: "Hey Taco Bell The Illuminati is not a frivolous subject," Daniels tweeted last night.
My favorite response? "Welcome to Taco Bell, Mr. Daniels, can I take your NEW WORLD ORDER?"
Of course, Daniels, best known for the 1979 rousing hit "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"(1979), is vocal about his conservative politics.
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Growing up near Dayton, Ohio, I was always intrigued by rumors that extraterrestrials were stored on ice at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Turns out, the closest thing may be these surreal murals painted by German prisoners-of-war held in the base's dining hall during World War II. What inspired them? From Dayton Daily News:
The existing mural in Building 280, built in the 1943, was restored in the 1980s, he said. Dayton Art Institute experts have cleaned the painting as part of the preservation.
“A lot of people have conjecture on what this means,” (Wright-Patterson cultural resources manager Paul) Woodruff said. “Some people think this is where the alien conspiracy theories began with the little green men at Wright-Patt. That’s one story that likes to be told.”
Another theory: Green goblin-like characters out of German folklore. And there’s another for the wall of flame.
“One of the conjectures is possibly it’s German culture up in flames – a statement of how they felt what was going on in the world at that point,” he said.
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Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) is blaming a Democratic supporter for convincing Civil War reenactors to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue — leading to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Rohrabacher told the San Francisco Chronicle it was a liberal media lie to suggest the August protest was initiated by white nationalists. “It’s all baloney,” Rohrabacher said. “It was a setup for these dumb Civil War reenactors...It was left-wingers who were manipulating them in order to have this confrontation...put our president on the spot.”
A version of the conspiracy was originally touted by far-right radio host Alex Jones. Read the rest
Like you, I know some people who are really hampered by an irrational belief that the people around them are judging them; I've long thought that these beliefs were linked to a sense that their lives were out of their control, and that this turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy -- the more paranoid compulsions they expressed, the more their lives were made worse. Read the rest
Tim Powers is a fantasy writer who spins out tales of wild, mystic conspiracy that are so believable and weird, we're lucky he didn't follow L Ron Hubbard's example and found a religion, or we'd all be worshipping in his cult. Along with James Blaylock and KW Jeter, Powers was one of three young, crazy genre writers who served as Philip K Dick's proteges, and Powers gives us a glimpse of where Dick may have ended up if he'd managed to beat his own worst self-destructive impulses.
"Social threat" is the psychologists' term for the urge to recast events that threaten our identities in new lights; it's the phenomenon behind some gun advocates' insistence that mass shootings are false-flag ops cooked up by governments to take away Americans' guns. Read the rest
NVIDIA made an interesting video to market their graphics processing tech by showing how it can be used to debunk conspiracy claims that the 1969 lunar landing was faked. (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest
Spotted in @SebJabbusch's feed: a keyboard for conspiracy theorists, with lots of handy shortcuts: chemtrail, Nazi, HAARP, and, of course, Jews. (via Super Punch) Read the rest
The abrupt announcement that the widely used, anonymously authored disk-encryption tool Truecrypt is insecure and will no longer be maintained shocked the crypto world--after all, this was the tool Edward Snowden himself lectured on at a Cryptoparty in Hawai'i. Cory Doctorow tries to make sense of it all.