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Unhinged Politics

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I grew up in an off-the-grid Christian commune. Here's what I know about America's religious beliefs. The only time I saw Brother Sam in person, he was marching like a soldier as he preached, with sweat running like tears from his temples and the Bible a heavy brick in his right hand.

I grew up in an off-the-grid Christian commune. Here's what I know about America's religious beliefs

It was 1978, I was five, and my family had traveled to Lubbock, Texas, for a Body Convention, which was what we called the semi-annual gatherings of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of members of The Body, or Body of Christ, an expansive network of charismatic communities created almost singlehandedly by Brother Sam. My family lived on a Body Farm, a mostly off-grid outpost on the northern shore of Lake Superior, where I grew up singing, clapping, hollering and dancing in the Tabernacle aisles as shamelessly as King David. If this were a face-to-face conversation, you might stop me here, as many have. But, only a couple years ago, Franklin Graham, son of "America's Pastor," Billy Graham, declared any criticism of former president Donald Trump to be the work of demonic powers.

Many QAnon followers report having mental health diagnoses. QAnon is often viewed as a group associated with conspiracy, terrorism and radical action, such as the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

Many QAnon followers report having mental health diagnoses

But radical extremism and terror may not be the real concern from this group. QAnon followers, who may number in the millions, appear to believe a baseless and debunked conspiracy theory claiming that a satanic cabal of pedophiles and cannibals controls world governments and the media. They also subscribe to many other outlandish and improbable ideas, such as that the Earth is flat, that the coronavirus is a biological weapon used to gain control over the world’s population, that Bill Gates is somehow trying to use coronavirus vaccinations to implant microchips into people and more.

As a social psychologist, I normally study terrorists. How three conspiracy theorists took 'Q' and sparked Qanon. In November 2017, a small-time YouTube video creator and two moderators of the 4chan website, one of the most extreme message boards on the internet, banded together and plucked out of obscurity an anonymous and cryptic post from the many conspiracy theories that populated the website's message board.

Over the next several months, they would create videos, a Reddit community, a business and an entire mythology based off the 4chan posts of “Q,” the pseudonym of a person claiming to be a high-ranking military officer. The theory they espoused would become Qanon, and it would eventually make its way from those message boards to national media stories and the rallies of President Donald Trump.

Now, the people behind that effort are at the center of a fractious debate among conspiracy enthusiasts, some of whom believe the three people who first popularized the Qanon theory are promoting it in order to make a living. Part of the Qanon appeal lies in its game-like quality. How to Caricature a Cartoon Presidency. For political cartoonists, Donald Trump is not just a challenge but a rival.

How to Caricature a Cartoon Presidency

Trump’s political success owes much to the fact that he’s a walking, breathing caricature. His entire career is a triumph of the image-maker’s art: Through manipulation of press coverage, ghostwritten books, movie cameos, and carefully edited reality-TV shows, Trump crafted an image of himself as the quintessential American wheeler-dealer, the billionaire with the popular touch. As with any iconic figure, he is as much a stylization as a person. His face is rarely if ever in repose, instead constantly switching between now-familiar tics and mannerisms. His very grotesqueness, the shock of implausible hair and the strangely orange skin, make him distinctive, a useful trait in a profession that requires gaining and holding attention.

Column: This is what happens when you take Ayn Rand seriously click 2x. “Ayn Rand is my hero,” yet another student tells me during office hours.

Column: This is what happens when you take Ayn Rand seriously click 2x

“Her writings freed me. They taught me to rely on no one but myself.” As I look at the freshly scrubbed and very young face across my desk, I find myself wondering why Rand’s popularity among the young continues to grow. It won't be easy. But Trump will lose 'bigly' on immigration. Donald Trump has declared that immigration and a border wall will be the centerpiece of his 2020 re-election campaign, promising us nearly two years of misery.

It won't be easy. But Trump will lose 'bigly' on immigration

He shut down the government over his demand for $5bn for the wall, although the billions already appropriated haven’t been spent. He has stepped up persecution of refugees properly seeking legal asylum at points of entry. When children die while in border patrol custody, the head of the Department of Homeland Security says they are bringing disease with them. Steve King, my north-west Iowa Republican congressman, referred to immigrants as dirt. (2) Endnote 3: The Origins of Conservatism. Donald Trump’s Favorite Drug Trafficker and Other Unsung Scandals of the Presidency From Hell. No reporter has scrutinized Donald Trump longer and more closely than David Cay Johnston.

Donald Trump’s Favorite Drug Trafficker and Other Unsung Scandals of the Presidency From Hell

Johnston met the future president in 1988 while investigating Trump’s casino operations in Atlantic City for The Philadelphia Inquirer, uncovering evidence of connections between Trump and the Mafia. Johnston’s subsequent exposés of the US tax system’s bias toward the rich and corporations, including his book, Perfectly Legal, have won many awards, including a Pulitzer Prize. He spoke with The Nation’s Mark Hertsgaard about his new book, It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. How the religious right gained unprecedented access to Trump. The US health secretary sat for an interview with a man experts say is the leader of a hate group known for “defaming gays and lesbians”, just two days after Karen Pence, the US second lady, was criticized for teaching at a Christian school that bans homosexuality.

How the religious right gained unprecedented access to Trump

Alex Azar, secretary of health and human services, was interviewed by the Family Research Council President, Tony Perkins, at an anti-abortion event called ProLifeCon in mid-January. “We are the department of life,” Azar told Perkins, “from conception until natural death, through all of our programs.” He then rattled off victories – new policies that make it difficult to obtain an abortion, including allowing healthcare workers to refuse to treat patients based on moral objections. “The right of conscience is as foundational as the right to life.” The Age of the Imbecile. I’d bet, these days, shortly after reading the headlines, you’ve thought, shaking your head and muttering, something like: “Jesus.

The Age of the Imbecile

We live in an age of impossibly catastrophic stupid.” You’re not wrong. When Trump demonises opponents, unhinged partisans take their cues. Last week was not the first time in American history that a crazed assassin has tried to change the trajectory of the government by killing political enemies.

When Trump demonises opponents, unhinged partisans take their cues

In 1865, when it was clear that the confederacy was about to collapse, prominent southerner John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices set out to behead their Republican opponents by killing President Abraham Lincoln, his vice-president, Andrew Johnson, and the secretary of state, William Henry Seward. The grand tragedy that martyred President Lincoln seems to dwarf the farce of a MAGA (make America great again) -inspired former exotic dancer, Cesar Sayoc, mailing homemade pipe bombs to Democratic leaders. But the same misguided patriotism inspired both. In both eras, the course that led to assassination attempts started when a small group of wealthy men recognised that their economic interests ran counter to those of most voters.