Virtual Cults and Their Believers

Photo from Google Images

QAnon is a virtual cult that began in late 2017, with a fundamental belief that Pres. Trump is a hero in a fight against the “deep state” and the evil of Democratic politicians and celebrities who abuse children. “Q” in QAnon indicates someone in the US government with insider knowledge of these governmental evils.

It is unclear as to how many people are part of this cult, but QAnon-related Facebook pages and groups based outside of the US are continuing to increase, with at least 12.8 million interactions from January 2020 to September, according to CNN.

QAnon is a weird mix of cult and conspiracy theory, but ultimately, it continues to branch off of a central worldview, which includes the whole assumption of the Democratic Party worshipping Satan, JFK Jr. having faked his death to escape deep state, and even false ideas regarding the 5G infrastructure and even the very dangerous idea that COVID-19 pandemic is a ploy to monitor private citizens.

The last is particularly harmful, but QAnon has no known leadership structure, and no true way to contain it.

The fact that Pres. Trump had won the 2016 election had a profound effect globally, it turns out, as a former QAnon believer explained, no major media outlet had predicted his win, and that had proven to him that most of these media outlets were not correct. Alex Jones, Infowars exposed some to QAnon theories. Those who are obsessed with QAnon would oftentimes only want to talk about QAnon theories, which makes offline life very difficult.

People are likely to seek out conspiracy theories in times of crises, say experts. With the 2016 US election and the ensuing chaos that seemed to be the Trump presidency, followed by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, many people are feeling exactly that.

As conspiracy theories often blame some unknown party as orchestrating and controlling all aspects of one’s perceived reality, it can provide those unsettled by the chaos, some leverage to hold onto, even if dangerous.

In May 2019, FBI released a bulletin warning that conspiracy theorists like QAnon could “very likely” motivate criminal and sometimes violent activity in the US especially because of the extent and the content of the materials.

Modern social networks have made QAnon possible faster, as any misinformation can get in the mainstream quickly through platforms like Twitter. Reddit has banned the QAnon subreddit, and Twitter has removed 7,000 QAnon-associated accounts. Facebook is planning to ban QAnon-related pages, and YouTube will remove QAnon-related materials off of its website.

However, it is an enormous task given the widespread reach of QAnon globally.

Some are smart enough to notice the logical flaws of these conspiracy theories, others are not. Those who do, might be able to leave QAnon, and some are active on r/Qult_Headquarters to point out logical flaws in the conspiracies proposed by “Q.”

Since QAnon essentially fights against “facts,” this is not the way to solve the QAnon problem. It seems that to dissolve the dangerous entity known as QAnon, people must use empathy and sympathy and remind people that QAnon is essentially not a productive or helpful force in their lives.

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2020 is for States Setting Record for Early Voting

Georgia, Texas, Ohio, and Illinois have come up as the top 4 states with highest early voting records, already outpacing voter turnout in 2016.
So far, more than 13.8 million voters have already cast their ballots for this year’s upcoming general election (November 3), according to U.S. Elections Project. In 2016, early voting had only been at 1.4 million.
The coronavirus pandemic, with health and safety concerns have led to expansion of mail-in voting, and it seems that this has helped increase voter turnout. Georgia and Texas began their early voting this week and already set records.
For example, Georgian voters reported waiting nearly 10 hours at the polling sites on the first day of early voting. 128,000 people hit the polls on Monday, surpassing 91,000 votes cast on the first day of early voting in 2016.
In Texas, more than twice the 2016 early voters showed up for the first day of early voting.
This pattern was repeated in Ohio and Illinois.
Voting pace in Virginia, Minnesota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin have also reached 20 percent or greater than the 2016 total vote.
Ironically, the pandemic that locked so many of us inside seems to have only led to the result of enhancing the nature of the political system in the US: Representative Democracy.

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Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca Stop COVID Vaccine Trials

(Photo from ABC News)

On Monday, Johnson & Johnson announced that it was pausing COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study participant. Eli Lilly and Company also stopped its Covid vaccine trials because of potential safety concern, as voiced by US government officials. Eli Lilly had been testing the treatment on hospitalized COVID patients, all of whom had received remdesivir.

At the moment, Johnson & Johnson’s patient is being reviewed and evaluated by independent monitoring board and company’s doctors. This comes at the head of AstraZeneca’s pausing its Covid-19 vaccine trials last month to investigate an illness in a patient in the UK. The study has resumed in the UK and other countries but not in the US.

The dean of Brown University School of Public Health, Ashish Jha stated that this was completely expected, but that the political pressure and desire simply was unrealistic to adhere to.

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Super Storm Delta to make landfall on the Louisiana Coast and the Mississippi Delta, bringing damaging winds

(Photo from AccuWeather.com)

According to Accuweather.com, Category 3 storm Delta will arrive around 4 – 7 PM Friday, bringing strong winds with its landfall (40-mph-or-greater winds to 140-mph) to the Louisiana coastal region and surrounding area: Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama.

There are high risks of flooding, power outages, sinkholes, tree damages, as well as possible tornadoes on her path.

“As Delta approaches the coast then moves inland, the counterclockwise wind flowing around the hurricane will support the development of isolated tornadoes mostly along and to the right of the tropical cyclone’s path,” AccuWeather’s top hurricane expert, Dan Kottlowski said.

I-10 corridor, which is the predicted Delta’s pathway, will be affected from Friday afternoon to Saturday night, affecting states as north as West Virginia and Virginia.

There is a 10 ft. of surge expected from Delta’s landfall, along with heavy rainfall.

One good news for Florida: the panhandle will be safe from this storm.

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House Democrats Pushes for $2.2 trillion stimulus plan

House Democrats pushed through a $2.2 trillion stimulus plan for aid to American families, schools, businesses, airline workers without Republican support. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had taken a $1.6 trillion package to House Leader Pelosi’s Capitol Hill suite.

The pandemic relief measure passed the House on a 214-207 vote.

Nancy Pelosi is still opening the door to negotiate this bill with the Republican party and make it a bipartisan bill. She is hoping that this bill gets through before the election.

Ms.Pelosi told reporters that she did not expect a resolution on a stimulus package to emerge Thursday, but she said she was reviewing documents sent by the Treasury Department and that “we’re going back and forth with our paper and conversation.”

More than 30,000 airline workers are facing furlough today and are waiting on some good news from the Hill but as this bill is in stalemate, the airline workers continue to fear for tomorrow.

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Microsoft 365 Goes Down affecting Multiple Continents

On September 28, 2020, around 6 PM EST, those using Microsoft 365 and Outlook services observed difficulty logging into its services.

The outage was attributed to a recent change to Microsoft and Microsoft reverted to an older version to mitigate the impact of the outage. Unfortunately, approximately one hour after spotting the possible issue, Microsoft tweeted that the it was not seeing an increase in successful connections after rolling back the recent change.

Microsoft then rerouted the traffic to its alternative infrastructure while continuing to investigate. This outage may have shown the dangers of relying solely on one contractor for major government services such as 911, which also complained of difficulty of logging into Microsoft administrative services.

As of 8 PM, Microsoft seems to have become accessible to a limited extent, although still not fully operational.

Anyone impacted can stay updated on its twitter page:

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No More Gasoline Car Sales by 2035, says Governor of California

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California signed an executive order on Wednesday, banning the sale of new gas cars and trucks after 2035. Gas cars and trucks may be owned and sold on the used car market, however.

The governor is also calling for the end of petroleum fracking, but unlike his gas-car ban, decided to leave the this matter to the California legislature.

As wildfires become an yearly event in California (and much of the west coast), Newsom wants to become more aggressive in fighting anti-climate matters; however, it has not been so successful as the Trump administration had sought to revoke California’s authority to mandate zero-emission vehicles. The matter landed in court.

According to the state statistics, transportation is the state’s biggest and rising source of emissions.

Although zero-emission vehicles have been on the incline, they still only accounted for less than 8 percent of all new cars sold in California in 2019.

Institute for Energy Research, a think tank that sides with the fossil fuel industry, called out the Governor’s act as silly, stating that driving cars is not what causes forest fires or makes them worse. The spokesperson also stated that while the zero-emission cars might not have emissions while being driven, it still requires fossil fuel usage at the power plant.

This however, will provide much needed data on whether zero-emission cars can truly decrease the tremendous carbon footprint environmental pundits have been arguing.

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Trump Promises New Supreme Court Nominee by End of Week

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When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away past weekend, much of the nation mourned her death.

With the election looming so close, many of the Democratic Party members oppose the nomination and the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice.

However, Pres. Trump has promised to come up with a nominee for consideration by the end of the week, and the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have agreed to evaluate the nominee.

However, Iowa Republican senator Chuck Grassley, a former Judiciary Committee chairman stated that while he would review the nominee, the confirmation process should be up to the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Judiciary Committee Chairman, Lindsey Graham.

They have both said the Senate should vote on Trump’s nominee.

Democrats criticize McConnell for deciding to push through Trump’s nominee less than 2 months before the election, especially when McConnell had blocked then-President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland in 2016 after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, more than 9 months before that year’s presidential election.

Democrats need at least 4 GOP senators to side with them to delay the confirmation.

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Hurricane Sally Hits Gulf Coast and Florida, bringing deadly alligators and poisonous snakes out into the residences

Photo from Google Images

Category 2 Hurricane Sally hit the Gulf coast, and the Florida panhandle.  She came with massive floods, and along the outlines of at least 600,000 power lines, over the 10 to 12 foot alligators appeared in residence area.

Sally is certainly weakening as it moves up northeast, but it certainly will leave its impact on the south.

According to CBS affiliate WKRG, a residence at Alabama found huge alligators swimming at her yard after Sally made landfall on Wednesday.

“We have been surrounded by water, alligators and poisonous snakes,” she wrote on her Facebook.

All the wild poisonous animals came out to avoid the storm and hunt, but this is now causing issues for residents. Therefore, people are advised not to go near water.

Fire ant bites especially can be very painful, and take tediously long healing procedure with swelling skin and bones. Fire ants live very long lives, surviving harsh environments even during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

2020 is turning out to be a devastating year with no respite: west burns, south is flooding, and the north experienced the highest deaths from the coronavirus.

Thankfully, fall is coming, and with that, 2020 will slowly wind down. Please stay safe and healthy.

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UN PEACEKOR Hosts The 1st Global Virtual Forum Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic

On September 16, UN PEACEKOR (Chairman Dug-Ryong Kim) held the global meeting through Zoom and Youtube live for the first time ever in history due to coronavirus pandemic.

This forum was held by foreign compatriots from around the world with different time zones on the actual conditions and prospects of North Korea’s three sufferings (sanctions, corona, flood damage), and where to find clues for the recovery of South-North relations in this difficult situation. We had time to express each other’s opinions using the internet space as a place.

The forum was hosted by Jun-Hyuk Huh, Secretary General of UNPEACEKOR, and led to discussions by Yong-Han Choi, head of the National Security Strategy Research Institute, Jong-Cheol Park, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Unification, Yoo-seok Jeong, a senior research fellow at the Northeast Asia Research Center at Export-Import Bank of Korea, and Dae-jin Jeong, a professor at Ajou University.

The chairman of the organization stated that despite US’ distraction during a presidential election year, and North Korea focusing on its internal structure, there is still tremendous responsibility to bring to awareness, the importance of restarting the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.

The members of the forum focused heavily on the kind of development necessary in North Korea, and talked about the impact of Covid-19 on both the social and economic infrastructure of China and North Korea, but also how this could require heavier interest by South Korea or the US to improve relationship with North Korea, especially in the area of trade.

The forum garnered much interest, as almost 400 people tuned in to watch the forum.

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