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LFC

Member Since 03 February 2012 - 03:42 PM
Online Last Active Mar 01 2021 02:01 PM
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Topics I've Started

Patriot Party - The Party of Trump

23 February 2021 - 05:28 PM

This is a topic for all things about the attempt to form the Patriot Party, a full-on pro-Trump splinter from the Republican Party.

First up we have some dipshit in Pennsylvania named Richard Schwetz, and who goes by Dick Sweats online (I shit thee not), trying to figure out why the media keeps tying them to the Proud Boys. He's admitted to being a member of the Proud Boys. Other Proud Boys members show up at Patriot Party events. He created Patriot Party merch using the same colors the Proud Boys use. Uuuuuhhhh duh, Dick.

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The "Patriot Party" is somewhere between a meme and a movement of Trump loyalists.

The idea and, perhaps just as important, the logo, have been circulating on social media since last summer. But after the Capitol riot and swearing-in of President Joe Biden, Patriot Party groups have formed and multiplied, mostly on Telegram, where they share memes, disinformation and commentary in chaotic channels in all 50 states.

Before it was removed from Facebook, one Patriot Party group had more than 12,000 members. One post that was removed read: "We need to organize our militia ... Wars are won with guns.. an when they silence your commander in chief you are in a war."

On February 6, one Patriot Party group held its first organized public rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which was billed as an "awareness march." Only about 30 people showed up, not much happened and it was over in a couple of hours. But at its conclusion, when CNN returned to the parking lot, some attendees had changed their clothes. At least eight were wearing Proud Boys hoodies. They were shouting that their cars had been vandalized. They would not explain the wardrobe change and were angry at the question.

The energy and anger that fueled the Trump movement and the January 6 Capitol riot are still out there, swirling around, and it's not clear yet who's going to seize them and to what ends. At the moment, it appears the Patriot Party is becoming one vessel for that energy. But even those within it are not sure who their comrades are.

The "awareness march" was organized by a man named Richard "Dick" Schwetz. Schwetz, who often goes by Dick Sweats online and who indicated his name had posed a challenge for most of his life, has publicly, on video, said he's a Proud Boy. But as he waited in the parking lot for a bus full of women that was supposedly coming from Pittsburgh that never showed, Schwetz denied this event had anything to do with that group.

"This isn't about the Proud Boys. It's about the Patriot Party," he said. Asked if the Patriot Party was putting a friendlier face, with a cute lion logo, on more violent actors, like militias or the Proud Boys, Schwetz said, "Stop. See that's where you guys go. You go too deep."

CNN then pointed to the pile of merchandise visible in the back of Schwetz's car, which included hats with the Patriot Party logo in the Proud Boys' black-and-gold colors. Was that intended to look like the Proud Boys? Schwetz said, "No, I don't, I -- I just had yellow vinyl. I'm sorry. That's all I had left over."

Schwetz told CNN that one reason for the rally was to "set up official Patriot Party representatives."

"The only way we could figure out to do that, since we're all deplatformed from every single social media outlet there is, is by meeting up in person and doing it the old-fashioned way. I got the pen and paper and everything," Schwetz said. It's hard to tell who's for real online, he admitted. "It's a digital world. It's unfortunate."

In the last days of his presidency, Donald Trump floated the idea of starting a new party, CNN has reported. The Wall Street Journal reported he wanted to call it the Patriot Party. Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller then told CNN that Trump is not currently considering launching a third party.

But some of his followers are trying to do it themselves. The Trump campaign had to file a notice with the Federal Election Commission that it had "no affiliation" with a Patriot Party that had claimed in its own filing to be working with Trump's campaign.

Thousands Have Died in Qatar to Build 2022 World Cup Venues

23 February 2021 - 08:35 AM

I guess some things never change in the Middle East. Welcome to the new pyramids.

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At least 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died during the 10-year construction of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup facilities due to shoddy work conditions and lack of training, according to the Guardian. The shocking figure is likely grossly under estimated since no figures are available for migrant deaths from the workers from Kenya or the Philippines.

Massive works are under way in addition to the conversion of the Khalifa Stadium and the construction of seven additional World Cup level stadiums including a new airport, new hotels, new roads and public transportation and an entire new city being built just for the World Cup final celebrations.

Qatar’s human rights record has been the subject of scrutiny since the nation won the bid to host the international event. Amnesty International published a damning report accusing the wealthy country of lying to migrants to entice them to come work. Many workers paid hefty fees to recruitment firms hired by the Qatari government to cover transportation and accommodation. Many of them could not afford the fees so they were given loans they have to pay back.

Once in Qatar, they are allegedly forced to live in squalid conditions and are often not paid in a timely manner or what they were promised. “Workers often live in cramped, dirty and unsafe accommodation,” Amnesty International reported. “Recruitment agents also make false promises about the salary workers will receive, and the type of job on offer. One worker was promised a salary of US$300 a month in Nepal, but this turned out to be US$190 once he started work in Qatar.”

Payments are also often delayed, leaving workers unable to send money back home or make payments on recruitment-related loans they were often forced to take out.

The Guardian estimates that in the last 10 years since Qatar won the bid to host the event, an average of 12 migrant workers from the south Asian nations have died each week. That figure could be twice as high if records on other migrant deaths are released.

All Things Cell Phones & Apps

17 February 2021 - 04:43 PM

There are enough stories over time that this deserves its own thread. First up Google's Pixel phones appear to have badly failing camera hardware thought that's still to be 100% verified.

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Does the Pixel camera have a hardware problem? Android Police has tracked down numerous reports of broken cameras on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3, and the Pixel-exclusive Google Camera app has been getting review-bombed with tons of 1-star reviews from users saying their cameras no longer work. Google told the site it doesn't know of any software issues, suggesting that all these people are experiencing a hardware failure.

The problems range from the camera app instantly crashing when it is opened, displaying a black screen, or showing an error message that reads "Something went wrong. Close and open the camera app again." Claims for what exactly is causing the issues are all over the place, but it seems hard to blame a software bug since both the Google camera and third-party apps are affected, and uninstalling updates and factory resets don't fix the problem.

The main complaint thread on the Pixel Help forums is up to almost 900 replies now. The oldest device, the Pixel 2 seems to be the most affected, but reports for the Pixel 3, 3a, and 4 are out there. Every Pixel camera from the Pixel 2 to the Pixel 5 has the same camera sensor (a Sony IMX363/IMX362), so it's possible they are all affected.


This isn't their first brush with hardware failure. They farm the work out and don't seem to have control over the quality. Makes you wonder if they should stick to software. (They also unceremoniously dumped their Nest Alarm system for some reason but that's a topic for another thread.)

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Previously, many of Google's Nexus phones were caught in a hardware problem due to defective flash memory. These phones would eventually stop working, which led to a series of class-action lawsuits. Most of the Nexus phones were manufactured by LG, with the Nexus 6P being the single Huawei device. The Pixel 2 was built with the help of LG, while the Pixel 2 XL was made with HTC. After the Pixel 2, Google bought the team it was working with from HTC and started manufacturing devices at Foxconn.

Backpedaling Former Trump Whores

12 February 2021 - 04:28 PM

I figure there will be a few initially, maybe more as we get closer to the election in 2022.

First up we have Nikki Haley who gladly ho'd herself out to Trump and is now trying to get back to the place she left behind long ago and far away. No dice, Nikki. You're a Trumpy now and forever. The mealy-mouthing is nauseating.

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Former Trump United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley has turned on former President Donald Trump for his role in stoking the United States Capitol riots on January 6th.

In an interview with Politico's Tim Alberta, Haley said that she didn't think Trump would be a significant figure in the Republican Party going forward, and she admitted it was a mistake for the GOP to help him in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

"He went down a path he shouldn't have, and we shouldn't have followed him, and we shouldn't have listened to him," she said. "And we can't let that ever happen again."

Haley insisted that she was proud of the work she had done for the former president, and claimed that something fundamentally changed in him after he lost the election.

"I mean, I'm deeply disturbed by what's happened to him," she said. "Never did I think he would spiral out like this... I don't feel like I know who he is anymore... The person that I worked with is not the person that I have watched since the election."

QAnon Addiction Explained

05 February 2021 - 02:42 PM

QAnon and its acolytes drones has become such a large driving force of the Republican Party that the explanations of it deserves its own thread. Josh Marshall (paywalled) explains that QAnon is not "a conspiracy theory" but instead is massive manipulation of people using well known psychological manipulations and more than a little game theory. Its intentionally addictive nature means that it's not going away. Those it has sucked in have literally become the online video game addicts with the game being continually updated by "Q." (If this all turned out to be a Russian psy-op I wouldn't be surprised, not even a little.)

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As the QAnon phenomenon becomes more central to critical political and public safety questions, I realize we need a new vocabulary to describe this and similar phenomena. Q is not a “conspiracy theory”. The faked moon landing was a conspiracy theory. Perhaps birtherism was a conspiracy theory, though one with similarities to QAnon because of its strong ideological valence. But Q is not a conspiracy theory. It’s a fascistic political movement which predicts and advocates mass violence against liberals (and everyone else outside its definition of true Americans) in an imminent apocalyptic political reckoning. What we call the ‘conspiracy theories’ are simply the storylines and claims that justify that outcome. They could easily be replaced by others which serve the same purpose.

In other words – and this is still a very basic confusion – the Q phenomenon is not a factual misunderstanding that more credible news sources or prevalent fact-check columns would deflate and tame. You can even see this play out in real time in what we might call Q ‘man on the street’ interviews in which a reporter dissects or debunks some claim the Q supporter believes. The response is invariably something like, “Well, there are a bunch of other bad things I heard they did.”

Some Q supporters clearly believe some of the movement fables. You can see this in the late 2016 story of the man who stormed the Pizza shop in DC which was a focal point of pedophilia claims in the PizzaGate conspiracy theory, which was a precursor to Q. (Most PizzaGate fables were later incorporated into Qanon.) Edgar M. Welch, the would-be mass shooter and rescuer of abused children, was clearly quite surprised to find that Comet Ping Pong was in fact just a good pizza joint, with no abused children, no dungeons, no secret headquarters of John Podesta.

But Welch, I think, is the exception. Just as the ‘conspiracy theory’ language is inadequate and misleading we need a better way of understanding belief, particularly belief as a form of aggression. I don’t think most QAnon believers actually ‘believe’ that Hillary Clinton runs a pedophilia ring, at least not in the sense that you and I think of the word. Most of us in politics and in journalism have a rather classical and mechanistic understanding of cognition and belief. We use our mental faculties to ascertain what is true and then we believe those things that appear to be true. Or we take the word of trusted sources and believe those things. We may believe things which are not true either because we’ve been mislead or because our pre-existing biases distort our understanding of what is true. For this, good fact-check columns can help. When we say things we know are not true that’s lying. We know that’s not right. But sometimes we do it anyway.

This is a very inadequate way of understanding the Q phenomenon and much else in contemporary politics and culture.

I say you’re a pedophile not because I think you’re actually a pedophile but because it is an attack. Because it hurts you. In online and message board culture there are legions of users constantly attacking anyone they disagree with or don’t like as pedophiles or other horrid accusations. Presumably these people aren’t acting on some mistaken information that the people (the identities of whom they usually don’t even know) they’re attacking have sexually abused children. It’s not a misunderstanding. It’s a form of aggression. Things like the Q phenomenon are just this aggression writ large. I say you’re a pedophile because it is itself an act of aggression but also because it dehumanizes you. It’s a storyline that makes hurting you or killing you make more sense and be more exciting.

Not surprisingly given his role in these movements, Donald Trump is a good illustration of how to think about belief in this context. We know that Trump is a scurrilous, pathological liar. But as I’ve written, Trump doesn’t believe or not believe as you or I likely do. In fact, if you could sit Trump down sedated or under some kind of truth serum and ask why he was lying about some particular claim I think he would find the question almost bewildering. Someone like Trump finds what would be helpful to his needs or claims or interest in the particular moment and then says those things. And I think he even kind of believes them because they help him. What you say and ‘believe’ isn’t tethered to what’s true in quite the same way. You might as well ask a novelist why she writes things that aren’t true. She’d be equally befuddled by the question.

If you’ve worked in business a certain kind of salesman is like this. You size up the customer, find out what they want, what they feel they need and then tell them a story to make the sale. Is it lying? Well, not to them. Not exactly. It’s selling. Again, you don’t ask a playwright why he writes stories that aren’t true. Needless to say Donald Trump is that kind of salesman. How is it Donald Trump always seems to rapidly believe whatever is helpful to him in the given moment? Or later say exactly the opposite when that’s helpful? There’s rampant voter fraud. Bill Clinton is the worst sexual predator in human history and is definitely awful even as Trump himself casually harasses, importunes, assaults, rapes and more? Since they help you you do sort of come to believe them because why not?

Any sports fan comes to believe that their team is absolutely the best and the rival team is definitely the worst, with all manner of chants, regalia and affirmations even though they know – from another perspective – that all of this is in fact absurd. To Trump it really would be like asking a novelist why they keep making up stories that aren’t true. The reaction is incomprehension. The point here is not to defend Trump who is malevolent predator and degenerate liar. It is to explain that his calculus of truth, belief and advantage are quite different than what most of us are likely familiar with.

Just how QAnon and comparable movements work is something I’m still working to get my head around. (These two articles are the analyses that interest me most – here and here.) But calling them conspiracy theories is not only wrong in concept it seriously misleads us about what they are and how to combat them. Qanon is a violent terroristic political movement with strong fascistic facets the upshot of which, in every storyline, is a final violent reckoning in which Trump’s political enemies are rounded up and murdered. That’s what it’s about. The fables are just getting people primed and ready for that moment.