Qanon is probably not a leftie prank

Ok, Qanon is officially so insane that even Pizzagate wackos say Qanon is cray-cray. In case you have been blissfully unaware, Pizzagate nutcases thought Hillary and other Democrats had a secret pedophile sex-ring hidden in the basement of a DC restaurant. One of their wackos actually went to the restaurant with a rifle, fired three shots, found no basement or pedophiles, and went to prison for four years.

These Pizzagate crazies think Qanon is unhinged madness. Which it clearly is. Unless you believe JFK Jr. faked his death “then began secretly working to put Trump in the White House and destroy the Clinton/ Illuminati/ vampire cabal.”

Theories about Qanon include that it is:

1) A left-wing anarchist prank.

2) 4-chan knuckleheads pranking older conservatives.

3) Russian active measures.

If it is a leftie prank, it is now incredibly irresponsible given that an armed gunman blocked a bridge near Hoover Dam in July demanding that Trump release the real documents about Hillary probe. This is straight-up Qanon derangement. Any responsible leftie prank should have ended then.

My guess: It’s a 4chan prank with Russian bots, trolls, and shit-stirrers jumping up, because that what they do. Happens all the time on Twitter.

So, no, I don’t think it’s a leftie prank.

“While it’s almost impossible to prove who started QAnon, there is some evidence that it was meant to be a prank all along. And more importantly, it’s looking more and more likely that QAnon is actually a prank by leftists or anarchists to make the far-right look deranged.

Matthew P. Wright was arrested after he drove an armored vehicle onto a bridge spanning the Hoover Dam and blocked traffic to demand the government “release the OIG report,” a call spouted by QAnon believers. Wright’s standoff with the police lasted 90 minutes. He was eventually taken into custody without incident, authorities said, but a rifle and a handgun were found inside the truck.

Rick Wilson.

Some even believe Q composes these messages for their eager consumption and interpretation at Trump’s direction, the amanuensis to an orange Nostradamus whose quatrains appear on the same image boards that feature bronie porn, hentai spank-bank material, and tween Neo-Nazi shitposter incels, instead of penned on parchment.

“Lurid and exciting for the rubes, but as of yet, Hillary Clinton walks free. If that even is Hillary Clinton, and not a shapeshifting reptilian overlord.”

Of course, it’s just trolling. It’s just a prank by some chan-autists. It makes me shake my head to explain to people that the idea of a conspiracy this grand and elaborate has as much chance of working as Skeeter’s plan to cook meth in the WalMart bathroom.

Vineyard Wind Project more cost-effective than alternatives

After decades of NIMBYs opposing it, Massachusetts will soon have 800 MW of offshore wind from Vineyard Wind. And, added bonus, the price is highly competitive.

Massachusetts electricity users will save about $1.4 billion over 20 years from the first commercial-scale offshore wind farm in the U.S.

With Vineyard Wind, the U.S. is starting to close the gap, Harries said. While offshore wind is still more costly than onshore wind and solar, it offers other advantages, notably that the turbines will generate power in the winter when prices are high.

Federal tax credits and a long-term power-purchase agreement were part of the equation that helped the wind project “offer an attractive price to the benefit of consumers,”

Life in the Twitter fast lane surely make you lose your mind

Bots, trolls, and Twitter minions

In the past few days I watched as a woman deleted all her tweets after her tweet about being queer generated hugely hostile reaction from Twitter goon squads. Another woman, a major Never Trumper, briefly stopped posting because her kids were physically threatened by MAGAs.

This happens more to women than men. I’ve never had assaults like these. Maybe that’s at least partly because the photo on my social media bios shows I’m an old white guy. I dunno, maybe that helps. These attacks are ugly and nasty, that’s for sure.

Sometimes Twitter attacks are spearheaded by high-profile accounts who tell their minions to attack the infidels. The attacks can come from the left as well as the right. For Never Trumpers, bots and trolls can be activated fast and are controlled by state actors. The women who tweeted about being queer wasn’t attacked from the right, but by those in different queer factions from her. 

If you are under attack on Twitter, try protecting your account in Twitter settings. In protected mode, you have to ok new followers, your tweets are only visible to your followers, and they can’t retweet. Locking down Twitter like this for a few days or a week will probably stop most attacks.

Some Never Trumpers like Eric Garland and John Schindler have protected accounts in addition to their public accounts so people can talk about things peacefully without being invading by Twitter hit squads.

There are  no easy answers here. Twitter is a scorched earth war zone sometimes.

Donald Trump’s coming Very Bad Week

The Manafort trial starts next week. Manafort is accused of conspiracy, fraud, false statements, and more, and faces decades in prison. The evidence presented in the indictment is detailed and damning (PDF.) The trial will be headline news for weeks, and will go places Trump really doesn’t want exposed.

The trial isn’t specifically about Trump / Russia ties. However, Manafort was at the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians.

There are thirty five prosecution witnesses. Five have been granted immunity. They include employees of an accounting firm that did Manafort’s taxes and a bank that gave him loans based on dicey documentation. Presumably they will be testifying to save their own sorry asses from prison.

Rick Gates, Manafort’s former partner, has already pleaded guilty and will testify against Manafort.

Tad Devine, Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager who worked with Manafort in Ukraine backing a thug leader with Kremlin ties, will testify for the prosecution. Devine is a cooperating witness.

Drop that soda straw and put your hands up

Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

A proposed bill in California would make it illegal for restaurants to give straws to customers, unless requested, with penalties including fines and jail. While this is a well-meaning attempt to cut plastic pollution – similar plastic bag bans at stores in some cities – it puts the onus on consumers when the real problem is systemic.

Plastic pollution is in oceans, food chains, leaching chemicals into water. Animals and fish get tangled up in them. Traditional recycling isn’t always effective. The trash isn’t recycled. Or it’s recycled into something that can’t be further recycled. In rural areas it’s often not practical as it costs more to haul the plastics to a sometimes distant facility that the recycled plastics are worth.

A better alternative is the circular economy model, where waste is minimized by planning in advance how materials can be reused and recycled at a product’s end of life rather than trying to figure that out after the fact. To make this happen, we can support groups like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that are partnering with industry to incorporate “cradle-to-cradle” (i.e., circular economic) design into their products.

This could be our future—a future of clean cities, rivers and beaches but also simpler, more responsible choices for consumers. There are now too many humans and too much plastic on this pale blue dot to continue planning our industrial expansions on a quarterly basis. It’s time to stop blaming consumers for our plastic crisis and demand a better system.