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Joe Biden suggests supporters of the ‘mortifying’ QAnon conspiracy theory should seek mental health treatment

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Joe Biden suggests supporters of the 'mortifying' QAnon conspiracy theory should seek mental health treatment

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  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden described the QAnon conspiracy theory as “mortifying” and “dangerous,” and suggested its followers should seek mental health treatment.
  • “I’ve been a big supporter of mental health,” Biden said at a Friday campaign event in Delaware, as first reported by Politico. “I’d recommend the people who believe it maybe should take advantage, while it still exists, of the Affordable Care Act.”
  • QAnon began as a fringe conspiracy theory floated on internet message boards but has recently become a staple of mainstream Republican politics.
  • Multiple Republican congressional candidates who have voiced support for it are poised to pick up House seats this year, and President Trump himself praised QAnon followers from the White House last month.
  • Some avid QAnon supporters have been arrested and charged with violent crimes, and the FBI described the baseless conspiracy theory as a domestic terrorism threat.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Friday described the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory as “dangerous” and “embarrassing,” and suggested that its followers seek mental health treatment.

“I’ve been a big supporter of mental health,” Biden said at a campaign event in Delaware, as first reported by Politico. “I’d recommend the people who believe it maybe should take advantage, while it still exists, of the Affordable Care Act.”

He continued: “What in God’s name are we doing? Look at how it makes us look around the world. It’s mortifying, it’s embarrassing, and it’s dangerous. If the president doesn’t know better, which he has to know better, then my lord, we’re in much more trouble than I ever thought we were.”

“This can’t go on,” Biden added. “This cannot go on. It’s the deconstruction of our democratic system.”

The QAnon conspiracy posits that the world is run by a Satanic cabal of pedophiles and elites intent on bringing down Donald Trump’s presidency.

It alleges, among other things, that the former special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and other top Democrats who opposed Trump; and that the so-called American “deep state” tried to shoot down Air Force One before Trump’s summit in North Korea last year.

There is no evidence suggesting the conspiracy theory holds merit, and the FBI described it — and other fringe conspiracy theories — as a domestic terrorism threat in an intelligence bulletin last year.

“The FBI assesses anti-government, identity based, and fringe political conspiracy theories very likely motivate some domestic extremists, wholly or in part, to commit criminal and sometimes violent activity,” the document said. “The FBI further assesses in some cases these conspiracy theories very likely encourage the targeting of specific people, places, and organizations, thereby increasing the likelihood of violence against these targets.”

Some QAnon followers have been arrested and charged with violent crimes. In one case, a QAnon supporter was charged with murder over the death of a New York mafia boss last year. Another conspiracist was arrested earlier this year on suspicion of threatening to murder Biden.

QAnon began as a fringe theory on internet message boards like 4chan and 8chan but has made it into mainstream Republican politics in recent months. At least two Republican congressional candidates who have explicitly voiced support for the conspiracy are poised to pick up House seats in November, and Trump himself praised its followers from the White House podium last month.

“These are people who love our country,” the president said. When a reporter explained that the group claimed Trump was “secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals,” the president refused to disavow the theory and said he was, in fact, saving the world.

“We’re saving the world from a radical-left philosophy that will destroy this country. And when this country is gone, the rest of the world would follow. The rest of the world would follow,” Trump said.

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

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My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

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