1/6/2021 – letters, background, needed actions

January 6, 2021 – letters, background, needed actions

Letters – Background and needed responses

1/30/2021
Letter to the New York Times
Re: G.O.P. in a Bind as Hate Speech And Slander Find a House Seat by Catie Edmundson 1/30/2021 page A 1, 15
and One Journay Out of the Addictive Grip of Qanon by Sabrina Tavernise, page A 13

We must recognize conspiracy theorizing as an addiction – a mental disorder. Like in other addictions, its frequent reward feelings lead to progression; there is neglect of normal functions; thought processes are distorted; knowledge is ignored. Conspiracy theorizing creates multiple realities, as in cult followers and religious fanatics who preach about hell while ignoring the Christian mandates of treating neighbors and enemies lovingly, not judging others, avoiding vindication.
Today’s conspiracy theorizing people who invent and distribute falsehoods, also commit defamation, with the expressed goal to incite terrorist acts, assassinations and insurrection.
When people defame (slander, libel) influential people in order to incite violence and undermine the foundation of our democracy, it is the duty of the responsible attorney general to prosecute. It is a matter of public interest; filing a lawsuit must not be required; and people known to be QAnon believers must be enjoined from any public office.
Heinz Aeschbach, MD

1/10/2021
Letter to the Christian Science Monitor
Re:
: Will election be a new ‘lost cause’ for evangelical conservatives? by Harry Bruinius

The central issue is hardly mentioned in this otherwise excellent article: Everything started with criminal defamations; continued defamations and lies, expanded by the terrorist QAnon movement, led to the attempts to overthrow our democratic government. Politically-motivated defamations that were knowingly propagated to sway the electorate and foment seditious attitudes and terrorism is not free speech, be the perpetrators Muslims, Christians, ideologues, or psychopaths. When influential people work to undermine the foundation of our democracy in this wayit is the duty of state and federal attorney generals to prosecute. It is a matter of public interest; filing a lawsuit must not be required. Congress should have been and must now be prepared to swiftly take actions, addressing these federal crimes, and perpetrators must be enjoined from public office. “Christian” churches who believe in Trump’s QAnon are dangerous sects comparable to the Wahhabi Muslim terrorist organizaations, that have been funded and fomented by Saudi-Arabia.

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Regarding the January 6th riots, storming of the Capitol and the attempt to block the counting of the Electors’ votes and confirmation of J. Biden as the president elect.
Background and needed responses

The political polarization in the U.S. is a problem that contradicts most people’s deeply held views. We need to remind each other: basically, we want to follow ethical principles held by the big majority of Christians, agnostics, and people adhering to other religions. Generally people wish to be peaceful, not violent; loving and charitable towards the poor, accepting and not judging our fellow citizens.
Why abortion became the central issue is not clear: The world needed billions of abortions to avoid catastrophic overpopulation (an average of about one per woman in recent generations); Jesus never mentioned the issue although women had abortions; Exodus 21:22-25 and Numerus 5:11-31 make clear that the Jewish people did not consider an embryo or fetus to be a human person; also, there was no reluctance to execute pregnant women. Still the abortion issue led many moral people to support Trump, who promised to overturn abortion rights only for opportunistic reasons. Many Christian congregations participated in making fascists and ruthless capitalists allies in their fight against women who sought abortions and people who help them.
To come together, we must focus on scientific knowledge and the ethical principles that are most important. Efforts should include doing everything possible to help women avoid problem pregnancies and make abortions rare. Racist emotions and actions have to be addressed. We must acknowledge that, if we think for a moment that the Republicans would have been able to “steal” the election, and ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstrators would have occupied the Capitol on 1/6, there would have been a blood bath we do not want to imagine.
Science is clear: people, particularly minorities, who are poor and are not succeeding, or who may be addicts or thieves, are not doing well because of environmental factors that include poor nutrition, disturbed families, hopelessness, bad schools, untreated mental disorders, parents in prisons, etc. Social service agencies have often racist workers. As a society, we are not helping the poor in effective ways, and discrimination is still widespread. Ethically, racism and other biases are wrong, and society has to work on improving its institutions.

Problems started with some ideas, maybe suspicions, such as Obama having deceived people about his place of birth and religion. Expressing such ideas is free speech. However, after proven untrue, these were defamation; they were exploited in efforts to mislead and sway the electorate. Those actions were not legally protected as free speech; they were crimes, even if not prosecuted. In their private lives, many successful politicians and businessmen behaved in unconscionable ways, including President Trump, but the claim that left-leaning politicians conspired to abduct children and enable wealthy people to abuse, kill, and cannibalize them were outrageous lies, which became a central part of QAnon conspiracy theories. Mr. Trump became the embodiment of the QAnon “savior” of the victimized children, and the leader who would “clean up the Washington swamp”, meaning get rid of supposedly murderous, pedophile Democrats. Some persons who were enthralled with and addicted to conspiracy theorizing became severely delusional; many blindly followed them; they form a cult. The present situation is similar to when, in the 1930s, many Germans believed the Nazi lies and conspiracy theories about WWI, Jews and the Roma people (‘gypsies’).

Already before Trump ran for president, he spread rumors of corrupt behaviors by Democrats. When proclaimed falsehoods were exposed, he called it a witch hunt. He kept lying: at the time of the inauguration, regarding the size of the crowd, about millions of fraudulent votes by non-citizens in 2016, presently again about massive voter fraud. He had the delusional thought that he was popular with a large majority of people and he thought being president meant being above the law and that people he appointed had to be loyal, serving him rather than the country. When obviously losing the election, as confirmed by Republican officials and judges that were appointed by him, he did everything he could to illegally stay in power; he refused to concede and to cooperating with a safe transfer of power. His lies were quickly integrated in dangerous conspiracy theories.

More than anybody else, the president carries the responsibility for the seditious riots on 1/6/2021, which was a last attempt to prevent a transfer of power to the winners of the election. He is also largely responsible for seditious actions in state capitals, including the attempt to abduct a Democratic governor. However, also guilty were all the others who kept up delusional conspiracy theories about Trump having won the election “by a landslide” – “the stolen election” claims that the previous impeachment was a baseless witch hunt, and that the Democratic leadership consisted of murderous pedophiles. They must be held accountable; there must be consequences. This includes elected Republicans, some news anchors and reporters, people responsible for content in the media, and other officials, such as Mike Pompeo who announced, after the election results were known, that there will be a smooth transition to Trump’s second term in office. Most important are the promoters of QAnon, the inventors of the falsehoods and prominent people who amplified what they knew (or should have known) to be outrageous lies. These responsible peoples access to social media must be severely limited and closely monitored; many must be enjoined from public office. Also guilty are people who falsely state that right and left-leaning demonstrators are equally violent, or that Antifa activists committed the violence during right-wing demonstrations and in the 1/6 riots. Right-wing participants often show fascist symbols; Antifa stands for anti-fascist and includes people who are understandably fearful of fascist goals of extremist armed groups and politicians. Obviously, it is mainly fascists who would object to anti-Fascist demonstrations. Looting and vandalism may occur in any large demonstration when organizers lose control, criminals may abuse such situations. However, right extremists have been much more violent towards people; many believe violence is justified to reach their goals.

There has been a failure in our response to defamations, which were designed to sway voters, and particularly to QAnon. These should have been investigated and effectively addressed long ago. Expressing an outlandish suspicion is allowed as free speech, but the continued promulgation of known falsehoods about Democratic candidates, represented a criminal attempt to sway elections. Whether politicians sue for defamation or not, it is in the public interest that the responsible attorney general pursues any case of politically motivated defamation. Any lies, invented and promulgated to mislead and sway the electorate, to possibly incite violence, and to undermine the foundation of democracy, have to be similarly prosecuted. If judges consider such behavior to be legally protected free speech, Congress must act to declare them federal crimes.

Society, and particularly responsible elected and appointed officials, must apologize to the victims of these patently false claims of conspiracy theorists. They shamelessly exploited human weaknesses: humans naturally want to trust and believe others, particularly when religious authorities participate in supporting unethical leaders, and humans are easily deceived. Society has an obligation to all its citizens; journalists, monitors of social media, and politicians, must do better in stating clearly what publicized and promulgated content has been proven baseless and untrue, and we then must do our best to remove it from social media and news platforms and prevent its further spread. People who have promoted conspiracy theories with malicious intent, including people who apparently also became addicted to conspiracy theorizing, must be legally prosecuted, referred to treatment, and barred from attaining or staying in any elected or appointed office. Elected officials who adhere to QAnon and related dangerous conspiracy theory groups must be removed from office. Elected and appointed officials, including judges, must abstain from following religious, ideological and conspiracy-based beliefs that contradict sciences and ethics.

Regarding guilt or innocence: Conspiracy theorizing must be acknowledged as a mental disorder. It reinforces people’s holding on to multiple ‘realities,’ such as common-sense knowledge that is applied in daily life, versus delusional beliefs as expressed with groups of patients but otherwise mostly kept secret, versus specific contents of religious teachings. Conspiracy theorizing is addicting and dangerous. When people knowingly add invented ‘insights’ or ‘theories,’ feeling good about their contribution, they later believe them in a quasi-religious way. When there are stark conflicts with what is broadly consider to be reality, delusions may be reinforced, and they may lead to criminal actions.

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Is the ‘Green New Deal’ adequate and related issues:

(More than “Green New Deal” proposals: To deal with climate emergency, to halt global warming, more than Green New Deal”proposals needed)

At the present rate of progress, catastrophic weather events will grow much more serious before worsening ends. Most scientists and progressive groups agree that New Green Deal proposals are inadequate, but rarely state that we need radical, not gradual changes [much more than present “Green New Deal” proposals]. And we need an idea of

  • how a changed, ecologically sustainable world would look like – major changes are urgent; luckily people accept great changes well if they are meaningful, and if they are not alone in being compelled to change. Less is sometimes more
  • how goals can be achieved without different progressive and ecologically minded groups opposing each other.

see also:

Production and consumption need radical changes to minimize greenhouse gas production and energy use, halting global warming within years not decades:
  • Changing diets to mostly vegan.
  • Greatly increasing taxation of fossil fuels; end production and greatly diminish use of cars, trucks, airplanes, and large ships (cruise, container transport, and tanker ships).
  • Building rail systems: high-speed to light-rail narrow track 100cm and less (for city and suburban neighborhoods, thinly populated and mountainous areas).
  • Building human-powered, hybrid and electric vehicles, with or without light-weight aerodynamic bodies, and ultra-light electric cars, utilizing bicycle technology (for speeds up to 40mph).
  • Severely restricting the use of conventional vehicles.
  • Increasing forested and natural land.
  • Minimizing all forms of waste.
  • Phasing out all weapons production and military investments.
  • Finding levels of “needs met – standard comfort” above which quality of life hardly improves, and tax luxuries and waste that interfere with broader progress. Quality of life is likely to improve when there is less competitiveness, less stress, and social structures that are broadly supportive.
Data mining, storing, and analysis must be outlawed:

Issues include:

  • wasteful concerning energy (most of the data are not related to increased efficiency which is minor compared with the waste of energy)
  • designed to be misused to promote consumerism and to manipulate people (and they do not have a legally valid consent to collect and use the data)
  • easily used to influence voters with goal of supporting business-friendly politicians that rarely care about climate change and protection of nature, etc.
Reforming financial system:

We need to move away from a debt/credit-based economy. The circulating money supply needs to belong primarily to the people, businesses and governmental agencies who work with it, not to financial institutions. New money must be printed to support new projects of infrastructure, education, health care, etc. Bank lending, issuing of credit cards (rather than debit cards), and the creation of derivatives and other ‘financial instruments’ must be severely limited. Farmers, businesses, and loans of start-up enterprises may be insured by non-profit cooperative insurance agencies; investors must not have a significant role.

A minimum basic income is needed. Governments should not tax income; governments need to tax consumption (purchases) of products. The level of taxation considers whether products and its production are wasteful and/or harmful to people and/or the environment, etc. As robotics replaces many jobs, people should work less, live more off minimum basic income and ‘luxurious’ work, such as beautification of parks and public places, improved care of elderly and disabled people,a pursuing personal and creative interests.

Addictions that aggravate problems:

Psychologists and psychiatrists must recognize consumerism, computer-related addictions, addiction to conspiracy theorizing, and particularly addiction to wealth and power as serious and dangerous psychiatric disorders. Treatment of severe psychiatric disorders should be urged or compelled as feasible. The need to treat addiction to wealth and power needs to be evaluated, assessing harm to victims and benefits to society when patients are treated successfully. Naturally, people who are addicted to wealth and power often promote consumerism.

Military spending; further arms race and planning wars:

Wars must be internationally outlawed. U.N. agencies must always help with negotiating, mediating, and sometimes arbitrating. Consequences of illegal acts of war must immediately lead to the break-up of mutually beneficial trade interactions, and responsible individuals must be pursued by the international court. A powerful U.N. army may be used to disarm people who are engaged in war activities (robotic soldiers may be used in the future).

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Literature:  Jeremy Rifkin (as many others) describes a scenario of progress with gradual changes, based on present economic institutions, anticipating continued or growing consumerism and relying on extensive data analysis, which hardly respects people’s privacy. He does not address the problems of data abuse. However, he acknowledges that the world’s climate will become considerably worse before it will be possible to reverse global warming.  Robert Brice describes the severe limitations (and impossibility) of broad reliance on renewable energy.

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