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Wed, 27 May 2020
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Psychotherapist says lockdown zealots are behaving like cult members

stay home sign
© James D. Morgan/Getty Images
Psychotherapist Dr. Hugh Willbourn says lockdown zealots are displaying all the classic signs of cult members by doubling down on their beliefs despite having been proven wrong.

In an article on his website, Willbourn highlights the work of respected social psychologist Leon Festinger, who analyzed the beliefs of a UFO cult in the 1950's who believed that a flying saucer would rescue them from the apocalypse.

However, after the catastrophic earthquakes and floods they expected to hit the United States never arrived and their beliefs were totally disproved, "the cult members would become not less but more convinced of their beliefs."

Festinger identified five conditions that needed to be met in order for the cult members to double down on their beliefs and avoid cognitive dissonance.

1. There must be conviction
2. There must be commitment to this conviction
3. The conviction must be amenable to unequivocal disconfirmation
4. Such unequivocal disconfirmation must occur
5. Social support must be available subsequent to the disconfirmation.

"Festinger's five conditions and the behaviour of the cult believers correspond closely to the situation with Brexit, Climate Change and Covid-19: a prophecy is made, believers invest themselves, their time, money and prestige in it, the prophecy fails and the believers become more fervent," writes Willbourn.

Comment: These same lockdown zealots may have 'drama-junkie' personality traits that 'feed on' this autocratic opportunity.

Comment: It's definitely cult-like.

Duck-and-Cover And Burn The Heretics: The Modern-Day Cult of Corona


De Blasio's threat: 'You'll be taken right out of the water!" if beachgoers break Covid-19 rules

Central Park
© Reuters/Andrew Kelly
NYPD officer stands at the entrance of the Sheep Meadow in Central Park in Manhattan
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned that police will enforce social distancing measures on beaches over Memorial Day weekend - and will forcibly remove anyone who dares to take a swim. "Anyone tries to get in the water, they'll be taken right out of the water," the mayor said at a press briefing on Monday.

Though beaches in New York City have partially reopened, people are still required to adhere to social distancing guidelines by avoiding gathering in crowds.
De Blasio's warning about taking a dip at the beach appears to be impressing few, though, as people grow increasingly frustrated with Covid-19 lockdown measures. "He literally does not have the manpower to accomplish this," actor Adam Baldwin tweeted in response to the mayor. "Could you imagine riot cops in NYC coming out and beating and arresting people for swimming in the ocean?" another Twitter user quipped.

Red Flag

Hackers steal personal data of 9 million EasyJet customers in 'highly sophisticated' cyber attack

© Reuters / Phil Noble
Criminals gained access to emails and travel history for around nine million customers of British budget airline EasyJet, obtaining the credit card details of more than 2,000 of them, the company has said.

"There is no evidence that any personal information of any nature has been misused," the airline said, as cited by the media.
We are communicating with the approximately nine million customers whose travel details were accessed to advise them of protective steps to minimize any risk of potential phishing.
EasyJet said it had contacted forensic experts to investigate the hack. The airline also notified the Information Commissioner's Office and the National Cyber Security Center.

Evil Rays

Man charged with attempted murder after attacking couple with machete

Kelvin Edwards
© News4 Nashville
A couple is in critical condition after a man attacked them with a machete in Nashville.
One suspect is in custody after he walked into a public storage office in the 800 block of 5th Ave. South and attacked a couple with a machete.

Police say they were notified of the attack at around 2:47 p.m. Sunday. At that time, 35-year-old Kelvin Edwards walked into the office of Public Storage on 5th Ave. South near Division Street and attacked Kevin Craft, 55, and his wife, Leanne, 50, with his machete. The Crafts are in critical condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

According to police, six officers applied multiple tourniquets in an effort to control the bleeding and save their lives.

Bad Guys

FBI: Shooter at Pensacola Navy base coordinated with al-Qaida

Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani
Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani opened fire inside a classroom at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday before one of the deputies killed him
The gunman who killed three U.S. sailors at a military base in Florida last year repeatedly communicated with al-Qaida operatives about planning in the months leading up to the attack, U.S. officials said Monday, as they lashed out at Apple for failing to help them open the shooter's phones so they could access key evidence.

Law enforcement officials discovered contacts between Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani and operatives of al-Qaida after FBI technicians succeeded on their own in breaking into two cellphones that had previously been locked and that the shooter, a Saudi Air Force officer, had tried to destroy before he was killed by law enforcement.

"We now have a clearer understanding of Alshamrani's associations and activities in the years, months and days leading up to his attack," Attorney General William Barr said at a news conference in which he sharply chastised Apple for not helping unlock the phones.

Eye 1

Alcohol-fuelled criminal offenders may have to wear 'sobriety tag' ANKLE MONITORS in England and Wales

arrest drunk person alcohol
© London News Pictures/Rex
The social and economic cost of alcohol-related harm is calculated by Public Health England as being £21.5bn a year.
Hopes that new legislation for England and Wales will cut reoffending and protect public

Offenders who commit "alcohol-fuelled" crimes can be required to wear "sobriety tags" and banned from drinking under legislation that comes into force in England and Wales on Tuesday.

Courts will have the power to order those convicted of drink-related crimes to wear an ankle monitor for up to 120 days. It assesses whether there is any alcohol in their sweat.

The first tags are expected to be fitted this year once probation staff have been trained and the monitoring contract agreed. When up and running, as many as 2,300 are likely to be fitted on offenders every year.

Comment: Another encroachment of the nanny state, despite the feel-good story at the end. How many will stand up to being tagged like cattle, when the alternative is prison?


UK unemployment rate is set to rocket, even with the furlough scheme

© RayArt Graphics/Alamy
Many workers placed on furlough by their employers could register as unemployed if the government subsidy ends.
Britain's labour market has been paralysed by the Covid-19 lockdown but you would never know it from government figures showing employment at a record high and the jobless rate below 4%.

Benjamin Disraeli was right on the money when he said there were three kinds of falsehoods - lies, damned lies, and statistics. Rarely has the former prime minister's dictum seemed more apposite.

The reason the official data paints such a benign picture is because employment and unemployment rates are based on surveys conducted over a three-month period from January onwards, and the lockdown only came into force in the last nine days of March.


Here's how to fight the censorship of Intelligent Design — in a "nutshell"

book cover evolution intelligent design
The editors at the prominent science journal BioEssays recently published an editorial demanding government-mandated censorship of intelligent design. My colleagues and I had expected something like this before long. They singled out Evolution News in particular as a being in need of prejudicial treatment from the huge tech companies that dominate electronic media. If giants like Google or Facebook hesitate, then says biologist Dave Speijer, the government should "Make them."

The threat is no joke. You were aware that censors are already at work suppressing other ideas on the Internet that they don't like. Intelligent design was next in line.

What can you do to make a meaningful statement in favor of free speech? Here's an idea: Get a copy of the new book from Discovery Institute Press, Evolution & Intelligent Design in a Nutshell, the most accessible and up-to-date introduction to ID that's ever been released. It goes on sale today on Amazon, in paperback and Kindle formats.

Comment: More information to get you started. If you can, buy the book!

Bizarro Earth

China poised to buy up Texas oil amid coronavirus slump

Texas oil
© Spencer Platt/Getty Images
An oil well owned an operated by Apache Corporation in the Permian Basin are viewed on February 5, 2015 in Garden City, Texas
With oil prices going through the floor as the United States economy struggles from the coronavirus pandemic, China and other foreign countries could pick up some Texas oil at bargain basement prices.

The national lockdown has devastated the energy sector with cars not being driven to work, airline travel at a near halt — and bankruptcy a constant concern, Fox Business News reported Saturday.

The price of a barrel of oil recently fell below $0 a barrel.

Better Earth

Charitable donations increase 89% during quarantine period as Russians seek to help out the vulnerable

Russia-wide 'We are Together'
© Sputnik / Evgeny Odinokov
A volunteer for the Russia-wide 'We are Together' campaign pictured delivering groceries to a veteran.
Russians have become far more charitable during self-isolation. That's according to data compiled by newspaper Kommersant, which discovered that non-profit organizations recorded a notable increase in donations during quarantine.

Based on data from online transfer services Yandex.Money and QIWI, Russians became much more active in supporting charities that support the "socially vulnerable," such as poor people, homeless people, and orphans.