11 People Who Were Literally This Close to Becoming President

American history is chock full of near-misses, twists of fate, lucky breaks, and obscure politicians who almost became leader of the free world. The vice presidency has been vacant 18 different times, sometimes for years at a time.

Every one of those vacancies represented a constitutional crisis that wasn’t dealt with until the passage of the 25th Amendment in 1967. There was no way to fill a vice presidential vacancy, and it’s not clear whether Congress has the authority to call off-year presidential elections. With no president or vice-president, the very legitimacy of our government could have been put to the test.

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The Flat Earth Movement Has Its Own Film Festival


The Flat Earth movement is a loose coalition of those who believe that the Earth is actually a disc,  and that depictions of the planet as a globe are fake. It’s a small cadre of internet dwellers, but it punches above its weight in terms of how vocal it is.

It boasts several extremely active Facebook groups, some heavily-watched YouTube videos, prominent celebrity believers, such as rapper B.O.B. and NBA star Kyrie Irving, and maybe the most important thing you need for success on the internet, countless woke memes.

And now, it’s having a film festival, exploring the idea that science has literally been lying to us THIS WHOLE TIME.

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Every Trump Tweet With a Parenthesis: An Analysis

This post is updated continuously.

President Trump’s use of Twitter is an endlessly fascinating and terrifying subject. He uses it to communicate with his friends on Fox News, to poke his rivals, to announce wild swings in policy, and to pump up the brand of President of the United States.

Another subject of fascination is the language he uses when he uses it. Trump’s tweets are full of seemingly random capitalized words, tortured run-on sentences, short admonitions that sound like they’re commands to a dog (“NO!” “BAD!” “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”), and pictures from his travails pretending to lead the free world.

One of my personal favorite Trump Twitter Quirks is his use of parentheses. According to grammarbook.com, parentheses should be used “to enclose information that clarifies or is used as an aside.”

Most Trump parentheses are asides with no real reason for existing. He also clarifies information that doesn’t really need to be clarified, re-stating or contradicting information he’s literally just given us. There seems to be no real methodology to their use.

Because I love Trump’s scattershot use of parentheses so much, I decided to go through all his tweets for 2018 so far and take a quick look at each one. Was it needed? Was it helpful? Did it even make sense? What was he attempting to communicate in his usage of it? Was there a hidden meaning we just didn’t grasp? Read on, dear reader:

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Every Robert Mueller Indictment, Ranked

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has returned indictments against 19 people so far. While he’s got a long way to go before breaking Watergate’s record of 69 indictments (nice), Mueller has also nailed more people much faster.

They are a relatively random collection of Trump staffers and Russian trolls, most of whom have never met. But it’s important that we understand who they are, what they did, and how much they’ll mean to the grander case against Trump that Mueller is pursuing.

So I ranked them all in order of importance, and of their role in the Trump/Russia fiasco. Ranking bad people is fun!

19. Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopae – A low-ranking researcher and shitposter at the troll farm. If you were arguing with a broken-English Twitter account, it might have been this guy.

18. Gleb Igorevich Vasilchenko – Another rank and file Internet Research Agency poster who pretended to be American and dumped crap on social media. Meh.

17. Vladimir Venkov – Yet another staff troll at the Internet Research Agency. Apparently, he’s not cool enough to get his middle name used in the indictment.

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Crisis Actor? False Flags? Answering Basic Questions About Conspiracy Theories

There has been an avalanche of conspiracy theories regarding the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida. Many revolve around concepts like false flags and crisis actors – terms that are familiar to those who study and write about fringe culture, but are new to the populace at large.

This can lead to an air of authoritative knowledge by those who decidedly do not have it. And unfortunately, they seem to come up for every tragedy – be it a shooting, terror attack, or even a deadly accident.

In the case of Parkland, Douglas High School student David Hogg has been described as a “crisis actor” paid to espouse gun control views. The whole thing has been called a government-perpetrated “false flag” by prominent conspiracy theorists and conservative infotainment figures. Rumors are flying that the shooting was covered up by an active shooter drill that “went live.”

But what does any of that mean? Are these real concepts? Have these things been done before – and could the shooting in Parkland be the next iteration?

While these concepts are mostly unknown to the public (who are then appalled to hear them), I’ve been writing about them for years. On Skeptoid Blog, I wrote posts diving into each one of these ideas, and am extremely familiar with how they work – and don’t work.

This piece summarizes what I wrote there, and if you want more information, feel free to read the original posts. They have crazy comments!

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