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Joe Biden condemned the QAnon conspiracy theory as "dangerous" and "embarrassing" in a campaign event on Friday, recommending that people who support the sprawling network of falsehoods to seek mental health treatment.

Why it matters: It's the first time Biden has publicly addressed the once-fringe, far-right conspiracy theory, which has been flagged as a threat by the FBI and has slowly seeped into mainstream U.S. politics.

Catch up quick: QAnon alleges the "deep state" is engaged in a global fight to take down President Trump and evolved from the 2016 Pizzagate conspiracy theory into a decentralized network that analyzes cryptic prophecies dropped in remote online forums by "Q," who claims, without offering evidence, to be a Trump administration official with high-level clearance.

What he's saying: "I've been a big supporter of mental health," Biden said. "I'd recommend the people who believe [in QAnon] maybe should take advantage, while it still exists, of the Affordable Care Act."

  • "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."

The big picture: When informed in August that the crux of the theory is a belief that he is "secretly saving the world from this Satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals," Trump responded, "Well I haven't heard that, but is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?" In a press conference last month, the president said QAnon supporters "like me very much."

Go deeper: How QAnon works like a video game to hook people

Go deeper

Nov 12, 2020 - Technology

Election reality fails to pop GOP's online filter bubble

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Trump administration's fight to question the election's outcome is providing a massive field test of the effectiveness of online echo chambers and filter bubbles.

The state of play: So far, the evidence from the Trump universe shows partisan delusion winning out over objective reality.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

HRW: Over 100 former Afghan security members dead or missing under Taliban rule

Members of the Taliban movement patrol Kabul's airport in September. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

The Taliban have "killed or forcibly disappeared" over 100 former members of Afghanistan's security forces since the group took power in August, a Human Rights Watch report published Tuesday found.

Why it matters: Former military members and officials from the ousted government, activists and other Taliban critics are facing peril amid executions driven by revenge — despite Taliban promises of an "amnesty" with no retributions, notes the New York Times, which first reported the news.

5 hours ago - World

Barbados becomes a republic, replacing U.K. queen with president

Combination images of Dame Sandra Mason, president of Barbados, and Britain's Prince Charles at her swearing-in ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados, late Monday.

Barbados officially became a republic at midnight local time after Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the Caribbean nation's first president in a ceremony attended by the United Kingdom's Prince Charles.

Why it matters: Mason replaced Britain's Queen Elizabeth as head of state Tuesday — removing the country's final remaining colonial tie to the U.K. almost 400 years after the first British ships arrived in Barbados.

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