Posts Tagged “rightism”
Conspiracy theories are common in the US. Lots of Americans really love them. The more ideologically-inclined they are, the more likely they are to cling to them. It stands to reason that the Far Right has built up something of an industry of various and sundry Barack Obama-related conspiracy theories. Among the most commonly-heard of these is the “Birther” movement, which claims Obama was born in Kenya, is not a US citizen, has offered a fake birth certificate falsely indicating he was born in Honolulu, HI, and therefore is not a legitimate president. I’ve blogged on the fiercely-irrational — and childish — Birthers many times and have noted their wild suppositions have no basis in fact. There’s also the widespread belief that Obama is not a Christian, but is secretly Muslim, and wants to hand over the US to the Muslim Brotherhood so they can force shari’a law on the country.
Both the Birthers and “Muslimers” are, sadly, politically influential; GOP officials routinely give winks-&-nods in the direction of Birtherism (even if they also claim they think Obama is American). And Oklahoma voters approved a needless amendment to their state constitution to keep shari’a law from being implemented there.
Yet another conspiracy theory which has a lot of traction these days involves a United Nations proposal called Agenda 21. Mother Jones reports the GOP caucus of the Georgia state senate gathered to hear about how Obama’s infernal plan to force this proposal on the country (WebCite cached article):
President Obama is using a Cold War-era mind-control technique known as “Delphi” to coerce Americans into accepting his plan for a United Nations-run communist dictatorship in which suburbanites will be forcibly relocated to cities. That’s according to a four-hour briefing delivered to Republican state senators at the Georgia state Capitol last month.
On October 11, at a closed-door meeting of the Republican caucus convened by the body’s majority leader, Chip Rogers, a tea party activist told Republican lawmakers that Obama was mounting this most diabolical conspiracy. The event—captured on tape by a member of the Athens-based watchdog Better Georgia (who was removed from the room after 52 minutes)—had been billed as an information session on Agenda 21, a nonbinding UN agreement that commits member nations to promote sustainable development. In the eyes of conservative activists, Agenda 21 is a nefarious plot that includes forcibly relocating non-urban-dwellers and prescribing mandatory contraception as a means of curbing population growth. The invitation to the Georgia state Senate event noted the presentation would explain: “How pleasant sounding names are fostering a Socialist plan to change the way we live, eat, learn, and communicate to ‘save the earth.’”
Here’s video of part of this paranoid presentation, courtesy of Vimeo:
This conspiracy includes a wide range of elements sure to make the Right perk up its ears: The United Nations, Barack Obama, mind control, socialism, environmentalism, and more. Obligatory links between the Obama administration and the regimes of Mao and Stalin were offered up, too. Georgia’s Republican state senators could hardly help but drool over the Rightist paranoid fantasy they were hearing.
What these folk don’t comprehend, are a few salient facts: First, Agenda 21 is non-binding. It’s basically a whole lot of hopes, dreams & wishful thinking, and nothing more. Second, Agenda 21 isn’t new; it’s been floating around for 20 years, with no sign yet of being forcefully implemented on anyone.
But third — and perhaps most importantly — even if the UN wanted to make Agenda 21 binding on its members, there’s no way it can do so. It’s perhaps the single most useless and ineffective organization on the planet, incapable of doing anything of significance. Consider the UN’s history: Its attempted interventions in places like the Levant and Korea have accomplished absolutely nothing, even after several decades. Let’s be honest here: Agenda 21 is dead; it always will be dead; and it was dead long before any of the insipid yammering dolts who infest UN headquarters in New York ever dreamed it up. And that’s because nothing the UN tries to do ever goes anywhere.
Another factual problem with the scenario cooked up here: The RAND Corporation “Delphi technique” is not a method of “mind control.” It’s actually something else entirely … i.e. a way to estimate future demand for something. And since RAND itself doesn’t make a secret of it (cached), I don’t see how it could be used as the fuel for a clandestine plot to take over the population and turn them into Obama’s automatons.
This article thoughtfully includes a link to a chart of myriad other Obama conspiracy theories that have been trafficked over the last few years. Read it, check out the links in it, and be amazed at the vast range of incredible delusions the Right has been spinning.
Photo credit: Mother Jones.
Tags: agenda 21
, barack obama
, chip rogers
, conspiracy theories
, conspiracy theory
, georgia senate gop caucus
, georgia state senate
, mind control
, new world order
, paranoid conspiracy
, paranoid conspiracy theorist
, president barack obama
, president obama
, united nations
No Comments »
I’ve already blogged about the militant Christofascist pseudohistorian David Barton … whom the Right continues to call a “historian,” even though he is absolutely no such thing. That’s to be expected; Rightists generally have only a very loose grasp of history in the first place, so they’re hardly able to tell the difference.
But Barton was drawn up short today — by his own publisher — because, as NPR reports, his most recent book contains demonstrable fabrications and lies (WebCite cached article):
Citing a loss of confidence in the book’s details, Christian publisher Thomas Nelson is ending the publication and distribution of the bestseller, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson.
The controversial book was written by Texas evangelical David Barton, who NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty profiled on All Things Considered Wednesday [cached]. The publishing company says it’s ceasing publication because it found that “basic truths just were not there.” …
“Mr. Barton is presenting a Jefferson that modern-day evangelicals could love and identify with,” historian Warren Throckmorton, a professor at the evangelical Grove City College, told Hagerty. “The problem with that is, it’s not a whole Jefferson; it’s not getting him right.”
The book’s publisher came to the same conclusion.
Religious Rightists have had more than a little difficulty, over the past few years, with Jefferson. He’s one of the best-recognized Founding Fathers, but was also openly disdainful of religiosity and dogmatism. While they revere the Founding Fathers, Jefferson’s decided lack of piety is something the R.R. apparently can no longer stomach. Rightists in Texas, for example, have purposely skewed the public-school curriculum so has to downplay Jefferson and the Enlightenment as a movement. Barton’s book appears to be a reverse of that effort, intended to make Jefferson’s impiety and irreverence go away.
I expect Barton and his fans to portray him as a martyr to the faith and complain that Thomas Nelson caved in to “political correctness.” They will refuse to believe that Barton’s books are full of lies, and will instead convince themselves that everyone who tells them so, is the real liar. That Thomas Nelson is a Christian publisher, and that critics like Throckmorton are evangelicals themselves, will not matter to them one iota. They will still refuse to believe Barton has lied to them. Communal reinforcement is a powerful thing and it can lead to delusional thinking; Barton’s popularity is proof of that.
I should conclude this post by giving Thomas Nelson credit for this action; it surely has cost them a great deal. I also have to give props to Barton’s evangelical critics like Throckmorton; I’m sure their flocks will be none too happy they’ve sided with “the Enemy” against the great “historian” Barton.
Photo credit: chadh, via Flickr.
Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.
P.S. You gotta love the irony of the title of Barton’s book. He obviously intended it to refer to “lies” being told about Jefferson by other folks … particularly those evil “secular humanists” … but in truth, the “lies” are Barton’s own, and they’re contained within the pages of the very book that pretends to debunk them. How contemptible!
, christian right
, david barton
, liar for jesus
, liars for jesus
, lying liar for jesus
, lying liars for jesus
, religious right
, the jefferson lies
, thomas jefferson
, thomas nelson
, warren throckmorton
No Comments »
As I’ve blogged a number of times already, Birtherism is a delusion that simply will not die. A frequent mantra of Birthers is that Obama has never produced his birth certificate. That, however, is factually incorrect; he has done so, and did it prior to his election in 2008. See FactCheck and Politfact, cached here and here for the evidence. (Note, neither of these fact-checking sites is “biased” towards Obama and the Democrats; recently, for instance, FactCheck pointed out tall tales told by him and by his party, and Politifact has a running “Obameter” listing promises he’s made, and has not shied from listing some as broken.) Oh, and that Kenyan birth certificate you may have heard about? It’s a fake (cached).
Making this situation worse is that denial that Obama is a US citizen has become religionized, and inextricably linked to the claim that he’s a Muslim. So the delusion has taken on an added dimension and, essentially, doubled in scope. Yes, that’s been covered by FactCheck (cached) and Politifact (cached), too — but again, the deluded Right-wing Birthers don’t give a fuck about facts.
Birtherism among Rightists has become so strong and pervasive, that GOP leaders refuse to confront it any more. If anything, they make excuses for Birtherism and wink in its direction. A recent example is House Speaker John Boehner, who did exactly this during his appearance on Meet the Press yesterday (WebCite cached article). When host David Gregory asked about persistent Birtherism, he said:
David, it’s not my job to tell the American people what to think. Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people.
That’s an interesting claim on Boehner’s part, since he’s been telling Americans for the last couple of years that Obama is a vile, wicked socialist, and he hasn’t “listened” to any Americans outside of the extreme Right-wing. After having told us what we’re supposed to think about Obama and the Democrats all this time, suddenly he declares he’s unwilling to tell us what to think? What a fucking hypocrite! At any rate, he continued hedging:
Having said that, the state of Hawaii has said that he was born there. That’s good enough for me. The president says he’s a Christian. I accept him at his word.
That’s all well and good, but it’s hardly a dismissal of Birtherism. Then, having said that, he veered back toward his original position:
MR. GREGORY: But that kind of ignorance about whether he’s a Muslim doesn’t concern you?
SPEAKER BOEHNER: Listen, the American people have the right to think what they want to think. I can’t–it’s not my job to tell them.
So the Speaker slalomed from, “I’m not supposed to tell people what to think,” to “Obama said he’s a citizen and a Christian,” to “People have a right to be deluded.”
Well, Speaker, you’re correct in that Americans have a “right” to be deluded. No doubt about that. The right to be a fucking ignoramus is undeniable. But you — as a leader in your political party — have a moral and ethical obligation to inform them of the truth. Even if it’s not a convenient truth to tell, and — yes — even if they don’t want to hear it. This is not a question of anyone’s “rights.” This is a question of what the objective facts are and what his duty is, as the leader of the Republican party in Congress.
In other words, it’s a question of fortitude and leadership.
Boehner has purposely chosen to keep his party chock-full of childish, delusional, paranoiac imbeciles. Just because he’s too much of a sniveling coward to tell them to knock off their Birtherist bullshit and shut the fuck up about the President not being a citizen or a Christian.
Way to go, Speaker. What outstanding courage you’ve shown! Why, you’ve demonstrated perfectly the kind of character it takes to lead the Right in the US.
It’s time for everyone on the Right — starting with Speaker Bonehead and the rest of his sanctimonious Rightist rabble in the House — to grow the hell up, stop telling demonstrable lies, and move on to something else, fercryinoutloud.
Photo credit: FactCheck.
, john boehner
, muslim obama
, obama citizen
, obama is a muslim
, obama muslim
, speaker of the house
5 Comments »
The darling of the tea party and the extreme Right, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, is known for her (many) public statements, which she makes on Facebook, on television, and Twitter, among other places. Often her jabbering is merely useless drivel; sometimes it’s downright stupid or dishonest. Usually, though, she just spews rigorous, mindless Rightist rhetoric, nearly all of which is indistinguishable, in its essence, from the mindless Rightism of other Rightist politicians and pundits.
It’s rare when she says something truly meaningful and revealing, but she did so just a little while ago, as Slate reports (WebCite cached article), emphasis mine:
“Both of their messages, too, those conservative common sense messages that they had on how to get the economy back on the right track were really good. They were sound. They were sound because they were in opposition to President Obama’s message.” —on Rep. Paul Ryan’s and Rep. Michele Bachmann’s State of the Union responses, to Fox News’ Greta von Susteren, Jan. 26, 2011 [cached].
Now, I’m sure Mrs Palin never intended that this little remark could be as revealing as it is. I doubt she even realizes the depth of what she said. She’s not alone in this regard … I’m not hearing many people in the mass media reporting on its true significance.
Nevertheless, what she has done, in this little quip, is to admit to the great secret of all ideology, which is that the truth of any matter is irrelevant … what matters is only that one says the opposite of one’s opposition. Facts are irrelevant to ideology; only opposition is important.
I have long said that this is the inherent danger of all ideologies … every last one of them is merely an arbitrary package of ideas intended to dodge and swerve around one’s opposition. They’re artificial, never fact-based, and only opposition-based. Ideologies infantilize, they never inform, and that is their sole purpose.
I’d like to thank Mrs Palin for stating this usually-unstated principle explicitly. It’s rare for a public figure to be revealingly honest.
Photo credit: PBS NewsHour.
, sarah palin
No Comments »
Ideologues are nothing if not predictable. One of the things they always do, when caught saying something they shouldn’t, is to refuse to admit any error. Concession is not in their vocabulary.
Bill O’Reilly, the ferocious Rightist and religonist ideologue, is no exception to this rule. Last month he declared that God must exist because tides are inexplicable. That was an astoundingly stupid thing to say, because tides are quite explainable and are well understood.
But as a rigid ideologue, O’Reilly is pathologically incapable of admitting this. So, just like any other rigid ideologue, after having dug himself into an intellectual hole, he grabbed a bigger shovel, and kept right on digging.
In a video response posted on his private “insiders’” Web site, he declared that, while tides are explainable as a result of the moon, they nevertheless prove God’s existence, because — after all — where did the moon come from? Youtube now has video of his stupidity:
The problem here is that we have a lot of good leads as to the origin of the moon, and hardly require a God to explain its existence. Once again, science has already dared to go, where Bill O’Reilly fears to tread.
Keep it up, Bill. Stay at it much longer and you just might be the first to tunnel your way to China!
As an aside, O’Reilly charges money for access to his insiders’ Web site. A big “WTF?” leaps to mind; people actually pay for this kind of drivel and bullshit!?
Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.
Photo credit: Crooks & Liars.
Tags: bill o'reilly
, fox news
No Comments »
The overuse of the reductio ad Hitlerum, or appeals to Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime, is a trend I’ve remarked on many times so far — and likely will have to again. Over the last couple of months, Fox News has become a particular outlet for this sort of fallacious antic, having been used by (probable) paranoid schizophrenic Glenn Beck and his boss, Roger Ailes. The Washington Post reports that a group of rabbis have called out these screaming, bellicose crybabies on their use of this childish tactic, ironically using Fox News’ “sister publication” to do so (WebCite cached article):
A coalition of rabbis wants Fox News chief Roger Ailes and conservative host Glenn Beck to cut out all their talk about Nazis and the Holocaust, and it’s making its views known in an unusual place.
The rabbis have called on Fox News’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, to sanction his two famous employees via a full-page ad in Thursday’s editions of the Wall Street Journal – one of many other media properties controlled by Murdoch’s News Corp. …
The rabbis were prompted by Beck’s three-part program [cached] in November about liberal billionaire philanthropist George Soros, whom Beck described as a “Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps” during World War II.
My skepticism caused me to wonder why the rabbis waited a couple of months to take out their ad, but the Post explained its timing:
Thursday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day [cached], an observance established by the United Nations in 2005.
For the record — and as I posted earlier — I do not think Beckie-boy or his boss are anti-Semites. They are, rather, furious with the Left, and so juvenile that they think they’re entitled to stoop to any kind of rhetoric — no matter how fallacious or vile it may be — to discredit the Left. Their anger and immaturity are so overwhelming that they just can’t help but act like tiny little children.
Can’t we all put away the tired, worn tactic of the reductio ad Hitlerum? Isn’t it time for a little more maturity and a little less caterwauling?
Photo credit: féileacán.
Tags: ad hitlerum
, adolf hitler
, appeal to hitler
, appeal to nazis
, argumentum ad hitlerum
, fox news
, george soros
, glenn beck
, jewish funds for justice
, news corp
, reductio ad hitlerum
, roger ailes
, rupert murdoch
, wall street journal
1 Comment »
Here, Gentle Reader, is the second “peasants with pitchforks” moment in less than a week.
It seems the town of Enfield has become Connecticut’s crucible of Rightism, a New England microcosm of Kansas in the late ’90s and early ’00s — and more recently, Oklahoma. Last year, ardent Religious Rightists there chose to defy the law of the land and hold the town’s high school graduation in a church. As expected, they were rebuffed in this effort, mainly because of their lies, but they most certainly haven’t given up enforcing Rightism. The town’s Republican mayor recently ordered the Enfield library not to show Michael Moore’s Sicko documentary, as the (Manchester, CT) Journal Inquirer reports (WebCite cached article):
The Enfield Public Library on Wednesday canceled Friday’s screening of filmmaker Michael Moore’s controversial documentary “Sicko” under pressure from most Town Council members and the mayor, who threatened to cut the library’s funding if the film was shown.
Let me state up-front that I’m no fan of Michael Moore. He’s a shameless propagandist, and I despise propaganda; “propaganda” and “dishonesty” all too often are one and the same thing. But honestly … what the fuck? You people can’t tolerate a couple hours of Moore’s extreme Leftism? Really!? Are you that thin-skinned?
What a bunch of fucking whiners!
Enfield’s militant Rightists came up with a list of rationales for their censorship, beginning with “it’s for the children”:
Councilman Patrick Crowley, also a Democrat, said he didn’t think the effort to cancel the screening amounted to censorship, saying the library should be age-appropriate for young children.
“We want it to be a place for relaxation and fun for the kids,” Crowley said.
Yeah. As if any kids who show up are actually going to sit through more than a couple minutes of Sicko.
Then, it was “but this film is too controversial”:
[Mayor Scott R.] Kaupin said the library should steer clear of controversial material like “Sicko.”
My guess is Hizzonner has never seen the movie and thus knows nothing about its “controversy,” except what Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, etc. have told him about it. The curious thing about controversies is that, without actually examining the elements of the controversy, one never knows what the controversy is. Controversies don’t go away if we clamp our eyes shut and plug up our ears.
There were even some who denied this was even censorship at all:
Resident Dominic Alaimo, who is also chairman of the Thompsonville Board of Fire Commissioners, said at Tuesday’s meeting that canceling the screening is not censorship because the film is “available anywhere you want.”
“Censorship does not start from the bottom and work up. Censorship starts in like Red China, Russia,” Alaimo said.
Aha. There you have it. This can’t be censorship, because Enfield is in the US, and censorship only happens in “Red China” and Russia! Why, I’m so glad to have that cleared up! Whew!
The only good part about this particular childish dust-up is that the Rightists in Enfield have learned their lesson from their legal smackdown earlier this year, and have relented — slightly. Rick Green of the Hartford Courant reports Sicko will be screened, after all — as part of a package of “balanced” film screenings. As though a couple hours of Moore being shown in the Enfield library, one time, needs to be “balanced” … when talk-radio and cable news are stuffed to the gills with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week of unrelenting, undiluted Rightism. Personally, I think propaganda needs to be “balanced” against rationality and truthful information. Unfortunately there are no critical-thinking movies out there … at least, none that I know of.
Photo credit: (UK) Daily Mail.
, dominic alaimo
, enfield CT
, enfield public library
, michael moore
, mob mentality
, peasants with pitchforks
, scott kaupin
, scott r kaupin
, torch-carrying mob
No Comments »
Almost a year after resigning as head of the Christian evangelical group he founded (WebCite archived article), Focus on the Family, James Dobson will be leaving the group entirely, and establishing a new one of his own, called “James Dobson on the Family” (wow, talk about originality!). The New York Times reports on this development (archived article):
Dr. James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and an influential voice for Christian conservatives, is about to depart from the organization he created and is starting a radio program that will give him greater leeway to hold forth on politics.
Beginning in March, Dr. Dobson, 73, will co-host the radio show with his son, Ryan, 39, a tattooed surfer and skateboarder who wrote a book called “Be Intolerant” and who has honed an identity preaching to youths.
Dobson has claimed this move is just a new way to continue his all-important mission to convert the country to evangelical Christianity:
“Our nation is facing a crisis that threatens its very existence,” Dr. Dobson said on Dec. 29 in announcing his new venture on his Facebook page. “We are in a moral decline of shocking dimensions. I have asked myself how can I sit and watch the world go by without trying to help if I can. That is what motivates me at this time.”
Even if this is true, it’s not clear how it was necessary for him to leave Focus on the Family in order to do this. After all, their mission is his mission, is it not? What’s the problem? Well, the Times may have figured it out:
The real reason for Dr. Dobson’s new venture may have been his son. A Focus board member who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that because Ryan Dobson has been divorced, it would be against the board’s policy for him to serve as the voice for Focus, which counsels people on marriage and child-rearing. (Ryan Dobson has since remarried and has a son of his own.)
Yes, that’s right, folks. The man who has spent decades condemning divorce and complaining about the demise of the “nuclear family,” managed to raise his own son to get divorced and then get remarried. Because Focus on the Family was built on this strict ideal … an ideal that Dobson himself specified … he now must leave his own organization and start a new one, if he’s to include his own divorced-&-remarried son in it.
The word for this, folks, is hypocrisy. Yes … that same hypocrisy that Jesus himself explicitly ordered his followers never to engage in under any circumstances.
Of course, the Dobsons’ move of creating a new radio show, puts them at odds with Focus on the Family, which will retain its own show. In any event, the first order of business — as is usual with any evangelical group — is fundraising:
In his Facebook page announcement, he asked contributors to raise $2 million to get it under way, adding that he hoped they would also continue to support Focus.
Let’s hope money is too tight to get this project going.
Hat tip: iReligion forum on Delphi Forums.
, christian right
, dr james dobson
, evangelical christian
, focus on the family
, james dobson
, james dobson on the family
, religious right
, ryan dobson
No Comments »