Posts Tagged “conspiracy”

'Insanity: At least it's better to be someone who cannot think clearly than one who clearly cannot think.' / Motifake.ComNo sooner did I blog about the continued irrational phenomenon of “Sandy Hook truthers,” than I see another story about these paranoid freaks and wingnuts. The Seattle Times reports Amazon has had to change its online review process because of “truthers'” attacks on a survivor’s book (WebCite cached article):

Amazon.com is revising its product review system six weeks after The Seattle Times reported on activists posting reviews [cached] to push their political and social agendas.

“We are taking a close look at our policies regarding activism reviews and are considering changes,” Amazon spokesman Tom Cook said in a statement.

The Times article reported on coordinated attacks by Amazon reviewers on Scarlett Lewis, the mother of a 6-year-old boy murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut three years ago Monday. Lewis wrote “Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother’s Journey of Hope and Forgiveness” to describe her journey after the massacre.

Dozens of reviewers — conspiracy theorists who believe the shootings were an Obama administration hoax to push for gun-control legislation — savaged Lewis on the Amazon book Web page as a liar and opportunist.

The article goes on to describe many of the “reviews” (which aren’t actually reviews, just sanctimonious caterwauling by enraged “truthers” who feel as though they’re entitled to visit their outrage and fury on the world), as well as the “truthers'” ongoing conspiracy to disparage Sandy Hook survivors at every step. (The irony of people who believe in a conspiracy theory concocting and participating in one of their own, is truly precious!) The Times also goes over other, similar campaigns involving other products Amazon sells.

The real problem here, of course, is immaturity. The Sandy Hook truthers, as well as other types of conspiratorial thinkers (e.g. the anti-Monsanto crowd), simply haven’t grown up enough to deal with their own insane impulses and feelings. So, like two-year-olds, they lash out however they wish, any time they wish, and rationalize it based upon the presumed “righteousness” of their “cause.” In this case, the “truthers” are visiting their insanity and rage on a company … for no good reason.

Photo credit: Motifake.Com.

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'I'm never alone, they're always here, watching, waiting, listening, scheming ... I can't escape them, they're suffocating me, with their dark lies. I need to get out. Everyone's against me, there's no one I can trust, I'm my own worst enemy.' / PARANOIA - demotivational poster, via MotifakeIt’s been a while since I blogged about the Sandy Hook truther phenomenon. For the most part this trope has died down here in Connecticut, but elsewhere it seems to live on — in spite of how insane it is. Perhaps the strangest aspect of this movement is that, while many of the scenarios are contradictory — some propose that the shooting happened and people died but it wasn’t done by a lone murderous criminal, while others presume it to have been a staged event in which no one died — Sandy Hook truthers tend to stick together anyway (as though they have no idea their arguments differ substantially).

The only point in common that they have, is that they think it was ordered by President Barack Obama so he could justify confiscating everyone’s guns and/or nullifying the Second Amendment. (That he hasn’t even come close to attempting to do either of these, is irrelevant to them.) This unity of spirit, if not in detail, coupled with the insanity inherent in most conspiratorial thinking*, makes it a potentially dangerous movement.

Over the past month, some of that danger has reared its ugly head. A month ago, as the Connecticut Post reports, one truther tried to interfere in a race held in memory of slain teacher Vicki Soto (WebCite cached article):

A self-proclaimed “truther” was arrested after police said he tried to disrupt the Vicki Soto 5K race.

Matthew Mills, 32, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was charged Saturday with interfering with police and second-degree breach of peace. He was released after posting $2,500 bond.…

Hundreds were attending the third-annual race to raise money for educational scholarships in Soto’s name. Police said Mills approached Vicki’s Soto’s younger sister, Jillian. They said Mills shoved a photograph in the younger Soto’s face and began angrily charging that not only did the Sandy Hook tragedy not take place, but that Vicki Soto never existed.

Police said the photo was of the Soto family, including Vicki Soto, sitting on a seawall in Stratford.

In case you didn’t know it, Sandy Hook truthers are obsessed with photos they think show the slain victims alive and well after the massacre. They don’t know what they’re talking about when they wave them around … and quite obviously, appearances can be deceiving … but those realities never put a dent in their sanctimonious outrage.

And just a couple days ago, truthers ramped up their war against the Soto family as News Corp Australia reports, by threatening Carlee Soto and publishing her address (cached):

The Sandy Hook “truthers” took their theories a step further this week when they tracked Ms Soto down, threatened her family and posted her address online. As she grieves her sister’s loss three years on, she’s faced with fear all over again.

On a memorial page dedicated to Vicki Soto, her family described how they were “scared to go home” after users on photo sharing site Instagram shared their home address.…

The family shared a number of messages sent to them. In one message, user @divinely_awakened_ wrote to Carlee’s husband Brent: “They’re coming after you. They know who you and your wife are. They know where you live.”

In another message, user @anon_perkeletic shared the family’s details with a message accusing Ms Soto of being an actor.

The truthers have long accused Carlee Soto of being a “crisis actor”; Snopes even has an article debunking that notion. Isn’t it time for people to just fucking grow the hell up already and stop letting themselves go out of control over insane ideas that aren’t even comprehensible, much less reconcilable with known fact?

* Yes, I know the old saw that some conspiracy theories are true. And yes, I’m aware that some are. But that doesn’t make any given conspiracy theory true. It just doesn’t, and I’m not stupid enough to fall for that contention.

Photo credit: Motifake.

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ZEALOT: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JESUS OF NAZARETH, by Reza Aslan, via Reza Aslan Web siteYou’d think people in the United States in the 21st century would be clear about “freedom of speech.” You’d think they’ve read the First Amendment and understand that, barring slander, libel, or extremes (such as the proverbial “shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater”), people can say and/or write whatever they want to. You’d think they understand there are no controls on who can write about what. Americans learn about this in school and they have no excuse for not being aware of it.

But when the people you’re talking about are the Religious Right, all of that goes out the window. They get their self-righteous knickers in knots when certain people write about certain topics, sanctimoniously presuming the authority to pronounce certain topics off-limits to certain people.

A sterling example of this religionistic outrage involves scholar Reza Aslan, who wrote Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. As Slate reports, the problem here is that Aslan is (curses!) a Muslim (WebCite cached article):

Fox News anchor Lauren Green had religious scholar Reza Aslan on her show Friday to talk about Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, his book that has been stirring up some online controversy recently. And right off the bat, Green gets to what is important: “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” Aslan seemed a little flabbergasted: “Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”…

Aslan has become the target of anti-muslim rhetoric this past week as he’s made numerous media appearances to publicize his book. Author and pastor John Dickerson harshly criticized media outlets on FoxNews.com [cached], saying reporters “have failed to mention [Aslan] is a devout Muslim.” In a piece for WorldNetDaily [cached], Pamela Geller writes that “jihadist operatives like the vicious Reza Aslan are carried on the shoulders of the media and intelligentsia like a football hero at the end of an impossibly fought game.” Many who share these views have taken to Amazon to give the book one-star reviews. Aslan “is a Muslim and not a historian,” reads one of the one-star reviews.

The train-wreck Fox News interview mentioned in the Slate report is available via Youtube:

For any other Religious Rightists who’re furious over this horrific Muslim-&-Mass-Media conspiracy to dis your precious Jesus, allow me to explain a few facts that I’m sure you’re unaware of:

  1. As I explained above, “freedom of speech” entitles any American Muslim to write about Jesus if s/he wants to, and there’s not one fucking thing you can do to stop it.
  2. Aslan is a multi-degreed academic, with expertise in religions (contrary to what some Amazon reviewers have said). He has the credentials to discuss the topic of Jesus competently. In fact, he has more credentials than the average Christian, to do so: The average Christian has no education in ancient history and does not know any Biblical languages.
  3. Muslims do, as it turns out, have a religious interest in Jesus, because they view him as a prophet. They don’t believe the same things about him that Christians do, but that doesn’t mean they have no interest in him or his teachings.
  4. Christians themselves have no reservations about discussing Islam and/or Muslims. Franklin Graham, for instance, has pontificated about Islam. And here’s a report about a conference where a whole bunch of Christians went to blather on at length about Islam and Muslims (cached).

Seems to me that any Christians who’re sanctimoniously enraged that an insolent “jihadist” Muslim dared write about their Jesus … and worse, that the mass media have insidiously conspired with him to cover this up … are being hypocritical, if they also feel free to call Mohammad a pervert (cached), or a cross-dresser (cached), a moon-worshipper (cached) … or any number of other disparaging claims. Those Christians need to crack open their Bibles for the first time and read about how their own Jesus clearly and explicitly forbid them ever to engage in any hypocritical behavior, and then just fucking stop already. Their childish act is wearing pretty thin.

Oh, and one last thing: This cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen also hosts a Web site concerning the early history of Christianity. Yes, that’s right. An insolent non-believer has dared write about your precious Jesus and the origins of the religion he supposedly founded. How awful of me!

Photo credit: Reza Aslan Web site.

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'PARANOIA ... because we all know that the flying monkeys are coming to get us' / Funny Demotivational PostersWater supplies in the US have been fluoridated for decades. It’s a great way to fight tooth decay. It also happens to be safe and effective, and this has been demonstrated repeatedly since the practice began. The science is in; the matter is settled; and it has been settled for years.

But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been wingnuts, cranks, lunatics and freaks wailing and fuming over it. “It’s a Commie plot!” was a common battle-cry against it, in the 50s, and the Communist conspiracy angle remained a popular facet of the anti-fluoridation movement.

The Cold War has been over for more than two decades, but that doesn’t mean opposition to fluoridation went away. No, it took on other angles. For example, some think it’s a Big Pharma conspiracy to stuff corporate coffers with ill-gotten booty at the expense of public health. That anti-fluoridators make their own profits being anti-fluoridators — selling books, hosting seminars, raking in speakers’ fees — doesn’t seem to matter much to their fans. They refuse to see the contradiction and will not admit their heroes are hypocrites.

Here in Connecticut, it seems anti-fluoridators have found a fan in Republican state Senator Joe Markley. The Hartford Courant reports he recently hosted a fake hearing in the state capitol to roll back a law mandating fluoridation in the Nutmeg State (WebCite cached article):

Saying the practice takes away the right of consumers to make medical choices and possibly inflicts serious harm on children, opponents of adding fluoride to public water argued Wednesday that a glass of water should contain water — and nothing else.

At an informal hearing at the state Capitol called by state Sen. Joe Markley, chemist Paul Connett called on state lawmakers to abolish the state’s flouridation law and forbid communities from putting additives in water supplies to improve public health.

“We should never use the public water supply to deliver medicine,” said Connett, a retired Dartmouth professor and leading fluoridation critic. “No doctor could do to us what the state of Connecticut is doing.”

I have to wonder if Connett is a member of the John Birch Society, since one of the pretenses upon which they opposed fluoridation was that it was an impermissible, involuntary, mass medical treatment.

At any rate, the Courant lays out the background behind Connecticut’s fluoridation mandate, and adds:

But Markley, a Republican from Southington, put forth legislation this year to abolish Connecticut’s policy, saying that it unfairly adds an extra expense to cash-strapped town budgets. The bill failed, but Markley said he’ll bring it back next year. On Wednesday, he said he wanted both sides of the fluoridation debate to make their case.

“As a principle, politically, I try to listen to everybody as much as possible,” Markley said. “I like to hear people who know what they’re talking about differ on a topic.”

Note Markley’s brazen appeal to the false debate (aka “teach the controversy”). What the senator doesn’t know — or perhaps he does know, and he’s just lying about it — is that there is no longer any “debate” about the safety or effectiveness of fluoridation. It is safe, and it is effective. Period. Markley’s suggestion that there is any remaining question about it, is disingenuous.

That article makes a point of mentioning that dentists had been invited, but did not come:

Connecticut State Dental Association President Mark Desrosiers said in an interview that his group had accepted an invitation from Markley. But they backed out when they heard Connett would be there.

The reason why dentists wouldn’t bother coming to Markley’s fake hearing starring Connett should be obvious. It’s the same reason that geophysicists don’t show up to meetings of the Flat Earth Society: There’s no point in going! They wouldn’t be welcome, their input isn’t wanted, and there’s nothing they could say that would have the slightest effect on any of the anti-fluoridators there.

Photo credit: Funny Demotivational Posters (defunct).

P.S. Watch the credentials here. Connett is a scientist, yes … but he’s a chemist, not a physician or dentist. Woops!

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Gustave Doré (1832-1883), Crusades Celestial Phenomena on Wikimedia CommonsNeocrusading Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas is one really angry fellow. That in itself is not news. He’s been outraged for years that there are actually non-Christians in his precious “Christian Nation” and he’s incensed that they dare actually stay in this country. (How rude of them!). He recently used time on the floor of the House, as Mediaite reports, to launch into an accusation that the Obama administration has conspired with Muslims to destroy his “Christian Nation” (WebCite cached article):

On the House floor on Friday, Texas Representative Louie Gohmert accused various federal agencies of aiding Islamic terrorists organizations such as the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America in their attempts to enact Sharia Law.

“We need to address the political correctness that is blinding our agencies and blinding our military of its ability to see who the enemy is, because it’s getting people killed,” Gohmert said. “When you refuse to acknowledge that the Afghans you’re training, may be willing to turn their guns you’re training them on and kill you … until you recognize that and who our enemy is, and that our enemy can be among us, and that our enemy can be in uniforms that we’re supposed to be friendly with, then more Americans are going to be killed needlessly.”

Gohmert accused the Obama administration of changing policy so that the FBI, State Department, and others had to “partner with” CAIR and ISNA, rather than treat mosques as terrorist recruitment centers.

He actually thinks CAIR and ISNA together will repeal the Constitution:

“Any time CAIR says, ‘This offends us,’ the FBI says, ‘Oh, gee, we’d better change it,’” Gohmert claimed. “When you’ve had the Fifth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals confirm that, yes, the evidence shows that CAIR, Islamic Society of North America—those are front organizations for the Muslim Brotherhood. They want Sharia law to be the law of the land, not our Constitution. And that is what we did not take an oath to allow to happen.”

Note that Louie-boy isn’t the first militant Christianist to posit that the Muslim Brotherhood is being set up to take over the country and establish shari’a law here; Franklin Graham has been saying this for a few years now, as have his friends in the American Family Association.

The idea that CAIR and are “fronts” for the Muslim Brotherhood is an old one, but so far has not held up to scrutiny. It’s true that a board member of CAIR’s Texas chapter was involved with the Holy Land Foundation, which did, in turn, have connections with Hamas. But that was shut down by 2008 — before Obama was elected. And the board member in question was convicted in 2009 — under the Obama administration — of having funneled money to Hamas via his connection with the HLF.

So little crybaby Louie missed his mark. Not only did he point to the wrong Islamist bogeyman group (the Muslim Brotherhood vs. Hamas), he accused the administration that got a CAIR chapter board member sentenced to 65 years in prison of conspiring with them. I suppose that makes sense to Louie-boy, but to the rest of us, it doesn’t.

The Religious Right has been complaining for years about the existence CAIR and ISNA. They’d rather these groups disbanded and their members drifted off into silence. Well, too bad for them … this is a free country, where we have these pesky little things known as “freedom of speech” and “freedom of association.” CAIR and ISNA are allowed to get together and to say what they want to say and advocate on behalf of their membership, all they want — so long as they don’t break the law in the process (as one of them found out). And they get to do it in the same way that militant Christianist outfits like Focus on the Family, the Christian Coalition, Operation Rescue, the American Family Association, etc. can. Gohmert is being hypocritical when he whines and cries about CAIR and ISNA doing precisely what all of those groups — with which he’s allied — do. Curiously, though, his own Jesus explicitly and unambiguously forbid him ever to be hypocritical.

As far as I’m concerned, as an objective observer, CAIR, ISNA, the AFA, FotF, etc. are all advocates for fervent religionism. At best, they’re two sides of the same coin. At worst, they’re all playing the same game, trying to promote unreasoning religionism. One form of religiofascist irrationality is no better than any other.

In any event, Gohmert’s absurd conspiratorial tirade places Louie-boy in my “lying liars for Jesus” club.

One last thing about Louie-baby’s tirade: He says neither the Obama administration nor the Pentagon are concerned about “green on blue” attacks. But that’s not true at all. Of course they’re concerned about this vile phenomenon, and it’s slanderous for him to suggest otherwise. Since last year they’ve been taking steps to deal with it (cached). So that makes Gohmert a liar on yet another count. Well done, Louie. You must be so proud!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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'It's a lie! Not being held here!' / PsiCop crop/modification of CHD Web site, original URL: http://www.citizenhearing.org/index.htmlFor decades, UFOnauts have been clamoring and whining for Congressional hearings into supposed extraterrestrial visitations and all sorts of presumed government cover-ups of them. They think this will, somehow, lend credence to the various wingnut scenarios and conspiracies they allege have been going on since the 1940s, and they also hope to expose “the Truth” of things like the 1947 Roswell, NM “flying saucer” crash. This week, “Congressional” hearings are being held … but Congress doesn’t actually have anything to do with it. As MSN News reports, the whole thing was carefully staged so as to appear Congressional, when it’s not (WebCite cached article):

Are UFOs real? Have aliens been trying to contact the human race? And if so, has the U.S. government conspired to cover up decades of such encounters?

Those questions are the subject of a “congressional” hearing in Washington this week.

The event has all the trappings of a high-profile D.C. policy event. It’s being held at the National Press Club, with dozens of experts testifying to a panel of officials seated on a dais.

But, to be clear, the officials are former members of Congress and were each paid $20,000, plus travel expenses, to participate.

The event is being put on by the organization Citizen Hearing on Disclosure, whose motto is: “If Congress won’t do it, the people will.”

I find it exceedingly interesting that this group actually paid people to show up and participate. Not unlike the paid actors who — supposedly, according to the “Sandy Hook Truth” conspiracists — had been hired by the Obama administration to stage a massacre in Newtown, CT. Hmm. Whodathunkit?

This outfit’s Web site is a shining example of propaganda at its most transparent. You see, its top banner features a picture of the US Capitol, in spite of the fact that these so-called hearings are not even being held in that building! (Here’s a captured copy of their Web page.) It’s true the group admits (in its name, even) that these are mere “citizen” hearings, but slapping a picture of the Capitol on their Web site is an obvious disingenuous tactic designed to grant it an dignity and authority it doesn’t deserve. It can’t reasonably be called anything other than dishonest.

I’m amazed at the rugged persistence of America’s UFOnauts. If they can’t get themselves onto the stage of a Congressional hearing to pontificate on their insane conspiracies concerning government silence about extraterrestrial visitations, they just stage one anyway, including hiring actors former Congressmen to show up and make it seem official. Well done, guys!

Photo credit: PsiCop crop/modification of CHD Web site.

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ManWearingTinFoilHatWhen one encounters crazed conspiracy theorists, it’s natural to ask what’s the problem with them. The US is a free country, after all. People are free to be idiots, morons, and ignoramuses driven by delusions and phony outrage, if they want to. They can make and wear their tinfoil hats anywhere they wish, no matter how strange they look. Their laughable obsessions don’t hurt anyone but them … so who cares?

Except sometimes, that’s not true. Sometimes the sanctimonious fury of insane paranoiacs does, in fact, cause harm. A sterling example is that of Gene Rosen, a Newtown CT man who took in some of the kids who’d escaped the carnage at the Sandy Hook Elementary School (it’s a horrific event I’ve blogged a few times about). Salon reports he’s now the target of angry “Sandy Hook Truthers” who vent their rage at him, because they’re too childish to figure out how to control themselves (locally-cached article):

“I don’t know what to do,” sighed Gene Rosen. “I’m getting hang-up calls, I’m getting some calls, I’m getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I’m lying, that I’m a crisis actor, ‘how much am I being paid?’” Someone posted a photo of his house online. There have been phony Google+ and YouTube accounts created in his name, messages on white supremacist message boards ridiculing the “emotional Jewish guy,” and dozens of blog posts and videos “exposing” him as a fraud. One email purporting to be a business inquiry taunted: “How are all those little students doing? You know, the ones that showed up at your house after the ‘shooting’. What is the going rate for getting involved in a gov’t sponsored hoax anyway?” …

What did Rosen do to deserve this? One month ago, he found six little children and a bus driver at the end of the driveway of his home in Newtown, Conn [cached]. “We can’t go back to school,” one little boy told Rosen. “Our teacher is dead.” He brought them inside and gave them food and juice and toys. He called their parents. He sat with them and listened to their shocked accounts of what had happened just down the street inside Sandy Hook Elementary, close enough that Rosen heard the gunshots.

In the hours and days that followed, Rosen did a lot of media interviews. “I wanted to speak about the bravery of the children, and it kind of helped me work through this,” he told Salon in an interview. “I guess I kind of opened myself up to this.”

The “this” in question is becoming a prime target of the burgeoning Sandy Hook truther movement [cached], which — like its precursor that denied the veracity of the 9/11 terror attacks — alleges that the entire shooting was a hoax of some kind.

I’ve already blogged about the insanity which is the “Sandy Hook Truther” movement, but I underestimated these lunatics; I had no idea they were capable of stooping to something like this.

If it’s not clear to you by now, let me spell it out for you: This is nothing more or less than immaturity. Plain and simple. PCT’s don’t like something they hear about, so rather than accept the bad news like mature adults and get on with their lives, they throw an intellectual tantrum and cook up some delusional rationale for not accepting that it happened as it was reported. That’s really what this boils down to.

One of the ways you can tell these folk are not exactly firing on all cylinders, or basing their views on a single set of facts, is that they can’t or won’t agree whether or not anyone died in Sandy Hook Elementary School: Some say no one died and it was all staged by “crisis actors”; others claim it was a real massacre ordered either by President Obama (in order to take everyone’s guns away) or by Mossad (in order to get back at Obama for not having backed Israel’s plan to attack Iran). If they’re going to concoct a fictional scenario and rail about it, you’d think they could at least get their story straight … but they won’t.

At any rate, I can see the reactions of the PCT’s now. They’ll say Rosen is still acting, that no one has harassed him, that he’s lying, that he made up the harassment in order to appear a “martyr” and further whatever cause the Sandy Hook “Hoax” was supposed to have supported. Or something like that. Twisted rationales are easy for these juvenile wingnuts to cook up. It’s long past time for them to grow the fuck up and get over it already, fercryinoutloud.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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