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“Wild And Wacky Stuff”: The Conspiracy Theories Of Ben Carson: A Brief Introduction

The world is now a-BuzzFeed with the discovery of a video from 1998, in which Dr. Ben Carson opined that the pyramids of Egypt were really built as grain houses — not as majestic tombs for the kings. Carson made his case by citing the Bible — specifically the story from Genesis of Joseph advising the Pharaoh of his day to store up grain in order to prepare for seven years of famine.

The alternative, Carson said, was to listen to all those scientists who say the pyramids were built by aliens. As if there were no middle ground there.

In recent days, Carson has reaffirmed these beliefs to a CBS reporter. (Is it possible that Carson was wary of discussing “pyramids” on the record, lest he give a subtle tipoff about his campaign’s very suspicious fundraising and spending operation?)

But this got us wondering: What other wild and wacky stuff does Ben Carson believe, which the wider electorate just hasn’t become totally aware yet? Here’s just a short introduction.

  1. Barack Obama Is Part Of The Communist Conspiracy To Bring Down America

In 2014, Carson declared that President Obama and then-Attorney General Eric Holder were acting out roles in a decades-long communist conspiracy to subvert America.

In doing so, he cited a book from the 1950s by fringe right-wing conspiracy theorist Cleon Skousen, The Naked Communist. (Skousen was also a major racist, even defending the honor of antebellum Southern slavery and the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision.)

  1. The Theory Of Evolution Came From The Devil

In a 2011 speech to a church group, Carson declared: “I personally believe that this theory, that Darwin came up with, was something that was encouraged by the Adversary.”

Carson elaborated on this point: “Now this whole creation vs. evolution controversy has been raging on, really since the beginning. Because what is Satan’s plan? To get rid of God — to disparage God, to mischaracterize God.”

About a month ago, Carson appeared with Bill O’Reilly and dismissed attacks on his beliefs regarding evolution as part of a pattern of liberals attacking African-American conservatives. As for the substance of things, well, he hedged — and asked what those scientists even know, anyway.

“People don’t realize, he’s God — if he wanted to create an Earth that was billions of years old, he could do it. They can’t do it — how come they’re always trying to put themselves in the same category as God?”

  1. Gay Rights Is A Communist Plot — And Men In Prison Prove That Homosexuality Is A Choice

In a 2014 speech to the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage, Carson again referenced the aforementioned Cleon Skousen — and said that “neo-Marxists” had “systematically attacked” the family in order to bring down the United States.

In an appearance on CNN earlier this year, Carson argued that homosexuality is a choice — an argument, he said, was lent credence by the experience of some prisoners.

“Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question,” Carson said.

Yes — “something” did happen to them in there. In addition to sexual assault, which is rampant in prisons, there is also what is referred to as “situational homosexuality,” which occurs to men in prisons.

Anyway, clearly the good doctor does not favor a fact-based approach to answering life’s lingering questions. But he loves a good story.

 

By: By Eric Kleefeld, Featured Post, The National Memo, November 5, 2015

November 7, 2015 Posted by | Ben Carson, Conspiracy Theories, Evolution | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“The Only ‘Marginal Behavior’ Is His”: Rush Limbaugh’s Finding Out He’s Not Normal, And It Scares Him

I am not normal.

This, I learned from a news story 35 years ago. The details have faded with the passage of time, but the gist of it remains clear. Some expert had crunched a bunch of numbers in search of the “average” human being, the planetary norm, and found that she was an 8-year-old Japanese girl, living in Tokyo. I don’t fit that profile; I’m willing to bet you don’t, either. So as a matter of statistical fact, I’m not “normal” and neither are you.

I’ve always found that story a useful corrective whenever I am tempted to declaim too haughtily on what is or isn’t normal. I offer it now to Rush Limbaugh in the vain hope it will help him rethink his assault last week on the woman who used to be Bruce Jenner. Granted, the story was about planetary norms and Limbaugh was ranting about American social norms, but the principle still applies.

As you doubtless know, Jenner’s transformation into a woman named Caitlyn has been quite controversial. She has been praised for her “courage” by President Obama and called “brave” by Ellen DeGeneres. At the other extreme, one David French, blogging for the National Review, dismissed her as a “surgically damaged man,” while a Matt Walsh on Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze, called her a “mentally disordered man.”

And we have recently learned that, back in February, Mike Huckabee cracked about wishing he could have identified as female when he was in school so he could have showered with the girls. As inadvertently revealing as that “joke” feels, it is Limbaugh’s response that really helps us understand why those who are threatened by, and viscerally angry about, Jenner’s transformation, feel as they do.

As Caitlyn made her debut on the cover of Vanity Fair, the talk-show host fumed that Republicans should reject her, even though she identifies with the, ahem, big tent party. Liberals, he complained, are trying to “redefine normalcy.” He went on to say that nowadays, “conservatives and Republicans are the new weirdos, the new kooks, and that is part of the political objective here, in normalizing all of this really marginal behavior. I mean, if less than 1 percent of the population is engaging in it, it’s marginalized behavior; it isn’t normal.”

One might argue, citing Miles Davis, Steve Jobs, Rosa Parks, Stan Lee, Sally Ride, Muhammad Ali, Elvis Presley, and a thousand other rule breakers and innovators, that “normal” is overrated. But put that aside, take Limbaugh at his word, and the fear undergirding his complaint becomes plain. He and those like him look at Caitlyn Jenner and wonder: “If this is normal, what does that make me?”

It’s worth noting, in light of Limbaugh’s fears, that the country’s opinions on social issues like this are shifting, and not in his direction. Gallup recently reported that America is moving sharply left on the moral acceptability of everything from gay rights to stem cell research. I’m aware of no polling on Jenner’s transformation, but who would be surprised to find that there is widespread approval?

Not that freedom should be a popularity contest (most of us agree now that Jim Crow is wrong, but it was also wrong back when much of the country thought it was right), but it is better to have the wind behind you than against you. Ask Limbaugh, who now finds himself pushing against that wind and finding that the only “marginal behavior” here is his. That must be chilling to a man so obsessed with defining and defending “normalcy.” He should get used to it.

Because these days, what isn’t normal is the small minded need to stigmatize those who walk a different path through life. What isn’t normal is the bigot’s siren call to our basest and most baseless fears. What isn’t normal is hatred and terror of the new.

Poor Rush. It turns out that what isn’t “normal,” is him.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist, The Miami Herald; The National Memo, June 8, 2015

June 8, 2015 Posted by | Bigotry, Rush Limbaugh, Transgender | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Girl Scouts: “A Radicalized Organization Promoting Homosexual Lifestyles And Funding Planned Parenthood”

Next time you buy a box of Tagalongs, you might be helping to fund an abortion.

Or, at least, that’s what one Republican lawmaker in Indiana might have you believe. State Rep. Bob Morris (R) wants to kill a resolution honoring the Girl Scouts because they are a “radicalized organization” that promotes “homosexual lifestyles” and funds Planned Parenthood.

In a letter to his fellow Republicans on Saturday, Morris said he would refuse to support a resolution celebrating 100 years of the organization because “after talking to some well-informed constituents, I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing.”

The letter, obtained by the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, says that the Girl Scouts of America and the World Association of Girl Guides “have entered into a close strategic affiliation with Planned Parenthood,” though “you will not find evidence of this on the GSA/WAGGGS website—in fact, the websites of these two organizations explicitly deny funding Planned Parenthood.”

“Nonetheless, abundant evidence proves that the agenda of Planned Parenthood includes sexualizing young girls through the Girl Scouts, which is quickly becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood,” Morris wrote. “Planned Parenthood instructional series and pamphlets are part of the core curriculum at GSA training seminars.”

He continues that the Girl Scouts also let in boys “who decide to claim a ‘transgender’ or cross-dressing life-style” and, in general, promote being gay. “Many parents are abandoning the Girl Scouts because they promote homosexual lifestyles,” Morris said. “In fact, the Girl Scouts education seminar girls are directed to study the example of role models. Of the fifty role models listed, only three have a briefly-mentioned religious background – all the rest are feminists, lesbians, or Communists.”

“As members of the Indiana House of Representatives, we must be wise before we use the credibility and respect of the ‘Peoples’ House’ to extend legitimacy to a radicalized organization,” he continued. “The Girl Scouts of America stand in a strong tradition that reflects with fidelity the traditional values of our homes and our families.”

Cathy Ritchie, of the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, laughed off Morris when she heard about his letter. “I think perhaps he hasn’t done all of his research,” Ritchie told Eagle Country Online. “There is no relationship between Girls Scouts of the U.S.A. or Girl Scouts of Central Indiana to Planned Parenthood.”

Morris was the only one to refuse to sign the resolution, the Associated Press reports.

This is not the first time the Girl Scouts have been accused of a nefarious liberal agenda. In December, Fox News and some right-wing bloggers charged them with being part of a lefty conspiracy because of a section in the Girl Scouts’ media guide that advises readers to use sites like MediaMatters (“clearly a lefty blog,” as Steve Doocy of Fox & Friends put it) to fact-check what they read on the Internet.

 

By: Jillian Rayfield, Talking Points Memo, February 21, 2012

February 22, 2012 Posted by | Planned Parenthood | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mitt Romney: The Anti-Jobs Candidate

My friend Peter Daou had an item the other day, noting the potency of the Republican presidential frontrunner’s message: “Romney is a threat because he can focus on a dead simple message: ‘I’m a successful businessman, I’ll create jobs and fix the economy.’”

That’s exactly right. Mitt Romney, at least this latest version of him, has an entire campaign rationale that fits comfortably into a tweet. Better yet, it’s a message that voters are eager to hear.

Ed Kilgore had a related piece on this the other day, summarizing the argument that Romney and his backers are likely to push aggressively: “Romney has an extensive corporate background, looks the part of a CEO, and without question, he would prefer an issues environment focused on anything other than health care reform or the cultural issues on which he’s never inspired trust among conservatives.”

Romney doesn’t want to talk about health care or the fact that he was a pro-choice moderate who supported gay rights and gun control. Indeed, he would just as soon hope people forget he was even a governor. This is Businessman Mitt, running as a less ridiculous version of Herman Cain.

Kilgore’s argument is that this message is simple and straightforward, but it probably won’t help him in a competitive Republican primary. That’s compelling, but my take is a little different: I think Romney’s biggest problem is that the message brings to the fore his key weaknesses — Romney’s record on jobs is atrocious.

Stephen Colbert devoted a terrific segment to this the other day, highlighting Romney’s “real claim to business fame,” which is “founding a private equity company called BainCapital.” The embed won’t fit the column length of the redesigned website, but here’s heart of Colbert’s take:

“You see, Romney made a Mittload of cash using what’s known as a leveraged buyout. He’d buy a company with ‘money borrowed against their assets, groomed them to be sold off and in the interim collect huge management fees.’ Once Mitt had control of the company, he’d cut frivolous spending like jobs, workers, employees, and jobs. Just like America’s sweetheart, Gordon Gecko. […]

“Because Mitt Romney knows just how to trim the fat. He rescued businesses like Dade Behring, Stage Stories, American Pad and Paper, and GS Industries, then his company sold them for a profit of $578 million after which all of those firms declared bankruptcy. Which sounds bad, but don’t worry, almost no one worked there anymore.

“Besides, a businessman can’t be weighed down with a bleeding heart, as one former Bain employee put it, ‘It was very clinical…. Like a doctor. When the patient is dead, you just move on to the next patient.’ See? Mitt Romney is like a doctor! [On screen: Dr. Kevorkian]”

And this is the part of Romney’s record he’s most proud of. Romney slashed American jobs as if his career depended on it — and it did.

Complicating matters, during Romney’s only service in public office, his state’s record on job creation was “one of the worst in the country.” Adding insult to injury, “By the end of his four years in office, Massachusetts had squeezed out a net gain in payroll jobs of just 1 percent, compared with job growth of 5.3 percent for the nation as a whole.”

How bad is Romney’s record? During his tenure, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in jobs growth.

Yes, Romney has a simple message: “I’m a successful businessman, I’ll create jobs and fix the economy.” It also comes with an equally simple response: “Mitt Romney is the anti-jobs candidate.”

 

By: Steve Benen, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly-Political Animal, June 12, 2011

June 12, 2011 Posted by | Bankruptcy, Businesses, Conservatives, Corporations, Economy, Elections, GOP, Ideologues, Ideology, Jobs, Mitt Romney, Politics, Republicans | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mitt Romney The Weathervane: What Our Most Changeable Politician Can Tell Us About The Modern GOP

As Mitt Romney enters the Republican presidential race this week, there will be plenty of attention on his shifting political views. But Romney’s changing positions are not just the tragicomic tale of a man so desperate for the presidency he’ll say anything to get there: they’re also a valuable measure of what it takes to make it in the modern GOP.

Romney’s many breathtaking U-turns — on universal health care, on gay rights, on abortion rights — have been extensively documented and parsed, and have become a reliable punchline. The former governor’s willingness to adopt the position that he thinks will get him the most votes in whatever election he happens to be running in does speak to his own character. But Romney’s ease at shifting also makes him a perfect weathervane for measuring the audiences he is trying to appeal to. And the speed with which Romney has been spinning to the right is an alarming sign of the political winds within the Republican Party.

This weekend, Romney will be making an important appearance among a group that has historically mistrusted him: the Religious Right. Speaking at the annual conference of Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Romney can be expected to once again disavow his previously convenient reasonable positions on abortion rights and gay equality. But he is also likely to go a step farther.

At a similar event in 2007, as he tried to shake off his image as a socially moderate Massachusetts Republican in preparation for his first presidential run, Romney spoke at the Values Voter Summit hosted by a coalition of right-wing social issues groups. In his speech, he rattled off Religious Right catchphrases, speaking of the United States’ “Judeo-Christian heritage,” the “breakdown of the family,” and making “out-of-wedlock birth out of fashion again” and passing an anti-gay marriage amendment to “protect marriage from liberal, unelected judges.” He promised a federal “marriage amendment,” funding for vouchers for religious schools and across-the-board anti-choice policies. By earlier that year, he had impressed Ann Coulter enough that she endorsed him in a speech made famous by her use of an anti-gay slur.

At last year’s Values Voter Summit, having done full penance to the Religious Right for his previous statements in favor of gay rights and choice, Romney focused his speech on right-wing economic policies, including an odd tribute comparing Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton to the Founding Fathers. But the company he kept revealed the friends he was hoping to make. The event was sponsored in part by the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, two groups who were soon to be named “hate groups” by the SPLC for their long histories of false anti-gay rhetoric. Romney’s fellow speakers included Religious Right stalwarts Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins, Planned Parenthood scam artist Lila Rose, and the AFA’s Bryan Fischer, who has gained infamy with his vicious rhetoric about gays and lesbians, Muslims, African Americans and progressives. I wrote a letter to Romney warning him about associating himself with Fischer — he didn’t respond.

The Religious Right leaders that Romney is eager to curry favor with aren’t just hostile to gays, Muslims and the social safety net — many have expressed concern or even outright hostility to Romney’s own Mormon faith. Fischer recently confronted Romney’s faith, declaring that there is “a direct contradiction between Mormon theology and the teaching of Jesus Christ.” A writer for a leading Religious Right publication declared, “If Mitt Romney believes what the Mormon Church teaches about the world and how it operates, then he is unfit to serve.” As Romney angles himself into an increasingly extreme GOP, he will have to make nice to those who insult not only his past politics but his core religious beliefs.

At the Faith and Freedom Conference this weekend, Romney will have a similar opportunity to reinforce his social conservative bona fides while tying in his newly adamant anti-gay and anti-choice positions with the Tea Party’s love of pro-corporate anti-tax talk. Ralph Reed, the resurgent mastermind behind the Christian Coalition, will perhaps be the perfect ally in his effort to paint himself as a true Tea Party candidate who wants small government for corporations and big government for individuals. Reed was, after all, partly responsible for bringing the passion of American evangelicals to the Republican anti-regulation agenda and schmoozes equally comfortably with Pat Robertson and Jack Abramoff. He is the perfect power-broker for an age when GOP politicians are supposed to oppose universal health care while supporting IRS involvement in abortions – the niche that Romney is trying to carefully fit himself into.

Romney will try to take advantage of the GOP base’s newfound love of tax breaks for the rich, while continuing to pretend that he never supported choice and gay rights and reasonable environmental and health policies. If he can get away with it, he’ll be the perfect candidate for today’s ultraconservative GOP. But either way, he’s bound to become a powerful symbol of just how far to the Right you have to go to make it in today’s Republican Party.

 

By: Michael B. Keegan, President, People For The American Way: Posted June 3, 2011 in The Huffington Post.

June 5, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Democracy, Economy, Elections, GOP, Health Care, Ideologues, Ideology, Mitt Romney, Politics, Public Opinion, Religion, Republicans, Right Wing, Tea Party, Voters | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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