Conspiracy Theories Abound … From The Oval Office

Conspiracy theories abound, more than any other time I can remember, except perhaps in the aftermath of 9/11 when the theories ran rampant for a brief time.  WHY??? There is no simple answer, but in part it is because this nation is so divided right now.  In part, we can blame the pandemic that has kept people from many of their everyday activities and given them too much spare time to sit around making up stupid shit.  And in part, we can blame the ‘man’ who sits in the Oval Office and his minions who lick his boots clean on a daily basis.

conspiracy-2Take, for example, his statement on August 31st during an interview with the nefarious Laura Ingraham of Fox ‘News’:

“We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that.  It’s under investigation right now. But they came from a certain city. And this person was coming to the Republican National Convention. And there were like seven people on the plane like this person, and then a lot of people on the plane, to do big damage.”

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Perhaps Trump has missed his true calling … perhaps he should be a writer of Science Fiction, for that story is as far from reality as I am from the planet Jupiter!  There was no such plane, no such ‘thugs’, and no such plot.

Remember the conspiracy theory he is most famous for, the ‘birther’ theory that President Obama was not, in fact, born in the U.S.?  Obama was born in Hawaii, but apparently Trump failed history/geography in school and did not realize that Hawaii actually became the 50th state in 1959, two years before President Obama was born?

Or a month ago, when he said …

“And you have people coming over with bags of soup — big bags of soup. And they lay it on the ground, and the anarchists take it and they start throwing it at our cops, at our police. And if it hits you, that’s worse than a brick because that’s got force. It’s the perfect size. It’s, like, made perfect.

And when they get caught, they say, ‘No, this is just soup for my family.’ And then the media says, ‘This is just soup. These people are very, very innocent. They’re innocent people. These are just protesters. Isn’t it wonderful to allow protesting?’”

Bags of soup? Seriously???  How can anybody not question his sanity?

And he has engaged in some of the QAnon conspiracy theories, such as the ridiculous notion that the world is run by a group of Satan-worshiping pedophiles that is plotting against him while operating a global child sex-trafficking ring.

Lately, a few republican members of Congress have begun parroting Trump’s unsubstantiated lies to their own constituents.  (See Keith’s post from yesterday) There is a very real danger in all of this, my friends.  Yes, it’s laughable when he spews some of this, such as bags of soup being used as a tool of the anarchists, but the danger is in the people who listen to him.

Don’t believe me?  Step back, if you will, to October 2018.  It began on October 22nd, when a package containing an improvised explosive device (bomb) was found in the mailbox at the home of Democratic donor George Soros in Katonah, New York.  Over the course of the following week, similar packages were mailed to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Maxine Waters, John Brennan, Joe Biden, Robert DeNiro, Cory Booker, James Clapper, Kamala Harris, Tom Steyer, and the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

The FBI, with assistance from other federal agencies and law enforcement organizations, arrested Cesar Sayoc in Southern Florida.  Sayoc had a history of mental illness and criminal activity, but what prompted him to target the above-named individuals was that after watching Fox ‘News’ and viewing social media platforms, he concluded that Trump’s critics were dangerous, unpatriotic, and evil.  At his sentencing, Sayoc said his idea was “first was how to tone down the liberal left violence platform.” He wrote that he believed prominent Democrats were encouraging violence.  Again, yes Mr. Sayoc has a history of mental illness and violent episodes, but where did he get the idea to send mail bombs to prominent Democrats?  From hearing conspiracy theories and inflammatory rhetoric.

Most of the targets were people who Trump had targeted in his campaign of hate, such as Hillary Clinton, whom he has not shut up about even now, nearly four years after the election in which she beat him, but he walked away with the electoral vote.  John Brennan pointed directly to Trump’s rhetoric, saying that Trump …

 “… fuels these feelings and sentiments that now are bleeding over into potential acts of violence … Unfortunately, I think Donald Trump, too often, has helped to incite some of these feelings of anger, if not violence, when he points to acts of violence or also talks about, you know, swinging at somebody from the press or the media.”

Or, consider Kyle Rittenhouse about whom I wrote a few days ago, the 17-year-old punk who took an assault rifle into an area where violent agitators were mingling in with peaceful protestors, and killed two people.  What was his inspiration?  Well, he was a Trump supporter and was in the front row of a Trump rally in January in Des Moines, Iowa.  Just speculation on my part, but I think he absorbed every word Trump said and thought he was carrying out Trump’s wishes.

Brennan’s words are no less true today than they were two years ago.  There are people in this nation who are not deep thinkers, who have little or no moral compass, and who will believe anything they hear from Donald Trump, and some will act on their beliefs.  It makes no difference how many times his conspiracy theories and hate speech are debunked, for they hear only what they choose to hear.  For the ‘man’ who holds the highest office in the nation to engage in such dangerous rhetoric is unthinkable … and yet, that is where we are today.  And sadly, with the easy availability of all sorts of firearms in this country … it is a recipe for major disaster.  Take a look at some statistics regarding people who buy into conspiracy theories.  Note, especially, the 2nd one …conspiracy-theoriesI believe that Trump will dial up his hate speech, conspiracy theories and ridiculous rhetoric even more over the next nine weeks.  We are already seeing enough violence in this nation today … if Trump has his way, what we see today will seem like a day in a kiddie zoo compared to what we will see in October.  We cannot control what people think, but we should have some control over what the ‘president’ says in a public forum.  Never before has it seemed necessary, but it sure as hell does today.  A roll of duct tape for his mouth?

Tuesday’s Gone with the Wind – a few thoughts

Our friend Keith, as always, has a clear vision of the chaos in the U.S. today and who is fanning the flames. Thank you, Keith, for summing it up so nicely, as you always do!

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With all due respect to “Ruby Tuesday” and “Tuesday Afternoon,” I chose this song title for my random Tuesday thoughts. “Tuesday’s Gone with the Wind” has the right melancholy feel.

Starting with the last part of the title “Gone with the Wind,” it reminds me that the entertainment world has finally figured out the famous movie and book are racist and poor renditions of the events surrounding the Civil War. We actually discussed this misrepresentation by the movie and book in my World Literature class in 1977. But, propaganda about the war has been around since white slaveowners got poor whites to fight for a more righteous cause of states’ rights than the real one to let them keep slaves.

Remember how states’ rights were cited by the president for delegating his responsibility to fight COVID-19. Yet, states’ rights are less important if he must flex his law and order…

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If people like conspiracy theories, why not look at real ones

Conspiracy theories abound and most do not bear repeating, for to do so is to give the one spewing the lies just what he sought: attention. However, there are some actual conspiracies, both past and present, as our friend Keith notes in his very excellent post this evening!

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There has been a lot of press about Marjorie Taylor Greene, an advocate of the conspiracy theory website QAnon winning a GOP primary in Georgia. Unless the GOP finds its conscience, she will become a member of Congress. Getting less press is Madison Cawthorn who is the GOP candidate running for now Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ old seat. Cawthorn has some social media references to white nationalists and has bragged on visiting the Hitler bunker in Germany. In this case, the GOP leadership supported his opponent in the primary.

Some folks are unfamiliar with QAnon, but the president is not one of them. He often parrots conspiracy theories and it is nirvana for a conspiracy author to hear their words come out of his mouth. My favorite QAnon story is Hillary Clinton was running a Satanic child pornography ring out of a pizza parlor in Washington DC to raise…

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Brief letter to Senators and Congress people (sent Saturday morning)

As I wrote earlier today, Congress has seemingly come to a stalemate in the relief bill intended to help people who are struggling. In lieu of that, Trump has signed executive orders that do little to help people, and that are beyond the scope of his constitutional powers. Our friend Keith compose an excellent letter that he has sent to certain members of Congress, and I am re-posting it here in hopes that others will share his letter with their own senators and representatives. We MUST let them know that we need them to step up to the plate NOW! Thank you, Keith, both for this excellent letter, for permission to re-blog, and for caring so much!

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I posted the following on the my two Senators (and select others) and Congressman’s websites.

I am disappointed that Congress has failed to reach a decision to help people. As with any communication problem, it is the fault of at least two parties, so the president’s attempt to blame only the Democrats is just more posturing than fact. Please find a way to make a deal. Americans are hurting and the president does not have the authority to do what is needed.

I am big believer we must deal with the debt, but the hypocrisy of the Freedom Caucus and others astounds me. They had no trouble in voting for a $1.5 trillion tax bill when it helped the wealthy and businesses at a time when we should have been reducing debt with a pretty good economy. So, we wasted that debt cost to make a pretty good economy a…

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Is this what a president for the common man does?

Trump supporters seem to be unaware of the many ways in which they are voting against their own best interests, or effectively shooting themselves in the foot, when they vote for Trump. Keith provides a few of these examples in his excellent post this afternoon. Thank you, Keith!

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Many of the Trump base have no idea they are voting against their economic interests. This advertised populist, common man president, fails to let folks know the following:

– in his first two hours of being president, he repealed a regulation that would have reduced homeowners insurance premiums for securing mortgages with the less than 20% down, that was scheduled to go in effect February 1, 2017. This would have helped about one million low income homeowners.

– he has hobbled the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that was very successful, but banks and credit card companies did not like it. The CFPB penalized these companies for fraudulent and aggressive lending practices, with 95% of the fines going to cheated consumers. In short, the CFPB helps folks who are targeted.

– he eliminated a new requirement that said all investment advisors have to be fiduciaries, meaning they must put your interests…

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Tell me why (an underused question)

Our friend Keith has a question … well, quite a few of them actually, and they all begin with “Why?” These are not easy questions, not ones that any of us can answer, but they are the questions we should ALL be asking. Check out his questions and see if you can add a few of your own. Thanks Keith!

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The Beatles sang, “Tell me why…., you cry and why you lie to me.”Why? A question we do not ask enough, especially of those who need it asked again and again. I witness politicians, business leaders, experts and regular people like us say things as if they are fact, but the comments are merely opinion or conjecture. And, in the case of one person in particular, any comment is likely untrue.

So, here are a few why questions.

– Why does a person who claims things that run contrary to his narrative are a hoax, actually made money off hoax strategies? We have heard words like Climate change hoax, Russian hoax, Ukrainian hoax, Coronavirus hoax, etc. from this person, but he made a lot of money off selling his name to developers for projects he had nothing to do with. The name was supposed to bring in more customers…

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David Brooks pens an editorial – President Biden’s first day

Last week, I posted a column by Michael Gerson, a conservative and Republican, who pointed out the failures of Trump and posited that 2020 will NOT be a repeat of 2016. Today, our friend Keith posted a column by another conservative Republican writer, David Brooks, who paints a comforting picture of what a Biden presidency will look like and why both parties will benefit from such a presidency. Take a look for yourself … thank you, Keith!

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David Brooks has long been my favorite conservative pundit. I first became aware of him as he teamed with more liberal Mark Shields to do a recap of the week on the Friday show of PBS Newshour. They epitomized the PBS doctrine of civil discourse. I have read two of Brooks’ books – “The Social Animal” and “The Road to Character” – which are excellent reads, and have had the good fortune of hearing him speak.

Like other conservative pundits, George Will, Michael Gerson, Erick Erickson, et al, Brooks is deeply disappointed in the actions, verbiage and temperament of the current US president. So, when he penned the editorial, “President Biden’s first day,” I was intrigued and not surprised. Here are a few quotes that shape the article.

“The first thing you’ll notice is the quiet. If Joe Biden wins this thing, there will be no disgraceful tweets and no…

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From the mouth of Steve Schmidt, Republican presidential campaign manager

I find it encouraging to find some republicans are seeing Trump for the malignancy that he is, and hope they can convince more among their rank and file. Our friend Keith brings to our attention the comments of one lifelong republican … thank you, Keith!!!

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This is courtesy of a CNN article called “This is the most succinct — and brutal — Republican rejection of Donald Trump that you will ever read,” which transcribes Steve Schmidt’s comments. Schmidt is a lifelong Republican, who was the campaign manager for John McCain in 2008 and Lamar Alexander in 2000. He is one of the founding members of The Lincoln Project, which is organized to help defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

“Donald Trump has been the worst president this country has ever had. And I don’t say that hyperbolically. He is. But he is a consequential president. And he has brought this country in three short years to a place of weakness that is simply unimaginable if you were pondering where we are today from the day where Barack Obama left office. And there were a lot of us on that day who were deeply skeptical…

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Inhumanity

I know the majority of people in this … or any nation … are decent human beings who care about the planet, wildlife, and their fellow humans.  At least … I hope that’s still the case.  But those ‘bad apples’ sure do stink and they seem to be everywhere you look!  The latest example that slapped me across the face this morning was this one …bitch-womanThis woman was part of a counter-protest during a Black Lives Matter event in Branson, Missouri, on Sunday.  Okay, the confederate flag is offensive enough, but we’re used to the fools waving those things around. And the maga hat … it doesn’t even offend anymore … it is a joke.  It was what she screeched at the Black Lives Matter protestors that caused my jaw to drop …

“I will teach my grandkids to hate you all!”

Then she got to her feet with her Confederate flag and screamed, “suck on this.”  What sort of human being does this?  What is our society turning into?  I think some people in this nation have taken their 1st Amendment ‘rights’ just a bit too far!  Frankly, if I had been there, I likely would have lit fire to her damn rebel flag.  Rebellion is one thing … hate is quite another.

So, this woman will teach her grandchildren to hate black people.  Just when we think we’re making progress, that perhaps we can finally begin to end racism in this country, we have people teaching the youngest among us to hate … to hate only because of the colour of another’s skin.  How, then, can we ever end racism?  It is being passed down from one generation to the next by narrow-minded, arrogant, ignorant people.

On Sunday, days after NASCAR announced the banning of the confederate flag at their events, a noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.  Wallace is the only full-time black NASCAR driver and a supporter of Black Lives Matter.  A noose.  The symbol of lynchings.  Why?  Because his skin is black, because some of those southern ‘good ol’ boys’ are angry at the banning of their symbol of slavery, the confederate flag.

I sit here looking out my window, watching the neighbor’s two dogs playing in the yard.  One is chestnut brown, the other dappled grey, and yet … they are equal.  They have fun together, they live together, share the same food dishes, and snif each other’s butts with never a care for the colour of their fur.  Not long ago, I saw a story of a dog who raised a kitten … not only was their fur a different colour, but they were of two different species … yet it did not matter to them.  Humans believe that they are the highest of all species, that their opposable thumbs and larger brains make them somehow superior.  I don’t think so.

Babies are not born hating.  Go visit a playground … notice that all the children play together … black, brown, white … it doesn’t matter to them.  But as they grow into adults, they are either taught that all people are equal and should be judged only on behaviour, not skin colour, not gender, not who their ancestors were, or else they are taught to hate.  They are taught to hate those perceived as “other”, just as that grandmother in Branson is teaching her grandchildren.  And 20 years from now, one of her grandchildren may become that cop who shoots and kills an unarmed black man … just because he can.

Where does it end, folks?  In the 1960s, I thought it was ending.  It wasn’t, it only became unpopular to express bigoted viewpoints, so people kept their opinions largely to themselves, else aired them only among those who they knew shared their views.  And in the past few weeks, since the brutal murder of George Floyd, with Civil War monuments coming down, protests gaining momentum, and calls for major changes in law enforcement, I once again thought that perhaps we were making some progress.  And perhaps some of us are, but as long as there are people who value their icons of slavery, who believe that people of colour are somehow inferior, we’re not going to end racism.  I think, well … the older generation will die out and the young people today are smarter, more compassionate.  But … not if they’re taught to hate.

Our friend Keith wrote a post a week or so ago titled, “Bad Apples Will Spoil the Bunch”.   How many ‘bad apples’ like the grandmother in Branson, like the person who put the noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall, are there among us?  How many more will they infect with their hideous disease?  Racism is a disease far more lethal than the coronavirus, for it is passed down from one generation to the next, and there will never be a vaccine.

Bigotry – you have to be carefully taught (from “South Pacific’)

I shall let our friend Keith’s words speak for themselves, for he makes the case far more eloquently than I could …

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I have often cited these words, but the following is from a post I wrote several years ago. I repeat it hear due to its relevance today.

For those of you who have seen the play or movie “South Pacific” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, you may recognize part of the title as a pivotal song in the story – “You’ve Got to be CarefullyTaught.” The play involves a woman who falls in love with someone and then realizes his children are half islanders. She has a hard time coming to grips with her bigotry as according to the song, we are not born hating; hatred has to be carefully taught. A sample of Hammerstein’s lyrics follow:

“You’ve got to be taught, to hate and fear. You’ve got to be taught, from year to year. It’s got to be drummed in your dear little head. You’ve got to be…

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