In an outlandish column for WorldNetDaily, Bradlee Dean suggests that the mass shooting last week in Newtown, Connecticut, was staged in order to aid the passage of the UN Arms Trade Treaty and gun control legislation, comparing the administration's purported actions to that of the Nazis setting the Reichstag Fire.
Though WorldNetDaily often publishes conspiratorial stories like Dean's column -- the site was the driving force behind the birther movement -- it's still regularly validated by more mainstream conservatives. Last month, the site announced that they had hired former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum as a columnist.
Dean, an "ordained preacher, heavy metal drummer, [and] talk-show host of Sons of Liberty Radio," suggests in his December 21 column that the "timing is impeccable" for both the theater shooting in Aurora and the shooting in Newtown because they happened while the UN was deliberating over the Arms Trade Treaty:
The Sandy Hook shooting occurred just days after Sen. Rand Paul sent out an alert that the U.N. was set to pass the final version of the Small Arms Treaty, supported by Obama the day after election.
Part of the treaty bans the trade, sale and ownership of all semi-automatic weapons ... like the one Adam Lanza used to kill 20 children and 6 adults.
The "Batman shooting" in Aurora, Colo., also happened to coincide with the same time as negotiations of the U.N. Small Arms Treaty.
The timing is impeccable.
Aside from its conspiratorial nature, Dean's column is also plainly inaccurate. Contrary to his suggestion that the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty would ban "the trade, sale, and ownership of all semi-automatic weapons" like the one used by Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, it does nothing of the sort. The Arms Trade Treaty is an effort to regulate the international arms trade and overtly affirms the "sovereign right" of countries to regulate the domestic ownership of firearms "pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system."
As we have previously explained, the Department of State has stated that it will oppose any treaty that contains "restrictions on civilian possession or trade of firearms otherwise permitted by law or protected by the U.S. Constitution."
Dean also provides links to several "reports" alleging inconsistencies in eyewitness accounts of several recent mass shootings in our country. He concludes that "[e]yewitnesses in all of these massacres said there were more shooters than the media maintain, indicating the shootings were coordinated and planned."
Among the sources for these "reports" are Alex Jones' InfoWars website, a forum posting at a separate Alex Jones affiliated site, and a site called "Conscious Life News." Reliable sources, all. (For a sample of the type of conspiracy-mongering Jones' websites have been engaged in this week, a few days ago they published an article proposing that the presence of the phrase "Sandy Hook" on a map in the latest Batman movie is "bizarre evidence" that the shooting "may have been staged.")
Taking National Rifle Association conspiracy theories to the next level, WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah is suggesting that President Obama might be spurring gun sales so that he can later confiscate those weapons after the occurrence of "civil strife" or "armed rebellion." According to Farah, Obama will do this because his "real goal -- the objective he has in common with all true leftists and socialists -- is to create chaos."
I have always believed Obama's real goal - the objective he has in common with all true leftists and socialists - is to create chaos. As a former leftist, I understand the paradigm. It's classic Cloward-Pivens [sic] strategy. Obama seeks "to heighten the contradictions of capitalism," as they say. He does a lot of crazy things to further that objective - to prove, if you will, that America is incapable of self-government, that smart people like him and Michelle are needed to guide our every move.
Maybe he wants to create civil strife. Maybe he wants to foment armed rebellion. Maybe he realizes that would provide him cover to take sweeping and repressive actions that effectively subvert the Constitution.
In Farah's disillusioned reality, Obama is planning to end private firearm ownership while acting as the driving force behind gun sales. As Farah puts it, "There's a lot of irony here to digest."
Conservative conspiracy theorists have been obsessed with exposing what they see as a series of nefarious secrets hidden in President Obama's past. The idea that Obama has been hiding something has driven years of birth certificate conspiracies, and, most recently, Donald Trump making a very public fool of himself yesterday with his announcement that he was holding a charity donation ransom in exchange for Obama's college transcripts.
One of the more bizarre forms conservatives' sleuthing has taken is their ongoing quest to find Obama's "real" father. According to conservatives, alleged inconsistencies in Obama's biography prove that the elder Barack Obama is not the president's true father (they concede that Obama's mother was in fact Stanley Ann Dunham). Depending on whom you ask, Obama's "real" father could be Malcolm X, "some Indonesian," Frank Marshall Davis, or an unidentified "American black."
While all of these claims are outlandish and discrediting, their originators have nonetheless wielded outsized influence in the right-wing media and conservative movement at large.
"Another Doctored Image Deepens Obama Mystery," is today's top headline at WorldNetDaily, online home for the birther remnant. According to inexplicable Harvard graduate Jerome Corsi, the president's mother, Ann Dunham, was Photoshopped into this image from President Obama's Facebook page to mask the true presence of scary black person du-jour Frank Marshall Davis.
The "evidence" is, as you'd imagine, hilarious. "The black hand under Obama's right armpit doesn't match Ann Dunham's right arm... The hand appears to be a remnant from a black male before it was airbrushed." Black, shadowed, same difference, right? "Ann Dunham looks to be about 25 years old, too young for this 1973 photo. Maya, who was born Aug 15, 1970, looks to be about 3 years old. Ann should look 30 years old." Were Ann Dunham still alive, she might be inclined to take this as a compliment.
But we haven't reached the kicker yet. Let's stipulate, just for a moment, that the shadowed hand really does belong to a black person and was mistakenly left in by the oafish airbrusher; how do we know that hand belongs to Frank Marshall Davis, and not some other less frightening black person?
ADVANCED PHOTO ANALYSIS, THAT'S HOW!
The Drudge Report has reignited the bogus claim that President Obama's Social Security number is illegitimate.
On Wednesday, WND columnist and noted conspiracy theorist Jack Cashill reported on a court filing challenging the legitimacy of Obama's Social Security number. Today, Drudge linked to Cashill's column with the headline "Obama's Social Security Number challenged...":
Cashill's column seized on the point that the first three digits of Obama's Social Security number are exclusive to individuals who register in Connecticut. But the Social Security Administration explained that "the Area Number [the first three digits of an SSN] does not necessarily represent the State of residence of the applicant":
Prior to 1972, cards were issued in local Social Security offices around the country and the Area Number represented the State in which the card was issued. This did not necessarily have to be the State where the applicant lived, since a person could apply for their card in any Social Security office. Since 1972, when SSA began assigning SSNs and issuing cards centrally from Baltimore, the area number assigned has been based on the ZIP code in the mailing address provided on the application for the original Social Security card. The applicant's mailing address does not have to be the same as their place of residence. Thus, the Area Number does not necessarily represent the State of residence of the applicant, either prior to 1972 or since.
As the urban legends website Snopes noted, the ZIP code for the Honolulu area, 96814, is very similar to the ZIP code of Danbury, Connecticut, 06814:
Why Barack Obama's Social Security card application might have included a Connecticut mailing address is something of a curiosity, as he had no known connection to that state at the time, but by itself that quirk is no indicator of fraud. The most likely explanation for the discrepancy is a simple clerical or typographical error: the ZIP code in the area of Honolulu where Barack Obama lived is 96814, while the ZIP code for Danbury, Connecticut, is 06814. Since '0' and '9' are similarly shaped numbers and are adjacent on typewriter keyboards, it's not uncommon for handwritten examples to be mistaken for each other, or for one to be mistyped as the other (thereby potentially resulting in a Hawaiian resident's application mistakenly being routed as if it had originated from Connecticut).
The Drudge Report has joined Rush Limbaugh in hyping this inflammatory lie about Obama. During the May 7 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh asked in response to a caller who cast doubt on Obama's birth certificate: "What are your thoughts on the fact that Obama's Social Security number is from Connecticut, and he's never been there?"
In his latest column, WND editor Joseph Farah takes the right-wing media's misreading of President Obama's declaration of executive privilege with regard to some documents concerning the ATF's failed Operation Fast and Furious sought by congressional Republicans to its "logical" conclusion: President Obama has declared himself, "quite possibly, an accessory to murder." From the piece:
Now understand what this means. Obama cannot claim executive privilege for any member of his administration. He can only do so for himself and his inner circle of advisers, and should never do so unless it's a matter of national security.
What Obama did, in apparent desperation, was to expose his own personal complicity in this scandal, making him, quite possibly, an accessory to murder.
Can you imagine how big this scandal is and how far it reaches for the administration to take such a gamble?
Farah's point appears to be that by claiming executive privilege for these documents, Obama has acknowledged personal involvement in the authorization of Fast and Furious, and thus, since guns trafficked to Mexico through that program were used to kill people, he could be an "accessory" to those murders.
This doesn't make any sense.
First of all, the documents in question don't deal with the authorization of Operation Fast and Furious, but rather the administration's response to congressional inquiries in response to that operation. Even if Obama was directly involved in that response, it would in no way indicate his "personal complicity in" the operation.
But the administration has not claimed executive privilege on the basis of the president's personal involvement. Which brings us to another problem with Farah's column: his statement that "Obama cannot claim executive privilege for any member of his administration" is simply not true.
As Ohio State University law professor Peter Shane wrote at CNN.com this morning, the Obama administration has claimed deliberative privilege with regard to the documents in question, which "aims to protect documents generated anywhere in the executive branch that embody only the executive's internal deliberations, not final policy decisions."
Declaring that he "has had enough" of "national news programs" that mislead American voters, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said he will now aim to tell viewers "every time I see craziness in the national media during the campaign." However, the examples of "craziness" O'Reilly cited, including the myth that "Obama was not born in America," have all been promoted on Fox News -- something he did not mention.
Sometimes you just have to marvel at the almost-transcendent inanity of the conservative blogosphere. For a few years now, some conservative media figures -- led by conservative bloggers like Jack Cashill -- have been obsessed with proving that Bill Ayers is the true author of President Obama's autobiography, Dreams from My Father.
If you were under the impression that this conspiracy theory couldn't sink any lower than Cashill's column in February highlighting how Obama and Ayers both use words like "skillet" and "ice cream" in their writing, you were mistaken.
This week, seeking to add more "evidence" to this theory, some conservative blogs are running with the claim that Google has joined in on the conspiracy and is now listing Ayers as the author of Dreams on Google Books.
That might be somewhat interesting if it actually happened. But it didn't.
More than ever, birthers are having a hard time being taken seriously. Since the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate last April, the birther faithful have mostly hung their hats on trying to prove that the certificate released by the White House is a "forgery" based on things like smudged stamp ink.
Earlier this month, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio held a press conference announcing the findings of the "cold case posse" he had assembled to investigate the certificate and declared that there was reason to believe it is a forgery. Media coverage of the event took on an appropriately mocking tone, leading Arpaio to complain, "The media all came to make fun of me." Arpaio even labeled the media downplaying birther concerns to be a conspiracy "bigger than Watergate."
If birthers are frustrated that nobody takes them seriously, their latest big story, which is premised on stories told by Bill Ayers' parents' former postman (not a typo), is certainly not going to help matters.
In what is probably the biggest mail-related flop since Kevin Costner's The Postman, WorldNetDaily supersleuth and Where's The Birth Certificate? author Jerome Corsi is out with a new report today suggesting the Ayers family paid for "foreigner" Obama's education.
The allegations are based on Corsi's conversations with former USPS postman Allen Hulton, who says that he used to deliver mail to Bill Ayers' parents in a Chicago suburb in the late 80s and early 90s. This should prove to be rock-solid.
Joseph Farah is annoyed. The editor of WorldNetDaily and prominent birther has discovered that questioning the eligibility of a presidential candidate can be a distraction.
Here's how Farah begins his January 13 WND column:
How do these things get started?
No wonder people are so confused about the issues of the day.
I am literally deluged with emails from Americans insisting that Mitt Romney is not constitutionally eligible to be president.
It's not true.
Really? The man whose website is so obsessed with the eligibility of Barack Obama to be president that it ignores facts and descends into the realm of absurdity is wondering how such things "get started"?
Furthermore, while I remain a strong advocate of the position that Obama is not eligible for a variety of reasons, I have never made this assertion based on the fact that I detest everything for which he stands. That assertion is based on fact, on reality, on verifiable truth.
Given his willingness to overlook overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it's difficult to believe that Farah would be such a "strong advocate" of Obama's purported ineligibility if he did not "detest everything for which he stands." As for Farah's claim that his assertion "is based on fact, on reality, on verifiable truth," this ignores reality as well. For example, a new book debunks many birther claims, and one prominent birther, Philip Berg, has shot down the WND-promoted idea that Obama is using a fake Social Security number. Curiously, WND has yet to report on either of these things, and WND's Jerome Corsi has refused to debate the book's author about his conclusions.
Farah then complains again that questions about Romney's eligibility is becoming a distraction to "my team at WND":
So can you please stop writing to me and to my team at WND with suggestions that Mitt Romney fails the constitutional eligibility test? It's not true.
I don't think he gets a passing grade on understanding and interpreting the Constitution, but - unfortunately, from my perspective - he passes the litmus test for serving as president.
Can we move on to more substantive issues in this campaign?
Presumably, Farah and his WND team don't think eligibility questions about Obama are a distraction from "more substantive issues," even though no factual basis for them exists.
Right-wing media are demonizing the National Council of La Raza in order to object to President Obama's recent appointment of Cecilia Muñoz as director of the Domestic Policy Council, accusing the organization of being an "amnesty" group with "racist" ties. These attacks are not new: Conservatives have long described the civil rights group as "the Ku Klux Klan Of The Hispanic People."
In a January 10 column on WorldNetDaily, conservative blogger and frequent Fox guest Pamela Geller attacked President Obama and his administration, claiming, "Moochers and looters are making the laws." She referred to Obama as "America's most dangerous president," then later wrote that Obama, in promising to protect middle class interests and boost the economy, "sounds like the late Kim Jong-il or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Everything he says is devoid of reality."
From Geller's column:
And this Wednesday, the White House is hosting an "Insourcing American Jobs" forum that will feature "business leaders who are bringing jobs back home [to] see how we can help other businesses follow their lead." Obama explained that this seminar was important "because this is a make or break moment for the middle class and all those working to get there. We've got to keep at it. We've got to keep creating jobs. And we've got to keep rebuilding our economy so that everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share - and everyone plays by the same rules."
Does anyone else get nauseated when they hear America's most dangerous president spew such enormous lies? Right now unemployment is just under 10 percent. During the Bush administration it was under 5 percent. Someone bring back the bad old days of Bush.
No one, in the history of this nation, has done more than Barack Obama has done to tip the scales, pay off thug unions, demonize and marginalize wealth creators, destroy the economy, cripple capitalism and saddle every single American with incalculable debt. Yet Obama has the audacity of deceit to say that America is "headed in the right direction." He vowed: "This year, I'm going to keep doing whatever it takes to move this economy forward and to make sure that middle class families regain the security they've lost over the past decade. That's my New Year's resolution to all of you."
He sounds like the late Kim Jong-il or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Everything he says is devoid of reality.
Moochers and looters are making the laws. They must be stopped in November.
Back in November, a man referring to himself as "Jeff" called right-wing radio host Mark Levin's show claiming to have information about President Obama's health care law. Jeff claimed to be a "brain surgeon" who had just "returned from Washington, D.C.," where he and other neurological doctors had reviewed a document allegedly issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding "Obama's new health care plan for advanced neurosurgical care."
Jeff went on to claim that the document "did not call [patients older than 70] patients, they called them units" and stated that "if you're over 70 and you'd come into an emergency room and you're on government-supported health care that you get comfort care" instead of medically necessary neurological surgery. Jeff further claimed the document mandated "ethics committee[s]," to which Levin replied: "So, Sarah Palin was right. We're going to have these death panels, aren't we?" Jeff responded, "Oh, absolutely," and made a comparison to Nazi Germany.
The interaction was picked up by the usual right-wing media outlets, hungry for new fodder to keep their long-debunked "death panel" myth alive. On November 29, Fox Nation posted audio of thecall on Levin's show under the headline, "Neurosurgeon Dishes on Obamacare 'Death Panels', Administration Calls Patients 'Units.' " From Fox Nation:
Since President Obama took office, the right-wing media have engaged in a smear campaign against Obama administration officials as well as people Obama has nominated for spots in the judiciary. This witch hunt has continued unabated in 2011.
On December 6, President Obama issued a memorandum stating that he was "directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons," an initiative that includes combating criminalization of LGBT status by foreign governments and enhancing efforts to protect LGBT asylum seekers.
WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh, who is apparently its correspondent from Bizarro World, offered this, um, unique interpretation of the memo in a December 7 article headlined "Obama offers plan for U.S. to be global LGBT sex cop: Wants to import homosexuals with special asylum privileges":
The Obama administration has announced it intends to make the United States the global sex cop, with plans to try to intervene in the workings of other nations where homosexuality is not promoted as well as plans to create special provisions for homosexuals and those with other lifestyle choices to gain special admittance to the U.S.
Specifically, his plan is to try to intervene in other nation's internal operations where the homosexual lifestyle choice is at risk. That would happen through U.S. government's agencies that would "strengthen existing efforts to effectively combat the criminalization by foreign governments of LGBT status or conduct and to expand efforts to combat discrimination, homophobia, and intolerance on the basis of LGBT status or conduct."
Further, special access to the United States needs to be provided to any "LGBT" person, Obama explains.
Contrary to Unruh's claim that "any 'LGBT' person" will get "special access to the United States," according to the memorandum, it specifically states that "LGBT refugees and asylum seekers have equal access to protection and assistance, particularly in countries of first asylum."
Unruh's suggestion that trying to get other countries to not persecute LGBT people is the same as "promoting" homosexuality and serving as the "global sex cop" is another Bizarro World interpretation. He also resorts to false anti-gay talking points in referring to homosexuality as a "lifestyle choice" and portraying the Obama administration's efforts as "interven[ing] in other nation's internal operations where the homosexual lifestyle choice is at risk" and "enhancements ... for those who support the alternative sexual lifestyle choices."