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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the wildest attacks, conspiracy theories, and other loony behavior from the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5: Paul Gosar

Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) got his baseless accusations mixed up on Wednesday, when he blasted former IRS commissioner Doug Shulman for not knowing who leaked Mitt Romney’s tax information to Harry Reid during the 2012 presidential election.

In August, 2012, Reid claimed that an investor with Bain Capital told him that Romney “didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years” — a charge that Romney denied, and which quickly faded when Reid refused to name his source. As Gosar remembers it, however, it was the IRS that leaked the info — presumably at President Obama’s behest — and the fact that Shulman can’t blow the whistle on it is “shameful.”

The exchange on Reid begins at the 4:43 mark of the video below:

“Doesn’t that alarm you that all of a sudden, this pertinent information comes up, and you’re the head of this agency, and you’re not asking questions?” Gosar raged after a clearly confused Shulman couldn’t answer his question on Reid’s source. “Shame on you. Absolutely shame on you.”

Notably, Gosar endorsed Mitt Romney just two weeks after Reid’s tax claim — which Gosar apparently believed wholeheartedly. So for at least one Republican congressman, a decade of tax fraud does not preclude a man from becoming president.

4: Michele Bachmann

michele bachmann

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com

Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) makes her near-weekly appearance on this list for her new strategy to repeal Obamacare: Let God handle it.

In an interview with James Dobson on Tuesday, Bachmann reiterated her crazy theory that President Obama “will ultimately be forced to repudiate his own signature piece of legislation,” before veering into even loonier territory.

“And I think before his second term is over, we’re going to see a miracle before our eyes, I believe God is going to answer our prayers and we’ll be freed from the yoke of Obamacare,” Bachmann said. “We serve a mighty God and I believe it can happen.”

Of course, if Bachmann was correct that God pushed her — along with Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry — into the 2012 presidential race, then it seems pretty clear that He was doing His best to ensure that Barack Obama would win re-election, thus protecting health care reform. And if God really wanted to undo Obamacare, then He probably would’ve helped out with House Republican’s previous 37 attempts to repeal the law. But considering that Bachmann was last seen on this list complaining that the IRS will deny conservatives the Obamacare coverage that she hates so much, it’s probably best not to read too deeply into the logic behind her ramblings.

3: Glenn Beck

Professional crazy person Glenn Beck checks in at number three with a characteristically deranged take on the ongoing IRS controversy. In Beck’s opinion, the congressional hearings into the IRS’ misconduct are a huge waste of time — because Congress apparently has an all-encompassing data tracking system that stores Americans’ every email and phone conversation in a secret database in Utah.

“Why are you waiting?” Beck asks Congress. “The more you wait, the more time they have to delete. Go in and get it. You have it. Or is that security system you’ve built for our protection not really for our protection?”

“The American people have just been raped,” the always-classy Beck concludes. “Why are you asking the rapist to hurry up with the swab test?”

2: Louie Gohmert

This Week In Crazy regular Louie Gohmert offered a typically unhinged reaction to the IRS controversy on the House floor Friday, insisting “if this Homeland Security had been around to ‘be helpful,’ so called, to our founders,” it would have resulted in the IRS murdering the participants of the 1773 Boston Tea Party.

The strange history lesson came as part of Gohmert’s response to an article in the conspiracy-filled Daily Calller, which claimed that the Department of Homeland Security was protecting the free speech of Islamic extremists. After a little unsubstantiated rambling about how Homeland Security persecutes evangelical Christians, Gohmert unleashed his inner crazy.

“You know, thank goodness that the IRS was not around to have helped the founders when they founded the country or otherwise they would have probably shot the Boston Tea Party participants, they would have killed off over half of the signers of the Declaration of the Independence,” Gohmert sadly declared.

Video of his rant is below, via The Raw Story:

1: Alex Jones
This week’s “winner” is upsettingly-influential conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who managed to outdo himself with his suggestion that a government-run “weather weapon” created the tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma on Monday.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Jones floated the outrageous theory on the Tuesday edition of his radio show. In response to a caller who suggested that the government may have caused a recent string of sinkholes, Jones claimed that “of course there’s weather weapon stuff going on,” explaining that the government “can create and steer groups of tornadoes.”

Jones did acknowledge that “natural tornadoes” do happen, so the pertinent question is “were helicopters and small fixed-wing aircraft seen in and around the weather patterns…spraying and doing things? If you saw that, you better bet your bottom dollar they did this.”

Although Jones’ theory is completely insane, don’t be surprised if it resurfaces in the near future — many prominent politicians and media outlets have a history of validating Jones’ conspiracy trolling as legitimate analysis.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden

If you were a Trump supporter anticipating a ruinous assault on Joe Biden's integrity during that final debate, too bad. What you got instead was a series of incomprehensible outbursts from Donald Trump, who seems to assume that everybody believes whatever nonsense they hear on Fox News, just like he does.

The day after the debate was even more disappointing. The Wall Street Journal, owned by Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch himself, dropped a front-page investigative report that directly contradicted Trump's accusations about Biden and China. The only candidate with unseemly business over there is Trump himself, whose secret account in a Chinese bank was just exposed.

For months, Trump and his minions have hyped allegations of financial corruption against Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Trump got himself impeached, with the help of legal genius Rudy Giuliani, over his attempt to force Ukraine's president to open a fake corruption probe of the former vice president and Burisma, the energy firm that once employed Biden's son Hunter. Their deception collapsed when Trump and Obama administration officials testified – with ample documentary evidence – that Biden had done nothing to protect Burisma and only carried out United States and European initiatives against corruption in Ukraine.

But that failure didn't discourage Giuliani, former Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon, or the other fabricators in the Trump entourage. In recent days, they have unveiled a mysterious laptop computer that purportedly belonged to Hunter Biden and reached Giuliani and then the New York Post through a series of implausible events. There are clues that the electronic data on the laptop was invented or altered. Who might do that? Let's see: The Kremlin is seeking to harm Biden politically, and Giuliani has openly welcomed the assistance of Russian intelligence assets, so the answer is fairly obvious. Especially because Russian agents provided similar services for the Republican candidate four years ago.

When the laptop gambit flopped, the Trumpsters still didn't give up.

On the eve of the debate, a Wall Street Journal columnist published a claim that Joe Biden personally profited from investments in China fronted by Hunter. Her column was based on assertions by a shadowy but euphoniously named businessman, a certain Tony Bobulinski. In a move worthy of that old pardoned felon Roger Stone, Bobulinski actually attended the Nashville debate (after staging a "press availability" where he refused to answer any questions.)

Unfortunately for both Bobulinski and that eager Journal columnist, her newspaper on Friday published the investigation that cratered their nefarious tale. After months of actual reporting, the Journal's real journalists found that the venture cited by Bobulinski "never received proposed funds from the Chinese company or completed any deals." Moreover, corporate records reviewed by the Journal's reporters "show no role for Joe Biden."

So far the Biden "scandal" most closely resembles Whitewater and the entire panoply of Clinton finance scandals that never revealed any wrongdoing whatsoever. Whatever Trump may spew and sputter, there is no plausible evidence that has been subjected to examination by journalists of integrity.

And fortunately for Biden, the nation's traditional news outlets are approaching the allegations against him with a cool and appropriate skepticism. That wasn't the case in 2016, the last time Steve Bannon played the same games. For Bannon and Giuliani, as well as their echoes across right-wing media, the objective was always to launch their false narratives into the mainstream. They succeeded brilliantly in 2016, with the assistance of the New York Times and other news organizations that should have known better and done better. This time they are failing.

In promoting these serial smears, the risk for Donald Trump is always that someone competent will inspect his record. That's what should have happened four years ago, when he and Bannon falsely attacked the Clinton Foundation while concealing the sordid truth about the Trump Foundation, a brazen criminal enterprise.

That 2016 frameup was a classic instance of projection – and we can assume the same dynamic is at work today. So now is the time to scrutinize all of the Trump Organization's crooked, conflicted deals overseas – and how he and his family have profited from his presidency.