Weed is the Devil’s leaf! Sharia law has invaded Walmart! The federal plot against Texas thickens! 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. Stewart Rhodes
The Oath Keepers is a self-proclaimed “patriot” organization, comprising mostly veterans and retired police officers, that was founded six years ago in order to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It is the domestic variety that came under fire last week.
At a summit in Tempe, Arizona, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes denounced the “GOP good old boy network” that he claimed had sabotaged Ron Paul’s unsuccessful runs in 2008 and 2012.
To wit: He put the crosshairs on Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, the Establishment’s “pre-ordained, anointed candidate who would go along with the program of the destruction of this country.”
“John Cain [sic] is a traitor to the Constitution. He should be tried for treason before a jury of his peers,” Rhodes said, to wide applause.
He concluded his rant: “After we convict him, he should be hung by the neck until dead,” which was met with somewhat less enthusiastic, scattered clapping.
Video courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
In a Skype interview with KPNX Tuesday, Rhodes doubled down, claiming “John McCain is every bit as nuts as Adolf Hitler was.”
4. Ted Nugent
Children get shot with guns in this country at a rate far exceeding that of other first-world nations. “On average, 20 U.S. children and adolescents were hospitalized each day in 2009 due to firearm injuries,” according to findings published in Pediatrics.
But don’t let any of this fool you. In a column published Wednesday in WND Commentary,Ted Nugent, the musician and vocal gun enthusiast, claims that all this anti-gun hysteria is predicated on a “Big Lie.” More children die from drowning than guns, he says. Why not outlaw swimming pools?
“The Big Lie about guns,” he writes, “is that innocent kids are being gunned down or are accidentally shooting each other. Compared to drowning, gun-related deaths don’t even register.” And furthermore, the “vast majority of teenagers who die as a result of guns are involved in gangs. They are punks, thugs and street rats who have dropped out of school and let out of their cages over and over again by a so-called ‘justice system’ gone bad.”
Timothy Johnson at Media Matters offers a lucid takedown of Nugent’s column, focusing on his highly problematic use of the phrase “Big Lie” (with caps) to describe and diminish gun deaths involving children. Johnson’s piece is a comprehensive and sobering rebuke to Nugent’s glib righteousness, and is worth reading in full.
Nugent especially might get something from it, since he claims that, “Facts still matter to those of us addicted to truth, logic and common sense,” and goes on to conclude that “Guns don’t kill kids, and neither does water.”
Via Media Matters
3. Alex Jones
Radio shock jock Alex Jones doubled — nay, quadrupled down — on his claims that the U.S. military training exercise “Jade Helm 15” is the opening salvo in a federal government plot to invade Texas and declare martial law.
This makes the third week in a row that Jade Helm 15 has appeared on this page. Perhaps a refresher course is in order.
This curious outbreak of mass delusion began when a Texas community voiced apprehension about the wargames a-comin’ to town. Then in a risible public hearing, an exasperated military officer unsuccessfully argued that the federal government has no interest in conquering Texas. (After all, they do kinda already have it.)
Things truly took off into the stratosphere of folly when Texas governor Greg Abbott summoned the Texas State Guard to keep an eye on the exercise in order to “ensure that Texas communities remain safe, secure, and informed.”
Reporters and pundits began springing the issue on GOP presidential candidates to see how they would respond. Ted Cruz took the bait, and said he could “understand the concern” because the federal government is so untrustworthy.
When presidential hopefuls are echoing the conspiracy theories of talk-radio hosts, we should be concerned. Which brings us back to Alex Jones. Since this mess began, he has been espousing some of the most baroque paranoid fantasias on his InfoWars program: There are secret military encampments hidden in abandoned Walmarts and soldiers are infiltrating the populace. Soon they will be silencing dissidents and seizing guns.
This hydra-headed blob of nonsense is filled with imagined enemies and secret collaborators, to which we can now apparently add ABC News. Jones is claiming the network used “dirty tricks” to prevent him from making a scheduled appearance on Sunday’s edition of This Week, by intentionally delaying his car ride to the studio.
But Jones won’t be silenced. He never is.
2. Allen West
Sharia law — that old conservative bugaboo — has infiltrated the most sacred of American institutions: the local Walmart! Yes, Walmart again. Not only does the discount chain provide a cover for sinister Jade Helm operations, but it is also the latest front in War on Christians!
Allen West, a former Florida congressman, claimed on his blog Monday that he was a victim of “Sharia law” when he noticed a Walmart employee place in front of one particular checkout aisle a sign that stated simply: “No alcohol products in this lane.”
“So being the inqusitive fella that I am,” West writes, “I used my additional set of eyes — glasses — to see the young checkout man’s name. Let me just say it was NOT ‘Steve.’ I pointed the sign out to [West’s daughter] Aubrey and her response was a simple question, how is it that this Muslim employee could refuse service to customers based on his religious beliefs, but Christians are being forced to participate in specific events contrary to their religious beliefs?”
Now, if West had applied his inquisitive nature just a teensy bit more, and asked someone in charge what the deal was, he would have learned that NOT-Steve, the cashier, was under 21 years of age, and so was prohibited from selling any alcoholic products.
So informed, West eventually amended the title of his blog post from “Sharia Law Comes to Walmart” to “More ominous signs of Christian persecution,” but suggested that Walmart was still guilty of selectively caving to Muslim demands.
Although, as Mediaite correctly points out, the prohibitions regarding age and alcohol that are on the books in this country owe much more to the Christianity-driven temperance movement than to some insidious Islamic influence. So there’s that. Some theocracies get all the luck.
1. Gordon Klingenschmitt
Colorado state senator, former military chaplain, and all-around crackpot Gordon Klingenschmitt makes an unwelcome return to This Week In Crazy.
Klingenschmitt, you might recall, hosts a program called Pray In Jesus Name, which provides him with a pulpit from which to spout his occasionally reprehensible, often hilariously uninformed nonsense. His tack is typically to trot out cherry-picked Bible verses as a pretext to comparing gay marriage to slavery, promising us that Jesus would personally send gay men to hell, and blaming legal abortion for a horrific attack on a pregnant woman.
At the time, Klingenschmitt claimed that he was being punished for “quoting unpopular Bible verses.” But he conceded that the fallout from his “wrath of God” comments suggested that it may not be a good idea to perform his roles as politician and YouTube preacher simultaneously.
Klingenschmitt appears to have forgotten his resolution, returning to his peculiar video stream to decry the horrors of marijuana — which is legal as a recreational drug in Colorado and also is apparently evil and demonic.
“I’m not saying the plant is demonic,” he clarified. “It’s just a plant.”
Oh, good. Glad we’re on the same page about that.
But beware the Satanic cannabinoids, Klingenschmitt warns, for when you imbibe the fiendish herb, “you begin hallucinating, I’m told, and you begin seeing these images.”
Oh, abjure the wicked bud, children!
He goes on: “You’re having apparitions and you are seeing and interacting with and welcoming to rule your heart a demonic spirit of drunkenness. That’s not recreational. It’s evil.”
“Do you really want to be devoured by the Devil?” he asks.
However, the Bible never actually calls out marijuana by name, so I’m wondering if Klingenschmitt has been getting his information somewhere else… Hmm…
Via Right Wing Watch
Photo above: Darwin Bell via Flickr