RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
This has been a very sad week for Right Wing Watch as it marks the end of the Jade Helm 15 military exercises that caused an uproar within right-wing media, although something tells us that there will be more bizarre conspiracy theories to look out for…
5) Glenn Beck Was Right! See, This Thing He Read On The Internet…
Since the so-called Islamic State began gaining ground in parts of Syria and Iraq, Glenn Beck has been ticked off that so few people recognize that he prophesied the whole thing back in 2011. Except, of course, Beck didn’t do that, as he actually predicted that an Islamic caliphate would “ control the Mideast and parts of Europe ,” claiming it would spread northward from Tunisia and Egypt across the Mediterranean until it reached Greece, Italy and Spain.
Obviously, ISIS doesn’t exactly have territory throughout Europe, as Beck predicted, but now he has finally found proof that he was right all along: an online petition calling on Munich to end its Oktoberfest celebrations out of respect for Muslim refugees.
As the myth-busting website Snopes points out, the petition on Change.org to ban Oktoberfest was not started by a person living in Germany and “even if the petition were written in earnest, it would represent one person’s opinion and not that of all Muslim refugees.”
“Additionally, the viewpoint expressed by the petition appears to be a minority opinion, as the petition has only managed to muster a few hundred signatures, and the majority of those appear to have come from people who signed in order to add hateful comments,” Snopes continues. “Those comments lead us to believe that this petition may was created by an Internet troll in order to foment outrage. The fact that this petition was posted on 11 September, a day on which items critical of Islam tend to reach fever pitch, supports this hypothesis.”
Other petitions on the website, which can be submitted by anyone for any reason, include demands that President Obama “allow a high school student to have a party after homecoming and for WaWa to bring back roast beef sandwiches.”
Of course, Beck is desperate to find anything to support his claim that the caliphate is gaining a foothold in Europe, even if the “proof” comes from something just as credible as a chain letter. Next, Beck will demand that if you don’t send this email to seven other people, you will be cursed for life and your first crush will never love you.
4) ‘They’re Going To Eat Their Children’
Like Beck, televangelist Jim Bakker comes up with apocalyptic predictions, warns of impending financial crashes, nuclear EMP attacks and divine judgment, sells costly prepper food, urges viewers to buy gold, pushes bogus narratives about anti-Christian persecution in America and promotes a generally dystopian view of the world and its future.
Bakker, however, is a bit more honest about his role as a doomsday prophet.
While selling his survivalist food buckets earlier this month, Bakker said that in order to survive America’s impending collapse, people need to store their food in secret, because otherwise others will come for it. Even their “sweet neighbors” will do whatever it takes to get food, Bakker warned: “They’re going to eat their babies…they’re going to eat their children.”
3) First They Came For Kim Davis…
Next week, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis will receive an award at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit for her decision to go to jail rather than allow deputy clerks in her county to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Another Religious Right hero who has similarly defied the federal courts on marriage equality, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, is so enchanted with Davis that he rewrote the famous anti-Nazi poem, “First They Came For The Socialists,” to make it about Davis’ plight:
While Moore hoped that Davis’ commitment to using a public office to impose her religion on others would inspire more conservatives to get involved in U.S. politics, one far-right activist said that Davis’ experience is proof that Americans should “flee” the country to safer shores.
“God tells us how to solve the problem, he says flee,” John Price said. “There’s a time to fight and there’s a time to flee.”
2) Islamic Training Camps In The US: Just Asking The Question
The day following the CNN Republican presidential debate, Donald Trump held a rally in New Hampshire where he fielded a question from a man who had something to say: “We have a problem in this country, it’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one, you know he’s not even an American. We have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question, when can we get rid of them?”
Trump responded vaguely about how he is “going to be looking at a lot of different things,” and his campaign manager later insisted that Trump just wants to stay focused on the “bigger issue” of Obama “waging a war against the Christians in this country.”
Anyone who follows the far-right media could have expected that GOP presidential candidates would eventually be confronted with claims about radical Islamic training camps in the U.S.
“Fears of ‘Muslim training camps’ have simmered on the far right for years, especially since the rise of the Islamic State,” writes Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post. “World Net Daily and Judicial Watch — the latter an advocacy group that has successfully sued for records from Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department — have published stories that allege FBI knowledge of dozens of camps, many across the deep South.”
As Max Fischer points out at Vox, Fox hosts like Bill O’Reilly and Lou Dobbs both pushed claims about secret Islamic training camps throughout the U.S., and “just this spring, FBI arrested a Tennessee man named Robert Doggart who was plotting to lead a far-right militia on a killing spree against a heavily Muslim community in New York state. Doggart believed the community was a ‘Muslim Jihadist Training Camp,’ according to a post he made on his web site.”
1) Farewell, Jade Helm 15!
While everyone was excited for the imposition of martial law and FEMA camps, the military training exercise Jade Helm 15 ended on Tuesday without any of the wild predictions championed by the far-right coming true.
It was quite a letdown: No “round-up of patriotic men,” no exploitation of a system of secret tunnels and closed Walmart stores, no nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack on Texas.
But maybe President Obama really was plotting to engineer such dastardly deeds, but was exposed by true heroes like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Rep. Louie Gohmert who gave legitimacy Jade Helm 15 paranoia.
Now that Jade Helm 15 is over, the same politicians and pundits who used the military drill to promote baseless fears about the Obama administration will quickly find a new conspiracy theory to latch onto as the cycle endlessly repeats itself.