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In a string: Holocaust Denial, Moon shot denial, Truthers, then birthers. Now Sandy Hook Denial is settling in.

The massacre was faked. The 20 children were not killed. It was all staged to make an excuse for gun control.

And pigs fly....

Thing is, we've been watching these same pigs for 70 years. Joseph McCarthy had his "lists of names" of communists in the State Department. No names. No lists. Then it was the U.S. Army in 1954.

A paranoid scheme for every issue.

The John Birch Society was formed in 1959. The Birchers institutionalized McCarthyism. Calling the Baptist preachers in the Civil Rights Movement "communist agents" led to many Far Right alliances.

After Nixon's "Southern Strategy" and then his resignation in 1974, Paul Weyrich's Heritage Foundation and then Ronald Reagan's broad success cleaned up the worst of it.  

But then we got to Lee Atwater and his "Willie Horton" ad in 1988. That was an astonishing hit with America's White paranoids. Republicans thought Lee was a genius.

NRA works the same crazy. Bircher Madness. They tell people that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives ("ATF") has a hidden army set up to invade millions of homes, invoke a mysterious United Nations "Agenda 21," and seize their guns.

The propaganda mill has taken to savaging the survivors from Sandy Hook Elementary School. Autopsies are faked. They're all liars. The cops are liars.

There's more below le chignon d'orange. Expect interesting comments as a matter of course.

Between Bircher Madness and the ordinary goof balls, there is no limit to the crazy.

Sandy Hook Denial looks like Holocaust Denial on a smaller scale. The meanness astonishes.

Let's have looks at a few of these CT fads:

-- In the 1970s the poor goof-ball Rastafarians came up with a scheme where Whites ("Babylon") set up the world to oppress Blacks. (We knew they were goof-balls, right off, because they think Babylon's only aimed at Blacks.)

-- In 1990, Nurse Nayirah al-Sabah, then 15, disclosed in congressional testimony that Saddam Hussein's army had thrown Kuwaiti babies out of their incubators in hospital. Then someone remembered her. Nayirah was the daughter of Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah, Kuwait's ambassador to the United States. She had been trained to lie with CIA-provided acting lessons. Cutie-pie Nayirah takes place as our all-time "CT With Two Legs."

-- In 1993, gun lobby group American Justice Federation published a list of 24 names with a claim that President Clinton had arranged their deaths. That's the rare manufactured CT that worked as a rumor, despite the source.

-- In 2002, Moon shot conspiracy nut Bart Sibrel yelled "coward and a liar" at astronaut Buzz Aldrin, which got him a punch in the snoot.

-- In 2009, the conversion to HDTV digital television signals was ascribed to home spy operations run by governments. The new television sets include cameras and microphones to keep a Big Brother eye on us. This CT is not clear on who or what is watching the billions of spy video/audio streams.

-- In 2011 two organized "9/11 Truther" groups showed up at Zuccotti Park. They inflicted their tales on the Occupiers and the crowds. They seemed to have memorized all of four slogans. The funniest of what they had to say was a claim that "explosives" set off a the bases of the Twin Towers on 9/11 had caused the two buildings to fall faster than the normal acceleration produced by gravity.

(Last I looked, explosions cause things to fly up. Not down. But physics does not apply in the mad mad world of 9/11 Truthers.)

-- In 2011, predictive programming got its own one-hour television drama. "Person of Interest." It is in its second season in 2012 with a lovely CT theme: "You are being watched. The government has a secret system: a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I know because I built it. I designed the machine to detect acts of terror, but it sees everything...."  

CT is different from Bircher Madness. The fantasy elements take precedence and anti-democracy propaganda is only rarely involved in these CT patterns.

Bircher Madness makes repeated accusations that democratic government is untrustworthy, a threat to life and family values, and generally not what it seems to be. Democracy, itself, is the enemy.

Here's a sample of Bircher Madness topics off today's jbs.org web site:

-- Government Attitude Towards Elderly Leads to Euthanasia
-- Oppose Ratification of the UN Treaty on Disability Rights
-- Voter Fraud
-- Signs of a Declining Economy
-- Russia Rising
-- Communism Isn't Dead  
-- Nobel Prize Goes to EU. Communist President of EU Commission Thankful.
-- Arab Unrest and Voter Fraud (in America somehow)
-- Ron Paul Drummed Out of Republican Party
-- Questions about the Aurora Colorado Movie Shooting
-- Attack on Christianity and Restore Religious Freedom in America
-- United Nations Ordering U.S. Troops to War
-- Long-term Goal of a United Nations Standing Army Behind the Syria Solution
They consider "Corruption of the Republican Party" in terms of helping to govern the country along with democrats.

Compare/contrast with topic sentences off the video at the InfoWars web site:

It doesn't take severe paranoia to fall for Bircher-style propaganda. Moderate paranoid personality disorder could get people to hook up with parts of this mess:

   1.) There was a second shooter. Probably a government official, because witnesses say he was seated in the front of the car.
    2.) The medical examiner's report is a lie.
    3.) All the witnesses are hired actors.
    4.) The witnesses are actors on the basis of 'suspicious' behavior.
    5.) Photo morphing shows Emilie Parker wasn't shot at Sandy Hook, but is seen later with President Obama.
    6.) The 'parents' are actors hired from CrisisActors.com
    7.) Claims that FEMA was holding drills 20 minutes away in preparation for the tragedy so they could quickly respond.
    8.) Victoria Soto's Facebook tribute was created days before she actually died.
This is Bircher stuff, not simple CT craziness. JBS focus on tearing down democracy takes precedence. The story line attacks the medical examiner, an unnamed "government official" assassin, "actors" and unnamed other parties.

There is no effort to make the story line believable.

The Far Right learned from Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s that they do not have to tell the truth. His lists of communists were frauds. These people lie and lie and no one is going to tear 'em up. Mitt Romney applied that knowledge in 1968 when his driving killed Leola Anderson. He woke up the next morning lying his ass off, blaming Bishop Jean Vilnet, the other driver.

"No Apology" is Romney's autobiography. No shame, no sense of decency go along with that.

They're Birchers, the lot of them. Know it or not. Freaks and liars.

Thankfully America has President Obama to do right by the Sandy Hook survivors and the memory of the victims. Also to do right by democracy.

Poll

The Far Far Far Right: Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann, Larry McDonald, Allen West, Ron Paul:

40%24 votes
5%3 votes
6%4 votes
0%0 votes
10%6 votes
0%0 votes
1%1 votes
8%5 votes
5%3 votes
1%1 votes
21%13 votes

| 60 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012 "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army/McCarthy 1954

    by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 12:42:07 PM PST

  •  A few other things to consider (5+ / 0-)

    It is too easy to characterize the Birchers as crazy. In fact, Robert Welch had a philosophy -- a philosophy that has infected the right wing of the GOP. This philosophy was fairly simple--even though it has far reaching ramifications: Welch believed that everything done from FDR on is unconstitutional and has to be dismantled. Welch believed that our federal gov't was intended to be small and powerless and that democratic ideas threatened the foundations of the US. I discuss the implications of his beliefs in my book -- and I hope you'll take a look at it when it's published.

    •  The Bircher Robert Welch also believed (3+ / 0-)

      that President Eisenhower was a "communist agent." He put it in print.

      Welch had any number of excuses for his anti-democracy opinions. What he wanted was "small government" with power going to those of whom he approved.

      "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012 "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army/McCarthy 1954

      by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:04:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bircher Madness has a scattergun (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mookins

      approach:

      -- "Mandela is nothing more than a communist terrorist thug."

      -- President Dwight Eisenhower: "a dedicated conscious agent of the communist conspiracy"

      -- After Brown v. Board of Education -- "quite justly known as the Earl Warren decision" -- JBS rented billboards and called for impeachment of the Supreme Court`s Chief Justice Warren

      -- Reference to "a Negro Soviet Republic"

      -- "How to Defeat Fluoridation in Your City"

      -- "Our Congress now contains a number of men who are certainly actual communists, and plenty more who are sympathetic to communist purposes for either ideological or opportunistic reasons" -- which could be Bachmann, if it wasn't Welch

      Sorry Claire, the Birchers are crazy. This is political CT molded in the common paranoid style that recurs through American history.

      Claiming deeper thinking for the Birchers' Robert Welch hopeless. American Opinion printed Bircher positions with little concern for disguise.

      "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012 "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army/McCarthy 1954

      by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:06:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bontemps2012

      Welch's buddy, millionaire Yankee industrialist Robert W. Stoddard, was a Birch Society co-founder. For some reason few ever mention him in connection with the organization, perhaps because he supported it financially but may have let Welch do the public work of spreading the message.

      Stoddard was co-owner of the two local dailies, now combined into and known as the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (and now owned by the New York Times), and a man who once famously characterized the Irish working class in city government, who were beginning to gain in influence and power, as "the ditch diggers."

      Stoddard, a lifelong Republican (big surprise, that) made his name as a benefactor of many arts and cultural groups in town. No one connected with any organization that hoped to receive grants from the many foundations he was involved with dared to bring up his Bircher roots.

      His sons, daughters and in-laws, despite their advancing age, are still involved in the cultural life of the city, although his grandchildren for the most part are scattered over the wealthier communities of Mass. and seem to have less connection to Worcester (or in some cases, no interest in supporting arts and culture at all unless it directly benefits them or their narrowly proscribed social set--a phenomenon I witnessed firsthand--don't ask). Thankfully, none of them seem to share their patriarch's Bircher proclivities.

      I suppose we in Massachusetts can be thankful that Stoddard's political influence was mainly concentrated in the quiet rooms and gracious homes in the City of Worcester, and consisted, as far as I know, of private conversations and the use of discreet, behind the scenes influence in the city's political life, along with that of his well-connected friends at the exclusive Worcester Club.

      Of course, being a multi-millionaire and owner of two newspapers and a radio station helped shape the conversation locally, too. Control the media and you control what direction public conversation takes. The more things change...

      "The truth will set you free...but first it'll piss you off." - Gloria Steinem

      by Sharoney on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 04:42:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nearly everything that need be said (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012, psnyder, exterris

    about these people was said in 1964 in Richard Hofstadter.

    His essay The Paranoid Style in American Politics (later considerably expanded) says it all.

    Not that this is an original observation. It has been pointed out many, many times before. But so long as it stays true, it bears repeating.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
    --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

    by leftist vegetarian patriot on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 12:58:24 PM PST

    •  Hofstadter's essays cover CT political (2+ / 0-)

      schemes going back to the start of the country. He published the first edition in 1952, then the book update in 1965.

      We studied his work in college courses. I applied his ideas to conflict resolution issues doing graduate work in political economy. He was useful, helping get past systems that relied on the idea that people act rationally.

      Delusional beliefs are anything but rational. It's roll-of-the-dice time, trying to predict how people will act when faced with patterned disinformation.

      "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012 "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army/McCarthy 1954

      by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:11:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It looks to me as if you may have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012

    several different types of derangement displayed in the politicians named in your poll. I'm not sure that they all belong in the same basket.

    Incidentally, I had to look up Larry McDonald, as he died in 1983 (my high school sophomore year) and I have zero memories of him. Don't we have enough and more than enough kooks still alive to whom we could point?

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
    --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

    by leftist vegetarian patriot on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:20:49 PM PST

    •  First off, Larry McDonald (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JGibson

      is worth a longer look. He was one of the last Representatives to take openly Far Right positions and brag about being a Bircher.

      My family knew him and especially his first wife. He was the second president of JBS, after their Robert Brown.

      Ron Paul and Michele Bachman are rated #1 and #2 by JBS. They both deny membership. Both have long establish relationships, including Bachmann trumpeting JBS fantasies at the 1-minute speech sessions and Paul speaking at the JBS national convention.

      Allen West attends any number of JBS meetings.

      Paul Ryan appears on Far Right radio shows. He uses phrases that are common with Birch Society pamphlets. Ryan goes where the money is.

      It's enough to make a soul miss Terry Dolan.

      "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012 "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army/McCarthy 1954

      by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 04:30:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Robert Welch." I have no idea where (0+ / 0-)

        the "Robert Brown" came from.

        "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012 "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army/McCarthy 1954

        by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 04:31:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fluoride in our water supply! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IreGyre, bontemps2012

    My High School Latin teacher was a Bircher.  She railed against fluoridation as a Communist conspiracy.  I remember going home and telling my parents about the terrible menace.  It was the first time I remember hearing the term "Bircher" and it was decidedly not complimentary.

    •  My Latin teacher was a saint. (0+ / 0-)

      Definitely not a Bircher.

      "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012 "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army/McCarthy 1954

      by bontemps2012 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:07:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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