Monday, June 27, 2016

#1681: John Guandolo

John Guandolo is a former FBI agent who talks to wingnuts and conspiracy theorists about the threat of Muslim infiltration. Actually, like most of their ex-Muslim and ex-secret-agents Guandolo is … well, his background isn’t quite like the picture he conveys. But he tells wingnuts and conspiracy theorists what they want to hear, so they’re apparently more than willing to overlook that somewhat substantial dent in his credibility.

According to Guandolo himself he was an FBI agent until he was forced out by the “Muslim radicals” who control the agency. That’s right; the FBI has become, covertly, more or less a front for Islamic radicalism, and the people in charge – despite recognizing the stellar work Guandolo did on gathering intelligence – finally got tired of him bringing to light uncomfortable facts about Islamic radicals, so they booted him. In reality, Guandolo apparently resigned from the FBI because he was having sex with a confidential informant in a federal corruption case, and resigned before they could question him about it.

How deep does the radical Muslim infiltration go? Well, according to Guandolo, John Brennan converted to Islam when he served in Saudi Arabia as the “culmination of a counterintelligence operation against him to recruit him”. And Guandolo is more than willing to elaborate upon how dire a situation this puts the US in, but tends to neglect to provide, you know, anything to back up the assertion. The WND ran it anyways, of course. Rick Wiles also hosted Guandolo on his show to explain how Brennan is seeking to “aid and abet the enemy” through assistance to Muslim Brotherhood agents who are infiltrating the government (the goal is to replace the Constitution with Sharia law, of course). On the show Guandolo also suggested that President Obama is a Muslim, although he admitted that he couldn’t offer a “100 percent guarantee” (most of us would rather be interested in the evidence than a guarantee, but then again we are not raging, paranoid nutjobs and may accordingly use different parameters) – but he could assert that Obama “is significantly sympathetic to the cause of our enemies” and that he and other top officials are accordingly “absolutely not upholding their oath of office and need to be removed” and put in jail (“treason”, he calls the fact that Obama wants to work with U.S. Muslim communities to combat extremism) – apparently he hopes that president Trump will ensure that everyone Guandolo disagrees with on political matters will be arrested and the practice of Islam is properly regulated by law to ensure that the liberty and freedom we know and love are upheld. He also falsely claimed that the Islamic Society of North America is a front group for Hamas. Guandolo was invited back after the Boston bombings to claim that Islamic radicals are operating in “every locale across the United States” and must be named and shamed. If not, Guandolo claimed, such extremists will infiltrate school boards and the sheriff’s departments and cause America to go over the “tipping point” beyond which we become a nation controlled by Al Qaeda (at least that seems to be what he was claiming; it’s not entirely coherent. And once again, Obama is actively seeking to impose Sharia law. Indeed, Tennessee is apparently already under Sharia law.

In 2015 he also blamed the mass shooting at an Oregon community college on Obama’s “pro-jihadi ideology”. The shooter was not a Muslim. But you know: He was an Islamist terrorist nonetheless. “While there are reports Chris Harper-Mercer’s online dating profile identifies him as a ‘Republican’ of mixed race, the evidence available as of today reveals he is sympathetic to terrorists and jihadis,” said Guandolo. He didn’t specify the “evidence” part. And Mercer was clearly fueled by Obama’s “anti-Christian rhetoric, his pro-progressive-left socialist, Marxist, revolutionary ideology,” as well as “his anti-police policies and actions and the Department of Justice and attorney general who support these.” That’s what Islamic extremism is all about. Added Guandolo to radio show host Vince Coakley: “I think this is a much more reasonable answer to why this happened than the fact that we have too many guns, which is what the president immediately came out and said.” It really, really isn’t, you know. But then Guandolo wouldn’t be able to identify “reasonable” if his life depended on it. Apparently Black Lives Matter is a front for Muslim extremism as well.

Now, Guandolo’s crazy is the kind of insanity that might pass muster on the fringes of, but Guandolo’s audience actually includes several big figures in the rightwing movement. David Barton is a fan, of course, but Barton has never had much of an aptitude for the distinction between truth and falsehood. More disconcertingly, the 2015 crop of GOP presidential candidates didn’t express any qualms about appearing alongside him at Frank Gaffney’s National Security Action Summit”.

Diagnosis: Frothingly insane, paranoid conspiracy theorist – but since he tells people what they want to hear he is apparently also well-respected by frighteningly many gohmerts on the fringe, and even exerts some influence on people with real power.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

#1680: Nina Gryphon & Chris Brennan

To hard to believe, there are actually people out there who genuinely believe in astrology. Plenty, in fact, and we cannot hope to cover every practitioner here, even though they all deserve entries. The present entry concerns a group that suffered sufficiently bad karma (since being publicly outed as an astrologer is objectively bad for you even if you don’t realize it yourself) to be featured in the news prior to the 2012 election after having participated on a panel at some astrology convention in New Orleans, where they decided that Obama was going to win the election. Yeah, they got that one right. We are not impressed.

-       Nina Gryphon is an astrologist and corporate lawyer who offers “expert astrological consultation” to the Chicago area. Apparently it was her study of the Aries ingress – the time when the Sun enters the sign of Aries – that clinched the prediction for her.
-       Denver-based Chris Brennan, however, while asserting – apparently without irony – that the charts told him Obama were entering into “peak periods of eminence” that would remain “consistent throughout the election” (whereas Romney’s seemed “to falter a few weeks before the election”), he admitted that Obama may face trouble after the election, since “the ingress of Saturn into Scorpio may trouble him.” He also hedged the conclusion a bit, since we “should all be aware of the Mercury retrograde that will occur on election day.”

The sad thing is that they apparently think they are helping, and that their predictions can assist people in decision making. It’s actually pretty scary if you think about it.

Diagnosis: These people are allowed to vote (although, since the movements of distant balls of rocks or gas determine the outcomes anyways, one wonders whether and why they would bother). That should probably concern you.

Friday, June 24, 2016

#1679: Glenn Gruenhagen

More delusional derangedness in the state legislatures, this time in Minnesota. Glenn Gruenhagen has been serving as a representative since 2010, and has been a vocal proponent of climate change denialism and associated conspiracy theories. According to Gruenhagen, climate change is a “complete United Nations fraud and lie,” and as a source he cites “the latest facts from CPAC,” no less, which “show that in the last sixteen years there’s been no global warming.” Yeah, that one.

Oh, but he is also into gay rights conspiracies, as you probably expected. According to Gruenhagen, homosexuality is a “sexual addiction” and an “unscientific lie” (keep in mind Gruenhagen’s reference to CPAC for his scientific facts). On what grounds is it unscientific? “The human genome map was completed in 2003. There is no gay gene. Okay?” It’s interesting to ponder what else would be “unscientific lies” by that criterion. Gruenhagen dismissed Alfred Kinsey’s work on the grounds that he was a “filthy, perverted unscientific liar” and called for all of his research to be destroyed. He has also asserted that “the concept of sexual orientation was started by Sigmund Freud … he’s a pervert, he’s a moron in my opinion, and I don’t believe in anything that he came up with.” Granted, “in my opinion” isn’t much worse as a source of scientific evidence than CPAC. He has also urged his constituents to “resist the implementation of the gay agenda in public and parochial schools,” and has claimed that in Massachusetts there have already been cases where “citizens who would not succumb to politically correct speech have been charged with hate crimes.” That information (false, of course) he got from the anti-gay organization MassResistance, Brian Camenker’s group. Which may, in fact, be an even more ridiculous source of “facts” than CPAC.

Diagnosis: Moron who tries to weigh up for his lack of intellectual clout with passionated hatred, paranoia, conspiracy theories and bigotry. Which is pretty common, but never a particularly pretty sight.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

#1678: Wayne Grudem

Wayne Grudem is a fanatic Biblical inerrantist and evangelical theologian – he has suggested that being non-Christian (by his narrow definition of Christianity) is immoral – most famous for his advocacy of letting the Bible control absolutely every single aspect of life, including those not covered in the Bible, and for being the founder of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) (current president is Mississippi pastor J. Ligon Duncan, III). Yeah, you get the idea. They advocate complementarianism. Focus on the Family is heavily inspired by their work. Grudem is also the editor (with John Piper) of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (which was named “Book of the Year” by Christianity Today in 1992) and the author of Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth: an Analysis of over 100 Disputed Questions. You can probably guess your way to his and the CBMW’s position on gay marriage (complete with made-up statistics).

As a Biblical inerrantist it is hardly surprising that Grudem is a creationist – though he suspends judgment on whether he’ll plump for the old-earth or the young-earth variety. To his credit (or whatever you call it) he doesn’t even really bother to try to engage with the science when it comes to scientific questions. Grudem does Bible. Science, truth, evidence or reality aren’t even on his radar.

In 2016 Grudem was one of several fundamentalist recruited to serve on Marco Rubio’s Religious Liberty Advisory Board, which promoted religion very much indeed but had little time for promoting liberty in any recognizable sense of the word.

Diagnosis: This is what the Taliban was made of. Really. Grudem’s views on political and social issues are indistinguishable but for the names. He is also very influential and thus extremely dangerous.

Friday, June 17, 2016

#1677: Glenn Grothman

A.k.a. Rick Santorum’s “soul mate” (according to himself)

Oh, the state legislatures (again). Glenn Grothman is a village idiot state senator from Wisconsin who managed to serve 22 years as a representative/senator before he – instead of being laughed out of the house – got himself elected to Congress in 2014.

As you’d expect, Grothman has weighed in on social issues with little insight but plenty of dumb. Gay rights is an important one, of course. Grothman opposed a provision in a 2010 Wisconsin sex education law that prohibited teachers from promoting bias based on sexual orientation: homosexuality shouldn’t be mentioned at all in schools beause the instructors who lead these talks would invariably have an “agenda” to persuade students to become gay since homosexuals “would like it if more kids became homosexuals,” and that would eventually lead to divine punishment.

He was also concerned about what God might think of the United States in light of more recent government efforts to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation – in particular the government’s ungodly opposition to Uganda’s draconian anti-gay laws – and said that Republicans, conservatives, and church leaders were not confronting the issue of homosexuality and were therefore “losing the issue” (huh!). It’s also the end of America: “We had such a great country in the relatively recent past. Now America, supposed to be the light of the world, instead we’re the light going in the opposite direction.” Indeed, same-sex marriage is an insult to those who fought in the Civil War because those soldiers were fighting to make America more Christian. Yes, he said that.

In a 2012 press release Grothman argued that Kwanzaa is not a real holiday but invented by people who intended to destroy America: “almost no black people today care about Kwanzaa – just white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people’s throats in an effort to divide Americans” (cause the only reason for disagreeing with Grothman is that you wish to divide America). Instead, we should “treat Kwanzaa with the contempt it deserves before it becomes a permanent part of our culture.” Meanwhile Martin Luther King Day is “an insult to all the other taxpayers around the state.” (Of course, Grothman has also advocated a seven-day work week.)

He supported Governor Scott Walker’s decision to repeal the Wisconsin Equal Pay Act, claiming that “once you break it down by married and unmarried, the differential disappears.” That’s of course false, but Grothman explicitly addressed the studies showing that the claim is false by rejecting them and pointing out that “you could argue that money is more important for men.” In 2012, he introduced a state Bill 202, which would have repealed the Equal Pay Enforcement Act and a bill that would require the state’s Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to officially label single parenthood “a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect,” saying that the “Left and the social welfare establishment want children born out of wedlock because they are far more likely to be dependent on the government.”  You see, it is all a conspiracy; the government is secretly trying to “destroy the nuclear family”. Grothman tried to argue that out-of-wedlock birth rate is the “choice of the women,” who should be “educated that this is a mistake.” And when shown statistics about the high number of pregnancies that are unintended, Grothman dismissed them by saying that many women are “trained” to lie and say that their planned pregnancies are actually unintended. It is really part of a “war on men” (“our country is not going to survive if we continue this war on men”), in fact, conducted through welfare and diversity efforts – so, a war on white men, to be more precise: In a 2009 press release on diversity programs at the University of Wisconsin, he precisely raised the question: “Does the university hate white men?”

Meanwhile, he has called Planned Parenthood “the most racist organization” in the country because it is “aggressively promoting” sex-selective abortions to Asian Americans because such abortions are really popular among that group. No, he doesn’t seem to have a very sophisticated understanding of “racism”. He recently argued that Planned Parenthood’s services aren’t necessary because “as a guy” he has plenty of other health care options in his home state.

Given his proclivity for insane conspiracy theories it is little surprise that he claimed, after the 2012 election, that President Obama and Sen. Tammy Baldwin both won their elections due to fraud (he also suggested that he was eventually going to be arrested for opposing Obamacare and that the Council on Foreign Relations – a shadowy, powerful and evil organization – may be out to get him). But at least he has admitted that the point of voter ID laws is not to prevent voter fraud.

Another active conspiracy is environmentalism. Climate change “doesn’t exist,” according to Grothman, and “this environmental stuff, this is the idea that is driven by this global warming thing. Global warming is not man-made and there is barely any global warming at all, there’s been no global warming for the last twelve or thirteen years” (and let us emphasize: anyone who uses that gambit and believe it is so stupid and malinformed that they shouldn’t be trusted with opening doors without assistance). Indicative of his powers of observation, Grothman’s laments the “fact” that few Republicans are “stepping up to the plate and saying, ‘look, this global warming stuff is not going on.” (The shortage of scientists doing so concerns him less, since he is unable to see science as anything but a political game anyways).

During the 2016 primaries Grothman endorsed Ted Cruz, ostensibly because Ted Cruz was the only candidate who can protect us from single moms having anchor babies (presumably since it's the single mothers that are guided by Satan to destroy America; marriage saves them).

Diagnosis: Yes, a crazy, bigoted and obtuse wingnut. But Grothman is first and foremostly a deranged conspiracy theorist, of the kind that should really be relegated to writing rants with curious font choices and color combinations for Red Ice Creations.