Sunday, April 28, 2013

Not all Conservatives Are Wingnuts, But Most Wingnuts Are Conservatives



In an oped by Thom Hartmann at The Daily Take, "The Right Wing Cult Machine Exposed," the relationship between Conservatism and cultish behavior lays exposed for all to see:

"Far right Conservatism has become a cult, and Rush Limbaugh is its leader.

"By definition, a cult is a group or sect bound together by adoration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.

"A cult promises you redemption. It tells you that if you do what it says, and as it believes, you will be protected from the evil people that are out to get you and the rest of society.

"A cult purges the non-believers. And it actively tries to vilify all those who are not part of the cult, saying that they're doomed and destined to go to hell.

"So how did Limbaugh become the leader of such a large, and influential, cult?



"(L)ike cult leaders do, Limbaugh offered up a theatrical flair, and accompanied that with a marketing genius.

"He offered his followers redemption. He offered them protection from what he told them they should fear – liberals and feminists. He demanded ideological purity, and absolute devotion to the ideology of far-right 'conservative' corporatism. And he vilified all those who didn't see things his way.

"Limbaugh then managed to convince his followers that faith in his word was more important than facts. No matter what everyone else said, if Rush said it, it must be true. Only information that supports Limbaugh's positions can be believed, and everything else is just lies.

"Which brings us to today.

"Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right-wing talk radio cult have conjured up such a large following that they're helping the Koch Brothers drive the polarization within the Republican Party, and within America's political discourse.

"Ironically, so says Frank Luntz, a top Republican consultant and campaign guru.

"Earlier this week, Luntz told a group of college students at the University of Pennsylvania that Limbaugh and his fellow right-wing talk-radio cult leaders are 'problematic' for the Republican Party because they're responsible for the stark polarization within the party.

"In a secret recording of his comments, Luntz can be heard saying that, 'And they get great ratings, and they drive the message, and it's really problematic. And this is not on the Democratic side. It's only on the Republican side...[inaudible]. [Democrats have] got every other source of news on their side. And so that is a lot of what's driving it. If you take—Marco Rubio's getting his ass kicked. Who's my Rubio fan here? We talked about it. He's getting destroyed! By Mark Levin, by Rush Limbaugh, and a few others. He's trying to find a legitimate, long-term effective solution to immigration that isn't the traditional Republican approach, and talk radio is killing him. That's what's causing this thing underneath. And too many politicians in Washington are playing coy.'



"But no matter what Luntz says, Limbaugh and the rest of his right-wing media pals will continue to rally their followers, and continue to vilify those who dare think otherwise.

"They will continue to paint President Obama as America's anti-hero, using terms like 'socialist' and 'Muslim' to further scare their cult followers into seeing things their way.

"Sadly, that cult is coming dangerously close to having complete control over the Republican Party and much of the political discourse in our country.

"Thankfully, people are waking up and recognizing the far right-wing media for what it is: a cult."

For the complete piece, go to --> http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/16012-the-right-wing-cult-machine-exposed.

In a second post, "False Flags, Sharia Law, and Gun Grabs: GOP Lawmakers Embrace The Crazy," by John Avlon at the Daily Beast, we discover "(t)he conspiracy theories percolating up to local party leaders and even the halls of Congress should be a warning sign for the GOP":

"A few days after the Boston bombings, Stella Tremblay went to Glenn Beck’s Facebook page to express her conviction that the terror attack was, in fact, orchestrated by the U.S. government.

As Jonathan Swift famously put it, “you cannot reason someone out of something they were not reasoned into.” (Rob Kim/Getty, Corbis)

“The Boston Marathon was a Black Ops ‘terrorist’ attack,” she wrote. “One suspect killed, the other one will be too before they even have a chance to speak. Drones and now ‘terrorist’ attacks by our own Government. Sad day, but a ‘wake up’ to all of us.”

"She then linked to a video at Infowars.com called Proof! Boston Marathon Bombing is Staged Terror Attack.

"Tremblay’s post, though, stood out from the wave of post-attack crazy because of her day job: she is a New Hampshire state legislator.

"Like too many enthusiastic dupes, the Republican representative was echoing conspiracy entrepreneurs like Beck and InfoWars’ Alex Jones, who blend dark alternate history with a dystopian future, offering the listeners the 'secret truth.'

"Tremblay is part of a disturbing trend of – conservative state legislators and even congressmen entertaining conspiracy theories that are creepy and unseemly coming from average citizen, but a sign of civic rot when they start getting parroted by elected officials.

"Of course, craziness is a bipartisan issue, with Republicans frequently pointing to former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney as a Democratic example – but the right has been particularly prone to paranoia since Bush Derangement Syndrone on the left gave way to an epic case of Obama Derangement Syndrome from the other side.

"This week in Missouri, state legislators voted to cut funding for the state’s divers license bureau because it had been tasked in 2003 with also overseeing concealed-carry permits. The wife of state Rep. Kenneth Wilson explained – in the words of the Columbia Tribune – that the bureau 'was part of a plot to impose United Nations policies in this country. ‘I have been doing some study on U.N. Agenda 21,’ Melissa Wilson… told the committee. ‘With this information going to the federal government, I feel that I will be a target. With Agenda 21, I will be someone who will be put on a watch list.’ She added that Agenda 21 is being pushed through in part because of a mass brainwashing known as the Delphi Technique.

Alex Jones in downtown Manhattan, Sept. 11, 2007. (911conspiracy/flickr/Creative Commons (http://www.flickr.com/photos/14638975@N04/2220050399/))

"This is shadowy conspiracy theorist stuff, but this theory isn’t just isolated to a few folks in Missouri. Last November, the conservative head of the Georgia state legislature invited his conference to a four-hour briefing on Agenda 21. The invitation read: 'How pleasant sounding names are fostering a Socialist plan to change the way we live, eat, learn, and communicate to 'save the earth.' The presentation was MC’d by a local Tea Party activist who is also a 9/11 Truther, and a Birther.

"Even the Economist has felt compelled to weigh in on the absurdity of Agenda 21 conspiracy theories, for the record.

"Adding to the reality-free high pitch of anxiety was the Texas state attorney general who – during the height of the North Korean escalation earlier this month – declared that the real danger to America wasn’t a communist dictatorship threatening to attacks us with nuclear weapons, but the Obama administration.

“'One thing that requires ongoing vigilance is the reality that the state of Texas is coming under a new 
assault,' A.G. Greg Abbott said, according to the Waco Tribune, 'an assault far more dangerous than what the leader of North Korea threatened when he said he was going to add Austin, Texas, as one of the recipients of his nuclear weapons. The threat that we're getting is the threat from the Obama administration and his political machine.'

"This is the leading elected law enforcement official in our second-largest state.

"In North Carolina, conservative state law-makers decided to push forward a clearly unconstitutional bill to allow the state 'to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and seeks to nullify any federal ruling against Christian prayer by public bodies statewide,' in the words of local station WRAL. When one of the sponsoring law makers, Michele Presnell was asked if she would be comfortable with a Muslim prayer to Allah before a public meeting, according to the Raleigh News and Observer, she replied, 'No, I do not condone terrorism.'
"The fact that conspiracy theories are percolating up to local party leaders and even the halls of Congress should be a warning sign for the GOP.
"This sickness is starting to infect the halls of Congress. Friday, Congressman Louie Gohmert couldn't resist telling WND radio that, 'This administration has so many Muslim brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong decisions for America.'



"That remark came just a day after Republicans Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jason Chaffetz of Utah held a hearing 'to examine the procurement of ammunition by the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General.'

"Despite the innocuous language, the hearing represented a capitulation, if not an outright endorsement, of conspiracy theories promoted by the likes of – you guessed it – Alex Jones and InfoWars – namely that the Homeland Security Department is stockpiling ammunition to use against Americans in a massive imposition of martial law. As Media Matters’ Tyler Hanson detailed, these conspiracy theories have been echoed in opinion pieces published in The Daily Caller, Forbes and Fox News – in addition to usual suspects like Breitbart and WorldNetDaily – where Michele Bachmann’s staffers have said she gets much of her 'news.'

"Perhaps the highest profile impact of conspiracy theories to date on national policy was the defeat of the universal background check bill – specifically the widespread claims threat that closing existing loopholes would be a first step toward a national gun registry that would in turn bring Hitler-style confiscation to America. That, of course, would in turn lead to martial law, as former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee explicitly claimed on his radio show earlier this month.

"Never mind that the bill explicitly made it a criminal offense to make any such list—fear-fueled hyper-partisan narratives can outweigh facts. As Jonathan Swift famously put it, 'you cannot reason someone out of something they were not reasoned into.'



"As the faithful know, you reap what you sow, and the steady diet of hyper-partisan media has seeded these conspiracy theories in the minds of party activists to the extent that they are starting to shape policy debates. The embarrassing incidents are evidence of a larger problem that needs to be confronted: when you do not condemn the use of hate and fear to serve as a recruiting tool against your political opponents, the ability to reason together is undermined and self-government is compromised. There is a cost to condoning extremism when it seems to benefit 'your team.'"

Conservative wingnuts seem to be God's gift to non-Conservatives, but too many of them at a time will turn people off from politics -- and that isn't a Bad Thing for the Conservative leadership.  Their wingnut Sheeplets vote, they carry signs (though filled with misspellings and grammatical errors), and they trumpet Conservative memes without the slightest idea how they look to sane people.  When Conservatism is finally criminalized, we can only hope that they receive the proper psychiatric treatment to allow them access back into the civilized -- and sane -- world.



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"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free
people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


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