Want A Good Conspiracy Theory About Mueller? Try Sandy Hook.

Today our friend Charles Blow has a column comparing Trump’s reaction to Mueller to how Nixon and Clinton responded to Watergate and Lewinskygate in previous years. The difference, however, is that Mueller’s investigation has yet to uncover a specific connection between the Russians and Trump. And until or unless such a connection is found, is Trump all that wrong when he says that Mueller’s work is just a big ‘witch hunt?’

jones2   On the other hand, it takes one to know one, and if there’s one person out there who knows how to fabricate a conspiracy based on unproven assertions, it’s the guy sitting in the Oval Office whose public persona was nourished on conspiracy theories, beginning with the ‘birther’ conspiracy, which Trump continued to peddle even after Obama released a bone-fide birth certificate proving his live birth in the United States.

Trump’s infatuation with conspiracy theories took a big jump forward when he appeared on InfoWars and told Alex Jones that he wouldn’t let Jones down. This was several years after Jones first began promoting the idea that the Sandy Hook massacre was a government-organized hoax, a continuing signature story that eventually got him sued for defamation by parents of some of the children who were shot and killed.

What gave a bit of credibility to the Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists was, unfortunately, the fact that the national media who invaded Newtown right after the massacre began releasing information that again and again turned out to be wrong. The first mistake was made by CNN, which identified the shooter not as Adam Lanza but as his older brother whose driver’s license was found in the car that Adam drove to the school. The ‘honor roll’ of news organizations that had to go back and change something they initially said, included CNN, CBS, AP, The New York Times and NPR. Once these seasoned reporters admitted that they were wrong, their admissions of wrongdoing made it easy for the conspiracy gang to claim the whole thing was a mis-managed, government affair.

I can’t think of a more delicious irony than the idea that the Mueller investigation is just another conspiracy theory, this time peddled not by the Right but by the Left. Because the truth is that the liberal mainstream still can’t believe that someone as seasoned, as professional, as experienced, as deserving as Hillary Rodham Clinton, could have lost this election to a know-nothing, rabble-rousing racist and moronic loudmouth like Donald Trump.

Now the fact that she spent twice as much money on her campaign as he did on his, the fact that she couldn’t be bothered to make a campaign stop in Michigan where she lost the whole state  by less than 16,000 votes; somehow these kinds of facts seem to have vanished from the post-election narrative being peddled by Hillary’s friends. And please, please do me a favor and shut up about the so-called need to change the Electoral College, okay?  I didn’t notice anyone complaining when Bill Clinton won the 1992 election with a whopping 43% of the popular vote, thanks to the presence of Ross ‘I’ll talk to my people and you talk to your people’ Perot.

The big difference between the Mueller conspiracy theory and the Sandy Hook conspiracy theory is that the latter was based on the idea that the government created something out of nothing in order to push through some kind of ban on privately-owned guns. The funny thing about Obama’s attempt to pass a gun-control bill, which went nowhere the following year, is that it was backed by a guy named Trump, who five days after the massacre, tweeted his support for Obama’s stand.

If Trump really wants to pull the rug out from underneath Mueller, what he needs to do is figure out some kind of connection between Mueller’s investigation and the continuing efforts of David Hogg and the Parkland kids to generate support for a national, gun-control bill. Run that story on InfoWars and Brietbart and it will take on a life of its own.

 

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The Lawsuit Against Alex Jones Injects Reality Into The Gun Debate.

Every time a gun-control law is upheld, our friends in the gun-control movement (I think the idea of trying to convince Gun-nut Nation that we don’t want to ‘control’ guns is absurd) exult and rightly so. But the lawsuits filed against Alex Jones by a group of Sandy Hook parents has more significance than any particular legal statute could ever have. What the Sandies are saying is that they have suffered threats, harassment, public humiliation and invasions of their privacy because Jones keeps blaming them for what happened at the elementary school. Which is what conspiracy theory is all about: identify a vulnerable victim and then pile on.

jones   Ultimately, the argument over gun violence is going to get down to how the average person thinks about guns, and the influence of someone like Jones over the public gun debate has been an important factor in the way the argument has gone along until now. The problem in this case isn’t the issue of determining what happened at Newtown, it’s the way that folks who are shocked and dismayed by these kinds of events react by getting involved in activities which might prevent such horrendous massacres from happening again.

I guarantee you that if the Sandy Hook parents had just suffered their silent grief and decided, individually and collectively to stay out of public view, that the conspiracy theories which ramped up immediately after December 14, 2012 would have quickly gone away. But the Sandies formed an organization devoted to promoting alternatives to violence in schools; they journeyed as a group to D.C. to help Obama with his attempt to get a new gun law;  they continue to advocate for restrictions on guns; and worst of all, the sued the gunmaker who manufactured the AR-15 which was used to kill 20 little kids and 6 adults in a five-minute rampage inside the school. Oh, that AR-15 isn’t too lethal for civilian sale.  It’s just a sporting rifle, right?  Yea, right.

The reason that Jones continues driving down the conspiracy path with Newtown, he’s claimed the same thing about the Aurora massacre, by the way, is because much of his audience happens to come out of the gun-owning fringe who feel that even the NRA is too tame to represent their beliefs. Think I’m kidding?  Take a look at his interview of Ted Nugent, whose high-intensity slurs and insults against the liberal ‘menace’ often put Jones to shame.

Jones says that he first got turned onto his political world view because his father was a member of the John Birch Society – remember them?  The Birchers were the first group that created an entire political belief-system around conspiracy theories, in particular the notion that there was a worldwide conspiracy of Communists, liberals, and other enemies of freedom which unless we were all endlessly vigilant, would rear its ugly head. They group has become somewhat more respectable over the last few years, their website is simply another imitation of Breitbart which, thanks to DD Trump has determined that ‘illegal aliens’ are now the big threat.

What makes the legal actions against Jones so compelling is that it forces people to confront the fact that gun violence, which kills and injures an average of 340 people every day, is something that actually takes place.  Let’s say, for example, that a particular locality suffers from a high degree of gun violence and decides to enact a new gun-control law.  What’s to stop someone like Alex Jones from saying that the 24 gun murders which occurred in a certain city so far this year weren’t just staged?

When the NRA says that it’s not the gun that kills people, it’s people who kill people, they are promoting a false narrative which is no different than Alex Jones claiming that Sandy Hook never took place. It’s high time that such cynically-proffered delusions get challenged not just in the law courts, but in the court of public opinion as well.

 

Conspiracy Theorists Aren’t The Only Ones Who Got It Wrong At Sandy Hook.

I’m not sure that the defamation lawsuit against Alex Jones by Sandy Hook parents Pozner and Heslin is a good thing or a bad thing. Obviously, anything that would take a little wind out of Jones’ sails is a good thing; the bad thing is that Jones will promote himself as an innocent ‘victim’ and use the suit to inflame and widen his audience a little more.

jones             You should know that Jones is hardly the only conspiracy theorist to trot out the idea that the massacre at Sandy Hook never took place.  Another conspiracy theorist, James Tracy, lost a tenured position at Florida Atlantic University because he not only promoted the idea that the whole episode was a hoax, but was accused by one of the Sandy Hook families of harassing them in an attempt to dig up more details. A conspiracy video called ‘The Sandy Hook Truther – Fully Exposed,’ racked up over 5 million views within the first week after it aired on YouTube in 2013.

The problem with the conspiracy gang is that the main target of all their conspiracies, a U.S. President who was born in Kenya, is no longer around. So, it’s not clear the degree to which this kind of nonsense will maintain its audience share when the last thing that someone like Alex Jones will do is to accuse D.D.D. Trump of using the government to promote his nefarious ends. After all, it’s pretty tough to attack the guy whose entire political agenda is based on cleaning out the ‘deep state.’

But getting back to the issue of Sandy Hook, unfortunately, self-promoters like Alex Jones were aided in their efforts to push the conspiracy line by the mainstream media, whose representatives descended on Newtown like locusts in a wheat field and very quickly began screwing their news reports up, down, sideways and everywhere else.  Early that afternoon news reports began identifying the shooter by name, except the person who allegedly shot everyone wasn’t Adam Lanza, rather, it was his older brother Ryan who was on his way home from his job in lower Manhattan when he learned that he was being accused of killing a whole bunch of school kids.

How did the media blow this one so bad?  Because directly after the shooting scene was secured, the cops searched Adam Lanza’s car and found Ryan’s driver’s license which was in the car for reasons that were never made clear. During the search, a reporter grabbed one of the cops, asked him what they had found, and the cop said, “Oh, we know who it is because he left his driver’s license in the car.”  And once this news got out, every network and every media venue reported it all over the place.

Six days after the massacre, NPR ran a detailed account of the mistakes made by media in the initial reportage about Sandy Hook, and named themselves, The New York Times, CBS and the Associated Press among others who got it wrong before they got it right. The lack of early media diligence was explained by the hyper-competitive situation which now characterizes all media news, but the bottom line is that the moment that a mainstream media venue had to retract or change a story, this gave the conspiracy theorists all the ammunition (pardon the pun) they would need.

I would hope that our friends in the responsible media would learn from this episode, particularly because Sandy Hook parents like Leonard Pozner and others continue to suffer from this outrageous fusillade of lies while still trying to overcome their grief. But I am still waiting for the Las Vegas Police Department to explain how photographs from within Stephen Paddock’s hotel room appeared on the internet before the cops even confirmed the shooter’s name.

It’s easy to blame Alex Jones for pushing a false story about Sandy Hook. But are we so sure that we can trust our friends in the mainstream media to tell us what really happens when someone starts banging away with a gun?

Thank God The Liberal Media Can Still Find Someone Who Loves Guns.

Now that the Parkland kids have managed to put gun-control laws in the middle of the upcoming off-year election campaign, we have to assume that Gun-nut Nation will rev up their noise machine and say whatever they can say to deflect attention away from the whole issue of violence caused by guns.  Except the last time I looked, all those 2nd-Amendment stalwarts who have been marching around with their trusty AR-15 rifles slung over their backs seem to have quit the scene.

antifa            But where are all the pro-gun marches that were going to be held to counter the national protests on March 24th?  Where are all the gun-toting patriots screaming to lock up Hillary at all those Town Halls? Even Ted Nugent ends up going from a White House dinner to a boring interview with Alex Jones.

But not to worry about how the 2nd-Amendment gang is being marginalized and pushed to the sidelines in the continuing discussion about guns. Because we can count on the mainstream media (read: liberal, gun-grabbing media) to keep Gun-nut Nation alive.  Yesterday, the Washington Post ran a story about a young guy down in Texas who finally saved up enough dough to buy his first AR-15.  The compassion, the humanity of this new AR owner dripped from every page.  Here’s some of the better quotes:

“He’s here this weekend [at a gun show where he bought the gun] not because he worries about an imminent ban, but because he just sold his Mustang and finally has the cash.”

“Rodriguez has long been a gun enthusiast. He learned how to shoot when he was in elementary school, and he purchased his first gun at 18.”

“He learned more about guns through YouTube, got a job and settled into a responsible life with a gun hobby on the side.”

Get it?  This guy’s not a nut; he’s not going to run into a school with his AR and start blasting away.  He’s actually a married man with a real job and he always wanted an AR because taking it out to the range is a “lot of fun.”  He’s not even worried about a terrorist attack and says that for self-protection, he would rather rely on a handgun than on his newly-purchased AR.  Of course, it turns that he’s never actually been involved in a criminal event of any kind. But he knows that if it actually happened, he would have no trouble engaging in defensive gun use because, “Can you think of a more honorable way to [die] than trying to save people’s lives?”

Okay, our boy has a few fantasies about life and death, so do we all.  But does the WaPo reporter at any point even hint at the possibility that this kid just spent a thousand bucks on a new toy?  Of course not. Because the truth is that these same reporters couldn’t stop writing about all those gun-toting, proto-fascist kids last year who were getting ready to mount the barricades and defend freedom against the Antifa hordes.

What happened to all that nonsense?  I’ll tell you that happened. It was nothing except whatever the mainstream media decided it should be. And once the brouhaha about Charlottesville died down and nobody really cared whether this Civil War statue or that Civil War statue stayed up or came down, the whole big deal about crazies running around with guns also died down. Instead, we now have an African-American gun instructor, Michelle Tigner, whose goal is to train one million women to use guns and also touts herself as “the  perfect mediator for a civil dialogue between ‘unwilling’ to talk gun advocates and ‘uninformed’ anti-gun crusaders.”

All of a sudden everyone’s interested to talking to both sides. Am I the only person out there who sees this as nothing more than the latest manifestation of good, old American entrepreneurship to make a quick buck by promoting the idea that most gun owners are actually normal people when it comes to what they do with their guns?

The ‘Gun Rights’ Movement Is Ready To Save America From The ‘Deep State.’

Once the MAGA movement started showing up at rallies with AR rifles in full view, I knew it was only a matter of time until the alt-right/white media blowhards would jump on the bandwagon and begin pushing a hyped-up version of not just using guns for self-defense, but using guns to protect America from a counter-coup led by the ‘deep state.’ And this message finally appeared full-flower last week on (what else?) the Youtube channel owned by Alex Jones, with an hour-long rant, complete with shooting guns at a Texas indoor range.

jones             What makes this video appealing to the loony set is that it also features none other than Roger Stone, who is introduced as the ‘former head of the Trump campaign,’ although Alex forgot to mention that Stone was not only never the head of Trump’s operation, but was pushed onto the sidelines after he began taking credit for his alleged connection to Julian Assange when Wikileaks started dumping the emails that upended Hillary’s campaign.  Stone got his start as a dirt-digger under Nixon and is probably more responsible for the intertwining of Republican political messaging and conspiracy theories than anyone else.  Which gave him impeccable credentials to serve as a handmaiden for the Trump campaign where racism and nationalism have come home to roost.

The video starts off with Stone delivering a monolog about the worst, largest criminal-conspiracy of all time, namely the Clinton-Hillary uranium deal, and how it’s being covered xup by the ‘deep state.’ At some point Stone then says that he has taken up shooting both to protect himself and the Constitution, Jones chimes in about how Stone has been going to the range frequently to practice his shooting skills, and of course everyone knows that Jones is a long-time and frequent user of guns, right?

Now the action shifts to the range itself with Jones first shooting a 10mm, short-barreled carbine, which he claims to own but doesn’t even know where the safety is located on the gun and tells a range instructor to ‘come on over and show me how this works real quick.’ Stone is even less-informed, picking up a semi-auto Uzi pistol with his finger clearly on the trigger even though the gun isn’t pointed downrange, and as the range officer politely tells him to remove his finer from the trigger, a voice which sounds suspiciously like Alex Jones tells Stone that he’s about to shoot a ‘full-auto’ gun.

Neither Jones nor Stone have any real experience shooting guns at all. But that hardly prevents them from using a shooting motif, particularly one in which the picture of a person is then shot full of holes with a live gun. And if memory serves me correctly, the first politician to stoop to the lowest possible level and run a political ad which pandered to the dumbest of the dumb was a Democrat named Rob Quist who unsuccessfully ran in Montana for the Congressional seat previously held by Ryan Zinke. So before my friends in the gun violence prevention (GVP) community wring their hands in despair as Alex Jones and Roger Stone practice for the upcoming resurrection in an Austin shooting range, let’s just remember that when it comes to promoting themselves, those two jerks didn’t exactly invent the idea of building an identity by shooting off guns.

Talking about building an identity, the latest and even more stupid announcement about the politics of gun ownership comes from another egregious self-promoter, Steve Bannon, who says he’s creating a new movement which will be a ‘revolutionary force’ in American politics, growing out of a coalition of religious reactionaries, pro-life activists, union members (as if there are any union members left) and – who else? – the 2nd-Amendment gang.

What’s behind this overblown, delusional rhetoric is one, simple fact: two media companies known as Infowars and Breitbart, both vying for the same buck.  And now that gun nuts have stopped buying guns, all that spare cash which used to go to support gun ‘rights’ is up for grabs.