Sunday, June 4, 2023

#2652: Kristin Cavallari & Jay Cutler

Kristin Cavallari is an anti-vaccine activist and reality-TV star, with all the medical and scientific expertise that comes with that background, as well as an author of woo-inspired cookbooks and a wellness-oriented autobiography. Jay Cutler is a (former) sports personality (formerly) married to Cavallari. In 2014, the couple drew criticism for refusing to vaccinate their children due to alleged and easily refuted claims of a connection between childhood vaccination and autism, which the couple had convinced themselves was real based on perusing various conspiracy theory and pseudoscience websites (Mayer Eisenstein’s is a likely suspect). “We’re making the best decision for our kids,” said Cavallari falsely, unable to fathom the possibility that being able to give birth and being famous for being famous doesn’t automatically make you an expert on making medical decisions (she’s hardly alone in missing that simple distinction). “I’ve read too many books about autism and the studies,” Cavallari also said, even though she has most certainly not ever read a single medical study.


Instead of vaccinating them, Cavallari apparently fed her newborn babies a homemade formula that included goat milk, which is not merely the wannabe-eccentric antics of a self-obsessed crunchy snowflake but demonstrably dangerous. Apparently, Cavallari based her decision on what to feed her children on whether the product in question was organic, natural and pure.


In addition to his work as an anti-vaccine activist, Cutler has also done (related) work as a MAGA activist, and has been a firm proponent of Donald Trump’s 2020 election fraud conspiracy theories.


Diagnosis: Now, who the f**k cares what celebrities think about medicine or science, you may ask. Well, a lot of people do, and stupid gits like Kristin Cavallari gets a lot of attention for her stupid choices. Cavallari’s vapid ghost-written garbage books sold in droves, and yes: it is hard to fathom what people could possibly hav thought they got out of them, but again: apparently they did.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

#2651: Andrea Catsimatidis

Andrea Catsimatidis is the chair of the Manhattan Republican Party since 2017 and a successful businesswoman in virtue of having had important positions in businesses owned by her billionaire father. Described as a “rising GOP star”, Catsimatidis has been a strident promoter of 2020 election conspiracy theories; already in November 2020, she askedIs Joe Biden planning a coup by trying to create his own parallel government?”, and later she asserted that “Corporate America helped rig the election.” After January 6, she was quick to forward debunked claims that Antifa activists were among the rioters (“I’m questioning the intelligence of anyone who didn’t think ANTIFA was involved. It’s so obvious!!!”), responding to criticism by asserting that her aim was to ensure all the evidence was considered so attackers could be brought to justice. That is a lie, of course. (It’s also worth noting that similar conspiracy theories were promoted by her billionaire father, climate change denialist John Catsimatidis).


Catsimatidis was not particularly sympathetic to the 2023 Manhattan district indictment of Trump either.


Diagnosis: Yes, a village idiot conspiracy theorist; Qanon conspiracies and rants against the elites (“they”) are standard fare among wingnut New York socialite billionaires, too. We have no doubts Catsimatidis has a bright political future ahead of her.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

#2650: A.J. Castellitto

We have had plenty of opportunities to mention the website RenewAmerica already, and we will most likely have plenty of new opportunities in the future. RenewAmerica is a fringe-right conspiracy website that promotes Christian fundamentalism, and that consistently seeks to defend the fringiest and silliest positions possible on any topic, possibly in an effort to make websites like Townhall come across as reasonable (there is significant overlap among the writers).


A.J. Castellitto is a freelance writer who has helped shape RenewAmerica’s science profile. Castellitto is a creationist, and tends to repeat any – in particular the dumbest – arguments against the theory of evolution he can come across. According to Castellitto, “years of personal study and online debate” have taught him that evolution is based on “vast amount of unfounded speculation, fantastical thinking, and unproven, inconsistent theory”. One of the problems that “evolutionary theorists have never been able to clear”, according to Castellitto, is “the idea that one species can naturally progress into a higher or more advanced life form” (no, he hasn’t looked at the answers, of course, because he doesn’t understand the theory of evolution and commits the standard idiotic fallacy of confusing it with a normative theory in the process), something that he happily asserts “has never been observed” and that “goes against the observed and testable laws of nature” – yes, it’s the Second Law of Thermodynamics gambit, no less. Evolution is, according to Castellitto, a theory in crisis, and only the nefarious efforts of “disciples of evolution” to distort the facts to the masses for ideological reasons has stood in the way of further recognition of this situation (that he might be wrong and has misunderstood the science never crosses his mind). It is worth pointing out that Castellitto is a major fan of the movie Expelled.


But evolution isn’t the only “vital question” on which Castellitto thinks the public might have become the victims of misleading propaganda from the scientific establishment. Others include:


-       Should the science of climate change (global warming) be deemed ‘settled’?” (ooh, we know the answer to that one!)

-       Are scientific studies related to vaccines affects on autism, the necessity of embryonic stemcell research, GMOs, etc. wholly comprehensive and objective?

-       Are Godly principles AND government compatible or even necessary?


So, there!


Diagnosis: All-purpose science denialist and conspiracy theorist. “RenewAmerica” material is diagnosis enough.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

#2649: Kerry Lynn Cassidy

Project Camelot is a notoriously boring and unprofessional but frighteningly popular YouTube conspiracy (conspirituality) channel on which Kerry Lynn Cassidy and (at least formerly) Bill Ryan, a British ex-Scientologist, perform video interviews with woomeisters, astrologers and self-declared whistleblowers (i.e. paranoid conspiracy theorists) – though the videos consist for the most part of Cassidy turning the camera on herself to rehash various conspiracy theories she has found on other conspiracy theory outlets and blogs (she will also readily believe any claim made by their interviewees if it has a whiff of secret knowledge to it). In her own words, she is “a very unique interviewer,” and she does (falsely) claim to challenge her interviewees on occasion: “I’m able to discern when someone is falling into what is kind of a ... a recording in their head, that they then speak from. And so they get ... their tone tends to get very monotonous. There are tell-tale signs of programming. And I tend to break them out of it by asking .. and interrupting them, and asking them questions, sometimes completely what appears to be off topic. And I also have help during these interviews from ETs. ... that are tapping into me and giving me information.”


In any case, if you wish to know the relationship between chemtrails, Anunnaki, lizard people and the conspiracy to suppress the benefits of MMS, Project Camelot is the place to go. The ‘project’ was primarily funded by Cassidy’s inheritance, with support from Ryan and convicted felon and self-declared psychic Sean David Morton. The pair also arranged the Awake and Aware conspiracy conferences featuring luminaries like Morton and New Age pseudoscientist David Wilcock. The conferences are, according to the organizers, consistently targeted by the US government using scalar waves.


Many of the conspiracy theories promoted on the show concern aliens and space travel, and to give you an idea of the kind of drivel they promote, here’s Cassidy on the war in Iraq: “Soldiers who are alleged to be going to Iraq or Afghanistan are actually being sent off planet to places like Mars to fight battles alongside other alien races. Those men and women will have their minds wiped when they come back. This is why we’re having a lot of suicides with ex-soldiers. In some cases their minds have been wiped so many times they become unbalanced as a result. When they return, they don’t know where they’ve been. They think they’ve been to the Middle East, but they’ve actually been elsewhere.” Cassidy’s evidence for such claims is primarily found through a familiar method of evidence-gathering typically employed by conspiracy theorists of her ilk: Since a central part of the theory is that it’s secret and covered up, one predicts that evidence will be hard to find; she finds no evidence; so the hypothesis is confirmed. Science and logic!


A nice example of that kind of reasoning is Cassidy’s explanation for why she is systematically targeted by the government for exposing them (“we’re all being targeted. Some people don't know it though”): it’s “because your government is out to get you.” So there. Indeed, after having been the victim of a government plot to kill her with a “scaler [sic] weapon formation sent by the dark side” in 2015, Cassidy even developed a protocol to defend yourself from such attacks:


-       Carry small magnets in your pocket: these will change your DNA signature so it’s harder for the scaler [sic] weapons to find you. Rock salt will clear the energies after use.

-       Meditate (always) to increase your frequency/vibration and stay in your highest frame of mind.

-       Boost your immune system with micro plant powder (she will sell you some in her store)

-       Wear medallions to ward off ELF.

-       Use colloidal silver and Miracle Mineral Supplement (oh, yes: that’s the level on which we’re operating here).


It’s unclear to what extent any of this is supposed help, though; according to Cassidy herself, she was ultimately spared from assassination not because of magnets and bleach but because she has friends among high-ranking extraterrestrial and government and military sources who she claims want disclosure and are using Cassidy as a venue for releasing leaked information.


A small selection of Project Camelot standard fare, ostensibly leaked information:


-       President Eisenhower met with extraterrestrials, which led to the age of reverse engineering alien technology; before that, however …

-       the aliens gave the Nazi their technology; and before that …

-       Nicola Tesla was assisted by the aliens;

-       Apparently, the aliens are very interested in Earth’s gold; Earth is also suitable as a jumping off point to explore the rest of our solar system, and female humans are very useful for breeding and genetic experimentation;

-       Our governments are actively exchanging humans for alien technology; apparently millions of children and have disappeared from Earth to become slaves, food sources and breeding stock for the aliens;

-       Some humans have been modified to become interstellar supersoldiers; Cassidy has met several such with enhanced physical powers and psychic abilities; they are, for instance, able to communicate with extraterrestrials using telepathy;

-       DNA in world leaders is reptilian-based, and these reptilians are working hard to keep the sheeple from realizing what situation they actually find themselves in;


Cassidy and Ryan were major promoters of the Project Serpo hoax, with Ryan even being Project Serpo’s webmaster.


Some other conspiracy theories promoted by Cassidy

Among Cassidy’s most notorious projects are her interviews with convicted murderer Mark Richards, in which she promotes Richards’s story that he is innocent (he isn’t) but was framed by the Illuminati. According to Richards and Cassidy “Captain Mark Richards” was not a murderer at all but a hero of numerous battles with aliens in outer space (Cassidy never asks for or is provided with any documentation or evidence, of course).


In 2017, Cassidy also offered her thoughts on the devastating Napa Valley wildfires; according to Cassidy, the fires were caused by a space-based weapon and were “clearly the work of planning and an attack orchestrated by the Illuminati and their cohorts” as a plot to clear the land for real estate development. The idea that such claims should be corroborated by even a shred of evidence is apparently also part of an Illuminati mind control plot. But yes, the Illuminati govern it all. According to Cassidy, a secret cabal of rich and influential people control all aspects of human affairs. She also said that the 1999 science fiction film The Matrix is an accurate description of the situation, and should be viewed as a documentary, thus contradicting most of her other claims. Whatever.


In the 2020s, Cassidy has been a major promoter of the COVID-19 5G conspiracy. According to Cassidy, the entire population of the planet is infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus; symptoms, however, only appear when the virus is “activated” by 5G transmissions. She later blamed the whole pandemic on George Soros.


False flags

A recurring theme in Cassidy’s conspiracy mongering is that all major tragedies and events are false flag operations committed by the powers that be. Her evidence is … gappy. She also struggles mightily to formulate any remotely coherent hypotheses concerning the motive said powers might have for performing the atrocities. Among the events claimed by Cassidy to be false flag operations are:


-       The Sandy Hook massacre

-       The 2015 Charlie Hebdo assassination (“this incident has been faked”, asserted Cassidy. Part of the evidence for conspiracy was a shoe (a piece of getaway clothing) that one of the terrorists picked up and put back in the getaway car: “Uh, really? Where did the random SHOE come from and why would he pick it up? He is apparently wearing 2 shoes so it isn’t his!!” Therefore the government was behind the attack. The motive was ostensibly to create an atmosphere in which forced deportation of Muslims would be accepted, and the evidence is … the forced deportation of Muslims from France after 2015?

-       The 2016 Bastille Day attack: “this latest so called terror attack in Nice smacks of an orchestrated Illuminati hit against French ‘independence’ from their agenda. ... the signs are clear. False Flag.” Yeah, a slam-dunk appeal to the incontrovertible force of ‘smacks of’.

-       The October 2017 massacre in Las Vegas that cost the lives of 58 concert-goers; according to Cassidy, “[t]he location of this latest false flag however real the human casualties relates to the history of Mandalay and Kipling, the British illuminati versus possibly what they may see as the U.S. Navy ‘pirates’. This may well be a turf war between illuminati factions over who will run the financial system and how and when it gets taken down and reformulated into the NOW currency ... No doubt this is also all about controlling the guns (and getting the U.S. populations under control by attempting once again to take away their guns).”

-       The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting; that one, including her interview with James Fetzer, got Cassidy in trouble with Youtube policies – Cassidy promptly asserted that YouTube had been infiltrated by the Illuminati and “Black Magicians”, and threatened to sue.


Cassidy on evidence and confirmation

To be fair, Cassidy herself has recognized that she needs to employ a standard for evidence-gathering that diverges from mainstream methods and standards. In connection with some rants about Comet Elenin, she explained that “what resonates with your heart and spirit is where the truth is … not in superficial details that don’t add up or painting a logic trail with a broad brush saying this is black and this is white.” In connection with her Mark Richard interviews, she also explained why “the slow minded members of the population are so easy to deceive”: “As Einstein said [he didn’t], the real measure of intelligence is the limits of one’s imagination. They, those who don’t believe in conspiracies and who are in denial about the existence of visiting alien races, chemtrails, UFOs, and state-sponsored terrorism also known as false flags, have little imagination.”


Some of her conspiracy ranting is also available in book form (good lord!), including Rebel Gene: Secret Space and the Future of Humanity. Cassidy is also also is a member of the Advisory Board of the Exopolitics Institute. She is also behind the, uh, “documentary” Boriska: Indigo Boy from Mars.


Diagnosis: There exist people who think she makes some good points, but we imagine that many of those would be disqualified from entries in our encyclopedia on medical grounds. As one of the most extreme religious fanatics in the US regardless of religious affiliation, however, Cassidy actually does have an impact, so we needed to provide an entry for her.


Hat-tip: Rationalwiki

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

#2648: Earl Carter

Earl Carter is a sex-obsessed, perverse unhinged, hateful Florida-based pastor (possibly: there is some serious lack of clarity about the whereabouts of his ministry and his background
). Carter does not like homosexuality, and his rants against gay people are characterized by i) extreme bloodlust and violence fetishism and ii) very long, detailed descriptions of anatomy and sexual acts. Now, Carter is adamant that he doesn’t hate homosexuals: “I don’t hate gays, I’m just like the doctor who hates disease, I fight the disease. My gospel is like chemotherapy” – and Carter does indeed claim to have “cured” several gay people by means of fundie religious ranting – but he also quickly added that if he were able to express his true feelings, “then I’ll be whipping sissies. You’re talking about gay bashing, it would be gay stoning.” Well, then. The reason for the apparent conflict between the statements is of course that Earl Carter is unable to entertain a coherent line of thought. Also, gay men are “sissies” who he hoped would “bleed from their butts.”


In connection with the 107th Holy Convocation convention for the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) in 2015, where he gave a sermon, he also offered to “tell you how I feel about Obama, how I feel about Oprah, how I feel about anybody that supports the Democratic Party. Sometimes they immoral. They just don’t have any morals at all.” (Yes, Carter struggles with the distinction between morally good actions and hate-motivated murder). He also prayed “that God should punish gay men with menstrual bleeding, hot flashes and pregnancy” because anal sex is “hygienically crazy.” Then he asked people to support him so that he could “terrorize this country in the name of the Lord.” Apparently, his 2015 appearance with COGIC has had an interesting aftermath.


Diagnosis: Deranged pervert whose thoughts are glued together by hate and bloodlust alone. Lock your doors when he’s in your vicinity. (No seriously: this guy is dangerous and has done jailtime for violence on several occasions)

Monday, May 22, 2023

#2647: Cody Carson

Not entirely convinced he isn’t a poe, but Cody Carson at least appears to be a crackpot fundie inventor (a “philosopher, inventor, filmmaker, actor, author, former US marine”) who believes i) that the Rapture is imminent, and ii) that a device of his invention is able to detect when Christians disappear from Earth – it’s a Rapture Alarm, in his own terminology. Well, it’s not much of an invention; it is a … switch that triggers when something physical is removed, which is something that probably hasn’t been patentable since shovels. And since attaching a switch to living people is sort of pointless and silly – you wouldn’t really need a switch attached to your body to tell close-by audiences that your body suddenly vanished in thin air – Carson wants to attach it to … dead people, whose bodies apparently also vanish. Then he talks about building tombs equipped as small labs to record “quantum changes that would occur during the resection and vanishing of a body” to give us a “controlled lab setting”, because science. There are some questions here one might feel that Carson has left unasked, including (but not limited to) “why?” (After all, marketing the device would need to overcome the obvious obstacle that the people who believe in the Rapture are exactly the ones who expect to vanish in the Rapture themselves.)


But in fact, he has a … point, sort of. Carson’s invention was presented back in 2009, and “if the rapture is timed with the chain of natural disasters that have already been predicted by scientists for the 2010–2012 time frame [yeah, that use of the word ‘scientists’ explains a bit here], the fulfillment of the long predicted biblical prophesy could be partially overlooked because of the heavy death toll and mass destruction that would follow in the wake of multiple global disasters.” If that doesn’t sufficiently answer all your obvious questions, you aren’t in the target audience.


Carson’s online presence seems to have faded after 2012, at which point he was mostly sharing wisdom attained through his work as a “philosopher”. We don’t feel the need to share said wisdom here, though.


Diagnosis: Yeah, whatever. We’ll leave him alone from now on. Probably harmless.


Hat-tip: Pharyngula

Friday, May 19, 2023

#2646: Mellissa Carone

Mellissa Carone is a deranged, incoherent lunatic who rose to fame right after the 2020 election because she happened to do work for Dominion Voting Systems at the time (she was “hired through a staffing agency for one day to clean glass on machines and complete other menial tasks”) and recognized the career opportunity that presented itself in forwarding false and utterly baseless claims of election fraud in Michigan. In an affidavit from November 10, 2020, Carone alleged that some ballots were counted four or five times, that more than 100,000 ballots were then “found” after vans dropped off food for the poll workers, that poll workers were filling out ballots on behalf of voters, and that her managers were incompetent. She forwarded no shred of evidence to corroborate the claims, but they were sure popular with certain crowds of conspiracy theorists, who promptly launched Carone to national fame – she immediately became Rudy Giuliani’s star witness at a Michigan House and Michigan Senate Oversight Committees panel on Trump’s baseless fraud allegations. Her eccentric performance (she struggled mightily, and repeatedly, to describe what her job tasks for Dominion were, for instance) went predictably viral, including her exchange with GOP Rep. Steve Johnson after she had claimed that a batch of 30,000 votes had been counted multiple times.


SJ: “We’re not seeing the poll book off by 30,000 votes.”

MC (animated): “What’d you guys do, take it and do something crazy to it?

SJ: “I’m just saying the numbers are not off by 30,000 votes.”

MC: “I’d say that poll book is off by over 100,000 [votes],” (later adding that there were “zero registered voters” in the county’s poll book, whereupon even Giuliani had to try to shush her).


Her allegations were predictably determined to be “not credible” by a Wayne County judge two days later. “I never wanted to be thrown out into the public eye the way I was,” lied Carone.


In 2022, she attempted to capitalize on her infamy to run, together with a large cohort of pro-Trump Republican conspiracy theorists and election deniers, for a suburban Detroit-based open state House seat, earning endorsements from Guiliani, Mike Lindell and the Macomb County Republican Party. Her platform included railing against vaccine mandates, open borders (to Canada?) and perceived traitors among other Republican lawmakers (primarily those who didn’t endorse the insane Big Steal conspiracy), as well as pushing the expected white nationalist talking points (“they’re trying to eliminate the white people in America, particularly the white male in America,” yelled Carone) and – of course – election fraud conspiracy theories, including repeating debunked claims about shredded ballots in Georgia and claiming that 75 percent of Americans voted for Trump, something she knew “for a fact” after listening “to Rudy Giuliani every night – his comments on his YouTube channel.” She also claimed, without a shred of evidence, that the Jan. 6 violence on Jan. 6 was “led by Antifa.”


Diagnosis: Local dingbat clown, unfettered by the chains of reason, evidence, fact or decency – exactly what frighteningly large portions of the electorate desire, though one may still hope that Carone remains simply too incompetent to manage to get herself elected to anything anytime soon.