Tuesday, November 29, 2016

#1753: Greg Howard

Greg Howard is a wingnut Christian financial planner and blogger perhaps best known for his role as lead theorist in Twittergate: when some Tea Partiers were trolled on Twitter back in 2010 they responded by launching a twitter militia and – of course – creating an elaborate an utterly unhingedly insane conspiracy theory, according to which Democrats must have hired a cadre of “E-thugs” (led by a social media consultant named Neal Rauhauser) to identify and harass prominent Tea party Twitter users and fool them into tweeting offensive things which could then be used to smear the Tea Party. “Democratic campaign funds are being used to front this,” said Howard, offering as evidence the observation that the “links between these people are very clear.” Of course, what really happened was that some people realized that it was incredibly easy to get some Tea Partiers to say stupid and offensive stuff if you prodded them a little, which is not exactly a novel discovery; that Howard and his followers responded with paranoid conspiracy theories is rather telling.

Of course, Howard really is a professional conspiracy theorist. He is, for instance, a birther: Obama is “not American” and not a natural born citizen, and his primary goal is to sow “the seeds of racial hatred; we were healing quite well as a nation on racial issues until Obama came along and now we have a lot of racial discord.” Oh, and he wants to take your guns, too. He may begin “wiping out a few hundred people who own guns, pull a large scale Waco or a Ruby Ridge type incident” and have it “tinged … with racial overtones,” and may even be building a black army to fight the white insurgents who will fight the impending attempt to seize our guns. Indeed, he might even go through with his plans to “take down” the Internet, although – Howard assures us – “people are setting up phone-trees all over the place” to stop Obama in his tracks. But be warned: “If Obama can take your guns away he can take your car, he can take your home, he can take your bank account, he can take your very life,” said Howard.

Diagnosis: Yeah, that kind of guy. He’s been called “The Glenn Beck of Twitter”, and I don’t think we can come up with a better diagnosis than that.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

#1752: John Hostettler

John Hostettler is the former U.S. Representative for Indiana’s 8th district (from 1995 to 2007, when he lost his reelection bill) and theocracy sympathizer. He is not particularly fond of the Consitution, either, in particular the separation of powers: In 2004, for instance, he at least suggested that when courts make decisions Congress (i.e. he) disagree with, then Congress should simply not enforce them: “Federal courts have no army or navy… The court can opine, decide, talk about, sing, whatever it wants to do. We’re not saying they can’t do that. At the end of the day, we’re saying the court can’t enforce its opinions.” He was also responsible for introducing the Marriage Protection Act that denied federal courts the right to hear cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, which used to ban same-sex marriage (it passed).

Of course, although he demonstrably and intensely dislikes the Constitution, he is very insistent about claiming otherwise (not unlike very many other people who also like to thump the Constitution). As current president of the Constitution Institute, for instance, his works to provide state legislators and others with “a greater understanding of the United States Constitution,” which of course doesn’t mean the Constitution but what Hostettler thinks it ought to have said (which, since he is evidently crazy, is equivalent to what he thinks it actually did say). Like what? Well, Hostettler has for instance complained that the “church has extracted itself from government,” creating a vacuum filled by “those adversarial to biblical truth,” and also the education system is currently controlled by “those who really don’t want our kids to understand what the Constitution has to say,” which, once again, doesn’t mean what the Constitution has to say, but what Hostettler thinks it ought to have said but demonstrably doesn’t, such as that “government is an institution that is not just a God-centered one, but it was ordained by God.” In 2008, Hostettler endorsed Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party’s nominee for the presidential election.

While in Congress Hostettler introduced legislation (multiple times)  to prevent organizations such as the ACLU from collecting attorneys’ fees when they win lawsuits challenging religious symbols on public land or religious groups’ use of government property. Hostettler said the bill would “restore legal balance in this country, and it will protect us from being the victims of this assault on our religious liberties.” In practice, of course, it would guarantee that violations of the First Amendment – for instance teachers forcing students to pray to their particular deity – would have no actual consequences and allow only those able to pay in full for their own legal fees to challenge such practices in court. Wonder if that was an unintended consequence? But of course, it is Hostettler and his fellow Christians who are persecuted: “Like a moth to a flame the Democrats can’t help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians,” said Hostettler when Congress debated complaints from cadets at the US Air Force Academy over “coercive proselytizing” from evangelical superior officers who had tried to pressure them about their religious beliefs.

He has also been involved in some brouhaha around the utterly discredited abortion-breast cancer link.

Diagnosis: Oh, yes – your typical liar-for-Jesus and borderline Taliban theocrat who, instead of admitting that he really doesn’t like what the Constitution says delusionally tries to argue that it says what he wants it to say.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

#1751: Richard Hoste

More white supremacism and racism! Richard Hoste might not quite challenge last entry’s Richard Hoskins for derangedness, but he is amply deranged enough to deserve an entry. Hoste writes (for instance) for the Occidental Quarterly and the altright website Alternative Right, a site founded by Richard Spencer that makes VDARE look almost reasonable in comparison and which his currently edited by by Andy Nowicki and Colin Liddell, who thinks that European colonialism of Africa should be seen as a “vote of confidence” in the “Black man”. 

Hoste has helpfully set out the mission of the Alternative Right: “We’ve known for a while through neuroscience and cross-adoption studies – if common sense wasn’t enough – that individuals differ in their inherent capabilities. The races do, too [which follows from the previous sentence approximately with the strength that ‘bananas were designed by aliens’ follows from ‘grass is green], with whites and Asians on the top and blacks at the bottom. The Alternative Right takes it for granted that equality of opportunity means inequality of results for various classes, races, and the two sexes. Without ignoring the importance of culture, we see Western civilization as a unique product of the European gene pool. [...] For example, low-IQ Mexican immigration is the greatest threat to America. Anti-discrimination laws should be repealed not only because they’re unconstitutional and infringe on the right to free association, but because whites have very good reasons for avoiding NAMs. Schools should stop wasting time trying to close achievement gaps. And not only do whites have nothing to feel guilty about, they are the best thing to ever happen to blacks. Even ignoring race, humanity will not move forward through equality or by raising up the really stupid to the level of just plain stupid.” Nuff said. (though more here.)

Diagnosis: By his own reasoning Hoste should probably abstain from procreating. Since reason is evidently not his strong suit, we are not holding our breath.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

#1750: Richard Hoskins

The Phineas Priesthood, or Phineas Priests, is a title for self-selected vigilantes who commit violent acts in accordance with the ideas described in Richard Kelly Hoskins’s 1990 book, Vigilantes of Christendom: The Story of the Phineas Priesthood. The Phineas Priesthood isn’t an organization, but the title chosen by certain terrorists acting on their own (like Larry Steven McQuilliams) The original Phineas Priesthood described in Hoskins’s book was a group of four guys who, in the 1990s, carried out bank robberies and a series of bombings in the Pacific Northwest before being sent to prison, and Hoskins’s fans have engaged in typical terrorist activities like abortion clinic bombings, the bombing in Spokane of The Spokesman-Review newspaper, bank robberies, and plans to blow up FBI building.

Hoskins, then, is a deranged promoter of white supremacism and Christian Identity, and is opposed to evils such as interracial relationships, race mixing, homosexuality, and abortion, and is involved in – you know the type – anti-Semitism, anti-multiculturalism, and sovereign citizen claptrap. His book gives approving descriptions of murderers of homosexuals and interracial couples, and praises Phineas credo followers like John Wilkes Booth, the Waffen SS, the Ku Klux Klan and the 1980s terrorist group The Order. He also devotes a section to “proving” that the Holocaust was a hoax perpetrated by the Jews to destroy the German nation. “Phineas” refers to the Israelite Phinehas, who executed an Israelite man and a Midianite woman while they were together in the man’s tent and thereby ending a plague sent by God to punish the Israelites for intermingling sexually and religiously with the Midianite Baal-worshipers.

Hoskins is also the author of Our Nordic Race (1958), a self-published attempt to prove the superiority of “pure Nordic” peoples and warn about the dangers of “race traitors”. Jewish people, on the other hand, are a “mixed breed” of Mongolian descent, unable to “blush red” and unrelated to the “Nordic” Israelites of antiquity (oh, goodies). Like in Germany in the 20s, “agitation Jews” have been working in concert with the Nordic “race traitors” to undermine Western civilization. These are, of course, central tenets of the Christian Identity movement: whites are God’s chosen race and descendants of the Bible’s Israelites, whereas Jews literally and figuratively descend from Satan. In 1985 he published War Cycles, Peace Cycles, which purported to be a Christian analysis of banking and economics denouncing predatory lending and banking practices, but was most notable for blaming everything on a conspiracy of Jewish banking concerns and corrupt political leaders, as well as its intermittent advocacy of racial purity.

He is still publishing his financial/racist newsletter The Hoskins Report, which has for instance laid out his research on the Holocaust (“Constant lies. Lies, lies, lies [repeating “lies” many times substitutes as evidence]. Forty years of lies ... the anti-Christ Holohoax scam”), integration (“Better a blood-soaked Joseph Stalin than a smiling Ian Smith or congenial DeKlerk who opens the door to the barbarians. Compromise means death”) and politics (“A political candidate need take just 3 simple stands. 1) Abolish usury. 2) Root sodomists from the land. 3) Outlaw racial interbreeding.” Simple, really).

Hoskins has also written for Willis Carto’s neo-fascist Western Destiny.

Diagnosis: Downright charming, isn’t he?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

#1749: Tom Horn & Cris Putnam

Tom Horn and Cris Putnam comprise a pair of delusional fundie conspiracy theorists who, it seems, run the website Exo-Vaticana. The main purpose of the website is to uncover Vatican-led conspiracies to cover up alien visitations, and “break the greatest story of our time and expose the elitists and intellectuals who are planning to assimilate mankind under a coming ‘savior,’ one whom the prophet Daniel foresaw as ‘an alien god’” (link here; it’s … fascinating). It offers things like:

- UNVEILED! THE VATICAN’S SECRET PLAN for the arrival of an alien god.
- DISCLOSED! SECRET FILES in the Vatican Library on the reality of the alien presence.
- FOUND! THE HIDDEN DOCUMENT detailing the Vatican's position on the extraterrestrials.
- REVEALED! PROJECT LUCIFER and the quest for “Fallen Star.”

And so on. You have to look for the revelations yourself, or buy their book Exo-Vaticana: Petrus Romanus, PROJECT LUCIFER, and the Vatican’s astonishing exo-theological plan for the arrival of an alien savior (with a foreword by Chuck Missler – the guy behind the peanut butter argument against evolution – no less). Apparently, Horn and Putnam are Jack Chick-style fundies who has gone a step further in their Catholicism conspiracies and – somehow – ended up with UFOs and aliens, all of it tortured to fit wht they take to be a literal interpretation of the Bible.

Despite some deviations from mainstream theology, Horn and Putnam have nevertheless managed to draw some attention from rightwing fundies. Here, for instance, is Horn talking to Jim Bakker about “GIANTS – THEIR FIRST ARRIVAL … AND SOON, THEIR SECOND COMING” (they’re aliens, of course). And of course, the WND has never failed to offer credulous coverage of wild-eyed fundies ranting about conspiracies or pseudoscience, and at least they try to offer a minimally coherent representation of Horn’s and Putnam’s raging lunacy (their own websites are predictably undermined by dizzying color and font choices, as well as stream-of-consciousness random capslock rantings): Apparently, there is a conspiracy – going back all the way to Nimrod (of the Bible), who is also Osiris in Egypt and Apollo in Greece – involving pagan sun-worshippers, America’s Founding Fathers and Freemasons. And they have been planning the endtimes or at least the coming of the Antichrist or some sort of ancient, extraterrestrial Cthulhu-like, magic and evil being, which is the being whose eye is depicted on top of the pyramid on the $1 bill. Importantly, the date at the base of that pyramid is 1776, which is the beginning of a new Mayan “katun,” a time period of 19.7 years. If each of the 13 levels of the pyramid on the Great Seal represents one of these time periods, the top level would mark the year 2012 (oh, yes). So, because of the Mayan calendar, the end times will come in 2012. Moreover, the phrase “Novus ordo seclorum” is part of the American seal, and that proves that there is a “New World Order” coming. And if that wasn’t enough, remember that the famous painting in the Rotunda of the Capitol is titled “The Apotheosis of George Washington,” and since “apotheosis” means to deify or elevate to divine status, it depicts Washington as being resurrected and becoming divine (among Greek deities and devils), which means that George Washington was Cthulhu all along‼‼

Yeah, the WND synopsis (slightly paraphrased here) is not very coherent either, but it’s actually less derangedly confusing than Horn’s own writings. So yes, Horn and Putnam are grown-ups who don’t seem to realize that the Da Vinci code is not a documentary, and that Lovecraft’s stories are fiction. And they believe in trolls, too – it doesn’t matter if you call them “nephilim”; they’re trolls. Martian trolls.

Diagnosis: It is really tragic, but we can’t quite manage to look away either.