Thursday, June 29, 2017

#1858: Thomas Lacovara-Stewart

The last couple of years Larry Klayman has made himself notable for trying to instigate some kind of “second American revolution” (his words) based on tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories and incoherent delusions, and he’s attracted some interesting followers. Thomas Robert Lacovara-Stewart, for instance, is an Oath Keeper, “a true son of liberty, born into it by my own bloodlines direct,” and keynote at Klayman’s November 2013 rally. In his speech – given against a backdrop of patriotic music – Lacovara-Stewart argued the Department of Homeland Security “blew up Boston” (with reference to the Boston Marathon bombings) and committed murder to hide it. Apparently they did so as part of their strategy to destroy American liberty through multiculturalism. It is a bit hard to get a firm grasp of the means-end relation here, but progressives – “another word for communists” (no, not really) – are sneaky.

Lacovara-Stewart has his own website,, which also calls itself The Holy Order of the Sons of Liberty, where you can read about a variety of conspiracy theories Lacovara-Stewart buys into. In addition to the Boston bombing being a “false flag” operation, there are of course the usual suspects – Zionism, the Rothschilds, the Federal Reserve – but also some more novel ones. Did you know that Lyme disease is biological warfare being carried out by former Nazis that were allowed entrance into the U.S, for instance? And fluoride conspiracies: “Does it not bother anyone that the German people submitted to Hitler? Well here is why. The Nazis fluoridated the water of the people. And it made them passive and not able to do more than whine and complain but never have the nerve to do anything when faced with hard choices [which doesn’t really sound much like the Nazis as we know them, but then again, Lacovara-Stewart doesn’t have time for subtleties]. Oh and by the way, they fluoridate ours too.”

In particular, Lacovara-Stewart warns us that “[w]e must realize that these devils exist among us … continuing their one world government Nazi/Soviet Socialist bankers dream!” Yeah, those ruthless Soviet Socialist … bankers. It’s almost as if the expression was a pretty blatantly anti-semitic euphemism for Jewish people.

He has also promoted Sandy Hook trutherism.

Diagnosis: Further evidence that there must be some toxins in those tinfoil hats, perhaps? Not really, though: this is just run-of-the-mill cryptofascist conspiracy mongering. Idiot.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

#1857: Raúl Labrador

Raúl Rafael Labrador is the U.S. Representative for Idaho’s 1st congressional district since 2011 –previously representing District 14B in the Idaho House of Representatives – wingnut, goldbugger and anti-science activist, probably best known for his recent comment that nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.

Politically Labrador is generally known for wanting to withdraw the US from the UN, returning to the Gold Standard, eliminating the Department of Education and repealing the 17th Amendment and end the right of voters to elect their Senators, since that is “the constitutional position to take” and the only way to make sure “that US Senators are actually beholden to the people” (wtf?). He also thinks the ACA is a betrayal of the US, wish to stop the federal government from enforcing gun laws and – the usual stuff – wants make the federal government “provide for the presence of God in the public domain,” and opposes same-sex marriage rights. His mission to rewrite the Consitution has earned him the firm support of the American Family Association, and Bryan Fischer is an avowed fan.

But ok: the official reason for including Labrador in our Encyclopedia, is that he is a firm climate change denier. Says Labrador: “It’s interesting that about a decade ago there was a lot of talk about ‘global warming.’ Thirty years ago we were talking about ‘global cooling’ [This is false]. Now all we hear about is ‘climate change’ [well … ]. There has been evidence throughout history of cycles when the earth gets warmer and cycles when the earth gets colder [which is irrelevant to the issue]. We should always be wise stewards of the earth and all of our natural resources. But as a policymaker, I won’t be guided by the global warming propaganda machine. Al Gore [who got things mostly right] – we need you to return your Nobel Peace Prize!” In 2010 Labrador signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any Global Warming legislation that would raise taxes.

Diagnosis: Liar or idiot. Those are not mutually exclusive. And of course: Labrador is only one of many wingnut climate change denialists in Congress, though that’s hardly an excuse.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

#1856: Heather Kuruvilla

Cedarville University is one of many fundamentalist creationist institutions in the US purporting to meddle in “education” – it sports many of the exterior trappings of genuine universities, but what goes on inside has little to do with rational inquiry of learning. Heather Kuruvilla is one of Cedarville’s professors of biology, a department that does theology and fundamentalist apologetics but little that could be mistaken for science to anyone who actually looked. Kuruvilla also contributed to the “university’s” publication on Darwin, which unconditionally endorses young earth creationism – the opening sentence is: “Replacing his faith in Creator God with misplaced certainty in the power of science, Darwin subjected himself to a disquiet life and a hopeless death,” and that lets you know in no uncertain terms the standards for rigor and impartial evaluation of the evidence for evolution that are going to be applied in what follows. Kuruvilla herself has what appears to be a real education, however, and also appears to actually have some real publications, though these are of course unrelated to evolution. As befits a lunatic with her credentials, Kuruvilla features prominently on various lists of creation “scientists”, including the Discovery Institute’s petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism and CMI’s List of Scientists Alive Today Who Accept the Biblical Account of Creation.

Diagnosis: Rabid fundamentalist. Kuruvilla does not enjoy a particularly prominent public profile, and is not distinctively vociferous in the fundie fight against truth, science and evidence, but she and her school are doing their part and a clear danger to civilization.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

#1855: Jeffrey Kuhner

Profoundly delusional Intelligent design apologist, science denialist and – yes – conspiracy theorist Joseph A. Kuhn seems to have passed away. His misunderstandings wouldn’t have held a candle to the crazy compressed into paranoid conspiracy theories by Jeffrey Kuhner anyways. Kuhner is a Canadian-American radio host, former editor of Insight on the News, contributor to the Moonie Times, writer for various outlets, including National Review Online, and former president of the Edmund Burke Institute for American Renewal, a dormant think tank devoted to lure minorities to the wingnut movement.

Kuhner on Obama
Though initially praising Obama (when he still thought Clinton would win the 2008 primaries), Kuhner has consistently been one of Obama’s more lunatic and paranoid critics. In a 2012 interview with Janet Mefferd, for instance, he claimed that “Obama is America’s Lenin,” asserting that “like many secular leftists, [Obama] seeks to destroy Judeo-Christian civilization,” that he is “in the pocket of the pro-abortion feminist lobby,” and that “Mr. Obama is our first non-Christian president.” None of the complaints sound chararacteristically Leninist. Mefferd offered that Obama might be more like Stalin. The complaints don’t make Obama sound particularly Stalinist either. We suspect that the point of the analogy was not to be analogous. Later Kuhner said Obama was channeling the spirit of Trotsky.

Kuhner later expanded on the “non-Christian” part, arguing that Obama is a kind of neo-pagan, because he has “embraced radical environmentalism – a form of neo-paganism” (True Christians™ don’t care about the environment) and is “behaving like a quasi-religious zealot” who “has nothing but contempt for traditional Christianity and the family,” as seen in his support for gay and reproductive rights. By disagreeing with Kuhner on politics, “Mr. Obama has declared war on our Judeo-Christian culture,” concluded Kuhner, and “[t]he path is laid for a soft authoritarian nanny state” (also “soft tyranny” and “socialist empire). Catholicism is apparently a particular target: In relation to the election of Pope Francis, Kuhner accused Obama (again) for being an “enemy of the church” who is “waging a war on Christians and on Catholics in particular,” falsely claiming that “Obamacare encodes the federal funding of abortions” charging that “homosexual ‘marriage’ is a Trojan horse aimed at smashing the family – an invention by cultural Marxists to undermine Christianity’s ancient foundations,” and concluding that Obama’s policies contribute to a “culture of death.”

As for the connection between environmentalism and paganism: “The green movement – exemplified by the hoax of man-made global warming – has degenerated into a pseudo-religion.” You didn’t think Kuhner would accept the scientific evidence for or consensus about global warming, did you? More insights into Kuhner’s deranged delusions can be gleaned from his criticism of John Kerry’s 2013 speech about the United States’ failure to confront the reality of climate change. Yes, the scientific consensus on climate change is really “junk science,” according to Kuhner: “the greatest hoax of our time” and a fabricated “dark prophecy of an eco-apocalypse,” but you might well wonder why scientists would engage in such conspiracies: Ah, yes: “the secular left needed a new cause” following the collapse of communism and “found it in green socialism,” which he says is now central to their goals of “crushing capitalism.”

Oh, and immigrants! Apparently Latinos are teaming up with “Christophobic” Obama to attack Christianity (Catholicism in particular, remember) to cause “cultural Balkanization” and turn US into a “Third World Nation” and the “United States of Mexico”. In 2014, Kuhner again warned us about how housing migrant kids will turn Massachusetts into “Mexichusetts”.

Kuhner is (no shit) in general not above lying and making up his own alternative facts to prove his points. (He is particularly fond of lying about the ACA.) For instance, to demonstrate that political violence in the US is mainly caused by leftists, Kuhner asserted that “[t]he only known act of domestic right-wing terrorism was the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995”. This is … not correct. Not that Kuhner would care; he was post-fact long before it became popular. Here is Kuhner breaking the story about “Obamagate”. Here is Kuhner on “liberalist genocide” (notice, for instance, the symptomatic and ridiculously false complaint about how liberals have long sought to destroy religion for instance through ensuring that “prayer has been banned from school,” which it hasn’t, not remotely). And here is Kuhner accusing the US Census to fake jobs data to help President Obama’s re-election chances in 2012 (actually, Obama himself “deliberately manipulated” the Census data.)

Zeh gays
According to Kuhner “gay gestapo” will make sure anyone who criticizes them will be “burnt at the stake” and have their careers destroyed. Being burnt at the stake tends to do that, of course, but we suspect that cuddled snowflakes like Kuhner just means that being criticized and called out for his bigotry is just like being burned at the stake.

To Kuhner, however, members of the LGBT community “are even worse than the radical Islamists” and more terrifying than a slew of dictators with whom he likes to compare those who disagree with him (including “the Communist Chinese” and “Putin’s regime”), calling them “the most fanatical, hate-filled … and intolerant people I’ve ever met.” Expanding a bit: “You wouldn’t believe the vulgarity, the coarseness, the permissiveness, the promiscuity at the heart of the homosexual lifestyle. And […]the physical damage, and the psychological damage and the emotional damage that comes from living this lifestyle over many years, if the American people would see that with their own eyes I think they would have a very, very different conclusion and very different take. So what we’re getting is, it’s a form of cultural Marxism.” Sure underpins the “most fanatical, hate-filled … and intolerant” part, at least. LGBT people are worse than commies, too. And to risk repetition: gay equality will result in “moral anarchy and social disintegration,” “[t]heir lifestyles and behaviors inevitably lead to a culture of death” since “[h]omosexual behavior – for example, sodomy – is unnatural and immoral.” “I have never seen people as intolerant, as malicious, as so desperate to engage in smear and slander and libel as people and activists in the LGBT community, it is really despicable,” concludes Kuhner (our emphasis). So there.

Those sympathetic with the LGBT community are almost as bad as gay people themselves: “the homosexual lobby” is being advanced by the “modern-day fascists” of the judiciary, who seek to bring about “liberal fascism” (“fascism” means about the same as “communism” or “Lenin” or “Trotsky” to people like Kuhner), and a gay rights victory at the Supreme Court [this was written in 2013] “will be calamitous for democracy and the family” as it would bring about “social intolerance and secular McCarthyism,” such as hate speech laws, and exacerbate society’s “cultural decay and moral decadence.” Yes, hate, hate, hate. See how hateful gay people are, everyone.

Diagnosis: Yeah, Kuhner was post-fact long before it became popular – facts are anyways just a nuisance when sowing paranoid outrage. Otherwise he is a standard rabid, hateful, angry wingnut snowflake. We don’t really know how big of an audience he actually has – or whether his popularity primarily is a function of him serving so well as an illustrative caricature of delusional wingnut outrage.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

#1854: Dennis Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich is the former Congressman for Ohio’s 10th District, serving until 2012, and former presidential candidate from 2008 (he didn’t get very far). Famous for being among the progressive members of the House and for opposing the Iraq War from the beginning, he is also remembered for being a hardcore crackpot, New Age fundie and pseudoscience promoter. Part of his platform as a presidential candidate, for instance, was creating a moratorium on GMOs. He is currently a Fox News contributor, and was presumably not hired to make liberals look good.

Back in the 80s Kucinich lived with New Age woo-guru Shirley MacLaine, one of the more ridiculous creatures in the New Age circus (fierce competition notwithstanding). During that time he allegedly had an encounter with a UFO and honed his skills at unintentionally channeling a Chopra quote generator: “In our soul’s Magnificent, we become conscious of the cosmos within us. We hear the music of peace, we hear the music of cooperation, we hear music of love. In our soul’s forgetting, we become unconscious of our cosmic birthright, blighted with disharmony, disunity, torn asunder from the stars in a disaster.” If you think that sounds profound, you are probably stupid. And according to Kucinich “[t]he energy of the stars becomes us. We become the energy of the stars. Stardust and spirit unite and we begin: one with the universe, whole and holy. From one source, endless creative energy, bursting forth, kinetic, elemental; we, the earth, air, water and fire-source of nearly fifteen billion years of cosmic spiraling.” This is not correct.

In 2001, Kucinich introduced bill HR2977 to ban “extraterrestrial weapons” and exotic “radiation, electromagnetic, psychotronic, sonic, laser, or other energies ... for the purpose of information war, mood management, or mind control of such populations”, including “chemtrails” and HAARP. The mention of “chemtrails” in the bill has later been used as evidence for their existence; in reality, it just shows that Kucinich is silly but chemtrail conspiracy theorists tend to struggle with reality. To draft the bill Kucinich apparently relied on the expertise of Alfred Webre. The bill was, in fact, probably written by Webre and Carol Rosin, and one may wonder how carefully Kucinich read it, but he is still responsible for introducing it, and in 2005, when introducing a newer version of the bill (to ban space weapons), he did ask: “what is to happen when the United States takes nuclear fire up to the gates of heaven? ‘Such an offense against humanity could bring the wrath of God upon this nation.’” Since space is close to Heaven, of course.

During his career Kucinich managed to sponsor a grand total of three pieces of legislation that actually passed: allowing Ukrainian TV access to an American program, naming a Cleveland post office, and naming a dead man an honorary citizen of the US. As such, Kucinich may possibly be the least effective legislator of all time.

Diagnosis: Mostly a silly and harmless curiosity and at the very least more or less neutralized by now. Still.