Sunday, October 30, 2022

#2583: David Boyd

Bob Jones University is a fundie bible school located in Greenville, South Carolina, and one of the more infamous among a rather significant number of schools in the US that offer a Biblical literalist alternative to education. Its biology program, for instance, is young-Earth creationist to the core, and though the Head of the Department of Biology, David W. Boyd, has a real degree from the (questionable but accredited) nearby Clemson University, he views his education mostly as having been a test of faith. Biology at Bob Jones is not about science but about how to best retain one’s belief in a literal reading of the Biblical account of creation despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.


Boyd also writes articles for Answers in Genesis. Here, for instance, is a commentary on an article of his about bird speciation: there are more than 10,000 species of birds, and not all of them could have been on Noah’s Ark, so which ones were? According to the pseudoscience of baraminology, Noah’s Ark carried kinds of animals from which current species have … well, you shouldn’t say “evolved”. Apparently, though, the number of birds is a bigger problem for “a scientist with a materialistic worldview” who has to explain evolution from “the first bird”, and “that would need millions of years”; someone (Boyd uses “scientist”, but that seems like the wrong word) who conforms to a Biblical view of things, however, “would only need thousands of years”. Yeah, silly materialists. How would Boyd’s alternative work, though? Well, there were apparently just under 200 kinds of birds on the Ark (because!), and if each of those underwent speciation once every 750 years, we would have about 10 000 of them today. Though Boyd is dimly aware the claim “does not account for many variables”, it seems to him much preferable to all that complicated science stuff.


Here is a comment on his review (with one Brian Vogt) of Michael Behe’s silly book Darwin Devolves. They recommend it – and at least they recognize it for the religiously motivated screed it is.


Diagnosis: AiG is still running its bizarre sideshow, and we suppose some people who don’t know better and were prone to motivated reasoning could mistake someone like David Boyd and his religiously motivated cargo cult science for a scientist doing science, given his titles and how he presents himself. Utterly ridiculous.


Hat-tip: Sensuoscurmudgeon

Thursday, October 27, 2022

#2582: Jennifer Hollie Bowles

Jennifer Hollie Bowles is a homeopath and astrologer and generally promoter of anything fluffy and magic and nonsensical she comes across without the faintest trace of concern over whether what she says has anything whatsoever to do with reality. Bowles is the astrologer for the website Holistic Horoscopes, and has putatively, for some reason, “studied Astrology for almost twenty-five years”. Her fundie musings (for at this level, astrology is a brand of religious fundamentalism – a very snowflakey brand, but fundamentalism nonetheless) have been published on a variety of websites – including NaturalNews – and she has even written a book, Eyeteeth of Goddesses, which we don’t pretend to have bothered to look up.


According to Bowles, however, astrology is serious business: “the study of astrology involves a deep learning process with high-order concepts, calculations, history, and beyond. And astrologers must check their theories and knowledge of planetary energies and aspects with actual chart data and people data at every step of the way.” Notice that testing the hypotheses against reality is not part of the scheme. “How is this process ever considered non-academic or ‘fluffy’ enough to be excluded from formal education in the United Sates? wonders Bowles, and cites anti-astrology bias and conspiracies going back to the scientific revolution, when such practices were apparently discarded for being insufficiently objective. Not for Bowles the simpler (and correct) story where modern science has been concerned to check whether the hypotheses actually work, and have found that astrology doesn’t. No: here be oppression. Scientists are afraid. Evidence? Scientists tend to label astrology “bunk”, yet – asks Bowles – isn’t such labeling precisely “how people react when they are afraid of something”? (not for Bowles to consider the possibility that people use the label ‘bunk’ because astrology is, you know, bunk). You see, “astrology poses a threat to knowledge that has been controlled and dominated by the few and isa threat to those in power who seek to control and dominate the individual.” Just the fact that some of you might react to her reasoning by asking for evidence shows how deeply mired you are in the oppressive paradigm of science, whose goal is to keep free-spirited ranters like Bowles in their place.


As a Holistic Practitioner – who needs med school when you’ve been writing horoscopes for decades – Bowles pushes homeopathic remedies, but can also talk about prayer, gemstones, astral projection and Tarot reading, among other things. Apparently, she believes that “we are all manifestations of Spirit, and our Spiritual Bodies manifest through the development of our relationship with Mind-Body-Soul, or the Divine Trinity”, which is what it is, we suppose. At least it departs significantly from last entry Geoff Botkin’s hard and hatefilled fanaticism.


Diagnosis: Good grief.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

#2581: Geoff Botkin

Hysterical fundie preachers are a dime a dozen, so anyone wanting to make a name for themselves will have to find something unusually stupid to stand out. Geoff Botkin of the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences, a fundie ministry that promotes Christian homeschooling and Christian Patriarchy, went for Disney’s Frozen – not a particularly original choice, perhaps, but he nonetheless managed to distinguish himself through the sheer insanity and fury of his attack. At the session “a “The Decline of Freedom: From the Bill of Rights to the Ten Planks of Communism, America’s Domestic Enemies and Where They Came From” at the 2015 “Freedom 2015: National Religious Liberties Conference” (attended by three then-presidential candidates), Botkin said that the song “Let It Go” is part of America’s rebellion against God and reminded his audience that the country is already under 50 divine judgments that will only subside once the government and the wider culture begin to abide by biblical law (so it’s unclear what difference the song would make). Likening it to Eve’s temptation by the serpent, Botkin called the song “Satan’s rebellion anthem for its potential to corrupt children. Were it not for the venue, we would have been pretty convinced the whole screed was a poe. According to Botkin, thespirit of licentiousnesscharacterizing the song, and its popularity, shows that people don’t want to follow the totality of the Bible; and God “will chasten our nation” as a result of the movie’s popularity – fans of the song are “rejecting God’s law” and are therefore “enemies of God”, and that means that God “does go to war against you”, which, if you think about it, does not reflect a very reasonable way of being in the world.  


But that’s his creed. Botkin is hardcore: Old Testament laws should not only be taken literally; they should be taken as your sole guide to life. As Botkin sees the world, outsiders (non-Christians) are to be hated (he repeatedly warns his audience to avoid friendships with people outside of the church militant), five year-olds can be “false prophets (one reason why parents must be part of a “family militant” alongside the “church militant” as part of the Great Commission) and rape victims who don’t cry out for help deserve death – and Botkin emphasizes the duty of good Christians not to ignore their duties to carry out God’s justice in such situations (!). And Botkin is apparently a figure of some authority in Christian homeschooling and Christian Patriarchy Movement circles.


He’s got a website, too, where he publishes mostly materials advicing people on how to lead, interspersed with unhinged fundie rants and calls for donations.


Diagnosis: Geoff Botkin’s feeble attempts at reasoning tells you all you need to know to conclude that it’s best not to have anything to do with this deranged boogeyman in any context. His is a world built solely on hatred, anger and unforgiving coldness.


Hat-tip: lovejoyfeminism

Sunday, October 23, 2022

#2580: David Bossie

David Norman Bossie is a political activist, chairman of Citizens United, member of the Council for National Policy and the 2016 deputy campaign manager to the Donald Trump presidential campaign. In 2020, Bossie became a central, early promoter of Trump’s conspiracies surrounding the integrity of the election. That December, for instance, Bossie was a signatory to a letter falsely declaring Trump to be “the lawful winner of the presidential election” and urging state legislators to ignore certified election results and appoint pro-Trump electors. During Trump’s tenure, Bossie was a central promoter of deep state conspiracy theories, e.g. in his book (with Corey Lewandowski) Trump’s Enemies, which “reads in part like Trump’s Twitter grievances in book form, and which was a deliberate attempt to demonize law enforcement and intelligence officials and dismiss all checks and balances to the president’s power as “a vast left-wing conspiracy”. 


Under Bossie, Citizens United has produced a number of movies that blur the line between documentary and feverish fiction to attack political opponents. The 2008 film Hillary: the Movie, would happily report the weirdest conspiracy theories, including the allegation that Hillary Clinton had the cat of a woman who made claims of sexual harassment against Bill Clinton killed. It was, of course, also the movie that gave us the 2010 Citizens United ruling that weakened campaign finance laws and ushered a flood of dark money into U.S. elections.


In 2010, Bossie produced the film Generation Zero for Citizens United Productions, written and directed by Steve Bannon. According to the film, the financial crisis of 2007–2008 is partially to blaim on the moral failings of the Baby Boom generation – perhaps not an unreasonable claim in itself, but these people are silly, so by “moral failing” Bossie and Bannon were referring to the loss of “parental values” among zeh hippies and Vietnam protestors. Bossie and Bannon also released the bizarre “Christian war filmTorchlight.


Diagnosis: Mostly a spineless, power-hungry and unscrupulous political navigator, but we think we have to assume that he actually believes at least some of the nonsense he produces, in copious amounts, deliberately to poison public debate. Since he is also one of the most powerful figures in the US, he definitely needs an entry.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

#2579: Joan Borysenko

Well, DNA isn’t a “fractal antenna” that is being physically changed by NFL broadcaststo create violence and wars, but we have still decided to give former quarterback Mike Boryla a pass. We don’t know precisely what he’s up to these days, and we are not completely convinced he does either. Joan Borysenko, on the other hand, should definitely know better.


Borysenko has managed to establish herself as something of an authority in the New Age “mind/body” wellness segment of the population, and she’s nothing if not market savvy. Borysenko is, apparently, a “Harvard Medical School trained cell biologist” and “licensed psychologist”, credentials she effectively uses to promote a range of fluffy pseudoscience – often peppered with vaguely sciency-sounding terms and turns of the phrase and references to other pseudoscience practitioners like Raymond Moody. She is mostly a “distinguished pioneer in integrative medicine is a world-renowned expert in themind/body connection”. Admittedly, much of her advice (summed up in her books Pocketful of Miracles and Pocketful of Blessings and a slew of other pastel-color-covered books) is harmless, but that doesn’t make it less nonsensical – she promotes the Hoffman process, for instance. In general, Borysenko offers “practical information ranging from mindfulness to neuroscience; from epigenetics to nutrition; and from ancient wisdom to modern psychology”. Yes, epigenetics. Needless to say, Borysenko offers no insights or practical advice on epigenetics. Her website has a prominently displayed Store section.


Borysenko was one of the practitioners featured in the pseudoscientific “infomercial” Heal, directed by Kelly Noonan Gores (there is a balanced review here), together with people like Joe Dispenza, Bruce Lipton, Kelly Brogan, Deepak Chopra, Gregg Braden and Marianne Williamson. And the thing is: although Borysenko’s pink fluff and positive thinking can sound harmless, even good, the main theme of that movie is the claim that modern pharmaceuticals and the doctors who rely on them are ineffective at best, harmful at worst, and that diseases can be managed and even cured by positive thinking and the magnificently vague advice of “taking control” of your disease. And those beliefs are harmful. (In fairness, Borysenko has elsewhere e.g. criticized Bernie Siegel as an “extremist”; but she also claims that “80-90% of illness is caused or worsened by stress. You might recall that I’m a medical scientist, with a doctorate from Harvard Medical School”; given that “worsened by stress” is not defined, the claim is not actionable.)


Diagnosis: Ultimately, Borysenko seems to be rather careful to avoid the most egregious and harmful pseudoscientific claims – indeed, we are sure that some of her messages might indeed help people in difficult situations. But pointing that out is kind of like pointing to individual Nazis who didn’t personally express any insidious belief or do any harm – they’re still part of a movement that does, and Borysenko, e.g. through her movie appearances, does help promote the genuinely harmful and evil stuff of people like Kelly Brogan and Bruce Lipton.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

#2578: Wellington Boone

Wellington Boone is the founder and chief prelate of the Fellowship of International Churches (as well as numerous fundamentalist organizations and networks) and a dominionist fundie’s fundie. He has been a regular feature on the TV networks CBN (Pat Robertson’s propaganda apparatus) and TBN, and a speaker for Promise Keepers, Focus on the Family (Boone has enjoyed quite a bit of a career as a James Dobson sidekick), the American Association of Christian Counselors and the Family Research Council. He has also been a member of the board of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and the Board of Trustees at Regent University. Not the least, Boone is the author of the book Black Self-Genocide: What Black Lives Matter Won’t Say.


The latter topic has been central to Boone’s efforts the last couple of years. According to Boone, Black Americans are suffering from “self-genocide”, insofar as many more Blacks are killed by other Blacks than by policemen (ostensibly what the BLM “won’t say”), especially through abortion and inner-city murders. Part of the reason it is this way, according to Boone, is that Black people in America from the 1960s onward has started depending on sources like the government for support rather than God.


Boone has also said thatI believe that slavery, and the understanding of it when you see it God’s way, was redemptive.” Indeed, Boone wants toboldly affirm Uncle Tom. The black community must stop criticizing Uncle Tom. He is a role model.”


That said, Boone has been sharply critical of comparisons between the Gay Rights Movement and the Civil Rights Movement, calling it “Rape of the Civil Rights Movement”. Given his view of slavery (and apparently agreeing with Pat Robertson saying that Martin Luther King Jr. was helping Planned Parenthood commit black genocide and that black families were better off in the 1930s), it’s unclear whether to interpret that as a criticism of the Gay Rights Movement, but Boone certainly hasn’t expressed particularly civilized views of gay people elsewhere: homosexuality unchecked will, according to Boone, “result in the ultimate destruction of society”. He has also defended laws making homosexuality a crime punishable by the death penalty. In fact, Boone has pointed out (this “will absolutely blow the gay community’s mind right now”) that gay people “are eunuchs. You are a eunuch culture;” gay people have “let the devil trick” them into thinking otherwise (for some unexplained and incomprehensible reason). Equality is, in general, something Boone makes no attempts to understand; the goal of Promise Keepers is, after all, women’s submission and instituting a theocratic patriarchy.


Indeed, Boone doesn’t usually try very hard to hide his theocratic intentions – he is, after all, member of the dominionist Coalition on Revival, which campaigns for replacing Constitutional democracy with Biblical law.


George Barna and Harry Jackson Jr. ranked Boone as the #1 Black American leader in racial reconciliation of the 20th Century, and Ben Carson described Black Self-Genocide as “riveting” and “sage advice for how to empower the black community in America”. Guilt by association, we know, but what association!


Diagnosis: Yeah, another one of those: Boone’s bigotry and hatred toward certain groups of people are strong enough to make him willing to sacrifice quite a bit just to see those groups suffer, and he’s been aptly characterized as a “minister of minstrelry”. A thoroughly unsavory fellow.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

#2577: Dan Bongino

Daniel John Bongino is a wingnut political commentator, radio show host, conspiracy theorist, former Secret Service agent, unsuccessful candidate for Congress, and author. Currently, Bongino hosts talk radio show The Dan Bongino Show and Unfiltered with Dan Bongino on Fox News, but he has made numerous appearances on a variety of conspiracy outlets, including Infowars, the relatively shortlived NRATV, and the shows of Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. In 2019, Bongino also launched the website Bongino Report as an alternative to the Drudge Report website, criticizing Matt Drudge for having “abandoned” Trump supporters – because that’s apparently a duty websites trying to be news sites ought to take seriously.


In November 2020, The New York Times listed Dan Bongino as one of the top 5 election “misinformation superspreaders” – according to Facebook data, his page attracted more engagement than those of the Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal combined in 2022, and he had the No. 1 podcast on iTunes after the 2020 election. He’s been banned from Twitter and Youtube for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. Bongino is, however, a central investor in Parler and Rumble.


Conspiracy theories

Bongino is a central proponent of the Spygate conspiracy theory, according to which illegal spying on Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign was perpetrated by Barack Obama’s administration. His name even appears as author of a book on the subject, Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump, which claimed, predictably, that “deep state plotters and foreign entities sought to sabotage Trump in 2016, infiltrating his campaign and leaking allegations about his dealings with Russia – the book was endorsed by Trump himself. Indeed, Bongino rose to power primarily as a promoter of conspiracy theories about the Robert Mueller investigations.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bongino was a consistent critic of face mask mandates, falsely claiming that face masks are “largely ineffective” – he hastily added that he wasn’t gloating, unlike the libruls who are “crazy satanic demon people” who “wish death on me and everyone else from covid”. Bongino is a real victim here, just so you know.


Stop the steal

During the 2020 election, Bongino promoted the usual false and baseless claims of voter fraud, more or less parroting any baseless election fraud allegation Trump himself would come up with. According to Bongino, “the F.B.I. and the C.I.A., members of it, unquestionably tried to rig both the 2016 and 2020 election.” It doesn’t matter that he has no evidence, and that the claims have been dismissed by Trump’s own top appointees at the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, in addition to federal and state judges: the lack of evidence is just evidence for how pervasive and well-done the rigging was – and the fact that the claims are dismissed as conspiracy theories is apparently a smoking gun. Facts never mattered to Bongino or the platforms promoting him. Bongino was early onto the 2022 elections, too, warning his listeners months in advance about how Silicon Valley was “hiding information from you now about what happened in Arizona and Georgia”.


Indeed, as of 2022, Bongino has become something like an unofficial leader in the promotion of stop the steal myths, and is often a source for claims by conspiracy-mongering celebrities like Ginni Thomas (though when pressed, he tries to make it very clear that he’s JAQing off).


Diagnosis: It’s a pretty scary realization that Dan Bongino’s position among wingnuts might be partially due to how reasonable he sounds compared to most of the pundits sharing his views. Bongino’s views are in no conceivable way reasonable. One of the most dangerous loons in the US at present.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

#2576: Nicki Bonfilio

Nicki Bonfilio is a San Francisco-based “intuitive counselor” who ostensibly “provides guidance” to a variety of clients. According to her website, “my clairvoyant insight is undoubtedly accurate”. So there is that. Perhaps intuiting that some readers may desire something more by way of documentation than her intuitive assessment of her own powers of intuition, she can also boast about having been “voted San Francisco’s best psychic and Best of the Bay” (source not given).


But don’t worry: according to herself, Bonfilio isn’t into New Age charlatanry; rather, she uses “plainspoken integrity” to make “the amorphous world of auras and energy that much more accessible”. Instead of crystal balls, Bonfilio will “tap into subtle energies within you and your environment” to give you an “empowering conversation” – but will demonstrate her powers by pulling “info she couldn’t possibly have known from out of the blue”. That, of course, is called subjective validation (well illustrated here). Bonfilio doesn’t use that phrase. But she will also “call in Durga . . . Quan Yin . . . Anubis” to create a “sacred space” and request that the victim’s intangible guides be present during a session. But that’s presumably ancient wisdom, not New Age.


To be honest, we don’t really know how we came to take note of her, but Bonfilio has at least apparently worked for companies like Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft, and is so good that she can fight off computer viruses, predict how apps will do on the market and keep hackers at bay. So there is that.


Diagnosis: She does seem to be a true believer, at least. Which doesn’t make anything at all better.

Monday, October 10, 2022

#2575: Ryan Bomberger

Apt youtube screenshot
The Radiance Foundation is primarily an anti-abortion organization, and one of those that – instead of serious moral reasoning – tends to base its opposition to abortion on absurd conspiracy theories and garbled fundamentalist idiocy. So its Chief Creative Officer Ryan Bomberger, a self-declared “factivist” (no less – an instance of this), claims for instance that legal abortion is a plot to realize black genocide, and that NAACP should accordingly stand for the “National Association for the Abortion of Colored People.” He even offered Planned Parenthood as a defintion of systemic racism.


To ensure that no one would for a second expect him to engage in serious moral debate, Bomberger has also chosen to adopt a hardline anti-gay stance based on deranged bigotry, paranoia and fundamentalist lunacy. According to Bomberger, the gay rights movement is increasing “hostility towards Christianity in this country,” and homophobia is nothing but a myth (no, he doesn’t see the amazing contradiction). And to emphasize his Christian love for gay people, Bomberger compares them to kleptomaniacs: “The absurdity of terminology like homophobia; so for the people who cohabitate, if you don’t agree with that behavior are you a cohabiphobic? Or if you disagree with someone who has a habitual stealing problem, are you a kleptophobic? That’s the insanity of this; tolerance demands anything but tolerance, just complete formality to someone’s sense of poll-driven morality.”


And to combine his two strands of hateful lunacy, Bomberger has declared thatthe gay rights flag is dripping with the blood of the unborn.” He has also compared Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh to Emmett Till because thus works the mind of Ryan Bomberger.


Bomberger, however, is not a nobody. He has traveled the world, speaking to a number of fundie bodies, such as the Laurentian Society, in addition to showing up at expected rightwing fundie conspiracy theory events like the Values Voter Summit.


Diagnosis: So yeah, this is going all the usual places. Fundamentalist crazy who is apparently unable to distinguish hate from reason.

Friday, October 7, 2022

#2574: Aaron Bollinger

The Roger Sherman Institute (RSI) is – or was (it’s a bit unclear whether it’s still running) – an American institution for, well, something that looks like education from a perspective thatis distinctly nationalist, patriotic, biblical, and constitutional;” the institution’s “moral and nationalist perspective” was ostensibly free from government censorship and “political correctness”. Founded in 2012 by former encyclopedia salesman Aaron Bollinger, the institution – named for a 18th century Connecticut lawyer and senator – wouldn’t teach “theoretical physics, double-entry accounting, or Freudian voodoo” but focus instead on promulgating various conspiracy theories and “the sociotheosphere, where you can learn about historical battles between dominant religions and government.” Apparently “[o]ur instructors don’t follow the script written by state and federal governments or specific organized religions about education in the realms of political science, theology, or general studies” – instead, “we allow you to research down whatever rabbit-holes you choose” (unless it is Freud or theoretical physics, apparently). They would also offer courses on other stuff, like the computer class “Intro to Corel WordPerfect”. The school preferred that students pay in silver (seven troy ounces of “Pre 1965 silver coin” for undergraduate courses and nine troy ounces for graduate courses) but will accept “Federal Reserve Notes” (i.e. cash) and postal money orders as well. Bollinger signs his emails as “Disciple Aaron”.


Disciple Aaron has had plenty of experience as a radical-right activist with the antigovernment “Patriot” movement. He has also worked with anti-Semitic far-right organizations like the Committee to Restore the Constitution and Holocaust denier Willis Carto’s Liberty Lobby (Bollinger denies being anti-Semitic: “You know, I study theology and consider myself an Israelite, so if I’m anti-Semitic then I’d be against myself. That’s just ridiculous.”), been a “researcher” for Gun Owners of America, and been involved with the Taliban- and ISIS-inspired group Christian Exodus, a theocratic organization that attempted to take control of South Carolina and, “if necessary,” declare it a sovereign republic based on Old Testament law – it might be notable that Christian Exodus’s webmaster Keith Humphrey was also manager for one of the Sherman Institute’s websites. Bollinger has also enjoyed a career as legislative director for the Patriot conspiracy group Restore the Republic, whose goals are to eliminate the Federal Reserve and the IRS, end globalization, and make it illegal to implantmicrochips in people, and has been part of the advisory board for the far-right Committees of Safety.


Who else has been involved with the ‘school’? At least back in 2012, its faculty included:


-       David Irons, an antigovernment activist and 2008 failed candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives on a platform of abolishing the income tax, is one of RSI’s co-founders. (He might be deceased as of 2022.)

-       Another co-founder is David Schied, a former movie stuntman and presumably the guy behind this one. And probably a slew of others like it.

-       Greg Evensen, a militia sympathizer and former Kansas state trooper. The dean of justice studies, Evensen is otherwise known for various radio broadcasts on endtimes and militia websites, and for claiming that “alien hybrids” pretending to be US troops led an enforced evacuation of 40 million people from the Gulf Coast area in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (He might be deceased as of 2022.)

-       Veronica Ann Hannevig (her own spelling ‘Veronica Ann; Hannevig’) as dean of distance learning. A champion of the sovereign citizens movement, Hannevig’s personal website, The Truth Store, prominently notifies the government that she was “born in the United States of diplomatic representatives by hereditary succession of the Kingdom of Heaven” and that she has “the property, rights, privileges and immunities granted to me and my heirs by hereditary succession by Our Father, Y'hw(v)'h, the Creator and sovereign ruler of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them” (and hence she owes nothing to the government).

-       Mark Anderson, editor of the American Free Press, an anti-Semitic weekly that bills itself as “America’s Last Real Newspaper

-       Karen Ruff, a South Carolina tea party activist whose course on conspiracies in contemporary politics would cover important things likethe well documented forgery of the birth certificate and selective service documents of Barack Obama” and why global warming is a hoax. (Bollinger himself won’t offer his take – “I’m not a meteorologist”, says Bollinger on the question of global warming, and “How can I say? I wasn’t around” on the issue of birtherism – besides, “[t]he presidency is far less important on the national level than the Vice President. What does the President do? He signs bills. What does the Vice President do? He controls what bills move. The Vice President has as much, if not more, power than the President.” You’ll learn a lot you didn’t know in RSI’s classes)


A couple of familiar miscreants showed up on the faculty lists, too: League of the South member Michael Peroutka was apparently teaching classes at the RSI, and David Whitney, a white supremacist pastor who advocates a second Southern secession and the creation of a “godly” nation run by “Anglo-Celtic” (white) elites, was dean of theology.


Diagnosis: It’s so difficult for ordinary people to imagine such radical confusion about how things work and such struggles to distinguish reality from fevered wishful thinking that it is also hard to empathize with the paranoia and anger such confusion obviously creates in struggling, confused people like Aaron Bollinger. But there are many like him, and apparently some view him as some sort of leader. Dangerous.


Hat-tip: Splcenter

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

#2573: Eric Bolling

Eric Thomas Bolling is a television personality, wingnut political commentator, staunch misogynist, and author who, for some reason, seems to have a bit of a fan base. He used to be a Fox News mainstay (providing financial advice until 2017, when he turned out to be too shitty even for them. He has later been involved with TheBlaze and Newsmax TV.


An ardent fan of Trump – even his Fox News colleagues called him ‘an apologist for Trump’ – Bolling has also published the books Wake Up America (2016) and The Swamp: Washington’s Murky Pool of Corruption and Cronyism and How Trump Can Drain It (2017) (he couldn’t; Trump was the swamp, in all possible ways, but that wasn’t Bolling’s conclusion). Trump apparently considered Bolling for an appointment in the U.S. Department of Commerce. Bolling, meanwhile, has also promoted the candidacy of pizzagate conspiracy theorist Kelli Ward.


Racism and misogynism

Bolling has a long history of making misogynistic and racist remarks. One recurring theme is his objection to allowing girls to play football, something that, as he sees it, is somehow part of “the wussification of American men.” Reacting to a story of a 9-year-old girl playing football, Bolling concluded withLet the boys be boys, let the girls be girls,” because it’s not like girls would ever choose to play football unless liberal moonbats brainwashed them.


Bolling has also, in all his wisdom, lecturedrappers”, arguing that they should be happy because white people are “financing their lifestyles” by buying their music. And when the president of Gabon visited Obama in the White House, Bolling characterized it asa hoodlum in the hizzouse.” According to Bolling, though, racism doesn’t exist anymore because there are “black entertainment channels.”


Conspiracy theories

A hardcore conspiracy theorist (what do you expect from someone who writes a book with ‘WAKE UP’ in the title?), Bolling has pushed a number of classic but idiotic conspiracy delusions, including birtherism: Bolling was a latecomer to the movement but managed to establish himself as one of its main proponents. When Obama released his long-form birth certificate, Bolling didn’t buy it, asserting thatthere is a legitimate question as to whether or not the president of the United States is allowed to be president of the United States” and taking it upon himself to examine the certificate on air, speculating that it was photoshopped. (He emphasized that he was JAQing off.) He has also pushed conspiracy theories about the murder of Seth Rich, and dismissed out of hand the police conclusion that Rich’s death was the result of a botched robbery: “It’s clearly not a robbery. There wasn’t a robbery. … This was a hit.” You’d look in vain for reasoning or evidence, but Bolling doesn’t work that way; instead, he concluded that there’s “lots of smoke right now”, being apparently confused by the smoke produced by the dumpster fire that is the mind of Bolling.


Bolling has also accused Obama of trying to “bring people closer to the cities” to keep an eye on them, suggested that Obama “let” an oil rig leak so he “could renege on his promise” to “allow some offshore drilling,” and suggested thatthe Russians were colluding with Hillary Clinton to get information on Donald Trump.” Nor does he claim to know whether “the climate’s getting warmer or colder.” He could check. Reasonable people would check if there is something they are unsure of, especially if it’s something that would make them look like fools if they were wrong about. Bolling has little affinity with reasonable people.


After being cancelled by Fox News, Bolling made visits to Alex Jones’s show, and for a while hosted the show America This Week for the Sinclair Broadcast Group. At Sinclair, Bolling made conspiracy theories his mainstay, in particular promoting Stop the Steal nonsense and Trump’s campaign to discredit voting by mail and baseless claims that mail-in voting was prone to fraud. He also interviewed conspiracy theorist Judy Mikovits of the video Plandemic, which e.g. claims that Dr. Fauci “manufactured” COVID-19, as well as wingnut conspiracy nut (and Mikovits’s lawyer) Larry Klayman. Bolling did, needless to say, fail to challenge any of the incoherent garbage that fell out of the mouths of either guest. Sinclair responded by cancelling Bolling’s show.



Conspiracy theories are naturally accompanied by paranoia, and Bolling is paranoid about mostly everything, in particular communism. For instance, “liberal Hollywood was using class warfare” in a typical communist fashion in a 2011 muppets movie “to brainwash our kids”. Apparently, teaching kids distributive algebra is “pushing the liberal agenda”, too, and standard economic language is Obama math.


Like many wingnut conspiracy theorists, Bolling was outraged over Big Bird promoting vaccines, declaring that “Sesame Street are a bunch of communists” for “hawking the jab to five-year-olds.” That level of understanding of communism explains a bit about his take on financial issues, but is not the main problem with Bolling’s statement. Bolling has, in fact, had issues with Sesame Street for a while (lots of his persecution fantasies seem to involve puppets), imploring the children’s show to “move away from the left-wing communist diatribe they put out every single day.” Then he took a swipe at Fox for implementing a vaccine policy “months before they had to,” comparing their protocols to the network’s early – and accurate – Arizona call for Biden during the 2020 election. If there is a lesson to be made from that comparison, it was definitely lost on Eric Bolling himself.


According to Bolling, “Every terrorist on American soil has been a Muslim”. That’s because he uses the Family Guy test as part of his definition of “terrorism”. He also defended Trump’s false claim thatthousands and thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey cheered on 9/11 as the twin towers came down.


Diagnosis: Yes, yet another one of those. Not as loud or colorful as Alex Jones, but in his own way promoting the same nonsense. It’s not entirely clear how many fans he’s got left – and we cannot really imagine any real person being turned to the lunatic side by Eric Bolling – but there seems to be some of them.