Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Top Conspiracy Theories of 2012

I am amused, and yes, a little alarmed by the crazy conspiracy theories that proliferate on the internet. I am a healthy skeptic. I like to fact check and keep informed, and I don't take a politician's statements at face value. This makes me wonder, what kind of person can possibly be so gullible? As P.T Barnum allegedly said, "There's a sucker born very minute."

The list is in no particular order. The embedded links are to sites with more rational views on the "facts" used by the "alternate reality" sites.

1. Benghazi, the massive cover-up. Started in part by a less-than-forthcoming preliminary CIA memo, this conspiracy, fueled on by rumors and speculations by the right-wing media, grew to include: President Obama watching the attack happen live, and the president ordering the rescue teams to stand down.

2. Obama to declare himself Supreme Dictator: This involves the lie that Obama has issued more executive orders than any other president in history. According to the theorists, he is going to issue even more executive orders, disbanding Congress, the Senate, and the Supreme Court. Then he will declare himself "dictator for life."

3. The Department of Homeland Security readies for Armageddon: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) bought up to, depending on the conspiracy theorists source, 1.4 billion rounds of ammunition in 2012. DHS obviously plans to suppress a revolt of the American people when Obama declares himself dictator. The DHS did buy ammunition, but not for the above nefarious purpose.

4. A UN treaty gun grab: Drawn up by the UN, a world-wide treaty was meant to keep arms out of the hands of terrorists, not private citizens. The treaty created great fear among some gun manufacturers, and was twisted into a conspiracy to disarm Americans and override the 2nd amendment.

5. Muslims are in the House (and Senate). The Muslim Brotherhood and other scary people are supposedly infiltrating the government. Remember the good old days when there was a commie behind every door? Sadly, some leading politicians push this fear-mongering.

6. The presidential election was fixed (again). This claim uses untrue and misleading "facts" to prove President Obama again stole an election (with George Soros' help, of course.)

7. The "gubbmint" is coming for your guns. Until the Sandy Hook massacre, gun control was not part of the president's agenda. Obama actually loosened some existing gun laws. This is a favorite conspiracy, trotted out every time a Democrat is elected president. It is used to solidify the right-wing base, and to sell lots of guns and gun memberships. It also causes a big boom in survivalist goods sales. Nothing sells products like fear-mongering.

8. Fast and furious with the truth. This whopper has the government deliberately botching an anti-gun operation, which led to the death of a federal agent, to build outrage and support for gun control laws. See number 7 above.

9. President Obama orders a hit. What could be more intriguing then a conspiracy theory involving a conspiracy theorist? People actually believe President Obama had Andrew Breitbart (and a witness) murdered because Breitbart had incriminating videos of Mr. Obama meeting with members of The Weather Underground, a terrorist group of the 1970's. Ah, this brings back memories of President and fellow mafia boss Bill Clinton. Who killed Vince Foster? Vince Foster did.

10. The Newtown massacre was staged. This is the most disgusting and heartbreaking conspiracy theory. Again, Obama, wanting to advance his supposed anti-gun agenda, either deliberately caused the massacre, or it was staged. Pictures are floating around the internet of one of the victim's sitting on President Obama's lap (it is actually her younger sister.) There are also pictures (obviously Photoshopped) of the mother of one murdered child supposedly sitting with the defendant of the Aurora massacre. People have no shame. Is there nothing they won't stoop to for fame and money.

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