Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Hoax Folks

Heard the latest on the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre?
It didn't happen. The whole thing was a hoax.

Truth be told, it was orchestrated by the Obama Administration in an effort to promote gun control and achieve other nefarious objectives.

"You know in your heart that no one could walk into a school and start shooting defenseless little kids," writes Jay Johnson on his website, "They are trying to alter mass perception of the human condition, so that people feel insecure and trust only the government to make things safe."

If you think the above belongs in the Crackpot Hall of Fame, know this: It and other wacko theories are accepted as gospel by many "theorists" whose paranoia and venom knows no bounds, especially when it comes to President Obama.

Their rants are all over the Internet. Warning: Contents may be offensive to sensible people.

One of the leading advocates of this particular bit of nonsense is a tenured professor at Florida Atlantic University named James Tracy who in the past has also expressed skepticism about the Kennedy assassination and 9/11.

At least he conceded bad things may have happened in Newtown, Conn. But he sees something more sinister than just the wholesale slaughter of innocent children.

"As documents relating to the Sandy Hook shooting continue to be assessed and interpreted by independent researchers there is a growing awareness that the media coverage of the massacre of 26 children and adults was intended primarily for public consumption to further larger political ends," he wrote on his blog.

Not to be outdone, James H. Fetzer, an emeritus professor at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, pulls out an age-old conspiracy card: He blames the Jews. "This is what Israel always does, they go after the children," he wrote while suggesting the massacre was a terror ops strike conducted by agents of the Israeli government to strike fear in the hearts of Americans.

Talk about the nutty professors.

I thought I had seen it all last fall when a group of "experts" presumably attired in tin foil hats declared that President Obama had engineered Hurricane Sandy, the massive storm that devastated parts of the East Coast, as way to ensure his re-election.

He did this by using a sophisticated military research program to somehow create a destructive weather system. Thus, the "experts" concluded, the accompanying disaster "will undoubtedly produce widespread chaos and present an ideal opportunity for Obama to come off as a strong and decisive leader."

But wait. Wouldn't a man who had the power to manipulate the weather just as easily control an election? Just asking.

Then there was this act of shear goofiness as reported by a number of media outlets: Republican state senators at the Georgia Capitol were told during a four-hour briefing just before the election that President Obama is using a Cold War-era mind-control technique known as "Delphi" to coerce Americans into accepting his plan for a United Nations-run communist dictatorship in which suburbanites will be forcibly relocated to cities.

This bit of news you can use was delivered by birther activist Field Searcy, who also compared Obama's rural agenda with genocide programs by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and Chinese leader Mao Zedong that killed millions.

And so it goes. President Kennedy was assassinated by the CIA. Or Fidel Castro. Pick your poison. 9/11 was an inside job or officials knew of the attacks and did nothing to prevent them. The massacre at the Aurora, Colorado movie theater was the work of government agents. UFOs crashed and were recovered in New Mexico. The world is ruled by the Illuminati.

We understand that conspiracy theories have been around since the dawn of civilization. When man first emerged, so did paranoia.

The difference now is that while these half-baked theories used to be confined to letters or whispered telephone conversations, they now get full-blown exposure over the same Internet that has enlightened our lives.

Nobody ever said free speech was easy.

The other difference is that much of this vitriol is directed at President Obama, who survived four years of being characterized as a Kenyan-born Muslim socialist who hates America and wages class warfare.

Unfortunately, his re-election hasn't stopped the purveyors of paranoia from dreaming up even more absurd theories that unfold before us in real time.

As a journalist, I brought a healthy sense of skepticism to the office every day. But there's a line between inquiry and insanity.

Clearly, many of these people have crossed that line.

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