Wingnut Weekly – 17 May 2020

Cartoonist Rob Rogers, who was fired for drawing cartoons that were critical of Trump, drew the above this past week to make this point …”During this pandemic, it is not unusual to see people cross the street when they see you coming. This is not new for some Americans.

Our new weekly theme continues. The battle against COVID-19 is also a battle against wingnut disinformation. 

The consistent and persistent drip feed claim is that the major news networks are “Fake News”. This has perhaps in many ways contributed to some Republican run states ignoring the warnings and lifting lockdown. The consequences are already well-known – The “Fake News” spells it out. On May 15th The NYT explains that “Models Project Sharp Rise in Deaths as States Reopen”. When you dismiss facts and ignore subject matter experts then there are consequences. In this case is is a very tragic and rapidly rising body count.

Let’s take a look at what has been happening this past week amongst the wingnut community..

Wingnut proclamations from the last 7 days

It is all very much everything you might expect and a lot more. Here are some of the highlights …

Wingnut Coronavirus Claims – Utterly clueless and proud of that

  • DeAnna Lorraine thinks that being an asymptomatic carrier means “you don’t freaking have” the coronavirus: “It’s not showing up in your system. It doesn’t show up in a test. You don’t have the coronavirus.
  • Bill Mitchell bellows that there is no excuse for ever shutting down the economy, even if “Martians with laser beams landed on the front porch of the White House.

Wingnut Coronavirus Claims – The Gods are angry

  • Randall Terry has produced a new film arguing that the “current medical, economic, and social crisis is God’s chastening on America because of the sin of abortion.

Wingnut Coronavirus Claims – Conspiracy Claims

  • Cindy Jacobs reports that she has received a vague spiritual warning that “something is being planned on a ‘terrorist level’ to send chaos and confusion into the nation. I have polled other reliable sources, and they have felt a similar sensing.This could potentially happen on various levels. For instance, we could experience bioterrorism, economic terrorism and/or multi-site physical attacks on our nation’s capital. Various other soft targets could also be in the sights of wicked people who hate the United States.
    • I have no idea how she thinks that can happen in a lockdown
  • Howard-Browne and his wife Adonica claim that anyone who has gotten a flu shot in the last 10 years will falsely test positive for COVID-19.
    • Evidence for this claim? … oh come now, you already know. It is exactly zero.

Way beyond just Bizarre

The Michael Flynn Fan Club

For background context, the evidence against Flynn is robustly documented and verified.

  • J. Christian Adams says that Michael Flynn was indicted only because “the grand juries in DC look [like] some kind of Bolshevik meeting — It’s like a collection of climate extremists and Black Lives Matter and Resist and somebody from a peace march. It’s a collection of crackpots, and these grand juries will indict any Republican that comes before them and exonerate any Democrat that comes before them.
  • Scott Lively claims that Flynn was targeted because he foiled former president Barack Obama’s plan to “trigger a constitutional/military crisis that would allow Obama to stay in power, or at least cripple the incoming Trump administration.

The Obama Fan Club

  • Josh Bernstein says that former President Barack Obama’s term was “a reign of terror for eight years, a miserable failure, and a stain on our great nation’s history.
    • Indeed yes, the “terror” and “failure” of all that economic recovery
  • Dave Daubenmire Says ‘Communist Muslim Freak’ Barack Obama ‘Must Go to Jail’
    • This is the same nut who turns up outside the Clinton home on a regular basis demanding their arrest for non-existent crimes

The Cult of Trump

  • Jim Garlow defends President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter: “The media, academia, and Hollywood indefensibly attack him, along with some in sports, many in business, all the Democrats and even, on occasion, some Republicans. If you had everyone slamming you, you would look for a way to get your views out. You would tweet too. He must. And I defend it.
    • If indeed everybody is calling you a dumbass, it just might be because you are in fact a dumbass.
  • Brenden Dilley, who proudly produces and spreads fake news, now says that those who spread fake news about Trump should be prosecuted.
    • Apparently only his fake news is OK.
  • Lance Wallnau prays against “every vex, and hex, and spell, and jinx, and occult apparatus” that the deep state has unleashed against Trump, adding that by attacking Trump, they are attacking God.
    • It is perhaps wholly appropriate for him to deploy an imaginary weapon against an imaginary threat.
  • Chris McDonald and Mark Taylor Say Coverage of Ahmaud Arbery’s Killing Is a ‘Farce’ and ‘False Flag’ Designed to Harm Trump
    • Context: Arbery was a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed by two white men who pursued him while he was out for a run because they claim they thought he looked like someone suspected of several break-ins in their neighborhood. For months, no charges were filed against the men who killed Arbery, until footage of his death was released publicly last week, which prompted prosecutors to submit the case to a grand jury. Arbery’s death and the subsequent handling of the case has generated a wave of outrage and condemnation of the persistent racial inequities in the justice system.
  • Bill Mitchell urges President Donald Trump to arrest Obama administration officials because doing so will mobilize the MAGA base and demoralize Democrats heading into the election.
    • No actual crime required, just lock them up. Now what is the word for that? (Hint: it is not “democracy”
  • Paula White is thrilled that Trump “is becoming more and more open with his faith and with his walk with God.
    • He is the frontman for her plea for your money
  • Joseph Farah asserts that when you see President Donald Trump, “You see kindness. You see politeness. You see the hope for second chances, redemption and grace. Trump is often perceived as a bully by his critics. But that’s not true. He’s courteous, thoughtful, attentive, gentle and nice – even kind.
    • “Kindness” and “politeness” are not exactly the words that spring to mind when thinking about the pussy-grabber-in-chief.
  • James Robison proclaims that “God has used President Trump the last three-and-a-half years to make very positive course corrections. I am praying he and other elected representatives will receive and follow the wisdom God freely offers. After four years of personal conversation and prayer with President Trump, I am convinced he wants to hear and heed God’s wisdom.
    • If Mr Robison’s God has indeed “used Trump” then his God is rather inept and incompetent

What else came out of the Wingnut fantasy land?

Lots of other stuff. 

As always, it is an endless stream. Some of it is good, some sad, some is rather grim, and some is quite frankly hilarious. Here are a few more samples …

  • Pastor Who Often Asked Atheists “How’s That Working Out For You?” Dies of Suicide
    • Life is rough whether or not you’re religious. If you need help, please seek it out. Help is available.
  • Catholic Kerfuffle Erupts Over Cardinal’s Signature on COVID Conspiracy Letter
    • The letter claims that the risk of COVID-19 is a false narrative
  • Evangelist Franklin Graham’s NYC COVID Tents Are Gone; So Is His Anti-LGBTQ Hate
    • He set up a makeshift hospital that was best known for bigotry.
  • COVID-Defying Pastor Tony Spell, Under House Arrest, Sues Louisiana Governor
    • The pastor wants to do more damage in the name of Christ.
  • U.S. Youth Pastor Who Fled His Child Sex Abuse Trial Is Arrested in Mexico
    • Why did they ever release this guy at all?!
  • Liberty University Just Got Rid of Its Entire Philosophy Department
    • Critical thinking is no longer an option at Liberty U.
  • Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox, Hit Heavily By the Virus, Won’t Stop Thronging
    • This religious group is defying science and paying a price for it.
  • Christian Activist: I Cured a Woman’s Tinnitus By Removing a Cactus on Her Head
    • Christian conspiracy theories keep getting weirder…
  • Illinois Pastor: Delaying Church Reopening Means “We’ve Been Sentenced to Death”
    • Christian hyperbole knows no bounds.
  • Influential Evangelicals Promoted the Lie That Essential Oils Can Cure COVID
    • Joshua Axe promoted the COVID “cure” on a Christian talk show. The hosts never pushed back.
  • In California, 3,000 Churches Vow to Open on Pentecost Sunday In Spite of COVID
    • Future headline: “Getting the Virus is Just Part of God’s Plan, Says Coughing Pastor”
  • Florida Man Who Hoped God Would Defeat COVID-19 “Hysteria” Now Has COVID-19 … “As of [May 12] my wife is still sedated and on the ventilator with no signs of improving …I have come to accept that my wife may pass away
    • Brian Hitchens is now warning others not to make the same mistake he did

There are also good people out there …

  • Pastor Coalition in Georgia: We’ve Seen Too Many Deaths, It’s Too Soon To Reopen

Wingnuts of the week – White Evangelicals

Researchers Paul A. Djupe (of Denison University) and Ryan P. Burge (of Eastern Illinois University), have some numbers. They published them this week. The question in the spotlight was – “Is Trump Anointed by God?”

They ran their survey in May 2019 and then again in late March 2020 and here is what they found (left panel show the numbers from last May and right-hand panel show the rapid increase since then)…

This appears to be a new belief that is sweeping American religion. To more frequently you attend a church, the more inclined you are to buy into this idea.

They quite literally think that this is what is going on …

The researchers make this observation …

We are not the first to note that right wing media are having a profound effect on public opinion, serving to insulate Trump supporters. But we are some of the first to document how this is built and sustained from the bottom up. That is, political churches, among Republicans especially, reinforce the argumentation that is also coming from above. The evidence provided here suggests a degree of vertical integration that is amplifying the threat felt from outgroups and the religious significance of the ingroup political leader, Trump.

Reading the details they have is fascinating. They are measuring the emergence of a political/religious personality cult.

Trusting Trump for Medical Advice

One of the authors, Ryan P. Burge, also wrote an article this week in Christianity Today titled …”Where Do White Evangelicals Get Their Coronavirus News? The White House“.

The Trump administration was named by white evangelicals as the source they would most likely rely on as a major source of news. In the chart below, the left-hand are white evangelicals, and the right-hand is basically everybody else …

There is simply no polite way to put this – many of the white evangelicals in the US are extraordinarily stupid and gullible. This is not my opinion, it is an evidence-based fact.

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