Archive for the ‘Alex Jones’ Category

The Poisoning of the American Mind

May 31, 2014

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Exene Cervenka

Exene Cervenka, a member of the 1980’s punk band X, has made the claim that the recent killings in Santa Barbara were a hoax. She also claims that the Newtown shootings were a hoax. She says these things are part of a conspiracy by the government to take away our guns. (If the government really wanted to take away our guns, it would go ahead and do it.) There are other people besides Cervenka who believe these things. Some of them have harassed the family members of the Newtown victims.

Think back to the Columbine shootings in 1999. No one ever claimed the shootings were a hoax. The only controversy was over whether stricter gun control laws might have prevented the shootings. The term “false flag event” didn’t even exist in people’s vocabularies at the time. What happened between then and now were the September 11th attacks and the conspiracy industry that grew up in their wake. This industry claimed that the government, the media, and the military had conspired in the attacks and in a subsequent cover-up. If someone is willing to believe that hundreds, if not thousands, of people willingly committed treason just to give George W. Bush a political advantage, it’s not much of a stretch for that person to believe that almost anything in the news is a hoax.

9/11 conspiracy theories were mostly associated with the Left, but there were some on the Right who took them up, most notably Alex Jones. Jones’s Facebook page has 799,491 likes. (Consider that the largest far left group in the US, the ISO, has fewer than a thousand members.) Jones’s followers and like-minded people make up a small percentage of the population, but they are becoming increasingly vocal and militant. It’s worth remembering here that it only took one person to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City.

I don’t pretend to know what to do about this problem. What I do know is that we shouldn’t simply dismiss these people as funny kooks. We need to think seriously about what to do about this problem before somebody gets hurt.

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Chirs Hedges and Cynthia McKinney

December 9, 2013

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Chris Hedges has an article at Truthdig entitled Is America ‘Yearning for Fascism’? In it, he makes an argument that he’s been making on and off since 2008, which is that the United States is going to go down the same road that Yugoslavia did in the 1990’s. Hedges seems unfazed by the fact that this country is no closer to a civil war today than it was five years ago. The two biggest acts of violence of the last year, the Boston Marathon bombings and the Sandy Hook massacre, were both carried out by isolated misfits not associated with any political group.

One is, in fact, struck by the stability of U.S. society, especially considering the extreme inequality of wealth that exists in this country. The Occupy movement came and went without making even a dent in the status quo. It would perhaps be more useful for Hedges to try to analyze the reasons for this, rather than make dubious apocalyptic predictions.

What is strange about this article, though, is that Hedges suddenly and inexplicably quotes Cynthia McKinney – yes, that Cynthia McKinney, the one who earlier this year claimed that the Boston Marathan bombings were a false flag operation. Why would Hedges, or anyone else for that matter, care what this woman has to say (except perhaps as an example of a particular type of political lunacy)? Hedges writes:

    It is time for us to stop talking about right and left,” McKinney told me. “The old political paradigm that serves the interests of the people who put us in this predicament will not be the paradigm that gets us out of this.

Somebody as historically literate as Hedges must surely know that the claim of going beyond right and left is a common theme in fascist rhetoric. (Yes, I am implying that McKinney is leaning towards fascism. This is someone who repeats Alex Jones nuttery, after all.)

McKinney also says:

    I am a child of the South. Janet Napolitano tells me I need to be afraid of people who are labeled white supremacists but I was raised around white supremacists. I am not afraid of white supremacists. I am concerned about my own government. The Patriot Act did not come from the white supremacists, it came from the White House and Congress. Citizens United did not come from white supremacists, it came from the Supreme Court.

What did come from white supremacists were lynchings, sundown towns, racist police departments, and a black underclass. And McKinney wants to make common cause with these people.

I have always had deeply mixed feelings about Hedges. He sometimes makes good arguments, but there are times when he seems to have drifted off into the ether. (Here is an article in which I write about a talk that Hedges gave in Oakland a few years ago.)

A 9/11 Truther Comes in from the Cold

May 30, 2013

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The British 9/11 Truther, Charlie Veitch, has recanted. He reportedly changed his mind after a demolitions expert explained to him why the Twin Towers could not have been brought down by controlled demolitions. He was friends with Alex Jones and David Icke, and he had his won website. Since he announced his change of mind, he has received death threats, and both he and his mother have received harassing e-mails.

The Telegraph has an interesting article about Veitch that is worth reading in its entirety. One of the more interesting passages tells how Veitch became a Truther:

    And at six o’clock one morning, after a night out at a club, it pounced.

    “I was absolutely spangled from the nightclub when my best friend said ‘Charlie, you know you’re Right-wing and you joined the Army? Well, they were lying to you.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘9/11; it wasn’t as you think.’ It was almost like an initiation into a cult, a religion. You’re being given special knowledge.”

Truthers have often seemed to me to be almost like religious cultists. The idea of a 9/11 conspiracy is like a revealed truth to them. And it’s one that can seem empowering. Somebody who has never even taken a calculus course can suddenly become an expert on structural engineering, pedantically lecturing other people on controlled demolitions and what a hole left by an airplane looks like.

What’s interesting is how the 9/11 conspiracy theories have begun to bleed over into other more bizarre theories held by people such as Jones and Icke. A conspiracy theory can be like a rabbit-hole. Having embraced an idea that most people reject, the conspiracy theorist begins to associate only with other like-minded people. Eventually he or she learns about the Bilderburg Group, the New World Order, and the Illuminati, until finally the seeker is initiated into the ultimate mystery: shape-shifting reptilian overlords from another dimension.

CounterPunch readers who want to believe that anti-Semitism is not a problem may want to read this part:

    In essence, the modern conspiracy narrative is the same as the one that has existed since at least the 19th century: that the few (often termed the “Illuminati”) control the many. This, of course, is the nucleus of the dangerous anti-Jewish myth. When he was an insider, did he experience anti-Semitism? His eyes open wide: “Loads. Loads. I was once accused of being a Jew because of my olive skin and my nose. They said, ‘We can’t trust him’.” And when they say the ‘Illuminati’ or ‘Reptiles’, do they actually mean Jews? “It’s slightly complicated but, mostly, yes,” he says.

This article in Slate is also worth reading.

Homeland Security and the Politics of Helplessness

May 22, 2013

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A new report from the Center for Media and Democracy documents how this nation’s anti-terrorism police collaborated with businesses to attack the Occupy movement of 2011 to 2012. Alternet reports:

    The report specifically looks at the activities of “fusion centers,” or law enforcement entities created after 9/11 that transform local police forces into counter-terror units in partnership with federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security. The fusion centers devoted a lot of time–to the point of “obsession,” the report notes–to monitoring the Occupy movement, particularly for any “threats” to public safety or health and to whether there were “extremists” involved in the movement.

Those of us who worried that the Department of Homeland Security created after the 9/11 attacks would be used to suppress political dissent have seen our worst fears realized. The government and corporations did everything they could to crush a non-violent movement that spoke people’s anger at the greed of the banks and of Wall Street. The result has the near stifling of any resistance to the corporate agenda.

In such an atmosphere, it is no surprise that people turn to conspiracy theories to explain their problems. Conspiracy theories are the opiate of the politically defeated. Greg Palast’s good buddy Alex Jones – who last month claimed that the Boston Marathon bombings were a “false flag operation” – has suggested that the recent tornado in Oklahoma was the work of a government-owned weather machine. According to Media Matters:

    Following a long tangent, Jones returned to the caller’s subject. While he explained that “natural tornadoes” do exist and that he’s not sure if a government “weather weapon” was involved in the Oklahoma disaster, Jones warned nonetheless that the government “can create and steer groups of tornadoes.”

    According to Jones, this possibility hinges on whether people spotted helicopters and small aircraft “in and around the clouds, spraying and doing things.” He added, “if you saw that, you better bet your bottom dollar they did this, but who knows if they did. You know, that’s the thing, we don’t know.”

The price that we pay for having let Bush and Obama create a police state is a long descent into national infantilism.

Greg Palast Has a Man-Crush on Alex Jones

January 21, 2013

And you thought that Alex Jones is just a loud-mouthed buffoon. According to Greg Palast, Jones, who promotes 9/11 conspiracy theories, as well anti-immigrant racism, is “the host of one of the only intellectually substantive, fact-heavy forums on American radio”.

Palast likes Jones a lot. How much does Palast like Alex Jones? He tells us:

    I love Alex Jones. If I were a woman, I’d appear on his show in my highest heels and shortest mini-skirt.

Palast also tells us that Jones has “iron balls”.

Some things simply defy satire.

Why does Palast like Jones so much? It has to do with a story he once did. He tells us:

    While the BBC ran the story regardless of the threat, my investigations of Singer, despite gaining the cover of Nation, were suddenly pulled from US airwaves, including Piers’ CNN. A major news service said it was spiked not by editors, but by “high up”. Even MSNBC said, coyly, that the story was “too complex for our viewers”.

    But not Jones’ audience. “This is complex,” Jones told me, “so we’ll give you a full hour to explain it.” Which is part of the reason Alex is such a hero in the US – he has the cojones to venture where the mainstream media fear to tread.

So what? The people who listen to Jones’s conspiracist rants aren’t going to build a movement for social change. They’re going to stock up on assault rifles and wait for Armageddon to come. Palast, however, is so vain, he is willing to slobber all over Jones just for letting him talk on his show.

To be fair, Palast says he doesn’t agree with everything that Jones says. Which is nice to know.

Vice.com promises us that this article is the first of a three-part series, in which, among other things, Greg Palast will talk about his penis. I can hardly wait.

You can find out more about Alex Jones here.