10 Right-Wing Predictions About Obama That Never Came True

Note: This article was written and originally published by Right Wing Watch, archived here for expedience. Visit PFAW’s Right Wing Watch.

By Brian Tashman (RWW)

For eight years, right-wing activists have been making dire predictions about what  President Obama would do during his time in office. Some have warned that the president will begin seizing guns and arresting critics any day now. More than a few worried that the president would invade Texas or organize his own private army for other nefarious purposes.

Technically, Obama still has a few more hours to fulfill the far-right’s many doomsday prophecies about his presidency, but it appears much more likely that these conservative activists simply lied in order to fuel baseless fears about Obama, who, despite their best efforts, is leaving office with a 60 percent approval rating.

While this is by no means a complete list, we’ve collected ten of the most absurd predictions that Obama’s critics have made about his time in office, which, as January 20 approaches, are looking less and less likely to come true.

1)      Obama Will Create Death Panels

One of the most pernicious and persistent lies about Obama’s presidency has been that he used the Affordable Care Act to establish “death panels.”

Many critics of health care reform falsely claimed that the new law would enforce rationing that would discriminate against elderly people, people with prior health issues and people with disabilities. Some Republican politicians, including Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, went a step further in suggesting that an actual government body would be formed to determine whether people lived or died. GOP leaders including former House speakers John Boehner and Newt Gingrich raised the prospect of state-sponsored euthanasia.

Fox News hosts naturally ran with the “death panels” hoax, and the claim’s originator, former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey, eventually became a Fox News personality and later an adviser to Donald Trump.

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Even years after the law’s passage, conservatives like Republican Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas and commentator Ben Shapiro kept insisting that the death panels were on their way, even when it became obvious they did not exist.

At least one popular conservative website even pushed a fake news article claiming that the death panels had already begun executing elderly people.

2) Obama Will Kill His Critics

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah, writing just days before the 2012 election, predicted that if “Barack Obama is re-elected Nov. 6 for a second term, he will declare a full-scale war on his domestic opposition.”

“There may not be another free and fair election in America,” Farah wrote. “I would expect due process to go the way of the horse and buggy. I think he will move to shut down and destroy all independent media. In fact, I think his biggest critics will be rounded up in the name of national security.”

Far-right radio host Michael Savage worried in 2015 that Obama would begin executing people, much like in the French Revolution.

Glenn Beck even believed that the riots in cities like Baltimore and Ferguson were simply part of a larger scheme to “set the whole country on fire” and would lead to a wave of killings of Obama critics, such as Beck himself.

3) Obama Will Spread Disease In Order To Imprison Americans

While describing the “looming crises to watch in 2015,” right-wing legal activist Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch, declared that “Obama’s mission is not only truly treasonous, but also truly evil.”

“He is more dangerous than the terrorists themselves, because he is destroying us from within,” Klayman said of the president. One way Obama may bring harm to Americans, Klayman said, would be by creating the possibility of “a massive epidemic” and “a real and imminent health crisis” by letting Ebola-infected people from West Africa—including “suicide terrorists” who had infected themselves with the virus—into the U.S.

Klayman was far from alone in sharing this fear: During the height of the Ebola epidemic in 2014, conservatives spread widespread panic about the possibility of Obama enabling an outbreak of the disease in the U.S.

Donald Trump, then teasing a presidential run, questioned Obama’s mental health, calling him a “psycho” for not stopping flights from Ebola-stricken countries, and warned that the president would end up bringing “the plague back to U.S.”

Steve Stockman, then a Republican congressman from Texas, wondered whether Obama really wanted to fight the spread of Ebola or if he really intended to “create a greater crisis to use it as a blunt force to say, well in order to solve this crisis we’re going to have to take control of the economy and individuals and so forth.”

Michael Savage, a conservative radio host, said Obama “wants to infect the nation with Ebola” and “might use Ebola as a pretext” to “gain even more power” and justify launching a “Kristallnacht” against conservatives. End Times preacher Rick Wiles similarly posited that the spread of Ebola was part of a “carefully crafted plan” to “round up patriots,” warning that Obama might “contaminate the VA hospitals with the Ebola virus” and send the people infected with the virus to “recovery and reeducation camps.”

One far-right columnist estimated that over 25 million people might die due to an Obama-inflicted health crisis. End Times broadcaster Steve Quayle, discussing the “global Ebola plague, warned that Obama’s reaction to the epidemic could “supersede” the damage done by murderous dictators like Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong and Pol Pot.

Other far-right pundits warned that Obama might spread Ebola and then use the crisis as an excuse to cancel the 2016 election, implant “a tracker” into people, declare martial law, force people into concentration camps and put the dead in “FEMA coffins.”

Beyond Ebola, Janet Porter, the conservative activist who leads the Religious Right group Faith 2 Action, thought Obama could use swine flu fears to throw people into FEMA camps or create “a food shortage” that would be used to grow government and starve people to death.

4) Obama Will Start A Race War

Many conservative commentators believed that Obama was behind anti-police-brutality demonstrations that turned violent in cities like Baltimore and Ferguson.

Savage, the radio commentator, said the “racist” Obama administration was going to “try to stimulate insurrection in this country in order to declare martial law” since the “entire federal government is geared up to fight a war against white people.” The Department of Homeland Security, he said, was ready to “mow down” armed demonstrators during the Bundy ranch standoff in Nevada because they were predominately white.

Finding it “remarkable that Obama has not renamed the White House ‘the Black House,’” Larry Klayman wrote in WorldNetDaily that the “racist Obama and his henchmen like Eric Holder have succeeded in creating what in effect is a huge racial divide and race war in the nation, pitting black against white and vice versa” and turning white people into second class citizens.

Far-right commentator Stan Solomon even wondered if Obama would establish “a black force” to attack white people.

5) Obama Will Create A Personal Brownshirt Army

Ret. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who now serves as the executive vice president of the Family Research Council, repeatedly predicted that Obama planned to “establish a constabulary force” through the Affordable Care Act that would “control the population in America” much in the same way that Adolf Hitler used the Brownshirts to consolidate power, basing his accusation on a debunked myth about the health care law.

Boykin wasn’t alone in predicting that Obama would create such an army.

Another former military official, Ret. Army Major General Jerry Curry, warned that the Obama administration might “arm illegal immigrants” to begin killing Americans, with a focus on assassinating members of the armed forces.

Then-Republican Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia similarly warned in 2008 that Obama’s proposed expansion of national service programs was “exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany” and “exactly what the Soviet Union did.” Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, claimed in 2013 that Obama’s “secret security force” was already in existence.

Lawrence C. Mackin, a conservative writer, warned that Obama was bent on creating a “private internal army” including “illegal aliens” and Middle Eastern terrorists, and William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC said Obama would give immigrants “a badge and a gun” in order to target the “Christian, heterosexual male” population. Far-right activist Jim Garrow thought Obama would fake contact with aliens in order to justify the creation of his own army.

Convinced that President Obama was set to wage an anti-white race war, radio host Michael Savage said that Obama intended to arm and “deputize” members of the Crips and Bloods gangs and turn them into his “shock troops.” He also claimed that Black Lives Matter supporters would be “Obama’s shock troops” and “secret private army” much like “the Brownshirts that Hitler had.”

6) Obama Will Seize Guns

Throughout Obama’s time in office, gun groups have made hay over patently false claims that the president was prepared to do away with the Second Amendment and ban guns.

Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, predicted that Obama would “erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights and exorcise it from the U.S. Constitution” if he won re-election, insisting that Obama went after gun owners “harder than he attacked ISIS.” Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt similarly suggested that Obama was organizing a Big Government scheme to confiscate guns, and might even use his (nonexistent) private army to seize Americans’ guns.

Back in 2015, Trump said he heard that Obama was going to use an executive order to “take your guns away”:

You know, the president is thinking about signing an executive order where he wants to take your guns away. You hear this one? This is the new. Not gonna happen. That won’t happen. But that’s a tough one, I think that’s a tough one for him to do when you actually have the Second Amendment. That’s tough. Because there’s plenty of executive orders being signed, you know that. And we can’t let that go on. So it’ll all stop … It’ll stop very soon, I think, because people are tired of what’s going on, and they’re tired of what’s happening to our country.

When asked by CNN host Alisyn Camerota about his charge, Trump insisted that he never actually said that Obama wants to confiscate guns, just that he had “heard” from “somebody” that “that’s what he’s thinking about” doing. (He went on to falsely claim that Hillary Clinton “wants to take your guns away” and “abolish” the Second Amendment.)

Rafael Cruz, the father of Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, repeatedly charged that Obama was getting ready to seize all guns in order to become a murderous dictator akin to Stalin.

The baseless conspiracy theory helped set the stage for Sandy Hook truthers, who claimed that the 2012 massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, was an elaborate hoax to justify a gun confiscation scheme.

7) Obama Will Invade Texas

Several Republican politicians, including presidential hopefuls, couldn’t help themselves from seizing on the completely unbelievable conspiracy theory that the Obama administration was planning a federal takeover Texas under the pretext of a 2015 military exercise known as Jade Helm 15.

Knowing that a large number of conservatives believed in the conspiracy theory, these politicians sniffed an opportunity to throw some red meat at the expense of, you know, the truth. The governor of Texas even ordered the Texas State Guard to “monitor Operation Jade Helm 15” to make sure it didn’t infringe on Texans’ civil liberties.

While there wasn’t one standard Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory, the gist was that Obama was planning to use the military exercise to enforce federal, possibly military, rule over Texas, likely because it is a bastion of conservatism.

As we’ve previously noted, many far-right activists saw Jade Helm 15 as “part of a secret effort to take over conservative states like Texas, impose martial lawconfiscate people’s firearmsround up ‘patriotic men,’ force people into cattle cars and lock them up in Wal-Marts that have been converted into FEMA camps.”

Wiles, the religious radio broadcaster, referred to Jade Helm 15 as a “two-month-long Night of the Long Knives” and even warned about a potential government-initiated nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack on Texas. Televangelist Jim Bakker said that he might even go to jail (again) as a result of Jade Helm 15.

After the exercise began, one fake news site fabricated a story that it had resulted in civilian casualties.

Panic about Jade Helm had serious consequences: The FBI arrested a group of people planning to attack soldiers participating in the exercise, and some service members came under fire as the exercise began.

8) Obama Will Ban The Bible   

Following the passage of the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which Obama signed in 2009, Republicans warned that the freedom of religion and speech for Christians would soon disappear due to government oppression. Subsequent advances in LGBT equality, especially the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision striking down state-level same-sex marriage bans, only made the persecution rhetoric more panicked.

Anti-LGBT activists predicted after the passage of the hate crimes act that the government would begin prosecuting and imprisoning Christians who criticized homosexuality. The Traditional Values Coalition claimed that “the new Hate Crimes Act that President Obama signed into law makes the Bible illegal ‘Hate Literature.’”

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Several Republican politicians even claimed that the law granted legal protections to pedophiles.

In 2013, Rick Scarborough, a conservative pastor who once threatened to file a lawsuit against homosexuality, claimed that the Obama administration was “hell-bent on silencing the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” warning that Christians may be “thrown into concentration camps” at some point in the future. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins warned just last year that Obama was using gay rights to “eliminate” Christianity and “punish speech—and belief.”

Far-right fake news sites have similarly predicted that Obama will outlaw Christmas and “criminalize Christianity.”

9) Obama Will Impose Sharia Law

Among the most popular and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories surrounding Obama was the enduring claim that he was just about to impose Sharia law on Americans, if he hadn’t already.

While discussing his book on Obama’s “progressive/Islamic takeover” in 2015, Savage claimed that Obama was bringing in 100,000 Muslims into America every month to help “the Islamism creeping into the country,” which he posited could eventually lead to the government deciding to “ban dogs.”

Sen. Ted Cruz even went so far as to falsely claim that the Obama administration put into place a “ban on anti-Muslim rhetoric.” Then-Rep. Michele Bachmann alleged in 2012 that Obama had enforced “Islamic speech codes here in the United States” as part of his supposed push for Sharia law.

In a WorldNetDaily column posted weeks before the 2008 election, Faith 2 Action’s Janet Porter delivered a “newscast of the future” in which she predicted, among other things, that Obama would personally meet with Osama bin Laden, begin broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer in the capital five times a day and have people face Mecca at a Presidential Prayer Breakfast keynoted by Louis Farrakhan.

Kamal Saleem, who claims to be a former terrorist and is now a conservative speaker, claimed in 2012 that Obama planned on “legalizing terrorism” and predicted that the Obama administration would begin shutting down churches and synagogues in 2013. He claimed that Obama had already set up an Islamic “shadow government” that was using an Obama family babysitter, Roe v. Wade and the military to impose Sharia law.

Right-wing conspiracy theorist Avi Lipkin claimed in 2012 that Obama would receive trillions of dollars in aid from Saudi Arabia and, in return, would begin imposing Sharia law and settling “50 to 100 million” Muslim immigrants on “lands confiscated by Agenda 21.”

10) Obama Will Stay In Office

Conservative radio hosts from Rush Limbaugh to Alex Jones have suggested that Obama may try to remain in office when his second term is over, a conspiracy theory that gained attention throughout the far-right.

The fear of an Obama third term gained such attention that Ben Carson, who later became a GOP presidential candidate and is now Trump’s nominee to be the secretary of housing, became worried about a canceled election and an Obama third-term plot.

Few, however, went as far as Rev. Austin Miles, who claimed in 2014 that there was a plan “for Obama to use Executive Order to declare himself, Dictator for Life in 2016,” or End Times preacher Rick Wiles, who said in 2013 that Obama would take a trip to Jerusalem on which he “enters the Temple and declares himself as God.”

Obama Declares Martial Law to Remain President Indefinitely!!!

Believe it or not, conspiracy theorists are still pushing this same bullshit with only 10 days left in his official post.

But why?

Conspiracy theorists had long suspected President Barack Obama of being a secret Muslim,  a homosexual, The Antichrist, and … you know … “I’m not racist or whatever, I just don’t like him.”

You can trace the course of Right Wing hatred for Obama, from his first week in the U.S. Senate to his final days in office. Before his Presidency, even Democrats took jabs at him.

 

 

Of course, for the vast majority of Right Wing politicos, shifted the focus of their ire towards Hillary Clinton as the 2016 Presidential Election loomed. With the election of Donald Trump, the trope of Obama hoping to maintain power came back in the dark murky alternate reality of the conspiracy theorists.

Today, the day of President Obama’s final address while in office, those with the deepest faith in extreme secrecy and shadowy governance are still convinced the jig isn’t up for their secret Gay Muslim Antichrist.

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A conversation started ten days before the end of the Obama Presidency. The later images are all excerpts from the same discussion string.

The last holdouts to the reality that the Obama Presidency is coming to an end are not Obama supporters but a few conspiracy theorists who feel “like Obama will not leave office.” This thread is just the most recent example, the original poster offered the prediction above on a Facebook group called Nibiru Countdown (and if you don’t know what Nibiru is, check here).

nibiru-obama-2

The conversation continued. Eventually,  a few people began to question the assertion of the original poster. Someone posted a link to the bad news story of the day, that Donald Trump may be “compromised” by Russian President Putin. Rather than arguing against this story itself, the original poster launched into a racist pro-Trump rant.

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Nibiru Obama 4.png

The pointless racism aside, the fact that a conspiracy group is so overwhelmingly pro-Trump should not be a huge surprise. The real revelation here is that even today … ten days before Trump is sworn in as President, the conspiracy theorists have yet to let go of their worst fears. After years of self-delusion and gaslighting, the thought that Barack Obama won’t have been the satanic scourge they thought him to be is just too hard take.

Obama, if you are reading this, get on that group thread and let them know you are watching.

Just to fuck with them.

I certainly hope the Trump administration produces as strange a collection of conspiracy theories. If the allegations of Trump’s being compromised by Russia prove not to be true, rest assured that some anti-Trump conspiracy theorists will not let it go.

One thing Obama conspiracy theories and the current Trump story have in common; they both show the willingness of people to believe the worst about people who have rose to high political power by those people who stand in opposition to what they represent.

Case in point …

 

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Go ahead and Google it. This is how conspiracy theories start.

 

Suspected Fort Lauderdale Airport gunman Esteban Santiago, 26, told FBI that CIA was forcing him to join ISIS

Christopher Brennan (NY Daily News)

The 26-year-old New Jersey-born Iraq veteran accused of executing five people and wounding eight others at a Florida airport claimed just two months ago that he was hearing voices.

It was part of a difficult adjustment to civilian life after serving overseas. He sat in an FBI office in Anchorage, Alaska, in November, claiming the CIA was forcing him to join ISIS. And he became a father for the first time last year and was struggling to take care of himself, let alone a child.

On Friday, Esteban Santiago snapped, opening fire near the baggage claim area at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. He reloaded, fired until he was out of bullets and calmly surrendered without saying a word.

Santiago was born in New Jersey but moved to Puerto Rico when he was 2 years old, relatives said.

He grew up in the southern coastal town of Penuelas before joining the National Guard in 2007, and served with that unit in Iraq from April 2010 to February 2011.

From there, Santiago spiraled down a dark descent that included a less than honorable discharge, arrests for domestic violence and now the first mass shooting on U.S. soil in 2017.

In November, the Army vet walked into an Anchorage FBI office and unleashed a torrent of conspiracy theories.

A law enforcement official says he told the FBI that the government was controlling his mind and was forcing him to watch ISIS videos.

Esteban Santiago, an Iraq veteran, was identified as the gunman who opened fire Friday in the Fort Lauderdale International Airport.

Esteban Santiago, an Iraq veteran, was identified as the gunman who opened fire Friday in the Fort Lauderdale International Airport.

(OBTAINED BY DAILY NEWS)

Santiago appeared incoherent at times, a source told ABC News.

The FBI agents notified local police after the interview, who took him for a mental health evaluation.

A spokeswoman for the Anchorage Police Department referred all questions about Santiago to the FBI.

On Thursday, Santiago took a red-eye flight out of Anchorage with only one piece of checked luggage — containing a 9-mm. handgun. He flew to St. Paul/Minneapolis and then took a connecting flight to Fort Lauderdale.

After landing just after noon on Friday, Santiago retrieved the gun from his checked bag and opened fire in the airport.

His uncle and aunt in Union City, N.J., were trying to make sense of what happened Friday.

FBI agents and reporters swarmed their home, and they spoke briefly about their nephew.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shooting suspect Esteban Santiago. Santiago is believed to be the lone shooter in a shootage rampage on January 6, 2017.
Esteban Santiago, the alleged shooter who killed 5 people at Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida on Friday, January 6, 2017, is pictured in an undated mugshot.

Esteban Santiago is seen in an undated photo and a mugshot from a prior arrest, right.

Maria Ruiz told the Record that Santiago had recently become a father and was having trouble accepting the responsibility of parenthood.

She added that Santiago came back from Iraq acting strangely, but “was happy with the kid” after the birth of his child last year.

A photo from September shows Santiago peacefully gazing down at an infant cradled in his arms.

“It was like he lost his mind,” Ruiz said of his return from Iraq. “He said he saw things.”

Upon his return, Santiago served in the Army Reserves and the Alaska National Guard in Fairbanks.

He was serving as a combat engineer before his discharge for “unsatisfactory performance,” said Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead, a spokeswoman.

His military rank was E3, private 1st class, and he worked one weekend a month with an additional 15 days of training yearly, Olmstead said.

She would not elaborate on his discharge, but the Pentagon said he’d gone AWOL several times and was demoted and discharged.

Still, he’d had some successes during his military career, being awarded a number of medals and commendations, including the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

In Anchorage, police officers told reporters that they were interviewing people at an address for Santiago but wouldn’t give details and were keeping journalists away from the home.

Alaskan court records show Santiago was charged with two misdemeanors last year; one count was dismissed.

Calls to his lawyer in that case were not immediately returned.

He was also ticketed for minor traffic infractions, including allegedly driving without insurance and having a broken taillight in April 2015.

A landlord also filed eviction proceedings against him in February 2015, stating he had failed to pay his rent.

MANDATORY CREDIT

A shooting victim is unloaded from an emergency vehicle Friday and taken into Broward Health Trauma Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Authorities said multiple people have died after a lone suspect opened fire at the airport.

(TAIMY ALVAREZ/AP)

He was also investigated as part of a child porn investigation in either 2011 or 2012, law enforcement sources told CBS News. Three weapons and a computer were seized, but no charges were filed, sources said.

Santiago had moved to Anchorage two years ago to get a fresh start, his brother said.

He found a job with a security company and had been “fighting with a lot of people” while in Alaska and was having relationship issues. Still, he could not imagine his sibling unleashing the carnage that unfolded in Fort Lauderdale.

“He is a regular person, spiritual, a good person,” he told NBC News.

Santiago was doing his best to maintain a sense of normalcy, his brother said.

Bryan Santiago said his brother’s girlfriend had recently called the family to alert them to his psychological treatment, but he didn’t have further details.

He said his brother never spoke to him directly about his medical issues.

“We have not talked for the past three weeks,” Bryan Santiago said. “That’s a bit unusual … I’m in shock. He was a serious person … He was a normal person.”

Alt-Right Infighting Simmers Around Inaugural ‘DeploraBall’

By Brakkton Booker (NPR)

Notes: Racism is usually associated with conspiracy theories. I include notes to clarify, due to a broken link. This is the hard-core Trump supporters, just in case anyone wanted to know.

A supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shows a bumper sticker reading “I am a Deplorable” at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Oct. 10. The term references comments by Hillary Clinton that suggest some Trump supporters are “deplorables.”

Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

A rift has surfaced within the alt-right, the movement closely associated with white supremacism that has been celebrating Donald Trump’s election as president. In fact, they are planning a big event around Trump’s inauguration — the “DeploraBall.”

Organizers of the event, which plays off Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” swipe at some Trump supporters, have rescinded the invitation of a prominent social media personality with the alt-right movement, Tim Treadstone, better known by his Twitter handle @bakedalaska.

He tweeted on Monday anti-Semitic and racist comments that included “it’s a common fact the media is run in majority by Jewish people, it’s similar to observing blacks are good at basketball.”

Another alt-right leader, author and organizer of the DeploraBall, Mike Cernovich, appears to have reached out directly to Treadstone to tell him it was not wise to raise the “JQ?” — or Jewish Question when he is a featured guest at the event. Cernovich also urged no Nazi salutes either, a gesture popular with the movement.

That’s when things got heated and turned public.

Treadstone posted the private correspondence between him and Cernovich. Then posted a 45-minute tirade he titled “Oy vey! Banned from Deploraball.” (This bitchy rant was essentially a racist mad that his other racist friends wanted to distance themselves from him because they didn’t want to seem to still hate and fear Jews as well as Muslims. Fearing Muslims is still cool, apparently).

The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi publication, weighed in on the feud and sided with Treadstone: “The Deploraball is apparently an attempt at a sanitized, cuckolded, pro-Jew version of the NPI conference.” It also lashed out at the event’s organizers for previously uninviting leading alt-right figures like Richard Spencer and Sam Hyde.

Others sided with Treadstone and took to burning Cernovich’s book Gorilla Mindset.

As we have reported, the alt-right was energized by the election of Trump and had been optimistic their controversial views, which embrace white supremacist and anti-Semitic ideas, were finding their way into mainstream politics. A further jolt was given to alt-right supporters following Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon, who previously ran Breitbart News, to be his senior strategist. Bannon has said in the past that Breitbart is “a platform for the alt-right,” but after the election said there should be “zero-tolerance” for anti-Semitism.

This is not the first time organizers for the DeploraBall have garnered unwanted attention surrounding the event. Earlier this month, Fox News reported that a Washington, D.C.-area venue was receiving threatening calls after deciding against hosting the ball.

The DeploraBall is scheduled for Jan. 19 at the National Press Club, a day before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Americans — especially but not exclusively Trump voters — believe crazy, wrong things

By Catherine Rampell (Washington Post)

Many Americans believe a lot of dumb, crazy, destructive, provably wrong stuff. Lately this is especially (though not exclusively) true of Donald Trump voters, according to a new survey.

The survey, from the Economist/YouGov, was conducted in mid-December, and it finds that willingness to believe a given conspiracy theory is (surprise!) strongly related to whether that conspiracy theory supports one’s political preferences.

Remember Pizzagate? That’s the bizarre theory that Hillary Clinton was helping run a child sex slave ring out of a D.C. pizza joint, as allegedly proven by code words in hacked Democratic emails.

Lest you think this theory was espoused by only a handful of Internet nutjobs, observe that nearly half of Trump voters believe it’s true. This result is based on a poll conducted after a North Carolina man burst into the restaurant with an assault-style rifle, leaving only when he was satisfied that no child sex-slaves were harbored there.

About half of Trump voters also believe that President Obama was born in Kenya, even though their once-birther candidate has since disavowed this conspiracy theory:

Another conspiracy theory still held by the president-elect is that millions of illegal votes were cast in the recent election. About 6 in 10 of his own voters agree with him. Surprisingly, about a quarter of Clinton voters agree, too.

Trump voters are unlikely to buy the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia hacked Democratic emails in order to help elect Trump, a view widely held by Clinton voters:

But on the other hand, about half of Clinton voters also believe that Russia tampered with vote tallies to help elect Trump, a theory that the Obama administration has repeatedly said there’s no evidence to support. This poll result is yet more proof that waning trust in the integrity of the democratic process is bipartisan, and that liberals should maybe keep any smug comments about paranoid, evidence-ignoring Trumpkins in check.

Alarming shares of both Trump and Clinton voters also believe that vaccines cause autism, despite the medical community’s reviews finding no connection (and the many outbreaks resulting from refusals to vaccinate children).

In fact, the uninsured rate has fallen precipitously, and now stands at an all-time low. (This is true even when you look at only the non-elderly population.)

Some of these misperceptions and false beliefs may seem laughable. To me, they’re terrifying. They result in misused resources, violence and harassment, health risks, bad policy, and, ultimately, the deterioration of democracy. Good governance becomes more challenging when Americans live in parallel universes of facts.

Study: Rational arguments and ridicule can both reduce belief in conspiracy theories

By Eric W. Dolan (PsyPost)

Pointing out logical inconsistencies in conspiracy theories can be an effective method of discrediting them, according to new research published in Frontiers in Psychology.

The researchers had 813 Hungarian adults listen to a speech outlining a made-up conspiracy that purported to explain how hidden Jewish groups and international financial powers were secretly shaping the fate of Hungary. The speech emphasized that “nothing happens by chance, nothing is what it seems, everything is interconnected with everything, and the world is divided into good and evil.”

The participants then listened to another speech which either: pointed out the logical flaws of the conspiracy theory, mocked the ridiculousness and irrationality of those who believed the conspiracy theory, or called attention to the dangers of scapegoating while attempting to increase empathy for Jews. A fourth group of participants, who were used as a control, listened to a weather forecast.

The researchers found that the rationality speech and the ridiculing speech — but not the empathetic speech — were effective in reducing belief in the conspiracy theory.

PsyPost interviewed Peter Kreko, a visiting professor at Indiana University, assistant professor at Eötvös Loránt University of Sciences and senior associate to Political Capital Institute. Read his explanation of the research below:

PsyPost: Why were you interested in this topic?

Kreko: Because, despite the lot of good research on the functions and nature of conspiracy theories, the reduction of conspiracy beliefs has been rather a neglected topic. Conspiracy theories, on the other hand, are extremely widespread – and not just in dictatorships, but democratic societies as well. Conspiracy theories can be extremely harmful, they can lead to the persecution of groups. For examples, the Protocols of Elders of Zion, a conspiracy theory fabricated in the early 20th century on the Jewish leaders’ plot to rule the World, played an important role in the ideological justification of the murders of the Holocaust. Anti-science conspiracy theories are often similarly dangerous – the anti-vaccination movement is a good example. Several hundreds of thousands of people are estimated to die each year as a consequence of non-vaccination. Given all of these negative impacts of conspiracy theories, it is essential to have evidence-based studies on how to reduce the popularity of such theories.

What should the average person take away from your study?

Our findings refuted three general beliefs on conspiracy theories. First, that conspiracy theories are impossible to refute. Rational and ridiculing arguments were both effective in reducing conspiracy theories. Second, that belief in conspiracy theories is connected to specific personality types e.g. paranoia and paranoiac schizophrenia. Only very weak, or even non-significant links were found between conspiracy theory-related variables and individual differences.

Third, our findings go against the mainstream of the communication literature and “common wisdom,” as well as the current affective wave of social psychology emphasizing that emotions constitute the most important factor behind shaping beliefs and attitudes. Despite the general assessment that we are in a “post-truth” World, truth and facts do matter when it comes to refuting conspiracy theories. Uncovering arguments regarding the logical inconsistencies of conspiracy beliefs can be an effective way to discredit them.

Rationality has a bigger impact on shaping (sometimes irrational) beliefs than previously expected. A possible explanation of this is that in the current communication environment, people are overloaded with emotional messages coming from ads, political and social campaigns.

And the results have political implications as well: helping analytic thinking by providing detailed explanations can reinforce deliberate processing of information.

Are there any major caveats? What questions still need to be addressed?

The present study is not without limitations. The effect sizes were not large. However, measuring the effectiveness of different reasoning or convincing strategies is not easy. In the present study, the number of arguments was balanced, but the length of the audio recordings was different in the different conditions. Further, studies should balance the number of arguments, their length and pretest the effectiveness of each argument. Needless to say that it is a time consuming task.

If we consider the present study as an intervention, it can first be said that this is not a wise one, as direct and confronting strategies were used to convince individuals regarding CT reduction. Second, this experiment did not have the very solid theoretical background that a good intervention requires. Third, this study only measured the short-term effects of different CT reduction strategies. Fourth, it targeted a general population instead of a specific subgroup of individuals. Fifth, the timing of the experiment was not related to a big CT-related scandal, which could have influenced the effectiveness of the conditions.

But beside the limitations, the present study shows that rational arguments can reduce conspiracy beliefs,  while ridiculing also appears to be somewhat effective. Future studies are needed in order to explore the boundaries of these results. But, after careful investigation of these conditions (culture, timing, different groups with different characteristics, different speakers, etc.), media campaigns can be designed and in collaboration with competent public speakers, different conspiracy theory reduction strategies can be tested.

The study, “Changing Conspiracy Beliefs through Rationality and Ridiculing“, was also co-authored by Gábor Orosz, Benedek Paskuj, István Tóth-Király, Beáta Bőthe and Christine Roland-Lévy.

Alternate Reality #4: Ghost Infestation.

This is the fourth entry in a series archiving the conspiracist worldview in their own words from interviews, found documents, and their own online publications and websites. Hyperlinked, and printed in text as an archival document.

The following is a post from The Spiritual Science Research Foundation, an organization that promotes an eclectic blend of various spiritualist concepts and the occasional pseudoscience mixed in. The example below is an extreme case of blaming real-life problems on ghosts. Sure, over 40% of Americans believe in ghosts and 18% say that they have seen a ghost, but the following article takes believing in ghosts to the extreme.

The ghost possession illness described below is a lot like other imaginary illnesses in that it is impossible to detect “with conventional science” and the symptoms include pretty much anything and everything you can imagine.

NOTE: The author of this page is not an American New Age mystic but, rather, an Australian. This is a great example of the difference between American and Aussie mystics. American mystics are, typically (and yes you can find examples to the contrary), LGBTQI inclusive. Australians are, in contrast, use their mystical “advice” to express homosexuality as an illness and asexuality as sexual-disfunction.

Also, it seems like the author attempts to blame evidence of rape on ghosts (seriously, read to the end).

Symptoms of Ghost Affecting or Possessing a Person

1. Introduction

Spiritual research has shown that almost entire world is affected by ghosts at some time or the other in their life. About 30% of the world’s population is possessed by ghosts. Being affected or possessed by ghosts reduces a person’s capacity insidiously in progressively increasing degrees. Hence it is imperative that one gets to know about it at the earliest, so that remedial measures can be undertaken.

But as process of being affected by a ghost happens at a spiritual level (i.e. beyond the understanding of the five senses, mind and intellect) whether a person is affected or possessed or not, can in actuality only be understood by Saints above the 70% spiritual level or by persons with an advanced sixth sense. As most people lack both in spiritual level and advanced sixth sense, the majority of affected or possessed people are unaware of their affected state.

In this article we have listed some of the various symptoms that are typically seen when ghosts affect the various systems of the body. These same symptoms can be seen in routine illnesses affecting the concerned systems. So when the symptoms are unexplained or do not go away despite best conventional treatments or come up frequently, at an intellectual level we can think of the possibility of them being due to ghosts.

2. What are the physical symptoms of being affected by ghosts?

We have categorized the symptoms for easy referral.

2.1. The five sense organs

  • Foul taste in the mouth.
  • Experience of eyes being pulled inside, irritation in the eyes, etc.
  • Dryness of lips, mouth and throat.
  • Due to the Raja-Tama in the ghosts a sticky layer is formed on the face and body of the affected person.
  • Oily skin.
  • Rashes on the skin.
  • Eerie feeling of being touched.

2.2. Pain

  • Pinprick sensation.
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • Severe backache, body ache and inability to move.
  • Experience of strangulation.

2.3. Symptoms related to the nine body openings

When in the proximity of a ttvik influence, the ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.) leave the body through any of the nine openings, i.e. two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, mouth, penis/vagina and anus. The person may experience as if gas is going out of any of these openings or one may experience cough, yawning, burping, sneezing, etc. as per the opening involved.

2.4. Digestive system

  • Not allowing the person to have his meals: Loss of appetite, nausea on sight of food, feeling better after getting away from food.
  • Sharpened appetite, frequent hunger and having heavy meals: The Absolute Fire Principle (Tējtattva) is required to digest food. As man consists predominantly of the absolute Earth Principle (Pruthvītattva), he cannot digest a lot of food. But if he is possessed by ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.) he can do so. As the ghosts consist of the Absolute Air Principle (Vāyutattva) they can digest the food by using the Absolute Fire Principle. Refer to the article on the Absolute Cosmic Principles (Panchatattva).

2.5. Reproductive system

  • Inability to have children.
  • Recurring miscarriages.
  • Stillbirths

2.6. Accidents

  • Electric shock
  • Domestic accidents such as heated oil flying from the frying pan
  • Repeated vehicle accidents in a certain location

2.7. Motor organs

  • Fidgeting and restlessness due to increase in basic Raja subtle-component
  • Contorted movements
  • Tics

2.8. Makings sounds

  • Making moaning and weird sounds and not remembering anything afterwards.
  • Making animal sounds.
  • The ghost speaking through the possessed person in a voice of the opposite sex.

2.9. Effect on vital energy

Vital energy (Prāṇa-shakti) is the life sustaining energy of the body and is subtle.

Vital energy in a spiritually evolved person and that in a person not spiritually evolved

Percentage of vital energy
1. Spiritually evolved person 130
2. Person not spiritually evolved 100

 

Amount of vital energy according to the extent of distress by ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.)

Extent of distress Amount of vital energy (percentage)
5 95
10 90
20 70
30 50
40* 30**

* In the present times generally the maximum distress possible is 40%

Distress will include both getting affected and possession by negative energies

** The reduction in Vital energy is because it is utilized in fighting the ghosts. When it decreases below 30%, the person dies.

Inability to meditate when Vital energy is reduced: For a person to meditate, concentration of the mind is a must. When the Vital energy is reduced, the mind does not have the energy to do anything. Hence meditation is also impossible. But nevertheless there is overwhelming of emotions and consequent fear, as this requires very little vital energy and the ghosts themselves generate these thoughts.

3. Mental distress and its symptoms

When a person is affected or possessed by ghosts, he displays the following mental symptoms:

  • Not feeling like speaking to a colleague or family member without any reason.
  • Feeling like distancing oneself from a colleague or family member without any reason.
  • Behaviour contrary to one’s nature.
  • Intermittent crying, startle without any reason, anxiety, depression, fear, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, etc. The ghosts have to expend just 5% of their energy to scare a person by showing him skulls, frightening images, etc.
  • Doubts or negative thoughts: Ghosts put doubts and negative thoughts in the mind of the person so as to destabilize him, cause restlessness and irritability. Some examples of negative thoughts are:
    • Feeling like strangulating someone.
    • Increase in ego.
    • Reduction of faith in God
  • Anger about others: When a person affected or possessed by ghosts feels anger towards another person without any substantial reason, then it is most likely to be due to the ghost. In such circumstances one should learn to disregard the anger.
  • Feeling like harming others: A possessed person can feel like harming himself or others. Also in the course of spiritual remedies to exorcise, the person may feel like harming others. In such cases at the very onset, when the possession is not quite complete and some control is present on self, the person should let others know of these feelings. Otherwise once the possessed person manifests his control over himself is lost and he can harm the person treating him.

4. Sexual symptoms

  • Increased or decreased sexual drive.
  • If a female ghost possesses a woman, it attracts other male ghosts either directly or through the medium of other males possessed by male ghosts. Such women do not feel the need for getting into a formal relationship with the opposite sex like getting married. They come up with some excuse or the other to avoid such relationships.

4.1. Homosexual attraction

The main reason behind the gay orientation of some men is that they are possessed by female ghosts. It is the female ghost in them that is attracted to other men. Conversely the attraction to females experienced by some lesbians is due to the presence of male ghosts in them. The ghost’s consciousness overpowers the person’s normal behaviour to produce the homosexual attraction. Spiritual research has shown that the cause for homosexual preferences lie predominantly in the spiritual realm.

  • Physical causes (5%): Due to hormonal changes.
  • Psychological causes (10%): Having an experience with a person of the same sex as a teenager or young adult that was pleasurable and therefore wanting to experience it again.
  • Spiritual causes (85%): Mainly ghosts.

Homosexuality can be overcome by regular spiritual practice as per the 6 basic principles. SSRF suggests some simple steps.

Homosexuality Remedies

To overcome homosexual tendencies and desires one should perform the below spiritual healing remedies:

Chant Mudra Nyas
Om Rudraya namaha’ (specific position of fingers to channel the Divine energy into the body and subtle body)One can keep the following mudra as shown in the above picture: Nyas is the focusing of energy flow through the medium of the fingers joined together at the tips. By doing nyas, we focus our spiritual energy by directing our bunched fingers towards a particular energy centre.It is recommended to perform nyas onSahasrar(crown chakra) and Swadhishthan (sacral chakra) simultaneously.
Method of chanting:

  1. Chant this chant 108 times each in the morning, afternoon and evening.
  2. Light an incense stickwhen chanting.
  3. Apply the Holy ash(vibhuti) on the body
Method: Join the tips of thumb and index finger with slight pressure using thumb. Keep the rest of the fingers straight as much as possible.Duration:Daily till the homosexual tendency goes away. Generally, the mudra should be done continuously for 45 min. It can be done for longer duration also. Nyas should always be accompanied by chanting. By chanting we imbibe divine energy of the aspect of God Whose Name we chant. By doing nyas, we channelise the divine energy derived from the chanting to that particular spiritual energy centre. By doing so, that energy is dispersed to the organs in that area. If your hand starts aching during the course of doing nyas you can bring your hand down and rest it for some time or you can change your hand.

5. Sleep disturbances

Difference between regular sleep and the sedation caused by ghosts

Normal sleep Sedation caused by ghosts
Effect Can bear for some time Heaviness of head, being forced to sleep immediately
Remedy Splashing water on the face Chanting and other spiritual remedies
  • Nightmares
    • Seeing intimidating weird faces and forms of ghosts.
    • Nightmares in which loved ones die or are killed by the person who is dreaming.
    • Seeing a ghost possessing an acquaintance or loved one and then feeling fear about that person in the waking state.
    • Snakes harming one or more family members.

6. Marital disharmony

  • If one of the spouse is sattvik, then the ghost in the other spouse will experience distress when in close proximity of the spouse, because it cannot tolerate the sāttviktā in him. This will lead to apparent quarrels between the couple, which are actually orchestrated by the ghost to prevent contact with sattvikta.
  • Even if both are possessed by ghosts, this too can lead to quarrels.
  • Physical, mental and sexual abuse.

7. Intellectual distress

  • Reduced intellectual output, forgetfulness, decrease in inspiration.
  • Inability to comprehend simple routine things which is uncharacteristic of the person.

8. Financial loss

  • Being swindled by another person.
  • Lack lustre performance by the workers in a company despite good work environment.
  • Frequent problems in the machinery.

9. Spiritual symptoms

9.1. Distress related to the five senses

A person can experience the following distress in the dream, meditative or waking state.

  • Foul smell
  • Frightening scenes
  • Seeing black halo around the head
  • Frightening scenes: Dead body, monstrous, mutilated faces, human face with just the skeleton below, just the arm from fingers to elbow inside the window, seeing a corpse burning inside one’s stomach, ghost hanging from a tree
  • Colourful procession of ghosts
  • Dead bodies of seekers, burnt bodies of acquaintances
  • Mounds of corpses being carried away in trucks and lying in heaps elsewhere
  • Glazed look in the eyes

9.2. Experiencing touch

  • Somebody sleeping next to one
  • Bed sheet being pulled
  • Somebody is trying to awaken
  • Somebody moving about in the room
  • Somebody has kept his hand on one’s body or is moving his hand over the body
  • Slapping
  • Rape. Refer to the drawing based on subtle-knowledge of sexual molestation.
    • Feeling of somebody forcibly pulling one to bed
    • Experience of unexplained touch on the body parts
    • Moaning during sleep
    • Low backache on waking
    • Pain in lower abdomen on waking
    • White discharge from vagina
    • Distress exacerbates during new moon and full moon days

9.3. Hearing voices

  • Hearing intake of breath
  • Hearing sounds of footsteps
  • Hearing shrieks
  • Hearing one’s name being called

9.4. Distress due to sattvik substances

  • Experiencing distress when exposed to Holy ash (Vibhūti), Holy water (Thirthā), Holy sacrament (Prasād), etc.
  • Not being able to touch Holy symbols like pictures of deities, the Holy cross, etc.
  • Avoiding visit to Saints, Holy pilgrimage sites: Persons affected or possessed by ghosts avoid visiting Saints, Holy places or temples, etc. Some are forced to manifest in such sattvik environment. To become manifest is in a way to be stripped of some of their black energy. Hence to avoid this, the ghosts leave the possessed person outside the area of influence of that Holy place or person and repossess him when he comes out of it.

9.5. Distress due to chanting the Name of God

  • Forgetting about chanting
  • Inability to chant
  • Headache while or after chanting
  • Smothering sensation when chanting
  • Odd feeling in the head when chanting followed by loss of consciousness

10. Summary

  • Ghosts can cause a variety of symptoms in people affected or possessed by them.
  • The symptoms mimic symptoms of physical or psychological illnesses or other worldly problems like financial problems.
  • The diagnosis of the real root cause (i.e. ghosts) can be made only by Saints and by those with highly advanced sixth sense.
  • In the absence of the above, we can intellectually surmise that the probable cause of the problem is ghosts when its origin is unexplained or when it is not alleviated despite best conventional measures.
  • The diagnosis is fairly clear if the problem goes away with spiritual healing remedies.
  • Regular spiritual practice as per the six basic principles is the best spiritual healing remedy.