Our Kenyan Muslim Dictator In Chief

REVIEW: Mysteries at the National Parks Provides Unexpected Weirdness

The National Parks are, according to Ken Burns, America’s best idea. Ken Burns made a twelve-hour long documentary telling of how we came to conserve nature. I have not seen Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, but I have seen Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the National Parks, a cheap show that turns beautiful parks into terrifying, dark places where evils lurk.

Once upon a time, we laughed at History Channel’s obsession with World War II. Now, to see anything historical on that network is a welcome oasis in a sea of Ancient Aliens. Scripted television is the greatest its ever been, yet reality television somehow keeps hitting new lows. Channels that once had a unique theme are now interchangeable. A&E may have once been a high-brow network, but now no such thing exists. No history networks exist. All have the same indistinguishable shows. Next up: Pawn Hunters, followed by a new Swamp Men!

Channels now air fictional documentaries about Megaladon and mermaids, and justify it by pointing to one tiny disclaimer in the end credits, visible only to ants crawling on the screen. The paranormal genre, represented by Sightings and Crossing Over with John Edwards in the 90s-early 00s, flourishes. You may not be able to learn about the War of 1812 on the History Channel, but by God will you learn about how aliens visited the ancient Egyptians, Mayans, and every culture outside Europe. These shows are harmless fun…until you consider the fact that they drove so many actually educational shows, about real history, off the air.

Last Friday I stumbled on a show called Mysteries at the National Parks. Airing Fridays at 10/9c on Travel Channel, Mysteries at the National Parks is the cousin of shows Mysteries at the Museum and Mysteries at the Castle. Those shows explore odd historical stories via museum exhibits and castles. They’re entertaining enough, and mainly stick to reality. Mysteries at the Museum features a UFO story every now and then. Mysteries at the National Parks is nothing but paranormal stories.

Public domain image by Ken Thomas.

This is Saint Mary Lake, only the second largest lake in Montana’s Glacier National Park. Look at that image. It’s beautiful, right? That’s what you see.

A Travel Channel producer looks at that photo and sees Adolf Hitler.

The first of two episodes of Mysteries at the National Parks focuses on how Glacier National Park is home to a secret Nazi base.

We begin with a soldier seeing lights in the sky. Before we long, we make the incredible leap from “UFO” to…Hitler.

It seems a Nazi named Otto Skorzeny fled to Montana, with Hitler and other prominent Nazis at his side. Hitler retired there, largely because it resembles a region of Germany, and he was photographed in 1997:

Hitler1997That blue guy? That’s Hitler, according to the experts interviewed for the show. We can tell because of the ear.

We hear of tourists discovering train cars with shackles inside, and a deep base where defected Nazis work, similar to Operation Paperclip. We’re warned that if you get too close, you may be shot.

And for half an hour, this is all we hear about Glacier National Park.

Time spent on other elements of the park was minimal. We don’t hear about its Blackfoot history. We don’t hear about how it came to be preserved. We don’t hear of its animal life, which includes mountain goats and lynx. We don’t hear about how its titular glaciers will disappear by 2030 if nothing is done about climate change, but we do hear about how they possess strange abilities. We hear of its mountains, because they reminded Hitler of home.

All we hear about Glacier National Park is how it’s a scary place, home to Hitler and soldiers that won’t hesitate to shoot you if you wander off the path.

The second episode focused on Gettysburg National Park. If you cannot tell an interesting story about the site of the Civil War’s most important battle without resorting to tall tales about ghosts, then you have failed as a storyteller. Yet here we are, and here’s a half hour about how Gettysburg is home to ghosts, quartz and time travelers.

Apparently, Gettysburg is particularly haunted, not because of the many who died during the battle, but because it lies on a layer of quartz. Quartz conducts ghosts, as you may know if you watch these sorts of shows. I saw one once called Ghost Mine, about a mine haunted by spirits in the quartz. At one point, an investigator saw a shadow move past a light and yelled, “Does it make you angry that I’m a woman? And that I have red hair in a mine?” That one moment is more entertaining than this entire series, which adopts a tone that seems to mock its own material. It’s as if the narrator is saying “can you believe this stupid thing I’m telling you”?

Yet the true low point of the series comes with a self-described time traveler. A man named Andrew D. Basiago claims to have traveled back to Gettysburg as part of a DARPA project. He provides evidence – a photo of himself in the past. Surely conclusive, except…

andrewbasiagogettysburgThat man standing on his own, to the left of the three men? That’s him. The man whose face is indistinct. The man whose identity can never be proven.

Andrew D. Basiago also claims to have traveled to Mars with Barack Obama. Such are the experts trotted out by Mysteries at the National Parks.

Looking ahead, today – after a midday marathon of Ghost Adventures – there are two new episodes. One is about Chupacabra. The other concerns unexplained disappearances.

The makers of Mysteries at the National Parks look at beautiful places and see monsters. They look at historical monuments and see phantoms. They see you as a gullible rube, who must be terrified by imaginary demons and belittled by the show’s insulting, lowest common denominator tone.

When people attack reality shows, they generally talk about the Duck Dynastys and Honey Boo Boos of the world. At least the point of those shows is purely to entertain. It asks the audience to look down on its subjects. At their worst, they’re shows based on embarrassment. At their best, their broad archetypal subjects and easy laughs turn them into the modern equivalent of a TGIF sitcom.

But a show like this has no best-case scenario. It exists purely to misinform and scare. Its creators, or more likely its network, assume that this is all the world wants. It will, I have no doubt, perform well. Maybe it’s silly to spend so much time dwelling on a piece of cheap, Friday night death slot filler. But it is not alone.

As I type this, the Science Channel is airing a show about a man who claims to have been healed by aliens. The Animal Planet is airing a show about killer fish. I hear it promises a message of conservation. So did Discovery’s special where a man planned to be eaten alive by a snake. So does Shark Week. It’s easy to throw in a “save the animals!” message after showing them as objects of terror for an hour. It’s easy to have your narrator say they’re just asking questions to justify your specials about aliens and ghosts.

I can watch Long Island Medium, a show following a woman who uses cold reading to prey on the desperate and grieving. If I want to watch a show about skepticism, I can hope Mythbusters airs a episode not about movie stunts. I can watch Dr. Oz, an actual doctor, pitch miracle cures. If I want to see a show about medicine that doesn’t sell pseudoscience, well, I’m out of luck. The Mysteries at the National Parks of the world didn’t just take over, they pushed out anything more intelligent.

There is, of course, no audience for intelligent shows about history or science. That’s why Cosmos failed. That’s why Planet Earth was swiftly forgotten. That’s why there’s no such thing as a popular historian. That’s why there’s no interest in astronauts like Chris Hadfield, and that’s why Carl Sagan died in obscurity.

Mysteries at the National Park peddles bizarre conspiracy theories and fear in place of curiosity. It squanders wonderful, interesting places. It’s made by people who think the most interesting thing about Gettysburg is a guy who says he time traveled with Barack Obama. There may be worse shows yet in 2015, but none this sad. Here there be monsters – and I’m not talking about chupacabra.

 

The Governor-validated paranoia of Jade Helm

It’s been about a week since the world failed to end. And, as you can probably guess, that failed prophet of doom promptly vanished from the Earth come May 1st. He should’ve revealed his prophecy a couple of years before 2015! That’s how you make the kind of serious bank that the 2012 doomsayers hauled in. Richard Noone’s 5/5/2000: Ice – The Ultimate Disaster entered bookstores a good three years before the predicted planetary alignment that would plunge the Earth’s cities under the ocean. Three years in advance is a good time to announce the date of the future apocalypse: enough time for some paperback printings, maybe a TV movie deal…Don’t bother with this “random Reddit hoax” business. Not if you want to become an entrepreneur in the lucrative doomsday industry.

jh-15-map-2

A map of Jade Helm’s sinister plans.

And now, a small-scaler doomsday. I’ve been tracking Jade Helm for a while. It’s the conspiracy theory of the moment, and it’s been validated by some unlikely figures.

Jade Helm is a planned military operation in Texas and other southwestern states. It is nothing more than a large-scale training mission. Or IS IT? …yes, yes it is.

Or perhaps it’s a sinister conspiracy involving…Wal-Mart?

“There can be no doubt that the internal events at Walmart holds the key to the end game of Jade Helm operations. Jade Helm and Walmart are inextricably linked and the existing evidence suggests one of two possible end game probabilities for Jade Helm.

1. Converted Walmart stores will be processing centers for FEMA camp political prisoners.

2. Some Walmarts will be used as supply and staging centers for an internal conflict within the United States.”

Yes. Jade Helm conspiracy theorists believe that Wal-Marts, closed for “renovations”, will actually be used as concentration camps for political prisoners. Our Kenyan Muslim dictator-in-chief will declare martial law and take our guns, and maybe ISIS will come over the border and strike America.

The story about Wal-Marts closing due to “plumbing” failures have swirled around for a while now. And according to some, they’re renovating them into sinister prisons.

Worse, a Texas Ranger claims that there are train cars equipped with shackles:

“Let me drop a bombshell that I have not seen you address. There are trains moving throughout Texas that have shackles inside some of the cars. I have not personally seen them, but I know personnel that have seen this. This indicates that these trains will be used to transport prisoners of some sort. I know from reading your articles that your default belief will be that these are for American political prisoners and will be transported to FEMA detention camps of some sort. We have been told by Homeland that these trains are slated for transporting captured terrorists, non-domestic. We are not sure we can trust this explanation because Homeland is keeping a lot from us and we are growing increasingly uncomfortable with their presence in Texas.”

And somehow this ties back to ISIS.

All this would be typical black helicopter nonsense. These theorists are always panicking over some vaguely defined threat. Political enemies will languish in Wal-Mart jails, the Government will grab the defenseless people’s guns, and terrorists will take over Texas, while a group of delusional Unabomber types will live out a power fantasy where they can somehow repel the military single-handedly.

What makes this different is how these paranoid fears have been validated by Texas’ governor.

First came a simple briefing by the military. Anti-Jade Helm Activists overwhelmed an ordinary press conference. We saw this with Agenda 21, a non-binding sustainable development plan from the early 90s that Glenn Beck blew up into a scheme to destroy American sovereignty. Legions of protestors descended on woefully unprepared zoning board members. And we can only assume that at least one of these assholes was wearing a tricorne hat and introduced himself as a “taxpayer”. These loons ensured the death of an award-winning development plan they regarded as the new Holocaust. Here, 200 people stormed in and relentlessly insulted some poor Colonel.

Said Bob Wells, a resident of Bastrop, where the briefing was held:

“It’s the same thing that happened in Nazi Germany. You get the people used to the troops on the street, the appearance of uniformed troops and the militarization of the police. They’re gathering intelligence. That’s what they’re doing. And they’re moving logistics in place for martial law. That’s my feeling. Now I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong. I hope I’m a ‘conspiracy theorist.’”

The Governor of Texas then pledged that the Texas State Guard would monitor Jade Helm. The Governor of Texas decided to validate the people haranguing the military about how a routine training operation is somehow the second coming of Nazi Germany. THE GOVERNOR OF TEXAS THINKS PEOPLE LIKE THIS ARE WORTH PANDERING TO.

And they probably are. The “paranoid, anti-government” demographic is a key one in deep red Texas. The government is going to imprison you in Wal-Mart, and Obama’s scheme to declare martial law and take our guns is imminent, as it has been for the last seven years. They fight an all-powerful conspiracy that’s, curiously, fine with random nobodies on the internet exposing their evil plans that would imprison or kill thousands. They’ll imprison political prisoners on a massive scale once the conspiracy kicks in, but won’t stop protestors from harassing the military now.

It’s a curious little fantasy that’s at the core of the conspiratorial ideology. Here, look at this Facebook post revealing Obama’s plans – it’s wedged between your grandmother’s Minion meme and your uncle’s terrible thoughts on Baltimore! In the past, they’d be ranting about black helicopters on Usenet. Now, their words – and their votes – are given inexplicable weight.

Luckily, not all in Texas agree with the Governor. Former State Representative Todd Smith said:

“Your letter pandering to idiots… has left me livid. I am horrified that I have to choose between the possibility that my Governor actually believes this stuff and the possibility that my Governor doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to those who do.”

And that is the real question here. Does the Governor of Texas believe in Jade Helm, or is he just abetting the spread of these conspiracies because he needs to pander to their beievers? Honestly, I can’t decide which reality is worse.

The Secret Link Between Netanyahu and Ron Paul, Revealed by a Terribly Written, Outrageously Stupid Crank Site

Before the internet, cranks thrived on the margin of society, in mailing lists and zines, conventions and VHS tapes spread around by cults. Their exposure to the mainstream came largely in the form of green ink: deranged letters to newspapers, named for their tendency to be written in vibrant green ink – the written equivalent of Papyrus font.

The internet didn’t kill green ink. Instead, it turned into a rainbow of bizarre news sites, memes and e-mail forwards. You no longer needed to send that list of President Clinton’s victims to a skeptical editor; now, you could cut out the middleman entirely. The fringe prospered as sites with names like “Libertyblitzkrieg” and “AboveTopSecret” hawked conspiracies right to their believers.

One such site is Whatsupic. Honestly, I first thought it was a satire site, but there’s no disclaimer in sight. It’s a conspiracy site whose main preoccupation is Israel. Israel’s bringing us to the brink of WWIII, Israel did 9/11, Israel rules the US, Israel rigged the last two Presidential elections to ensure that Ron Paul didn’t win. Wait, what? (more…)

“You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”: One Pastor Reveals Barack Obama’s Frankly Incomprehensible Plan to Ship All Black People To Africa

Dr. James David Manning runs Harlem’s Atlah Worldwide Church. He’s also very concerned about Barack Obama sending African-Americans back to Africa in this bizarrely hilarious video from 2012.

Why? He doesn’t really say. Perhaps to solve America’s economic problems, and crime problems, and industrial problems, as this pastor – who is, I must point out, is black – believes. But he does reveal that Obama is working with Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, George Soros* and Bill Clinton to send all black people to Haiti or western Africa. And that Obama is the son of Satan.

“When we go back to Africa, Al Sharpton will be the President. TD Jakes will be your President.”

You’d think the Presidents and Prime Ministers of the countries of West Africa might object, but I’m sure Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is fine with it.

And holy shit, is it intense. “PRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY. MAYBE WE CAN STAY IN AMERICA. MAYBEEEEEEEEE!”

But the really hilarious part is the sudden change of tone about five minutes and thirty seconds in. He leaps from fire-and-brimstone preacher to morning show meteorologist in seconds. It’s almost like it was an act or something!

Via r/conspiratard.

*I’m amazed that, after all this time running this blog, I haven’t run into any George Soros conspiracy theories until now. He’s also into FEMA conspiracies and is a birther.

And now, an Infowars-approved music video about how Barack Obama’s giving everyone ebola

Today Alex Jones’ Infowars promoted a music video for a song about ebola. Why? Infowars says:

“Thanks to Obama’s importation of Ebola into our country, it has now become his legacy…Like George Dubya and his two wars, Obama has launched a war of disease on the American people. With the open borders and lax customs, every disease from the third world will be allowed to enter. Thanks Obola!”

Here are some ways to describe this…thing:

  • Incoherent
  • Moronic
  • Embarrassing
  • Inexplicable
  • Fuck
  • Fuck no
  • Fuck why
  • What the fuck
  • Fuck this I’m out

Racism. Noun. The belief that BARACK OBAMA SHOULDN’T LET YOU DIE FROM DIRTY IMMIGRANT DISEASES

obama

 

“I knew this day was coming and have even written about it in past years’ columns.”

And I’ve been looking forward to this day as well: the day where I read an anti-Obama article this thoroughly deranged.

“It was a fait accompli when Barack Hussein Obama entered what was once our White House and only a matter of time until he implemented this Orwellian portion of his program.”

ANDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD WE HAVE ORWELL. Space Lizard’s Law is in effect and we’re just two sentences in! (more…)

WHERE DO TOP MINDS GET THEIR NEWS?

Kay: We’re gonna check the hot sheets.

Jay: THESE are the hot sheets?

Kay: Best investigative reporting on the planet. But go ahead, read the New York Times if you want. They get lucky sometimes.

newsCongratulations, r/WorldNews. You are IRRELEVANT for…citing news sources usually regarded as reliable!

So let’s see what journalistic sources r/conspiracy relies on for THE TRUTH.

The most cited news source in the week’s top 25 submissions (excluding text posts, which were all rants about r/WorldNews anyway) are:

IMGUR. Nine submissions, including:

  • Two Imgur albums of images where arrows are pointed at random things in images of the Boston bombing, somehow proving it’s a conspiracy. One of these albums is thirty-seven images long.
  • Uncited quotes from famous people.
  • Two images of the Gaza bombing that killed those four teenagers. You “won’t see this on MSM news”, the title promises. I first heard about this story when it was discussed on MSNBC IT WAS FIRST REPORTED BY NBC. Notably, there are many news stories on this event one could link to instead of contextless images – but citing real news wouldn’t help you PROVE that the LAMESTREAM MEDIA is keeping it all secret.
  • A uncited political cartoon
  • And the week’s top submission, a quote from Joe Rogan. The favorite of TOP MINDS everywhere!

REAL NEWS. Seven submissions, including:

  • A Chicago Sun-Times story about a poll.
  • A Rolling Stone article on price-fixing that opens by apologizing to conspiracy theorists
  • Business Insider
  • Two Huffington Post articles, including one quoting noted political expert Eddie Vedder.
  • Raw Story
  • Politico

ACTIVIST SITES. Two submissions from Avaaz.org and Storyofstuff.org.

TWO WEBSITES FOR VETERANS.

The lead image on one of those veteran's sites.

The lead image on one of those veteran’s sites.

AND THOSE RANDOM WEBSITES YOU SEE NOWHERE ELSE BUT R/CONSPIRACY

“Liberty Blitzkrieg”.

From Liberty Blitzkrieg.

From Liberty Blitzkrieg.

“Truth Code”.

Truth Code

Truth Code

“The Free Thought Project”.

GMO

“Police State USA” (which seems to report on police brutality, mainly)

cropped-PSUSA_Header

AND FINALLY, the latest Weird Al video.

What have we learned today?

The Guardian and BBC are unreliable, but you can always trust LIBERTY BLITZKREIG; screencap news stories you see to share on Imgur instead of linking, so that you can claim no one in the LAMESTREAM MEDIA is covering the story; even conspiracy theorists like Weird Al.

“It’s the age of the Tea Party, all government is bad. That’s why they threw an amazing, award-winning plan into the trash.”

Conspiracy theories are, generally, harmless. They may become a target of unhealthy obsession for their advocates, but they usually don’t harm anyone else in and of themselves. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes conspiracy theorists can harm the people, and world, around them.

Agenda 21: a non-binding UN resolution calling for sustainable development. Passed in 1992 and signed by many world leaders, including George H. W. Bush.

But if you ask conspiracy theorists, Agenda 21 is something far more sinister. It’s a threat to American sovereignty, it’s a plot to take away your property, it’s going to destroy the Constitution!

And that’s why people fought an award-winning development plan in Baldwin County, Alabama and killed it in 2012. Smart growth and urban development had become something more:

“This battle is more than just planning,” the county commission’s chairman, Robert James, said that day. “This is to protect the Constitution of the United States and what’s in it and, to me, even the Ten Commandments that God gave us.”

In attacking the Baldwin County comprehensive plan, James, the county commission chairman, invoked the names of Hitler and Stalin, Mao and Mussolini, and how their “plans, guides, outlines” resulted in the deaths of millions of people.

(more…)

“Is this America, or is it Stalin’s Russia?” says person freely allowed to advocate seceding from his country

Obama: LITERALLY STALIN? No.

Obama: LITERALLY STALIN? No.

So the League of the South had a billboard up in Alabama: SECEDE, only for this message to be understandably removed (source: Raw Story).

League of the South, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, calls for southern states to secede and set up a Christian theocracy ruled by “Anglo-Celtic” elites.

Who could object to such a charming bunch of folks? They value freedom so much they want to replace a democracy with a theocratic state.

“The message is not offensive, it’s not immoral or unethical,” said [League of the South co-founder] Hill, who concedes the message is controversial.

Ah yes, the ol’ “I’m not bigoted, because I said I’m not bigoted” defense.

Group members earlier this month protested the SPLC’s lawsuit seeking to overturn Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage, and Hill issued a press release at the time mocking the civil rights group’s officials as overweight, Jewish homosexuals.

Charming, mature intellectuals. I’d trust them to run a country.

“Is this America, or is it Stalin’s Russia, where you shut down any opposition and dissent?” [Hill] said.

Here, let me answer this for you: it’s America.

If this were Stalin’s Russia, you wouldn’t be allowed to put up a billboard urging seceding from the state. You’d be sent to the gulag, not have your billboard taken down by an advertising firm.

His message was brought down…by an advertising company, not the government. The government does not care. Hell, they didn’t do anything to stop the secession petitions on the White House’s own website.

It’s an amazing, yet persistent, persecution complex. The central assumption: you have free speech to say something offensive, but no one has the free speech to call what you say offensive. And America is just like North Korea or the Soviet Union because you might be asked to bring down that billboard urging secession from the country that you were freely, and legally, allowed to put up.

Here’s an amazing example of this line of thinking:

Sweden wants to build a perfect society. Just like Stalin! And they might not shoot citizens, but they do call racist people racist. Just like Kim-Jong Un!

Is your country like Soviet Russia? If you can ask that question freely, then the answer is no.