Tuesday, September 19, 2017

#1898: Avi Lipkin

Conspiracy theories involving Obama are a-dime-a-dozen, but the version(s) promoted by Avi Lipkin – who manages to be more delusionally insane even than most of the paranoid wingnut conspiracy theorists he pals around with – were more colorful than most. According to Lipkin, who promotes his ideas on speaking tours in churches and synagogues as well as on rightwing news shows across America (ostensibly, his day job is being an “author/translator in the Israeli Prime Minister’s office,” which would be scary, but which we haven’t managed to verify, and Lipkin doesn’t generally come across as particularly trustworthy), “Obama was made a Muslim man in Indonesia by age 11. He said, ‘I’ve got health care problems, I got economic problems in America, Muslims in Egypt and Muslims in the Muslim world, be patient, I will show you when the time comes what I am going to do to Israel.’” Lipkin’s source? His wife, whom he claims is an Israel intelligence officer: “My wife picked up other broadcasts, for example the Saudis were saying, ‘we will have a Muslim in the White House in 2008.’ The Saudis also said, ‘Obama has three tasks: task number 1 is to destroy the Shiite threat in Iran, task number 2 is to destroy the Jewish threat Israel, task number 3 is to destroy the great Christian Satan America and turn America into a Muslim country.’” (Later he has also claimed to have talked to an unnamed mailman who knew Bill Ayers’s parents and got a young Obama to confide in him that he was destined to be president).

So, here is Obama’s plan to destroy America (as of 2012): First, support the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in order to collapse the region’s economy after the group persecutes the country’s Christians. This will then lead to a wave of Muslim immigration to the United States. Obama will then settle the “50–100 million” Muslims (later adjusted to “100 million”) on “lands confiscated by Agenda 21” (Lipkin’s understanding of the latter seems a bit diffuse), and bring about Sharia law in the U.S. Parallel to this, Obama has built up the national debt in a way that will make the U.S. need a bailout from Saudi Arabia, who will grant it with the condition that “America will surrender its Christianity.” Apparently God is in on this, too: It is God who sends (well, sent – Lipkin seemed to think they were already here) the Muslim immigrants to the U.S. to be “hunters” of Jews and Christians, forcing them to leave the U.S. for Israel. At least Lipkin managed to synthesize an impressive number of anti-Obama conspiracy theories. We’ll give him that.

And the machinery is, by 2012, already in motion. According to Lipkin “there are between 20 to 30 million Muslims in America and this fact is not lost on the election campaign in NovemberWhat happens after they come here is that they marry Christian women, Jewish and Christian American women and then these women become baby factories for Islam because it’s the religion of the father.” Actually, Muslims constitute about 0.6 % of the population, but when your source is your own ass you’ll discover a lot of stuff no one else knows about; “this is very stealth like, it’s very insidious,” says Lipkin. Indeed.

Lipkin is probably most famous, however, for pushing (and possibly inventing) the idea that Obama is going to use the national parks to settle those 100 million Muslim immigrants and thereby create “a Muslim majority in America” in complete secrecy without anyone noticing (he seems to have a somewhat tenuous grasp of how large the “100 million” number is and the kind of air traffic importing 100 million people would require). Indeed, as Lipkin asserted in 2013, Muslims tend to settle in forests, and they are already setting up encampments in Texas and the Ozarks and will continue to do so until there are about 50 million Muslim forest dwellers. His evidence for his claim is that he (Lipkin) drives around the country and sees a lot of empty land and forests. He later added that Muslims will also buy up all the foreclosed homes in the US; they will “buy them all up.”

The reason Obama could succeed in achieving this plan, is that he has “a lot of useful idiots in the Democratic Party, including many Jewish people, who don’t realize the big mistake that they’re making, thinking that the Muslims are the good guys and the blacks are the good guys.” He assures us, though, that “[a] lot of black people are good guys but the black agenda [?], which totally supports Obama, is very closely linked with this fanatic Islam.” At least he didn’t bother to claim that he has black friends.

Importantly, Obama also enjoys the support of the shadow government: “I think what we’ve been seeing over the last few decades is that America has been having its leaders chosen, Democrat or Republican, chosen by the one world government, the Masons, the Illuminati, the Trilateral Commission, whatever you want to call these people [their defining characteristic is that they hate Jesus Christ], these are people who control the world.”

Perhaps this is how Lipkin reconciles his claims about Obama’s allegiances; Obama is not only a Muslim, but “either a Communist plant, a Russian plant, which is one of the reasons he would never confront Russia; or, he’s an Islamic plant, in which case he will never go to war against a Muslim country,” because Russia is communist and the US under Obama has never been at war with or in a Muslim country. According to Lipkin, “[Obama] said this in his book that he will never go to war against another Muslim country,” citing a widely circulated and easy-to-check fabricated Obama quote. Then he repeated his claims about a Muslim invasion: “They’re going to come to the United States and the Muslim president is going to receive them, it’s a horrible situation for the United States in my opinion unless people think that selling the soul of America to the Devil is a good thing.” Of course, Obama’s actions might appear to contradict his alleged hatred for Israel, but Lipkin is ready to explain (a conspiracy theorist, after all, is one who can bend every piece of information into supporting the conspiracy theory).

In 2015, Lipkin also weighed in on the Iran nuclear deal, which was all part of Obama’s plan to make “Israel go to war against Iran.” Saudi Arabia will then emerge as the regional power since the two countries will “destroy each other,” which will allow Obama to “free himself up for his real mission, which is to make America a Muslim country.” Continued Lipkin: “President Obama is a Muslim. If you’re a Muslim, your god is Satan; if you’re a Muslim, then you are criminally psychotic. This is the plan to destroy the human race. This is something that Allah wants.” As Lipkin sees it, Muslims believe that “the only way for Allah to be greater than the God of the Jews and the Christians is to kill every last human being on the face of the earth, that’s the plan of Islam.”

Apparently Lipkin is also a prophet who prophecied 9/11 in 1998. You’ll have to take his word for it, though. He has also declared that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma city bombing as well as the WTC bombing in 1993 and the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996; according to himself, Lipkin was in Oklahoma at the time of the bombing and immediately knew that it was “an Islamic bomb because truck bombs are an Islamic way of doing things” (and the claim that truck bombs are Islamic is corroborated by the fact that the Oklahoma bomb was a truck bomb and Muslim, and so on). Of course, the Muslim involvement was hidden by an FBI cover-up operation that Lipkin by 2016 had decided was orchestrated by Merrick Garland, since Garland by 2016 was Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court. “This whole thing about hating the Christians started not with Obama,” Lipkin said, “it started with the Clintons.” Garland was also involved in the death of Scalia. “I’m risking my life by talking about this,” Lipkin said, “because people who came forward with the information were killed.”

He is, however, frequently cited as a “scholar” by the American Family Association’s news division, OneNewsNow, and he is viewed as a legit authority by Tim Wildmon on Today’s Issues and Perry Atkinson on The Dove TV, who has invited Lipkin to provide his “high-level expertise on U.S. Middle-East policy.”

Lipkin was also an invited speaker at Jim Garlow’s 2015 “Future Conference” (attended by e.g. Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma and a virtual who-is-who on the religious right, and backed by Newt Gingrich). At the conference, Lipkin told his audience that “all” churches in America have been infiltrated by Muslim spies pretending to be Christian converts. These moles, he said, are cataloguing Christians and Jews in order to kill them all when Muslim jihadists take over (which might, in fact, according to Lipkin, be a good thing, since it will lead to “a revival in this country in all Christian denominations” among all the Christians killed; internal consistency is not Lipkin’s strong suit). And though the theme of the conference was ostensibly “religious liberty”, the audience didn’t hesitate to applaud Lipkin’s call for a ban on Islam: “Until Islam is banned and suppressed and erased, the Jews will not have any chance to survive in this country.” Lipkin ended his presentation on a positive note, though: Muslim immigration to America, he predicted, would drive U.S. Jews to the Middle East, setting up a conflict in which Islam will be “finished”: “I predict Islam will be terminated very soon,” said Lipkin. The applause was enthusiastic.

Diagnosis: Pretty mainstream by religious right standards, Lipkin is a delusional conspiracy theorist utterly unable to distinguish reality from his feverish, hate-fuelled fantasies. His barely incoherent rants seem to have impressed a wide range of people with not negligible degrees of power and influence, though. The world is insane.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

#1897: Stephen Linsteadt

A scalar wave is an alleged type of electromagnetic wave that works outside of physics as we know it and can thus be used to prop up all sorts of New Age woo. As a scientific concept it was discarded in the 19th century, but insofar as everything that has happened in science since then is a conspiracy, the idea is still championed by infamous cranks like Thomas Bearden to handwave some woolly justifications for thinking that stuff they’d like to be true is, in fact, true. (It isn’t.).

Scalar waves seem to have been mainstreamed among proponents of New Age woo around 2005, with the publication of The Heart of Health; the Principles of Physical Health and Vitality by Stephen Linsteadt, ND, according to whom “[s]calar waves can be created by wrapping electrical wires around a figure eight in the shape of a Möbius coil. When an electric current flows through the wires in opposite directions, the opposing electromagnetic fields from the two wires cancel each other and create a scalar wave. The DNA antenna in our cells' energy production centers (mitochondria) assumes the shape of what is called a super-coil. Supercoil DNA look like a series of Möbius coils. These Möbius supercoil DNA are hypothetically able to generate scalar waves. Most cells in the body contain thousands of these Möbius supercoils, which are generating scalar waves throughout the cell and throughout the body.” This is not correct by any stretch of the imagination. But from observations like this Linsteadt and his followers can use scalar waves to “explain” homeopathy, achieve lymph detoxification, and cure a variety of ailments, including diabetes, short sightedness, kidney stones, Parkinson's, strokes, arthritis (a rave and barely coherent overview by one Victor Marcial-Vega – “recognized as being in the top one percent of medical doctors in the U.S.” by some strangely unnamed entity – here) and, of course, cancer – as well as reverse the aging process. Heck, scalar waves are even part of the power of ORMUS.

And quantum woo is predictably just around the corner. Indeed, Linsteadt is a quantum naturopath, no less. According to Linsteadt “[t]he quantum level possesses the highest level of coherence within the human organism. Sick individuals with weak immune systems or cancer have poor and chaotic coherence with disturbed biophoton cellular communication. Therefore, disease can be seen as the result of disturbances on the cellular level that act to distort the cell’s quantum perspective. This causes electrons to become misplaced in protein molecules and metabolic processes become derailed as a result. Once cellular metabolism is compromised the cell becomes isolated from the regulated process of natural growth control.” The Random Deepak Chopra Quote Generator couldn’t have put it better. And no, this is not how this works. This is not remotely related to how any of this works. Though the sheer delusional insanity of the religiously charged technobabble dropping from Linsteadt’s pen is in its own way pretty impressive: “The quantum naturopath recognizes that quantum coherence provides the fundamental resonance communication system of the body. All quantum naturopathic therapies must, therefore, be aimed at re-establishing cellular resonance. Quantum naturopaths are experts in bio-energetic nutrition with an emphasis on providing adequate defenses for free radical damage and re-establishing the body’s bio-electric communication system by detoxifying the connective tissue matrix.” You can read more about quantum medicine here.

Diagnosis: Delusional, maniacal religious extremist, really, whose pseudoscientific rants rather strikingly resemble the ravings of a self-declared prophet with a seizure (good examples exist) if these were adjusted for grammar – Linsteadt’s sentences are mostly grammatical even though they usually don’t mean anything. His influence is probably limited, but good grief.

Friday, September 15, 2017

#1896: Ricky Line

Ricky Line is – or at least was back in 2011 – superintendent of Hart County’s school in Lexington, Kentucky, a religious fundamentalist extremist and, of course, a creationist, something that predictably led to a bit of conflict with his role as superintendent. For instance, Line sent a number of letters and emails to the state Education Commissioner and Kentucky Board of Education members asking them to reconsider the “Blueprint” for Kentucky’s new end-of-course test in biology, which, he contended, would treat evolution as fact, not theory, and therefore require schools to teach that way. Indeed.

Like most creationists Line, of course, possesses a rather cursory understanding of evolution, arguing that the Blueprint’s treatment of evolution would “require students to believe that humans … evolved from primates such as apes and … were not created by God.” Said Line: “My feeling is if the Commonwealth’s site-based councils, school board members, superintendents and parents were questioned … one would find this teaching contradictory to the majority’s belief systems.” Which, you know, is actually a splendid illustration of why Lexington kids probably need someone to teach them evolution better than they evidently did before.

I don’t think life on earth began as a one-celled organism. I don’t think that all of us came from a common ancestor … I don’t think the Big Bang theory describes the explanation of the origin of the universe,” said Line. At least he thinks for himself (emphasis on “for himself”, not “thinks”). And as for the fact that virtually every scientist disagrees with him? “It’s interesting that the great majority of scientists felt Pluto was a planet until a short time ago, and now they have totally changed that. There are scientists who don’t believe that evolution happened.” I’d love to hear him spell out the tacit premises here.

What makes the whole thing scary, though, is that several Kentucky legislators took Line’s side! “I would hope that creationism is presented as a theory in the classroom, in a science classroom, alongside evolution, said Sen. David Givens (R-Greensburg). And Rep. Ben Waide said that he had a problem with evolution being an important part of biology standards at all: “The theory of evolution is a theory, and essentially the theory of evolution is not science – Darwin made it up,” said Waide. “My objection is they should ensure whatever scientific material is being put forth as a standard should at least stand up to scientific method. Under the most rudimentary, basic scientific examination, the theory of evolution has never stood up to scientific scrutiny.” Waide did not elaborate on what he took “scientific method” to mean.

Diagnosis: There are plenty of fundamentalist science deniers out there, and we suspect that many more than Ricky Line are in positions to genuinely do some harm. The really scary thing is that people like him have enough political power to get likeminded anti-scientists elected.