The ‘Ebola Conspiracy’ — A View From the Beach
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It takes a lot to get my butt (my fat butt, some would say) off a lounge chair overlooking the gorgeous turquoise Caribbean, into our villa and onto my keyboard.
But conservative radio show hostess Laura Ingraham has now earned that dubious distinction.
Part of the “honor” goes to my wife, lounging next to me and listening on her IPad to the latest nonsense spouted by Ms. Ingraham.
She let me listen.
Most likely referring to Ebola, the deadly virus that has already sickened more than 13,000 people and killed nearly 5,000, and definitely pointing at the President, Ingraham says on her radio show, “We have now diseases coming into this country that we haven’t had to deal with in a long time – all because we have Barack Obama as president.”
Naturally, I was incensed about such an ugly, unfounded accusation.
Having been out of country — “Ebola Country” according to many Republicans — I had not heard or read the endless litany of similar accusations by conservative commentators, pundits and politicians against the president — pretty much indicting him for “bringing Ebola to the United States.”
However, I had heard Ingraham on two previous occasions make use of the Ebola tragedy to attack the President.
Back in September, when the President decided to send U.S. military personnel to West Africa to help control the disease, Ingraham coldheartedly and outrageously declared:
[T]he military is just another tool in his arsenal to level the playing field, right? I mean, in other words, Africa really deserves more of America’s money because we’re people of privilege. We’re people of great privilege, so we should do what we can, we the American taxpayers, to transfer wealth over to Africa. It’s his father’s rage against colonialism, as Dinesh D’Souza wrote about, and maybe this is a way to continue to atone for that.
If a few American military personnel have to be exposed to the Ebola virus to carry out this redistribution of the privileged’s wealth, then so be it.
Also, attacking Obama’s decision not to put in place a travel ban for West African countries affected by Ebola, she blamed the decision on his “core ties” to Africa:
“I believe with this failure to stop these planes from coming in from Sierra Leone I think there could be politics involved in that to Obama familial connection with Africa he has an enormous amount of, I think, core ties to the African continent. He’s mindful of his own family history there,” and added “Come on its doesn’t make any sense to not stop those flights from coming here.”
Before focusing my indignation solely on Ms. Ingraham, I decided to do some research to see how many others had made such outlandish accusations.
Lo and behold, there is a virtual deluge of accusations, conspiracy theories and just plain trash that makes Ingraham’s already vile statements look like a Sunday School psalm.
Bear in mind that while I have opinions as to what measures and precautions should be taken to contain the Ebola disease, I am not an expert and will therefore not pass judgment on their merits or deficiencies. Furthermore, while I find it irresponsible for people in the public eye with no scientific or medical expertise to render uninformed opinions on such issues of life and death, I find it deplorable for them to turn the crisis into political fodder, to use it to spread misinformation, to create fear and hysteria and, ultimately, to denigrate and try to destroy a President they hate.
There are a couple of authors who have done the legwork in compiling such outbursts and “crazy conspiracy theories about Ebola that conservatives actually believe,” expressed by “people who really have no business sounding off on Ebola [and]should really shut up about [it].” They are, respectively, Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch and Sara Boboltz at the Huffington Post.
Featured prominently in both lists are Ingraham and, of course, Rush Limbaugh.
Then there are the “usual suspects”: Glenn Beck, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee; politicians such as Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and Steve Stockman (R-Texas); commentators Keith Ablow and Larry Klayman; entertainers Morgan Brittany and Chris Brown and Religious Right figures who “are responding to the Ebola epidemic by suggesting that it is divine punishment on America” — the same people who will blame every tragedy and disaster on the gay community, and are doing so again with the Ebola epidemic.
Here are some representative excerpts from Right Wing Watch, listed under one of “five of the most common conspiracy theories that conservative commentators and their Republican allies are pushing about Ebola:”
1. Obama Will Bring Ebola To The U.S. Through The Southern Border
Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., said in July that he had heard “reports” of undocumented immigrants infected with the Ebola virus coming into the U.S. through the southern border. When asked about these “reports” by journalists, Gingrey admitted that they did not actually exist. Indiana GOP Rep. Todd Rokita similarly warned that undocumented minors from Central America could represent a threat “from a public-health standpoint, with Ebola circulating and everything else.”
2. Obama Will Bring Ebola To The U.S. In Order To Impose Martial Law
Rep. Steve Stockman, Republican of Texas, said this month that Obama has laid the groundwork to use “emergency powers to take over control of the economy and everything” and speculated that the president might intentionally slow the government response to Ebola in order to create a crisis situation that he could then exploit.
3. Obama Will Bring Ebola Outbreak To The U.S. To Help His ‘African Brothers’
Conservatives frequently insist that none of their criticism of Obama has anything to do with race, and more than a handful have claimed that the president’s handling of the Ebola outbreak proves that he is the real racist.
Conservative columnist and Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman cited Obama’s response to the Ebola outbreak as proof that he favors “his African brothers, putting the interests of fellow blacks, with whom he feels a kinship, ahead of others.”
“Obama has favored his African brothers over the rest of us by allowing them free entry into this country,” Klayman wrote in another column. “As a result, Ebola has now been introduced into the United States, may be on the verge of spreading rapidly, with the end result being potential massive death to our citizenry.”
“Regrettably our Muslim commander in chief has favored his own creed over the rest of us,” he added.
Rush Limbaugh argued that “leftist” elected officials believe that Ebola “is ultimately traced back to us; because of our slavery, we kind of deserve a little bit of this.”
4. Obama Will Bring Ebola Outbreak To The U.S. Because He Hates America
Fox News commentator Keith Ablow speculated this month that “the president may literally believe we should suffer along with less fortunate nations,” arguing that Obama wants Americans to experience an Ebola epidemic out of a sense of “fairness” since he thinks the American people have “been a scourge on the face of the Earth.”
“We don’t have a president who has the American people as his primary interest,” Ablow said. “We’re not even voting for somebody who likes us. This guy, who has names very similar to two of our archenemies, Osama, well, Obama. And Hussein. Hussein.”
5. Ebola Is God’s Judgment On America (Especially Obama)
The televangelist John Hagee said this month that Ebola is a sign of God’s disapproval of Obama’s foreign policy in the Mideast.
“Our president is dead-set on dividing Jerusalem. God is watching and he will bring America into judgment,” he said, and as a result “we are now experiencing the crisis of Ebola.”
Ron Baity, a North Carolina pastor who worked with the Family Research Council and other anti-gay groups to pass a marriage equality ban, blamed Ebola on the gay community.
“We are bringing the judgment of God on this nation,” Baity said. “As sure as Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed, don’t be surprised at the plagues, don’t be surprised at the judgment of God. You think Ebola is bad now? Just wait.”
Read more conservative pearls of wisdom here.
After reading all this insanity, I ask myself the same question Michael Tomasky asks at The Daily Beast, “How Can Dems Be Losing to These Idiots?”