Category Archives: hoaxes

Tin-Foil Hate In Ur Congress, Making Ur Laws

Hey everyone, gun control ain’t dead! There’s actually a bill in Congress that would ban ammunition purchases for six months! And, unbelievably, this bill has the support of far-right GOPers like Sen. Jim Inhofe Of Oklahoma.

What’s that, you say?

Yep, meet the AMMO Act (“Ammunition Management for More Obtainability,” cute, huh? Republicans love those clever acronyms). Will it stop suspected terrorists from buying ammunition? Crazy people? Convicted felons, domestic abusers, etc.? Nope. It’s directed at federal agencies:

The legislation would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a report on the purchasing of ammunition by federal agencies, except the Department of Defense, and its effect on the supply of ammunition available to the public. The AMMO Act would restrict agencies from obtaining additional ammunition for a six-month period if current agency stockpiles are higher than its monthly averages prior to the Obama Administration.

This bill stems from some long-debunked conspiracy theories circulating around the internet about the Obama Administration stockpiling ammo to disarm the American populace and prepare for civil unrest (oddly, the bill exempts the Defense Department; seems some folks don’t really understand the meaning of the term “martial law”).

Anti-government “tin-foil haters” like Alex Jones and Pat Dollard are cheering the bill. Of course they are, they’re the very folks who have been flogging this nonsense in the first place. The fact that there is actual legislation in the U.S. House and Senate addressing one of their crackpot conspiracy theories is a huge win for them. It shows how far their influence has reached inside the Republican Party.

And make no mistake, this is unique to the Republican Party. Yes, during the Bush years some lefties pondered the government’s role in 9/11; some folks believed a false national security event would occur so the Bush Administration could declare martial law and cancel the 2004 elections. But these were commenters on blogs, maybe a far-left radio host or two. Not people actually elected to the United States Senate or a state legislature. Not people holding office and in a position to influence public policy.

Not people like Tennessee Republican Rick Womick, or the crazy lady in New Hampshire’s state house who bought Alex Jones’ “false flag” nonsense about the Boston bombings. The fact that the Republican Party is increasingly associated with these fringe conspiracy nutters shows just how far off the rails America’s conservative political party has gone. Wake up, folks. Michele Bachmann has plenty of company in that crazy train.

I call them “tin-foil haters” because hate is exactly what these people are selling. It’s distrust of the government with a heaping pile of amygdala-tweaking fear thrown in, topped with a shining hero archetype. It’s the idea that only you, young Wolverine, have the exclusive truth and can save the world — or at least your corner of it. Only you can be the hero of this movie. And yes, I do blame Hollywood for a lot of this stuff. I can’t tell you how tired I am of seeing the White House or a national landmark blown up on the big screen (and hunky Channing Tatum alone can save us!). Hollywood, get a new storyline. This one’s played out.

By the way: if you think our government is too incompetent to regulate healthcare but is clever enough to pull off any of the convoluted conspiracy theories you’ve dreamed up, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

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Filed under conspiracies, gun control, hoaxes, Republican Party

Enough With The Phony Baloney Petition Stuff Please

I swore I wasn’t going to emerge from my hole except for Good News Fridays but dangitall, y’all are annoying me. Mama Beale has half a mind to send y’all to your rooms without supper.

So here we go. America, please stop yapping about those “petitions to secede.” This is not a real thing. This is a social media thing, magnified by the traditional media looking for its latest shiny-sparkly election-related toy. And it’s completely absurd.

First of all, CBS News, no: states are not petitioning to secede. Individuals in states are petitioning. Crackpots all around the country, and yes, all 50 states have them. To my knowledge, no state legislature has taken any action (and I’m not entirely sure what that action would be, anyway.) But the fact is, there is no “official” support for these efforts. Please stop amplifying the crazies.

Look, any idiot can create a petition at the WhiteHouse.gov site. This is not a real thing. Some petitions which got less attention from the media include:

“force all states to pay their share of the national debt before they can secede”;

“strip citizenship from everyone who signed the petition to secede and exile them”;

“Keep The United States United”;

Peacefully grant the University of Illinois Chief Illiniwek back as the school mascot;

• “have the President attend a Fark.com party. If scheduling does not permit, at least have a beer with Drew Curtis.”

I might actually sign that last one.

I took a look at Tennessee’s petition and the thing just screams fakery. Just glancing over the first 100 or so names I see signatories from Alabama, Illinois, Florida, New York, California, Georgia, Virginia, Minnesota — in short, not everyone is a resident of Tennessee. And several people didn’t even list their address. I’d say about 30-40% of the names are from out of state. So no, 26,000+ people in Tennessee did not sign this petition.

(UPDATE: And as Newscoma notes, these things are just glorified exercises in e-mail phishing.)

I’m going to guess some Tea Party groups got their people to sign as many of these petitions as possible so they could drive the news narrative with their “we hate the President” message. I mean, it may not even be that coordinated, who the hell knows. The point is, we all know that a certain percent of the electorate is batshit insane and it’s not a shock that these people have found an outlet for their anger at an online petition site.

What is a shock is how quickly the news media jumped all over this. You know, as if it were a real thing. Y’all know that this White House petition site is no different from any other online petition site, right? Like Change.org and petitiononline.com? I mean, I thought we all knew to ignore these things back during the Bush Administration. I guess I was wrong.

Sigh.

Okay, I’m going away again but you do not want to make me come out of my room to scold you again. You kids, pipe down out there. Do your damn homework, eat your vegetables, and stop feeding the zoo animals.

[UPDATE] 2:

Oh, huzzah. Someone actually looked at the petitions and did some of that wonky math-y, graphics-y stuff.

Also:

In total, we collected data on 702,092 signatures. Of these, we identified 248,936 unique combinations of names and places, suggesting that a large number of people were signing more than one petition. Approximately 90%, or 223,907, of these individuals provided valid city locations that we could locate with a US county.

Mousing over that graph, it appears most of the signers are from Texas and Alabama. Shocking, I know.

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Filed under hoaxes, Media

>‘Tis The Season For Pranks

>It seems some folks were none too pleased with two Missoula, Montana corporate citizens who left the town and its residents in the lurch, while the CEOs still live the good life:

A big shout out to a group in Missoula who made waves in their community last week by widely announcing a shockingly generous “thank you” concert and giveaway on behalf of Macy’s and Smurfit-Stone, two longtime Missoula businesses that had closed just before Christmas, laying off hundreds of workers and leaving the town with millions in unpaid property taxes and debt. (Macy’s CEO Terry J. Lundgren noted that “we improved our profitability” in 2009 by reducing expenses, “enabling us to generate significant cash flow” of $1.6 billion; Smurfit-Stone, whose operations in Mexico and Asia leave them “well positioned for long term growth,” paid out millions in executive bonuses while CEO Sir Michael Smurfit bought a $68 million yacht.) In part thanks to the “thank you Missoula” action, a bunch more folks in Missoula are wondering why the two companies haven’t thanked the town for sacrificing prospects and jobs for their profits and yachts.

You can read more about the phony concert hoax here and here.

Meanwhile, April 1 is Fossil Fool’s Day. Rumor has it there will be actions in Johnson City, TN and Murfreesboro. Stay tuned.

The blogosphere is an especially fertile ground for April Fool’s Day hoaxes, and Google is famous for perpetrating a few. And no doubt a few celebrities will find themselves victims of premature Death-By-Twitter. My money’s on Jennifer Anniston; she seems to be the butt of a lot of jokes these days.

So, be careful out there on Wednesday. To our glorious Mainstream Media, remember things are never what they appear to be. To Sarah Palin: be careful of phone calls from foreign leaders.

[UPDATE]:

The pranksters gold medal award goes to Code Pink which issued an arrest warrant to Karl Rove:

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Filed under hoaxes