Friday Reads: “It Doesn’t Take a Brain Surgeon . . .”Posted: November 6, 2015
I’m filling in for Dakinikat today, because her supposedly repaired cable wires were pulled down again yesterday. She really needs to get a break from whomever is in charge of the Universe.
Since GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson has been doing so well in the polls, the media has been focusing on vetting him; and they are coming up with some certifiably crazy stuff. Suddenly that old cliché, “It doesn’t take a brain surgeon” no longer seems applicable; because Carson is a retired brain surgeon and he is clueless about science, history, the health care system, and even basic logic.
If–heaven forbid–this freak were to end up in the White House, this country would be doomed. Therefore, I’m going to focus this post on Carson and his bizarre conspiracy theories and his strange “campaign.” Yesterday we discussed the Buzzfeed piece that revealed a 1998 video in which Carson claimed that the pyramids were built by the biblical character Joseph to store grain.
“My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” Carson said. “Now all the archeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain.”
“And when you look at the way that the pyramids are made, with many chambers that are hermetically sealed, they’d have to be that way for various reasons. And various of scientists have said, ‘Well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that’s how—’ you know, it doesn’t require an alien being when God is with you.”
At The National Memo, Eric Kleefeld wrote about some of Carson’s other wacky beliefs, The Conspiracy Theories of Ben Carson: A Brief Introduction. Read the whole thing–and watch the videos–at the link. Here’s just a taste.
In 2014, Carson declared that President Obama and then-Attorney General Eric Holder were acting out roles in a decades-long communist conspiracy to subvert America.
In doing so, he cited a book from the 1950s by fringe right-wing conspiracy theorist Cleon Skousen, The Naked Communist. (Skousen was also a major racist, even defending the honor of antebellum Southern slavery and the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision.) [….]
In a 2011 speech to a church group, Carson declared: “I personally believe that this theory, that Darwin came up with, was something that was encouraged by the Adversary.”
Carson elaborated on this point: “Now this whole creation vs. evolution controversy has been raging on, really since the beginning. Because what is Satan’s plan? To get rid of God — to disparage God, to mischaracterize God….
In a 2014 speech to the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage, Carson again referenced the aforementioned Cleon Skousen — and said that “neo-Marxists” had “systematically attacked” the family in order to bring down the United States.
In mid-October, Kevin Drum wrote about some of Carson’s other weird ideas at Mother Jones: Ben Carson Is a Paranoid Nutcase.
A few days ago Carson peddled a conspiracy theory about Vladimir Putin, Ali Khamenei, and Mahmoud Abbas all being old palsfrom their days together at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow in 1968. He refused to divulge his source for this, but instead explained it this way: “That’s what I call wisdom,” Carson said. “You get these pieces of information. You talk to various people. You begin to have an overall picture. You begin to understand why people do what they do.
He insisted that Hitler’s rise to power was accomplished “through a combination of removing guns and disseminating propaganda”—despite the plain historical fact that Hitler didn’t remove anyone’s guns during the period when he took power.
Asked if the “end of days” was near, he said, “You could guess that we are getting closer to that.”
He has suggested that being gay is a conscious choice because “a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight and when they come out they’re gay. So did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”
Last year, before the November elections, he predicted that President Obama might declare martial law and cancel the 2016 elections. “If Republicans don’t win back the Senate in November, he says, he can’t be sure ‘there will even be an election in 2016.’ Later, his wife, Candy, tells a supporter that they are holding on to their son’s Australian passport just in case the election doesn’t go their way.”
This is the guy who is leading the GOP presidential field and is supposedly tied with Hillary Clinton nationally? Here’s more from Steve Benen at MSNBC today: Carson blasts ‘secular progressives,’ defends bogus claims.
It was an amazing trifecta for Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson: he made three ridiculous claims, about three very different subjects, all over the course of about half a day. But it was his defense for one of the three that continues to stand out.
The retired neurosurgeon said, for example, “Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience.” This, of course, is ridiculously untrue. Carson soon after made some specific claims about Medicare and Medicaid, which were also demonstrably wrong.
But it’s hard to look past Carson’s beliefs about the Egyptian pyramids. As the GOP candidate sees it, archeological and physical evidence should be ignored because, in Carson’s mind, the pyramids were built by the biblical Joseph to store grain.
And yesterday, the Republican presidential hopeful continued to defend his alternate version of reality.
“Some people believe in the Bible, like I do, and don’t find that to be silly at all, and believe that God created the Earth and don’t find that to be silly at all.” Carson told reporters in Miami during a stop on his book tour. “The secular progressives try to ridicule it any time it comes up and they’re welcome to do that.”
In other words, as Carson sees it, there should be two competing versions of historical and archeological facts. One can be based on evidence, research, and scholarship, though Carson looks down on such an approach, leaving it to “secular progressives,” as if reality has some kind of liberal bias.
Can you believe this guy? Even certified right wing conspiracy theorist Rand Paul is laughing at Carson. From TPM:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is the latest GOP presidential candidate to jump on 2016 frontrunnerBen Carson’s theory that the pyramids were created by the biblical figure Joseph to store grain.
“I’’m really big into conspiracy theories, so I think they were probably built by the aliens as grain silos, don’t you think,” Paul joked, when asked about Carson’s idea on 1110AM WBT, as reported by Buzzfeed.
Donald Trump is also capitalizing on the media reports of Carson’s beliefs, according to Politico:
Donald Trump is fully on the attack against Ben Carson, his top Republican rival in the polls, as journalists have called into question the retired neurosurgeon’s anecdotes about his violent past.
“With Ben Carson wanting to hit his mother on head with a hammer, stabb [sic] a friend and Pyramids built for grain storage – don’t people get it?” Trump added in a follow-up tweet, referencing the retired neurosurgeon’s past claims that he tried to harm his mother and friend before seeking redemption, as well as his belief that the biblical figure Joseph built the Great Pyramids of Giza to store grain and not pharaohs’ tombs.
He also took a major swipe at Carson on Thursday evening, as Carson defended himself against the network investigating his stories.
“The Carson story is either a total fabrication or, if true, even worse-trying to hit mother over the head with a hammer or stabbing friend!” Trump tweeted.
The next Republican debate should be interesting.
Carson also thinks transgender people should have their own separate bathrooms. From Think Progress: Ben Carson: Trans People Don’t Deserve ‘Extra Rights,’ Like Using Bathroom.
A week after claiming his anti-gay positionsdidn’t make him homophobic, Ben Carson has suggested that transgender people should be segregated to their own separate restrooms.
Speaking with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos, Carson explained that he doesn’t think it’s fair that the only way to accommodate transgender people is with “extra rights” to make everyone else “uncomfortable.”
Answering a question about this week’s defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, Carson suggested, “How about we have a transgender bathroom?”
“It is not fair for them to make everyone else uncomfortable,” he explained. “It’s one of the things that I don’t particularly like about the movement. I think everybody has equal rights, but I’m not sure that anybody should have extra rights — extra rights when it comes to redefining everything for everybody else and imposing your view on everybody else. The way that this country was designed, it was ‘live and let live,’ and that’s the way I feel.”
I wonder if Carson knows about what happened to the old Southern policy of “separate but equal” for black people?
More interesting Carson-related links:
The Atlantic: Where Is Ben Carson’s Money Going?
Kevin Drum: Is Ben Carson a Liar? Or Does He Just Not Care?
Christian Science Monitor: How Ben Carson became leader in war against ‘political correctness.’
Washington Post: Ben Carson’s stories of violence in his past questioned.
Forbes (via Dakinikat): Archaeologists To Ben Carson: Ancient Egyptians Wrote Down Why The Pyramids Were Built.
Steve Benen: Carson sees a political significance to Noah’s Ark
Jonathan Chait: Is Ben Carson Running for President?
What else is happening? Let us know in the comment thread, and have a great weekend!