Friday, October 20, 2017

#1912: James "Ace" Lyons

James Aloysius “Ace” Lyons is retired admiral in the United States Navy, currently chief executive officer of LION Associates, and delusional wingnut and conspiracy theorist.

Lyons has claimed (during a National Press Club conference) that, under the Obama administration, the Muslim Brotherhood has succeeded in infiltrating every US security agency. He also stated that CIA director John Brennan is a Muslim convert and secret Saudi agent. (Presumably Lyons got the idea from John Guandolo; you don’t get to get your ideas from Guandolo and still count as reasonable.) As Lyons states, it is “interesting that no counterintelligence alarm was triggered at the time that this alleged conversion was occurring.” Which may, of course, be because it never happened, but Lyons’s mind doesn’t work in a manner that allows him to consider that possibility: “Most likely, that’s because at that time the sophisticated Islamic objectives driving the global jihad movement by the Muslim Brotherhood were not understood by those who witnessed his ‘conversion.’” According to Lyons, Brennan has a “track record of empowering the Muslim Brotherhood both domestically and abroad,” for instance allowing “the jihadist enemy access to the highest level of government,” such as in his meetings with “terrorists like Nihad Awad.” For the record, Awad is the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

And according to Lyons, Islam is not a real religion, but “a political movement masquerading as a religion,” and presumably as such completely unlike his brand of fundie Christianity. It means that you cannot even in principle be a Muslim without being a terrorist. Lyons, of course, has his own idea about how to deal with foreign policy issue, and has suggested that the only way to gain credibility and win “hearts and minds” in the Middle East is to “kill them into submission.”

And of course, the conspiracy goes all the way to the top. “Not only is Obama anti-American and anti-Western,” says Lyons (at the Iowa National Security Summit), but he is actively “pro-Islam, pro-Iranian, and pro-Muslim Brotherhood,” and to achieve the aims of the radical Islamists – imposing sharia law on the US – he has been colluding with Bill and Hillary Clinton. In his attempt to take down America, Obama used “sequestration” “as a vehicle for unilateral disarmament”. One suspects that Lyons does not know what “sequestration” and “unilateral disarmament means”. That’s actually the charitable interpretation of what he’s saying.

To top it all, Russia was likely blackmailing Obama. No, Lyons cites no evidence whatsoever. But Russia was blackmailing Obama because they know the truth that he wasn’t born in the United States.

He also argued that that the Muslim Brotherhood was planning to start up a political party to influence American domestic politics, which is puzzling since he thinks they already control the Democratic party. Then again, Lyons’ most characteristic trait is not his acute cognitive faculties.

Moreover, Lyons has weighed in on Benghazi, and even been part of the wingnut Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi whose goal was to find the real truth (which they already know, of course – they just need to make the evidence fit). According to Lyons the GOP-led Benghazi Special Committee was aiding the Benghazi cover-up. The evidence for the committee being part of the conspiracy is that they found no conspiracy. So it goes.

Lyons is not fond of zeh gays either, saying that “the gay, lesbian, transgender lifestyle is nothing but a return to a pagan ethic … which has led to the downfall of previous civilizations.” And at the CPAC conference in 2010, Lyons’s said that “in the Navy in the late nineteen hundreds, homosexuality was rampant in the United States Navy. It was so bad that mothers would not let their sons enlist in the Navy until the Navy cleaned its act up. … On board ship the Navy found that there are three things unacceptable to good order and discipline and its impact on readiness. You cannot have a thief aboard, you cannot have a drug-user or a drug-pusher and we found out you could not have a homosexual.” He did not cite sources because he is a venerable retired admiral, and venerable retired admirals don’t need to cite sources.

He should not be confused with equally crazy conspiracy theorist and anti-vaccine activist James Lyons-Weiler.

Diagnosis: Crazy dingbat yelling at clouds and accusing them of all sorts of ills that exist only in his own deranged mind. But wingnuts have nevertheless been sure to promote him to the many who don’t care about such things either – Trump proudly mentioned Lyons’s endorsement during his campaign, for instance.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#1911: Harry Lyon

A.k.a. “Low Carb” Lyon

Harry Lyon is a perennial candidate for various political positions in Alabama, representing various parties. He is perhaps most famous for being the Democratic candidate for the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012 (running a hopeless campaign against Roy Moore) on a platform of random drug testing of school children and executing illegal Mexican immigrants on Alabama soil: “It would only take five or 10 getting killed and broadcast on CNN for it to send a clear message not to fool, or not to step foot rather, in Alabama,” said Lyon.

Lyon is a lawyer whose credentials include having served in the marines and being shot twice, neither time while in the military: One in what Lyon describes as an intentional hunting “accident”, the second by one Robert Black after Lyon poured Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup on Black’s car; Black was charged with attempted murder but acquitted after the defense subpoenaed Lyon’s neighbors to testify about his character. Lyon claims that Black was framing him by pouring chocolate over his own car. In 2001 Lyon was convicted of menacing after pulling a gun on a neighbor and holding police at bay for two hours. When running for the Supreme Court, though, Lyon claimed that “[o]ther than a traffic ticket, I have never broken a law,” since the gun one doesn’t count in his book. He has also “never been disbarred,” which should be encouraging but probably tells you more about the Alabama bar association’s, uh, bar for disbarment. He also swore that he is not crazy.

At one point he planned to run for mayor of Pelham as “Low Carb” Lyons, with a platform of driving the fat folks out: “Let’s face it. The fact is that fat people are ugly and disgusting to look at as much as is traffic congestion and wasteful spending by our city government,” said Lyon. He is also on the record callingfaggotry” an abomination and saying that “only sick and perverted persons believe in homosexuality or lesbianism, though there are a lot of them.” He is also apparently opposed to the separation of church and state. In short, he’s not really all that different from Roy Moore.

Apparently his statements are not supposed to be taken seriously, however; Lyon ran on a platform of my-statements-should-not-be-taken-seriously before it got popular.

Diagnosis: Since he has not a snowball’s chance in hell of being elected to anything, we should probably count him as colorful and (generally) harmless. Though Lyon is no more crazy than the people the good folks of Alabama tend to actually elect to political office.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

#1910: Erwin Lutzer

Erwin W. Lutzer is the senior pastor of The Moody Church, in Chicago, Illinois (retiring in 2016), an influential figure on the religious right, and prolific author of fundamentalist, hateful, angry, flaky self-help books and political commentaries (One Minute After You Die: A Preview of Your Final Destination being perhaps the most famous one) and utterly insane contributions to the culture wars, including The Truth About Same-sex Marriage: 6 Things You Need To Know About What’s Really At Stake and The Da Vinci Deception, targeted at people who take the novel The Da Vinci Code a bit too seriously, which is presumably a tendency among people who are already willing to take Lutzer seriously.

But yes, there is, as you’d expect, lots of anti-gay stuff here. According to Lutzer, same-sex marriage cannot “coexist” with opposite-sex marriage because “same-sex marriage legalized breaks down the family in some very, very important ways,” will lead to a “tsunami” of anti-Christian persecution and to societal collapse just like drilling a hole will sink a boat: “I can imagine someone riding in a boat saying, ‘I have a constitution right to drill a hole through my side of the boat.’ The problem is we are all on the same boat.” Lutzer was one of the anti-gay celebrities featured in the radical anti-gay documentary The Truth That Transforms.

He has also said that a reason he opposes marriage equality is because of Chicago’s crime rate: “in the midst of a society that is so desperate and so high-crime ridden, do we really now need laid upon this the destruction of the family and the destruction of marriage?” Of course, legalizing gay marriage would, other things being equal, lead to more marriages and families, but presumably not the kind that Lutzer fancies. And to emphasize, that gay people claim to love each other is irrelevant: It isn’t real love, and Lutzer points out that even pedophiles believe that they “love” the children they abuse. Also, legalizing gay marriage may lead to homeschooling parents having their children being taken from them. (Lutzer didn’t even attempt to explicate the connection; his purpose, of course, is just scaremongering, and those receptive to Lutzer’s scaremongering won’t really notice that such details are missing.)

Lutzer does have a knack for seeing connections the rest of us miss because they aren’t there, however. Lutzer thinks “the far-left and jihadists are in cahoots” because both groups are bent on “destroying capitalism” and seeking the “destruction of Christianity.” To help us understand, he then explains that Obamacare is helping too many people gain health coverage, and as a result the “administration is encouraging Islamic doctors from all over the world to come to the United States.” And since Obamacare is pushing doctors out of the practice and abortion rights are slowing population growth, Lutzer said, the U.S. now has “huge immigrant populations from the Muslim countries.” Some of the steps in Lutzer’s reasoning may be challenged.

In light of all this, it is important to remember that Lutzer thinks it is the Da Vinci Code that is “the most serious assault against Christianity” of our time. Another important threat to the world is Oprah.

Diagnosis: Unhinged, deranged conspiracy theorist, Lutzer has nevertheless (or “accordingly”) managed to become one of the leading figures of the religious right. And yes, his books really read like some kind of fire-and-brimstone version of the stuff posted on