Conservative media figures are floating conspiracy theories to explain Chief Justice John Roberts' decision in favor of the Obama administration, reaffirming the Affordable Care Act in the King vs. Burwell case.
Writing for the 6-3 Supreme Court majority, Roberts' opinion preserves the nationwide tax credits in the health care law that assist poor and middle-class people in the purchase of health insurance.
On his June 25 show, Rush Limbaugh promoted the theory that Roberts -- who in the past has more typically sided with the conservative justices -- had been influenced by outside businesses in order to come to his decision affirming the law.
Limbaugh highlighted a link on the Drudge Report to CNBC, which explained that health care stocks had increased after the decision was announced. He told his listeners to "follow the money," claiming the stock increases were evidence that some in the Republican Party are more responsive to "money people" and "donors" over voters.
While Limbaugh said "I'm not accusing anybody of anything," he also argued that "when you follow the money, a lot of questions that seem unanswerable become clear." He accused Chief Justice Roberts of rewriting and interpreting the Affordable Care Act "outside the bounds of law" in order to come to his desired conclusion.
Limbaugh said "there's a clear benefit to certain people" resulting from the Supreme Court decision. Rhetorically asking himself if "moneyed interests" could influence a Supreme Court justice, Limbaugh said, "I don't know" but added that it was "obvious the law was not used in rendering this decision."
Limbaugh also characterized the court's decision as "maybe even an economic opinion," but not a legal one.
Meanwhile, writing at Glenn Beck's news website, The Blaze, occasional FoxNews.com opinion columnist (and conspiracy theorist) Wayne Allyn Root promoted another conspiracy about the decision. Root asked, "Has Supreme Court Justice John Roberts been blackmailed or intimidated?"
Root went on to ask, "Is it impossible to believe that Obama and his socialist cabal that learned from Saul Alinsky that 'the ends justify the means' would hold something over a Supreme Court justice's head?"
Root noted, "It's time to assume the worst of this government ... All it takes to destroy America and pass Obama's agenda is to control a few key powerful positions in Washington, D.C."
He then laid out the scenario of how the purported blackmail would go down: "They threaten to expose something terrible like an affair, or corruption, or malfeasance, or immorality that would shock the nation, ruin their career, destroy their legacy, cost their marriage, destroy their relationship with their children and leave them unemployable by any respectable law firm or lobbyist."
Root concluded, "Republicans are being blackmailed, intimidated, extorted and bribed. That explains Justice Roberts and the Supremes ruling against the American People again," darkly adding, "The Obama Crime Family is in charge."
For someone who claims to not be a birther, Sean Hannity sure loves to promote birther conspiracies. He did so again today on his Fox News show by giving a platform to the birther-friendly claim that Obama enrolled at Columbia University as a "foreign exchange student."
Hannity's guest was Wayne Allyn Root, who was on to promote his assertion -- which he has been peddling since at least 2008 -- that he never met Obama when they were students at Columbia and that no one Root knew "at Columbia ever met him, ever heard of him, or ever saw him." FactCheck.org has pointed out that it's "absolutely untrue" that nobody has stepped forward to claim they knew Obama as a college student.
After making the Trump-esque claim that Obama has spent "millions of dollars" to keep his records sealed, Root went on to demand that Obama release his college transcripts, then speculated that the reason he hasn't done so is because he was enrolled as a "foreign exchange student." That claim has its origins in a fake news article sent around as an April Fools' joke.
Hannity did not challenge any of Root's claims. In fact, he introduced Root as part of his ongoing efforts to "vet the president" and "unveil the president's college years."
Root is feeding into the same kind of right-wing conspiracy-mongering about Obama's background that produced the birther movement -- indeed, the birthers at WorldNetDaily have promoted Root's claims. Perhaps that's why Hannity added at the end of Root's segment, "I've never been a birther. I thought delaying release of the birth certificate was interesting."
But Hannity's denial conflicts with his record of promoting birther theories:
In a memorable episode of Seinfeld, Jerry is concerned about taking a lie detector test that he fears will reveal his love for the show Melrose Place. Seeking advice, Jerry turns to his best friend, George Costanza, for tips on how to beat the lie detector.
George's (predictably bad) advice: "Just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it."
Perhaps Wayne Allyn Root is just taking George's advice. In his November 7 Washington Times op-ed, Root flat-out invents a Seinfeld scene and then uses it as the basis of his latest attack on President Obama.
This is the "quote" Root chose from a scene in the classic Seinfeld episode, "The Opposite":
Remember "Seinfeld"? It was one of the most successful TV series in the history of American television. The show revolved around Jerry Seinfeld and his buddy George Costanza. George was the ultimate loser. Everything he did was a colossal failure. One day that all changed. George was hired by George Steinbrenner and the world champion New York Yankees. He had hit the lottery - overnight he had an important executive job, big salary and beautiful women.
Seinfeld was in shock. He asked, "George, how did you do it?" "Simple," George said, "One day I woke up and realized I was the world's biggest loser. So I decided to do the opposite of everything I've ever done - every thought, opinion, decision. Now I just do the opposite. And suddenly, I'm a winner!"
To answer his question: Yes, I remember Seinfeld. Quite well, actually. And aside from reading like the script of a late-night infomercial, nothing about this supposed interaction between Jerry and George ever happened. Allow me to correct you, Mr. Root.
The Washington Times published an illustration of President Obama's face on late singer Amy Winehouse's body to illustrate a column by Jeffrey Kuhner that claimed Obama is "injecting the heroin of class warfare and socialism into our national bloodstream," which will lead to "insanity and death." This is just the latest outrageous Photoshopped image or illustration published by the Times to attack Obama.
Right-wing commentators have repeatedly claimed that the best thing President Obama could do during his September 8 speech to Congress is tender his resignation.
In an August 1 Washington Times column, Wayne Allyn Root compared Obama and "his socialist cabal" to a "druggie who has abandoned his spouse, kids and job to snort crack cocaine 24 hours a day." From the Times:
Can you even imagine blaming a rape victim for being raped or a terrorist victim for being murdered by terrorists? Of course not. In a sane world, the rapist and terrorist are blamed for the crimes, not the victims. But amazingly, blaming the victims is exactly what President Obama and his socialist cabal have been doing in the midst of the debt-ceiling crisis.
These out-of-control Washington spending addicts are exactly like the druggie who has abandoned his spouse, kids and job to snort crack cocaine 24 hours a day. Even though they've stolen from us, we do all we can to help, doing our best to get them into rehab. But because they don't want to stop snorting their drugs, what we get in return is hate, anger and blame. They accuse us of being horrible people for not willingly handing over more money to feed their spending addiction. They absurdly assert it's all our fault and that we've forced them to rob us at gunpoint. They scream that we are "extreme" while they keep snorting.
Only seriously delusional enablers can close their eyes to the fact that Mr. Obama and his fellow addicts have spent us to the edge of economic Armageddon and blindly refuse to see that it is the addicts on Capitol Hill who are irresponsible, dangerous, self-destructive and suicidal. They can't stop - they want more money, they deny they have a problem, and they think the answer to their addiction is more money to buy more drugs.
Like all addicts, they don't blame themselves for their addiction; it has to be someone else's fault. In this case, they blame the taxpayers and the Tea Party. It's our fault because we're not willing to give them more money to buy more drugs. Just like the crack addict, they think the answer is holding up the taxpayers at gunpoint for more money. The addicts are sick, insane, delusional and headed for death.
The only difference between a crack cocaine addict and the addicts in Washington is that the crack addict is suicidal, hurting only himself. Unfortunately, the addiction of Mr. Obama and Congress is destroying the American economy and enslaving our children and grandchildren to unimaginable debt for decades to come. This is a murder-suicide.
In an April 25 Washington Times op-ed, Wayne Allyn Root wrote: "It's official. President Obama has declared war on capitalism" and that "our fearless Marxist-in-chief reserves a special brand of hatred for capitalism, entrepreneurship and rich people." Root further wrote, "Mr. Obama is drunk with his own power" and that "[i]t's time to stop Mr. Obama before his gangster government shuts down all forms of enterprise."
The Times also included the following illustration:
From Root's op-ed:
It's official. President Obama has declared war on capitalism, which is funny because he never officially declared war on Libya. But our fearless Marxist-in-chief reserves a special brand of hatred for capitalism, entrepreneurship and rich people. Just days ago, Mr. Obama publicly blamed "speculators" for the rising price of gas. Mr. Obama publicly announced a war on speculators and speculation, imposing the Justice Department, government lawyers, Cabinet heads and the whole Big Brother kitchen sink on this "evil" bunch of capitalists.
There is a big difference between my hometown of Las Vegas and Washington. In Vegas, the drunks gamble with their own money. Unfortunately for all of us, Mr. Obama is drunk with his own power, funded by your money and is dispensing it to entitlement-addicted voters and the politically connected like it's party time on New Year's Eve. Mr. Obama is wrecking the U.S. economy for generations to come. Now he is declaring war on the very people who take the financial risks, create the jobs and pay most of the taxes, for his own political gain.
It's time to stop Mr. Obama before his gangster government shuts down all forms of enterprise. Before all the money is stolen, extorted or redistributed from the productive class to the entitlement class in naked vote-buying schemes. Before Mr. Obama declares profits a dirty word, before speculation, investing and profit-taking become a crime in Mr. Obama's Marxist States of America. It's time to recognize that this president is anathema to the freedoms and ideals of our Founding Fathers and send this Wesley Mouch (the villain from "Atlas Shrugged," a typical government bureaucrat who cripples the economy) to early retirement.
From the November 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Media conservatives have waged a relentless war against labor unions, blaming them for a wide variety of problems and smearing them as "communists" and "thugs," among other attacks. However, experts have credited unions for establishing many of the "most fundamental and valued features of today's society" and "paving the road to the middle class for many millions of working families."
From the May 12 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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In recent days, right-wing media figures have stoked class warfare while discussing taxes, asserting that it's not "fair" for the government to "steal" money from those who "succeed" and give it to -- in the words of Wayne Allyn Root -- "those who couldn't care less, sit on the couch, and watch Oprah all day." These media figures have suggested that those without federal income tax liability or those who benefit from tax credits or government assistance are "freeloaders" who don't work hard or succeed.