Photo by Riku Lu on Unsplash

Speaking About Lizard People, Flat Earthers And Sen. Ron Johnson

It’s not the Illuminati, George Soros or lizard people, but Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is giving oxygen to an equally absurd conspiracy theory that the government is planning to unleash a second COVID-19 wave in time to disrupt the midterm elections because the Republicans are favored to win back the majority in the House and Senate.
Johnson, the election denier, climate change refusenick, COVID-19 conspiracist and rock hard trumper is already in dire political and possibly legal peril for his apparent role in planning to provide then-Vice President Mike Pence with an alternate, phony slate of electors that could have thrown the 2020 presidential election to trump.
While mired in efforts to explain away any involvement in the fake electors plot, Johnson took time for an interview this week on a right wing radio talk show in Wisconsin. Host Vicki McKenna brought up her suspicion about President Biden urging the nation to prepare for a “second pandemic.” McKenna said it was “a very curious thing to say especially since this particular pandemic came from a lab. One wonders whether the president’s got intel on another one coming down the pike, maybe to coincidentally time with the midterm election.”
To which Johnson responded, “They certainly were vested in creating a state of fear over the last one … So, yeah, I mean I would be suspicious of them.”

The only thing that McKenna and Johnson got right is that President Biden did say the U.S. should prepare for the next pandemic as he praised the government’s efforts to ensure children under five can now get vaccinations for COVID-19.

Everything else the two right wingers said is poopy.
So what is Johnson talking about? There is no evidence, only right wing conjecture, that the COVID-19 pandemic came from a Chinese biotech lab. And as far as “creating a state of fear,” it was and remains critical that Americans remain on their guard, get vaccinated and comply with other safety precautions. If that is “creating a state of fear,” then so be it.
Among Johnson’s prior brilliant comments were to use “standard gargle mouthwash” to treat COVID-19, a proposal that has been rejected outright by every reputable health and science expert. He also chaired Senate Homeland Security Committee meetings and invited witnesses to push fringe theories about COVID-19, and spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccinations. YouTube suspended him for a week for violating its policy on medical misinformation.
You want more? Johnson has made the utterly false claim that it “may be true” that the COVID-19 vaccines cause AIDS and equally falsely, that professional athletes were “dropping dead on the field” from the vaccine.
He said the incidence of “breakthrough infections” proved there was no point in getting vaccinated. Johnson might want to pay attention to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which reported that COVID-19 vaccines help protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death but that people who are vaccinated may still get COVID-19, so-called breakthrough infections. When people who have been vaccinated get COVID-19, they are much less likely to experience severe symptoms than people who are unvaccinated.
The esteemed senator also has said that vaccines were “quite unsafe” for pilots and that the unvaccinated were being consigned “basically into internment camps” to which I assume he was referring to temporary home quarantines for people who test positive for COVID-19. Interment camps? No.
McKenna is yet another far right piece of work. In July 2020, she hosted a show on “Things you should know about treating COVID 19” and listed “sources for treating COVID-19, and the information the mainstream media doesn’t want to promote.” That would include comments from Dr. Pierre Kory, a physician who advocated off-label use of certain drugs as treatments for COVID-19, and who testified twice to the U.S. Senate regarding COVID-19 and falsely claimed that the anti-parasitic medication ivermectin was a “wonder drug” with “miraculous effectiveness” against COVID-19. Another source for McKenna is Dr. Paul Marik, the chief of critical care at Eastern Virginia Medical School, whose claims about ivermectin also have been debunked. Ivermectin is a drug that is cheap and available around the world that has been successful in nearly eradicating infections that cause blindness and disfigurements. Used as an over-the-counter lotion, ivermectin is safely administered to stop head lice in kids. But there is no evidence that ivermectin is a miracle cure for COVID-19 and experts warn against using it to treat COVID-19.
Another so-called expert on McKenna’s show was Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a Ukranian-American family physician who promotes unfounded medical advice, conspiracy theories and misinformation about COVID-19 vaccinations, including the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. Senator Johnson also has referenced the claims made by Zelenko.
Zelenko famously published an open letter to trump on March 23, 2020, touting the alleged success of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19 patients. Trump, along with various trump administration officials, including the ex-president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, bought the claims and promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine, despite warnings from health experts and regardless of how they may have falsely lifted the hopes of people with COVID-19.
Speaking about crazy senators and conspiracy theories, there have been many, up to the present voter fraud conspiracy. Here a few of the more clever and colorful ruses.
Some conspiracy theories never die, like those surrounding the Illuminati, a short-lived 18th-century Enlightenment-era secret society. Some believe the group was responsible for the French Revolution of 1789–1799. Hoaxes about the Illuminati were later spread in the 1960s by a group of American practical jokers known as the Discordians, who, for example, wrote a series of fake letters about the Illuminati to Playboy.
Then there are the lizard people, a theory made popular by David Icke, a British holocaust denier and conspiracist. He theorizes that shapeshifting reptilian aliens control Earth by taking on human form and gaining political power to manipulate human societies. Icke has said that many world leaders are, or are possessed by, reptile-like aliens , something that I can understand. Icke’s reptilian claims have also gained favor by QAnon believers.
And on a less extraterrestrial note, the Coca-Cola theory is that the company intentionally changed to an inferior formula with New Coke, to either drive up demand for the original Coke or to reintroduce the original with a new formula using cheaper ingredients. Coca-Cola president Donald Keough denied it all.
Conspiracies about deaths and disappearances of prominent leaders have been around since the theory that the Roman emperor Nero faked his death so he could plot a return to reign. Of course, there are as many theories as there are stars in the sky over President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, while some claim that Elvis Presley’s death was faked and that Adolf Hitler survived the Second World War and fled to the Moon. Others have their own ideas about why Pope John Paul I died in September 1978, only a month after his election to the papacy.
There are conspiracy theories that Israel uses animals to conduct espionage or to attack people, and on the topic of religion, there are many variations of conspiracies to undermine and insult and blame every religion from Judaism to Catholicism to Islam to Baháʼí and every religion and sect in between.
Theories about aliens are spurred by worldwide reports since at least the 1960s of dead cattle found with absent body parts and seemingly drained of blood.
Then you have your Flat Earth Society conspiracists and others who are absolutely positive that government agents are using directed energy weapons and electronic surveillance to harass members of the population. Another conspiracy involves a group of researchers who claimed that COVID-19 originated from a meteor that meteor landed in the Wuhan area, which started the first COVID-19 outbreaks. Among the more clever conspiracy beliefs is that the name COVID-91 stands for “Chinese Originated Viral Infectious Disease 19,” referring to the “19th virus to come out of China.” The World Health Organization, not a haven for conspiracists, explained that CO stands for corona, VI for virus, D for disease and 19 for when the outbreak was first identified on Dec. 31, 2019.



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Phil Garber

Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer