The appeal of conspiracy theories is that they allow frightened people to dismiss unpleasant realities and weak people to feel superior, as in they know the real story.

Lately, the same tinfoil hat brigade that peddled the evil idea that the Newtown school massacre didn’t really happen has been pushing a couple of other malevolent myths, one called Obamagate and the other the plandemic.

Obamagate, which Trump himself has been pushing just as hard as he pushed birtherism, is the idea that in January 2017, only weeks before Trump took office, President Obama met with FBI and justice department officials to hatch a plan to take down the incoming Trump presidency. Central to the plan was Gen. Michael Flynn, who had just been investigated for his contacts with the Russians, contacts he pleaded guilty to lying about.

Obamagate taps into the Deep State paranoia shared by many of the people who voted for Donald Trump because they don’t trust the government. These are the same folks who think it’s a violation of their constitutional rights to have to wear a face mask to protect others from a virus. I’ve got news for you, boys, you’re also required to wear pants in public and that’s not unconstitutional either.

Oddly, folks who believe Obama plotted with the intelligence community to subvert Trump seem to have no problem with Trump’s own corruption-in-plain-sight, as in Attorney General William Barr letting Flynn skate and four inspector generals getting fired within a month’s time because they were doing their jobs, i.e. investigating corruption in the Trump administration.

The plandemic is the even sicker conspiracy theory that the coronavirus pandemic is a planned event, a Democratic power grab enabling governors to shut down the economy to control the population, public health officials to force vaccines on the American people and billionaires to make more billions selling said vaccines. In this crazy scenario, the totally incompetent Trump, who is probably lying about taking a drug that doesn’t work in order to prevent a disease he doesn’t have, is the hero and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the only adult in the pandemic room, and Bill Gates, who has pledged $100 million to fight the pandemic, are the villains.

Sorry, the federal government may well have overreacted to the pandemic while Trump failed to react at all, but you’d have to be wacky to believe that all this sickness and death is like a planned plot from a Robert Ludlum novel, though there is a cast of characters worthy of such.

At the black heart of the plandemic conspiracy is Judy Mikovits, a disgraced virologist who claimed to have found a link between a mouse retrovirus and chronic fatigue syndrome until her research turned out to be totally bogus. Mikovits blames Dr. Fauci for ruining her career, so naturally he is the heavy in her plot. A video entitled “Plandemic” was removed from YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and Twitter, yet its malignant misinformation pervades the hard right.

Then we have a bunco artist president who champions Clorox, hydroxychloroquine and a miracle vaccine in a matter of weeks. He’s now beating the bushes for doctors who won’t contradict him. And he seems to have found one in Moncef Slaoui, PhD, the Moroccan-born Belgian-American who just became Trump’s vaccine czar.

Prior to joining Trump, Slaoui was on the board of Moderna, the Massachusetts company that saw its stock rise by 30% when it announced it was getting close to a COVID-19 vaccine. Nothing fishy there, right?

Maybe we are living in a Robert Ludlum novel after all.

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