The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Super-Storm Sandy Spawns Plethora of Conspiracy Theories

By Hatewatch Staff on October 30, 2012 - 3:48 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Antigovernment, Conspiracies

Even before the winds of Hurricane Sandy began to moderate, conspiracy theorists of a variety of bents got busy explaining the real meaning of the storm. Because, of course, a monster storm can’t just come from something like “weather” or “climate.” No, a storm like that just must be the product of nefarious or, perhaps, spiritual forces too big for most of us to understand. And so, while millions of Americans deal with the aftermath of what has become the largest Atlantic tropical storm in recorded history, lots more are busy explaining what’s behind all that wind.

Here, gathered over the last few days, is a sampling of their views.

  • It’s the gays! We here at Hatewatch knew somebody would be sure to blame LGBT people. Sure enough, Pastor John McTernan of Defend and Proclaim the Faith Ministries started us off with the claim that the storm was God’s judgment on America for, as the pastor stated on his ministry’s website, “the government promoting homosexual ‘marriage’ as an ordinance.” America, he says, “has not repented of promoting the homosexual agenda, so the judgments will not stop.” It’s not individual sex acts that is angering the deity, McTernan points out — it’s America’s support for homosexuals and marriage equality that’s behind the weather wallop. Of course, this isn’t the first time McTernan has blamed LGBT people/homosexuality for natural disasters. As reported in the EDGE, an LGBT news site, McTernan linked the recent Hurricane Isaac to New Orleans’ Southern Decadence festival.
  • It’s bad policy toward Israel! Leave it to the folks at the conspiracy-riddled World Net Daily to publish this one. Basically, WND says, natural disasters in the U.S. correlate to attempts to divide Israel. At least that’s what a man named William Koenig — WND bills him as a “Journalist and White House Correspondent” — has been claiming for years. Says Koenig: “When we put pressure on Israel to divide their land, we have enormous, record-setting events, often within 24 hours.” Because both American political parties have endorsed a two-state solution with regard to Israel, an angry God produced Hurricane Sandy. Oh, and in case you wondered, Koenig published a book that “proves” that natural disasters that hit the U.S. are tied to presidential policy toward Israel, specifically during the George W. Bush administration.
  • It’s Obama/the government! It seems that President Obama “engineered” Hurricane Sandy in an attempt to sway the election. Or so says InfoWars, a website run by conspiracy theorist extraordinaire Alex Jones. Kurt Nimmo, the InfoWars editor who wrote the site’s piece last Friday, suggests that Obama would benefit by looking like a strong leader in the face of a major storm — and so he orchestrated the storm he needed. How’d he manage that? Nimmo cites another website’s claim that there have been “unprecedented levels” of ionospheric phenomena in the upper atmosphere, supposedly created by the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), which is a congressionally initiated program managed by the U.S. Navy and Air Force. The actual purpose of the program is to create a center for scientists to study the Earth’s upper atmosphere in order to aid communications and navigation systems for military and civilian use. But conspiracy theorists claim that the government uses HAARP to manipulate weather (and exert mind control) using electromagnetic waves.
  • It’s an excuse for the government to take your guns! Cam Edwards, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association (NRA), went on conspiracy-monger Glenn Beck’s TV show Monday to warn not about the cause of the storm — but rather the way he says the Obama administration will use it. Harping on a well-known far-right meme, Edwards referenced the story of Patricia Konie, a New Orleans woman who had a revolver confiscated by her city’s police department in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Gun rights extremists have used the case ever since to claim that the government will use any national disaster to engineer a gun grab from its citizens. In fact, New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass did order law enforcement officials to confiscate all civilian weapons after Katrina hit, but he resigned just a few weeks later. The NRA went on to sue New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Compass’ replacement. The case was settled in 2008 and, in July 2012, the Department of Justice and New Orleans announced sweeping reforms to address serious issues in the police department, including a culture of excessive force, unconstitutional searches and seizures, and discriminatory arrests. But the NRA is dead certain that Obama is coming for your guns.
  • The Department of Labor is using Sandy to delay the jobs report! And that means it’s trying to get Obama re-elected! The right-wing Drudge Report and conservative news organizations like Fox News claim that the government is planning to use Sandy to delay releasing its jobs report until after the election. This, they claim, is an attempt to influence the election by delaying an inevitably terrible jobs report. They also claim that using a weather emergency to delay a jobs report “is unprecedented.” But, like much of what they write, that’s simply not true. The Labor Department delayed a jobs report in 1996 because of a budgetary stalemate and then a blizzard.
  • aadila

    It was Paul Wolfowitz who in 1981 first suggested the war on Islam. He phrased it as the necessity to secure resources in the middle east.

  • Jose

    You know, It just might be that Obama wins a second term, yet let us thus yield ourselves to the realization of the ungrateful dream that might be?

    Obama wins the popular vote.

    Romney wins the electoral college.

    As much as we might all dream about there being, one day, in this country, a pure form of democracy, much like in many western European countries. We do not have this sytem yet.

    If Mitt Romney becomes the next president, we might have to relive the hell of another middle eastern war.

    The horrifying zombies of the Bush administration have not receded into the shadows, the facts show that a large number of neoconservatives from the former Bush administration, have indeed gravitated towards Romney.

    We have people such as John Bolten, who is rumored to be the next Romney pick for secretary of state, Eliot Cohen who has written in several Romney campaign publications, Gary Schmitt an original signatory to (PNAC), a vehemently hawkish neoconservative manifesto, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle all jumping on the Romney boat.

    People there might be a possibility that Romnay’s policy might drag us into another war in the middle east!

    We might also have another 2000 Florida style election, and if we do, you can be certain that there was voter fraud, voter intimidation and corruption at high levels within the swing states that go in Romney’s favor.

    All we can now hope for is that the United Nations election moniters do a good job, by stoping any voter intimidation, which might come from right wing extremist groups, and if violence does erupt from Christian extremists, let us welcome the UN troops who will bring peace and tranquility to a scenerio where the election might be stolen for the second time in our nation’s histroy.

    Ohh… when will we ever learn…

  • Erika

    aadila, i agree with Rey that it looks like you fell into a tiger trap.

    Unfortunately, i am not as optimstic regarding President Obama – everything that President Obama has done in his life shows that he is a moderate – probably by the 1950s or 1960s definition a moderate conservative even (the fact that Obama is basically an old fashioned moderate Republican shows just how radical right wing the REpublicans have become as well as how much driven by pure racism and sexism they really are)..

    Obviously moderation is better than the wholesale radical Mammonism and Socialism of Risk represented by Mitt Romney and the Republicans, but i believe that the odds that President Obama will suddenly turn into a real progressive is about equal to the odds of Mitt Romney donating all of his wealth to feed starving children of parents who lost their jobs due to vulture capiitalists.

  • aadila


    Could be….

    If so, I fell into the tiger trap, and I apologize for my indignation. It seemed like Jason Sockpuppet in his endless manifestations.

    Even meditative monists get “irritable” once in a while….:)

  • aadila

    Brother Joseph is like the Friar Tuck of the movement as quick with a staff as he is with his wit. Where is our errant warrior priest? He said he was having some troubles, his nutty neighbor and his brother in law.

    And as it looks likely that Obama will remain in office as of latest polls, it might be wise to hunker down and prepare for the hurricane of right wing rage come Wednesday…like all spectacular disasters, a meltdown of Republican zeal is always interesting but it should be observed from a safe distance.

    I for one am pleased to have voted for Obama and hope that he will remember his progressive support base in the second term. And now, I will meditate.

  • Reynardine

    Aadila, I had the impression DawnMarie was being sarcastic.

  • aadila

    “DawnMarie” i.e. Jason et al:

    Comments like that don’t offend me. They simply embarass me. You, and those like you who think racist jokes are funny, are truly an embarassment to my country.

    You make America look bad.

  • Reynardine

    And any left over noble metals, let us forge into shining little hearts and send them the way of Brother Joseph, wherever he may be. May he hurry back to us, safe and sound!

  • Reynardine

    As for our noble Commander-in-Chief, who has been unmasked as Zeus, I think many of us will surrender our Anvils, Sharkies, etc., to forge him and endless supply of Lightning Bolts, which he will need tomorrow.

  • Reynardine

    Robert Lazo gets the Bronze Spyglass award. It’s not for him to use, it’s watching him. As for a cutlass, mateys, we wouldn’t trust him with one (Aaaarrrgh!)

    Sam Molloy gets an Honorable Mention of a pocket mirror, so he can never be without the image of his best beloved.

  • Reynardine

    As previously stated, two unusual awards have already been handed out: the Golden Toilet Seat to John, and the Silver Humwawa to NAFTA refugee. Do you think you notice a common theme, there? Hony soit qui mal y pense!

  • DawnMarie Donivan

    All this time I thought it was a Muslim terror cell(with Obama at the head)that was responsible for the storm.

  • Reynardine

    Friday. And I am recovered. You know what this means.

  • aadila

    For what it is worth I think we should keep an open mind about the causes of global warming. But only to help direct efforts to reduce its effects, not to say, oh go right ahead and blow more carbon into the air.

    I think the issue is that we should be concerned about doing whatever we can urgently to halt global warming, regardless of the causes, and not just twaddle our thumbs and say, well, since 1% of the earth scientists say it could be methane from the ocean, let’s go for a joyride in our F250.

    Regardless of the cause, our species is facing possible extinction or at least global calamity (floods, food shortages, increased mortality rates, disruptions of all kinds) due to the effects. What we are seeing is only the beginning, I think.

  • Michael

    And these crazy people on the Right, actually wonder why anyone with two working brain cells, thinks, they are out of their minds…However they will not accept the real problem causing the nasty weather we’ve been having…It’s Global Warming, however they will not accept the truth…These people are an embarrassment to the human race…

  • Reynardine

    NAFTArefugee has just received the Silver Humwawa Award for shis last offering. For those not familiar with Humwawa, this demon resembled a pile of intestines, distressingly convoluted and full of (whoops) impacted.

  • Reynardine

    John, in your flush of pleasure and excitement at receiving your award, you must have attributed to me that which was said by someone else. Never mind, dear. Proceed to ASSume your golden throne, and rain (whoops) reign.

  • aadila

    NAFTA refugee:

    Ice coring does indeed provide climate information through pre-history. However, our current temperatures this year in North America were the second highest in known history, based on those samples.

    Carbon in the atmosphere is now 27% higher than at any point in the past 650,000 years, also verified by ice core samples. The notion of “natural cycles” which is popular among right wing circles and plutocrats like the Koch brothers in defense of hydrocarbons, remains unproven by global science. It is a gamble we should not take.

    Even if methane released by oceanic microorganisms were contributing to the greenhouse effect, there can be no doubt the use of hydrocarbons creates greenhouse gas pollution, in addition to the factors that caused species death before.The vast majority of the world’s scientists agree this is the case.

    The last time so much carbon was present in the atmosphere was 60 million years ago. And that period of the Paleocene coincided with massive reduction of life on earth. The carbon in our atmosphere is obviously related to burning hydrocarbons, and any theory of natural cycles must also take hydrocarbon use into consideration as a causal factor.

  • EightBells

    Speaking of Israel, does anyone recall the 1967 attack on
    the USS Liberty over there? It has never been really settled not only by Israel but by our US government as well.
    Goggle for it, quite an ordeal.

  • NAFTA Refugee

    So a low low low pressure system forms below Cuba, travels North, stops, takes a left at New Jersey, you know the rest. I had to look up on the internet how a low pressure system forms. Could it be replicated? This draws my curiosity. Also, the left turn thing. I noticed the great lakes on the left. When water levels were higher, if they were higher, could there have been a valley between the lakes and the Atlantic caused by this very phenominon earlier in earth’s history? We’ve heard stories of ice core samples at the poles revealing swamp debris. Is this just part of the pendulum swinging the other way (climate wise?) Does this lend creedence to the saying……. We’ve been warming since the last ice age.

  • Mxwll

    Everyone knows (or should) that Al Gore is responsible for the storm… As you may recall, we didn’t see much of him in the weeks just prior to the “perfect storm”. Thats because he was on a remote island in the South Atlantic sitting at the helm of his “Perfect Storm Generator”. I think he is using this to stage his comeback!!!!

    On a serious note:

    All thoughts and blessings to the victims of the storm…

  • John

    Reynardine, actually, stating that the economy should be a more of a concern for the conspiracy theorists as opposed to sensationalism is sound…yet you must have ASSumed I was referring to something
    in fact, my reply is on the post regarding the Prognostications

  • Churchlady

    I’m with Reynardine – Obama is actually Zeus. Clearly there is no other explanation.

  • Jane Schiff

    About William Koenig –
    “When we put pressure on Israel to divide their land…”

    Interesting use of possessive pronoun “their.”
    Kind of reminds me of that part from any authentic Passover Haggadah called THE FOUR CHILDREN. The quote below is from a Jewish Federation web page:

    “The wicked child asks “What does this Passover service mean to you?” The parent should answer “It is because of what God did for me when I came out of Egypt.” Specifically ‘me’ and not ‘you.’ If you had been there (with your attitude) you wouldn’t have been redeemed.”

  • Jane Schiff

    Hi Annie – don’t forget that pirates have reputations as being Gay. Indeed – RAmen.

  • Jane Schiff

    As per Hatewatch Staff “It’s not individual sex acts that’s angering the deity McTernan points out -…”

    So I guess he’s on board for separation of church and state.
    Yeah right.

  • Reynardine

    Folks, one award is already in the bag (Da dum):

    John has won the Solid Gold Toilet Seat, to accomodate all the ASSumes he has been generating.

  • Reynardine

    Erika: Peach velour jogging suit with green leaf trim, if the weather is cold.

  • Anne Orsi

    Everyone who is anyone knows that Sandy was actually the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s own version of the Rapture. Proof:

    If you experienced the storm but weren’t raptured, you either don’t believe firmly enough that the number of pirates is directly related to global climate change or you have some mysterious aversion to beer and STD-free strippers in your afterlife.


  • Joanne

    And speaking of conspiracy theories….


    This has nothing to do with the weather but instead sounds like Charles Woods being delusional.

  • Erika

    Reynardine, i am well known to laugh at inappropriate times :)

    Can you tell me what its like to live at a time where people were not so humorless?

    And that peach tree costume better have been warm – it was cold here :(

  • Richard

    What’ll be interesting is if Obama loses, will the Demos blame Sandy..hmmmm

  • Reynardine

    I add that I am sorry we could not have a real Allantide party. My imagination alone must furnish forth Coral Sea as Boudicca, Erika as a peach tree, Ruslan as the Great (Big) Khan, and Aron…well, it’s hard to sum up Aron as anything but a penetrating mind, a vorpal wit, and a great and valorous heart.

  • Reynardine

    Erika, it reminds me of when I used to work the nut ward. We used to say that if you didn’t learn to laugh about things, you’d wind up laughing it up where you couldn’t help it.

    Re: Allantide cider

    It didn’t turn to vinegar after all. It was simply going through a difficult adolescent stage called “secondary fermentation”, and has since matured into a dry, appl-y, aromatic hard cider, which is increasingly potent. And now, happy Allantide, everyone! My cheeks are burning! The world is tilting. And…..(thud!)

  • CM

    From the FAQ on the HAARP website:

    “When did the HAARP program start?”
    “The HAARP program began in 1990.”

    Wow, that Obama guy must be some kind of super-genius – he started this program while attending Harvard Law School and working as an associate attorney at two different law firms, and still graduated magna cum laude. Imagine the foresight, the long-range planning, the persistence –

    Unless … wait a minute … who was president in 1990? Wasn’t it George NWO Bush? Ah-ha! It’s the Republicans who are behind this nefarious plot to control our weather, our auroras, maybe our areolas and probably our brain waves, too. Quick, where’s my tin foil hat?

  • Erika

    Jose, if you are going to complain about joking about religious nutcases regarding a tragedy do not turn around and try to make political points using tragedy. It makes you look kind of hypocritcal, sweetie.

    So lighten up, honey – sometimes all i can do to stop from crying over the state of the world is to laugh at its absurdies :)

    Having said that, i do agree with your political point :)

  • Reynardine

    The last thing we need is a pile of Mitt. The result would be all too famiLIAR.

  • aadila

    Jose’s right. That is exactly what happened with the “banking crisis” which consisted of pumping out bad loans to people who the banks knew could never pay, forcing massive foreclosures in minority neighborhoods, and then doubling up on resale values when wealthier people — now the only ones getting debt — move in. This is not some idle fantasy. This is what happened. Check the facts. There was no crisis. There was only greed. And guess who pays for it? Guess who profits from it?

  • Jose

    Erika, its not funny, 57 people have died.

    Yet, with this tragedy let us realize that we have a better man in the white house, who is competent enough to be a leader, in times of crisses. Then what we had 4 years ago. Is this going to be handled that way that hurricane Katrina was handled.

    No, if there was a right wing neocon in the white house, like Mitt Romney, then sure, expect any other disastrous weather event in the future to be handled with the same degree of incompetence, that we saw in 2006. aadila right human greed will follow and exploit this disaster to the hilt.

    You know whats comming after this right?

    Yup, you guessed it, the corporate state is going to sweep in and start privatizeing the housing projects, the public schools, and pushing poor impoverished, minorities out of their homes. As they did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

    Just read The Shock Doctrine, by Neomi Klein. The racsist republicans are going to use this event to exploit minorities, they will blame it on illegal immigrants, on blacks, on gays, on the “NWO”, on environmentalists, on civil rights activists, on humanists, etc…

    When will we learn. If we follow the path were going in it will lead to the end of democracy, the end of collective rights, the end of group, and most importantly the end of the great experiment known as America.

  • aadila

    I am quite certain this comment will be misinterpreted but here goes:

    One of the virtues of the socialist, or communist state, for that matter, is the ability to mobilize a given society’s resources to respond to natural calamity with speed and precision. Naturally these terms are so laden with emotional angst in the heart of the capitalistic empire, that no one will likely agree that there is a benefit to state mechanisms at all.

    So we languish in another disaster.

    What we do have is a bloated and overgrown military who is out adventuring around the world and killing Muslims, but when it comes down to actually protecting our own people we are so horribly overextended that it is obvious we don’t care. Our priorities as a people are sol selfish that they become terribly misaligned with the smooth and wholesome functioning of a civilization facing crisis. And by the way, this is just a sign of things to come: global environmental crisis is going to become the norm unless we act right now to change how we live.

    Basically, that’s it. We love our patriotic marches and flag waving and extolling the virtues of the free market greed, but when it comes down to helping others, to taking care of our people, to developing the most basic aspect of society that can be described in any way as functioning properly, we fail time and time again.

    Because greed doesn’t help society. When will America learn? Human greed didn’t cause the calamity, but it sure as heck didn’t help it. But hey, we’ve got great flat screens to watch society collapse.

  • Robin Hood

    Really?? Reading these stories is so depressing.

  • Erika

    Gregory, if you really want to know, see the original thread about Hurricane Issac (okay, some naughty peach asked him about it).

  • Erika

    *sob* i might as well admit it. Its all my fault :(

    God really was upset with my planned Halloween costume which was very skimpy and revealing.

    And now thanks to God’s wrath of Hurricane Sandy i realize that Jack T. Chick and Bungalow Bud are right!

    Its a good thing that i was warned in time so that i can avoid being poked for all eternity in the eternal flames of Hell by a cartoon devil asking “Hot enough for you? Haw Haw”*

    i’m sorry everyone *sob* :(

    (i’d like my Sputnik Award in peach)

    * See, “Devil Doll” in case you think i’m actually being serious ;)

  • DrMJG

    As I read this tripe, while still worrying about friends in NYC and NJ who I have not contacted yet. it takes all of my remaining energy to keep from using a barrage of invective and gutter phrases towards those who bend all forms of logic to find a way to blame this on the President.

    If anything, the measure of what we have learned from this storm falls into the category of to items: 1: How will we continue to strengthen such forces at the National Weather Service, FEMA, CDC and other agencies to respond even more quickly and 2: Will this finally get some to accept that we are indeed in a pattern of massive climate change which is the result of, in no small part, man’s actions.

  • Gregory

    Did Bunghole Bud predict this storm?

  • CoralSea

    Many years ago I worked as an associate editor at an industrial training materials company. One of the editors whose work I was tasked with editing for style, proofing, etc. became angry when he was told that he had to write his own multiple choice questions for a “basic science” course. I still remember one of the question and answers set that he came up with (and I had to fix):

    What causes rivers to flow?

    a. Demons
    b. Your Mother-in-Law
    c. Rainbows
    d. Gravity.

    I rather suspect that some of these idiots would either choose: ” a. Demons,” or write in “e. United Nations”

  • David Hart

    What is scary is not what these crazy people say. Rather it is the large constituencies of crazy people that they seem to have. We laugh – they believe.

  • Reynardine

    We’re busted. It’s Obama, and he’s not American…he’s Greek. He’s Zeus.

  • adamhill

    Yet no claim at all from the Occupy movement or any other “leftists” that the hurricane is God’s wrath against Wall Street (closed for two days in a row, something that hasn’t happened since 1888).

    Anyone who sells guns for a living is silently praying that Obama gets re-elected. The president’s almost complete indifference toward restricting gun ownership, along with the bizarre mythology out there of his secret plans to take away everyone’s guns, has enabled the gun industry to prosper probably more than ever before.

  • Aron

    Hoo boy. Hoo boy. Hoo boy.