Ben Carson Has EPIC Meltdown

meltdownBen Carson has finally lost his cool. Throughout the course of his presidential campaign thus far, Carson has been known to be rather level-headed, at least as far as it relates to evoking emotions compared to others on the campaign trail, such as Donald Trump. Every time he speaks, his tone has been classified as “boring” or “mediocre.” That’s probably because no one has hit a nerve yet.

In light of the recent allegations that Carson lied about getting a full scholarship to West Point, things got uncomfortable enough to set him off during a news conference with reporters on Friday. This isn’t the same Ben Carson you’ve heard before. He lashed out at reporters in a big way. It definitely was NOT presidential.

For one, he tried to reframe the issue and went off on a crazy rant about President Obama:

“I do not remember this level of scrutiny for President Barack Obama, when he was running. In fact, I remember just the opposite. I remember people just…’oh we won’t talk about that. We wont really talk about that relationship..well, Frank Marshall Davis…oh, we won’t talk about that….Bernadine Dohrn…Bill Ayers….oh, yeah he didn’t really know him.’ All the things that Jeramie Wright was saying….’ohhh not a big problem. He goes to occidential college doesn’t do all that well and somehow goes to columbia university. Well…..his records are sealed.’ Why are his records sealed? Why are you not interested in why his records are sealed?”

“I’m asking you….don’t change the subject…will someone tell me why Presiednt Obama’s records are sealed!!!”

Real mature, Dr. Carson.

He may not “remember” Obama getting great heat on all these issues, but the fact remains that President Obama has gone through more scrutiny than Ben Carson ever has.  With that said, Carson’s “memory” of things hasn’t been the best, truth be told. While the media might scrutinize and question him on this, that’s their job. That’s how every presidential candidate is treated.

If any candidate needs to be whining about media portrayal and treatment, it’s Hillary Clinton and the coverage of this supposed email “scandal.” That hasn’t proved very fruitful for them. She did an entire day’s worth of testimony on Capitol Hill, completely relaxed, even though the whole thing was nothing but a partisan witch hunt.

If anything, Ben Carson needs to take a chapter out of President Obama’s book. Shortly after he became president, Obama was interviewed and went on record saying how he expects people to try and come after him:

“I think it’s fair to say that I don’t always get my most favorable coverage on Fox, but I think that’s how democracy works. We’re not supposed to all be in lock step here.”

Real presidents know how to keep calm under pressure. Ben Carson may have seemed to be level-headed thus far, but he hasn’t been under any real pressure yet. If he wants to take the next step, he’s going to have to learn how to keep his cool under intense scrutiny.

 

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Archaeologists To Ben Carson: Ancient Egyptians Wrote Down Why The Pyramids Were Built

Egyptian archaeologist Abdelgawad Harrbi speaks to the press inside the tomb of Iymery. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Yesterday, November 4, marked 93 years to the day that the tomb of King Tutankhamen was opened in Egypt, revealing spectacular artifacts and a magnificent mummy of the boy king.  The celebration was somewhat marred, at least here in the U.S., by a leading Republican candidate for president, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who confirmed a statement he’d made in 1998 — that he believes the Egyptian pyramids were grain silos, not tombs.

The collective reaction from archaeologists and historians, who have command of literally centuries’ worth of research into the artifacts and literature of the ancient Egyptians, is… Wait, what now?

Carson said in his 1998 talk at Andrews University, a Seventh-Day Adventist-affiliated university, “And when you look at the way that the pyramids were made, with many chambers that are hermetically sealed, they’d have to be that way for various reasons.  And various of scientists [sic] have said, ‘Well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that’s how, you know, it doesn’t require an alien being when God is with you.’”

 Just to be clear, no scientists think that aliens built the pyramids. There is a small but vocal contingent of people who believe in pseudoarchaeological explanations, but archaeologists have dismantled those harebrained theories at every possible turn. (See, for example, my piece, “What Archaeologists Really Think about Ancient Aliens, Lost Colonies, and Fingerprints of the Gods.”)  So while it may look good for Carson to deny alien involvement in pyramid building, he also attributes them to some dude who may or may not have existed rather than, well, the ancient Egyptians.

As a Seventh-Day Adventist, Carson appears to subscribe to the idea that the book of Genesis is literal history.  And therefore that the Joseph of the Old Testament, who was sold into slavery in Egypt, built the pyramids to store grain during the seven years of abundance mentioned in Genesis.  As Carson specifically said in the 1998 talk, “My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids in order to store grain.”

My favorite tweet on this comes from ecologist Jacquelyn Gill:

We know what the pyramids were built for because the ancient Egyptians tell us what they were built for (see, for example, the Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts).  Denying ancient people the capability of building monumental structures is not new, though, and not confined to Egypt — plenty of people over the years have denied that Native Americans could have built the massive earthwork mounds across the U.S. and that the Maya could have built their pyramids without help from aliens, Europeans, or a higher religious power.

It might be nice to think that Carson has learned since his talk, nearly two decades ago, more about the ancient Egyptian civilization.  But no; Carson affirmed this belief in Joseph and his amazing technicolor grain silo to CBS News last night, doubling down on a profound, willful ignorance of science.

In the end, does it really matter what Carson thinks about the Egyptian pyramids?  There will always be science deniers, there will always be people swayed by pseudoarchaeology, and there will always be people who believe what they want no matter the facts.  It does matter, though, because Carson is vying for the job of representing the United States. So it matters that Carson casually rejects hundreds of years’ worth of research because in denying science, he throws the U.S. back into the past.  It matters that he brazenly denies the Egyptian people their rightful history because this marginalizes an entire culture and makes the U.S. look like an ignorant bully.

Aside from the massive, collective sigh that has gone out among my colleagues’ Facebook FB -0.93% and Twitter TWTR +0.00% feeds over the Carson brouhaha, there have also been links shared to honor the history of the Egyptian people, my favorite of which is this series of color photos of the discovery of the tomb of King Tut in 1922. There’s no denying that humans are — and have always been — very clever at using and creating their environment and culture.  So let’s stop pretending more complicated explanations are needed for the creation of ancient monuments.

[Update: 11/6 – Since many commenters have asked for more specific explanations of the consensus on the purpose for the pyramids, I am going to post some links here.  Science Alert – Here’s How Scientists Know The Pyramids Were Built to Store Pharaohs, Not Grain.  AP/Yahoo News – Experts Dismiss Carson’s Belief Pyramids Used to Store Grain.]

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brainless

FALSE: Ben Carson-Many prisoners go in straight, come out gay

BRAINLESS

Homosexuality is a choice, just look at the prisons, Republican neurosurgeon Ben Carson said on CNN.

In a March 4 interview, the likely 2016 presidential contender said he believes that legalizing same-sex marriage is a decision that should be left to the states. He also argued that homosexuality is a choice, rather than biological.

“Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question,” said Carson, a former head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

We’ll jump to the point here: There is no conclusive evidence to support Carson’s claim that “a lot of people” make a switch from heterosexual to homosexual while in prison. Further, the medical community tends to conclude that homosexuality is not a matter of choice — notably the American Psychological Association.

“Dr. Carson’s contention has a political intent but is absent of awareness of research on human sexuality,” said Mark Fleisher, a social science professor at Case Western University, who studies sexuality and violence in prisons.

A spokesman for Carson declined our request for comment.

In the prisons

Many inmates who identify as heterosexual change their sexual habits while in prison, possibly as a victim or perpetrator of abuse or due to lack of access to the opposite sex, said Christopher Hensley, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga criminal justice professor. But a change in sexual behavior does not necessarily equate to a change in sexual orientation.

Hensley recently authored a study that he said is one of the first to examine a shift in sexual orientation in prisons. He and his co-author questioned 142 prisoners at a maximum-security facility in the South about their sexual orientation. They found that of the sample, 24 men changed sexual orientation while incarcerated.

Of those 24, 18 changed from straight to bisexual, three changed from bisexual to straight, and one each changed from bisexual to gay, gay to bisexual, and gay to straight.

These results do not conclusively support Carson’s point, Hensley said. The sample size is too small to make any sweeping conclusions — 142 is just about 0.001 percent of the nation’s prison population.

Additionally, Hensley said his research does not support Carson’s implication that prison behavior shows that a shift in sexual orientation is a choice. Prison sex culture is not analogous to the sex culture outside of prison.

“Carson is taking a simplistic view of sexuality,” Hensley said.

It’s possible that people go into prison unaware of their sexuality, and then once they are exposed to homosexual behavior as an inmate, they realize that they are gay or bisexual, Helen Eigenberg, who also studies prison sexuality as a professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said in an interview with PolitiFact. This isn’t necessarily captured in Hensley’s research, she said.

Eigenberg added that sometimes victims of sexual abuse — in prisons that can mean gang rape, prostitution or other forms of coercion — are sometimes confused. They might think that just because they played a role in a homosexual act, they are now gay, which is not necessarily true.

“The fundamental assumption of the analogy (Carson’s) using is insane,” Eigenberg told the Washington Post.

We asked numerous other experts who study criminal justice and sexuality, and none agreed with Carson’s claim. Nor were they aware of modern research addressing this topic, other than Hensley’s.

“There is absolutely no good evidence supporting Carson’s contention, and there is good evidence against it,” said J. Michael Bailey, a psychology professor at Northwestern University who studies sexual orientation.

A choice?

In a previous PolitiFact article, we found that, while it’s not certain what factors cause sexuality, scientists agree that personal choice is not involved. The American Psychological Association, which has 150,000 members, considers it a “settled question.”

Greg Herek, a psychology professor at the University of California Davis who studies sexual orientation, pointed us to a nationally representative study that shows the vast majority of gay men and women do not perceive their sexual orientation as a result of choice.

People can change their behavior — such as engaging in homosexual behavior in prison — but that does not equate to a change in orientation, Bailey, the Northwestern researcher, told PolitiFact.

He also noted that there are examples (updated with new link) of boys being surgically changed into girls at birth (in the past, for medical reasons), but when these former boys grow into women — they are attracted to other women.

“If you can’t make a male attracted to men by changing him, surgically and socially, into a girl, how likely is it that prison can do that?” Bailey said.

Our ruling

Carson said, “A lot of people who go into prison straight, and when they come out they’re gay.”

There is no research that supports this point. The one study that even begins to address the topic has too small a sample size — and too many variables — to shed light on Carson’s claim. And its author finds Carson’s view “simplistic.”

Further, Carson used this example to prove that sexual orientation is a personal decision. Respected scientists consider it settled that homosexuality is not a matter of choice. Additionally, experts told us the sex culture in prison is not comparable to sex culture outside of prison, making it a bad analogy.

We rate Carson’s claim False.

After the Fact

Ben Carson apologizes for gay prison comments

Added on March 5, 2015, 11:08 a.m.

After we published this fact-check, Carson sent an email to reporters apologizing for his comments. According to Time, he said, “I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation,” he said. “I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended.”

“I’m a doctor trained in multiple fields of medicine, who was blessed to work at perhaps the finest institution of medical knowledge in the world. Some of our brightest minds have looked at this debate, and up until this point there have been no definitive studies that people are born into a specific sexuality,” he said. “We do know, however, that we are always born male and female. And I know that we are all made in God’s image, which means we are all deserving of respect and dignity.”

He also said he supports same-sex rights, including the right to marry, though he personally does not support same-sex marriage.

On his radio show, Fox News host Sean Hannity asked Carson about the comments.

“First of all, it was a 25-minute interview. They chopped—and you see what part they emphasized,” Carson replied, according to National Journal. “We talked about some really important things. None of that was brought out. But I did learn something very important: for certain networks, never do a pre-taped interview. Always do it live.”

His other strategy: never talk about gay rights again.

“I simply have decided I’m not going to really talk about that issue anymore because every time I’m gaining momentum, the political press says, ‘Let’s talk about gay rights.’ And I’m just not going to fall for that anymore,” he said.

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Republican Bigot Rupert Murdoch Tweets: Ben Carson would be a ‘real black president’

rupert

The tweet ricocheted around the web and was widely denounced.

Murdoch’s tweet was championing Ben Carson, a Republican who is the only African-American candidate in the presidential race.

“Ben and Candy Carson terrific,” he wrote. “What about a real black President who can properly address the racial divide? And much else.”

About 11 hours later, Murdoch tweeted an apology: “Apologies! No offence meant. Personally find both men charming.”

Related: Ben Carson defends Rupert Murdoch over ‘real black president’

Murdoch’s use of the word “real” in his original tweet flabbergasted many online onlookers, some of whom concluded that the media mogul was questioning Obama’s race and identity.

Obama, the first black president of the United States, has also been dogged by false accusations that he isn’t a U.S. citizen.

What did Murdoch mean? “We don’t comment on his tweets,” a 21st Century Fox spokeswoman said.

Ben and Candy Carson terrific. What about a real black President who can properly address the racial divide? And much else.

Murdoch, 84, is the owner of Fox News Channel and a huge portfolio of other media brands, from the Fox broadcast network to the FX cable channel. He is the co-executive chairman of 21st Century Fox. He recently handed over the CEO reins to his son James.

Murdoch is an unusual user of Twitter, occasionally dashing off his thoughts about politics and world affairs without ever quite mastering the medium.

He followed the Carson tweet with one that said “Read New York magazine for minority community disappointment with POTUS.” He didn’t link to it, but he was apparently referencing a column titled “Has Barack Obama Done Enough for African-Americans?”

Murdoch has been boosting Carson in tweets for months. On Tuesday he plugged Carson’s appearance on the Fox News program “The Kelly File.”

Last week he wrote, “Everywhere pundits keep underestimating Ben Carson. But public understand humility as admirable, listen to the multi-faceted strong message.”

Before entering the presidential race, Carson was a paid contributor to the Fox News Channel.

Way back in March, after Carson left the network, but before he announced his presidential bid, Murdoch tweeted about Carson: “Wonderful character, up from Detroit ghetto, sadly seems political naif.”

As the months have progressed, Murdoch has turned more positive.

Back in August he celebrated Carson’s rise in the polls, and said “his life story should make every American optimistic.”

A week later he wrote that Carson’s standing in the polls is “improving every week,” and said Carson is “maybe the one to beat.” He added, “Irreproachable on background, achievements, character, vision.”

After an early September interview on “The Kelly File,” Murdoch said Carson was “impressive, humble but tough.”

Carson was back on Fox News on Wednesday night, but his interview, on Sean Hannity’s 10 p.m. show, was taped before Murdoch’s controversial tweet. Carson didn’t have any immediate response about Murdoch.

Apologies! No offence meant. Personally find both men charming.

Rupert Murdoch, one of the world’s most powerful media moguls, posted a tweet Wednesday night that seemingly questioned whether President Obama is a “real black president.”

FACTS MATTER: Jerry Brown sends Dr. Carson a thumbdrive of information

California governor sends Ben Carson a thumbdrive with climate change report

“Please use your considerable intelligence to review this material.”


California’s governor has provided presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson with “overwhelming evidence” of climate change, something that the Republican candidate claimed does not exist.
Last week, Carson appeared in San Francisco as part of his campaigning schedule. At an event, he addressed why the “climate change debate” remains, in his view, “irrelevant.” In a tweet published later in the week, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) posted a picture of this letter sent to the retired neurosurgeon.

Dear Dr. Carson,
I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit to the Golden State. It’s come to my attention that while you were here you said the following regarding climate science:
“I know there are a lot of people who say ‘overwhelming science,’ but then when you ask them to show the overwhelming evidence, they never show it…There is no overwhelming science that the things that are going on are man-caused and not naturally caused. Gimmie a break.”
Please find enclosed a flash drive with the complete United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “Synthesis Report,” the concluding installment of the Fifth Assessment Report, published earlier this year. This report assessed over 30,000 scientific papers and was written by more than 800 scientists, representing 80 countries around the world, who definitively concluded that: “…human influence on the climate system is clear and growing, with impacts observed across all continents and oceans.”
This is just one of the thousands of reports authored by the world’s top scientists on the subject, including a study published just last month by Columbia University, University of Idaho and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies scientists that found climate change has intensified California’s drought. These aren’t just words. The consequences are real.
Please use your considerable intelligence to review this material. Climate change is much bigger than partisan politics.
Sincerely,
Jerry Brown