Why are (some) South Carolinians so batshit crazy?

She bestowed upon us a world-class rant that’s deranged even by Republican town hall standards. In case you missed it:

This video has gone viral for two reasons: (1) How completely cuckoo this woman is, and (2) Santorum’s complete failure to rebut her off-the-crazy-meter ravings in any way. (Remember how, in 2008, John McCain sternly informed another crazy grassroots Republican that Obama is not an “Arab”? Well, Santorum isn’t made of the same stuff. He’s a wimp.) We pretty much know what Santorum is; but who is Virginia Ellisor?

She bills herself as a retired schoolteacher and lifelong political activist; according to her Facebook page, she’s a fan of the Pauls (Ron and Rand). Here’s her mugshot, mugging with Lee Bright, a South Carolina Republican state senator who’s so far right he challenged South Carolina U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham in the 2014 primary (and lost, by not all that much). Also, in 2012, Bright was the South Carolina chair of Michelle Bachmann’s presidential campaign. According to Wikipedia, Bright’s idea of humor includes, “If at first you don’t secede, try again.” This helps gives you an idea of who Ms. Ellisor likes. 


Sorry I couldn’t edit Santorum out of the photo. I’m not very good at this Photoshop stuff. But hold on, some people are, and it was inevitable that some creative type would take an enticing subject like Ms. Ellisor and use her for artistic expression:


There. I couldn’t find any more pictures, creative or otherwise, of Ms. Ellisor on the internet, so these will have to do. (I kept coming up with hits on Irene Ellisor, as far as I know no relation, an 86-year Texas grandma who was killed in an unfortunate car accident when candy billionaire Jacqueline Mars lost control of her Porsche.)

Anyway, if you badly want a framing-quality transcript to hang on your wall and then hand down to your posterity after you’re dead (printer and scissors required), the highlight of Ms. (Virginia not Irene) Ellisor’s rant (not that the buildup isn’t worthwhile) is this:

“Obama tried to blow up a nuke in Charleston a few months ago,” Ellisor said, “and the three Admirals and Generals. He has totally destroyed our military. He has fired all the Generals and all the Admirals who said they wouldn’t fire on the American people if they ask ‘em to do so if he wanted to take the guns away from ‘em.”

(I cut and pasted it from here; I couldn’t stop squealing long enough to transcribe it myself.) Now, at this point, most people will focus on Santorum’s utter abdication of any responsibility to talk this lunatic down from whatever high she’s on (what in hell was she smoking, anyway? They must grow some pretty potent stuff in South Carolina’s backyards) and explain to her that it’s probably not true that the President of the United States tried to blow up Charleston, South Carolina with nuclear weapons.

Ms. Ellisor didn’t make this up from the blue, of course. Few schoolteachers have such imagination. (I know this for a fact, having myself been imprisoned in classrooms for many, many years by my state’s mandatory attendance laws.) So, then, where did it come from?

“According to Right Wing Watch, conspiracy theories about the president’s intent to set off nuclear bombs in the United States have been circulating since at least September 2013, when allegations surfaced that the mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., was actually an attack by armed officials (we guess) of the Obama administration who were bent on thwarting Navy leadership from arresting the president for treason after they uncovered his plot to set off a nuclear bomb in D.C. and blame it on Syria as pretext for launching a war against Assad regime.

“A month later, Obama’s dastardly plotting had shifted southward, according to fringe theorists. Instead of blowing up the nation’s capitol, he had set his sites on Charleston. A headline on the Daily Paul Liberty Forum, a website associated with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul … and his father … Ron Paul, read: ‘We Will Not Be Disarmed: Obama Ousts Top Officers After Nuke Explodes In Ocean Instead Of Charleston.'”

In fact, this urban legend got enough circulation to trigger a debunking from Snopes:


“Claim:   President Obama fired several military officers for disobeying his order to destroy Charleston as part of a “false flag” attack.


Origins:   This October 2013 article about President Obama supposedly firing “four top ranking military officers” after they refused to detonate a nuclear device ‘in or near’ Charleston, South Carolina, isn’t a real news item. And neither is its follow-up which posited that Russia had successfully test-fired a ballistic missile in ‘direct response to President Barack Obama’s attempt to destroy Charleston’ as part of a ‘false flag attack.’ Both items are just more fictional ‘Sorcha Faal’ sensationalism originating with a single disreputable source, the political conspiracy site, of which RationalWiki says: “Sorcha Faal is the alleged author of an ongoing series of ‘reports’ published at, whose work is of such quality that even other conspiracy nutters don’t think much of it. Each report resembles a news story in its style but usually includes a sensational headline barely related to reality and quotes authoritative high-level Russian sources (such as the Russian Federal Security Service) to support its most outrageous claims. Except for the stuff attributed to unverifiable sources, the reports don’t contain much original material. They are usually based on various news items from the mainstream media and/or whatever the clogosphere is currently hyperventilating about, with each item shoehorned into the conspiracy narrative the report is trying to establish.'”

So there you have it. A Paulista picked up a rightwing urban legend from a Paulista website and ran with it at a Republican town hall. Don’t these people ever fact-check anything? Apparently not, not even the retired schoolteachers among them, who ought to know better.

booth04There remains one unanswered question. Who is Sorcha Faal? According to this guy, Sorcha Faal is the nom de plume of David Booth, a notorious internet hoaxter who purportedly is a computer programmer billed as a “CIA agent” (I don’t think I believe that). Booth has his own website here, but frankly, I don’t think I really want to drill down any farther into this. I’ve had enough. I really don’t want to know what his motives, much less his goals, are.

Photo: David Booth, aka Sorcha Faal.

Instead, I would appreciate a simple answer to this question: Can anyone explain why so many South Carolinians are so messed up? Thanks for any help you can provide.

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