My friends, welcome to the coming golden age. We have not had such a fertile ground for unfounded speculation since the JFK assassination. I mean they tried with Bill Clinton, but you really can’t come up with vast global conspiracy theories with principals who are so obviously venal, narcissistic and politically motivated. I mean, blow jobs and land deals, yawn. Bush the younger upped the ante just by having Rove and Cheney as the dual bogymen in every Liberal nightmare scenario. Still, our conspiratorial feast relied only on cronyism and blood for oil. While there’s a germ of genius in claiming the administration had a hand in 9/11, but that jumped the shark when Uwe Boll made a movie about it. When Uwe Boll is making movies about your conspiracy theories, it’s sort of sad. (Not in the OMG they’re using him to discredit the idea sad, no, just plain old sad.)
No. Truly great conspiracy theories require inexplicable events of such magnitude that they demand something more than a mundane explanation. They require the official explanation be so lame in the face of the facts that there’s little other option then to assume grand plots at work to evil ends.
Try this one on for size. A US president visits a foreign country that shortly afterward becomes the center of a potential pandemic. An outbreak where one of his tour guides subsequently dies. (Though, they claim (wheoever they are) that the victim did not die of swine flu.) Within a few days (remember, in things like this, temporal proximity always implies causal proximity) we have Air Force one buzzing New York in what has been portrayed as what could be kindly put as the most asinine insensitive and ill-advised photo op in the history of asinine insensitive and ill-advised photo-ops.
The kind of event that makes you think; no-one is that stupid.
Think of what you can do with this sequence of events. Maybe the crew was infected down in Mexico? Maybe Air Force One is a vector for germ warfare experiments and everyone in Manhattan is going to start coughing up blood? It’s gotta be something, right? As any conspiracy buff knows, things like this don’t just happen.
Ok, first we had the NY Times, the NY Times, explicitly comparing the Obama economic program to Nazi Germany, and saying that this wasn’t a bad thing. Then we have the Huffington Post, that right-wing wingnut rag, calling out Jeanine Garafolo for being an asshat for calling the April 15th Tea Party protests “racism straight up.” We have the AP skewering Obama’s desperate attempt at saving a whole $100 Million from the budget as being more or less pathetic. And now, just in time for Earth Day, we have the NY Times telling us that we can all save the planet if everyone just gets to be rich enough.
Interesting times folks.
I promise to get back to writing posts and inane music videos soon, but politics this week has just about made my head explode. I don’t even have the energy to rant anymore. I’m just going to bullet point some highlights:
Americans may not know or care that the UK Government is having a bit of a PR meltdown, which is crystallized in the following qute from the troubled PM Brown: “I take full responsibility for what happened. That’s why the person who was responsible went immediately.” This quote sounds like it came from a alternate reality where Yogi Berra was Nixon’s speechwriter.
Second, if you are a school of journalism, giving a journalistic award to an alleged journalist, should you then be arresting journalists who are covering your event?
Third, if you are a representative in congress, should you be calling current “tax” protests despicable and shameful when your husband pleaded guilty to tax violations and bank fraud in 2005? (via Instapundit)
If you want to dismiss any sort of protest, you do the following:
- First off, play down the numbers. Both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the population. The participants never ever hold a majority popular opinion.
- Find the wing-nuts in the crowd, and give them the most attention, misspelled protest signs a plus.
- Make sure that you point out any involvement of any organized group or prominent individual to imply a shadowy conspiracy directing the activity; call it “AstroTurf” as opposed to “grass-roots.”
- And of course, dismiss the participants as ignorant fools who have no idea what they’re actually protesting.
Works for anything, really, from a Million Man march to a WTO protest.
Seen the above a lot today, especially with Mr. Marc Cooper of the LA Times who makes himself look like a desperately frightened little twit shoving his fingers in his ears going “LALALALALALALA.”
Shall we talk of Mr. Cooper? Read more
Let’s start the week off with a brand new asshat, U.S. Attorney Timothy Morrison, from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. You might think with my ranting about AIG bonus witch-hunts and such that Mr. Morrison might be guilty of making some grandstanding proclamations about nefarious evildoers who, somehow, have failed to commit an actual crime. Au contraire. In this case, as posted up at Writer Beware, we have the precise opposite. We have a set of rather ugly scammers, who have ripped people off for millions, against whom the Indiana Attorney General’s Office has already filed suit to reclaim civil damages for the authors that got ripped off, a somewhat Pyrrhic victory as the principals have filed for bankruptcy and there are no assets left to be had.
To give you some idea what these low-rent Bernie Madoffs were up to, I’ll quote activist Bonnie Kaye from the e-mail she sent to Writer Beware:
The fraudulence of Airleaf went way beyond book publishing; blatant scams included promises to sell books in Europe on trips that were never taken; selling a cruise to authors that was never booked nor the money returned; selling magazine reviews that were never sent to the magazines; promising to make movies out of books but never turning them into films; and continuing to collect royalties (though not pay them to authors) from Internet distributors such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble long after Airleaf was shut down. This is just a small sample of Airleaf’s efforts to steal money from authors. Your readers can read the list of charges, and some of the stories of our victims, at my website at www.AirleafVictims.com.
What, you might ask, is the problem? The problem is that criminal charges, while obviously warranted (I mean, if these guys were in the finance sector someone would be calling to hang them with piano wire) are not very high on the priority list up at the Indiana AG’s office. Apparently Mr. Morrison has better things to do then say, actually pursue criminal charges against, well, criminals. I guess we know the drill huh? Case just ain’t sexy enough, no one will cover it. More bang for the buck if you go after some celebrity, politician, or high-profile CEO, I mean, if it ain’t going to make CNN what’s the point of doing your job. Am I right?
Futurismic has posted about the latest in the ongoing death spiral of old media journalism (by which everyone really means American journalism) which is, the idea of Arianna Huffington starting a foundation to fund proper investigative journalism. While the motive seams laudable in the abstract, I kind of fail to see the difference between this and Rupert Murdoch starting a newspaper. The only wrinkle I see is that the “investors” are sinking money without expecting a return, and while that might be a more realistic expectation (especially given the historic performance of news ventures aligned with Huffington’s political views, just sayin’) I don’t necessarily see how a cadre of journalists beholden to a clique of wealthy donors will necessarily serve the public any better than a like cadre beholden to the marketplace. However, I do think that a group of non-profit, donation funded journalists is a hell of a lot better than either now journalists at all, or those run by the state, which are our two other options should no one find a for-profit business model that does the same thing.
My only worry is, if the idea catches on as the salvation of journalism, it will likely see the power of the press concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. (But that was happening anyway, oh well.)
Apparently, if you’re a Ron Paul supporter, profiling is ok.
For reference, you might have heard of the Missouri state report that warned of the impending takeover of the US Government by armed Neo-Nazi Ron Paul supporters. A report they subsequently rescinded by saying, oops our bad, you weren’t supposed to see that, and firing the guy who wrote it.
Yeah, nothing to see here, move along.
Sometimes it’s so frigging blatant. One of the ugliest parts of repressive regimes of all stripes is the fact that the State gives up upon the rule of law, and begins operating by fiat. Please those in power be rewarded, displease them and be punished. According to the Washington Post, we are well down this road. We know how those evil AIG capitalists received evil bonuses made of the blood of sacrificed Christian infants. Bonuses became the new child porn, just touch it and your soul is damned by a vengeful Andrew Cuomo.
Breaking news, if Obama’s Treasury Department likes you, they think all those pesky rules Congress passed (otherwise know as the law of the land) need not apply. We should just be able to give blank checks to the “good” companies and let them bonus away:
The Obama administration is engineering its new bailout initiatives in a way that it believes will allow firms benefiting from the programs to avoid restrictions imposed by Congress, including limits on lavish executive pay, according to government officials.
This makes the populist pandering over AIG even more repulsive.
The proposals, in Senate legislation that could be introduced as early as today, would broaden the focus of the government’s cybersecurity efforts to include not only military networks but also private systems that control essentials [...] At the same time, the bill would add regulatory teeth to ensure industry compliance with the rules, congressional officials familiar with the plan said yesterday.
Sounds good on the surface. They even say:
Blair acknowledged there will be privacy concerns about centralizing cybersecurity, and he said the program should be designed in a way that gives Americans confidence that it is “not being used to gather private information.”
Stop and ponder this for a while. The government gets to dictate how you secure your network. This means that they get to specify the hardware and the operating system. Do we really want to criminalize open source software that hasn’t been vetted by some cybernetic equivelent of the FDA? This is giving the government the ability to shut down any networked application it wants; everything from Bittorrent to Facebook.