Behold the man who dared to question. Professor James Tracy of Florida Atlantic University and Memory Hole Blog joined me for a conversation on the dread conspiracy theory, the label that shuts down and shuts up without fail. Behold the man who dared to question the official account of Sandy Hook, a man who simply and merely asked questions and then uncured the usual and predictable wrath of a feckless and impuissant mainstream media who don’t take kindly to those who question whether they’re doing their job. There was a time when academic freedom provided the backdrop and stage for intellectual inquiry. The proscenium for ideation and issue inspection. Jim Tracy dared to question the official account of Sandy Hook and continues to.
The subject of this recordation. In this interview the good professor and I discuss the retooling of the term conspiracy theory to connote that of lunacy and the baseless, the future of the classroom and campus as crucibles of truth, attempts to stifle and silence daring academics and what “woke him up,” a concept many are familiar with, i.e. the event or events that made him aware of organized and concerted media deception.
“So, tell me again how Al Sharpton’s not in prison, why that cretin Don Lemon’s on CNN blaming rape victims not to mention that insane black hole comment and why Charles Manson can marry in prison but gay marriage is illegal in 17 states.”
Al Sharpton on television. Sure, but as a host?! First, he can’t read a prompter. Seriously, he can’t read a prompter. Why is that important, you ask? You’re kidding, right? Television is all prompter-fed and scripted. But you knew that. No, the righteous Reverend is on for reasons most mortals can only speculate on. My guess: pictures of network heads with barn owls, miscellaneous blackmail, who knows. But it sure as hell ain’t talent.
So, why’s he not in jail? Great question. The New York Times piece on his Eminence, the tax prevaricator and BFF of POTUS’s and AG’s, the Geppetto to de Blasio’s Pinocchio, NYPD Commish Bill Bratton’s boss, provides a bill of particulars that would land you or me in the hoosegow without a doubt, yet he remains unscathed. “The recent Treasury report that called that sort of practice abusive also said only 1,200 organizations in the nation owed more than $100,000 in unpaid payroll taxes, which would put Mr. Sharpton’s group among the most delinquent nonprofit organizations in the nation.”
MSNBC has all but invited this embarrassment. As the Erik Wemple Blog has reported, Sharpton negotiated his contract with MSNBC under the stipulation that his work as an activist would continue. In remarks in D.C. last year, Sharpton recalled what he told MSNBC President Phil Griffin about his status: “I said, well, I’m still going to run NAN, I’m still going to be an activist.” Griffin responded positively. “He said, ‘Put it in the contract. We’d never interfere with what you’re doing, your civil rights work,’” Sharpton quoted Griffin as saying.
On one level, Sharpton’s various hats carry implications for the ethics of his work at MSNBC. Being an anchor on a news network while also serving as a big shot at the White House and the head of a civil rights group creates a jumble of undiagrammable — and almost unknowable — conflicts of interest.
Yet the other level of concern is precisely what the Times has exposed: Sharpton Inc. is a sprawling concern, clearly more than one overbooked man can handle. By employing Sharpton as a prominent figure in its news rotation, MSNBC must own the failings of his empire. A spokeswoman for MSNBC says the network has no comment on the situation.
And then there’s Lemon. A lemon historically was “a person who is a loser, a simpleton,” which is perhaps from the notion of someone a sharper can “suck the juice out of.” Don Lemon is a cretin. A Boeotian. A dullard of Olympic proportion. This is the same feller who posited a black hole as a source of missing MH370. Well, Ol’ Don may have out “Don” himself in this latest snafu.
Lemon: Can I ask you this, because — and please, I don’t mean to be crude, ok?
Lemon: Because I know some of you — and you said this last night, that he — you lied to him and said “I have an infection, and if you rape me, or if you do — if you have intercourse with me, then you will probably get it and give it to your wife.”
Lemon: And you said he made you perform oral sex.
Lemon: You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.
Tarshis: Oh. Um, I was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, that didn’t even enter my mind. Now I wish it would have.
Lemon: Right. Meaning the using of the teeth, right?
Tarshis: Yes, that’s what I’m thinking you’re —
Lemon: As a weapon.
Tarshis: Yeah, I didn’t even think of it.
Lemon: Yes. I had to ask. I mean, it is, yeah.
Tarshis: Yes. No, it didn’t cross my mind.
And finally, Charles Manson’s tying the knot. In a country where 17 states have prohibited same-sex marriage, an 80-year-old notorious convicted killer can marry a 25 year-old named “Star.” Think about it. The Menendez Brothers and Charlie can traipse down the proverbial aisle in matrimonium ducere, but a respectable gay couple can’t. Are you mind-boggled? You should be.
“Women, fire in their crotch, won’t burn out, begin by fighting off pricks, end by going wild hunting for one that still works.” ― John Updike, Rabbit Redux
This kid. Is taking no chances. And you have to respect that. After all leporiphobes and kouneliophobes, and their often paralyzing fear of the ostensibly evil mutant bunnies, can miss the comedic and artistic intention. Hare today, gone tomorrow, right? Look at the expression, the affect of his kid. It’s perfect. Trepidation meets embarrassment meets horror. I am the eggman, they are the eggmen. I am the walrus. As Elena Anaya quipped, “I can hypnotize rabbits.” Am I making any sense? Too bad.
Full disclosure. No, I didn’t spend any appreciable time talking about this kid. Instead I discuss the accusations anent and regarding Bill Cosby as to rape allegations. What took so long for anyone to take notice of them? When does a story take legs and become significant and verifiable enough for media exposure? A discussion herein as to the architecture of scandal.
Truth is a luxury. This was Tom Wilkinson’s line in 2011’s “The Debt,” a suspense thriller of espionage, morality, courage and patriotism. It’s a remake of the award-winning 2007 film “Ha-Hov” by Assaf Bernstein & Ido Rosenblum. And a fascinating discussion of what happens when the official story that inspires a nation is wrong or, worse, a blatant lie. It inspires me to think about co-opting truth as a symbol and label and meme.
Truthers. I’m not oneper se, though I share many of their points of view, but hats off to those who grabbed the meme as their own. In today’s double-parked attention span, whoever seizes the best label and imagery, wins. Look at the conservatives who nabbed family, flag, Gawd, patriotism, Reagan and the Eagle. (While the progressives took what again as their symbols?)
Verity, anyone? And it all begs the question: What is the truth? The unvarnished and absolute and pure and clean and not subject to obfuscation or the like? Tell me true and pure history without perspective. Tell me the history of the Vietnam War — from the point of view of the Vietnamese. History, like incest, is relative.
“CIA Document 1035-960” was released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by the New York Times. The memorandum delimits a detailed series of actions and techniques for “countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries.” It provided the blueprint of discrediting any idea or theory deemed unpalatable or embarrassing with the blanket and dismissive pejorative “conspiracy theory.”
Proem. Nothing will grind to a halt a discussion or disquisition quicker than calling it a “conspiracy theory.” So how did this come to be? Have we always enjoyed this distinction? Or rather, this almost patellar rejection of anything deemed to be the product of an illegal confederation.
It’s the third rail of political discussion. Kryptonite. A mine field. Drop the topic altogether. Don’t go there. Bring up a verboten or sensitive topic and watch what happens if it’s dubbed a conspiracy theory by an audience. All discussions ceases and you are a de facto nut, a loon, whose opinion is baseless and motivation (as well as sanity) is suspect. So where and when did this conspiracy phobia emerge? Was it always a part of our inquiry-killing repertoire? And what exactly is wrong with a conspiracy or theory of one? There are scores of convicted defendants warehoused today for conspiracies. How successful would they have been in seeking to have their convictions overturned by saying “This was just a conspiracy theory!” No, we’ve changed the meaning of the charge. It’s synonymous with insane, baseless, paranoid and baseless. And the transmutation of terminology was deliberate and by design. Courtesy of your CIA.
Your forebears would be livid. Professor Lance deHaven-Smith in Conspiracy Theory in America details “how the Founders’ hard-nosed realism about the likelihood of elite political misconduct—articulated in the Declaration of Independence—has been replaced by today’s blanket condemnation of conspiracy beliefs as ludicrous by definition.” It was ostensibly their deep-seated and well-founded suspicions that gave way to the inspiration and motivation to create our republic, borne from . . . you guessed it, conspiracy theories.
The weaponization of a term. In Conspiracy Theory”: Foundations of a Weaponized Term Professor James F. Tracy explains accordingly. And remember, the CIA under the Allen Dulles was the beginning of the transformation of the agency from intelligence-gathering to that of covert operations. Remember as well that Dulles, no fan of Kennedy, was positioned on the Warren Commission, which today is synonymous with whitewash and distortion.
Conspiracy theory’s acutely negative connotations may be traced to liberal historian Richard Hofstadter’s well-known fusillades against the “New Right.” Yet it was the Central Intelligence Agency that likely played the greatest role in effectively “weaponizing” the term. In the groundswell of public skepticism toward the Warren Commission’s findings on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA sent a detailed directive to all of its bureaus. Titled “Countering Criticism of the Warren Commission Report,” the dispatch played a definitive role in making the “conspiracy theory” term a weapon to be wielded against almost any individual or group calling the government’s increasingly clandestine programs and activities into question.
Sound familiar? But even today the same techniques are employed, specifically this favorite argument: Conspiracy on a large scale would be impossible to conceal in the United States. Its synthetic reasoning and the transmission of such as a potent meme to this day serve to divert, obscure and redirect valid considerations and review of critical issues. And along with knee-jerk and Pavlovian false claims of racism and to a lesser extent homophobia, all discussion stops, valid areas of inquiry are sidelined and shelved, discussion ditched and sanity reevaluated. The history of the construction of his meme is mandatory for any truth-loving American who cherishes historical verity.
The latest introduction of the dread theory. So, do you think that conspiracy theory as pejorative weapon of distraction is limited only to truthers, birthers and vaxxers? Think again. Behold the rudiments of distraction.
“Once those teams went into the compound I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on. And there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information.” — CIA Director Leon “Bigmouth” Panetta spilling the beans.
Seal Team squabble. You know the story. Navy Seals arguing with each other over nondisclosure. I have no interest in that. It seems a tad unseemly, especially after these elite commando units, sworn to secrecy, cravenly grabbing publicity. But that’s not the source of my incredulity.
What I do care about is the story itself of UBL, hiding in plain sight in a mansion less than a mile “southwest of the Pakistan Military Academy in Bilal Town, Abbottabad, Pakistan, a suburban town housing retired military officers.” Right. And then an assassination, er, commando, team dispatch him after conflicting stories as to his initial resistance, with no apparent instructions to take the terrorist leader alive, and after they pop the proverbial cap in his arse, they dunk him in the drink à la Luca Brasi. After all, we don’t want his grave to become a shrine. But that was no problem with Saddam’s burial. And they never took a picture of a cleaned up dead UBL to verify his dispatch. Why? So as not to inflame his acolytes. After we’ve killed him. Anent the Navy Seal raid, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh remarked, “Nothing’s been done about that story, it’s one big lie, not one word of it is true.” I simply don’t understand the narrative.
And I haven’t even referred to claims that the Marfanoid UBL died years prior or was killed in a host of ways, manners and through various pathologies and forms of termination with prejudice. My friend and colleague, James Corbett provides this comprehensive review of the nine (at least) lives of UBL.
In October 2001, Bin Laden appeared in a videotape wearing army fatigues and Islamic headdress, looking visibly pale and gaunt. In December of 2001, another videotape was released, this time showing a seriously ill Bin Laden who was seemingly unable to move his left arm.
Then on December 26, 2001, Fox News reported on a Pakistan Observer story that the Afghan Taliban had officially pronounced Osama Bin Laden dead earlier that month. According to the report, he was buried less than 24 hours later in an unmarked grave in accordance with Wahabbist Sunni practices.
What followed was a string of pronouncements from officials affirming what was already obvious: supposedly living in caves and bunkers in the mountainous pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Osama would have been deprived of the dialysis equipment that he required to live.
On November 2, 2007, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto told Al-Jazeera’s David Frost that Omar Sheikh had killed Osama Bin Laden.
In March 2009, former US foreign intelligence officer and professor of international relations at Boston University Angelo Codevilla stated: “All the evidence suggests Elvis Presley is more alive today than Osama Bin Laden.”
In May 2009, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari confirmed that his “counterparts in the American intelligence agencies” hadn’t heard anything from Bin Laden in seven years and confirmed “I don’t think he’s alive.”
Now in 2011, President Obama has added himself to the mix of people in positions of authority who have pronounced Osama Bin Laden dead. Some might charge that none of the previous reports had any credibility, but as it is now emerging that Osama’s body was buried at sea less than 12 hours after his death with no opportunity for any independent corroboration of his identity, the same question of credibility has to be leveled at this latest charge. To this point, the only evidence we have been provided that Osama Bin Laden was killed yesterday are some images on tv of a burning compound and the word of the man currently occupying the oval office.
Some of the greatest acting in the history of human kind.Since the moment of the situation room drama, it emerged that POTUS, Hillary and their staff saw virtually nothing whatsoever of the mission that allegedly led to the assassination of Bin Laden, because according to CIA director Leon Panetta, there was a 25 minute blackout of the live feed which was cut off before the US Navy SEALS even entered the building.
“A photograph released by the White House appeared to show the President and his aides in the situation room watching the action as it unfolded. In fact they had little knowledge of what was happening in the compound,” reports the London Telegraph. Maybe Hillary was looking aghast over the poor satellite transmission service versus the horrors of seeing bin Forgotten plugged in real time.
In an interview with PBS, Mr Panetta said: “Once those teams went into the compound I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on. And there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information.”
So, why do I have my doubts as to the military’s official story? Remember Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman?
Do you notice anything odd or “interesting” about this report title? If so, Tweet me @lionelmedia. It should be readily obvious.
Why? Why are some of the most fascinating subjects imaginable abandoned altogether by the moth-balled mainstream media? Wait, I just answered the question.
The man, the source, the gold standard.Stanton T. Friedman, is a rock star Ufologist of the first order. Clearly and simply, no one has devoted more time and educated and well-thought attention to the subject than he. He became interested in UFOs the year I was born. And until very recently, I had not so much as a passing interest in claims that I believed were all too often the presumed fantasy of some dentally-challenged rube who was plucked from his double-wide, smack dab in Hooterville to be anally probed by some wan-completed macrocephalic pallid critter. This was my mantra, my speech, my rote response to any lunatic and fanciful dream-believer who’d dare utter certitude anent the existence of extraterrestrial star hoppers.
I don’t say that any longer. I listen today. And wonder. And stare in rapt attention and mind-boggling awe at the evidence that’s been here the whole time. As, apparently, do the Vatican and Dan Aykroyd inter alia. We think nothing of fealty to the most insane of religiosity. In fact, such a connection doesn’t exist. And I’m not advocating such. If you want to talk conspiracy, behold the conspiracy to quiet and shut down any discussion as to extraterrestrial life and, moreover, multiverse visitation. That’s breathtaking awe-inspiring, I assure you.
Nothing to see here. Stop the caterwauling, the high fives, the sturm und drank, just stop. There’s nothing to see here. It’s as Professor Quiqley noted, they threw the bums out only to have the latest contingent of bums jettisoned later.
“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy” (Georgetown University Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, 1966.)
For Chrissakes, just get over it. Because neither party is able to answer my concerns and interests over a host of issues, viz. war, Wall Street predation, the derivatives bubble, 1033 hyper-militarization of police, the eroding Second Amendment, NSA and repressive surveillance, GMO proliferation . . . shall I go on?
My video commentaries are available gratis.Here, try this one out.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but voting for these clowns is a waste of time. That’s why we need a revolution. But in the mean time, I’ll visit my local precinct, stare in amazement at the bunch of poll workers who seem devoid of any reality tether and proceed to cast a vote for every fringe candidate and no on every referendum. Why? Out of protest. How sad that this is the current crop and bunch of potential candidates. In a country of over 316M, this is what we have as choices?! The country’s path is scripted.
Your platform. Herein this podcast are my thoughts and dreams and hopes and wishes as to what issues and causes and directions should be taken by politicians and my government. It will never happen. Without a revolution.
And now, your featured attraction. Now you know why you never wash a rental car.