If people like conspiracy theories, why not look at real ones

There has been a lot of press about Marjorie Taylor Greene, an advocate of the conspiracy theory website QAnon winning a GOP primary in Georgia. Unless the GOP finds its conscience, she will become a member of Congress. Getting less press is Madison Cawthorn who is the GOP candidate running for now Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ old seat. Cawthorn has some social media references to white nationalists and has bragged on visiting the Hitler bunker in Germany. In this case, the GOP leadership supported his opponent in the primary.

Some folks are unfamiliar with QAnon, but the president is not one of them. He often parrots conspiracy theories and it is nirvana for a conspiracy author to hear their words come out of his mouth. My favorite QAnon story is Hillary Clinton was running a Satanic child pornography ring out of a pizza parlor in Washington DC to raise money. As asinine as this sounds, a North Carolina man armed for bear with an AR-15, showed up at the pizza parlor and is now in jail serving the third year of his four year sentence.

Another conspiracy theory is the deep state is trying to unseat Trump. Per Michael Lewis’ well researched book “The Fifth Risk” on the briefing materials that incoming Trump people did not choose to read or show up for a briefing, the deep state are those hard working folks who remember their oath and know what they are talking about. The purpose of Lewis’ book (who read the unclassified materials) is to reveal the many risks that are not being talked about that keep these folks up at night whether they were forced to resign or remain employed – chemical and nuclear waste type risk inside of the US, eg.

But, the best example of conspiracy theories, is Alex Jones of InfoWars. He said for years that the Sandy Hook shooting of twenty-seven children and teachers was a hoax. He was sued for damages by distraught parents and lost his case and the appeal. From what I gather, he is at least been fined $550,000, but it may be more. Jones now confesses that Sandy Hook was not a hoax.

These are all untrue conspiracy theories. But, if people are so fascinated by such, there are real ones right in front of us. Here are a couple:

– The New York Times* reported Senator Mitch McConnell had a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service buried before the 2012 presidential election. Why? It was the fourth study by a reputable entity showing data that trickle down economics does not work.

– The Hill** reported (and Lewis’ book expands on) the following true story. Trump appointed a for profit weather company CEO to run NOAA and its weather service. Lewis reports that Barry Myers is using the weather service tax paid efforts in his for-profit business. That is called a conflict of interest.

– The Charlotte Observer*** reported on the Trump appointed Louis DeJoy as postmaster general having a conflict of interest in hamstringing the postal service, noting he has between $30 and $75 million in investments in for-profit delivery service competitors.

– Then there are the older true stories of Bill Clinton conspiring to keep a White House affair out of the press leading to his impeachment for lying under oath, Ronald Reagan conspiring in the Iran-Contra affair to illegally sell weapons to Iran for money to support the Contra rebels in Central America and, of-course, Richard Nixon’s Watergate conspiracy which led to his resignation before being removed.

These are real conspiracies. They deserve to be looked into by the ethics officers and Inspectors General. The fact the last two have occurred on the president’s watch makes his firing of Inspectors General even more disturbing. Why this is not a big issue to Republicans is beyond me and certainly not in keeping with the good governance. One of my GOP Senators wrote to me it is in the president’s purview to fire people, but what he lost sight of is the president is firing the umpire not the player. If a publicly traded company CEO fired audit people who had reported abnormalities, the Board of Directors’ Audit Committee would be looking into it.

***************************************************************************

* Here are the first two paragraphs of The New York Times article from 2012.

“What do you do when the Congressional Research Service, the completely non-partisan arm of the Library of Congress that has been advising Congress—and only Congress—on matters of policy and law for nearly a century, produces a research study that finds absolutely no correlation between the top tax rates and economic growth, thereby destroying a key tenet of conservative economic theory?

If you are a Republican member of the United States Senate, you do everything in your power to suppress that report—particularly when it comes less than two months before a national election where your candidate is selling this very economic theory as the basis for his candidacy.”

** Here are the first three paragraphs from The Hill article:

“President Trump has chosen Barry Myers, the CEO of the private weather forecaster AccuWeather, to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In that role, Myers, who has served as the chief executive of AccuWeather since 2007, would head the agency charged with executing a broad portfolio of responsibilities ranging from providing severe storm warnings to managing the nation’s fisheries.

If confirmed by the Senate, the nomination would install a business executive at an agency more recently headed by scientists. Former President Obama’s last NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan, for example, was a geologist and former astronaut.”

***Here is a select paragraph from The Charlotte Observer Article that cites The Washington Post.

“The Washington Post reported that DeJoy and his wife have between $30 million and $75 million in assets in postal service competitors or contractors, according to her financial disclosure report filed with the Office of Government Ethics.”

38 thoughts on “If people like conspiracy theories, why not look at real ones

    • Thanks Susan. Speaking of conspiracy theories, the incumbent in the White House said yesterday Kamala Harris may not have been born here as her parents were immigrants. Really? This is the incumbent president peddling BS, yet again. Why people believe anything this person says is beyond me. By the way, Lindsay Graham sad he has no issues with Harris’ citizenship. Mr. Graham, how do you feel about the president’s judgment or integrity? Keith

      • Susan, here is what Business Insider wrote about the latest Trump conspiracy theory he is espousing:

        “President Donald Trump on Thursday fanned the flames of a racist lie that Sen. Kamala Harris is not a US citizen and therefore not eligible to become the nation’s first Black vice president.
        Harris, who is of Indian and Jamaican descent, was born in Oakland, California.
        She is indisputably a US citizen.
        Trump and his advisers have refused to reject the lie about her citizenship, creating a clear parallel to Trump’s racist promotion of the so-called “birther” lie about former President Barack Obama.”

        I am sure a business publication would rather write about business matters than the latest blather that foams out of the mouth of the incumbent president. I could not help myself, so I called what he said what it is.

        Keith

  1. Another one of your truly excellent and enlightening posts, Keith! It seems to me that the more outlandish and unlikely a conspiracy theory is, the more it is likely to gain momentum among the masses. People like ‘exciting’ more than they care about facts … some people, at least. Thanks for the excellent post … I will re-blog it later this evening, for these are the things we all need to be thinking about as we approach election day.

    • Thanks Jill. People get hurt when people perpetuate and do not stop these outrageous stories. With the president’s misinformation and disinformation on COVID-19, dating back to January, how many deaths could have been avoided if he came out and forewarned Americans and encouraged safety?

      My favorite two COVID-19 stories are:

      1) a Baptist Retirement Home administrator that has avoided COVID-19 was asked how? He said when I heard the president say it was a hoax, I knew I had to dig further. That is truly knowing your audience.

      2) The other is San Francisco’s China Town has avoided much of COVID-19 as they knew they need to tell the truth to people AT THE FIRST PART OF JANUARY. So, people did what they were asked.

      Keith

      • How many deaths might have been prevented? Thye $64 million question … and one whose answer we will never know for sure. I like your two favourite stories … good to see when people do what is necessary and it works!

  2. Note to Readers: I did not want to pile on, but the WMD conspiracy for invading Iraq was another truthful one. We coerced Great Britain to join with us on spying on other members of the UN Security Council to vote yes and, of course, Scooter Libby, who worked for VP Dick Cheney, went to jail for outing CIA agent Valerie Plame to discredit her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson who DID NOT find evidence of WMD, but they said he did.

      • Jill, very true. And, Americans, Brits, and Iraqi civilians died. Lying to put people on harm’s way is criminal, in my mind. It certainly is a disservice to the deceased, injured and their families. Keith

      • Also true … and tragic. I remember that at the time, I did not blame Bush, thinking he had merely received bad information, but since then I have changed my tune a lot.

      • Jill, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld all need to be remembered for what they did. A British study of the lead-up concluded President Bush and PM Tony Blair misled the British people with the WMD rationale and for spying on other UN Security Council Nations to get them to vote yes – they did not. So, Bush, Blair used permission from the first Gulf War as authorization, which was a huge stretch. Keith

  3. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Conspiracy theories abound and most do not bear repeating, for to do so is to give the one spewing the lies just what he sought: attention. However, there are some actual conspiracies, both past and present, as our friend Keith notes in his very excellent post this evening!

    • True. Any conspiracy theory that involves a favorite pinata character (Hillary, Obama, Bill, Pelosi) will get believed by far too many. The believers are like wind-up toys. Keith

  4. You said, Keith “If a publicly traded CEO fired audit people who had reported abnormalities, the Board of Dorectors’ [sic] Audit Committee would be looking into it.”
    Please allow me to elighten you, though I can only do this through anecdotes. The UCP–United Conservatives Party–is presently the governing party (I prefer to call it the RULING PARTY as he treats Alberta like an empire) in the Canadian province of Alberta–look above Montana. During his 2017 party leadership race, he conspired with a so-called leadership candidate to split the moderate vote, thereby allowing Kenney to surpass the moderates and scrape his way into first place in the early rounds of voting. Once Kenney was in the lead, the “moderate candidate,” as planned, dropped out of the leadership race, recommending his followers back the more radical Kenney, which most of them did, rather than recommending they back the other moderate candidate. (Oh, the names Kenney
    called his opponent, Trump would have been proud, had Kenney not then been beneath Trump’s notice, lol.)
    Anyway, does that seem irregular to anyone? Well, it certainly did to the then-governing New Democratic Party leader, Rachel Notley. She started a Legislative investigation into the party’s actions, and it got as far as censuring the “so-called” candidate’s and removing him from the provincial governing body when emails were found demonstrating how the leadership race voters had been deliberately manipulated. Kenney’s right to be the legal leader of the UCP was about to be called into question. The investigative Legislative Committee was called into being, and a lead investigator was hired.
    ENTER THE ELECTION.
    Jason Kenney was still the “de facto” leader of the UCP, so when the election was held, and the UCP won with a majority, Kenney became Premier of the Province. Can you say, Kenney immediately fired the committe members, including the lead investigator, for all purposes and appearances ending the investigation into himself and his right to be called the Premier.
    Oh, he promised to reopen that investigation, but since that time no word of one has ever been released. The entire scandal has been swept under the rug. The RCMP, our so-called national police force, who are suposedly charged to investigate such matters, have not publicly released any information that even their investigation is ongoing.
    So, what I quoted you as saying at the start of this comment, “If a publicly traded CEO fired audit people who had reported abnormalities, the Board of Dorectors’ [sic] Audit Committee would be looking into it” is a direct example of the scenario you painted, EXCEPT THIS WAS NOT A PRIVATE CORPORATION, but a public body of governance. Kenney fired the man/committee investigating his right to be premier, and he got away with it.
    Did I mention Jason Kenney is a little Trump, except he is short and dumpy with fat fingers, unlike Trump who is tall and dumpy, with fat fingers, and orange-turd hair. Since he was elected with his huge majority, he is in an even more powerful position than Trump is, except his empire is a lot smaller and less populous. Still, we who do not worship him call him mini-Trump, because that is who he aspires to be.

    • Rawgod, these actions should be investigated by the governing bodies. This more than anything tells me Trump (and Kenney) are acting corruptly and with deceit. Yet it matters not.

      The publicly traded rule for independent audit committees came about after Enron, HealthSouth, Adelphia, Tyco and so on. CEOs and CFOs stealing, rigging the books, etc. What Trump and Kenney have done is no different.

      One Inspector General who was let go because of reporting on irregularities in the COVID-19 response. Another IG was let go because he made it known he was approached and passed along a request from an American mask manufacturer who had two idles lines. He reached out in JANUARY that he saw a mask shortage problem and could easily start making more with some funding.

      The IG passed along the request and when nothing happened, the owner followed up again and they powers that be were silent. You see this type of preparedness went against the president’s the coronavirus is a hoax narrative. Again, this was in January. How many lives would have been saved? How many jobs would have been saved? So, when Kenney’s mentor says he is not responsible, that is simply not true.

      Keith

      • One thing pro Kenney, he stopped saying hoax in short order, though we all knew he was thinking it. But still he wants to send kids back to school, without masks, without social distancing, and without max-sized classrooms. “Some are bound to die, but it’s a small sacrifice.” His kid is too young for school.

      • Rawgod, like the masks, the school issue has become political. No one wants to wear a mask, but they should. No one wants to remain out of school, but we must be safe. I do not see indications that we can keep every one safe. Keith

  5. Note to Readers: When asked about QAnon yesterday, Business Insider reported the president saying the following:

    “President Donald Trump on Friday refused to say whether he supports the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory, which a GOP congressional candidate he’s endorsed has repeatedly promoted.
    Trump ignored a question about whether he condones Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene’s support for the conspiracy, which falsely holds that a network of pedophile Satanists are scheming to oust Trump.
    “Well, she did very well in the election, she won by a lot. She was very popular. She comes from a great state,” Trump said of Greene.
    When AP reporter Jill Colvin asked Trump again to answer her question, he ignored her and called on the next reporter.”

    In Trump’s mind, if you win, that makes everything alright. But, we must not look past that Trump’s base includes white nationalists and conspiracy theorists. That is not to say, that all of the base is that way, but if people are, they are highly likely to vote for Trump.

  6. AccuWeather also was suspected when then-Sen from PennsylvaniA, R. Santorum, tried to paywall the Weather Service in 2005. The obnoxious for various reasons politician lost an election and I don’t know where he’s go off to now.

      • General question: are people who start/run companies in direct competition with a well established and functioning government service predisposed to whiny conservativeness that wants to get rid of “big government” at any moral cost? If any are, they got it for themselves by expecting people to pay for the privilege of supporting someone else’s life in return for something that was already free or charged proportionately to individual demands on it (Post Office).

    • Sadly, he is winning his race. My state of NC kept voted for Jesse Helms to the chagrin of the nation, so I understand how people not in KY are amazed he gets reelected.

      • What a nasty man. If he kept getting reelected for it, of course he would keep doing it. That Iowan disgrace is probably influenced the same way.

      • Helms got elected on dog whistle racism and continued blow the whistle to get reelected. In national mock student elections, Helms would lose 90 to 10, but he won where it counted. There are similarities to the Iowa situation. Keith

  7. Hello Keith. I think you have a romantic notion of what the real republican party is. You remember it from a time when they claimed to have principles, when they were fiscal conservatives, when they stood on a moral platform of personal responsibility. Keith all those things are gone. They were only a facade for the last two decades and the tea party exposed the part for what it would become, the cult of tRump. That not one member of the Republican party can stand up to or criticize tRump and remain in the party shows clearly it is the cult of tRump. We need to hold a memorial for the memory of the real Republican party, because what passes for it now is Q loving racist white nationalist religious bigots driving hard to be the lowest common denominators of humanity. Kids in cages, really Republicans? Hugs

    • Scottie, I won’t argue with your points. When I started writing my GOP Senators in earnest two years ago, I defined Trump as a threat to our democracy, our planet and your party. He is has now stuck a fork in the GOP, which is why an alternate GOP convention is occurring in Charlotte led by Republican Voters against Trump, The Lincoln Project…Keith

      • Hello Keith. I like the advertisements the Lincoln project is doing, they are getting under the thin skin of tRump. However the name Republican is forever tarnished and by more than tRump. If those people want to build a party they need to find a new name, and create a party that is inclusive in a country ever more diverse, and present policies / ideas that are inline with the majority of the country. tRump did not create the racism in the Republican party he is just using it. tRump did not create the gerrymandering to make sure a minority party stays in charge, in power, he is just using it.

        I am saying those that say they are Republicans but not of the party of tRump ( who has cowed every elected Republican into following him so they can keep their positions of power ) have to ask themselves what do they really believe and if it is not racism and bigotry, but instead value all people and democracy they need to form a new party, because the old Republican party was a direct conduit to the cult of tRump. Republican is and always will be associated with racism, bigotry, and tRump as a brand. It is a brand that has been soiled. Be well. Hugs

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