This Week in Conspiracy (3 Sept 2012)

The summer has almost ended. In the morning, I teach my first class in Wisconsin. I’m teaching two different syllabi this semester, the first time I’ve done that in a while. I’m teaching 2 sections of “Conspiracy Theory” and a section of “Extraordinary Claims.” The extraordinary claims course will be for more developmental writers, but it is still a seminar class, which is fun.

As you might imagine, I have been rather busy over the last few days, getting things together for the class and so on. Add to that the fact that my smart phone (where I first pick up most of my leads for this feature) committed suicide this week, and you will see that my offerings are somewhat limited. Nevertheless we persevere!

Is this the end of cover up establishment Warren Commission Puppet Arlen Specter? — Jason Bermas (@JasonBermas)

Headline of the Week:

That gem was closely followed by this one from the Village Voice blog:

Twits of the Week: 

Not only does Obama’s birth certificate not exist, OBAMA DOESN’T EVEN EXIST. #eastwooding — Paul Fidalgo (@PaulFidalgo)

Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox)
8/30/12 5:33 PM
Uh, the Ron Paul people are putting on black armbands.

(Unfortunately, it was later reported that Ron Paul was in fact still alive and healthy.)

That’s all for now, people! Now, where do I pick up my big government shill check?

FYI, we have another edition of the Virtual Skeptics coming up this Wednesday at 8:00PM Eastern in our Google+ On Air hangout. As far as stories go, we’ve scooped the most popular skeptic podcast two weeks in a row. We’re going for a three-fer!


4 Responses to This Week in Conspiracy (3 Sept 2012)

  1. Andrew says:

    As always, nice roundup.

    I do take issue with the Gary Webb piece. I don’t think Manuel-Long rattled off a “litany of debunkings” as much as just made assertions with out linking to sources. Admittedly, I’m biased, I agree with Webb’s findings. Of course his reporting was never about the genocide of the black community, but that’s the straw man people use to dismiss the other aspects of the investigation.

    • Bob says:

      Thanks for the note! Well, the thing about Webb is that he was so roundly debunked and the original series found so lacking that he was mightily demoted. Like, to dogshow reviewer in a community paper. When people take the original Webb piece and then cite it as evidence of a genocide, it’s a sort of double whammy. If I remember tonight (big if) I’ll try to hunt down my original readings about this story.

      But thanks for commenting. Comments are my favorite part of blogging!


  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the reply.

    The strength of critical thinking is using evidence to test claims,but the problem with political issues is whose evidence to believe? Webb claims his “reassignment” was punishment for rocking the boat, his editors never gave a clear answer.

    As for the debunking, critics focused more on Ad hominem attacks of Webb, and less on straight forward refutation of his reporting (some of which was based on the “Kerry Committee Report”).

    Again, the problem with political intrigue is that we don’t always have all the information, and some interpretation is involved. As Johnathan Kay said in the article posted above (and his book) “Real conspiracies do exist”, the problem is making sure reporting a cover-up doesn’t disintegrate into promoting conspiracism.


  3. Pacal says:

    The whole CIA created crack to destroy Black Americans meme has been around awhile. And yeah it has been pretty well debunked.

    But one of the sadder aspects of the case is that the sheer idiocy of this claim has served very effectively to enable people to ignore other troublesome aspects of the involvement of the CIA in narcotics traffic.

    If you read the classic The Politics of Heroin in South East Asia, you will read about how the CIA was involved in supporting and assisting and basically turning a blind eye to narcotic makers and trafficers in South East Asia. At the same time these organizations were helping to dope up American GIs, along with getting Heroin into the USA.

    It wasn’t so much that the CIA was actually involved in creating and trafficing it was that they were aiding those who were and the CIA was involved in shielding those people to some extent.

    Later on the CIA when it was aiding the Contras ,it turned a blind eye to Contra involvemwent in Cocaine trafficing into the USA. (Using US supplied planes!) I could also talk about the OSI (precursor to the CIA’s) involvement in reconstituting the Mafia in Italy during and after World War II.

    So yeah there has been some involvement of the CIA in drug trafficing, mainly through turning a blind eye to drug trafficing by people they are aiding. (Other examples include certain the Afghan freedom fighters and Panama under Noreiga, until there was a falling out).

    However it does appear that the CIA has not been involved in actually creating and distributing drugs. Despite that it;s record is still pretty shabby.

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