Among the “Conspiracy Theory” Theorists

By James F. Tracy

The University of Miami’s College of Arts and Sciences and Political Science Department held what was likely the world’s first official academic Conference on Conspiracy Theories from March 12th to 14th. The event was attended by 45 social scientists, historians and philosophers, including this author, who was initially uncertain whether he had been invited as a colleague or specimen.

conspiracy-400x264The estrangement and doubt toward the conspiratorial by many attendees was evident in some paper titles, such as, “Anti-Science Conspiracy Theories of the Right and Left,” “Telling the Truth About Believing the Lies,” and “Conspiracy Beliefs and Personal Beliefs: Exploring the Linkage between a Person’s Value System and his/her Conspiratorial Ideas.” One overarching assumption in the social scientific research was evident in three conspiracy bugaboos: “climate change denial,” “vaccination denial,” and questioning President Obama’s genealogy. Other sources of what certain academic vernaculars term “conspiracy ideation” or “conspiracy belief” included 9/11, the JFK assassination, and the crash of TWA 800.

What made the conference especially exciting, however, was how many of the social scientists—when they were not involving themselves in weighty and often abstruse discussions over their studies’ methodological nuances—were fending off challenges by the handful of cultural historians and philosophers in attendance for failing to more closely consider the often compelling substance of the many conspiracy theories the former summarily labeled and took for granted as irrational.

Yet the key note addresses of any conference are an acknowledgement of what is believed to be the cutting edge and future of the given field. Keeping in mind that the event was organized by political scientists who must dance between disciplinary and institutional raindrops of their field, the invitees were revealing, with two asking the proverbial “What should be done about the conspiracy theories?” question á la Cass Sunstein.

Brendan Nyhan [Image Credit:]
One of the speakers, Brendan Nyhan, is an ambitious career progressive and political scientist of Ivy League pedigree. He is also a somewhat strident public ideologue well known for anti-conspiracism—a sort of youngish Chip Berlet or David Brock (sans the experience as right wing publicist) whose erudition makes him appealing to New York Times and Salon readerships. The academic’s approach is also painfully emblematic of the discomfort and trepidation with which American social scientists generally approach the study of conspiracy theory.

Nyhan’s talk addressed the problem of public distrust that arises when lettered law enforcement and spy agencies release heavily redacted documents. Focusing on the 1996 crash of TWA flight 800, the speaker dismisses tout court all of the evidence and research suggesting that the aircraft might have been gunned down by the US military as a clear manifestation of conspiracy theory hucksters trying to make a buck from the profound tragedy.

With so many other quantitative social science researchers in attendance, the ensuing discussion centered not on Nyhan’s rather disingenuous approach, but largely on how the presenter might tweak his method to better identify and measure public doubt over the release of such documents. This is, after all, the sort of information the FBI, CIA, and other government agencies could readily employ to anticipate and deter conspiracy ideation.

Another keynote by Eric Oliver from University of Chicago, “Enchanted America: Magic, Metaphor, and Conspiracy Theories of US Public Opinion,” offered a profile of a 71-year-old woman Oliver interviewed who turned out to be against vaccination and a proponent of organic food. Ominously, however, she was also a fundamentalist Christian harboring a Manichean view of how state and geopolitical affairs play out. The observation provided the basis for presentation of an elaborate survey research project correlating personal anxiety in everyday life with the propensity to believe in specific political conspiracies or reject the supposed scientific status quo.

Karen Douglas, [Image Credit: University of Kent]
A final keynote by University of Kent  social psychologist Karen Douglas, “The Social Costs of Conspiracy,” brooded over how “conspiracy belief” had a decidedly negative impact on civic participation and “the greater good.” Douglas argued that there are grave consequences for the broader society stemming from those who “don’t vaccinate, don’t vote,” and “don’t reduce their carbon footprint.”

Echoing Nyhan, Douglas referenced Sunstein’s well-known co-authored paper calling for the “cognitive infiltration” of conspiracy theorist communities. Yet Douglas was also challenged by philosophers waiting in the wings to re-examine some of her assumptions on conspiracy thought and what actions the state should take to discourage or reroute such thinking.

The reader should not conclude from the above that the conference was a complete circling of the wagons by anti-conspiracy theory social scientists with plans to tax conspiracy theorizing or send would be conspiracy theorists to the gulag. After all, only policy makers and government edicts can do that. Yet such sentiment was also tempered by the event’s interdisciplinary makeup and humanities scholars who are far less bound to the government and foundation grants–or the New York Times–to propel their public image and ideas.

With the above in mind this author is left pondering exactly where critical thinking ends and “conspiracy ideation” begins. One of the most insightful comments I heard throughout the entire event came as a personal aside from a sociologist between panels. Invoking Thomas Kuhn’s, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, he remarked, “The scientists often see the shortcomings of their paradigms only after they’ve collapsed.”

Reposted at on March 16, 2015.

103 thoughts on “Among the “Conspiracy Theory” Theorists”

    1. No, the event was private, and I can fully understand the organizers’ decision in this regard.

      The presenters’ names are on the conference schedule, available by clicking through on the link in the first paragraph and following the link on that page.

      1. Thanks for the update. I suppose you’re aware of Joseph E. Uscinski and Joseph M. Parent, _American Conspiracy Theories_, (New York: 2014).
        I also notice Ted Goertzel on the program, with whom I used to pass out anti-Vietnam-War flyers (written by him) every Saturday in downtown St. Louis, and who drove several of us down to Selma, and up to DC. Paul Zarembka was around then too. His father was my landlord.
        Just so you know.

        1. Sure. Uscinski was the principal organizer of the conference, and the book was an anchor for some of the talks. An edited volume based on some of the conference papers may be forthcoming.

          That’s fascinating info on Dr. Goertzel. He is regarded as being a very early figure in examining from a scholarly perspective the notion of conspiracy. I was fortunate to have the opportunity of meeting him briefly.

        2. Daniel Noel – Isn’t it a bit snotty (not a proper academic term) of Goertzel to sneer at your statement that you would be “publishing” certain of your remarks and conclusions – “Where?” as though publication did not include internet postings which were freely available to a potentially very much wider audience than anything footnoted within an inch of its life in some journal.

        3. Musings: good point. Goertzel had the excuse that he was the first target of the 9/11 baby step and he read what he was being hit with a little too late.

          His reaction is not rare among 9/11 censors: blindly argue against Building 7’s controlled demolition, then understand the 9/11 baby step, and then stop communicating altogether. It would have suited the Master 9/11 conspirators well had I hit him with an affirmation of the controlled demolition. He could have argued that he would change his mind when the expert he trusted would. This would have been sufficient to convince skeptical readers, who believe the myth in good faith, to remain skeptical of 9/11 Truth.

          The 9/11 baby step is a unique feature of the grand conspiracies against humanity: it forces its audience into some discomfort over the official superstition that the 9/11 inquisitors can not erase. Had the conference broached the 9/11 baby step, it would have been to instruct the distinguished conspiracy experts to fear it and flee from it.


        4. Daniel,

          I never heard of Goertzel before, but after reading the comments by you and “politistahl” I’d say he sounds rather like Noam Chomsky–a scholar given lots of credit for seeking the unpopular truth, but he really doesn’t deserve it.

          On the other hand, I did read through your brief correspondence with him, and the article by the controlled demolition expert he links to. And I must say I can understand why he rejects the explosives theory because of it. It is very persuasive. The only question becomes: why would he stop there, and fall back to the sheer ridiculousness of the official story? Yes, it wasn’t controlled demolition, but it wasn’t a handful of Arabs with hijacked airplanes either.

          I concluded long ago that controlled demolition is an impossibility in the 9/11 event. Until lophatt persuaded me that it is likely that many hand-granade sized nuclear devices were the agency of the dustification of the buildings, I believed that Judy Wood’s hypothesis (that the secret government used some kind of weaponized Tesla technology) was the only viable one.

          I don’t know if it was nukes or Tesla technology, but I do know that it cannot have been thermite or thermate or conventional explosives of any kind. The buildings were transformed into dust and blew away, and it takes a certain amount of energy to do that.

          Beyond that, it is often forgotten (in fact most 9/11 skeptics have never heard) that all the buildings with WTC in front of their number were destroyed that morning. The Towers were numbers 1&2. WTC3, WTC4, WTC5 and WTC6 met their demise at the same time as 1,2 and 7. If you look at photographs taken from the sky that day the complex looked a lot like Hiroshima. Building 6 sorted a particularly interesting pattern of damage: it looks as if a giant post-hole digger repeatedly removed the structural contents of the building, all the way down to the basement, leaving the outside walls in tact. Where did all that mass go?

        5. Please refresh my memory: where did I correspond with Goertzel, and where does he link to an article by a controlled demolition expert?

  1. My goodness, the caption on this farcical seminar should have read: “Debunking all conspriacy theories for the enlightened upper caste.” *I call them a ‘caste’ as opposed to ‘class’ as the idea of ‘class’ would embue them with merit which they obviously lack

    Did you venture an opinion in defense, Dr. Tracy, or were you tactfully separated and ushered well out of earshot less you brought forth facts that these masterminds might find discombobulaing?

    Just curious….

    1. The organizers were gracious enough to invite me and allow me to speak. As I attempt to point out in my post, their intentions in terms of opening up a scholarly dialogue on CT are sincere, and I thought the event was quite successful. Aside from a few remarks I voluntarily restricted personal insights to my brief address and the above post.

      The French social theorist Pierre Bourdieu referred to academics as the dominated stratum of the dominant class, dependent on accolades and patronage. In my view that essentially holds true to this day.

      1. You are James, much more conciliatory and accepting than I. And you, as I, are entitled to your views. I am glad to hear that this was a “private affair”.

        I fear that both you and Msgr.Bourdieu are right. In my empty-headed, naive way, I suppose I still look to professors to “inspire” our youth and encourage controversial discussion.

        In my view it is always wise to look beneath one’s laurels before resting on them.

  2. In other words, “they’re all nuts and what are we going to do about it?”. The term “ideation” suggests psychological disorder. Whether or not someone’s livelihood depends on grants, acceptance of the premise that “belief” is a condition of citizenship is a poor academic standard.

    Oddly, the three topics for the “keynote discussions”, are far from “settled” even by normative academic standards. I don’t think I could sit through that.

    Obviously, none of us non-believers need anyone’s permission to have an opinion or to voice it. It sounds as if they all thought that the question was, “how do we control this ‘ideation’?”.

    Putting an academic “smiley face” on the oppression is not encouraging. To become salesmen for a perverse order does not require the amount of study these “academics” have devoted to their “fields”. They could have gotten a jump start on their “careers” by just accepting a few bills in the parking lot or signing up for “Crisis Actors” they could have saved a lot of wasted time spent at institutions that used to pride themselves on stimulating discussion.

  3. I would have expected you to be skewered, mocked and lampooned at such an event. Then they would really make fun of you with a gift certificate to a padded cell at the nearest insane asylum. Anyone that still believes the fable of 911, is far less likely to question anything else like Sandy Hook, Oklahoma City, Moon Landings. Without 911 truth, there’s no hope of reaching them on these others.

  4. i·de·ate
    v. i·de·at·ed, i·de·at·ing, i·de·ates
    To form an idea of; imagine or conceive: “Such characters represent a grotesquely blown-up aspect of an ideal man … if not realizable, capable of being ideated” (Anthony Burgess).
    To conceive mental images; think.

  5. One thing you can say about the anti-conspiracy crowd is that they are non-partisan. Their political affiliations quickly dissolve when a so-called conspiracy theory comes up. Although the Left (democrats) hated G.W. Bush with a passion, they defend and support the Bush explanation in regards to what happened on 9/11. They often called Bush and Cheney war criminals in regards to U.S. actions in the Middle East, but somehow they draw the line at these “evil madmen” having anything to do with harming their own citizens. On the flip side, republicans accept Obama’s birth story and phony birth certificate at face value and often mock those who believe otherwise. Ann Coulter is a prime example of this type of person. She hates Obama and his policies with a passion and believes him to be the devil incarnate, but somehow, she believes that forging his BC and other documents is beyond the pale, even for him, and aggressively mocks those (birthers) who think otherwise.

  6. this conference and it’s potential aftermath supplies James with some protection in an increasing oppressive power system. however it’s operative function, as opposed to whatever Proclaimed function it comes up with, is to develop an academic truth police, the counterpart to the media presstitutes, to restrict what academics can say about homicidal power conspiracies of American power.

    This is perhaps a response to CONSPIRACY THEORY IN AMERICA by deHaven-Smith, which partially legitimated the notion academically, largely by conceiving it within the standard politically scientific formula of Reform. but legitimating the reality-based truth about power conspiracies is not possible within a reform perspective. American power crossed the ideological Rubicon with its murder of 3000 Americans in the 9/11-anthax homicide, and cannot survive the simple truth about its ideological and homicidal war against the American people.

    The problem with this conference is that the reality-based truth formulated from the perspective of people conflicts sharply, irreconcilably, with the professional truth formulated from the perspective of power. the professional truth is restricted by the No Truth Zone that most professionals are forbidden to enter. therefore the reality-based truth about power and people must be told initially by the people themselves and their badass truthers, who subvert the Educated presuppostions underlying the professional truth because we are so ignorant that we just don’t know no better.

    1. I see you are of the school of thought which believes that 3000 Americans were really iced on 9/11. I do not think I can accept that figure. As with SHES, where there are no pictures of school children in their hundreds fleeing the building, there were no pictures of thousands of people evacuating the towers either. Yet it was said that thousands did that day. If so, where are they? Nor does it seem that these flights actually could have been what caused the Pentagon hole (the pilot interviewed at John’s post explains why that hole could not have been made by a passenger jet), or the impact at the towers (which would have been hit by something more maneuverable). That leaves me wondering about the alleged victims. Where would they have come from in such quantity. Not unlike the Marathon scam, the scale is too huge. So I tend to follow the parsimony principle: I figure all of this stuff is basically a propaganda movie to get the American people behind ventures they would reject unless they were told Americans had been killed.

      I know it seems to let a lot of people off the hook for killing their fellow Americans in acts of perfidy, but so be it. They committed crimes enough in the wider world of their fellow humans.

      1. I agree with you, musings, in finding it difficult to accept the 3,000 figure, especially with respect to the numbers involved in the crashed airliners (or not). There were, however, a good number of “jumpers” from the towers photographed and noted by police and firemen at the scene. Poor souls..

      2. That’s an interesting thought regarding the number killed. Do you think there were actual passengers on the planes that took off? Shouldn’t there be video evidence of passengers boarding those planes? If they did, how many were there and what do you think happened to them?

        1. Now here is an interesting problem for me. I went to high school with one of the 9/11 pilots, back in Anaheim (he was a year older, but I knew him from my physics class). The picture they always show of him looks older than 2001 – he looks more like 40 than 50. Rumor had it (and I think I only read this once on the internet) that this man was killed in a plane crash some years before in Latin America, either while on a flight that went down or while doing secret wars against the drug lords. Since he was an Annapolis grad and had seen military service, he might indeed have been an unreported casualty of one of our secret wars, and I think Colombia was where he was supposed to have bought it. Yet he is portrayed as having crashed into the very Pentagon with which he was so long associated. Since that hole in the Pentagon had nothing to do with his jet, what would have happened to him? I don’t think anyone murdered him to create fake casualties. I think he was probably a hero to those on the inside scoop. But I think he was portrayed as killed. Interestingly, a few years later, a person said to be his daughter died in a mysterious fire. Could a family keep such a secret for so long? Maybe some of them could not.

          Yes, I know this sounds so whoo-whoo – and generally I am more of a debunker of government fairy tales than one who makes up my own. I just cannot say what happened to this guy. All I can say is – they should have had a more recent age appropriate portrait of him, if he was still walking among us on Sept 10, 2001, but to my eye (since he was a near contemporary) they did not. I never saw him after high school and did not move in his circles, so I have no privileged information besides my memory and my high school annual.

        2. This is interesting, musings, on many levels.

          One is your age (which is, I think, very close to my own). There were close to zero Arabs in America in the late 70s/early 80s. Lots of Persians fled to Los Angeles when the Shah was deposed, but none of the supposed 9/11 hijackers were said to be Persian. So the idea that one of the 19 supposed hijackers would have been someone you knew as a youth makes your experience remarkable. Almost no American (outside of Detroit) had ever even laid eyes on an Arab until many years after that.

          Another is the fact that this Arab high school classmate of yours became a pilot. My understanding is that none of the named Arab 9/11 hijackers could fly, at all–which is part of the ridiculousness of the official story. They (the secret government) didn’t even try to match genuine pilots with the fake straw men “hijackers.” To the contrary, it seems as if they wanted the fake bad guys to look as fake as possible. I can only wonder why they chose a genuine Arab immigrant to America, who had lived here for decades, to be presented as one of the fake hijackers, when all the rest supposedly were newly arrived.

          Finally, the idea that he would be the one that was supposedly piloting the plane that hit the Pentagon is particularly remarkable. Since no plane, obviously, hit the Pentagon–no wreckage, no body–the idea that this long-time American citizen would be called the moslem wacko at the tiller…well, the mind reels. Were they trying to create a legacy? That is, were they trying to set in the permanent record that he was officially dead, when he was in reality quite alive?

          You ask what happened to that guy when he was working for Intelligence. I always assume these agents who are made to leave the stage without being killed (if he WAS one of those) are offered a new life off-world, in one of the secret government’s bases on the Moon, or Mars, or wherever else they have set themselves up as the New World Order is being arranged–including the Deep Underground Military Bases right here on Earth. It’s always a question, though, whether any of these people rate with our masters high enough to not betray such a promise to them. They kill people without compunction, after all.

          So this classmate of yours must have had some real importance to our masters. It certainly is intriguing.

        3. Patrick m’dear you have got off on the wrong track. I was talking about the pilot, Capt. Burlingame!

          As for Arabs – or Muslims – I met a kid in an exchange program in early high school or junior high, who came from Afghanistan and who wrote my name for me in Arabic script when I asked him. But no, I was talking about the pilot of the plane which was said to have crashed into the Pentagon.

        4. Oh and Patrick – I see where you misunderstood what I said – I never for one second thought the plane was piloted by someone who took private plane lessons only. I somehow assumed another scenario before dropping the whole thing as an illusion – that someone these planes were remotely commandeered. But that is neither here nor there – my premises are different now.

        5. How can what I said be construed as my “misunderstanding” you, musings? Here’s what you said:

          ” I went to high school with one of the 9/11 pilots, back in Anaheim….Yet he is portrayed as having crashed into the very Pentagon with which he was so long associated. Since that hole in the Pentagon had nothing to do with his jet, what would have happened to him? ”

          Seems pretty clear to me. You went to school with a guy who the official story tells us crashed a plane into the pentagon. Either that’s true, or you are mistaken. All I know is what you wrote, and what I read. I found it interesting. And very odd.

          All the supposed hijackers were Arabs. The fellow you knew in physics class, according to the official story, crashed a plane into the Pentagon, was an Arab. That makes you a rare American–since there were almost no Arabs in this country at that time. I find that interesting.

          What is it, again, I got wrong?

        6. Does it matter, patrick, once I have clarified what I meant? Sorry it came out ambiguous. Perhaps I have an allergy to official stories, so now that you know my final answer, what difference does it make? I meant Burlingame, who in my view never left his pilot’s seat, because the other story about those idiots being pilots made zero sense ever. Like the pressure cooker bomb is for kiddies. I thought they might possibly have been overtaken by automatic controls, now I think nothing happened, the plane never crashed into the Pentagon. Okay?

          Happy name day.

        7. My guess is that he suffered the same fate as “Roger Rabbit”. He went up in a blaze of cellulose, or fractured electrons.

          Ace Baker has some information on this. If, however, I were creating a story, and that story involved a pilot, I’d use a dead one.

          i could see them doing a little “cleaning” with regard to the daughter. It wouldn’t do to have your phantom’s death predate his big performance.

          As the precursor of SHES, this tale has more holes than Swiss cheese.

      3. I met a man who had interviewed at a WTC firm called Kantor Fitzgerald a short time before 911 attacks. He said they offered him more money than he was making doing the same job elsewhere at the WTC. But something didn’t feel right about it, he couldn’t put his finger on it. So he did not take the job. He was there when the attacks happened and got out safely. 100% of Kantor Fitzgerald were killed. I guess following your gut feeling sometimes pays off in spades.

      4. I’ve read where 39000 people, early responders and the like, have died from cancer type malignancies following the nuclear blasts at the WTC. This is described in Veterans Today website recently, I think more people should read this site. I’d also be interested with what James Tracy would say about VT, too.
        If you don’t think 39k were killed from cancer, can you give us some better numbers? VT has done a vast amount of investigatory work on 911, vast.
        I’ve also read in VT that another 70k have cancer at various stages as we speak……cancers that come from radioactive sources, like micro-nukes used to create this massive damage and molten granite under the foundations.

        1. My feeling is they threw the kitchen sink at the WTC 1 & 2 demo and used thermate, bombs, nukes and TNT to so confound any effort to figure out what really caused it, we would chase our tales in circles for over a decade trying to pigeon hole it. WTC 1 & 2 were dustified, a brand new type of demolition that costs a fraction of the time, energy and money normally used to haul away debris. I have come around to thinking Jim Fetzer has it mostly right with the mini-nuke hypothesis. The thermate residue just confounds our best efforts to understand it. By focusing on the never totally explainable “How” takes some of the focus away from the “Why”… the why seems crystal clear to me… justify wars and rally support for them… The “Who” part is clear as day when you you see “why”.

  7. The term “conspiracy theory” was coined by the CIA in the 1960’s with one key point of self-interest being suppression of criticism of the Warren Report. Several excellent books were penned on the JFK murder, including, Harold Weisberg’s Whitewash. Weisberg was a Senate aide and also served in CIA predecessor agency OSS during WW11.

    What is also interesting is what has been revealed about the CIA’s involvement in promoting certain conspiracy theories to mange the public’s perception writ large (after all, it’s a lot easier to manage people’s perception of reality than it is to change reality. In my opinion, perception management is a key raison d’etre of CIA and other intelligence agencies). A recent example of the CIA’s promotion of one of their pet conspiracy theories was examined in the documentary film Mirage Men (2013). The film explores how UFO buffs, including academics, were misled and used by the CIA as “useful idiots” in order to derail journalists and academics from exploring secret government weapons projects.

  8. Why isn’t conspiracy theory relative to “truth” and scientific facts relating to these events.
    Case in point, on 9/11 and passenger planes flying into the trade towers at 525+ MPH. It has been proven that the planes that supposedly flew into the trade towers cannot fly in excess of 400 mph at sea level (under it’s own power, and not in a steep dive).
    The plane engines will not generate enough thrust to to achieve 500+ mph, and the plane would fall apart with the extreme air forces in effect.
    That fact alone makes the entire 9/11 gov’t conspiracy theory impossible.
    note; the governments official narrative is a conspiracy theory.

    1. To support Pete’s comments above… watch this video of Pilot Russ Wittenberg, a pilot who had actually flown two of the planes involved in the 9-11 event:

      1. Great interview, even with the noise. A real man from the reality-based community, who knows a fairy tale when he hears it, and can laugh at it.
        The type of person who allows me still to love my country.

      2. The cognitive dissonance is such that they choose to believe that inexperienced terrorists did what an experienced pilot couldn’t do. This pilot is obviously a “conspiracy theorist” with a pro-Muslim terrorist agenda. These sheeple are killing us!

        1. Or… he’s somehow an unbrainwashed professional who is now retired and unafraid of losing his job or security clearance or whatnot. Unfortunately, we are losing such clear thinkers every day – while people coming up through the ranks today have been intensively schooled in these propaganda myths which demonize Muslims. I imagine most pilots come up through the military – and I’m afraid (from just in my own family), they are drenched in political lies, even while their technical training is excellent.

  9. The glue that binds society is the belief that government is altruistic and moral. Clearly, the “decidedly negative impact on civic participation and the greater good” means investigating even financial government malfeasance (the basis for most of their rotten acts) does not benefit this blind belief. I would challenge anyone saying greater good, etc, as hearting a Pinocchio point of view with an eye on getting academic wages for supporting the power structure.

    1. I don’t believe that the majority think government is altruistic and moral. I believe the majority don’t think at all on the deeper planes of existence. Ingest macromolecular food substrates and create various intermediates terminating as carbon dioxide. Life at its simplest, the molecular monster lives to eat again.

  10. Some hard-hiting comments here. Was the seminar a stylish Cass Sunstein infiltration of the truth movement? The list of participants was stellar; they came packing some serious credentials, giving an impression of expanding the discourse, which seemed to be the whole point and firmly implied.

    But impressions do not a reality make. More chit chat–though on a very high level. Anyone converted to Dr.Tracy’s system of beliefs? It would be worthwhile to follow up. Otherwise, we are back to square one and the beat goes on as time runs out.

  11. It’s so interesting that when one points out the flaw in an official story, the usual reaction is highly defensive in the crudest terms. Without having said a thing about many of the questionable stories of the past, one is instantly accused of doubting the moon landing or (much more to the point of poisoning all further discourse) doubting the Holocaust happened. It is to divert from the main logical points that some story or other is fatally flawed. The squid ink is squirted, and the vulnerable invertebrate swims away avoiding at fatal bite from the critic.

    Events like the 9/11 “attacks” and the Boston bomb hoax have to be long drawn-out stories to get the benefit which is sought from them, but as such they cannot stand up to prolonged scrutiny. That is their Achilles heel.

    Most people in our society seem to take the hint that belief is what is demanded of them, so they cannot dwell too much on what happened. Evidently, it does not change daily life for them, so they can ignore the whole thing. They feel they can still trust the system, and perhaps have a new enemy to enjoy hating. Very few will walk past the scene of the Boston hoax bombing and notice that nothing has changed in the antique lamp-posts or the facade of the buildings, while in places which have really experienced bomb blasts (I give as an example, Budapest), the historic buildings have long borne gouges and scars. You can see what a bomb can really do, one strong enough to amputate or destroy the limbs of as many people as were claimed at Boston. Why does no one make the comparison? Maybe anyone who ever lived through a war on their home turf is simply too afraid to anger the authorities by contradicting them. It is not the heroism of the strong immigrant I would have expected.

    As I have mentioned, there is a monument going up at the alleged scene of the shooting of MIT cop Sean Collier. I have to comment on something I saw on the news the night he allegedly died, on which I called B.S. (even though I believed the entire story up to that point). The news said that Collier had been taken to Massachusetts General Hospital just over the bridge from MIT. The footage they showed was not of the hospital emergency admitting, but of the subway across the street. Then two long-haired women said to be his sisters were shown on their knees praying at the site of the shooting. In the real world I inhabit, and the one I know about at MGH, which is very family accommodating and where families gather either to wait for news of their loved one or to mourn him, they would never been anywhere near the place their brother was just gunned down. Not on a bet. But when I mocked this fakery, I was chided as being “heartless.”

    I feel like Livia in “I, Claudius” complaining that anyone could see through the gladiatorial displays (that were like pro wrestling). Can’t anyone do good theater anymore?

    1. But here is a simple way of understanding the tendency to pile on to critics of some official story: A badly dysfunctional system is always in need of scapegoats. The critics (“conspiracy theorists”) interfere with the creation of a new scapegoat one can learn to hate. Because the scapegoat is so desperately needed by a bad system, nothing can be allowed to impede its creation. If the critic persists, he will find himself in the scapegoat category himself, crowned not with thorns but with tinfoil, a mini-me of the designated scapegoat.

      1. As I’ve said several times, I have problems with “credential worship”. This adds an additional dynamic to simple dissent. It is not because I personally hang on anyone’s word that has been “acknowledged” as some sort of “expert”, but many do.

        When we end up debating what one professor (or lawyer, doctor, candlestick maker, etc.), “thinks” about a subject, especially one that is out of their “field”, we miss the central point. That is, who said that we must “believe” whatever the MSM puts out?

        What they are doing is presenting a “Chinese menu” and saying, “pick either column ‘A’ or column ‘B’, no substitutions”. The ‘modeling’ aspect is the central one. On their end, who says that the default position is “belief”?

        So what you end up with is a group using their credentials to act as apologists for the authorities. If it were an open forum where differing opinions were encouraged and discussed, that would be healthy.

        All this boils down to is “I’m and expert and you’re wrong”.

    2. So true. I see this every day. People are often angry with me for failing to confirm their delusions.

      It’s so bad that some of them do a sort of “Mikey will eat it” thing with me. They give each other a knowing look, then make a conformist statement expecting me to challenge it. Usually I don’t. I tell them “you can believe anything you like”.

      So, the logical culmination of this is to have A.C. say “I saw a purple antelope on my way to the studio”, and we’re supposed to “believe” it until proven otherwise.

      You see, it isn’t a “what” thing, it’s a “who” thing. Those duly appointed as manufacturers of “truth” are to be believed unquestionably. Why, without that mindless reflexive behavior we might have dissent (grrr!).

      “Good theater” died long ago. Now its a race to the bottom. When they get there they’ll dig.

      1. It appears that people form certain, often indelible, ways that they receive information. If their comfort levels are established to listen to various commercial outlets, certain personalities, certain collections of programs, they tend to get locked into these incoming vehicles. They arrive there because the package sent to them appeals to their intellectual capabilities, time schedules, time durations, and gives them a handle with which they can continue the soap operas that perfuse their lives. This is how they open themselves up to imprinting and this is clearly an exercise that is not passive, but actively pursued by networks that have a certain purpose in mind. Is it not clear that with 95% ownership of networks by the tribe, one can expect tinted information packets rather than “news” that is neutral and fully open to interpretation by the listener? News is not meant to be left to the listener, it is meant to be working on listener mindsets and it is meant to be an active process of inculcation. Remember, it has also been stated some years ago that “CIA owns the vast majority of major network news personalities regarding content and delivery of news”. CIA has ways to bring commentators into the fold, so to speak. How about bribery with high salaries, how about threats of various sorts, how about blackmail like the blackmail that was perpetrated on poor, old Woodrow Wilson and his girlfriend scenario that thrust Louis Brandeis onto the Supreme Court and later injected Felix Frankfurter onto same? Commentators are very often bought and paid for.
        Notice how so-called “conservative commentators” on the Internet are stooges/shills of Israel? The guy who owns the network, the guy who signs the paychecks, you don’t think he has ways of enforcing Internet “discipline”? I digress, so sorry.
        The above verbiage tells me, if only me, that the main reason why we in Connecticut who are dreaded conspiracy theorists regarding Sandy Hook face these obstacles when trying to convince people of the false flag farce nature of this event. I have been called names not in the Bible for espousing these beliefs. I have been perjoratized to the max, received the most snide and derogatory remarks one can imagine, called a phony patriot, babbling idiot, commie dupe, and other names not so mild as these. People are hard to separate from their centripetal persuasions, it is almost as if they were synthesized into the person’s DNA. I’ve had wars with people over these issues, and I’m sure most who read these pages have, also. Simply put, if we could suddenly become that TV commentator in toto, we’d be able to get through to the person’s innate blockade of the real facts. Until we can duplicate that specific milieu, chances are we will continue to lose these battles.
        And, the 64 dollar question is, why hasn’t anybody or some group worked on such a methodology to break through and match the propaganda effort of those True Believers? If it works for Obama and his ilk, why won’t it work for us?

  12. You should have come equipped with some ‘Peekay Boston’ youtube videos which completely dismantle and catch red-handed the crisis actor scum. I’d like to hear how the BMB phoney-fake-show was for the greater good. I’d also like to see the cognitive dissonance materialize in the body-language and speech cadences in the mass of NPR-bait pseudo-intellectuals. There would be an outrage!

    A man 200 yds away from the bombing at the time of the fire-cracker who is video recorded walking and coaching others at the time of the blast is later escorted out on a wheelchair faking a non-existent leg injury.

    1. Don’t forget the cops laughing at Sandy Hook in the parking lot as they bring in loads of Dorito chips, bananas and groceries to be eaten in the midst of 20 dead first graders, six teachers and a suspect. All the while there is a BOLO for armed dangerous suspects wearing masks in a purple van and one in a nun outfit and also there are multiple staff unaccounted for (Cox and Halstead) . No reason to suspect anything out of the ordinary in the official story narrative.

  13. Are we to call people who believe that the WTC towers were demolished with explosives conspiracy theorists? Even when all the science points to this obvious truth? People who would deny this science are science deniers. Why do these academics feel empowered to deny the facts of long established science in favor of pseudoscience?

  14. I used the conventional 3000 deaths, Musings, because I didn’t realize there was a dispute about the numbers. I’ve never investigated the question of numbers myself, and hold no brief for any specific figure.

  15. Apologies for hasty misreading (and posting). I now understand what’s being spoken of, and to whom, here.

  16. Unsure about being “a colleague or aspecimen”? That’s hysterical.

    And consider this turn of phrase stolen; about the scientists who must “dance between the disciplinary and institutional raindrops of their field”.

    Still, Mr. Tracy’s article left the distinct impression that a “circling of wagons” was the general upshot of the conference, even allowing for the parting shot about the collapse of paradigms.

    “With the above in mind this author is left pondering exactly where critical thinking ends and ‘conspiracy ideation’ begins. One of the most insightful comments I heard throughout the entire event came as a personal aside from a sociologist between panels. Invoking Thomas Kuhn’s, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, he remarked, ‘The scientists often see the shortcomings of their paradigms only after they’ve collapsed.'”

    In science, these collapses happen after a lot of replicable experimentation has been accomplished. In the case of the various conspiracies mentioned on this site, the work of replicable experimentation has not been accomplished, and I’ll offer an example:

    Several years ago, during the Sandy Hook thing, I suggested that some group find a way to sneak a tele-operated robot with a camera into the school, to provide independent verification of the details of the official narrative, particularly regarding the bullet pocked walls, and blood drenched floors. This would have required fairly deep pockets, a dedicated group of what could only be called conspirators themselves, and sophisticated knowledge of how to pull off such a feat.

    Now typically, none of my suggestions are followed, but I manage somehow. The truth of the matter is that without independent corroboration, alternate narratives to the official narrative cannot be, well, corroborated. There is also a big difference between being wiling to make the suggestion, and able to actually enact the suggestion. I’d like to forestall the knee-jerk, poorly enunciated accusation that, if my robot idea was so great, why didn’t I do it?

    It costs very little money to post anonymously on a website, where truth is at a verifiable minimum, and wild speculation at a verifiable maximum. And since the maxim that “you get what you pay for” is generally true, there can be no expectations that the whole truth of these unfortunate events can be known.

    The price of truth is fairly high when the truth of the matter is meant to be a secret.

    1. This is a blog, not Harvard’s Kennedy School of Gov’t, yet I would contend that at least some of the discussion and observations found here are much more vibrant, interesting, and certainly far less stuffy, than what one might find there.

      Further, as one learns in Sociology 101 the practice of replicable experimentation does not carry over to the social sciences where the study of human affairs figures centrally. Still, such a model remains relevant in terms of illustrating the concept of paradigm maintenance, disruption, and repair. One hundred years ago the Western social sciences were busy providing seemingly scientific rationalizations for state policies involving segregation and eugenics. The nature of many assumptions guiding such social science and programs, I would argue, more than subtly reverberate in today’s discussion of conspiracy “belief” or “ideation.”

      The comment also suggests that academic interrogation of deep events is not possible without government acknowledgement of such events. Nonsense. I would contend that it has much more to do with academics misusing the privilege of tenure for career advancement than for its original purpose.

      1. “I would contend that it has much more to do with academics misusing the privilege of tenure for career advancement than for its original purpose.”

        In truth, this can be said of many aspects of this hyper-corrupted time we live in. Paul Craig Roberts recently was given an award for his courage in Mexico, and in his remarks to the gathered journalists he mentioned how American agribusiness has been systematically destroying the village-scale, native economic structures in Mexico and indeed all the countries that can’t face down Washington. This is not a lot different from what the academic faces.

        Or, brought closer to home, when a federal SWAT team descends on an organic dairy farm and steals all their cheese and milk and the computers they run their business on, to satisfy the desires of the vast, unhygienic, industrial milk-producing factory farmers, the little man feels impotent in the face of a system with seemingly total control.

        Sticking with the agricultural allusion, a couple of years ago the factory farmers of hog-production in Michigan got their lap dogs in the state legislature to outlaw old-fashioned, heirloom pigs. The farmers that raised these ranging, pasture-eating animals, were forced by law to kill them all–not for market, but to end their business permanently. One farmer refused, and fought back. The rest complied, like whipped dogs.

        Somehow, the desire to fit in, to be loved by the institutional construct of the academy, trumps the desire to pursue the truth in the vast majority of would-be academics. I have not gone to graduate school, so I know little of the personal pull of the politics that reside therewith, but I suspect that that’s where the corruption begins. It is small choices we make to advance in a system that, taken together, in their billions across time, that transform something that once was good into something despicable.

        James Tracy is to be admired for being that one pig farmer in Michigan who refused to shoot his heirloom stock just because it’s what everyone else felt compelled to do. He is that hold-out Mexican farmer who continues to grow the old, native, variety of corn his ancestors did, and tell Monsanto to piss up a rope–even if it means being completely marginalized. (I have no doubt he’s admirable for lots of other things, but let’s stick to the topic at hand.)

        It must be a life of cognitive dissonance to be an academic in this modern context; to have tenure, but no desire to use it for its actual purpose, because that might mean never getting invited to the faculty cocktail parties, or being asked to answer a question of the day on NPR’s All Things Considered. God forbid that Anderson Cooper might ambush you, and have the Daily Mail trumpet to the whole world that you are a dangerous loon. It’s better to self-lobotomize, and have O’Brien pat you on the head because you are willing to mock “conspiracy theories.” Some of these people are so good at self-lobotomization that they don’t remember what it was like to feel like they once did, when they swore they should never “sell out.” I’m sure lots do remember that former self, though, and hate themselves for it–until that Christmas invite arrives in the mail, or the caller says: Anderson is on the line, wanting a juicy quote from a big shot perfesser.

        1. Patrick and James, your comments are well taken. I think there is actually more going on here than may be obvious.

          Patrick’s statement on “fitting in” is exactly so. We no longer appreciate those who “think out of the box”. The current meme is to reinforce conformity.

          Conformity to what, you might ask? Why that would be the various manufactured realities that Karl Rove mentioned some time ago. You see, we all have “jobs” now, or rather “functions”. Our “acceptable” function is to “believe”.

          In some ways Mr. Fanarro’s references are from another period. That was the “worship of science” period. As an example, to successfully repeat an experiment, while highly prized in science, does not really prove anything other than, if you do this, you get that.

          Those experiments are often like the construction of atomic models. They are all speculative. Because it “seems”” to work, the model must be “right”. Could it be wrong? Of course.

          So in less rigorous (supposedly), disciplines, the game is to establish a “norm”. Those readers on the nightly “news” are engaged in this, and now, as it seems, so is academia. The default, allowable position is belief. Belief in what? Why, belief in anything the “authorities” say.

          So, the new standard is that to deviate from belief, the burden of proof is on the “conspiracy theorist”, not those telling the lie. So the “scientists” say “every time I blow up brown people there’s a reaction. It must be due to Islam”.

          The academics say; “any deviation from absolute conformity must be accompanied by rigorous scholarship utilizing only approved sources”.

          I say” “says who?”. When we voluntarily abdicate our right to make decisions on our own terms we become jellyfish in a tank, Planeria who shrink when someone turns on the light.

          If this trend continues the academicians may suffer the same fate as the politicians should. We should laugh and turn our backs. As a wise Greek once said; “those who the Gods would destroy, first they make proud”.

        2. I’m a bit wary of the praise here. I would also probably steer clear of romanticizing a handful of would be independent thinkers inside or outside of academe. For most academics conformity is guided by the simple pragmatic approach of maintaining a profession they enjoy and staying in the good graces of (senior) colleagues, who they must rely on for letters of recommendation and the occasional book blurb. In other words, it’s like many other professional endeavors where reputation is bound up with cultural capital. I don’t think it’s fair to point to one specific scholar or group of scholars and yell, “Sell out” or “fraud,” although in my view apparatchiks such as Nyhan, Sunstein, or Jonathan Gruber cry out for this. This is why I thought the invocation of Thomas Kuhn at the conference was especially apt.

          That said, what passes for acceptable topics of study and debate in the academy today is markedly shaped by a fear of offending how colleagues perceive themselves as political and social subjects. In other words, political correctness has had a vast influence that is all-too-frequently an underlying basis for publication, hiring, granting of tenure, and so on. On my way to the Student Activities on the U of Miami campus last weekend, I was confronted with a placard that read, “Powered By Philanthropy,” which I believe provides a clue of how such a consensus has been forged.

          Further, consider that today three quarters of university teaching faculty are not on tenure or tenure track lines. In other words, they are contract employees with no safeguard of due process, and thus can in no meaningful way speak out on unjust policies of the given university administration, let alone extraneous socio-political topics or events, without seriously jeopardizing contract renewal. Unfortunately, at most universities the jawboning over “free speech” and “academic freedom” belies an almost feudal arrangement over intellectual thought and discourse.

          Along these lines, see my, “The Subtle Mechanics of Unfree Speech.”

      2. You never surprise me with your succinct and directed observations, Dr. James Tracy, but always delight and tickle my fancy for clear thinking. You are scholarly without resorting to academic buzzspeak; thank you.

        And while I am in a celebritory mood, let me offer this on St. Patrick’s Day to all who embrace an Irish turn of mind and appreciate a good Irish jig:

        Traditional Gaelic Blessing:

        May the road rise up to meet you
        May the wind be always at your back
        May the rain fall softly upon your fields,
        And until we meet again,
        May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

        1. @Marilyn Jay A.:

          Don’t damn Mr. Tracy (or anyone else) with too much praise, don’t praise anyone much at all unless you really feel (ie., intuit/sense) they really need it. Praise directed at ‘someone else’ is often a kind of self-congratulatory ego trip or a mere repetitive and therefore, dullish, habit.

          John Fornaro is an obvious blow-hard (self-congratulating) dick. Tracy responded as well he should.

          Too much reward is as bad or worse than too much punishment. We are living in hard times with lots of artificiality (over-reaching, over-reacting habits; multiple and thick ego identity masks) masquerading as sincerity.

          Focus on making the times better.

          Ned Lud

      3. When Eisenhower initially drafted his farewell address, he referred to a military-industrial-Congressional complex. The term Congressional was dropped from the speech under pressure from elected officials. European intellectuals, and, some European politicians have referred to MIMAC, or, the military-industrial-academic-media complex. Recognizing Europe’s shortcomings, that, in many respects, mirror those of the U.S., this refinement of the term represents, in my opinion, an overall, historical, and not insubstantial cultural advancement of Europe vis-a-vis the U.S.
        The interests of MIC or MIMAC are represented by the Ivy League intellectuals, and, by the mainstream journalists and news broadcasters. They are the proverbial gatekeepers. It is not just race and eugenics at issue here. The .1%, or 300,000 American families that control and own the corporate and political power structure of this country require the support of the gatekeepers to maintain control of the public mind and Leitkultur. This explains, in my opinion, the replacement of many college social science programs, especially one’s focusing on critical race thinking, and, similar issues, with a more corporate friendly curriculum preferred by the entrenched interests of the elite. The gatekeepers function is both domestic subjugation of interests and ideas that are hostile to elitists, and, political and economic hegemony of the world by the U.S. power elite, a group that represents only a small fraction of a percent of the U.S. population.

      4. There’s no question to me that the “practice of replicable experimentation does not carry over to the social sciences”. But I did not address sociological experimental replication in my example.

        I suggested verification of the visual physical evidence at a crime scene, using available technology. The photographic record that could have been offered would stand either in contrast to the official narrative, or in agreement with the official narrative. That, and that alone would be the “experimental replication”, and it would have had nothing whatsoever to do with sociology. BTW, I first made my suggestion when the visual evidence could have still been gathered. Obviously, had the press been allowed to photograph the crime scene, that story would certainly have played out differently.

        However, that crime scene has been destroyed, and destroyed rapidly, so that a true telling of those events is unlikely. American society is left with the disturbing uncertainty of the many unanswered questions surrounding the case. One line of questioning, for me at least, has to do with the extent to which the drugged perpetrator of that crime had been monitored over time while playing on-line video games, and to what extent could he have been guided in his subsequent actions, by carefully placed, cognitively infiltrative, anonymous posting in his virtual world. How many other virtual worlds in the blogosphere have been so infiltrated? And to what purposes? The rabbit hole of conspiratorial thinking can be very deep.

        I am aware of definitional differences between a blog and Harvard, but neither should avoid a search for the truth while holding onto pre-conceived notions about current events and the intentional nature of most of human activity. But that wish is more likely an “unexpected virtue of my ignorance”, to quote Iñárritu. I agree with the common knowledge that academics misuse “the privilege of tenure for career advancement”; this can be seen as training for public office, for one thing.

        I do take issue with Mr. Tracy’s observation here:

        “The comment also suggests that academic interrogation of deep events is not possible without government acknowledgement of such events.”

        My comment does not suggest that. It is evident to me that academic interrogation of deep events is hamstrung by common human frailties, particularly groupthink, and this groupthink is deliberately promulgated by the owners of this or that academic group, at least for the purpose of supporting their attempt to keep the reins of academic power. My comment is more accurately summarized as an acknowledgement that academia can indeed limit itself to governmentally approved lines of thought. But for the final private remark, this would seem to hold true, by my take, for that conference.

        I look for the truth however, and not anonymous vibrancy, which is clearly more prone to personal attack for not holding pre-approved views. With all of the circling of wagons in both academia and blogo-demia, I get the sense of watching a huge cowboys and indians tv show.

  17. Let me suggest, John Fernaro, a wild speculation that would not be entertained at Harvard’s Kennedy school of government. I suggest that the historical function of science is to COVER UP the reality-based historical truth when that truth subverts the ideological world-view that legitimates the state power system. And that these truths can only be legitimated by scientific revolutions OPPOSED by the ‘normal’ scientists of the time, as Kuhn calls them. The wild speculation is that for ideologically subversive truths, the scientific tradition is a REPRESSIVE tradition.

    In the 17th century Galileo argued the Copernican truth that the earth moves around the sun. He wrote in the popular Italian, not the learned and scientific Latin, because we wanted to reach beyond the technical specialists who were wedded to the delusive tradition. The power delusion of the time was that the earth was Exceptional among the planets, just as American power considers America Exceptional among the world powers. It was conceived as the center of the universe by scientists throughout history, it being considered impious to conceive it as a planet like the others, which moved as they did.

    In the 19th century, humans were conceived to have evolved like other species, in conflict with the traditional scientific view historically. the views of evolution are still not accepted by large portions of the population in the more ideologically backward countries.

    In the 20th century, Marxism, the major world social theory formulated from a people’s perspective, was also clothed in scientific ideology. It maintain under laissez faire capitalism that fewer and fewer capitalists would own more and more of the assets, now a world phenomena. Marxism was stigmatized, distorted, and ideologically repressed in bourgeois social science operatively, although Proclaimed as a founding father.

    I suggest to you that when the social scientists are ‘circling the wagons’ in the Miami conference, they are behaving scientifically. But the traditional repression of science historically has itself been repressed by scientists. This despite the role of science in the scientific racism at the end of the 19th century, and the human zoos of the early 20th, where non-White people were imprisoned with animals, and viewed by spectators as an entertainment.

    What do you think, John, that I should apply for a scientific grant from Harvard to elaborate this wild speculation? Or are there some truths that are so unscientific, unprofessional, and unlearned that only a truth revolution can legitimate them.

    1. Well, I have followed Groucho Marx and John Lennon for years, so my credentials as a Marxist-Lennonist shouldn’t be questioned. But credentials are always rejected by those who don’t like a particular set of credentials, rejected on an arbitrary basis.

      I remember learning about marxism as a teenager. I thought it sounded pretty good then, but then I also thought that political leaders had moral compasses, and would put the people ahead of the corporation. Again, my thinking at that time was more a reflection of the hidden virtue of my ignorance. Powerful people tend to collect power and at some point that collection becomes an obsession and a corruption.

      I remember that one of the central tenets of the marxist “faith” is how government will fade away. And if today’s china can be considered a marxist society, it is clear that their government is not fading away in the least. From an economic standpoint, they are creating a wealth gap with roughly the same eficiency as the capitalist system. As to the Russian variant of what I thought was a marxist society, that government has certainly faded away, but I don’t think many people would consider Russia to now be a worker’s paradise, nor that the current Russian government is closer to some marxist ideal now than back in the day.

      I see marxism as one of the social sciences, and social sciences are not subject to replicable experiments, unlike the more pragmatic sciences.

      As to the idea that the historical function of science is to “cover up the reality based historical truth”, then it seems to be failing miserably, or else it must be said that all scientific advance is false, for how could it be true, by definition?

      To take one example, consider Mars. The earlier Babylonian societies considered Mars to be a wandering star, confirmed by their scientists. Later, science redefined Mars as a planet. Even later, science discovered canals on Mars. Now, science is saying that Mars is about as dry as the Sahara. Which one of these views can even be true?

      Take another example from the field of nutrition. First, for thousands of years, eggs were seen to be nutritious. Then, science said that eggs were full of cholesterol, and were thus not so nutritious. Now, science is saying that eggs, after all, are nutritious. Which one of these views can even be true?

      If science is covering up some truth, then it needs to make up its mind.

  18. There is a real time conspiracy unfolding right now, although decades in the making the real pain is slowly creeping in. Global warming, cooling, climate change, the green movement and the carbon caliphate are all the same charlatans created to crush the working and poor classes.

    The oceans did not rise, the polar caps did not disappear and neither did those mighty white bears. Nuclear power is reliable, did not add to carbon ‘pollution’ or kill one person. {Russia & Japan did not follow the strict safety standards employed by most countries.}

    Shutting down 60% of our power generation is not going to magically be replaced with solar & wind. Next we will hear because of climate change, they did not work as planned.

    Let’s call a conference of our own and inquire why should we believe the current forecasts when the previous ones were so wrong? Perhaps Jonathan Gruber or Al Gore can explain why lying is sometimes necessary for the greater good.

    In spite of the current propaganda push, there are scientists with scruples who point out the U.N. push to control us with false data and more taxes is as crooked as a hockey stick.

    Germany in their haste to shut down their clean nuclear power system, is now quietly building coal plants as those wind farms on the open water are drifting into a really bad idea that did not work. They do not have to bother with those tough US laws to make them cleaner with technology that does not yet exist.

    The Boston Globe announced in November, electricity rates would increase 37% for the winter because there is a gas shortage. That is an outright lie, there is plenty of gas but those NIMBY activists have been successful in stopping needed pipe lines to transport that energy made in dirty states!

    The carbon tax is regressive and will unfairly burden the middle and lower class.

    There will be power outages and even the EPA admits there will be no measurable amount of reduction in carbon emissions with coal plants closed.

    The energy commodities market is a huge scam, when there are shortages of electricity, the prices not surprisingly skyrocket. This must be when those smart meters are utilized to ration out the kilowatts for critical needs only.

    Search for the ISO New England to see where the electricity rates skyrocket from ~$3 to ~$15 per kilowatt in 2016. When demand exceeds supply, they can charge outrageous amounts. Deregulation was just another Ponzi scam in disguise.

    1. I cannot believe how long they have been at this climate/enviro narrative. I was watching an episode of “Family Ties” from the mid-1980’s (staring Michael J. Fox). In one episode, the daughter develops paranoia concerning the melting ice caps et. al.

      Her parents take her to a psychiatrist for mental help because she was so paranoid about climate change (or whatever they called it back then). Well, she ends up convincing the psychiatrist of the threat and he basically becomes paranoid about it as well.

      In the end, the daughter’s super “green” parents basically tell her that her fears are valid but that she must stay mentally strong so that she can impart “positive change” on the world.

      That show’s message just blew me away.

  19. Today’s Boston Globe has published the extensive (101 questions) jury questionnaire employed in the Tsarnaev trial. I was interested to see that some very intrusive questions were on it, including the use of social media and the requirement that people list specific blogs and websites they followed or participated in.

    I believe that if you neglect something on this questionnaire, you may be subject to prosecution.

    Since it seems that this trial is a sham anyway – for instance the statement by the news that 1500 jurors had been called and examined – and the difficulty of believing such a crowd was ever at the courthouse (it would have been filmed) – the questionnaire is designed to show that they sifted very hard to find the most blank slate of a jury that they could.

    But you might want to check it out at today’s Boston Globe, for Wed. Mar. 18, online.

  20. The powerful lie a lot. They have to, it’s part of the job. Truth, and untruth, is a power weapon like guns or money, and it is much cheaper to delude people than to bribe or kill them. So that is what the powerful have done throughout history to ideologically legitimate their power and policies. The powerful have typically have had sharply different power interests than those of the people they rule, so they have filled the gap with deceit, delusion, ideological repression, and irrationality.

    That is why, in crucial ways, we are ideologically insane. We have inherited from previous generations delusive religious, political, and scientific ideologies that, largely without our conscious awareness, have legitimated anti-people power. We have been miseducated, misinformed, and misentertained by the truth institutions of our power systems to ideologically identify with power against the people ruled by power. Against ourselves. We are systematically miseducated by the schools as children to learn the ideologically misconceptions that enable the mass media to systematically misinform us as adults.

    However it must be stated in defense of the powerful that they never, ever delude the people they rule so long as they can hire somebody else to do it for them. For most of recorded history, the powerful have sponsored and subsidized a priesthood, Educated in the Sacred Books, to indoctrinate the people in a traditional religious ideology. A religion is a power ideology, legitimating the powerful gods, or Almighty God, and more covertly, the earthly power of the ruling oligarchy. That is while religions with their infantile power delusions have endured for century after century; they have been used to legitimate and extol ruling power.

    However with the rise of capitalism, the power delusions have been incorporated in increasing quantities in the political and scientific ideologies used to delude the population. The priests have been replaced by trained professionals recruited primarily from the professional-managerial class. Religious delusion has largely been replaced by secular delusion. We have developed elaborate Civilizations which have evolved to the point where we now can be deluded by highly trained professionals.

    In the 21st century we can undergo a truth revolution which can change the delusive political culture accumulated by power delusion. I doubt that this can come to fruition in the USA, since America is declining historically at an accelerating rate, and we have been intimidated to be afraid to think the reality-based truth. But there is a ‘global political awakening,’ as Brzizinski has termed it, and the earth’s people may be political mature enough to begin to formulate the mainstream truth in the people’s interests, rather than traditionally, in the power interests of power.

    1. Mr. Foster’s article is an example par excellence of the intentional factionalization and marginalization of conspiracy researchers. He does an excellent job as a hatchet man for the establishment view, painting the conspiracy theorists as conflicting “tribes” fit more for psychiatric, political rehabilitation than for academia. I guess the correct academic stance is supposed to be that the government is the only institution that can uncover reality-based conspiracies. This, of course, is done daily in criminal courts, and funded by the taxpayers (including the conspiracy theorists).

      Several commentators have pointed out that the revisions to DSM-V diagnose mental disorders based upon spending too much on the internet. This type of diagnosis is clearly aligned with the government’s anti-conspiracy theory agenda, and, has real world consequences (e.g., gun confiscation). This is starting to look like communist-style political misuse of psychiatry:

    2. How refreshing to know there is a professional who specializes in the psychology of conspiracy theories and his study has found there is nothing prejudicial in the term ‘conspiracy.’

      “The aim was to see whether the phrase “conspiracy theory,” used so often as a pejorative, actually made people less likely to accept the claims. Turns out it didn’t.”

      If that was actually true, there would be no need for his life’s work. Citizens questioning the published narratives for the truth especially when facts are concealed and conflict with reality should be heralded as heroes.

      [As in, a hundred pound teenager could not possibly carry almost that amount of armaments and fire hundreds of rounds in five minutes as reported.]

      Yes indeed there is a need to study the mentally ill and help them in their suffering, but it is not logical to corral anyone who questions the news into the lunacy bin in a just society.

      1. The standards for civil commitment to the looney bin, sorry, to a medical facility where one is held for observation, are if the person is a threat to himself or someone else. Now I suppose the definition of threat could be stretched considerably, which it would be in a society which is truly afraid of being found out. This society seems not to be as worried about its Potemkin villages (Newtown?) as the Soviet Union was.

        People are just hungry enough for sensation to accept the junk news as readily as they accepted junk food. It is pleasurable, for some, to think that Boston was held at bay by a couple of Chechens, well the hotter one, anyway. The one in all those Abercrombie-like poses, with the sulky mouth. Cover of the Rolling Stone? Why not? Oh, a little controversy, but it got the job done. Marlon Brando for our times. Yet properly hated by most, defended by a few. What do they care about the minuscule percentage of people who have no use for him at all, who are not buying the story? Not a problem, since the ad campaign was fantastically successful. As was Sandy Hook in its time, as was 9/11.

        The talk may be of marginalizing skeptics, and there may be some examples made of a few, but they know that TPTB would stumble if they took it any farther than that, because making martyrs changes the game completely, and all of a sudden, one loses control of the message. They know the peer groups will keep people in line, no need for actual confinement. After all, it’s useful to cultivate a token opposition. It just reinforces the image of power, which can keep flinging out new made up facts, red herrings for the eager truthers.

        That’s why there can be these semi-civilized gatherings to discuss the rules of the game. And, too, it is so post-modern. After all, few care about the “truth”, which is applied pejoratively to those crazy people who keep (in the worst of taste) demanding the truth, as though it exists. Oh dear, they really are the unwashed, aren’t they? But what would the game be without them?

    3. This passage in the linked article was a delight:

      When dozens of people gather to discuss conspiracy theories but can’t even agree on how to define them, you’re bound to see some clashes. An especially tart exchange came on the last day of the meeting, after Ted Goertzel praised the “pejorative use” of the phrase “conspiracy theory,” calling it “one of our accomplishments.” James Tracy, the Sandy Hook skeptic, piped up to complain that the term was being used to dismiss people making legitimate inquiries.

      “Like who?” said Goertzel.

      “Like me,” Tracy replied.

      Today, Miles Mathis posted new “paper” in his series that could be titled “everything you know about famous events is wrong, because they never even happened.” I’m only part way through it, but his argument is that John Kennedy was not shot (his article on Lincoln says the same thing). It was a body double. I’ll read the rest, of course. I like this sort of thing.

      The thing is, I have no idea if Elvis Presley died How am I supposed to know? We are alway lied to. Mathis has an article “proving” that John Lenin is still alive. Again, how am I supposed to know? His evidence seems pretty good, and his argument is persuasive. I’m glad to know that SOMEONE is probing these things.

      All of these scenarios are accepted because we, as a race of people, have inherent trust in the corporate media. Do they deserve it? I’d say the Americans are the dumbest race ever assembled–because they simply believe what the talking heads say through the blue light.

      This conference Tracy attended seems to have had many purposes, perhaps because our masters don’t know what to do about people like me, who are entirely open to Mathis’ questioning. We who know that since we’re always being lied to, we might as well entertain any possibility. Our masters don’t like it that people like us exist.

      I had considered composing a comment in reply to James’ wariness about my and lophatt’s praise of him, but I’ve grown tired recently. I’d have brought in the long list of Victor Davis Hanson’s laments about the slave-like status of most University instructors, who will never find a way to tenure-track, and the Lord-like swagger of the tenured. But I’m weary. The whole thing is so sad, so corrupt.

      In 1984, everyone is weary–and wary. No one questions. They plod through life.

      I’ll repeat the best part:

      James Tracy, the Sandy Hook skeptic, piped up to complain that the term was being used to dismiss people making legitimate inquiries.

      “Like who?” said Goertzel.

      “Like me,” Tracy replied.

      1. I would like to be the first to amend this remark by stating that there are plenty more worthwhile examples than “the Sandy Hook skeptic,” who for the record was was admittedly irked by Prof. Goertzel’s unreasonable cantankerousness. Jesse Walker’s recollection is overall accurate, although I believe Goertzel at one point put us on the spot by asking, “Give me an example.” Goertzel also approached me and chatted briefly following the exchange.

        I would contend that the “conspiracy theorist” label is part of a toolbox encompassing much more. Such a set of techniques intends to develop public suspicion of the target’s alleged irrationality and wild-eyed personal aggrandizement, and is especially effective against public figures who have developed an informed perspective on just about anything that matters. Consider the tactics employed against individuals such as Jim Garrison and Gary Webb, for example, or my colleague Kevin Barrett, who has been effectively blacklisted from academe for repeatedly stating what most every individual capable of developing an informed opinion and with institutional status should have been positing: that the findings of the 9/11 Commission are bunk and the US government is complicit in the murder of 3,000 civilians on its own soil.

        1. I have recently checked out Jesse Walker’s book, The United States of Paranoia, and can state that it contains much valuable information.I have ordered my own copy.

          Donald E. Stahl12079 Pattern DriveSt. Louis, MO 63138 “. . . I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it . . .”—Patrick Henry, Liberty or Death speech, March 23, 1775, . “In the first place, it is necessary to open up all the processes of our politics. They have been too secret, too complicated, too roundabout; they have consisted too much of private conferences and secret understandings, of the control of legislation by men who were not legislators, but who stood outside and dictated, controlling oftentimes by very questionable means which they would not have dreamed of allowing to become public. The whole process must be altered.”—Thomas Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom: A Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: 1961), p. 75. “Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.”—John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, Baron, in Abbott Gasquet, (ed.), Lord Acton and His Circle, (London: 1906), Letter 74, p. 166.

          Date: Sat, 21 Mar 2015 15:32:56 +0000 To:

      2. C’mon Pat, you can’t really believe John Lennon is alive.

        That kind of stuff to me is just making a mockery of ALL conspiracies that are REALLY True conspiracies.

        I think it tests how far we will go.

        I’m not dogging you, but Elvis,Lennon and many other of these theories are to me just diversions put out there for again, many reasons.

        Elvis is not living in Hawaii singing old Eddie Rabbit songs. Paul is alive and well and John Lennon my hero is sadly dead.

        When I find like minded people who understand SHE,BMB,Santa Barbara Bull, Aurora, JFK and then think Elvis and Lennon faked their death it makes me wonder if maybe I’m crazy for believing anything.

        Again, I’m not trying to be a stick in the mud but there is a big difference to me Knowing all the above events are Fake and then toying with way out there theories. I won’t touch the Moon Landing.

        I hope not to offend and also hope you understand what I’m trying to say in my limited skills in Journalism…

        1. You are not offensive at all, Ric, and I take your point. You are pointing out two categories of skepticism, and the fact that mixing up the two is counterproductive, if we want to be taken seriously when trying to persuade people that things like Sandy Hook are hoaxes. In day to day life, I follow that sound advice. But around here, I feel a little more freedom to blur the line.

          The category Sandy Hook, Boston, 9/11, etc., fit in is characterized by evidence that can be examined and matched to an explanation proposed by officialdom. In these cases, the evidence does not fit the official story, so we endeavor to piece together a scenario that DOES fit the evidence. Something really DID happen, just differently than we are told.

          The other category involves an event that never even happened, but everyone believes it did–because, well, that’s what we’ve been told. Here, the evidence that something happened is never concrete, and often doesn’t even exist at all. Mathis likes to look into these sorts of things, and demonstrate that even when we are presented with “evidence” it turns out it’s not really evidence at all.

          His theory about Lenin ( involves some very strange anomalies. One piece of evidence is a film called Let Him Be, which is about a John Lenin tribute sort of act, which the filmmaker claims is the REAL Lenin, playing the music in public, under a different name. He analyzes the film in detail. Another piece of evidence is photographic, showing very serious strangeness about the pictures taken the day of the killing. In between, he goes into the record company business, Michael Jackson’s ownership of the Beatles’ catalog, and the many investment houses that were competing for a piece of the action. It’s long, but it fits together. It’s certainly believable.

          The point is, there is no real evidence that John was killed, and LOTS of evidence he wanted to retire from public life. And why not?

          Similarly, although very surprisingly, with Kennedy. We all THINK there is a lot of evidence, but it really doesn’t exist. What is presented as evidence is easily shown to be anything but. It’s quite a ride, that one.

          So far as I know, Mathis has not written about Elvis, but it would tend to fit the pattern. How am I supposed to know if the guy died, or just wanted to retire, and stop being pestered all the time, so he faked his death? I have no way of knowing if we’ve been lied to about THAT one, too, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

          You brought up Apollo, which is a subject I have studied very closely. Suffice it that if we had the technology to fly three guys and a dune buggy a quarter of a million miles there and back on one tank of gas, in an era when the computing power of my cell phone required an entire building to contain, I’d like to know why we’re not using it today. Imagine the weight of the air conditioner for the LEM–it must have been astounding–the Moon’s temperature in sunlight is 230 degrees, and the LEM was in the Sun the whole time, so it had to be something like an oven. How did they generate the electricity to keep that baby cranked all the while they were there? Batteries? Really light-weight, super-duper batteries, I’m guessing. Maybe the AC system was astonishingly light, compact, powerful and efficient. I’d like one of those to cool my house.

          Why don’t we use all that astounding technology today? The 60s were obviously a time of unprecedented technological prowess, but around the time the Vietnam war was ended we decided to give up all that greatness. Shame.

          The point is, we are told obvious, very big, lies and expected to believe them. We are also told little lies all the time, and we are called crazy when we question them. The Apollo program was transparently fraudulent–laughably so. They didn’t even try hard to make it look real, or halfway plausible. It was enough, I guess, that it was presented with all seriousness. We are suckers.

        2. I hear what your saying Pat.

          I’ve read most of those Mathis and Dave Gower? stories and they are quite a long ride. Fun? Yes but way out there.

          The Apollo Mission is a hard one.
          My first real problem is the Space Suits. They are just too incredible.

          The Chinese say it will take at least another 20 yrs for them to put a man on the moon I say why don’t we dust off our super duper space suits from 1969 and lend them to China? They could send a man to the moon tomorrow right?

          The Van Allen Belt? Wow, that’s a hard one too.

          And as you said, Cray computers were too large to be installed and run that Ship.

          So, either it’s all bull or the US had technology 100 yrs beyond what we’ve ever seen in 1969.

          I have no clue and support or defend it.

        3. It is my opinion that the secret government developed Tesla technology many decades ago–which includes anti-gravity. If you can create artificial gravity in a confined space, like a disc-shaped vehicle, you can use it to travel as fast as you want–which is why UFOs can do the amazing things we see them do. The UFOs are probably evidence of what the secret government is using routinely.

          There are people who have come out of the Monarch mind control program who report that they have traveled on such craft–to the Moon, where humans have bases. Mars, too. I believe them.

          So it’s not that humans never went to the Moon. It’s that we didn’t do it with tin foil vehicles blasted into space on top of artillery. It doesn’t take days, it takes minutes. Of course, this stuff is only for our masters. We are restricted to sexual assault by the TSA as a condition of lumbering across the sky in crappy planes with no leg room and recycled air, if we want to travel about the Earth.

          They hold us in utter contempt.

        4. I’ve heard those theories before and It is a very interesting topic for we know what they introduce to us as “New” is at least 20 yrs old.

          My step father retired from Lockheed-Martin in about 1999. I asked him if he has seen Anything he was working on displayed in public and he told me No.

          That was 15 yrs ago right there.

          He will never break his oath but told me “you don’t want to know. You couldn’t sleep at night”

          I asked “if we were attacked tomorrow would we win?”

          He said “Piece of Cake”.

          This maybe what is driving these crazy warmongers as you see all the hard pushes Obama is making even with Russia.

          Thinking you’ve “got it in the bag” may be a very dangerous way to think.

          There are too many variables in war that can change the out come even if you think you’ve got the best technology.

    4. I thought Foster’s article was a pretty good summary of the various viewpoints expressed at the conference.

  21. I’ve written two long comments which were shoved down the memory hole, so I won’t write another one. I’ll just say that I think it is not only ‘fair’ but essential that academic truth police be stigmatized like the pressitutes of the media, or Free Press. It is the only way that the American people can understand how much they are being lied to by the truth institutions.

  22. The Global warming hoax has a long history of truthers exposing the fraud, and their resulting public floggings which include loss of stature and income. Not selling your soul has far greater rewards than any man can give.

    Clearly if you are not willing to follow their agenda, you are not allowed in the sandbox. Here is one of many analyses of the false data especially perpetrated by the public relations strong arm of the UN.

    It is humorous that they are struggling with the marketing of the climate conspirators, oh wait that would be them! Climate skeptics cannot describe the truthers, as scientists are supposed to be that. Climate lukewarmers is cute, but this is a serious subject.

    Climate deniers – yes that is it! That dastardly group of dissidents, refuses to accept that climate changes! The New York Times no less informs us of the proper terminology we should be using!

    Just when will the big secret of who is trying to control the weather with forced aerosols and HAARP be let out of the bag?

    1. Just when will the big secret of who is trying to control the weather with forced aerosols and HAARP be let out of the bag?


      1. Al Gore and his ilk are calling for punishment to the skeptics, even jail time! The Obama camp has been kind enough to provide us with a list of over 160 representatives who are on the climate deniers list.

        Will send them all a note of thanks for acknowledging the truth and inquire if the top secret program to manage the weather is designed to fulfill the wishes of the climate scaremongers!

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