Sunday, May 23, 2010

Conspiracy Theories; Fact or Fiction?

Truth in advertising - I've bordered on conspiracy theorist ever since I spent the summer as an intern at the Dept. of the Interior in DC. I remember taking the bus to and from work, naive as hell, when these activists would come aboard and hand out copies of supposedly leaked intel about Nixon's secret bombing of Cambodia. Of course, I was dead set against the action in Vietnam and had marched and been tear gassed the spring before this, but even I couldn't believe that the president would try to get away with an illegal action of this magnitude. How sadly wrong I was proven.

So when Don asked me to pick up Jesse Ventura's new book American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies and More Dirty Lies That the Government Tells Us, I was all over it even though I had never taken Mr. Ventura too seriously when he was governor of Minnesota. My bad. This book only confirms in a hundred different ways, and with facts galore, the suspicions that I've held close to the vest in the past for fear of being thought a nut case.

Some of the more obvious conspiracies are pretty much accepted, that Lee Harvey Oswald could not have acted alone, seems to me to be a no-brainer. Bobby Kennedy? Hmmmm - Martin Luther King, Jr? Even Pulitzer winner and King expert Taylor Branch questions the circumstances around his death. And who knew that King's family won a civil case against the government for a wrongful death? Did you ever read about that trial? I didn't, but I have now because the transcript is there at the King website for anyone with even a modicum of curiosity.

What's terrifying about all this are the implications for our current president. When one wonders why he hasn't been bolder in his actions (though I think he's having an amazing first year) one must keep in mind that the president of the United States can go just so far and no farther. Checks and balances can be deadly.

Other theories I've kept pretty much to myself but Ventura goes after them full force. Do you remember going to sleep thinking that Al Gore was our new president and waking up to find out that it was George W. Bush? To insure that the election wouldn't be stolen again four years later I took vacation time to be a poll watcher at my local precinct. Interesting training and an amazing day later I left my shift assured that John Kerry was so far in the lead that there was no need to worry. But something strange happened in Ohio, Kerry way too quickly conceded, and voila, four more years of W.

Shall we move on to 9/11? Ask any air traffic controller about black boxes and audio transcripts of control tower happenings and they'll tell you that these items just don't disappear. But  can the FAA be overruled? When golfer Payne Stewart's plane veered off the grid fighter jets were scrambled in a matter of minutes. They flew close enough to the run away private jet that pilots could see into the cockpit confirming that crew members were unconscious from, likely, a sudden change in cabin air pressure. But.....four passenger jets go off the grid simultaneously on 9/11 and not one plane was sent up to check it out?
 Hmmmmm-one could say that truth is stranger than fiction but in a little while I'll write about an outstanding book The Room and the Chair, a novel about conspiracies written by former Washington Post columnist and Pulitzer winner, Lorraine Adams. Why is it fiction? I guess no one would believe her is she tried to pass it off as the truth.

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