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Archive for the ‘conspiracy’ Category

I’d like to wake up just one day without opening the Google News web page and exclaiming, “that fuckhead Trump did WHAT today?!”. Today, alas, was such a day.

Canada’s Girl Scouts refuse to come to America. They’re afraid that CBP will keep some of their girls from crossing the border due to national origin or race, and additionally are concerned that their girls might be subjected to searches that would constitute sexual misconduct and result in prosecution in Canada. Yay, the Orange Racist Pussy Grabber’s policies helping the US economy, woot!

Muslim Ban II has been stayed by a court in Hawaii. There is essentially only one way to get in and out of Hawaii, and that is by aircraft. The state apparently argued that the ban was going to harm their tourism industry while providing no additional security. Well, yeah, that it will, just as it encouraged the Girl Guides to avoid the US.

So I understand that His Fraudulency Donald the Trump held a rally in Nashville today where he repeated his usual lies, where his acolytes saluted their God-Emperor with the salute with which he is most familiar, thanks to his neo-Nazi advisor. I have selected the best of the photographs of this event:

Trump Rally in Nashville

Horse soring was banned by law in 1970. That’s a cruel practice where horses are tortured in order to make them high-step. Regulations to enforce the ban have never been adequate though. That was fixed in the last few months of the Obama Administration but for some reason the final rule never got published in the Federal Register. The Trump Administration has now kept that regulation off the books for 55 days, refusing to enforce the law prohibiting soring. So let me get this state. When Obama refused to enforce the immigration law for young people who’d been brought here before 10 years of age and were law abiding, that was bad, according to the Republicans. But it’s okay if Trump does the same thing about animal cruelty? Well, at least some Republicans are calling BS on that too…

But of course it might not be malice, it might be simple incompetence. A friend of mine has recently received multiple inquiries to be hired by a federal agency that shall not be named at various of their locations as a seasonal worker. Apparently seasonal workers aren’t covered by the hiring ban, as long as it’s no more seasonal workers than were hired the previous year. He notes that the place he’d prefer to work isn’t hiring seasonal workers because, despite the hiring ban, somehow they’d managed to hire ten full-time workers. All we could do was shake our heads. None of the Trump appointees at the top in that department has the slightest idea what they’re doing, so all the underlings are running wild and doing whatever they want to do. The children shall play while the adults are away, and all that. Nobody gives a shit anymore, everybody figures they’re fucked anyhow so just do what they want. Apparently Bannon’s oft-stated goal of destroying the Federal government is well underway…

Trump advisor who contacted Russian hacker at least 16 times during 2016 campaign now claims that the CIA tried to kill him in a fake auto accident. Uhm, no. A typical Mafia ploy is the fake auto accident — hit the guy you want to off, get out and pretend you’re going to exchange insurance cards, but instead put a bullet between his eyes. If the CIA wanted Roger Stone dead, he would be dead. But hey, Alex Jones says it was an attempted assassination, so whatevs…

And finally, pointing out that our President is orange isn’t racist. Racism is where you are attacking someone for something they were born with, i.e., skin color, ethnicity, hair color, whatevs. As far as I know, the only thing ever born with orange skin grows on a tree and is used to make a tasty breakfast juice. Trump chose to be orange, he wasn’t born that way. And making fun of people’s stupid choices… isn’t that the American way? FREE-dum and all that?

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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Under Biblical law, Alex Jones and pretty much half the right wing would be stoned to death for violating the 9th Commandment. What is the 9th Commandment? Simple:

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

There’s a reason for such a commandment: lies have consequences. And those consequences, sometimes, can be dangerous.

There’s a pizza place called Comet Ping Pong in Washington D.C. that was a favorite of the Clinton campaign staff. It seemed like half the emails in the hacked John Podesta emails were about ordering pizza from this pizza place. This presented a challenge to the pranksters at 4Chan — what kind of conspiracy could they build around his orders of pizza from this pizza place? And how silly could they make it before even Trumpsters said “Naw, that can’t be true”?

Answer: Pretty damned silly. They came up with a hashtag — #Pizzagate — and one of the most bizarre conspiracy theories to ever waft up from that sewer. It said that a pizza joint that a bunch of the Clinton staff ordered pizza from on a regular basis was actually part of a child sex abuse ring that had a torture dungeon under underneath (the pizza joint doesn’t even *have* a basement, it’s built on a slab). And that half the words in the pizza emails are actually code words arranging pedophile liaisons in that torture dungeon. Podesta orders pepperoni with black olives? That’s code for ordering up a black teenager for sex duty in the torture dungeon underneath this pizza place! (Which, remember, is built on a slab — it doesn’t have a basement, nevermind one outfitted as a torture dungeon).

Who would believe such a silly conspiracy? Well…. uhm…. seems like most of the Trump supporters, actually, including Alex Jones. And this dude, Edgar Welch. Who went into the restaurant with an AR-15 that he fired multiple shots from while inside the restaurant, demanding to be taken to the torture dungeon under the restaurant, and refusing to believe there wasn’t one even after he was taken to every single door and opening in the restaurant and shown there was no basement.

Gah, the stupid, it burns, it burns! And it has guns. We are so frickin’ screwed…

In this case, the consequences of violating the 9th Amendment is one very confused moron who will be spending a few months in jail. But there’s a reason why that Commandment is written into the Bible, and into pretty much every other holy book that’s ever been written. Lies have consequences. In this case, the consequences didn’t result in the loss of human life. But that’s this time What about next time?

People wonder why I get upset about lies and liars. This situation is a perfect example why. Lies have consequences — and in the worst case, those consequences are dead bodies. Somewhere else in the Bible, Jesus notes “the truth shall make you free.” Sometimes the truth isn’t what people want… but in the end, the truth is the only thing that can move you and humanity forward towards freedom and dignity. The truth is worth fighting for — even in these days, when nobody wants to know it.

– Badtux the Truth-seeking Penguin

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So I was discussing things with a seemingly rational guy on Facebook, and he kept popping up conspiracy theories like, Saddam really *did* have weapons of mass destruction, but it was covered up by a Democratic conspiracy. At which point I’m WTF, dude, President Bush’s very own weapons inspection team found nothing except a few mouldy old barrels and shells forgotten buried in the desert, garbage left over from the first Gulf War. And then he started spewing a bunch of links at me from the right wing crazy echo chamber plus a few links from more mainstream sites that said, duh, exactly what I’d said, but according to him they were proof, proof I say, that Democrats had covered up Saddam’s WMD and now ISIS had them (even though the few mainstream links he pointed at had ISIS getting chemical weapons from Assad’s stores, but, he said, Assad had gotten his chemical weapons from Saddam! Uhm, no, Assad and Saddam were *NOT* friends, sheesh).

At which point I realized that his willingness to believe conspiracy theories far outweighed any rational thought, and bowed out of the conversation, leaving him to echo things to himself.

People ask me why I don’t believe bizarre conspiracy X. Well,

  1. There’s no evidence for most of them, just wild speculation and handwaving. “Because it’s all been covered up by the Democrats!” Wait. We’re talking about the same Democrats who can’t even secure their very own email server? They’re supposed to be able to keep secret these vast conspiracies? For realz?
  2. Where there’s supposedly “evidence”, usually it’s single-sourced. A single journalist stated that “unnamed official sources” told her these things confidentially. All other “evidence” ends up going back to this one single journalist (hi, Judith Miller!). Uhm, a single point is not data. A single point is noise. If it isn’t validated by other outlets, it’s worthless.
  3. Where there’s multiple sources, the sources are often all part of a single echo chamber. Fox News, World Nut Daily, Breitbart, and Infowars might all report they validated with their own “confidential sources” that so-and-so is true, but I want to see it validated by people outside that echo chamber. What does the BBC think? What does the CBC (Canada) think? What about ABC/NBC/etc.? ABC (Australia)? I want to see sources from outside that echo chamber too!
  4. And then there are the conspiracies that violate basic laws of physics, like chemtrails. If a conspiracy requires fundamental scientific laws to be overthrown, then it’s bullshit.
  5. If it’s a vast conspiracy that people in the know aren’t blabbering about, it’s bullshit. There’s no such thing as a secret conspiracy. I mean, look. We know that the NSA has black boxes inside AT&T’s voice network. We know this because a) people saw NSA spooks install these black boxes and they blabbered about it, and b) the Snowden papers gave us details on how it all worked. This is a conspiracy, of sorts, but it’s a real world one — one that couldn’t remain secret because too many people knew about it. This is what a *real* conspiracy looks like — it looks like a lot of people who are in a position to know muttering about how they’re being required to do some shady shit. Contrast with, say, the conspiracy to demolish the WTC twin towers with explosives. Who placed these explosives? Why did nobody mutter about how they were required to admit these people to the towers before 9/11? It had to have required a crew of dozens, working with custodians in multiple buildings to gain access to the central core, why haven’t we heard anything from a single one of these people? That kind of absolute silence would require a lot of dead people. Just sayin’.
  6. And finally, if it’s a vast conspiracy that requires people who hate each other to conspire with each other, like requiring a Republican President to cooperate with a Democratic conspiracy… it’s just plain bullshit. Are you telling me that President Bush wouldn’t have held a huge press conference in front of those oozing billyuns and billyuns of Saddam’s WMD if they had in fact existed? He was the motherfucking President of the United States of America, for cryin’ out loud. All he would have had to do was send all the news people notice that he was holding a huge press conference on the outskirts of Baghdad that was going to show them gigatons, gigatons I say, of WMD, and media would have been *begging* to cover it. Because that would have been News with a motherfucking capital *N*, bitches. Yet that idiot in my first paragraph was willing to believe that President Bush would have conspired with Democrats to cover up Saddam’s WMD. Or that Saddam, who hated Assad, would have conspired with Assad to smuggle his WMD into Syria. WTF, people? When your conspiracy requires people who hate each other’s guts to conspire with each other, it’s fucking FAIL all the way to first base!

So why don’t I believe bizarre conspiracy X? Well, because, for one or more of the reasons above, it’s fucking bullshit, that’s why. ‘Nuff said.

– Badtux the Grumpily Rude Penguin

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The Autopsy

When my father died, the VA asked if they could do an autopsy. After some consultation, we the family said no. We know why he died — he had a seizure, inhaled vomitus, developed inhalation pneumonia, had a heart attack, and died of the pneumonia or the heart attack, didn’t matter which. They wanted to look at his brain to figure out why he’d developed early onset dementia, but thinking about his Catholic beliefs, we decided that satisfying their curiousity would be in conflict with those Catholic beliefs. So we planted him in the ground without an autopsy.

That’s how it works here in America. The family, not some third party, makes the decision about whether there will be an autopsy or not. The only time the State is allowed to conduct an autopsy without the consent of the family is if there are signs that the death was not a natural death, such as signs of a fight, a bullet hole, or whatever. But if, for example, a 79 year old obese person with a history of heart disease dies in the night with no sign of struggle or violence? It doesn’t matter how much people outside the family want an autopsy, the family decides. Not you. Not me. Not Obama. The family.

Justice Antonin Scalia was Catholic. His family is Catholic. His family has decided to not authorize an autopsy. That is their right in America. Unless there is evidence that the death is unnatural — signs of a struggle, a bullet hole, whatever — Scalia’s corporal remains are the family’s, and nobody in government has any legal right to demand anything of them other than that the body be properly disposed via burial or cremation. And all the people whining “but there’s no autopsy!” would be whining just as much if government *had* seized Scalia’s body and performed an autopsy, they’d be whining “Big Government violated the family’s rights!”. Which would have been true. Which is why it wasn’t done.

– Badtux the Mortality Penguin

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Ah yes, the nuttiness continues...
If my body is ever found in bed with a pillow over my head… peeps, I wasn’t murdered (not unless there’s sign of a struggle, but even then, I don’t exactly have a military-neat home so that might just be how it is). That’s just how I sleep. I got in the habit when I lived under an airport flight path, it muffles the sound some (note that I’m a side sleeper so the pillow is only pressing on my *ear*, not my nose). It remains a habit because I’m a cold sleeper and it keeps me warmer.

Why am I mentioning that? Because Justice Scalia was reportedly found with a pillow over his head. But the sheets weren’t mussed and there wasn’t any sign of a struggle, so.

So now Alex Jones is saying, “My gut tells me they killed him.” No, Alex. your gut is telling you that you shouldn’t have eaten so many chalupas for lunch. Sheesh. The man was 79 years old. He was over 150 pounds overweight, had a history of heart problems, and the family is satisfied that he died of natural causes so what’s your fucking problem? Other than that you’re nuttier than a box of mixed nuts at a Whole Foods store, I mean?

Same deal with the rest of the conspiracy theorists out there. This was a hotel in West Texas. Republican country. This wasn’t downtown London. There were no secret agents with plutonium-laced umbrellas anywhere in sight. There was just sagebrush and mesquite and tumbleweeds and a buncha rednecks so Republican that they bleed red. (Wait, so do I, huh, go figure). The only conspiracy here was Justice Scalia’s hand-to-mouth disease and who the hell kept feeding him so much. They didn’t call him Fat Tony for nothin’, ya know.

But of course, the conspiracy theories are just something the elites are whispering to the rubes to justify their *real* goal — to prevent President Obama from appointing someone to the Supreme Court over the next year. Because for some reason, Republicans want the Supreme Court crippled in a 4-4 deadlock over the next year. Which reminds me of this law review article from 1970…
Hypocrisy
A law student wrote this law review piece about the president and SCOTUS nominations. The year was 1970, and the student’s name was Mitch McConnell.

Alrighty, then!

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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And the news blackout has begun. No news stories about how Texans are being rounded up and branded with bar codes and forced to gay marry each other. No news stories about how the Army is rounding up people’s guns. No nothing. Just a few news stories about somebody sighting a Black Hawk helicopter flying around.

But never fear, I’m sure that a patriot will pop up *any moment* now to tell us the *real* truth about how the Obamination has taken over Texas and imposed Muslim sharia gay law! (What, you say that makes no sense? What are you, one of them thare intullekchuals?).

Oh wait, now we have the first front-line reports via Twitter. And it’s worse than we thought. The Obamination is attacking steakhouses. STEAK HOUSES! What next, he attacks apple pie? [shudder!]

If any of you are in Texas: Have you had to report for your mandatory branding with a barcode yet? You can interact with me via Twitter if you’re being monitored by The Obamination….

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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Sy Hersh spins a good one about the Osama bin Laden raid.

Look, there’s holes in the official story. You cannot tell me that high ranks of the Pakistani military were not quite aware that Osama bin Laden was holed up right outside the gates of their training academy. It simply does not pass the laugh and giggle test, especially given what we know about how they helped Osama escape Afghanistan under the guise of “evacuating Pakistani civilians”.

But Sy’s conspiracy theory has just as many holes. It hypothesizes that these very same military leaders conspired to kill bin Laden. It hypothesizes that rather than the simple straightforward story told by the Obama administration (after they finished debriefings), there was a complex set of revolving conspiracies that somehow nobody who was an Osama sympathizer heard about during the weeks leading up to the raid.

Look, there’s a rule of thumb, “Occam’s Razor”, which holds that the simpler story is usually the closer to the truth. And in this one, Sy’s complicated interlocked conspiracies are far more complex than the Obama administration story. And the holes in the Obama administration story are holes that are easy to fill if you have any knowledge of intelligence methods, Special Forces abilities, the lack of any air defenses pointed at Afghanistan (why would Pakistan be pointing air defenses at Afghanistan? The Taliban don’t have an air force!) and the complex relationship between Pakistan’s sometimes-military-junta and the United States. I have no trouble believing that the US spent months staging raids into Pakistan targeting low-level al Qaeda personnel to create cover for the bin Laden raid, for example, building up a relationship that made Pakistani military personnel accustomed to US helicopters flying all over the place in Afghanistan. I have no problem with the notion that once the first helicopter crashed outside of bin Laden’s compound, high ranking people in the Pakistani military were informed that a major operation was underway and requested not to interfere, and had been prepped as Sy mentions to cooperate or else the US would cut off their military aid. But were they informed *before* the raid that night that the US was targeting bin Laden that night? No frickin’ way. Nobody’s that stupid in the US military. The Pakistani military leaks intelligence to al Qaeda like a sieve. There would have been no Osama bin Laden anywhere in sight if they’d done something that stupid.

So anyhow, that’s Sy for you. Takes a few nuggets of truth and then, in his senile attempt to pretend he’s still relevant, spins them into an obnoxious conspiracy theory worthy of Alex Jones. Sigh. I hope I don’t get that way when I get his age, but I guess we do get more gullible in our old age…

– Badtux the Conspiracy Penguin

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