I generally dismiss conspiracy theories. If something sounds ridiculous, it's probably not true. Now I find out that the Governor of Illinois was selling a U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder.


This makes me reevaluate my rule of thumb on conspiracy theories. I have to move the bar in terms of what is too ridiculous to be potentially true.

If you tell me the government has been covering up alien visits for decades, I still consider that too ridiculous to be true, but mostly for the reason that alien visitation seems unlikely. I have no problem believing that the government would cover it up for some dumbass reason. That is well within the realm of believable.

I have no problem believing that during the 9/11 attacks our government ordered the Air Force to destroy the passenger jet that was heading for the Whitehouse, and found it convenient that the passengers rushed the hijackers at about the same time. It makes a good hero story. I'm not saying that's what happened. I'm just saying that it doesn't qualify as too ridiculous to be true. To me it even sounds more likely than the official version.

The most evil conspiracy theory I have ever heard involves the idea that the 9/11 attacks themselves were planned by the U.S. government as a pretext for military action and subsequent profit by some industrialists. I don't believe that's true, but again, thanks to Governor Asshat, I can no longer rule it out simply for being too ridiculous to consider. The bar has been moved.

I don't know if the Mafia fixed the election for President Kennedy, then had him whacked because he didn't return the favor, but it is well within the realm of non-ridiculous.

What other theories do you think are now in the realm of not-too-ridiculous?

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Dec 11, 2008
I'm a boring, cynical old skeptic, and as such generally reject conspiracy theories, especially the ones mentioned here.

But I'd like to hear more posts from Scott about CTs in general, and here's why:

- They appeal to gullible folk, and he knows a lot about gullibility and the power of suggestion
- They are one of the more common causes of extreme cognitive dissonance
- Once, just once, one of them might turn out to be true, and I'd love to hear some more whacked-out guesses

Scott, I'd really like to read about a new complicated conspiracy theory that you concoct yourself... you could either explain it as such, give us all the inside info, or perhaps be more subtle or subversive about it... your choice. ;)

As for NASA faking the moon landing? Go talk to any actual experts or ex NASA employees, and use some common sense. US Govt behind 9/11? Too stupid, there are much less risky ways of achieving the supposed goals and too many high-profile insiders to silence.

The first thing I always ask is "what would they have to gain by doing X, anyway?" and the answer is usually "not a great deal compared to the risk and resources involved in pulling it off".

Next, I go find some expert opinion on the subject that isn't just a collection of well-edited sound bites played over some stock footage (ie. pretty much every CT "documentary").

That usually clears things up.

I have to admit that I find the Federal Reserve conspiracies very confusing (well, I find the Fed system confusing!) and find it hard to form an intelligent argument against them.

Dec 11, 2008
My pet conspiracy theory is that TV networks have tried to influence the outcome of sporting events in order to insure that the big market teams make it to the championship game. Of course I have not a bit of proof to this, it just seems to make sense. A quick bribe to a ref or umpire could make the difference in the ratings...

My mother believes that teams actually lose games in order to make series go longer.
Dec 11, 2008
Has anyone considered the possibility that Blagojevich was framed for this, because he was planning to out the conspiracy? The whole FBI is in on this!!!!

*Men with black suits come to take me away*
I'll die fighting!!!!!!!! AAAAAA!
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Dec 11, 2008
This one is still in the realm of the ridiculous but it is my absolute favourite conspiracy theory:

http://www.poisonplanes.com/poison planes - homepage.html

my favourite article on the page is "Can Paul McCartney buy the weather? - If the Price is Right"

There are lots of similar conspiracies out there but this one first came to my attention when the guy who made the page came into my husbands work telling them all this crazy stuff (apparently computer shops are magnets for the insane) and before he left he told them to check out this site it would change their lives (which it did if laughing for a solid hour is life changing)
Dec 11, 2008
Scott, I have two words for you:

Operation Northwoods

Go look it up on Wikipedia. The US government already planned flying planes into buildings and blaming somebody else.
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Dec 11, 2008
Governor confronts Bank Of America over job cuts.
Governor is blown off. Using [now standard] "he has weapons of mass destruction" media strategy. (people buy big lies easier than small ones)
Bank Of America cuts 30k jobs.

Conspiracy? No way! ;-)

Dec 11, 2008
Remember Occam's razor. If there are two explanations of a phenomenon, the simplest wins. Conspiracy theories require too many things to work out to be viable. Don't attribute to malice what can really be answered by ignorance!
Dec 11, 2008
Scott, I'm with you on discounting conspiracy theories. The dupe management problem is huge.

But, I don't know what that has to do with the Blag scandal. Just as I'm skeptical of conspiracy theories, I'm skeptical that people who are willing to lie continuously to achieve high public office will act like angels once they succeed.

Why don't you think kind of thing happens routinely?

Not only does power corrupt, but people who seek power are often already corrupt.
Dec 11, 2008
I think it is perfectly plausible that George W Bush orchstrated Hurricane Katrina, directed it to hit New Orleans and made sure that the levees would be in disrepair so that they would collapse, all to punish them for voting democrat.
Dec 11, 2008
years ago, if someone had told me that the PNAC had designed the invasion of Iraq back in the 90's for the purpose of using it as a base to "defend american interests," I would've scoffed. Then we invade Iraq. Then the PNAC website myseriously goes offline.


it begs a lot of questions.
Dec 11, 2008
I think it goes without saying that the majority of Americans would have preferred a kindly over the hill war hero to an inexperienced nobody, who rose like a meteor from the putrid center of political corruption, EXCEPT that the economy was in the dumpster. The media started hyping the bad economy in May of 2007. The Mad Money guy was shouting to anyone who would listen: 'DO NOT BUY A HOUSE!!!". Every day consumers were bombarded with doom and gloom. After a year of this constant drumbeat, the chicken little's won out. People stopped buying homes & cars, the layoffs began, and, just in time for the election, we really were in a world of hurt. I don't even consider all that a conspiracy theory, since it would be pretty hard to argue the facts. My theory is that the media started too early, and the economy fell too far, so that not even the Golden One will be able to pull us out. We are in deep this time, my friends.
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Dec 11, 2008
* Why are there no low-energy, electric, or other-powered cars, just oil burners? (Oil industry likes to stay rich.)

* Why are supposed cures for cancer not developed (treat the symptoms forever, not the illness just once)
Dec 11, 2008
Have you heard about the GOP - Oil - Banking Conspiracy Theory...

Back in the Summer or early Fall, the GOP "powers that be" (I don't think it is the obvious "figureheads"), realize that it looks like the odds are against McCain winning and even if he does, he won't "play by their rules". They then decide to take as much money as possible out of the system.

First the oil companies crank up their prices which generates incredible profits and at the same time sensitizes the consumers to spend less. Then they leverage the consumer sensitivity to create a "banking crisis" and hand themselves $700 billion to "solve the problem".

This way, when Obama is elected, the GOP-Oil-Banking powers don't care. They got enough money to hold them for a few years or until the next election.

Of course, none of this can be proven... right ?!?
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Dec 11, 2008
How about:

* NASA didn't land on the moon - it was faked. (Why no big flare visible from Earth? Big win in the cold war.)

* It wasn't a jetliner that hit the Pentagon, but a missile. (No visible damage to the grass. Small entry hole until the top fell in. Where did the plane go? If it all burned up, how could they ID the DNA of the victims, which would have been destroyed well below that temperature?)

* How can two towers that are hit completely differently both fall in pretty much the same way, and on their own footprint? Why did the non-hit building fall (was that number 7)? Why did (how could) people make money on the stock market from it?
Dec 11, 2008
Gee, Scott, nice to see you've been paying attention all these years. But I'm somewhat confused - where's the conspiracy in what Governor B of Illinois did? He was one man working to extort money in return for favors - this is a staple of Illinois politics, and has been since before all of us were born. The conspiracy theory would hold if other people were involved in this. People like, say, Mayor Daley of Chicago. Or Tony Rezko. Or Bill Ayers. Or . . . dare I say it? The Messiah himself.

So let's talk conspiracy. I think the biggest conspiracy that has merit is the one foisted on us by our government, who has many of the sheeple believing that only the other political party is evil, and theirs is pure as the driven snow. Take a look at a lot of the people who have already answered this post, saying that president Bush was somehow culpable for 9/11. Can you imagine them ever saying that about a Democrat? No effing way.

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were able to ride into power by waving the banner of corruption and pointing it in the Republicans' direction, blithely ignoring tiny incidentals like the now-deposed William Jefferson (D-LA), he of the cold hard cash in his freezer. Or the Grand One himself, the other William Jefferson, the impeached, philandering, admitted lying, disbarred ex-president of the United States. Do you EVER hear a bad word said about him in the press? Nope.

Sure, the press is one-sided, but they don't do it by themselves. We let them get away with it. We only hold the other side accountable, while giving our side a pass. Well, not entirely - look what happens when a Republican has a scandal - he or she usually resigns. But lately, that is not happening on the Republicans' side, either. Look at Senator "Wide Stance" Craig's (R-ID) refusal to step down. Or ex-Senator Ted Stevens' (R-AK) stonewalling after his seven felony convictions, and continuing to run for re-election.

These people of both parties are playing us off against each other to try to excuse their bad behavior. The only reason Governor B is in hot water is because there's no way to cover this one up. He was too blatant - but look how the wagons are circling! Now we're hearing that he must be insane. Funny that nobody, including Barack Obama, who virtually ran both of his election campaigns, ever noticed that. You think prosecutor Fitzgerald will have his job for very long after January 20?

Folks, we need to be smarter. The politicians are getting more and more bold in their corruption, and we're allowing the ones from the other party from us to get away with it. It's time to forget the party, and hold them all accountable. To not do so is to give them a chance to do far more damage to the country than they have already. And there's no conspiracy to it. It's just crooks with power (read, "our money"), and it's time for us all to stand up to them.
Dec 11, 2008
I think the reason behind the Iraq war was to secure Oil, and in doing so a scheme was designed to have government major auto/industrial manufacturing so that we could produce weapons at cost. Now we have plenty of hum vee parts and assembly lines to run. Even if it is not the plan, it could become the plan as it may work to a benefit when the US governement (acquires a labor force and assembly lines unparalleled for any government except China).

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Dec 11, 2008
I was never a moon landing conspiracy theorist until 2004 when Bush announced a plan to send a man to the moon by 2020. Kennedy announced the same in 1961 and pulled it off in only eight years, and that was when a computer filled the better part of a warehouse. Just saying it's strange is all.

but the best conspiracy theory ever is...

It's a well know fact sonny Scott, that there's a group of the five wealthiest people in the world known as the pentaverate, who run everything in the world, including the newspapers and meet tri-annually at a secret country mansion known as "the Meadows." So who's in this pentaverate? The Queen, the Vatican, the Gettes, the rothchilds and Col. Sanders before he went teets up!
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Dec 11, 2008
"I have no problem believing that during the 9/11 attacks our government ordered the Air Force to destroy the passenger jet that was heading for the Whitehouse, and found it convenient that the passengers rushed the hijackers at about the same time."

I do. That would demonstrate more competence than our emergency response teams showed at any other point in that period.
Dec 11, 2008
The extent of any conspiracy is limited by the competence of those who you believe conspired, isn't it? As far as I'll go with thinking Bush & Co. conspired about the terrorist attacks is to believe that they were kind of hoping something like that would happen, and maybe closed their eyes to any evidence that it might. They were really good at that method of conspiracy.

I'll never forget the nervous, gleeful grin on Bush's face right after the attacks. He was as giddy as a schoolgirl. Whatever that means is up to whatever you want to think.
Dec 11, 2008
I agree with your philosophy that most conspiracies would never happen because somebody would bungle them. In my experience, 90% of the population are not smart enough to carry out complex tasks with a very low rate of failure.
If you consider the number of people involved in a conspiracy, the amount of work that comes into making it successful, and the chances that at least one person involved will be lazy or stupid, you see a very very high chance of failure.
Criminals and criminal organizations are nothing like you see in movies. They are generally poor and not very talented. The ones that are successful only succeed because of loopholes or inadequacies with the law or law enforcement, which is generally due to poorness, laziness, and incompetence on someone else's part.

Think about this, if the government can pass a bill/law/piece of legislation only to find out that the people oppose it and it makes them less popular, how well do you think they would be able to cover up any conspiracy more complicated than stealing a few million dollars from taxpayers?
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