Tag: Conspiracy theories

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Juan Cole — a left-wing professor and pundit known for his vituperative opposition to George W. Bush —– is rather skeptical about the Russian Hacker Conspiracy Theory the Democrats and their media allies are pushing as part of a strategy to delegitimize Donald Trump’s presidency. He sees in this strategy echoes of past propaganda efforts. […]

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In case you missed it, it is now the official position of the Democrat Party that the FBI and the Russian Government conspired to throw the 2016 election to Donald Trump. As for evidence in support of this proposition, it amounts to “Hillary was supposed to win, but she didn’t.” First, what would Russia have […]

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Daniel Carr is a mechanical engineer and artist living in Colorado. He was always fascinated by coins and the minting process. He has submitted two winning designs to the US Mint for their State Quarters series (New York and Rhode Island.) Inspired by the introduction of the Euro, Carr created a limited edition parody coin […]

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Bonfire of the Inanities

 

Trump buttonI’ll be the first to admit there are many things to loathe about 2016; actually I was probably the first to proclaim it at 12:00:01 AM in my timezone. I think my exact words were something to the order of “this year is overrated.” And it certainly seemed to be shaping up into one long, terrible year: I confidently predicted that the GOP would nominate Bush/Kasich in 2016 and lose terribly to Hillary because GOP voters embrace shallow thinking above all things: immigration is a minor concern, vanity candidates have no chance of winning, the voters pick the next guy in line, character counts.

But there has been one shining star in the dark fundament of bland: Donald Trump. If there’s one thing to love about the man it’s that he is, or plays on TV, the loudmouth New Yorker who takes nothing off nobody.

Now don’t tear into me yet: I’m not thrilled about him being the Republican nominee. I am absolutely delighted, however, that he seems to be headed to the lowest common denominator in the general election season. As a Texan I have a warm affection for his brand of New Yorker, much as I do the proud Frenchman. We’re all convinced we live at the epicenter of civilization, living somewhere else makes you inferior in some real but undefinable sense and anyone who says different is not just wrong but delusional. The only difference, of course, is that Texans are right and New Yorkers and the French are wrong, but I don’t hold that against them.

Occam’s Razor and Scalia Conspiracy Theories

 

hand-of-conspiracy2Justice Scalia’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday, but the man was hardly declared dead before conspiracy theories started circulating to the effect that he was assassinated. There’s no point in addressing specific claims because we’re still in the innuendo stage. But more importantly, any hint of a conspiracy collapses with the slightest application of skepticism.

In order for any assassination conspiracy to work, the first question is “Cui bono? Who benefits? Who would go to the trouble of murdering a Supreme Court justice? When you’re playing the election-year conspiracy innuendo game, there’s only two choices: red team or blue.

What would be the point of a Republican conspiracy to murder Justice Scalia? The only suggestion I’ve heard is that it would be a rallying point for Republicans. They must, must, must win the White House back to be able to pick a replacement Supreme Court justice.

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Let’s see: Obama wasn’t born in this country. Obama’s birth certificate is a fake. China is screwing the United States in trade. Mexico is sending their criminals over the border. George W. Bush knew a terrorist attack was coming and did nothing. The Bush administration lied about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The audience in […]

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Jade Helm and the Left’s Short Memory

 

shutterstock_1959361The professional Left is having a good laugh about the conspiracy theories swirling around Jade Helm 15, a military training exercise taking place across the American Southwest. The knuckle-draggers on the Right have evidently concocted some fantasy in which the federal government uses its military power as — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — a tool of domestic tyranny! Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, et al. are having a field day.

According to the New York Times, the idea that Jade Helm 15 is part of a secret plan to impose martial law represents “the outer edges of political paranoia.” Perhaps, but those outer edges are more often occupied by leftwing fantasists than Tea Party activists. In 2007, for example, when Congress granted the president expanded powers to federalize the National Guard (in response to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco’s refusal to cede control of the Guard during Hurricane Katrina), progressives howled that tyranny was just around the corner. Patrick Leahy, the famously progressive senator from Vermont, objected that “the last thing we need is to make it easier for presidents to declare martial law.” The Daily Kos warned: “Congress is voting on whether to give Bush more power to invoke martial law. This is huge.” And yet, now the Daily Kos says that the Jade Helm martial law conspiracy is “the single stupidest thing to come out of Texas.”

The fear of a reactionary president imposing martial law goes way back on the left—at least to the 1980s. In 1987, the Miami Herald reported that the Reagan Administration had a secret plan to declare martial law in the event of a perceived emergency, including “national opposition to a US military invasion abroad.” Although this secret plan was never confirmed, a 1996 book written by a progressive academic, Christian Smith, and published by the University of Chicago Press, states that “evidence strongly suggests that in 1984, the [National Security Council] and FEMA collaborated in designing a top-secret contingency plan, named Rex 84, to suspend the US Constitution, declare martial law, appoint military commanders to run state and local governments, and detain masses of people considered to be national security threats.”

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How did the press or the Congressional investigators find out that Hillary had been using a 2nd email account?  Someone had to tip them off.  Several months back, Obama sent a number of his top campaign flacks to assist Hillary in preparation for her “It’s my turn, dammit!” presidential run.  Now it’s no secret that […]

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Would We Be Better Off Losing on Obamacare at the Supreme Court? A Response to John Yoo

 

384px-Official_roberts_CJA few days ago, Ricochet’s John Yoo predicted that Supreme Court will decide that the PPACA (Obamacare) does not allow for the federal exchanges to pay out subsidies in the upcoming King v Burwell case. Although I am a legal ignoramus, I have been following the excellent symposium on this case over at SCOTUSblog, and I wonder whether we might see an unexpected result here.

Based on the evidence from both sides, two points become clear. There is indeed no explicit passage in the law that mandates the federal subsidies, as exists for state exchanges. Still, there are a number of passages which make no sense if the federal exchanges are forbidden from paying out subsidies. More to the point, the law is so inconsistent and muddled that a good-faith argument could be made that it is simply ambiguous and incoherent on this issue; if so, the IRS will have the authority to come up with its own interpretation (the so-called Chevron deference).

Prof. Yoo suggests that Chief Justice Roberts may be eager to atone for his prior sins in the NFIB v Sibelius case, especially after the last election in favor of Republicans. Yet I find it strange to imagine that a man who only two years ago twisted himself into pretzel-like contortions to save the law will reverse himself and let the law twist in the wind. Instead, I wonder if he has something more nefarious up his sleeve.