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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Conspiracy Theory

We all love them. Some of us actually believe a few of them, and some of us are just amazed at how many exist - even for things that were demonstrated to have clear explanations centuries ago. Some conspiracy theories can be dismissed quite easily, like the one about how vapor trails from high flying jets are really not vapor but a mind-controlling gas.

However, other conspiracy theories stay with us seemingly forever because in part there is more than a ring of truth and because we can't seem to come up with an alternative theory based on what we know. The theories that linger the most relate to the JFK assassination.

It is reasonable to expect the groundswell of public suspicion created entirely by the government's refusal to make public all of the information relating to the assassination. Over time the suspicions took on a life of their own leading inevitably to a plethora of conspiracy theories that persist to this day. In fact, a 2004 poll by ABC News found that 70% of Americans believe that the Kennedy assassination was the result of a plot and not of a lone gunman. [1]

Why? Simply because the government's refusal to tell the truth and refusal to be forthcoming with all of the facts - good or bad. In this case, as with all other fuels for conspiracy theories, potentially benign facts were occluded. And then when they did emerge clearly, people asked the logical question "Well if it was benign, why weren't we told?" The better question is always "Why does our government at all levels think that the public is too stupid to handle the truth?"

Here is a perfectly good example from the same Kennedy assassination. There were several shadowy figures on the grassy knoll across from the book depository. These people more than likely had absolutely nothing to do with anything directly or indirectly related to the assassination. But because of how this fact was handled (the details are beyond the scope of this article), perfectly innocent bystanders were transmogrified into Cuban expatriates hired by the CIA to assassinate JFK as recompense for the Bay of Pigs fiasco. (note: this author has a rock-solid alibi.)

Nature abhors a vacuum. So right or wrong, it is human nature to fill the void when those entrusted with our rights violate those rights and feed us lies or nothing or both. Hence the void is filled with that with which we imagine or conjure or rationalize as a means to put things in perspective. Analogously, other scholars believe that by virtue of creating conspiracy theories we participate in the political process because they are after all a form of popular political interpretations of the zeitgeist. [2]

Now let's not confuse conspiracy theories with stupid pet tricks. There is a world of difference.

A conspiracy theory is based on some fact that, devoid of additional facts by which a rational person can draw a reasonable conclusion, people with active imaginations fill the logic void and come up with all sorts of things. For example, an alien ship crashed near Roswell New Mexico is a bonafide conspiracy theory: something did crash (a fact) but officials were not forthcoming with any credible information as to what really did occur until it was forced out of them decades later, by which time all sort of wild theories had emerged (and a pretty good tourist trap too!).

A stupid pet trick on the other hand is just a supposition that has no basis in fact or reason. It is put forth simply because the proponents are abject morons or are put forth for malicious reasons. For example, the public proclamation by city "officials" that asbestos was planted by citizens is a stupid pet trick.

Get the difference?

So lets start our own local conspiracy theory as to why the City Enabler (euphemistically referred to as the "City Attorney") will be leaving for good:
  • He knows the indictments are coming
  • Saw his video intimidating the voters and seemed to recall some obscure law he sort of heard about in law school about voting rights act or something like that and isn't sure if it applies to "those people" or to regular Americans
  • An eight year old explained to him that $137,000,000 is more than $250,000 hence the STRP financing scheme of the week is no different than all of the other financing schemes and all of them violate the city's charter
  • His law firm does not want any law business or any more money
  • He started drawing parallels to Tom Hagen
  • Somebody explained to him that the Sunshine Law seminar he gave pretty much indicted everyone in the room
  • He read the section of best seller "Felonies for Dummies" where it indicates that not reporting a felony is in itself a crime
  • He forgot to read the CARES settlement agreement before he approved the Quality Enterprise asbestos sweetheart deal
  • Got fired for writing a good opinion but that is contrary to the city manager's belief of what America is about ... as evidenced in this email:
    • Thursday, January 19, 2006 10:53:01 AM
      Message
      From: "Richard Yovanovich"
      Subject: RE: Re: Fwd: Park rules
      To: Bill Moss
      "Greg Urbancic"

      Bill

      Prohibiting this will be a problem in my opinion. Placing restrictions on
      political speech is not favored. Public parks have been historically viewed as
      appropriate locations to allow political speech to occur. As long as the
      public's ability to use the park is not unreasonably interfered with, the City
      should allow this activity to occur.

      Rich
    • ------------------------------------
  • This one is self explanatory (although if you want a good laugh, read the response - it can be found in the Search City Emails! link on this blog)
    • From: Charles Kiester [mailto:charleskiester@comcast.net]
      Sent: Friday, September 22, 2006 8:18 PM
      To: Bill Moss; Rob@popoffs.com; Councilmanforcht@comcast.net;
      friartuck3725@cs.com; wdtrotter@earthlink.net; mminozzi@comcast.net;
      terridisciullo@comcast.net
      Cc: ekbania@marcoeagle.com; Greg Urbancic; Richard Yovanovich
      Subject: Re: Letter to the Editor--Legal fees

      Bill,

      I no longer have any confidence in either you or our city attorney being
      straight with me given both of your performances Monday evening. Based on
      Councilman Tucker's email letter which threatens big-time expenses that will be
      charged to the city makes me even more determined to bring this issue to the
      next agenda, and to the public's attention.

      I really have no desire to increase the city's liability if what I stated in my
      letter to the editor would do so; however, I cannot conceive that it could hurt
      the city in any way.

      Chuck Kiester
    • ---------------------------
So here you have it: Some facts, some opinions, a big void and, sans a complete and truthful explanation from the city governance, everything required to start our own home grown Marco Island conspiracy theories as to why the City Enabler will not be enabling much longer.

References:
[1] http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/US/JFK_poll_031116.html
[2]
Secrecy and Power in American Culture by Mark Fenster

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