Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

The insanity of public paranoia

By DOUG THOMPSON
April 5, 2010

Public paranoia is at an all-time high, fueled by extremists, conspiracy-theory nutcases and the misinformation superhighway (AKA the Internet).

Over the last few days, I’ve read too many paranoid fantasies on this web site, fueled by readers who seem to have left common sense at the door.

I’ve made it clear for many years that this web site is not and never will be a gathering ground for those who see a boogeyman behind every tree or a government plot everywhere in society.

While few distrust the American government more than me, I neither subscribe to or give credence to the fantasies that claim a U.S. government plot to bring down the World Trade Center, the often-cited “new world order” or concentration camps built by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Most of these screwball theories have been debunked and proven wrong more times than any of us can count but they continue to dominate discussion boards, forums and web blogs.

In nearly every case, they turn out to be fantasies fueled by paranoia, misinformation, gullibility and outright stupidity on the part of those who accept, and spread, the lies.

The FEMA Concentration Camp fantasy is so out of control that even Popular Mechanics Magazine felt it needed to examine the issue to prove it wrong.

A year ago, PM examined claims that a FEMA Concentration Camp was built in Wyoming. The claim included an aerial photo that perpetrators of the lie claimed was posted on a FEMA web site.

PM editor-in-chief James Meigs looked into the allegations and the photo and discovered the photo was a shot of a North Korean camp and not — as claimed — a facility in Wyoming.

Some who buy into the FEMA Detention Centers lie point to H.R. 645, The National Emergency Centers Act, a bill introduced last year by Rep. Alcee Hastings that called for:

(b) Purpose of National Emergency Centers- The purpose of a national emergency center shall be to use existing infrastructure–

(1) to provide temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster;

(2) to provide centralized locations for the purposes of training and ensuring the coordination of Federal, State, and local first responders;

(3) to provide centralized locations to improve the coordination of preparedness, response, and recovery efforts of government, private, and not-for-profit entities and faith-based organizations; and

(4) to meet other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Item number four became the rally cry for the conspiracy nuts. It would allow, they claimed, DHS to turn the centers into concentration camps.

Of course, they forgot to mention the bill died in committee. They also forget that two similar bills, introduced in the two previous Congresses, met the same fate.

Other proponents point to the Japanese Internment Camps of World War II and say that it happened before and it could happen again. Again, they fail to mention that the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 barred the federal government from creation of such internment camps in the future.

I’m growing increasingly tired of the off-the-wall conspiracy theories that have hijacked the national debate at a time when we should be focusing our energies on real-world decisions.

Until reality returns to the debate, any hope for real solutions will remain buried under a mountain of monumental stupidity.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

41 Responses to The insanity of public paranoia

  1. Bill Cravener

    April 5, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Are you referring to the anonymous screen named delusional conspiracy theorist Doug?

    I remember reading somewhere, forget when, that anonymity is the enemy of civility and the lack of accountability it brings is a problem.

    You know I heard tell that back in 1992, only days after the release of Windows 3.1, it was discovered that the character sequence “NYC” in Wingdings was rendered as the skull and crossbones symbol, Star of David, and thumbs up gesture. Many thought this could be interpreted as a message of approval of killing Jews, especially those from New York City.

    Oh, and lets not forget our good friends the Birthers.

    • Guardhouse lawyer

      April 5, 2010 at 11:37 am

      Few remember that he whole Birther thing was the product of the febrile imagination of a California woman named Dee Bloos. She will eventually become a footnote in history: Birther Dee Bloos.

    • griff

      April 5, 2010 at 2:10 pm

      So what exactly is your obsession with screennames all about? What difference does it make under which moniker some one posts a comment? Take or leave what any one has to say based upon the content of the comment or find some thing better to do with your time, huh?

      In my experience here those that cry the loudest concerning other views and the lack of rational discourse are those that have nothing of value to offer themselves.

      By the way Doug, the site is looking good on my Blackberry, from which I am posting this comment.

      • Bill Cravener

        April 6, 2010 at 7:10 am

        I simply responded to Doug Thompson’s article above with my own personal point of view.

        Doug Thompson made the following statement, “Those who issue threats and advocate violence are usually cowards who hide behind anonymous screen names. . .” in his “So much hate, so little reason” article.

        “anonymous”: Lacking individuality; Having no distinctive character;

        I happen to completely agree!

        Doug then stated in this article, “I’m growing increasingly tired of the off-the-wall conspiracy theories that have hijacked the national debate at a time when we should be focusing our energies on real-world decisions.”

        “off-the-wall”: Exhibiting bizarre behavior; oddball; crazy;

        I happen to completely agree!

        Have to admit though, “delusional”, that part was mine.

  2. Carl Nemo

    April 5, 2010 at 11:55 am

    “Over the last few days, I’ve read too many paranoid fantasies on this web site, fueled by readers who seem to have left common sense at the door.” …extract from post

    It seems Doug, you’ve forgotten that your “opinions” are no better or worse than anyone else on this site. If you don’t like what your news forum posters write then maybe you should pull the plug on CHB and retire to a rocking chair by the woodstove.

    Granted not all conspiracy theories or any theory for that matter is necessarily valid until layers of proof are built upon such conjecture.

    Everyone that comments to your site seems to do so with reasonable comportment with only a few troublemakers having reared their ugly heads over time; ie., those that attack other posters, use crude language etc.

    So if you want to “steer” commentary to meet some level of approval that you’ve wrought in your mind, then you’re out of luck shy of pulling the plug as I’ve suggested.

    I personally enjoy everyone’s viewpoint even if its opposite of mine. That’s what makes life interesting…no?

    Without some controversy and differences of opinion your site would become mighty boring and stagnant meaning less participants, less “clicks” on advertisers and less $$ to the bottom line which seemingly you need in these times to keep CHB afloat. : )

    Carl Nemo **==

    • Doug Thompson

      April 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm

      Let’s understand a few things:

      –Capitol Hill Blue is not now, nor has it ever been, a commercial venture. I wold publish his web site for 1 reader or 100,000. It’s a labor of love.

      –As a general rule, I don’t censor comments or require — as many sites do — that people adhere to a particular political philosophy to comment here.

      –The ability to comment here is not a right. CHB existed for 10 years without allowing direct comments to articles. Our ReaderRant bulletin board has been around for most of the 15 years we’ve been on the web but direct comments to stories have not. If I decide that the comments have become too much of a distraction, I will pull the plug. It’s as simple as that.,

      –I have long drawn the line on conspiracy theories. This is nothing new, as long time readers know.

      –The ads don’t begin to pay the costs of keeping this site on the web. Never have, probably never will. Some people, yourself included, have helped with periodic contributions and they have been appreciated but I still pay 75 percent of the cost of this site out of my own pocket.

      –It ain’t about money, it ain’t about pleasing people and it ain’t about catering to any party, philosophy or whim.

      Doug

  3. Guardhouse lawyer

    April 5, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Doug Thompson = head

    conspiracy theories = stone wall

  4. AustinRanter (AKA Gregg)

    April 5, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    There’s no money in the truth. Conspiracy theories generate a sizeable portion of income for mainstream media. I have no doubt that even if media has access to “The Truth” about any given event…they’d find someway to suppress the evidential facts. Apparently intrigue sells better than the facts.

    If there was no money in conspiracy theories…then the media would simply look for whatever sells.

    Why does violence sell more news than non-violent news? I can’t really answer that on behalf of every individual. My belief is…”if a market (tangible or intangible) is substanital and profitable enough, somebody or company will exploit it.

    • Guardhouse lawyer

      April 5, 2010 at 2:26 pm

      “Conspiracy theories generate a sizeable portion of income for mainstream media.”

      Wow. I did not know that. In fact I doubt that any of us here knew it. This should be good for a Pulitzer prize. I would love to see you provide proof of such a remarkable statement. I would also be extremely surprised if you could provide one damned shred of truth to such a ludicrous statement.

      • Carl Nemo

        April 5, 2010 at 3:31 pm

        I suggest you look over the racks of tabloids and scandal mags that are available for purchase the next time you check out your groceries in the supermarket. They are also available at a host of other outlets from 7-11’s to cigar/cigarette/beer stores too.

        Generally I shop at Safeway in my area and there’s at least several dozen of such publications with scandalous headline articles or alluding to such few of them ever supported by facts. Start purchasing them over time and you’ll definitely find conspiracy theory pabulum within too.

        Sensationalism of any type sells bigtime…!

        Carl Nemo **==

        • Guardhouse lawyer

          April 7, 2010 at 3:05 pm

          You call the tabloids and scandal sheets mainstream media? Christ almighty. That is nothing but sad, sad, sad.

          • Carl Nemo

            April 7, 2010 at 3:16 pm

            You call the tabloids and scandal sheets mainstream media? …extract from post

            Based on the metric we can measure our citizens’ voting habits and the state of the Republic…you betcha! : ))

            Carl Nemo **==

          • Almandine

            April 7, 2010 at 7:35 pm

            Morte of that crap gets sold at the grocery store checkout than any other. How much more mainstream can you get?

            Of course, that’s partly the reason we’re in such a mess.

          • b mcclellan

            April 7, 2010 at 7:48 pm

            So you are saying,
            18 holes near a Tiger is not a conspiracy theory that sells ?

      • AustinRanter (AKA Gregg)

        April 6, 2010 at 5:00 pm

        GL,

        Yaaaaaaaaaawwwwn, oh sorry. I could spend hours on insane conspiracy theories being pumped out by Glenn Beck alone…on FOX NETWORK. Hannity isn’t bad at cranking them out himself. O’Reilly’s not above it. Pick any cable news network and I bet that I could find some CT that a news network has profitted by.

        Syndicated radio personalities like Michael Savage, Alex Jones, and I could name several more coast to cost radio hacks that dump conspiracy theories out like pancakes at IHOP.

        How many major TV, newspapers and magazines have devote untold amount of broadcast and printed BS on the Birthers conspiracy theories?

        How about all of the non-sense about theories printed about OJ, and Michael Jackson by just about every media outlet in the world?

        Ohhhh, ohhhh, how about the all of the BS conspiracy theores printed about JFK assassination by mainstream media?

        I could spend days and days running down articles and providing you with sources, but I just don’t want to tie up my time to do that. It’s just too easy to find CT in so many so call respectable news publishers…and including Newsweek, Wall St. Journal…on and on.

        We live in a world where hard news is becoming more and more rare. Tabloidism, sensationalism, and YES…Conspiracy theories are disseminated by mainstream media frequently. If it wasn’t making them bucks…they wouldn’t do it.

        Sounds like you’re all fired up as though I made the claim that mainstream media is concocting all of the CT’s. I didn’t say that anywhere in my post.

        I will still opine that mainstream media produces a substanital amount of money by stoking the fires around CTs that creep out of the mouths of liars for hire. CT’s that reach the public aren’t created by nobody folks. CT’s are created by those who have media clout or so-called journalists who don’t have respect for the, what use to be, institution of free press.

  5. woody188

    April 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Want to touch a bit on this statement:

    the misinformation superhighway (AKA the Internet)

    Yes, there is a lot of misinformation out there. But the internet is merely the medium, these messages were always there before. Take for instance these proven cases of misinformation carried faithfully by the US corporate media:

    1. Spanish-American war, 1898: The surprise explosion of the battleship Maine at Havana, Cuba. 255 of the crew died. The Hearst press accused the Spanish, claiming that the explosion was caused by a remote-controlled mine. The USA declared war on Spain, and conquered Philippines, Guam and Cuba. Subsequent investigations revealed that the explosion originated inside the Maine and that it was either an accident, such as a coal explosion, or some type of time bomb inside the battleship. Divers investigating the shipwreck found that the armour plates of the ship were blown bending outwards, not inwards.

    2. World War I, 1914-1918: A U-boat torpedo hit ocean liner Lusitania near Britain and some 1200 people, including 128 Americans, on board lost their lives. Subsequent investigations revealed that the major explosions were inside the Lusitania, as it was secretly transporting 6 million pounds of artillery shells and rifle ammunition, as well as other explosives on behalf of Morgan banking corporation to help their clients, the British and the French. It was against US laws to transport war materials and passengers in the same ship.

    3. Vietnam War, 1964: “The Tonkin incident”, where American destroyer Maddox was supposedly attacked twice by three North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin but apparently it never happened and once found out, brought about the end to that conflict.

    4. Desert Storm (First Gulf war), 1991): Hussein asked for permission from the US (via their ambassador April Gillespie) and got an answer that the US does not care Arab quarrels. That was a trap, and after Saddam occupied Kuwait, George Bush Sr. mobilized a coalition of some 40 nations to “liberate Kuwait” and to smash the recently-built Iraqi military power base. This also involved a media hoax, where the daughter of Kuwaiti US ambassador played nurse on TV and testified to “witnessing” Iraqi soldiers throwing babies out of incubators in Kuwait.

    5. Enduring Justice (Second Gulf war), 2003-?: later known with less irony as Operation Iraqi Freedom The claimed reason of the attack was that Iraq was a clear and present danger to the US with WMD’s available within less than an hour after the decision to assemble them has been made. Since no WMD’s were found, and after the Iraqi also scrapped some 800 long range Scud style missiles before the US coalition attack, the reason for the invasion was changed to “bringing the democracy into Iraq”.

    The above are just the instance that resulted in war. There are more, like the sinking of the USS Liberty by Israel in an attempt to drag the US into war with Egypt.

    What an amazing coincidence that Popular Mechanics is owned by Hearst, yes the same Hearst responsible for starting the Spanish-American War and that also owns the History Channel. They certainly are beacons of sanity, integrity, and justice. Is it still Nostradamus week on History Channel?

    Believing a for-profit company has your best interests in mind is pretty silly when they all state profit and shareholder value are their number one goal. Look at Phillip-Morris, Enron, MCI/Worldcom, Arthur Anderson, Lehman Brothers, AIG, and the list goes on and on and on. I trust our citizen journalists much more than the corporate whores regardless of medium where there work is presented.

    After HG Wells broadcast “War of the Worlds” I’m sure there were calls to censor public radio just like they want to do with the Internet today. It’s been said the Internet will be modified for more control and it will done in the name of protecting children from sex predators. Welcome to Chimerica!

    Heck, if we should always believe the mainstream media, then Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, which was originally published anonymously, would have been ignored and we would still bow to the British Crown.

    So I’ll leave you with Paine’s words to consider, just replace “doctrine of reconciliation” with Bush doctrine, and “European world” with US Federal Government, and I think you’ll see the parallels.

    Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offence, yet I am inclined to believe, that all those who espouse the doctrine of reconciliation, may be included within the following descriptions:

    Interested men, who are not to be trusted; weak men who cannot see; prejudiced men who will not see; and a certain set of moderate men, who think better of the European world than it deserves; and this last class by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this continent than all the other three.

    • griff

      April 6, 2010 at 8:16 am

      “Freedom hath been hunted round the globe…. O! Receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.” – Thomas Paine

  6. Almandine

    April 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    I really can’t imagine how any thinking American could be without some degree of paranoia… unless they’re focused on the media distractions that abound around us… or perhaps if they’re lucky enough to be enscounced on the lake fishing.

    How else could the abject truth of our plight go unnoticed?

  7. Senegoid

    April 7, 2010 at 7:31 am

    “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”

    Sh*t

    They’re coming to take me away ha ha.

    Damn, ran out of meds again.

    Sorry about that.

    What?

    Never mind.

    • Almandine

      April 7, 2010 at 7:44 pm

      FISA, Patriot Act, warrantless wiretaps, public surveillance cameras, Waco, Ruby Ridge, FBI illegal acts, rendition… Missed that stuff, did ya?

      What do you need to understand why folks might be suspicious?

  8. griff

    April 7, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    What of the reality that our government absolutely never tells us any thing closely resembling the truth? Without truth, reality is a maliable clay to be kneaded and molded by the mockingbird media.

    The mainstream media certainly doesn’t ask the tough questions for fear of reduced access to the propaganda and advertising dollar. Any one that does is dismissed as “outside the mainstream” and not credible by today’s skewed standard, if even recognized at all.

    Reality can’t be debated, only one’s perception of it. So what is left in the absence of truth and honesty, but distrust and “paranoia?”

    • b mcclellan

      April 7, 2010 at 8:23 pm

      Common sense is the final battle ground where we must stand to wage war upon those weighing and mixing our needs and rights against and amongst those that seek to catapult marginal reality at our expense.

      Mockingbirds controlled by the blackbird of false perception reveal the color of feather long molted.

      Pop always said, if it’s blurry close an eye, but never the two at once.

  9. Senegoid

    April 7, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    The Iraq war was a conspiracy, was it not? PANAC, WMD, OSP, WHIG – we all know the story.

  10. b mcclellan

    April 7, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Pop said story tellers shuck little corn and get stuck in your shoe while minding not darning the truth as if it were a pair of sox,
    or a paradox.

  11. griff

    April 8, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Dr. Paul Craig Roberts on Truth

    Fare thee well, doctor.

    • AustinRanter (AKA Gregg)

      April 8, 2010 at 7:09 pm

      Griff…

      Great article by Paul Roberts. I encourage all to read it. The truth is hard, I know, but I suspect that in the near future that we’ll all have to come face-to-face with many truths – after it’s too late.

      Thanks Griff…well worth the read.

    • Carl Nemo

      April 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm

      Thanks griff for the Dr. Roberts article. What’s interesting about the piece is that everything mentioned within is what a few of us continually rant about on this forum, but continue to get called various names, or excoriated for doing so; now by driveby trolls and the ranks of the uninformed to misinformed; ie, those that enjoy living their lives with buckets on their heads. : |

      Carl Nemo **==

  12. Senegoid

    April 8, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    “Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley. If you would attain to the mountain-top you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices.”

    J Krishnamurti

  13. Carl Nemo

    April 9, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Thanks Senegoid for the “truth” exposed in a metaphysical sense by J. Krishnamurti.

    Unfortunately in the world of men, the truth does not follow the path of such lofty, enlightened ideals.

    The truth is whatever the bullies that control a society want it to believe as the truth and only a few are ever blessed to enjoy the absolute truth as disclosed by mystics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiddu_Krishnamurti

    I suggest people enjoy an overview of “logic” that I’m supplying as a link and realize that even the “truth” is based on methodology and not simply a function of “feelings from within”… / : |

    http://www.textetc.com/theory/truth-in-logic.html

    This is why I always enjoy the series “Life after People”. No people, no truth, no logic, no …? Finis!

    Carl Nemo **==

  14. woody188

    April 9, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I hope everyone writes to Dr. Roberts and encourages him to keep at it. I consider him a friend as we have written each other for a few years now. He could use the contact as he is greatly discouraged by what as occurred and the indifference to it by most of our citizens. Also catch him on Alex Jones on April 15th as he says he has a special message for that day. PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

  15. griff

    April 12, 2010 at 6:29 pm

  16. Carl Nemo

    April 12, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks griff for the link. It seems that the failed Copenhagen ‘agreement’ has become a psyop on the part of the administration. Pseudoscientists meet up with crimpols and what do we get; ie., cap and trade schemes engineered to vampirically suck profits from viable, functioning industries while pollution continues business as usual. / : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  17. Almandine

    April 12, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    At the risk of sounding anything less than enthusiastically PRO Obama, is it not clear to all that his agenda is to level the success of the good old USA down to 3rd world status?

    I mean heck, Griff, who in his right mind would think that environmental policies that, as the big O himself has said, will result in $8/gal gas and raise all other energy costs significantly are not to our benefit? We NEED to spend all our bucks on energy.

    Face it… were you to propose that, you’d be run out of town. Then again, you have little ability to get it done, and anyone who said, “Hey ya’ll, Griff wants to bankrupt us on purpose!” would be labeled a conspiracy theorist.

    • griff

      April 13, 2010 at 9:01 pm

      No conspiracy, just a painfully obvious agenda. The great leveling is nigh upon us. They told us that globalism would raise others to our status. As it turns out, it’s bringing us down to theirs.

  18. b mcclellan

    April 13, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Will we identify the life masters in time ?
    Will it help ?
    Questions remain, as to our identity in their mirror.

    What exactly transforms self image ?
    Lack of communication ?
    Nay, a lack of clarity besets man at this time because he is Man, and I have a dozen eggs to prove it.

  19. Warren

    April 14, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Morpheus: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

    Doug, once you were on the red pill prescription. When did you switch? It was fairly recently.

    “While few distrust the American government more than me…”

    No, Doug. Not even close. Not remotely close.
    —W—

    • Almandine

      April 14, 2010 at 2:58 pm

      I wonder who’s ghost-writing Doug’s stuff these days…

  20. Ryan50

    April 14, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I’m totally agree with Senegoid.

    beurette

  21. Almandine

    April 15, 2010 at 7:40 am

  22. Almandine

    April 15, 2010 at 7:42 am

  23. AustinRanter (AKA Gregg)

    April 15, 2010 at 10:30 am

    There is a conspiracy theory going around that American Voters will [once again] re-elect the incumbent seat holders in Washington who are, in fact, lying, scamming, and extortionist – despite the so-called public discontentment with our highest elected officials.

    Why would the electorate re-elect all of these con artist? Because history tells us that the electorate’s voting behaviors, over many, many decades, re-elect incubents regardless of their outcries of discontentment.

    Could it be that there are primarily two parties that have affliated candidates on the ballot, which will offer us just more of the same politics as usual? These parties hold the power of collecting more public donations and have insider corporations that will fill their coffers way more than Independents and even the Tea Party, if they are even able to get on the ballots in every state – UNLESS those affliated candidates serve a bigger advantage to special interest.

    Of course incumbents alway have the power of gerrymandering specific district electorates that would be to their advantage.

    Oh, well. I guess we’ll see. I know how passionate a lot of folks are right now…but when they walk into the voting booths come November…my bet is on the re-election of the same corrupt politicans.