Conspiracy vultures descend on Newtown

It never fails. Every time something ghastly happens, from the Wisconsin Sikh temple massacre to the Oslo terror attacks to the Fort Hood Shootings to (d'oh!) 9-11, lugubrious conspiranoids have got to descend like ravenous vultures with bogus theories about how it was a "false flag" job perpetrated by a "Manchurian Candidate." The horrific bloodletting at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn., is, alas, no exception. And in this case, the theory has simply no basis in reality—it isn't even a distortion, contortion, embellishment or obfuscation—it is a simple invention, straight up. Yet animated partisans are plastering posts about it on my Facebook wall right and left—seemingly in all earnestness. Big ups to Talking Points Memo for rising to the tiresome ocassion of shooting down this jive:

A false rumor spreading rapidly on fringe sites like Infowars and assorted Ron Paul messageboards ties the school murders to an existing hoax surrounding the Aurora, Colo. movie theater shooting. After that attack, conspiracy theorists fixated on the accused shooter's father, Robert Holmes, pointing to media reports that he worked as an anti-fraud scientist for credit scoring company FICO.

Somehow, a rumor surfaced online that Holmes was scheduled to testify before the Senate on the Libor banking scandal before the theater shooting. It wasn’t true: no such hearing was ever scheduled to take place, nor is there even an obvious connection between FICO and the Libor scandal, which involved a number of high-profile banks misreporting interest rates on transactions. But imaginative commenters across dozens of sites exploited the phony connection anyway, concocting a theory in which the hearing was set to reveal a massive new fraud scheme before being deliberately derailed…

In the case of Newtown, Peter Lanza, the alleged shooter’s father, reportedly also worked in finance as vice president of taxes at GE Financial Services. Within hours, the same online forums were asserting as fact — again, 100 percent without evidence — that he too was supposed to testify before the Senate regarding Libor. Like FICO, GE has no obvious connection to the investigation, which has roped in various other financial institutions. And once again, there is no “witness list” that includes Lanza because there isn’t even a hearing on the issue.

"This rumor is 100% false," a Senate Banking Committee aide, who asked not to be named, told TPM by email. "The Senate Banking Committee does not have any LIBOR hearings currently scheduled, and has never considered either of these men as potential witnesses."

Evidence? Hey, who needs evidence in the wacky world of conspiranoia? If you question this nonsense, you're a dupe of the conspiracy! (Or perhaps a "cognitive infiltrator.") Alas, this fanciful detritus has appeared not only on blatantly wacky sites like Info Wars and Ron Paul Forums, but also, which actually aspires to a pretense of mainstream credibility. The apparently non-ironic website adds a "chemtrails" twist, sporting photos of contrails over the school on the day of the shooting and intimating that this is somehow related to the mind-control manipulation of the shooter. 

We should also give a shout-out to Occupy Corporatism for calling out this BS, although, like almost everyone today, they use the word "corporatism" incorrectly.

Invariably, the conspiranoia is a distraction from the vital questions that need to be raised about why our culture is manifesting such routine atrocities. Leave it to Britain's Daily Mail and The Telegraph to note the cultural context: Adam Lanza's mom was part of the "Prepper" survivalist movement, which explains why she had so many guns on hand.

"She prepared for the worst," her sister-in-law Marsha Lanza told reporters. "Last time we visited her in person, we talked about prepping – are you ready for what could happen down the line, when the economy collapses?"

"Prepared for the worst," eh? Talk about creating what you fear. Maybe she should have read Alan Watts' The Wisdom of Insecurity. This says volumes about the perverse logic of gun culture. Just before Yugoslavia imploded 20 years ago, the Croats, Serbs and Muslims each started arming in anticipaiton of the collapse. Would the collapse have happened—or would it have been so ghastly—if they hadn't done so? Unknowable, of course, but still worth considering.

The more universal (if almost equally kneejerk) response of framing the issue in terms of gun control also avoids asking the profound questions about our culture by focusing exclusively on the means rather than reasons behind this horror. And to the extent that anyone talks about the reasons, it is framed in the problematic meme of "mental illness"—which is a social construct. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but the question of why people who are "wired" differently become psychopaths instead of saints, mystics or shamans confronts us once again with the question of cultural context. Blaming "mental illness" begs the question of why such attacks have increased dramatically over the past generation. It also paves the way for an authoritarian therapeutic state. We had to make this same point after the Sikh temple massacre.

The political logic (if we may so flatter it) behind the Newtown conspiracy theories is that the attack was intended to grease a crackdown on guns. And indeed gun sales have (paradoxically!) soared since the massacre—not only nationally but even within Newtown, Sky News notes. We acknowledge that there is a pathology at work on both sides of the gun control debate, but the Gun Lobby's silence in the wake of Newtown is perverse, as is its baseless scare-mongering. (Dig this priceless performance from the NRA's Wayne LaPierre.) The Gun Lobby also takes no responsibility for the massive arms trafficking to the Mexican cartels. Its propaganda always portrays a nation of yeoman farmers ready to protect home and family against either maruading criminals or jack-booted government thugs. The reality is considerably more complicated.


  1. Alex Jones: Help! Help! I’m being repressed!
    Info Wars carries a piece claiming:

    Facebook is suspending user accounts that question the official narrative behind the Sandy Hook school massacre, following a warning by Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance that “misinformation” posted on social media sites could result in prosecution.

    An image posted in the aftermath of the shootings that questioned whether “a clumsy 20-year-old autistic kid” could have pulled off the murders of 26 people was deleted and the user’s account hit with a three day suspension.

    “I was informed the reason for this punishment was the result of a meme I had shared,” writes the editor of “Facebook told me it “…violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities”. I was further warned that “If you continue to abuse Facebook’s features, your account could be permanently disabled.” [Sic—incorrect use of quotation marks in original.]

    On Saturday, Connecticut state police warned that people posting “misinformation” on social media websites would be “investigated and prosecuted.”

    We want to be clear that we forthrightly oppose censorship, even of irresponsible, paranoid malarky. But we want to be equally clear that just because it is being censored doesn’t mean that it is anything other than irresponsible, paranoid malarky.

  2. Newtown reveals dangers of therapeutic state?
    We’ve already noted above how the “Prepper” mentality seems to have paradoxically helped create the massacre at Newtown—providing the shooter with access to guns, a belief that their use is the answer to problems, and (probably) an apocalyptic zeitgeist. Now it appears this horrific case may also point to the dangers of a therapeutic state predicated on the notion of pre-emptive restraint on the liberties of those deemed a threat for “psychiatric” reasons. From Fox News:

    Fear of being committed may have caused Connecticut gunman to snap

    The gunman who slaughtered 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school may have snapped because his mother was planning to commit him to a psychiatric facility, according to a lifelong resident of the area who was familiar with the killer’s family and several of the victims’ families.

    Adam Lanza, 20, targeted Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown after killing his mother early Friday because he believed she loved the school “more than she loved him,” said Joshua Flashman, 25, who grew up not far from where the shooting took place. Flashman, a U.S. Marine, is the son of a pastor at an area church where many of the victims’ families worship.

    “From what I’ve been told, Adam was aware of her petitioning the court for conservatorship and (her) plans to have him committed,” Flashman told “Adam was apparently very upset about this. He thought she just wanted to send him away. From what I understand, he was really, really angry. I think this could have been it, what set him off.”

    A senior law enforcement official involved in the investigation confirmed that Lanza’s anger at his mother over plans for “his future mental health treatment” is being looked at as a possible motive for the deadly shooting.

    Again, a case of actions creating what was feared…

  3. NRA breaks silence on Newtown
    CBS notes that the NRA has announced it will hold a “major news conference” on Friday, pledging “meaningful contributions” to address what happened at Newtown. Meanwhile, they say:

    The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters—and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown. Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.

    We will withhold comment until Friday—other than to say that use of the word “heartbroken” is utterly condescending. Nobody who was not personally affected by the massacre is heartbroken. Shocked, saddened, even despairing—yes. But not heartbroken. Use of that word sounds like cheap lip service. Obama has done it too. Just saying.

  4. Religious right “exploits” Newtown?
    Bill Berkowitz on TruthOut takes aim at “Religious Right’s Shameful Exploitation of Newtown Massacre.” His foremost offendor is Mike Huckabee…

    “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee saidon Fox News. “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage? Because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability — that we’re not just going to have be accountable to the police if they catch us, but one day we stand before, you know, a holy God in judgment. If we don’t believe that, then we don’t fear that.”

    OK, Huckabee is dead wrong here and needs to be opposed. But is he “exploiting” the massacre, or merely calling it as he (wrongly) sees it? Our opposite numbers on the right accuse liberals of “exploiting” the massacre to push for gun control. See this exhibit from; the right-wing Washington Times gloats that Rep. Jerrold Nadler indiscreetly called for Obama to “exploit” the massacre.

    We have to point this out.


  5. Mossad behind Newtown (of course)
    Well, this one was inevitble. From Iran’s Press TV, Dec. 18:

    Days later, the Sandy Hook Massacre, the iconic slaughter of twenty small children, is now looking like a terrorist attack, not a “murder suicide.” Was “lone gunman” Adam Lanza a “patsy,” the same word Lee Harvey Oswald used to describe himself before being “silenced” in November 1963?

    Today, Michael Harris, former Republican candidate for governor of Arizona and GOP campaign finance chairman, in an internationally televised news broadcast, cited “Israeli revenge” in, what he called, “the terrorist attack in Connecticut.” 

    Harris cited Israeli “rage” against the US and against President Barack Obama. By “Israel,” we mean “Netanyahu.” 

    The mission was to teach America a lesson, knowing that “America would take the punishment, keep “quiet,” and let a ‘fall guy’ take the blame.” 

    A “fall guy” is another word for “patsy.” 

    Harris, citing the flood of inconsistencies in the “cover story,” pointed out the following, “The facts are now becoming obvious. This is another case where Israel has chosen violence and terrorism where their bullying in Washington has failed. Israel believes the US “threw them under the bus,” particularly after the recent Gaza war, allowing Israel to be humiliated in the United Nations. Their response was to stage a terror attack, targeting America in the most hideous and brutal way possible, in fact, an Israeli “signature attack,” one that butchers children, one reminiscent of the attacks that killed so many children in Gaza?” 

    Et cetera. Incorrect use of quotation marks in original. Max Fisher in the Washington Post makes note of this wackiness, and links to an Aug. 25, 2009 report in the Phoenix New Times informing us that this charming Mike Harris appeared in an anti-Obama video with veteran neo-Nazi JT Ready.

    1. Israel did Newtown: video version
      This is really special.

      So comforting to know that anti-Semitism is all in the imagination of us paranoid Jews.

  6. Wonderfully and uniquely sane!
    The perfect antidote to the reflexive ‘blame the gun’ mantra and gushing of emotionalism which seems the only permitted response to the Sandy Hook tragedy at the moment.
    Yes, why ARE these mad crimes increasing in frequency?

    Gun availability?
    At the time the architecture student at the University of Texas murdered a bunch of passers by in Austin (I,965) one didn’t even have to sign for a rifle or shotgun in Texas.
    Guns were still available by MAIL at that time.
    The student shooter began his spree by killing his mother at the home they shared.
    He left a note reading that he thought there was something wrong in his head.
    An autopsy later showed he had a large brain tumor.
    Years went by before another such rampage took place in America.

    Since then guns have become considerable harder to get – especially pistols.
    Yet the rampages continue to increase in frequency.
    And not only in America.
    They happen in oppressive countries such as China, where school children are the usual targets and the weapons of choice are knives.
    They happen in comfortable and relatively free countries such as Norway.
    They happen in Canada, Britain, Australia, and Germany.

    I’d say the poorer countries are not showing such rampages because violence is so normal in many of them that there’s no easy distinguishing between psychopathic and warlord, drug  lord, paramilitary, political terrorist, religious terrorist, and civil war violence.

    If guns really become hard to obtain (hard to imagine since there are already 2OO millions of guns in private hands in this country), then the rampage killers would just turn to other methods.
    Remember that the greatest terrorist attack up til 9-II was the Oklahoma City bombing – which was done by two conspiracy obsessed right-wingers using fertilizer and diesel oil.
    The twon teenagers who shot up their fellow classmates at Columbine, CO, brougtht a propane tank into the school with the intention of blowing it up as the climax of their assault.
    Had they had no or fewer guns and ammmunition, they probably would have focussed their full attention on setting of the propane, perhaps resulting in even more casualties than occurred.

    Why are these madmen proliferating?
    I don’ tknow.
    They are almost always single men who feel isolated and rejected, who haven’t been able to  mate or establish themselves socially.
    I’d start there if I were looking for an explanation.
    Unfortunately, no one in public view (except our crack journalist, Bill W. , seems even interesting in doing any thinking about this matter, let alone research.

    1. Thanks, but use of word “sane” is ironic
      I share your frustration (even despair) at the universal uninterest in looking for root causes in this carnage. However, I reject use of the words “sane” and “madmen.” Insanity (like sanity) is a social construct. The therapeutic meme is no less a distraction than the gun-control response. And perhaps a more dangerous one.

      Also, given that the assault weapon ban has sunset and the background-check law is full of loopholes, gun laws are not particularly harsher today than they were in 1965. NRA alarmism notwithstanding.

  7. Newtown: another case against therapeutic state?
    Hmmm. The slightly conspiranoid Business Insider notes a report in New York Magazine entitled “Asperger’s Is a Red Herring to Explain the Newtown Massacre” which in turn cites a report in the NY Daily News that quotes Adam Lanza’s uncle as saying he was taking an anti-psychotic drug called Fanapt. Business Insider also notes that Fanapt was the subject of a Bloomberg report when it passed regulators in 2009, after previously getting the “nonapproval” stamp. And it finally notes reports indicating Fanapt could actually trigger psychotic episodes, with potential side-effects including aggression, delusion, hostility,  paranoia, anorgasmia, confusional state, mania, catatonia, mood swings, panic attack, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa, delirium, polydipsia psychogenic, impulse-control disorder, and major depression. Cute, eh?

    However, Business Insider fails to mention an editorial note that has been added to the end of the New York Magazine story, stating that the Daily News had removed the reference to Fanapt from its own story, and: “It is now unclear whether Lanza was taking Fanapt.”

    1. Psych drug link in Newtown?
      Lawrence Hunter writes in Forbes Jan. 14: “Psychiatric Drugs, Not A Lack Of Gun Control, Are The Common Denominator In Murderous Violence.” He notes a New York state senate bill introduced in 200 that would have required police to report when such pharmaceutical use is indicated in a violent crime perp. The legislated cited “a large body of scientific research establishing a connection between violence and suicide and the use of psychotropic drugs.” It didn’t pass, but we congratulate Hunter for saving this nugget from the Memory Hole (even if he is using it for a pro-gun agenda).

      But the conspiranoids have jumped on this too, natch. The lovely website USA Hitman luridly notes that a gun manufacturer named John Noveske was “mysteriously” killed in a car crash days fter he posted a blog about a possible psych-drug link to Newtown.


  8. Urban paranoia over suburban phenomenon
    The New York Times makes note of a panic sparked at PS 79 in East Harlem after a “drill” was mistaken for the real thing and the cops were sent in. When I was a kid, back in the Cold War, we did “air raid drills” (as if hiding in the halls could save us from nuclear attack). Ah, progress. But the irony is that this happened in Harlem. Have you ever heard of a school massacre in the inner city? No. With the possible partial exception of Newtown (which the last time I was there some 20 years ago still had a small-town feel), it seems to be an entirely suburban phenomenon. As we have pointed out.

  9. NRA calls for therapeutic police state
    In his press conference today, in addittion to calling for further militarization of our schools with more armed guards (gee, thanks), Wayne LaPierre also called for a “national database of the mentally ill.” What does he mean by this? There already is one, sort of. The Gun Control Act of 1968 barred gun sales to the “mentally ill,” and the 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act instated a criminal background database that includes a list (although some states opt out of it) of the “dangerously mentally ill”—the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). And the NRA, of course, opposed both these laws! (WP, Dec. 21) So what exactly does LaPierre mean? A general database of the “mentally ill”—not to prevent them from buying guns but to track them through the population, for purposes of pre-emptive restraint?

    There are extremely totalitarian ideas being legitimized in the post-Newtown climate. Why are we not hearing a fraction of the outrage about these calls for a therapeutic police state as about the (so far non-existent) threat the Second Amendment?

    1. Therapeutic police state advances in New York
      Well the newly passed New York state “gun-control” law includes draconian provisions for mandatory monitoring and restraint of the “mentally ill”—including a toughening of the totalitarian “Kendra’s Law,” extending mandatory “treatment programs.” See reports on YNN, CNN, WSJ and WNYC. How telling that both sides of this deabte, the “liberals” and the NRA, both have complete contempt for the freedom of the “mentally ill” (sic).

  10. New low on Newtown: “no massacre” theory
    Have the conspiranoids hit bottom yet? How low can they go? Some self-important idiot on Daily Paul (a forum for enthusiasts of right-wing huckster Ron Paul) notes that some fool on the Internet (no shortage!) found a random photo of a little girl and passed it off as a Newtown victim. This is somehow taken as evidence of—what exactly? The poster seems to be alluding to what we might call “No Massacre Theory.” The notion that the shooter was a “Manchurian Candidate” apparently isn’t wacky enough for some people, the latest conspiracy theory is that the massacre didn’t even happen! Reminds us of the joke about 9-11 “No Buildings Theory”–not only did the planes not exist, the Towers never existed either! 

    This is the most lugubrious masturbation imaginable, and a perverse insult to the families of Newtown.

    1. Snopes takes on “no massacre” theory
      The urban legend-busters as trace the “no massacre” theory back to a website called WellAware1, filled with all sorts of outer-orbit conspiranoia about how virtually every face in the public media is really an actor, playing upon superficial resemblances, e.g. accused Aurora shooter James Eagan Holmes (why always three names for these loons?) and rock star Jack White of the White Stripes.

  11. Newtown

    Why was Emily Parkers Facebook account was set up five hours after the shootings. With bank account already set up to receive charitable donations. Before her parents even knew she was DEAD! No media will report this. This is not a negative comment about the deaths of innocent people, but a question of how this could be possible.  Questions about this will be removed from the page by the 24/7 monitor, will be removed from twitter, ect. Where is the freedom of speech. Where is the Media.

  12. Newtown conspiranoia makes MSM
    How depressing. Even this Jan. 16 account in the Candian Press—the first mainstream account we’ve seen calling out the lugubrious Newtown-was-a-hoax sickos—has got to lead with a gratuitous diss of the “mentally ill.”

    WASHINGTON—The United States has long been a breeding ground for conspiracy theorists, spurred by an often violent history riddled, in particular, with shadowy political assassinations.

    But the latest conspiracy movement seems custom-made to underscore the need for a national debate on mental illness. Some of the Sandy Hook Truthers, as they’ve been dubbed, believe last month’s mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., was a hoax.

    The Obama administration perpetrated the hoax, the conspiracy theorists claim, in order to ratchet up support for tougher gun control measures.

    They call themselves Operation Terror, and many of the movement’s adherents appear to have ties to the so-called 9/11 truthers who have long held that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were an inside job by the George W. Bush administration.

    Their theories on the Dec. 14 shooting in Sandy Hook appear to lack any basis in fact, reality or common sense. But Google Trends suggests the movement is gaining momentum with both a Florida college professor and a libertarian Fox News anchor in Cincinnati questioning the official narrative on the events.

    And that’s even more depressing. But, hey, it gets worse. Yahoo News reports:

    A man who found six children in his driveway in Newtown, Conn., after their teacher had been shot and killed in last month’s school massacre has become the target of conspiracy theorists who believe the shootings were staged.

    “I don’t know what to do,” Gene Rosen told “I’m getting hang-up calls, I’m getting some calls, I’m getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I’m lying, that I’m a crisis actor, ‘How much am I being paid?’”

    Rosen, a 69-year-old retired psychologist who lives near Sandy Hook Elementary School where the shootings took place, says his inbox is filled with emails like this one:

    How are all those little students doing? You know, the ones that showed up at your house after the ‘shooting’. What is the going rate for getting involved in a gov’t sponsored hoax anyway?

    “The quantity of the material is overwhelming,” Rosen said, adding that he’s sought the advice of a retired state police officer and plans to alert the FBI.

    Utterly sick. It challenges the imagination.

    1. The Forward sees anti-Semitic angle in Newtown conspiranoia
      The Forward on Jan. 18 of course notes that Gene Rosen has an obviously Jewish name. And some of the conspiranoid comments leave little room for doubt as to whether this is mere coincidence.

      The shameless abuse of Rosen, an innocent bit player in the Newtown drama, is fed by the mushrooming so-called Truther movement. Its adherents claim the mass shooting was somehow staged to stir up the debate on gun control. Some suspect that media organizations, perhaps in cahoots with the U.S. government, are concealing part of the story.

      The outlandish theory has gained traction in the last couple of weeks. It has been endorsed by extremists like James Wickstrom, a Michigan-based white supremacist and academics like James Tracy, professor of Communications at Florida Atlantic University, who has made his doubts about the veracity of media coverage during events like the Sandy Hook shooting public on his blog, It’’ even gotten play from a TV anchor from a local Fox affiliate in Cincinnati.

      Rosen’s televised comments were widely seen — he appeared on network news show. But his commends were later derided and reposted on various conspiracy websites including one called A YouTube video that calls his interview a preplanned “audition tape” has garnered nearly 50,000 views.

      The YouTube comments below the video are revealing. They range from “Gene Rosen is a fraud,” to “How come in these set chewing performances does ‘Gene’ not shed a single actual tear? Must be a hallmark of the Holocaust school of acting.”

      Of course those freaks would all gang up on the Jew. You guys do it every time, and then whine about how we Jews are cynically scheming to guilt-trip the world. You don’t even get your own freaking irony.

  13. More Newtown conspiranoia deconstructed
    Benjamin Radford, LiveScience “Bad Science Columnist,” writes on Yahoo News, Jan. 16:

    A common theme running through conspiracy thinking is that if you’re smart enough, and just look closely enough at all the news coverage and available information, you can see lies and contradictions in accounts of the event. Truthers claim that they have found “absolute proof” that the shootings were a hoax, pointing to a 6-year-old girl named Emilie Parker, who was shot to death in the school massacre.

    Or was she? They claim that the smoking-gun photographic proof that Emilie is still alive is that she was photographed after the shooting with President Obama during a visit with the families. The girl is actually Emilie’s sister, wearing the same dress that Emilie wore in another photograph.

    In the topsy-turvy world of conspiracy thinking, any little girl who resembles Emilie and is wearing the same dress as one she owned must be her. It could not possibly be her sister, who could not possibly be wearing either Emilie’s dress or an identical one. Instead, it’s obviously proof that the whole shooting was faked.

    But this claim, even if it were true, raises more questions than it answers. For example, if Sandy Hook was indeed a “staged event” as claimed, with Emilie Parker alive and the president part of the conspiracy, why would the government be so careless as to release a photograph of Emilie, knowing that she had been reported dead in a carefully orchestrated national hoax? Is a widely published photo opportunity with the president of the United States really the best place to hide someone who is supposedly dead?

    …Research has shown not only that a person who believes in one conspiracy theory is likely to support others, but also contradictions don’t deter conspiracy theorists.

    The idea that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked is not only absurd, but also an insult to the victims of the tragedy. The victims are really, provably gone; they are not safely hidden away somewhere until the Sandy Hook shooting has served its ultimate goal of taking away America’s guns. The bullet holes are there. The children and adults are dead. Toxic conspiracies, however, will live on.

  14. Greg Palast is a freaking idiot
    We’ve always suspected it, but now we know for sure. In his latest spew, he shamelessly fawns over Alex Jones as a man of the people, as opposed to the effete media snob Piers Morgan.

    Yes, Alex Jones. You know, the blatant xenophobe who trumpets anti-immigrant bromides on his website and waxes paranoid about how the Mexicans are taking over the USA, the unpaid propagandist of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, purveyor of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in the Oslo bombings (and just about everything else), peddler of transparent malarky about 9-11 and lugubrious alarmism about an imminent nuclear “false flag” attack, and the shameless self-promoter who leads the vultures that have repeatedly attempted to crash the 9-11 commemoration in New York. Yeah that’s right, him.

    Why do supposed “progressives” shill for such reactionaries?

    NOTE: Alex Jones once invited me on to this program for a “debate,” then withdrew the invitation at last minute. It has since become so clear that he is a far-right racist that I no longer think it is worth “debating” him, but it is still worth noting for the historical record…

    ANOTHER NOTE: Palast somehow tries to tie his penis into his gushing over Jones and demonization of Morgan. Whatever the supposed connection is, file it under “TMI.”

  15. Lugubrious Newtown conspiracy theories debunked

    Three wounded as another gun-crazed wacko shot up a school today, this time a college campus near Houston, Al Jazeera reports. Wow, the Illuminati must sure be busy, having to organize all these false-flag attacks. The "theories" (to use an all too flattering word) being purveyed by lugubrious sites like are deftly demolished by the rumor-busters at Snopes, who note one especially bad one: A photo of five Newtown children taken with Obama after the massacre, one of whom is said to be Emilie Parker, a six-year-old victim of the shooting spree. Note how the conspiranoids are unbothered by the blatant contradictions in their own theories.  

    Either a.) Emilie Parker is dead or b.) Obama and her parents are part of an elaborate conspiracy to trick the world into believing that she is dead—in which case, one wonders where the hell she actually is, what she is going to do for the rest of her life in hiding or under an assumed identity, and if the casket was really empty at the funeral, where her family did a very good job indeed of feigning grief. (See heart-wrenching coverage at the Daily Mail.) In either case, it makes ZERO sense that she would appear in a photo with Obama.

    Yet the conspiranoids keep harping about the fact that there are three blonde girls in both pictures, one looking a lot like Emilie and wearing the same red dress Emilie wore in an earlier picture. Snopes tells us that the girl in the red dress in the shot with Obama is one of Emilie's two younger sisters (presumably wearing a dress that was handed down from Emilie). The theory that they are both Emilie defies any logical explanation.

    Take a better look at the photo. Even the conspiracy-friendly God-Like Productions posts a version of it juxtaposed with another one of the three Parker girls that disproves this evil jive. In addition to the three blonde girls with Obama, there is a fourth girl (not blonde) and a little boy. So obviously these are children from more than one of the victims' families. The third blonde girl is presumably unrelated to the two Parker sisters. The Emilie Parker Fund website notes that there were only three Parker sisters—and makes no mention of a brother.

    This claim has been 100% debunked. But in the dishonest "debating" style (again an all-too-flattering word) typical of the conspiranoids, they will not admit it. Without conceding defeat on this point, they will just happily move on to the next supposed smoking gun. They'd keep us rationalists running on this treadmill forever. It is a fool's game.

    1. Newtown and the Misinformation Revolution
      Another thing the conspioranoids keep harping on is the early erroneous account that the AR-15 was found in the shooter’s car, so couldn’t have been used in the massacre. Police later said this was wrong, and it was actually a shotgun that was found in the car. But this is conveniently ignored by the conspiranoids.

      Early reportage is always going to be filled with inaccuracies and even simple non-events. (Remember the non-existent bombs that were reported at the George Washington Bridge and Supreme Court building on 9-11?) The Internet exacerbates this “fog of war” syndrome, because every outlet wants to be the first to get the story out in real-time, so they go with what they’ve got, fact-checking comes later… Then the conspiracy industry jumps on the inevitable inconsistencies and builds utterly improbable fantasies around them.

      The poorly-named “information revolution” is actually a misinformation revolution, which abets a disinformation industry…

      Boy, do I miss the days when I used to read a newspaper that was actually printed on paper with my morning coffee, and got yesterday’s news—but actual news, with a degree of fact-checking and editorial oversight. It was a better world then. Don’t tell me it wasn’t.