Well, now the Pope is warning about “conspiracy theories”:
Pope Francis has warned bishops at a global church meeting on the family not to be taken in by conspiracy theories, as conservatives and liberals reportedly engage in attempts to manipulate the synod.
A Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, on Thursday confirmed reports that the pontiff had warned Catholic bishops and cardinals behind closed doors on Tuesday not to get caught up in “the hermeneutic of conspiracy”. Continue reading
I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy .
Abraham Lincoln, letter to Joshua Speed, August 24, 1855
Presidential assassinations attract nut cases like bribes attract politicians. The original presidential assassination conspiracy theorist was Charles P.T. Chiniquy, a Catholic priest from Quebec, who came to Kankakee County in Illinois circa 1850 to serve a colony of French Canadians who had settled there. In 1860 he left the Church with some of his parishioners, having run afoul of his Bishop. Eventually he became a Presbyterian Minister and made a living from publishing anti-Catholic books and tracts and giving anti-Catholic lectures
Chiniquy had used Lincoln’s services as a lawyer in a slander case in 1856. From this slight association, after Lincoln’s assassination he created a fable of the Jesuits having been behind Lincoln’s death and putting anti-Catholic sentiments in the mouth of a man who knew no religious bigotry. Chiniquy’s lies have been exposed for well over a century by historians. One of the best eviscerations of Chiniquy was undertaken by Professor Joseph George, Jr. in an article which appeared in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society in 1976:
In 1891 John G. Nicolay, Lincoln’s former secretary, received a note from Benedict Guldner, a Jesuit priest in New York, asking for information about a “libellous pamphlet” printed in Germany. The pamphlet, according to Guldner, was a translation of a work “originally written in this country … in which the author maintains that the assassination of President Lincoln was the work of Jesuits.” Nicolay and John Hay, another former secretary to the President, had not mentioned the allegation in their biography of Lincoln, and Guldner wished to know if they had heard the charge and if they considered it false.  Nicolay consulted Hay, and then replied:
To [y]our first question whether in our studies on the life of Lincoln we came upon the charge that “the assasination of President Lincoln was the work of Jesuits”, we answer that we have read such a charge in a lengthy newspaper publication. To your second question, viz: “If you did come across it, did the accusation seem to you to be entirely groundless?”, we answer Yes. It seemed to us so entirely groundless as not to merit any attention on our part. 
Perhaps the decision of Nicolay and Hay to ignore the charge of a Jesuit conspiracy against Lincoln was unwise. A prompt and firm denial might have prevented further publication of the story. 
The originator of the conspiracy theory was Charles P.T. Chiniquy, a former Catholic priest who claimed to be a close friend and confidant of Abraham Lincoln’s. According to Chiniquy, “emissaries of the Pope” were plotting to murder Lincoln for his defense of Chiniquy in an 1856 trial. Chiniquy’s autobiography, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, published in 1885, attributes remarks to the President on a variety of subjects, particularly religion.  Most of Chinquy’s stories are so foreign to what is known about the Sixteenth President that scholars have ignored them. Nevertheless, many of the less sensational portions of Chiniquy’s reminiscences have been used by serious students of Lincoln’s life, and the most sensational passages have been widely quoted and disseminated by writers engaged in anti-Catholic polemics. Continue reading
Hmmm, Doctor Delusional’s campaign is wondering why they aren’t winning any caucuses or primaries:
BOISE, Idaho — Ron Paul’s top strategists are confused and frustrated that the wild enthusiasm they see at their campaign rallies and events is not translating into votes.
Thousands turned out to see the Texas congressman at events in Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota in the days before Super Tuesday. Paul said publicly and believed privately that he could win all three states outright. When the votes were counted, though, he finished third in Alaska and Idaho and second in North Dakota.
Paul may still emerge with a big chunk of delegates in the GOP nominating race, but the candidate’s much-hyped focus on caucus states has yet to yield an outright victory in any state.
This gap between dreams and reality came to a head during a Wednesday morning conference call for senior staff when the discussion turned to why the campaign keeps underperforming its own forecasts.
“They count the numbers and then they count the votes,” said Doug Wead, a Paul senior adviser who was on the call. “Did they get overconfident? … We’re digesting that.” Continue reading
I have long contended that I stay in the law for one reason only, the amusement factor. Case in point:
A fed-up bankruptcy judge Wednesday ordered a Hastings attorney and her
client to show cause why each shouldn’t be fined up to $10,000 for calling the
jurist a “Catholic Knight Witch Hunter” – as well as other names – in a court
In a pair of sternly worded orders, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Nancy Dreher said a
legal memorandum filed last month by attorney Rebekah Nett was filled with
“unsupported and outrageous allegations of bigotry, deceit, conspiracy and
Among other things, the attorney’s memo called Dreher, another judge and a
couple of trustees “dirty Catholics” and said the courts were “composed of a
bunch of ignoramus, bigoted Catholic beasts that carry the sword of the church.”
Nett had signed the document, but it was written by Naomi Isaacson, a
Minneapolis woman who is president of Yehud-Monosson USA Inc., which owned gas
stations and convenience stores. It is a subsidiary of a religious group known
as the Dr. R.C. Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology Inc., or SIST,
in Shawano, Wis., and is embroiled in a bankruptcy dispute in Dreher’s court.
Dreher set a hearing for Jan. 4 and told Nett and Isaacson they’d have to
come up with good reasons why they shouldn’t be fined.
She also said she plans to order them to write public apologies to those
slurred in the November filing and will order Nett “to attend, at her own
expense, no less than 30 hours of ethics training within the next 12 months.” Continue reading
At my own blog I’ve already shared my annoyance with the Birthers. For those of you not up to speed, “birthers” are those that doubt, to one degree or another, that President Obama was actually born in Hawaii, and who suggest, therefore, that he is constitutionally ineligible for the presidency. To me it’s a silly conspiracy theory that doesn’t crack even a “1” on the credibly believable scale (and I am referring to the conspiracy being believable, not Obama’s family history).
Then there is what one might term the birther subplot. There are those who don’t really doubt that Obama was born in Hawaii, but who nonetheless insist that he release his long-form birth certificate. Donald Trump has harped on this issue quite a lot as he embarks
on a futile attempt to draw more attention to himself on a bid for the Republican nomination for the presidency. Long story short, Trump and others sense that Obama is hiding something. The most common rumor is that the long-form certificate would (for some reason) indicate that he was a Muslim. Commenter “The Man From K Street” offers a couple of other plausible theories on the blog “Est Quod Est”:
First (and to my mind the likeliest) — it will reveal what most people already have figured out: Barack Obama Sr. and Stanley Ann Dunham were never actually married, let alone licitly (even a presumptive wedding would have been invalid as bigamous).
Second — there has been some speculation that BO Sr. might not have been the actual father. One alternative candidate in particular has been discussed in various parts of the net, but even if we saw the long form, this will probably stay graffiti on the bathroom wall of history forever.
Possibly. And then there’s the conspiracy of the non-conspiracy, and Don alluded to it in the comments of my post. Essentially Obama is dragging this thing out because he knows that the birth certificate contains nothing all that embarrassing, but by playing the story out it allows some of his opponents to look like complete loons. Frankly, this would be my bet, and that gets to the heart of my annoyance with people like Trump. Even if there is something on the birth certificate that is potentially slightly embarrassing, why should we care? Nothing is going to have any bearing on his qualifications to be president. The only theory that would be even partially troubling if true is that his religion is listed as “Muslim.” Sure, it would create some tension because hard core Islamists view apostasy as punishable by death. Well, yes, but my guess is those very same people who would seek to kill Obama because of his apostasy want him dead anyway. And again, that really shouldn’t matter in the slightest when evaluating his worthiness to be re-elected.
At the risk of going back on my New Year’s resolution not to discuss the 2012 presidential race until Labor Day, I am going to have to side with Mitt Romney on this (something I might not be saying too often after Labor Day):
Mitt Romney forcefully said Tuesday night that he believes President Barack Obama was born in America and that “the citizenship test has been passed.”
“I think the citizenship test has been passed. I believe the president was born in the United States. There are real reasons to get this guy out of office,” Romney told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow the day after he formally announced that he’s exploring a run for the White House. “The man needs to be taken out of office but his citizenship isn’t the reason why.”
As Ed Morrissey adds:
The 2012 election should hinge on real issues and deep questions about Barack Obama’s ability to handle the office. The freak show is a distraction that damages the serious nature of Obama’s opposition — and don’t think the media isn’t eating it up, either.
Update: As if to bolster my point, I would think that Obama being a demagogic manchild incapable of serious governance is enough reason to oppose him that we don’t need to manufacture stuff.
Hattip to Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal. Seymour Hersch, part time left wing loon and full time writer at the New Yorker, critiques US policy in the Middle East and blames us papists:
In a speech billed as a discussion of the Bush and Obama eras, New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh delivered a rambling, conspiracy-laden diatribe here Monday expressing his disappointment with President Barack Obama and his dissatisfaction with the direction of U.S. foreign policy.
“Just when we needed an angry black man,” he began, his arm perched jauntily on the podium, “we didn’t get one.”
It quickly went downhill from there.
Hersh, whose exposés of gross abuses by members of the U.S. military in Vietnam and Iraq have earned him worldwide fame and high journalistic honors, said he was writing a book on what he called the “Cheney-Bush years” and saw little difference between that period and the Obama administration.
He said that he was keeping a “checklist” of aggressive U.S. policies that remained in place, including torture and “rendition” of terrorist suspects to allied countries, which he alleged was ongoing.
He also charged that U.S. foreign policy had been hijacked by a cabal of neoconservative “crusaders” in the former vice president’s office and now in the special operations community.
“What I’m really talking about is how eight or nine neoconservative, radicals if you will, overthrew the American government. Took it over,” he said of his forthcoming book. “It’s not only that the neocons took it over but how easily they did it — how Congress disappeared, how the press became part of it, how the public acquiesced.”
Hersh then brought up the widespread looting that took place in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. “In the Cheney shop, the attitude was, ‘What’s this? What are they all worried about, the politicians and the press, they’re all worried about some looting? … Don’t they get it? We’re gonna change mosques into cathedrals. And when we get all the oil, nobody’s gonna give a damn.'”
“That’s the attitude,” he continued. “We’re gonna change mosques into cathedrals. That’s an attitude that pervades, I’m here to say, a large percentage of the Joint Special Operations Command.”
He then alleged that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who headed JSOC before briefly becoming the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and his successor, Vice Adm. William McRaven, as well as many within JSOC, “are all members of, or at least supporters of, Knights of Malta.”
Hersh may have been referring to the Sovereign Order of Malta, a Roman Catholic organization commited to “defence of the Faith and assistance to the poor and the suffering,” according to its website.
“Many of them are members of Opus Dei,” Hersh continued. “They do see what they’re doing — and this is not an atypical attitude among some military — it’s a crusade, literally. They see themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They’re protecting them from the Muslims [as in] the 13th century. And this is their function.”
“They have little insignias, these coins they pass among each other, which are crusader coins,” he continued. “They have insignia that reflect the whole notion that this is a culture war. … Right now, there’s a tremendous, tremendous amount of anti-Muslim feeling in the military community.”” Continue reading
From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion. The true humor of course is that a cottage industry has arisen claiming that 9-11 was an inside job. No belief, no matter how farcical, will fail to have fools and knaves to rally about it. A useful resource to answer some of the whacked out contentions of the 9-11 Truther Movement is the Debunking the 9-11 Myths at Popular Mechanics. Another first rate source is the Journal of Debunking 9-11 Conspiracy Theories.