I first began using the pseudonym "L.N. Smithee" on FreeRepublic.com in 1998 during the run-up to the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Free Republic was one of the few places on the internet where you could get more than pro-Democrat MSM reports out of Washington D.C. about the Whitewater investigation, the Paula Jones sexual harassment civil suit, and later, the Monica Lewinsky allegations. But I tapered off my daily visits to FR beginning in 2008 mostly because it began crawling with more conspiracy-believers than founder Jim Robinson could delete.
The last straw for me was finally tiring of trying to talk sense into Freepers who put any kind of faith in the word of Larry Sinclair, a career criminal who has made scurrilous accusations about then-Senator Barack Obama. In 2008, Sinclair posted a YouTube video making this charge: In 1999, when Obama was an Illinois state senator serving the city of Chicago -- years previous to people thinking of him as the future of the Democratic Party -- the two of them shared cocaine in the back of a limousine after meeting in a Gurnee, IL hotel bar. On top of that, Sinclair claims he did a very special kind of (ahem) job for Obama.
While the MSM would go on to protect Obama from many legitimate questions regarding his pre-political personal life (such as his real estate dealings with wealthy neighbor/corporate criminal Tony Rezko and the closeness of his friendship with unrepentant domestic terrorists William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn), questions about Sinclair had no business being asked, because Sinclair has no credibility. Larry the Loser had not one iota of evidence of his allegations. He would often promise scads of proof, but all he ever delivered was backup for his claim that he once checked into the hotel and had rented the limo. That didn't stop Sinclair from upping the ante, accusing the Obama campaign of murder to cover up his being "on the downlow." As the story went, an allegedly gay choirmaster at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ (home of Jeremiah Wright) supposedly was silenced so he wouldn't spill the beans.
When his allegations predictably were ignored by the MSM and failed to catch fire with the general public, Sinclair pulled out all stops. He sued Obama, David Axelrod, and Howard Dean for undisclosed conspiracies against him that violated his free speech rights under the "First Amendmant (sic)." Sinclair sued anonymous individuals on websites who doubted his story, including a YouTube user with a sock puppet (Sinclair v. TubeSock TedD, et al). He hired infamous media whore-torney (and deadbeat dad/vexatious litigant) Montgomery Blair Sibley, who insists he wears a kilt instead of trousers because unlike average men, he's just too darn prodigious for pants (video). Without evidence of his own for any of his charges, he desperately badgered the Obama camp to reveal his personal contact information and his calendar of events on certain dates so he could hang him with it. His last gasp was to hold a press conference at the National Press Club that Sibley presided over. At the close of the conference, Sinclair was arrested on a warrant out of Colorado. The phlegmatic Sibley, it turned out, had been suspended in the District of Columbia a month previous.
Believe me, I am sympathetic when it comes to baseless conspiracy theories and the frustration that sets in when people you thought were smart start buying into them. But in the wake of the MSM's campaign against the very questioning of Obama's eligibility for becoming President, I felt compelled in response to my fellow Facebooker (at the risk of losing her "friendship") to say that not all conspiracy theories are baseless.
Here's the problem with treating all conspiracy theories as false: There have been enough outrages that are now established fact that can lend credence to wild speculation.
Speaking as a black man, I can tell you that there are a number of things the U.S. government has been accused of doing to African-Americans that make no sense whatsoever. A prime example is an accusation made by old school rapper (and former Air America radio host) Chuck D, who at one time said that a secret ingredient was added to malt liquor to make black people act stupid. Before you say, "Duh! Alcohol!" consider that Chuck believed that other ethnicities were immune to the mystery additive's effects by design. Also popular at one time was the lie that the AIDS virus was created by white scientists to eradicate blacks, which was repeated by Obama's longtime spiritual mentor Jeremiah Wright in a sermon.
One might wonder why any black person would buy into such conspiracies. While there are many answers, the best one is the established truth of the Tuskegee Experiment, a decades-long tracking of the effects of syphilis on the human body. Begun in the early '30s, it was conducted by lying to approximately 400 poor black men in Alabama who had contracted the STD, but never informed of the true nature of the infection. They were given non-effective treatment for an imaginary disease, and lured back for observation (despite not improving) by being provided their medical care (such as it was) free of charge. The project was uncovered in 1972, and in 1997, President Clinton held a ceremony formally apologizing on behalf of the federal government to the eight remaining survivors of the experiment, some of whom were in their late 90's.
Indeed, when the levies that held the waters surrounding New Orleans failed under the beating of Hurricane Katrina, no less a black icon than filmmaker Spike Lee suggested that George W. Bush blew the levies up for the purpose of scattering the black population in order to change the demographics of Congressional districts so they would be more white (and thus Republican). When challenged as to how he could believe such a thing, Lee cited the Tuskegee Experiment.
Now, to the current topic: I don't believe Osama bin Laden died in 2002 or that the incident this past weekend was staged. Still, there are things about the account of the raid that make you go "Hmmm," primarily the fact that it appears no evidence that he was apprehended, killed, and buried at sea will be made public any time in the near future.
[From 60 Minutes May 8, 2011's broadcast of Steve Kroft's interview with President Obama]:
KROFT: Did you see the pictures?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes.
KROFT: What was your reaction when you saw them?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: It was him.
KROFT: Why haven't you released them?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, we discussed this internally. Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain this was him. We've done DNA sampling and testing. And so there is no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden. It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence. As a propaganda tool.
You know, that's not who we are. You know, we don't trot out this stuff as trophies. You know, the fact of the matter is this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received. And I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he's gone. But we don't need to spike the football. And I think that given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk. And I've discussed this with Bob Gates and Hillary Clinton and my intelligence teams and they all agree.
KROFT: There are people in Pakistan, for example, who say, "Look, this is all a lie. This is another American trick. Osama's not dead."
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, the truth is that - and we're monitoring worldwide reaction -- there's no doubt that bin Laden is dead. Certainly there's no doubt among al Qaeda members that he is dead. And so we don't think that a photograph in and of itself is gonna make any difference. There are gonna be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see bin Laden walkin' on this earth again.
KROFT: Was it your decision to bury him at sea?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: It was a joint decision. We thought it was important to think through ahead of time how we would dispose of the body if he were killed in the compound. And I think that what we tried to do was, consulting with experts in Islamic law and ritual, to find something that was appropriate that was respectful of the body.
Frankly we took more care on this than, obviously, bin Laden took when he killed 3,000 people. He didn't have much regard for how they were treated and desecrated. But that, again, is somethin' that makes us different. And I think we handled it appropriately.
For the second consecutive month, Obama has been shown to be reluctant to prove he is an honest man. Most people rolled their eyes at demands to view the President's original birth certificate, but think about it; rather than just show everybody back in the summer of 2008 that he was telling the truth, he *deliberately acted as if he was hiding something* to the tune of legal fees estimated at $2,000,000.She is still my Facebook friend. I had a feeling she'd understand. And I picked up a new one based on the above reply!
Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein -- who in 1972 were initially discouraged from pursuing additional coverage of what was seen as a minor political espionage incident -- ended up toppling the President of the United States, Richard Nixon. Since then, journalists have treated them as patron saints, men whose determination to root out White House malfeasance was a example to use as a guiding star. But no longer do reporters seem to feel the need to hold the POTUS' feet to the fire -- they're too busy kissing them. Journalists are refusing to honestly investigate Barack Obama, choosing instead to lash out at his critics as being insane or unstable "conspiracy theorists" even if they don't meet the classic defiinition.
It only makes sense to dismiss *all* disagreement with the White House as "conspiratorial" if you are willing to believe everything it tells you. I know you're smarter than that.