When you strip away the theory from a conspiracy theory by carefully validating facts that substantiate it – or conclusively disproving alleged facts that contradict it – you no longer have a conspiracy theory. You have a conspiracy – which actually isn’t that uncommon.

Eighteen years after the World Trade Center collapse, sixteen years after the government issued its reports on the true causes, and four years after the University of Alaska Fairbanks began its detailed and extraordinary analysis of the WTC Bldg 7 event, we learn that almost nothing the government told us was true.

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Or, how Lizzie Warren (probably) made sure she had Instagram views.

Elizabeth Warren shares a “sincerity” micro-brew with her authentic social media followers.

Super-hip, septuagenarian multi-millionaire Lizzie “Fauxcahontas” Warren took to the inter-webs and the social medias yesterday in a genuine, homespun, all-American moment of camaraderie with the common folk. Standing in the kitchen of her quaint little mansion in Cambridge, the revered and much-loved 1/1024th Native American icon had a beer in the company of her hubby and her dog and shared her humanity with adoring fans.

Or, not so much. In a world where most normal people would rather watch an embalming than a live stream of a politician faking authenticity, you have to ask how did Warren make sure she would have some minimum number of viewers for her little fireside chat?

I can’t find any stats on how many viewers Warren had, but you can be sure she had a plan in place to ensure a minimum audience. She is not about to throw a party and leave any risk that no one will come.

So how do you guarantee that you get views on the internet? The best way is called a click farm. While we can’t know for sure, many of the so-called InstaGram “views” may not have been fans at all. Or even humans. Continue reading

The Untold Story of the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler

I first saw this book a couple of days ago in a Facebook ad and had a cynical reaction. It just seemed too convenient, too opportunistic, too in-your-face, or too something. I thought it likely to be a propaganda piece – maybe an attempt at addressing the rather sullied reputation of modern day journalists, but also maybe a direct swipe at Donald Trump – an attempt to conflate his calling out #FakeNews and temporarily banning one particularly obnoxious narcissist from White House press conferences to the murderous actions of Hitler.

Despite the popular cliche, you actually can judge a book by its cover. That’s why the cover doesn’t look like an academic paper. It’s intended to make you judge it. You can also have an opinion about a book you haven’t read. Otherwise, how are you supposed to decide if you want to read it? So this post is me looking at the book to decide whether it’s worth my time or just useless, anti-Trump propaganda.

Because my first reaction might be wrong given my overt cynicism. But, in the propaganda-filled era in which we live, it is not smart to take any such work at face value. So I went to Amazon and read all the free information they provide about it. I am not completely dissuaded from the idea this is a well-architected piece of propaganda, but it’s not all that clear that it is. Here’s what is immediately apparent: Continue reading

More and more, the Mueller investigation reminds me of a professional wrestling match. Bodies are flying around, people sometimes get genuinely injured, but the big, high-impact moves — the flips, the flops, the super-duper-stunner kicks or whatever — are all scripted and choreographed for show. At the end of the day, it’s entertainment for the benefit of a willingly gullible audience.

On November 29, 2018 Vox.com published a list of all the Mueller indictments known to date. Two years. Tens, or maybe hundreds, of millions of dollars. This is all they have to show for it. There two ways to look at this list. One is that the wiley Mueller is keeping his cards close to his vest, slowly building a case to expose how Trump and Putin conspired to steal the US Presidency from Hillary Clinton — or something — and isn’t showing anywhere near everything he has. The other is that, after two years, Mueller still doesn’t have anything at all on Donald Trump and every Hail Mary he’s thrown, has mostly been a bust — at least in terms of the purported collusion. Continue reading