Mod+ 244. RUSS BAKER, THE TAINT OF CONSPIRACY THEORIES

#21
Thanks Alex, Loved this interview! Very illuminating and a little depressing, but I'll take it as my oun personal call to action.

My thoughts about your question are: What George Bush's "conversion" says about the US is that as a nation, the fundamentalist Christian relgion is very well organized and powerful and that its faith based aspect makes it a powerful tool to manipulate a great number of people, an aspect that is fully exploited by powerful interests who don't necessarily buy their relious dogma. The "cultural battle" between science and relgion is a conflict constructed by those same powerful interests to maintain control by disparaging any rational debate that might interfere with their interests or could turn public opinion against them.

As an aside:
Alex, after listening to most of your podcasts, I wish you'd do this more often; draw the distinction between spiritualilty and relgion with your guests. These two terms are constantly conflated in the media and in arguments and really have little to do with each other and yet are constantly either used interchangeably or comingled --especially when it comes to the sceptics, many of whom seem to be disillusioned former relgious adherents or were brought up in a household with constrictive religious rules (which is why I think they rail against the notion of "God" or "Spirit.) Religion is a human construct that is basically a social order. The foundings of any relgion may have occurred with the founder's spiritual event,but once that "exerience" is codified into a religious dogma, it is generally a bunch of social rules and a heirarchy meant to control or collect money and power (like most other institutions.) Spirit or expanded consciouness as we are exploring it, on the other hand, we can assume has always been and always will be, with or without humans, and seems to be a foundational (or THE foundational) property of the universe. Skeptics seem to do the knee jerk reaction thing by applying the logical absurdities of relgious tradition to any discussion of spirit or consciouness or God. When you and your guests are arguing about spirit, God, consciousness etc., get them to define their terms -- what does the term mean to them?
 
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#22
yea, there are a lot of paths to go down... and you haven't even added in the UFO stuff :) But most aren't interested in going very far. The point of my interview with Russ was to show that even if you stay with the "safe stuff"/"well established stuff" you may have to overhaul your worldview.
Paths...more like dark chasms to the abyss. I'm not aware of any UFO in this mix. The closest I can think of would be the "Foo Fighters" encountered in the European theater, but if you're referring to the Nazi research into the Die Glock or "the Bell" based off Hindu Vedic records concerning Vimanas , then that's an entirely different subject. A subject that, if thoroughly researched and realized, might explain why the last 50 years took place.

"The Bell" is in essence the research into control of space-time and field propulsion technology. It not only reveals just how ridiculously basic the technology is, but makes a complete farce of the entire petrol chemical industry and the monumental charade and theater of the absurd humanity has been forced to participate in ever since.

If anyone wants to know just how advanced technology is and has been hidden from the general population, then watch this video www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG76xkW5adI. This where all the trillions that disappear from time to time goes. As far as I know, this has never been debunked and is in fact corroborated by various whilst-blowers and military-industrial complex leaks as US black project technology.

To understand just how much long this has been going on and if you want to be infuriated beyond rational levels, then watch this video www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQfofTXIvb8. This is a rough cut version of a feature-length documentary being produced by filmmaker James Allen. This documentary was about to be released, but still incomplete, when James Allen suddenly became severely ill and was diagnosed with a rare but extremely aggressive and lethal form of cancer. James Allen was dead within 2 months. Postmortem toxicology revealed that James Allen was poisoned with heavy metals and radio-isotopes, including Thorium and Uranium.

Yeah....I would agree, many many paths, but as far as "safe stuff"/"well established stuff", it's baby pablum being spoon fed to the masses. And our worldview is just a sad and pathetic constructed-view...IMO. Humanity is being farmed, for what, well take your pick; slave race, lab-rats, genetic resource, or something far more valuable, spiritual life force. It isn't the clearest conspiracy theory, but there is enough to put a few pieces together.

All I can say is, reality is infinitely stranger and far more bizarre than fiction and the constructed worldview that is allowed...IMO.

But don't get me started....
 
#23
Paths...more like dark chasms to the abyss. I'm not aware of any UFO in this mix. The closest I can think of would be the "Foo Fighters" encountered in the European theater, but if you're referring to the Nazi research into the Die Glock or "the Bell" based off Hindu Vedic records concerning Vimanas , then that's an entirely different subject. A subject that, if thoroughly researched and realized, might explain why the last 50 years took place.

"The Bell" is in essence the research into control of space-time and field propulsion technology. It not only reveals just how ridiculously basic the technology is, but makes a complete farce of the entire petrol chemical industry and the monumental charade and theater of the absurd humanity has been forced to participate in ever since.

If anyone wants to know just how advanced technology is and has been hidden from the general population, then watch this video www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG76xkW5adI. This where all the trillions that disappear from time to time goes. As far as I know, this has never been debunked and is in fact corroborated by various whilst-blowers and military-industrial complex leaks as US black project technology.

To understand just how much long this has been going on and if you want to be infuriated beyond rational levels, then watch this video www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQfofTXIvb8. This is a rough cut version of a feature-length documentary being produced by filmmaker James Allen. This documentary was about to be released, but still incomplete, when James Allen suddenly became severely ill and was diagnosed with a rare but extremely aggressive and lethal form of cancer. James Allen was dead within 2 months. Postmortem toxicology revealed that James Allen was poisoned with heavy metals and radio-isotopes, including Thorium and Uranium.

Yeah....I would agree, many many paths, but as far as "safe stuff"/"well established stuff", it's baby pablum being spoon fed to the masses. And our worldview is just a sad and pathetic constructed-view...IMO. Humanity is being farmed, for what, well take your pick; slave race, lab-rats, genetic resource, or something far more valuable, spiritual life force. It isn't the clearest conspiracy theory, but there is enough to put a few pieces together.

All I can say is, reality is infinitely stranger and far more bizarre than fiction and the constructed worldview that is allowed...IMO.

But don't get me started....
the Nazi stuff is intriguing, but what about the modern day stuff? I mean, the UFO cover-up is an open conspiracy... plenty of declassified docs to support.

When I look at the work of Grant Cameron my head spins: http://www.skeptiko.com/grant-cameron-ufo-sightings-and-extended-consciousness/
 
#24
the Nazi stuff is intriguing, but what about the modern day stuff? I mean, the UFO cover-up is an open conspiracy... plenty of declassified docs to support.

When I look at the work of Grant Cameron my head spins: http://www.skeptiko.com/grant-cameron-ufo-sightings-and-extended-consciousness/
When it comes to the UFO subject, the choice to acknowledge that reality was made for me when my ex-wife and I rolled up on one around 2am hovering above a farm house when I lived in Ohio around 1995. It affected me on a deeply personal and life changing level hard to convey. I was only able to observe it for 5min, maybe a little longer, then my ex-wife, who was driving, started to panic. It wasn't any shape I can describe, it was too dark and the light it emitted was too intense, but I am certain it was not triangle or saucer shaped. It would have looked like a scene right out of X-Files or some cliched UFO movie. I got out, stood for a min or 2, and then it turned toward us, she panicked and I felt it was a good time to go too, so yeah, totally with you on that subject Alex.

However , I think in someway , somehow, all the paths lead back to one or very close to each other and UFOs are just part of it. It's enough to truly make you question your own reasoning quit often. Just when I think it cannot get anymore bizarre, it does. But, that is one of the primary reasons I am on this forum. This forum is the only one I have felt skepticism is practiced as it should be, not the skepticism in the public arena where it has been cajoled, compromised, shamed, and now hijacked. IMO, anytime someone claims skepticism and attempts to redefine "skepticism, they are likely not skeptics, they are debunkers or pseudoskeptics.

Pyrro described skepticism as the act of opening the mind, suspending judgement, and investigating. Besides the fact he was purported to have coined skepticism or a at least played a significant role, it's makes the most sense, is rational, and logical IMO. Everyone practices skepticism, no one can claim it, because it's only based on one thing, evidence. But, that doesn't mean just accept it as truth, because there is no truth, just more questions. If knowledge does not impress upon a person that their understanding is infinitesimal and their ignorance is infinite, then they have learned nothing. And again, also not a skeptic either IMO.

Thanks for all your efforts and generosity.
 
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#25
When it comes to the UFO subject, the choice to acknowledge that reality was made for me when my ex-wife and I rolled up on one around 2am hovering above a farm house when I lived in Ohio around 1995. It affected me on a deeply personal and life changing level hard to convey.
Yes, it seems certain experiences can shift all perceptions and beliefs in an instant. Everything you think you know and believe blown out of the water, poof. I am no longer certain about anything anymore. Matt2, I wonder what party you crashed?

As far as (UFO or other) conspiracies, for anyone who scratches the surface these days, the ideas that “governments are insidious” is a given. Related to the Cameron interview, while I had not heard those specifics (other than the Roswell parties who recently went public), the info was no surprise at all. And since we know the US are master deceivers, and it seems Canada was privvy, obviously other political establishments are hiding as well. While Belgium did not reveal “crashes and bodies” (that I have heard), they did go public with detailed, documented sightings pretty quickly (1990-ish?), which included military, so give them props for that.

What Cameron was saying about “esp” and how “aliens seem to be playing out some story with us according to their timeline” seemed a very good nugget there, albeit downplayed. Are aliens really "propelling their vehicles" or "controlling humanity" through mind-control? Maybe, maybe not. Or, perhaps alien experiences are something akin to apparitions, and as Matt indicated, the UFO mysteries are just a piece of the apparent “earth story” pie. For me, I have experienced enough to view all reality as some kind of apparition, where parts of it just feel "more real" than others, but that said, I still won't run out and poke a stick in my eye. Good times eh?

I have not read through much site info yet, but that Cameron interview was great. Appreciate the link.
 
#26
Yes, it seems certain experiences can shift all perceptions and beliefs in an instant. Everything you think you know and believe blown out of the water, poof. I am no longer certain about anything anymore. Matt2, I wonder what party you crashed?
I would describe it as more of a deconstruction and dissolution of my trust, framework, and worldview I was told and instructed to believe.

As far as (UFO or other) conspiracies, for anyone who scratches the surface these days, the ideas that “governments are insidious” is a given. Related to the Cameron interview, while I had not heard those specifics (other than the Roswell parties who recently went public), the info was no surprise at all. And since we know the US are master deceivers, and it seems Canada was privvy, obviously other political establishments are hiding as well. While Belgium did not reveal “crashes and bodies” (that I have heard), they did go public with detailed, documented sightings pretty quickly (1990-ish?), which included military, so give them props for that.

What Cameron was saying about “esp” and how “aliens seem to be playing out some story with us according to their timeline” seemed a very good nugget there, albeit downplayed. Are aliens really "propelling their vehicles" or "controlling humanity" through mind-control? Maybe, maybe not. Or, perhaps alien experiences are something akin to apparitions, and as Matt indicated, the UFO mysteries are just a piece of the apparent “earth story” pie. For me, I have experienced enough to view all reality as some kind of apparition, where parts of it just feel "more real" than others, but that said, I still won't run out and poke a stick in my eye. Good times eh?
Around 42 I also had memories come back to me, that I was vaguely aware of at the time in the past, but now I'm starting to remember things differently. And I cannot understand why I was unconcerned before, but now I am.
 
#27
I would describe it as more of a deconstruction and dissolution of my trust, framework, and worldview I was told and instructed to believe. Around 42 I also had memories come back to me, that I was vaguely aware of at the time in the past, but now I'm starting to remember things differently. And I cannot understand why I was unconcerned before, but now I am.
Something like repressed memories bubbling up? A few years ago I had experiences with what (seems nearly certain) were not at all my memories, posing as my memories, and that was bizarre. My brother and I also realized a couple years ago that we both independently share an exact, very vivid memory from kidhood that we were 100% certain about, yet both our parents said 100% it was not true. Memories ... what are they?

Hey - love that Foo Fighters ref. Had not heard that in context before, other than as these wacky fellas. Talk about mind control - it seems I was abducted for about two hours the other night.

Anyway, the W topic gives me a rash, and so my comments have wandered - cheers.
 
#28
Something like repressed memories bubbling up? A few years ago I had experiences with what (seems nearly certain) were not at all my memories, posing as my memories, and that was bizarre. My brother and I also realized a couple years ago that we both independently share an exact, very vivid memory from kidhood that we were 100% certain about, yet both our parents said 100% it was not true. Memories ... what are they?

Hey - love that Foo Fighters ref. Had not heard that in context before, other than as these wacky fellas. Talk about mind control - it seems I was abducted for about two hours the other night.

Anyway, the W topic gives me a rash, and so my comments have wandered - cheers.
I'm not sure how I would define the memories, but repressed would be one way to describe them. I've also had independent and corroborating observations that I did not find out till 20yrs later, from a neighbor's daughter, that were friends of my family.

But, it hasn't been any one really huge thing that has motivated my desire to dig into my past, it's a lot of small things that happen over the years that triggered it.

I think I had some missing time recently, but it's very difficult to put together why I think that. It feels like a span of time was just removed and I skipped right over it.
 
#29
Pyrro described skepticism as the act of opening the mind, suspending judgement, and investigating. Besides the fact he was purported to have coined skepticism or a at least played a significant role, it's makes the most sense, is rational, and logical IMO. Everyone practices skepticism, no one can claim it, because it's only based on one thing, evidence. But, that doesn't mean just accept it as truth, because there is no truth, just more questions. If knowledge does not impress upon a person that their understanding is infinitesimal and their ignorance is infinite, then they have learned nothing. And again, also not a skeptic either IMO.
wonderful! it's funny... I knew nothing of the ancient Greek skeptics when I started Skeptiko, but as time goes on I see the deeper wisdom... and, as you point out, impossible contradictions.
 
#31
wonderful! it's funny... I knew nothing of the ancient Greek skeptics when I started Skeptiko, but as time goes on I see the deeper wisdom... and, as you point out, impossible contradictions.
I agree. Pyrro, Democritus, and of course Plato and Socrates, but I've always been more interested in the prior individuals mentioned.

However, this is Bronze Age history, but there were civilizations already 3 to 4 thousand years older already. So, are the Greeks really the civilization building innovators as claimed or were they basing their society on already ancient and long known concepts similarly as modernity holds Greece in this regard. And, I would like to know approximately how ancient is this knowledge really is or where it did actually originate from.

And Alex, I'm trying to keep the diatribes to minimum (for a H U G E subject mater, like big, really big). Honest man..I wouldn't kid ya.
 
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#32
However, this is Bronze Age history, but there were civilizations already 3 to 4 thousand years older already. So, are the Greeks really the civilization building innovators as claimed or were they basing their society on already ancient and long known concepts similarly as modernity holds Greece in this regard. And, I would like to know approximately how ancient is this knowledge really is or where it did actually originate from.
I'm sure you're right, but have never investigated.
 
#33
The irony is overwhelming when these politicians claim any type of Christian affiliation. There are huge contradictions between the teachings of christianity and the actions of those who enter into the political sphere. Do they think their claim of being born-again somehow obfuscates the fact that they are in that position for all sorts of morally reprehensible reasons? Do they think anyone is really that stupid? Maybe it helps their feeling of self-justification. The most likely reason is that they are simply kow-towing to their constituents (e.g. the conservative religious in the case of Bush Jr.). A more "honest-seeming" doctrine would be to embrace a scientific dogma of darwinism, because isn't that really the policitian's doctrine - survival of the fittest [or the best liar]?

Conspiracy theory is such a loaded term we should throw it out. And, as it has been pointed out in the past, the government's own theory of 9/11 IS a conspiracy theory. It involved a group of arabs who CONSPIRED to fly planes into buildings. Duh. So the goverment is the only one that can come up with legitimate conspiracy theories? Yeah, right. In my opinion, it takes a certain shift of world-view to accept the idea of that "alternate theories" for events could be true vs. that which is fed to you. People can get there from all sorts of different avenues. But mainly it's just a realization that what's being fed to you by mass media is a barrage of worthless drivel meant to keep you in your little mental cage.
 
#34
The irony is overwhelming when these politicians claim any type of Christian affiliation. There are huge contradictions between the teachings of christianity and the actions of those who enter into the political sphere. Do they think their claim of being born-again somehow obfuscates the fact that they are in that position for all sorts of morally reprehensible reasons?
agreed... and it gets even worse when we factor in organized religions complicity... I mean, if you really accept the WWJD proposition you never have this power hungry born-again craziness to begin with.
 
#35
The irony is overwhelming when these politicians claim any type of Christian affiliation. There are huge contradictions between the teachings of christianity and the actions of those who enter into the political sphere. Do they think their claim of being born-again somehow obfuscates the fact that they are in that position for all sorts of morally reprehensible reasons? Do they think anyone is really that stupid? Maybe it helps their feeling of self-justification. The most likely reason is that they are simply kow-towing to their constituents (e.g. the conservative religious in the case of Bush Jr.). A more "honest-seeming" doctrine would be to embrace a scientific dogma of darwinism, because isn't that really the policitian's doctrine - survival of the fittest [or the best liar]?

Conspiracy theory is such a loaded term we should throw it out. And, as it has been pointed out in the past, the government's own theory of 9/11 IS a conspiracy theory. It involved a group of arabs who CONSPIRED to fly planes into buildings. Duh. So the goverment is the only one that can come up with legitimate conspiracy theories? Yeah, right. In my opinion, it takes a certain shift of world-view to accept the idea of that "alternate theories" for events could be true vs. that which is fed to you. People can get there from all sorts of different avenues. But mainly it's just a realization that what's being fed to you by mass media is a barrage of worthless drivel meant to keep you in your little mental cage.
Why wouldn't anyone tell it to agressive Orthodox Christian authoritarians in Russia? These guys see themselves as the saviours of the world from the Evil (e.g. from the sinful, morally fallen Western society and culture). They want the violent totalitarianism to be reinstalled in Russia, yet they do not see any contradiction with Christianity here: according to them, all who are against them are literally servants of Satan, so no mercy is required. Some of them write a long diatribes in praise of a murderous hate, as long as its targets are servants of the Evil Forces, e.g. everyone who dare to disagree - or even doubt. yes, even doubt is a dirty sin to them, and should be supressed. The very idea of questioning deserve anathema (and elimination), according to them.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#37
While not a centralized conspiracy theory - I think this the kind of stuff you'd expect to see born out of prejudice coupled with power:

STARBABY by Dennis Rawlings

"I am still skeptical of the occult beliefs CSICOP was created to debunk. But I have changed my mind about the integrity of some of those who make a career of opposing occultism. I now believe that if a flying saucer landed in the backyard of a leading anti-UFO spokesman, he might hide the incident from the public (for the public's own good, of course). He might swiftly convince himself that the landing was a hoax, a delusion or an "unfortunate" interpretation of mundane phenomena that could be explained away with "further research."

The irony of all this particularly distresses me since both in print and before a national television audience I have stated that the conspiratorial mentality of believers in occultism presents a real political danger in a voting democracy. Now I find that the very group I helped found has partially justified this mentality."


More on this sort of thing here.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#38
The Financial Crisis: Why Have No High-Level Executives Been Prosecuted?

But if, by contrast, the Great Recession was in material part the product of intentional fraud, the failure to prosecute those responsible must be judged one of the more egregious failures of the criminal justice system in many years. Indeed, it would stand in striking contrast to the increased success that federal prosecutors have had over the past fifty years or so in bringing to justice even the highest-level figures who orchestrated mammoth frauds. Thus, in the 1970s, in the aftermath of the “junk bond” bubble that, in many ways, was a precursor of the more recent bubble in mortgage-backed securities, the progenitors of the fraud were all successfully prosecuted, right up to Michael Milken.

Again, in the 1980s, the so-called savings-and-loan crisis, which again had some eerie parallels to more recent events, resulted in the successful criminal prosecution of more than eight hundred individuals, right up to Charles Keating. And again, the widespread accounting frauds of the 1990s, most vividly represented by Enron and WorldCom, led directly to the successful prosecution of such previously respected CEOs as Jeffrey Skilling and Bernie Ebbers.

In striking contrast with these past prosecutions, not a single high-level executive has been successfully prosecuted in connection with the recent financial crisis, and given the fact that most of the relevant criminal provisions are governed by a five-year statute of limitations, it appears likely that none will be. It may not be too soon, therefore, to ask why.
I've read that Taibbi will sometimes go out of his way to criticize the financial industry when other factors should be taken into consideration, but I still think the following is worth a read:

The Vampire Squid Strikes Again: The Mega Banks' Most Devious Scam Yet

Allowing one company to control the supply of crucial physical commodities, and also trade in the financial products that might be related to those markets, is an open invitation to commit mass manipulation...

The situation has opened a Pandora's box of horrifying new corruption possibilities, but it's been hard for the public to notice, since regulators have struggled to put even the slightest dent in Wall Street's older, more familiar scams. In just the past few years we've seen an explosion of scandals – from the multitrillion-dollar Libor saga (major international banks gaming world interest rates), to the more recent foreign-currency-exchange fiasco (many of the same banks suspected of rigging prices in the $5.3-trillion-a-day currency markets), to lesser scandals involving manipulation of interest-rate swaps, and gold and silver prices.

But those are purely financial schemes. In these new, even scarier kinds of manipulations, banks that own whole chains of physical business interests have been caught rigging prices in those industries. For instance, in just the past two years, fines in excess of $400 million have been levied against both JPMorgan Chase and Barclays for allegedly manipulating the delivery of electricity in several states, including California. In the case of Barclays, which is contesting the fine, regulators claim prices were manipulated to help the bank win financial bets it had made on those same energy markets.

And last summer, The New York Times described how Goldman Sachs was caught systematically delaying the delivery of metals out of a network of warehouses it owned in order to jack up rents and artificially boost prices.

You might not have been surprised that Goldman got caught scamming the world again, but it was certainly news to a lot of people that an investment bank with no industrial expertise, just five years removed from a federal bailout, stores and controls enough of America's aluminum supply to affect world prices.

How was all of this possible? And who signed off on it?
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#40
Kids For Cash

KIDS FOR CASH is a riveting look behind the notorious scandal that rocked the nation when it first came to light in 2009. Beginning in the wake of the shootings at Columbine, a small town in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania elected a charismatic judge who was hell-bent on keeping kids in line. Under his reign, over 3,000 children were ripped from their families and imprisoned for years for crimes as petty as creating a fake MySpace page. When one parent dared to question this harsh brand of justice, it was revealed that the judge had received millions of dollars in payments from the privately-owned juvenile detention centers where the kids—most of them only in their early teens—were incarcerated.
 
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