Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · I heard it‘s a...
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I heard it‘s a conspiracy

Stephen Tuttle - May 16th, 2011
I Heard It’s a Conspiracy...
We all seem to love a good conspiracy. Or at least a good conspiracy theory.
If we can’t understand why something happened, or it seems just too
improbable, it usually takes no more than a few minutes before the first
conspiracy theories start cropping up on-line.
Which is not to suggest real conspiracies don’t exist. Caesar bit the
dust as a victim of a conspiracy, Jesus was captured and crucified as a
result of a conspiracy, every coup in history has resulted from a
conspiracy. One could argue that our very mortality is the result of a
conspiracy that took place in the Garden of Eden.
There are real conspiracies aplenty to keep us occupied but that never
quite satisfies everybody. The idea that nefarious forces are out there
secretly plotting our discomfort and ultimate demise is still popular with
many.
Back in the 18th century it was a shadowy group collectively known as the
Illuminati plus the Jesuits and the Freemasons who were allegedly
controlling the world, or at least the little European chunk of it in
which they were supposed to operate. At a time when any kind of organized
education was rare, here were some folks doing plenty of book learnin’ and
many people were quite sure they were up to no good. The boring truth is
there’s no real evidence they ever actually conspired to do much of
anything beyond their own backyards.
More recently, the assassination of John Kennedy did more than any other
event to enhance the notion of vast conspiracies. We couldn’t quite grasp
the enormity of November 22. The idea that some little pipsqueak was able
to single-handedly gun down our young, vibrant president made no sense.
That the assassin was subsequently murdered himself deepened our
skepticism. When the Warren Commission issued their report it all seemed
too neat.
There were conspiracy theories everywhere. The CIA did it as retribution
for Kennedy’s failure to come to the aid of their operatives who were
essentially abandoned when the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba went badly.
Cuba did it to get even for the failed attempts on Fidel Castro’s life.
The Mafia did it because Kennedy had a girlfriend who was mob-connected
and he had revealed plans to crack down on their activities. Lyndon
Johnson did it so he could be president. The commies did it as payback
for having been humiliated when Kennedy made them back down in the Cuban
Missile Crisis.
After nearly half a century of investi-gating, with magic bullets and
grassy knolls and all the rest, it appears more likely than not that Lee
Harvey Oswald did it, acting alone.
We went through the same disbelief when Dr. Martin Luther King was
murdered and again when Bobby Kennedy was shot.
Conspiracy theories, at least the modern day versions, almost always begin
with an event or circumstances we cannot completely understand. Unable to
figure it out ourselves and unsatisfied with whatever explanation we’re
given, we begin looking for causes beyond the obvious. Surely there must
be some group somewhere creating these messes that bedevil or mystify most
of us while benefiting a few.
The gas shortages of the ’70s? Must be the Trilateral Commission helping
the global conspiracy to drive up oil prices. The current economic mess in
which the world finds itself? Must be the Bilderberg Group plotting the
new world order and a one world government they will control. UFOs?
C’mon. Everybody knows the government has captured space ships and space
monkeys and keeps them out at Area 51 near Groom Lake in Nevada.
A conspiracy, by definition, must be secret. Until or unless it is
exposed, we don’t know what happened. Our contemporary conspiracy
theorists will never be deterred by this lack of facts.
In fact, their cult-like adherence to conspiracy
theories requires them to accept as fact that which cannot be proven and a
willingness to ignore those facts which do exist.
Which brings us right up to our truthers, birthers and deathers and their
belief in government conspiracies.
Truthers believe 9/11 was either a full-blown government operation that
did not involve al Qaeda or was the CIA working with al Qaeda or we knew
about it in advance and let al Qaeda do it anyway. We did it, supposedly,
to create a justification for invading the Middle East so we have a
military presence and can protect the oil supply in the region.
To become a truther one must ignore a ton of existing facts – we know who
did it, who planned it, where it was planned, exactly how it was carried
out and the bloody results. And we know exactly how the Trade Towers
collapsed, without government-planted explosives, and that a hijacked
commercial jet, not a missile, struck the Pentagon.
The birthers, who believe Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen of
the United States, are in a special class since their perceived conspiracy
benefits but a single person. They’ve been confronted with documentation,
court rulings and witnesses but are undeterred.
Now we have the deathers, who believe we did not kill Osama bin Laden or
he’s been dead for a decade and we kept him on ice until we needed the
corpse. Sigh. Why it would be to our advantage to pretend he’s dead while
he might still be wandering around hasn’t been adequately explained. Nor
has why the Bush Administration thought it was to their advantage to keep
an already dead bin Laden on ice for two full terms in office while the
public wanted his head on a stick.
Conspiracy theories are fun. We all play the game and add our speculation
to the rest of the nonsense that floats around. But the notion of any
kind of large government conspiracy is just silly and I think I can prove
it.
A successful conspiracy requires perfect planning, flawless execution and
absolute secrecy. Does that sound like our government to you?
 
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