December 18, 2005
Clearance Edition, Part 1
Reader Mike writes: “I want to read why the California referendum prediction was so wrong!”
So do I, Mike. I was kind of hoping that one of you out there could point me to an article that provides an explanation. Because as of now, I got nothing.
As most of you are no doubt aware, pre-election polls and exit polls have once again become useful tools for predicting the outcome of elections (in the state of California at least, but not so much so in the state of Ohio). Such barometers of public opinion had, of course, fallen out of favor in recent years after failing to predict the results of just about every election that has been held since electronic voting machines became all the rage.
By now, we have all become accustomed to elections following the pattern of the last presidential election. As readers will recall, polls taken in the days leading up to that election indicated that Bush was in trouble, particularly after his ‘debate’ performances underscored the fact that he is – if you’ll excuse my candor – astoundingly stupid, lacking even the primitive ability to repeat the lines being fed into his earpiece. Exit polls also pointed to a Bush defeat in many key states. And polls conducted just after the election indicated that voters were, shall we say, less than thrilled with Bush’s leadership.
As the Los Angeles Times reported, “President Bush prepares to start his second term with the lowest approval ratings of any just-elected sitting president in half a century.” His approval ratings, in December 2004, were “10 to 20 points lower than every elected sitting president at this stage since just after World War II.” (Peter Wallsten “Reelection Honeymoon with Voters Eludes Bush, Polls Say,” Los Angeles Times, December 28, 2004)
In other words, Bush was unpopular with voters in the days and weeks leading up to the election, he was unpopular with voters as they left their polling places immediately after casting their votes, and he remained unpopular with voters several weeks after the election. But did any of that keep him from scoring what the same LA Times’ article referred to as a “clear-cut reelection” victory?
Of course not. Don’t be na´ve. Just because someone is unpopular with voters before, during and after an election doesn’t mean that that discontent will be reflected in the election results. That may have been true in the past, but not in the brave new world of today. Nevertheless, the results of the California 'special election' were in perfect agreement with pre-election and exit poll figures, meaning that all of Governor Girlie-Man's ballot proposals were shot down in flames. All six of them (the media consistently associated Ahhnuld with four of the ballot propositions, but he actually actively endorsed six of them).
Why did this happen? Beats the hell out of me. The people backing The Plastic Man certainly had the motive, means and opportunity to tailor the vote count to their liking. It seems unlikely that this election was staged just to give the people of California a chance to resoundingly register their disapproval of Team Ahhnuld, but rather to establish a blueprint that would then be followed in numerous other states.
How then are we to interpret the results? Why were tens of millions of dollars spent to stage this production only to then inexplicably drop the final act of the play? Have the people somehow scored an unexpected victory? Or is it only the appearance of a victory?
I have no answers to those questions. All I can say is that a celebration at this time could prove to be premature. Only time will tell.
And, uhh, Mike? About that request to be put on the new mailing list? I’m thinking probably not. I am shocked, quite frankly, that some of you actually have the nerve to question my semi-divine wisdom. I’ll bet that Nostradamus didn’t have to deal with this kind of insubordination in his day.
* * * * * *
This seems to be a tough time to be a conspiracy theorist. I was just reading the other day, over at http://www.space.com/, how one of the crackpot theories (http://www.davesweb.cnchost.com/apollo.htm) that I have openly endorsed is about to be exposed as the crazed ramblings of a madman:
A European spacecraft now orbiting the Moon could turn out to be a time machine of sorts as it photographs old landing sites of Soviet robotic probes and the areas where American Apollo crews set down and explored. New imagery of old Apollo touchdown spots, from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) SMART-1 probe, might put to rest conspiratorial thoughts that U.S. astronauts didn’t go the distance and scuff up the lunar landscape. NASA carried out six piloted landings on the Moon in the time period 1969 through 1972. Fringe theorists have said images of the waving flag -- on a Moon with no atmosphere -- and other oddities show that NASA never really went to the Moon. (http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/050304_moon_snoop.html)
"Fringe theorists" with “conspiratorial thoughts”? That seems rather harsh, but I guess if the guys over at Space.com have the goods to now expose the crackpot theorists for the fools that they are, then they have earned their smug attitude. After all, the head of the ESA Science Program purportedly "told SPACE.com that the SMART-1 orbiter circling the Moon has already covered the Apollo 11, 16, and 17 landing sites, as well as spots where the former Soviet Union’s Luna 16 and Luna 20 automated vehicles plopped down. The images have not yet been released.”
Uh oh! This could really suck! It would appear that my exposure as a tinfoil-hat-wearing fruitcake is imminent. Faced with such a situation, what is a fringe theorist to do? Expunge all references to fake moon landings from my website and indignantly argue that I never endorsed such a boneheaded notion? Quietly slink away in shame, only to later reemerge under a clever pseudonym? Or maybe, throwing caution to the wind, call Space.com's bluff and proudly proclaim, once again, that the notion that we sent astronauts to the moon in the late 1960s is laughably absurd?
I think I'll go with that last option, especially since I couldn’t help noticing that the Space.com piece was posted back on March 4, and as near as I can ascertain, inquiring minds around the world are still waiting for the release of the fabled new images. And it’s been, you know, over nine months, so I'm guessing that it's going to be a pretty long wait.
In completely unrelated news, NASA issued a curious report in June of this year that read, in part, as follows:
NASA's Vision for Space Exploration calls for a return to the Moon as preparation for even longer journeys to Mars and beyond. But there's a potential showstopper: radiation. Space beyond low-Earth orbit is awash with intense radiation from the Sun and from deep galactic sources such as supernovas. Astronauts en route to the Moon and Mars are going to be exposed to this radiation, increasing their risk of getting cancer and other maladies. Finding a good shield is important. (http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/24jun_electrostatics.htm)
Now, a person with questionable cognitive skills, such as myself, might assume that finding a good radiation shield would have been important back in the Apollo days as well. I mean, surely we must have solved this little technical problem back in the sixties, because we obviously couldn't have sent our boys to the moon without a suitable radiation shield. Right?
This is all a little confusing to me. On the one hand, we have a bold claim that new photographic evidence exists proving that man has indeed walked on the moon. But on the other hand, we have an acknowledgement straight from the horse’s mouth that even now, nearly forty years after the fact, and with technology having advanced by light-years during that forty years, we still haven't figured out how to make manned space travel possible.
The only reasonable explanation that I can come up with is that space radiation must have only become a problem in recent years. In the ‘60s and early ‘70s, space was apparently relatively free of radiation, allowing unshielded Apollo rockets to cruise about without a care in the world, while crew members primarily busied themselves with trying to figure out how to capture all the stems and seeds that were floating around the capsule as a result of cleaning their stash of low-grade ‘60s marijuana. It was just a different solar system back in those days. As aging hippies like to say, if you remember the solar system of the sixties, you weren’t really flying around in it.
If it proves not to be the case that this space radiation “showstopper” is a new development, then I guess what probably happened is that we did indeed have the technology back in the '60s to send men to the moon, but at some point during the intervening decades, that technology was simply lost. Maybe the information was stored on a single PC that suffered a major hard-drive crash, destroying all the precious data.
Oh wait … that can't be right, come to think of it, because we didn't even have PCs back in the day. But we had lots of other cool stuff, like rotary telephones, and transistor radios, and Brownie cameras, and ‘electric football’ games, and black-and-white televisions that received up to 13 channels without the use of a remote control device. So it’s easy to see how, with cutting-edge technology like that, we might have been a little more advanced in the ‘60s in the field of space travel than we are today.
What probably happened was that an overzealous night custodian simply threw the data away. The conversation around the NASA water cooler the next day probably went something like this: "Holy shit! Has anyone seen the file that I left on my desk last night?! That was the only copy of the secret formula that I devised for building a space radiation shield! Do you realize that it could be forty years or more before someone else can duplicate it? My ass is so fired if I can’t find that file!”
I’m sure the boys at NASA, with all their fancy book learnin’ and all, can explain why it is that we now need a space radiation shield when we did just fine without one in the ‘60s. I’ll be waiting patiently for that explanation.
* * * * * *
Since he wasn’t exactly an A-list star, the media hardly noticed when actor/comic Charles Rocket was found dead not too many weeks ago (some of you may remember Rocket from his brief, and not too distinguished, stint on “Saturday Night Live”). As is so often the case with the Hollywood crowd, Rocket’s death was quickly ruled a suicide – after he was found in a field near his home with his throat deeply slashed.
Now, I have no idea exactly what sort of extracurricular activities Mr. Rocket chose to involve himself in; when it comes to Hollywood, there are always so many to choose from. But I do know that the suicide story seems a little, shall we say, questionable. Because thinking back, I can’t really recall hearing about too many people running out in a field and attempting to slice their own head off.
Of course, unusual means of committing suicide seem to be very “in” right now. Many of us, for example, thought that journalist Gary Webb’s double shot to the head was a bit out of the ordinary (http://rigorousintuition.blogspot.com/2005/03/conspiracy-theory-made-easy.html). Of course, that was before Mike “The Oracle” Ruppert set us straight on that one. Speaking of Ruppert, I see that he has recently revealed a previously hidden talent as a comedy writer (http://www.copvcia.com/free/ww3/101205_SOS_FTW.shtml), and I have to grudgingly admit that he is pretty damn funny. Who knew? I don’t think I have laughed so hard since … well, since I found out what is really going on in the red states (http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=534515).
Speaking of Mike Ruppert, I see that he has sunk to new depths in his attempts to fend off the legitimate critics of the ‘Peak Oil’ scam. His latest tactic is to cravenly prop up Jerome Corsi as some sort of spokesman for abiotic oil proponents. Corsi is, among other things, one of the key operatives behind the ‘Swift Boat’ campaign, meaning that he has zero credibility with anyone with any level of political awareness. And it is precisely for that reason that he has been illegitimately elevated to a position that he doesn’t actually hold.
Ruppert was scheduled to have what would have obviously been a staged ‘debate’ with Corsi on a radio show hosted by Michael Corbin. Interestingly enough, the very same Michael Corbin contacted me immediately after my initial questioning of ‘Peak Oil’ drew a firm rebuke from Ruppert. This was, mind you, before I posted my first lengthy debunking of the ‘Peak’ scam (which came about as a direct response to Ruppert’s bullying e-mail). At that time, Corbin seemed a little too eager to get me on the air immediately.
I haven’t done a lot of radio work, but I have done enough to know that guests are generally booked well in advance of their appearances, which wasn’t the case with Corbin’s offer; he wanted me on the air the very next day. I declined the offer, explaining that since I was still looking into the issue, I was not yet ready to air my views. I offered to come on in a few weeks, after I had prepared my side of the argument, but I received no response to that offer. A couple weeks after that, I posted the first of many pieces on ‘Peak Oil.’ I never heard from Corbin again. I suspected at the time that his intent was to set up an ambush interview, to make me look foolish before I had a chance to fully research the issue. Now that he has ignored my work for nearly two years, after expressing an early interest, and then scheduled an obviously staged debate with a patently fraudulent spokesman representing the anti-‘Peak’ side, there is no longer any doubt in my mind that he is yet another disinformation peddler currently working as part of the Ruppert damage-control team.
I have no idea what the current status of the Ruppert-Corsi-Corbin staged ‘debate’ is, and I really don’t care. The entire affair is rather repulsive – but hardly surprising. It provides yet one more illustration (as if one was needed) of what an unconscionable liar Mike Ruppert is.
But that’s really beside the point. What I started out talking about was Hollywood suicides, which reminded me that I never got around to following up on the Najai Turpin story (http://davesweb.cnchost.com/nwsltr72.html). Since we last visited the issue, Turpin was prominently featured in the fourth episode of the already forgotten television series “The Contender.” According to a review of the episode featured on a fan website:
We can see that this poor soul is a haunted one as we progress through the episode … Jackie tells us that Najai is distrustful of anyone and that, “He’s like a little animal that was mistreated.” The impression we get of Najai is one of mystery. He is always on his guard. He speaks of never holding anybody close because they’ll cross you. He trusts only his daughter. He says, “If I die today or tomorrow, my family has nothing” … He later says: “I feel a greatness ahead of me.” (http://www.realitytvworld.com/index/articles/summary.php?i=623)
Elsewhere on the same website, we find that, even while he was on a film set surrounded by cast and crew, Turpin “slept in the closet because of his fear of being shot.” All of that, of course, makes perfect sense. Here we had a man with a profound fear of being shot, a deep distrust of those around him, and a deep concern for the fate of his family should anything happen to him. No one should be surprised then that, not long after filming wrapped, Turpin chose to shoot himself in the head. Because if you’re worried about someone else shooting you, the best thing to do, I suppose, is to just go ahead and shoot yourself first, thereby denying anyone else a chance to do so. That should solve the problem.
Before moving on from the topic of Hollywood weirdness, I have to mention something interesting that I heard at a recent family gathering. As it happens, a member of my extended family is currently serving time over in Iraq as a member of a National Guard unit. During the summer, he was stationed at what in military jargon is known as an “FOB,” or “Forward Operating Base.” In contemporary English, that roughly translates to “the middle of fucking nowhere.”
While said relative was stationed there, the temporary military base, which apparently doesn’t offer a lot in the way of tourist amenities, received a most unusual visitor: one Vince Vaughn, fresh off his starring role in this summer’s “Wedding Crashers.” According to the official explanation given to the troops stationed at the base, Vaughn was there – are you ready for this? – to promote his film. In a tent city in the middle of some godforsaken, war-torn desert! Which, needless to say, was notably short of movie theaters. And copies of the film. And people who might conceivably have a chance of actually seeing any films in the foreseeable future.
So what, you may be wondering, was Vince Vaughn really doing there on his unpublicized visit? I haven’t got a clue, but if I were a betting man, I would wager heavily that he wasn’t there to chat with the Iraqi version of Jay Leno.
* * * * * *
As if terr’ists and the bird flu weren’t enough to worry about, we are now faced with a grave new threat. I am talking, of course, about pirates. Yes, that’s right: pirates. Not the Johnny Depp kind of pirates, I don’t think. Not the eyepatch-wearing, rum-swilling, peg-leg-wearing, sword-wielding, parrot-befriending kind of pirates. But pirates nonetheless.
The press couldn’t stop talking about them not too many weeks ago, after a cruise ship off the coast of Africa was assaulted by what were described as pirates. This was treated as an unusual event, though I have no idea why. While on a cruise of the Caribbean several years ago, I was personally assaulted by a pirate while enjoying a quiet dinner with the wife in the ship’s main dining room. Many other passengers were assaulted as well. I know this because I later saw photographic evidence displayed in the onboard photo gallery. I could present some of that evidence to you here, except that, at the time, I couldn’t really see spending $20 on an exceptionally cheesy photo of a pirate hovering over my wife and I, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Anyway, the point here is that pirate attacks on cruise ships have obviously been going on for quite some time, and that fact has obviously been covered up. Notice, if you will, that the media has once again stopped talking about pirates. Need I say more?
* * * * * *
We got a new Pope this year. And when I say “we,” I guess what I really mean is, “all us Catholics.” Actually, if we’re going to nitpick here, I suppose that I am not, technically speaking, a member in good standing of the Catholic Church. So I guess what I really mean is, all you Catholics got a new Pope this year.
I was baptized Catholic, to be sure, as were my two older siblings, and at the time of my birth both of my parents were good church-going Catholics. But I wasn’t actually raised Catholic. At least not for very long.
My mother, as it turns out, had a difficult time delivering me. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that, even then, I had an enormously swelled head. Or maybe it was due to the fact that she had dutifully pumped out three babies in just under three years, as though the McGowan family was locked in some kind of feverish fertility competition with a local Mormon family. Truth be told, I don’t really know why the delivery was problematic. I could, I suppose, pick up the phone and give my parents a call and find out exactly what the problem was, but I prefer to just make up the details as I go along. The basic story is true, and that’s what’s important here. Actually, none of this rant is really all that important, but I would strongly recommend that you keep on reading because I might throw some important stuff in later, and you don’t want to miss out.
So, as I was saying, the young mother of three future juvenile delinquents was advised by doctors that another pregnancy and delivery could potentially be fatal. And since that didn’t sound like a very appealing scenario, she was advised by those same doctors to get her tubes tied, so to speak, to insure that there would be no more pregnancies. Problem solved … right? Ahh, not so fast.
The Catholic Church, you see, frowned on that sort of thing. In a very big way. “Mrs. McGowan,” said some important local church official, “I’m afraid the church cannot give it’s blessing for such a medical procedure.” “Very well,” said she, “then we will just have to go over your head. We will work our way up the chain of command, and we will get permission from someone wearing an even sillier hat than you.”
But that was simply not to be, as the McGowans, you see, were not a family with great financial resources, so they were unable to make the kind of timely donation to the church that will usually insure that the rules get bent. Plus, their lack of great riches prevented them from having access to the guys who wear the most outrageous hats, and in the Catholic Church, as everyone knows, the more ridiculous the headgear, the more power the wearer wields. No one knows why that is, except that it is the way that God wants it to be. One theory is that God has a much better sense of humor than he is normally given credit for.
But that’s neither here nor there. The point is that the church held fast to its position: “God wants you to keep making babies. Catholic babies. If it kills you, well, that’s just God’s will. It just means that he needs you up in Heaven. I hear they might be a little shorthanded in the mailroom. There’s nothing we can do about it. God makes the rules. Sorry. Oh, and don’t worry about the boys after you’re gone. If taking care of three boys gets to be too much for your husband, we have some great programs here at the church for little boys!”
“This Catholic God,” thought the young mother, “really blows. What the hell was I thinking marrying into a Catholic family? I wonder what that Finkelstein boy is doing these days? I hear he went on to med school …”
Nevertheless, the McGowans were determined to do right by the Catholic Church. They knew that most Catholics were hypocrites, ignoring church doctrine when it proved inconvenient while mouthing pieties and dutifully reporting to church on Sundays and slipping a little something into the collection plate. They knew that they too could play that game. But surely there was someone in a position of authority in the church who would recognize that God did not want the mother of three young boys to die when a relatively routine surgical procedure could prevent that from happening.
Sadly, however, that was not the case. The church held firm to its position, even throwing in an added caveat: “And don’t even think about trying any form of birth control either. God hates condoms and diaphragms. And God hates ‘The Pill,’ although I’m not even sure if ‘The Pill’ has been introduced yet, and Dave apparently doesn’t feel like looking it up. But if it has, then God hates it, and if it hasn’t, then God will hate it when it does make its debut.”
“But what then are we to do?” cried the anguished young mother. “Try abstinence,” answered the holy ones, at which time Mr. McGowan, who had had little to say, spoke up for the first time: “Fuck this! We’re out of here.”
And indeed they were. And that is why I was tragically denied all that the Catholic Church has to offer – the rampant pedophilia, and the authoritarian education in the school that I passed every day on my way to public school, the school named “Nativity” but better known as “Captivity” in honor of the twelve-foot-high electrified concertina wire fence surrounding it (I exaggerate a bit here, but not much), and the creepy confessionals to the guy in the darkened booth doing things to himself that you don’t want to know about, and the symbolic cannibalism and vampirism, and, oh yeah, did I mention the rampant pedophilia?
So I am not, I guess you could say, a Catholic in good standing. To put it in church vernacular, I was baptized but never sodomized. Or something like that. But even so, I can still, in some small way, claim the new Pope as my very own. And that is why I can say that I was personally thrilled to see that not only is the new Pope a former Hitler Youth, but he was actually Popeified – which I am pretty sure is the proper term, although my spell-checker seems to disagree – on the very eve of the Fuhrer’s birthday!
No one else seemed to notice, but if anyone out there thinks that there is no significance to the fact that a former Hitler Youth was made Pope on April 19, then they just don’t fully understand how this game is played. Or maybe it is just a coincidence. Maybe it is all just a coincidence. Maybe I shouldn’t draw any hasty conclusions from the fact that the guy who runs my country, the guy who runs my state, and now the guy who runs the only church that I have ever belonged to, all have documented Nazi ties.
Let’s be fair here; it’s a small world … right? I mean, in this day and age, who doesn’t have a Nazi skeleton or two in their closet? Doesn’t everyone, after all, have a grandfather and a great-grandfather who were major financiers of the Third Reich (as does George Bush: http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1312540,00.html)? And who among us doesn’t have a father who voluntarily joined up with Hitler’s Brownshirts (as did Ahhnuld’s dad)? And can any of us honestly say that we didn’t at least toy with the idea of joining the Hitler Youth?
Speaking of Nazi symbolism, I see that London has recently been chosen to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and whenever I think of the Olympic games, I get that warm inner glow that comes from knowing that every time the Olympics roll around, we will all mindlessly celebrate the spectacle of symbolically keeping the spirit of Nazi Germany alive.
Most of you, I’m guessing, assume that the elaborate torch ritual that accompanies the modern Olympic games dates back to the ancient Olympics and is a way of keeping the spirit of those original games alive. In truth, however, the torch lighting ceremony was introduced by – you guessed it! – those wild and crazy Nazis at the Berlin Olympic games. Think about that the next time the games roll around and everyone makes a big deal out of keeping that flame alive.
And while we’re on the subject of the Olympics, I have this little tidbit that dates back to the 2004 summer games. I realize that it is now a little dated, but trust me when I say that if I had posted this back when it was written, you would have laughed your ass off. It still might be good for a laugh. Or maybe not. It will probably help to recall that a certain member of the Bush administration dropped an F-bomb on the Senate floor just before this was written.
Overheard during the final days of the Athens Olympics (none of the officials were identified, but the U.S. representative was described as a balding man with a heart condition who would be returning to the States soon because he was concerned about leaving an incompetent superior in charge during his absence):
Korean Official: Excuse me, I believe you have our men’s gymnastics gold medal. As you know, there was a mathematical error made. It's pretty cut and dried. And besides, your guy did land on his ass under the judge's table. We have a shot-putter who could have landed a vault better than that.
US Official: Go fuck yourself.
Russian Official: What about our medal? We realize that your guy, that arrogant Hamm kid, managed to stay on his feet and out of the judge's laps during the high-bar finals, but we still think our guy outclassed your guy. Everyone in the auditorium seemed to notice.
US Official: Go fuck yourself.
Brazilian Official: I don't know what the Koreans and the Russians are complaining about -- at least their athletes didn't get bum-rushed by a 'defrocked priest.'
US Official: We want our rhythmic gymnastics medal. Our girl was better than any of your girls and the judges ripped her off.
Olympic Official: Uhmm ... sorry, but we have to shoot down your protest because we kind of set a precedent last week when the shoe was on the other foot and we took your side in the dispute with the Russians.
US Official: Go fuck yourself.
French Swimming Judge: We still say that your guy used an illegal dolphin kick. And quit trying to portray John Kerry as a Frenchman. We're not claiming his ass.
US Official: Did you submit either of those protests in English?
French Judge: No.
US Official: Then go fuck yourself.
Australian Official: We are developing a test that we think will prove that Michael Phelps is the genetically engineered offspring of Mark Spitz and a sea otter. We want him disqualified.
US Official: I'm out of here. Could you all give me a hand loading up all these medals?
That’s all for now. Stay tuned as I continue to clear out all the dated material and links that I painstakingly transferred from my old computer. Until next time …