Friday, July 17, 2009


Hillary Clinton, Pod Person?

Once you start entertaining the notion that there are secret groups running world governments, you see evidence all over the place. What's really funny is that, if you want to debate a conspiracy theorist, you can't say, "You have no proof of that plan." Because the conspiracy theorist will give you actual quotes from people like David Rockefeller and other big guns saying literally what the conspiracy theorist claims is their plan for worldwide domination. So the skeptic has to fall back on, "Oh come on, you're reading too much into that," or, "Surely that must be a joke."

Case in point, take Hillary Clinton's recent speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. (HT2 David Kramer for all of this.) Her opening remarks:
Thank you very much, Richard, and I am delighted to be here in these new headquarters. I have been often to, I guess, the mother ship in New York City, but it’s good to have an outpost of the Council right here down the street from the State Department. We get a lot of advice from the Council, so this will mean I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future.

Richard just gave what could be described as a mini-version of my remarks in talking about the issues that confront us. But I look out at this audience filled with not only many friends and colleagues, but people who have served in prior administrations. And so there is never a time when the in-box is not full.

Now I'm sure people were laughing, and that these remarks were supposed to be the opening joke before she got into the meat of her speech. You could say that just because the CFR tells her what the State Department "should do," doesn't mean Clinton will obey those instructions. And of course, I don't think she was literally saying the CFR headquarters was an alien spacecraft.

But at the same time, the part I put in bold is exactly what the conspiracy theorists say about the CFR (and other groups like the Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, etc.). So if you challenge them to prove their "crazy" claims, all they need to do is point at Hillary Clinton's latest speech as an example.

I was curious to see the actual delivery of these remarks, to see just how ha-ha Clinton's tone was when she said it. Aww too bad, this MSNBC video leaves out the above two paragraphs, and starts at the third paragraph of the transcript linked above. No need to waste the viewers' time with silly jokes about the CFR running the government! We've got to leave time for the story about Michael Jackson's kids.

The Blackadder Says:

I remember listening once to a talk radio show about 9/11 conspiracies. The guest was arguing with a caller at one point who claimed that the people on the planes were still alive (because the Pentagon or whatever was actually hit by a missile) and the guest said something like "I know Barbara Olsen [one of the passengers on the flight], I was at her funeral, trust me, she died." The guy seized on the fact that he had said "know" rather than "knew" as if this was proof Olsen was still alive. Some people have too much time on their hands, I guess.
I think both conspiracy theorists and those against them should be able to come to some sort of agreement.

They should be able to agree, I would think, that much of the US is run by roughly the same group of individuals. Am I wrong about this?

Those against conspiracy theories don't have to necessarily believe the actual conspiracies outlined by theorists, that they exist and are being implemented. But surely they can, nay must, believe that the same individuals and groups the theorists identify as implementing the conspiracies, actually do run the world in some fashion.
Did you notice this entry on the LRC blog?

National Security Advisor James L. Jones also admits that the CFR runs the Government

No doubt we're all just reading too much into his comments as well. ;-D
I suppose Hillary could have said, "Look, you CFR bums, your programs are nothing but a bunch of commie nonsense, and the President and I have no intention of going along with with any of it!" But she didn't.

Actually, what they are doing isn't so secret, it's just that direct inquiry about their activities is slyly deflected.
From the online mag "Gawker" on CNBC's porn special:

"CNBC, the nation's preeminent financial news network, aired an investigative special last night! Did they venture deep into the Heart of Darkness to investigate the welfare queens at Goldman Sachs? Well, no, they investigated the porn industry, naturally.

Yes CNBC, fresh from being shamed to the nth degree in recent months for the vigorous handjob they pass for coverage of the financial firms that brought a mightly nation to the brink of collapse, ran a special, "Porn, the Business of Pleasure," last night, and the ratings are in! Looks like a score for CNBC.

According to Nielsen, CNBC, which aired the one hour special at 9pm and repeated it again at 10pm, scored 1,063,000 viewers in the 25-64 age range over the two prime time hours, which was dramatically up from the 232,000 viewers in the same combined time slots on Tuesday, an increase of almost 500%. Hey, ratings baby! Score!"
I heard one "conspiracy nut-job" claim that Margaret Thatcher had spoken of a "shadow government" people do not see nor know the existence of, but which controls things much more powerfully than the elected government. No reference was given, so I could not check. More recently, I read almost the same exact words, but this time attributed to Disraeli. Can any reader point to the source?
Rob, yep I saw that too. And Amissen, good catch, though in fairness we should acknowledge that you don't need to posit a conspiracy to explain why a network would use cheap thrills to get ratings.
Blackadder, I'm sure there are some hicks out there who jump to conclusions. Did you read the Rockefeller quote I linked to? Am I jumping to conclusions when it sure sounds like he is admitting that his family has tried to undermine the US in favor of world government for decades?
The Blackadder Says:

Bob, let's suppose for a moment that there really was a secret cabal consisting of the Rockefellers, the Rothchilds, and Colonel Sanders that was really running the government. If that were true, is it reasonable to expect that the people involved in the conspiracy would just casually mention it in public speeches or in their memoirs? When people brag about being members of the "vast right-wing conspiracy" I don't think that proves there is such a thing.
The Blackadder Says:

In the UK "shadow government" is the term used to refer to the leadership of the main opposition party. I wouldn't be surprised if someone once heard Thatcher use the term and, not being familiar with it, thought she was talking about some sort of conspiracy.

So basically you are convinced a priori that there is no conspiracy to take over the world. When I suggested that people might be behind the scenes, discussing what media content to air, you dismissed that as ridiculous. And then when I point to a quote where David Rockefeller admits to trying to engineer a one-world government, you dismiss that as irrelevant.

Hypothetically speaking, what would it take for you to think that there were such a conspiracy? Would I need to sneak into a Bilderberg meeting and record it? I assume if I did, you would say, "Give me a break Bob, if they were that powerful, I doubt you would have been able to sneak in. They were putting on a play for entertainment. It's very stressful being an international banker, you know, and it's fun to have a good laugh now and again."
You can see the video with that comment included at this State department link:

No one is laughing at that remark.

Thanks for the video. Even though no one is laughing, Clinton herself is chuckling, so I can totally understood a normal person thinking, "Nothing to see here, move along folks."
The Blackadder Says:

Part of the essence of a conspiracy is that the people involved are trying to keep it a secret. If people are going around publicly saying "yes, I am part of a conspiracy to take over the world" then they aren't acting like you would expect people in a real conspiracy to act. Thus, statements like Rockefeller's or Clinton's aren't really evidence that there is a conspiracy.

My default presumption when I hear about some conspiracy theory is that it is bunk. I'm willing to be convinced, but I'll first have to see some compelling evidence. (The fact that a conspiracy would explain X, Y, or Z is not evidence in favor of a conspiracy, since a conspiracy can explain almost anything). This presumption is based on:

1) the experience of dealing with various conspiracy theorists, looking into what they say, and finding out that it doesn't hold up under scrutiny;

2) the fact that a conspiracy involving more than a handful of people is very hard to maintain, and becomes harder to maintain for each individual person added to the conspiracy;

3) the fact that people tend to attribute patterns to an intentional design when in fact there is no design.

I would think that anyone who was a believer in spontaneous order and the invisible hand would be sympathetic to points 2) and 3).
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