Monday, October 8, 2012

Theory of a Deadhead

The late Christopher Hitchens once called conspiracy theories "the exhaust fumes of democracy".  He was talking about the large amount of information circulating in the free society, overwhelming the people and leaving them in a near drunken stupor--willing to believe anything.  How else to explain the ever-growing list of conspiracy theories that pop up on an almost daily basis, gain legs on the internet and the social media world and soon become widely-held beliefs?

There's the 9/11 conspiracy that President Bush staged the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in order to start a war in Afghanistan and Iraq--and to consolidate his power and that of the Federal Government.  All while lining the pockets of major defense contractors and Haliburton.  What always amazes me is how the Bush administration was able to recruit so many Al Queda members to take part in a suicide mission, how all of the explosives were brought into the Twin Towers without anyone ever noticing and that not a single person who knew about the plan at no point ever said "This is insane and we need to alert the American public!"

And then there are the "birthers"--who after four years still fervently believe that President Obama wasn't born in this country.  Do they honestly believe that the Republican National Committee didn't have 100 people looking into the validity of the Hawaiian birth certificate?  That hospital records weren't pored over?  That any nurse working at that hospital wasn't questioned--all before the 2008 election?

And now we have the "Unemployment Numbers are Rigged by the Obama Campaign" theory.  Everybody knew there was going to be an "October Surprise" in the Presidential race--and the first real drop in jobless numbers in Obama's entire term may be that surprise.  But do you really think that the Re-Election Campaign called over the Bureau of Labor Statistics and said "Hey, can you make those September numbers something less than 8--so Mitt Romney can't keep running that ad about 'Unemployment above 8% for 42-months' please?"  If the White House had the power to fudge the numbers--wouldn't they have started it around mid-term--so they could say "The stimulus is working!!"  or "Wow, look at how our green energy initiatives are really turning things around!  Thank you Solyndra!!"

As I pointed out in the Wisconsin recall race, when Governor Walker decided that the numbers used by everybody for decades suddenly weren't "accurate enough" right before Election Day, these are the figures both sides have made political hay with forever.  The computations are done the same way--and if you think they are flawed now because they "help" President Obama--then you should have thought the numbers were flawed when they helped Presidents Reagan, Bush and Bush in the past.

Besides, any economist execpt Paul Krugman would tell you the REAL unemployment rate is the U-6 numbers (including those who gave up looking for work and who are working at part-time gigs instead of full-time jobs) is still 14.7%.  Unless you think there is a conspiracy of business owners and corporate executives who aren't hiring anyone because they want President Obama to lose--and then they will all of a sudden throw open the factory doors again and start producing at 1995 levels again?  Just thought I'd throw that out there.

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