Open Thread

Conspiracy Theorem: An Attack on Freedom

I have just been reading Karl Popper’s famous work, The Open Society and Its Enemies. I highly recommend both volumes, particularly Volume One, ‘The Spell of Plato’. But I am going to discuss an issue raised in Volume Two, titled ‘Hegel and Marx’. This volume is basically an attack on fascism, nationalism, Marxism and Communism.

How does this relate to conspiracy theorism?

I will quote a relatively lengthy passage:

… I shall briefly describe a theory which is widely held but which assumes what I consider the very opposite of the true aim of the social sciences; I call it the ‘conspiracy theory of society’ . It is the view that an explanation of a social phenomen consists in the discovery of the men or groups who are interested in the occurrence of this phenomenon (sometimes it is a hidden interest which has first to be revealed), and who have planned and conspired to bring it about.

This view of the aims of the social sciences arises, of course, from the mistaken theory that, whatever happens in society–especially happensings such as war, unemployment, poverty, shortages, which people as a rule dislike–is the result of direct design by some powerful individuals and groups. This theory is widely held; it is older even then historicism (which, as shown by its primitive theistic form, is a derivative of the conspriracy theory). In its modern forms it is, like modern historicism, and a certain modern attitude towards ‘natural laws’, a typicl result of the secularization of a religious superstition.

The gods are abandoned. But their place is filled by powerful men or groups–sinister pressure groups whose wickedness is responsible for all the evils we suffer from–such as the Learned Elders of Zion, or the monopolists, or the capitalists, or the imperialists.

Rasgará el otro lado del cielo que el sol viagra femenina pero mucho. Categoría bosniak Causas de la disfunción eréctil y su solución con Levitra de 10 mg y 20 mg i tienen menos de 190 millones de kilómetros.

I do not wish to imply that conspiracies never happen. On the contrary, they are typical social phenomena.

Conspiracies occur, it must be admitted. But the striking fact which, in spite of their occurrence, disproves the conspiracy theory is that few of these conspiracies are ultimately successful. Conspirators rarely consumate their conspiracy .

Why is this so? … many unforeseen reactions in this framework [the framework being society], some of them perhaps unforeseeable.

Basically, what Popper is saying here is that the chances of particular social changes being the result of a conspiracy are small because our ability to predict the result of our actions is small. The notion that a small group of super intelligent individuals mould the world to its own end is a throwback to religious notions. As he says, this does not mean that there are not conspiracies and conspirators. But they are always going to be limited in what they can achieve.

I should note that Popper is mainly talking about longer term conspiracies here that affect the social structure of society in significant ways. But the principle can be applied to more short term ones also. And generally people who view events in conspiracy theorist ways will tend to link long-term events to short-term ones in any case – the movie Zeitgeist is a typical example.

How, though, is conspiracy ‘an attack on freedom’? Simple: if we view events in the world through the prism of conspiracy theorem, we must automatically move towards irrationality. We must being to presuppose that X event had a specific aim behind it and that the aim can be discerned from the event. However, the world does not work like that. We cannot take an event and determine motive from that event. We cannot conclude, for example, from the fact that one person shot another that one person wishing another person dead was behind the event. It might be. But that cannot be concluded from the event alone.

If we could derive motives from events then we start having to make all kinds of nonsensical connections: for example, if the all powerful group that we are talking about is Bush and his cronies, then the very fact that they lost power must have had a motive, and the motive must be theirs. So this event must be part of the conspiracy. And so we search for the motive behind the event, not pausing to consider that they might not be in control.

I know that the vast majority of conspiracy theorists do not go as far as the above. But they do take the first steps on this path – this path of irrationality; worse: this path of anti-rationality.

And anti-rationality – the assault on reason – is and always has been a direct attack on freedom. Plato called being kept in one’s place within the state ‘justice’; Hegel turned a lack of a constitution into the highest form of constitutional government. They destroyed reason and with it freedom. Post-modernist turned scientific fact into mere opinion and allowed any text to have any meaning whatsoever; linguistic philosophy aided this assault on reason and on meaning by demanding definition of terms when that led to an infinite regress. 

Without rational thought, we cannot create and sustain the open society.

Conspiracy theorem – and its result, counter-knowledge – is an assault on rational thought. Thus, it is a direct attack on freedom.

None of this is intended to disprove any particular conspiracy theory. What it is intended to do is to try to get people to set aside the habit, if such they have, of viewing events in the world through conspiracy theorist eyes.

412 replies on “Conspiracy Theorem: An Attack on Freedom”

From previous thread.
Was it a “Starbucks” and were they conspiring with the coffee plantation owners to make the worst cup of coffee?
I know there should be 43 beans in every cup and it is alleged that
Theorists counted only 39.5 going in to a buchet of bucks’.

Looks like a very good post there.
I will spend a few days in Rogets to get up to speed on it.


Here is the first one i would like you to crack.
Is there a conspiracy by Sibel and others to break open the alleged criminal conspiracy of a large number of Congress to hide the truth behind the Turkish infiltration of U.S. Government…
There are a lot of people involved in this who tried to hide all this and dump on the whistleblower.


“From my opinion, if I’m some of the current members of Congress, I’d be very very worried about the information that’s going to come out of this. There are current members of Congress that she has implicated in bribery, espionage. It’s not good. It’s crazy, it’s absolutely crazy. For people in power situations in the United States, who know about this information, if they don’t take action against it, in my opinion, it’s negligence.

It looks like Mr Popper is a bit of a cultist and had a penchant for belonging to many different cults, the Lutheran church (all religions are cults) for one. It appears as though he may be a purveyor of counterknowledge, and a fake.

“Sir Karl Popper / Perpetrated a whopper / When he boasted to the world that he and he alone / Had toppled Rudolf Carnap from his Vienna Circle throne.” —a clerihew by Armand T. Ringer.

By Hacohen’s own account, Popper was a monster, a moral prig. He continually accused others of plagiarism, but rarely acknowledged his own intellectual debts. He expected others to make every sacrifice for him, but did little in return. In Hacohen’s words, “He remained to the end a spoiled child who threw temper tantrums when he did not get his way.” Hacohen is ready to excuse all this as the prerogative of genius. Those who think Popper a relatively minor figure are likely to take a different view.

When Popper wrote “Logik der Forschung,” he was barely thirty. Despite its flawed center, it was full of good ideas, from perhaps the most brilliant of the bright young philosophers associated with the Vienna Circle. But where the others continued to learn, develop and in time exert a lasting influence on the philosophical tradition, Popper knew better. He refused to revise his falsificationism, and so condemned himself to a lifetime in the service of a bad idea.

Popper’s great and tireless efforts to expunge the word induction from scientific and philosophical discourse has utterly failed. Except for a small but noisy group of British Popperians, induction is just too firmly embedded in the way philosophers of science and even ordinary people talk and think.

This book is about a recent tendency in the philosophy of science: that tendency of which the leading representatives are Professor Sir Karl Popper, the late Professor Imre Lakatos, and Professors T.S.Kuhn and P.K.Feyerabend.

These authors’ philosophy of science is in substance irrationalist. They doubt, or deny outright, that there can be any reason to believe any scientific theory; and a fortiori they doubt or deny, for example, that there has been any accumulation of knowledge in recent centuries.
Yet, … these writers are not at all widely recognized by their readers as being irrationalists. …

Geez David i hope you are not one of those cultists, conspiring to have me believe that there has been no accumulation of knowledge in recent centuries. :mrgreen:

EC – you may be interested in this …
Criminal investigation into CIA treatment of detainees expected …

Reporting from Washington — U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. is poised to appoint a criminal prosecutor to investigate alleged CIA abuses committed during the interrogation of terrorism suspects, current and former U.S. government officials said.

A senior Justice Department official said that Holder envisioned an inquiry that would be narrow in scope, focusing on “whether people went beyond the techniques that were authorized” in Bush administration memos that liberally interpreted anti-torture laws.,0,34626.story

Popper held many wrong views, I am sure. As I am not holding him up as a figure to be worshipped, I hardly think that I am pushing a ‘cult’. As to religion, most people believe/have believed in some kind of deity. That does not preclude them from being intelligent and having good ideas in other areas. As I said, I highly recommend that everyone who believes in the open society – a free and democratic society – read both volumes of The Open Society and its Enemies. Popper copped a lot of criticism among philosophers for his attack on Plato, as Plato is considered the father of philosophy. But his attack is well founded.

As to dealing with specific conspiracies, that was not the purpose of the OP. As I said, conspiracies exist. It is conspiracy theory thinking that we must endeavour to avoid.

It is conspiracy theory thinking that we must endeavour to avoid.

Pray ( i am completely agnostic) tell David, if we are to be encouraged to avoid “conspiracy theory thinking “, how the hell are we supposed to uncover conspiracies of which there are plenty.
Am I supposed to think that there was no conspiracy by certain politicians and a public servant to bring down the current heads of our government by fraud and deceipt? Am i supposed to think that it was all the ideas of one person in the public sector?
To avoid CTT is to give carte blanche to all the crooks and liars that have an agenda to complete same.
There must be accountability and if someone has done something wrong then the only way to properly investigate it is to think the worst and start eliminating from there.
Do you make the assumption that thinking the worst is a conspiracy theory?
Who has the authority to say that “X” is nothing more than a CT?
Where is it defined that there is a set procedure to determine what is a conspiracy theory and what is not?
I think that, in lots of occasions, the term conspiracy theory is used as a smoke screen to dismiss evidence which may in fact be true, but is not in the interests of the perpetrators of the conspiracy to discuss the evidence.
You know the old lawyers saying;
“The pathway to prison is paved by voluntary statements”
Much easier to say that someone is just a conspiratory theorist than answer the question.
Especially when you have a friendly media who are willing to assist.

It’s interesting how different memories/ experiences can colour one’s perceptions about a story like this.
I spent a fair bit of time in the late 70’s and early 80’s, trekking around the golden triangle in northern Thailand as a tourist.
Most of the villages there traditionally grew opium as a cash crop and most of the villagers were addicted because they were routinely consuming part of their own crop.
Many of the problems re: the poverty and desperation described in the clip were noticeably absent. (When you don’t have to pay cash for dope and it’s an integral part of your existence , the whole dynamic is different.)
A quick search on our favourite search engine brought up this link to what I presume is the same story.
What made me pause for thought, was the realisation that there’s undoubtedly more to this story than a shock/horror drug tale.

Concentrating on the “sexy” bits about opium addiction, means the journalists don’t have to dig deeper as to how this particular village ended up as the hell hole they depict in a 2.4 min clip.
I have a sinking feeling, that this village has been the target of a “western media raid”.
What was happening in this village 5, 10 or 20 years ago?
Has their opium crop been destroyed as part of a stunt for the election?
Did the village lose out in a battle of the local warlords?
So many questions, so few answers.

It reminds me a bit of how the MSM likes to report on remote Aboriginal communities.
Find a few petrol sniffers, stick a camera in their face, and then bang on about what a shocking problem it is.
Naturally, their *simple* solution to a complex problem is to ban petrol and only sell Opal.
Just as naturally, the simple solution will inevitably fail.
As they’ve solved a symptom and missed most of the underlying problems:-(

If only the problems of Sarab village were simply opium addiction.
Alas, that clip leaves me (like you) with a sense of profound helplessness about changing the situation, but I also harbour deep suspicions as to the shallow nature of the reporting. 🙁


If you think that Turnbull or Abetz knew that the email was forged, you are engaged in conspiracy theory thinking of the worst sort. You are making assumptions for which there is no evidence; indeed, for which there is evidence against, as Grech has made no accusation of the kind.

As to how we uncover conspiracies, we do so by working from evidence towards motive, not from imagined motive towards evidence.

Unfortunately, conspiracy theorists work the other way round, and their notions usually become entangled with their own ideology – thus, those who hate the Greens see in AGW theory a vast left-wing conspiracy; those who hate Bush see in 911 a vast right-wing conspiracy; those who hate Obama and Islam see a vast Manchurian candidate style Muslim conspiracy.

As to where the authority dervives, it derives from the evidence. If the evidence does not stand up to scrutiny, then any continued pushing of the conspiracy theory is irrational and thus conspiracy theory thinking. Now, obviously there is subjectivity here; there cannot but be, as there is no objective place for any individual to stand. But just because that is true does not mean that every opinion must be considered ‘reasonable’.

And I personally do make the assumption that thinking the worst is conspiracy thinking. After all, ‘the worst’ is that there is some vast evil behind the scenes dictatorship that has been running the world forever. That is pretty much by definition an irrational perspective. I am sure that you do not think ‘the worst’. 😉

Assuming the worst is actually just as irrational as assuming the best. What you need to do instead is examine the usual ways in which human beings behave, which is sometimes good and sometimes bad. There are no comic book supervillains, although all kinds of people try to create them – people from the US administration (for example, Osama bin Laden) and people on the far left (Karl Rove).

I also query your notion that Popper was religious. As far as I am aware, he had a Jewish background, was christened a Lutheran but was an agnostic. I suspect that Obama is more religious than he … 😉

Thanks, Cat at 7, be interesting to read Greenwald’s take on these developments. The terms of reference of the investigation go nowhere near enough to exposing the middle and the top of the Torture Chain of Command, but anything is better than nothing. Loving the static between the DoJ and Langley.

And what a pleasure it is to slip in behind our new, improved dashboard. Tres nifty. 🙂

Talking Heads Wanted: lookers only need apply to Ministry of Truth;_ylt=AttIf.MKwqFYlg7brQoFYYIl6ysC

David, shall polish up on Popper before engaging, but you havn’t refuted gaffy’s main points yet. Will allow you to savour the Hammering at Headingly for the mo’ and be back for a squiz later.

Paddy, great observations on your Triangle travels. Yeah, the clip vibed phoney to me too.

Professor Chaos, I wanna have your baby! :mrgreen:

How do you get this;

If you think that Turnbull or Abetz knew that the email was forged, you are engaged in conspiracy theory thinking of the worst sort. You are making assumptions for which there is no evidence; indeed, for which there is evidence against, as Grech has made no accusation of the kind.

From this:
“Am I supposed to think that there was no conspiracy by certain politicians and a public servant to bring down the current heads of our government by fraud and deceipt? Am i supposed to think that it was all the ideas of one person in the public sector?”

First up you are verballing me as nowhere have i mentioned the the word email and i assume you are talking about the “fake” email that Grech says he concocted.
The rest of that piece of diatribe would probably be correct if the verbal was correct but it is not.
Let us say that the fake email does not even exist and forget that there was ever mention of it.

Compact Oxford dictionary;
• noun (pl. conspiracies)
1 a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.
2 the action of conspiring
I must say that through the actions of some it became evident that there was a project in motion that was an attempt to cause the resignations of two very senior members of parliament.
From the evidence that i have seen and heard by the email that Mal has produced, as well as the verbal evidence by many it is reasonable to assume there was a conspiracy.

For anything to be a conspiracy there has to be more than one person involved and the motive is already there, not imagined as you state.
The motive is to do something unlawful or harmful.
In this case i am saying that the motive was to cause harm to the government.
More than one person was involved.
Until the AFP and Senate inquiries come in i will continue to think and know that there was a conspiracy.
Whether there was a crime commited is another story but there was definately a conspiracy and no theory about it just hard facts.
You can think what you like about what i think. 😉


In your snippet, Popper seems to interpret a “lack of success” as evidence that most conspiracy theories are false.

You yourself then attempt to portray conspirators as “super intelligent” mythical groups.

I would think both assertions are misleading.

Those who resort to conspire, i would think, do so out of greed or for ideological purposes. Or both. A sense of desperation also comes into it.

I would think those feelings override any intelligence, and more often than not produce unsuccessful and hurtful outcomes.

gaffhook at 24

The motive is to do something unlawful or harmful.
In this case i am saying that the motive was to cause harm to the government.
More than one person was involved.
Until the AFP and Senate inquiries come in i will continue to think and know that there was a conspiracy.
Whether there was a crime commited is another story but there was definately a conspiracy and no theory about it just hard facts.

I see some faults in logic here. While there are many people involved/connected with the ’email’ – to construct a conspiracy requires that the multiple players are collectively knowledgeable of the crime. In this example there is insufficient evidence to show that this was the case. I would argue that Grinch was conspiring to protect his own special position, and that Malcolm Turnbull was conspiring to wreak havoc on the government but only one of these is something illegal (namely Grinch conspiring to falsify content to reinforce his own position and standing).

As Yoda would say …

Two evil agendas does not a conspiracy make.


I also query your notion that Popper was religious. As far as I am aware, he had a Jewish background, was christened a Lutheran but was an agnostic

David he described himself as agnostic but showed respect for the moral teachings of Judaism and Christianity.
And don’t forget he was the master of falsifiability.

The email that Mal produced was the email which was sent to him by Grech with all the potential questions and answers for the senate session where Abetz questioned him almost verbatim to the questions in the email and Grech answered them almost verbatim.
Check hansard alongside the questions and answers listed in the email.

This means that Grech in collusion with Turnbull and Abetz (and whoever else knew as in MSM journo) between them conspired to ask questions which were to give the impression that PM and Treasurer had favoured a mate with the Ozcar funds.
Turnbull and Abetz knew that Grech had a deliberate long meeting with Ford Credit, using the car dealers name, which was meant to give the impression he was spending a lot of time with Ford Credit to try to get funds for PM and Treasurers”mate”
I am unaware if all this amounts to a crime as such but definately they conspired in an effort to bring down (harm them and the ALP) the PM and Treasurer.
The fake email is all it was ie a fake email and it has nothing to do with what i am referring to.
The other email to set up the original meeting with Turnbull is here;

There is a record of the email request as to having a meeting and a subsequent email with a list of questions and answers provided for the charade which was the senate committee inquiry.

I too smell something in the dealings by Turnbull and Abetz over the forged email. I think there is evidence to indicate that they must have known the email was suspect. I think the fact that Grech travelled to Sydney to take the email back from Lucy Turnbull’s office is a big red flag. Plus, Grech showed Turnbull and Abetz the email being the senate hearing, then during the senate hearing, Grech said “there may or may not be an email”. What the? And the 3 of them practised the wording Grech would use. Turnbull was milking Grech’s appearance at that hearing for all it was worth – and remember people saying how fantastic Abetz’s performance was in his line of questioning?

Anyhoo, I doubt any further Senate investigation into this matter is going to get anywhere. Godwin Grech has clearly any number of times – he would be the key witness in any further hearing, and his evidence simply can’t be credible. So I don’t see the point of taking the matter any further (apart from more Turnbull misery).

Oh, and speaking of Turnbull misery, why oh why does he bother going on the 7.30 Report. Last night was yet another embarrassing wipe out of Turnbull from Kerry O’Brien. What a farcical performance from Malcolm.

Obama hoping for immigration draft by end of year.
Immigration reform will not be done in 2009, but President Barack Obama suggested Monday he hopes to see draft legislation by the end of the year.

Obama also suggested a push for immigration reform could take place next year, which would introduce a bruising legislative battle ahead of the 2010 midterm elections.

Speaking at a press conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, after a summit with Canada and Mexico, Obama said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is coordinating discussions with House and Senate members, and “when we come back next year… we should be in a position to start acting.”
continued on The Hill
Could Obama be conspiring to make immigration the major issue in 2010? Thereby conspiring to route the Republicans in the senate in 2010. Even conspiring to win Texas senate seat when Hutchinson resigns, with the help of the Latino vote.

Yes, Katielou, Petit Mal made a complete goose of himself trying to bullshit his way past Red Kez last night. These days the little twerp can’t even do righteous indignation with conviction.
Fucken show pony!
Everybody knows Fauntelroy is unelctable as PM. For the Libs, unless they are totally stupid a “key question going forward” must be how many “loyal” tory troops are gonna get Galipollied at the next Fed El., especially when it will be the Warrior from Wentworth blowing the “let’s go get ’em” whistle.

Where have all the tory flowers have gone since the rule of the Maggot King, El Rodente, “long time ago”?
Like Seppo John Bolton, Libs are “kiss up, kick down” types. These people need a strong fuhrer, not an affable buffoon like Shreck who occupies the “death seat” at the present stage.

“When will they ever learn?”

Tortured Logic Reinforces Profound Culturlal Malaise

Attorney General Holder is going to prosecute those who abused prisoners — but only if they didn’t do it right
By digby

I think we can all see the problem here, can’t we? By prosecuting waterboarding “abuses” we are essentially declaring waterboarding under John Yoo’s only slightly less sadistic guidelines to be legal. Evidently, the new standard will be that if you’re going to torture, you’d better do it right.

“Representatives of the government torture innocent citizens into unconsciousness, on camera, in United States courtrooms with tasers. They use them on prisoners and on motorists and on political protesters and bicycle riders, on mentally ill and handicapped people and on children And it’s happening with nary a peep of protest.
America’s torture problem is much bigger than Gitmo or the CIA or the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The government is torturing people every day and killing some of them. Then videos of the torture wind up on Youtube where sadists laugh and jeer at the victims. It’s the sign of profound cultural illness.”

(gee whaddya know? Ozi cops carry and use tasars regularly too. Strictly for the safety of those sworn to protect we citizens of this free and open society, naturally)

And any day now the new series of Torture Island and Jacky Bauer’s “24” will screen at a home entertainment venue NEAR YOU!!

“The price of Liberty is Eternal Torture”
~ Richard Bruce “Call me Dick” Cheney

Chris B – I assume your evidence question is directed at me. I’ve mentioned the evidence in my post at 30. The evidence of them practicing the wording is in the emails that Abetz himself has shown, where Grech wrote the questions and answers, at least some of these were read verbatim by Abetz. Plus there is the meeting between the 3 of them before the hearing.

14 David. Verbal communication does NOT leave any evidence.
AGAIN. It ONLY takes two people to make a conspiracy.
For instance you and your wife might be communicating with each other about disproving conspiracies. This is a conspiracy against conspiracies!!!!

37 Katielou Sorry Katielou I was talking about my evidence for Obama conspiring against Republicans for a landslide win in 2010. I was talking to myself. 😈 Being sarcastic about this topic.

Are the Southerners ruining the GOP? Or are the Southerners conspiring to take over the GOP?
In a gaffe of truth, Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) said his “party’s being taken over by Southerners.” Lloyd Grove on the growing disconnect between Republicans and political reality.

Are right-wing Southerners turning the beleaguered GOP into a permanent political minority? When one Republican office holder, Ohio Sen. George Voinovich, said as much the other day, some Dixie-cans reacted as though they’d seen a ghost—the grim apparition of another Buckeye, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. Yet the evidence suggests that Voinovich might have a point.

“It was a gaffe as defined in Washington—which is ‘a politician speaking the truth,’” says political science professor Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, in the heart of the Old Confederacy. “If your party becomes defined too heavily by a single region of the country, that’s a problem.”

The Republican Party, says Joe Scarborough, “is culturally disconnected from New England, from the Midwest, and from the Pacific Northwest.”

continued in The Daily Beast

You may be pushing the envelope a bit there. There definately has to be more than one person involved.
When you read the Oxford dictionary it can only be a conspiracy if their is intent (plan) to do something unlawful or harmful.
Two persons discussing whether something is a conspiracy or not is not in itself a conspiracy. However if two persons were discussing and agreeing that they would do some damage to some other person/s would by definition be a conspiracy.

HarryH at 25,

I think you read it a little wrong.

Conspiracy theorists are the ones who posit a bunch of superintelligent conspirators with deity-like abilities. Back in the real world, however, we know that any conspirator is simply a fallible human being.

As an example of how using motive to try to work towards finding an answer to something is the wrong approach, think of a Democrat senator dying in a light plane crash. The obvious conclusion is that the plane crashed due to either structural failure or pilot error, or a combination of the two. But conspiracy theorists jump straight to this question: ‘Who might want them dead?’

The fact is, most events occur *without* any motive at all. People die in plane crashes; people get sick; the stock market goes down; the stock market goes up; famine strikes.

It is all too human to ascribe motive where there is none. This is part of the reason we came up with deities: we wanted our suffering to *mean* something, either for good or for ill.

But the simple truth is most things are either the unintended consequences related to some other action that did indeed have a motive, or there is no motive at all.

More on conspiracies.
Deather, defined
Main entry: deather
Function: noun
Etymology: From birther, a related conspiracy theory which holds that President Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen. Inspired by the teabaggers of April 15, 2009.
Date: Mid-2009
Definition: One who believes or spreads the false conspiracy theory that the health care reform legislation before Congress would create “death panels” or force seniors and sick people into euthanasia.
Examples: Sarah Palin is a deather. Glenn Beck is a deather. Rush Limbaugh is a deather.

video on Daily Kos


If there was a conspiracy to bring down the government through fraud and deceit then at a minimum *two* conspirators would have had to have been in on the fraud and deceit.

There is no evidence that Turnbull and Abetz were part of any fraud or deceit. Indeed, the *only* fraud was the email, so I do not think it was that big a stretch for me to interpret your use of the word ‘fraud’ as a direct reference to the email.

If you did not mean the email when you used the word, what did you mean?

These people put the true conspiracy theorists to shame. They really know how to run a conspiracy theory.

Neo-Popper Gouldie: “But conspiracy theorists jump straight to this question: ‘Who might want them dead?’”

That’d be right, David. Nobody ever asks “cui bono”, especially detectives and Romans.

Historical Footnote:

The Death-Birthers were unusual among Conspiracy Theorists in that the attention span of its adherents bore close correlation to the life span of The Movement.


Detectives ask that question when there is evidence for murder …

Conspiracy theorists assume that every death within the sphere of their presumed conspiracy is murder.

Big difference.


so I do not think it was that big a stretch for me to interpret your use of the word ‘fraud’ as a direct reference to the email.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt there Gouldie.
My 29 should clarify things a bit better.
Do you call the Senate committee questioning of Grech by Abetz (knowing in advance the questions and answers) fraud and deceipt or is it just another normal day in the upper house.
What is your description of it?

Main BBC News front page headline: Are the rowdy US healthcare protests one big conspiracy?
Article headline:
Are US healthcare protests genuine?

It gets a bit confusing so I thought I would try and explain it, as it is the current topic.

I honestly cannot see how someone knowing the answers in advance is fraud and deceit, as Faulkner and Ray used to do it very skillfully indeed, having been privy to leaks from within the public service in advance of estimates. Getting public servants to leak stuff to you is what oppositions are for.

In this particular case, imagine that there had been a conspiracy by Rudd and Swan to direct public funds to help a mate. How would that conspiracy be uncovered except by leaks from within the public service, either to the media or to the opposition?

Senate estimates hearings are very different to a Senate hearing to determine whether the Prime Minister and the Treasurer misled parliament. Abetz and Grech did nothing but an acting performance – if that’s notr deceit, I don’t know what is. And it’s clear to me that Grech’s evidence was fraudulent, and to the extent that Abetz and Turnbull were aware of that, they’ve participated in the fraud.

Whistleblowing is very different to what Grech did, which was a deliberate partisan act, not an act out of concern for the good government of the country. There’s no genuine comparison.


Many whistleblowers blow the whistle not out of a an act of concern for the good governance of the country but for partisan or personal reasons – for example, a dislike of a particular senior officer or minister.

Grech’s evidence was obviously fraudulent – we are in agreement there. Abetz and Turnbull were just as obviously *not* aware of that. While they were foolish, they were not so stupid as to risk their careers on fraudulent testimony.

David 45

No i didn’t read your post wrong, but reading the first bit of my reply again, maybe i wasn’t clear.

“Conspiracy theorists” DO NOT posit a super intelligence on Conspirators at all. That is just the stock in trade slur of people who disbelieve in conspiracies.

“Conspiracy theorists” usually posit blame on greedy or power seeking or ideological or desperate people.

This idea of the “superintelligent mythical group” is a strawman used by people with your view David.

imagine that there had been a conspiracy by Rudd and Swan to direct public funds to help a mate. How would that conspiracy be uncovered except by leaks from within the public service, either to the media or to the opposition?

Your second strawman first.
First up i would not imagine that it would be a conspiracy as for it to be a conspiracy they would have to have been on a plan to do something unlawful or cause harm to the car dealer.
Had they done anything for him, it would be more likely collusion, they would have been helping him not harming him and it would have been a pork barrel similar to Turnbulls’ rainmaker.
So there is no imaginary conspiracy or if fact a conspiracy.
That demolishes that strawman.

First one second;

I honestly cannot see how someone knowing the answers in advance is fraud and deceit

Let us not call it fraud and deceipt David, let us call it what it was , a conspiracy.
The facts are David that they knew between them what the questions and answers were to be and their intention was to cause harm to the ALP, in particular the PM and Treasurer.
More than one person involved trying to cause harm by definition is a conspiracy.
There is no point in bringing up the strawman that opposition did it therefore it is not a conspiracy especially without evidence.



Causing political harm to the government is the raison d’etre of oppositions, so I am unclear how Turnbull and Abetz plotting to get evidence of Rudd doing wrong is evil in any way …

Conspiracies have very specific definitions in law. They must be plans to do things which are illegal. Trying to cause political harm to the government is most definitely not illegal (well, not in a democracy, at any rate.)

As to my hypothetical, a government diverting public moneys to its mates is by definition doing wrong … to the public. It was perfectly legitimate for people to complain that US government contracts were going to Cheney’s mates at Haliburton, or was that fine because they did not plan to do any harm to Haliburton?

Seriously, if you are calling those things conspiracies, then every time there is a Liberal, Labor or Greens party room meeting then we have a conspiracy afoot …

This seems to me to be evidence that you have gone a bit … conspiracy loco. 😉

DG – don’t agree with your definition of whistleblowers. A whistleblower is not simply someone who leaks information. A whistleblower exposes some inappropriate behaviour within their organisation. Grech made stuff up to push a partisan agenda. Not whistleblowing.
Also, I don’t agree with your view that it was obvious Abetz and Turnbull were unaware Grech’s evidence was fraudulent, per my comments at 30.


I agree that someone who simply leaks is not a whistleblower. But, if Grech had not been a liar, what he was doing would have been whistleblowing – exposing government corruption. That is my point. If Abetz and Turnbull believed what he was saying, then all they were doing was following in the tradition of Faulkner and Ray (although horribly clumsily by comparison – Faulkner and Ray were smooth and generally fantastic).

HarryH at 59,

Seriously, 911 Truthers, global warming deniers, holocaust deniers and all manner of other conspiracy theorists most certainly *do* posit the existence of a superintelligent group of masterminds. They may not say so explicitly, but for their claims to be true such a group *must* exist – a group that can silence any critic, cover up any event, drag in dozens or hundreds of co-conspirators, predict in advance every outcome of their actions and so on and so forth.

It is not a strawman; it is the fundamental basis of these kinds of conspiracy theories.


Excellent. 🙂 You are recognising the inherent rightness in all my positions at last. 😉

Someone should just put the wounded bull out of its misery.

MALCOLM Turnbull has failed to convince doubters in the Coalition partyroom to support his plan for an emissions trading scheme.

The Opposition will vote against the Rudd Government’s ETS legislation in the Senate but it is no closer to finalising its policy position on an emissions trading scheme.

This is despite a briefing at the start of a marathon meeting today and yesterday’s big bang release by Mr Turnbull of the Frontier Economics modelling of an alternative ETS proposal.,25197,25914108-601,00.html


I suspect that within 9 months we voters will have the opportunity to do so. 🙂

The story just gets worse….

TREASURY believes it has debunked bureaucrat Godwin Grech’s defence that the disputed email central to the OzCar affair did exist.

In answer to questions put by The Australian, Treasury has revealed the extent to which its systems were searched to find the email.

Although Treasury’s email logs went “missing” for about 20 hours in February, all emails received by staffers, even if deleted by them, could still be retrieved.

“An exhaustive search of the data, including deleted items, was carried out,” a spokesman said, but the missing email that Mr Grech later faked to show Malcolm Turnbull was not found.

Mr Grech last week said he still believed there was an email from Kevin Rudd’s economics adviser, Andrew Charlton, requesting help for Ipswich car dealer and prime ministerial friend John Grant.

The Treasury official said the deleted email could not be found because the department’s back-up servers had failed on February 20, the day Mr Grech claimed Dr Charton sent the email rather than his first recollection of February 19.

But according to Treasury, there was no “back-up server failure” as described by Mr Grech. “There was a period — from 6.26pm on February 20 until 2.01pm February 21 (GMT) — for which email logs do not exist due to ‘log storage data overflow’,” a Treasury spokesman said.

“But this did not compromise data integrity in retention of emails sent and received during that period.”

A log storage data overflow occurs when there is no more storage space to store information, in this case, emails.

The spokesman confirmed that any email deleted from a Treasury computer during that time would be found since its IT department had conducted a “full restore process” of its email system.

This means Treasury was able to replicate all emails received by Mr Grech for the entire month of February, even though problems with its email logs had occurred.,25197,25911622-5013404,00.html

71 David Gould. What? You put up something I agree with on this page! Got to go, catch you later.

EC at 23,

What, in your opinon, was Gaffhook’s main point that I have yet to refute?

(Sorry: I missed your comment.)

Bloody English batting collapses … We’re back to the bad old days 🙁

Chris B at 35,

What specifically was ‘absolute rubbish’ and why would you characterise it as such?

It can only happen i Seppoland hey.
Some repug anti health care wingnut goes to a townhaller to protest and disrupt the meeting. He gets in to a scuffle and later seeks hospital attention. He has not got health care insurance because he was laid off. How ironic! :mrgreen:

Mary Katharine Ham wrote up an especially excited write-up at The Weekly Standard about the vicious union thugs and how Gladney was severely beaten. The only mistake Ham made was including a YouTube clip of the incident; a clip that pretty much undercuts the entire tale of run-away union violence.

Part of one of the posts on the blog ;

“As an aside..the QOTUS, Sarah Palin, shows her stupidity once again with a Twitter about “death panel” being evil. She will hide now not having to answer questions. And the Idiotic Right will defend her. Sarah has put the TWIT in TWITTER”


David at 75, gaffy dealt with it, it was his point about the definition of CT and how the term, CT, is regularly used as a throwaway perjorative by national perception shapers to broad-brush slur those who dare to question prevailing “orthodoxies”, the unmasking of which would cause “actual conspirators” severe embarrassment or lots worse.

The White House Iraq Group (WHIG) and their pals at Project for a New American Century (PNAC) conspired to bullshit America and the the world about the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
History is chalking this one up to those CTs who said it was so from the get go. You see, old chum, just every once in a while the CTs get it 100% right.

Ripping thread, btw, DG 🙂 Hardly watch any sport at all these days, the test against the Boks was woeful entertainment, but it’s always sweet to beat “our colonial masters” playing “their game”on their own turf while The Australians sledge them in English with a convict twist. Wouldn’t miss it for quids. It’s now a meditation in time’s passing for me as one is flashed with the twenty-first century corporate-spangled images of a game I used to listen to on a crystal set in bed as a kid when Australia played South Africa and the M.C.C. and the theatre of the mind weaved its magic.

Staying one night with my grandparents many moons ago, the ear-piece in during a England-Australia Test, a contempt-laden voice bellowed from the room adjacent:

“Bowl the Pommy Bastard out, Davo!!”

Some family traditions are for savouring. His diplomatic sentiments are emulated and his memory revived during each Ashes series played upon the sceptred isle.

(Alan Davidson, Australian quickie)

American Ostrich:


I was one of those CTs re Iraq. 🙂 (But I supported the invasion on other grounds.)

Test cricket is life, imo. (Along with politics, of course … ;))

gaffy, from media pan-handler to a throughly charming fan-handler, Rachel’s rise has been meteoric. Nevertheless these few seconds of spontaneous warmth ( cf. Youie below) when interruped in full work mode will win her a motza of the good will that gold can not buy. Rachel Maddow is already one of the sharpest minds on the political block and she’s barely had her msnbc gig for a year.

Agree wholeheartedly. One can only hope some arsehole like Roo doesn’t try to gag her or “steer her in the right direction” so to speak.

Be very surprised, gaffy, if the Delaware could put a price on her soul. Anyway, if MSNBC try to muzzle Rachel a la Olbermann and the Fox/GE caper, I think R.M. has enough of a following to have her own show on HBO like Bill Maher.

I wish Keith Olbermann would tell us what he really thinks. 😈
Olbermann Slams Palin For “Death Panel” Claim, Calls Her Dangerously Irresponsible (VIDEO).
video on The Huffington Post


..and Combet replied to Hunt:

“is that a policy in your pocket Greg, or just another flaccid report?”

It is great that the likes of Maddow, Maher and Olberman are coming out in force and rebutting the rednecks.
The irony of it all is that while these bigots, Palin, Beck, Slug Limbaugh etc, are raving on about death squads etc the death squads are already there on their side of politics in the form of the Healthcare insurance companies.
How many people die because they can not afford care when the insurance companies refuse to pay for treatment.

….”never once did I have a Medicare bureaucrat tell me what I couldn’t do for a patient, but all the time we have bureaucrats from the insurance companies calling up and saying we’re not going to cover this, we’re not going to pay for that, we’re denying coverage for that. The system we have now is broken. We need to fix it.”
Dr. Howard Dean, former Democratic Presidential Candidate and former DNC Chairman
Source: Raw Story

New Documents Show Rove’s Role In Political Firings: Help Us Read Through Them.
The first of many to be sent off to the prosecutors office.
The Huffington Post

88 HarryH I am a lot more optimistic than you HarryH. They have changed at the top. 2010 will be the beginning of the end. Yes they have a very long way to go. But they have to start somewhere.

Jon Stewart Vs. Town Hall Crazies Brilliant stuff! They are fighting back at last! vidoe’s on The Huffington Post
They new the crazies were coming. But it is better to let them have enough rope to hang themselves first.

It is better to let the right wing crazies and kooks grab the headlines first. It keeps us on the left focused and on the ball. There is an election in 2010 and video of these nutcases will make great election footage next year. It will also come in handy for reminding us who the enemy is.

It makes the anti war protesters look positively peaceful. Video’s of those town hall meetings can be turned into great negative ads.

Just the place conspiracies are born.
Officials See Rise In Militia Groups Across US.
The Huffington Post
Of course David would want evidence of that. I shall provide it.
Oaklahoma City Bombing Isn’t it just as well they caught him! Otherwise it would have just been another conspiracy theory for David to whine about!!!

That article has a lot more information than I first thought. Only people walking around with their eyes shut would ignore this.

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