Left Gatekeeper: Acceptable Conspiracy Theories

I resist conspiracy “thinking” with every still-myelinated fibre of my brain. Every morning our inbox here at CounterPunch is flooded with “important alerts” about crisis actors, CIA mucous experiments, the staging of the Newtown massacre, the staging of the Orlando massacre, the staging of the Nice truck massacre, and the Pokemon Go coordinates for the vat holding JKF’s still functioning brain.

There are real conspiracies, of course, like the CIA’s plots to kill Fidel Castro or the successful scheme to have Nelson Mandela arrested on terrorism charges. But most conspiracy theorists function to obscure and invalidate real conspiracies. Cockburn and I used to joke that the 9/11 conspiracists were, in fact, themselves a conspiracy seeded by the CIA to distract the Left from challenging the real objectives of the War of Terror. But that worked out much too well to have been a real CIA plot.

Now, however, I feel myself slipping into the grip of a fever dream featuring Donald Trump as some kind of Manchurian Candidate designed to destroy the GOP and secure the election of the otherwise unelectable Mrs. Clinton.

Remember Jimmy Breslin’s fabulous comic novel on the mobster Joey Gallo, The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight? That’s the Trump campaign in action. Only what if they weren’t meant to shoot straight?

Case in point. Yesterday, Trump was handed an October Surprise in August: the paying of a ransom to Iran for the release of American hostages (not technically true, but close enough for politics). An opportunity that he blew 5 minutes after it was given to him on a platter by the WSJ by focusing on the bogus B-Roll footage, which he doubled down on after his own campaign told him it didn’t exist.

Can anyone be this incompetent every day of the week and not be run over by an Uber driver at a crosswalk on Park Avenue? So the blunders have to be strategic, doesn’t it? (For the preternaturally credulous among you, I’m joking. I think.)

Let me say, I’m all for paying ransom for hostages. It’s the way the Middle East has worked for 2,000 years. The Israelis do it every couple of months and they can do no wrong, right?

Question: Did Trump University offer degrees from the Jayson Blair/Judith Miller School of Journalism?

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Roaming Charges: the Great Trump Conspiracy?

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