June 14, 2018

Blogroll cleanup — good riddance, Consortium News

Every 9-18 months, I do a blogroll cleanup, and discuss it briefly.

That's because I don't follow 40-50 other blogs on my blogroll, and so, any deletions — or additions I hadn't previously discussed — deserve comment.

So, here goes again.

The biggie is dropping Consortium News. It's gone downhill since Bob Parry died, plus I have new information that it wasn't always all it was when Bob was alive. On the downhill since he died, adding Caitlin Johnstone was a biggie. Then Ray McGovern goes into his twosiderism over Trump and Mueller to the point that he regularly considers Devin Nunes a reliable figure. Either Ray knows better, in which case he's a general bullshitter, as well as simply wrong on promoting twosiderism, or else he doesn't know and is thus untrustworthy otherwise.

Then, it runs a JFK assassination conspiracy theorist like James DiEugenio. Worse yet, searching CN's archives, I find out that Bob Parry ran him more than once, and on JFK conspiracy theorizing and related stuff. The related stuff includes the "JFK was headed out of Nam" myth, with dumping all the war on LBJ (not that he wasn't problematic, but ... the plans to up the war were in the White House not only before Tonkin Gulf but before Jack's assassination).

Otherwise, on interpreting LBJ, I'll take Robert Caro over DiEugenio's critique of him any time and double on Sundays. Especially since in that critique he makes it clear that he's a Camelot last-dithcer, including calling Sy Hersh's "The Dark Side of Camelot" discredited?

Eugenio also believes the non-skeptical leftist line on things like Hiroshima/Nagasaki, a la Gar Alpherowitz.

He's not a historian, period, whatever his claims. And that Parry ran him repeatedly says that Bob Parry is overrated in some ways himself, I think. Bob also ran one other piece by another author supporting JFK conspiracy theories and, in this header by him to his own piece about Gary Webb, the contras and cocaine, leaves open the possibility of being a JFK Truther himself:
The 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination saw a mainstream media blackout of nearly all evidence of conspiracy in that case. But New York Magazine went even further, mocking the proven Contra-cocaine scandal as a “conspiracy theory,” Robert Parry writes.
The fact that Parry was right about the NY Mag piece that prompted the response (Benjamin Wallace-Wells is an idiot in general) doesn't make him right about JFK. And, I've seen enough Google hits that consider Parry a JFK assassination conspiracy theory fellow traveler, that he surely knew he had this reputation. If it weren't true, he would have issued a clear denial, IMO.

Example? Bob DID explicitly call out 9/11 truthers, and then did a follow-up, which included:
Indeed, the “truther” account has sometimes struck me as a parody meant to bring ridicule on more serious conspiracy investigations such as those into the JFK assassination.
I can't abide conspiracy theories in general and more so, JFK ones in particular because they're usually based on the BS that DiEugenio articulates about the Golden Age of Camelot. In other words, they tell lies about the JFK Administration to try to bolster the alleged need for a conspiracy to assassinate him.

Add in that Ray McGovern of various CN nutteries is also a JFK truther AND a 9/11 truther, and I would never have added it to my blogroll in the first place, with more knowledge. (Sidebar — this also further confirms my recognition of the nuttery level of Brad Friedman of the Brad Blog.)

And, per this, (shock me), Caitlin Johnstone is also a JFK truther.

Do I deny that something like a "deep state" exists? Of course not. Do I deny actual coups by it abroad, like Guatemala? Of course not. Do I deny its attempts to influence US foreign policy? Of course not.

Do I deny that it worked with the FBI in the past on things parallel to FBI operations like COINTELPRO? Nope.

Do I believe any of this adds up to it trying to make Manchurian Candidate presidents, let alone Seven Days in May moves? I sure do deny that.

Some other tie-ins, related to some evidence that third party voters are more likely to be conspiracy theorists? Ray McGovern did a Jill Stein endorsement. Nat Parry, son of Bob Parry and current manager of CN, has a Green Party bumper sticker.

This doesn't mean that I won't still take an occasional glance at CN. It's just that I can't give it that public promotion.

Other changes to the blogroll, now that I've purged CN from my brain with that?

The Society for U.S. Intellectual History, or S-USIH? Stopped reading it after it went to a "real names only" comment policy months ago. Use of real names doesn't stop idiocy; only comment moderation does. Besides, I found it becoming ever more "meh." Dunno what late friend Leo Lincourt would have thought of the thinking behind its change. He turned me on to it; I liked a fair amount of it early on, but it became more "meh" in recent years (I've read it for five years or more) and the commenting policy, plus the lack of insight behind it ... and maybe a bit of pretentiousness behind that, of the idea that they have 50 comments per post and so might have a problem, all added up.

American Third Party Report hasn't updated since last year and its website is 404.

Update, July 2: I also cut Science of Us. Had been thinking about it for some time, but when it ran bullshit about psi phenomena, namely, a claim that meta-analysis confirmed Daryl Bem's claims about the reality of the Ganzfield effect, and ignored that his own initial journal couldn't replicate, out it went. As with Consortium News on conspiracy theories, if you run outright pseudoscience, out you go.


On the additions side, I have added the wonderful daily comic Two-Party Opera. Brian Carroll bats at least liberal, if not some place further to the left like me, knows his presidents and has a wry sense of humor.

Fellow Travelers posts just occasionally, but it critiques American foreign policy from the left, and generally left, not just left-liberal.

Tim Shorrock has migrated to a new site, Dispatch Korea, continuing and expanding his work on South Korean foreign policy history, especially vis-a-vis the US.

Robert Fisk I have read off and on for years. With some liberals, and some Trots, both playing holier-than-thou with leftists on Syria, I figured it was good for me, if nothing else, to blogroll him.

And because of what I just said that was the strawbreaker at Consortium News, I've added JFKFiles. It's a "tell" for people familiar with American conspiracy theories in general and JFK ones in particular. Of note? Per his Wiki page, in the early 1980s, blog author Dale K. Myers didn't believe Oswald did it. But, he was confident Oswald shot Tippett. After that, he looked at the Zapruder film, and came to believe Oswald did do it, with the one caveat that Vincent Bugliosi and Gerald Posner had about one Warren Commission error — that it was the first bullet that missed, the second that was the "double hit" and the third was the head shot.

Adventr.CO is a great site to see a guy and his wife hiking, kayaking, etc. around the Colorado Plateau.

Skeptophilia is a nice six-day a week dose of skepticism that's not from someone inside the Skeptics™ world.

1 comment:

paintedjaguar said...

"Do I believe any of this adds up to it [the deep state] trying to make Manchurian Candidate presidents, let alone Seven Days in May moves? I sure do deny that."

So you believe, for example, that Smedley Butler was a liar and that the "Business Plot" against FDR never happened?

We know there have been a number of outrageous sounding conspiracy stories that later turned out to be factual - some were just planned, some actually carried out. Where do you draw the line between scorn and consideration, using what criteria? It isn't actually true that people can't keep secrets, you know. Further, facts are often enough exposed to the public only to get lost in all the chaff, or suppressed after the fact. One only has to follow the daily news to know that much. The media can get things wrong as well, sometimes deliberately.

All I'm saying is that harsh critics of "conspiracy theories" sometimes seem a little... arbitrary.