Archive for the ‘Kooks’ Category

Annie Jacobsen opposes the kinds of conspiracy theories she started

August 15, 2011

It’s silly to believe they’re aliens… They’re clearly part of a Nazi/Communist alliance’s propaganda campaign!

If I were to write a BEAST editorial about how journalists these days are being too offensive to people of faith and spirituality, everyone who read it would rightfully think of me as a huge hypocrite. Or maybe they’d think I’d suffered some kind of brain injury. When you’ve written about faith issues in the way I have, you kind of forfeit your right to complain about people doing the same

Similarly, if you write a book about Roswell and then promote it largely based on the final chapter which invents one of the most out-there conspiracy theories ever, you forfeit your right to complain about loony conspiracy theories. At least you should.

Apparently the NY Daily News doesn’t think so. Last Sunday they featured a mostly reasonable column by Annie Jacobsen about how America has become what she calls a conspiratocracy. It gives a crash course in the history of American conspiracy theories, and speculates as to why they’ve spread so rapidly recently.

There isn’t much with which to disagree in her piece, aside from that the subject she’s writing about is much too wide for a 450 word column. All of the conspiracy theories she mentions are definitely silly and deserving of increased mockery. But it’s definitely odd that Jacobsen would choose this as a topic given her recent past.

A few months ago, Jacobsen released a book about Area 51, the secretive military base which UFO believers claim is the headquarters of the government’s secret research on extraterrestrials and flying saucers. I have not read her book, but I did pay attention to how she promoted it, as authors do, in the media. Here she is on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but probably the most in-depth interview I heard was on NPR’s program Fresh Air with Terry Gross. I’ll get to that in a minute.

From what I’ve heard, most of the book is in the same vein as the NY Daily News column, rightfully debunking loony conspiracy theories about Area 51. But when you get to the last chapter, she introduces a bizarre conspiracy theory of her own to explain the 1947 Roswell incident which many believe to be a case of an alien spacecraft crashing in the New Mexico desert which was then quickly hushed up by the government. Here’s how she explained it to Terry Gross:

“The child-sized aviators in this craft [that crashed in New Mexico] were the result of a Soviet human experimentation program, and they had been made to look like aliens a la Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds, and it was a warning shot over President Truman’s bow, so to speak. In 1947, when this would have originally happened, the Soviets did not yet have the nuclear bomb, and Stalin and Truman were locked in horns with one another, and Stalin couldn’t compete in nuclear weaponry yet, but he certainly could compete in the world of black propaganda — and that was his aim, according to my source. …

“What is firsthand information is that he worked with these bodies [of the pilots] and he was an eyewitness to the horror of seeing them and working with them. Where they actually came from is obviously the subject of debate. But if you look at the timeline with Josef Mengele, he left Auschwitz in January of 1945 and disappeared for a while, and the suggestion by the source is that Mengele had already cut his losses with the Third Reich at that point and was working with Stalin.”

So let’s count how many layers of absurdity we have here. The Soviets collaborated with the notorious Nazi Josef Mengele (1) in order to scare Americans by sending a flying saucer (2) across most of the continental US without detection until it crashed (3), presumably because it was piloted by mutated children disguised as aliens (4). And all of this is substantiated solely by one anonymous source speaking about something which allegedly happened over 60 years ago (5-infinity).

In that same interview, Jacobsen speculates that Mengele’s “child-sized aviators” were the subject of either surgical or genetic mutation. So the latter option would mean that Mengele rounded up people with odd genes in order to selectively breed them specifically for this program to be launched decades in the future in collaboration with the Russians. He must have had pretty amazing foresight in order to predict such an unlikely partnership.

Obviously this is all pretty ridiculous. If you have really low standards of evidence then it’s pretty easy to get away with this kind of “reporting” – all you have to do is find an old man far enough gone to make some kooky claims about having worked on this or that secret government project a lifetime ago, and you’ve got yourself a story. Make it the last chapter of your book and you’ll get on all the talk shows and sell lots of copies. It’s probably not a coincidence that “Con artist authors making up bullshit” doesn’t appear anywhere in Jacobsen’s explanation for why America’s become so obsessed with bullshit conspiracy theories lately. But it probably should be.

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Troofers get serious, like srsly

July 4, 2011

For the 10th anniversary of 9/11, “truthers” have finally performed repeated experiments, written them up, and submitted their reports to peer review. They will be published in a credible scientific journal.

No, I kid. They made a comic book. From the USA Today:

In The Big Lie, the heroine is a woman named Sandra, who lost her husband, Carl, during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. A particle physicist working at the Large Hadron Collider, she figures out a practical way to travel back in time, so she ventures from present day to Manhattan an hour before the first plane hits the towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

Carl Carlson, killed when terrorists flew planes into the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant on 9/11.

So you can probably see how this is going to turn out. Sandra’s going to try to warn the authorities of the attacks only to discover that those same authorities are the ones behind it all this time OMGWTF. Betrayed by her own government… trying to save her husband… in a world where nothing is as it seems… One woman stood up to… THE BIG LIE. I hope you read that in the movie trailer guy’s voice, except for the title, which would obviously just be shown in the trailer in black and white, full screen.

Let’s learn more about the people behind this comic book, Rick Veitch:

Going into this project, he didn’t consider himself a “Truther,” yet living during the eras of the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Iran/Contra and the invasion of Iraq, Veitch admits that he’s skeptical about any “official” story provided by the government.

OK, does any 9/11 troofer not say that? I haven’t heard of any. They all seem to believe that whoever happens to believe something just a little bit crazier about 9/11 is the “truther.” “Hipsters” work the same way.

I suppose it’s a good sign that some truthers might not want to be lumped in with people who believe that there were no planes flying into the World Trade Center and that what we saw in the video footage were plane holograms. On the other hand, some believe the more outlandish claims like that are CoIntelPro-style disinformation campaigns meant to discredit truthers as a whole. They sometimes call it a poison pill. Veitch explains:

“If one scratches the surface of the commission report, one finds huge holes in the official story. There’s also a lot of disinformation out there and oddball conspiracy theories that need to be debunked.”

The thing is that there aren’t many things a cross-section of troofers would agree on. The various stories of what they say happened have different points of emphasis, stories of who was involved often contradict, even who was involved in the planning is under dispute amongst them. They have no real consensus except they don’t believe the “official story.”

That should send up red flags warning that maybe they’re wrong on their basic assumptions. Usually, as you get more evidence about a historical event, a certain general narrative emerges as the most probable. That doesn’t happen in this case. What you get is a mass splintering of different, mostly independent narratives. Since they’re unwilling to reconsider their basic preconceptions, it will become necessary to explain how all these other ideas about what happened had arisen. An individual truther will say that the others couldn’t possibly have just been following the evidence to see where it leads, because that’s exactly what they had been doing and they came to a completely different conclusion. That’s when it’s time to invent another unfalsifiable conspiracy theory, like the disinformation campaigns Veitch refers to.  He continues:

People who are paying attention are asking for a real in-depth investigation into all these nagging questions.

But that’s not what they’re getting. They’re getting a comic book. Funny how all the people talking about how everyone wants a “real investigation” never get around to actually doing one and always get distracted by for-profit enterprises selling their bogus fantasies to gullible suckers.

More 9/11 “truth” news

February 1, 2011

Every time I think the 9/11 troofer business has died out, within a few months another crazy news story comes out which breathes new, paranoid life into it. This time we have two.

First of all, one of the “Loose Change” filmmakers has been arrested for selling heroin. Obviously this has set off some speculation that the arrest itself was yet another “inside job.” That makes sense though: The Bush Administration came to power and had 9/11 set up within 8 months, but it takes the Oneonta Police Department about six years to plant drugs on someone. And with crowds like this about to overthrow the US government, we need even more reasons to distrust 9/11 troofers now more than ever.

The full NYC Chapter of 9/11"Truth" meets with its Boston Chapter.

The other, much more awesomer thing to happen was when this lady tried to sue P Diddy for causing 9/11. It turns out that Valerie Turks lost income from the collapse of the World Trade Center. She is demanding $100 billion, which is probably about right. She also wants $900 billion in child support from him because – well at least this is what she claims – she dated Combs when he was a teenager and had one of his children, who is now 23.  She also wants a restraining order against him because she claims he’s been abusing her:

Valerie then goes on to say in her statement that is riddled with spelling and punctuation errors: “He date raped me 24 years ago and knocked me down him and Kim Porter and Wallace Wright, then Sean Combs and Kim and Wallace Wright came back 18 years later and raped and sexually abused my children and knocked my children down and crushed me and my children daily.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that maybe it wasn’t P Diddy crushing her daily, that maybe what was crushing her daily was her vague awareness of her own situation as a deranged person.

But don’t worry, P Diddy! You won’t have to pay this Turks’ $100 billion loss of income demand on your own. Because, as he surely knows, Combs plotted 9/11 with Rodney King. At least that’s what Turks is claiming.

Egyptian government official uncovers the secret Israeli / shark alliance

December 9, 2010

There was a shark attack in Egypt last weekend. A German tourist was killed. So obviously it was a Jewish conspiracy. Duh. From the Jerusalem Post:

“What is being said about the Mossad throwing the deadly shark [in the sea] to hit tourism in Egypt is not out of the question, but it needs time to confirm,” South Sinai Gov. Muhammad Abdel Fadil Shousha was quoted as saying

I wonder if the hypothesis of sharks just being dicks who kill almost everything they smell is out of the question for this guy, or if it just needs more time to confirm.

Dennis Markuze / David Mabus

October 3, 2010

So there’s this guy who spams atheist blogs pretty much full time with these incoherent, repetitive and vaguely violent posts. I’ve gotten a few, and it’s kind of amusing. Less amusing are his death threats occasionally attached to his rantings.

Anyway, he managed to get into an AAI conference where he lives in Montreal. He tried to troll it IRL but failed in doing anything but possibly pulling a fire alarm. And then he ran away without talking to any of the people he obsesses over. Oh, and someone got a picture of him, too. This is what he looks like:

What’s funny about this character is that he gives lie to the idea that the only unhinged lunatics who hate atheists are fundamentalist Baptist types. Mabus seems to tie his theology into this ridiculous mix of postmodernism and Marxism – which is funny since Marx was so clearly himself an atheist.

Juice boxes will make you GAY

September 22, 2010

Hey everyone! Let’s watch Alex Jones destroy a juice box to discover the thin piece of plastic which is making him hang out at truck stop restrooms every night:

Kenya-controlled US Supreme Court rules against Orly Taitz

August 16, 2010

Last September, federal judge Clay Land of Georgia ordered the dentist / birther / internet troll Orly Taitz pay a $20,000 fine for violating Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Taitz of course realized that Clay Land was a communist fascist Maoist Muslim Marxist traitor and appealed. This appeal was denied by another al Qaeda Nazi posing as a federal judge, and on it went like that until Taitz started trolling members of the Supreme Court on ChatRoulette.

She first decided to go after Clarence Thomas, the most likely candidate to bring her case before the Court since he is also a bit of a crackpot. The way it works is that to get the Supreme Court to appeal your case, you have to convince one of the nine justices to introduce it to the Court. It’s kind of like how anyone can actually write the words of a piece of legislation, but they need at least one member of Congress to sponsor it.

In what was for him a rare moment of sanity, Justice Thomas sent Taitz’s e-mail to his spam folder and told her to STFU and pay her stupid fine already. After she made sure Thomas’ Hotmail account wasn’t hijacked by someone from /b/, Taitz decided to try her luck with Justice Alito. Normally when someone pesters a second justice after being denied by the first, the justice will just bring the case before the Court to spare the others, since a person like that (i.e. like Taitz) will probably just go individually to each and every member of the Court and troll them until they give in.

So that’s what Alito did and today they ruled that the fine would be upheld. So you might think that a patriotic American like Taitz would see that they had gone to the highest court in the country but that justice wasn’t on their side, right? Well, not so much. Like another similarly hypocritical douchenozzle, Taitz is appealing to the “international court of Human Rights,” an institution which appears to not even exist. There’s the European Court of Human Rights. And there’s the International Court of Justice. But there’s no such thing as the International Court of Human Rights. Taitz is now filing appeals to institutions which don’t even exist outside of her imagination.

Alex Jones is a lying piece of shit

August 5, 2010

There’s an embedded link to the full comic, but this story adds another participant in the extended game of Telephone that is our public discourse on scientific issues. And that person is a notoriously unhinged nutcase called Alex Jones.

It all started with a profile of Robert Sapolsky in Wired Magazine by the excellent science writer Jonah Lehrer. In part it covered some work Sapolsky and others are doing on a possible vaccine which may be able to reduce neural damage caused by chronic stress. This would be analogous to the first panel in the above SMBC comic.

The second panel matches up with how the Daily Fail tried to relay that information to their generally clueless readers. Here’s how they interpreted Sapolsky’s work:

Forget the age-old remedies of yoga, meditation or popping pills. Relieving chronic stress could soon be as simple as having an injection, according to scientists.

Academics say they are close to developing the first vaccine for stress – a single jab that would help us relax without slowing down.

So that’s bad enough, right? The Daily Fail failed to distinguish between our own subjective perception of stress and the purely material neurological damage it causes. But the failure of science coverage in the media has not ended yet. Enter Alex Jones:

If you don’t know, Jones is this conspiracy theorist who does a radio show which is very popular amongst people who think that the UN is going to invade Kansas in black helicopters piloted by illegal immigrants who use microchips to take away our guns and 9/11 was an “inside job,” etc…

As you might guess, he’s also against vaccinations. So when he saw that the Daily Fail had reported on something that had something to do with vaccines, he just knew that the “New World Order” must be behind it, somehow. And so he screamed in a video and on his blog about how he had discovered the hidden truth behind this article, which is that evil scientists are plotting against his normal, gasoline-huffing audience. The guv-mint, they just want to control you, see? So they make them up this here vaccine and they a-tell ya that it’ll calm ya down. But it’s really just to make you a passive and obedient SERF WHARGARBL.

So you start with a group of people who are trying to understand the damage caused by chronic stress and what can be done to reduce it. Then you add a filter of media failure and general incompetence, and all it takes to turn the story completely ass-backwards is to add a pathologically anti-science lunatic with a bullhorn into the mix. When Lehrer later followed up on this weird phenomenon, he was met by an army of angry, Jones-motivated commenters. Here is an excerpt of one I picked at random just now:

Nice try CoIntellPro Agent. Gee, I wonder how and why you got this out so darn fast, lol. If only you knew how damned obvious you are.

The word for being aware of such things as that the New World Order, or The Shadow Government is going to attempt to dumb down or pacify the people prior to culling them is not being “Paranoid” as you suggest. It is merely being “Circumspect”. If a smart Jew in the mid to late 1930’s tried to warn other Jews (and I’m sure that they did) that the Nazi’s ENDGAME was to eventually imprison and exterminate all Jews, they would not have been being “Paranoid”. They would have merely been being “Circumspect” after reading or hearing factual evidence that supported their worst fears. Learn to differentiate between the two, vastly different terms. Thee is no grey area between the two.

Oh, and, by the way, the Nazi’s also spiked the imprisoned Jew’s water supply with Fluoride to make them passive. Yep, the same stuff they have been spiking everyone’s city water with here in Amerika during the last 40+ years.

But there is a happy ending to this story, friends, because then Lehrer followed up on the follow-up (YO DAWG I HERD U LIKE FOLLOW-UPS) with a blog post about the psychology of conspiracy theories and cognitive dissonance. Very interesting stuff, and very well written. So now I’m sure the conspiracy nuts will see the error of their ways and stop supporting stupid bullshit. Or maybe not.

Australian witch uses the Kent Hovind defense

July 27, 2010

In the article, the reporter calls it the “alien defense.” What happened is that a witch from a city called Geelong, which is near Melbourne, tried to escape a traffic stop by claiming that since she was a being of another world and therefore earthly laws didn’t apply to her. From the Mercury:

“Your laws and penalties don’t apply to me. I’m not accepting them, I’m sorry, I must go, thank you,” Eilish De Avalon said, driving off with the officer’s arm caught in her driver’s side door.

The cop grabbed the keys from the car’s ignition so the witch couldn’t escape to her other world.

So the reason I called it the Kent Hovind defense is because when that creationist was hauled into court for not paying his taxes, he tried a similar line of reasoning.

But anyway, this is about Eilish De Avalon, not Kent Hovind. I found her website (“Temple of Eilish,” lulz) via the “Natural Therapy Pages.” Apparently she’s into some pretty antisocial behavior in her day to day “work” too, and not just when she gets pulled over by a cop for talking on a cell phone while driving, where she then tries to escape, hospitalizing the cop in the process.

Here’s what the “Natural Therapy Pages” have to say about her:

Eilish De’Avalon is a Spiritual Healer, Reiki Master, Hawaiian Bodywork Massage Therapist, Level 2 SFEF Kinesiology Practitioner (with SFEFopathy), Meditation Teacher, Auric / chakra Diagnostician, Colour Therapist, Spirit Medium, Clairvoyant Tarot Card Reader, Holistic Beauty Therapist as well as an ordained Pagan Priestess/Civil Marriage Celebrant for all your sacred ceremony needs.

Remember, this is a sympathetic reading of what she does. They’re not making fun of her.

On her website she offers some further services, one of which is called a “Fairygram,” so I just had to check that out. And it’s pretty much what you might expect. She will send a woman dressed as a fairy to read poetry or sing. She recommends this for children and old people and everyone in between, and that it be done for anything from love to revenge, promising “public humiliation” upon request. It’s fun for the whole family!

This is the picture advertising for (not against) the "fairygram."

You just never know what you didn’t need until you hear about what you didn’t need.

Connecticut is our last line of defense against the alien invaders

July 7, 2010

A Connecticut man has been denied a firearm. It wasn’t because he looked like this:

And it also wasn’t because he “mentioned to the seller what he would be using the weapon for: warding off an alien invasion that occurs once every 36,000 years.” It was because he happened to be a convicted felon.

So basically anyone who’s not a convicted felon can buy a gun to ward off an alien invasion they think will happen soon according to some kind of cosmic schedule. Hasn’t Bill Pullman taught us that we need to deploy a computer virus to the mothership in order to have any real damaging effect on our possible extraterrestrial overlords?

Russian politician under investigation for possibly giving information to his alien abductors

May 10, 2010

This story brings up one of my favorite themes in interesting news stories. It’s one thing for someone to say or do something a little crazy, but where it gets interesting is when that spurs on another crazy reaction from some other party. And then things just take off, where the momentum of accumulated kookiness picks up with every new participant until it turns into an almost unstoppable Möbius strip of nutjobbery. If each unhinged reaction were a piece of debris, this story would be a massive ball from Katamari Damacy.

The Russian governor, bottom right.

So what happened is that Russian governor Kirsan Ilyumzhinov had an experience where he claims he was abducted by aliens. That’s kind of interesting because it’s kind of rare for these claimants to not be inbred hillbillies. But it gets better:

Now a Russian parliamentarian wants Ilyumzhinov questioned, fearing he may have given the aliens “secret information,” according to the Echo of Moscow radio station.
And not just interrogated by anybody, but by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Maybe I’m just a victim of stereotyping by the media here, but I always thought the Russians had it together a little more than this. I can see the claim of alien abduction by a government official in a large bureaucracy of the biggest country in the world. But to get the president to investigate? That’s fucking crazy.

So maybe we should take advantage of this tendency the new administration seems to have towards investigating this stuff. Someone please call up Medvedev and ask him if his refrigerator is running or if he has the whereabouts of Prince Albert, who was last reported being forced into a can.

Jews and Freemasons force Catholic priests to rape kids

April 14, 2010

I’ve really got to make a big caveat here because the original source I’m getting this from is in Italian. Since I don’t speak it, and haven’t even needed to speak Spanish since 2001, I’m at the mercy of Google Translate. So it’s possible that, like most things I say, all of this is completely wrong. The difference here is that it wouldn’t be entirely my own fault. So there.

There’s this retired bishop named Giacomo Babini who decided to speak out against all this hoopla over priests raping kids and whatnot. Babini is even more old-school than the standard Catholic kid-rape apologist, deviating from the “It’s all teh ghey’s fault” line in favor of a conspiracy theory defense about the Jews and the Freemasons:

Last week, retired Bishop Giacomo Babini of the Italian town of Grosseto told the Catholic Pontifex website that the Catholic pedophile scandal is being orchestrated by the “eternal enemies of Catholicism, namely the freemasons and the Jews, whose mutual entanglements are not always easy to see through… I think that it is primarily a Zionist attack, in view of its power and refinement. They do not want the church, they are its natural enemies. Deep down, historically speaking, the Jews are God-killers.”

Jews can kill gods? And that’s a matter of history? Really?

Oh, but wait – he’s not done yet:

“The Holocaust was a shame for all of humanity,” the good bishop told the world, “but now we have to look at it without rhetoric and with open eyes. Don’t believe that Hitler was merely crazy. The truth is that the Nazis’ criminal fury was provoked by the Jews’ economic embezzlement, by which they choked the German economy.”

Wow. Didn’t this start off being about kid-rape? How did it veer so quickly into conspiracy theories about Jews and Freemasons and Nazis in the 1930s? I wish I could just start rambling made up bullshit about history whenever I’m accused of a crime.

Douchebag preacher mocks medicine

April 12, 2010

Here is the black preacher version of Sarah Palin:

So I guess my defense mechanism to teh stupids of this magnitude is to treat it a little more seriously than it deserves. It’s basically “folksy wisdom,” and like most of that crap it’s just feel-good fluff which contradicts itself if it’s lucky enough to even make any sense in the first place.

In the beginning he’s talking about how God decides when we die and we just have to let God do his God-thing. “Let go and let God” is a popular and nauseating way of expressing this idea.

But later he seems to switch over to a secular argument, which is that staying away from doctors who try to find “knots” is actually better for your health. But I thought worrying about what’s better for your health is a betrayal of your faith… So which is it? Should we try to live longer lives, or should we just give up and let God decide when we’re supposed to die? This preacher is in such a thick fog of theological bullshit that he probably doesn’t even realize he’s preaching for contradictory positions.

What *really* happened on United 93

March 25, 2010

One of the many, many problems 9/11 “truthers” have besides hilarious infighting over money and a lack of critical thinking skills is in what happened to the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93. According to the “official story” (aka reality), some passengers overpowered the highjackers and forced the plane to crash in Shanksville, PA rather than allow themselves to be used in a suicide attack on either the White House or the US Capitol building. But since the conspiracy theorists insist that there either were no planes at all or that they were controlled by remote or something to that effect, they need to fit the fourth hijacked plane and its passengers into their conspiracy theory by some other means.

Usually most of these people have at least the presence of mind to not get into speculation about this issue because it leaves them open to the kind of ridicule they deserve. Sometimes even crazy people have some form of quality control. Even some creationists do, too. But like any fringe group, there are always some people who have no filter to strain out the really obviously deranged from the mere mildly disturbing.

For example you have this guy. According to him, the plane’s captain was put on a fake plane which was then followed by two other planes. This worked really well for the conspiracy because you always want to make sure you have as many people involved as possible. This especially so when it’s only to kill one guy (the pilot) after he’s said the necessary lines for the Voice Splicing Modules (it’s apparently illegal to mention these magical devices without bold print).

So if things are too normal for you, try reading this guy’s crackpot theories. Maybe stock up on asprin or alcohol first, though.

Hugo Chavez’s continuing downward spiral of lunacy

March 14, 2010

Even paintings are out to get him now.

Hugo Chavez, probably spurred on by Sean Penn’s idiotic comments about how journalists should be imprisoned for calling him (Chavez, not Penn) a dictator, has proposed limiting free speech on the internet for Venezuela.

This is part of a disturbing trend. Chavez has never been a really big fan of free speech. According to this same Reuters article, he’s been pressuring networks to soften their editorial stances and has refused to renew the license for a network because he didn’t like what they were saying.

“The Internet cannot be something open where anything is said and done. Every country has to apply its own rules and norms,” Chavez said. He cited German Chancellor Angel Merkel as having expressed a similar sentiment recently.

OK, well, no, they don’t have to apply their own restrictions here. Chavez is trying to equate a restriction to norms, and by doing that he can claim that just allowing free speech is just another norm applied in the same way his “norms” are applied to Venezuelan internet users.  And it’s a little weird for someone so critical of the West to cite the German head of state as an example of what he wants to do. It’s a little tiny bit hypocritical.

He’s claiming that his problem with these media outlets is that they’re spreading unfounded rumors. But there’s a huge difference between a civil case for libel and criminal charges for being wrong about something on the internet. There’s really no need for anyone to jump to the latter if they haven’t tried the former.

Even if I were in Chavez’s inner circle I’d be advising him to not do this, if only in the interest of self-preservation of the administration. When you sue a gossip website for saying something that isn’t true, you look weak. Even a E-list Hollywood celebrity would be too embarrassed to sue the Weekly World News or the Enquirer for writing stories about them which are obviously not true. It makes you look insecure and whiny.

So when you start locking up journalists or even just internet bloggers (*ahem*), it only shows your enemies an easy way to get under your very thin skin. The only people it would deter from lying about you or trying to start a coup against you are people who would probably be too cowardly or underfunded to do it in the first place anyway.

UPDATE: Reporters Without Borders is pissed.