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Wrong to pass off conspiracy theories as truth
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

I didn’t plan to write a rebuttal to Frank Aquila’s commentary, “Americans about to be scammed again?” I thought readers would recognize the letter for what it was — simply a partisan opinion piece. We are all entitled to our opinions, partisan or not. However, Amy Sullivan’s appreciative letter stating, “Thank you Mr. Aquila for once again standing on the truth as well as fighting those who spread lies,” spurred me to respond. Apparently, some readers take Mr. Aquila’s opinions as the gospel truth and have trouble distinguishing between actual fact and mere opinion. Mr. Aquila’s letter raised the possibility that “the gulf oil spill was intentionally done” by Obama and his fellow Democrats to promote Cap and Trade policy. He began his piece by denouncing “the world hoax of global warming” where “international treaties were signed and corporations and legislators throughout the world became ‘environmentally friendly’ to combat global warming.” Who was the all-powerful group that could bend world leaders and scientists to its will and perpetrate a supposed fraud on the entire world? The Democratic Party, of course.

To back up his hoax claim, Aquila cited the “leaked e-mails and documents from the Hadley Climate Change Unit.” But he neglected to mention that, although some documents were discovered to be faulty, the report’s main premise about global warming’s existence was still supported by the scientists involved. Actually, labeling global warming a hoax is Aquila’s opinion, not fact. To assert that a hoax exists, one would have to believe that, for some unknown reason, respected and reputable scientists from all over the world would conspire to somehow “trick” the world’s population. I choose to reject that, but, again, that is just my opinion. If we are truly going to deal in facts, then what can be accurately stated is that many scientists throughout the world believe that global warming is occurring and that man-made activities do have some measurable effect on this climate change, while other scientists remain skeptical or disagree. The extent of mankind’s impact on global warming is a subject for debate in the scientific community. However, the fact that some scientists “doctored” their studies or data doesn’t negate the validity of all the findings of all other reputable scientists.

What disturbed me the most about Aquila’s letter wasn’t his opinion on global warming, although calling it a “hoax” and “scam” is, indeed, offensive. What was most troublesome was his attempt to tie Cap and Trade policies favored by President Obama and some Democrats to an alleged government conspiracy to create the “environmental crisis” of the BP oil spill. Aquila ponders, “While I have never been big on conspiracy theories, is it possible?” Although he isn’t normally “big on conspiracy theories,” the chance to smear President Obama and the Democratic Party was apparently too tempting to let pass. After detailing the conspiracy allegations, he ends his letter by asking, “Was this a crisis created as an opportunity to complete their goal for Cap and Trade at the expense of the environment and ultimately, the expense of the American people?” Let’s examine this logically. Even at the lowest, most self-serving political level, does this conspiracy theory make sense? No. Wouldn’t it be in President Obama’s and the Democratic Party’s best interest to find ways to reverse our current economic downturn as much as possible before the November elections? If we subscribe to Aquila’s conspiracy theory, which resembles fodder from the internet rumor-mill, we would need to accept the idea that Democrats and Obama were so desirous of a Cap and Trade policy that they somehow engineered the BP oil spill, resulting in potentially huge economic losses to the fishing and tourism industries, thus damaging the economy rather than bolstering it. Isn’t that counter-productive? And what of the loss of lives of the 11 oil workers? Are they just collateral damage in the scheme that Aquila projects?

I disagreed with many of the policies and decisions of the Bush administration. Yet, when internet-fed conspiracy theories surfaced after all, suggesting that the Twin Towers couldn’t have collapsed from the planes’ impact alone and that the government secretly planted explosives in the buildings, I gave these theories no credence whatsoever. I don’t accept that President Bush or his administration planned this tragedy. It is irresponsible that Aquila, because of his obvious dislike of President Obama and the Democratic Party, has stooped to repeating such an equally far-fetched conspiracy theory that lacks credibility and has no merit or purpose, except to try to undermine President Obama. Aquila is like the neighborhood gossip who, while insisting that he hates to repeat rumors, nevertheless can’t resist spreading unflattering tidbits about his neighbors. That’s just wrong.

Karen Pearsall
July 12, 2010