Tag Archives: moon landing

Conspiracy theories live forever and ever

They will never die. Not ever. They will live far beyond all of our time on Earth. They’ll outlive my sons’ time, too.

What are “they”? Conspiracy theories! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Jeffrey Epstein’s death in the Manhattan, New York City jail cell has spawned ’em by the dozens. Already! You see, Epstein was supposed to stand trial after he pleaded not guilty to charges that he peddled young girls for sex.

Epstein had some high-powered friends. Two of them became “former friends” for reasons that aren’t exactly clear. Their names are Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. 

Now that Epstein is dead, the conspiracists have developed some hideous notions that Clinton might have been involved in killing him. Others have suggested Trump played a role in murdering Epstein.

These theories are going to take root. Their roots will run deep.

We’ve had our share of eternal conspiracy theories.

  • President Kennedy’s murder in Dallas couldn’t possibly have been committed by a lone rifleman.
  •  The 9/11 terrorist attacks were the work of those within the George W. Bush administration looking for reasons to go to war.
  •  President Barack Obama was born in Africa and was not qualified to run for the office to which he was elected twice.
  •  Those pictures from the moon’s surface were shot in a studio somewhere on Earth.
  •  Good grief, there are those who have suggested that President Roosevelt goaded the Japanese into attacking us at Pearl Harbor.

And so they have gone. They’ll go on forever.

Indeed, conspiracy theories already exist involving former President Clinton. They involve bogus allegations of people with dirt on the president and his wife ending up dead. Indeed, those phony rumors are thought to be the source of the latest defamatory rumors surrounding the death of the miserable pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Are there questions that need answering? Surely, yes.

However, I believe I can predict today that no matter how thorough the explanation, or how much evidence they produce to back whatever conclusions they draw about Epstein’s death, there will be those who will purport to disbelieve what they see and hear.

They will trade on conspiracy theories. What’s worse is that there will be those who are willing to take the bait.


Here come the Epstein conspiracy theories

If I were a betting man I might be willing to wager a lot of real American money on the prospect of conspiracy theories exploding all over the place in connection with the weird death of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

The former friend of presidents and assorted high rollers was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell this morning. He had been on suicide watch, which supposedly would have made a suicide a virtual impossibility. The lockup took him off the suicide watch, reportedly.

And then he hanged himself. Poof! Just like that the guy allegedly with tons of secrets about what he did with whom was gone. Forever. He’s deader’n a doornail.

Can’t you just imagine now how the conspiracy theories can develop?

I mean, he was friends with Bill Clinton and Donald J. Trump. He was worth many millions of dollars. He had been convicted already of a sex charge involving underage girls in Florida. The alleged prosecution of that case cost Labor Secretary Alex Acosta — who was a federal prosecutor in Florida when Epstein got caught — his job in the Trump administration.

As for former President Clinton, let’s just say he’s a conspiracy/scandal magnet. He’s been vilified amid myriad phony conspiracies dating back to when he was governor of Arkansas. Why stop concocting goofy conspiracies now?

Yep, there can be little doubt that the so-called theories are going to start flying. Who knows? They might rival the John F. Kennedy assassination, moon landing and Jimmy Hoffa conspiracies in their longevity.

Frankly, these theories sicken me.

I do, though, want answers on just how this low-life managed to kill himself while in the custody of law enforcement and corrections officials whose job was to ensure Jeffrey Epstein lived long enough to have this case adjudicated one way or another.

Talk to us. Now!

Another NASA celebrity astronaut leaves us

There once was a time when astronauts were celebrities. We knew their names. We followed their careers. We got up early to watch them blast off from the Cape Canaveral, Fla., launch pad.

Another such astronaut — and please pardon this intended pun — has left this Earth for keeps. Alan Bean died today at age 86.

He was the fourth man to walk on the moon, aboard Apollo 12 in November 1969. He made the flight to the lunar surface with the late Charles “Pete” Conrad.

Alan Bean didn’t achieve the kind of celebrity status of, say, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, the seven men selected to fly in the initial Mercury missions, or most of the Gemini astronauts who came along later.

Bean was among those picked for the third group of space pioneers, the Apollo program. He joined NASA in 1963 after serving as a Navy test pilot.

My years in the Texas Panhandle makes me remind you that Bean hailed from that part of the world. He was a native of Wheeler, a tiny town east of Amarillo.

My most glaring memory of Bean’s time on the moon stems from some innovative measures he took to deploy a camera on the lunar surface. The camera wouldn’t start taking images. What did Bean do? He grabbed a hammer and beat on the device! Then it worked.

NASA doesn’t have a manned space program of its own these days. We’re sending our astronauts into space aboard Russian rockets. I’m trying to imagine how Presidents Kennedy and Johnson would react to that bit of aerospace irony.

Back in the day, though, Alan Bean was among those individuals we prayed for when they rocketed into space. As President Kennedy said about the goal of sending astronauts to the moon and returning them safely, “We don’t do these things because they are easy. We do them because they are hard.”

Alan Bean and his colleagues just made it look easy. It wasn’t. He needed to beat on a state-of-the-art camera with a hammer to enable the device to record his history-making adventure for the rest of time.

May he now rest eternally.

If only Buzz Aldrin would tell us

Oh, how I wish I could read minds.

This video is making the Internet rounds. Donald Trump is talking about space travel. The fellow on the right is none other than Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, one of two men who walked on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969.

A lot of would-be mind readers are conjecturing about what Aldrin might be thinking. He looks alternately bemused, confused, aghast and flabbergasted at what he’s hearing from the president of the United States.

Oh well. I just wanted to share it here. You be the judge on what is going through Buzz Aldrin’s mind.

Might there be someone who can ask the space hero what he was thinking? Would he tell us the truth? Hey, it’s worth asking.

Anchor's problems mounting

It’s beginning to look as though the reporting of a controversy — more than the actual controversy — well might doom the career of a once-trusted broadcast network journalist.

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams has stepped away from the cameras for an unspecified period of time, while the chatter continues about the circumstances of his made-up story about getting shot down — allegedly — in Iraq in 2003. His helicopter wasn’t hit by rocket fire, as he has reported for a dozen years and the network is launching an investigation into the circumstances of Williams’ “misremembering” the events of that day.


Other questions about other stories have emerged.

And now we have media experts speculating aloud about whether Williams should lose his job, whether he should stay, and whether he’s lost the trust of viewers who depend on their TV journalists to tell the truth all the time.

According to The Associated Press: “The real difficulty for a news organization, or a reporter, is that once you’ve made one misstep, it’s really hard to earn (trust) back,” said David Westin, former ABC News president. “You can. But it takes a lot of time. It takes a long period of time with proven performances. It takes a long time of getting it right.”

Here’s the issue, as I see it: All the intense publicity and scrutiny and all the questions that have risen from this matter have damaged Williams’ reputation, perhaps beyond repair. Suppose he emerges from the examination squeaky clean. How does he recover from the millions of snarky comments, the late-night comics’ jokes and not mention the photo-shopped videos that have gone viral showing him landing on the moon, storming ashore at Normandy or planting the flag atop the hill on Iwo Jima?

The nation has made him a laughingstock — and not necessarily because of what has been alleged in the beginning, but because of the reaction to it.

Williams may have become as much a victim of social media as he has of the wounds his ego have inflicted on his career.


Look what they found in moon walker's closet!

Neil Armstrong: smuggler.

It has a fascinating ring to it. Who would have thought the nation’s premier space hero, daredevil test pilot, the first man to ever walk on the moon would have squirreled away some artifacts from humankind’s most daring adventure?

The First Man on the Moon died in 2012, and his widow, Carol, has uncovered a trove of goodies she discovered in his closet.


I think it’s quite cool that he managed to sneak this stuff past his NASA bosses.

The artifacts were supposed to have crashed into the moon, along with the Apollo 11 lunar lander, which Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left behind in lunar orbit in July 1969 when they hooked up with Michael Collins in the command module. Armstrong, though, brought the items home with him.

They include a camera used to take pictures on the moon as well as some gizmos and gadgets that had been stuffed into a bag and placed in Armstrong’s closet.

Hey, these items aren’t secret weapons, nor do they require some kind of top-secret clearance to handle.

I can recall coming home from the Army in 1970 with some items I was supposed to turn into the quartermaster’s office as I was transitioning back to civilian life. I still have my trusty entrenching tool, issued to me in 1968 and, by golly, I still use it around the yard. I can’t recall how I got it past the supply sergeant back then.


Mrs. Armstrong’s discovery has been turned over to the Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum, where I’m sure it’ll be put on proper display.

It’s a pretty cool discovery.

It's been 45 years since that 'giant leap'

Allow me this admission: I didn’t do much thinking Sunday about the 45th anniversary of man’s first steps on the moon.

I was too busy traveling home from a glorious weekend with my family.

And to be frank, thinking of that day saddens me a little. It’s not because of the event itself. The late Neil Armstrong’s first step off the Apollo 11 lunar lander was captivating at a level I’d never experienced. “One giant step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind” became a mantra to be repeated by proud Americans everywhere.

No, the sadness comes in realizing where we’ve gone — or not gone — in the decades since then.

We landed a few more times on the moon, had a near-tragedy when Apollo 13 exploded en route — only to be brought home in a miraculous seat-of-the-pants rescue effort. Alan Shepard, America’s first man in space, got to land on the moon and hit that golf shot that went miles.

Those were heady times.

Then the missions became “routine.” How sad. NASA pulled the plug after Apollo 17. It embarked on the Skylab mission to test humans’ long-term endurance in space. Then came the space shuttle experiment, with its huge highs and devastating tragedy.

Then it ended. The shuttle fleet is retired. We’re piggybacking into space aboard Russian rockets.

I admit to longing for the days when we could get re-inspired the way we were when President Kennedy made it the national goal to “put a man on the moon before the decade (of the 1960s) is out and return him safely to the Earth.” We had that big, bad Soviet Union to race to the moon. We won that contest.

Now there’s some vague talk about going to Mars — eventually. Why “vague” talk? Because one hardly ever hears anything publicly about what’s going on. NASA engineers are toiling in obscurity — apparently — designing a vehicle to take humans to the next planet out there in our solar system.

My late mother and I spent many mornings awaiting the launches of the early space missions. Mercury and Gemini preceded the Apollo program. We agonized over the delays. Cheered at the launch. Wept with joy when the men landed safely in the ocean.

I’ve never grown tired of watching these vehicles lift off from the pad and roar into space. It pains me that the nation became bored with it.

I am grateful to have watched humanity’s first steps on the moon. I surely now want to live long enough to hear someone say, “Houston, we have landed on Mars.”

No conspiracy theories, please

Call me a non-conspiracy theorist.

I believe, for example, that:

* Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in murdering President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

* Men actually landed on the moon, beginning with Neil Armstrong’s “one small step … one giant leap” on July 20, 1969.

* Barack H. Obama was born in Hawaii — the 50th state to enter the Union — in August 1961 and, thus, is fully qualified to serve as president of the United States.

* Islamic madmen flew airplanes into the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and sought to fly a jetliner into the Capitol Building before they were thwarted by passengers on 9/11.

* Adolf Hitler killed himself in the Berlin bunker in April 1945 as the Red Army was closing in on his location.

* Elvis Presley actually died on Aug. 16, 1977 of a drug overdose in his Memphis, Tenn., bathroom.

I mention all these things because of the nutty theories being bandied about — to this day — about the fate of Malaysian Air Flight MH 370. I won’t repeat the goofy notions here.

My strong belief all along has been that something happened aboard that airplane to cause it to turn sharply off course on March 8. Its remains now are lying at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean, along with the remains of the 239 people on board.

Our hearts break for those who are awaiting official word of their fate.

I just wish society, fed by social media and goofball Internet “sources,” would cease with the crazy talk. Let the searchers do their job, let them find the flight recorder, retrieve it and let its contents reveal the truth without all the mindless second-guessing.

Enough already.