American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies that the Government Tells Us - Jesse Ventura, Dick Russell As I'm reading this book I am constantly reminded of the immensely flawed "God of the Gaps" theory. It goes like this: If you can't scientifically explain an issue regarding nature, evolution, how the universe began, etc, then the only other answer is "God did it." Jesse Ventura has his own version. If there are still unanswered questions regarding events like assassinations, 9/11, etc, his answer is "The CIA did it."

Jesse Ventura never met a conspiracy theory he didn't like. He takes on fourteen conspiracy theories, or I should say skims them, from Lincoln's assassination to The National Security Act (takes away our civil rights, which it does).The problem is some of these are not theories or cover-ups. The fact that Booth was not a lone nut is covered in most history books or was. I first read about the fact that others were implicated in Lincoln's death in my fifth grade history book! Perhaps it isn't a cover-up as much as a problem with the currently lousy textbooks.

Some of his choices are certified fringe material. Jim Jones was a CIA plant and the CIA killed everybody in Jonestown. The 9/11 truthers BS. Nixon was set up by the CIA as if he wasn't enough of a megalomaniac to screw up by himself (Jesse thinks Nixon got too close to finding out who really killed Kennedy). Most of the author's research is a pick and choose method and liberal use of the "CIA of the gap" argument. For example he touts a lot of discounted information about The King assassination claiming that Ray was a patsy for another killer but either ignores or discounts all the evidence that Ray did act alone. If interested, you should read the excellent
Hellhound On His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin for the real story.

But if you throw enough chocolate, as Gallagher would say, some of it will stick. Yes, Bush probably stole Both elections, Iran/Contra was a travesty and Reagan used the Iran hostages as pawns to win the election, the Wall Street and our government did conspire to make many rich people richer at the expense of taxpayers resulting in the crash of 2008. But all this material is covered better in other places. If you really want to know what caused the economy crash in 2008, see the documentary Inside Job.

Mr, Ventura makes a lot of great points. Yes, we need more openness in government and we must do what we can to prevent our politicians from screwing us over again. But I'd rather he simply articulate this in a way that doesn't make him come across as just another conspiracy nut.