Bring back Art Bell

Back in the olden days, you know, the 1990s, we would entertain ourselves by listening to Art Bell broadcasting weird conspiracy theories and pseudoscientific nonsense from his double-wide in Pahrump, Nevada, and we would laugh and laugh and mock him on Usenet. Bell seems pretty benign now, since he’s been basically replaced by the vicious kook, Alex Jones, who also has the ear of the president, unlike dotty ol’ Art Bell. Jones is enabling some ghastly stuff, like this discussion with Robert David Steele. Steele is an ex-CIA guy who now promotes something called Open Source Intelligence, which to my inexperienced brain sounds reasonable…but then he brings along all this other wacky baggage. Here’s Steele and Alex Jones having a flaky conversation.

This is totally bonkers. I think they’re talking about PizzaGate kinds of crap, where right-wingers see pedophiles everywhere, while somehow being unable to show any victims. (Meanwhile, real, known child victims of the Newtown murders get called “actors” and the killings are called a “false flag” operation. It makes no sense.)

AJ: He said Hunter S. Thompson wasa about to expose pedophile rings and things, and then it was disinfo against him, out of the pedophile rings, because he was writing about it. Let’s see what Robert David Steele has to say. Go ahead.

RDS: I agree with that and let me just point out that pedophilia does not stop with sodomizing children. It goes straight into terrorizing them to adrenalize their blood, and then murdering them. It also includes murdering them so that they can have their bone marrow harvested, as well as body parts. Pedophilia is much…

AJ: This is the original growth hormone.

Steele seems to think a lot about sodomizing children, murdering them, and extracting their organs. Adrenalin, by the way, is not a growth hormone.

It gets weirder, if less grisly.

RDS: Yes. It’s an anti-aging thing, and this might strike your listeners as way out but we actually believe that there is a colony on Mars that is populated by children who were kidnapped and sent into space on a 20 year ride. So that once they get to Mars they have no alternative but to be slaves on the Mars colony. There’s all kinds of…

But why? Why do you need to ship kids out to a non-existent Mars colony to set up a pedophilia ring, when there are plenty of perfectly good pizza parlor basements here on Earth? Why would you spend as much money and effort as would be required to build a colony on Mars simply to set up a bone-marrow harvesting operation? Was Peter Thiel behind this?

Also, if it’s a 20 year ride — which is kind of slow for travel to Mars — wouldn’t they no longer be kids on arrival? If they’re 20+ years old, it’s no longer a pedophilia ring. The pervs will be so disappointed.

AJ: Look, I know that 90 percent of the NASA missions are secret and I’ve been told by high level NASA engineers that you have no idea, there is so much stuff going on. But then it goes off into all that, that’s the kind of thing media jumps on. But I know this: we see a bunch of mechanical wreckage on Mars and people say, “Oh look, it looks like mechanics.” They go, “Oh, you’re a conspiracy theorist.” Clearly they don’t want us looking into what is happening. Every time probes go over they turn them off.

But we don’t see a bunch of mechanical wreckage on Mars…oh, wait. It’s because they turn off the probes. But then, how does Alex Jones know about it?

You can skip the next part, it’s boring economic crapola. I include it just for completeness’ sake, and because, really, look at this conversation — it’s a pair of flibbertigibbets babbling all over the place. One moment they’re talking about raping and butchering children like Elizabeth Báthory, and then it’s off to Mars, and then it’s a conspiracy theory about secret wreckage on Mars, and now it’s about schemes for taxing people. Focus, Alex!

RDS: Alex, you’re one of the most original guys on the air, and you asked what should you do. I think you should be the truth channel in America. And I think you should try to systematically put guests on that Donald Trump is not listening to because they’re being blocked from him. For example, Carl Denninger, co-founder of the Tea Party. He should be a guest on your show talking about how the Trump health plan, the Ryan health plan, is completely dishonest because it doesn’t have a price list and it doesn’t allow the government to negotiate with the companies. You should have Edward Feige, the inventor of the automated payment transaction tax, that would eliminate all taxes including the income taxes on people like you and me, and it would tax currency and stock transactions

AJ: Is that the Tobin tax?

RDS: I don’t think so. It’s similar. It’s a tiny fractional tax on every transaction, including internal corporate transactions where a lot of money laundering goes on.

Trust Alex Jones to bring back the outlandish nonsense.

AJ: Sure. Well I don’t know about Mars bases, but I know they’ve created massive, thousands of different types of chimeras that are alien lifeforms on this earth now.

Oh god. The chimera obsession again. He needs to stop worrying, we’re too busy populating Mars with chimeras to be letting them run loose here.

I can’t listen to Alex Jones for long — he’s just too unhinged and dangerously delusional. We need to bring back bonkers radio that wasn’t openly evil, ’cause this shit ain’t it.

Yet our president listens to Alex Jones. That puts all those “fake news!” claims in perspective.

NASA has officially denied having slave colonies on Mars. But then they would, wouldn’t they?


  1. microraptor says

    The new guys aren’t any different than Bell or Icke were, but for some reason people have started to take them seriously.

  2. anthrosciguy says

    I think what’s happened is that the American rightwing has been mining the crazy and/or hateful demographic for so long that they’ve risen through the party and media outlets. So while the audience for Bell and his predecessors didn’t have reps in major broadcast news and in national political office, now they do. It’s not so much that people are taking more seriously, but that the people who’ve taken them seriously all along have moved up into powerful positions. This is, of course, not a safe thing.

  3. archangelospumoni says

    Betcha given the chance, our pal Ken Ham would invest in the Mars colony. There is undoubtedly a need for an ark museum there.

  4. jrkrideau says

    Alex, you’re one of the most original guys on the air
    Very true. It’s hard to find an exempler of all categories in the DSM-IV.

  5. robro says

    Their dwelling on pedophilia is more than a little disturbing, but then, being disturbing is what they are trying to do. And it doesn’t matter how you react. Whether you join the rant or recoil in horror, they have done what they intended. Shock and awe.

    …but for some reason people have started to take them seriously.

    All those years of tabloid journalism, particularly after Murdoch got it on TV as “news”?

    …not so much that people are taking more seriously, but that the people who’ve taken them seriously all along have moved up into powerful positions.

    I don’t think it’s just because people in power take them seriously. In fact, I’m not sure people in power do take them seriously. I’m not too sure Jones takes himself seriously. Of course, the people in power are happy to exploit it, and the people doing the ranting make money.

    But millions of people have been reading, listening, and talking about to this kind of crap for so long, it’s become normalized. Too many folks have lost what little faculty they had to tell when something is completely ridiculous.

    We’ve become a nation of rubes manipulated by an army of shills.

  6. Larry says

    when there are plenty of perfectly good pizza parlor basements here on Earth?

    Not to mention Catholic churches.

  7. tacitus says

    The new guys aren’t any different than Bell or Icke were, but for some reason people have started to take them seriously.

    Well, Art Bell has never been very political, preferring to let his guests talk and spin whatever their pet conspiracy theories are. And while he’s far too credulous for my tastes, he will always put a little distance between him and the nonsense his crazier guests spout. You rarely get the feeling that Bell takes this stuff outside the bounds of his show.

    Icke is probably as popular now than he’s ever been, thanks in part to Alex Jones, who doesn’t go quite as far as shape-shifting reptilian aliens, but pretty damn close these days. Icke’s shtick is also less threatening than Alex Jones because he too is less overtly political. He prefers to cast the “us vs. them” struggle as everyone against the elites, as opposed to Jones’s demonization of anyone and anything liberal. Icke’s claims are often just too far out there to gain much traction anyway.

    Alex Jones is taken more seriously: (a) because his main focus is on conspiracy theories that are more established, more immediate and (supposedly) more likely to impact his listeners than Icke’s reptilian alien crap. He focuses on cancer-causing vaccines, UN troops taking over the US, FEMA concentration camps, Agenda 21, governments importing terrorists to destabilize society, and so on. To those already inclined to be skeptical of government, these are plausible scenarios that don’t need you to believe that inter-dimensional shape-shifting reptilian aliens are behind it all. Talk to the less delusional fans of Alex Jones and they’ll tell you they know some of the stuff he spouts is batshit crazy, but they will also tell you that he provides them a lot of valuable information that isn’t available from any other source.

    And (b) he delivers it all with his now-infamous Chicken Little “the sky is falling” urgency. It’s all happening “right now.” The nation is on the precipice. If we don’t stop the elites soon, it will be too late. He’s careful not to come right out and say it, but his show is essentially a call to arms, and he makes his listeners believe that they are in on something that too many people are still unaware of (“awake” vs “sheeple”) and that by being aware of what’s really going on, they can actually do something to stop it.

    Of course, that’s a lie — there is nothing they could do even if what Alex Jones was saying was all true — but it gives them the satisfaction of believing that they know better than most people, and that they are part of the resistance with none of the risks of getting involved in a real fight.

    I’m sure professional psychologists could put it much better than I can, but having listened to Jones off and on since I came to Austin Texas 20 years ago, when Jones was still just a nutjob on local cable access television, this is how he’s managed to tap into the strain of anti-government resentment than pervades much of America these days.

  8. tacitus says

    right-wingers see pedophiles everywhere

    It’s all part of otherizing the enemy. When you regard being super-rich and powerful as positive things, you have to find ways to differentiate your super-rich and powerful friends (e.g. Donald Trump) from those who truly out to destroy America and the world as we know it, and what better way to do it than claim that they all rape and murder little children?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Alex Jones got this particular fixation from David Icke, who has been banging on about it for years. It’s not enough for the New World Order to be a cabal of super-wealthy elites bent on shaping the world to their whim. They have to be evil demonic mass-murdering sociopathic pedophiles.

  9. tacitus says

    #5 robro: “I’m not too sure Jones takes himself seriously.”

    He tries to have it both ways, depending on the needs of the moment. He loves to call out the “mainstream press” when they supposedly take his comedy skits seriously (not that he ever offers up any evidence for that), and it is a useful excuse whenever he begins to feel the heat from all the attention he’s getting.

    However, he’s been doing this for a very long time–over 20 years–and he was little more than a voice in the wilderness for at least several years. Undoubtedly it’s more complicated than whether he believes everything he says or not, but there is no doubt in my mind that he fundamentally believes most of it, and he really is in a battle against forces bent on destroying the world as we know it. Even those colleagues who have fallen out with him over the years (and there are quite a few) will attest to his sincerity in that regard.

  10. says

    Steele has been a crank on the edge of the intelligence community since the early 90s. Even back then he was going on and on about open source intelligence, which basically meant: ‘read all the stuff your enemy publishes about themself’
    Nowadays, it’s kind of come true: people do publish ridiculous amounts of stuff, and we have a government that is rushing to outsource everything into cloud providers (which they will then complain about after they leak) But the whole open source intelligence concept ignores the “targeting problem” – it may be possible to get a lot of information, but the cost of finding the right information remains high. It’s actually easier to go steal your opponent’s information from their locked box, because the locked box is a terrific indicator that there’s something important there. The targeting problem is severe when you’re trying to find something useful on facebook: it’s the old needle in the haystack all over again. Grab the needles out of your opponent’s needle-case.
    I didn’t know Steele was still around. Nobody took him very seriously back then, and they shouldn’t take him very seriously, now.

  11. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Marcus Ranum wrote:

    It’s actually easier to go steal your opponent’s information from their locked box, because the locked box is a terrific indicator that there’s something important there. The targeting problem is severe when you’re trying to find something useful on facebook: it’s the old needle in the haystack all over again.

    Ironically, the intelligence agencies’ tendency to hoard even low value information has harmed their ability to collect useful information after Edward Snowden released information about them mass collecting phone records, etc. It greatly accelerated the growth of SSL use on the internet for even mundane things like web searches and browsing Facebook/Twitter/etc. So, because they couldn’t resist collecting information they didn’t really need, much of the “hay” is now transported in individually locked boxes, making it even more difficult to identify which contains the needles they are looking for.

    Truthfully, they have no one to blame but themselves for this (although attempting to blame the whistle-blowers remains popular).

  12. KG says

    I think Steele must have read Norman Spinrad’s Bug Jack Barron – zheqrevat puvyqera gb rkgenpg na nagv-ntvat gerngzrag is the key plot point. The hero is a kind of Alex-Jones-as-he-sees-himself figure also – listeners call in to “bug Jack Barron”, and he then “bugs” whichever powerful figure or organization they are complaining about. I rot 13’d the plot point, but really, if you haven’t read the book, don’t bother – if you do, the sexism and condescension-style racism make it prudent to have a bucket handy.

  13. csclark says

    A secret colony of childslaves on Mars run by Melmoth the Wanderer exists in the Grant Morrison-penned Seven Soldiers of Victory Frankenstein thread. Someone ask him if NASA set it up by using an Erdel Gate. If he says yes, at least he has good taste in comics.

  14. laurian says

    Remember, the moment you put the foul mouthed shit gibbon under oath, Alex says he is not to be taken seriously because he’s a Performance Artist. So fuck him.

  15. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Tacitus@9 nails it. How will they justify tossing us all into ovens unless they think we are all lizard people dining on human flesh?

  16. says

    I used to work overnight in a gas station (6pm – 6am the “graveyard” shift) and I loved to listen to Coast to Coast. Most nights the place was ‘dead’ and the ghost story episodes and EVP bits were super spooky those nights. It would all fade with the light of day, but it was super fun at the time.

  17. says

    Reading this post yesterday made me think of the late Milton William “Bill” Cooper. He could have been a competitor to Alex Jones if he hadn’t decided to get into a shootout with Apache County, Arizona sheriff’s deputies in November of 2001. They were trying to arrest him on a warrant for tax evasion. Cooper had a radio show, mainly heard on US shortwave stations(which have often sold airtime to the US far right) called The Hour of the Time. I can’t help but wonder if Jones has a breaking point that could lead to him being violent.

  18. lanir says

    The thing that stood out for me was when they started talking economics, they sounded like they were aiming for a tax on companies and rich people. Now, how they went about it sounded just like yet another tired old rehash of the Superman III plot with an extra side of gratuitous “I should pay nothing”, but if you just look at where they were aiming it leads to an interesting realization.

    These guys are totally bonkers. They’d rather ignore real problems on Earth that victimize the helpless to imagine those same things happening to fantasy children on a fantasy Mars base that apparently needs slave labor although they don’t mention why. But if you ignore the details of the tax plan and just think about where they’re aiming it, even these nutters sound like they’re starting to realize that they’re getting screwed by corporations and rich people.

    At least in a general sense. They probably still think the Koch brothers have their back. But it’s a start. I doubt we’d ever convince them that there is no Martian PedoStation out there, they just have to get bored of saying it. But if someone can get them onboard with a viable economics plan that isn’t “Make America’s Rich Richer” again then I’d be perfectly happy to be on the same side of an issue as the kooks.

  19. Rich Woods says

    @archangelospumoni #3:

    Betcha given the chance, our pal Ken Ham would invest in the Mars colony. There is undoubtedly a need for an ark museum there.

    Hmm. That could float.

  20. tacitus says

    timgueguen wrote:
    I can’t help but wonder if Jones has a breaking point that could lead to him being violent.

    Interesting question. There is absolutely no doubt that he has a volatile temper, and he boasts constantly about his physical prowess (yeah, I know), and that he’d happily take on anyone who dared to challenge him. There are stories from his cable access channel days of altercations with staff and other broadcasters who dared to confront him, though nothing that would have landed him in jail. More loudmouth than pugilist.

    On the other hand, he has a legitimate multi-million dollar business to protect, and unlike the tax protester and sovcit types who tend to exist on the fringes of society, he clearly loves the life his wealth and fame has afforded him–hobnobbing with celebrities, interviews with national politicians and, of course, political influence that he could have only dreamed of having a few short years ago.

    He may be an abhorrent human being whose very presence makes this nation a worse place to live in, but Jones is not stupid. He has always been careful to avoid direct calls for others to resort to violence (not that doesn’t share moral culpability in the violent acts of supporters he incites in other ways) so I suspect the last thing he will do is throw everything he has built up by committing a violent criminal act. It is violent acts by his supporters that are far more likely to be the problem, and sadly, Alex Jones will almost certainly never be called to account for those.

  21. tacitus says


    A report on Alex Jones’ InfoWars claiming child sex slaves have been kidnapped and shipped to Mars is untrue, NASA told The Daily Beast on Thursday.
    “There are no humans on Mars. There are active rovers on Mars. There was a rumor going around last week that there weren’t. There are,” Guy Webster, a spokesperson for Mars exploration at NASA, told The Daily Beast. “But there are no humans.”

    But you know how the minds of conspiracy theorists work. NASA’s denial is all the confirmation they need.