Monday, September 28, 2009

Let's Play, "Name That Conspiracy!"

Cross-posted by Gary Fouse

As a follow-up to my last post on the "vast, right-wing conspiracy", bandied about by the Clintons, I thought it might be fun to play a little game identifying true conspiracies from fake ones (like the VRWC). Ready? Here we go. The answers are below. (Names and identities have been disguised to protect the innocent.)

1 One night in Mid-town Manhattan, Stanley Schemer and Dudley Nightshade are at a bar drinking straight shots of Jose Cuervo.

Along about the 43rd round, they see a news clip on TV of Moammar Ghaddafi speaking at the UN. Suddenly, they agree that the next morning, they will hijack a ship in New York Harbor, storm the UN, and take the entire General Assembly hostage, load them on the ship, sail to Haiti and dump them all on a deserted beach. The next afternoon, they wake up and cannot remember a thing.


2 Handsome Harvey and Marvelous Mary, both card-carrying, right-wing, rock-ribbed, knee-jerk conservatives, decide to organize a tea party to protest rising taxes, government health care and increasing government control over their lives. Harvey starts making up posters reading, "The president is a socialist" while Mary starts spreading the word on the Internet that a rally will take place the following week at a specific location.


3 President Schmolinsky's wife, First Lady Brunhilde Schmolinsky, is running for US Senator representing Idaho, a state she has never even visited.

Brunhilde Schmolinsky-(photo altered to protect the innocent)

In order to be elected, she needs the support of the Idaho potato-growers, who have never before voted for her party. They meet with Mrs Schmolinsky and agree to support her candidacy, but only if their director, Mr Potatohead, currently serving 20 years for embezzlement, is pardoned by the president during his final week in office. The agreement is made.

Are you still with me all you Columbia law students?


In the election, Mrs Schmolinsky is elected Senator of Idaho as the potato-growers give her 99% of their vote. Subsequently, President Schmolinsky pardons Mr Potatohead.

President Schmolinsky (photo altered to protect the innocent)


4 Senator Louie Lickspittle (D-WY)is holding a town hall meeting in Bullsnuts, Wyoming to support government health care. About 100 members of the local Republican Party in Bullsnuts meet and decide to attend the town hall meeting to challenge the Senator. Several of the individuals purchase poster boards to carry to the town hall meeting. During the town hall meeting, several of the protesters shout, "No to government health care".


5 President Schmolinsky has been meeting with a voluptuous lady named Long-Legged Sally, the ex-wife of a RICH fugitive financier on the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted list. Sally wants the president to pardon her RICH ex-husband.

Long-legged Sally-(photo altered to protect the innocent)

RICH financier (photo altered to protect the innocent)

In exchange, Sally arranges a gift of $250,000 to the president's planned presidential library. The money is given and the RICH fugitive is pardoned.

Schmolinsky Presidential Library (photo altered to protect the innocent)


6 Rebecca from Sunnybrook Farm, a liberal Democrat and part-time university professor at UC Santa Cruz, walks into an upscale Santa Cruz bistro, where she orders a cafe latte and poppyseed bagle with diced prunes. As she sits down at a table, she notices two conservative-looking characters at the next table who don't appear to fit in with the local surroundings. They appear to be talking in hushed tones, but she overhears one of them say, "The president is a socialist. I can't wait to vote against him in 2012." She observes the other suspect nodding in agreement.


7, Irving Schwartz and .......Frankie "the Cockroach" Gianelli meet and agree to blow up Chicago's city hall. They bring ....Louie "the Louse" Spaghettoni into the scheme as a driver of the bomb car. Little do they know that Louie is an informant for the FBI. Irving goes out and buys the dynamite under FBI surveillance. Frankie rents a truck from U-Haul. Together, under FBI surveillance, they load the dynamite into the truck and begin driving to city hall. On the way, they are arrested by the FBI.


8 Jose Cuervo is sitting in a bar when he is engaged in a conversation by two nearby strangers who invite him to join a conspiracy by which all three will travel to Mexico and smuggle heroin into the US. Unbeknownst to Jose, the two strangers are informants for the Federal Bureau of Conspiracy (FBC)who are wearing recording devices. FBC agents are outside in their cars listening to the conversation. Jose says that he has never broken the law and refuses. After an hour of arguing, the two snitches threaten to kill Jose's family if he refuses. Finally, Jose agrees to join the conspiracy. He then, at the direction of the two snitches, goes across the street to rent a car to be used in the smuggling venture.


9 Our two friends, Stanley Schemer and Dudley Nightshade, having awakened from their previous evening's binge, return to the bar and begin drinking straight shots of Jose Cuervo.

Along about the 55th round, they decide that they will buy a spaceship, fly to the moon and smuggle Limberger cheese back into the US without paying import duties. The next day, Stanley and Dudley go out and inquire to NASA about purchasing a used space ship. NASA, in turn, reports them to the FBI.



1 No conspiracy- Even though an agreement was made to carry out an illegal (though worthy) act, no subsequent overt act was carried out by either of our two "conspirators' in furtherence of the act. Even the agreement would never hold up in court due to the 43 Jose Cuervos.

2 No conspiracy. Neither the act agreed upon nor the overt acts are illegal. They are guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

3 Conspiracy. Selling a pardon in exchange for cash or other favors is a form of bribery. You have the agreement to commit a criminal act. The potato-growers' actions in convincing their members to vote for Mrs Schmolinsky, though legal in and of itself, would be considered an overt act. (Overt acts do not have to be illegal in and of themselves.) The actual quid-pro-quo pardon would also be an overt act as well as the substantive crime. Of course, to prove the crime in court, you would want to have the testimony of say, one of the potato-growers who negotiated with Mrs Schmolinsky plus independent, corroborating evidence to support his/her testimony.

4 No conspiracy. The acts agreed upon are legal and guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

5 Conspiracy. The criminal act is bribery and selling of a pardon. The agreement between President Schmolinsky and Sally, of course would have to be proven either by say, Sally testifying or other independent evidence. The overt acts would be the gift of $250,000 to the library and the pardon itself.

6 No conspiracy. Criticizing a president is not a crime.

7 Conspiracy. Frankie and Irving have agreed to commit a crime. Louie can testify as to the agreement, which hopefully would be corroborated by independent evidence, such as FBI surveillance and taped conversations. Buying the dynamite and renting the trucks are overt acts. Of course, the dynamite itself would be...."dynamite" evidence. The crime is complete-even though the objective (the bombing) was not actually carried out. (Did you Columbia law students think the FBI was supposed to let them bomb the building before a crime was committed?)


8 No conspiracy. The only "co-conspirators" you have are the two informants. In fact, this is a clear case of entrapment since Jose had no pre-disposition to commit such a crime until approached by the informants who threatened his family to get him to agree. In a case like this, the federal agents should break off all connections with these two informants.

9 No conspiracy. The object of the crime must be reasonably possible to achieve.

Well, how did we do? If you got all nine correct, you have half-a brain. If you missed four or more, you are a Columbia Law School student. If you missed all nine, you are a UC Santa Cruz Community Studies major.

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