poodle | Santa Barbara’s conspiracy theories exposed


WHAT IS THE FREQUENCY, KENNETH? Back when I was still optimistic enough to believe in conspiracy theories, I focused my considerable paranoia on David Rockefeller and his Trilateral Commission. At that time they had jointly come to the conclusion that the world was suffering from an excess of democracy. Since I had just reached voting age at the time, I took it all very personally.

At the time, I was also very concerned about the underlying diabolical machinations of the Episcopalians. Having just stumbled upon the writings of C. Wright Mills—the sociologist who proved the existence of a ruling class in America—I knew that people who resented “an excess of democracy” tended to pew pray.

I mention this because I was approached three times in a week recently by people warning me that behind every bad thing there was a Freemason.

David Matthew “Boat Rat Matt” Kilrain | Credit: Courtesy

One was a former IT wizard who once fixed mine Independently computer when it goes on the fritz, a term that turns out to be steeped in anti-German bias. Another was a kind soul calling Independentlyrang the doorbell one Saturday afternoon, hoping to alert me to the danger, but my blank stare convinced him he was throwing his pearls in front of my pigs. The most recent was a candidate in the city’s recent mayoral race, Boat Rat Matt Kilrain ​-​, who filed an 81-page legal brief linking Freemasons to the Illuminati and blaming them both for pretty much everything that corrupted is: all the usual pedophilia rings and child abuse, but especially in the emergence of transgender rights. In fact, I’m not exactly sure what he meant as my head exploded somewhere on page 22.

Over time I’ve become suspicious of conspiracies. After trying a few they are harder than they look. Such thinking is for people who are too weak and scared to accept that the world is out of control. But since I’m paid as a reporter, I decided to investigate.

The Freemasons – devilish as they are – hid in plain sight. They operate from a gorgeous, eye-catching, four-story building right in the heart of Santa Barbara’s financial district, which no one even knows is there. You are good, aren’t you?

I know a couple of speech therapists with offices on the fourth floor there and I asked them what the skinny guy was. They arranged for me to meet the Great Poobah. His name is Maurice Sourmany but he calls himself Moe and technically his title is Personal Representative. Personally, Moe was all sweetness, warmth and devious humor. “We’re not a secret society,” Moe explained, trying to refute persistent claims that have haunted the organization since its inception in the days of King Solomon. “We are a fraternal organization that has secrets.”

No wonder Moe was Grand Poobah. He was good.

Even more disarming was the extensive range of speech therapy programs that Freemasons offer for free on the fourth floor, where the window panes are so old the glass is dripping. Children aged 3 to 5 with hearing or speech problems can get the help they need.

did I say free? That way, when they get sucked into the relentless maelstrom of elementary education, they don’t fall so far behind before they even get started. Each year, local Freemasons allocate around $250,000 for Free Speech Therapy.

That’s how clever they are.

But what else would you expect from an organization whose membership includes just about every fire chief in the city’s history plus TM Storke, Santa Barbara’s long-ago press potentate and US Senator; dr William Sansum, who popularized insulin among diabetics and Santa Barbara; and John Stearns, whose wharf allowed visitors to disembark and come ashore. My favorite is Burl Ives, the actor and folksinger whose gentle songs once lulled millions of children to sleep. He too was a member of the Cabal. Of course he was.

I left completely duped and confused. Moe – whose family ran Victor the Florist for three generations until COVID shut it down – couldn’t have been nicer and more reserved. Of course, I thought, he would be.

When I said goodbye and went back to work, I had time to lament the extent to which conspiracy theories were so null and void. We are in a corner of history where we no longer need a secret cabal of nefarious elites conspiring to take us down. The bare truth is that we are more than happy to do the dirty deed ourselves.

A recent study by Dr. Virginia Commonwealth University’s Steven Woolf shows that the United States reported more deaths from COVID after the vaccine became available in early 2021 (478,286) than the year before (350,000). That’s a 38 percent increase in deaths despite the availability of the vaccine. The driving force behind these numbers was the relentless stubbornness of whites who, for various reasons, refused to be vaccinated.

While 19 other industrialized democracies reported modest increases in their respective life expectancies in the year of the vaccine, the United States reported a second year of steady decline. In the last two years, our collective life expectancy has fallen by 2.3 years. Even among people of color, who were hit hardest by the pandemic in 2020, life expectancy flattened or improved slightly. But in 2021, states with the largest proportions of whites also experienced the largest COVID deaths and greater declines in life expectancy. “What happened in the US is less about the variants and more about the level of vaccine resistance,” said Dr. Woolf. No doubt he also belongs to a Masonic lodge.

Just show to go: You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make it think.

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