Hemp-Hating Hearst In the '30s, William Randolph Hearst demonized marijuana (a Mexican slang term Hearst introduced to the American lexicon) in stories with headlines such as “Marijuana Makes Fiends of Boys in 30 Days: Hasheesh Goads Users to Blood-Lust.” But the stories neglected to mention a recently developed technique that could efficiently process hemp pulp into high-grade paper. Hearst owned several thousand acres of prime timber, which would plummet in value if the paper industry switched to hemp. The Hemp Hype resulted in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which effectively taxed the hemp industry out of business.
Hearst Hypes Hitler When Adolf Hitler needed a good spin in America, he knew who to call. In 1934, the German chancellor struck a deal with Hearst. In exchange for more positive press in Hearst's 19 daily papers, the Nazis forked over almost 10 times the usual rate for a subscription to the Hearst-owned International News Service (his wire-service equivalent to AP). Overnight, Hitler's image changed in the Hearst-owned press. The media mogul instructed his correspondents in Germany to report all Nazi happenings in a “friendly” fashion; those who refused were transferred or fired.
AIDS: From the Makers of Agent Orange? In 1978, the National Institutes of Health tested an experimental hepatitis-B vaccine on a very specific demographic in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco: nonmonogamous homosexual males. Within six years, 64 percent of the men had AIDS. Is it just a coincidence that the AIDS epidemic followed on the heels of these mass inoculations? Many fringe physicians believe Uncle Sam created the plague at the National Cancer Institute's facility at Fort Derrick, Maryland, which until 1969 was the Pentagon's biological warfare lab.
Character Assassination William Randolph Hearst, planning a presidential run against President William McKinley in 1904, gleefully published in his San Francisco Examiner in 1900 a poem by columnist Ambrose Bierce calling for the assassination of McKinley. The poem, appearing shortly after Kentucky Gov. Goebel was assassinated, read:
The bullet that pierced Goebel's breastCan not be found in all the West;
Good reason, it is speeding here
To stretch McKinley on his bier.
McKinley was shot by an assassin less than a year later. Other newspapers and President Theodore Roosevelt blamed Hearst and Bierce for inspiring murder, and Hearst's political ambitions were squashed.
Saigon, USA The newest and most violent addition to the local crime scene is the Vietmob, whose daring home-invasion robberies and Silicon Valley burglaries have added fresh faces to the rogue's gallery of the Bay Area's underworld. Where did the Vietmob learn its “enthusiastic” tactics? The CIA. Most of the Vietnamese gang “sets” are directly descended from the paramilitary units trained by the Agency to fight its opium wars in Southeast Asia (one set calls itself the Frogmen, honoring its legacy of Navy Seal training). America's dirty little war has come home to roost.
Mt. Davidson Cross Many lifelong San Franciscans are unaware that the so-called “cross” atop Mt. Davidson is in fact a gigantic T. The T stands for the Trilateral Commission, the shadowy cabal of multinational corporations and international financiers who control most of the world's wealth and have long dominated San Francisco politics. Each spring, the sun perfectly bisects San Francisco's two prominent Ts — the Mt. Davidson “cross” and the Transamerica Pyramid — with the occasion marked by a secret dawn ceremony. This year's rite will take place Sunday, April 16, at sunrise.
Holy Holes Some researchers believe the popularity of body piercing in San Francisco reaches far beyond tribal custom, shock value or even sadomasochistic pleasure. Piercing jewelry actually contains miniature crystalline transmitters, directly connecting the wearers with UFOs. These pierced people, much like the “pod people” in the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, are preliminary scouts for an eventual assault on our planet by alien forces.
JOA/PG&E/Manhattanization Connection For almost three decades, the San Francisco Bay Guardian has sheared the railguards of rational thought by blaming San Francisco's deterioration on the Chronicle/Examiner joint operating agreement, Pacific Gas and Electric and local real-estate interests. The latest conflict to be baptized in the warm suds of the Guardian's frothings: the conspiracy behind the establishment of “Condo Journalism” in the City Hall pressroom.
SFMOMA Cult The city marked the opening of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art with a fury of civic boosterism on a scale not witnessed in North America since Kansas City debuted Arrowhead Stadium for its NFL Chiefs. Unnoticed in the applause is SFMOMA's remarkable resemblance to an Aztec temple of the sun, equally suitable for donations from rich art collectors and for human sacrifice.
News Inc. The recent purchase of a certain weekly San Francisco publication is yet another example of the ongoing Wall Street plot to establish corporate control of the media … uh, nevermind.
Tiniest Conspiracy Task Force: Paul Critz, Jack Boulware, Tom McNichol, Jack Shafer