NEW YORK — “I can only judge Fidel by the hour I spent with him,” renowned conspiracist theorist Jesse Ventura told The Daily Caller in the empty lobby restaurant of his New York City hotel in mid-September.
“And I will tell you this about Fidel. He had the most unique — I will always remember his handshake. Always. And I’ve shaken how many hands? But I will always remember his.”
“He winds up. When he met me he cocks his hand up and he thrusts it down to you,” the former Minnesota governor explained with palpable excitement in his voice.
“And I’ll tell you what he first said to me. The first thing out of Fidel Castro’s mouth to me, he looked me right in the eye and said, ‘You’re a man of great courage.'”
TheDC’s interview with Ventura was supposed to be about his new book, “DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans: No More Gangs in Government,” but the plurality of the nearly 90 minutes seemed to focus on Cuba. Early in the interview TheDC asked the former Navy SEAL and professional wrestling caricature why he was more willing to believe Fidel Castro, who was until recently the inhumane dictator of the island nation, than the flawed but open and democratic American government?
“Fidel runs a very inhumane — how do you know that?” he asked incredulously. “They have the highest health care of any Latin American country. … What has he done that’s inhumane?”
Castro ran — and his brother now runs — a freedomless despotism, Jesse! By definition, that’s inhumane, TheDC argued.
“Wait a minute, that’s Communism,” he protested. “It’s a different form a government.”
Does Ventura, who sometimes claims he’s a libertarian, not have a problem with Communism?
“Communism is what it is,” he said. “I don’t support Communism. I don’t like that type of government.”
Contradicting himself, as he did on more than one occasion during the interview, he then claimed that Communism may actually be the best political system.
“The Communism of Karl Marx would probably be actually the best for everybody as a whole,” he explained. “But what he didn’t figure into was human nature and that’s what corrupts it.”
(Later in the interview, he told TheDC that he “should be rewarded for my time and effort” working on his book. Go figure.)
Thirty minutes in, TheDC was ready to call it a day, with all its questions asked and sort of answered. But something was bothering Ventura: the Cuba question.
“That’s it. That’s all you wanted from me,” he said with his arms crossed as TheDC reached out to shake his hand and end the interview. “I find you stimulating because, you know, you’re quite confrontational.”
He then got to what was on his mind: “I find it interesting how you’ll make loops to somehow you think I like Cuba better than here.”
Just listen to the tape. It doesn’t lie.
“Well I don’t know Cuba,” he said, before telling the fawning anecdote about Fidel’s handshake and how Fidel immediately recognized him as a courageous man.
Ventura seems not to know a lot about many countries, particularly those most threatening to the U.S. and with the world’s worst human rights records.
How about North Korea and Iran? Not a problem?
“They are what they are. Is it our job to change them?”
How about at least express the hope that they will one day enjoy the same liberties we have?
“Not all of what we got. We don’t have freedom. You think you have freedom?”
At one point in the interview, Ventura decided to lecture TheDC, unprompted, on why he is a patriot.
“I believe dissension is the greatest form of patriotism,” he orated, looking like a man possessed.
“And I believe that dissenting is patriotic. I believe to go along to get along is unpatriotic. I believe that agreeing with your government on everything they do is unpatriotic. I believe a patriot stands up and holds your government’s feet to the fire. Because if you do that you will get good government.”
But just to be clear on his relationship with Castro versus the U.S. government, Ventura declared at one point, “Castro never lied to me. My government has.”
Fittingly, Ventura is the host of the show “Conspiracy Theory,” which investigates the most outlandish alleged conspiracies and — spoiler alert! — seemingly always comes to the conclusion that they have at least some validity. When TheDC brought up how he often criticizes politicians for fear-mongering, then does the same with his show, he barked, “That’s entertainment. It’s entertainment.”
“Excuse me,” he said. “Wait a minute. We’re not doing documentaries. I’m entertaining.”
“Conspiracy Theory” appears on the network truTV. That’s tru as in true.
So does he not believe the conspiracy theories he pushes on the show, like that there is a secret elite of seven people who control the world and have concocted a nefarious plot to depopulate earth’s human population by 90 percent?
“No, I believe in some of them. I don’t necessarily believe in all of them,” he said.
But you don’t conclude the batshit depopulation conspiracy is bunk?
“Because I don’t believe that all of it is.”
So you believe in the depopulation conspiracy?
“I believe Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill John Kennedy. I believe that. I believe that there is far more to 9-11 than quote, the official story,” he retorted, not answering the question.
But he did bring TheDC in on a new conspiracy he has uncovered for the new season of “Conspiracy Theory” coming this fall, though he says the U.S. government is preventing him from airing it.
“Well, they’re [the TSA] going to come out with these wrist bands so you don’t have to go through security anymore,” he explained. “It will have all your vitals on the wrist band. Sounds good, don’t it. … But you know what they are not telling you about the wrist band? The wrist band will be able to disable you like a taser if they want to.”
Towards the end of the interview, we got to the subject of Ventura’s Sept. 11 trutherism.
“I’ll give you another one on your 9-11,” he said.
“When I was doing our show we contacted the FBI and we wanted to know why the FBI — you can pull up their website, you can pull up international terrorists and they have a top 10 list and bin Laden was on it. He’s not now, but he was on it. They give you bin Laden’s summary – what he’s done: Attack on the USS Cole, attack on the U.S. Embassies, but amazingly not a word about 9-11. Not one word. … When we asked the FBI why isn’t 9-11 on there, they wouldn’t say. Off the record, you know what we got? We don’t have enough evidence.”
So what you’re saying, TheDC responded, is that the government orchestrated an elaborate conspiracy to take down the Twin Towers and kill 3,000 people, but the savvy conspirators couldn’t follow it up by getting the FBI to list Sept. 11 as a reason bin Laden was on its most wanted list?
“Why wasn’t it on there? Why didn’t they list 9-11? That’s the biggest crime in history!” he protested.
Ventura finally said that he believed that former Vice President Dick Cheney was responsible for orchestrating the Sept. 11 attacks. He said he thinks Cheney sent President George W. Bush to Florida on Sept. 11 so he could be in control of the government on that tragic day. But why would Cheney commit such a heinous crime?
“Halliburton,” Ventura whispered creepily, thinking he had provided a compelling answer.
But Cheney was already massively rich. Does Ventura really think Cheney killed thousands of Americans to get richer?
“With those guys you ain’t rich enough. Are you kidding me?” he said, before suggesting the most recent recession was also a conspiracy.
“So everybody lost wealth. You know who didn’t lose wealth? It’s in my book. The top 1 of 1 percent, the billionaires,” Ventura explained. “What does that tell me? They create the recessions so they can get richer.”
So the recession was manufactured?
“They all are. We have a recession a decade. They’re all done.”
Really, all recessions?
“No, I just think this last one was for sure,” he said, contradicting himself in less than 60 seconds.
Naturally, Ventura thinks he’s qualified to be president and that there is a groundswell of people out there who wish he would run. And he just might in 2016, he said, so long as a few conditions are met.
“My standard is if I can debate them, I can beat them,” he said.
“Here’s what it will take. I will run with no party. I will run as Jesse Ventura individual citizen. But it would require a grassroots move costing me and the campaign no money. No money. A grassroots move of the people to get me ballot access between now and 2016 in all 50 states. They’ve got three years to do it. In all 50 states get me ballot access and there must be an outcry that I must have a guarantee ironclad that I can be in the debates. … If that’s met, I would probably run for president.”
But that’s impossible, TheDC told him. How can he be guaranteed a slot in the debates?
“I need the people of the United states to show me some balls and give me a reason to put myself on the line again,” he argued. “And that’s what it would take. That if they said, Jesse Ventura can’t be in the debates, there should be 500,000 people at the Capitol protesting.”
Nearly an hour and a half after TheDC sat down with him, the interview came to a close. But as a parting gift, Ventura left TheDC with one more gem.
“Getting to Hugo Chavez, you know what Oliver Stone told me?” he asked rhetorically.
“Oliver told me, ‘Governor, you’d love Hugo Chavez because he’s you. You and him are alike. You’re men of the people. You come from poverty. Hugo comes from poverty. The only reason we hate Hugo Chavez is because he kicked out Exxon.'”
You heard it here first: Ventura-Chavez 2016.