OxBlog

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

# Posted 8:40 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE THOUGHT PROCESS OF A WRITER FOR THE NATION: I swear I didn't make this up. Nor is anything taken out of context. It's all on the Nation's website, in a post by William Greider:
Okay, I admit it. As the election approaches, I am feeling a creepy sense of paranoia. My right brain reads the newspapers, studies the polls and thinks we are looking at a blow-out next month--Dems conquer at last. My left brain hoots in derision. Get real, sucker...

Yet the least little thing jerks away my optimism, like ripping off a scab that's not quite healed. When I heard the news flash that a plane had crashed into a Manhattan apartment tower, I didn't think, how horrible. I said to myself: those rotten bastards in the White House.
I wasn't thinking terrorists. I was thinking the Bush regime had gone to new extremes in its search for a believable "red alert." That tactic is worn out, it's been used so many times in election seasons. Instead, why not blow up a chunk of New York City to remind folks how scary life can be in these United States? Okay, that thought is irrational (also slanderous). But office conversations the next day told me I was not alone.
That's a very unusual office, to the say the least.
(49) opinions -- Add your opinion

Comments:
They're all like that, David. Around 90% of the Democratic voters are morons, but about 30% of that last 10% are conspiracy theorists who have gone off the deep end. They are rabid--and that's a better word for them than paranoid.
 
Exguru,
Don't think the right doesn't have it's fair share of conspiracy theorists. I remember all too well during the Clinton years hearing about how Clinton would declare marshall law because of Y2K, and never leave office. People on the far left/right who absolutely hate the opposite party allow that hate to cloud any kind of rational thought.
 
I agree with exguru. I live in NYC and know enough liberals to say that Greider's office may be unusual but his thinking is not. It's so common it's cliche.

john--you're right too. The right does have plenty of nut jobs as well, but the difference is the left nut jobs are not languishing on the far extreme--they are the mainstream of today's liberal thought.
 
John is right -- it's not the fact that these lefties are nuts. It's the fact that they write for THE NATION that boggles the mind. The loony left is now the mainstream left. Just ask Joe Lieberman.
 
Unfortunately, these days I don't think that office is unusual enough.
 
I don't believe that a large percentage of either party's voters are morons. I think what tends to divide voters is culture and values, not intellectual capability.

Both sides definitely have their conspiracy theorists. My sense is that such inane thinking gradually intensifies the longer that one's party doesn't control the White House.
 
I'm about has hard right as they come and I can say with certainty that I never heard ANYTHING along the lines of Clinton was going to declare martial law because of Y2K in order to stay in office. I'd love to see a MSM example of such paranoid conspiracy theorizing from the right during that period.

--Jason
 
john phillippe:

There is an eensy weensy difference between right and left conspiracy mongers.

At the 1996 and 2000 Republican conventions, among the guests of honor were none that claimed that the President was smuggling drugs through an airfield in Florida. Michael Moore, who makes a living accusing President Bush of dark and evil things, sat with President Carter at the 2004 Democratic convention.

During the 2000 campaign, Republican candidates did not actively pander to radio audiences that believed that Hillary Clinton murdered a member of her staff. In 2004, and moreso in 2006, Democratic candidates have spoken at conventions organized by DailyKos contributors, who have accused President Bush of murdering Senator Wellstone, and far worse.

The right-side conspiracy buffs were, and are, marginalized and even mocked by conservative politicians. On the other side of the aisle, the contrary is true.
 
I remember during the early days of the Clinton administration some right-wing nut-job talking about government hit-squads burning churches and gunning down the fleeing families from helicopter gunships. Can you imagine that!

Oh, wait...
 
The difference between right-wing kooks and left-wing kooks is that the former are closeted away in Idaho out of sight, while the latter are working in NY and DC publishing. One of those groups is more visible and has a louder voice, and it ain't the ranchers in the hinterlands.

So yeah both parties have their nutjobs, but the Dems are giving their fruitcakes position of authority.
 
I remember an essay in Rolling Stone after the 1987 stock market melt down that Greider wrote. I had friends calling me after reading it sure the world would inevitably collapse into an economic depression to rival the 1930's. Japan was eating our lunch and we needed to look to Japan and Europe for answers. What a pile of hooey that was, and I said so at the time. That this man is given a platform to discuss economic issues tells you what you need to know about the level of thinking at the Nation
 
Perhaps not such a far fetched fear, after all. Allow me to direct you to the folowing link:
"The Corey Lidle Assassination; Bush's October Surprise?"

http://www.blamebush.typepad.com/

Scroll down to the third article .
 
One other thing . . . rocket-scientist-lib-writer mangles the "right brain" v. "left brain" metaphor. It may come as a shock to a Nation writer, but scientists didn't label the biological phenomenon in reference to the political/ideological spectrum.
 
That's an interesting blockquote. Well, I never heard that in my office! At any rate, on a more serious note, please do check this study out. We've created a foreign policy index to measure just how nervous Americans are about foreign policy issues...read this:

Here at Public Agenda, we’ve released a report that will provide political bloggers with Americans’ opinions on foreign policy issues, and is certain to be a basis for political commentary.

In a world strewn with violence and highly-charged international issues, Americans are taking notice. Using our “Anxiety Indicator,” Public Agenda has found some hard-hitting trends in American opinions and fears regarding U.S. foreign policy.

Here at Public Agenda, we’re dedicated to finding out where the nation stands, and through the creation of our “Anxiety Indicator,” we’ve been able to do just that. Our findings are extensive and expose the fact that citizens are broadly uneasy about American foreign policy.

In fact, the public lacks confidence in the measures being taken to ensure America’s security. Less than 33% of Americans give the U.S. government an “A” or a “B” grade for its execution of the following foreign policy issues: reaching goals in Iraq and Afghanistan, maintaining good relationships with Muslim countries and protecting U.S. borders from illegal immigration. And these are just a few of the findings.

According to the indicator, eight in10 Americans feel the world is becoming a more dangerous place for Americans. The Foreign Policy Index also takes into account citizens’ feelings on 25 influential international issues. Want to learn more? Go to http://www.publicagenda.org/foreignpolicy/index.cfm to download the report.

These are some of the other startling findings:

- 83 percent say they are worried about the way things are going for the United States in world affairs (35 percent worry "a lot", with an additional 48 percent saying they worry "somewhat.")
- 79 percent say the world is becoming more dangerous for the United States and the American people
- 69 percent say the United States is doing a fair or poor job in creating a more peaceful and prosperous world
- 64 percent say the rest of the world sees the United States negatively
- 58 percent say U.S. relations with the rest of the world are on the wrong track
 
I don't think anyone with a brain would believe that "90% of Democratic voters are morons." It took me a long time to grow up and realize that people could disagree with me and still not be idiots.
But this conspiracy thinking makes me sick at my stomach. It sounds like the same thing coming from the ROP.
 
Perhaps this office needs a thorazine saltlick, or prozac in the airfiltration system. There are some good new meds now for those with delusional disorders.
 
"Michael Moore, who makes a living accusing President Bush of dark and evil things"

Name one thing from Farenheit 9/11 that Michael Moore presented as fact, not theory, that isn't factual.
 
I think the right brain/left brain usage is appropriate but, IIRC, he got it wrong. The rational brain (which one would assume is the one reading the polls and seeing victory) is the LEFT brain and the emotional/artistic side is the RIGHT brain. On the other hand, I think I saw something recently which said that scientists have completely abandoned this construct anyway!
 
"That's a very unusual office, to the say the least."

Must be working with a bunch of "Bush=Hitler" type.
 
I guess I'll amend my previous comment a bit. I agree 100% that most of the right wing conspiracy theorists are pretty well marginalized. My point was that they do exist. It is sad how much people on the left are willing to believe conspiracy stuff about Bush. I've got a bet with a buddy of mine who thinks Bush will still be in office after January 20th, 2009 (assuming that's the Official inauguration date.) He's got no proof or even good evidence, just a feeling/suspicion...
 
Wow, Greider is a truther?

I always knew he as loopy, but this places him firmly into the clinical insanity category.
 
I agree the conspiracy stuff about Bush is not likely.

It really is simpler than that. His actions suggest a much simpler explanation.

He is not a very bright bulb.
 
According to John, I agree 100% that most of the right wing conspiracy theorists are pretty well marginalized.

Is Cheney marginalized?

CHENEY: It shows him being interviewed or meeting with another individual, apparently a cleric, talking about the events of September 11. And it's pretty clear, as it's described to me, that he does, in fact, display significant knowledge of what happened, and there's no doubt about his responsibility for the attack on September 11.

CHENEY: Now, we've known that all along. There's been some dispute in some quarters about it, but this is one more piece of evidence confirming his responsibility for what happened on 9-11.

For the record, John, do you believe Cheney?
 
"Name one thing from Farenheit 9/11 that Michael Moore presented as fact, not theory, that isn't factual."

Just one?
The movie states as fact that Fox was first to call Florida for Bush in 2000, and the other big ones followed this small network. That's a lie. CBS was first, and all networks used the same polling data, which makes the statement that the other "followed FOX" a lie.
And that's just the beginning of the movie.

Most propagandist never really come out and flat out lie. They prefer to pick and choose what they show, imply what's missing, and use narrative so that the viewer assumes it's fact. That's why that sort of storytelling is not allowed in courts. At least not in US courts...
 
The real difference between left and right nutjobs is that the former are paying the bills for the Democrats and the latter are minor contributors to the RNC. "We bought it, we own it (the Democrat Party)!" was Moveon's boast and they weren't far from the truth. Most of the Democrat Party's contributions come either from liberal, slightly kooky rich people (like Barbara Steisand) or the army of nutjobs who haunt the Daily Kos and Moveon.org websites. Republican contributors are conservative, fairly sane people and much more representative of the American people.

If the Swimmer didn't act nuts he'd be bounced out of his Mass. Senate seat and he knows it - look what they did to Liebermann. No "rightwing nutjob" group is in a position to do that to any Republican politician, however. On the contrary, Republicans who do/believe/say crazy things are punished at the polls by their base. They're shunned by their peers, even asked to resign for the good of the Party. The GOP base won't stand for the kind of nonsense the Democrat base demands of its politicians.
 
On the broader point of voter sanity and nutjobs: http://theforvm.org/diary/m-aurelius-of-violins-and-violin-cases#comment-1326
 
Anon (1:35pm) writes:

CHENEY: It shows him being interviewed or meeting with another individual, apparently a cleric, talking about the events of September 11. And it's pretty clear, as it's described to me, that he does, in fact, display significant knowledge of what happened, and there's no doubt about his responsibility for the attack on September 11.

CHENEY: Now, we've known that all along. There's been some dispute in some quarters about it, but this is one more piece of evidence confirming his responsibility for what happened on 9-11.

For the record, John, do you believe Cheney?


First, Anon, your link doesn't work.

More importantly, though, the question was about OSAMA BIN LADEN.

Here's the question: RUSSERT: The Washington Post reports today there is a new tape of Osama bin Laden where he expresses advanced knowledge of the attack on the World Trade Center and seems to even suggest responsibility. Have you seen that tape or do you know of it?

So, Anon(1:35pm), are you trying to tell us that it is a conspriacy theory had foreknowledge of, and is responsible for, the 9/11 attacks???

Yikes.
 
http://www.davekopel.com/Terror/Fiftysix-Deceits-in-Fahrenheit-911.htm
 
I think they're seriously disappointed that their own pet conspiracies and alarmist prognostications (conspiracies to-be) randomly among them: Global Warming, Big Oil prices, the Draft, the Economy, the Deficit, Second-hand Smoke, Trans-fats, Mercury in Fish, Gun-ownership, etc., doesn't get as much traction -- that their whole belief-system is based on their own smoke-and-mirrors.
 
The issue is word choice. Moron reminds me of Ron Reagan. A more apt word for us DEMS POST 9-11 is ASSHOLES,thanx.
 
so writers for the nation are said to be given high positions by the Democrats, ergo, they like their moonbats and exalt them, the GOP pushes their loonies out of the party.

Hmm...I guess that would explain this:
http://www.slate.com/id/2151647/?nav=tap3
 
I like to think that given any sampling of people you are going to find an equal share of conspiracy theorists, as well as people who do not care to connect all the dots (don't care for the 'm' word).

The strength of the right (and why I lean that direction) is that more people on this side are focused on issues and solutions, rather than persons and behavior.

The left's issue is "conspiracy and corruption in congress". Amen to that, I thought that was a plank of the right's platform. "Less is better" because that means less corruption.

When we take the flashlights off 'people' and go back to issues, we find that the left's issues just aren't popular. It is why I believe they continually focus on people rather than issues.
 
My very bad. Let's try this again.

First, 69% of Americans in 2003 believed that Saddam had a role in 9/11. The 911 Commission found that there was no link between Saddam and al-Qaeda, let alone Saddam and 911.

And even Cheney admits that Saddam had nothing to do with 911:

MR. RUSSERT: Do we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to this operation?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No.


He claims that he was misinterpreted:

Q I want to be clear because I've heard you say this, and I've heard the President say it, but I want you to say it for my listeners, which is that the White House has never argued that Saddam was directly involved in September 11th, correct?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: That's correct.


Yet he still claims without evidence that there was a link between Saddam and al-Qaeda and by implicit implication to 911:

What was never established was that there was -- that -- a link between Iraq and the attacks of 9/11.

Q Right, and I've heard you and the President say that many times.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: That's right.

Q And you correct it any time somebody tries to raise it.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: That's right. And so what some people have done is gotten very sloppy and said, well, there was no link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, and then jumped to the conclusion that there was no relationship at all with respect to al Qaeda.


In the midst of all of these denials and parsings, the hallmarks of clear leadership, Cheney did say:

then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.

I'll give Cheney credit for being clever as a master of conflation. But 69% of the American people, less than exguru's 90% to be sure, believed a 'conspiracy theory.' And even that is understandable since Americans want to believe their leaders. But after three years of war with the facts finally coming out you'd have to be a gullible moron to believe the Republicans.
 
Jason,

You wrote, "I'm about has hard right as they come and I can say with certainty that I never heard ANYTHING along the lines of Clinton was going to declare martial law because of Y2K in order to stay in office. I'd love to see a MSM example of such paranoid conspiracy theorizing from the right during that period."

You're setting the bar a little high there, Jason. Pretty much by definition, conspiracy theorists are on the margins and their theories don't get reported by the MSM. But I can personally verify that there were folks on the right who professed that theory, or at least professed to profess it! You just weren't hanging out in the right forums. I was. I never personally bought into that theory -- at least I don't think I did -- but I certainly heard it floated, and I seriously entertained plenty of other wacky s*** myself.
 
"The movie states as fact that Fox was first to call Florida for Bush in 2000, and the other big ones followed this small network. That's a lie. CBS was first, and all networks used the same polling data, which makes the statement that the other "followed FOX" a lie."

CBS was not first to call Florida for Bush. They were the first to retract giving it to Gore and labeling it too close to call.
 
Anonymous : 3:37 PM -- conspiracy theorists don't get reported by the MSM? Heh -- CBS is no longer MSM, then, I suppose, after the "some people are suggesting that, since lower gas prices are good for Bush, he caused the high ones so that he can now lower them" piece Katie Couric did (last thing I watched with her before I switched back to Brian Williams).
 
Perhaps this was because you didn't understand that the story was on conspiracy theorists.
 
Regarding Iraq, the Bush administration, the mainstream media and the perception of the American people that nothing is going right.... the heart of the issue lies in the fact that all sides have tried to spin the events of the past five years into something that it isn't. What we have here is failure to communicate.

1) Regarding the war in Iraq and 9-11:

First of all, the Bush administration never called military operations subsequent to 9-11 as the war on Al-Quaeda. It was called the War on Terror, which is quite open-ended. People may have *assumed* that it was solely about OBL and Al-Quaeda, but it wasn't.

2) Regarding the war in Iraq and "cassus belli":

While the mainstream media and some bloggers refer to military operations in Iraq as Gulf War II, in reality, it is a resumption of hostilities of Gulf War I. GWI never ended. Or, rather, while there may have been a ceasefire in place, a treaty with Saddam's government was never signed. Hence, all the brouhaha over "no-fly zones" and weapons inspections. Those issues were conditions under which the ceasefire would hold. Iraq kicks the weapons inspectors out, the ceasefire is no longer binding.

Clinton felt it was an important enough issue that he almost ordered the resumption of hostilities against Saddam, but didn't. The reasons remain his.

Even so, with an inherited cassus belli in his pocket, Bush didn't order us into a conflict with Iraq when he took office and showed no signs of doing so. That is, until 9/11 showed him, and quite a few of us, that leaving unresolved threats alone was not the proper course of action.

As a matter of fact, if you look at the text of the House and Senate resolutions granting Bush to resume GWI, or start GWII, depending on your point of view, you will see that the failure to abide by UN sanctions figures prominently. THERE IS NO MENTION of 9-11 IN THESE RESOLUTIONS.

9-11 was a catalyst to a policy change. It was not the reason behind the re-invasion of Iraq in 2003.

3) The war in Iraq is over.

Not to be pedantic, but words have meaning. Active military operations were over a long time ago. What is going on in Iraq is an occupaton. A benevolent one, or not, again depending on your point of view, but it is not a war. Otherwise, we can say that WWII never ended b/c we still station troops in both Germany and Japan (Okinawa) and the US Civil War didn't end until some time after 1865.

4) The distinct lack of respect for the intelligence of the American people.

There were many reasons behind the events of the past few years, but I don't remember anyone, be they Dem or Repub, MSM or administration, centrist or conspiracy nutjob presenting a case on the war in Iraq using those terms above. I sometimes wonder why and the only thing that seems to explain it all is that noone is willing to rely on cold, hard facts or the intelligence of the American people.

Then again, after reading what I've read in the past few years, perhaps they were right....
 
"Hmm...I guess that would explain this:
http://www.slate.com/id/2151647/?nav=tap3"

point proven. who's more powerful, a nobody rep from IDAHO. or Charlie Rangel?
 
"Yet [Cheney] still claims without evidence that there was a link between Saddam and al-Qaeda"

So does the 9/11 commission, who said that there was absolutely a relationship.

Also note, the senate intel committee report did not disprove a connection, but merely stated that there was a lack of evidence.

Based on all the above, it seems to me that the crackpot theory is believing that there was no connection.
 
Ursus

the 9/11 Commission said there was no link with Saddam.

None.
None.
None. Read the 9/11 Commission Report Section 10.3 "PHASE TWO" AND THE QUESTION OF IRAQ

From Chapter 2, "Moreover, Bin Ladin had in fact been sponsoring anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan, and sought to attract them into his Islamic army."

Saddam was a really, really bad guy. There are no shortage of really bad guys out there.
 
Anonymous : 4:19 PM -- my comments were in response to the claim that conspiracy theorists are so marginalized that their theories are not reported by the MSM; I gave an example of recent conspiracy theory reporting.
 
As for the why that was the final reason for my return to NBC -- that was in the "well, there's no evidence for it, but it's not impossible" way it was presented.
 
Adrienne,

OK, perhaps my claim was a little too broad. How about this: conspiracy theories generally aren't reported by the MSM except in the rare report that outlines a couple of them in order to ask the question, "how can people be this stupid?," or for similar purposes (such as Popular Mechanics' rebuttal of 9/11 conspiracy theories . . . if you count PM as "MSM"). I think lefty conspiracy theorists may gain a little more traction than their opposite number on the right, but the really wacky stuff -- like Clinton using Y2K to declare martial law and seize power -- is out of bounds regardless of its origin.
 
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0406/18/ltm.04.html

JAMES THOMPSON, 9/11 COMMISSIONER: Good morning.

O'BRIEN: So, we hear from both President Bush and Dick Cheney clearly there was a relationship.

Does your report contradict what the White House is saying?

THOMPSON: Not at all. In fact, the report says that President Bush and Vice President Cheney are correct. It's a little mystifying to me why some elements of the press have tried to stir this up as a big controversy and a big point of contradiction, because there is none.

We said there's no evidence to support the notion that al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein collaborated together to produce 9/11. President Bush said that weeks ago. He said it again yesterday. The vice president said it again yesterday. I said it again yesterday in television interviews. What we did say was there were contacts between al Qaeda and the Iraqi administration of Saddam Hussein. And the president has said there were contacts. The vice president has said there were contacts. They may be in possession of information about contacts beyond those that we found. I don't know. That wasn't any of our business. Our business was 9/11.

So there is no controversy. There's no contradiction and this is not an issue.

O'BRIEN: He actually said more than just contacts. He said clearly there's a relationship and there were these long established ties.

But you're saying essentially that you're both right, so I'm going to move on.

THOMPSON: Right.
 
wow. this little discussion was revealing. at least i now know not to take 'exguru', whoever he/she/it may be, seriously again.
 
A congessman has more power than a writer for a narrowcasted magazine.
 
I think they're seriously disappointed that their own pet conspiracies and alarmist prognostications (conspiracies to-be) randomly among them: Global Warming, Big Oil prices, the Draft, the Economy, the Deficit, Second-hand Smoke, Trans-fats, Mercury in Fish, Gun-ownership, etc., doesn't get as much traction -- that their whole belief-system is based on their own smoke-and-mirrors.

as opposed to illegals taking over America, Gays destroying family life as we know it, and flags being burned everywhere?
 
I was talking to a teacher from Texas the other day, and the subject of the Texas high school football culture came up. I'm sure I don't have to explain it.

"Bush." snorted another person.

Krauthammer's BDS seems to be a valid description.

You can be nuts without a full-length conspiracy theory.
 
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