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July 02, 2006

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"Think about it this way: the Travel section is aimed at people with money. Osama bin Laden has money. It doesn't take a genius to connect the dots."

Perhaps the finest bit of reasoning you've ever done, Hilzoy.

You now have me wondering if Warren Buffett's continued residence in the small family home in Nebraska is all part of a great conspiracy--after the terrorists strike and destroy everyone else, he will seize power in the Berkshire Putsch

The ultimate liberal fantasy, realized at last.

I always thought the ultimate liberal fantasy involved whipped cream.

Or is that just me?

sigh...

I wish this would work. I wish that scathing ridicule and relentless satire of right-wing idiocy would actually bring a few people to their senses.

But it won't. Instead, we could start up an office pool right now on how long it will take for some witless winger to link to this story in full earnest, possibly quoting a stirring line or two of your tongue-in-cheek condemnation, and reciting it with full approval.

Some of the finest, shrillest snark I've ever seen from you, Hilzoy.

My only regret is that the real wingnuts--the ones who most need to take this to heart--are beyond help.

"Any American who dared to achieve greatness will have been struck down. Those who remain will be bewildered, leaderless, and alone, with no one but the elitist liberal press and some surviving activist judges to guide them. Bill Keller and his minions will finally have masses of frightened, bewildered people under their beneficent but total control."

Hmm, didn't I say I have been reading Robespierre and Marat lately? I mean, you describe this like it would be a bad thing. I mean, in only a couple years R & M were dead, and before you knew it the French had universal health care and August off.

Can't make an omelette...

I always thought the ultimate liberal fantasy involved whipped cream.

No, the ultimate liberal fantasy involves vegan whipped cream, probably soy-derived.

But hilzoy, you forgot to mention google's part in the conspiracy. Surely google map is part of the vast conspiracy to off the leaders. Punching "Bill Clinton's house" into google map you can get the location of his office in Manhattan and, oddly, Fox New's NYC location although not, for some reason, his upstate house. Possibly that's in Senator Clinton's name. Nonetheless, clear evidence that google is out to get the country's leaders, including its media leaders, eh?

This is actually part of the ongoing war being waged by local governments against the federal one. It's not, as far as I know, the Federal one that demands deeds be recorded.

Heh.

Armando

Hilzoy,

I love you when you're being snarky!

Is this your Daily Show try out?

Hahaha, Rumsfeld lives at Mount Misery.

Ah, a wonderful Sunday night chuckle. Best served cold with whipped cream. Excellent!

it's funny how stupid they are, but also depressing at some level.

This "outrage" really is bizarre.

I try to understand how, in good faith, people can feel upset over this, how it represents a "threat" of any kind. If someone genuinely believes that no one's personal information should ever be public, then I can understand anger at invasion of privacy (although it must be noted that this kind of thing happens to public figures all the time, so to be angry now seems odd).

But to equate this with "an invitation to terrorists" just boggles the mind. Especially since this kind of information has been published many times, for many different public figures, without any "outrage" (at least that I am aware of).

So I just can't believe that the Powerlines, Malkins, etc are arguing in good faith. It's faux outrage, devised to fire up the base, regardless of evidence to the contrary; or they really are (as much as I hate the term) "unhinged". Either way, how anyone can consider them credible pundits, worthy of airtime, is beyond my ken.


The fatal flaw in this argument is this: It is grounded on the assumption that bin Laden would want Bush, Rumsfield, Cheney et al to be removed from the scene. In fact, these people have become the most effective recruiters al Qaeda could ever imagine. Osama would get W elected to another term if he could.

JC

Osama would get W elected to another term if he could.

I sometimes think that the converse is true as well: that W doesn't want Osama to be found because if he were who would W use as a boogyman to scare the base into behaving? War is peace, you know, and you can't continue a war if you win. Other times I think I'm just being paranoid.

it's funny how stupid they are, but also depressing at some level.

That captures it. What kind of morons are these people?

Things take an even nastier turn.(see update 3 in Greenwald. Oh and update 4 cites Gary)

And Charles Bird http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/07/conservative-pundits-reveal-murderous.html#c115182249864004603>comments in Greenwald as well, but does not make an impressive argument, IMHO.

I've been saying for the last four years that the people in charge in this country, and their cheerleading moron minions, are absolutely not going to be happy until they see someone convicted of and executed for treason. After all, the Cold War had the Rosenbergs, and dammit, in the current war, they're going to get their Rosenbergs no matter what it takes, no matter how frivolous the charge they need to level.

They're bloodthirsty, and I'm glad that hilzoy can manage to find the humor and level the funny at them; because frankly, more than anything else, it frightens me.

And Charles Bird accusing another human being of boundless stupidity, per jethro's link? The mind boggles.

"Osama would get W elected to another term if he could."

Suskind specifically discusses this -- that that was the CIA conclusion -- in "The One-Percent Doctrine," I believe; I'm forgetting where I read the excerpt in the past couple of days.

Don't know if you saw it here, but is was at Washington Monthly

What makes this all so stupid (the Travel Section stuff, I mean) is that you can get more or less anyone's address from tax records online, if you know what county they live in. E.g.: go here, accept the disclaimer, click 'search by owner name', and type in 'Rove'.

Oops, you have to click 'search records' first.

And Charles Bird accusing another human being of boundless stupidity, per jethro's link? The mind boggles.

CB has been shown a great deal of good will over the years here by some very good hearted people.

And he doesn't deserve it, as this comment at Greenwald displays.

I wish I could laugh, but these people aren't funny anymore, if they ever were. They're dangerous, either lunatics or opportunists fed by lunatics, and they're throwing matches at a powder keg. I'm sad to see that includes CB.

And Charles Bird comments in Greenwald as well, but does not make an impressive argument, IMHO.

Not to pile on or anything but: good lord, talk about stupidity knowing no bounds.

"Don't know if you saw it here, but is was at Washington Monthly"

Yeah, that's where. Oddly, that's where I remembered it being, and went to check, but somehow didn't see it; I must have somehow skipped over it when I checked back.

"CB has been shown a great deal of good will over the years here by some very good hearted people.

And he doesn't deserve it, as this comment at Greenwald displays."

Now, look, I think I've held Charles' feet to the fire about as much as anyone, but I don't think a passing remark about being "stupid" made in the middle of the night is a significant thing to be worked up about. In fact, it's outright silly.

Charles going on at length about, say, how we really didn't lose the Vietnam War, and that it's just that Democrats lost it by cutting off aid -- that's the sort of nonsense Charles needs to be forced to confront and deal with. A passing adjective is trivial.

"What makes this all so stupid (the Travel Section stuff, I mean) is that you can get more or less anyone's address from tax records online"

Well, also the notion that there's something unusual about the homes of the rich and famous and powerful being written about. I guess Architectural Digest is one massive al Qaeda conspiracy.

Assuming that at least some of these people in hysterics are at least semi-sincere -- and I think at least some somehow are -- there's something to be teased out of the sort of psychological dysfunction that allows people to twist information into that sort of crazedly paranoid interpretation, but I can't say I begin to fully understand it myself.

Part of it is sheer ignorance, I think. Part of it is having such a narrow and paranoid worldview, that like any paranoid, all incoming information is twisted and made to fit The Conspiracy.

But I'm sure there's yet more.

There is something kind of train-wreck fascinating to watch such group psychosis play out in public.

But it's also fairly frightening, given the numbers, and that some of its members are taken politically seriously by so many. I'm afraid it's got a real Sturm Abteilung feel.

but I don't think a passing remark about being "stupid" made in the middle of the night is a significant thing to be worked up about.

I'm of two minds about this. I agree that there are certainly better things to get worked up about, but if we've reached a point where 'serious' conservative bloggers like Charles (of course YMMV) feel it is an appropriate use of time and effort to make drive-by comments about someone like Glenn Greenwald being stupid (I imagine it would be pronounced more like "stooopid") points to a certain irrelevance of the 'conservative' point of view to discussion and debate.

Any American who dared to achieve greatness will have been struck down.

Make up your mind - are they going after the Bush administration or not?

'serious' conservative bloggers like Charles (of course YMMV)

My M Vs quite a bit, there.

I'm afraid it's got a real Sturm Abteilung feel.

Ironically, it feels more like Der Stürmer (or maybe the Völkischer Beobachter?) to me. Not enough boots on the ground to be the SA. Yet.

And, since this was omitted:

*ritual genuflection Godwin-wards*

You may now continue with your regularly scheduled thread.

Next, an umlaut tax...

I read my way down the RedState thread in a state of mild disbelief: no sanity? No right-wingers saying "oh come off it?" Just an endless succession of people claiming that even if the information is available elsewhere, even if similar stories have been published elsewhere by right-wing newspapers, this is still a "slap in the face" by the NYT...

It's the echo chamber effect, I guess. Makes it impossible for anyone involved to actually step back, look at it quietly, and say "What on earth are we getting worked up about?"

PS: The ultimate liberal fantasy involves heavy double cream spooned liberally over freshly-picked ripe raspberries with crunchy brown sugar crystals. Oh, and Sigourney Weaver.

At least one commenter at Goldstein (shudder) makes the obvious point that this piece, given the lead times and editorial policies of the non-news sections of the paper, has probably been in the can and scheduled to run for weeks now. Heaven forfend that a fact intrude on their freakish worldview, though.

I'm beginning to believe that American conservatism just might be a mental illness of some kind.

Phil, I think that trying to find a position from which one can appear sane/sensible/intelligent and still defend what American conservatism is doing is an obsession with some right-wingers, but a mental illness?

What many American conservatives seem to be trying to do is mount a backwards defense - the reverse of 20/20 hindsight. They were wrong to support Bush, they were wrong to support the invasion of Iraq, they were wrong to support setting up Guantanamo Bay outside the Geneva Conventions, and on some level, they must know it: but it has become important to them to be able to claim that they were right all along. Even if they are now claiming not to be Bush supporters, they still want to believe that they were right to support Bush in 2004, right to support the invasion in 2003, right to support Guantanamo Bay in 2002.

I can, in a weird sort of way, kind of sympathize: it must suck to have been so thoroughly wrong for years. But I'd sympathize more if, in frozen embarrassment, they just didn't want to talk about it: their frantic backformatting struggles for self-justification against what they know now aren't pretty. Conscious deliberate denial of the facts is standard in political argumentation for every conservative viewpoint from denying women the right to choose to denying that the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen: if it's a form of mental illness, it's so common that it has to be considered normality.

PS: The ultimate liberal fantasy involves heavy double cream spooned liberally over freshly-picked ripe raspberries with crunchy brown sugar crystals. Oh, and Sigourney Weaver.

I've got the raspberries! At least, in about five days, my backyard will be ripe raspberries as far as the eye can see. Who's up for some ultimate liberal fantasy?

I take it back. Given the nine points that all good conservatives believe, yes, being conservative is a mental illness.

Mmmm, raspberries. I'll bring the cream.

All this talk of raspberries is just another subtle liberal threat against conservatives, isn't it? You (and the MSM) pretend that they're just some innocent little delicious fruit, all the while hiding your true deadly intent. Harmless looking thing, isn't it? I'm not scared, though. I dare you, come at me with that raspberry. Come on. Be as vicious as you like with it.

PS remember, the 16-ton weight is just one way of dealing with a raspberry killer. There are millions of others!

Oh how delicious, finally crafted hilzoy snark w/ my morning coffee.

In light of recent themes here, I rise in defense of my fellow libertarians at Reason where Jesse Walker comments:

This isn't a tough call at all. Either you immediately recognize that the Powerline/Horowitz/etc. complaints are completely f*cking idiotic, or you're batsh*t insane. There is no third option.

I would also note that a newish right-of-center blogger who is making a bit of a splash, Ilyka Damen, announces in a post titled Off the Rails:

Querida Clearly Insane People:

Hi! Supposedly you clearly insane people are "on my side," but you know something? This is no "side" I recognize. This is utterly despicable, is what it is.

It'd be nice if some of the bigger bloggers on "my side" would denounce this insanity- ...

outstanding post. simple outstanding.

Mona, unfortunately Ilyka Damen's accusation of insanity seems to be only about the posting of the journalist's address, not about the idea that the Times is working with al-Qaida to target members of the administration. In fact she seems to endorse that part of the insanity by drawing a parallel between the "sides".

yes, the "AntiIdiotarian Rottweiler" is a great one to be whining about the perils of publishing addresses of his political opponents.

maybe the difference is that The Times didn't include some death threats in thie piece. maybe he'd be a little less upset if The Times had written something like:

    Not saying anything in specific, mind you, but we'd be damn careful about showing our face in public if we were you. You just never know who that perfect stranger behind you in that alleyway might be. Could be a sibling or other relative of one of the fallen soldiers that you just took a dump on the grave of, and G-d only knows what might happen then.

    Eric may not be famous enough to be a pick for the 2004 Dead Pool, but there's another signed Imperial Mug for the first LC to inform me that Eric Blumrich has died in a "tragic" accident.

    Accidents DO happen, you know, and that's the kind of news that would definitely make my entire day.

yeah, that's probably the difference.

KCinDC writes: Mona, unfortunately Ilyka Damen's accusation of insanity seems to be only about the posting of the journalist's address, not about the idea that the Times is working with al-Qaida to target members of the administration. In fact she seems to endorse that part of the insanity by drawing a parallel between the "sides".

WRT "the sides" issue, I think she just means she is sick of the "who did it first" debate in terms of publishing private contact info; she doesn't care, and simply announces that enough is enough. As for the underlying insanity of interpreting the NYT Travel section as aiding AQ, while she doesn't specifically address that, she approvingly links to Glenn Greenwald and Jesus' General who most extensively do.

Not meaning to bust your chops, Mona, but that Ilyka Damen post has the following update, which strikes me as exposing the fragile underbelly of libertarianism.

UPDATE: Thanks to some a**hole who posted Rocco whatever-his-name-is's address in the comments to this post, I've had to enable comment moderation. Your comment will appear when I approve it, and not until.

I think you should all know that I HATE COMMENT MODERATION, because it's a pain in my a** and yours. But that's the way it has to be so long as imbeciles think the solution to this problem, this problem of people posting personal information on the internet, is to post more personal information on the internet.

Just terrific. I can't even take a nap without some dips**t bringing the crazy here.(slightly edited)

I realize that this doesn't constitute a formal counterexample to libertarianism, but I just found it ironic.

The conspiracy widens. Rumsfeld was involved in the plot against himself.

"Ironically, it feels more like Der Stürmer (or maybe the Völkischer Beobachter?) to me. Not enough boots on the ground to be the SA. Yet."

Ah, but in the 21st century, we can start with a virtual Sturm Abteilung.

Jesurgislac: "Given the nine points that all good conservatives believe, yes, being conservative is a mental illness."

Even taking this, arguendo, as containing some irony, it doesn't seem to have much to do with what "conservatives" beyond what the nutbar religious fundamentalist extremists think, which is hardly all conservatives, convenient as it might be to paint otherwise (and similarly some might claim, with similar accuracy, that all on the left oppose fighting the Taliban, want to stamp out religion, and don't believe there's any terrorist threat).

True, Gary, except that the people on the left you mention are not represented among members of Congress or other elected officials, while the "nutbar religious fundamentalist extremists" are.

Now, look, I think I've held Charles' feet to the fire about as much as anyone, but I don't think a passing remark about being "stupid" made in the middle of the night is a significant thing to be worked up about. In fact, it's outright silly.

I disagree. Given the information contained in the Greenwald post - the previously published articles that disclosed Rumsfeld and Cheney's addresses, the publishing of the photographer's address and the thinly veiled threat, etc - displays that CB didn't bother reading what he was moved to comment on, and that's the kind interpretation. Contemptuous on his part, at the very least.

Over the years, CB has written long posts and short comments. People on Obsidian Wings have continually shown him respect by reading in entirety what he writes. Some might not always be polite in wording their responses, but they at least examine CB's ideas. This respect is not returned.

Was it worth my time to actually comment about it? That's another issue. But I don't think it's silly.

"True, Gary, except that the people on the left you mention are not represented among members of Congress or other elected officials, while the "nutbar religious fundamentalist extremists" are."

True.

"People on Obsidian Wings have continually shown him respect by reading in entirety what he writes. Some might not always be polite in wording their responses, but they at least examine CB's ideas. This respect is not returned."

I may have missed prior examples, but I seem to recall having been the lead person documenting that. So I'm not apt to disagree. I merely said that I'm not going to get worked up over a passing remark in the middle of the night calling someone "stupid." YMMV.

liberal japonicus writes: I realize that this doesn't constitute a formal counterexample to libertarianism, but I just found it ironic.

Oh, I don't think and did not say that Ilyka Damen is a libertarian -- I described her as a "right-of-center" blogger, which as best I can tell she is. But Reason -- which is a libertarian outfit -- was having none of the nonsense, and Jim Henley just jumped into the ridicule-fest over there.

Further, Greenwald deleted the same personal contact info, likely from the same anon commenter that struck at Damen's. Greenwald certainly has a libertarian streak. Moreover, I would also, as a blogger, delete such info; no one has a right to use my pty to facilitate the harassment of others, and there ain't nothing un-libertarian about that notion.

BTW, Greenwald is reporting email from the photographer, advising that she had Rumsfeld's permisison for the shots. When, oh when, will Goldstein, Hinderaker, Malkin et al. own their error and idiocy?

When, oh when, will Goldstein, Hinderaker, Malkin et al. own their error and idiocy?

When is "Never", Alex ?

Of course, you can find Donald Rumsfeld's address in DC on google in about 30 seconds. Why does google hate america?

Heck, cryptome even has handy dandy fly by pictures of Rumsfeld's residence:

Link.

"Heck, cryptome even"

Yes, well, much as I've greatly valued cryptome over many years, and occasionally link, as a cite proving mainstream standards, they're not precisely useful.

This kerfuffle reminds me slightly of the tsuris a few years ago over the revealing of Site R (the famous Cheney "undisclosed location) back in 2002, when I posted about how it wasn't "revealed" at all, but had been written about countless times over the years, to the point where I gave the phone number.

But the difference is that in 2002, or even in 2004 when there was a minor re-eruption, the insane-o-sphere hadn't really gotten going yet. (See posts here, here, and here, if you're nostalgic or weren't around.)

Gary: I was thinking of the 'crescent-shaped' memorial in PA, myself, as a sort of benchmark of right-wing web-based lunacy.

as a cite proving mainstream standards, they're not precisely useful.

I was thinking more along the lines of "how hard is it to find out where Rumsfeld lives," rather than for standards of what information about public officials is published.

From your first link:

There is, incidentally, another URL I'm not posting, because I'm not comfortable with its focus on security measures on the site, even though it's more descriptive than detailed.

Did you ever post it?

"Gary: I was thinking of the 'crescent-shaped' memorial in PA, myself, as a sort of benchmark of right-wing web-based lunacy."

Yeah, that was notable.

For a long while I pretty much tried to, or just did, ignore this sort of stuff, on the grounds that it was a nutbar fringe. But that "fringe" has now, I think, grown large and noticeable enough that it no longer can or should be ignored. (Certainly David Neiwert needs to be acknowledged for years of yeoman work whenever this topic arises.)

Maybe someone should construct a timeline of notable events on the decline into raving lunacy of these people, graphed against the rise in readership of their sites. It would be problematic, though, since there's a direct line from the "comedy" ravings of Rush Limbaugh, and his pals and enthusiasts, going back to the beginning of the Clinton Administration, and, for instance, the Clintons' running drugs out of Mena, Arkansas, and the lesbian Hillary's murdering of her lover, Vincent Foster, and so on. Black helicopters!

And we could go back to the grand days of the John Birch Society, and the conspiracy to poison our bodily fluids with fluoridation, and so on. (One of the things I used to prize in my collection of rare sf fanzines back through the 60's, 50's, 40's, and 30's, were the insights one could gain from articulate, often-connected-in-fascinating-ways, people writing to their friends about the events and culture of the day, from all different political points of view, from those who were present at the core of "alternative" culture in the Sixties, to those who were either beats, or freethinkers, or Birchers, or folkies, in the Fifties, to Communists in the Forties and Thirties, and so on. Great, great, stuff.)

"I was thinking more along the lines of 'how hard is it to find out where Rumsfeld lives,' rather than for standards of what information about public officials is published."

Yeah, I kinda meant to say that that's probably what you were meant, but somehow in multi-tasking between 8 tabs, forgot; sorry.

"Did you ever post it?"

No. And, frankly, years later, I don't even clearly remember what it was.

There was one point in early 2002 where I stumbled across plans for a particular nuclear site that gave extremely detailed information on their security systems, and vulnerabilities -- and I mean "detailed" down to blueprints of pipes and wiring and such, along with complete protocols for dealing with security breaches -- and I wound up contacting the FBI about it, in fact. (Which took a ton of time, as they ignored e-mail, and I spent a lot of time trying to get someone on the phone, resulting ultimately in someone at least acting like they were copying down what I said; no, I no longer remember what the URL was, and it was on an old, since-dead, computer.)

I frown at the formatting errors in my posts in early 2002, but, heck, I was still figuring out what I was doing. Not that my content or approach has ever notably changed.

Yeah, I kinda meant to say that that's probably what you were meant, but somehow in multi-tasking between 8 tabs, forgot; sorry.

No need to apologize.

"No need to apologize."

I'm sorry I apologized.

Ha! "Ann Frank is in the attic!". Words fail.

I'm sorry I apologized.

I'm sorry for the unnecessary apology.

"The media has published detailed information about the homes of hundreds of government officials. As far as they are concerned, the entire federal government might as well be one big hit list."

This never would have happened if the goddamn commies hadn't fluoridated our precious bodily fluids.

Oh, I don't think and did not say that Ilyka Damen is a libertarian

Gotcha, sorry I implied that. Just the juxtaposition of the two made me want to have a bit of fun.

Good lord.

In all of the dust around this, I had completely omitted actually reading the NYT story until just now.

You want to know what the real scandal is?

Don Rumsfeld's vacation home, amusingly called "Mount Misery," happens to be the very same goddamned house where "slavebreaker" Edward Covey tortured Frederick Douglass.

Since the place wasn't burnt to the ground a hundred years ago, as would have been appropriate, it should have been made a public monument for the Abolitionist movement. Failing that, it should be a major fricking public embarrassment for any politician to use as a bloody vacation home.

And we read about this as an aside in a puff-piece in the Travel section?

Jackmormon: yikes.

Also: this Tom Tomorrow strip is priceless.

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