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September 03, 2009

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As much as I support Jim Henke's...

I believe that's what you get when you cross Jim Henley and John Henke ;)

Doh!

That would be Jon Henke.

Snark fail.

Man, remember the good old days, when those crazy liberals were claiming the Bush administration was lying about WMD, or torturing prisoners, or spying on Americans? And remember how the Democratic party was there following the whims of all of the shrill crazies? It's EXACTLY like people claiming Obama wasn't born in the US and is going to make socialist death panels with confiscated guns! [/irony]

Yeah, it doesn't help that the GOP propagandists and loonys are actual Senators and Representatives.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_09/019761.php

The birther stuff is just garden variety crazy. Harmless fun for rednecks. No one really cares.

What bothers me is the willingness to accept torture and lawlessness in government. That one is harder to just pin on the proles out there in flyover country.

Given McArdle's subtle employment of hypotheticals, I'm not really sure of the truth of that liberal believing in El Presidente Bush...

[p]eople in the federal government ... took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the [sic] United States to go to war in the Middle East.

I don't necessarily think that the idea that the Bush administration deliberately focused their intelligence efforts away from groups like AQ, despite warnings that an operation was underway, because they were more interested in dealing with state actors like Iran or Iraq is even plausibly deniable. Missile shield technology was order of the day, with an eye towards Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. And clearly several of the PNAC members strongly wanted a military confrontation with Saddam. Non-state actors were considered unable to launch large scale attacks. If all of that is presumed, then it is much more of a philosophical debate on if the desire for military focus on the Middle East caused the administration to ignore the threat of AQ.

There is a wide gulf between the idea that the Bush Administration was incompetent and fixated on Iran/Iraq, and the idea that the Bush Administration actively and knowingly participated in the attacks. One would seem to be fringe-y, while the other is more or less reality, yet the poll measures both.

On a more serious note, are you going to try and deny that the Bush administration's first actions after 9/11 were all aimed toward starting a war in the Middle East? Cheney called on the day of the attacks to try and pin it on Iraq. It was mere months before they were using 9/11 as an excuse to go to war with Iraq. And they DID take many FBI guys off counter-terrorism, and ignore all the advice the outgoing administration gave them. So how do you parse "did nothing to prevent them"? Does it have to be deliberate, or a matter of incompetence, apathy, or ignorance?

As for illegal coups to get/keep power, I don't think we need to rehash the 2000 election.

I'm not defending any specific theories as crazy or not crazy, I'm just saying that with the Bush administration, there was a lot of justified reason for paranoia. I'm trying to recall the quote, I think from Making Light, about how every time you thought they hit bottom, they kept digging.

I may be projecting my biases here, but it seems that Republicans are more receptive to the crazy because they already long accommodated nutty ideas. When you believe the Earth is 6,000 years old and humans are having no impact on global climate in spite of reams of evidence, it's only a short leap to death panels and the the notion that the President was not born in America.

To build on the last comment, a great many of America's religious conservatives have been taught for a long time that commitment and will trump evidence and reason in their theology - small wonder they so often prove incompetent in using either evidence or reason in politics.

Aargh. Fixed it, Eric.

This makes sense, he said, in a rare moment of sanity.

After all, I'm crazy and the Republican Party hasn't rejected my registration as a Republican yet (I get to vote against people in the primaries whose wackijobiness puts me to shame) and the Democratic Party hasn't rejected my straight Democratic voting tickets over the past 28 some years in the general elections.

However, didn't the Republican Party decide to kind of sequester Pat Buchanan in the early 1990's after his performance at a convention, thinking maybe the other crazies (racists, etc) would go with him to a compound somewhere to drink Irish whiskey and carve swastikas on their kid's foreheads?

Things just keep getting worse, and Buchanan, in comparison to your average Republican pol whipped into a fever pitch today by the new leaders of the Republican Party, now seems kind of quaint crazy.

So, maybe I don't agree.

Nah, I think the lunatic at WND and his fellow travelers in the Republican Party need to run into some genuinely crazy fu-k--rs on the other side that causes some involuntary incontinence and maybe a reappraisal of their need to participate in the polity at all.

Kind of like Pat Buchanan's old boss, Richard Nixon's strategy regarding the Soviet Union.

[p]eople in the federal government either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the [sic] United States to go to war in the Middle East

FWIW, I absolutely find it believable that people in the federal government deliberately failed to take action to stop the 9/11 attacks because they wanted a reason to go to war in the middle east.

I don't know if they actually did or didn't, although I'd sure as hell like to know. But I would absolutely *not* call this, remotely, a crazy belief.

John, I'm surprised you didn't work this recent news about Pat Buchanan. Now it's really clear that Buchanan's convention speech looks much more authentic in the original Fraktur script.


Yeah, it's not quite crazy to suggest that when something happens that fits someones agenda so nicely (increase presidential authority, go to war in the Middle East), that they might have the motive to at least let it happen.

Means and opportunity, the other two legs, we may never know.

After Bush/Cheney, I will never again reject some theory on the grounds "they would never do a thing like that."

"They would never do a thing like that" is not sufficient to reject the LIHOP'ers.

There may be other more factual and less faith-based reasons to reject LIHOP. If so, let's hear them.

By the way, I will not accept "he would never do that" as a defense of Obama either!!

nearly half of Democrats thought it very likely (22.6%) or somewhat likely (28.2%) that "[p]eople in the federal government either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the [sic] United States to go to war in the Middle East."

i'd guess that a lot of those "somewhat likely" answers hinge on the last part of the sentence: "...because they wanted the [sic] United States to go to war in the Middle East."

you can give a positive answer to that question without being a truther: you only have to know that many people in the Bush administration had been eager to "finish the job" in Iraq, years before Bush even took office (and their ridiculous urgency in the run-up to Iraq only confirms this). so, you ask someone who's pissed about the war if "they [blahblahblblah] because they wanted to go to war in the ME", and that last bit of the sentence is like a waving red flag in front of an angry bull. of course people are going to say yes.

people don't always answer the question you ask. sometimes they answer a question that's just slightly different because that's the one they really want to give their opinion on.

that said, i have no idea how you could answer a birther question positively without being insane.

John, per LJ, Buchanan isn't crazy. He's evil.

also, what Benjamin said. such as. also. like.

Others have already beat me to it, but...

"[p]eople in the federal government either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the [sic] United States to go to war in the Middle East."

In an "or" statement, the whole thing is true if either part is. The first part is, yes, pure tinfoil-hate territory. The second part after the "or" is unprovable, absent either mind-reading or a tell-all book confessing to it by someone in the Bush administration.

However, there are two separate ideas there: "people in the federal government... took no action to stop the attacks" and "they wanted the [sic] United States to go to war in the Middle East." The first part of that is simply true. The attacks weren't stopped, and every explanation ever given for that was the claim that nobody could have seen it coming. "Nobody could have predicted." And the second part of that is also true. For just two out of many examples, Cheney was a co-signer of PNAC's statement of principles, and Rumsfeld was pushing for an invasion of Iraq on September 11.

The only even remotely controversial part of that statement is the causative link. Officially, they did nothing because they were incompetent, and officially they wanted to go to war for oil. (OK, that's a fib.) Both of those are within the bounds of human error, policy differences, and what passes for reasonable political debate. Claim that they did nothing because they wanted to go to war, though, and that's offensive to its targets. It's a serious accusation of severely bad actions based on circumstantial evidence at best.

It is not, however, anywhere near as crazy as being a birther or believing in "death panels." To find a left-wing equivalence to modern right-wing insanity you probably need to go back to the Weather Underground or something, but as convenient as it would be for right-wingers, both sides' nuts really aren't equally bad in recent years. You don't get to make up your own facts.

Cleek and Russell, even if there is a way to parse the question to give a non-crazy answer of "somewhat likely",* that still leaves 22.8% of democrats with a "very likely" answer.

*Which I'm not conceding: although, per my formulation, being crazy on an issue doesn't necessarily make you, y'know, crazy.

There may be other more factual and less faith-based reasons to reject LIHOP. If so, let's hear them.

Lack of evidence, for one thing.

that still leaves 22.8% of democrats with a "very likely" answer.

truthers exist. there's no denying that. it's embarassing.

the biggest difference with the birthers, IMO, is that the truthers were never represented by anyone in the Democratic Party. hell, even the sane anti-war faction has always been pretty short on representation. but there are more than a couple of birthers in among the GOP reps and senators. and even more death-panelers.

"'i'd guess that a lot of those "somewhat likely" answers hinge on the last part of the sentence: "...because they wanted the [sic] United States to go to war in the Middle East.'"

But the question is "took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the [sic] United States to go to war in the Middle East." which is frankly bat-SH!% crazy.

Which leaves 22.6% of Democrats surveyed very likely bat-SH!% crazy and 28.2% somewhat likely bat-SH!% crazy.

Your answer to that seems to be "people don't always answer the question you ask. sometimes they answer a question that's just slightly different because that's the one they really want to give their opinion on."

But if you are going to extend that to crazy Democrats, I would suggest that the birther question can essentially be "Do you trust Obama" for at least some of the birthers.

This WorldNetDaily thing hits a little too close to home. One of my crazy uncles (yes, one of) and my own mother, sadly, keep sending me WND stories about conspiracy theories, H1N1, etc. That website has indirectly been one of the biggest pains in my ass over the past 2-3 years. It's a shame that the RNC has to court the Ron Paul/WND crowd to ~feel~ legitimate. - TL

But the question is "took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the [sic] United States to go to war in the Middle East." which is frankly bat-SH!% crazy.
Why? We know for a fact that the Bush administration ignored warnings about AQ. We know for a fact that the Bush administration was busy focusing on security issues in the ME focused around Iran and Iraq. We know for a fact that many in the Bush administration wanted to go to war with Iraq before 9-11.

Look, the question doesn't address specific knowledge of the 9-11 attacks. It just says took no action. We know the Bush administration specifically chose to take no action. The only debatable issue is the one about causality; that they chose to focus away from non-state actors because they wanted a war in the ME.* But certainly it isn't wacko crazy to believe that. That strikes me as, at a minimum, a reasonable interpretation of the publicly known facts.

What is important here is that the issue here is a relatively unknown one; you must be able to mind read to get the right answer. Moreover, this is a large distance from the Truthers, who argue that the Bush administration either had specific knowledge of the 9-11 attacks or orchestrated them. But one does not have to believe either of those two things to believe that the Bush administration "took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the [sic] United States to go to war in the Middle East", because the question of specific knowledge of the attacks is not addressed.

Contrast this with the Birthers. The facts are universally in favor of Obama being a citizen. Rather than having an odd spin on the facts, they are making up their own facts.

[*] Really, someone would argue that its crazy to believe that the Bush administration ignored terrorism because they wanted to launch an attack in the ME? How can you defend that?

But the question is "took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the [sic] United States to go to war in the Middle East." which is frankly bat-SH!% crazy.

I honestly don't see why the idea is "batsh*t crazy" when we know, when it is long-established fact, when it has been long-established fact for years now, that:

1. There was a lot of chatter during the summer of 2001 regarding a possible terrorist attack on the US;
2. Richard Clarke and others describe their attitude at the time as running around "with [their] hair on fire" and YET
3. Condoleeza Rice, whose job it was to keep on top of stuff like that, ignored them and shut them out of meetings; AND
4. The Bush Admin took no action, none at all, regarding the August 8 memo and indeed didn't even read the flipping thing.

Now, sure, you can say that doesn't go anywhere near proving they knew about the attack and did nothing about it.

But it seems to me the only alternative explanation is that they were all, every single one of them, from Bush-Cheney on down, thoroughly, unequivocably, incompetent and, in fact, criminally negligent.

Which is a matter of Okham's Razor, I guess. What is more likely:

1. That a former Secretary of Defense (Cheney) and a former Chief of Staff (Rumsfeld) and a former Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (Rice, under Bush I) would be that completely incompetent at the very basics of their jobs; OR
2. That they knew something about a planned attack - not the specifics, perhaps just that it involved multiple hijackings - and decided it would be a good way to drum up support for a war they already wanted anyway?

Now, c'mon. Think about what we know now, about the Bush Administration: the way it politicized everything, the way it refused to ever do anything without a big political payoff; the way it also refused to accept any fact or reality that didn't conform to what it already believed, what it already wanted to do.

Why is it so far fetched that they knew there was some kind of attack coming and, for political/partisan reasons, decided to let it happen?

Why is that so nuts?

I've seen a fair amount of this sort argument - "yes, there are crazy Republicans, but don't forget, there are crazy Democrats too," from sane Republicans.

The trouble is, it doesn't hold up. The simplest way for me to state my reaction is that, while there may be some crazy Democrats (though not trusting a word Bush or Cheney say is pretty sane - and I don't believe McArdle's tale either) the Republican Party is institutionally insane. Consider Michael Steele, RNC chairman. Consider Sarah Palin, most recent VP nominee. Consider Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint and numerous other Members of Congress, some of whom are birthers. Consider the leading voices of the GOP - yes it's true - Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Coulter. Consider its pundits Kristol, Krauthammer, Will, etc. Consider its important opinion media - NR, the WSJ editorial pages, The Weekly Standard.

These are all bats**t crazy. It's not remotely comparable to anything in the Democratic Party.

Now, sure, you can say that doesn't go anywhere near proving they knew about the attack and did nothing about it.
Re-read the question. It doesn't address foreknowledge. If the reason why they didn't know anything, and thus did nothing, is because they wanted a war in the ME, then the answer should still be true.

What if they were criminally incompetent, then chose to take advantage of the situation to start a war they'd wanted for years, no matter how many lies it took?

That's because a good portion of WND readers are Republican voters and a party can't afford to insult its supporters -- no matter how insane they may be.

The Democratic Party frequently insults its supporters (often just for the sake of doing so, see Moment, Sister Souljah).

All signs indicate that the Obama Administration may test this proposition yet again as they attempt to toss the public option under the bus while telling the vast majority of their base that supports it to go home and STFU, all ostensibly to please Olympia Snowe, who isn't even in their party.

Nor is this anything new. Look at the contempt with which House and Senate leadership treated calls for impeachment and withdrawal from Iraq in the spring of 2007, for example.

It seems to me all too possible for a party to insult its base, especially because in a two-party system the base often has nowhere else to go.

which is frankly bat-SH!% crazy.

Whatever.

I don't really give a damn if you think it's nuts or not.

I find it absolutely and completely in the realm of the believable that there were people in government who were aware that Al Qaeda were planning an attack on the US, and who failed to take actions they could have taken because they thought an attack would make it easier to justify a war in the Middle East.

In fact, I would find it extraordinarily difficult to overstate how completely and absolutely believable I find that to be.

Hands down, dude.

Seriously, think about the folks we're talking about and the things we know, know for a certainty, that they've been involved in.

I don't know if it's true or not, but batsh*t insane it by god is not.

There's also a particular history of the relationship of the GOP to its far-right fringe. After Goldwater's crushing defeat in November '64, many mainstream conservatives speculated that he had been hurt by not distancing himself from the John Birch Society. So in the mid-Sixties, many conservative Republicans ritualistically did so. And this was generally seen as an important step on conservatives' road to respectability. It's really only been in the last twenty years or so that the right fringe has reorganized itself and mainstream conservatives have decided that it makes more sense to coddle their right flank rather than Sister Souljah-ing it.

Again, von and/or Sebastian, can you explain what is crazy about believing "[p]eople in the federal government either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the [sic] United States to go to war in the Middle East."? So far all you've done is assert it, and when challenged on it, assert it again.

What is the point of the "[sic]" in the question?

I'm struck by the fact that Sebastian feels that the government cannot possibly intervene in healthcare because the government can (obviously?) never be trusted to take on such a widescale program, but thinks the notion that there were people in the government whose refusal to take action made 9/11 possible and their inaction may have been motivated by calculations on the possible advantage of the resulting situation is batsh*t insane.

More info on various polls is found at this wikipedia article

Bernard -- I wondered that too. The [sic] appears -- for no visible reason -- at the Real Clear Politics site that von links to, but if you follow the link from there to the poll itself, you'll see this:

Question: There are also accusations being made following the 9/11 terrorist attack. One of these is: People in the federal government either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted to United States to go to war in the Middle East.
So it looks like someone at Real Clear Politics (or somewhere along the line) corrected "to" to "the" but inserted [sic] to flag the error that wasn't there any more. And it got carried along here....

I think Nate probably has it right: "What if they were criminally incompetent, then chose to take advantage of the situation to start a war they'd wanted for years, no matter how many lies it took?"

We can never really know the motives of the Bush administration officials, though their declared intentions (PNAC) and subsequent actions are certainly suggestive. I would like to think even they weren't evil enough to simply allow a terrorist attack for political reasons, but as has been said, they politicized everything they touched.

But.

Hurricane Katrina showed more than anything else the colossal incompetence of the administration. Given that, I think it wiser to err on the side of Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

Of course, this sort of conspiracy theory is more plausible because it involves inaction as opposed to action (of the behind-the-scenes type the Truthers ascribe to the Bushies). It's much more difficult to prove a negative than a positive.

Still, given their utter lack of foresight on everything else, I can't buy into the idea that they consciously allowed 9/11 to happen to justify an Iraq attack. But it wouldn't surprise me if they did.

End of hand-wringing.

Ooops, lost the tags on a copy and paste. The text between "Question" and "Middle East" is from http://newspolls.org/surveys/SHOH33/18911>here.

The 9/11 truthers may be nuts, but they are not as nuts as the Obama birthers.

Documentary evidence that the birthers are factually wrong exists. You can show it to them, and they STILL persist in their nutty belief.

What is the clear-cut documentary evidence which disproves the truthers' belief? Incredulity, however sincere and however justified, is not documentation.

The birthers are not just conspiracy nuts. They are bullshitters in the precise definition of the term. They are politically on the same side as "principled conservatives". The "principled conservatives" ought to ask themselves why that might be.

--TP

JanieM,

Sounds right.

You're a more determined detective than I am.

But if you are going to extend that to crazy Democrats, I would suggest that the birther question can essentially be "Do you trust Obama" for at least some of the birthers.

maybe. it seems a bit more of a stretch to me.

but i freely admit to not understanding either the birther mentality nor the insane Obama hatred that defines the GOP these days.

the truthers... well, that's just your basic "power-hungry evil doers will stop at nothing" conspiracy.

and, there are definitely overlaps between the two groups - the wacko in my town who paints the big "expose Obama's crimes" signs and sticks them in his front lawn was a truther, back in the day.

Obviously enjoyed the post, but one quibble...

Isn't Tom Maguire an extremely outspoken birther? I mean, I don't whether he comes right out and denies it. But I remember at least half a dozen Kenyan birth certificate posts by him recently

Late to this: I know about Buchanan's latest, LJ, and I'll go with Von's "evil" judgement, but ....

I think Buchanan has just found a new top ten hit late in his singing career, and I think the current crazies in the Republican Party will compete soon to steal the melody and top him, by which I mean debase the rhetoric to the scum-line .... the other side of which is outright violence.

Obama is Jesse Owens.

But then I'm crazy.

Just to muddle up the binning of the "crazies", I know quite a few people who were totally into the 9-11 "truth" movement. Many of those same people are currently part of the "birther" and "tea-bagger" movement.

They also happen to mostly be Ron Paul supporters.

I'm with russell on this one. Consider the kind of truly evil things that we already have documented proof of them doing--for starters, Cheney stating on national TV that they approved waterboarding (a war crime under US and international law), and the extent to which it is documented as having been used.

Consider the degree to which government at every level, from top to bottom, was politicized.

Consider the way the terror alert system was politicized and used to manipulate the news cycle.

Consider their demonstrated willingness to sacrifice American lives on false premises for political gain.

Consider that none of these things are even remotely debatable in good faith. They are documented facts on public record, facts laid bare in their own words and by their own memos and documents.

Now, I have no trouble believing that the Bush administration was so thoroughly incompetent that they focused on missile defense and ignored warnings about terrorism because they didn't think it was important. That's negligent as hell, but given what we know now in retrospect it's not really all that implausible.

But given what else we know now, I don't see why it's even implausible--let alone crazy--to think that one or more of them also could have known something was going to happen, decided to take advantage of it and let it play out in order to justify the war they wanted, but had not expected it to be as devastating and successful as it was.

I'm sorry that an otherwise interesting topic has been derailed because of yet another throwaway line, but your assertion is indefensible.

This piece is very Broderian.

I think others have made all but one of the useful points about how the Democratic crazies are not equivalent to the GOP crazies- eliminationist rhetoric. I challenge you to find one prominent left of center blogger or Democratic officeholder who has espoused such rhetoric.

I do not count but I have called for quartering Bush, boiling Chain-Eye in crude oil, cutting Gonzo's tongue out, bathing Rummy in mustard* and some other unpleasant things (and putting their heads on spikes facing the Oval Office as a reminder to any wannabe successor).
---
Now we have people** openly praying for (at least) another 9/11 (nuke in NY preferred), so
a) Obama could be thrown out of office
b) The country would go back to Lord Chain-Eyes methods (at minimum)
c) The gloves could come off at last (i.e. going fully genocidal)
---
There are leftist loons equal to right-wing loons but they don't sit in Congress or have a regular audience of millions in the MSM in the US (and most of them produce only hot air and don't form lynch mobs).

*(1,5-dichloro-3-thiapentane) that is
**including (former) CIA and military guys

"Documentary evidence that the birthers are factually wrong exists. You can show it to them, and they STILL persist in their nutty belief."

Strictly speaking, we have testimony to the effect that documentary evidence proving the birthers are factually wrong exists. It's rather as though the previous administration had responded to the 9-11 truthers by bringing a structural engineer out to tell everybody that, "I've seen a lab report confirming that structural steel softens at those temperatures, and, no, we are not going to let you see the lab report."

The birthers are over-reacting to the fact that Obama won't release that last bit of information, just second-hand statements regarding it. But that behavior on Obama's part IS rationally cause for suspicion. They're just putting too much weight on it, given the amount of other evidence on the other side.

I think Nate probably has it right: "What if they were criminally incompetent, then chose to take advantage of the situation to start a war they'd wanted for years, no matter how many lies it took?"

My thoughts exactly.

a party can't afford to insult its supporters

As a gay man, I can assure you that this is 100% false.

Strictly speaking, we have testimony to the effect that documentary evidence proving the birthers are factually wrong exists. It's rather as though the [birthers refused to look at the contemporary documentation in Hawai'ian newspapers announcing the birth, instead making wild comparisons to] a structural engineer out to tell everybody that, "I've seen a lab report confirming that structural steel softens at those temperatures, and, no, we are not going to let you see the lab report."

Fixed that for you.

But that behavior on Obama's part IS rationally cause for suspicion.

Brett's a birther! Now why doesn't that surprise me one little bit?

The birthers are over-reacting to the fact that Obama won't release that last bit of information, just second-hand statements regarding it.

Oh, nonsense. He's reelased everything that can be released. You can't "release" the original of a government document about you, becasue if you could, the government couldn't have any records. Have you ever in your life seen your original birth certificate? Not just a certified copy, but the original?

We should call you, "Birther Brett," from now on . . .

Strictly speaking, we have testimony to the effect that documentary evidence proving the birthers are factually wrong exists. It's rather as though the previous administration had responded to the 9-11 truthers by bringing a structural engineer out to tell everybody that, "I've seen a lab report confirming that structural steel softens at those temperatures, and, no, we are not going to let you see the lab report."

This is crap. Everything on Obama's birth certificate has been released that is legally allowed to be released. His birth certificate as released is valid for any question of citizenship. AFAIK the "long form" data that isn't included is the name of the attending physician and other things like that; seriously, what do the saner birthers think was on it? "Oh, BTW, Barack Obama actually WASN'T born in Hawaii in contradiction to the rest of this document"?

All this shows is that the rump sane part of the Republican party is down to the "tu quoque" defense: they all do it, all politicians are like that, both parties are up to their eyeballs in delusional nutcases, et cetera ad nauseam.

Personally, I think it is more consistent with the Bush, er, governance processes to think that the Bush administration ignored counterterrorism because it didn't tie in nicely with their neocon focus on state actors, plus the fact that it was a Clinton priority and therefore Evil and Liberal. However, the idea that the US government would never, ever consider allowing or even committing acts of terrorism on US targets for political gain is demonstrably false.

Back to Sebastian: "Which leaves 22.6% of Democrats surveyed very likely bat-SH!% crazy and 28.2% somewhat likely bat-SH!% crazy. "

Well, if we ignore the "somewhat", for reasons mentioned multiple times, 22.6% is in the range of the crazification factor which is usually between 23% and 27%. So even if the question really does mean craziness, that's not unexpected craziness. The fact that there's a lot of evidence to cause paranoia and suspicion about the Bush admin and their motives and actions should be accounted for too, but. And there's overlap between the crazies, as with the truthers who became birthers, and the Ron Paul and Lyndon LaRouche supporter overlaps.

That said, the false equivalence that underlies von's whole post is not just that there are crazies on both sides, but that those crazies are just as crazy and influential on both sides. And that is blatantly, obviously, and totally false. The crazies on the Republican side control the party, have massively influential TV and radio shows, newspapers, etc. The Democrat's crazies are well, the fringe, compltely cut out of power, and markedly unable to influence the party. Hell, the liberals are largely out of power and unable to influence the party with the Democrats.

The other problem, of course, is that the people the Republicans spent years dismissing as "crazie" or "shrill" or having "Bush Derangement Syndrome" turned out to be RIGHT about the Bush administration on a lot of things. The WMD, torture, corruption, Katrina, election fraud, exposing a CIA agent as political payback, etc, etc, etc.

It's worth noting that DailyKos, the largest and arguably most influential "left" political blog, has an incredibly broad anti-Truther policy:

Controversial 9/11 Diaries

DailyKos accepts that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by agents of Al-Qaeda. It is forbidden to write diaries that:

refer to claims that American, British, Israeli, or any government assisted in the attacks

refer to claims that the airplanes that crashed into the WTC and Pentagon were not the cause of the damage to those buildings or their subsequent collapse.

Authoring or recommending these diaries may result in banning from Daily Kos.

Which is to say that if you recommend someone else's diary post that so much as mentions Truther claims, you are subject to outright banning from the site.

To recap, every single aspect of von's tu quoque is false:

1) Truther claims (at least of the LIHOP variety) are simply not as crazy as birther claims (though personally I'm inclined to reject even weak Trutherism for Hanlon's Razor reasons).

2) Truthers had nothing like the influence within the Democratic Party that birthers have within the GOP. Indeed, Truthers were--and continue to be--shunned and ridiculed even by highly partisan and progressive Democrats.

"There are leftist loons equal to right-wing loons but they don't sit in Congress or have a regular audience of millions in the MSM in the US (and most of them produce only hot air and don't form lynch mobs)."

This, of course, is not anywhere near accurate. The leftist loons hold most of the major Congressional posts now and they constantly get in the way of the President and the the moderates actually achieving a bipartisan governing coalition.

The point that gets forgotten in all of this is that President Obama did not win the election because the Pelosi's of the world wanted him to win.

He won by a nice majority because almost all of the non-loons in this country believed he would bring civility to governance.

The disappointment of the loons on the left is that he does occasionally try to do that so far. In the middle, well, they are starting to believe it less and less.

His policies did not win him the election. Healthcare with a public option didn't win it. Iraq was almost a non issue by election day. He won it on the faith people had in his desire to change politics as usual. That is the issue in this debate worth fighting for. A "win" on controversial legislation by leveraging or gaming the rules eats away at the support in the center for Obama and in turn the Democrats.

The Democrats should worry less about whether he can retain the loonie left and recognize he needs to retain the civil center. The Republicans have and are demonstrating why this is important.

And the structural argument about parties being unable to criticize their own supporters is also simply false, at least as a general rule.

As I, and others, have pointed out upthread, parties can and do Sister Souljah their fringes all the time. The Democratic Party even does this to its own mainstream. And Republicans used to do it to their right fringe.

I do think there's a structural factor at work, but it has to do with the special case of a party adopting Karl Rove's 50%+1 electoral strategy, which relies on agitating and turning out the base. Crazies have had a special role to play in the Republican Party since the mid-1990s or so. The leadership of the GOP has made a Faustian strategic bargain with its angriest and craziest supporters. They cannot win--and, just as importantly, believe they cannot win--elections without courting and cultivating these people. Until the Republican Party comes up with some other path to victory, they'll have this tiger by the tail. And changing course will be more difficult because in the last decade or so the number of crazies who have actually made it into public office has increased as well. It's no longer simply pandering to the fringe. The fringe is, more and more, actually in positions of power.

Shorter Marty: Advocating for the public option is the equivalent of claiming that Barack Obama is not an American citizen.

I'm sorry but this is not about simply declaring that everyone who disagrees with you on a public policy issue is a "loon."

And in the case of a public option as part of a healthcare reform package, the Democratic House leadership--which has, since 2007, never distinguished itself as boldly progressive--is standing its ground on an issue on which between 55 and 75% of the American public agree with them.

We're all loons now!

This, of course, is not anywhere near accurate. The leftist loons hold most of the major Congressional posts now and they constantly get in the way of the President and the the moderates actually achieving a bipartisan governing coalition.

You haven't read this thread, have you. Hell, you haven't even read the comment immediately above your own.

Join us in consensus reality please. I know it can be scary, but it's not all that bad, I swear.

The Democrats should worry less about whether he can retain the loonie left and recognize he needs to retain the civil center.

If you cast your mind back to last November, you may remember that the "civil center" voted Democratic. Therefore, it may be sensible to conclude that they support Democratic initiatives. The fact that the Republicans oppose this is a problem for Republicans, not Democrats.

Let's set aside the fact that this deep yearning for bipartisanship only seems to emerge when the Republicans are out of power and hibernates within the deepest darkest caves when the Republicans rule, and take it on its merits. This seems to be a very odd theory of governance. There are no political parties defined in our Constitution, and if you're an originalist, there shouldn't be since factionalization was a real concern of the founding fathers. Yet, bipartisanship puts the concerns of these parties above any concerns of the electorate. Apparently, if we had one party with 99 senate seats, and a Silly Party with 1 seat, we would need to have all legislation be acceptable to the Silly Party representative, in effect, making the Silly Party vote the only one which matters. So bipartisanship essentially reverses political power to the minority party. Quite useful if you're the minority, I guess.

"Shorter Marty: Advocating for the public option is the equivalent of claiming that Barack Obama is not an American citizen."

I really hate it when people put words in my mouth. The WAY people represent these issues to their constituents, but more importantly, the WAY they represent the real opposition is what is important.

To broad brush everyone on the opposing side as right wing loons, because those people have the airwaves, is counter productive and as loony, and politically expedient, as the loons themselves.

Marty: Um. Exactly which "leftist loons" hold "most Congressional leadership positions"? And how exactly are they "constantly" in the way of a "bipartisan governing coalition"? Seriously.

The major stumbling block in a "bipartisan governing coalition" is that the second party has no desire to be part of any governing coalition, or do anything other than obstruct and deny victories to the Obama administration.

I'm not sure what you mean about the way people represent the "real opposition" as being more important than the way people represent issues to their constituents. I'm not being snarky here, I'm really not sure what your sentence is trying to say. It's more important what people tell their constituents about the opposition than what they do to represent their constituents? It's more important how the opposition acts than the majority acts? It's more important how people oppose things than how well they reflect what their constituents want?

Brett:

Please send me your original birth certificate. No copies or facsimilies or pdfs, thank you very much.

For good measure, please send me the original of your college transcript. If you can get the original of that elitist document, you won't have to pay the $5.00 copying charge.

And don't try to wave around a copy of the Second Amendment and call it your birth certificate.

My death panel will not be swayed.

So I'm in a liquor store a couple of months ago and the owner/clerk for no apparent reason (FOX was on the T.V.; there you go) says to no one in particular as I'm at the counter, "Well, if he's not a Muslim, why is his middle name Hussein?" to which I said, to no one in particular ..

.... "Well, that would explain why so many Americans' share the middle name 'Stupid' since they are so effing ignorant."

Did I see his hand beneath the counter?


To broad brush everyone on the opposing side as right wing loons, because those people have the airwaves, is counter productive and as loony, and politically expedient, as the loons themselves.

Nobody on this thread is claiming that everyone who opposes the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is a loon or even that all Republicans or all conservatives are loons.

And while such a claim--which, again, nobody is making--would be hyperbolic and unproductive, as a matter of opinion it still would not be the equivalent of spreading manifestly factually false stories about Kenyan birth certificates and death panels.

Another tu quoque fail.

To be fair:

Von has taken the position that it's just as crazy to suppose that Bush & Co lied to the US public about an issue of international importance as it is to suppose that Hawai'ian newspapers, decades earlier published false notices of Obama's birth so that, in the 21st century, he could become President. This is typical partisan campaigning, and as Ben Alpers points out, it's completely false.

Marty has taken the position that the majority of the country are loons and are voting loons into power, and this is a terrible change from the Bush years.

Brett has outed himself as a birther.

These are all distinctively right-wing, conservative, Republican positions, but they are not the same as each other, except that they're all based on lies.

To be fair:...
Brett has outed himself as a birther.

These are all distinctively right-wing, conservative, Republican positions, but they are not the same as each other, except that they're all based on lies.

Brett said that birtherism isn't all that crazy, but that's it. He disagrees with them ("the birthers are overreacting", they're "putting too much weight on" something).

And while lies seem like the ultimate cause of a lot of this, we can't rule out insanity or being in denial in any individual case.

Just to be fair...er.

The point that gets forgotten in all of this is that President Obama did not win the election because the Pelosi's of the world wanted him to win.

Wow. Just wow.

If Nancy Pelosi is part of the "loony left," I am Catherine the Great.

Every day brings me a little closer to concluding that I don't understand the first thing about American politics, and I never will, and it's probably not worth my time to keep trying.

And don't try to wave around a copy of the Second Amendment and call it your birth certificate.

John Thullen, you are magnificent.

The point that gets forgotten in all of this is that President Obama did not win the election because the Pelosi's of the world wanted him to win.

another classic.

"Marty: Um. Exactly which "leftist loons" hold "most Congressional leadership positions"? And how exactly are they "constantly" in the way of a "bipartisan governing coalition"? Seriously.

The major stumbling block in a "bipartisan governing coalition" is that the second party has no desire to be part of any governing coalition, or do anything other than obstruct and deny victories to the Obama administration."

I am sure this can all be very confusing. Pelosi and Frank are as far left and radical as you could be. (Frank fought regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for 10 years and is now represented as a financial reformer.) Lies come in different packages.

Pelosi keeps publicly declaring that the House won't pass anything except what they have on the table. (As opposed to those nasty Republicans saying they won't vote for that.) To build a strong governing coalition you have to maintain some level of public mutual support that "it is a difficult process and we need to have positive exchanges of ideas."

However, Pelosi's strident chatter is just as poisonous to the process as Rogers, et al. The president promised to work to fix that, his own party so far has ensured he can't make any progress on it.

The "second party" will react amazingly differently if included in the process, not berated at any objection and broad brushed as loonies. Funny how that word wasn't received well back.

One of the first things most successful people do is learn to share the credit.

And, oh yeah, all longwinded criticisms and explanations and rationalizations aside, von's point is pretty accurate. All evidence and logic on the table, birthers and 9/11 conspiracists are both way out there.

I am sure this can all be very confusing. Pelosi and Frank are as far left and radical as you could be.

wow. they just keep coming.

Marty, with all due respect, you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about here.

The Democrats should worry less about whether he can retain the loonie left and recognize he needs to retain the civil center. The Republicans have and are demonstrating why this is important.

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt, as you generally make a commendable effort to be civil even when advancing arguments I find repugnant.

But the paragraph I quoted from you is either a bad faith argument, or flat-out delusional. If you honestly, in all sincerity, believe that--get help. And turn off Fox News.

"Marty, with all due respect, you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about here."

Of course I don't, Frank has been my Rep for as many years as he has been in the House. I couldn't possibly have a valid opinion on that.

"And turn off Fox News."

Funny thing, I get the impression lots of people here watch Fox News. I haven't ever watched it, nor have I listened to Rush on the radio. Maybe it's not my view that is distorted here.

I'm worried far less about how "far left" Pelosi is (or isn't; didn't I mention how little I care?) than I am about characters like Charlie Rangel staying in office well after they should have stepped down.

I have much more tolerance for a couple of dozen slightly wacky people than I do for one who's either trying to slip one past the tax man, or...the alternative escapes me.

Wackos are in office, in general, because a majority of their constituents want them there.

I couldn't possibly have a valid opinion on that.

whatever you think of Barney Frank, you obviously don't know what an actual radical leftist is.

Unless and until WND does something epically idiotic, the RNC will only keep its distance

WND does something epically idiotic every single day. This is a "news" site which runs breathless "exclusive" stories about people recording the voices of angels, for Pete's sake.

Pelosi keeps publicly declaring that the House won't pass anything except what they have on the table.

That's tactics, not ideology. She's playing hardball. There is absolutely nothing "leftist" about that.

Frank fought regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for 10 years and is now represented as a financial reformer.

Being against regulation puts one on the radical left?

Stop, Marty, you're killing me.

Yikes, this thread is depressing. I didn't realize that people who comment here regularly were truthers.

"I find it absolutely and completely in the realm of the believable that there were people in government who were aware that Al Qaeda were planning an attack on the US, and who failed to take actions they could have taken because they thought an attack would make it easier to justify a war in the Middle East.

In fact, I would find it extraordinarily difficult to overstate how completely and absolutely believable I find that to be."

Unless there is some caveat that I'm not understanding, this is kind of like talking to your grandmother and having her tell you about how evil black people are. I mean it happens, but it is still depressing and crazy.

Do we need to talk about floridation in the water too? The water engine for cars and how GM has had a working model of it under wraps since 1960? How the government created AIDS? How vaccines cause autism? High tension wires causing cancer?

Actually don't. I probably don't want to know.

"Frank fought regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for 10 years and is now represented as a financial reformer.

Being against regulation puts one on the radical left?"

Clarification: Frank fought regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for 10 years (because the regulation would have impeded the ability of low income families and the poor to buy houses) and is now represented as a financial reformer.

Your 'clarification' still doesn't magically transform a staunchly capitalist liberal (liberal, not 'leftist') Democrat like Barney Frank into one of those damn communists, Marty.

I didn't realize that people who comment here regularly were truthers.

Sebastian, the first part that you bolded--who were aware that Al Qaeda were planning an attack on the US--is incontrovertibly true. They were aware.

So why the bolding?

who were aware that Al Qaeda were planning an attack on the US

describes pretty much every administration since AQ started targeting us, I think.

"Your 'clarification' still doesn't magically transform a staunchly capitalist liberal (liberal, not 'leftist') Democrat like Barney Frank into one of those damn communists, Marty."

Naw, I knew it wouldn't because that staunchly capitalist liberal is certainly a centrist leaning a little right.

And don't put words in my mouth with your ommunist defense. I didn't use or imply that word ever. But it is always good to trot out to define what left means, if your not a communist then your not on the left, correct?

I bolded both of the most important of the question to highlight that truth in one portion of the statement doesn't validate the because part of the statement.

Women give birth, after spending nine months carrying the child in their womb, because a fairy waves a magic wand in heaven.

The truth or falsity of the first clause doesn't save the truth of the whole statement.

Obama didn't immediately release his birth certificate because he needed time to create a fake.

Obama isn't releasing the actual paper certificate to inspection because the fake would be revealed.

All of these statements are false, even if they have clauses which standing alone are true.

There is also a craziness level of misunderstanding even on the "incontrovertibly true" part.

It is absolutely true that if I know the half life of radioactive isotopes, I 'know' that at time, half of the atoms will have released their radiation and reduced to another state.

But anyone who claimed that proves I 'knew' exactly which atoms were going to decay at the period of the half life, or that the half life allows me to know exactly when an individual atom is going to decay, doesn't understand "half-life".

I mean it happens, but it is still depressing and crazy.

Wait, what? Sebastian, you're asserting that people who are not in denial about the incontrovertible and documented fact that Bush was aware that al-Qaeda was about to strike in the US, and the incontrovertible and documented fact that the Bush administration made use of the strike to justify going to war against Iraq, is as depressing and crazy as your white grandmother telling you seriously that black people are evil?

Sebastian, Sebastian, Sebastian. Just because the Bush administration is now out of power, is no reason to start white-washing it. They lied the US into war with Iraq. They made use of 9/11 to justify this. They told lies about Saddam Hussein being connected with al-Qaeda. They told lies about how they KNEW there were WMD in Iraq that Saddam Hussein would let al-Qaeda make use of. They wanted war in the Middle East because they figured it would make the US more powerful. This is all documented. This is all incontrovertible. Holding to the truth is depressing, but it is not crazy.

Being a birther like Brett: that's crazy.

Pelosi and Frank are as far left and radical as you could be.

Eugene Debs, lefty.
Norman Thomas, lefty.
Noam Chomsky, lefty.
Barry Commoner, kinda lefty.
Bernie Sanders, kinda lefty.

None of them, mind you -- not one -- are remotely as far left as you can get. They're just lefties.

Pelosi and Frank, middle of the road.

The issue here is the range of political opinion that is acceptable in the US. In pretty much any other nation comparable to the US, the positions espoused by the folks I've named here would be well represented in the government. People with their positions would serve in government all the time, and it would be utterly unremarkable.

In the US you can call for the end of the gold standard and the Federal Reserve bank and not be seen as a raving lunatic. Universal health care, however, is seen as radical leftism of the first order, people like Obama and Dean are seen as socialists, and folks like Pelosi and Frank are "as far left as you can get".

It's pretty weird.

All of these statements are false, even if they have clauses which standing alone are true.

See my 6:16 p.m. comment for an explanation of this. Yes, the second clause of that is true, the only even debatable part is the "because." So, again, you can't argue with the statement that they did nothing and you can't argue with the statement that they wanted a war in the Middle East, but you call it beyond-the-pale crazy to connect the dots between those?

Louis Freeh had known since 1995 that bin Laden was planning on attacking the US using airplanes. George Tenet almost certainly knew since then, and certainly did when he took directorship in 1997.

Those guys could certainly report on to what extent that Bush ignored fresh, useful intelligence to that effect, and I don't think either of them has cause to love George W. Bush.

I recommend asking those who know, rather than building a could-be-therefore-was kind of fairytale. Just a suggestion.

If you want to know badly enough, you could write to your representative, if you have one, urging them to investigate. That would be the thing to do, I think.

Marty, to see who actually counts as liberal or conservative in Congress, I recommend voteview.com (endorsed by Nate Silver, God of Political Statistics): in the 110th House, Frank is the 27th-most liberal, Pelosi is the 110th. If you want to see an *actual* leftist, Kuchinich is the nearest thing.

In the Senate, Feingold and Sanders are bona fide leftists.

"In the Senate, Feingold and Sanders are bona fide leftists."

Thanks Doc, I actually understand how left each of them is, I just threw pelosi in there because she is "Playing hardball" as someone put it, and titularly in charge. The concept that there is only one end of the spectrum "standing their ground" in all of this is almost comical to me.

The Republicans get lots of press and blog time, the Blue Dogs get beat up, but the kind of middle to the left of the Dems are "being reasonable" and conceding crucial things. But nothing of any great import has been conceded yet, everyone is "playing hardball" and Pelosi is as guilty of making this difficult as Grassley.

And Kucinich is just odd.

this is kind of like talking to your grandmother and having her tell you about how evil black people are. I mean it happens, but it is still depressing and crazy.

Among the things that the folks in question have been involved in that I can name right off the top of my head:

Illegally selling weapons to Iran in order to finance an illegal war in South America.

Disclosing the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA operative working in the area of nuclear non-proliferation, as revenge against her husband for publicly undermining the yellow-cake claim.

If you want to take it back to the Nixon days, which is where some of these guys cut their teeth, we get into stuff like proposals to bomb the Brookings Institution.

So yeah, I have no problem with the idea that there are people in government who would have deliberately allowed 9/11 to go forward in order to justify a war.

They might not have known how big, or traumatic, 9/11 would be. Maybe they thought only 50 people would be killed, or 100.

But allow me to say it again. I'll even supply the bolding myself:

I find it absolutely and completely in the realm of the believable that there were people in government who were aware that Al Qaeda were planning an attack on the US, and who failed to take actions they could have taken because they thought an attack would make it easier to justify a war in the Middle East.

Hell yeah.

They're cold m****rf****rs.

And dude, I ain't your grandma.

Thanks Doc, I actually understand how left each of them is

Then why did you write the exact opposite just a short while ago?

I just threw pelosi in there because she is "Playing hardball" as someone put it, and titularly in charge.

So when you said she was "about as far left as you can go," what you really meant was "She's not really 'left' at all, I'm just using 'left' as an all-purpose epithet."

This is Jonah Goldberg territory.

Wait, "nothing of great import has been conceded yet"?

Dude, seriously. We STARTED this process with almost everything of import conceded! Single payer wasn't even an option mentioned at all, because they wanted to make something that would address Republican objections, assuming those objections were made in good faith. We started the process with half-assed regulation because, again, the Democratic leaders wanted to appease the Republican's earlier attacks on health care reforms.

We started three quarters of the way down the field, with a half-assed "public option", and a bill that'd be a giant windfall for insurance companies as concessions built in at the start to try and bring insurance companies and Republicans on board, even though they make the bill worse. And now because the liberals in the House are fighting to keep the bill from being ENTIRELY a giveaway to the insurance companies, and make it have some chance of working, you're claiming "nothing of import has been conceded yet"?!?

Man, Obama and the leadership TOTALLY misplayed this, they should have let a REAL bill be proposed, they'd have gotten as many cries of "socialism!", AND we might have had a halfway decent bill at the end of the negotiations.

"We can never really know the motives of the Bush administration officials"

May i suggest enhanced interrogation techniques?

"See my 6:16 p.m. comment for an explanation of this. Yes, the second clause of that is true, the only even debatable part is the 'because.'"

See my half-life response.

And 'because' clauses are rather important to truth value of the whole statement.

"Women get pregnant because the full moon sends special rays into the womb which create a baby" is not a true statement. And if you think it is a true statement, I'd like to see your proof.

The birther outrage is stupid, but they are essentially the following statements.

Initially: "Obama won't release information about his birth certificate BECAUSE he wants to hide the fact that he wasn't born here".

And now: "Obama won't release the physical original of his birth certificate BECAUSE it would reveal that the document is a fake and BECAUSE he wants to hide the fact that he wasn't born here".

Both of those have teeny, tiny elements of truth in them, but as a whole are just false.

If you believe that the government had useful and actionable information which was recognizeable apart from hindsight as separating it from the millions of useless bits of information about other groups wanting to attack the US, you are probably wrong, but that isn't crazy--and humans suck at avoiding hindsight bias.

If you believe that there was useful and actionalbe information recognizeable apart from hindsight, that was supressed you don't have any evidence of that.

If you believe it was believed to be important and action was not taken, you are really stretching.

If you believe it was believed to be important, and no action was taken because the administration wanted to attack the Middle East, you are being crazy considering the evidence we have before us now. That really is birther territory. It is taking only the paranoid directions in the decision tree at multiple points of uncertainty. Doing that once without evidence is perhaps being overly suspicious. Doing it on at least 4 critical junctures is going way too far.

[The junctures I see are: that there was useful information, that the information could have usefully picked out of the random noise usefully, that it was in fact picked out of the noise, that having been picked out of the noise no action was taken because of a particular motive.]

The evidence I have seen indicates that we probably never got past the first step--it was part of the random noise and was pretty much treated as such by almost everyone.

To restate Sebastian's assertion:

A woman gives birth, because she had unprotected heterosexual intercourse nine months earlier.

Both subordinate statements could be true (the "because" clause covers the "decided not to have an abortion" part) and yet the whole statement could be false (she did have unprotected heterosexual intercourse but actually got pregnant via a syringe at the local fertility clinic).

But Sebastian's argument rests on the idea that when you know a new mother has a live-in male partner with whom she's in a heterosexual relationship, that it is batpoop crazy to assume he is the biological father of her child.

Let Bush in 2003 be the new mom. The war in Iraq is his baby. Cheney and Rumsfeld and their ideas about making aggressive war in the Middle East are collectively Bush's live-in partner. The whole world knows they've been making mad crazy monkey-love for years.

Now, with all that: maybe Bush had his baby with some other daddy. Bush claimed all along that 9/11 was the Iraq war baby's daddy. Do we really trust Bush to say who he opened his legs to and got pregnant by? When he's got a live-in lover who was screwing him up, down, and sideways, and the Iraq war baby looks just like that collective hive of Cheney-Rumsfield-PNAC.

So we do some DNA testing. Is there any genetic evidence that Iraq war baby is related to 9/11? But this has all been done by now, Sebastian... and no: the Iraq baby daddy was the Rumsfeld-Cheney-PNAC hive making love with Bush.

Posted by: Uncle Kvetch | September 04, 2009 at 12:26 PM


I do sometimes let my rhetoric get away from me to make a point.

Russell, I can't actually tell if 'believable' is a hedge. I find it perfectly believable that there are people in the world who would have done so.

I don't see any evidence that it actually happened, so the question is do you believe it actually happened?

"I do sometimes let my rhetoric get away from me to make a point."

The problem, Marty, is when your rhetoric moves into the realm of fantasy, nobody will even see what point you are making.

And to equate Pelosi's insistence on one aspect of the reform to Grassley's obvious desire to sabotage every effort at reform is, in my mind, moving back into the realm of fantasy.

A member of the commentariat at Redstate some weeks ago referred to the guy (a Democratic activist) who runs Progressive Corp., the auto insurer, as several steps to the left of Joseph Stalin.

Which would make the guy who owns GEICO simultaneously the second richest capitalist in America and the head of the KGB, not to mention Pol Pot's personal eyeglasses confiscator.

As to Allstate and State Farm, the Ukrainians in the bunch, if I were them, I'd be storing foodstuffs for the long Stalinist siege.

I'm having trouble seeing russell's point, actually. In order for something like what he's painted to have occurred, every single person involved would have had to have kept mum. There was no significant stopping point for information in the DoJ chain that was connected to the Nixon administration; ditto the CIA.

Hell, there was someone high up in DoJ that lost his wife in one of the plane crashes.

But: we can probably point to coldness as the cause for all this silence, among various folks who weren't even Republican appointees, because Palpatine had turned them over the the Dark Side.

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