You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

September 06, 2009


I remember being very worried when George Stephanopoulos left the Clinton administration. Before joining it, he'd done a few things that suggested he was a decent human being. And if he'd gone on post-Clinton to do something like, say, teaching high school, I would have had to recalibrate everything I thought I knew about these people.

Fortunately, Stephanopoulos went on to host This Week on ABC. No recalibration needed!

Likewise, I became concerned when I saw Van Jones had been hired by Obama. Van Jones is a genuinely worthwhile person, from which it follows he's someone whom America's right-wing would inevitably go berserk about. Yet if Obama were willing to face down their berserkitude, this would mean I would have to redraw my mental map of who and what Obama is.

Thank god that turned out not to be necessary. I have enough on my plate as it is.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at September 6, 2009 01:56 PM

Van Jones is one of the decent and competent people chosen by Obama - in fact he is too decent and competent for a fraud like Obama. Its not surprising that Obama dropped Van like a hotcake at the first sign of right wing controversy.

Posted by: Bob Della Valle at September 6, 2009 03:07 PM

We need many more like Mr Van Jones in the administration who do not mince words! Sorry Mr Schwarz, I know, if that became a reality, that would more than double your workload ( specially when you are already exhausted!).

A link below with great videos!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at September 6, 2009 03:24 PM

He was hunted like a wolf, if anyone remembers the words of Charles Sanders Pierce.

On the bright side, now that his political hide has been taken, he can go back to saying whatever the hell he wants.

Posted by: N E at September 6, 2009 04:06 PM

Went to the URL
not to see the video but to read the comments. Based on the bile being spewed by the majority of commentators, I'd not bother holding out any hope for the American experiment. The righteousness of the grass-roots berserkers is beyond belief. Sadly, it's the same here in Canada.

Posted by: Harpfool at September 6, 2009 04:48 PM

i can't believe it. with all that other trash flying around, the LAT moderator didn't let through my comment. all i did was suggest the blogger had no business calling himself a political reporter. what kind of braindead naif would imply there's something obama can do to get republican support, i asked.

and it wasn't published.

sauce for the goose only, please.

Posted by: hapa at September 6, 2009 08:25 PM

(probly around midnight, when there were barely two pages of comments.)

Posted by: hapa at September 6, 2009 08:27 PM


I'm happy for Van Jones that he's free again. And his abandonment to the screamer mob might be clarifying for some people...

Posted by: Nell at September 6, 2009 08:55 PM

"The Nation" is allegedly a liberal magazine, but the commenters seem to be anything but!

ps usually I do not make it a point of reading comments after newspaper articles as they run into 100+. may be, I should now!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at September 6, 2009 08:57 PM

I must say, though, Van Jones is a total babe.

Posted by: Duncan at September 6, 2009 10:15 PM

Jones may have done some worthwhile stuff, he's obviously a clueless moron for being tricked into signing a 9/11 "truth" statement.

Oh, and does anyone else think he looks like Michael Steele's twin brother?

Posted by: LT at September 7, 2009 02:54 AM

"he's obviously a clueless moron for being tricked into signing a 9/11 "truth" statement."

Oh, for Pete's sake, of course he wasn't "tricked." It sounds like he was had mighty fine intuition about what was going on back as early as 2002--certainly much finer intuition than I had then. I would probably have laughed at such a petition in 2002; I certainly would NOT have signed it at that time, probably not even if I could travel back in time and told me to. And my reasons would have been anxiety and lack of knowledge (i.e., ignorance--ouch, that hurts), not being too smart to be "tricked". It really doesn't take brains or courage to think what you're supposed to think. (I love that scene in Life of Brian where Brian shouts to the crowd outside his window
"You are all individuals!" and they all shout back at him in unison at him: "We are all individuals!")

Believing the government may have committed mass murder isn't stupid. After all, the U.S. has got some demonstrated expertise in that area, at least once you accept that heretical notion that human beings who don't live in the United States are still, you know, human beings. There were plenty of reasons by 2002 to think that something fishy happened on 9/11. I mean, where was NORAD? Don't we at least protect THE PENTAGON from air attacks? And why would an investigation of what happened (which, by the way, never really happened) be helping the terrorists? Anytime someone tells you questions like that are "moronic" you should start paying attention.

Of course, actually planning a career in establishment politics who says or writes down that the U.S. government is run by mass murderers who act with nearly complete impunity because of a servile press and the lack of any real opposition party isn't doing good career planning. That amounts to self banishment. But I like Van Jones for that. The world could definitely use a few more people who are willing to NOT think that way, especially people who Duncan thinks are babes.

Finally, the Beck lunatics are completely full of shit about this, and it goes beyond the parallels to the birthers that the media draws--because, of course, all conspiracies are equally whacky. If Van Jones were Jessie Ventura or Bo Gritz or Colonel Robert Bowman, people who listen to Beck wouldn't be saying much about Jones' view that the government is capable of this. The problem with Van Jones to the Right is OBVIOUSLY that he's a radical lefty black guy. Right wingers have no problem believing the government, especially when headed by people they don't like such as Bill Clinton or even Poppy Bush, can do any terrible thing you can think of and worse. Bo Gritz, the real life Rambo of Vietnam special forces fame who was sort of a cult hero on the Right, wrote in his book Called to Serve that Poppy Bush and the CIA and the other forces of the New World Order had used Hinkley to try to assassinate Reagan, and also that the CIA killed all those people at Jonestown. Jessie Ventura to his credit has a good idea what happened with the assassinations in the 60s, and, because he doesn't worry about anyone telling him he's not a patriot or masculine, he even plugged the absolutely fantastic book The Assassinations edited by Jim DeEugenio and Lisa Pease. Colonel Robert Bowman, a former Reagan official and interceptor pilot AND 911 skeptic, is respected by many people who hate Van Jones. Wingnuts have no problem with conspiracy theories by the right kind of people saying the right kind of things. Their problem with Van Jones is somethign else. (Pssst, did you notice that Van Jones and Obama have something in common?)

But this was mostly a tantrum for Beck and his crowd to show how powerful they are. Everythign about it is fake, and yet it worked. Get ready for more tantrums.

Posted by: N E at September 7, 2009 08:32 AM

I've noticed that the popular press were fond of pop psycho-analyses of Bill Clinton when he was president, yet it seems nobody talks about Obama's eagerness to disavow people associated him at the first sign of trouble (or opportunity), linking it to an ambivalent identification with his father, who supposedly abandoned the missus and boy to go to Harvard, as opposed to the (leftyier and somewhat less prestigious) New School. Didn't you discuss this before, Jon Schwarz?

I suppose that narrative gets little to no play because it doesn't serve the larger narrative about wildly-liberal-and-out-of-touch-democratic presidents.

Posted by: Ibn Grimmy at September 7, 2009 08:34 AM

Ibn Grimmy:

I love your new name!

If we should have learned anything by now, it's that the "popular press" just puts out the stories that come to it. Where do they come to it from? The GOP, corporations, establishment Dems--in short MONEY.

You've got me thinking more about how the narrative has changed since Clinton. Obviously a white Southerner has to be attacked a little differently than a black guy whose dad was African and who spent part of his boyhood in Indonesia. Those unique facts about Obama, in combination with the fact that we've had eight years of the war on terror soaking poison into everyone's brains, gives Obama's enemies more options for narratives about him. The wingnuts are starting out way ahead of where they were with Clinton.

I also have to say, you guys who love to hate Obama seem to assume he could have handled this Van Jones situation differently. I don't think that's so. I like Van Jones, and I hate this sort of smearing because its a form of political control, but I'm also from the Plains, and a lot of people there and elsewhere in the infamous Heartland really are pretty naive about US history and the world, even those of them who aren't also bigoted. (And there are certainly enough bigots everywhere.)

Beck's campaign against Jones reminds me more than a little of the Willie Horton ad campaign in its tactics, and you can call up Michael Dukakis and ask him whether that smear job worked. In case anyone hasn't noticed, it's not like the GOP or the Blue Dog Dems in the Senate are cooperating with Obama much on health care. So it's not the best timing to have pictures and commentary constantly on TV of a black radical revolutionary (almost a Black Panther!) who is in the administration working hand in hand with Obama to destroy freedom (and by that we mean, you know, white freedom, because after all Obama is a racist).

Happy Labor Day!

Posted by: N E at September 7, 2009 09:56 AM

After Operation Northwoods, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and the Downing Street memo, how can anyone believe our elites capable of such despicable, monstrous perfidy as intentionally letting the 9/11 attacks happen to enable a Pearl Harbor event to justify a reckless military expedition to control the world's dwindling supply of oil?

The lack of deferrence to and faith in our nation's leaders some people display reveals a total absence of seriousness on their part.

Posted by: Pvt. Keepout at September 7, 2009 10:07 AM

I've heard how bad hopium withdrawl is... all this flinging poo... sad. Hasn't even been a year. I guess it's a good sign for the future though.

Posted by: tim at September 7, 2009 10:23 AM

This is one of the least horrible things Obama has done. Was it horrible? Eh, sure. But, seriously, who cares? Obama would be far worse if he put decent individuals in his administration and then worked hard to make sure they could never do anything of value. Then he'd just be a fuckwith. Kicking out a guy who could do some good due to a lack of political will doesn't even register.

I'm amazed he bothered to hire the guy.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at September 7, 2009 11:44 AM

I remember there was a poll of only black people in NY (or a regular poll with results reported by race) just after 9-11 and a majority of them, it may even have been a huge majority of them, just assumed it was an inside job. Within days of 9-11.

That seems reasonable to me. A lot of "truthers" get excited about their pet theories but when it comes down to it all they are saying is what anyone would have to say which is that we don't know yet and the government lied about it. Now when you don't have the evidence in yet you have to guess based upon expectations of normal behaviour. For people who don't pay attention and trust the government that expectation foolishly led one way and for those on the left with knowledge of what sort of evil shit the US government habitually pulls off, that expectation led another way.

But what I found interesting is that so many non-political black people ALSO just assumed it was an inside job presumably based on their non-political experience of the US government. Of course someone like out friend Glen Greenwald would say they were being "Manichaen" but if that's true then no more so than someone who in an equal absence of evidence made a presumption that the government were the good guys.

Posted by: DavidByron at September 7, 2009 11:54 AM

I guess, there is a silver lining to every cloud as the article below describes!
"5 Reasons Why Van Jones and Progressives are Better Off With Jones Out of the White House"

Posted by: Rupa Shah at September 7, 2009 11:55 AM

Third Party, Folks.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 7, 2009 12:00 PM

Pvt. Keepout: Nice list, a little short though, but I don't want to get all Tolstoyish for the hundred millionth time and add a couple pages. Still, I notice that even you said "letting" the attacks happen. Oh well, I'll let it go.

DavidByron: I think what you said is right on the money. But there is another piece too. Elite journalists and others with all sorts of credentials and money and awards and accolades aren't really free to see dangerous ideas or facts, because Janice Joplin and Charles Sanders Pierce understood the same thing: freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.

Van Jones is freer now than he was a few days ago. And strangely enough, Barack Obama may be less free than everybody else alive--he can't really tell the whole truth about ANYTHING. Or do what he really thinks would be the right thing. That's why any President who is worth a damn sooner or later has a moment like the one Warren Harding once had when he basically told a train conductor with whom he was chatting that he really wished someone would just let him drive the train for once. You think you've got power, but it turns out that power has you.

Let's not start up on Glenn Greenwald again. I've been reading more Chris Floyd lately, and he doesn't take positions any less heretical than I do with regard to the National Security State, and he has been for a much longer time, and Glenn Greenwald acknowledges him and even treats his views with respect. So Greenwald is very unusual in a good way there, and it may well eventually come back to bite him, even if he is ultimately a civil libertarian and not a radical.

Posted by: N E at September 7, 2009 01:35 PM

David Sirota goes on TV about how angry he is that Van Jones was thrown under the bus.

But in defending Van Jones he throws the "truthers" under the bus. Once again the Anti-Overton knee jerk reaction comes into play. Everyone piss to the left. The linear firing squad. David Sirota says, "Don't piss on people to your left Obama! Piss on people to MY left!"

I am not into the whole why did building nine collapse stuff but I am damned if I am going to start pissing on them for working to raise questions about a very serious issue.

And all these fools that piss to the left will tell you all about how the Overton Window works. They'll breathlessly tell you that the right shifts public opinion by boosting their extremists. And then turn around and piss to the left. Even when they are expressing how angry they are that someone ELSE pissed to the left!!

Posted by: DavidByron at September 7, 2009 07:28 PM

At the risk of "pissing to my left," I hadn't realized that the Truthers had a monopoly on the belief that the government lied about 9/11. That was obvious from day one. I was reading news articles whose contents would change daily as the time rolled on from the attacks. I've spoken with a journalist who found that at least one, and most likely all, of the hijackers were secularists and were most likely involved in the drug trade before their slight career change. I watched in dull horror as the U.S. picked up hundreds, if not thousands, of tons of evidence from the crime scene and shipped it off to China.

And that's nothing compared to the almost cartoon-like behavior of our government during the attack, watching each plane cruise onto their targets.

That the Bush regime capitalized on this, let this happen, and even employed policies that encouraged this (like its predecessors) is a matter of public record. It's that fucking obvious; it's just not "acceptable television," so we can't discuss it on the airwaves for the most part.

The problem is the Truther movement is riddled with demonstrably wrong ideas (example: remote controlled drones) and is blissfully uncritical of its members' views. Nevertheless, some of the ideas in it are obviously true. As such, I wouldn't dismiss someone who signs onto the movement out of hand, though I'd think it an unwise thing. I sure as hell, however, vehemently dispute the idea that the Truthers represent the main criticism of the government's story of 9/11.

That being the case, I cannot see how Sirota was "pissing to his left" by noting that signing the petition was foolish. Some of the Truther's positions ARE fucked up and have less to do with political corruption and more to do with the knee-jerk need for some people to believe that all great powers are effectively the same organization.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at September 7, 2009 08:14 PM

Clearly Sirota attacked his own side.

Frum was delighted of course and proceeded to beat the crap out of Sirota without breaking a sweat. If you start off a fight by stabbing your allies and throwing down your weapons that tends to happen.

The comments you made mark you as a "truther" yourself because anyone who doesn't ritualistically condemn them is obviously one of them. So it goes. Frum says you're a Holocaust denier. Sirota says you're a "mistake".

This all seems pretty clear to me so I don't understand why you're having a problem with it. In what possible sense was Sirota not pissing to the left? He suggested that even associating with the truthers was something you have to apologise for. How is that not crystal clear? I'd really like you to explain that one for me.

Have you even read the petition? It makes no claims but just asks for an investigation. It notes a then recent poll with half of the people of NYC agreeing that the government had foreknowledge if 9-11. So Sirota is kicking a position to the right of half of NYC. And Frum is calling half of NYC Holocaust deniers.

Here's the petition:

Posted by: DavidByron at September 7, 2009 08:57 PM

Yeah.. as I've come across recently, the USS Liberty incident is not the only marketable tragedy.

I've heard (respectable mind you, and I use that word as lightly as I can given the naturally great swaths of people in the whole truth camp) theories from giant projectors that created images of planes to the use of direct-energy weapons.

Anti-Zionists have uncovered pretty credible evidence that the 9/11 was a Isreali operation more than anything else. A way for the United States to fight Isreal's wars when sinking the Liberty failed. They've even demonstrated that most of the 9/11 truth movement is a Mossad disinformation campaign attempting to hide the true Jewish culprits.

In the end, from the Loch Ness, to El Chupacabre, making a buck off of peoples fear of the unknown has proved easy. One can possibly never know who is the real deal, who has an agenda or who just simply wants their 15 minutes of fame until they're way in their sunset years and on a deathbed. Even then its murky.

The forefather of the global warming movement and mentor of Mr. Gore himself, Roger Revelle, later doubted his life' work publicly. Although Al Gore concluded it was the musings of a senile old man, the deniers have made an excellent case with the revelation.

Posted by: Nikolay Levin at September 7, 2009 09:08 PM

I do not know and will not try to speculate what happened on the 11th of Sep, 2001. I do know, the govt then, did not tell the American public the truth.

1. I did read an article by a physics prof that the bldgs collapsed because of implosion and his paper was accepted to be read at a scientists' meeting.
( I had read one with diagrams etc which explained why it was an implosion as another bldg which was NOT HIT also had collaped ).

2. Robert Fisk wrote an article where he talked to some of the alleged Saudi hijackers (who were still alive) and their families in Saudi Arabia. I had read that article. I do not have a link to that but below is a link to another article by him.

'Suicide hijacker' is an airline pilot alive and well in Jeddah
By Robert Fisk in Beirut
Monday, 17 September 2001


Posted by: Rupa Shah at September 7, 2009 09:13 PM

I wonder what it's like to protest and then see the government respond to your protest. I'd probably keel over from a heart attack if it ever happened to me.

Posted by: SteveB at September 7, 2009 10:27 PM

Sirota’s article:

Somehow, nobody gets fired for lying us into Iraq, Tim Geithner keeps his job after tax evasion and gift scandals, Republican congresspeople remain credible while championing the "birther" lunacy - but Van Jones must be fired for carelessly signing a petition years ago, which he later apologized for.

DavidByron at September 7, 2009 08:57 PM:

Clearly Sirota attacked his own side.

Where the hell is that clear? There is NO indiciation in this article as to why the signing of the petition is “careless.” No other portion of the article addresses the petition at all. Pretending for a moment the Truthers are philosophically kosher, it can still be foolish for a person aspiring to mainstream political power to create a direct link between himself and an outsider political movement. Such a concept does nothing to besmirch Truthers. As many of us were taught in school, the term “clearly” more often than not betrays the exact opposite of what it implies. DavidByron’s conclusion was opaque indeed.

This all seems pretty clear --

There’s that word again.

-- to me so I don't understand why you're having a problem with it. In what possible sense was Sirota not pissing to the left? He suggested that even associating with the truthers was something you have to apologise for.

Of course it’s something you have to apologize for -- to the MSM. I already said that, above. If you want to be a part of the mainstream administration, you’ll have to pay lip service. This was hardly a massive betrayal. It isn’t like he’d suddenly have a forum to discuss the attacks sagely, with a public audience. There’s no harm done to the Truthers with the apology -- what, are they going to get more marginalized? -- and no gain with the fuckers in the administration. So what the hell are you talking about? You’ve got ONE fucking sentence here, and Sirota doesn’t even say Sirota thinks the apology was justified. Sirota implies that Van Jones played the game correctly: nothing more.

How is that not crystal clear? I'd really like you to explain that one for me.

The same to you, no hostility intended

The content of the petition is irrelevant. There’s nothing unreasonable about it and its questions are more than agreeable -- if anything, there’s a dozen more questions that could easily fit on it. As I said above, there is something unreasonable about some of the views that are bandied about uncritically within the Truther movement.

The comments you made mark you as a "truther" yourself because anyone who doesn't ritualistically condemn them is obviously one of them. So it goes.

You’ll excuse me if I’m not stupid or pathetic enough to submit to definition from my enemies. During the civil rights era, my kind were “rabble rousers” and “uppity” according to the Powers That Be. Fuck those fuckers then. Fuck those fuckers now.

Keep in mind that any inquiry into ANY blatant propaganda is now Conspiracy Theory(tm). Remember the idea that Bush planned to invade Iraq before Afghanistan’s occupation -- even before 9/11? Those of us who claimed that were “conspiracy theorists” until the Downing Street Memo and other evidence made the subject, ah, “boring,” and undeserving of significant coverage.

The more bullshitty Truther ideas act as political cover for some operatives, true. But it doesn’t really matter that much because the media would much rather ignore the issue entirely -- even ridicule is a bad idea. However, I am extremely unhappy with the movement because it’s spreading some bullshitty-on-its-face ideas amongst the proles, and the last thing we need is more fucking bullshit. It’s bringing coals to Newcastle.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at September 7, 2009 10:28 PM

Here’s a Truther talking to Greg Palast. They do their damndest in framing Palast as being a bad guy -- the guy who’s done more to popularize rightwing/neocon conspiracies than anyone out there.

Check the end where they claim “he didn’t investigate” when Palast made that statement concerning 9/11 in general; then they claim that’s some kind of massive contradiction when he says his people did look into building collapse issues and found that there was nothing to investigate. This is their rhetorical coup. This is rightwing propaganda bullshit. I don’t care (in this narrow instance) if someone has solid evidence as to engineering impossibilities in the towers falling; this is about smearing a guy who doesn’t toe the party line because the interviewer’s dick is too small to handle the issue. Palast mentions that one of the Truther’s saints, Dr. Steven Jones, has a batshit fucking stupid belief about the Mayans and Jesus and concludes that he’s a fruitcake. Does the interviewer or the poster of the video attempt to defend the absurd belief or (more sanely and wisely) simply sever the good doctor’s religious belief from his 9/11 conclusions? Nope. Instead, he attacks Palast.

And this asshole COMPLETELY obscures Bush’s obvious complicity in 9/11 -- standing by while it happened, just like Katrina, makes Bush responsible for every single person that died. I don’t need remote controlled planes and energy beams. However, if I wanted to confuse the fuck out of a prole who is honestly wondering what happened, I’d bring up this bullshit and she’d retreat from the whole issue, having concluded (accurately) that my head was up my ass.

And this is why I find the Truther movement so odious. Now, I know full well that this asshole doesn’t represent the whole movement -- but that’s the problem. It’s utter cacophony and none of the louder voices seem to mind that.

Of course, all of this is neither here nor there when it comes to Sirota, who commented not a whit on the movement.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at September 7, 2009 10:46 PM

Nikolay, DavidByron, No One of Consequence, Anyone Else Interested:

No one in the business of journalism, or public commentary, can admit that there is any serious question about 9/11, just as even now they still can't admit what has become known, and even expressly documented, in connection with the JFK assassination. ALL journalists understand that, including Sirota and otherwise daring folks like Greg Palast. It has nothing to do with pissing to the right or left. It has to do with not staking out a position that will accomplish nothing but your professional destruction. No journalist wants to end up with everyone pissing on him.

In addition, SOME journalists are so in bed with the government, especially Langley, that they are practically employees and certainly on the same team for all meaningful purposes. That is nothing new. To our modest good fortune, some people do keep track of this sort of thing:

The situation in this latter regard is worst in connection with the progressive/liberal bellweather sites like The Nation, Mother Jones, and now Huffington Post, where it is always stressed that only lunatics ever would believe a conspiracy theory. My impression is that educated liberals are far more afraid of being ostracized than those on the Right. I saw that Arianna was just today saying how much she "loathes" the 9/11 Truth movement today in the midst of praising Van Jones, who did what he needed to do to get atonement by saying he had been "tricked." A ridiculous charade, and I don't blame him for going along with that either. But it is bullshit.

The idea that only crazy people think 9/11 involved elements of government complicity and coverup is ridiculous. Some of the smartest people in the world, quite literally, believe that to be not just true, but obvious. The most prominent author on the subject, David Ray Griffin, is a distinguished retired theologian who simply couldn't abide saying nothing once he reached an opinion of the government's culpability, a view I share with him. The fact that smart, sane people and even an occasional genius, believes all this does not make it true, of course, since 99% of the pertinent information has not been made public, but it does make clear that the claim that the views are crazy or stupid is bullshit spread by the media as pure propaganda, whether the view is honestly held by Arianna et al or not.

As for the murky truth of the matter of 9/11, if anyone would like to see a very fine recent European documentary (Zero: an investigation into 9/11), which even shows one towering European intellect in a narrating role, here's a link:

Posted by: N E at September 7, 2009 11:10 PM

I don't comprehend what you think the relevance of Greg Palast is unless it is some bizarre "two wrongs make a right" concept whereby some anonymous guy on a blog nobody reads criticising Palast means it is OK for Sirota to go on national TV and piss on an entire movement.

So I'm going to ignore that set of comments.

You are referencing Sirota's article. I was talking about his TV appearance with David Frum. The clue there was when I mentioned how soundly he was beaten by Frum. Frum does not appear in the blog diary.

So now you're on the same page do you want to try again?

Frum attacks the truthers bulding on Sirota's "throw them under a bus" start. He compares truthers to Nazis. he makes his case by very aggressively rubbishing the truthers as Holocaust deniers. Sirota sits there and takes it reiterating that the reason Van Jones is innocent is because he apologised for accidentally associating with the "Nazis".

By accepting what Frum says Sirota -- who represents the left on these shows remember -- just told the whole nation we're like Nazis. Anyone who questions the official narrative.

The content of the petition is relevant because it is so reasonably worded. The message here is that if you question the government narrative then you're like a Holocaust denier.

Posted by: DavidByron at September 7, 2009 11:11 PM

"And this is why I find the Truther movement so odious."

Oh OK maybe that was the point of the Palast story. I've heard that line of reasoning before and it's bullshit. People don't get put off questioning 9-11 by truthers and therefore the truthers are their own worst enemy or maybe even CIA plants etc etc. I'm sorry that's just bullshit. People get put off by the Sirotas and Frums of the world and also by you when you buy into it with statements like, "And this is why I find the Truther movement so odious."

It's irrational for you or anyone else to dismiss a source of knowledge on the basis of an individual advocating for it who you find to be an asshole. Sure it happens. It happens on many topics. But on what other topic would you then go on to say that because of that individual you are scared off the whole topic and find the entire movement "odious"?

Your feelings there are entirely because of the government propaganda and push-back not because of the truthers.

You are forced in your mind to hold the truthers to a standard far higher than you would for any other kind of issue. The reality is that given the circumstances of their being the subject of government push-back a reasonable person would expect them to be a bit highly strung, frustrated and maybe even a little paranoid.

Well you might say even if that is to be expected I still think their poor attitude, some of them, is detrimental.

Yeah, yeah but my point is why? Why is their attitude such a big deal? That's what happens to a group when it is socially marginalised. That's the aim of the government push-back on this issue. So you're becoming a self-fulfiling prophecy here. You're doing the government's push-back for it. As Sirota did.

At some point to counter the government propaganda you have to actually counter it. You can't counter it by building it up. At some point you got to say No. No, I am not going to be pressurised into attacking these people outside of a rational assessment of their beliefs.

Posted by: DavidByron at September 7, 2009 11:27 PM

It has nothing to do with pissing to the right or left. It has to do with not staking out a position that will accomplish nothing but your professional destruction.

And the only way to remain "professional" is to piss to the left. You can endorse the most right wing batshit crazy nutcase views and remain professional. Look at Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck. On the left you can't even mention an idea that half the country believes is true. So stop talking about this as if there was some sort of symmetry here.

Look we all know this basic stuff. The Overton Window theory says you bolster and boost the most extreme views and they become mainstream. That's what the right always does. We all know that. What I am pointing out is that the left does the exact opposite. The left fanatically attacks their most "extreme" views and the result is that things believed by half the country are now counted as "extreme" if they are "left".

In fact anything that half the country believes can in no sense be called "left". By definition it is centrist. Mainstream in reality - not in media speak. It's not just 9-11 the same is true of single payer for example. We all know that the right wing media totally controls the bounds of legitimate debate.

But what I am saying is that it doesn't help when our own side actively helps push the Overton Window to the right all the time. There's just no excuse for this crap. I don't care why Sirota feels he has to betray the left whenever he appears on TV; when he does it he should be called on it. Doing so pushes back.

Posted by: DavidByron at September 7, 2009 11:42 PM

And I appreciate that this is one of the very few places in the blogosphere that we could all even have this debate.

Posted by: DavidByron at September 7, 2009 11:44 PM


Thanks for introduction to the Overton Window. I have never heard of that term, as far as I can recall, but I am familiar with the political process it describes and agree that the Right does it expertly. The Dems do not do this, in my opinion, because the Money that goes to the Dems doesn't want it to happen.

And that is a big problem. But getting pissed at Sirota or others won't help. We need to change thefact that it is professional suicide for people to hold heretical views in journalism. That is to say, we need REAL journalism and critical thinking.

Posted by: N E at September 8, 2009 12:02 AM

Former Navy Seal Jessie Ventura, and apparently all his former special forces "teammates", understands and isn't scared to say what journalists never will.

Ventura is surprising on other points too. Don't give up altogether on those on the Right.

Posted by: N E at September 8, 2009 01:02 AM

I apologise; I thought the term "Overton Window" was well known. I have probably not been making the best sense here.

Yes, you take some crazy absurd idea you want people to believe, like eg that lower taxes means more income for the government, or that lower taxes are good for poor people. Now those ideas are absurd but if you start to talk about them they become more and more mainstream. To move the absurd towards the mainstream you get these nutty ideas put out by your extremists and then you get your moderates to mention the ideas as if they are within the bounds of legitimate debate. For example Lou Dobbs doesn't say he thinks Obama is Kenyan instead he says there are "questions". It becomes easier and easier to treat the absurd idea seriously.

As the absurd becomes accepted even more freaky ideas can be added until you've shifted the whole terms of the debate.

The Dems do use the same idea but they reverse it. That's because the Democrats are right wing and seek to oppose the ideas of their base. Sensible ideas are ridiculed and considered "extremist" until they are effectively outlawed.

But getting pissed at Sirota or others won't help. We need to change the fact that it is professional suicide for people to hold heretical views in journalism

What I am saying is that getting pissed at Sirota is the only way to effect that change. This is manipulation of expectations. It's pushing back the legitimate bounds of discussion.

Posted by: DavidByron at September 8, 2009 01:17 AM

"It's pushing back the legitimate bounds of discussion."

That sounds right to me. It's part of the reason that I love to watch videos of Jessie Ventura talking to journalists about 9/11 or anything else that they would dismiss before and without thinking about it.

Posted by: N E at September 8, 2009 06:34 AM
People don't get put off questioning 9-11 by truthers and therefore the truthers are their own worst enemy or maybe even CIA plants etc etc. I'm sorry that's just bullshit.

That’s complete bullshit -- and I’m certainly not sorry.

I’ve MET people, dozens, put off by Truther bullshit. I’d bet money not a one of them ever heard of Sirota. You seem to think that people claiming to be progressives, like Sirota, have the same sphere of influence as the Truthers. That’s absurd. Sirota is just one more guy talking about politics. The Truthers are offering an exciting take on a historical event. What the hell makes you think that the common person is going to be more aware of Sirota than the Truthers themselves? I had people I didn’t even fucking know bring up the Truthers the moment the subject of 9/11 come up. No one who wasn’t a political junkie has ever brought up Sirota to me. In my life.

You are referencing Sirota's article. I was talking about his TV appearance with David Frum.

And I’m not. I’m talking about the article and the Van Jones issue. I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass about Sirota outside that context because he just doesn’t matter that much. The Truther movement is undoubtedly maligned in the MSM -- I already said that upthread. Outside of the MSM, there’s plenty to dislike within the Truther movement, so out of all the political viewpoints the MSM takes a dump on, the Truthers are one of the last sets I’d bother trying to save.

But that’s within the MSM. Within progressive/liberal circles (outside of the MSM), Sirota and pals may well have an unfair view of the Truthers. However, since a) many criticism of the Truthers in that narrow sphere of influence are far more valid and b) people in that sphere of influence are FAR more likely to have the resources and inclination to challenge erroneous views on the Truthers, I still don’t care. 9/11’s coverups are obviously important, but the Truther’s don’t have anything close to a monopoly -- or significant market share -- on that notion. Trouble for the Truthers isn’t trouble for people who claim Bush lied his ass off about 9/11.

As such, in this blog post about Van Jones, I’m much more concerned about Van Jones than the Truthers. Wacky, I know.

The content of the petition is relevant because it is so reasonably worded.

Bullshit. No one’s going to look at the petition and ignore the people throwing it out. I just said that I wouldn’t even do that. The petition is irrelevant; the only thing at issue was the political position of the Truthers themselves.

It's irrational for you or anyone else to dismiss a source of knowledge on the basis of an individual advocating for it who you find to be an asshole

It’s irrational for you to assume that I concluded that the person speaking was a source of knowledge. In fact, your assumption ignored the fact that the speakers refusal to produce actual knowledge was the reason that he was an asshole. You’re putting the cart before the horse. If you think he’s not an asshole, point out the “knowledge” that he was defending and show that he promulgated it in a reasonable manner. However, it’s amazing that you’d defend this guy, especially with such vehemence. The point of my entire post was that he irrationally attacked a guy who deserved respect and he did it just like a righwinger.

But speaking of assholish assumptions:

Your feelings there are entirely because of the government propaganda and push-back not because of the truthers.

You have no idea who I am. In fact, the only things you know about me are what’s revealed on this blog -- and that scarce pool of information reveals that my views on the Truthers has absolutely nothing to do with “government propaganda.” I pointed out I was opposing “government propaganda” on the attacks within hours of the attacks occuring, above. I even pointed out that some Truther memes dovetail with government propaganda. If you want to argue with some jackass in your head, feel free, but your bullshit version of myself has nothing to do with me and everything to do with your knee-jerk protection of the Truther movement. Save the Freud for professionals.

By the way, accusing someone who disagrees with you, without evidence, of being victim to government propaganda is dismissal of that person’s views without actual logical refutation, is utterly contemptuous, and, given that that person is progressive and/or radically liberal, easily qualifies as “pissing to the Left.”


Posted by: No One of Consequence at September 8, 2009 07:16 AM

Well you can't talk about this reasonably so I'll give up on you. You come across as full of irrational hatred for the "truthers" though, even though you believe the exact same stuff.

I still don’t care

Yeah, I am getting that. That's kind of my point.

Posted by: DavidByron at September 8, 2009 10:30 AM

Meanwhile, David, you've made it clear that you're less interested in talking to me than talking at me. I say I don't agree with Truthers and point out sources of disagreement -- you say I do and ignore the rest. You've accused me of irrational hatred for Truthers and of being a victim of government propaganda -- both accusations are utterly irrational and contrary to what I've posted.

Face it David. You're a Truther. You took my criticism of the movement personally and resorted to name calling and contempt instead of actually building a case.

You have, however, convinced me that "pissing to the left" is a very pervasive phenomenon, if not in the way you intended.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at September 8, 2009 01:20 PM

But in defending Van Jones he throws the "truthers" under the bus. Once again the Anti-Overton knee jerk reaction comes into play. Everyone piss to the left. The linear firing squad. David Sirota says, "Don't piss on people to your left Obama! Piss on people to MY left!"

That's funny! Despite the fact that you would almost certainly dismiss Matt Taibbi (who has done invaluable work pointing out how stupid and incoherent the Truther cult is) as a corporate-owned gatekeeper, blah blah blah, you and he make the same mistake of claiming that it is some sort of leftist movement just because they think Bush/Cheney were involved. It's not; it's a subset of conspiracy loons who come out of the woodwork every time something like this happens and blame whoever happens to be in power at the time for covering it up/being behind it/etc.

All the basic ideas presented by the Truthers were trotted out after Oklahoma City to blame Clinton, too: controlled demolitions (complete with "retired military experts" claiming that the official story violated all the laws of physics, etc.), body doubles, mysterious accomplices who could never be found, and on and on. Oh, and of course, the Joooos!/Zionists, Mossad, etc.

These people exist in their own apolitical universe, where the only important belief is that Those In Charge control absolutely everything and are lying about it. It's almost like they have a desperate need to believe that nothing ever happens by accident, that it's always the end result of meticulous planning. Perhaps this is even a secular replacement for religious certainty that no one has anymore...

Posted by: . at September 8, 2009 03:13 PM

Somebody wrote in response to someone else (not me):

That's funny! Despite the fact that you would almost certainly dismiss Matt Taibbi (who has done invaluable work pointing out how stupid and incoherent the Truther cult is) as a corporate-owned gatekeeper, blah blah blah, you and he make the same mistake of claiming that it is some sort of leftist movement just because they think Bush/Cheney were involved. It's not; it's a subset of conspiracy loons who come out of the woodwork every time something like this happens and blame whoever happens to be in power at the time for covering it up/being behind it/etc.

Correct!!! There is nothing "left"-ish about the "Truther" cult.

For example, my own father (sorry to say) is simultaneously a 911 "Truther" AND a life-long John Birch Society member AND an NRA member AND a hard-core Cold War warrior, pro-any-US-war, anti-tax Republican (who's been known to cheat on his own taxes) AND a UFO "researcher" convinced since the 1950s that the US Air Force (of which he is a veteran) has covered up the US Government's extra-terrestrial defense treaties. Really.

He has always accused me of having a "closed mind" to which I have always reminded him that one can have a mind so open that one's brain falls out completely.


Posted by: Steve in Los Angeles at September 8, 2009 04:00 PM

When 6 of the original 10 9-11 commish members say that the commission was willfully lied to by the Pentagon and White House, that is nothing but twoofer lunacy. Max Cleland, the whacky war-wounded double or triple amputee, actually said the White House was engaged in a cover-up. Toss him from his wheelchair! (they did, in fact, at an antiwar protest). And dopes like Gore Vidal--what a whacko! (Pssst-- he also wrote conspiracy stuff about Aaron Burr.)

Whacky whacky stuff.

Funny to hear someone use the term "truther" and deny being influenced by government (ie. establishment) agitprop. The term itself was coined to discredit people who think the original investigation inadequate. To use it is to, er, spread the Bernays Sauce.

Use language to demonize your opponents. Always the first step towards understanding.

Whatever. Debate team members might enjoy the following, a primitive, static, single-frame visual aid, fresh from Arcadia, where truth can still be lovingly admired, if viewed safely through the distorting lens of art (or is it also agitprop?).,%20George%20W.%20Bush%20leading%20the%20war%20of%20terror,%202007%20oil%20on%20canvas,%20360x250cm.jpg

or search, the painting "George W. Bush leading the war on terror."

(Although I find the nudity deplorable.)

Posted by: Oarwell at September 8, 2009 04:50 PM

Oarwell: you're bsing and you have to know it.

You know good and well plenty of citizens know that the Bush administration pulled a massive cover-up on 9/11. I said as much upthread. AND I said that the cover-up, and complicity was obvious, so obvious that it's actually in the mainstream media. All I need to prove that Bush is guilty of murder is a Lexis search of the NYT. He knew the planes were on the radar and shrugged it off. Worse, that walking piece of shit did it twice: Katrina.

And then his mother made fun of us poor as we died.

That has jack-shit to do with the truther movement and you know it. The Truther movement can't claim to be the only group that believes 9/11 involved government criminal behavior, or malicious behavior. I spoke with a doctor a few years afterwards, a man who treated people who were at the scene the EPA said was safe. This was a bald-face lie, as we recall, and many people (I think hundreds) suffered from eye problems and respiratory problems as a result. Bush wasn't just callous; he was wantonly cruel.

The Truther movement includes people who claim that the government used energy beams and drone robot planes. It people that blame Jews (no, not merely Israel, but Jews) for the attacks. It has no monopoly on the idea of Bush's cover-up, but it does have a monopoly on the nasty and crazy.

And, btw, the first time I heard the term "Truther" was from a guy selling the drone-plane idea. He was expressing disappointment about an actual journalist not ten feet away from who had actually gone down to Flordia and found evidence of MSM concentratedly ignoring the story behind the attacks. He identified himself as a Truther and complained that the journalist's investigation didn't complement his own bilkered beliefs.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at September 8, 2009 05:58 PM

Well you can't talk about this reasonably so I'll give up on you. You come across as full of irrational hatred for the "truthers" though, even though you believe the exact same stuff.

Welcome to the illogical but highly opinionated world of "No One of Consequence." Basically, NOOC's view is that NOOC is the only arbiter of truth and reality, and anyone who disagrees with NOOC must be living on Pluto and suffering from oxygen deprivation resulting in brain failure.

Oh how we all long for the days of NOOC not yet having discovered internet discussion fora, and having to argue with his Stuffed Animals about those insane "truthers" being monolithic and utterly wrong.

The only thing more senseless than NOOC's take on "truthers" is NE's take on Greenwald.

Posted by: Fame is Not Wisdom at September 8, 2009 07:56 PM

It's getting pretty hard keeping track of who hates whom around here. To a first approximation, though, you won't go too far wrong if you assume everyone hates everyone else.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 8, 2009 09:58 PM

I thought everybody likes me, cause I'm darn lovable, and use Spell-checl. No?

Posted by: some guy at September 8, 2009 10:37 PM

"The only thing more senseless than NOOC's take on "truthers" is NE's take on Greenwald.

Posted by Fame is Not Wisdom at September 8, 2009 07:56 PM"

---Geez, I log off for a few hours, and I log back on and somebody misses me so much they want to lob a grenade my way just because they miss me. But I'm tired, so no way, forget it.

Instead i'll make this a book club. If anyone wants to read anything exceptionally smart, I recommend Franz Schurmann's The Logic of World Power. Schurmann was a sociologist and famous China expert who taught at Berkeley for many years, as well as a co-author of Peter Dale Scott on Vietnam topics back in the 60s. I started reading his book because Bruce Cumings praised it too highly for me to keep ignoring it (I've never liked the title), and I can see why Cumings praises it. I actually can't believe I haven't read the book until now, though I have glanced at it before. I'm not even half through it, but by golly I think I actually am starting to understand the emergence of our international neoliberal economy a little better than I have understood it. And I certainly understand better what the hell led/leads us to kill millions of people in Asia so regularly.

I have to confess that I had no idea that we had a covert war against China for at least two decades from 1949 to at least the early 70s, and perhaps longer, and that it may well have been pretty extensive, a least per Schurmann, who should have had some idea since he was after all a famous China expert. That is apparently why Laos was of such importance, and also what we were doing in Tibet. (That puts those Free Tibet bumper stickers in a little different light.) It's just amazing to me how information like that can travel so little over so much time. Anyway, it's a very good book for anyone who wants to understand how our foreign policy has evolved after WWII out of the interplay of various forces--the Presidency, Congress, business, the various branches of the military, and the rest of the bureaucracy. And how East Asia was central to the nationalist/expansionists, especially in the Navy. Hell of a book (or at least first half). Five stars.

And by the way, it's not a bad book to understand, because more or less the same forces/interests/ideology are getting us in deeper and deeper in Central Asia now, just as they got us into two horrible wars in East Asia several decades ago.

Posted by: N E at September 8, 2009 10:42 PM
. . . anyone who disagrees . . . must be living on Pluto and suffering from oxygen deprivation resulting in brain failure.

That metaphor is Friedman-level bad. So you’re living on Pluto but you’d be dead instantly from cold before of oxygen so -- jesus, did you actually steal this from Friedman? I’m asking in all seriousness here.

But hey, thanks for writing an illogical but highly opinionated screed, complete with ad hominem, about how someone you disagree with is. . . illogical and highly opinionated. I’d respond to any actual arguments and non-insults you wrote -- but you didn’t write any.

I know, I know, actually employing facts and logic is such hard work. If sniping is more your speed, have you considered drifting over to right-wing blogs? You’ll find plenty of individuals like yourself there.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at September 8, 2009 11:06 PM

I love Some Guy. In fact, I may make that my new name so that I can then shorten it to ILSG, or maybe I L S G. I'm just not sure.

Posted by: N E at September 9, 2009 12:09 AM

I was reading an article on fpif and came across the link below. I honestly do not know who the Truthers are and what allegedly crazy ideas they have. As an ordinary American citizen, I do have questions about whah really happened on Sep 11, 01 that my govt has not answered at all or answered unsatisfactorily ( one does not necessarily have to belong to the right or the left to have these misgivings )

To this day, I have not understood, why, the relatives of victims of UA 93 crash were sworn to secrecy after they had a private meeting with the govt officials. I may be wrong but if I remember correctly, the "black box" recording was never made public. Why? ( if any one knows differently, please enlighten me. thanks ).

"** conclusive ** - 9/11 was an inside job"‏

There is another article which asks a lot of detailed questions to which there are no answers..
"Flight 93 'was shot down' claims book by ROWLAND MORGAN
Last updated at 12:27 19 August 2006"

And there are always questions popping up on the internet about what REALLY hit the Pentagon.

Again, I am not insinuating anything. All I am saying is, I do not know and I CERTAINLY want answers from the govt.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at September 9, 2009 10:16 AM

Personally, I love how telling Truthers that they're lunatics always brings the same type of response. It's as predictable as a sunrise: sarcastic claims that you're some sort of naive, authority-loving Pollyanna who could never fathom the idea that the government would ever lie, cheat, steal, or kill.

Look, assholes: the question is not whether a given administration would, in certain circumstances, do something like a false-flag attack on its own citizenry. Hypotheticals and couterfactuals have fuck-all to do with anything. The question is whether they did do this in this particular instance. It does not count as proof in your favor that the entity known as the US government did this, that or the other in the past. Possibilities you dream up out of thin air do not count as supporting evidence. Like Taibbi keeps asking in vain: give me something to work with, tell me exactly who did what so we can prove or disprove it. Make some solid assertions. Instead, we get a bunch of supposed anomalies strung together with a lot of "What if...?" and "Could it be...?" and "Isn't it convenient...? type innuendo, and if anyone shoots down one particular assertion, such as the idea that this was all done to deflect attention from the fact that the Pentagon reported a shitload of money missing just the day prior, they just brush it aside and invent a new one. Nothing ever gets to count as evidence against the main conspiracy, and the fact that the cultists show themselves to be gullible tools who repeatedly fall for whatever reinforces their preexisting conclusion never makes them think twice either.

Like all cults, any opposing idea from outside the bubble is dismissed out of hand, since the only possible reason for not agreeing with the cultist is because you're one of Them, either a deluded sheep or an active agent of the evil conspiracy.

Posted by: . at September 9, 2009 06:23 PM

Rupa Shah:

The thing that convinced me about 9/11 is that much of the evidence--testimonial, physical, and scientific--leads to only one conclusion. That evidence is pretty nicely summarized in the Zero documentary, the link to which I included previously. I thought that documentary was good.

It wouldn't have been difficult for the government to have a real investigation, including forensic analysis of the towers after collapse. There is always much to be learned from forensics, if only to prevent buildings from collapsing for the same reasons again. The fact that the evidence was whisked away for destruction/recycling in advance of forensic analysis lacks an innocent explanation.

But then, a whole lot of things lack an innocent explanation. It just doesn't matter.

Posted by: N E at September 9, 2009 06:39 PM

if you're going to call people assholes, at least make up a name so we can make fun of you. dot, dottie? snotty dottie?

Posted by: Carl at September 9, 2009 10:02 PM

Uhm NE, there was an investigation. Have you ever read the actual 9/11 truth comission report? And if the Zero documentary people have evidence? How can you say the evidence was destroyed?

Posted by: Jenny at September 9, 2009 10:24 PM


The evidence destroyed was nearly all but not all of the physical evidence, not all the witnesses and certainly not all the evidence, let alone the laws of physics. (And I agree completely with whoever commented that the fall of Building 7 cannot be explained apart from controlled demolition--i won't go into that though.)

I said there wasn't a "real" investigation, and there wasn't--of that there is no question, but I don't have anything to add to David Ray Griffin's fine book on that point, the 9/11 Commission Report, Errors and Distortions;

I get kick out of your asking me whether I have read the Commission's report, carrying as it does an assumption both that I haven't read it and that the report was prepared in good faith to get at the truth. Both assumptions are wrong. But what really baffles me is why you would believe anything the Commission said, given its composition and staffing. It suggests to me that you would be startled by facts of which you remain unaware, as most people would.

If you want to know about the Zero documentary, just watch it--it's really no more of a commitment than watching a TV show or movie, not exactly major. I would be sort of surprised if you thought everything about 9/11 is clear after you watch it, not that I expect it would all sink in after one viewing, because there's a lot of information. And it is not everything there is to know, as no documentary could be. But you don't have to watch it. To tell you the truth, I think it's an open question whether it's socially beneficial for people to know the truth about events like 9/11, even though it was the defining event in American foreign policy for the next several decades, directly resulted in several thousand deaths in the US, and indirectly resulted in perhaps millions more in foreign countries. The myths are already a well-entrenched part of the culture and truth commissions really can't unmake history, at least without a complete change in the political order, which isn't about to happen.

I do ask myself sometimes why I bother to make comments like this given that I obviously doubt that it can really get anywhere. My basic answer is that the government right now is unaccountable even for complicity in mass murder of thousands of people in the US, and it has exploited their deaths to its own advantage so that it can kill millions of people abroad. The past can't be undone--that ship has sailed--but the mass murder was so horrible and the fraud is so sickeningly opportunistic that I refuse to pretend it didn't happen, no matter how many ignorant blowhards get offended and rant. (If they want to fight, I'm calling Jesse Ventura to help--if I need it, which I actually doubt would be necessary, because I know the type.)

More importantly, the future is still ahead of us, and not only are the consequences of 9/11 ongoing, but the same hidden sources of power lodged within the National Security State and the same forces of social cohesion that manipulate us are still very much with us. When people like Arianna Huffington and Bill Maher try to convince everyone that only crazy people think the government would do evil, they aren't doing us a favor--they're just doing their jobs, for which they are very well compensated. They may believe that BS, but then again, they have every reason to believe it, starting with the ability to maintain a positive self image while being highly paid for encouraging everyone to not listen to those crazy people asking questions that someone might think a journalist would ask every so often.

As for me, I'm going to keep howling in the wilderness.

Posted by: N E at September 10, 2009 08:29 AM

N E: AGREED! Outstanding comment!

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 10, 2009 10:20 AM

A website devoted to debunking 9/11 truthers, if anyone is curious--


Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 10, 2009 08:26 PM

Matt Taibbi (I can never remember how to spell his name) gives an entertaining version of what a 9/11 conspiracy theory (of the sort that says Bush actually did it, not just that the Bushies knew something was coming) would look like--


Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 10, 2009 08:57 PM

NOOCy, NOOCy, NOOCy... you misread everything, and do it with such conviction. Now you assume I'm a "right winger" because I disagree with you?

That's almost as funny as your pretense that you know everything about 9/11/2001's events, and that you **and only you** are qualified to disdain contrary versions of that day, and next to discard all who disagree with you as "truthers."

What's riotous about you, NOOCy, is that you have spent so much time practicing snark on comment threads. What would amuse me more than anything would be to get you in a one-to-one in-person debate, so that you'd have to use your actual knowledge and think on your feet. Doubtless you'd fail mightily in that context, even though you impress yourself regularly in comment threads.

Perhaps my handle should change to "NOOC is Not Wisdom," or "Snark is Not Wisdom." Either would apply handily to you. The existing handle applies more directly to the NEs of the world, but I bet it could be twisted and bent to apply to you and your self-appointed Comment Thread Fame.

Remind me when you've ever used facts, logic or reasoning to make your point, NOOCy. Was there ever a time? Perhaps a link to the comment would suffice as proof.

Posted by: Fame is Not Wisdom at September 10, 2009 11:05 PM

Donald Johnson:

It's obviously a lot easier to create doubt than to remove it, and a lot easier to convince people that everything is really ok than to convince them that everything is deeply disturbing. As I said, I have no doubt 9/11 will not be recognized in the United States as having involved the complicity of elements of the government for many decades, at a minimum. In a century of two, if we haven't evolved away from critical thought, I would bet that it will be recognized as obvious.

I didn't look at much of that site, but their explanation for the collapse of WTC 7 is silly. Then again, it doesn't matter. Making shit up works fine, especially for official explanations.

The problem with Taibbi's article is that he has almost no idea what he's talking about, and since he also lacks an open mind on this topic, it shouldn't be surprising that people got irate about him calling them "clinically insane." Gee, thank you Dr. Taibbi for your clinical insight.

As for Taibbi's challenge, he should know it's unfair. Because the investigation was a sham (in the tradition of government investigations), nobody can answer all his questions. Factual questions depend on facts, and without the facts one can only guess about many things because the government hasn't produced any information. Even if the guesses are educated, many and probably most of them would be wrong.

What struck me is that Taibbi's make-believe scenario reveals a great deal of ignorance of the subject of intelligence operations. It's a good thing he hasn't interviewed Jesse Ventura about this, because old Jesse, who was a Navy Seal, would make him look stupid. Intelligence operations don't involve thousands of people, and those people they do involve invariably only know what they specifically are doing. The whole military and national security domain is governed by following orders and only knowing what you "need to know." The United States has been doing VERY sophisticated covert operations for many decades, and a person who believed what Taibbi wrote would actually not even believe that to even be possible. Ignorance, smugness, and rudeness are a bad trio of qualities in a journalist, so Taibbi should stick to financial reporting and keep pissing off Goldman Sachs.

As for the media needing to be involved in a conspiracy, if you tell them how the towers came down, that's what they report. If you tell them a plane hit the Pentagon, that's what they report. That seems pretty obvious. I don't really quite get why they have to be part of anything beyond the crappy job they regularly do. Does ANYBODY really think the media challenges the government's explanation on anything touching the military and national security?

As for why someone with control of covert operations might have wanted the towers to come down instead of just burn for a while and stand there ruined to be refurbished or torn down a few years later, I can only guess. For what it's worth, my guess would be that the towers falling was incredibly dramatic and horrific with relatively little extra loss of life, because by the time they fell the great majority of people who could be evacuated from the buildings had been. Even most of the firemen wouldn't have died if their damn radios would have worked (Guliani sucks). In a way, knocking down the towers could even be considered prudent as a safety measure. In 93 there was a concern that they might fall over sideways and kill an enormous number of people, perhaps tens of thousands. There was also a concern that cyanide (I think) had been used in the bomb, which would have killed even more. In a certain way, 9/11 could be seen as a wake-up call that involved a much smaller loss of life than might have resulted from a nuclear or biological attack where things truly went wrong, as they almost but not quite did in 93. Maybe the perpetrators thought they were doing the nation a big favor.

As for the Pentagon and the importance of it being hit, again just a guess, but if you're fed up with the US responding to terrorism as a crime and want to make it grounds for war so that you can respond as you think appropriate, by attacking other countries that harbor terrorists, which was in fact what happened, an attack on the Pentagon helps immeasurably by making the attack look like an act of war and not just a crime. The attack on the Pentagon did almost as little damage as any attack on the Pentagon could conceivably do, and in a way that is bizzarre because it was difficult to hit the building in that particular way. The plane had to do an almost complete circle at high speeds to get to that side. I sure can't tell you whether a plane or a missile or a bomb or a dragon hit the Pentagon, and I don't really care that much about trying to figure that out based on scant information.

I'm not a big fan of learning all the nitty gritty details of all this, and I don't spend much time reading about this these days. If I were part of an investigation to determine what happened, I would do that, and it's wrong that no one did do that. But at this point I'm actually much more interested in the question of why people are so resistant to certain conclusion, and what I object to is the media's constant effort to discourage critical thinking about taboo issues, especially if they suggest unpatriotic criminality by the government and/or military. Under such circumstances, almost nothing that anyone writes in the media is thoughtful, let alone open minded and challenging, and that seems to be especially true in the leading liberal and progressive journals/periodicals/sites. That need not be so.

My own view is that Dick Cheney had the power to set 9/11 in motion, probably through special operations types like General Boykin who shared the view that the country was soft and unprepared for terrorist attacks with weapons of mass destruction, and who also felt that the country was woefully unwilling to engage in wars abroad, partly because so much of the population of the country is undisclined, selfish, and even, to the Christian right, immoral. It's obvious that Dick Cheney and Rummy and Boykin and Franks and those types think 9/11 was a blessing, because it united the country behind the armed forces so that soldiers could go abroad and put an end to what was happening to our embassies and sailors (the Cole) and troops, whether in Saudi Arabia in 1995 or Lebanon in 1983 or other places at other times. There was great frustration about that.

So I think Taibbi deserved all the shit he got. I don't write letters or even emails to people telling them to fuck off, but if I did do that, I probably would have written him one.


Posted by: N E at September 10, 2009 11:34 PM

Oh fucking hell, let me just say i agree with Donald Johnson and leave it at that.

Posted by: Jenny at September 11, 2009 01:29 AM

O wow, I forgot it was the anniversary of 9/11.

There's a Truther down the corridor from me. Very smart guy, and a Vietnam vet so he knows something about bullshit and also about explosives (his truck was blown into the air by an NLF mine). But he doesn't convince me.

Doesn't need to. Look, maybe the US government was responsible for 9/11. Coulda been. What difference would it have made, objectively speaking, if it was George Bush or Osama bin Laden or Vladimir Putin? The same things would have happened in the same order.

The only really big issue in it, to me, is that the US government would have had to be incredibly confident about keeping their involvement a secret. I frankly don't buy that. I don't think that this sort of thing could be kept a secret forever, and I think that if and when it leaks out it would be fantastically embarrassing for anyone involved.

Much more likely that the US government waited for an al-Qaeda attack (and maybe aided and abetted one -- ever hear of agent provocateurs?) than that they staged the whole thing in Wag The Dog fashion.

Posted by: The Creator at September 11, 2009 02:42 AM

TC: It would make a BIG difference at the TRIALS with attendent lynchings most likely afterward.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 11, 2009 04:15 AM

I'm resistant because as Taibbi says, an awful lot of people had to be involved in what was surely one of the most Rube Goldbergian conspiracies ever. Even if individuals didn't know what they were mixed up in on 9/10, they certainly would have known by late morning on 9/11. Taibbi is right about this.

As for WTC7, you'd have to take that up with the eyewitnesses cited at that website, along with the structural engineers who seem to think it happened without explosives. Though again, maybe they've all been paid off.

OTOH, it wouldn't be ridiculous to imagine that some people knew something was coming (they did know something was coming) and thought that it might be convenient if some domestic terrorism by al Qaeda would come in handy for war justifying purposes. I don't know that this happened, but it's not obviously silly AFAIK. All a handful of people like Cheney would have to do in that case is basically nothing--just don't put any resources into chasing down leads. You don't need massive numbers of people to be involved--normal-looking levels of apathy and incompetence would do the trick and it would be hard to distinguish from standard operating procedure. In fact, this is essentially what seems to have happened and the only question is what was going on inside the heads of a handful of deeply unpleasant people who we happen to know are war criminals--whether there was any deliberate looking the other way or whether it happened in some Hurricane Katrina-like display of blundering idiocy. It could in fact be both. There was a long discussion of this at the blog Obsidian Wings some days ago and several liberals and lefties who would (rightly) laugh at "the US government pulled this off" were quite willing to believe in some variation of the deliberate looking away scenario while acknowledging that they didn't know it really happened this way.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 11, 2009 06:39 AM

I have, of course, just killed my chances of working for the Obama Administration.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 11, 2009 06:42 AM

Donald Johnson:

So now it's Sept. 11, which is a sad day.

You wrote: "As for WTC7, you'd have to take that up with the eyewitnesses cited at that website, along with the structural engineers who seem to think it happened without explosives. Though again, maybe they've all been paid off."

I don't think you have examined this issue, at least carefully. Even NIST hasn't signed off on what caused WTC 7 to collapse and basically couldn't identify a cause of the collapse, let alone a collapse that looked just like a controlled demolition (which the collapse obviously does). One of the peculiarities of the day is that building 7 was evacuated early in the morning, before either of the other towers collapsed even though it contained the rapid response center and so was extremely important. It was broadcast once in the morning that it had collapsed (that footage was only discovered in recent years), then it was broadcast twice in the afternoon that it had collapsed before it did (with it standing in the background), then ultimately late in the afternoon it suddenly collapsed at free-fall speed. Notwithstanding that site you linked, no one has yet explained why it collapsed. Eventually I suppose NIST will have to say something, but maybe not because they have taken a long time already. But nobody had to be paid off or ever will--that's a comic book view of the world.

As for Taibbi's false intuition that all sorts of people would have to be involved, I am sure most people, including you, will agree with him, but not because he's right. It's hard to argue with "oh come on" and people obviously don't believe that the government commits mass murder, so of course they are skeptical. I enjoy watching Jesse Ventura losing his patience with journalists who mock him for his position just because that's about all they are able to do. To one such smug journalist, Ventura told the story of a special forces friend of his who realized when he was watching the Iran Contra hearings that he had actually been personally involved in Iran Contra without knowing it. That's how covert operations work--people at the operational level, which is basically everyone, never know what exactly they were doing or why. Of course, you and most people don't seem to think that the standard practice is impossible or would never be used in the United States, because that violates the rules, so the public doesn't even recognize that it is possible to do these things, or at least believes that it would never happen anyway.

As you note, people are much more willing to believe that vicious fanatical ideologues will let innocent people be murdered than that vicious fanatical ideologues will actually commit murder, at least if those ideologues are American. Or at least if they are murdering Americans. Or at least if they are murdering so many Americans. It's shocking to think that someone would give an order like that, and even more shocking to think that someone with an idea of the implications would follow such an order, but fanatical ideologues do shocking things if they think it is necessary, and people do follow orders, even if they aren't military people. Stanley Milgam settled that. (No one should need to do tests to prove that military people follow orders.)

One of the real peculiarities of 9/11 is that the operation, whoever conducted it, would never have worked on a different day. As you may know, the attacks happened while a variety of war games/exercises were happening, which created confusion as to what was real and what was part of those war games/exercises. Not even patriotic air force pilots feel an urgent need to scramble a jet to prevent a war game scenario from happening, especially if it just involves radar phantoms. And when radar phantoms are occurring in several locations, it's hard for pilots to know where to go in the case of an alert. Along with Rumsfeld's order a few months before 9/11 temporarily changing the intercept protocol, that confusion partially explains why jets could fly through the skies for so long without being intercepted, which was outrageous. (The shifting of the blame to FAA is just lies.) Under normal circumstances, the military probably does a good job at intercepting wayward or hijacked planes. That question of why the planes weren't intercepted would be pretty important if our system permitted accountability involving the military, but it really doesn't. Assuming the truth of the official story, one would think someone might explore how Al Qaeda had such good timing--did someone leak to them when the war games were happening? But we didn't get that either.

Finally, there are many examples of past covert operations and national security secrets where people with involvement didn't come forward, but instead kept their secrets consistent with their duties, and only decades later was it learned what had happened as a result of the release of declassified files. People can indeed keep secrets, especially if their secret is just personal knowledge of a partial involvement (like Jesse Ventura's special forces friend who had an involvementin Iran Contra) with nothing more than a suspicion or unsubstantiated hunch about what that involvement might have been part of.


Posted by: N E at September 11, 2009 08:27 AM

How true. How sad.

"As long as one adheres to Beltway decorum, one can advocate the most amoral and even murderous policies without any repercussions whatsoever; it is only disruptive and impolite behavior that generates intense upset. Beltway culture hates "incivility" (public use of bad words) but embraces full-scale substantive indecency (torture, lawbreaking, unjustified wars, ownership of government by corporations, etc.)."
--Glenn Greenwald

Posted by: Oarwell at September 11, 2009 09:06 AM

You're sorta missing the point, NE--yes, knowledge is compartmentalized in covert ops, but sometime around mid-morning on 9/11 anyone involved in the grand conspiracy to plant explosives, hijack planes, shoot cruise missiles into the Pentagon, plant evidence, and do whatever else needed to be done was likely to be scratching their heads and saying "Huh. So that's what it was all about." Some conspiracy theories are plausible and have plenty of evidence to support them. Others are stupid. Some are so deeply stupid it really beoomes just as plausible to think that some people push them to distract attention from the ones that are easily proven. Not that I actually think that necessarily, but you should. What better way for the National Security State to control our minds than by putting out really stupid conspiracy theories that get a lot of attention? Then people naturally start sweeping all such theories into the same category--I'll even grant it works on me. Reading some really stupid crank theories over the years makes one suspicious of all of them.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 11, 2009 09:17 AM

Stupidest comment ever:

"Look, maybe the US government was responsible for 9/11. Coulda been. What difference would it have made, objectively speaking, if it was George Bush or Osama bin Laden or Vladimir Putin?"

Apply that idiocy to any murder investigation. "It doesn't matter who committed the murder." Holy fuckamoli.

Apply it to any historical event. "It doesn't matter who attacked Pearl Harbor. It doesn't matter who perpetrated the Holocaust."

NE, I give you credit for continuing the argument about what was obviously and inside job. I assume anyone who bothers attacking the obvious is a .gov shill or just so fucking stupid as not to bother with. How ANYONE can watch a vid of WTC 7 symmetrically collapsing at virtual free fall speed into its own footprint and not understand that they are looking at controlled demolition is beyond my comprehension. And then FOX and BBC announce the collapse 20 minutes before it happens. Oops. And Dick and George go hand-in-hand to give testimony, but it's all secret and off-the-record and no notes or tapes are allowed to be made. Riiiiiiight. Plus the White House delays the investigation for over 400 days, then hamstrings the funding, and lies to the commission. 6 of 10 original commission members, including Kean, say that there was an intentional effort to mislead the committee, or (Max Cleland) there was a coverup.

So to everyone who believes it was still-living hijackers and a dead ex-CIA asset, and not Dick "Aluminum tube" Cheney and Honest Don Rumsefeld, from this native NYer I say, with the greatest sincerity on this the 8th anniversary: go fuck yourselves.

Posted by: Oarwell at September 11, 2009 09:27 AM

Oarwell, you should read the first link I provided--it talks about the issue of WTC7's collapse being reported before it happened. What they say makes sense--the fire department was worried that the building was going to collapse any second and this was misreported as a collapse before it happened. The alternative theory is that the BBC and Fox News were both in on it, or told by conspirators that the WTC7 had collapsed before it happened. In both the mainstream and the conspiratorial theory people goofed--it doesn't prove either. (Though I think it makes the conspirators look amazingly stupid--why bother telling the press when the conspirators could just blow the building up and let the press notice the fact that it was collapsing on their own.)

As for your final comment-- Lots of us had some personal cause for concern that day, whether we lived in Manhattan or not.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 11, 2009 09:46 AM

The Creator:

You wrote: "The only really big issue in it, to me, is that the US government would have had to be incredibly confident about keeping their involvement a secret. I frankly don't buy that. I don't think that this sort of thing could be kept a secret forever, and I think that if and when it leaks out it would be fantastically embarrassing for anyone involved."

This is a huge problem for everyone who contemplates the possibility of some complicity of the U.S. government. Here are my thoughts:

First, "the U.S. government" as a whole certainly wasn't involved, though some people who work in it at very high levels would have had to be. To the extent others were involved, they were just doing assigned tasks as part of their duties, with no knowledge of what it was all a part of. Most would not even have reason to suspect there was anything improper happening. That's how operations stay covert; they are set up that way precisely because secrets don't stay secret if everybody knows them.

Second, in order for something scandalous to be believed, it has to be proved. That it is suspected means nothing, for reasons that should be clear if you just open your eyes to the reaction that follows from people making the claim of government complicity. Neither the media nor the Democrats nor someone in the military or intel agencies who has suspicions can act on them without ironclad--make that titanium--proof. Without such proof, responsible entities wouldn't even consider the possibility of saying or publishing anything accusing someone in power of mass murder. With such proof, they probably still wouldn't make the accusation like that unless THEY were sure how it would turn out, which would depend on equally powerful backers, and the risk of such accusations would still be enormous. You can take a look at the career of Ramsey Clark to see what wilderness you are consigned to for attacking the government's morality. And of course there is no absolute" proof" and never will be, so future embarrassment of the truth coming out isn't much of a factor. The truth has nothing to do with anything. If you can't prove it, it's not true.

Call me naive, but I tend to think a much greater inhibition would be not wanting to kill a bunch of innocent people, but people with power do what they think is necessary for the greater good. Strange as it may seem to people without a military cast of mind, there are those who accept as a foregone conclusion that some people need to die for the country's greater good. It may be unseemly when they are American civilians instead of 18 year old American soldiers just out of high school, or foreign civilians, but how different is it?

Those familiar with how much accountability there was for the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK--to name just three historic precedents-- wouldn't believe that no one would commit political crimes out of fear of prosecution. Personally, I doubt that was even much of a consideration. We'll all have been dead for generations before our grandchildren or their grandchildren decide we were all idiotic fools for not being more suspicious of those in power, just as we can look back at what happened a century or two ago and wonder how those people could believe such stupid and appalling things.

You also wrote: "Much more likely that the US government waited for an al-Qaeda attack (and maybe aided and abetted one -- ever hear of agent provocateurs?) than that they staged the whole thing in Wag The Dog fashion"

That makes sense to me, and the agent provocateur reference is smart. As Peter Lance (among others) has explored, there are deep links between the CIA, the FBI, and special forces with the Afghan mujahadeen who later were sent to Bosia, such as Ali Mohammed. I don't remember Wag the Dog too well, but certainly what happened on 9/11 wasn't made up like a movie. Osama bin Laden certainly WAS real, even if the subsequent videos aren't. What happened was terribly real. All those people dying was terribly real.

Personally, I think aspects of 9/11 were planned and must have involved complicity of some powerful people in the executive branch. But as I have said, since the vast majority of the evidence has been concealed and no real investigation happened, so I can't say what happened, and I don't think others can either. So I can't answer questions for people like Taibbi who don't want to believe their government could be involved in THAT, and who would have to get new jobs if they did.

In moral terms, there's probably not that much difference between killing someone and letting someone else kill him anyway, though of course for some reason it's emotionaly much harder to accuse people of mass murder than to just say they didn't do anything to stop it. It feels much worse somehow. That's a little confusing to me too, but maybe we are all used to feeling like there are all sorts of terrible things that we don't do anything about even though we could, so perhaps we don't emotionally judge others harshly for that failing. That's just a guess.

But in this instance, the judgment should be harsh. I'd say it can't be harsh enough.

Posted by: N E at September 11, 2009 10:06 AM

"As long as one adheres to Beltway decorum, one can advocate the most amoral and even murderous policies without any repercussions whatsoever; it is only disruptive and impolite behavior that generates intense upset. Beltway culture hates "incivility" (public use of bad words) but embraces full-scale substantive indecency (torture, lawbreaking, unjustified wars, ownership of government by corporations, etc.)."

Nice to see someone quoting Greenwald quoting me.

That's sweet.

I've always said Greenwald is a dunce with no original political views. This proves the "no original political views" part. Thanks Oarwell.


As to the grim reality under discussion:

1) The idea that it's impossible to keep such secrets as an "official conspiracy" is moronic. What secrets need to be kept? This is a straw man argument. It's appealing to quasi-"common-sense" without any concretes. Rewind and try again.

2) It doesn't have to be a complex conspiracy. It only requires that individuals have individual roles. And it only requires that they know their roles, and do them reasonably well. That's all.

3) "Conspiracy" itself is a stupid word in the parlance of most Americans. For NOOC's sake (that's a joke on "for Pete's sake" FYI), every single team sport requires "conspiracy." Every organization of more than one person gathered to do something requires conspiracy. Conspiracy is nothing more than teamwork toward an agreed end. The Democratic Party is a conspiracy. The Republican Party is a conspiracy. The Federal Government is a conspiracy. For NOOC's sake, this fucking comment thread is a fucking conspiracy to comment!

There's nothing more weak-sauce than pseudo-logicians thinking they've shot holes in armor by raising straw-man issues and feeling smug about the creation of those haymen.

Posted by: Fame is Not Wisdom at September 11, 2009 10:09 AM


I agree with you completely about WTC 7, and I can understand your anger on this of all days, but strangely enough, what seems obvious when you look at something depends very much on your expectations of what you are going to see. This applies not just to Donald Johnson and others, but to you and me too. That poses a little problem: How do we believe our eyes? I guess all of us can only do our best. But smug people who don't even try are a pain in the ass.

Donald Johnson:

I rather think the authors of that site made some stuff up, either that or the NY fire department came forward with its "explanation" long after the fact. The thing is, WTC 7 was evacuated even before that, before either of the towers had collapsed, so there was quite a bit of strange prescience going on.

My own hunch, and it's nothing more than a hunch, is that WTC 7 was supposed to collapse in the morning too but something didn't work so they had to finish taking it down later that afternoon in a conventional way. (The best laid plans of miceand men. . .) That would explain something that always has puzzled me, why a Dutch demolition expert could look at a video of WTC 7 falling and said immediately, without hesitation, that it was a standard controlled demolition, even though the same expert looked at the video of WTC 1 and 2 falling and said that was not a standard controlled demolition. (The collapses are different.) I could never figure out any reason why anyone would implode WTC 7 differently from WTC 1 and 2. That made absolutely no sense to me. But if the effort to take down WTC 7 the same way as WTC 1 and 2 failed and had to be done the traditional way a few hours later, after a rush job to get other explosives in place, that would explain it. At least it's logical. Of course, it's complete conjecture that's not worth a nickel and probably wrong, because most guesses are wrong, but it's logical. It's too bad we have to guess.

The only things about 9/11 that I know for sure are that there was a coverup and no real investigation, and the official story is nearly entirely false.

I take that back, because there is one other thing I know. I know a very large number of facts point toward, but do not prove, some measure of government complicity at high levels.

As I've said, people have strong emotional preferences to believe one thing or another, and though my emotional preferences have changed over the past decade, they still exist. Maybe they are even stronger now. To people like me and Oarwell, whether or not our emotions are swaying us, the combination of a known coverup, no investigation, and large numbers of incriminating facts suggests what most people would routinely conclude in a criminal investigation: Probable guilt.

Of course, guilt still always needs to be proved, at least for American citizens, but if there were that much incriminating evidence against Osama bin Laden, the FBI certainly wouldn't have any problem adding him to his wanted list for 9/11 or indicting him. There is better evidence of government complicity than against him. No one in the U.S. government will ever be investigated or indicted for reasons of power, not justice.

Posted by: N E at September 11, 2009 10:44 AM

Just to correct one thing before abandoning this thread--

I've always thought that some people in our government would be perfectly happy running death squads in our own country, setting up false flag operations, you name it. And maybe it can be done, if only a handful of psychos (think G. Gordon Liddy or Oliver North) have to be involved. Something like 9/11--too big, too complicated, would have to involve too many people who would damn well know what they'd helped do after it happened and it really is just as easy to think, if one wants to go this route, that the government is in the business of starting up deliberately crazy theories to discredit people who point to real conspiracies (I still know people who think it's a defense of the Bush Administration's sincerity on Iraq that many Democrats supported the invasion. And I know someone who told me that believing that our government tortures innocent people is as crazy as the 9/11 truthers. Fling enough poop around and people can't tell the difference between sensible conspiracy theories and the crazy ones.)

Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 11, 2009 11:45 AM

Donald Johnson:

That opinion that too many people would have to know is a perfectly respectable uninformed intuition, one that I also once held, but that's all it is. I have no problem with people disagreeing with me, so that's fine. But I do have a problem with no inquiry, no investigation, destruction of evidence, the government and media calling anyone who cries foul crazy, and people repeating it just because that's what they think without really knowing much or even thinking about it all that much. That's bullshit, and Taibbi and Palast and all the journalists who think highly of their ability to challenge the powerful should quit being so smug and recognize that they aren't always the courageous enemies of Power that they like to think they are. When push comes to shove, they yield to orthodoxy. And calling people who disagree with them stupid is both obnoxious and arrogant; they aren't all THAT smart.

over and out

Posted by: N E at September 11, 2009 02:44 PM