Why Right-Wing Demagogues Are Trying to Peddle Ludicrous Conspiracy Theories

by on October 4, 2009 · 24 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Election, Health, Media, War and Peace

obama monster

ILLUSTRATION: GINO BARZIZZA

Even before Obama was sworn in as the 44th President, the internet was seething with lurid theories exposing his alleged subversion and treachery.

by Chip Berlet / Indypendent / Originally posted Oct 1, 2009

Even before Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, the internet was seething with lurid conspiracy theories exposing his alleged subversion and treachery.

Among the many false claims: Obama was a secret Muslim; he was not a native U.S. citizen and his election as president should be overturned; he was a tool of the New World Order in a plot to merge the government of the United States into a North American union with Mexico and Canada.

Within hours of Obama’s inauguration, claims circulated that Obama was not really president because Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts scrambled the words as he administered the oath of office. A few days after the inauguration came a warning that Obama planned to impose martial law and collect all guns.

Many of these false claims recall those floated by right-wing conspiracy theorists in the armed citizens’ militia movement during the Clinton administration — allegations that percolated up through the media and were utilized by Republican political operatives to hobble the legislative agenda of the Democratic Party.

The conspiracy theory attacks on Clinton bogged down the entire government. Legislation became stuck in congressional committees, appointments to federal posts dwindled and positions remained unfilled, almost paralyzing some agencies and seriously hampering the federal courts.

A similar scenario is already hobbling the work of the Obama administration. The histrionics at congressional town hall meetings and conservative rallies is not simply craziness — it is part of an effective right-wing campaign based on scare tactics that have resonated throughout U.S. history among a white middle class fearful of alien ideas, people of color and immigrants.

Unable to block the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, the right-wing media demagogues, corporate political operatives, Christian right theocrats, and economic libertarians have targeted healthcare reform and succeeded in sidetracking the public option and single-payer proposals.

A talented environmental adviser to the Obama administration, Van Jones, was hounded into resigning Sept. 5 by a McCarthyite campaign of red-baiting and hyperbole. Support for major labor law reform has been eroding.

With a wink and a nod, right-wing apparatchiks are networking with the apocalyptic Christian right and resurgent armed militias — a volatile mix of movements awash in conspiracy theories. Scratch the surface and you find people peddling bogus conspiracy theories about liberal secular humanists, collectivist labor bosses, Muslim terrorists, Jewish cabals, homosexual child molesters and murderous abortionists.

This right-wing campaign is about scapegoating bogus targets by using conspiracy theories to distract attention from insurance companies who are the real culprits behind escalating healthcare costs.

Examples of right-wing conspiracy theories include the false claim that healthcare reform will include government bureaucrat “Death Panels” pulling the plug on grandma. Another is the claim that Obama is appointing unconstitutional project “Czars” More fraudulent conspiracy theories are being generated every week.

The core narrative of many popular conspiracy theories is that “the people” are held down by a conspiracy of wealthy secret elites manipulating a vast legion of corrupt politicians, mendacious journalists, propagandizing schoolteachers, nefarious bankers and hidden subversive cadres.

This is not an expression of a healthy political skepticism about state power or legitimate calls for reform or radical challenges to government or corporate abuses. This is an irrational anxiety that pictures the world as governed by powerful long-standing covert conspiracies of evildoers who control politics, the economy, and all of history. Scholars call this worldview “conspiracism.”

The term conspiracism, according to historian Frank P. Mintz, denotes a “belief in the primacy of conspiracies in the unfolding of history.” Mintz explains: “Conspiracism serves the needs of diverse political and social groups in America and elsewhere. It identifies elites, blames them for economic and social catastrophes, and assumes that things will be better once popular action can remove them from positions of power. As such, conspiracy theories do not typify a particular epoch or ideology.”

When conspiracism becomes a mass phenomenon, persons seeking to protect the nation from the alleged conspiracy create counter movements to halt the subversion. Historians dub them countersubversives.

The resulting right-wing populist conspiracy theories point upward toward “parasitic elites” seen as promoting collectivist and socialist schemes leading to tyranny. At the same time, the counter-subversives point downward toward the “undeserving poor” who are seen as lazy and sinful and being riled up by subversive community organizers. Sound familiar?

Right-wing demagogues reach out to this supposedly beleaguered white middle class of “producers” and encourage them to see themselves as being inexorably squeezed by parasitic traitors above and below. The rage is directed upwards against a caricature of the conspiratorial “faceless bureaucrats,” “banksters” and “plutocrats” rather than challenging an unfair economic system run on behalf of the wealthy and corporate interests. The attacks and oppression generated by this populist white rage, however, is painfully felt by people lower on the socio-economic ladder, and historically this has been people of color, immigrants and other marginalized groups.

It is this overarching counter-subversive conspiracy theory that has mobilized so many people; and the clueless Democrats have been caught unaware by the tactics of right-wing populism used successfully for the last 100 years and chronicled by dozens of authors.

The techniques for mobilizing countersubversive right-wing populists include “tools of fear”: dualism, demonization, scapegoating, and apocalyptic aggression.

When these are blended with conspiracy theories about elite and lazy parasites, the combination is toxic to democracy.

DUALISM

Dualism is simply the tendency to see the world in a binary model in which the forces of absolute good are struggling against the forces of absolute evil. This can be cast in religious or secular story lines or “narratives.”

SCAPEGOATING

Scapegoating involves wrongly stereotyping a person or group of people as sharing negative traits and blaming them for societal problems, while the primary source of the problem (if it is real) is overlooked or absolved of blame. Scapegoating can become a mass phenomenon when a social or political movement does the stereotyping. It is easier to scapegoat a group if it is first demonized.

DEMONIZATION

Demonization is a process through which people target individuals or groups as the embodiment of evil, turning individuals in scapegoated groups into an undifferentiated, faceless force threatening the idealized community. The sequence moves from denigration to dehumanization to demonization, and each step generates an increasing level of hatred of the objectified and scapegoated “Other.”

One way to demonize a target group is to claim that the scapegoated group is plotting against the public good. This often involves demagogic appeals.

CONSPIRACISM

Conspiracism frames demonized enemies “as part of a vast insidious plot against the common good, while it valorizes the scapegoater as a hero for sounding the alarm.” Conspiracist thinking can move easily from the margins to the mainstream, as has happened repeatedly in the United States. Several scholars have argued that historic and contemporary conspiracism, especially the apocalyptic form, is a more widely shared worldview in the United States than in most other industrialized countries.

Conspiracism gains a mass following in times of social, cultural, economic, or political stress. The issues of immigration, demands for racial or gender equality, gay rights, power struggles between nations, wars — all can be viewed through a conspiracist lens.

Historian Richard Hofstadter established the leading analytical framework in the 1960s for studying conspiracism in public settings in his essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” He identified “the central preconception” of the paranoid style as a belief in the “existence of a vast, insidious, preternaturally effective international conspiratorial network designed to perpetrate acts of the most fiendish character.”

According to Hofstadter, this was common in certain figures in the political right, and was accompanied with a “sense that his political passions are unselfish and patriotic” which “goes far to intensify his feeling of righteousness and his moral indignation.”

According to Michael Barkun, professor of political science at Syracuse University, conspiracism attracts people because conspiracy theorists “claim to explain what others can’t. They appear to make sense out of a world that is otherwise confusing.” There is an appealing simplicity in dividing the world sharply into good and bad and tracing “all evil back to a single source, the conspirators and their agents.”

COVER OBAMA’S BACK, BUT KICK HIS BUTT

Today, when you hear the right-wing demagogues whipping up the anti-Obama frenzy, you now know they are speaking a coded language that traces back to Social Darwinist defenses of “Free Market” capitalism and to xenophobic white supremacy. The voices of Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Coulter, Dobbs and their allies are singing a new melody using old right-wing populist lyrics. The damage they can do is great even if most of these movements eventually collapse.

The centrist Democratic spinmeisters surrounding Obama have no idea how to organize a grassroots defense of healthcare reform. That’s pathetic.

These are the three R’s of civil society: Rebut, Rebuke, Re-Affirm: Rebut false and misleading statements and beliefs without name-calling; rebuke those national figures spreading misinformation; and re-affirm strong and clear arguments to defend goals and proposed programs.

That’s exactly what President Obama did on in his nationally televised address Sept. 9.

While keeping our eyes on the prize of universal, quality healthcare, we must also prevent right-wing populism as a social movement from spinning out of control. Since Obama’s inauguration, there have been nine murders tied to white supremacist ideology laced with conspiracy theories. It is already happening here.

Since centrist Democrats are selling us out, it is time for labor and community organizers to turn up the heat. We should defend Obama against the vicious and racist attacks from the reactionary political right, but we can have Obama’s back while we are kicking his butt.

Vigorous social movements pull political movements and politicians in their direction — not the other way around. We need to raise some hell in the streets and in the suites

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar annagrace October 4, 2009 at 12:14 pm

I was horrified to see the treatment of protesters at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh- sonic cannons, tear gas etc. The response from the police was over the top, excessive and deja vu all over again.

Contrast that to the past months’ town hall demagoguery complete with folks showing up with guns and of course the Tea Bagger protests. The rights of citizens and the constitution were brought up in every sound bite. I am in complete disagreement with permitting guns in and around town hall meetings; I am creeped out that the sheriff’s department had sonic cannons at the ready here. That being said, the police did not impede or threaten the protesters, which is as it should be.

So what happened in Pittsburgh? Where were the rights of citizens and the constitution there?

I raise this issue because it gives us a glimpse into what potentially lies ahead if progressives “take to the streets and suites.” It’s gonna be a long haul folks.

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avatar nunya October 4, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Thanks for posting this. I guess I didn’t realize that a lot of the young people who voted for Obama wouldn’t remember the constant right wing smear machine aimed at Clinton. Some of the Obama smear merchants are the same people who smeared Clinton.

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avatar doug porter October 5, 2009 at 8:39 am

john, now we know that you’re a troll.
urban dictionary definition of troll: One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

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avatar john October 7, 2009 at 12:20 am

More than one dictionary should have the definition of fascist- someone who insists that a given doctrine is the only correct one, attacks anyone who dissents, and discourages dissenting discussion.
I will say that people who surround themselves with ass slapping synchophants are usually the most ill informed on either side of a given issue, for they fear their opinions will not endure challenge.

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avatar Larry OB October 4, 2009 at 9:45 pm

The salami disappears one slice at a time. Senate Bill 1317 could deny guns to innocent Americans simply because the Attorney General suspected them of being an enemy of the people.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s111-1317

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avatar john October 5, 2009 at 6:27 am

The loss of civil liberties continues unabated under Obama, he is the same corrupt filth as Bush but possibly more dangerous: He pours the koolaid in a more tasty flavor, thus the usual critics will lap it up faster.
Change? Hope? How about “not as abrasive as that last toad”? He’s already gone back on many of the promises he ran on. I voted for him, but didn’t delude myself anything would change.
He’s Brzezinski’s boy. Not a conspiracy, a fact.

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avatar Pam Rider October 5, 2009 at 7:05 am

A really important message as a reminder and warning. I also observe that conspiracy believers *tend* to opt out of the process, whether mainstream or in the streets. Conservatives gain power when the “rabble” babbles about conspiracies. I’m not convinced conservatives plan it this way, they just grok that their agenda thrives in a conspiratorial world.

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avatar doug porter October 5, 2009 at 8:41 am

i don’t think we need to be giving up space to idiots who spread conspiracies. they detract from the real real issues at hand and confuse people.
here’s a little history lesson about where these right wingers are likely headed:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/10/5/789381/-What-a-Real-Communist-Calls-Fascism

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avatar Dickie October 6, 2009 at 12:16 pm

great link Doug, and such a very important piece of not-that-long-ago history that ought to be remembered more. My family’s summertime digs happened to be about three miles from the riot site, . . . near Lake Mohegan, which was about 7 miles from Peekskill. I did not learn this history until I was collegebound, but as a little boy (I was 6) I remember not being able to go out to play for awhile because people were coming through our community and throwing rocks, and there were fears of fights out on the roads. I later learned that our community had sheltered people overnight after the rightwingers attacked the crowd leaving the concert. I remember my parents being frightened during the time because our area was seen as “sympathetic” to the commies. If you google “Peekskill Riots” there are a lot of great referrals. Here’s just one: http://www.forward.com/articles/113279/
Finally, Pete Seeger and Lee Hays wrote a song about the incident, sadly not irrelevant to our times. Here are the lyrics:

HOLD THE LINE
Words by Lee Hays; Music by Pete Seeger (1949)

Let me tell you the story of a line that was held,
And many brave men and women whose courage we know well,
How we held the line at Peekskill on that long September day!
We will hold the line forever till the people have their way.

Chorus (after each verse):
Hold the line! Hold the line!
As we held the line at Peekskill We will hold it everywhere.
Hold the line! Hold the line!
We will hold the line forever Till there’s freedom ev’rywhere.

There was music, there was singing, people listened everywhere;
The people they were smiling, so happy to be there –
While on the road behind us, the fascists waited there,
Their curses could not drown out the music in the air.

The grounds were all surrounded by a band of gallant men,
Shoulder to shoulder, no fascist could get in,
The music of the people was heard for miles around,
Well guarded by the workers, their courage made us proud.

When the music was all over, we started to go home,
We did not know the trouble and the pain that was to come,
We go into our buses and drove out through the gate,
And saw the gangster police, their faces filled with hate.

Then without any warning the rocks began to come,
The cops and troopers laughed to see the damage that was done,
They ran us through a gauntlet, to their everlasting shame,
And the cowards there attacked us, damnation to their name.

All across the nation the people heard the tale,
And marveled at the concert, and knew we had not failed,
We shed our blood at Peekskill, and suffered many a pain,
But we beat back the fascists and we’ll beat them back again!

Words by Lee Hays; Music by Pete Seeger (1949)
(c) 1959 (renewed) by Sanga Music Inc.

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avatar Editor October 5, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Caution: anyone who calls former president Bill Clinton a “murderer” should make comments some where else. This type of slander fits in well with an extreme right-wing nazi type of blog, so go there if that’s where you’re at. I have deleted a comment that did call Bill Clinton such, and if the commenter comes back, they will be closely monitored.

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avatar annagrace October 5, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Thank you Editor for the caution and deletion. That comment itself was an example of the right wing conspiracy lies and vitriol.

An article appeared in Salon on the same topic and had this to say about Foster’s suicide:

“Now editor and publisher of Newsmax, the enormously successful right-wing magazine and Web site, Ruddy was the journalist who spun the most fanciful theories about the death of Clinton White House lawyer Vince Foster. Working at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, owned by billionaire and avowed Clinton foe Richard Mellon Scaife, Ruddy popularized the canard that Foster had not committed suicide, as determined by five official investigations, but more likely had been murdered — possibly to cover up corruption in the Whitewater land deal or because of an illicit affair with Hillary Rodham Clinton or both.”

Behind the comments of a “troll” is a trail of bread crumbs that leads back to powerful people with much to gain from providing fuel for these conspiracy theories.

I try to imagine the likes of Richard Mellon Scaife having a dinner party with their trolls and minions…

Full Salon article here: http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2009/10/05/clinton_obama/

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avatar john October 7, 2009 at 12:45 am

Anna I live in OB, have since 1984 , and the only bread crumbs around me are the toaster leavin’s in my dirty kitchen as us po’ folks can’t afford a maid.
I don’t know anything about Foster. I wouldn’t care anyway because I don’t care who Hillary sleeps with and Whitewater doesn’t affect me.
I think the Brown accident is fishy as hell, and I care about that because Chinagate and all the policies relating to China that Clinton altered in their favor in the ’90’s are very relavant to the financial debacle America now faces. If I’m going to be pushing a shopping cart in a few months or years I don’t think it’s out of line to discuss the chain of events that might lead to it.

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avatar annagrace October 7, 2009 at 10:02 am

John, I have turned to Snopes on the topic of Ron Brown’s death excerpted here.

“What “new evidence”? Ron Brown and 34 others were killed in a plane crash in Croatia on 3 April 1996. The plane slammed into a mountain while on landing approach. There were no survivors.

A lot has been made of an x-ray of Brown’s skull in which what looks like a round entry wound appears. Closer examination of Brown’s skull by military officials revealed no bullet, no bone fragments, no metal fragments and, even more telling, no exit wound.

Simply imagining a scenario under which Ron Brown could have been shot takes one into the realm of the absurd. Was he shot in the head during the flight, in full view of thirty-four other witnesses? (If so, how did the shooters get off the plane?) Did the killers shoot him before the flight, then bundle his body into a seat (just like Weekend at Bernie’s) and hope nobody noticed the gaping hole in his head? Or did Croatian commandos fortuitously appear on the scene to scale a mountain and pump a bullet into the head of an already-dead plane crash victim? ”

Full article on the “Clinton Body Count” http://www.snopes.com/politics/clintons/bodycount.asp

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avatar john October 7, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Well good thing Snopes is not the last word for anyone but kids engaged in internet pissing contests. Her answer is debunking by exclusion of evidence. This is what I’m talking about, I don’t put much creedence in the skull hole nonsense:
“Regarding this crash, THE WALL STREET UNDERGROUND, (Nicholas A. Guerino was the newsletter publisher) compiled a detailed and revealing report. His evidence led him to the conclusion that the radio beacon guiding Air Force-2 was deliberately diverted to send the plane into the mountain. Among the incredible anomalies that he cites is the fact that, on orders from high, the customary air safety investigation of plane crashes was killed. Croatian, Russian, and French TV and the U.S. European command in Stuttgart, Germany announced that the ‘black boxes’ containing the flight date recorder and the cockpit voice recorder were recovered and delivered to the U.S. Marines. However, Pentagon brass later denied this and stated that Air Force-2 was not equipped with flight data and voice recorders (Interestingly, an LA talk radio station took a call from a man who identified himself as the electronics technical expert who stated that he personally installed the ‘black boxes’ in AirForce-2 and completely ridiculed the Pentagon statement that the plane that had carried Hillary Clinton less than two weeks earlier on her trip to Europe was suddenly not equipped with flight date and voice recorders. Also odd, Maintenance Chief Niko Jerkuic, in charge of the radio beacon that guided guided Air Force-2 into that mountain committed ‘suicide’ shortly after the crash by shooting himself in the chest. Cilipi’s air traffic controller also commits suicide and the tapes of the control tower disappear.”

Don’t you think it’s just insanely weird that the only two guys living who would know why the plane made an unexpexted course deivation both committed suicide for unrelated reasons?

And while we’re on the body count list, which does make some tenuous connections at best I admit, the four other deaths that were really a strange “koinkydink” were the four ATF agents, all former Clinton bodyguards, who died at Waco- snopes just confirmd it without further explanation. They were the only agents killed there, and all four were found dead from a single gunshot to the left temple- ALL FOUR! So called “execution style” from a group of religious cultists?
C’mon, isn’t that just too weird of a “koinkydink”?

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avatar Frank Gormlie October 7, 2009 at 4:34 pm

“Her” name is Anna. You can address me by name, you can address one of the only people who reads this blog who cares enough to respond to your rants by her name, and not refer to Anna in the 3rd person, thank you very much.

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avatar john October 7, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Frank, when I stated “her answer” I was referring to Barbara of snopes, who was the author of the data furnished by Anna. You’ll see three posts above I do know how to speak to people directly and no disrespect was intended in my post above.
It is curious you had something to say about the form of my reply but nothing about the content.
What do you think about the two suicides of the only possible human witnesses? Bizarre, no? What of the discrepencies about the “black boxes” (which I haven’t confirmed by multiple sources as I have on the suicides)
I’m not trying to “get a rise”, in fact, I’m offering facts as I believe them to be and if they are wrong would appreciate the correction so I don’t continue to wander the world looking like an idiot.
If I’m right they are of enough gravity I’d like others to know.

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avatar Frank Gormlie October 7, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Sorry, I stand corrected on whom you were addressing. It does at times get confusing in here, that’s why we added the “reply” function.

Just another point – progressives do blame Congress for being weak-kneed, for not doing due diligence, for not standing up to Bush when he pressed his lies for war in Iraq. Many Democrats voted to authorize the invasion. But unfortunately, since World War II, the modern presidency has taken up the role of being the initiator of policy and being the activist branch of government, and usually Congress simply reacts.

That’s why Obama, whom you voted for, but whom you now claim is worse than Bush, came out against the Iraq war early on and gained a lot of support from the progressive wing of politics. It was his initial stand against Bush’s policies that was attractive.

Read my post of earlier this month, entitled, “The Dilemma of the Disenchanted Progressive.”

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avatar Shawn Conrad October 7, 2009 at 10:50 am

john,

I am the official OB Rag troll here. You are dismissed, sir.

Back to the topic: I still stand by the fact that it does not matter which liar is President. As long as a liar is present when the “World Help Phone” rings we are fine.

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avatar Frank Gormlie October 7, 2009 at 11:32 am

John – “Someone, likely Clinton, had Ron Brown murdered.” This is what you wrote. Said another way, would be ‘It is likely Clinton had R Brown murdered.’ Then you claim “I did not say he (meaning Clinton) was a murderer….” You either are trying to get around what you just wrote, are hedging now. No, you did not say “Clinton murdered R Brown” but said “Clinton likely murdered R Brown.” So, in your eyes Clinton is not a murderer, just likely a murderer. You just violated the rule again. Bye-bye. (Editor deleted John’s comment upon several bloggers’ request.)

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avatar john October 7, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Frank, is this like saying Bush is a war criminal, or is it like saying Bush committed war crimes?
Just wondering.
I’m chastised for “slandering” Bill Clinton and I didn’t outright call him a murderer, there is a distinction. Yet a commenter I won’t name (ahem) said this in another topic:
“Let’s start with that one: lying to the people to start a war. How about that for starters for the multitude of charges we should level at these (men?) cowards and traitors.”
the defense rests.

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avatar Frank Gormlie October 7, 2009 at 3:53 pm

John, there was a popular bumpersticker awhile back, and it went: “Clinton lied, no one died. Bush lied, thousands died.”

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avatar john October 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Well you’re now expanding the scope of the debate to include the full repercussions of the deeds each President supposedly caused, I don’t recall anything other than “slander” being complained about- however I’m game.
Clinton promised the families of the Khobar Towers bombings that the perpetrators (Al Qaeda) would be brought to justice. As in the debacle at Mogadishu, the African Embassy bombings, and the USS Cole, all events with Osama Bin Laden’s fingerprints, Clinton’s response was weak or nonexistant, inviting Bin Laden to embolden the scale of his attacks, culminating in the events of 9/11. As of the time of his departure from the White House he had not brought the bombers to justice, so he lied- and on 9/11, his policies and indecision came home to roost and thousands died.
Hey, if you really don’t want to have your opinions challenged by people with opposing viewpoints, I won’t stay where I’m not at least welcomed with a contemptuous hello, there are plenty of places to argue on the web.
However ask yourself if in my posts you haven’t found a few facts you didn’t already know- albeit disagree with the underlying opinion I expressed- are you glad you are more informed or sorry you had to be annoyed by someone who didn’t agree with you?
If it’s the latter you don’t have to ask me twice to leave. I’ll be happy to oblige.

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avatar Molly October 7, 2009 at 4:47 pm

John, well, some of us agree with you when you’re talking about the alcohol ban, but when you wander into international politics, and want to rehash things that most of us who read this blog already agree upon – like the fact that your buddy George W and his agents lied to Congress and the American people and the United Nations about why we had to go to war with Iraq, we are turned off by your views.

Bush also got into Afghanistan, eight years ago yesterday I believe.

We all know that Bush got the memo that Osama bin laden wanted to fly airplanes into skyscrapers back in – what was it – August 01, and didn’t do scrap about it. Your efforts to somehow blame Clinton for 9/11 by not defeating bin laden before Bush came to power … are ludicrous.

So, your retrograde arguments probably fall on deaf ears, and your comments that Obama is worse than Bush at this point reflect extreme right-wing views.

What just proves that not all politics are local. We can probably agree on the booze ban (not good) and about local corruption and how the current clique of right-wing Republicans rule the County, but your extremist views on national/ international issues are simply not appreciated. Many view you as a troll – making provocative right-wing extremist statements on a progressive, left of center publication, just to get a rise out of people.

IF you wish to have an intelligent conversation, please stay and hang out. None of us are perfect. If you just want to rant your right-wing extremism, why bother?

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avatar john October 7, 2009 at 9:20 pm

If I was here to troll you’d see a multitude of personal insults in my replies.
An intelligent conversation would not include an argument that the legislative branch consults solely on the executive branch for information before voting on bills that become law. Are you familiar with even the basic fundamentals of the constitution? I don’t subscribe to “left” or “right”, I go by the facts as deep as I can dig them up. Here’s a few for you:
1. the vote by Congress on the Joint Resolution was preceded by the request of Senate Democrats to DCI Tenet that led to the Iraq WMD N.I.E.
2. by Law, (the intelligence reform act of 1980) Congress has a conduit of intelligence through the DCI fully independent of the executive branch. This means DCI George Tenet had to furnish a report to them free of undue influence by the White House.
3. Not one single report existed by any intelligence entity on planet earth dated before March 2003 that concluded Saddam Hussein had disarmed. By saying Bush lied, you are implying he knew something other than the facts he had before him. How could he know what no document on the planet stated? Reports from the intelligence community always have a “conclusion” or “judgement”. The dissent about aluminum tubes etc. was a minor footnote at the bottom of a page in a 90 page report. If Bush “lied” can you produce this “truth” he withheld?
4. The US constitution is formed around balancing the powers of the three branches, if any legislator claims he voted on the Joint Resolution based upon televised speeches from the executive branch, he is a liar or in breach of his duties to uphold the constitution. Why would we have three branches of government if one merely plays yeas man to another? The answer you’ll be tempted to give is “they were afraid after 9/11 of being unpatriotic”which is a joke. Patriotic is following the constitution, it’s in the first paragraph of the military enlistment I swore on.
I’m not going to list these as facts because they are grey areas, but what would you have liked Bush to do in August? The PDTA was not as detailed as you imply and he gets one every day and they all have warnings that cannot be acted upon in an extreme manner. Should he have grounded every domestic flight (25,ooo per day, excluding internationals) for a month? I don’t blame either President for not standing between every threat and us before it happens, the demand he does has led to this draconian, orwellian loss of civil liberties we’ve experienced. Doing so would mean the government knows our whereabouts and even our intentions at all times. Is that what you want?
I blame Clinton for not having the backbone to stand up to despots and terrorists, for putting off difficult tasks to the next guy, the 8 years of his tenure exactly mirrored the time between Mogadishu and the preparations for 9/11- the emboldenment of OBL and his escalation of actions. Disagree if you like but that clarifies my position- I don’t blame anyone for not stopping it but someone whose overall policy actions invited it.
Anyway, what you are saying is “if you agree with us you are welcome”.
I’d like to see you give a factual rebuttal to any or all of the listed points above. If you can’t or won’t, how can you claim the philosophy of “progressive” or intelligent discussion? Would you rather be “left” or know the facts? Isn’t it rather weak to create and frequent a forum where you claim political activism desires, yet hide from discussion of the facts behind the issues? This nation faces a lot of dark roads ahead, division by partisan lines will be the last nail in the coffin if it continues.
BTW I voted for Obama. AM I a right wing extremist, or is someone practicing the same fascism the GOP does on abortion? ?

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