Tag: conspiracy theories

In the blogosphere…

Since I blogged about Journolist here in March 2009, I thought my followup (confessional) was worth mentioning now.

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Déjà vu all over again

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues a report warning that the current economic and political climate bears some resemblance to the early 1990s and, therefore, the government should be concerned about an increasing threat from right-wing extremists, including the possibility of domestic terrorism.

Someone leaks the report.

The right-wing blogsphere collapses in a paroxysm of rage and paranoia. “Look!” various notables shout, “The Obama Administration is LAYING THE GROUNDWORK TO COME AFTER US.” Michelle Malkin, unaware of the obvious irony, writes:

In Obama land, there are no coincidences. It is no coincidence that this report echoes Tea Party-bashing left-wing blogs (check this one out comparing the Tea Party movement to the Weather Underground!) and demonizes the very Americans who will be protesting in the thousands on Wednesday for the nationwide Tax Day Tea Party.

Now, better (and more popular) bloggers than I have said most of what needs to be said about teh stupid involved here.

But it isn’t just teh stupid. In fact, these reactions actually enhance the report’s credibility.

Why? Those of us old enough to remember the Clinton administration have seen this playbook before.

The fringes of the mainstream right-wing movement accuse the President of seeking to destroy America, i.e., to institute a statist and collectivist regime: “The government is coming to take your guns!” “The liberals are out to pervert the rule of law!” “Marxism!” “Socialism!” “Radicalism!” They proffer dark conspiracies about the President’s rise to power and the activities of his close associates. And so on and so forth.

But when someone actually takes their claims seriously and does something like, I dunno, blow up a Federal Building, they play all innocent.

Am I being unfair? Yes. The militia movement had far deeper roots. Their view of the world was more extreme. Bad things would have happened no matter what.

I don’t blame the Limbaughs and American Spectators of the world for Oklahoma City. They were just trying to make money, win some elections, and depose the President–either de facto or de jure–in a constitutional coup.

But they were part of the climate that fed right-wing violent extremism in the 1990s. Much worse, they were mainstream vectors for ideas self-evidently poisonous to the body politic.

The fact that they would swing so quickly back into action, particularly after eight years of excoriating the Left for, well, basically the same behavior, is upsetting. It is not, sadly, surprising.

In sum, if they wanted to condemn the DHS report, it might have been better to do so in a way that wasn’t constitutive of the environment its authors worry about.

UPDATE: Dave Niewert makes the same point, but with far fewer caveats.

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But I was still waiting for my turn to participate in world domination….

Anthony Weiss in The Forward:

Elders of Zion to Retire

The Elders of Zion, the venerable and shadowy Jewish organization that controls the international banking industry, news media and Hollywood, has announced that it is disbanding so that members can retire to Florida and live out their golden years on the golf course.

“We had a good run,” said one senior Elder, reminiscing over old photographs of world leaders in his musty, wood-paneled office at an undisclosed location. “Maybe we ran the world for just a little too long. Anyway, now it’s Obama’s problem.”

After a humiliating year left most of its financial holdings, as well as the entire civilized world, on the verge of collapse, the organization has re-defined its mission in terms of bridge games and making it to restaurants for the Early Bird Special.

The announcement comes after a year in which many of the Elders’ most prized institutions suffered disheartening failures. The vaunted global banking system, which lay at the heart of Jewish world domination for almost two centuries, collapsed with astonishing rapidity, requiring trillions of dollars in bailout funds. The newspaper industry, through which the Elders have controlled world opinion, is in shambles, with prominent papers declaring bankruptcy and forcing millions of readers to form their own opinions. And, in the unkindest cut, Hollywood suffered the humiliation of losing the Oscar for Best Picture to Indian film “Slumdog Millionaire.”

The organization’s reputation for financial probity had also taken a hit amidst rumors of billions in losses in private Kalooki games against Sheikh Hamad bin ‘Isa of Bahrain. According to inside sources, the organization also lost close to $1 trillion with disgraced investor Bernard Madoff.

Even before this past year, though, the Elders were facing hard times as they struggled to stay relevant and attract young members. The organization has tried to project a more youthful image, setting up a Facebook page and founding a new “Hipsters of Zion” youth division, which has sponsored a number of singles nights. But youngsters haven’t been interested.

Read the rest.

(h/t Mark Blyth)

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Donald Douglas goes completely insane


Exhibit A: Donald’s post-election screed, in which he interprets the price mechanism effects of a cap-and-trade system (also advocated by Donald’s hero, John McCain) as a threat to tear down ideologically nonconformist energy companies, continues to believe that think tanks such as the Center for American Progress are radical leftist organizations, and may or may not threaten violence against our own government in the context of accusing Obama of being a Manchurian candidate.

I’m not entirely sure about the threat of violence, as Donald’s prose becomes rabidly convoluted at the point that he mentions the 2004 bombings that helped topple Spain’s center-right government. So judge for yourself:

Oh sure, Obama will govern from the center: He’ll have to, lest he risk a violent conservative reaction. But the tide has turned for this moment, and traditionalists just better hold on tight. This next four years will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Lyndon Johnson did not have the nihilist netroots blogosphere to harass his administration into conformity; and Franklin Roosevelt’s fireside chats weren’t delivered to the progressive hordes who seek to break bread with our mortal enemies. No, things are different today. Meet the new boss.

Now, let me disabuse my relentless left-wing critics: Barack Obama is not a communist in the Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist mold, as seen in the widget above-right.

He is, however – whether folks want to acknowledge it or not – deeply in solidarity with many of the forces arrayed against the U.S. This I believe of Barack Obama: Not imminent physical destruction of our nation (though not completely discounted), but destruction nonetheless. Destruction of the moral light that never lets the malignant growth of evil roll across the land. No, America’s enemies will get a respite, where they can regroup and reconsider what they want from America. There will be a reckoning, at some point, of course. Because even those who have been hoodwinked by the hope-i-ness of change will not long tolerate the yoke of Third World despotism and terror over this proud nation. A despotism seeking to behead the American individual, and the culture that bore him – all of this, dearest Americans, faster than you can say Madrid 2004.

In private exchanges with Donald over the years, he’s repeatedly discussed his use of “red meat” rhetoric to drive up his readership and implied that one should not take that rhetoric too seriously. He’s even, to his credit, blogged about this–which also means I’m not inappropriately revealing the content of private correspondence.

But that creates two alternatives: either Donald believes what he writes in post like these, or he’s just cynically trying to get traffic, inbound links, and attention by pandering to the basest urges of the right-leaning blogsphere. I’m not sure which is more troubling. The latter displays utter contempt for his non-heckling readership, but at least holds out the possibility that he’s not suffering from paranoid delusions.

At some level, this is all rather amusing. Donald’s been on a self-styled crusade to reveal the pathological hate spewed by the left blogsphere, one in which he repeated proclaims that nothing on the right compares. But it ceases to be amusing in the context of reasonable fears that cries of “socialist” and “terrorist” may incline some to action. John McCain’s moving speech represented an attempt to reverse the dangerous slide of Republican partisans towards a dark abyss of hatred and fear. But Donald, after spewing out the exact kind of propaganda that McCain at last unequivocally decried, has the gall to invoke McCain’s words to justify his rant.

In any case, as John McCain would say: Stand with me, my friends! Fight with me! Fight for what’s right for our country!

Dave Noon’s reaction to Donald’s meltdown–admittedly long signaled in his increasingly vitriolic denunciation of the left as a fifth column intent on destroying this country–is one of amusement. But I find it both sad and frightening.

Donald is a trained political scientist and a college teacher (by all accounts, an excellent one). He knows, or at least should know, that a 4% variation in the marginal tax rate for the highest income bracket is not the difference between communism democratic socialism and capitalism (John McCain does, as he said on video before the last days of the 2008 campaign), that both McCain’s and Obama’s policies “redistribute wealth,” and… well, I could go on and on. If he does know, he has an obligation to pass this knowledge along to his credulous readers. If he does not, then there’s little left to say.

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Breaking: evidence of MASSIVE VOTE FRAUD

Just kidding.

Apparently some Obama voter may have shifted her residency from Florida to New York, despite intending to move back to New York. Brian Faughnan of Red State, however, insinuates that this is evidence of a significant, concerted effort by Obama supporters to steal the election.

Republicans rightly decry some of the more extreme anti-Bush conspiracy theories emanating from the left over the past eight years, but conveniently forget the craziness of the Clinton years–a series of witch hunts driven by an unwillingness to accept the legitimacy of a Democratic administration despite two convincing plurality wins in 1992 and 1996, which culminated in an attempted constitutional coup d’état. If Obama wins, it could get very ugly indeed.

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