Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Age of Irrationality Indeed

http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn11282006.html
The Age of Irrationality
The 9/11 Conspiracists and the Decline of the Anmerican Left
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN

(bold faced text is mine, standard text is Cock-burn's)

Where was the American left in the campaign that ended in recapture of both houses of Congress by the Democrats on November 7, 2006?

Any leftie worth his salt knows that the campaign did not end there, it only just begun.

Was it in the streets, fomenting opposition to the war in Iraq? Not at all.

Ok now you're just flat out lying. As if you know what every person on the left was doing.

The antiwar movement has been inert for months.

Wrong again, Cock-burn. Even the MSM is calling Iraq what the aw movement has been calling Iraq for 2 years: a civil war. I guess it's a conspiracy to think there's any connection there, eh buddy?


When I was asked to give the keynote speech at a rare antiwar rally in my local town of Eureka, northern California, in early October, three of my five fellow orators didn't deign to mention the war at all. Instead they numbed the audience and sharply diminished its size with interminable dissections of the 9/11/2001 attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. Their aim? To argue that the attacks were an "inside job", organized by Bush and Cheney or (a frequent variation on the theme) darker powers, for whom Bush and Cheney are the mere errand boys.

When you say "numbed the audience" you are merely projecting your own personal reactions onto that of the audience. You have any proof that they were numbed? Perhaps they were just a bunch of close minded fools who couldn't stomach anything more than mere pandering and ego stroking, so they left.

Five years after the attacks, 9/11 conspiracism has now penetrated deep into the American left.

Oh you lying dirty rat. You're so full of it it's coming out your ears. How can something deeply penetrate the left when it hasn't even captured hold of the key leaders and gatekeepers on the left?

It is also widespread on the libertarian and populist right,

so what you're saying is that it's pretty much widespread everywhere? So why are you desparately trying to paint this as a leftist issue?

but that is scarcely surprising, since the American populist right instinctively mistrusts government to a far greater degree than the left,
I don't even think that's true anymore.
and matches conspiracies to its demon of preference, whether the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Black Helicopters or the Jews.

those are not rightist pet conspiracies. God you just dont have a clue about either side do you?


These days a dwindling number of leftists learn their political economy from Marx via the small, mostly Trotskyist groupuscules. Into the theoretical and strategic void has crept a diffuse, peripatic conspiracist view of the world that tends to locate ruling class devilry not in the crises of capital accumulation, or the falling rate of profit, or inter-imperial competition, but in locale (the Bohemian Grove, Bilderberg, Ditchley, Davos) or supposedly "rogue" agencies, with the CIA still at the head of the list. The 9/11 "conspiracy", or "inside job", is the Summa of all this foolishness.

The only thing foolish is this bumbling disjointed, convoluted paragraph. People dont even know where the Bilderbergers meet till like right before it happens, so wtf does that have to do with locale? And the locale of the Bohemian Grove I believe is equally irrelevant. It is the fact that they are supposed Christians meeting to worship Moloch, you stupid halfwit. And that's not a conspiracy, it's fact.

One trips over a fundamental idiocy of the 9/11 conspiracists in the first paragraph of the opening page of the book by one of their high priests, David Ray Griffin,

Whatever he did or did not say could not equal the idiocy of you calling him a "high priest". That's just pathetic.

The New Pearl Harbor. "In many respects," Griffin writes, "the strongest evidence provided by critics of the official account involves the events of 9/11 itself In light of standard procedures for dealing with hijacked airplanes not one of these planes should have reached its target, let alone all three of them."

Oh yeah that's a real fundamental idiocy. My god, it's so idiotic to suggest that a multitrillion dollar defense infrastructure could have intercepted even one of those hijacked jets!

The operative word here is "should". A central characteristic of the conspiracists is that they have a devout, albeit preposterous belief in American efficiency.
No, preposterous is suggesting that the very first plane should have been intercepted. Realistic is assuming the 2nd plane would have been.

Many of them start with the racist premise--frequently voiced in as many words in their writings -- that "Arabs in caves" weren't capable of the mission.
No it's not racist. I dont care if it was Albert Einstein in a flippin cave. The point is the cave, not the race of the people. And no I don't take the cave thing literally. The point is that they could not have made NORAD stand down, from inside a cave, whether that cave is metaphorical or real.

They believe that military systems should work they way Pentagon press flacks and aerospace salesmen say they should work. They believe that at 8.14 am, when AA flight 11 switched off its radio and transponder, an FAA flight controller should have called the National Military Command center and NORAD.

They believe that because it is what should have happened, and it is set by historical precedent and is documented standard procedure, or at least it was until Darth Cheney stuck his helmet into those procedures in the months before 9/11.

They believe, citing reverently (this is high priest Griffin) "the US Air Force's own website," that an F-15 could have intercepted AA flight 11 "by 8.24, and certainly no later than 8.30."

So are you saying that even the AF webmaster was an incompetent?


They appear to have read no military history, which is too bad because if they did they'd know that minutely planned operations--let alone by-the-book responses to an unprecedented emergency -- screw up with monotonous regularity, by reason of stupidity, cowardice, venality and all the other failings, not excepting sudden changes in the weather.

It's ok to blindly accept all of those reasons, with no proof whatsoever, yet one simply cannot accept the possibility that treason could have been involved. Nice logic.

History is generous with such examples. According to the minutely prepared plans of the Strategic Air Command, an impending Soviet attack would have prompted the missile siloes in North Dakota to open, and the ICBMs to arc towards Moscow and kindred targets. The four test launches actually attempted all failed, whereupon the SAC gave up testing. Was it badly designed equipment, human incompetence, defense contractor venality or conspiracy?

This is a total red herring. That has nothing to do with jet fighters and the reliability of such craft. Here's a question. If missile based defense systems were reliable, do you think there'd be any use at all for jets? God your ignorance of all forms of logic and reasoning astounds me.


Did the April 24, 1980 effort to rescue the hostages in the US embassy in Teheran fail because a sandstorm disabled three of the eight helicopters, or because the helicopters were poorly made, or because of agents of William Casey and the Republican National Committee poured sugar into their gas tanks in yet another conspiracy?
Another red herring. If sandstorms had taken out all 8 helicopters you might have an argument, but even then it would be full of holes.


Have the US military's varying attempts to explain why F-15s didn't intercept and shoot down the hijacked planes stemmed from absolutely predictable attempts to cover up the usual screw-ups, or because of conspiracy?

That is simple. They're just covering up. Your fallacy is assuming that the raving loony conspiracy theorists think that everyone in the military was involved, or had to be involved. You cling to the desparate fallacy that it would have taken thousands of traitors to pull this thing off. In reality it would have taken far less, how does a number like 19 sound? lol

Is Mr Cohen in his little store at the end of the block hiking his prices because he wants to make a buck, or because his rent just went up or because the Jews want to take over the world? Bebel said anti-Semitism is the socialism of the fools. These days the 9/11 conspiracy fever threatens to be the dominant politics of the left.

That last sentence doesn't even belong in that paragraph. Where did you get your degree, from a cracker jack box? Even if the Jews wanted to take over the world, there is no way to link that to some guy raising his prices.

It's awful. My in-box overflows each day with fresh "proofs" of how the WTC buildings were actually demolished, often accompanied by harsh insults identifying me as a "gate-keeper" preventing the truth from getting out. I meet people who start quietly, asking me "what I think about 9/11". What they are actually trying to find out is whether I'm part of the coven. I imagine it was like being a Stoic in the second century A.D. going for a stroll in the Forum and meeting some fellow asking, with seeming casualness, whether it's possible to feed 5,000 people on five loaves of bread and a couple of fish.

I guess you'd be the person to ask, seeing how that is exactly what you're trying to do... trying to feed people a few bits of moldy rotted bread and then complaining that their stomachs are still empty and growling.


Indeed, at my school in the 1950s the vicar used to urge on us Frank Morison's book, Who Moved The Stone? It sought to demonstrate, with exhaustive citation from the Gospels, that since on these accounts no human had moved the stone from in front of Joseph of Arimathea's tomb, it must beyond the shadow of a doubt have been an angel who rolled it aside and let Jesus out, so he could astonish the mourners and then Ascend. Of course Morison didn't admit into his argument the possibility that angels don't exist, or that the gospel writers were making it up.

It's the same pattern with the 9/11 conspiracists,

What in blazes are you talking about. Do you have any evidence at all that that was even a true story? No. So how can you possibly compare it to a story people are living firsthand today?

who proffer what they demurely call "disturbing questions", though they disdain all answers but their own.

That's a bold faced lie.

They seize on coincidences and force them into sequences they deem to be logical and significant.

Yeah, so you're going to attack the process of logical reasoning? Hmmm. There's two cups and two chairs at that table. My gosh there must be two people who sat there. How dare you make such an irrational leap of logic!


Like mad Inquisitors,

See, being logical is being a mad inquisitor. What's next, freedom is slavery? How very Orwellian of you.


they pounce on imagined clues in documents and photos, torturing the data ­-

torturing. lol. You want to talk about torture do you? Tell me, did they force Iraqis to read your writing at Abu Ghraib?

as the old joke goes about economists -- till the data confess.

That is an absurd fallacy. And it's also nonsensical. Documents and photos are "data" in the strictest sense.

Their treatment of eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence is whimsical.

Who is they? Come on, trot out the straw man, I want to get a good look.

Apparent anomalies that seem to nourish their theories are brandished excitedly; testimony that undermines their theories--like witnesses of a large plane hitting the Pentagon -- is contemptuously brushed aside.

So we're going from straw men to straw airplanes? What's next? Straw journalists?


There are some photos of the impact of the "object" -- i.e. the Boeing 757, flight 77 -- that seem to show the sort of hole a missile might make. Ergo, 757 didn't hit the Pentagon. It WAS a missile. It wasn't smoke in some photographs obscuring a larger rupture in the fortified Pentagon wall.

Yeah, that's it. Some people looked at a photo and just ignored smoke and saw whateve hole they wanted to see. How dumb do you think people are?


On this last matter, Chuck Spinney, now retired after years of brilliant government service exposing the Pentagon's budgetary outrages,

like the 2.3 trillion missing from the pentagon? Tell me if he did such a freakin brilliant job exposing that, then why the hell hasn't anything been done?

tells me that "there ARE pictures taken of the 757 plane hitting Pentagon -- they were taken by the surveillance cameras at Pentagon's heliport, which was right next to impact point. I have seen themboth stills and moving pictures. I just missed seeing it personally, but the driver of the van I just got out of in South Parking saw it so closely that he could see the terrified faces of passengers in windows. I knew two people who were on the plane.

I would not accept that testimony for two reasons. One, you can't see the faces of people in a plane flying by you at 400mph. You'd have to be far away to see, and then you wouldn't be able to see details clearly at that distance. Go to an airport. Check it out for yourself if you dont believe me. And the idea that this guy has seen photos that we haven't been able to see, is just insulting.
One was ID'd by dental remains found in the Pentagon."
And I'll bet he personally recognized those teeth because he saw them so clearly as the plane flew by at 400+ mph.
This won't faze the conspiracists.

Hell no it wont, because it's a big festering stinking pile of bulldung. There are more credible anti conspiracy witnesses than that, why didn't you quote one of them?

They're immune to any reality check.

You're a reality check. You're a constant reminder that shills do exist and will lick the raw sewage off a thousand boots to keep their job.

Spinney worked for the government They switched the dental records The Boeing 757 was flown to Nebraska for a rendez-vous with President Bush, who shot the passengers, burned the bodies on the tarmac and gave Spinney's friend's teeth to Dick Cheney to drop through a hole in his trousers amid the debris in the Pentagon.

Or maybe it doesn't matter what hit the pentagon? What would it matter? Why would they plot such a conspiracy? What do they gain from a no-plane conspiracy? I'll bet you'd never think of that you mindless little toad. The debate has merit if and only if all the planes' existences were equally suspect. And they are not. At least one was real. So there is every reason to work under the assumption that they all were real until proven otherwise.


In fact hundreds of people saw the plane -- people who know the difference between a plane and a cruise missile. The wreckage of the plane was hauled out from the site. Why does the obvious have to be proved? Would those who were wounded or who lost friends and colleagues that day would assist in the cover up of a missile strike? Why risk using a missile, when you had a plane in the air and ­- to take the bizarre construct of the conspiracists -- had successfully crashed (by remote control!) two into much more difficult targets--the Trade Towers?

The towers were not more difficult targets. Only a damn fool would suggest that.

How difficult is it to learn how to fly the jetliners if you didn't have to land them on a runway? The short answer from commercial pilots is: not very difficult. In fact, you can learn about all you need to know from spending a few weeks in front of the Flight Simulator computer program.

And do they teach you to fly all the way around a bulding and hit it right where it will do the least amount of damage?


What do we make of Osama taking credit for the attacks? That he's still on the CIA payroll?
There is no real convincing evidence to believe otherwise. You've already proven time and again how precious little it takes to convince you. But others choose not to be that stupid.

And so it goes, on and on into the murk. But to what end? To prove that Bush and Cheney are capable of almost anything?

Uh, they've already proven that. Irregardless of 9/11.

Actually, what Bush and Cheney Bush haven't proved is the slightest degree of competence to pull anything like this off.

Bush is a puppet and Cheney was there just to get rich. I doubt he knew more than the most topical details, and did only the work that was required of him, and asked no questions in return, and Bush most certainly knew nothing.

They couldn't even manufacture weapons of mass destruction after US troops had invaded Iraq, and when any box labeled "WMD" would have been happily photographed by the embedded U.S. press as conclusive testimony.
Yeah, and what would have happened if they found a nuke? You think they can identify people's remains at the pentagon, but they cannot possibly identify where a freakin nuke came from? And besides, where did Saddam get most of his weapons? Jesus much of that backstory was even reported on counterpunch! How stupid can you get? A nuke in Iraq would have sent a neocon career ending shockwave through the past 30 years of american history! Because sooner or later we would have learned, and the whole world would know, where Saddam got his weapons. No... what he got, what we gave him, he had already used on his enemies, including Iran. Yes Iran, the country we tried to overthrow years before we turned to Saddam... why don't you ask why we have such a hardon for Iran, and given these circumstances, how can you possibly explain how, despite the manufactured warmongering "Islamofascist" rhetoric, Iran is a far more peaceful country than the US??

At least what these recent elections may help to do is remind the left that Bush and Cheney are not that much different from the politicians and overlords of U.S. foreign policy who preceeded them or who will follow them. There was already a bi-partisan consensus about Israel, Iraq, et al.

No, that is a myth. It is not bipartisanship, it is elitist control. We are being conditioned not to think for ourselves, and to accept this false paradigm. It is an acceptance which you so clearly illustrate. You might lay down and take it, but not I, and not millions of others.

Ultimately, the 9/11 conspiracists want us to believe that the Bush/Cheney gang is a new breed of evil.

No, that is what you want people to believe. Bush/Cheney did not author the Operation Northwoods document. So obviously there have been evil people lurking in the sewers of government for many decades now. It is you that doesn't want people to understand that, not the conspiracists.

This might be the most dangerous deception of all,

dangerous for you and your ilk, maybe. The truth always is.

for it fosters the fantasy that a new adminstration, a Hillary or Gore administration, would pursue more humane policies

More humane in comparison, maybe. But it all depends on public support. If people go cast their vote then go to sleep for four years, then yes of course they'll be just as bad. So tell me why I should believe anything you say when I've just refuted yet another one of your pathetic preconceived notions about what "conspiracy theorists" want people to believe?


The WTC didn't fall down because they were badly built as a consequence of corruption, incompetence, regulatory evasions by the Port Authority,

Have you ever even studied the design of the WTC complex? It was built not just from the ground up, it was built from far below the ground and up. This was not the big dig we're talking about here. This was a work of world renowned architects and the only flaw in the towers design was that idiots like you were trying to bury all the news about how bad asbestos was, which we knew full well, even back in the 60's. I guess that's a conspiracy too eh? You see, conspiracy wasn't born with 9/11 or even JFK. It has always been a part of history and always will be.

and because they were struck by huge planes loaded with jet fuel. No, shout the conspiracists, they "pancaked" because Dick Cheney's agents--scores of them--methodically planted demolition charges in the preceding days. It was a conspiracy of thousands, all of whom--party to mass murder--have held their tongues ever since.

Here we go with the thousands. We dont even know what types of explosives technology are truly available today. All we know is that 60 year old explosives technology would have required 20 people putting in a days work. So lay off the damn convoluted math.

Michael Neumann, a philosopher, and CounterPunch contributor, at the University of Trent, in Ontario, remarked in a note to me:
"I think the problem of conspiracy nuttery has got worse, and is part of a general trend. There really were serious questions about the Kennedy assassination, an unusual number of them, and it wasn't too crazy to come to the wrong conclusion.

Yeah he'll say that now. I wonder what is this guy gonna be saying 20 years from now??? Watch as the word "conspiracy" morphs into the word "scandal" as the years tick by...

There wasn't a single serious question about 9-11.

Another bold faced lie. You'll never convince anyone of that. There are many questions, some silly, some deadly serious. What you just admitted is that you're only focusing on the frivolous ones. And this is fact, because all I gotta do is throw one question at you, and 90% of the population will agree that it's a serious question, and you'll be left holding your...

But this is the age of angels, creationism, corpses all over Kosovo, Arabs suspiciously speaking Arabic, Satanic child abuse, nucular Eyraquees, and channeling. The main engine of the 9-11 conspiracy cult is nothing political; it's the death of any conception of evidence.

You're right actually, it is the death of any concept of evidence. Because the 9/11 conspiracy theorists have so masterfully illustrated that evidence was killed, hence the death of evidence. Such as the Mineta testimony.

"This probably comes from the decline of Western power. Deep down, almost everyone, across the political spectrum, is locked in a bigotry which can only attribute that decline to some irrational or supernatural power. The result is the ascendency of magic over common sense, let alone reason."

It is irrational. We succumb to greed and it destroys us. The counterbalance is reason and it is being eroded by an ostensibly consumerist but inherently feudal system of power that is rising from the ignorance of us all. Just like some proverbial supernatural beast, but it is very real. We worked so hard to break free and now look what we have allowed to descend upon us. Do you really think the human mind was ever meant to process all the crap that is thrown at us every day? I dont think there is anything supernatural in control of it all, but there certainly could be. We are bombarded with so much crap that we would never see it if it was there. (And that should disturb any rational thinking person.) Like we don't see how the loss of the mountain snow caps is going to wreak untold ruin on millions of people within the next 30 years. It's easy not to see things like that when we can have a drink of water any time we want. But some don't have it so lucky, and it is cruel irony that those that do not have it so lucky are so much more capable of seeing simple truths than we are. But none of this really relates to 9/11. I'm just putting 9/11 in perspective. Even if 9/11 was an inside job, is it really the most horrific thing to be produced by a western culture? The people who used to live off of Lake Chad would certainly disagree with you. But what do you care? That was just the result of a natural cycle...






Anyone familiar with criminal, particularly death penalty defense--I had such an opportunity for a number of years--will know that there are always anomalies the prosecution cannot account for and that the defense teams can exploit, in hopes of swaying a jury either in the guilt or penalty phase of a trial. Time and again I would see the defense team spend days and weeks, even months, back-checking on a possibly vulnerable link in the evidentiary chain that could be attacked, at least to the all-important level of creating "reasonable doubt" in the mind of a juror. Expert witnesses would be imported at great expense ­- unlike states such as Texas, the justice system of California is generous in the provision of money for death penalty defense -- to challenge the prosecution's forensic evidence. Such challenges weren't hard to mount. Contrary to prosecutorial claims, there is far less intrinsic certainty in forensic evaluation than is commonly supposed, as regards fingerprints, landing marks on bullets and so forth.

Yet in the end it's still up to the jury to decide. Some will buy the bs tactics. Some will see through them, particularly, the ones who pay attention. I'm surprised it doesn't bother you that so many people who did pay attention to all that's happened since 9/11 would still suspect the government! Are you trying to imply that these people are the ones using all the expensive legal magician tricks? Tell me again, who's got the money, and who has only a laptop and more time than they ever wished to invest on such a effort. Maybe you'll never understand... I think I've gone far enough, this is rediculous. I've given you far more chances than you deserve, and you've proven to be nothing but a waste of time. Whatever they pay you, it's not enough. lol

The one question I always want to ask people like Alexander Cockburn is: What makes you think you're so damn smart? How is it that you think you know what really happened? The only way you can be so sure, is if you just ignore the facts you don't want to think about. The facts that don't fit the official version of events. You can accuse the conspiracy theorists for doing the same thing. And the ones who do that are fools, no doubt. But that's not what the 9/11 truth movement is about. It is so easy to write it off as being that simple, but to do so only proves one's total lack of rationality.

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