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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Truthers and Obots: Great Derangements

(ADDED NOTE: I'm now deleting the comments from CD nuts without reading them. So why are you guys still writing to me? Scuttle back into your holes; civilized people want nothing to do with you.)

I finally caught up with Matt Taibbi's excellent book The Great Derangement. His main thesis: American political discourse has become a competition of kooks.

Naturally, Taibbi devotes a few chapters to what I call the "tranny" movement. ("Tranny" is my personal term of derision for CD-ers, a.k.a. the 9/11 "bombs in da buildings" theorists of 9/11.) You don't see many trannies these days; they have all pretty much scuttled off into their rat-holes. Occasionally, one or two of them will pop into the light and squeak out their famous cry: "But you don't understand the laws of physics...!" Then they will scurry back into the darkness, raiding the trashcans for bits of cheese and pizza crust.

Not many years back, they were far more visible. And they tried very hard to take over the left.

As long-time readers know, I once gave these rodents a chance to squeak freely on this forum. They behaved abominably. They were so atrocious that I began to lose faith in humanity itself. (This would be circa December, 2006; the comments published at that time will make your hair stand endwise.)

Much the same thing happened to Taibbi:
But almost instantly after the column went up online, my mailbox started filling up with hate mail. And what hate mail! If there is a consistent characteristic of the 9/11 Truth Movement, it’s a kind of burning, defensive hypersensitivity, a powerful inclination to be instantly offended, which expresses itself in a tendency for its adherents to seem literally to leap out of their seats in anger even in e-mail form.

“Fuck you, you prick!” said one letter. “Left-gatekeeper cocksucker!” said another. “You’re the one who’s clinically insane,” said a third. “I can’t believe you call yourself a journalist.” Numerous complainants promised to kick my ass. Even a column I’d written celebrating the death of the pope hadn’t come close to inspiring this much invective.

About six days into this I called Jan Frel, my editor at AlterNet, and he mentioned, casually, that my 9/11 column was setting some kind of site record for comments. When I looked on the site I noticed that some of the comments touched on the actual subject I was writing about, but the vast majority were focused on that one “clinically insane” line...
I can't resist quoting an exchange which occurred when Taibbi tried to engage some "truthers" in a civilized dialogue:
Just then a lean, bearded figure, dressed in an army jacket, stormed through the front door of the diner and made a beeline straight for my side of the table. It was as if he’d studied my probable seating position beforehand; his entrance was executed with military precision. He pulled up a chair, spun it around to sit with the chair back facing forward, plopped down, and started barking at me in the frenzied, heavily accented English of a German film student sent to the emergency room for a meth overdose.

“Who zent you!” he screamed. “You left-gatekeeping scum! Who paid you off! Who made you do zis? You are vorking for zomebody! You...”

He kept screaming. I looked around the table in shock. The others looked down at their food.

“Hah! Who vas it! Answer me! Answer me now!”

“Jesus,” I said. “Calm the fuck down!”

“I am not CALMING DOWN!” he screamed. “You vill give me ANSWERS!”

I reared back in my chair. I didn’t know it yet, but this was my introduction to Nico Haupt, the so-called mad genius of the 9/11 Truth Movement, a feverish blogger who is credited with inventing the famed movement acronyms LIHOP (let it happen on purpose) and MIHOP (made it happen on purpose) and seems to be a ubiquitous presence at any 9/11 Truth function on the East Coast. Haupt is the movement mascot, the future propaganda minister of the Truth Republic.
I have not met Haupt, but I've run into many people like him.

For reasons which psychologists ought to study, conspiracy buffs tend to be "talkaholics." That's the defining characteristic of the breed. They like to think that they are being repressed, when in fact, they are shunned for the same reason we all shun all rude and obnoxious people. A true conspiracy buff refuses to allow anyone else the luxury of a completed thought. Just mention a noun, any noun, and the buff will interrupt you in order to deliver a five-minute brain dump, a stream-of consciousness riff suggested by that noun.

You know who else behaved that way? The unruly Obama mobsters of 2008. (Today's teabaggers also tend to act in a similarly appalling fashion, but that's a tale for another time.)

I believe that this pattern of verbal aggression and "interruptitus" derives, in large part, from a subconscious sense of desperation. I spent much of the early 1990s sparring with the conspiracy buffs of that pre-internet era. They were always trying to sell me crap about Mena or the Illuminati or Roswell or whatever. Eventually, I figured out why they would not let anyone else complete a sentence: A fully realized argument might contain an effective rebuttal. Sheer verbal aggression can rattle an opponent so thoroughly that he loses his train of thought.

A person who interrupts you continually knows, deep down, that he's full of shit.

The blogworld analog to Mr. Haupt's tirade would be a barrage of hate-filled comment spam, and we all know what that looks like. We saw a lot of the stuff on Democratic blogs throughout 2008. As Taibbi documents, a similar barrage of comment-hate occurred a couple of years earlier, when the 9/11 lunatic legions went on the rampage.

Both the truthers and the Obots represented the successful infiltration of right-wing conspiracy memes into left-ish territory.

Taibbi is, on this score, a somewhat sloppy journalist. He seems to think that trutherism was -- is it safe to use the past tense? -- a purely left-wing phenomenon. Not true. Look at the movement's origins and you'll see that the story is more complicated. Trutherism began in that under-recognized region of the right which is so far to the right that the Bush family is considered a clan of pinkos who want a Socialist One-World Gummint.

The very first tentative "controlled demolition" articles were written by toilers who seemed to have no particular political stance. But the field was soon taken over by Holocaust revisionists and other weirdo extremists, such as Eric Hufschmid, Jeff Rense, Chris Bollyn, Jim Marrs and David Icke. You know: Those guys. In short order, the cry was taken up by Alex Jones, who became the Truther King. Although he is not a Holocaust denier, he is locatable on the fringe right.

Around 2005, the idea spread from right to left. As I wrote in an earlier post:
Yet many within the progressive community -- younger people, whose enthusiasm exceeds their IQs (or so their writing style would testify) -- have bought into these far-right lies. I have been fascinated by American fringe movements since the early 1970s (in other words, since before most trannies were born), and in my estimation, the tranny cult represents the most successful penetration and subversion of the left by the right in American political history.

The cult has proven so successful that the tranny movement is erroneously considered liberal or progressive. In fact, the leading progressives want nothing to do with it.
A similar pattern occurred in 2008, when psychotic Clinton-haters -- whose antics I've documented at great length in many previous posts -- took over the Democratic blogs. The haters resurrected every anti-Clinton hoax from the 1990s: Whitewater, Vince Foster, Mena, the whole lot. Kossacks became Freepers.

Taibbi does not mention the 2008 phenomenon (even though it fits right into his "great derangement" thesis) because he is himself a Clinton-hater. Granted, he is not as loopy about it as the Kossacks were, but the hate is there nevertheless, and it blurs his vision.

At one point in his book, he infuriatingly suggests that PUMA blogs originated the "birther" nonsense. Not true.

The PUMA movement began on the Confluence. That site is run by lefties, as were all the genuine PUMA sites. (There were never more than a handful.) They never had any tolerance for birther claims. In fact, they published the research of the late Lorenda Starfelt, who dug up newspaper announcements proving that Obama was born in Hawaii. The PUMA-friendly site you're reading right now once devoted much energy to debunking birther claims, although I now see no point in doing so: Birthers, like trannies, are impervious to rational dialogue.

True, there were a few right-wing sites which deceptively adopted the PUMA label, and which helped to spread birther paranoia -- but those blogs were set up by opportunistic operatives for the GOP. (Those guys never miss a trick, do they?) All of those bloggers eventually revealed their true right-wing allegiances, just before they collapsed into the tea party movement.

The "too liberal for Obama" crowd -- my crowd -- never bought into that horseshit.

If you can get past the occasional outbursts of Clintonphobia, Taibbi's book is a must-read.

Update: I was under the impression that the tranny-rats had scuttled off into the darkest alleyways of the internet. My mistake. If you go here, you'll see how they poke their heads into the light of day and show their little rat teeth, in non-response to some very good points Taibbi makes about WTC7. (I had made pretty much the same argument years ago, incidentally.)
I'm extremely skeptical of the "official" 9/11 story, and I find the lack of any real investigation quite telling. However, I am NOT a truther (or tranny, or whatever) by any stretch and will not be inundating you with my speculations (or any vitriol or crazed fervent belief in controlled demolition, or etc.). I started delving into conspiracy literature about half a year before 9/11, so on the day I was interested to see how it would be spun, both officially and on the fringe. Neither came as any surprise to me.

The religious fervor of the truthers (and the Obots, for that matter) can be quite frightening to behold and certainly precludes any chance for reasoned debate. I find it strange that such people think they will get anywhere with such methods (cutting off whoever they are talking to is a great example). This makes me wonder if there is not some other motive behind all this truther stuff? Well, most likely, it's as you have stated (see? that conspiracy-think can get under your skin if you're not careful :-) Thanks for your level headedness (most of the time) Joseph. It's appreciated.
I've come to the conclusion that most of the people WANT to be fooled most of the time.

Granny Bee called it in her last commentary, Bubbleheads.

Carolyn Kay
Any one that was around for the birth of the PUMA movement knew it was connected to one person/one vote and nothing else. It was based on the outrageous activities surrounding the Florida and Michigan votes and the way the primaries and caucuses were gamed. The Republicans weren't even around the sites until well after the convention. The worst of the damage to the PUMA reputation came from the progressives who wanted solidarity at whatever cost. I don't care who it is, you just don't steal people's votes and then call for peace and expect it if you're dealing with people who truly believe in democracy.
I predict that some day, Joseph, you will at least pay serious attention to an alternative explanation of 9/11 that neither you nor your co-believers (in the official legend) have ever, as far as I can determine from web-searching, previously considered:


This is not the explanation that the vast majority of your hated enemies, the simple-minded "trannys," have been pushing at us for the past nine years.

They, unfortunately, are still stranded on their own miserable (perhaps by design) version of "The Grassy Knoll" -- the endless debates, harrangues, screeds and scream-fests about controlled demolition, the Shanksville hole, and the Pentagon lawn.

But what of the 2700-plus violent "deaths" on that fabled Tuesday morning? What if the vast majority of those tragic terror victims NEVER EXISTED in the first place, and instead were fake identities crafted to serve as money-funnels for the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of victim-compensation dollars that a compliant Congress hastily appropriated to soften the blow on their always-politically-generous friends, the insurance companies? (The same smarmy folks who gleefully killed any chance of single-payer health care...)

Check it out, Joseph. You'll find that the 9/11 death toll varies wildly, even today, between the major news archives and the various "memorial" websites, previously stuffed as they were with far more PhotoShopped/cloned/morphed faces, algorhythm-derived names, and hack-written "tributes" than is now the case.

The reason for the recent taking-down of the most obviously bogus identities/images seems to be due the investigative work of a small coterie of "third-wave" conspiracy researchers (instantly banned on all the high-visibility/COINTELPRO truther sites) who nevertheless have been doggedly picking apart the memorials' sloppy photo-fakery and fictional obits for the last couple of years.

If you don't ban this comment (and after all, you keep letting Marty Didier's logorrhea ooze through, even though I know you are not on board with all of his interesting stories and theories) and would like me to tell you a bit more about this third-wave research, just say so.
Anonymous: I sometimes publish comments for reasons that may not be obvious at first. In your case, I printed your words because I found them REALLY FUNNY, especially in light of your propensity to use CAPITAL LETTERS FOR EMPHASIS. Which is something that I do too, out of bad habit. But you DO IT even MORE than I DO, and the result is BIG YOKS.

If you think for one second that I am going to follow you down the PATH OF MALARKY that you have outlined here, THINK AGAIN. Insurance fraud? 2700 fake deaths? COME OFF IT.

If you really had proof for any of that, you wouldn't be trying to sell your story, anonymously, to a LOW-PROFILE B-LIST BLOGGER (OR MAYBE C-LIST?) who is unsympathetic to your cause. If you had any evidence, you would contact a MAJOR JOURNALIST. Or you would WRITE A BOOK. Or YOU WOULD PRESENT THE EVIDENCE TO WORLD VIA YOUR VERY OWN SITE.

Instead, you actually seem to think think that I'm dumb enough to buy what has got to be the STUPIDEST DISINFO STORY since Doty met Bennewitz.

Jeez. THAT is AN insult.
Hey Joe, does your derisive answer to that so-called third wave posting mean that you've never even heard of the September Clues "Vicsim Report"?

It's been on the web for about a year, there are tons of of YouTube videos and comments about it, and a full-length book is being written about it, too.

So Google for it, actually read it through, and using your own prodigious Photoshop skills, try and debunk it.

Andy Tyme
What nonsense. Rats, go back to your ratholes. You freaks are NUTS.
You know, I'm just now familiarizing myself with this "September Clues" shit. Good god. The trannies have somehow managed to get even STUPIDER than they were the last time I paid them any attention.

The clowns who put that nonsense together make Jim Fetzer (the guy who thinks that the twin towers were hit by space lasers) look like a genius.

What the hell is happening to this country? Do people really think that such inane theories are actually possible?
I was on the comment thread at the Confluence the night Puma was borne so yeah, dak is right on, though I remember being really steamed about Texas when I "signed-up." A small point-- publishing a birth announcement in a newspaper is no proof of anything, as any number of ducks, chicken, and mice who have attended college can attest to.
"What the hell is happening to this country? Do people really think that such inane theories are actually possible?"

My guess is that insane asylums have internet access now.
Thanks for this, and many other interesting posts, Joe. I read your posts often, but I don't often comment.

Please forgive my ignorance (as I bet you've probably explained it previously), but I was wondering how you created "tranny" as a term for these folk?

Great post, especially since Matt Taibbi is generally dead on, except for his lamentable Clinton derangement.

I'm sorry, tho, I'm completely missing how you arrived at the confusing "tranny" term, as a derogative. I have not followed your links yet, tho, so maybe it's explained in an earlier incarnation.

@ dakinkat: perzactly. thanks.

@the anonymous troll whom Joseph hung out like a pinata for us to bash at for fun....where to start? I know where I ended...when you mentioned Mossad. Your holocaust denier masters were first on the scene, declaring that "Jews didn't show up for work" that day, before any bodies had even been dug out of the rubble. But the most risible is your "there are tons of of YouTube videos and comments about it." That proves our point, not yours, braintrust. Keep your yewwwwtooobs and comments, lol, and those of us in the reality-based community will take peer-reviewed reputable sources.
I dunno, Joe.

I have yet to meet a Clinton hater who wasn't a flaming liar.
We will see who is a lunatic when 3000 victims families dont appear at the 10th anniversary production later this year!

Of course something "far more important" like a staged coup or revolution, will probably happen around the same time to keep the anniversary off out of the criminal media!
Y'see what happens when you let a tranny sneak a comment in? They keep piling on the nonsense, until you are inundated.

It's like dealing with someone who wants to convert you to the fundamentalist version of JayZuss Crass. You have to say "GO AWAY" loud and clear. If you engage them, you'll be locked in a dialogue with a total loon who will pester you for hours.

This particular variety of tranny thinks that all of the video evidence of airplanes crashing into buildings was pure Photoshop. (As though you could do effects of that quality in real time.) All of the witnesses are lying. All of the folks on TV were lying. Moreover, nobody actually died in the buildings. It was all an insurance scam.

Derangement indeed!

I'm not publishing or even reading any more comments pushing that theory. All I can say is -- if you truly believe that crap, you are mentally sick. Get a shrink.
Joe, a thing or three about this 911 nonsense if I may.

First, wasn't there a similar group of kooks spouting that FDR knew of the impending Japanese surprise attack?

Second, I am of the opinion that Bush and dick Cheney luv them some of these nut jobs because it shrouds the truth about their negligence in the months leading up to the attack in September.

Third, had the SCOTUS not intervened and the attack occurred under President Al Gore, House republicans would have started impeachment proceedings before the dust from the fallen towers settled. They are that venal.
Kyre: "Tranny" derives from the older phrase "CD-er," which was established shorthand for "Controlled demolition believer."

If you don't know how that became "tranny," ask someone hipper than you are what the term "CD-er" means in the sexual underground.
They threatened to kick Matt Taibbi's ass? They must be either dumb or experts in martial arts cos Taibbi is one big dude. I wouldnt choose to quibble with him.

Taibbi's a funny, talented writer with good political chops on the financial top brass. He's kinda full of himself, and likes to trounce Clinton, lefties and enviros (which, full disclosure, strikes a little close to home here) but he's banging it out of the park on the oligarchs.

Re: 9/11 -- the truthers are crazy and some are crazy with a not-so-hidden agenda. Tell the 10 yr olds on my son's 2001 little league team from my old hood in Park Slope whose dads died that day that the Jews didn't show up for work.
Thank-you, Joe, for siting the work my wife Lorenda Starfelt put into refuting "birther" claims regarding Obama's citizenship, way back in 2008. Lori was way ahead of the pack on this one, and very few have been willing to acknowledge it. Lorenda was always interested, first and foremost, in the truth.
Regarding Taibbi's argument about birther origins - I haven't seen the specific wording of his claims on this, but one could argue that he's not entirely 100% wrong. From my recollection, TexasDarlin was one of the most prominant bloggers promoting birtherism at the beginning (i.e. promoting the so-called "forensic work" of "Polarik"=Ron Polland and "Techdude"=Adam Fink), and she was posting often at Larry Johnson's No Quarter. There was a lot of cross-promotion by the Freepers and Pamela Geller's blog. So clearly a lot of input from the far right. But Johnson's blog was arguably Puma (Johnson, as you noted, is often a peddler of poop - did you ever come up with the right descriptor for him?). TexasDarlin was ultimately kicked off No Quarter. And from the very beginning, the decent Puma blogs showed zero tolerance for the birther crap.
Enjoy your echo-chamber.
Over and out.
Freeman, people like are in trapped in an echo chamber. Not me. You trannies are so caught up in your internecine interactions with other trannies that you have forgotten how to converse with those outside the trannyverse.

You've lost. You simply do not have facts on your side. Nobody outside your own CD ghetto will ever pay attention to you.
Joe - thanks for the explanation, and I get the association now, I just hadn't heard cross dressing used as an acronym before :)
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