The Nation defends TSA against Evil Koch Brothers

This Nation piece is a ludicrous exercise in silly partisanship. Mark Ames and Yasha Levine go to great length to show just how all this crazy outrage over TSA agents groping people – including children – is little more than a Koch-brothers Astroturf campaign. John Tyner (the ‘don’t touch my junk’ guy), for example, turns out to be a libertarian. As scandalous as that may be on its own (because we know libertarians are little more than Koch brownshirts) there is more. For instance:

Tyner attended private Christian schools in Southern California and lives in Oceanside, a Republican stronghold next to Camp Pendleton, the largest Marine Corps base on the West Coast.

At least one local TSA administrator wondered if Tyner hadn’t come to the airport prepared to create a scandal. Tyner switched on his recording device before even entering the checkpoint—and recorded himself as he refused to go through the body scanner. Most importantly, Tyner recorded himself saying “If you touch my junk, I’m gonna have you arrested!”—which quickly morphed on blogs into the more media-savvy tagline, “Don’t touch my junk!”

Dear God. A Christian-school educated man from a Republican stronghold. Could Tyner be any more villainous? Could the plot possibly thicken even more?

Oh yes.

Strangely enough, just a few days before Tyner’s episode, another self-described “libertarian,” Meg McLain, went online telling almost the exact same story of oppression and attempted sexual molestation at the hands of TSA agents. […]

There was only one problem with McLain’s story: She made it up. […]

McLain wasn’t the only questionable libertarian “victim” of the TSA turned into a freedom-hero on the Drudge Report. In fact, according to the TSA’s account, the 6-year-old who was allegedly “strip-searched” by evil TSA agents had his shirt removed by his own father—and not at the TSA’s request.

It goes on and on and on like this. I think if you connect a few more dots here you’ll see that the six-year-old boy is in fact the mastermind behind the whole Astroturf campaign against the poor, helpless TSA. The Koch brothers merely do his bidding.

And then the authors of this piece link it all back to Rep. John Mica (R, Fl) who somehow is going to profit along with the Koch brothers by privatizing security at airports, and so on and so forth. The, ahem, facts in the article are rather thinly distributed. The leaps the authors take are long, and the footing they find themselves on rather precarious.

Take it away Greenwald:

What’s really going on here is clear.  These are Tyner’s actual crimes in the eyes of these Nation writers, at least judging by the accusations they make:  (1) he’s not a good, loyal Democrat; (2) he did something that politically harmed Barack Obama; and, most and worst of all (3) he failed to submit meekly and quietly to Government orders like any Good, Patriotic "ordinary American" would and should do.  That is what has created their "sense" that he’s something other than an "ordinary guy" — a "fake."

The article highlights three other individuals who object to the TSA procedures (out of the dozens — at least — who have complained) who also have (cue the ominous overtones) libertarian ties.  That’s not surprising.  In order to do what Tyner did — firmly assert one’s rights against government agents and then vocally and publicly complain about rights infringements — one has to take one’s liberty seriously.  After all, to do something like that is to risk being threatened by the Federal Government and smeared by journalists loyal to those in power.  It’s hardly surprising that many of the people willing to take that kind of a risky stand have incorporated the concept of individual liberty into their political identity.  The Nation may want to ask someone what the "L" in the "ACLU" stands for. 

And therein lies the most odious premise in this smear piece:  anyone who doesn’t quietly,  meekly and immediately submit to Government orders and invasions — or anyone who stands up to government power and challenges it — is inherently suspect.  Just as the establishment-worshiping, political-power-defending Ruth Marcus taught us today in The Washington Post, objecting to what the Government is doing here is just immature and ungrateful; mature, psychologically healthy people shut up and submit.  That’s how you prove that you’re a normal, responsible, upstanding good citizen:  by not making waves, doing what you’re told, declaring yourself a loyal Republican or Democrat and then cheering for your team, and — most of all — accepting in the name of Fear that you must suffer indignities, humiliations and always-increasing loss of liberties at the hands of unchallengeable functionaries of the state.  I don’t really care what political label John Tyner applies to himself:  we need far more of his civil resistance in our citizenry and far less of the mindless obedient drone behavior which these Nation writers seem to venerate.

I spoke with Tyner several days ago and he was very worried that his public stance would jeopardize exactly the ordinariness which The Nation claims is fake:  his job, his family, his reputation, and the cost from government recriminations.  This highly irresponsible, evidence-free Nation attack demonstrates how valid those concerns were.

Read the rest of Greewald’s piece which is really an excellent response to the vile, fact-free smear from the Nation. When journalists can do nothing better than loudly acquiesce to the state, targeting ordinary citizens in order to further bolster the government’s infringements of our rights and liberties – well, I think we’re witnessing the collapse of the media as a valuable institution in society. They are not fulfilling their role as government watchdog, and nor have they for a long, long time.

Then again, many (though certainly not all) on the left these days, somehow believe the Koch brothers represent a far greater threat to our society’s future than the war on terror, the continued civil liberties abuses carried out by the Obama administration, and the escalating abuses perpetrated by the TSA and the political class that created that agency.

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83 thoughts on “The Nation defends TSA against Evil Koch Brothers

    • Self-selection bias at work. Imagine your job is to feel people up all day. At first you might get a tingle from the idea of stroking a guy’s cock, or feeling a woman’s breasts (depending on your particular preferences). But after a while, a normal well-adjusted person is going to be pretty nauseated by the whole thing. (I’m thinking “after a while” for me would be about 10 seconds, or whenever the first non-Anna Kournikova look-alike passenger comes along). The only people who could handle such a job without complete self-loathing are those who are basically sexual predators or psychopaths who love to humiliate others.

      I suggest that there is no possible method of conducting a program like this without driving decent people out of the job and eventually filling all those positions with the predators and psychopaths. It’s little more than a jobs program for the criminally deranged.

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  1. No, no, no…It’s the habit-wearing and therefore obviously uber conservative, papist nun who’s the real instigator here. It’s not the Koch brothers, but the Catholic Church that’s behind all this opposition to TSA’s immodest policies.

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  2. I’ve stopped asking “Exactly at what point did my country become a giant Milgram experiment?”

    I’ve realized that that question is secondary to “At what point did people bitching about the White Coats become something worth screaming about?”

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  3. I think what we are seeing here are the first symptoms of a new emerging derangement syndrome, of the sort that seems to invariably infect partisans of either party as they are either losing or out of power. Whether it is the 32% on the left who were willing to tell pollsters that they believed GWB had advanced knowledge of 9/11, or the 32% on the right willing to tell pollsters that they question Obama’s citizenship – the percentages remain the same. Only the paranoid delusion changes. There is probably a PHD dissertation in correlating the degree to which a party is in or out of power and the number of partisans subject to paranoid fantasies like this.

    E.D., perhaps you should get ahead of the curve, start the process of rediscovering your place in the political spectrum and begin work on your “Why I am not a Progressive” post.

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  4. Dividist states:

    Whether it is the 32% on the left who were willing to tell pollsters that they believed GWB had advanced knowledge of 9/11, or the 32% on the right willing to tell pollsters that they question Obama’s citizenship – the percentages remain the same. Only the paranoid delusion changes.

    These are not equivalent. Rasmussen (purposefully?) constructed a fatally flawed question that defectively conflated: 1) a very small number of people who believe President Bush was somehow associated with 9/11 to 2) well-informed people cognizant of President Bush receiving a warning in the CIA’s Presidential Daily Brief on 8/6/2001 which was titled, “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US”. If I was asked that question I would have been forced to either end the survey or answer it in the affirmative while complaining about how misleading the answer will be construed. If the number of truthers really was this high and dominated on the left we’d be able to a see whole host of surveys who were able to repeatedly validate this meme, but we don’t.

    I’ve also encountered no empirical evidence that the number of people on the left harbor delusional conspiracy theories remotely equivalent to the number of conservatives. I am also a little skeptical regarding how high the number on the right is. I surmise that perhaps people are answering contra to what they believe just to use these polls as an opportunity to stick it a political opponent; though all they’re really doing is portraying their political ideology as more delusional than it is.

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    • “I’ve also encountered no empirical evidence that the number of people on the left harbor delusional conspiracy theories remotely equivalent to the number of conservatives.” – MH

      Which means you have also encountered no empirical evidence that the number of people on the right harbor delusional conspiracy theories remotely equivalent to the number of liberals. There is no empirical evidence either way. So it is just your opinion.

      My opinion is that anyone who does not think there was equivalent or greater irrational hate fueled delusional conspiracies spawned and promoted from the left about Bush/Cheney/Rove/Gonzales/Rumsfeld during the Bush administration when the left was out of power either was not paying attention or has a highly selective memory. Oh wait. I forgot. That was rational hate. And it wasn’t delusional because they really were out to get us. After all, they were spying on us, granting immunity to corporations who assisted in the spying, detaining people people without trial, invading privacy with draconian airport security measures, withholding evidence about detainees from the courts, maintaining secret prisons in other countries for the illegal rendition of detainees, and gutting habeus corpus. All of which, as we know, has been reversed under the current administration.

      The Rasmussen question was this “Did Bush Know About the 9/11 Attacks in Advance?” That seems pretty clear and unequivocal to me. But that is just my opinion. 35% of the Democrats said yes. Another 26% were not sure. You dispute it because apparently you can red the minds of those that answered the question and see what they really meant. Well, you’ve got me on that one.

      Where we do agree, is that the numbers for both the truther and birther polls are suspect because we believe (hope?) many of the true believer partisans “use these polls as an opportunity to stick it a political opponent. That is the reason I phrased my description of the poll results the way I did. I think we have to believe that, because to believe otherwise is to accept that 50% or more of the electorate is batshit insane.

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      • The Rasmussen question was this “Did Bush Know About the 9/11 Attacks in Advance?” That seems pretty clear and unequivocal to me

        I teach research methods, including survey research. It doesn’t seem at all clear and unequivocal to me, and I wouldn’t let my students get away with it. There are multiple ways the respondent can interpret that question, meaning that they are actually answering different questions.

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            • Sorry. When people started reciting resumes to support a point, that can be easily misconstrued as as an appeal to authority. The only response to an appeal to authority is cite another authority.

              If you were not appealing to authority (and I believe you because you said so), then it is simply your opinion that the question was bad. I read the question and my opinion is that it could not be simpler, more straightforward, or easier to understand. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

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              • There’s a fine line between appealing to authority and demonstrating that one is qualified to judge something. While we indeed ought to be cautious about appeals to authority, you certainly ought to take the criticism of a teacher of research methods more seriously than you would take the criticism of, say, an auto mechanic. That is, when the question is research methodology. When the question is “what’s wrong with my car,” then the qualifications reverse.

                And I mean that quite seriously. If you’re going to dismiss my credentials as no more than an appeal to authority, then I expect you take me as seriously when your car doesn’t start as you would a qualified mechanic.

                This isn’t in fact an issue on which I am willing to agree to disagree, because as I explained–and as you seem content to ignore and not address–the question can be interpreted differently by different respondents. Some could take it as Bush being in on the plot. Others could take it as Bush having some specific information warning about the plot. Others could take it as Bush having received information that al quaeda planned something or other.

                Seriously, when the measured level of public support for allowing gays to serve in the military swings wildly depending on whether you use the words “gay men and lesbians” or the word “homosexuals” then you can be damned sure that question wording really does matter. Shrug it off if you want, but that only serves to underscore your lack of familiarity with the issue of quality survey research.

                By the way, the reason your car’s running rough? You’ve got a freon leak. Trust me.

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                • There’s a fine line between appealing to authority and demonstrating that one is qualified to judge something. While we indeed ought to be cautious about appeals to authority, you certainly ought to take the criticism of a teacher of research methods more seriously than you would take the criticism of, say, an auto mechanic.

                  Dr. Hanley, once partisanship becomes involved, it’s no longer a question of auto mechanics. A red car runs the same as a blue one. The analogy cannot hold when applied to human events. Man is not a machine.

                  This isn’t to say the phrasing of the Rasmussen isn’t above question by a qualified expert—and indeed, the result of any single poll cannot be considered to be definitive. Your point is taken.

                  But you are arguing from your own authority. We would—or at least must—expect any expert with a manifestly partisan POV to apply his skills more diligently against arguments he doesn’t like, despite his protestations of neutrality. Even “experts” are human, afterall.

                  http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/11/dont-watch-cable-news/

                  The main reason for the inaccuracy has to do with overconfidence. Because the experts were convinced that they were right, they tended to ignore all the evidence suggesting they were wrong. This is known as confirmation bias, and it leads people to hold all sorts of erroneous opinions. Famous experts were especially prone to overconfidence, which is why they tended to do the worst. Unfortunately, we are blind to this blind spot: Most of the experts in the study claimed that they were dispassionately analyzing the evidence. In reality, they were indulging in selective ignorance, as they explained away dissonant facts and contradictory data. The end result, Mr. Tetlock says, is that the pundits became “prisoners of their preconceptions.” And their preconceptions were mostly worthless.

                  This isn’t to say your objection to the Rasmussen isn’t valid. However, where humans are involved, most expert objections to methodology are valid.

                  But to embrace all such objections is what I must call “epistemological nihilism,” that we can never know anything in these matters.

                  That is mostly true—we cannot know anything about human events and dynamics with certainty. But pure skepticism merely leaves us exactly where we started. This will not do. We must forge on, through the fog.

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                  • I would say, though, that the pundits certainty comes from the popular opinions of their peers, living within a closed cirle of like-minded thinkers reinforcing one another in their flawed thinking, rather than reliance on “big ideas” which depends on the ideas. Some ideas have been proven true through the test of experience, and using this knowledge to predict the outcome of certain events is fairly reliable, but other ideas are partisan narratives used for political purposes like propaganda, and they are not useful in making predictions. When the pundits take their groups’ political narratives uncritically as the truth, it leads to wrong predictions about events taking place in reality outside the propaganda.

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                  • Van Dyke,

                    Partisanship has nothing to do with the issue of whether the poll question is methodologically sound or not. You’re off an a poorly aimed tangent there.

                    I don’t really know what your rambling post is getting at, but as I know from experience that you have nothing of value to say about research methodology–can do no more than do some airy hand-waving about epistemology–I know better than to put much effort into trying to understand it.

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                    • Mr. van Dyke it is and will be. Please feel free to correct me if I slip. On my side, “Dr.” Hanley is unnecessarily formal.

                      As to the rest, I still have no idea what you’re actually trying to say, since it’s hard to fathom what ideological bias I would have that would affect my analysis of the question at issue. Unless you have something more than vague assertions and aspersion, I’m going to chalk this up to yet one more case of you launching yet another random assault on the social sciences. Who knows, if you launch enough of them, someday you might strike the target, just through sheer luck.

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      • Dividist, I would suggest removing the tin foil hat and lay off the Kool-Aid for awhile.

        “The Rasmussen question was this “Did Bush Know About the 9/11 Attacks in Advance?” That seems pretty clear and unequivocal to me.” Heh Heh. Are speaking of Building #7? Or perhaps Rosie O’Donnell’s “proof” that steel can’t melt? My favorite is, “invading privacy with draconian airport security measures”—and this was in reference to the Bush administration policies! You’re funny. Seen any black helicopters circling your house recently? They’ve out there and Poindexter know knows your every thought. Even funnier, you actually think the Obama administration has “reversed” several of Bush security measures.

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        • I think you misunderstood me. All I was saying is that the question itself was not ambiguous, easy to understand and easy to answer. I was not implying what my answer would have been. But to be perfectly clear – if I was asked that question by a pollster, my answer would be: “No. He did not.”

          Even funnier, you actually think the Obama administration has “reversed” several of Bush security measures.

          No. Actually I was being sarcastic. As near as I can tell, exactly nothing has been reversed that so many on the left (as well as me) found disturbing about the Bush administration security measures. Some of them have actually gotten worse under the Obama administration. And I still find them disturbing, unlike many many Democrats, who were so exercised by the executive powers wielded by Bush but seen quite sanguine about the identical powers wielded by Obama.

          There are, of course, many notable exceptions to this Democratic Party rule – particularly among principled Progressives like Greenwald, Hamsher and some others.

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          • Phew! Was worried there a bit, Dividist. Sorry, I missed the sarcasm—it sounded a bit over the top, very funny though, but happy you haven’t morphed into a O’Donnell/Ventura conspiratorialist regarding 9/11. These people are just flat nuts. As in Cheney deliberately shooting his friend in the face to divert attention away from Libby. I know this kind lunacy exists on both sides of the political fence, but unquestionably, the Left, far and away have no peers in political conspiracy paranoia.

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          • “And I still find them disturbing, unlike many many Democrats, who were so exercised by the executive powers wielded by Bush but seen quite sanguine about the identical powers wielded by Obama.” Like that. Does anyone know or understand the love affair between the Leftists and Islamic Jihadists? What possible ideological connection connects such disparate philosophies? It’s puzzling. Maybe it really does just boil down to a power grab, or the hopes of one.

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            • So… Obama changes nothing about the Bush administration that we know of, except for full-body naked scans, and targeted killing of American citizens. Mainstream Democrats applaud. And it means that they love Islamic Jihadists?

              Are you serious? Short of taking a dump on the Koran, is there anything they could do that would change your conclusion here? And if not, why should anyone respect it?

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              • Whoaaa, Jason. Wait a minute here. I’m compelled to ask you same question: Are you serious? Do you really not see or deny the Left’s support, affection, for radical Islam? IT’S EVERYWHERE!!! Never more so, than in the hallowed halls of academia. Well, that’s just a kick in the groin. And frankly, I’m surprised a person of your intellectual stature would make such a statement. Less than a week after the 9/11 attacks, Chomsky was out and about speaking his usual anti-America left-wing trash just days after 9/11. Where does one begin? Zinn, Said, Rall, Fisk, Galloway, Mailer, Sontag, Stone, Vidal, Pinter, Vonnegut, etc. etc. And of course, king of pompous blowhards, Michael Moore with his always enlightening thooughts: “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “The Enemy.” They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win!” Not to be forgotten, the King of Frauds, Ward Churchill. On the 9/11 victims, “Well, really, let’s get a grip here shall we? True enough, they were civilians of sort. But innocent? Give me a break.” And of course, the famously, cruel quote: “If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of viing some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.”

                It’s simply unequivocal–there exists a very strong ideological alliance between Leftists and radical Islamic extremists bound together by an intense, extreme hatred of the United States. George Galloway: “And the progressive organizations & movements agree on that with the Muslims…. So on the very grave big issues of the day-issues of war, occupation, justice, opposition to globalization-the Muslims and the progressives are on the same side.”

                Oh God, I need a drink after reading your post. This is sad.

                The

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                • There’s a difference between being critical of America and the West and actually being in support of radical Islam. At most some of the more misguided leftists take on an attitude of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” but that’s far short of a “love affair” as you put it. And far more common is to think both are deserving criticism for different problems. And I think the vast majority of people, including radical leftists would rather live in our society with its problems than in one with the problems that come from radical Islam.

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                  • And understanding that Iraqis who fought against the U.S. were not particularly radical Islamists or Al Qaeda sympathizers is actually both more intelligent and more useful than lumping them all together as monolithic anti-American freedom-hating bad guys. If I have to be concerned about some filmmaker’s glorification of the insurgency or the Secretary of Defense’s insistence that it doesn’t exist, I’ll choose the latter.

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                  • Thanksgiving Greetings, Macmillen!

                    You, “And I think the vast majority of people, including radical leftists would rather live in our society with its problems than in one with the problems that come from radical Islam.”

                    And therein lies the typical hypocrisy of the Lefty Loons. Plus, there not that stupid that they’re going to walk away tenured positions to live in caves with filthy, lice-infested terrorists smoking bongs all day–no doubt having nocturnal emissions at night dreaming of Infidel skyscrapers blowing up. Chomsky’s gotten quite rich off theses flea bag miscreants. And I simply disagree with you–there IS strong support by the Left for radical Islam.

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                • I am pretty sure that I don’t agree with this.

                  The Left loves the idea of criticizing people for being racist and by conflating “Islam” with “Arabic”, they get to do this (and, in their defense, there are many critics of Islam who do the same thing) in response to many of the criticisms floating out there. But anti-anti-Muslim is not the same thing as being pro-Islam.

                  There is also a tendency to see who lines up where before they open their mouths… which means that when Rushdie wrote his trifle of a comic novel about Mo-mo, the left had to choose between standing next to the anti-Muslims or the anti-Free Speechers. To their discredit, the main choice made was to remain somewhat silent (certainly when compared to the Serrano and Last Temptation tempests within teapots that preceeded the Muslim world going apeshit and the Mapplethorpe tempest that followed).

                  Recently Hitchens was asked about one of his main regrets and he mentioned Mugabe. He said that he didn’t want to give ammo to the other side by criticising.

                  Well, I’m pretty sure that Hitchens ain’t alone in such. Hell, most of the idiots who personally identify with the TEAM RED/BLUE ALWAYS GOOD, TEAM BLUE/RED ALWAYS BAD are guilty of this particular one.

                  This isn’t a case of Liberals loving Islam, dude. It’s a case of them loving to call Conservatives racist.

                  The second that Islam becomes about as influential in the voting booth as Judaism, Liberals will start screaming about backwards hillbillies wanting to teach young earth creationism in schools.

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        • Heidegger,

          As sharply as I disagreed with dividist on the issue of the question’s methodological soundness, I saw absolutely nothing in his post that would lead to the kind of bizarre ideological assault you’re launching here.

          Sorry, dividist, he followed us new guys here from The One Best Way, and we’re all familiar with this kind of comment from him. Mock him gently, because he’s not really a bad guy at heart, but don’t take him seriously when he says things like this.

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          • Happy Thanksgiving, James! Hey, big surprise our inept, hapless, beleaguered Lions on Thanksgiving.

            I have to admit, I’m utterly dumbfounded that I’m alone on this site in making the assertion that the Left in America very strongly sides with the radical Islamists. (I actually think you guys might just be yanking my chain!)

            Oh well, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, friends (doubt I have any of those here) and foes alike. I should give thanks for not kicking me off your sites, although the day is young and this might just be the one to break the camel’s back. I really do very much enjoy our conversations. All the best!

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            • “Our” lions? I’m a Colts fan. I enjoy watching the Lions flail and fail.

              The left in America sides with radical Islamists? Being in academia, I hang around with a hell of a lot of leftists, and I’ve yet to meet one who sides, even weakly, with radical Islamists. How much wine did you have with your turkey and sweet potatoes?

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              • “Our Lions”–YIKES! My apologies. What in the name of God was I thinking? Of course, you’re a native Indiananin and spared the yearly pain and follies of the worst team in the history of sports and I’m talking football, baseball, hockey, and basketball. You see, it’s not that they’re just bad, but statistically, based on numerous factors, the worst team—ever. Do you know how hard it is to be this bad, with top round draft picks every year? Just colossal, historical, ineptitude. Must be awfully nice to watch Peyton Manning, on a weekly basis, weave masterpiece after masterpiece you lucky dog!

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              • James, I really like your “flail and fail” comment. I mean, it’s very funny and a great byline–can I steal it? Nah, I wouldn’t do that, but a most humorous summation of the Ford Field pratfalls. And I must compliment your wife’s taste in Red Wing hockey fandom–is she a Michigander? Hey, you’re even a Tigers’ fan! I knew you had to have some redeeming qualities, Mr. Hanley. It’s just this political world that seems a bit askew, but not insurmountable. I haven’t given up hope on you, though. I think there is still a better than even chance you could become a conservative. Be honest now—putting aside all the politically correct pressures you must be subjected to, what did you really think of Ward Churchill’s daily rants?

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            • I have to admit, I’m utterly dumbfounded that I’m alone on this site in making the assertion that the Left in America very strongly sides with the radical Islamists.

              It gets worse: the Left also wants to give Matt Millen another chance.

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                • The problem with Millen is not just that he did such a terrible job as GM, but that he’s never given any indication that he ever accepted any responsibility for the Lions’ lack of success during his tenure. That takes him from the realm of just bad GM to the realm of being a revolting human as well.

                  FWIW, though, I am more or less a Red Wings fan (my wife’s a big Wings fan; I still miss the Minnesota North Stars) and a Tigers fan (as much as it’s possible for me to like baseball–say, about two innings worth at a time)/

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    • Has the question or a more precise phrasing of the point at issue been resurveyed?

      Are such resurveys the basis of your claim that only a small number of people believe President Bush was somehow associated with 9/11, whereas the rest of those surveyed were “well-informed people cognizant of President Bush receiving a warning in the CIA’s Presidential Daily Brief on 8/6/2001 which was titled, ‘Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US'”?

      It may well be so, but I’m inevitably skeptical of any claims about the population being “well informed” about anything.

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      • D.A. Ridgely:

        Has the question or a more precise phrasing of the point at issue been resurveyed?

        As I stated earlier, I have not seen any polls which validated the obviously flawed Rasmussen poll question. Some of the commenters at Ed Brayton’s blog were looking for them a couple of years ago when this was a hot topic. That same poll had quite a few conservatives ID’d as trufers as well at about half the rate of liberals IIRC. That could be because the question was ambiguous and harmful to the president, providing an out to give Mr. Bush a break. I know when I first saw the question my initial reaction was anger.

        If this supposed liberal meme were actually true I think we’d see its results repeated as much as we’ve seen with polls validating current conservative delusions, e.g. Fox and the WSJ both commission polls regularly where they’d have a large incentive to market such a finding if it was legit.

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        • I have no axe to grind on this point, but I will note that not seeing confirmation isn’t the same thing as seeing refutation.

          Similarly, I think it’s fair to ask what evidence supports your assertion regarding small numbers of delusional Bush haters versus what (doing the subtraction) would be a significant number of “well informed people.”

          For what it’s worth, I could care less what the politics of truthers or birthers are nor, for that matter, what their respective numbers may be.

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        • My observation in the comment to which you initially responded, was that these kind of delusional partisan responses to a pollster seem to be more pronounced in the party losing or out of power. If that is the case, you are not going to see it as pronounced on the left when Democrats have all the power as they have for the last two years. Instead we saw in the polls a virtually identical percentage of apparently deluded Republicans now as there were deluded Democrats under Bush responding to that obviously simple, clear and easy to understand Rasmussen question.

          As power has shifted to the right with the GOP taking the House, and with widespread expectation that it will continue to shift in a rightward direction in 2012 with the structural advantage held by Republicans in the Senate races – lets see what happens with our comparative partisan delusions.

          I’m guessing (hoping) the popularity of Beck-style conspiracy mongering will begin to wane, accompanied by an uptick again in the left (not hoping). Who knows how it will metastasize this time. The Koch/Murdoch Media Control meme seems to be on the rise. Maybe it’ll be more stuff like the story the E.D. highlighted in this post. Maybe we’ll get a repeat of golden oldies like the Diebold stolen elections. Maybe it’ll even come in the form of a vast right-wing pollster conspiracy to manipulate trusting Democrats into a misleading poll results.

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      • Only 43% of Democrats said Obama is Christian, down from 55% in 2009.

        http://pewforum.org/uploadedFiles/Topics/Issues/Politics_and_Elections/growingnumber-full-report.pdf

        And to broach a sensitive subject, black folk must be counted on the “left” for their near-monolithic support of the Democratic Party, and represent a hefty 20% of their electoral totals. According to

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33695-2005Jan24.html

        More than one-quarter said they believed that AIDS was produced in a government laboratory, and 12 percent believed it was created and spread by the CIA.

        A slight majority said they believe that a cure for AIDS is being withheld from the poor. Forty-four percent said people who take the new medicines for HIV are government guinea pigs, and 15 percent said AIDS is a form of genocide against black people.

        From 2005. Perhaps the numbers have dipped [hopefully], but it makes the point. Further, do Pew and other mainstream “authorities” tend not to ask questions that might embarrass the left? In my opinion, yes; that’s why it was left to Rasmussen.

        The point is, I’m not good with the assertion that the right is wacker than the left—which we hear constantly from a certain quarter [entire blogs are dedicated to the proposition, and we know who I’m talkin’ bout] and quite agree with Dividist’s objections here, as well as DAR’s point about “well-informed.” There is plenty of wack to go around, and ignorance too.

        Nor can the argument [agreed upon by all the participants in the discussion here, it seems] be dismissed that many folks might be answering these poll questions—which are clearly designed not to plumb their knowledge, but to test their ignorance—with an uplifted middle finger. Yeah, sure, Obama’s a Muslim, the CIA created AIDS, and Bob’s your uncle.

        These polls are crude tools at best because you can’t measure what’s in somebody’s head with any certainty. Including the length of his psychological middle finger.

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  5. As a technocrat, all of this “not in my name” vitriol leads me to wonder where the optimal boundary on invasiveness for security’s sake actually lies? How much should we be willing to take and at what level of effectiveness?

    The response seems to break down into a few categories though they frequently overlap:

    – The civil-libertarian view that there are certain personal rights that cannot be infringed upon no matter how secure that action makes us. Being exposed to trace amounts of radiation, looked at on an x-ray machine, or felt near the genitals falls into this category but what is the actual boundary? Taking off your shoes? Going through a behavioral profile interview about your religion? You’ll know it when you see it?

    – The pragmatist view that an egregious infringement on personal rights is justified as long as it’s effective enough and these pat-downs are just not effective. These claims usually don’t have any factual basis (though that’s not to say that they are false) and tend to lean very heavily on the idea that “no terrorist has been stopped by the TSA yet” which completely ignores the deterrent aspect of security theater, and, when taken to it’s logical conclusion imply that we should not have any security at all since no terrorists have been stopped by security.

    – The neo-conservative view that any Republican policy makes us safer and is there-by inherently constitutional (the constitution is not a suicide pact and all that) but that we should just skip all of this girly-man technology and get right to the racial profiling. I won’t comment further on this position as I feel I’ve expressed it entirely accurately.

    So again, where is the practical boundary on security vs. civil liberties (and I do realize that this is getting dangerously close to a “freedom of choice vs. predestination” non-debate) or, alternatively, what would it take for the TSA to conclusively show that these procedures are useful or useless?

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  6. I think the Kochtopus, George Soros, and Rupert Murdoch should have a Jell-o wrestling match and the losers have to be the slaves of the winners for a week. It can be broadcast live after next season’s American Idol finale. Serious journalists can win Pulitzer Prizes for their stellar coverage of it, and future generations will establish religions around the results.

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