Why Liberals Should Repudiate The Looney Left

Last week I chastised The Democratic Daily for their promotion of 9/11 conspiracy theories, noting that, contrary to claims from a conservative site, their views are not representative of other liberals. The result, as described by The Jawa Report:

The post I put up a few days back had little to do with the actual content of this minor loony-lib-on-regular-lib blogfight, but the former official Kerry blogger/Democratic Daily editor known as Pamela who’d been pushing a debunked and loony 9-11 Twoofer documentary was apparently frothing at a fellow lib’s blog (who was doing nothing more than pointing out what was happening in his post, and linking us in the process).

Ron at Liberal Values (a former blogger at Democratic Daily) was attacked by Pamela, who seems to have as much a problem resiting juvenile agitprop videos as she does remembering facts in her recent history. A few other moonbats trickle in and begin flinging stuff about astrology, the lack of leftist purity that Ron posseses and (of course) Twooferism, at which Ron rightfully balks.

I can’t say I sympathize with some of Ron’s politics, but I can certainly sympathize with the need to push back against the Twoofers and their ancillary legions of astrologers, Holocaust deniers, liars, huxters, frauds, film school dropouts and pizza delivery boys. Good luck – I’ve been barking up that tree for a while now.

During similar such disagreements with Pamela Leavey and others at The Democratic Daily I argued that her tolerance of anti-Semitism matters, as does her dismissal of the danger of Holocaust denial. Similarly, it matters to the credibility of those who oppose the Iraq war and the Republican’s mishandleing of the 9/11 attack when such conspiracy theories are made to appear representative of liberal thought. An astute reader sent in the following commentary from Fred Thompson which demonstrates why liberals need to dissociate themselves from such conspiracy theories (as well as anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, astrology, and belief in ghosts):

Harry Reid, though, has taken a different route. He made his statement about General Pace on a conference call with fringe elements of the blogosphere who think we’re the bad guys. This is a place where even those who think the 9/11 attacks were an inside job find a home.

And why shouldn’t they think that? Reid has led the attack on the administration, with Nancy Pelosi, charging it lied and tricked America into supporting the war. Ignoring multiple hearings and investigations into pre-war intelligence findings that have debunked this paranoid myth, they accuse an entire administration of conspiracy to trick us into a war.

Liberal bloggers who promote unfounded 9/11 conspiracy theories help people like Fred Thompson undermine the well established case against the Bush administration for the manner in which they deceived the country to start the Iraq war. When some blogs support such theories (or astrology, or the belief that Mel Gibson really isn’t anti-Semitic) they undermine the legitimate work done in the liberal blogosphere.

Update: Think Progress also repudiates 9/11 conspiracy theories, writing “Thompson’s attempt to link Reid to conspiracy theorists is completely baseless.” They also provide a few examples of how intelligence was manipulated prior to the war. Bob Geiger doesn’t comment specifically on the 9/11 conspiracy theory aspect of this, but does argue with Thompson’s claim that those on the conference call were a “fringe element.”

Update II: Steve Benen makes an excellent point: “By the way, how is it, exactly, that ABC Radio has decided to pay Thompson to deliver nationally-broadcast monologues condemning Democrats with bogus smears? ABC does know this guy is running for president, right? Doesn’t this seem a wee bit inappropriate?” I think I’ll drop Disney investor relations a note and ask about this.

Update III: Michael Moore has now been drawn into this, with Reason posting a video. It probably won’t affect the review of Sicko I’m preparing as it is limited to the health care problems in the United States and avoids getting into the controversy over Moore’s other views. (The review of Sicko is now up.)

Update IV: New evidence came out debunking 9/11 denialism, frustrating the conspiracy theorists at The Democratic Daily leading to a new round of lies and personal attacks. The shock of reality was too much for them. My replies are here and here.

Update V: The Democratic Daily continues to fall behind faux-feminism, declaring that any criticism of their views is an attack on women. As I note in my other responses (such as those linked in the update above) people who claim that Mel Gibson is just a poor misunderstood actor, post anti-evolution arguments, or claim that the 9/11 attack was done by anyone other than al Qaeda risk being debunked. This is regardless of their sex.

Apparently they think they can prevent rebuttal of their views by subjecting those who respond to them with such slander. It is a sick form of intellectual cowardice to hide behind claims that they are above criticism because they are women. For them to fabricate such charges of sexism based upon this is contrary to both the legitimate views of feminism and the spirit of free debate in the blogosphere.

This also has nothing to do with being banned from The Democratic Daily by a woman as Pamela now claims. I left due to the anti-Semitic atmosphere both at the blog and in Pamela’s emails. Since leaving I never tried to post or comment there again, so I wasn’t even aware (nor do I care) that I was “banned.” (There was actually a brief period of attempted reconciliation in which some of my posts were cross-posted at The Democratic Daily but that ended when I got tired of pulling knives out of my back.) But I shouldn’t expect anything different as Pamela has been fabricating stories throughout her attacks on me with the her description of events (and that of a few of her friends) having little relation to reality. It is also worth noting that, while I have allowed Pamela and her co-bloggers to respond to the posts here, apparently I am banned over there and couldn’t respond to her smears at The Democratic Daily even if I had attempted to.

Update VI: The smear tactics of The Democratic Daily appear to be failing again, and possibly backfiring. After I left The Democratic Daily due to their objections to criticizing both Mel Gibson and Holocaust denial, readership there fell in half. Their repeated attempts to form a boycott against Liberal Values, based upon fabricated charges such as sexism while lying about the circumstances of my leaving, have been comical–sort of as if I tried to boycott Daily Kos when I’ve disagreed with posts there. While they use empty rhetoric such as that Liberal Values, is neither liberal or of value, the contrast in support and readership shows many think otherwise.

On Wednesday, when they launched their latest round of attacks, Liberal Values led The Democratic Daily in RSS subscribers as calculated by Feedburner by an overwhelming 3360 to 108. In the subsequent three days, Liberal Values has added 42 new subscribers while The Democratic Daily lost 6. (After today’s numbers for Friday it might not be so clear as the weekend numbers generally do fall due to people having work computers off and therefore not being seen as subscribed to the feed.)

Liberal Values’ lead in Technorati ranking has also increased despite The Democratic Daily’s built in advantages both in having been around longer and being a group blog. On Wednesday Liberal Values had an authority ranking of 473 from Technorati, with The Democratic Daily trailing at 348. As of now, the authority ranking of Liberal Values has increased to 477 while The Democratic Daily has fallen to 343.

In the end, launching these blog wars do not help build readership for themselves or hurt readership here. While there may be an audience for believers in conspiracy theories and support for the likes of Mel Gibson, these views are not characteristic of the liberal blogosphere regardless of what people like Fred Thompson may claim. Ultimately writing based upon facts and sound reasoning will beat out writing based upon bias and personal attacks.

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15 Comments

  1. 1
    Tano says:

    I disagree.

    I dont think that liberals should repudiate our nut-cases. We should ignore them.

    Have you ever heard Republicans going out of their way to repuridate their own nut-cases? No, or at least very rarely. They just ignore them, and speak louder than them. In that way, when we try to tie them to their extremists, we dont get much traction, because the more “moderate” Republicans get their own message out loud and clear, and we end up looking like we are tilting at strawmen.

    As a direct, and crucial benefit for this approach, the Republicans can count on the electoral support from those fringe elements, because they have done nothing to anger them.

    That is the way we should deal with our own extremists. Ignore their nuttiness. Lead them, by putting out our own voices loud and clear. And ignore, or laugh off attempts by the right to tie us to them. They wont get any traction with those types of attacks if our true message is suffused through the political landscape.

    It is, of course, very much in the interests of Republicans to pressure us to openly repudiate our nutjobs. Their interest is in dividing us, and provoking angry splits. Help to get us arguing amongst ourselves. Dont fall into that trap – they certainly don’t.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    “And ignore, or laugh off attempts by the right to tie us to them.”

    If only that could be done successfully. Disputing attempts by the right to tie them to us is primarily what I mean. If not for those ties being made, it wouldn’t matter what the “nut-cases” think.

    “Have you ever heard Republicans going out of their way to repuridate their own nut-cases?”

    There have been rare cases, such as with Ann Coulter not long ago, but for the most part they don’t repudiate their nut cases for a simple reason. Their nut cases actually represent views held by many of their leaders. Look at those Republican debates. Those guys there sound almost as nutty as anyone on the right.

    I also don’t go along with the idea that they are “our” nut-cases in the sense of a lock step following of left vs. right. That’s only one division. I also see rationality versus the nut cases as being an important division. There are sane people on the right who I would prefer over some of the “nut-cases” of the left.

  3. 3
    Hart Williams says:

    You begin with a false premise: that ALL 9/11 conspiracy theories are wild and crazy. Some definitely are.

    But “Some” and “All” are not logically equivalent terms. What you imply is (assuming that your logical education ever went this far) an IF AND ONLY IF relationship, when you merely have a partial “IF A, SOMETIMES B” proposition.

    You compound your logical error by conflating The Democratic Daily’s LIBERAL policy regarding the opinions (and censorship of same) of its (many) bloggers with one person, i.e. the propritor of the blog, Pamela Leavey. The subtext is clear: Pamela Leavey is personally responsible FOR EACH AND EVERY WORD on the blog.

    This is, of course, patently absurd.

    (Worse, Chusid, you’re not stupid, so you KNOW that it’s absurd. And yet you assert it ANYway.)

    Having thus taken two specious premises, you compound your logical error by descending into a name-calling contest. “nut case” “anti-semitism” “loony” et al, etcetera, ad infinitum.

    All men are mortal, Socrates is mortal, therefore, all men are Socrates. Q.E.D. to your brand of “reasoning.”

    Having utterly failed to be reasonable, you have managed only be intensely and viscerally disagreeable.

    Logic is a beautiful thing. You really ought to give it a try sometime…

    You poopie-head, you.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    In case anyone was wondeirng what I was talking about, ths is an example of what passes for discourse at the blog I left last year. More importantly, it is an example of the looney left which we are better off avoiding.

    Beyond that, there is no sense to this. The 9/11 conspiracy theories backed at The Democratic Daily sounded wild and crazy to me–and most rational people. As for the next bit of nonsense, I’m only referring to positions Pamela herself has written in support of, not claiming she is responsible for each and every word on the blog. It was Pamela’s own words which were quoted by the conservative blog which first tried to attribute the beliefs at The Democratic Daily to all Democrats and liberals. Of course he’d rather pretend to be using logic as opposed to looking at the actual facts.

    Interesting that The Democratic Daily has a liberal position regarding opinions, but wasn’t so tolerant about criticizing Mel Gibson, anti-Semitism, or Holocaust denial back before I left because of this.

    Once again, we see that, lacking any intelligent arguments, all they can come up with is insults–and not even very good ones. “Poopie-head” is all he can come up with?

  5. 5
    Hart Williams says:

    Excuse me, sir.

    I made three very specific logical objections to your assertions. And answered your libels in kind (albeit gently).

    You provide NO rebuttal, save to say “This is the KaraZEE kind of stuff I (Ron Chusid) have had to deal with! This PROVES my point!”

    No: it proves my point. Your ability to argue logically has been called into question, and you’ve proven MY point. Now, whether you respond rationally or not, the ball is in your court. Either logically prove your case or else show, rationally and reasonably WHY each of my objections is invalid.

    That should be easy for someone as smart as you.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    While you are pretending to use logic, I already noted that your premises were invalid. You both based your arguments on incorrect facts and you distorted my arguments to falsely claim errors in logic. You have nothing but straw men arguments which are already refuted. So yes, your post does prove my point.

  7. 7
    Tano says:

    “I also don’t go along with the idea that they are “our” nut-cases in the sense of a lock step following of left vs. right.”

    Well, then why the need to “repudiate” them? Repudiation usually implies a connection to be broken. If they are not “ours” then why are we under any more obligation to denounce them than we are to denounce any random person saying something stupid?

    “Their nut cases actually represent views held by many of their leaders.”

    Well thats a good point.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    “Well, then why the need to “repudiate” them? Repudiation usually implies a connection to be broken. If they are not “ours” then why are we under any more obligation to denounce them than we are to denounce any random person saying something stupid?”

    Because others connect us to them–such as in Thompson’s quote above.

  9. 9
    Ginny in CO says:

    Ron,

    “The 9/11 conspiracy theories backed at The Democratic Daily sounded wild and crazy to me–and most rational people.”

    First, you can only speak for yourself, regardless of how many rational people you think agree with you.

    Exactly what conspiracy theories ‘backed at the Democratic Daily sounded wild and crazy to’ you? Please be specific and offer explanations for what makes them ‘wild and crazy’ – which is not exactly a scientific argument. Given that an editorial in Fire Engineering magazine of 2/02 called the 9/11 investigation “a half-baked farce”, and no one called it invalid, you can use wild and crazy – as long as you define your terms.

    Aristotle: “It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

    Let me offer one challenge. Read this paper by Stephen Jones PhD, the physicist (whose field is muon-catalyzed fusion) that brought me to questioning the official hypothesis.

    Revisiting 9/11/2001 –Applying the Scientific Method

    As Aristotle says, you do not have to accept anything to consider his arguments.

    I also will reiterate that neither the FEMA or NIST reports were able to explain the collapses. Most of what I talked about are reasonable and legitimate questions raised that have not been answered. Do you believe the firefighters and structural engineers have no right to ask these questions or expect a reasonable effort to determine the answers?

    I honestly disclosed that: “my personal review of the 9/11 research and questions convinced me over a year ago that the official conspiracy theory (religious fundamentalists from the Middle East conspired to hijack the planes and fly them into the buildings, causing them to collapse) can only be partly correct.”

    As far as what else could have happened, a strong forensic investigation is needed.
    What is wild and crazy about calling for more investigation when neither of the official reports have fully explained what happened? Sure I have speculated a little on what, who, etc might have happened. Partly to test the feasibility aspect. It simply is not unfeasible or implausible. (I again refer you to Operation Northwoods before you insist the US Gov could not and would not do anything like this.)

    Jones is a devout Mormon and lifelong Republican. I am a devout atheist and born again secular humanist. I deeply appreciate and respect his ethics, willingness to look honestly at what could become a huge blow to his own party, and to put his own considerable reputation on the line, to find the truth.

    Whether you can accept the arguments, this whole thing reverts back to basis of all the misunderstandings that happened in your problems at the Dem Daily and since.
    A lack of respect for the dignity and honest beliefs of others. To the point of routinely twisting their comments into ideas they never meant, and not respecting their disagreement of YOUR interpretation of their words.

    I ran across some pearls of wisdom at a local restaurant the other day. This one goes this way for you.

    “Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by malice.”

    All of the intelligent and excellent work you have done is crippled and diminished by that ever emerging malice. Lose it, Ron. You have too much to offer to waste it on these soap opera dialogues.

  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:

    Ginny,

    That is your evidence? The paper, not even coming from a peer reviewed journal, is blatant pseudo-science written by someone with a political agenda. He uses the same type of arguments commonly seen by proponents of intelligent design.

    It doesn’t take much effort to find considerable material debunking this including (but not limited) to here

    While part of science is being open to new ideas and investigation, it is also necessary to be able to look critically at claims being made to separate pseudo-science from science.

    “Whether you can accept the arguments, this whole thing reverts back to basis of all the misunderstandings that happened in your problems at the Dem Daily and since.
    A lack of respect for the dignity and honest beliefs of others. To the point of routinely twisting their comments into ideas they never meant, and not respecting their disagreement of YOUR interpretation of their words.”

    Actually the situation was the exact opposite. There was an increasing demand for lock step conformity and support for whatever conspiracy theory or other idea you guys were inftuated with that day. If I responded with facts to attempt to bring the discussion back to reality, the typical response was to ignore the facts, resort to personal insults, and twist what I said to attack straw men as opposed to my actual counter arguments.

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:

    This report just came in at the right time to provide further debunking of these views.

  12. 12
    Beano says:

    Great Ron, you blow out Ginny’s argument so she and her sicko friends launch another attack. Now even disbelief in 911 conspiracy theories makes you a woman hater. Talk about lack of courage in their conictions to fall back on this line. You are way too soft on them. You could say the sky is blue and they’d disagree with you. They are a pack of far left antisemites who will never be happy until sensible liberals like you are purged from the net roots.

  13. 13
    Ron Chusid says:

    Per the track back above, Michael has been hanging out with Pamela (including writing at The Democratic Daily and referring to her as a friend) and therefore has been exposed to her side of the story. This makes him hardly an impartial observer. He does have things rather backwards, which would be expected from listening to their bizarre account of events at The Democratic Daily. While I assume Michael believes he is commenting honestly, he has received a quite biased description of what has occured.

  14. 14
    Marvin says:

    They don’t know when to stop over there. There are two more posts attacking Dr Ron at Democratic Daily. Pamela totally rewrites history. I remember how she defended Mel Gibson and didn’t like Ron attacking him. I remember how she pushed all that anti-evolution BS and got mad at Ron when he argued supporting evolution.
    Pamela and her friends are just jealous of how successful Liberal Values have become as thier pathetic little blog has gone down the tubes.

  15. 15
    Ron Chusid says:

    There is a comment on another post discussing this which says there has been a claim made that Liberal Values gets most of its hits by searches for “poodle balling.” Due to all the continuing traffic to this post I thought I’d also post my reply on this here:

    That would be the interpretation of someone who is ignorant of math and how search engines work.

    At the time of the first comment, 84 out of the last 4000 hits came from searches for “poodle balling.” Poodle balling is mentioned on the blog due to quoting from the episode of Will and Grace with Britney Spears. Britney plays a character who acts as if she is a right winger, but then confesses: “I’m not who you think I am. My real name is Peg. And I’m a hardcore lesbian. I’m into leather play, butch white girls, skunkin’, pullin’ the blinds, and poodle balling. Whatever you got, I’ll eat it, snort it, or ride it, baby.”

    As a consequence of quoting this, about 2% of the hits involved searches for poodle balling. As this is a specific phrase, those looking for it generally put ‘poodle balling’ into the search engine exactly the same way. There are also thousands of searches based on specific political questions. These account for the vast majority of searches to the blog, but each individual search was only used once or twice, so these don’t rank as high as searches for ‘poodle balling’ or for other leading searches such as Paris Hilton and Heroes.

    Incidentally, one of the top searches at The Democratic Daily is for “Ann Coulter Nude.” Before anyone gets too excited, or repulsed, it is a picture of a monster without clothes. (Literally a monster, not Ann Coulter.)

    This is one of the reasons I pay more attention to RSS subscribers than hits on the blog. Those who subscribe to the RSS feed are interested in the content of the blog. With search engine hits we get primarily people searching for meaningful comments, but there’s always a fair number of other searches. That is not to say that looking for discussion of Britney’s appearance on Will and Grace isn’t a decent reason to search for the blog. After all, there is a substantial amount here on non-political topics such as television, and Britney’s appearance on Will and Grace did have its political aspects.

    It’s also interesting to look at search words ranked by visit length as opposed to visit number. As people looking for non-political topics generally visit briefly, the topics on this search are generally more serious ones. Current top searches include “growing libertarianism among the liberals” and individuals such as Ron Paul, Michael Bloomberg, and Rudy Giuliani. However “poodle balling” still leads this list, indicating that people searching for “poodle balling” wound up reading much more of the blog.

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