Setting the record straight on Wood & Douglas, 2013 | The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

http://conspiracypsych.com/2013/07/13/setting-the-record-straight-on-wood-douglas-2013/

Anyway, the damage seems to have been done – the PressTV article has been reprinted on a lot of different websites, forums, and social media thanks to its sensationalised headline and smug triumphalism. I’m ambivalent about this – I like that my research is being recognised since I am inherently a media whore, but I’m less happy about the fact that it’s only seeing wide exposure after having been twisted and misinterpreted by an extremely biased article on Iranian state-run media. Still, the last article that we published was met with headlines like “Psychologists prove conspiracy theorists are all crazy!” (there’s no room for nuance on the Internet, is there?) so I suppose it all balances out. I just hope that some people will read the paper itself rather than taking PressTV’s word for what it says.

The conspiracy to twist the findings of a study about conspiracy theory is underfoot.  Treat lightly, dear reader, there’s a good chance you are already a part of the “traditionalist conspiracy” (the conspiracy that there is no conspiracy).

How Crazy Have We Become When…

George W. Bush comes across as a voice of reason (or when viewed through the skewed prism of Election 2010, a terrorist sympathizer).

Thank you all very much for your hospitality. We’ve just had a wide-ranging discussion on the matter at hand. Like the good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and outraged at last Tuesday’s attacks, and so were Muslims all across the world.

Both Americans, our Muslim friends and citizens, tax-paying citizens, and Muslim in nations were just appalled and could not believe what we saw on our TV screens. These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith, and it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that.

The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Quran itself: “In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil, for that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule.”

The face of terrorist is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace, they represent evil and war.

When we think of Islam, we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that’s made brothers and sisters out of every race, out of every race.

America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country.

The Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads, and they need to be treated with respect.

In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect. Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear covering must not be intimidated in America. That’s not the America I know; that’s not the America I value.

I’ve been told that some fear to leave; some don’t want to go shopping for their families; some don’t want to go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover, they’re afraid they’ll be intimidated. That should not and that will not stand in America.

Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America. They represent the worst of humankind. And they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.

And it’s a great country; it’s a great country because (we) share the same values of respect and dignity and human worth. And it is my honor to be meeting with leaders who feel just the same way I do. They are outraged; they’re sad. They love America just as much as I do.

And I want to thank you all for giving me a chance to come by, and may God bless us all. Thank you.

“The worst of humankind”, indeed.

How quickly so many forget the lessons of 9/11.

UPDATE: Here’s a few of them…

The harsh Republican response to President Barack Obama’s defense of a mosque near ground zero marks a dramatic shift in the party’s posture toward Islam — from a once active courtship of Muslim voters to a very public tolerance after Sept. 11 to an openly aired sense of mistrust.

Republican leaders have largely abandoned former President George W. Bush’s post-Sept. 11 rhetorical embrace of American Muslims and his insistence — always controversial inside the party — that Islam is a religion of peace. This weekend, former Bush aides were among the very few Republicans siding with Obama, as many of the party’s leaders have moved toward more vocal denunciations of Islam’s role in violence abroad and suspicion of its place at home.

“Roy, wake up. A plane has hit the World Trade Center”

“Roy, wake up. A plane has hit the World Trade Center”

Rep Joe Wilson, Illustrating the real problem with the U.S.
Calmly calling the President a liar.

I was sleeping when I heard those words.  I don’t remember what my dream was that day, as I lay all comfy in my bed.

I had recently left a job in Colorado and was planning on moving to New York City to continue life and see if a long distance relationship could turn into a viable short distance one (it didnt’).   During the move I was staying with my folks in Dallas on that fateful morning, eight years ago.

Quickly rising from my slumber, I moved immediately to the television and watched in horror as the rest of the days events unfolded.

I had planned today to write a bit more about the current health care reform agenda and how those opposed to it aren’t really interested in anything resembling an honest debate.  Instead, you can read about that here [1], as I’m going to tell the other half of my 9/11 experience.

Most of the rest of that morning was spent frantically calling on the phone to my girlfriend, and her family and friends, trying to find out if she was all right.  She lived in an apartment on Ave A and 3rd street, and I remembered the calm moments of climbing to the rooftop of her building and marveling at the views of the Twin Towers, and the amazing accomplishtments of modern man, as I would enjoy the simple comfort of a cigarette, basking in the glow and energy of the City.

Ultimately a call finally got through, and some semblance of peace returned to my heart.  Over the new few weeks the stench of burning bodies and debris became too much for her, and a long bus ride brought her back to my arms, ending the first half of this story.

Fast forward to three years later, and I am living in New York, single, and wandering the town around the time of the Repbuclian National Convention in 2004.   Our country had since surrendered its sanity to fear after the events of that September day three years previous, and was currently conducting a war against a country that had no involvement in the attacks.  I had marched against the war a number of times, pointing out, again and again (sometimes loudly, sometimes softly) that the war and 9/11 had little connection outside of a tenuous religious and skin tone one.

Vast conspiracy theories about the attacks and the war had been created, and cynicism and skepticism about our government and its aim was rampant.   While I never felt that even someone as evil as Dick Cheney could allow such an attack to occur, I was, and am, more than willing to say that politicians are often willing to use the fear they create to accomplish their own agendas.

I am was lamenting this fact in a random bar after a couple of Dewars and waters and having struck up a conversation with the bartender and a couple of patrons about whatever and whatever.

It was then that the other side of the 9/11 hit me.

“I lost seven friends on that day,” the bartender said.

And so the convesation came to a screetching halt.  What had been a general lament became a personal attack, and I crossed a line from which it was impossible to pull back.

Now we are seeing the same distrust and conspiracy theories come up around an overhaul of a health care system, and economy, that is eating away at our future prosperity.

It is this level is distrust in one another, and working from vastly different sets of facts and evidence that make the conversation about how to go forward from here so frustrating.   In this sense, the attacks on 9/11 pale in comparison to the response to those attacks.   As we give into the fear and terror that a collapse of our economic way of life engender, our ability to rationally address the problems diminish.  They way forward becomes lost in a cloud of conspiracy and distrust.

This, to me, is the saddest legacy of those attacks.  We still haven’t recovered, we have simply transferred the fear of the other, to the fear of the self.

And so it goes, eight years on.

[1] : Most Republicans made clear during the day that Obama’s speech had done nothing to lessen their opposition.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio stuck to Republican positions that the Democratic health-care proposals would give illegal immigrants health care, pay for abortions, and establish panels that make life-and-death decisions. Obama said they would not.

PolitiFact.com, a truth squad run by the St. Petersburg Times, found that there was no subsidy for illegal immigrants in the legislation, no “death panels,” and no public money for abortion.

A Bit or Twenty About My Political Views

[this is an excerpt from a private conversation with a friend, who wish to remail anonymous, I think]

This is a much more civilzed conversation, but I really do prefer to have these conversations in public, as, you know…I’m a struggling writer. Really struggling.

To summarize…I’m not a Democrat and don’t follow their agenda. I saw Obama admitted a mistake with Dashle, which is why I like Obama. Bush couldn’t think of a mistake he made after four years…which was a sad joke.

I think both Cavuto and Olbermann are loud mouthed windbags who treat politics like college football. Cavuto is damn near retarded and Olbermann is a pompous windbag.

I enjoy watching and responding to, the Sunday morning talkers. NPR is one of the better sources of info. I usually scan Google News, which is run by an AI and then research from there to do my writing.

I don’t think News and Opinion should be mixed, which is why I think Fox, MSNBC, CNN, etc. are a joke. Cronkite could say more with the raise of an eyebrow than most of these modern schlubs can say with a ten minute rant. All of them are first and foremost a BUSINESS and in the media game to make money. They are not after Truth, at all, they go after ratings, which is why they suck.

I blame Bush and Cheney for making a series of huge strategic blunders that pushed our country to bankruptcy. That was the goal of AQ, BTW, to bankrupt the country. It worked. Bush is an anti-intellectual fool who picked party over principle again and again and again. He picked image over substance and should be in jail for endorsing and pushing torture.

Morals are still important. 9/11 didn’t change that. We’ve killed tens, if not hundred of thousands of innocent people in response. That, I feel, is very immoral.

I’m against torture because I have friends in the military. I also believe in the Golden Rule, as it has been “discovered” by every major religion on the planet. If one endorses torture for others, they endorse it for their friends. I don’t want anyone tortured and think there are much better ways to get information. Study how we “interrogated” German and Japanese Generals during WWII for some good examples.

I can, and have, sat down with people, been honest with them, and have had them telling me their secrets in under 20 minutes. Torture only makes people tell their torturers what the tortoree thinks their torturers want to hear. It’s not a good avenue to get at the truth. It’s torture, and it’s wrong. No matter who does it. Jack Bauer is a fictional character and a number of lecturers at the U.S. War College had to make a public statement about it, because of bunch of keyboard commandos think we should torture more people.

It won’t work, and you also might want to read up on the Japanese we executed for war crimes after they water-boarded Americans. It’s just not right. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

As Martin Luther King said, “An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.” He got assassinated for that view.

I’m not a big fan of Clinton. He sold his soul to be President. Watch, or read “Primary Colors” to see how that worked.

I’m currently reading McClellen’s book on Bush, and consider it to be one of the more accurate readings on what went on in that White House.

I’ve also read two of Obama’s books, and consider him to be a very intelligent, very well read, and very good leader. I don’t agree with the Limbaughian traitorous stance that seems to be dominating the GOP. I also think “Joe the Plumber” is a tard and have written extensively about him.

I’m curious about your view of Islam, which I have a great deal of respect for, and am also critical of in my book.

BTW, would you like to buy a book? I hate to give my writings aways for free to people, as I believe them to have real value. I am an independent thinker, and wish to stay that way.

Regardless, I hope this finds you well. And I VERY MUCH appreciate the more respectful tone this conversation now has.

Peace,
-Roy

Obama Affirmitively-Actioned into Presidency (and other stuff Americans decid

I don’t know if you heard, but yea.  It’s a different world today.

And I’m very, very happy about it.

Obama Wins

Obama Wins

As I mentioned previously, this was a pretty big deal for me and a whole lot of folk.

As a quick note on the jocular title of the post….here’s the stats.

It turns out that saying Americans “retired” McCain would probably be one of the more accurate ways to explain the voting.  His age was a major concern for a lot of voters, which I think was accentuated by the Palin problem.

Ultimately, it turns out that people wanted to change the national (and Republican) policy of “concentrate the wealth” that we’ve been following for the past 30 years.  It seems that many think maybe “spreading the wealth” a bit could provide major dividends.  I happen to agree, for a number of reasons, mainly having to do with the idea that spreading some of the wealth will do wonders for many workers in the economic realm of “motivation.”

I thought this was a big deal also because of the world opinion.   It was something that didn’t show up on polls, and maybe was even a net-negative for Obama (in the weird world of U.S. politics), but I think it was Obama’s true stength, and that (r)ace-in-the-hole that will help a great deal in our negotiations with the rest of the world.

The whole world has to take a second look at the U.S.  A long hard second look.  And THIS IS A GREAT THING.   We’ve got a pretty amazing country here, and it’s something that many have forgotten, not the least of whom live here.  And now we’ve proved a great many people wrong.  Again.

We’ve raised the bar on Western democracy.  We’ve slapped racial bullshit in the face.  The United States of America elected a President who’s middle name is HUSSEIN.

You know what’s funny?  The only major demographic group, IN THE WHOLE WORLD, that is bothered rather than elated by this achievement of Martin Luther King’s dream of judgement on character over skin-color, is here in the U.S.  I hope and pray they’ll calm down and get it back together, I met some rather devastated people last night.  Some who genuinely believe we just elected a terrorist.  After all, his middle name is Hussein.

The world had become increasingly wary of this kind of U.S. after seeing some of our actions following 9/11.   World opinion was in a steady decline after Bush’s Choice to invade Iraq.   And Cheney’s Choice to torture some of the people we captured didn’t help either.  The CIA jetting around the world on black ops and weird rumors filled the air.  Any number of shady decisions and actions took place, the extent of which we may not know for years.

The decline in world opintion was precipitous, especially after the world’s sympathy was so quickly and openly offered to us after our own great tragedy.   In 2004, when the U.S. electorate endorsed the lies, and the war, and the torture, the world turned its collective back.

By 2006, we had stepped back a bit domestically, and I think we could see the peak of anti-U.S. opinion was probably in the 2005-2006 window.   By 2007, the world (and the U.S. electorate) was decided on Bush and kinda just ignored him.  Everyone had made their judgment and it was not good.   Once 2008 kicked in the world was watching to see what we would do.  Curious to see if their judgment of the 21st century U.S. was correct.  Looking back over their shoulder a bit, wondering if we’d regained our special-ness.

Our U.S.’ed-ness.

While the world judged Bush harshly, we did get that second (third, actually) chance to amaze the world.

And it would seem they approve.

With a couple of exceptions….

SUDANESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN ALI AL-SADIG

“We don’t expect any change through our previous experience with the Democrats. When it comes to foreign policy there is no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.”

…actually I guess that’s about the only exception.  He’s an exception because he knows the genocide his government is pursuing in Darfur is going to get some real attention now (one would HOPE).

That being said, there were some other big ballot initiatives around the country.

Looks like the Mormons and Catholics got their bigotry endorsed in Cali, Florida and Arizona, the “straight” states.  They are now like Iran, where gays don’t exist…or have less rights…is there a difference?

Women retained some degree of control over their own lives in South Dakota and Colorado, and it’s time to spark it up in Michigan and get that gloucoma under control.

Obama lost Nebraska, and black and women Nebraskans lost the ability to sue for “employment fairness” (on a serious note re: the title of this post…it’s going to be *really* hard to argue for expanded or even continued affirmitive actions programs in a lot of places…expect more of this).

Oregon knocked down the “stay culturally ignorant” rule and Washington is paging Dr. Kevorkian.

North Dakota and Taxachusetts both voted against tax cuts (!)cliche evidence(!), and you can finally lose your shirt on a riverboat in Missouri.  Previously, you could only lose your shoes.

All in all, it was quite a day.

What Happened Since 9/11

Umm..yea…that’s me…and what I was thinking about today.   If you want to know what I was thinking or where I was 7 years ago today, I remember exactly, and can share. 

Just like the rest of you.

Certain events in history have that effect. 

Also, and this is only something that makes sense if you watch the video and wonder why I didn’t return to the same theme I started with…

There’s a reason the country isn’t together now as it was after 9/11/08.  There’s a reason we don’t feel the unity we did then.  A HUGE FUCKING part of that reason is the war we were lied into.  If you don’t think we were lied into that war, please say so, and I’ll convince you otherwise.  Hindsight is 20/20.  

The other main reason for our disunity is that…well…a lot of things have gone wrong since Bush led us into the desert.  A whole lot.  And we all know it.  What we don’t agree on is what to do about it.  We don’t agree on that at all. 

This is a problem.  A real problem.   We all agree on one thing (shit is fucked up) but we don’t agree on the other (who’s best to fix it).  For whomever is selected to try and fix the problems that we have brought upon ourselves, at least half the country is going to throw up their arms in disapproval and immediately discount the solutions offered.

I’m going to go ahead and go out on a limb here in my virtual abode and offer all my rhetorical, roytorical, logical, factual, emotional, historical, histronical, and whatever-adjective-you-chose reasons why Obama is the better choice in this particular situation.

I’ve been doing so for a little while now, half-assedly.  I just want to let you folks know what you are in store for.  Until those polls start moving back in the right correct direction, my full argumentative arsenal is officially on patrol.

Desktop Clearing Post

I have started a new productivity initiative where I’ll be using my desktop for writing and my laptop for blogging.  Hopefully this will work out better for everyone.  With that being said, I have to clear off my desktop, here’s the stuff I didn’t get to, but thought was worthwhile

———–

Here’s the walking across the U.S. for a good cause.

SAN DIEGO (AP) ― It took 10 months, 24 pairs of shoes and 40 pounds of flesh, but former New York Giant George Martin has finished a cross-country walk to raise money for people with health problems linked to the September 11 attacks.

[full article]

You can read all about it here.

——–

A slightly different story about Iraq can be found here.  It’s a more true-to-life kind of this.  Tyler Ziegel and Renee: one year on. 

To understand that story a bit better, here’s the picture that goes with it.

As I said, true-to-life.  Here’s the video if you want to watch that. It gives another angle on the story.

———

5 Bible Superpowers

5 Reasons GTA IV is the Worst Great Game Ever Made

I haven’t read Cracked in years, but found both of these articles read-worthy.  The GTA:IV one is particularly good.  It’s always nice to critique perfection..which kinda goes along with the first link…

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Cheney is a lying, cheating jerk.

Vice President Dick Cheney’s office was involved in removing statements on health risks posed by global warming from a draft of a health official’s Senate testimony last year, a former senior government environmental official said on Tuesday.

He hasn’t been heard from much lately, but he’s up to the same old b.s.

———

Israel keeps pissing off her neighbors and allies.

Jerusalem – Israel plans to build some 1,800 new homes in two Jewish neighbourhoods of Jerusalem built on occupied West Bank land, Israel Radio reported Wednesday.

Some 900 homes will be built in Homat Shmuel G’, an eastern extension of Israel’s controversial Har Homa neighbourhood, on Jerusalem’s southern outskirts, the radio said.

This settlement building just keeps angreing the Palestinians and even goes agiainst what the U.S. has asked for.  With each new settlement built under protest, peace retreats a bit more.   Stop building until an greement is reached, por favor.

——–

The U.S. is teetering.

Loong article on the problems facing the U.S.  A good read from a solid scholar.

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What it’s like to watch Fox for 24 Hours.

Found this one pretty funny.  I wouldn’t recommend watching Fox (or any cable news) for 24-consecutive hours.  Heck. I wouldn’t recommend 24 hours a year.

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This is the best Halloween tower EVAR!!!

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World’s oldest bible on the Interwebs.  In the dump trucks.  Just like Jesus predicted.

This is actually pretty cool.  The technology makes so much knowledge and history so much more widely available than ever before.  Good times.  Good times.

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Terror driver in court.

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — The judge in the first American war crimes trial since World War II barred evidence on Monday that interrogators obtained from Osama bin Laden’s driver, ruling he was subjected to “highly coercive” conditions in Afghanistan.

But Judge Keith Allred, a Navy captain, left the door open for the prosecution to use statements Salim Hamdan made at Guantanamo, despite defense claims that all his statements were tainted by alleged abuse including sleep deprivation and solitary confinement.

Hamdan, who was captured at a roadblock in Afghanistan in November 2001, pleaded not guilty at the start of a trial that will be closely watched as the first full test of the Pentagon’s system for prosecuting alleged terrorists. He faces a maximum life sentence if convicted of conspiracy and aiding terrorism.

It looks like they are going to allow “coerced” (i.e. tortured) testimony in these trials.  So much for “justice
———

And last but not least, my favorite song of the summer.