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Times can’t add

Reporter and editors of Times cannot calculate one man’s budget accurately

Captain Sloan needs to check John Leland’s arithmetic

Helpful indication for readers that double checking necessary even at simplest level

nicksloan.jpgNot wishing to cause the delightful if somewhat naive Tara and her right hand man Steve any cause for complaint that we are picking on them needlessly, since the Times is a far greater purveyor of paradigm pusillanimity than the Tara duo ever could be, we offer an example of how Times reporters and editors are thoughtlessly incapable of checking their own stories even on the most interesting topics, as they issue from their keyboards, at least on a holiday weekend.

According to A Way Out of Debt by Way of Iraq, which we read yesterday over an espresso after lunch, a quick assignment to Iraq might be a fast way of paying off credit card debt.

It took only a moment’s perusal to find that the entire story was vitiated by John Leland’s reportorial handicap, apparently shared with the editors, of being unable to add.

Look at this stuff, and weep for the intellectual standards of what used to be the world’s greatest newspaper, one which didn’t earlier need a note attached to every article saying “Beta Draft: Written subject to checking by readers”.

Nick Sloan was $68,021.35 in debt earlier this year when he decided he needed a change. Mr. Sloan, 26, is a captain in the Air Force, and was stationed in Colorado Springs. Looking at his financial life, he saw only a series of bad decisions.

So he made what he calls a “radical” break: he volunteered to go to Iraq. In May he arrived for duty in Baghdad.

“I came to the realization that I was so far over my head, I had to do something drastic to increase my cash flow,” Captain Sloan said by telephone from the Green Zone, where he now receives extra pay and has minimal living expenses. “Iraq did that.”

OK, so what do we absorb from this paragraph, as far as Nick’s budgetary challenge is concerned. Surely it is that

Mr Sloan arrived in Iraq in May with $68,021.35 in debt.

Then we have this, according to the paper of record:

Since arriving in Baghdad, he has gotten his debt below $4,000. He monitors his finances on the Internet, and started a blog (Sloan Investments) to help his peers avoid his mistakes.

from which we learn that the Captain has discharged all but less than $4,000 of the above $68,021.35 in debt.

Since arriving in Baghdad, he has gotten his debt below $4,000.

Finally, much further on, we read this:

His full monthly pay from the military, including hazardous duty bonuses, is $6,031.74. He pays Social Security and Medicare, leaving a take home amount of $5,695.76 a month.

In other words, if Captain Sloan never spent a penny of his pay, he would only have $5,695.76 to pay down his debt every month:

His take home amount is $5,695.76 a month.

However, the full report, which went straight through from the hands of John Leland, 37, and his editor to the page of the newspaper published yesterday, apparently without passing through the minds of either, also informs us of a few expenses:

“I think the defining moment for me was when he called and said: ‘I want you to know I’ve taken out life insurance. You have $100,000 if something should happen to me,’ ” she said. “It left such a sour feeling in me.”

– that is, his mother reports he took out $100,000 life insurance for her. So we have

The Captain bought $100,000 life insurance for his mom.

Also we have

Apart from an occasional haircut, or dried fruit, he said, “every paycheck I get goes straight toward my debt.”

ie he has some other minimal expenditures involving necessary haircuts and a taste for dried fruit:

Otherwise he only bought haircuts and dried fruit.

A mere $100,000 life insurance for his mom sounds pretty cheap to us, but perhaps it is inordinately expensive. All in all, however, it seems safe to say that he is spending no more than $600 a month on these items, leaving $5000 a month net to square away his credit card debt.

Captain Sloan is putting $5000 a month to paying off debt.

Given that he arrived in Iraq in May, according to Leland’s telephone interview research, that implies a maximum of four months at $5000 a month, or $20,000 in total. Say $25,000 if we count September.

But according to John Leland, he has paid off $64,000.

This leaves a gap of $39,000 he has paid off in some other way.

According to John, Captain Sloan

makes $100 a month from renting his house in Colorado Springs, after paying for the mortgage. He also sold things and simplified his life. He eats at the chow hall rather than Pizza Hut and uses a Sony Reader to scan free books on the Internet.

In other words,

He makes $100 a month renting his house, and he has sold things.

To recap: Here is the information on which you or any handy 12 year old can check the Times’ arithmetic:

Mr Sloan arrived in Iraq in May with $68,021.35 in debt
Since arriving in Baghdad, he has gotten his debt below $4,000 ie paid off $64,000.
His take home amount is $5,695.76 a month.
He makes $100 a month renting his house, and he has sold things.
The Captain bought $100,000 life insurance for his mom.
Otherwise he only bought haircuts and dried fruit.

What’s the bottom line here? It is that the misreporting of John Leland and the headline writer has the reader excited about Iraq as a quick source of wealth, one that can pay off $64,000 in credit card debt in four months.

In fact, Captain Sloan “sold things” for double the sum he saved up.

All of this leads to a rather unexciting non Iraq headline:

Way out of Debt by Selling Car and Other Stuff.

The truth is that Sloan paid off $20,000 in four months by risking his neck in Iraq, and the remainder of $45,000 left at the beginning of September he was able to pay off only because he “sold things” – presumably his $35,000 2005 Nissan 350Z:

Captain Sloan borrowed another $35,000 last year to buy a 2005 Nissan 350Z, bringing his debt above $68,000. He was using one credit card to pay off another and considering a payday loan to meet his regular expenses.

So he must have sold this machine, presumably for less than what he paid, say $30,000.

Correct us if we are missing something, but this means that it was not so much a matter of A Way Out of Debt by Way of Iraq, as a Way out of Debt by Selling his $35,000 Car and $15,000 of Other Stuff.

Iraq contributed – at the risk of his life, and his mother’s misery if he is killed – less than one third of his escape from debt.

Oh well, at least he is somewhat on track for his $50,000 saved by the time he exits:

In his case, he said, he plans to leave the military in May 2008 with $50,000 to start a real estate business. “I’ll do whatever my country asks of me, but if there’s a way to benefit my life, I should definitely take it,” he said.

Wait! At $5,000 a month, he will fall short, saving from September to April, which is eight months, by $10,000.

Shouldn’t someone tell him that he will start his real estate business with less money that he expects by simply relying on his own poor arithmetic, allied to Leland’s equally poor arithmetic checking?

Why does this matter?

john-leland.jpgWe leave it to readers and John Leland (click left, the nice young wide eyed fellow on left) to decide if this is misleading, or a suitable contribution to the paper of record. Perhaps Tara’s tall tales have left us curmudgeonly, but we think that the Grey Lady will be getting a few more grey hairs, or we will, if this kind of thing keeps up.

Dammit, we thought that the Times was reliable a few years ago. Then we had its execrable performance in HIV∫AIDS non reporting. Then Jayson Blair. And now we have this kind of thing, just when we were about to join up for Iraq.

At least we now have a reason not to let the Times pile up in the cellar for future reference.

Meanwhile we think there is a very helpful lesson here for all readers currently swallowing the Times and Tara’s long nosed briefings about the HIV=AIDS paradigm:

Mentally review any story in the Times before treating it as gospel.

We’ve been saying this for years about their AIDS stories, of course, but few listen. So most go on year after year, believing that antibodies cause disease, and that you can catch antibodies from someone else in sex, and that disease can rise and fall dramatically in a population while the antibodies to its supposed agent maintain a steady presence, that a disease can change its infectiousness and symptoms radically over time and place, that drugs can save you from disease by killing you, and so on.

But heck, who are Times readers to know better, if their editors don’t?

The whole story:

The New York Times
September 3, 2007
A Way Out of Debt by Way of Iraq
By JOHN LELAND

Nick Sloan was $68,021.35 in debt earlier this year when he decided he needed a change. Mr. Sloan, 26, is a captain in the Air Force, and was stationed in Colorado Springs. Looking at his financial life, he saw only a series of bad decisions.

So he made what he calls a “radical” break: he volunteered to go to Iraq. In May he arrived for duty in Baghdad.

“I came to the realization that I was so far over my head, I had to do something drastic to increase my cash flow,” Captain Sloan said by telephone from the Green Zone, where he now receives extra pay and has minimal living expenses. “Iraq did that.”

In a nation swimming in debt — prime, subprime, adjustable, student, payday — debt reduction is coming to resemble dieting, a province of gimmicks, good sense, talk radio and endlessly resourceful scheming. Though there is as yet no South Beach Debt-Loss Plan, for Captain Sloan, there is Iraq.

“I hate to make it seem like I’m here just for money, because it’s not true,” he said. “There’s many worthy things about being here. But if I can use this to my advantage, I definitely should.”

Since arriving in Baghdad, he has gotten his debt below $4,000. He monitors his finances on the Internet, and started a blog (Sloan Investments) to help his peers avoid his mistakes.

“I’ve met people who’ve gone on to one or more tours just to get out of debt, with jobs much more dangerous than mine,” Captain Sloan said. “One soldier in Afghanistan said, ‘That’s why I’m here, to get out of debt.’ ”

Financial counselors who work with military families say that this solution — volunteering for deployment to get out of debt — is rare, but that debt is a problem in the armed services, as it is in the country at large. In 2005, military charities for all branches of service provided $87,332,758 in emergency no-interest loans or grants to 100,808 service members in financial distress.

“The military reflects the society from which the people come, so right now that means carrying a lot of debt,” said Adm. Steve Abbot, who is retired from the Navy, the president of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, a military charity organization.

More commonly, Admiral Abbot said, deployment to war adds to families’ financial pressures.

A Defense Department survey of active-duty service members found that in 2006, 11 percent reported failing to make a minimum payment on a credit card or military credit account in the preceding year; 11 percent said they had been put under pressure to pay bills by a store, creditor or bill collector; and 7 percent had bounced two or more checks. (The percentages were all down from previous years.) In response, payday lenders concentrate around military bases, the researchers found.

Last year Congress passed legislation prohibiting payday lenders from charging service members more than 36 percent — effectively ending payday loans to military personnel — but the measure is not scheduled to take effect until October.

Captain Sloan’s debts began at the Air Force Academy, with a low-interest loan of $25,000.

“It was this awesome loan at 1 percent interest, and I just squandered it,” he said.

Captain Sloan borrowed another $35,000 last year to buy a 2005 Nissan 350Z, bringing his debt above $68,000. He was using one credit card to pay off another and considering a payday loan to meet his regular expenses.

“When I look back, I feel somewhat ashamed that I got myself in this position,” he said. “But at the same time it was necessary for me to learn to manage my finances. When you can’t pay your monthly bills, you need to make some changes.”

Like many of his peers, Captain Sloan entered the service with little financial knowledge. His father, who died when he was young, supported the family on a disability pension from the Army. His mother, Linda, said she had done little to teach her two sons about money.

“My training in finances was very poor,” she said. “I didn’t expect my sons to make better decisions, without finding out on their own. My training was, you don’t buy things you can’t pay for. But we’re trained by the media that you have to have things and you’re owed those things.”

Captain Sloan said he kept his debts hidden from most of his friends and relatives. His mother, who opposes the war, said she did not try to dissuade him.

“I think the defining moment for me was when he called and said: ‘I want you to know I’ve taken out life insurance. You have $100,000 if something should happen to me,’ ” she said. “It left such a sour feeling in me.”

Captain Sloan said the toughest sell was his fiancée.

“She took decision the hardest of anyone,” he said. “Initially she was against it. I think I won her over eventually. It was a matter of looking at the numbers. We could start our marriage in debt, or I could do this. The numbers were very telling. Drastic measures are required.”

In the Green Zone, where he works in intelligence, he has few opportunities to spend money.

All his income is tax-free under the Combat Zone Tax Exclusion and he gets an extra $225 a month imminent danger pay and $100 “safe” pay to improve his living conditions. “The real benefit is that it’s tax-free money,” he said. “I really don’t feel in imminent danger on a day-to-day basis, but there have been times my heart did skip a beat or two.”

Apart from an occasional haircut, or dried fruit, he said, “every paycheck I get goes straight toward my debt.” His full monthly pay from the military, including hazardous duty bonuses, is $6,031.74. He pays Social Security and Medicare, leaving a take home amount of $5,695.76 a month. He makes $100 a month from renting his house in Colorado Springs, after paying for the mortgage. He also sold things and simplified his life. He eats at the chow hall rather than Pizza Hut and uses a Sony Reader to scan free books on the Internet.

But even in the relative safety of the Green Zone, Captain Sloan said, he sees his fellow service members taking unnecessary risks — by not saving their combat pay.

“I see that a lot from guys here, especially the younger guys,” he said. “They’re not afraid to spend their money. I do my best to tell them: ‘You’re risking life for this money. It should go to something better than a new computer or junk.’ Some listen, some don’t. They don’t want to change. They’re used to buying what they want.”

One young airman told him: “My wife is already letting me buy a new Nissan Titan and a 60-inch TV when I get home. Now, I just have to decide between a hot tub or Jet Skis.”

Captain Sloan’s first question was, “Have you thought about maybe putting it into a retirement account?”

In his case, he said, he plans to leave the military in May 2008 with $50,000 to start a real estate business. “I’ll do whatever my country asks of me, but if there’s a way to benefit my life, I should definitely take it,” he said.

44 Responses to “Times can’t add”

  1. MartinDKessler Says:

    Skeptic that I am, today’s (Pseudo)Science Times on its first page has a depiction under the headshot of biologist J. Craig Venter of a bunch of genes with gene traits. Let me see: one for Antisocial behavior, conduct disorder; another for Tobacco Adiction; another for Substance Abuse; another for Alcoholism, etc. Assuming that using disapproved drugs (substances) is a real disease, wouldn’t tobacco and alcohol both fall under substance abuse? Wouldn’t use of disapproved substances fall under Antisocial behavior? Even then, the use of alcohol and tobacco (in addition to many other unholy substances) for their many reasons through the centuries is still a product of man’s invention. You would think the editors if they were paying attention would have picked this up. Apparently the Times editors are so intoxicated with their zeal for such stuff since it promotes currently fashionable thought in (pseudo)science. AIDS reporting is the same.

  2. MacDonald Says:

    It is really quite elementary, dear Bloghost, and the article you profanely dissect shows nothing but the patriotic spirit of the Times.

    Unlike those ACTing UP San Franciscans NYT are not AIDS deniers, and neither do they want to deny the US armed forces the recruits they so badly need for the imminent expansion of the surge all the way to Teheran. Being ultra-super liberal, according to Bill O’Reilly, the Times are not big draft supporters; however, being not THAT liberal after all, they certainly don’t like the idea of having all our sharpest and richest young men and women blown up, since their job is to enjoy the freedom and protection provided by the gullible.

    So the Times, in good public spirit, runs an ad. carrying the message that if you are poor and in debt, Iraq will solve your problems for you one way or the other. Just remember to take out a life insurance so the army doesn’t have to pay for that. However, if you’re, poor and indebted, but somehow not nearly as stupid as we thought, you will see through the numbers given in this ad…article, in which case you may want to curb your patriotic zeal and reconsider before you go to Iraq.

    You, Mr. Bloghost, are unfortunately 1, too clever to go to Iraq, which is not a big loss because you are also far too old – although as a denialist you really should sign up for one of those jobs consisting in driving up and down a sandy, godforsaken desert road in an open, bright red jeep for no f****** reason whatsoever. 2, you are unpatriotic because now you’ve given the game away so no other denialist will sign up either.

  3. yello Says:

    Macdonald Sir.

    Regarding #1, I take it you’ve read the 9/6/07 Matt Taibbi article in RollingStone magazine?
    This review of war-profiteering to the tune of tens of billions of dollars is not for the faint of heart.

    Regarding #2, I doubt many of us “denialists” would defend the incredibly successful cronyisms of this administration, whether or not the Times was exposed for the diseased entity it has allowed itself to become has by this point become largely irrelevant.

  4. Truthseeker Says:

    You, Mr. Bloghost, are unfortunately 1, too clever to go to Iraq, which is not a big loss because you are also far too old – although as a denialist you really should sign up for one of those jobs consisting in driving up and down a sandy, godforsaken desert road in an open, bright red jeep for no f****** reason whatsoever.

    It is you, MacD, who are too clever to go to Iraq. We were all excited about the propect until we realized that danger pay amounts to a mere $5000 a month, even if you eat in mess hall all the time instead of Pizza Hut. Doesn’t seem enough to risk losing a limb or two, or one’s life. After all, the risk appears to be so great that the poor man can only afford $100,000 insurance to bequeath to his mother. The premiums must be very large.

    We wondered about the Pizza Hut mention. Is this what is considered the upmarket alternative for dining in base? If so it doesn’t say much for the quality of food we ask our brave fighting men to eat to fuel them to carry 60 lbs of equipment in the 110 degree Baghdad heat before they get blown up, does it? Or is Pizza Hut considered beneficial because pizza combats cancer if it has tomato topping? That is true, as it happens. If so why isn’t fine pizza available in mess hall? We see no reason why the military doesn’t fly in pizza from Naples, the birthplace of pizza. It is near enough.

    Since we do not apprehend the answers to any of these questions you can see we are far too dim to be allowed to go to Iraq and do out bit by driving red jeeps up and down until we are hit by a road bomb. But why is this something attractive to denialists?

    Perhaps you are referring to our death wish, in combating the science equivalent of Town Hall. If so, the news we hear that AIDSTruth is boasting that its paradigm goons prevented Andrew Maniotis, a true scientist who is a model for all who wish to pursue the career as a vocation and not as a job mainly based on toadying, from gaining tenure, then we know just what you mean.

    We haven’t gone there to check it out yet. Perhaps it is not true. We hope it is not. If it is, then someone, presumably John P. Moore, deserves to be locked up with the macaques he torments to no good purpose.

    PS. OK we have been to AIDSTruth and seen what our source mistook for news that he had missed out on tenure, which is false. What has happened is that Maniotis has been trashed in an insulting PDF which misleadingly implies that he is wrong to back Christine Maggiore in her battle against false accusations, some of them supported by AIDSTruth comments which are equally false and misleading, as is its wont. AIDSTruth may in fact be the least truthful site on the Web.

    Unfortunately the same pdf reveals that Andrew Maniotis has also been caught by some person who has emailed him and pretended that he was a colleague in arms in his battle against corrupt science in AIDS and other fields, and this person has now shopped him by turning over to Moore an email that Maniotis wrote to him revealing his true feelings in dealing with Gallo, who has been pestering him to revise the statements he made in a Gary Null video put briefly on YouTube.

    Maniotis has tried to placate Gallo by going along with his attempts to revise history and put himself in a better light than the sordid story of his robbing the French of a culture and one virus, and the Japanese of another, told by John Crewdson in his book Science Fictions (2002), which was supported in every detail by named sources and references. Crewdson did not win his Pulitzer for Science Fictions but it deserved one, and in a decent world would have got one.

    Gallo now claims without offering any reference to Maniotis for example that Dingell repudiated his staff report by Suzanne Hadley, previously the lead investigaor of the Office of Scientific Integrity of the NIH, that he had stolen LAV and made it HIV, but Dingell never did anything of the kind, he merely lost his chairmanship of the Committee when the Republicans came in, and the five year investigation report was shelved by Thomas Blily of Virginia, the new chairman (see page 527 of SF). Copies got to Nature, the Lancet, New Scientist and other journals, though (see a long summary at Crewdson’s site). He has also now claimed that he was vindicated since his condemnation for scientific misconduct was lifted, but the only truth in this is that the standard for misconduct was later changed after his lawyers got the bar raised to a criminal standard. His condemnation for stealing the virus as a breach of scientific ethics stood unchanged according to the older standard, though the legal determination was withdrawn in November 1993 after the standard was changed retroactively. In other words, it all got too tangled for the clever rat to be captured. In 1994 HHS under Harold Varmus acknowledged HIV was LAV, as Gallo had admitted in Nature in 1991 in allowing it was an “accidental contamination”.

    Maniotis has told us he is not interested in allowing this kind of issue to get in the way of dealing with Gallo on the matter of the science he has been responsible for, which he would like to discuss with him on the basis of mutual respect, so he has fitted in willingly with Gallo’s requests for him to withdraw statements he made about the various embarrassments substantiated by Crewdson, which can easily be checked at Crewdson’s site.

    This quite reasonable aim to get these things out of the way and allow Maniotis to discuss science with Gallo in a mutually respectful manner is now being twisted on the AIDSTruth site as something underhand, which is nonsense, since even if Maniotis probably did not feel that his concessions were justified by the facts of the matter, or whatever private feelings the letter reveals, there is no reason that he should dispute with Gallo about these matters, since his interest is in discussing science with him.

    Let’s just say the whole behavior of John Moore in putting up this kind of private material is deplorable, we think, and it is the kind of thing the Internet has enabled which would in earlier days have been ruled out among decent scientists. It is appalling that a Cambridge graduate should be so ungentlemanly. But apparently Moore doesn’t come from a very good background, or has forgotten its influence.

    His macaques probably have better manners.

  5. MacDonald Says:

    Yello Sir,

    I have read the Taibbi article, which is the more sickening because one knows it is only the tip of the iceberg. What is most sickening, however, is that in spite of 8 years of daily proof that all major members of the Bush cronyocracy are corrupt, incompetent and/or psychopaths, the American people still keeps buying the Baghdad bridge with adjoining swamplands from them over and over and over and over. 1 out of 3 Americans thinks Bush is doing a great job in Iraq on his worst days. Upon the least bit of good war news he would probably get re-elected for a third term in office (why not make that possible since the Constitution is practically dismantled anyway?). I ‘m sure Bush will go down in the history books as the “Man of Great Vision”, right next to the Great Communicator. Here’s a limbo dancing Christopher Hitchen trying hard to lower the bar for succes in Iraq even further:

    A recent wire-service report even suggested that the underground remnant of the Baath Party has broken off relations with AQM. It must say something when even Saddam’s old goons find themselves repelled by anybody’s tactics. One must not declare victory too soon, but if the United States has in fact succeeded in not only smashing but discrediting al-Qaida in a major Arab and Muslim country, that must count as a historic achievement.
    http://www.slate.com/id/2172904/

    Apart from the fact that, according to Cheney and Rumsfeld, not only AQI but the whole insurgency has been smashed, discredited and in its last throes for the last 5 years, note how the noble mission in Iraq now amounts to “discrediting” AQ, who weren’t even there under Saddam. Maybe it does count as an historic achievement if AQ is now almost as unpopular with segments of the Iraqi population as the US. But note even Hitchen can only erect this pseudo goalpost on the Arabofobic fantasy that all Arab and Muslim countries love AQ to bits.

    Mr. Bloghost,

    It was a very successful strategy for Stalin among others to send criminals into the combat zone in advance of the regular troops. When the miscreants then got shot to pieces they had performed the useful service of revealing the enemy positions. An attenuated version of this practice was also implemented in Vietnam where a disproportionately large number of blacks mysteriously seemed to end up on the front line; a bit like the deplorable but necessary sacrifices demanded of HIV science. I was merely suggesting Moore and Wainberg could put denialists to similar good use in Iraq, drawing some fire away from the regulars in their little RED campaign jeeps donated by Bono and Oprah.

    Dr. Maniotis in a quid pro quo apparently managed to “trick” Gallo into an exchange
    about the actual science aspects regarding early HIV science, so he cold get the history correct. Discussing the actual science with denialists is as we all know a cardinal, now also a papal sin hehe… The suspicion that classified science info has possibly gotten into the right hands has so upset and frightened Gallo, Moore et al. that they have decided on launching a preemptive slander and libel campaign against any and all targets in sight. It is the AIDStruth version of shock and awe. But no worries, the terroristic denialists cannot be smashed and discredited alone by strikes in the air. Sooner or later AIDStruth will have to put boots on the ground. And you know all that scientific pizza no tomato topping they’re eating has made most of them too fat to be of much use in close quarters combat, aka fair debate on the issues.

  6. Baby Pong Says:

    We are glad to see that TS has finally decided that the Times isn’t “the greatest newspaper in the world” and will stop his disgraceful financial support of it — buying it every Sunday in the pretentious New York ritual, “Sunday morning with the Times” (and don’t forget the bagels) which I used to participate in myself when younger, more naive and more pretentious.

    But the fact is, the Times does not restrict its lying to HIV/AIDS and related matters. It has a long record of lying about practically any issue you can name that affects the interests of the power elite. From their dishonest attacks on Gary Webb’s exposes about the CIA dealing crack, to their total bs in support of government lies during the US attack on Yugoslavia, to their censorship of all the “9-11” information that disputes the official story, to their reporting of State Dept. propaganda about Iraq and Iran as if it were factual, the Times stands foresquare as the world’s leading journalistic defenders of the power elite. TS has sullied his reputation by continuing to buy it, and we are glad to see that he seems to have implied that he will stop this behavior.

    Not to say that all Times reporters have been bad. They had some good theatre critics in the old days, like Alexander Woollcott and Brooks Atkinson. That was before their entire arts coverage became one with their larger agenda…and they became “Kulture Kops.” The transformation became total under the reign of A.M. Rosenthal.

  7. Truthseeker Says:

    We are glad to see that TS has finally decided that the Times isn’t “the greatest newspaper in the world” and will stop his disgraceful financial support of it — buying it every Sunday in the pretentious New York ritual, “Sunday morning with the Times” (and don’t forget the bagels) which I used to participate in myself when younger, more naive and more pretentious.

    The idea that buying and reading the Times is something elevated to which one can “pretend” is foreign to me, I am afraid, Pong, since it seems to me to be a decent if somewhat pedestrian news gathering operation which is a notch above other papers in arranging the information in a clear and palatable form, with the trivialities in the lead as befits readers who do not wish to tax their brains without being led into it in a gentle manner. Also it is the most enlightened liberal paper that I have easy access to, since the only other well informed dailies are the Wall Street Journal and the New York Sun, who dont seem to understand that one should at least sympathize with the poor and weak and disadvantaged and try to help them, if one can spare the time, instead of leaving them to fend for themselves.

    For these reasons I subscribe to the Times every day as well as the WSJ, and would read the Sun also if I could find the free offer they sent in the mail. The subscription rate is currently very low, lower than buying it every day. I find there are innumerable interesting stories every week, and if some of them are ill informed, I put this down to incompetence, insulation from reality and lack of time, not some devious desire to screw their readers. Just as I put down the 9.11 debacle, which tonight’s Bill Moyers review shows quite clearly was heralded far in advance by all kinds of warnings which the White House ignored, to the sheer incompetence, insulation from reality and lack of time that prevented George Bush and Condoleeza Rice from understanding they should respond to them.

    The constant tendency of establishment outsiders to suspect a conspiracy against them if these three factors are at work in the administration of modern systems astonishes me, when voiced by otherwise intelligent people. What is it about clever outsiders that blinds them to the fact that leaders in every realm now are divorced from reality, incompetent at managing the huge system they lead, and do not have the time to study anything except how to grab what they can while they can, whether it is interns or oil billions or a role on the world stage.

    That is why the 9.11 conspiracy seems fatuous on the face of it to me. The sheer incompetence which I have always suspected was exposed in all its glory tonight. The CIA and the White House had enough to have stopped it in its tracks by picking up these guys before they carried out their plan. And no, it was not on purpose, the Congressional testimony including the memos showed us that it was plain incompetence, even if the supposed motivation for letting it all happen made any sense at all – to provide an excuse for Iraq, was that it?

    One can always argue for almost any suspicion in human affairs but the idea that Bush is a brilliant schemer capable of complex arrangements which he can keep perfectly hidden from the rest of the human race for years just doesn’t wash. there is too much compromising evidence already exposed.

    Still, what do I know? came across a little street demonstration by a bunch of young men the other day on behalf of 9.11 theorists and followed it to the Stock Exchange, where trading floor guys dismissed them with epithets, and took away a leaflet. I’ll find it and see if it has confounding information.

  8. MacDonald Says:

    Sorry guys, I have to post this in the Iraq policy thread. Following is NOT a joke taken from a left loon cartoon or something. It’s purportedly Allan Greenspan’s real spouse interviewing
    “Anonymous”, a 22 year veteran of the intelligence services, who was in charge of the first “station” dealing with Bin Laden back in the 90s, historian and author of the book Imperial Hubris

    Anonymous: I think the appeal that bin Laden has across the Muslim — I indeed think he’s probably the only heroic figure, the only leadership figure that exists in the Islamic world today, and he does so because he is defending Muslims, Islamic lands, Islamic resources. From his perspective it’s very much a war against someone who is oppressing or killing Muslims.”And the genius that lies behind it, because he’s not a man who rants against our freedoms, our liberties, our voting, our — the fact that our women go to school. He’s not the Ayatollah Khomeini; he really doesn’t care about all those things. To think that he’s trying to rob us of our liberties and freedom is, I think, a gross mistake. What he has done, his genius, is identify particular American foreign policies that are offensive to Muslims whether they support these martial actions or not — our support for Israel, our presence on the Arabian Peninsula, our activities in Afghanistan and Iraq, our support for governments that Muslims believe oppress Muslims, be it India, China, Russia, Uzbekistan. Bin Laden has focused the Muslim world on specific, tangible, visual American policies.

    Mitchell: “Well, you say in your book that the reality is that there is a large and growing [sic] among the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims against America, not because of a misunderstanding of America but because they understand our policies very well.”

    Anonymous: “That’s exactly right. I certainly believe that, and I think the substantial amount of polling that’s been done by the Pew Trust and by other very reputable pollsters in the Islamic world indicate that most of the Islamic world believes they know exactly what we’re up to, and that’s to deny the Palestinians a country, to make sure that oil flows at prices that may seem outrageous to the American consumer, but are not market prices in the Islamist’s eyes, supporting Russia against Chechnya. I think very coolly bin Laden has focused them on substance rather than rhetoric. And his rhetoric is only powerful because that is the case. He’s focused them on U.S. policies.”

    Mitchel: “You’re saying that no amount of public diplomacy will reach the Muslim world and change their minds because they hate everything that we stand for.

    Now that’s journalism! Somebody please make Mrs. Greenspan the next White House press secretary. Pleeease.

    For Anonymous’s (who is no dove by the way) patient attempts at averting an international foreign policy dept. crisis read on here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5279743/

  9. Baby Pong Says:

    Truthseeker apparently trusts a show produced by Bill Moyers, a member of the notorious Council on Foreign Relations, former press secretary to the mass murderous, treasonous president L.B. Johnson, a program presented on the government-funded PBS…to be an objective look at 9-11? Why can’t he apply his fine powers of skepticism in realms other than Hiv?

    Did Bill explain how collapsing buildings can violate Newton’s laws of physics by falling at freefall speed despite massive resistance? Coincidentally, into their own footprints, perfectly symetrically, despite asymetrical damage?

    Did it not occur to him that what he was witnessing on his TV set might be disinformation, a “limited hang out” designed to gain credibility by admitting to relatively minor transgressions? That Bill Moyers himself has made a sterling career out of convincing mushy headed liberals that he is one of them, and playing the “concerned humanitarian citizen” game?

    Does he not know that Bill Moyers has done exactly the same thing with regards to Hiv?

    MOYERS: Mbeki accepts the mainstream, scientific view on other diseases — tuberculosis, polio — but when it comes to what science, common sense and knowledge are telling us about aids and HIV, he just rejects it out of hand.

    Why?

    TUTU: Well, I don’t know that he’s rejecting it. In his view he’s not rejecting it out of hand. He does put forward some very clear views.

    I myself would not go along with what he holds. But that is, in fact, not the important thing. The important thing is whether we can get the whole country mobilized and clearly seeing that this is a disease caused by this particular virus.

    MOYERS: I don’t mean to be impolite, but it is a fact, Archbishop, that it is government policy right now not to distribute the retro viral medication to children who have been raped.

    I cannot understand that.

    TUTU: Yes.

    They would contend that at the present time the indications are not clear about the effectiveness of the drug and the side effects. And I am not here holding a brief for them.

    I am amongst those who would say that we really ought to stop playing marbles and do what is the conventional and the right thing to do.

    MOYERS: What do you think the government should do right now?

    TUTU: Yes. I myself would be a great deal happier if our campaign was single-minded and we said HIV, the virus causes the disease, let’s do everything to ensure that people where drugs that are effective are available are, in fact, given those drugs.

    But that it must be a multifaceted approach. We’ve got to be engaging in vigorous education, teaching people about the importance of fidelity within the marriage union, that sex, extra marital sex, premarital sex, that that is something which is not to be accepted.

    But that’s in an ideal world. We don’t live in an ideal world. Therefore we’ve also got to be teaching people about safer sex.

    MOYERS: Is the world doing enough now to bring pressure on Mbeki and his government to help South Africa in this crisis?

    http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript106_full.html

    Does TS need any more to convince him that he’s just listening to one of the Power Elite’s anointed “liberal” opinion leaders? Why you should give Bill Moyers any more credibility than Lawrence Altman, Nicholas Kristof or Laurie Garrett is beyond me.

    And nobody says that Bush was behind it, silly. He was in the loop, but he wasn’t BEHIND it. If Al Gore had been elected, the same thing would have happened. The puppet doesn’t plant the dynamite, like a good actor, he just learns his lines.

    And, McDonald, all the talk about Bin Laden is just disinfo. He has been working for the CIA for the last 30 years. His “tapes” are laughable hoaxes and have been exposed as such in places OTHER THAN the NY Times and the rest of the mainstream pablumsheets.

    http://www.ae911truth.org/

    now why can’t i figure out how to change my password?

  10. Baby Pong Says:

    Gee, why am I not surprised to learn that the “liberal, progressive, award-winning” Bill Moyers’ Schumann Center for Media and Democracy holds stock in war profiteer Halliburton, Texaco and Coca Cola, and funds The Nation, Mother Jones, FAIR, Counterspin, Democracy Now, and other “leftist” media outlets that have long been suspected to be CIA-run “left gatekeeper” operations, designed to control the parameters of debate among progressives in order to preserve elite rule by giving the illusion of free democratic debate, (also see “controlled opposition groups”) and have steadfastly refused to tell the truth about “Hiv” as well ?

    http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/07/362599.shtml

    I’m SURE you’ve also read about this in the good grey lady…yeah.

  11. MacDonald Says:

    BP

    I didn’t feel this was the forum to discuss why Anonymous joins in the reinvention of Bin Laden as a rock star. The point is that Mitchell shows such a fine understanding of “all that America stand for” these days, and is also spot on that no amount of this kind of “diplomacy” is going to endear us to those at the shitty end of the gun. Like with the HIV junta, truth will out one way or the other. Oh the slippery, slippery nature of language. . .

  12. Truthseeker Says:

    MOYERS: Is the world doing enough now to bring pressure on Mbeki and his government to help South Africa in this crisis?

    http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript106_full.html

    Does TS need any more to convince him that he’s just listening to one of the Power Elite’s anointed “liberal” opinion leaders? Why you should give Bill Moyers any more credibility than Lawrence Altman, Nicholas Kristof or Laurie Garrett is beyond me.

    Did Bill explain how collapsing buildings can violate Newton’s laws of physics by falling at freefall speed despite massive resistance? Coincidentally, into their own footprints, perfectly symetrically, despite asymetrical damage?

    Groan. Time and money is short. Do we have to sully this otherwise intelligent backwater of the Web with this kind of stuff?

    Baby, if you cannot tell the difference between our distinguished leaders’ ignorance and knowing disinformation please stop posting on this asinine 9/11 topic. There is absolutely nothing interesting to well informed and worldly people about 9/11 conspiracy. It is a mark of the compleat down market paranoid oppressed Web head who is so naive that they think the elite media liberal is well informed,and that bureaucracies and government executives are clever confidence trickers. You are not one of those, are you? Why don’t you get to know a few of these supposedly brilliant Dr Fu Manch masterminds before initiating your revolution?

    Hasn’t the HIV debacle taught you enough about how foolish most of those in high positions in modern systems are? Moyers is a well meaning ethicist who relies on the information he is given by his researchers and learns at the table. He is not part of a master plot to take over the world and screw the poor.

    But thanks for the Bill quotes about Mbeki and HIV, which are sadly predictable on the realistic basis of not expecting him to be well informed.

    You bring the whole exposure of the HIV/AIDS boodoggle into disrepute by suggesting the critics are merely driven by ignorant reflex paranoia of the 9/11 kind, by suggesting that is probably the only reason you got onto it. Is that wrong? We hope so.

    Did Bill explain how collapsing buildings can violate Newton’s laws of physics by falling at freefall speed despite massive resistance? Coincidentally, into their own footprints, perfectly symmetrically, despite asymetrical damage?

    Watch the program and others like it to see that Newton is alive and well, and that yes, this is well explained, though unexpected. Read the report and get back to us if you detect anything anti-Newtonian..

    .

  13. Nick Naylor Says:

    TS, moment please …

    “so naive that they think the elite media liberal is well informed,and that bureaucracies and government executives are clever confidence trickers.”

    Don’t sell Karl Rove or Lawrence Altman short. It’s more ludicrous to me to imagine them as bunglers. And yes, a speculative comment, but it is perfectly consistent with history to postulate either Deaver or Meese ordering up that April 23, 1984 press conference prior to the sequencing of HTLV III, which – again I speculate – would have been Gallo’s preference.

    There are hidden agendas.

    I think Baby Pong has brought up an important issue of non-movement movement gatekeepers. Also, I don’t think we should be overly concerned about how low the general public perceives our distinguished selves, given recent treatment by the lovely – (or not? remember that Seinfeld episode when Jerry’s latest flame was both ugly and beautiful depending on the lighting?) – Tara. But enough digressing – after being compared to fundamentalist Creationists and Holocaust deniers, I would say conspiracy theorist is a step up.

    But yes, the point of this blog is we’re not just interested in more theories “served-up-ready- made” and new posters should be obligated to at least point us in a direction where the reasoned arguments and documentable facts are available. Why Bin Laden cannot be found and apprehended six years after 9/11 by the most powerful technological nation in the history of the earth does not seem to me a question that’s out of the bounds of intelligent discourse. The incompetence theory, I think, has limits and even examples like “failure to defeat HIV” or solve the “riddle” of AIDS beg the question cui bono.

    At the cutting edge, there’s stuff in the journals that’s getting weirder and weirder – see Boltzman’s Brain, New Scientist of August 18, 2007, for a chilling example – so I say none of us should have such a bold and audacious faith to say that we know the full spectrum of the possible. You might call THAT religionism or scientism or Moore/Wainburgism.

  14. Truthseeker Says:

    That sounds reasonable Nick, but is it unreasonable to imagine that US forces have trouble getting information about where bin Laden is hanging out from Arabs and Pakis who love him more than Musharraf? The US has always been abysmal at getting good intelligence, judging from its list of debacles on foreign soil. Easy to sit in front of a computer in this boundless economy and think we are well informed, but that seems to me to be the fundamental problem – that and the sheer lack of realism of Americans from top to bottom about the world unless they have travelled and even lived elsewhere. The Brits for all their sins at least seem to have the common sense to deal with foreigners on a realistic basis. American society seems to make it very difficult for people to realize what is really going on man to man in other cultures. At least, I have always got that sense of disconnect whenever I see Americans dealing with other cultures. This place is a law unto itself in many ways. and I really am not surprised that Iraq was such a debacle given this chasm in mentality. On the other hand I am not saying that the world doesn’t try and join America – there are billions everyhere who would like nothing better than to live the American way. The attraction is commercial -just basic economics. Apologies for sounding as if I am bringing up the Ugly American syndrome, I am just saying that Starbucks will succeed around the world regardless, but it will be disregarding all the things that other cultures put into cafes. And it still seems amazing to me and significant that Starbucks can offer so little here and get away with it. What makes life worth living is slipping away it seems to me on a wide front as big business rules so much now. Here in New York City we are losing all the small service stores which decorated every block as rent increases push them out and bring in Gap etc. Jane Jacobs must be spinning in her grave.

    Anyhow this 9/11 stuff seems to be to be just part of that disconnect with reality that marks so much of American talk about the world..

  15. Nick Naylor Says:

    Yes TS, we sit in front of our screens and try to make sense of the deluge of information.
    I respect your position that Americans misinterpret the world, but I don’t find a counterargument there.

    1. Since WWII and the creation of the OSS, “intelligence” and “disinformation” have been bound up together in a most unholy marriage. The books on this subject, I suspect, would stack as high as any Manhattan skyscraper. Clearly, why certain intelligence is or is not “actionable” takes us into political implications. Regarding 9/11, can one make out a policy already established by “neoconservatives” or the Cheney-Rumsfeld gang, awaiting the trigger of a new Pearl Harbor? We need go no further than Alan Greenspan: “the Iraq War is largely about oil”.

    And do I really need to explain to AIDS dissidents the historical roots of current fear campaigns?

    “What makes life worth living is slipping away it seems to me on a wide front as big business rules so much now.” Absolutely, I would call it social engineering – the “inevitable change” they’re always blathering about.

    2. A useful working theory to frame events is worldview warfare, which obviously has battlefronts in foreign policy and medicine. And yes, one should go for the institutional explanation first, but even here we know there are sufficient closed-door meetings to at least raise an eyebrow. Is the result of these meetings always bungling? I tend to doubt that. How about a disinformation campaign? That would be consistent with worldview warfare.

    So conspiracy theorists fill in gaps in a manner similar to evolutionary theorists; in both cases storytelling is invoked to identify a plausible picture of reality. Creationists and other fundamentalists have no use for this, of course, because they “know” the truth. (Interestingly, right now AA’s Lionel is discussing 9/11 controlled-demolition theories. He seems to be closer to your position. And now his caller is talking about the instilling of fear in the people so that we trade our rights for “security”.)

    The fun AND the shock horror is we, sitting at our screens and listening to alternative media, can make up our own minds over disputable facts.

  16. Truthseeker Says:

    A useful working theory to frame events is worldview warfare, which obviously has battlefronts in foreign policy and medicine.

    World view warfare, nice. But it is hard to find an argument in what you write, also. Let’s just say that we don’t have to say that leading thinkers and strategists are bunglers not to be able to mount a secretly coordinated conspracy and get away with it in a world of email and the Web, they may be fully competent in what they do.

    All I know is the fact that if you drive a large airplane into buildings designed like the WTC they collapse, and there is no real evidence for anything helping them to do so, or of such things planned in advance. And such a plan seems too vast in consequences not to be revealed two or four years by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker and have books talked about on All things Considered or Charlie Rose by now.

    And do I really need to explain to AIDS dissidents the historical roots of current fear campaigns?

    The fear campaign may be a standard phenomenon, but the fuel for the AIDS boondoggle is misinformation protected by expertise opaque to outsiders who don’t investigate, and there is no genuine question about the facts, which are in peer reviewed journals, or you can ask Fauci, and they are the antidote to fear. Unless of course you mean fear of financial strangulation, which is justified for critics, who are being eliminated one by one rather efficiently in an unprecedented campaign by Wainberg and Moore.

    Instead of paying attention to this real pseudo-conspiracy, and thinking hard about how to couter it, people pursue false notions with no evidence, when all the while the story of the neoconservative plan for the Middle East tells them that even closely held plans are dug up soon enough if any investigative reporter is put on the job, since they are all written down.

    I found that leaflet from the 9/11 demonstration, and it is packed with reasons for concern such as “BBC and CNN began reporting WTC 7 had collapsed almost half an hour before it did. How did they know this and who told them?”

    Give us a break, as John Stossel says.

  17. MacDonald Says:

    All I know is that I know nothing (Socrates)

    All I know is the fact that if you drive a large airplane into buildings designed like the WTC they collapse (The Truthseeker)

    Then again Socrates wasn’t nearly as expert in structural engineering as his more confident successor, who is viewing the world so neatly through that Macintosh of his.

    Neither should admirers of that branch of science fiction called “speculative physics” be fazed by something as trivial as buildings that didn’t have airplanes driven into them collapsing and having their collapse reported before it happened ( Which is a fact acknowledegd by the network involved). A broad stroke of the Stossel brush will quite rightly subsume it under the main category of airplane crash associated everyday occurrences.

    But what every idiot who reads NAR ought to instantly grasp is that HIV/AIDS is not a matter of disinformation; it’s only a matter of misinformation. Therefore, although the science is clear to every competent structural engineer including the knowledgeable host, one is a conspiracy the other isn’t.

    And now that we have all been set straight on these long settled matters for the umpteenth time by the oracle in residence, perhaps he could follow his own admonition and keep it off these hallowed pages in all future not excepting space-time continuum rifts, loops or warps, etc, English mythological figures living bakcwards through time etc.?

  18. Truthseeker Says:

    having their collapse reported before it happened ( Which is a fact acknowledegd by the network involved)

    Your reference for this 100% unlikely statement, Sir?

    But what every idiot who reads NAR ought to instantly grasp is that HIV/AIDS is not a matter of disinformation; it’s only a matter of misinformation. Therefore, although the science is clear to every competent structural engineer including the knowledgeable host, one is a conspiracy the other isn’t.

    The idiots who run NAR cannot quite grasp this speciously subtle distinction, as yet. Perhaps you can help. Is not spreading false information to mislead people into a different world view disinformation as well as misinformation? If so, is it not time for the honorable MacD to exercise his brain by focusing a trifle more specifically on what he himself says, as well as others? We ask merely for information.

    Not sure what you mean by asking us to keep it off these hallowed pages. The oracle in residence (hooray! recognition at last) has asked it to keep off and has dispensed the lethal medication of withering scorn to ensure its permanent absence. If our scorn is not lethal enough, how about yours, of which you have an infinite supply? I mean, why ask me? My job is to entertain and instruct, not to exclude. This is a site which celebrates free speech and condemns its defeats by the HIV truthbusters. We have to live up to our own standards.

    By the way, is printing a WSJ column wholesale with no comment at all kosher? Our friend in Mexico has spoiled the surprise of our planned post on the inaccuracy of scientific papers without adding anything to it on You betcha Life, or are we mistaken in ascribing the non-authorship to him? Is it the Generale back again, or a minion? No doubt we will see.

  19. MacDonald Says:

    having their collapse reported before it happened (Which is a fact acknowledegd by the network involved)

    Your reference for this 100% unlikely statement, Sir?

    Nice! excellent! friggin perfect! After a total of several thousands of ranting words against 9/11 dissidence and tens of thousands of words about how journalists can’t be bothered examining any HIV dissident claims THE Truthseeker haughtily advises us he has dismissed the info in his handouts without even spending 5 seconds googling it. Here you lazy, shameless bastard, now make us all proud by moving the goal posts like Tara charges denialists with doing habitually.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2007/02/part_of_the_conspiracy.html

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4ADBR_enHK211HK211&q=BBC+CNN+early+reporting+on+wtc+7

    Come on now say something like they don’t actually admit to being part of a conspiracy Mr. investigative journalist.

    Or do me a favour and tell me what the BBC had to say once a kind viewer had sent them a tape of their own lost transmission from the most important news story so far in this century, cuz I can’t be bothered looking it up.

  20. MacDonald Says:

    And on my request to cease anddesist with the topic of 9/11 + your sudden inability to grasp or google the difference between mis- and disinformation, oyu said it best yourself:

    Baby, if you cannot tell the difference between our distinguished leaders’ ignorance and knowing disinformation please stop posting on this asinine 9/11 topic. There is absolutely nothing interesting to well informed and worldly people about 9/11 conspiracy

  21. Truthseeker Says:

    If the effect of this rubbish is to send one of our most valued contributors into a paroxysm of Web induced misplaced snit then good riddance to it, we say.

    4. We no longer have the original tapes of our 9/11 coverage (for reasons of cock-up, not conspiracy). So if someone has got a recording of our output, I’d love to get hold of it. We do have the tapes for our sister channel News 24, but they don’t help clear up the issue one way or another.

    5. If we reported the building had collapsed before it had done so, it would have been an error – no more than that. As one of the comments on You Tube says today “so the guy in the studio didn’t quite know what was going on? Woah, that totally proves conspiracy… ”

    Richard Porter is head of news, BBC World

    Evidently MacD was so busy bursting a blood vessel he didnt have time to read his own links, if by quoting them he intended them as evidence for conspiracy when they are exactly the opposite.

    The BBC and CNN evidently jumped the gun on advance warnings that the building was about to do a WTC, and now they have conspiracy Web babies up their backside because of it.

    We sympathize with Mr Porter having to bother to explain to the unwashed that they weren’t jumping the gun on sealed envelopes from higher ups, but merely doing the usual which is getting it wrong, as they always do on HIV/AIDS, haven’t you noticed?

    Another comment telling John P. that he doesn’t have to worry about the HIV critics being informed.

  22. MacDonald Says:

    The BBC and CNN evidently jumped the gun on advance warnings that the building was about to do a WTC

    EXACTLY! BRAVO! YOU’VE GOT IT!

    And the BBC acknowledged the strange coincidence (never came out and said they hadn’t “jumped the gun.”) My “unlikely” statement was true, sir. Whether you can think up better or worse explanations than the BBC is irrelevant.

    Now just admit you prefer the Therapy Buddy to actually knowing what you’re talking about here Mr. structural engineer and we can all get on with our rosy little lives, because I tell you everything looks rosy right now through the haze of inhuman restraint and burst blood vessels.

  23. Nick Naylor Says:

    TS, we don’t find arguments in each others writings, very good, a mexican standoff which reminds me of a certain brilliant scientist …

    “even closely held plans are dug up soon enough if any investigative reporter is put on the job, since they are all written down.” See the Dan Rather case, which you can easily investigate since “in a world of email and the Web” the obvious consequence is also there as a message to those who challenge consensus reality. Consensus reality or herd mentality or peer pressure is the most powerful force in the universe, as any high school student knows, and is, of course, one of the views in world view warfare – which your buddy Stossel makes sure he stays on the right side of – as he’s wont to sound exactly like the quackbusters now venting spleen at good old Tara’s Introduction to HIV Denial Thread.

    All plans are written down? You really believe that?

  24. Nick Naylor Says:

    “But what every idiot who reads NAR ought to instantly grasp is that HIV/AIDS is not a matter of disinformation; it’s only a matter of misinformation.”

    It’s both as you can easily check in your archives.

    Referring to his 1984 experiments, Dr Gallo claimed that mass production of an AIDS virus is the same thing as “purification”, which standards had been established by the Pasteur Institute. But his experiment bears no resemblance to the Pasteur Standards, since what he isolated was the concentrated kinetics of reverse transcribing a synthetic template – making polymers of mostly Ts – from that beaten-to-death 1.16 band. Voila, a retrovirus since everyone ASSUMED the band contained particles until 1997, when two independent research groups took pictures and found mostly “debris”.

    Now I prefer to believe, based on the evidence that I’ve looked at, that Gallo is not a bungler but a very smart guy who’s more like one of the characters in the “Illusionist” or the “Prestige”.

    Perhaps we need to take a closer look at the “Teslas” of biomedicine and question our own bad habit of dismissing today’s “magic” destined to become the future’s – assuming humans are even going to have one – “science.”

  25. Nick Naylor Says:

    As for fear campaigns and threats to life see: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/08/21/a-new-view-of-cancer-german-new-medicine.aspx

    Dr Hamer “investigating other diseases found that every disease is controlled from its own specific area in the brain and linked to a very particular, identifiable, ‘conflict shock.'”

    And, “The stress of receiving a cancer diagnosis, or being given a negative prognosis, is often enough to deprive a person of their life-force.”

    I’ve heard that Fauci knew this back in the 70’s but that would be a wild conspiracy theory.

    Of course.

  26. Truthseeker Says:

    And the BBC acknowledged the strange coincidence (never came out and said they hadn’t “jumped the gun.”) My “unlikely” statement was true, sir. Whether you can think up better or worse explanations than the BBC is irrelevant.

    MacDonald, please if you will kind Sir stop wasting space with apoplexy and victorious cackles without making clear whatever point it is that you are trying to make. You implied that the BBC somehow did mysteriously report that the WTC7 crumbled half an hour before it did so, and that the conspiracy theorists were right in reading this as evidence of prior knowledge of a conspiracy that planned the whole WTC according to some schedule. When we checked your clips which seemed to involved no deeper knowledge on your part than googling, we found they explained very well that they had been warned of the signs it was about to collapse, and they jumped the gun, that is all.

    Now you are jumping about as if you had won some point or other, but we doubt that anyine else here knows what you inagine that is. You only shoot yourself in the foot by dashing off hastily typed (obviously, since they are littered with typos as well as making no consistent sense that we can fathom) so why not take more care and reread your posts at least once before hitting the Post Comment tab? If we didn’t know that you were one of the sharpest tacks in the box we wouldn’t assume that there is anything interesting there but since we know that we find it rather like opening a telegram (yes, we believe we have had that experience, though it is lost in the tomb of memory) from Einstein and finding it written in Sankrit except for the words Urgent and Act Now!

    All plans are written down? You really believe that?

    We believe that plans involving more than a handshake between two people which are complex and thus involve many people carrying them out in super coordinated fashion so that they stand even a chance of being kept secret always have to be written down and that is the one way they eventually emerge into the light Just human nature at work. Of course if they weren’t written down and didn’t emerge into the public view then one wouldn’t hear about them, so it is a bit Catch 22. But reason suggests that such successes dont exist, because they couldn’t be coordinated well enough, or if they were they would have emerged at some point long after they were carried out, because they were written down and a peculiar habit of crooks is not to throw away such things even when the dogs are circling eg Nixon and his tapes.

    By the way Nick we find ourselves more and more convinced that in your implied critique of the meaning or lack of meaning of the HIV tests you must be right, and the epidemiology must be vastly misleading, and it is only with the specific claim that some Perthians make that they haven’t nailed a virus in the lab that we have to drop off your train. Since Henry Bauer confirms that there is muchh to be doubted in that area (the first) may we ask a) if you separate the two and b) if you are not purveying the second but only the first?

  27. MacDonald Says:

    Ahahh.. . This is the time for the victory dance as all NAR readers know. The structurally pancaking host has now collapsed into his own well known footprints scattered up and down these pages: Right foot first, “your point is not clear”, then the left, “AND there’s typos in your argument”. Or translated from NAR code: “I don’t have an answer but please don’t tase me bro”.

    Well Mr. proofreader, you know what happens when you’re on the floor with 6 police officers sitting on you, right? It’s obvious you’re still violently flailing your pinkie and that means you need to be further restrained. Accordingly here is your bid to move the goalposts so far back they’re taking up seats in the spectator section:

    You implied that the BBC somehow did mysteriously report that the WTC7 crumbled half an hour before it did so, (2.) and that the conspiracy theorists were right in reading this as evidence of prior knowledge of a conspiracy that planned the whole WTC according to some schedule. (3)When we checked your clips which seemed to involved no deeper knowledge on your part than googling, (4) we found they explained very well that they had been warned of the signs it was about to collapse, and they jumped the gun, that is all.

    1. You implied that the BBC somehow did mysteriously report that the WTC7 crumbled half an hour before it did so, and that the conspiracy theorists were right in reading this as evidence of prior knowledge of a conspiracy that planned the whole WTC according to some schedule.

    I implied, sir, that the BBC somehow reported reported that WTC7 had crumbled ca. 23 minutes before the facts caught up with them. Period. I have not implied whether this consitutes evidence of anything beyond your laziness-cum-ignorant arrogance. Not even all the conspiracy theorists by far claim that this would imply the BBC had prior knowledge of a conspiracy. The BBC conspiracy complicity speculations only caught wind when the more than pathetic “explanation” came out involving the almost unbroken string of “we don’t remember, we don’t know, we may have screwed up, we don’t know, we don’t remember, and by the way we don’t have our own tapes of the news story of the century, could we borrow a viewer video, cuz that’s just our standard of meticulousness”, which impressed the equally meticulous NAR journalistic staff so.

    3. When we checked your clips which seemed to involved [note the damning typo!] no deeper knowledge on your part than googling

    How can google clips imply a deeper level of knowledge than… well, google clips? Or are you trying to convey a sudden insight about the depth of your own knowledge, seeing that insertion of search words into the google engine appears to be an operation of such forbidding magnitude that you only rarely show evidence of having perfomed it pre-rant?

    we found they explained very well that they had been warned of the signs it was about to collapse, and they jumped the gun, that is all

    4. The BBC had been warned of which signs of imminent collapse? by who? And where exactly do they claim that? Please refer to what I said to McK about those free gift smoke-coloured reading glasses.

  28. MacDonald Says:

    “By whom” rather

    The rest of the typos you’ll have to live with – you desperately need ammo anyway.

  29. MacDonald Says:

    TODAY’S HEADLINE: PRESIDENT BUSH BORROWS A PAGE OUT OF AIDSTRUTH

    When I saw the ad by the far left-wing people, I was incredulous at first and then became mad, because I–it’s one thing to attack me, it’s fine. It’s another thing to denigrate the integrity of somebody who’s wearing this uniform, because I felt that this attack was not just on General Petraeus, it was on the military up and down the line … [It] is to show a striking lack of concern for the reputation and honor of the American military (Bush)

    “[The AIDS dissident movement] basically says that every scientist, every physician and every clinician out of the hundreds of thousands of professionals working worldwide on this is either some kind of malicious scumbag who will do anything for money, or we’re all stupid,” said AIDS researcher John P. Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Cornell University, the recipient of AIDS drug manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $500,000 “Freedom To Discover” grant

  30. Truthseeker Says:

    The BBC conspiracy complicity speculations only caught wind when the more than pathetic “explanation” came out involving the almost unbroken string of “we don’t remember, we don’t know, we may have screwed up, we don’t know, we don’t remember, and by the way we don’t have our own tapes of the news story of the century, could we borrow a viewer video, cuz that’s just our standard of meticulousness”, which impressed the equally meticulous NAR journalistic staff so.

    That’s right. Fools rush in and cry “conspiracy” when what is happening 99% of the time is that good people lack the resources to get things done properly AND counter the accusations of the fools who cry “conspiracy!” every time they get screwed because of the limitations of human beings involved in large systems of organization, or even small ones. Or even just life as it is lived today by so many people, supposedly efficiently but really just a matter of catching the ball which is momentarily in need of catching at this particular moment while the rest head to the floor to bounce away from everyone’s attention except that of the conspiracy theorist who is sure that the one that careened offstage and socked him/her in the eye must have been intended for him all along to blind him to what is really going on, but these dastardly people on stage are not going to get away with it, No Sir, not while he has one good eye to squint out of and catch them dropping balls all over in their Big Plot.

    So thanks for catching this one, MacD, the WTC7 was blown up by Bush and the BBC and CNN were in on the game and some intern didn’t understand the instructions and released the ball before it was time, revealing to all as it bounced offstage the Bush masterminded plot to rule the world that lies behind all the bad decisions made on the basis of ideologically driven delusion in defense of the Free World against the ideologically driven delusion of the Al Q mastermind in his cave in Northern Pakistan, who is actually funded by the White House to knock out major American targets like the WTC and the White House in order to justify sacrificing young Americans to ensure fuel for their parents SUVs.

    Honestly MacD when will you face up to the embarrassing fact that even though you own a mind like a Ferrari it can be used to connect disparate elements speciously into a construct which has its own logic and integrity but has no relation to the real world of flawed human beings overreaching in their own misguided delusion that everything is under control, and that if things are falling apart it must be the result of some metaplan by those supposedly in control.

    Things are not under control, MacD, that is the problem, and if your Ferrari is driven in the wrong direction it will find itself bogged down in a ploughed field which you assumed was paved highway. Most of human social activity is a ploughed field, where the corn grows real slow, and where tractors not Ferraris are the way to get across to the other side. That is why we use a tractor here at NAR to map the fields of ignorance and superstition that Robert Gallo had led so many billions into with HIVXAIDS, and not a Ferrari…hey! Take your hands off me! I’ll go quietly.

    Sorry the New Yorker metaphor police have arrived as a result of complaints from readers…

  31. Nick Naylor Says:

    TS, on WTC7, can we at least understand that it appeared to some more like a controlled demolition than a building that collapsed from a sustained fire load, which some witnesses reported to have not even occurred in the first place. (emphasis on sustained)

    And no, I’m not going to go into further detail here (as everyone knows, detailed exchanges are out there in cyberspace).

    The core argument is against “give me a break” dismissiveness as practiced by ….

  32. MacDonald Says:

    I don’t know why the socratic host, when simply given an asked for reference, has to pin the (half-imagined) contents of it on the coat tails of the person who was kind enough to oblige, and thus set him in motion through that limbo of self-imposed ignorance he expressed a desire to be delivered from.

    Howbeit, the boundless human fallibility – or “bungling” as Mr. Naylor calls it – hypothesis you pledge allegiance to in all matters of life and limb is more unscientific and unfalsifiable than any conspiracy theory the Bush admin. or anyone else has cooked up.

    Therefore, unless and until Prof. Bauer or some such notability can plead in your favour, you are, per the suprahuman auto-governing of all large organizations under pain to present a professional unified front, self-excluded from the fine NAR company of cigar and wine by the fireplace scientific debateurs.

  33. Nick Naylor Says:

    “rather like opening a telegram (yes, we believe we have had that experience, though it is lost in the tomb of memory) from Einstein and finding it written in Sankrit except for the words Urgent and Act Now!”

    Very good LOL, TS, I get it. Satire surely belongs in the toolbox.

    “But reason suggests that such successes dont exist” Indeed, it suggests a lot of things as we relax in our armchairs, but then there’s that horrible problem of looking at empirical evidence and drawing inferences. You know like when CSI’s, no longer in their comfy chairs, have to draw up a theory of the case from incomplete data. So what kind and how much empirical data surround the White House doctrine of “plausible deniability” vis a vis federal agencies and the intelligence services. Again, another long winded essay, not here …

    “eg Nixon and his tapes.” Which IS an example of bungling that has been corrected, i.e. compare Butterworth’s inadvertent revelation of same to Congress and fast forward to Gonzolez’ testimony.

    “it is only with the specific claim that some Perthians make that they haven’t nailed a virus in the lab that we have to drop off your train.”

    How about this, TS; they haven’t nailed a virus in transmission either, which is the basis of real epidemiological incidence data. Thus, another sleight of hand by the other side, substituting “mathematical biology” for “epidemiology” which crack journalists, who like to do bold network TV exposes on the hazards of alternative medicine, can’t seem to get around to exposing.

    As far as your last question, I think the two things are bound together: to quote deHarven, “markers of what”, it’s a “methodological nonsense” not to have a virus in the first place.

    Again, at that famous press conference, a single AIDS virus was announced. This was BEFORE any cDNA had even been sequenced, suggestive of an unwritten order from the White House to make the announcement. As we know, the sequencing was not completed until after the election.

    And of course, as Peter Duesberg originally brought to our attention, Gallo found “HIV” based on proviral detection – the DNA form that he had at the time – in 15% of AIDS patients (zero in KS), which clearly is not consistent with 80-90% seropositivity.

  34. Truthseeker Says:

    MacD, you may sit around by the fire smoking your cigar if you like and chatting to Nick about how the WTC7 was brought down by hidden explosives never detected by anybody in any physical form that we know of, and happy smoking to you (what is in them thar cigars?), but the fact that you can detect a stink under the logic and date pile of HIV∫AIDS on the one hand, and are paralyzed when it comes to detecting the stink of irrationality and lack of data om the 9/11 guys baffles the blog host.

    Maybe you are just a professional skeptic? Maybe you are unaware that skepticism can play both ways, and can demolish the delusions of conspiracy buffs as effectively as it can expose the deceits of national leaders in the NIH or the White House?

    Nick, just say it straight out, They have a non infectious virus in the lab. They have failed to show an infectious agent in the field. The epidemiology is thus interpreted wrongly.

    Obvously there was a strong motive to latch onto Gallo’s “solution” and tell the world and let Reagan off the hook for his instinctive reaction of blaming the gays for their misbehavior, which happened to be right in causal terms. But Reagan was making a puppet out of Gallo in his lab, surely. He just took the opportunity to escape the problem.

  35. MacDonald Says:

    Mr. baffled host. Although repeatedly repeated to you, you persistingly persist in overlooking the obviously obvious points here. I don’t have a bomb sniffing dog in the 9/11 race. Enough fresh atrocities are being perpetrated by the freer than free, now happily liberated from its burdensome excess of freedom, world’s governments on a daily basis.

    However, the BBC with their “err uhmm we seem to have misfiled the evidence” are co-perpetrators of the well-established, everywhere evident conspiracy to do away with all semblance of of public accountability. By the Pied Piper in the sky, your once compatriots are paying good sterling for that public “service”.

  36. Truthseeker Says:

    Good God, my dear chap, you expect the BBC staff to meet every demand by every conspiracy buff in the land?

    Just remember, when you are falsely accused by the police of taking advantage in Thailand, and find out how difficult it is to account for one’s actions and movements in any given day.

    Give us a Stossel break.

  37. Nick Naylor Says:

    “Nick, just say it straight out, They have a non infectious virus in the lab. They have failed to show an infectious agent in the field. The epidemiology is thus interpreted wrongly.”

    I said it straight out, it’s not a matter of “interpretation”. There is no epidemiology since there is no single epidemc since there is no single virus but an endless series of lab artifacts, the cDNAs.

    Check your archives; I’ve elaborated on this very point, classical germ theory does not apply in the first place and current evolutionary theory makes it crystal clear that “retroviruses” are cellular change-agents which have been with us since the Cambrian Explosion. And there’s zero evidence of them ever causing a single infectious epidemic as defined by the old textbooks. By evidence I mean data from accurate measurements.

    If one chooses to broaden the definition to any nucleic acid detectable by highly sensitive assays and not “normally” present in cells; sure, one can go on endlessly cloning these sequences and dress them up for publication.

    If there’s a market for it, one can make a nice living.

  38. MacDonald Says:

    “Every demand on any given day”?

    The blog host should really adopt a more reverent tone about the start of world war III or IV or whatever the count is before the neo-cons boot his little foreign popo back to where it came from as part their annual of Independence Day celebrations.

  39. Mark Biernbaum Says:

    It’s fascinating, from a behavioral perspective, that some commentators never change their ways. Although they may make decent points, they can’t seem to do so without denigrating the intelligence/integrity/argument of someone else. Rather a lot like the AIDSTruth team, wouldn’t you say? So much of the text of comments on this blog are wasted on unnessary and unwelcome personal attack.

  40. Truthseeker Says:

    Well, Nick, maybe you are right in that, saying that the lab work is muddied by the presence of other things which confuse the picture, though not sure how you think this has any bearing on the basic notion of culturing HIV well enough to sequence it, but what I am getting at is that the tests are so poor in their specificity for HIV, for whatever reason, that the epidemiology of the “pandemic” is just a chimera, whatever you accept about HIV and its powers. Two thirds of initial positive ELISAs are wrong, so why even concern yourself with what is happening in the lab?

    Just trying to keep things simple. The lab seems irrelevant, divorced from the issue of the supposed pandemic. Why quarrel over the existence of the virus in the lab, when it cannot be mapped in the field? Why not just accept that the Virus is nailed in some form in the lab, but it is not shown to be reliably detected in the field, owing to very poor and unreliable tests, mostly not done in Africa even now, so the mapping is invalid and given Padian, where the testing used showed nil transmission, all it is showing is spread of testing, not HIV.

    Or are you just saying, the lab situation is a twin for the field situation, and that it is all smoke and mirrors with nothing certain in the lab as well as the field in regard to whether one has HIV in hand or not?

    If so, my question is, why bother with your theorizing which undermines the virus in the lab, when in the field it is a mirage for sure?

    So much of the text of comments on this blog are wasted on unnessary and unwelcome personal attack.

    Mark, thanks for the note of concern over the space of this blog, which it is indeed important to worry about, since some people print out the contents, and there is no need to waste their money on rubbish.

    Also the observation that MacDonald is an AIDSTruth style debater is on target, but even so the delightful thing about MacDonald is that he is incapable of expressing himself in language understood on planet Earth, so therefore his jibes have no sting.

    In ths way he is a parallel for the AIDSTruthians as well, since their jibes have no sting either, since they are so obviously produced by fear of allowing good science in the door, when their bad science will have to exit by the window for fear of contact.

    Both types are rather like Monty Python defenders who throw dead sheep over the ramparts while the army marches in the open drawbridge door and occupies the citadel. Someone goes up to them and taps them on the shoulder but they are too busy throwing carcasses over the edge to turn around.

  41. MacDonald Says:

    …. not to mention the typos.

  42. Truthseeker Says:

    Your typos or ours?

    “Every demand on any given day”?

    The blog host should really adopt a more reverent tone about the start of world war III or IV or whatever the count is before the neo-cons boot his little foreign popo back to where it came from as part their annual of Independence Day celebrations.

    MacDonald, some extremely important people are watching this blog at this particular time, so please try to revert to normal English usage and vocabulary for the duration, instead of double Dutch. And by the way the neocons are all Anglophiles since they believe in Dresden level bombing to win a war a la Winston Churchill.

    I said it straight out, it’s not a matter of “interpretation”. There is no epidemiology since there is no single epidemic since there is no single virus but an endless series of lab artifacts, the cDNAs.

    Check your archives; I’ve elaborated on this very point, classical germ theory does not apply in the first place and current evolutionary theory makes it crystal clear that “retroviruses” are cellular change-agents which have been with us since the Cambrian Explosion. And there’s zero evidence of them ever causing a single infectious epidemic as defined by the old textbooks. By evidence I mean data from accurate measurements.

    If one chooses to broaden the definition to any nucleic acid detectable by highly sensitive assays and not “normally” present in cells; sure, one can go on endlessly cloning these sequences and dress them up for publication.

    If there’s a market for it, one can make a nice living.

    OK, Nick, so we can forget about the extreme Perthian denial of HIV, right or wrong? Does this reduce to, HIV is an irrelevant lab discovery, even lab artefact, whether you can grow and sequence it or not? Or do you agree it is found in people, transmitted maternally, at a very low prevalence, as Duesberg has always said? Even so, it has no normal transmission, and therefore no means of supporting any epidemic or pandemic?

  43. MacDonald Says:

    Weep oh weep for joy friends of the Union secure in the knowledge that no evil goes undetected even in the farthest outposts of freedom and democracy.

    http://gtmoblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/underwear-alert.html

  44. Truthseeker Says:

    Assuming this is true and valid – the letter from the Guantanamo authorities accusing the pro bono lawyer of illegally smuggling fresh underwear to the inmates they are representing – we have an extreme instance of the way human behavior changes in a system, either turning absurdly petty, and/or dangerously antagonistic towards outsiders, and/or mentally insulated and/or deaf, and so on.

    All behaviors exhibited by the billion man/woman march of the lemming legions of loyal devotees of the HIV faith and its abuse of science, with the same cruel and deadly effects hidden beneath the surface of supposed righteous ideology and validated world view.

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