On our national poll this week we took the opportunity to poll 20 widespread and/or infamous conspiracy theories. Many of these theories are well known to the public, others perhaps to just the darker corners of the internet. Here’s what we found:
37% of voters believe global warming is a hoax, 51% do not. Republicans say global warming is a hoax by a 58-25 margin, Democrats disagree 11-77, and Independents are more split at 41-51. 61% of Romney voters believe global warming is a hoax
Hoax? No. But the question is how to address it without tanking the economy.
6% of voters believe Osama bin Laden is still alive
He'd be on TV, people
21% of voters say a UFO crashed in Roswell, NM in 1947 and the US government covered it up. More Romney voters (27%) than Obama voters (16%) believe in a UFO coverup
The truth is out there.
28% of voters believe secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order. A plurality of Romney voters (38%) believe in the New World Order compared to 35% who don’t
Where do I go to sign up as a member of the NWO?
28% of voters believe Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks. 36% of Romney voters believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11, 41% do not
20% of voters believe there is a link between childhood vaccines and autism, 51% do not
The 20% are dangerous luddites, who could lead to a resurgence in childhood disease epidemics if they don't vaccinate their kids.
7% of voters think the moon landing was faked
Only 7% of voters are complete morons it seems
13% of voters think Barack Obama is the anti-Christ, including 22% of Romney voters
I thought the antichrist was supposed to be a EU bureaucrat. Or Gorbachev. Or the Pope. In any event, if I understand the prevailing eschatology, the antichrist is going to have a lot higher polling numbers than Obama.
Voters are split 44%-45% on whether Bush intentionally misled about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. 72% of Democrats think Bush lied about WMDs, Independents agree 48-45, just 13% of Republicans think so
I think Bush deluded himself into believing it, so as to justify the war in his own mind
29% of voters believe aliens exist
If by exist you mean that somewhere in the immense universe there is at least one other planet with intelligent life, then this is a virtually certainty. If by exist you mean they're coming to earth and abducting rednecks for extended anal probing sessions, that's nutbag territory.
14% of voters say the CIA was instrumental in creating the crack cocaine epidemic in America’s inner cities in the 1980’s
A deliberate CIA plot? No. At least in part, an unintended consequences of stupid government policies? Yes.
9% of voters think the government adds fluoride to our water supply for sinister reasons (not just dental health)
Isn't dental health sinister enough?
4% of voters say they believe “lizard people” control our societies by gaining political power
Democrats are not lizards. (I think.)
51% of voters say a larger conspiracy was at work in the JFK assassination, just 25% say Oswald acted alone
I'm prepared to believe that the full truth has never come out.
14% of voters believe in Bigfoot
What's the correlation between believing in Bigfoot and Nessie?
15% of voters say the government or the media adds mind-controlling technology to TV broadcast signals (the so-called Tinfoil Hat crowd)
No mind controlling technology. Just left-liberal propaganda.
5% believe exhaust seen in the sky behind airplanes is actually chemicals sprayed by the government for sinister reasons
I worry more about blue ice
15% of voters think the medical industry and the pharmaceutical industry “invent” new diseases to make money
Invent new diseases? No. But have you noticed how they keep changing their advice. Salt's bad, but then it's okay. Eggs are evil, but then they're good for you.
Just 5% of voters believe that Paul McCartney actually died in 1966
Just his creative abilities
11% of voters believe the US government allowed 9/11 to happen, 78% do not agree
Define allowed. If by it you mean stupid policies that encouraged Islamic extremism, that kept intelligence agencies from cooperating, that made false asssumptions, that eliminated human intel capabilities, you've got a point. If by allowed, you mean to imply intentionality, go get your tin hat.
... whatever the humanitarian interest in freeing Pollard, it must be weighed against other interests, American as well as Israeli.
Regarding the Israeli interest: It does not help Israel to make a hero of a compulsive liar and braggart, fond of cocaine, who violated his oaths, spied on his country, inflicted damage that took billions of dollars to repair, accepted payment for his spying, jeopardized Israel's relationship with its closest ally, failed to show remorse at the time of his sentencing, made himself into Exhibit A of every anti-Semitic conspiracy nut, and then had the chutzpah to call himself a martyr to the Jewish people.
Regarding the American interest: What's inequitable about Pollard's sentence isn't that his is too heavy. It's that the sentences of spies such as Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen and Robert Kim have been too light. Particularly in the age of digital downloads, WikiLeaks and self-appointed transparency crusaders, the U.S. needs to make harsh examples of those who betray its secrets. That goes especially for those who spy on behalf of friendly countries or, as Bradley Manning imagined, in the ostensible interests of humanity at large.
After a 13-hour filibuster led by Sen. Rand Paul over drone strike policies within U.S. borders, senators took procedural steps early Thursday to advance the nomination of John O. Brennan to be CIA director.
At 12:40 a.m., the Kentucky Republican finally yielded the floor after a long day in which he and other GOP senators argued the White House should rule out the use of drone strikes on American soil.
“I just hope this won’t be swept under the rug,” Paul said. “I would go another 12 hours, but I’ve discovered there are some limits to filibustering, and I have to take care of one those in just a few minutes here.”
It struck me that he should have anticipated that problem and suited up with some Depends.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Saturday warned that President Obama was working to delegitimize the Republican Party, and urged conservatives not to fall into the president’s trap by playing the villain.
“[Obama] needs to delegitimize the Republican Party—and House Republicans, in particular,” Ryan told conservatives at the National Review Institute Summit in Washington, D.C. “He’ll try to divide us with phony emergencies and bogus deals. He’ll try to get us to fight with each other—to question each other’s motives—so we don’t challenge him. ...
“The president will bait us. He’ll portray us as cruel and unyielding,” Ryan said. “Just the other day, he said Republicans had 'suspicions' about Social Security. He said we had 'suspicions' about feeding hungry children. He said we had 'suspicions' about caring for the elderly. Look, it’s the same trick he plays every time: Fight a straw man. Avoid honest debate. Win the argument by default.”
[At the inauguration], to the delight of most, for there were not too many Republicans among them, they heard him deliver a terse and powerful statement in defence of government and collective action, far bolder and less compromising than the words he delivered from the same spot four years ago. It was, noted one columnist, “the most liberal speech that he has delivered as president”.
Reihan Salam - The Agenda - National Review Online:
I’m glad that I read President Obama’s Inaugural Address in lieu of listening to it live. Back in 2004, after his keynote address to the Democratic National Convention, I wrote an op-ed for the New York Sun arguing that Barack Obama was more left-wing than was commonly understood at the time. Specifically, I made the case that he saw the public sector as the prime vehicle for the values of solidarity and community in American life. And in this most recent speech, the president collapsed the distinction between collective action and government action again and again, very much in keeping with social-democratic thinking.
As Noam Scheiber explains, the president has come to understand — rather late in the game — that his understanding of what solidarity ought to look like is not universally shared
Is it just me, or are most of the problems Congress is grappling with actually created by bad laws Congress has passed in the past and refused to fix for many years so that they can manipulate the CBO, or some other politically manipulative reason? E.g., Doc Fix, Alternative Minimum Tax, Dairy Cliff, Fiscal Cliff, Debt Ceiling, etc., etc.
Until this point there have been two likely outcomes: no deal at all and the country going over the cliff, or a grand bargain. But there is third option. Mr Obama has been demanding the House pass an-already passed Senate bill (S.3412) that keeps tax rates where they are for families making less than $250,000 and lets the others return to their pre-2001 level. There is growing support among Republicans for this option, and indeed Andy Laperriere, policy analyst for ISI Group, now considers it the most likely outcome. Neither the world, nor the stock market, appreciates how bad this would be.
It goes on to make a persuasive case that this is the worst possible outcome.
Today, thirty-one prominent deans, professors, and former government officials who specialize in law and economics and antitrust submitted a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee supporting Josh Wright‘s nomination to be a Commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission.
The letter, which is addressed to Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV and Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, strongly urges confirmation of Josh, praising him for his knoweldge and his many accomplishments. Here’s just a small snippet:
As a young professor, Josh has a well-deserved reputation for producing rigorous, high-quality scholarship that explores important issues in competition and consumer protection policy. His scholarly work reflects that rare professor who possesses impeccable academic and intellectual integrity in combination with thoroughgoing knowledge in economic theory, econometric and empirical skill, and knowledge of relevant legal institutions. The rigor of his scholarly work is second to none, because it is truly bottom-up, data-driven in its conclusions. As a result, his scholarly output at this early stage in his academic career, in terms of its quantity, quality, and impact, is unsurpassed within his field.
. . . .
As a result of his rigorous and scrupulous analysis of data according to well-established empirical and economic methodologies, Professor Wright is widely regarded as a top antitrust law scholar of his generation, and his scholarly efforts have had a significant impact in the academic and public policy debates. Top antitrust and law and economics scholars, moreover, consistently cite his scholarship, and Professor Herbert Hovenkamp, the author of the leading antitrust treatise, has described Josh as a “top scholar of competition policy and intellectual property.”
I'm proud to have been one of the 31. I can't imagine a better candidate. (Plus, he's a UCLA man!)