On the anniversary of 9/11, a reminder of how we used to deal with odious conspiracy theories: Ridicule.
For years, there were attempts to portray 9/11 as an inside job led by shadowy U.S. elites. A lot of people believed it. But most people reacted with scorn. /1
Yes, it gained traction among the gullible. Still does. But a country that still knew the difference between reality and batshittery relegated it to the fringe. "9/11 Truther" was a synonym for "kook." Even remote association with it cost a WH aide his job. /2
Of course, many Republicans were eager enemies of a conspiracy theory aimed at a GOP President, but they opposed it nonetheless. Fine by me.
So where are they now? Why aren't they ridiculing QAnon, or Trump's many conspiracy theories? /3
No one back in the day said "Well, you have to understand the anxiety of the guy in a diner who believes 9/11 was an inside plot." But now we're supposed to speak reasonably to people who believe in blood-drinking rituals, Second Civil War porn, and COVID conspiracies. /4
On a day of national unity, it will sound strange to say: More ridicule, less "understanding." So let me put it differently:
More goddamn common sense, more defense of our democratic ideals, more dismissal of paranoids and their grubby enablers.
Less crazy, more American. /5x

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More from @RadioFreeTom

13 Sep
Such a tiresome response. Protip: "Crazies took over my party" does not mean "your party was always wrong about everything." Yes, we knew had a crazy fringe. Ours, for a lot of reasons (including monetizing the crazy) took control.
Spoiler: The left has a crazy fringe too. /1
Conservatism isn't crazy. It's a necessary part of a democracy, just as progressivism is. But when we work on what killed the GOP, progs looking over our shoulder and saying "Well, we told you in 1985" only serves to remind us why it's hard to talk to mindless progressives. /2
And trust me, when all this is over, we're all gonna have a talk about how the GOP managed, for a time, to become the dominant party - "the party of everyone else" - with the *help of progressives*. Dems did, and do, holistically stink at politics. It made it easy for us. /3
Read 12 tweets
2 Sep
This, from @anneapplebaum's book (which I'm reading now) is important. It uses Laura Ingraham as an example of the split in conservatism in the 1990s. I want to make two comments on it aimed especially at "you Republicans were always like this" types. /1

One is that we were not "always like this." Two is that the change on the right has a lot to do with a group of personalities who became central to the DC-based GOP. This is a really important thing to understand about what happened then, and what we're up against now. /2
Applebaum begins in 1995. I was 34, an avowed conservative. I'd already worked in DC and on the Hill. I was part of the optimistic, can-do, Reaganite wing. I thought, the left is terrible but mostly feckless, and I was confident in the GOP being the party with better ideas. /3
Read 15 tweets
29 Aug
Okay, so already people are misunderstanding what I pasted right from the USG website about "Less Restricted" govt employees.

People, this does not mean Trump and his minions can do what they want. You're misunderstanding me. *I* am a "less restricted* employee. /1
Government employees, amazingly enough, are U.S. citizens with our full range of freedoms and rights, unless we are on a particular list of more restricted positions at places like CIA or DOJ or others. You can find that list here at osc.gov/Services/Pages…

People like me can say what we want as long as we're not using government resources, pressuring our subordinates, politicking in the workplace, etc.

Trump as POTUS is not personally subject to the Hatch Act, but his people *are*, and they're doing all that.
Read 6 tweets
28 Aug
The RNC is done; the home stretch begins. I always appreciate that so many people come here and read my stuff, listen to my bizarre grousing, and in general, put up with me.
But this is going to be a rough time, so let me suggest a few things for better social media life. /1
- Remember: Twitter is not real life. Conserve your energy; be judicious about whom you chose to engage.
- Check the profile of those you engage. There are easy ways to spot trolls. Super-new accounts with a bazillion tweets, or super-old accounts with ten followers, etc.
- Check TLs if in doubt. There easy ways to spot assholes, too. "I'm no Trump supporter, but..." with a TL full of Tucker Carlson clips explaining why it's society's fault that white kids drive to riots, etc, is, uh, a tipoff.
- Block fast and often. It's okay to do that.
Read 8 tweets
23 Aug
For the next three days, you're going to be told that America is still struggling with CARNAGE! - so here's a reminder that this was, and is, bullshit.
This is from the opening of @EasterbrookG's 2018 book, "It's Better Than It Looks."
"On the November 2016 day Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, unemployment was 4.6 percent, a number that would have caused economists of the 1970s to fall to their knees and kiss the ground."
"In real-dollar terms, gasoline prices were the same as when teenagers rushed to record stores to but the latest 45-rpm monaural singles. Natural resources and foodstuffs were plentiful. Middle-class wages and household income were rising." /3
Read 7 tweets
22 Aug
Remember, Trump's base doesn't hate rich people. It doesn't care about income inequality. It really doesn't even care that much about taxes or the cost of living. It cares about the perception of being looked down up. It cares about status. Understand this, and you get it. /1
The great mistake in all this has been to believe that this is about equality. I can't remember who said it, but America doesn't hate *rich* people, it hates *smart* people. The Trump base has given up on the American ideal of achievement and settled for the crab bucket. /2
This is partly because we have nationalized and then globalized the culture of the cities. People in the heartland used to be people who didn't give a f*** what people in NYC thought of them. Now they care. A lot. And it makes them crazy. /3
Read 7 tweets

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