Media

More on the Ames/Koch/TSA Mess, or the Reductio Ad Funderam Still Fails

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A few more thoughts, on top of Radley Balko's very thorough parsing of the lameness of Katrina vanden Heuvel's apology for the Ames/Levine nonsense in The Nation about how anti-TSA ideas and feelings are astroturf planted by evil oil billionaires just out to make a quick buck.

*The Big Lie does work–in their comeback to Glenn Greenwald, Ames and Levine double down on one of their assertions for which they had no evidence, that "McLain's ties to the Koch brothers are well-documented in our piece—and Greenwald, for reasons unclear, studiously avoids rebutting any of our evidence." (Even strong critics of the article continued to believe that part of the story.)

Greenwald undoubtedly didn't have the time or really care enough to look into the matter–and why should he, since Ames and Levine didn't either–but McLain (never contacted by Ames or Levine, despite their hypocritical whining that Greenwald never contacted them) explains herself, and her utter lack of connection to the Kochs (beyond being personal friends with someone who once worked for organizations the Kochs gave money to). And here is Pete Eyre's, the friend in question, take. (And here serious journalists Ames and Levine make fun of Eyre's tattoos.)

*Ames and Levine insist, and even many who attacked the article in general seemed to believe, that a video proves McClain's account is a lie. Watch it yourself, if you really care, but to this viewer this soundless faraway video neither confirms nor debunks McClain's story. And consult McClain herself again for the gap between her own story and the exaggerated versions of what was supposedly her story.

*To his credit, Reason Contributing Editor and former staffer David Weigel at Slate is one of the only mainstream journalists who knew better than to believe Ames and Levine's made-up claims about McClain and Eyre, and explains why they are bogus. However, in explaining how pretty much every detail of their story is wrong or irrelevant, Weigel for some reason hat tips them for doing "valuable work by naming and tracing the libertarian organizations that had been trying unsuccessfully to stoke a rebellion against the TSA."

It seems to me only valuable if it actually explains something about why the TSA/scanner story became such a sensation, and I don't see how it does. Here's why I think the story caught fire: Dozens if not hundreds of people in a position to make decisions about what was newsworthy and interesting thought that a story involving travel and privacy and dignity and the war on terror was newsworthy and interesting. And I think they were dead right: Nearly everyone I knew, even people who would never in a gajillion years read a libertarian publication, were chattering about TSA and scanners in person and on social networking sites over the weekend.

The conspiratorial string-pulling version of how ideas spread in this culture is simply not true. "Interests" beyond the U.S. government whose every action and utterance are by definition news, cannot make news gatekeepers or consumers interested in anything by talking about it or hyping it with any reliability. I'm pretty sure both Weigel and Ames and Levine know this. The story spread because people cared about it, not because the Kochs wanted to make it happen. And given that the only purpose of the Ames/Levine story was to make all right-thinking people reject the notion that civil liberties and dignity have any meaning when it comes to the TSA by blaming the idea on evil oil billionaires who they assume their readers hate, I have a hard time seeing why it was "valuable" even if largely not true.

*While I can forgive a literal or figurative basement dweller for having a basic conspiratorial worldview, anyone who moves in the real world of media or power should be aware that the spread of ideas and action in the world is more complicated than "evil stringpullers make a plan and execute it, using the efforts of dozens or hundreds of seemingly free-acting folk." It's a naiveté all the more insidiously misleading because it masquerades as dark worldly wisdom–surely you don't think anyone in public discourse is making any decisions that aren't really made by the higher-ups?

Yes, my own experience in, among, and near both media and government lead me to believe that that's true all the time; that a small set of conspiratorial higher-ups are not in fact string-pulling everything said and done in the world according to pre-set plans. By hyping the "valuable"ness of Ames and Levine's shoddy work, and that he "like[s] that Ames is writing these articles" (again, by his own admission, articles full of errors, and dedicated to a purpose that anyone who gives a fuck about civil liberties would have to admit is positively evil) Weigel makes a casual insider-y sounding assertion that doesn't hold up–"Libertarians don't like admitting how much of what they do is made possible not by the ghost of Adam Smith, but by self-interested grants."

First of all, I can't think of any instance in which any libertarian non-profit hides or elides or runs from the fact that they, are, well, non-profits, run largely by grant money. Reason for one example publicly thanks all its $1,000 and more donors in a page in the magazine yearly, and if Weigel has any evidence that libertarian groups "don't like admitting" that they get grants, or that a significant number of such grants for an ideology as outre as libertarianism are "self-interested," that's a point worth a deeper investigation.

Any actual knowledge of the history of the Kochs' libertarian giving and involvement, from Robert LeFevre through the Institute for Humane Studies through the Libertarian Party and Cato Institute would reveal that there is a deep and sincere actual interest in libertarian ideas at play in their ideological giving, not mere sinister self-serving. (See my book Radicals for Capitalism, in which both Koch brothers speak about their ideological giving.) It is true that the Kochs themselves don't seek out press about their ideological giving–and gosh, looking at the way their names have been used since the New Yorker "expose" on them, most especially in this very Ames/Levine story, we surely can't imagine any non-sinister explanation for that. (Any actual link between such ideological giving and actual pecuniary benefit for the donors when it comes to libertarianism seem tenuous indeed to me, especially when you realize that "giving money to spread an idea" is a very, very long way from "real world policy change.")

The meta question that's important is what difference it makes that pushers of outre ideas get money to keep their work going, and what the specific sources of that money are. Since Weigel speaks to his Slate audience on these matters as one with supposed insider savvy about the way this world works, I ask Weigel: When and how did he feel the desires and interests of the Koch brothers ever affected what he wrote about and how he wrote about it at Reason? Accepting the general principle that there is something journalistically significant about harping on funding links and connections implies that there is something to the top-down conspiratorial view of how ideas spread based on funder intentions. Lacking such insider details from Weigel, it's hard to imagine why it is a "good thing" that Ames and Levine wrote something whose only purpose was to take an issue that the authors themselves hypocritically claim to believe is important and make their audience run screaming from it by implying that bad oil billionaries who they all hate are making the whole thing up to line their own pockets.

*Ames and Levine are the Eddie Haskells of shitty journalism–at the Nation they are all "Gee Mr. and Mrs. Nation, we don't know why our good friend Glenn Greenwald so totally misunderstood the very narrow and sensible things we were trying to say in our stern defense of civil liberties"; at their own site, they mock him and implicitly discount anything he has to say on the subject by calling him "Glenn Greenwald of the Cato Institute" since he once wrote an article for one of their publications.

*While I think there is very little to accusations of "astroturf"'s significance in the larger public conversation–I think ideas like the TSA being violative of our integrity succeeded because lots of different people making decisions about what was newsy on a big travel weekend thought that a story about travel and dignity would be interesting and resonate, and they were absolutely right to think so–one of the most successful ideas of the season that came from nowhere to everywhere is the very "fear the Koch" one that hit the big time with Jane Mayer's New Yorker article and is here piled on to by Ames (who is probably pretty pissed that his own earlier takes on the matter didn't ignite). It jumped from obscurity to something that every liberal, prog, and lefty knows, making the Koch name as popular as the Bilderbergers among the conspiracy minded. Why did that idea succeed? Because of a top-down anti-Koch conspiracy, spreading from the Putin administration to Conde Nast to every company whose ads appear alongside the article? No, it succeeded for pretty much the same reason the TSA one did, and the Tea Party, and every other idea that takes public fire: because it fit the needs and suppositions and prejudices and worldviews of a large enough audience that they felt the yen to talk about it and repeat it and sometimes to act on it. That is actually how the real world of ideas works, despite the conspiracy-mongering that I'm pretty sure even Ames and Levine are too smart and experienced to believe.

*George Donnelly of "We Won't Fly" explains his own lack of connection to the Kochs. Despite Weigel's assertion, it was not absent further evidence or research a "great discovery" of Ames and Levine to note that a constant civil libertarian agitator happened to get on the TSA bandwagon a little ahead of The Nation's curve.

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  1. I’m wondering why the leftards at The Nation would hire Ames at all. Aren’t they aware of his juvenile, misogynistic screeds about the sex workers in Russia?

    -jcr

  2. For you douchebags who don’t RTFA, a ratfucker highlight:

    *To his credit, Reason Contributing Editor and former staffer David Weigel at Slate is one of the only mainsteramish journalists who knew better than to believe Ames and Levine’s made-up claims about McClain and Eyre, and explains why they are bogus. However, in explaining how pretty much every detail of their stories is wrong or irrelevant, Weigel for some reason hat tips them for doing “valuable work by naming and tracing the libertarian organizations that had been trying unsuccessfully to stoke a rebellion against the TSA.”

    1. He also gives them major props for pointing out McLain’s ties to those shady Koch people:


      – Meg McLain, who made up a salacious TSA “molestation” story, is a libertarian activist who met with members of “Liberty On Tour, funded at least partly by Koch-backed organizations like Students for Liberty” before her stunt.

      – George Donnelly knows McLain and set up a TSA protest site before her bungled stunt. This is actually a great discovery by Ames.

      Apparently he didn’t read her reply. Here’s the relevant bits:


      I never stated, insinuated, claimed, or even came close to accusing the TSA of sexually molesting me.



      I have no idea who any of these people are, with the exception of John Tyner, whom I first discovered and met online well after both our incidents occurred.



      It wasn’t until the next day that I even “met” (online only) George Donnelly, who had heard me on FTL the night before, and made the audio into a video for his website.

      So… no. Not so much of a great discovery after all.

  3. David Weigel

    1. Who are you voting for in November? I’ve got the luxury of a guilt-free, zero-impact vote in the District of Columbia, which I would cast for Bob Barr if he was on the ballot. Since he’s not, I’m voting for Barack Obama, the only remaining candidate whom I trust not to run the country (further) into the ground with stupid and erratic decisions,…

    1. What a mixed up kid! I’m so glad he’s not at Hit & Run anymore.

      Getting my Redskins fix at the Post, I was always worried I might accidentally click on something of his I couldn’t unsee over there too.

    2. Squandering your vote voting for Barack Obama within the District–is there anything you could do with your “zero-impact” vote to make it worth less?

  4. Between 9/11 and now not one US airliner was blown up by a bomb even though there were no scanners or invasive pat downs. Yet now those are the only things standing between us and Armageddon.

  5. Holy shit, has Weigel gone full retard. You never go full retard, Dave.

    because it fit the needs and suppositions and prejudices and worldviews of a large enough audience that they felt the yen to talk about it and repeat it and sometimes to act on

    Exactly, Brian. Whether it’s this, HFCS, whatever, if it fits just oh so perfectly into the way many people think things are, they will believe it. It’s also amazingly fucking stupid; as soon as something seems too perfect, it should set off alarm bells in your head, and you should question it more.

    1. He pointed out all of Ames’s errors…so yeah he only went half retard.

      In fact the good half of this one is actually pretty good.

      1. Weigel doesn’t want to burn those bridges before his next firing. Next up: ameslevineweigellist.com!

        1. Let’s keep the spoofing to a minimum here, guys.

    2. Holy shit, has Weigel gone full retard.

      You imply that didn’t happen a long time ago.

  6. McLain sure does come across as a libertarian – I’m not sure why she don’t like the term but looks talks duck etc. etc.

    From her response:

    “I do not believe Free Talk Live is a libertarian radio show.”

    really? – I mean check out their website:

    Item number one in the ‘Learn More’ section:

    “Our Suggested “Path Of Liberty”

    1. Take The World’s Smallest Political Quiz to find out how libertarian you already are!”

    I’m not really attacking McLain – I’m a libertarian, I’m just a bit stumped – the Ames piece was awful and deserves the take down it’s getting but being the occasional co-host of a radio show that is overtly libertarian might just get you the dreaded ‘l’ label from time to time – is it really so bad?

    1. She doesn’t like political labels (reading the linked articles and beyond)but I get the impression she is something of an anarchist. Not surprisingly the “left” throws anyone espousing individualism,autonomy, self-sovereignty, liberty or anything other than authoritarian collectivism over on the “right”.

      1. She is a member of the Free State Project, which is endorsed by several libertarians, libertarian groups, such as 18 state libertarian parties, and Ron Paul, among others.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUbB30CmHw4

        http://freestateproject.org/about/endorsements

        If I’m not mistaken, the Free State Project’s philosophy is based on Voluntaryism and/or Agorism. It’s funny though. Sam Konkin III “created” Agorism, and he also coined the term “Kochtopus”. So, it doesn’t really make sense to vilify someone who is an Agorist, by calling them a “Koch-funded libertarian”. Right?

        1. For a good reading list of Voluntaryism go here:

          http://www.voluntaryistpunk.com/words.html

          Also, check out Stefan Molyneux at Freedomain Radio.

          http://www.freedomainradio.com/

        2. The trouble is that Ames and Levine live in a McCarthyite mindset, where Koch money infects everything within six degrees of Kevin Bacon from it, and even travels backwards in time.

          As in this case: the “connection” between the Kochs and FSP/Free Keene is that Jason Sorens, who came up with the FSP idea and then turned it over to other people, *later* went on to work at a Koch-funded think tank.

          After which, I guess, he hopped in his time machine which the evil Kochs have cleverly kept hidden from everyone except their minions, created the Free State Project, and thus branded anything and anyone associated in any way with the FSP as part of their Kochtopus.

          See how that works?

          But then again, these are the same guys who implied John Tyner must be a part of the Koch plot because he calls himself a libertarian (hey, where’s my check!?). He is also apparently guilty of living somewhat close to a Marine base and once attending Christian school(s).

      2. Not surprisingly the “left” throws anyone espousing individualism,autonomy, self-sovereignty, liberty or anything other than authoritarian collectivism over on the “right”

    2. She seems to not know the difference between small-l libertarian and Libertarian Party. Read her note, linked in the article above.

  7. Ok Weigel might actually come and respond to this on this very blog…

    So you fuckers better be nice!!!

    Seriously when he fucks up he generally shoots his own foot so let him speak first before piling on. Hell he might even have a good explanation.

    Plus I kind of would like him to answer Doherty’s question:

    I ask Weigel: When and how did he feel the desires and interests of the Koch brothers ever affected what he wrote about and how he wrote about it at Reason?

    1. Am I the only one who feels like invoking his name is much like chanting “Bloody Mary” or “Candyman” in a mirror three times?

      1. More like “Beetlejuice” – but not as funny.

    2. I love that question. Many years ago as an undergraduate our political science professor did a couple of sessions on campaign finances and the pressures on politicians to bend to the will of big money. We had an opportunity to speak with our local congressman at an appearance at the college, so the whole class went. Our prof asked us what questions we wanted to ask – so I posed the obvious question: “How has the pressure to raise money influenced your vote in office?”

      He said we couldn’t ask that (aghast!). I asked anyway. He wasn’t intimidated by a little college kid. He answered as a politician, not as an academic exercise though, so I didn’t get my real answer.

      For guys like Obama who love to carp about how money corrupts politicians, I’d love to see someone have the sack to ask them “how has money corrupted you?” And hold their feet to the fire to be specific.

  8. Also, first TEAM RED was hating on libertarians (and rushing to declare themselves not libertarians), and now it’s full on TEAM BLUE hating on libertarians.

    Why? It seems more and more that both TEAM RED and TEAM BLUE fear any loss of their power (GOP candidates losing to perceived libertarian Tea Party candidates; the TSA of a Dem administration being challenged); which should surprise no one.

    And a side note: wouldn’t it have been easier for TEAM BLUE shitheels to attack the head of the TSA? They could say “oh, Obama is still dreamy, Pistole is a thug” and be on the side of civil liberty and still be playing for TEAM BLUE; yet instead, they go to the fucking mat for the TSA. Well, no one ever said they were smart, I guess.

    1. I want to start a conspiracy that TSA is paying off a bunch of left wing journalists.

      Also

      Also, first TEAM RED was hating on libertarians (and rushing to declare themselves not libertarians), and now it’s full on TEAM BLUE hating on libertarians.

      Yeah this is weird…considering they will be buying us drinks and giving us hand jobs in little over a month after they are again out of power.

      Maybe this is like grade school when a girl likes you she comes up and hits you and calls you a stupid head.

      1. I don’t know, dude; it seems more like the dumb jock beating up the small smart kid and then going to him later and asking for help passing math class.

    2. Don’t worry, David Frum and the band over at the Weekly Standard are still quite willing to declare themselves not-libertarians.

      And even under Bush, plenty of Democrats and progressives had lots of hate for libertarians.

      Mass political movements always have a bit of diversity of thought; some (though not all) of the difference is just who is keeping silent and so forth.

      Libertarians tend not to like the sort of compromises necessary in a ruling coalition, but enjoy attack whoever’s in power, so it makes sense for people out of power to appeal to them.

    3. Red and Blue are both unprincipled authoritarians. And, really, why would you root for a team that doesn’t talk about how much they want to dominate the field?

      1. Does that make libertarians the equivalent of Mets fans?

        1. Ideally, we’re the hot dog guys. And even more ideally, we’re not selling at the game, our cart is on the street.

          1. So what you’re saying is that libertarians are the equivalent of Mets fans at a Yankees game. That does make sense.

            1. Wait, are you saying that a libertarian is someone at a Yankees game who has no impact or influence whatsoever?

              I’m thinking of Joe Mauer or any of the other Twinkies here.

  9. Must obey Soros. No..must obey Murdoch. No..must obey Koch’s. No brain…must obey.

  10. Oh…and “Free Willie”

  11. These, of course, are the same “journalists” who on their private site referred to me as “an Austrian school butt boy” (since changed to butt maggot, but not in the url) who “blamed the collapse of the real estate market on poor people.” A truly class act they are.

    http://ameslevinelist.com/-eco…..ill-people

    1. Hey, I was a “butt maggot,” too!

      1. Shhhh Matt. My wife will hear you and our secret will be out!

        1. Hey, I was a “butt maggot,” too!

          Some witticisms are so sparkling, it’s a crime to use them just once.

          1. All the cool kids get called “butt maggots”….

            “Butt Maggots” also would be an excellent name for a rock band.

    2. That’s a terrible website, but I scrolled down far enough to notice the “WiFi Kills!” on their front page.

      Wow. Paranoid center indeed.

      1. It’s worse than Lonewacko’s.

    3. After looking at their site I get the feeling they are trying to imitate Drudge and doing a terrible job of it.

      Which is ironic as Drudge had far more to do with making the TSA story “big” then Koch did.

    4. The Google Ads banner I get across the top of that page is for an oufit called http://www.optOutAlliance.com.

      So yeah, I was going to say something about wonderful irony of Google Ads, but then it hit me: the whole TSA thing was a Koch astroturf campaign — AND — the Ames/Levine Nation column was actually a Koch false flag operation, the general shoddiness of which was actually designed to provide ample target practice for the likes of Balko & Doherty.

      And all the pieces suddenly fit.

      1. It’s worse. Google is tracking you.

        To stay with the conspiracy theme, You’re in the system. Google is a front for the NSA to collect information on US and world citizens. The most insidious part, people opt in; they are hiding in plain sight. One day you see a banner for Pigeon Cheese Sausage Party, you’ll click on the banner. You’ll get an email and attend the party. You’ll never be heard from again, and only one person in a coma will remember you. It will happen; they’re coming for you, us? 😛

    5. They have a tips box. Fun!

      Think if we write an entire article for them they’ll publish it?

  12. Brian’s right that I was too kind to the Nation piece in that first sentence. I like that reporters are asking where the money behind libertarian organizations is coming from. I like it when reporters ask where the money behind liberal organizations is coming from. I like it when reporters ask where the money behind the subway campaigns you see to Support Proposition Whatever is coming from. That’s really all I was saying. I think the conclusions and connections of the Nation piece were bullshit, and I said so.

    Brian asks: “When and how did he feel the desires and interests of the Koch brothers ever affected what he wrote about and how he wrote about it at Reason?”

    Answer: Never. I’ve worked at two non-profit media organizations, Reason and the Center for Independent Media, and in both cases there was next to zero involvement between reporters and fundraisers. Donors don’t dole out money to blank slate pundits or reporters and convert them. They find like-minded people to fund; the like-minded people find them when they need funding.

    That said, I don’t agree with Brian on this:

    “Accepting the general principle that there is something journalistically significant about harping on funding links and connections implies that there is something to the top-down conspiratorial view of how ideas spread based on funder intentions.”

    People obviously spread ideas and grow movements by funding them. People fund conferences, think tanks, mass purchases of literature, fellowships, etc and etc to spread ideas faster than they’d spread if no one was funding them — if the market for ideas was left entirely to other people. Reporters should cover this. That’s the 10% I liked about the Nation article. But they shouldn’t sex it up or make up connections that doesn’t exist. That’s the 90% I didn’t like.

    1. People obviously spread ideas and grow movements by funding them. People fund conferences, think tanks, mass purchases of literature, fellowships, etc and etc to spread ideas faster than they’d spread if no one was funding them — if the market for ideas was left entirely to other people. Reporters should cover this.

      That is a lot less than 10% of the Nation article – that could have been written in a paragraph. It’s about as newsworthy as Mrs. Kulwoski’s kitten getting freed from a tree that libertarian rich people have sent money to libertarian thinkers.

    2. Weigel commenting is as lame as Weigel writing. Who’d’a thunk it?

    3. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn

    4. There’s no honor in asking questions about important topics if you immediately answer those questions with blatant lies.

      Were you this supportive of people “asking questions” about Obama’s birth certificate in 2008-09?

    5. So what? What is interesting about Reason is the ideas they spread. Who is funding them has no barring on the validity of the ideas. You only write about who is funding them Dave because you are not smart enough to have anything interesting to say about the ideas themselves.

      1. What is interesting about Reason is the ideas they spread. Who is funding them has no barring on the validity of the ideas.

        I agree it has no validity but i disagree that with what you imply that it is uninteresting.

        At the very least I now know what Kochtapus means (I did not know until that whole libraltarian purge thing) and if i ever get on an elevator with a Koch brother I can thank him for the free beer and 3D glasses.

        The Koch bros were no secret. I think Doherty mentioned that he talked them in his book. Still i did not know about them. If it was not left wing hit pieces “exposing” them I cannot really see a scenario where I would learn about them and their awesomeness.

        I don’t know if 10% is the perfect number…but Weigel is correct that the information is more then zero on the interesting scale.

    6. I have to admit that is a far better explanation then I expected.

      Bravo Weigel

    7. David Weigel… Waylon Smithers acting like a journalist.

    8. Hi Dave! Good answer. I think you have an article available for those ideas in Meg McLain.

      She is clearly not a Koch-funded fake as the Nation (and later you) insinuated, but there is a different thread to be pulled here. She was clearly influenced by the ideas of the Koch-funded groups. She had clearly watched the Liberty on Tour videos. Her reaction to the TSA was by-the-books Liberty on Tour response to authoritarian functionaries. She asked questions with great restraint and respect just as they do in their videos and got robotic “does not compute” responses. She was eventually hustled out as a trouble-maker.

      The “connection” you are looking for is not in astroturf or paid shills or any such thing. The ground was prepared for her to meet that moment by a set of beliefs she held and a set of tools for politely confronting abuse of her privacy. There was no need to produce a fake confrontation, one naturally ensued. The same goes for the ensuing coverage. The libertarian-leaning radio show that provided first coverage was more than ready to hear about this confrontation. Because it resonated, it was picked up elsewhere.

      You don’t need Koch to “spread the ideas faster” if the ground is already prepared for the moment when the information hits. Cato, Reason, ACLU, et. al. have spent decades preparing this ground. All it took was an abuse of authority and someone too tired to worry about the consequences of asking a few questions.

      If you listen to old interviews with Rosa Parks, the parallels are obvious. She says she was just too tired to get up when told to move to the back of the bus, and never meant to spark a movement. But the groundwork was laid, and her mind had been prepared to question “why should I get up and move?” And the community was prepared to hear the message when the news broke and so came together to change the government.

      This is how the “conspiracy” works. Or doesn’t work… if nobody agrees, your idea will die no matter how much cash you use to push it.

    9. Dave,

      “The facts they (Ames and Levine) do have:

      – John Tyner, the “don’t touch my junk” guy, calls himself a libertarian.”

      So do millions of other people, the vast majority of whom do not receive Koch money and a fairly significant portion of whom derive their libertarianism from sources that have had and continue to have contentious splits with the Kochs for decades now (Mises Institute/Lew Rockwell circle, particularly through its influence on Ron Paul; Libertarian Party; etc).

      Among other Ames and Levine “evidence”: Tyner lives fairly close to a Marine Corps base and attended a Christian school. The rest of their article is equally bad.

      “- Meg McLain, who made up a salacious TSA “molestation” story, is a libertarian activist who met with members of “Liberty On Tour, funded at least partly by Koch-backed organizations like Students for Liberty” before her stunt.”

      See articles from McLain and Eyre linked in the article above. There is no evidence that I know of that McLain made anything up, only a soundless video which she says intentionally skipped over key events she discussed in her radio interview.

      According to her posting, she went to Florida to meet a man she had a crush on. Possibly he was one of the Liberty on Tour guys, she does not name him, and apparently it did not work out.

      As Eyre explains, an organization that gets part of its funding from the Kochs was among dozens that contributed small amounts to Liberty on Tour.

      Yep, sounds like a conspiracy orchestrated by billionaires to me?

      “- George Donnelly knows McLain and set up a TSA protest site before her bungled stunt. This is actually a great discovery by Ames.”

      According to either McLain or Donnelly, they have not met in person and only met online after the airport incident. He lent her $200 to get home after he heard her radio interview and she paid him back quickly. The website was a reaction to the new TSA procedures; something sinister in that? Not that I can see.

      Neither Donnelly nor McLain, or Free Keene/FSP for that matter, get Koch money. McLain says she never even heard of the Kochs before this, while Donnelly is not a fan of the Kochs. The “connection” is that the guy who came up with the FSP idea (and later handed it over) went on to later on work at a Koch-funded think tank. Any Koch connection here, even a remote one, would involve time travel.

      “- Brian Sodergren, who launched the Opt Out Day website, is a lobbyist for the dental industry.”

      Quite possibly true, although I wouldn’t automatically assume it is based on the rest of the “facts” in the source article.

      Assuming it’s true, what exactly does it prove or even point to being likely?

  13. “evil stringpullers make a plan and execute it, using the efforts of dozens or hundreds of seemingly free-acting folk.”

    Actually, everything is decided by a series of blowjobs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYJCHoEDNgs

  14. Doherty’s blathering on about this has raised lbertarian self-importance to almost cosmic levels. It’s fucking comical. I mean, he’s shitting his pants over the notion that somebody thinks libertarians have actually had some influence on somebody. Jesus fucking Christ! Whoopydoo!

    1. lbertarian

      I thought they went by “Spain” nowadays? Though, I think they spelled it “Iberian.”

      1. What about the Catalanitarians?

        If the free state project moved to Barcelona I might consider moving there and joining them rather than Keane-O

      2. What about the Catalanitarians?

        If the free state project moved to Barcelona I might consider moving there and joining them rather than Keane-O

    2. It’s so cute when you get things exactly backwards! Now get back to servicing your mother, Max.

    3. Doherty’s blathering on about this has raised lbertarian self-importance to almost cosmic levels. It’s fucking cosmical.

      Is that what you meant?

    4. Damn, Max pooped on the floor again.

      Bad boy!

    5. …the whole Kochtopus non-scandal/non-issue wouldn’t exist if the left really thought “libertarians have actually had some influence”…

      You really are a dumbshit, Max.

  15. It’s not polite to kick retards when they are down.

    1. I’m sorry.

      Oh, you weren’t talking about Max…

    2. When is it polite to kick retards?

      1. Good point.

        But it’s even less polite when they are down.

        1. …but it’s fun. Kicking a ‘tard is fun, whether they’re down or not.

          Polite – not so much

          1. Like kicking a cop when he’s down?

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..r_embedded

  16. valuable work by naming and tracing the libertarian organizations that had been trying unsuccessfully to stoke a rebellion against the TSA

    When an argument is this irrational it must come from a place of fear. Fear that his own links to the kochtopus will get him blacklisted if he doesn’t point fingers himself.

  17. To rehash, what I said in the other post on that Nation article, in much longer and far more obscene fashion

    You don’t need to bother disproving them because IT DOESNT FUCKING MATTER. Who says an idea is not important to the validity of the argument. This article is irrelevant to a degree that is breathtaking.

    It wouldn’t matter if every blog post about the TSA was secretly written by the Kochs themselves or if every news reporter was them in disguise- that says exactly zero about the truth of the argument itself.

    What matters is the fucking validity of thought, and it’s the mark of small, pathetic fucking people that they can’t rise above “The guys making the other argument are icky” and actually argue about ideas.

    This shit is not worth dignifying with a formal frisking. You’re only playing into their own sense that they’ve made an argument that’s intellectually valid.

  18. You don’t need to bother disproving them because IT DOESNT FUCKING MATTER.

    That part’s right.

    But the reason it’s right isn’t because of any of that reasonable shit you said, but because the point of this story wasn’t to persuade anyone of anything, but to say “Koch”?and to be answered with “Koch.”

    Resounding success.

    1. Koch they demanded, and Koch they were given.

  19. Those guys can not be serious journalists. I left a comment at their other website, exiled, and they edited the shit out of it. It’s almost funny…almost as funny as Howard Stern.

    http://exiledonline.com/

    They are nothing but performance art, and not to be taken seriously.

    Journalistic value: 0

    Entertainment value: 0.5

    Douchebaggery value: 1,000,000

  20. This is all FAIL for one simple reason: When a dishonest opponent attacks you, you don’t respond to the allegations, you change the subject, and attack back. Should we be proving negatives now? Even if the Kochs dishonestly profit from libertarian giving, shouldnt these cocksucking progressives be happy that their funding is enabling robust civil-rights activism?

  21. Someone ought to found a (parody) Evil Libertarian Party to espouse those unlibertarian ideas people accuse them off and to advocate positions libertarians regard as “evil”…

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