If you recognize the title of this post, you are probably following the dust up promoted by Glenn Beck over Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi (e.g., here and for another perspective here).

In short, Beck believes the Obama administration is covering up Alharbi’s culpability for recruiting the Boston bombers. Independent sources including Fox News have investigated the situation and found nothing any different than what the government is reporting – Alharbi was at first thought to be involved in the bombing but was actually in the wrong place at the wrong time and was wounded by the bombing.

I don’t know enough about the way Homeland Security handles security threats to comment fully on this matter, but I have been following it as an illustration of belief perseverance.  Once a person gets an idea fixed in mind, even the disconfirmation of the original evidence cannot shake it. New reasons are sought and secured to make the original proposition (there’s a cover-up, I tell ya!) seem plausible.

I might add to this post as new information comes up. I think this interview from The Blaze yesterday is intriguing because it actually seems to undermine Beck’s chronology of events.

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  • William Birch

    “Once a person gets an idea fixed in mind, even the disconfirmation of the original evidence cannot shake it.”

    Yes, yes! But what I don’t understand is that when someone does this sort of thing, and then is proven wrong later on, all the info and “gathered facts” seem irrelevant to his listeners — as though he didn’t make a fool of himself, and somehow isn’t thereby discredited. I don’t get it. The OT had standards for false prophets (as well as consequences). We could at least take the principle today and conclude that someone who keeps giving false information should not be heeded.

  • David Cary Hart

    Some of the studies on conspiracy theories are quite entertaining. Anyone (including you, Warren) who attempts to debunk a conspiracy theory is immediately deemed to be part of the conspiracy. Facts cease to exist as well in the way that we generally understand them. The bottom line, as you not, is that once someone embraces a conspiracy theory there is virtually nothing that will cause them to shed that belief. Orly Taitz is still at it and Alex Jones is not only immensely popular put continues to push thoroughly debunked truther theories.

    By the way, Rand Paul is actually a believer in one of Jones’ conspiracies which was the basis of his questioning Hillary Clinton about weapons in Turkey. Ron Paul believes that 911 was “an inside job.”

  • ken

    Given the plethora of inaccurate, inconsistent, conflicting and just plain WRONG information put out about the bombing, I personally don’t trust much of what I read about it. However, I can see how easy it would be for conspiracy nuts to discount real evidence given how many mistaken claims were put out in the media frenzy.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    What we do know is that the mainstream press has zero interest in investigating anything that might make the Obama Administration look bad. Bengzazi for instance.

    What is the truth here? Was Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi on the No Fly list and got into the country anyway? Will he finally be deported now? We wouldn’t know–the “respectable” press isn’t investigating the story.

    See, the facts of the story of actual national importance–if the Obamans screwed up–are of secondary concern. All that matters is getting Glenn Beck. So it goes.

  • stephen

    Mr Van Dyke rushes in to demonstrate the way this works.

  • Richard Willmer

    It saddens me to see people apparently ‘playing politics’ with a tragedy. (Some on ‘the Right’ seem to want to stop at nothing to discredit Obama.)

  • Dave Earp

    Careful Tom .. if you keep spinning like that you may get dizzy.

    Moving on… What I feel is problematic is the continued desire to find someone to blame. The public doesn’t seem to be able to handle the reality that bad people can do bad things and there is .. in reality .. very little we can do to stop them. The blame game has been going on since Pearl Harbor if not before .. and the internet just gives more conspiracy theorists a voice. Along with this is the idea that somehow we need to be able to understand the younger bomber and blame his actions on some form of brainwashing. At 19 .. I am sure he knew/ knows that blowing the legs off of people and killing and wounding others was a bad thing …

    I, for one, would like to see a lot more emphasis on support for the victims and their recovery than the endless coverage on the bombers, the blame game and/or the endless baseless conspiracy theories.


  • Richard Willmer

    William Anderson of The Global Dispatch has this to say:-

    “I have made … comments on my Facebook page, including a reminder not to jump to any conclusions about the “Saudi national” [Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi] who was detained and (I am sure) falsely accused by police officers before they came to realize the guy had nothing to do with it. Perhaps people just need to step back and see what transpires.”

    I agree.

    He goes on to say:-

    “Unfortunately, the USA is so hopelessly politicized that people like [Paul] Krugman, Glenn Beck, the Fox News and MSNBC crews, and others are hoping and hoping and hoping that people associated with the political groups and individuals that they hate will be responsible.”

    I fear so.

    I think that the local law enforcement agencies did very well to find two credible suspects so quickly. They should surely be congratulated, and, more importantly, those bereaved and/or wounded as a results of last week’s events should be uppermost in our thoughts. Political distractions are in appallingly bad taste and, worse still, could conceivably hamper arriving at an understanding of who really did what and why.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Why isn’t the press investigating? You know why. If it were Bush they’d be on it like white on rice.

    After the way the press neglected Benghazi [or the Kermit Gosnell case], it’s obvious that without right-wingers like Beck, this stuff would be completely buried, instead of mostly buried.

  • James Ferguson

    The whole thing is a three-ring circus, obfuscating other news stories like the owners of a fertilizer plant that were storing 1350 times the prescribed limit of ammonium nitrate. The result was 14 dead and over 200 injured, but you don’t see any charges being brought against the owners. The only recourse appears to be for survivors to file lawsuits. Far more heinous act as far as I’m concerned, as it points to the gaping holes in federal and state regulations governing such toxic operations, and the shear stupidity of a town allowing for such a plant to be near a residential area, nursing home and school. Yet, all we hear is the media prattle on about the Tsarnaev brothers, and guys like Beck spill out their thoughts in real time.

  • Richard Willmer

    One sees plenty of press coverage on various issues that is critical of the Administration, Tom. One needs only to glance at Real Clear Politics, for example. Or switch on Fox News for that matter.

    Your comment above is simply insinuation. It would appear that law enforcement agencies in Boston have conducted their investigation with regard to Alharbi and have reached their conclusion. That much we know.

    Obviously, there have been at least one meeting between senior Administration officials and representatives of Saudi Arabia, but I would imagine that – when a foreign national is suspected of a very serious crime that attracts wide public interest – this would be normal practice.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    The point is that for some people Glenn becks screwups are far more important than barack obama’s.

    And Richard, you’re proving my point. There was likely a screwup here, and there was certainly one in benghazi. there are multiple screwups in the past 3 days by John Kerry and the State dept., which you can find over @ Instapundit. [I won't link so as not to get caught in the moderation queue.]

    the incompetence of the Obama administration is off the scale, but thanks to a press that covers for him, he got re-elected without the #1, competence, not even on the radar.

    In fact, Richard, the irony is that the UK press covers Obama’s screwups far more than the US press–often the only place I find a story embarrassing to the American left is in the UK press, probably because your own lefties enjoy embarrassing America on general principles.

    So from your seat in the UK, you’re more knowledegable about Obama’s incompetence than your average American voter, and it probably does seem like Obama doesn’t get a free pass from the press!

  • Richard Willmer

    What screwup has there been on the part of the Administration?

  • Tom Van Dyke

    You don’t know? Case closed.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    This took me one click. today’s news.


    This reasoning, followed to its logical conclusion, would make it impossible to prosecute Internet fraud, which is certainly rampant and difficult to prosecute.

    But, you see, there is a difference. The government does not aid and abet Internet fraud as a general rule. Prosecuting an Internet fraud case would not be embarrassing for the Obama administration.

    Not so for a Pigford fraud case.

    Andrew’s site actually gets a nod in today’s article:

    Public criticism came primarily from conservative news outlets like Breitbart.com and from Congressional conservatives like Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, who described the program as rife with fraud. Few Republicans or Democrats supported him. Asked why, Mr. King said, “Never underestimate the fear of being called a racist.”

    The Pigford fraud is not news to you folks. It was featured prominently here in several posts, many by Lee Stranahan, who worked closely with Andrew on the story. You can read the posts by searching the site for Pigford (just hit this link), but in all the coverage, one video stands out in my memory. It was published in this post. When I went to grab the embed code, it had a pitiful 891 views.

  • Richard Willmer

    Do you mean the confusion over whether Alharbi was on a watch list?

    Glad you recognize the Beck messed up.

  • Richard Willmer

    As fr the incompetence of the Obama Administration: well now, only Germany and USA, among the ‘major western economies’ are back to where they were in 2007 in GDP terms. We could use some of that ‘incompetence’ in the UK!

  • Richard Willmer

    (Anyway, I thought that the Pigford fraud took place in the 1980s – Reagan-Bush.)

  • James Ferguson

    Guys like Tom can always be counted on to fall for conspiracy theories like this. To them such events always point back to the administration. As I recall there was a whole plane-load of Saudi nationals that were flown out of the US during the flight lockdown after 911, with the Bush admin giving them the green light. Amazing given that the FBI had so quickly tagged the bombing suspects, most of whom were Saudis, not to mention the Saudi support for Wahabist mosques all around the world. One could concoct all kinds of conspiracy theories from that, especially given the Bush family’s close ties to the House of Saud. Yet, here is a stray Saud, who obviously had nothing to do with the incident, and GB jumps all over it. The pattern seems to be to try to taint Obama with many of the same allegations that were leveled at Bush.

  • Tom Van Dyke


  • jimmiraybob

    Buy gold.

  • jimmiraybob

    I should clarify my previous comment. I was just summarizing Beck’s analysis/analyses.

  • Richard Willmer

    What I find interesting is that it seems that Beck takes the line that, having presented a theory, it is incumbent on the Administration to disprove it.

    Well anyone can play that game, can’t they? Surely it would be more appropriate if Beck actually came up with a narrative, backed by evidence, that is clearly in support of his theory. As things stand, it is surely he who, having made a serious accusation that the Administration is in some way complicit in the death of its own citizens, must shoulder the ‘burden of proof’?

    Here’s one of the very latest commentaries on the matter: http://www.latinospost.com/articles/17701/20130427/glenn-beck-standing-boston-bombing-conspiracy-theory-burden-proof-federal.htm

    (Correct me if I’m wrong, Warren – but this is really the point of this post.)

  • Tom Van Dyke

    The U.S. considered Alharbi as a terrorist

    Then how was he let into the country? At this point, I believe that’s the only bone of contention.

    but the designation was removed after a meeting between Sec. of State John Kerry had a private meeting with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal on the day of the bombing.

    Or this one. Whatever the story is, nobody reading this blog can even tell us what it is.

  • Richard Willmer

    Those are interesting questions. And there may be some interesting answers to them. (I wouldn’t want to speculate, but just say that situations are often not as simple as they first appear.)

    That said, it also appears that Alharbi had nothing to do with the events in Boston (except that he happened to be there). So maybe these questions are ‘for another day’.

    Beck is not asking (genuine) questions: he is proposing a theory that claims that there has been a conspiracy. It is up to him to make a credible pitch, and not the duty of the Administration to ‘disprove’ his ramblings.

  • Tom Van Dyke
  • Tom Van Dyke

    Beck is not asking (genuine) questions: he is proposing a theory that claims that there has been a conspiracy.

    Direct, updated quotes, please. i don’t think anyone here even knows what the story is. GlennBeckblahblahblah. Hackery.

  • Dave

    Not sure what your point is Tom ..

    Many of us here are Christians who find it increasingly alarming that people who profess the name of Christ spend much of their time aligning with a particualr agenda without regard to truth ..and without regard to the basic respect that God expects us to demonstrate to all people. Many of us are also troubled by the failure of other Christians in leadership positions within the church to call out folks like this in their error. The mission of the Christian is to be an ambassador for Christ and love others into the kingdom through their actions and their words. It is not to conduct smear campaigns against political opponents and/or those they disagree with. Based on all the other things Beck and others like him have said this looks like a conspiracy theory smear campaign. Re: ALong the same lines of claims like: .. Obama is a sociolist .. peope that follow Obama are clueless like the people of Nazi Germany .. Obama is ruining our country .. Obama sides with terrorists … Obama is no freind of Israel . blah blah blah. None of this (IMO) is Christlike .. none of this is fulfilling the mission that God has given to those who call themselves Christians.

    Now perhaps there is some unique truth here that everyone is missing. But one thing is for sure .. you are not likely to get it from Beck nor from biased people like him. And that is a sad thing .. especially when other Christians get pulled into this methodology of lies .. slander … and biased speculation … rather than representing Christ.


  • Richard Willmer

    I’m sorry, Tom, but nothing you have said has shaken me from my opinion that Glen Beck should shoulder ‘the burden of proof’ and not expect the Federal Government to ‘disprove’ his claims with regard to a conspiracy relating to the bombings.

    Like Dave, I am struggling to understand the relevance – or even, for that matter, the meaning – of your two comments above.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Many of us here are Christians who find it increasingly alarming that people who profess the name of Christ spend much of their time aligning with a particualr agenda without regard to truth

    And Obama’s use of scripture and God to further his own agenda, like Obamacare? And all the “social gospel” liberals who hijack Christianity for the welfare state? Where’s the outrage there?

    The point is, never think you’re better than Glenn Beck. You’re not.

    [The secondary point is that Obama's screwups get ignored, and when they're pointed out, like the Pigford scandal, it's the messenger who gets attacked.

    Damn right you have no idea what's going on, Dave. Damn right, and the Pigford episode shows exactly why.]

  • Patrocles

    “Glen Beck should shoulder ‘the burden of proof’ and not expect the Federal Government to ‘disprove’ his claims ”

    you really mean, if a journalist doesn’t have evidence about interna, which only the government itself can make public, he has not even the right to express a suspicion and to ask the government for making those things public?

  • Patrocles

    Dr. Throckmorton,

    “Once a person gets an idea fixed in mind, even the disconfirmation of the original evidence cannot shake it. ”

    But in this case I see not much “disconfirmation”, rather “lack of confirmation”. (I dimly remember that I’ve made the same distinction already in another context about Barton.)

  • Richard Willmer

    Glenn Beck has in effect made some extremely accusations regarding the Boston bombings, based on what would appear to be questionable evidence that is very ‘circumstantial’ in nature.

    As far as I can see, what you are really saying, Tom, is that – on the basis that Obama is not (in your view) sufficiently criticized by sections of the media – we should take the line that the Administration should shoulder a ‘burden of disproof’ with regard to Beck’s claims. This is an extraordinarily tenuous (both evidentially and jurisprudentially – innocence is to be assumed until guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt) thesis on your part and I for one am not buying it!

    Sorry, old chap – you’ll need to do rather better than that to even begin to convince me … or Dave … or …

  • Richard Willmer

    *extremely SERIOUS accusations*

  • Tom Van Dyke

    I asked you for direct, updated quotes from Beck. Nobody here even knows what the story is. GlennBeckblahblahblah.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    “The press and I have different jobs to do. My job is to be president; [their] job is to keep me humble. Frankly, I think I’m doing my job better.”—Barack Obama at the White House Correspondents’ dinner last night

    This one’s too easy.

  • Richard Willmer

    I am not going put Beck’s case for him. I looks pretty clear to me what he is proposing. It is incumbent on him and his sympathizers to make their case.

    Anyway, here are GB’s tweetings: https://twitter.com/glennbeck (I suspect that the ‘direction of travel’ – in order to avoid embarrassment at some point in the future? – is to ‘decouple’ the issues of the Boston bombings and Alharbi’s immigration status … but his initial utterances looked very much like suggestions that the Federal Government was effectively complicit in the murder of those three people and the injury of many many more – an extremely serious accusation.)

  • Tom Van Dyke

    I am not going put Beck’s case for him.

    Oh, you would if you could. But you can’t come up with a smoking gun, so you’re just going to keep blowing noxious smoke.

    Typical of this stuff. Let’s not pretend anyone here is any better than Beck.

  • Richard Willmer

    I’m not looking for a smoking gun, Tom. I’m just questioning Beck’s accusations.

    I think you are getting muddled or overwrought or both.

  • Richard Willmer

    (But just on this ‘better than Beck’ thing you seem to have taken up as your latest theme: I do not use a commercial media outlet from which I could make money effectively to accuse governments of complicity in murder. So, yes, in this regard I AM ‘better than Beck’! And proud of it! Interestingly enough, I have used media to put cases on other issues, but never for any personal financial gain of any kind.)

  • Tom Van Dyke

    I guess you’re not going to back up your attack on Beck, then.

    Amazing how some people–not just you–know everytime Glenn Beck takes a dump, but know nothing about what the President of the United States is up to.

    Did you know that right after the bombing, President Obama insinuated it may have been the work of Tea Party types?


    Now the only question is whether the people who are all over Beck’s shit are wilfully ignorant, disingenuous, or just need a wakeup call like this.

  • Richard Willmer

    Just to clarify, Tom: are you saying that Beck has NOT at least suggested that the Administration is complicit in the murder of those three persons in Boston on 15 April 2013? Is that what you are saying? (I just want to be clear about your position regarding Beck’s theory.)

  • Richard Willmer

    No, Tom! According to the link in your comment above, Axelrod said what MIGHT be in the President’s mind. He did not say that Obama had actually suggested anything specific of that kind.

    There have been a number of ‘home grown’ bombers and shooters in the USA in recent years. Over here, most of us thought, as we first became aware of news of these murders and injuries, that it could be either an attack by a ‘recognized terror group’ (or sympathizers of the same) or the work of an ‘indigenous’ person. I’m sure many on your side of The Pond thought similarly.

  • Richard Willmer

    As a little ‘light relief’: when I was chairing the ‘council of elders’ at my church, I soon acquired the nickname ‘Kim Jong Willmer’!

    B-) (I’ve just learned to do that and am pleased as punch!)

    Sorry, Warren – strictly and blatantly irrelevant, I know!

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Just to clarify, Tom: are you saying that Beck has NOT at least suggested that the Administration is complicit in the murder of those three persons in Boston on 15 April 2013?

    I don’t know. Nobody here has quoted Beck directly. I think at this point, he’s saying the administration screwed up by letting a suspected terrorist into the country in the first place. But absent any direct quotes of Beck, all we have is a lot of hot air on that too.

    No, Tom! According to the link in your comment above, Axelrod said what MIGHT be in the President’s mind.

    You’re right. It was Obama’s adviser who made the insinuation. Which is still more important–egregious–than anything an infotainer like Beck says.

    The point is, certain people are a lot more concerned with what’s going on in the Toy Department. than in the White House. And that’s how the man managed to get re-elected.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Here’s the left-wing Toy Department. Where’s the outrage? If it weren’t for double standards, we wouldn’t have any atall.

    Axelrod isnt the first talking head to inject such points into news coverage of the attack. Without any evidence whatsoever, media mouthpieces have been suggesting that the incident may have been carried out by a “home grown” radical, potentially in the vein of OKC bomber Timothy McVeigh.

    BBC News coverage suggested that “chatter within the intelligence services” indicates that right wing extremists could be behind the attack, with analysts noting that the bombing occurred on Patriot’s Day, the holiday that commemorates the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. The OKC bombing in 1995 was also carried out on this day, the third Monday in April.

    CNN’s Wolf Blitzer took that insinuation even further, noting “It is a state holiday, in addition to the Boston Marathon. It is a state holiday in Massachusetts today, called Patriots’ Day. And who knows if that had anything at all to do with these twin explosions?”

    MSNBC’s Chris Matthews also theorized that the bombing could be the result of a protest against federal income taxes.

    “As you point out, and I just forgot, I filed already. It’s filing day for the federal income tax, which does cause some emotions around the country – sometimes in the wrong parts of the brain anyway,” Matthews said during his show:

    In comments to the media, Richard Barrett, the former United Nations co-ordinator for the al-Qaeda and Taliban monitoring team said that the timing of the attack on Patriots’ Day and the relatively small size of the devices suggested the work of a domestic extremist.

    Barrett, who is now senior director at the Qatar International Academy for Security Studies (QIASS), said: “At the moment it looks more likely that it was a right-wing terrorist incident, rather than an al Qaeda attack because of the size of the devices.”

  • Richard Willmer

    Are you really telling us, Tom, that Beck has NOT at least suggested that the Federal Government is part of a conspiracy concerning the Boston bombings?

    You know as well as the rest of us that there is much out there that shows Beck has suggested such a conspiracy. You wanted a quote form Beck. Well, here is one for you: “We don’t know at this point how [the Saudi national Abdul Rohman Ali Alharbi] was involved … but I do know he was involved [in the Boston bombing.]”

    Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/glenn-beck-conspiracy-beck-alleges-coverup-theory-on-boston-bombing-suspect-video-94611/#pbQFXFbU7t04aS1W.99

    Coupled with other things he has said, I think what has said (take a look at his tweetlets) makes his position very clear.

    Suggesting such a conspiracy is light years away from initial speculation on what kind of person or persons might have been responsible. There is really no comparison. My interpretation of the Axelrod piece was that the Administration was keeping an open mind at that early stage. Are you able to pinpoint anything he said that was definitely ‘slanted’? I doubt it, but by all means have a go.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Where’s the direct quote of Beck? This is a joke.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    I mean the updated one. Yes, he alleged Abdul Rohman Ali Alharbi was involved, which was a rush to judgemnet. but I believe he’s walked that back and merely alleges some squirrelly ass-covering happened.

    Meanwhile, a White House adviser insinuates the right wing was involved, but you don’t care. Numerous left wing voices [even the BBC, but I repeat myself] suggest right-wing involvement [and do NOT insinuate radical Islam as the culprit] but you just happily gloss over all that.

    Double standards.

  • Richard Willmer

    It’s in the video (see the bottom of the page). No joke.

    Here it is again: “We don’t know at this point how [the Saudi national Abdul Rohman Ali Alharbi] was involved … but I do know he was involved [in the Boston bombing.]”

    Do you still tell us that Beck is not suggesting that the Federal Government is involved in a conspiracy regarding these murders?

  • Richard Willmer

    On the BBC coverage: my strong recollection was that a number of possibilities, including both ‘militant islamists’ and ‘extreme rightists’, were mentioned in the reports. Such a position strikes me as entirely reasonable.

    Now that the situation with you view of Beck’s statements has said has been clarified, I would be grateful if you were to say precisely what it is in Axelrod’s statement that suggests any kind of unjustiable ‘slant’ on the part of the Administration’s thinking in those hours after the outrage.

  • Richard Willmer

    *unjustifiable ‘slant’*

  • Richard Willmer

    (BTW, I agree with your suggestion that Beck’s ‘direction of travel’ is towards ‘decoupling’ the questions over Alharbi’s status from the murders in Boston.)

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Do you still tell us that Beck is not suggesting that the Federal Government is involved in a conspiracy regarding these murders?

    Are you phrasing this dishonestly on purpose?

    Beck was alleging–and likely continues to, except you won’t update his position–that the Obama admin screwed up by letting Abdul Rohman Ali Alharbi into the country despite him being flagged as a potential terrorist, and presumably banned from entering the US.

    Are you denying Beck has walked back his original allegation of Abdul Rohman Ali Alharbi direct involvement in the bombing? I ask, because you show zero interest in setting out the record forthrightly for the reader. You seem to be happy with winning the argument dishonestly if that’s what it takes, the actual truth being of no concern.

    If the administration screwed up and let a potential terrorist into the country, we don’t care. You know, reality. All that matters is slamming Beck for a loose remark he made a week ago.

  • Richard Willmer

    You’re ‘sharpening up’ your act a little, Tom.

    Beck has in effect made a very serious allegation which he probably now regrets. Why doesn’t he apologize for that? That might even help his credibility.

    He didn’t suggest that a mistake might have been made, and that any ‘link’ with these murders was merely coincidental; he set out a position that might lead many a reasonable person to conclude that was suggesting that the Administration was at least to some extent knowingly complicit in the matter of these murders. (Do you contest the notion that he effectively did this?)

  • Tom Van Dyke

    I have no idea. You quoted him directly only once, in the most narrow way possible, from a week ago. Like all these Barton/Beck bashes, the full story is never told.

    I won’t hold Beck out as the paragon of truth because there’s no %age in it, but it’s been my experience that whereas Beck just shoots his mouth off, his critics are intentionally disingenuous.

    And that’s what I’m talkin’ bout.

  • Richard Willmer

    On what grounds do you accuse Beck’s critics of being ‘intentionally disingenuous’ while Beck is not?

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Because nobody in this thread incl the original post has stated the case against Beck fully and forthrightly?

    At least when Beck goes for it, he lets it all hang out.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren
  • Tom Van Dyke

    Old trick. My argument’s behind the curtain over there. My compliments, though, it works–all attack, defend nothing.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    These people agree with you without even understanding what they’re agreeing with. That’s an awesome power, man. I’m glad I don’t have it.

  • Richard Willmer

    My understanding is that what Warren is effectively saying is that Beck has, in his suggestion of conspiracy and/or complicity on the part of the Administration, gone well beyond what the evidence allows. He is also suggesting that it is difficult to dispel, or even argue against, a ‘conspiracy theory’ which fits with people’s ‘requirements’ (one such ‘requirement’ of those who tend to agree with Beck is to implicate a government they don’t like).

    Do others engage in this kind of activity? Yes, of course they do. We all have our ‘agendas’, and you, Tom, gave us a little peep at yours when you said above: “The point is, certain people are a lot more concerned with what’s going on in the Toy Department. than in the White House. And that’s how the man managed to get re-elected.” Clearly you would have preferred it if President Obama had not been re-elected – which is okay, but I suggest that that may ‘inform’ your particular view of the matter we are discussing here.

    If you look at the Beck tweet thread I posted earlier, you will see, up to around 19 April, Beck was saying how horrified he was that the suspects were Americans and how much he despised them, but also that the suspects (Tamerlan Tsarnaev died on the 18th) should be treated according to law – an absolutely correct view, of course. It may be that he (Beck) was a man looking for ‘answers’ with which he was more comfortable.

    It would seem that federal authorities are looking at a possible foreign link, although the position up to now has been ‘they (the suspects) appear to have acted alone’. Might such a link, of it exists, involve Alharbi? It’s possible, though what is really important is to find out what any possible foreign links really are. I’m far from convinced that obsessing about Alharbi will help this process: such ‘obsession’ smacks of stating the answer before one has properly asked the question.

    Another point: we must remember that containing the problem of ‘militant islamist terror’ involves intelligence work; if it is the case the Administration is being ‘coy’ about why Alharbi is in the Unites State, then there might be reason(s) for that which are rather different from those suggested by Beck …

  • ken

    Tom Van Dyke says:

    April 29, 2013 at 1:26 am

    “These people agree with you without even understanding what they’re agreeing with.”

    No, many people here know exactly what they are agreeing with. That Beck has latched on to a conspiracy theory and won’t let go. And frankly, for anyone familiar with Beck’s tactics, that is hardly a stretch to believe.

    “That’s an awesome power, man. I’m glad I don’t have it.”

    Warren has shown over and over he bases his comments on reliable information, he is willing to honestly engage in debate/discussion about the accuracy and significance of that information, and allow critics who disagree with him a chance to voice their own evidence. It’s not a “power”, it is simply called “credibility.” And you are right Tom, you don’t have it.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    My understanding is that what Warren is effectively saying is that Beck has, in his suggestion of conspiracy and/or complicity on the part of the Administration

    You just proved my point. That’s what this post is implying, hiding behind the paraphrases of Beck in an internet article. But that’s misleading and you just proved that’s the misleading impression left by Warren. “Complicity” is not what Beck’s getting at atall, ala the “Truthers.” He’s saying the admin screwed up by letting the guy in country and is now trying to cover it up.

    None of you have any definitive knowledge beck is wrong. They slimed Breitbart on the Pigford incident but years later, he turned out to be right.

    Too late. That’s how the game is played. By the time the truth is finally unburied, Obama already got away clean.


    And that’s been my point all along.

    Of course you’re defending stuff you don’t know is true.

  • Warren Throckmorton

    I posted a link to a portion of Beck’s broadcast, I didn’t interpret or paraphrase anything.

  • ken

    Tom Van Dyke says:

    April 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    “He’s saying the admin screwed up by letting the guy in country and is now trying to cover it up.”

    No. Beck is insinuating that the guy had something to do with the boston bombing. And Beck is using the questions over his status as a smoke screen to hide the fact he has no evidence to support the claim that Alharbi had anything to do with the bombing (other than he was initially questioned by the FBI).

  • Tom Van Dyke

    I posted a link to a portion of Beck’s broadcast, I didn’t interpret or paraphrase anything.

    I was speaking of the original post, which contained no direct quotes from Beck, just a confusing maze of links to The Blaze and something called Right Wing Watch. You left your argument behind an ominous curtain again–old trick, pure attack with nothing but ominous blowing smoke to have to defend. No wonder even your fluffers don’t know what the story is.

    Not that it stops them from agreeing with it.

    At this point it’s true Beck hasn’t presented his evidence. But you have no way of knowing he doesn’t have any. And in Breitbart’s case, he was right all along and was vindicated years later.


    But in the meantime they slimed the hell out of him. And that, my friends, is how this game is played and you’re the useful idiots in furthering it.

  • ken

    Tom Van Dyke says:

    April 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    “I was speaking of the original post, which contained no direct quotes from Beck, just a confusing maze of links to The Blaze and something called Right Wing Watch.”

    Wasn’t confusing to me. The 1st link Warren gave showed the 2ndary effects of how others (from Beck’s own website) were taking up Beck’s cause and the 2nd was a rebuttal to Beck’s claims. Both of those links also had links to video of Beck making his outlandish, misleading and unsupported accusations.

    Once again Tom, you seem to be the only one who has a problem understanding what Warren is saying.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Nobody has any idea of what YOU’RE saying, Ken, that’s for sure. Except that you agree with Warren.

  • Boo

    You guys all realize that Tom is purely trolling at this point, right? There’s no point in continuing to respond to him.

  • Richard Willmer

    I don’t think that Tom is a troll, Boo, but I do think that he is hoping that, by saying the same thing over and over again, he will convince those who disagree with him.

    Given things like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkSFW1ZQKCk&feature=youtu.be), I think it is very difficult to claim that Beck’s agenda was merely to highlight the possibility of some kind of administrative error with regard to Alharbi’s admission to the USA. Tom’s apparent (at least towards the end of his string of comments) contention is this is really all Beck is now saying, and, if he (Tom) is to be taken seriously, he needs to provide some kind of evidence to back his position.

    A wider point: it is absolutely proper for the likes of President Obama to be ‘held to account’; such is essential in a democracy. I find it ironic that the methods used by some of Obama’s more extreme opponents are actually counter-productive. We all know that the political scene in the US is probably more divided than it has been for some decades; ‘the Right’ were stunned by the decisive defeat they suffered in last November’s presidential election (of the last four elections, the ‘margin of victory’ was second only to that in 2008), and some are ‘out for Obama’s blood’. In the kind of atmosphere there is at the moment, it is very difficult to assess clearly what is ‘true’. If they are to do so successfully, those who wish to hold the President to account need to eschew anything that has a dubious basis in fact. Otherwise it is really only their own credibility that will suffer.

  • Patrocles

    My personal concern is more with the cognitive psychology of Dr. Throckmorton and its empiricist/positivist presuppositions. (As said before, I rely on Karl Popper – who, by the way, did his doctorate in psychology before dabbling with philosophy.)

    Richard Willmer: “My understanding is that what Warren is effectively saying is that Beck has, in his suggestion of conspiracy and/or complicity on the part of the Administration, gone well beyond what the evidence allows.” Now, that’s just the point in question: It’s completely normal to go beyond what the evidence allows; and we do it all day. It’s also quite normal to be perseverant in one’s beliefs. There are yet two recommendations: 1. Debate your theory in the light of possible alternatives. 2. Look for “crucial” tests, i.e. those which would confirm one theory but would disconfirm the alternate theory.

    Willmer: “He (Warren) is also suggesting that it is difficult to dispel, or even argue against, a ‘conspiracy theory’ which fits with people’s ‘requirements’.” No, it’s not really SO difficult – if you are in possession of the needed information (like, e.g., Janet Napolitano). It’s only difficult if you are a poor guy who tries to defend the government without the information the government has. Otherwise, you can give a narrative which is more detailed than your contrahent’s, and you can concentrate on the “crucial” details which prove your point and disconfirm the other’s. (That wouldn’t stop the debate completely: The details can be called in question, too, and that would afford an even more detailed exploration. Also, your contrahent might try a variant narrative which avoids the disconfirmed point. But if he’s wrong, his variants tend to become less and less informative and lose relevance. That’s the way wrong theories are eliminated in science.)

  • Richard Willmer

    Come on, Pat – it is pretty clear what Beck wants us to think.

    As for Napolitano: well, there may be very good reasons why she should not ‘tell all’ (if there is ‘something to tell’, that is).

  • James Ferguson

    It’s basically Benghazi all over again, with the right wing trying to making a mountain out of a molehill. It may be revealed that Tamerlan had connections back in Dagestan, but there is nothing to the Saudi connection. The whole thing was very ameteurist for an al Qaeda plot. Struck me more as two kids with an extremely big chip on their shoulders and had spent the last year or so plotting an attack. In this way, they are no different from the two kids who shot up Columbine. The amazing part to me was how they felt they would get away with it. Dzhokhar returned to school the next day.

    As for Beck, when has he ever relied on “evidence?” He is all about stirring up controversy. This is what sells advertisement for his programming. He grabbed at the first person available and has run with it since, precisely because he has nothing.

  • Richard Willmer

    Well, it seems that, regarding the Benghazi attacks, there was some kind of ‘covering up’ of the results of the initial CIA assessment: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22483768

    (I find it interesting that some people think that the killing of Bin Laden should have significantly ‘degraded’ Al Qaeda’s capability; I think that this shows a misunderstanding of the nature of Al Qaeda, which is more of a ‘brand’ than it is an organization. The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ – about which President Obama was [IMO understandably] ‘cool’ – is probably the biggest help that Al Qaeda has received recently.)

    Of course, one cannot reasonably conclude from this that there was a ‘cover up’ or ‘conspiracy’ regarding he Boston bombings: Beck has yet to produce any real evidence of this.

  • Richard Willmer

    (And the news of the apparent altering of the wording of the CIA assessment was broken by a mainstream news channel, the likes of which – according to ‘hard right’ – do not do such things that might embarrass the Administration. One could reasonably take the view that, if ABC had evidence of a ‘cover up’ / ‘conspiracy’ relating to the murders in Boston, they would have mentioned it. But they haven’t – suggesting that they don’t.)

  • Richard Willmer

    (Of course, ‘adjusting’ intelligence assessments is nothing new: Tony Bin Blair did it to justify piling into Iraq; and, on your side of the Pond, you were told about WMDs and Saddam’s links to Al Qaeda – quite wrongly on both counts, as turned out!)

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Of course, one cannot reasonably conclude from this that there was a ‘cover up’ or ‘conspiracy’ regarding he Boston bombings: Beck has yet to produce any real evidence of this.

    All true, Richard. But the “respectable” media is so corrupt, so in the bag for the left, that no allegation of a massive coverup is preposterous anymore. Oh, “that’s just Fox News,” as though that invalidates any potential scandal, is lazy and dishonest.

    The Monica Lewinsky scandal was buried by every “respectable” news organization. It was revealed by “right-wing” Matt Drudge, who until this day is reviled by the left [although his "sources" are usually reading what's tucked between the lines of the establishment media's reporting].

    Incompetence at Benghazi should have seriously threatened Barack Obama’s re-election. Instead, the issue was successfully killed–until now, when it really doesn’t matter.


  • Richard Willmer

    I think it could be argued that the whole Iraq business should have sunk Bush in 2004. These things happen in politics.

  • Richard Willmer

    (I don’t want to harp on about Iraq, but do feel that, of three examples in these last few comments, this is by far the most serious – and bloody. And I don’t recall the right-wing press making much of the flawed assessments [or worse] that led to the aggression in Iraq … but by all means correct me if I’m wrong about that, Tom.)

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Well, you’re changing the subject, Richard. The point was that the press buried Benghazi and helped re-elect Obama. The other breaking scandal, that of the Internal Revenue Service purposely targeting and harassing conservative groups, might also have helped Obama–or at least exposing it might have hurt his re-election chances. [When the press knew, I don't know. What we do know is that they're astoundingly uncurious about the Obama record.]

    As to the Bush thing–which has been a waste of time to litigate on the internet since I dunno, 2005–I’ll only say that in the UK, Tony Blair indeed insisted on the WMD argument to sell the war to you.

    In the US, however, our left wing and sometimes our press has distorted the WMD issue–it was only one argument among many, the primary argument being that Saddam continued to brazenly violate the terms of his peace treaty/UN resolutions from the First Gulf War of 1991.

    This is why Bush’s opponent in 2004, John Kerry, couldn’t beat the WMD drum–Kerry himself had voted for the Authorization for Military Force in 2001, and the WMD story went back to President Clinton, not just Bush.

    How soon we forget–everything goes down the memory hole these days.


    Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Arizona (CNN) — Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry said Monday he would not have changed his vote to authorize the war against Iraq, but said he would have handled things “very differently” from President Bush.

    Bush’s campaign has challenged Kerry to give a yes-or-no answer about whether he stood by the October 2002 vote which gave Bush authority to use military force against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

    The question of going to war in Iraq has become a major issue on the campaign trail, especially in light of the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been found there.

    Intelligence reports that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was a major rationale for going to war.

    The U.S. senator from Massachusetts said the congressional resolution gave Bush “the right authority for the president to have.”

    But he told reporters on a campaign swing through Arizona, “I would have done this very differently from the way President Bush has.”


    Quotes from Democrats about WMD

    “One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.”

    President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

    Quoted on CNN

    “If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.” — President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

    Quoted on CNN

    Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.” — Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

    Transcript of remarks made at a Town Hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio — from USIA

    “He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.” — Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb 18, 1998

    Transcript of remarks made at a Town Hall Meeting in Columbus, Ohio — From USIA

    “We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the US Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.” — Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Tom Daschle (D-SD), John Kerry (D — MA), and others Oct. 9, 1998

    See letter to Clinton by Levin, Daschle, Kerry and others

    “Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.” — Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

    Statement by Rep. Nancy Pelosi — House of Representatives website

    “Hussein has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.” — Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

    Answer to a question at the Chicago Council of Foreign Affairs

    “There is no doubt that . Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.” — Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001

    Letter to President George W. Bush signed by 9 Congressmen, including Democrats Harold Ford, Jr., Joseph Lieberman, and Benjamin Gilman.

    ” We should be hell bent on getting those weapons of mass destruction, hell bent on having a credible approach to them, but we should try to do it in a way which keeps the world together and that achieves our goal which is removing the… defanging Saddam..” — Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Dec. 9, 2002

    Online with Jim Lehrer — Public Broadcasting Service

    “We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.” — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

    Transcript of Gore’s speech, printed in USA Today

    “Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.” — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

    Transcript of Gore’s speech, printed in USA Today

    “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.” — Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

    U.S. Senate — Ted Kennedy

    “The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…” — Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

    Congressional Record — Robert Byrd

    “When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region. I will vote yes because I believe it is the best way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable.” —Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9,2002

    Congressional Record — Sen. John F. Kerry

    “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years .. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.” — Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

    Congressional Record — Sen. Jay Rockefeller

    “He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do” — Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

    Congressional Record — Rep. Henry Waxman

    “In 1998, the United States also changed its underlying policy toward Iraq from containment to regime change and began to examine options to effect such a change, including support for Iraqi opposition leaders within the country and abroad. In the 4 years since the inspectors, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaida members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001.

    “It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein wiill continue to increase his capability to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East which, as we know all too well, affects American security.”

    Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

    Congressional Record — Sen. Hillary Clinton

    “The Joint Chiefs should provide Congress with casualty estimates for a war in Iraq as they have done in advance of every past conflict. These estimates should consider Saddam’s possible use of chemical or biological weapons against our troops.

    “Unlike the gulf war, many experts believe Saddam would resort to chemical and biological weapons against our troops in a desperate -attempt to save his regime if he believes he and his regime are ultimately threatened.”

    Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) Oct. 8, 2002

    Congressional Record — Sen. Ted Kennedy

    “There is one thing we agree upon, and that is that Saddam Hussein is an evil man. He is a tyrant. He has used chemical and biological weapons on his own people. He has disregarded United Nations resolutions calling for inspections of his capabilities and research and development programs. His forces regularly fire on American and British jet pilots enforcing the no-fly zones in the north and south of his country. And he has the potential to develop and deploy nuclear weapons… — Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

    Congressional Record — Sen. Bob Graham

    But inspectors have had a hard time getting truthful information from the Iraqis they interview. Saddam Hussein terrorizes his people, including his weapons scientists, so effectively that they are afraid to be interviewed in private, let alone outside the country. They know that even the appearance of cooperation could be a death sentence for themselves or their families.

    “To overcome this obstacle, and to discover and dismantle Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, UNMOVIC and the IAEA must interview relevant persons securely and with their families protected, even if they protest publicly against this treatment. Hans Blix may dislike running ”a defection agency,’ but that could be the only way to obtain truthful information about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction — Sen. Joseph Biden

    Congressional Record — Sen. Joseph Biden

    “With respect to Saddam Hussein and the threat he presents, we must ask ourselves a simple question: Why? Why is Saddam Hussein pursuing weapons that most nations have agreed to limit or give up? Why is Saddam Hussein guilty of breaking his own cease-fire agreement with the international community? Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don’t even try, and responsible nations that have them attempt to limit their potential for disaster? Why did Saddam Hussein threaten and provoke? Why does he develop missiles that exceed allowable limits? Why did Saddam Hussein lie and deceive the inspection teams previously? Why did Saddam Hussein not account for all of the weapons of mass destruction which UNSCOM identified? Why is he seeking to develop unmanned airborne vehicles for delivery of biological agents?

    Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), October 9, 2002

    Congressional Record — Sen. John F. Kerry

    “Saddam Hussein’s regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal.

    “Iraq has continued to seek nuclear weapons and develop its arsenal in defiance of the collective will of the international community, as expressed through the United Nations Security Council. It is violating the terms of the 1991 cease-fire that ended the Gulf war and as many as 16 Security Council resolutions, including 11 resolutions concerning Iraq’s efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. — Sen. John Edwards, October 10, 2002

    Congressional Record — Sen. John Edwards

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Plotting Against You Dept.:

    Sweartagod, buried halfway through a short news story on Page 20 of my LA Times—

    “On June 29, 2011, Lerner was told at a meeting that groups with “tea party,” “patriot” or “9/12 Project” in their names were being flagged for additional review of their applications for tax-exempt status, according to a section of the inspector general’s draft report obtained by the Associated Press. The 9/12 Project was started by conservative TV personality Glenn Beck.

    Bold face mine.


  • Richard Willmer

    The reality is that all media are corrupt to some extent – people are involved!

    As for the latest news on those event s in Benghazi: it was ABC who broke it. Are you, Tom, suggesting that they knew all along, but kept it to themselves for political reasons?

    As for Kerry-Edwards apparent ‘support’ for the Iraq war: I suspect that was partly for electoral reasons.