Future Shock: Did Rahm Create the Tea Partiers?

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rahm_emanuel_at_obama_inauguration.jpg
Before I get too far into this post, while I don’t believe that Rahm Emanuel is serving the Obama White House well as Chief of Staff, I do think he’s brilliant and would excel in other roles for the team — but that is not the purpose of this post.
Given current trends in the country, I can easily imagine “conspiracy theorists” (not me) in the future looking back in history at the Tea Party movement as having been a Rahm Emanuel creation. That would have been, in retrospect, sheer political genius.
After all, looking back in time, one would see that the Tea Partiers were hatched during Obama’s time. They successfully hijacked the Republican Party and executed or exiled the best Republican talent. And then, when folks woke to their senses, the Republican Party will have imploded into national irrelevance.
Of course, Rahm did not create the Tea Party movement — but it is taking pressure off of the Obama administration on a lot of fronts. Obama can achieve nothing and still look like a better option in 2012 than what a 21st century network of pugnacious know-nothings looks like.
Jacob Heilbrunn, author of They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons captures this in an LA Times oped he’s done:

The job of the GOP is to form coalitions with the tea partyers, they say, or go out of business. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele has been playing footsie with the tea partyers, discussing the November election with about 30 of their leaders Tuesday.
Whether the GOP can permanently harness the energies of the tea party, however, is another matter. The insurgent party may well drive the GOP so far to the right that it proves something of an albatross in November. It’s also hard to see how the GOP could deliver on the tea party’s demand for cutting federal entitlement programs, which is political suicide. Indeed, Republicans might well prove as ineffectual as Democrats in attacking the deficit, which they compiled in the first place during the Bush presidency.
No doubt third parties such as the Know-Nothings have historically enjoyed a short life span in America. Historian Richard Hofstadter famously observed, “Third parties are like bees: Once they have stung, they die.” But the tea party may wield a very potent stinger. Its fortunes likely will be bolstered by the towering federal budget deficits that the administration is accruing.
According to conservative firebrand Patrick Buchanan: “Tea partiers now play the role of Red Army commissars who sat at machine guns behind their own troops to shoot down any soldier who retreated or ran. Republicans who sign on to tax hikes cannot go home again.”
As conservative veterans urge the GOP to reclaim the small-government mantle, then, the question hovering over them is whether they will successfully harness the volatile insurgency led by the tea party, or will they themselves be swept aside as part of regime change? It would be no small irony if they were displaced by the very kind of insurrectionist spirit they embodied 50 years ago in Connecticut.

I’ve helped launch a growing “surge of concern” about Rahm Emanuel and others who may be great patriots and loyal to President Obama but who are badly undermining him and the success of his presidency.
But seriously, Rahm, if you did launch the Tea Partiers, or if Axe or Valerie or Gibbs did — call me. Promise to take off the heat and not tell anyone if you got these folks going.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

44 comments on “Future Shock: Did Rahm Create the Tea Partiers?

  1. questions says:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-0228-climate-science-20100302,0,1822291.story
    From the Chicago Tribune, a right wing newspaper. A balanced look at what “we” know about climate change.
    Nadine, give it a read.

    Reply

  2. questions says:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-0228-climate-science-20100302,0,1822291.story
    From the Chicago Tribune, a right wing newspaper. A balanced look at what “we” know about climate change.
    Nadine, give it a read.

    Reply

  3. Sweetness says:

    The problem is, questions, that Nadine appears to believe that global warming is, in fact, a hoax. A lie that’s been ginned up to fill the coffers of a bunch of academics and, I guess, windmill and solar panel makers. She has no uncertainty about it.
    This may be illogical in the face of everything that’s been said and observed, but I believe that is her position–a certainty that this is a lie.
    Moreover, to the degree that the planet is warming, she believes that the human contribution is nil or negligible. So there’s nothing, really, to be done, except respond to whatever phenomena appear. If sea levels rise, move inland and upland. Plant sugar cane in Otawa. Turn NYC into the Venice of America and put all the utilities on the roofs. That sort of thing.
    My take anyway…

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  4. questions says:

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/3/3/828855/-Eight-BRILLIANT-videos-debunking-climate-change-skepticismMUST-SEE-
    I just found this kos diary. Have not yet watched the videos, but I’m guessing there’s something worth seeing in all of this.
    Nadine, the thing about climate change that you need to keep in mind is that if there’s even a chance it’s correct, then we probably need to do something.
    Remember, you worry about terrorism even though a lot of other people don’t and their lack of worry drives you crazy. You worry about Palestinian attacks on Israel even though a lot of other people don’t. Their lack of worry again drives you crazy. You see higher likelihoods and want firmer action because of the risk and the devastation.
    So take your concern about terror and Hamas and apply that concern to climate change issues.
    If there’s a chance that: climate change will lead to food and water disruptions that even the military is increasingly concerned about, climate change will lead to the northward shift of a range of tropical diseases, climate change will alter precipitation and drought conditions, climate change will increase deglacialization and cause coastal problems around the world, climate change will unleash methane from the no longer frozen tundra and methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas, climate change will so increase the acidification of the oceans that the ocean food chain will be profoundly disrupted…even if there’s only a small chance of this, it would seem that the effects are worrisome enough that we probably ought to do something about what might actually be the cause.
    Before you go all climategate on me, remember that lay people often misread what academics do, that anti-scientism and anti-intellectualism are really unflattering positions to be taking up, that even small chances for devastating disasters probably ought to be thought through, that the VAST number of scientists involved in climate research is well beyond the number of people who would be needed for a 9/11 conspiracy theory, so any kind of conspiracy reading is akin to going to the dark side.
    Take a more moderate position if you like, even if I’m not convinced that super moderation is called for here… and still you should find that reducing the use of carbon and other greenhouse gases is probably a good idea.
    Don’t go full Fox, and remember that the entrenched interests for denial on this issue are huge, powerful, loaded with money, and really don’t want to see a shift away from coal and oil. It’s a big transformation in wealth and people will resist. Think about whom you stand with and why they care so much.

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  5. Sweetness says:

    Nadine, I just went to Climatedepot. Obviously I haven’t read through the articles yet. But just on the face of it, it strikes me as tendentiously political.
    For one thing, they’ve jumped on the Al Gore hobby horse, conservatives’ favorite whipping boy, with all four feet.
    One link prominently features the “climatologist” James Inhofe calling for Gore’s Nobel to be taken away. Obviously, this is NOT science. It’s politics and Republican/conservative politics.
    But let’s take a step back. Why the demonization of Al Gore at all? He’s no longer running for president. So why all the anger? Let’s say he really did say and think he invented the Internet. At MOST, this is a fib, and a harmless one at that. He didn’t stand to make any money off of it. And to the degree that he could’ve benefited from it politically, well, that’s gone. So you’d think they’d lay off him. But no; they’re just heating up.
    And what of Gore’s views on climate change or global warming? From the SCIENTIFIC point of view, Gore’s worst sin is that he might be wrong. And that STILL hasn’t been shown. But here we have “scientist” Inhofe calling for Gore’s Nobel to be revoked.
    Is this the sort of aggregation of SCIENTIFIC views and news you put your trust in? I wouldn’t. Not even if I were a conservative. If I’m going to set sail with someone, I want that person to understand the ACTUAL wind patterns and ocean currents–not be someone who is attuned to the political winds. Or is blowing hot air.
    Here’s another site maintained by working climate scientists…
    “RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists.”
    AFAIK, none of these guys is running for office or aligned with the liberal or conservative movements.

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  6. Sweetness says:

    Well, Nadine, I guess we will see when the science becomes clearer and these controversies are dealt with. IOW, nothing you’ve said thus far is reason enough to say that the theory is incorrect. In fact, if all these people haven’t had access to the data, how do they know the data have been falsified and the theory is incorrect?
    Seems to me they want to say two, contradictory things: They’ve been shut out AND they know the theory and data don’t show what others claim they do. I dunno. Again, if there’s this much uncertainty, then one would expect some conservatives to be pro-climate change–but I don’t see a one. The closest you come is McCain saying let’s play it safe and pray to all Gods.
    “They will have to get themselves another scare story. There always is one. Overpopulation and starvation in the 1960s, global cooling in the 1970s, the rise of Japan in the 1980s, global warming in the 1990s and 2000s. They had an enormously lucrative run with AGW. But now the jig is up. Wait and you will see.”
    SN: Communism in the 1950s-60s? Islamofacism in the 2010s?
    “Side point on Spencer: intelligent design is not the same as creationism, though there is overlap. Intelligent design says that random mutation is not sufficient to explain the course of evolution; it does not specify a designer, which could be some other force in nature or an alien race for that matter, as well as a supernatural power. So, though it is a minority opinion, ID should not automatically disqualify a scientist as a religious nutcase.”
    SN: But he says “the theory of creation.” If it’s a “force in nature,” it is part of the natural world, not a watchmaker. The Blind Watchmaker pretty much showed a watchmaker wasn’t necessary to produce things like eyes.

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  7. nadine says:

    Several points, sweetness. First, we’re not just talking about Spencer*, not by a long shot. There are many many scientists who have spent years being abused as “deniers” and stonewalled on the data, whose doubts have now been eminently justified. Chris Horner, Lord Monckton, Steve McIntyre, James Delingpole, Anthony Watts et. al. Very many, and many less well known who belong to reputable meteorologlical institutes who can see the jig is up and are backing off AGW fast. Morano at climatedepot.com aggregates news on the subject; go have a look. The scientific credibility of the the IPCC, the chief authority manufacturing the appearance of consensus, has been shredded. It should have been shredded after 2001 when they published Mann’s bogus hockey stick. But the 2007 IPCC report is full of fundamental errors – the glaciers will melt in 30 years, half the rainforest will disappear, sea rise will drown half the Netherlands — none of it based on science, but on stories from environmentalist activists.
    “As to the hacked emails, they show unethical and unscientific behavior, but they don’t impugn the actual claims for climate change. The substance. I’ve read a bunch of them and read about them, and that point remains unchallenged, except insofar as the issue has been demagogued.”
    False on several points. It’s a big mistake to listen to Gore et al on this; they are blowing smoke as there conspiracy dissolves.
    There is zero evidence the emails were hacked in any fashion. That meme purely entered the press because the press was sympathetic to AGW talking points. The internal evidence of the emails is that they were gathered in response to a FOIA request, and then leaked by a whistleblower.
    The unethical behavior of the scientists does impune the science at many points. First, they refused to release data, spend literally years stonewalling critics, and conspired to destroy data and prevent critics from publishing in peer-reviewed journals; the emails say so. That way, they could and did abuse critics as “not being peer-reviewed”.
    Their emails made it clear that science came second to politics, and that they would gladly fudge the numbers to keep the “crisis” (and $$$) going – “hide the decline”, “we must get rid of the Medieval Warm Period”, etc.
    Furthermore, Climategate did not just expose emails, but programming code as well. Their programming code made it clear that their data “adjustments” cooked the data — there are cases where they just multiplied series by arbitrary factors to make the answers come out “right”, where “right” is showing abnormal amounts of late 20th century warming, even if you have to put it there.
    There is a long file of comments by a programmer called “HARRY_READ_ME.TXT” where it’s clear from his struggles that the scientists he worked for did not care about the data, were totally careless about archiving it, and were perfectly fine if Harry had to make stuff up to make the programs run, which he did.
    No Sweetness, AGW is coming unglued. They will have to get themselves another scare story. There always is one. Overpopulation and starvation in the 1960s, global cooling in the 1970s, the rise of Japan in the 1980s, global warming in the 1990s and 2000s. They had an enormously lucrative run with AGW. But now the jig is up. Wait and you will see.
    Side point on Spencer: intelligent design is not the same as creationism, though there is overlap. Intelligent design says that random mutation is not sufficient to explain the course of evolution; it does not specify a designer, which could be some other force in nature or an alien race for that matter, as well as a supernatural power. So, though it is a minority opinion, ID should not automatically disqualify a scientist as a religious nutcase.

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  8. Sweetness says:

    Sorry, Nadine, somehow my response got deleted. So I’ll summarize. You are right, in part. But the credibility, in this case, the scientific credibility, of sources matter.
    I would say that this quote makes me doubt the credibility of the man, Spencer, you are linking to. But if he thinks there’s MORE evidence for creationism than evolution, it doesn’t look good for him, at least in my book.
    As to the hacked emails, they show unethical and unscientific behavior, but they don’t impugn the actual claims for climate change. The substance. I’ve read a bunch of them and read about them, and that point remains unchallenged, except insofar as the issue has been demagogued.
    So yes, of course, the science and the claims need to be debated. But you’d think that if there were a genuine interest in a genuine scientific debate that at least a FEW Republicans and conservatives would be on the other side of the issue…and would be taking the possibility of climate change seriously. But it appears that the entire conservative establishment has MADE UP ITS MIND that this whole thing is a hoax.

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  9. nadine says:

    No, Sweetness, it is quite besides the point. We are not arguing about the mechanism of evolution. The point is that what Dr. Jones et. al. have been doing is not science,but conspiracy. That is by definition, since Dr. Jones can’t or won’t supply his data for checking by others.
    The Institute of Physics in the UK recently addressed the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry. I believe this is the first time a scientific organization has weighed in in such a critical fashion. A snippet:
    1. The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.
    2. The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself – most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change.

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  10. Sweetness says:

    Give you pause?
    On the subject of Intelligent design, Spencer wrote in 2005,
    “Twenty years ago, as a PhD scientist, I intensely studied the
    evolution versus intelligent design controversy for about two
    years. And finally, despite my previous acceptance of
    evolutionary theory as ‘fact,’ I came to the realization that
    intelligent design, as a theory of origins, is no more religious,
    and no less scientific, than evolutionism. . . . In the scientific
    community, I am not alone. There are many fine books out there
    on the subject. Curiously, most of the books are written by
    scientists who lost faith in evolution as adults, after they learned
    how to apply the analytical tools they were taught in college.”[3]
    He further states “I finally became convinced that the theory of
    creation actually had a much better scientific basis than the
    theory of evolution, for the creation model was actually better
    able to explain the physical and biological complexity in the
    world… Science has startled us with its many discoveries and
    advances, but it has hit a brick wall in its attempt to rid itself of
    the need for a creator and designer.”[22]

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  11. nadine says:

    Here is a sample analysis by Dr. Roy Spencer trying to compare Dr. Phil Jones’ CRU temperature data against independent NOAA temperature data for the US over thirty years, which finds an unaccountable extra 20% warming in Dr. Jones’s adjusted data.
    You’d like to compare Dr. Jone’s adjustments against his raw data to try to figure out what he was doing. After all, you would expect adjustments to lower temperature data to compensate for urban heat effects, not raise it. But you can’t compare, because the dog ate Dr. Jones’ raw data. So Dr. Spencer is using NOAA data instead.
    Do you understand how outrageous it is that one of the centers responsible for maintaining one of the three main global surface temperature sets, upon which the whole AGW theory is based, and for whose sake we are supposed to overturn our whole economies, says that LOST their raw data? But that’s alright, we should just trust them, they are the real scientists! UFB
    Spencer: Spurious warming demonstrated in CRU surface data
    27 02 2010
    Spurious Warming in the Jones U.S. Temperatures Since 1973
    by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
    INTRODUCTION
    As I discussed in my last post, I’m exploring the International Surface Hourly (ISH) weather data archived by NOAA to see how a simple reanalysis of original weather station temperature data compares to the Jones CRUTem3 land-based temperature dataset.
    While the Jones temperature analysis relies upon the GHCN network of ‘climate-approved’ stations whose number has been rapidly dwindling in recent years, I’m using original data from stations whose number has been actually growing over time. I use only stations operating over the entire period of record so there are no spurious temperature trends caused by stations coming and going over time. Also, while the Jones dataset is based upon daily maximum and minimum temperatures, I am computing an average of the 4 temperature measurements at the standard synoptic reporting times of 06, 12, 18, and 00 UTC.
    rest at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/27/spencer-spurious-warming-demonstrated-in-cru-surface-data/#more-16799

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  12. nadine says:

    Sweetness, you are behind the curve. There isn’t “SO much evidence” for climate change.
    There is a bunch of unverified models running on temperature sets that we now know have been fiddled and fudged, always in one direction, to increase late 20th century warming.* In other words, much of that evidence you kept hearing about never existed. Like the IPCC “scientific” claim that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035. Based on idle speculation, not science, but incorporated in the 2007 IPCC report anyway, with a bunch of equally dubious claims from the the World Wildlife Fund and other environment groups.
    Bear in the mind, that the whole theory was based on the claim that the global climate would be catastrophically warmed by raising atmospheric carbon dioxide from 300 parts per million to 450 parts per million (where it is now) to possible 600 parts per million in the future. IOW, changing the levels of a trace gas would wreck the planet — and CO2 is not even the chief greenhouse gas, that’s water vapor. All based on models full of unmeasurable (=unverifiable) feedback factors.
    Yet if you look in the past geologic eras, carbon dioxide has been that high or higher without frying the earth, and ice cores suggest that CO2 levels follow temp. changes; they don’t cause them.
    So the modelers needed very high standards of proof to show that at a minimum, they hadn’t confused cause and effect. They substituted data-fiddling and press-bullying instead. The latter worked like a charm, until lately. They put out bogus graphs like Mann’s hockey stick, which claimed the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age never happened. When Mann’s graph was exposed as bogus (by someone outside the climatologist cartel), the IPCC quietly withdrew it, but removed none of the arguments which had been based on it.
    If you just listen to the MSM, you would buy this stuff. But if you’ve been paying attention to the changing claims since the 1990s as I have, you know that this has been more propaganda than science for a long time. For years, the press has presented AGW as an unfalsifiable theory: everything “proves” it, heat, cold, storms, calm, wet, dry. There doesn’t exist a weather condition which can cast doubt on the theory, according to the press. They even helpfully changed the name from “global warming” to “climate change” to help the theory ride out the lack of predicted warming.
    Yet in the 1990s they were absolutely assuring us that if CO2 continued to go up (which it has), by 2010 we would be seeing such unprecedented warming that nobody could doubt the climate was seriously changing. Instead we’ve had 12 years of no warming/cooling, and they try to pretend everything is still going according to schedule!
    It’s coming unglued, Sweetness. The huge suppressed rumblings of doubt, of scientists furious at being punished for doing proper science that interfered with somebody else’s gravy train. The CRU leaked emails showed that the emperor is butt-nekkid; now that light is being shone on the the so-called science, its many glaring faults can’t be covered by up by the global warming political movement and their compliant press lackeys anymore. Not when the millions of sheep won’t stand to be sheered for $Trillions more to pay for this nonsense.
    * It’s not just “deniers” saying the temperature sets are unreliable; the UK Meteorological Office is doing a thorough review of the Hadley temperature set that CRU was responsible for.

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  13. Sweetness says:

    Nadine writes: “1. Global climate change denial. Count me in.
    Heard of Climategate? The whole AGW story is melting down.
    They cooked the data, questions. Before this, I knew AGW was
    based on unverified computer models; now I know it is based on
    unverified computer models run on top of cooked data. Did you
    see Phil Jone’s interview with the BBC last week where he admits
    that no statistically significant warming has occurred in the last
    15 years and the Medieval Warm Period might have been warmer
    than today? This from someone who a leading AGW advocate at
    CRU. Now he admits he lost his raw data. Or so he says. I
    suspect that he’d rather look a fool than a knave. At any rate,
    that’s not how you do science.”
    Please, there is SO much evidence for man’s contribution to
    climate change that these quibbles aren’t even disturbances in
    the force, as it were. Deniers pick on teeny tiny eensy beensy
    issues and pretend these pebbles can stand up to the avalanche
    of evidence bearing on down on their position.
    It’s fascinating that the Republicans has turned a scientific issue
    into a political issue…
    Nadine writes: “For a non-socialist, he’s spent his life
    surrounded by an amazing number of communists and
    socialists. What understanding of economics he has, seems
    grounded in Marxist theory — where do you think the whole
    “spread the wealth” idea comes from, anyway?”
    It was, among others’, TR’s idea. Remember the progressive
    income tax? The “rightful owners” bit is YOUR add on, not
    Obama’s.

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  14. Sweetness says:

    Wig, you jumped the shark with this one…
    “Tea Partiers revere anti-intellectual “know-nothings” like Sarah
    Palin. Today’s “faux-leftists” revere intellectual “know-nothings”
    like Noam Chomsky.”
    Sarah = Noam? Ah, no.

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  15. Sweetness says:

    Bacon writes: “On the supposed gullibility of Americans, you’re
    also wrong. I’m an American and I resent the classification.
    You’re probably one of those Kervick types who learned in the
    fourth grade that you were intellectually superior to your peers –
    – but if so you learned wrong. I happen to be fortunate to have
    grow up in a New England town meeting environment, and I
    believe to my core that when people — Americans, or anybody
    — are given the facts the majority will do the right thing.
    SN: Actually, that wasn’t Kervick’s point. The point was about
    thinking for oneself and having trust in one’s own ability to
    think through a problem to a correct conclusion–in the face of
    a lot of peer pressure, wrong thinking, or ignorance pushing you
    toward an incorrect conclusion.
    Bacon: On the contrary, when they are lied to by people who
    should know better, and who have the public trust, they can’t be
    expected to make intelligent decisions. Our objectives ought to
    be to curtail the liars and promote the truth, and not to run
    down our fellow citizens who at the core are just as good as we
    are, if not better. So much for your “Americans’ gullibility.”
    SN: “Can’t be expected to make intelligent decisions.” Really? I
    understand that a lot of people don’t have the time to dig into
    the news the way some here do. And lies do lead people astray.
    OTOH, a lot of “regular Americans” don’t have the inclination,
    either. That’s THEIR fault, not anyone else’s.
    And there’s some stuff ANYONE should know, IMO. For example,
    if you receive Medicare, you ought to know that it’s a
    government program and taxes pay for it. They know the
    military is run by the government; how hard is it to know that
    Medicare is run by the government?
    True, our goal should be to “curtail the liars and promote the
    truth,” but frankly any notion that anyone, really, is going to
    make a big dent in the volume of lies told by governments
    around the world just hasn’t read history, ancient, modern,
    contemporary or otherwise.
    Anyone with a computer can read Sy Hersh (or Steve Clemons)
    anytime he wants–but 99% of them aren’t going to do it. Hell,
    anyone with a buck or two can read him.

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  16. questions says:

    Oh, and check out the trickling sound of Goldman’s corruption — gee, betting against the very mortgage bonds you’re recommending to your clients. Making money from failure and so encouraging that very failure that makes you a bunch of money. Could there be some relationship between Goldman’s behavior and the mortgage collapse? Ummm, let me think about that.

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  17. questions says:

    Read up on acidification. Develop an anti-science opinion. Post! Repeat.
    We’re on different planets, Nadine!
    Lessee, tax — 7+ for So sec., but you get that back eventually unless you die from cancer for lack of medical care! 15, 33, 35 (or what ever the brackets are now) for income — but of course it’s bracketed, so you have to adjust, and state tax varies from zero to whatever. There’s sales tax, INT and DIV….
    Then there are exemptions and deductions galore. Donate, send a kid to college, buy yourself some pricey medical care and deduct away, or credit away.
    But you know, I can afford my tax burden. And I don’t mind paying it!
    Like I said, we’re on different planets. How’s the weather where you are?

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  18. nadine says:

    let’s tick down that list.
    1. Global climate change denial. Count me in. Heard of Climategate? The whole AGW story is melting down. They cooked the data, questions. Before this, I knew AGW was based on unverified computer models; now I know it is based on unverified computer models run on top of cooked data. Did you see Phil Jone’s interview with the BBC last week where he admits that no statistically significant warming has occurred in the last 15 years and the Medieval Warm Period might have been warmer than today? This from someone who a leading AGW advocate at CRU. Now he admits he lost his raw data. Or so he says. I suspect that he’d rather look a fool than a knave. At any rate, that’s not how you do science.
    2. Ocean acidification. No opinion on this; but the oceans are not warming either. We have six years of deep buoy information now.
    3. Everyone’s health insurance policies will be taxed 40%. Just “Cadillac” plans, unless you’re one of Obama’s union buddies.
    4. Everyone will be forced to change doctors. Maybe, if your employer dumps the plan he’s got. Most insurance professionals read Obamacare as a long-range effort to put private insurance out of business. Cap premiums, mandate coverage, do nothing to lower costs; that will do it.
    5. Obama is a socialist. For a non-socialist, he’s spent his life surrounded by an amazing number of communists and socialists. What understanding of economics he has, seems grounded in Marxist theory — where do you think the whole “spread the wealth” idea comes from, anyway? Return the means of the production to the rightful owners — ring a bell?
    6. quite possibly he wasn’t born in the US. No I think was born in Hawaii. But he’s terribly secretive about all his papers.
    7. CRA CAUSED the market crash. Well it certainly caused the subprime market, which was the first to implode. Couldn’t have existed without the CRA and Fannie and Freddie’s Treasury-backed buying spree. The trouble with you, questions, is that you are generally impervious to economic arguments.
    8. that we’re going to be paying slave reparations. haven’t heard that one. How about a more likely one, having the total tax load (local, state, federal) rising from 40%, where it is today, to 50%?

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  19. questions says:

    Global climate change denial, ocean acidification denial, thinking that everyone’s health insurance policies will be taxed 40%, thinking that everyone will be forced to change doctors, thinking Obama is a socialist, that quite possibly he wasn’t born in the US, that the CRA CAUSED the market crash, that we’re going to be paying slave reparations. Probably there are some more things that have come up. Just watch Fox and you’ll know!
    If you need a longer list, give me some time to reconstruct some of the many conversations….
    Oh, and a whole thing about ACORN….

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  20. nadine says:

    questions, specifics? how exactly are the tea partiers you know misinformed “about policy, implications, what can be done, the role of science, and the like”?

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  21. MarkL says:

    Drew,
    The US cannot be an imperial power and pay for a social safety net also. One or the other has to give. That’s the crux of the spending problem.
    The fact that idiot Republicans still think tax cuts create revenue doesn’t help matters.

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  22. questions says:

    Hey Drew,
    I know personally a couple of people utterly sympathetic with the Tea Pary outlook, utterly sympathetic. And I deal routinely with others who have very conservative views of the world. The Tea Partiers are really profoundly misinformed about policy, implications, what can be done, the role of science, and the like. The misinformation seems to come directly from Fox News as I see the points they make show up in clips on C and L dot com.
    There are legit conservative points of view, though even Greenspan that ultra-free-marketeer has come to rethink some of his views. When I see conservatives use empirical data to analyze the efficacy of policies they consider effective, I’ll listen a whole lot more. Greenspan’s Randian fantasy is just that, a fantasy. The freedom that Tea Partiers seem to want is, near as I can tell from conversation, really confused, really contradictory.
    Libertarianism itself is rife with contradictions, and lots of material has been written on this theme.
    So before you offer a blanket condemnation of the condemnation of the Tea Party, ask about first hand experience!

    Reply

  23. Drew says:

    It’s amusing to me how directly political commentary is informed
    by choices in social sets and geography. By this I mean, exactly
    how many “tea partiers” do any of the commentators here know?
    How many dinners have they had with tea partiers?
    How many of the diminishing epithets (“know nothings”) are
    accompanied by examples of personal experience that sustain
    the epithets? Zero and zero?
    If it is sufficient to merely repeat rote epithets because it is a
    kind of settled political science, what is the role of thought?
    It’s great to cheer the home team and all, but you folks really
    don’t seem to understand what’s going on with this movement.
    I would offer three, non-diminishing attributes of this
    movement/non-movement (it is deliberately and organically
    opposed to political hierarchy, which should be the first clue
    that it is not some sort of fatal virus to this or that established
    party.
    a. Since 1970, personal income in the US has grown by 32
    percent. Growth in federal spending has grown by 250 percent.
    (Constant dollars, here.) This disconnect has now broken the
    bank. The bank is the ability and desire of the people to pay.
    This movement is an anti-spending movement, and that
    includes spending on foreign military adventures building sand
    castles. This is neither a left-wing nor a right-wing concern.
    This is a ‘stop taking my money’ concern, and a ‘stop destroying
    my children’s financial future’ concern. It’s ridiculous to assume
    that people who understand the destruction of the dollar by
    deficit politics adhere to this or that party. This is simply the
    politics of arithmetic. The dollar has declined in value by 98
    percent since 1913, and that rate of change is accelerating.
    People are tired of it.
    b. Ron Paul swept the CPAC straw poll by a huge margin, and
    think about that for more than five seconds. He had 31 percent,
    Romney 22 percent, Palin 7 percent. Do you understand,
    demographically, what that means? Even if there is a ‘know-
    nothing’ element to the tea party movement, it got buried by the
    politics of constitutionalism and the politics of arithmetic. Paul
    crushed Palin. The country club Republicans again voted for
    Romney. He was nonetheless crushed. Anyone who wants to
    see a restored Obama leadership role had better figure that out
    and stop sneering at these people.
    c. This anti-spend, anti-hierarchy amorphous ‘movement’ is
    focusing, as a solution to many issues, on the 10th Amendment.
    There increasingly will be state-level, governor-sponsored,
    challenges to an overweaning federal center, because … things
    are falling apart, and the center cannot hold. Putting this
    another way, given Dana’s love note and the obsession here with
    Emanuel:
    Exactly how many governors, to use Rahm’s diction, give a flying
    f*** who Rahm Emanuel is? And why should they care?

    Reply

  24. TonyForesta says:

    I find it fascinating that the socalled teaparty
    partisans are given any oxygen. The teaparty
    redneck are bought and paid for by the gop
    propaganda and disinformation covens. They are a
    fiction and a myth. Teaparty partisans are a
    perception management conjuration of the fascist,
    biggots, racists, haters, and profiteers of the
    gop.
    What are they blabbering about? Smaller
    government? Great! Lets finish all funding for
    private military and private intelligence
    oligarchs. Let’s quit funding and extraordinary
    largess to the TBTF finance, and energy and oil
    oligarchs, and unfunded, unnecessary wars of
    choice that benefit said oligarchs.
    Antisocialism. Great! END ALL GOVERNMENT
    LARGESS TO THE TBTF PREDATORCLASS OLIGARCHS!!!
    ALL OF IT, EVER SINGLE CENT!!!
    Teaparty shaitans are rooted in pathological lies,
    and peopled with pathological liars. What are
    these rednecks and idiots blabbering about?
    Hating gays, blacks, immigrants, and women???
    Proof positive that Amerika is a redneck, sick,
    toxic, false, and depraved nation, and deserving
    whatever fiery pit and hell these monsters and
    shaitans hurl us into.
    A pox on teabaggers. Ignorant liars, fiends,
    charlatans, and pathological liars. If this is
    the voice of Amerika then, count me out
    biiiiaaatches. Count me out.
    Idiots!!!

    Reply

  25. JohnH says:

    Don Bacon: Let’s not let Smedley Butler’s involvement cloud the issue of a possible business coup under FDR. Like it or not, Smedley Butler’s name is eternally associated with it, though he may well have been the whistle blower and not an plotter.
    Fact is, velvet revolutions happen by harnessing the disaffected. In democracies like Venezuela, the disaffected tend to be upper classes who have seen their perks and privileges reduced. They recruit others with grievances. The same happened in Iran.
    There is evidence that organizers of the Teabaggers have deep pockets:
    http://firedoglake.com/2009/04/13/corporate-lobyists-raising-money-for-tea-parties/
    What is their ultimate agenda? And what is the point of Republicans determined to prove that the current system of government is broken, if not to replace it with something more suited to their interests? Doesn’t this context seem similar to the aborted coup that certain wealthy businessmen planned in 1934?
    Also, you complain my calling out gullible Americans by saying, “when people — Americans, or anybody — are given the facts the majority will do the right thing.” Exactly, the problem is that they have to be GIVEN the facts. But when given faux facts, do they complain? The vast majority don’t notice–gullible!!!
    I too lived in a NE town hall city for many years. I agree it’s a much better system, because town officials have to be careful not to raise the ire of part of the electorate, because they might all show up to vote one evening!

    Reply

  26. Carroll says:

    Which brings me to the teabaggers. They know something is dreadfully wrong with government but some don’t know and/or are misled as to what is it.
    I think the “original teabaggers, before they got taken over by the political operatives of the right and branded by the iberal operatives of the left were on the right track.
    But once the media starts portraying any popular movement it is never what is really was or is.

    Reply

  27. Carroll says:

    Posted by Don Bacon, Feb 21 2010, 5:25PM – Link
    JohnH,
    I happen to be fortunate to have grow up in a New England town meeting environment, and I believe to my core that when people — Americans, or anybody — are given the facts the majority will do the right thing.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I agree.
    Althought we do have a problem with large number of Americans not paying attention ..in some cases due to laziness and in some cases they know something is wrong but thru no fault of their own don’t have the access to the necessary information figure out exactly what it is.

    Reply

  28. Don Bacon says:

    JohnH,
    Let’s be clear. You were wrong on Smedley Butler. It wasn’t his coup, rather he stopped a coup.
    On the supposed gullibility of Americans, you’re also wrong. I’m an American and I resent the classification. You’re probably one of those Kervick types who learned in the fourth grade that you were intellectually superior to your peers — but if so you learned wrong. I happen to be fortunate to have grow up in a New England town meeting environment, and I believe to my core that when people — Americans, or anybody — are given the facts the majority will do the right thing.
    On the contrary, when they are lied to by people who should know better, and who have the public trust, they can’t be expected to make intelligent decisions. Our objectives ought to be to curtail the liars and promote the truth, and not to run down our fellow citizens who at the core are just as good as we are, if not better. So much for your “Americans’ gullibility.”
    I don’t know which is worse, running down Smedley Butler or disparaging ordinary Americans, but neither one is worth a shit. I hope that I’ve been clear.

    Reply

  29. JohnH says:

    Don Bacon said, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” But two wrongs–a business coup and taking advantage of Americans’ gullibility–seem to define the Right. Or, if you will the Golden Rule: “those with the gold make the rules.”

    Reply

  30. nadine says:

    Wigwag, the tea-partier’s main plank is fiscal conservatism – not bankrupting the country with multi-trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. For that, Obama and his four trillion dollar Federal budget deserve the credit. He panicked half the country, and millions of people who had never been politically active before began to demonstrate. Hey, I thought you guys favored grass-roots activism?
    The tea-partiers are very conscious that they will go nowhere as a third party. They want to take over the GOP, make it confess its big-spending sins under Bush, and return to fiscal conservatism. That’s it, and if you think Obama looks like the better alternative you haven’t been paying attention to the polls.

    Reply

  31. Mr.Murder says:

    My hope was that Ron paul wouyld depart the party and dilute the vote traction they get from Joe Average, etc.

    Reply

  32. Colin Laney says:

    The tea party crowd moves the Overton Window — the range of acceptable public discourse — to the right. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window .
    This is not bad news for Republicans.

    Reply

  33. Paul Norheim says:

    “I need to really come to terms with the fact that I am no good at
    humor.”
    And we are expected to believe that after your Valentine’s Day
    post?

    Reply

  34. WigWag says:

    There is a certain irony about the criticism directed against the Tea Partiers, especially by those on the left.
    Are the Tea Partiers “know-nothings?” Yes.
    If successful, will they drive the Republican Party so far to the right that electoral success becomes increasingly unlikely? Yes.
    Will the Tea Partiers make it difficult or impossible for the Republican Party to nominate candidates who can successfully raise the millions of dollars from Wall Street and other sources necessary for those candidates to actually win elections? Yes.
    But how exactly does this make the Tea Partiers different from the leftist blogosphere?
    Is what we read in left leaning blogs or even “The Nation” really any more sophisticated than the tripe being peddled by the Tea Partiers? No.
    Does the blogoshphere of the left (think Kos or Think Progress or even the Huffington Post) really present more intelligent, fact based ideas than those routinely offered by the Tea Partiers? No.
    Is the tone found in the leftist blogosphere more civil or conducive to intelligent discussion than the tone offered by the Tea Partiers? No.
    Is the leftist blogosphere less interested in insisting on a cult of political purity for the candidates it supports than the Tea Partiers are? No.
    Tea Partiers and the “faux-leftists” who are both so vocal today are really just mirror images of each other.
    Tea Partiers revere anti-intellectual “know-nothings” like Sarah Palin. Today’s “faux-leftists” revere intellectual “know-nothings” like Noam Chomsky.
    The Tea Partiers and today’s leftists are perfectly emblematic of the deterioration endemic to popular culture in the early part of the 21st Century.
    More than that, to use Alan Bloom’s term, they are both a manifestation of the “closing of the American mind.”

    Reply

  35. Don Bacon says:

    JohnH,
    Smedley Butler’s aborted business coup against FDR?
    And Americans’ eternal gullibility?
    Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Reply

  36. JohnH says:

    Speculation about the demise of the Republiscum Party is stupid. Fact is, most Americans continue to choose between the lesser of two evils. Lately, that simply means that party not in power. Republicscums will rise again, because there is no other alternative to the disaster in power. Gullible Americans believe the party out of power must be the lesser evils, because that’s how they portray themselves. Banking on Americans’ eternal gullibility hasn’t disappointed either party yet.
    Only when people realize that neither party is serving their interests will the Republiscums and Democraps both lose power. But that day will not arrive soon, because of American’s faith in what they see advertised on TV. It will only come when things get bad enough for Americans to start thinking for themselves and realize they’ve been sold a bill of goods with no promise to deliver.
    What worries me more is that the teabaggers could serve the same function as unpaid veterans in retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler’s aborted business coup against Franklin Roosevelt. Obstructionist Republiscum are intent on making sure that the government cannot work and making the case for replacing it with something more to their liking.

    Reply

  37. WigWag says:

    Erskine Bowles (now appointed by Obama to co-chair his deficit commission)and Kenneth Duberstein (currently making millions running the lobbying firm called the Duberstein Group with Mike Berman)were far and away the two most competent chiefs of staff in recent American history.
    Bowles (65 years old but a young 65)served President Clinton. Duberstein (66 years old but also much younger looking)served President Reagan but he endorsed Obama instead of McCain.
    Either of them would do a tremendous job for Obama. Both took over when the Administrations they went to work for were floundering. Clinton (unbeknownst to the rest of the world at the time, had just finished his affair with Monica Lewinsky); Reagan was suffering from the poor leadership skills of Donald Regan and was dealing with Iran-Contra
    Bowles and Duberstein righted the ship of state. They are both great Americans, and most importantly, they are both great managers.
    It’s time for Rahm to be moved to a political position in the White House (similar to the position Clinton gave Harold Ickes) and for Obama to give Rahm’s job to Bowles or Duberstein.

    Reply

  38. Don Bacon says:

    How can this help Obama?
    First, the Tea Partyers are playing to Obama’s weakness, his propensity for consensus as opposed to doctrine.
    Secondly, the US is swiftly descending down the financial and moral rat-hole as a result of Obama’s continuation of necon policies.
    Also, the current huge unemployment situation is not cyclical, and not amenable to the petty government programs being considered. Thanks to past US policy, those missing jobs are gone — gone forever. They’re not coming back.
    So to underestimate and ridicule the Tea Partyers is to underestimate the size of the problem and its resulting citizen discontent.

    Reply

  39. jonst says:

    Who had to ‘create them’? Steve, you were around during the impeachment? Who do you think was behind that? Both in terms of financing and providing, gulp, intellectual fire power? I’ll try and answer my own question. The same people that financed the impeachment, are many of the people financing the tea party movement. And right with them is Rush, Savage, mini Rush’s and Savage’s, Fox, et al.
    At to “great patriots”, define the term please. What, exactly, would make someone a ‘great patriot’?
    What I see from Obama, and the health care summit is a great example, is the same thing I always see from neo-liberals: a celebration of process over substantive proposals. It is the hallmark of the modern day Dem. It allows them maxim flexibility. And they need it because there is no anchor with the Dems.
    One may not like Howard Dean, but one has a reasonably good idea where he stands on the issues that matter to him and what his substantive proposals are.

    Reply

  40. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Calling the tea partiers “pugnacious know-nothings” is naive, and foolish. I work around these people. Although ridiculously uninformed, and thoroughly brainwashed by the asshole mouthpieces for the right, they are tenaciously political, and are going to vote in droves for whatever blood sucking vampire the likes of Glenn Beck tells them to vote for.
    And you’re wrong. The Tea Party movement hasn’t hijacked the Republican Party, the Republican Party is hijacking the Tea Party movement, covertly. Having seen how well Obama’s bullshit about “change” worked on the left, the Republican Party has launched the same strategy, targeting the right, masquerading as the “Tea Party Movement”. It is as big a con-job as Obama’s was.
    Underestimate this thing at your own risk, Steve.

    Reply

  41. questions says:

    It wasn’t Rahm, though it’s a fun speculation! It was the Repubs themselves. They promised what they couldn’t fulfill, they escalated their rhetoric far beyond what should be happening, they played emotions and populism, they Gingriched like crazy, and they got their crazy.
    You wanna find real historical cunning, do a full Gingrich. Play to the base such that the base starts to seem centrist. Destroy the center, rationality, thoughtfulness, TV-ify policy to the point that many no longer realize that policy actually is about compromise with 300 million others. And voila, the Tea Party.
    Incoherent, selfish, anguished, frightened, simplified, racist, positively Gingrichian.
    My guess is that Gingrich was actually planning for a democratic resurgence when he did his whole play to the base thing. And Murdoch is a dem-in-disguise as well! Along with O’Reilly and Beck!

    Reply

  42. Steve Clemons says:

    Dan — As I have told you before, I need to really come to terms with the fact that I am no good at humor.
    Read the post over…I am joking to some degree and making the facetious comment that a conspiracy theorist in the future who saw the Republican Party implode might cast blame on Rahm for creating the Tea Partiers that destroyed the Republican Party.
    There is no substance here because Rahm did not create the Tea Partiers…though I wish he could take credit.
    So, it’s a facetious comment — the more important point being that I think that the Tea Party crowd are harming the Republican Party’s future chances and ultimately will help the incumbent Obama team.
    Sorry to confuse. 🙂
    steve

    Reply

  43. Dan Kervick says:

    OK, Steve, I read this post through twice. But I can’t find any substance in it that actually has anything to do with Rahm Emanuel.

    Reply

  44. PittsburghBoy says:

    (I meant to to post this here rather than under the Alexander Haig post. Sorry.)
    I just started reading this blog yesterday and am scrolling back story after story by Steve Clemons. You are so unpredictable and fresh in what you write. Wow. I can’t stop reading it. Kind of like a really great comic and I mean that as a compliment.
    I really enjoy your way of putting things, and you have some crazy commenters, but I like them too.
    You seem to be a successful one-man wrecking crew for the Obama White House team, but you are also trying to help them. Good for you and for us.

    Reply

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