This Is Why the GOP Can’t Have Nice Things


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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195 Responses

  1. Avatar mark boggs says:

    You forgot to mention the other huge scandal that I’m told is imminent by the folks on Facebook:

    That the President was protected from the rain by a Marine holding an umbrella.Report

    • Avatar Mike in reply to mark boggs says:

      You mean Umbrellaghazi?Report

    • Avatar Catzmaw in reply to mark boggs says:

      Umbrellaghazigate, wherein President Obama induced two innocent young Marines to break an inviolable rule of the Marine Code of Conduct that under no circumstances shall a Marine ever be seen holding an umbrella, thus assuring the ruination of the young men’s heretofore blameless careers. This travesty would not have occurred, I’m told, if only President Obama had signed up to serve back in the 70s in our peacetime, downsizing Army for a year as soon as he got out of high school. It is this lack of service, which no doubt would have been as some sort of widget counter at Fort Dix or other incredibly important work, which makes him ineligible to be Commander in Chief, because he did not know how to salute before he took office. The end.Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:

    When i read about what Paul said it was clear how badly the R’s were going to deal with what actual wrong doing in the IRS. Paul is a blind squirrel. He gets some things right every now and then but it does seem more like luck.Report

  3. Avatar George Turner says:

    So many scandals to discuss, and so little time. I’m ambivalent about Joe Biden, but he might be better than an indefinite, toxic relationship between Congress and the executive branch. Part of the issue is that when the federal government illegally uses the IRS and DoJ to target a vast swath of political enemies, it call into question the legitimacy of Congressional elections as well. Congressmen do not like having to answer questions from constituents about things like that, and cutting their losses may be the wisest option, along with reassuring the public that big government doesn’t have to result in partisan harassment, crime, and cover-ups, and that it was only the result of a few bad apples.Report

    • Avatar Kimsie in reply to George Turner says:

      I’d believe this, if only the FBI had paid for deliberately harassing the Mennonites.Report

    • Avatar Shazbot4 in reply to George Turner says:

      ” the federal government illegally uses the IRS”

      Sigh. Not sure why I’m feeding you on this.

      You’re suggesting that someone outside of the IRS ordered the IRS (“uses the IRS”) to do this to intimidate the Tea Party. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that such an order occurred.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

      Except for the people in Cincinnati who said the policy came from the top, so now the IRS office there is under virtual lock-down regarding the press, whose attempts at interviews there had them followed by armed escorts. So of course nobody would come forward.

      The White House spin on it over the weekend was “What I mean is, whether it’s legal or illegal is not important to the fact that the conduct doesn’t matter. The Department of Justice has said that they’re looking into the legality of this. The president is not going to wait for that. We have to make sure it does not happen again, regardless of how that turns out.”

      No arm of the administration is in any way going to pursue any suspicion of illegal activities because people who get charged will talk. Policies, on the other hand, can be accused of anything, kicked around like a can all day long, and they’ll never rat on anyone. This spin is not going to work with the press, because they’re already noting it and many are starting to shift from partisan lapdogs to contestants in this year’s Pulitzer race.Report

  4. Avatar Shazbot4 says:

    “s long as conservatives place media ratings over governance this is the kind of hole they’re going to continue to dig for themselves. Fictional emails and phantom written policy statements make for great talk radio, but they make those that trumpet them look like crazy conspiracy theorists to everyone not currently drinking the Kool Aid. With today’s conservative pols and pundits, it’s simply not enough for the Obama administration to be caught making a mistake. Everything has to be blown up into a ridiculous, over the top, bad-Dan-Brown-novel global conspiracy that threatens the very fabric of our nation and freedom itself. Every tiny press release made by anyone ever has to be extrapolated into a public argument for impeachment.”

    To deal with this the good and smart conservatives have to start ridiculing the crazies and conspiracy theorists. There is no other way. Otherwise, everyone sees that crazies are catered to by the party, and the non-crazies defect, which just gives the crazies more political power, and on and on.

    It’s the same with racism. You have to ridicule and shame the racists in your own party and demand they apologize and change their ways, or you send the signal that you are tolerant of and even catering to racism. You don’t defend the racists with nitpicking arguments.Report

  5. Avatar Shazbot4 says:

    I just found the Whitey tape.Report

  6. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Rand Paul is reminding me a lot of McCarthy but without the focus or skill to carry out is witch-hunt.

    The problem with the GOP is basically that the John Birch Society has taken over the Republican Party and got themselves elected into Congress and are acting accordingly. Conservatives can’t care about governance because for the most part, they don’t think that government should do much of anything. Many of them have an even more restricted view of government than most Libertarians.Report

  7. I hate to point this out [not really], but “bad-Dan-Brown novel” is redundant.Report

  8. Avatar Ken Hoop says:

    As usual, the bloggers wander all around the main points re Benghazi.

    The only folks who have a right to criticise the Benghazi scandal are people like RON (perhaps but not necessarily Rand) Paul…..and people like Dennis Kucinich. Both have, incidentally. Check their comments and columns on the real scandal of Benghazi.

    Who are “people like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich?” Certainly people who have
    been marginalized by the corrupt Elite of the political class.
    People who also attacked the Iraq War as a scandal, based on lies, responsible for killing
    very large numbers of innocents.
    People who also question Benghazi as a CIA asset involved in further meddling in the Middle East. People who opposed Obama’s illegal assistance in the overthrow of Khaddafi along with
    opposing Bush’s attack on Iraq.

    Kelly says the “conservatives” erred by contrasting the hypothetical treatment of Bush
    with that of Obama by the press. Says more about Kelly than the “conservatives,” any of which who have done so merely show themselves to be partisan members of the Elite-GOP branch marginally less corrupt and incompetent ..or more so….(who really cares?) than members of the Elite-Democrat branch.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Ken Hoop says:

      “Kelly says the “conservatives” erred by contrasting the hypothetical treatment of Bush
      with that of Obama by the press. Says more about Kelly than the “conservatives,” ”

      Or perhaps more about you, since I did not say conservatives erred by making any contrasts to anyone.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Ken Hoop says:

      Don’t forget that the ambassador was likely there to arrange arms shipments to Syrian opposition groups via Turkey, which is probably why we had a veritable platoon of CIA agents nearby.

      What happened in Benghazi has turned out to be pretty much exactly what the right-wing said had happened just a few days after the attack. I argued the same time line and story here months ago. Bush’s favorite historian, Victor Davis Hanson, weighed in last night with the same conclusions and a little more political background.

      However, the Benghazi story alone isn’t all that serious. Government blindness, incompetence, embarrassment, followed by a cover-up during a political campaign, film at 11. It probably involves a nexus of bad advisors (the Secretary of Defense, a Bush favorite, recently claimed that they didn’t send air support because it takes two days to prep an F-16 for a mission), bad assumptions (that the attack wouldn’t drag on and on for hours), and a lack of previous similar crises that gives such teams a good shakedown (after the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy Administration changed their dynamics and procedures so they could get command decisions made instead of standing around like a deer in the headlights).

      We still don’t know all the details (there is still a 67 hour gap in the e-mails, covering the critical onset of the cover-up), but they’ll probably confirm what’s already pretty well assumed by both the press and the Republicans, assuming that it doesn’t get pushed aside because of hearings on more pressing scandals.Report

      • Avatar jaded in reply to George Turner says:

        So of course the fact that the GOP refused the funds for more security had nothing to do with it right? And of course lying about WMDs to get us into Iraq is not as bad as Benghazi. Watergate was not as bad as Benghazi. Planning to burn up the phone lines to pressure your congressman to push impeachment are you?Report

  9. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    Benghazi has legs for only two reasons, neither of them terribly convincing.

    First, it fits very well with the extreme right-wing fringe belief that Obama is actively working for the other side. That is, that Obama hates America and wants Islamofascism [sic] to win.

    I disagree with Obama on plenty of issues, and I’m never shy about it. But this is simply a smear, and most Americans know it. A small minority does not, and Benghazi is one incident that appears to validate their worldview.

    Second, Benghazi appears to implicate the presumed Democratic front-runner for 2016. She hasn’t declared her candidacy yet, she might not even do it, but one can’t possibly be too careful. Besides, if there is anyone the far right likes less than Obama, it’s Hillary Clinton.Report

    • Avatar Bob Wells in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      The far right loved Hillary Clinton after Obama clinched the nomination, going so far as to try to gin up a “Hillary Voters for McCain/Palin” ad campaign.

      I think they found one such voter.

      But yes, now they are back to hating her again.Report

      • Avatar Ken Hoop in reply to Bob Wells says:

        Any organization who politicked for McCain cannot be called “far right,” but what’s in a
        I only object because when the gullible here or anywhere read “far right” or “far left”
        they assume such membership is “anti-Elite” and when misnomers are applied to herd people into the arms of the ruling class’s right or left wing (sic) sectors, it is laughable.Report

    • Avatar Ken Hoop in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      Obama’s popularity in the Muslim world is as bad or worse than Bush’s was. If the
      “extreme right wing” doesn’t realize that, and why, it is as a result of being manipulated by globalist-Zionist propaganda.Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      I think there really is something to the Benghazi story, but what’s there isn’t very interesting.
      Probably a few issues need to be addressed with communications & the State Dept.
      And the part I see interesting in that is: After all this Patriot Act crap, you still couldn’t get it right (?) (!).

      What I find odd about it is that there was nowhere near the noise generated with the USS Cole attack as this.
      Strange inversion of priorities.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      No there is plenty to the doctored e-mail thing. A reporter took summaries provided by R’s and presented them as what the WH said. That isn’t really all that deep. The reporter would have to be truly clueless to trust one parties summary of e-mails as the truth.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to greginak says:

        “It has long been part of the Washington game for officials to discredit a news story by playing up errors in a relatively small part of it. Pfeiffer gives the impression that GOP operatives deliberately tried to “smear the president” with false, doctored e-mails.

        “But the reporters involved have indicated they were told by their sources that these were summaries, taken from notes of e-mails that could not be kept. The fact that slightly different versions of the e-mails were reported by different journalists suggests there were different note-takers as well.

        “Indeed, Republicans would have been foolish to seriously doctor e-mails that the White House at any moment could have released (and eventually did). Clearly, of course, Republicans would put their own spin on what the e-mails meant, as they did in the House report. Given that the e-mails were almost certain to leak once they were sent to Capitol Hill, it’s a wonder the White House did not proactively release them earlier.

        “The burden of proof lies with the accuser. Despite Pfeiffer’s claim of political skullduggery, we see little evidence that much was at play here besides imprecise wordsmithing or editing errors by journalists.”Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          Well the accuser is actually the reporter who made the claims based on the summaries. The burden of proof is on him. Of course R’s would put their own spin on it. Of. Course. But why is a reporter presenting spin as fast. Well other than its the WaPo. Imprecise wordsmithing or editing errors….well yeah it was poor written, not described accurately, taken from a partisan sourse then presented as factual and poorly edited. Other than that what do we disagree about.Report

        • But isn’t this just another kind of obfuscation? What you’re quoting makes is sound like someone remembered an email using the word “large” but in fact it was “big.”

          The entire point of the story was that the White House’s Deputy Security Advisor instructing that “we must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the state dept.” It was given as proof that the WH scrubbed facts for partisan reasons. But this wasn’t the case – even Chris Wallace said as much.

          It wasn’t jsut that someone remembered the wrong way something was phrased; it was that an entire concept (WH talking about talking points re: the State Dept.) wasn’t in the email – at all.Report

        • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          And God knows we can dismiss any scenario that depends on Republicans attacking Obama foolishly.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak says:

        In short, the reporter should have used brackets instead of commas around one phrase. Yet the White House sent people out with marching orders to call that “a smear”, making their remaining supporters in the press look like idiots and dupes. The administration is going to run out of media allies pretty quickly if they keep that up.Report

  10. Avatar John Howard Griffin says:

    I’ve made this point before, (in fact, I’ve done a whole series on it), but as long as conservatives place media ratings over governance this is the kind of hole they’re going to continue to dig for themselves.

    And, I’ve made this point before, but I’ll make it again. You seem to assume that Republicans (and libertarians, if we’re including Paul) actually want to govern and be in charge. This is not true, from where I sit. They want to be in charge, but not to govern.

    From their perspective, the media puts them in charge, and all of this is playing towards that goal. Just look at the partisan makeup of news and opinion shows – they’re mostly white, male, and conservative – but, they work very hard to convince everyone that the media is liberal.

    None of this is to say I disagree with your perspective, Mr. Kelly. I think you are correct that they are doing the wrong thing if their goal is to govern. Alas, I do not think that is their goal.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird says:

    NPR seemed to be criticizing the president this morning for the DOJ saying that a “journalist” from “Fox” “News” was an “accessory” to a crime. They quoted a lot of people saying that this was unprecedented.

    And people call NPR liberal!Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

      Well of course when they criticize the prez they are telling the truth. When they don’t criticize him they are liberal shills.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

      Eugene Volokh had a pretty good post on that today (too lazy to link) wherein he pointed out that, while the DoJ had decided not to prosecute, the ‘theory of the crime’ was solid enough and perfectly Constitutional.

      Effectively, the DoJ felt that the reporter was not just soliciting leaks (as opposed to being the recipient of one) but had worked with the leaker to make it harder to identify the leak — conspiring with the leaker.

      That is a legal no-no and has always been one. Had the fellow not been a reporter, it’s quite likely the DoJ would have prosecuted. Admittedly, that’s the DoJ’s spin on the issue, but it’s straightforward enough and (I believe) backed up by some of the court filings for the leaker they prosecuted.

      Again, the irony here is that the GOP was all over the Administration for “promoting and allowing leaks” (including the AP leak!) because it “made them look good” and as little as a month ago the GOP was grandstanding about the Administration’s refusal to investigate the AP leak.

      Now, of course, it’s investigation of the AP leak is a sign of how awful the Administration is. It’s a wonder some of our Congressmen don’t get whiplash.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

        Hrm. That’s an interesting post.

        I’ll have to chew on that. (My intuitions are the same as Greenwald’s, of course, but Volokh’s argument isn’t mere cheerleading.)Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Morat20 says:

        I’ll go with Volokh’s take, as he’s so trustworthy on legal issues that the Supreme Court cites his blog in their rulings.

        However, the larger issue is that administrations (aside from Nixon) have almost never prosecuted or pursued journalists over such things, even though they are illegal. Obama has jailed more whistle-blowers and leakers than all previous administrations combined, while itself leaking like a sieve when it suited their political interests. It’s like the laws against treason and sedition. They are almost never enforced, and if an administration suddenly starting to enforce them it would be highly alarming, even though technically it would be well within the law.

        Let’s go back an look at Tim Robbin’s famous speech against the Bush administration.

        A chill wind is blowing in this nation. A message is being sent through the White House and its allies in talk radio and Clear Channel and Cooperstown. If you oppose this administration, there can and will be ramifications.

        Every day, the air waves are filled with warnings, veiled and unveiled threats, spewed invective and hatred directed at any voice of dissent. And the public, like so many relatives and friends that I saw this weekend, sit in mute opposition and fear.

        Right warning, wrong President.Report

        • Avatar jaded in reply to George Turner says:

          “Right warning, wrong President.”

          Because the Bush Administration didn’t retaliate or punish whistle blowers. And Valerie Plame’s name got leaked all by itself. And the US attorneys that refused to play politics for the Bush Administration were fired all by themselves. Funny that.Report

        • Avatar Kimsie in reply to George Turner says:

          Not at all. A cancer spreads, it does not die, without extreme chemotherapy. What Bush did to the DoJ (And CIA and FBI) MULTIPLIES with what Obama does, it does not add.

          Every time we lose a good civil servant to partisan politicking, we are poorer for it.Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to George Turner says:

          52 George Turner May 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm
          “I’ll go with Volokh’s take, as he’s so trustworthy on legal issues that the Supreme Court cites his blog in their rulings.”

          IIRC, Scalia has also used Jack Bauer.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

        I can buy that it’s constitutional. That, to me, isn’t the issue. Lots of things are technically constitutional.

        I am of a mixed mind. On the one hand, I don’t think journalistic shield should exist. I don’t think government workers who illegally transmit information have a right to their anonymity.

        On the other hand, I’m not sure about the difference between a reporter going to prison ought to hang on whether he asked the question or merely received the answer. That seems to put a lot of discretion in the hands of the government. Something very, very large to hold over journalist’s heads, should they step out of line.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

          On the third hand they didn’t charge the guy.

          Seriously, that’s sorta big. The fact that he WAS a journalist meant the DoJ ultimately decided not to charge him with a crime it looks like he committed.

          That’s a pretty honkin’ big win for the Press.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

            Seriously, that’s sorta big.

            From another perspective, it’s kinda status quo.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

              Well yeah. So why the upset?

              Because the DoJ even considered it? That’s a low freaking bar there. The job of a prosecutor is to, you know, consider prosecutions. They look at everyone they think is involved and individually go down a checklist to decide if it’s something they SHOULD prosecute.

              I mean, isn’t that their job? Investigate the crime, work out who they thing was responsible and what laws were broken, and then decide whether to prosecute? Apparently the DoJ thought the fact that this guy was a reporter moved him to the “no” column.

              Which is business as usual, which is a pretty sweet deal for the press, which makes this a nothingburger. So why get upset that the DoJ went with the status quo? The status quo wasn’t upsetting last year.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                Dude, it’s journalists that are getting upset about this. Even The Liberal NPR was breathlessly reporting that Jay Carney had to dodge questions about “unprecedented” acts.

                This ain’t me getting upset. What I am getting is popcorn.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                This may or not be wrong…but “unprecedented”. I’m doubting that.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Of course journalists are getting upset. How dare their freedom of press be abridged in even the slightest!

                They’re reacting as any guild would to an affront to their privileges.

                But in the end, what happened? Phone records — not wiretaps, phone records — were secured in accordance to law, and those affected duly notified. One journalist, in a separate incident, was considered for charges and then it was dropped.

                Those whiny little prima donnas would have some room to stand on if they’d given even a single fish about this BEFORE it affected them. “Oh gods, no, our phone records were looked at!”.

                Welcome to the America of everyone else, whiners. Where have you been the last 10 years?

                And their actual complaint? Their privileges of journalists don’t extend, necessarily, to committing crimes in the course of journalism (although they get more leeway than I would) nor does it give them blanket immunity to the investigative process.

                Seriously, you’d think the AP reporters were called to the witness stand, and their sources demanded of them, from the whining.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                I certainly hope that the Obama Government tells The Press the exact same thing.

                I salivate at the thought of The Press being told that.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Because you are aware they’re a bunch of prima donna’s?

                Which sorta proves my point. They only cared because they got caught in the gears. And despite this, they were treated with kid gloves.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                There are those who theorize that, until now, the Obama Government has been treated with kid gloves by the press.

                I wonder what will happen when the kid glove treatment is abandoned by everybody involved.Report

              • Avatar Turgid Jacobian in reply to Jaybird says:

                There are those who theorize that, until now, the Obama Government has been treated with kid gloves by the press.

                Who are they? Do you find them credible? Or is it all just sport for your amusement? As an above-it-all libertarian or something peurile like that?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                It’s safe to assume that my interest is puerile.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

            You have an odd definition of “pretty honkin’ big win.”

            This would only be a win, really, if it had up until now been expected that the government would prosecute journalists for asking the wrong questions. It’s a stretch to me that the government deciding not to put reporters in prison for asking the wrong question constitutes a “win.”Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

              This would only be a win, really, if it had up until now been expected that the government would prosecute journalists for asking the wrong questions.

              If that was within lightyears of an accurate description of the case, you’d be correct.

              From Volokh, no shrinking liberal:
              This is what the government is saying James Rosen of Fox News of did — soliciting the leak of classified documents, aiding and abetting the leak by working out means by which the leaker could leak the documents more safely, and generally conspiring with the leaker. (The government isn’t prosecuting Rosen for this, at least at this point, but it is alleging that he did this, since allegation of such criminal conduct by a newsgatherer allows the government to search the newsgatherer’s papers under 42 U.S.C. § 2000aa, the federal statute limiting searches of newsgatherers.)

              And it seems to me that this behavior is rightly treated as criminal. Solicitation of crime (see United States v. Williams (2008)), aiding and abetting crime by providing instrumentalities for the crime, and conspiracy to commit a crime are rightly punishable, and I don’t think that the answer should be different when the crime is an illegal leak of information (however newsworthy that information might be). Report

    • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Jaybird says:

      That’s totally unprecedented. Calling someone from Fox News a journalist, I mean.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I’m hoping for impeachment hearings.

    Obama has been reminding me far, far too much of Bush. Let’s get reminded of Clinton!Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

      If Obama was like Bush, we’d be in Syria already. I prefer the United States not to get involved in the Syrian Civil War.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Word on that. But I do agree with Jaybird. I hope the GOP congress checks their collective brains at the door and gins up an impeachment move. I’d laugh and laugh and laugh.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Bush eschewed involvement in conflicts where Russia was the counterparty (Georgia).Report

        • Avatar Turgid Jacobian in reply to Kolohe says:

          Russia invaded Georgia. Russia is selling things to Syria, possibly giving them things–but doesn’t seem to be IN SYRIA with military force. This would be acceptable as “just a proxy” under neocon/realpolitic rules.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Turgid Jacobian says:

            “doesn’t seem to be IN SYRIA with military force.”

            well, except for this

            The point is, contrary to what Mr. Lee implied, except for that one thing (yeah, it’s a Mary Todd Lincoln Theater Review), Bush did not actually spend his presidency bombing everything that moved – much to the consternation of some neocons and John McCain. Bush did not go all hot and heavy with China after the EP-3 Hainan Island incident, and he didn’t do anything at all with either Iran or North Korea. Or Pakistan.

            Obama got us out of Iraq, but raised the stakes in Afghanistan, finished Reagan’s unfinished work with Qaddafi, finished Bush’s & Clinton’s unfinished work with Bin Laden, threw some special forces troops at Kony, and helped the French with logistics in Mali. Plus (maybe) engaging in some cyberwarfare against Iran. (i.e. Stuxnet)

            If Obama was like Bush, he’d actually have a narrower focus. (and fewer successes)

            (that said, Obama’s probably not going to get the US involved in Syria. There is no upside and lots of downside, and no clear geographical demarcation like there was in Libya between one side of the fight and the other. And plenty of evidence that there are vanishingly few ‘good guys’)Report

  13. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Weigel says that Rand Paul’s comments on CNN are being taken out of context. (though Paul was wrong when he further linked the events to the ACA)Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

      Weigel, the guy whose JournoList membership proved he was a secret librul?Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Kolohe says:

      “PAUL: Well, I think we’re going to have to see the memorandum. Apparently, there is a policy, and I think we’re going to find that there’s a written policy that says that we were targeting people who were opposed to the president. And when that comes forward, we need to know who wrote the policy and who approved the policy”

      He hasn’t seen the memo, but believes there was a written policy of targeting people who opposed the prez. He’s heard about, but won’t say where he heard about it other than the IG report which everybody has already seen. If he has new info than where and what is it?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        Some of the phrasings in the NYT story seem to indicate a memo…

        During the summer of 2010, the dozen or so accountants and tax agents of Group 7822 of the Internal Revenue Service office in Cincinnati got a directive from their manager.

        Verbal? Written? It doesn’t say.

        Specialists throughout the Determinations Unit had been issued a “Be on the Lookout” notice for Tea Party applications, and some were given training on how to evaluate groups planning to do election-related work, according to the I.R.S. inspector general.

        This implies “written” to me… but it doesn’t say. It *COULD* be verbal.

        But it also could be written.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

          If an IRS office had a list of suspicious items to look for than that is an absolute, complete nothing burger with fries. Of course they would have that. But do they have a list that is specifically targeting Conservatives, which is the issue here. That is an absolute issue. But is there a memo, which is what Paul is alluding to that says “go after the Prez’s enemies.” That is a bit different again and what we haven’t seen.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to greginak says:

        You know who else has “heard about” this statement? Anyone who actually read the IG report. On Page 6, investigators re-create the events of May 2010, when the Determinations Unit for the tax-exempt office “began developing a spreadsheet that would become known as the ‘Be On the Look Out’ listing.” The report didn’t supply the memo itself, but it included this cheat sheet.


      • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak says:

        Well, that’s what will take investigating, and answers are going to take a while because now top IRS officials are taking the Fifth Amendment, as the LA Times has just reported. The scandal stories are growing faster than the comment threads about the scandal stories.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to George Turner says:

          The joke about this that I laughed at: “So someone at the IRS *HAS* read the Constitution…”Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

            Wait, this is just now sinking in: can government officials claim the fifth when being questioned about the performance of their government duties?


            • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

              Why wouldn’t they be able to take the 5th? It’s certainly not like people aren’t calling for jail time from someone.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

                Is this a criminal case? Or close enough?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Politicians have been calling for jail time for those involved. If it were you and some pol was on the tv saying they want peeps to go to jail wouldn’t that get your attention?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                I’m not inclined to speculate about the motivation of the person… but I might be interested to hear what the testimony would be if, say, immunity was on the table.

                Wouldn’t you?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                why yes jay, using her constitutional protections does make one suspicious. it’s the guilty that plead the 5th…..

                I’m sure she has a lawyer. If tv cop shows are good guide, and who can doubt that they aren’t, her lawyer will certainly be available for discussing immunity and indeed have her offering to show how Obama tutored her on doing her evil deeds.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                No, Greg. I’m not assuming guilt. It’s her *RIGHT* to plead the Fifth and it’s ugly to assume that just because she’s exercising her rights that she’s guilty.

                Which is why I wonder what the testimony would be if immunity was on the table.Report

              • Avatar RTod in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think the reason she gave for pleading the fifth is a pretty good one, actually. I know I would do the same in this set of circumstances, even if I were a lowly clerk who wasn’t involved.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                And i’m sure you’ll chime in when people are assuming her guilt. She is getting good legal advice. I’m sure her attorney would ask for immunity if it would help her. There is also a good case for her to shut up since she doesn’t know what other people might say, this is massive media firestorm so she really doesn’t want to end up 24/7 on Fox/CNN, and doesn’t want grandstanding senators using her to make speaches off of.

                If she has something worth immunity she’ll offer it up.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                I will say that my assumption is that the testimony would be *INTERESTING*.

                Even if it’s only full of things that would get you to say aren’t a big deal and aren’t indicative of anything.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Jaybird says:

                greginak, where in .jaybird’s comments do you get the impression he’s assuming her guilt? And what’s mor in keeping with his character as we’ve come to know it–that he would assume taking the Fifth implies guilt or that he’d be staunchly supportive of a constitutional right, period?Report

              • Avatar Turgid Jacobian in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m not inclined to speculate about the motivation of the person… ORLY? That seems odd, since you freely speculate about motives all over the place.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’ll speculate about *YOUR* motives, Turgid Jacobin!Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

                I guess all it takes for the libertarian who mentions the police has the right to storm in your house to shoot you to take the side of those in power when it comes to wanting to question somebody is for the person being asked questions to work for the IRS. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jesse, we’re in a weird situation where Congress and the IRS are locking horns. If one is taking a side, one is taking a side on the side of Power.

                Unless, I suppose, one is rooting for injuries.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                But let’s take a step back and say “you know what? I’m going to be on the side of the little guy, here!”

                Who would that be? The Teabaggers who were profiled?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                James- Jay is suggesting it would be interesting if she got immunity and what she might say then. Well what do people get immunity for…parking tickets, not contributing to the office friday potluck, ? I’ll say this again though just to be clear, if she has something to trade for immunity i’m sure she will and i hope she does. But there seem like some obvious reasons why she wouldn’t want to be questioned under oath in front of pols who are saying they want people to go to jail, she wouldn’t want to be splayed all over Fox 24/7 as the worst person EVAR and she doesn’t know might be held against her.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Jaybird says:

                I guess generous reading is no longer a League watchword.Report

        • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to George Turner says:

          The scandal stories are growing faster than the comment threads about the scandal stories.

          Lots of stories, lots of comment threads, not so many scandals.

          Benghazi? The fog of war. No “cover up.”

          AP? I was initially outraged, but Nob convinced me it’s all legal, and it looks to me like AP wasn’t even the target, just a lead to the target, a government leaker of classified info.

          IRS? Bad shit and those who did it need to suffer the consequences, but a predictable result of vague law, and all happening far below the level of the president.

          I’ve no brief for Obama, and I could rant for hours about drones, state secrets privilege, marijuana, a Nixonian secrecy fetish, etc. But these things that have captured the attention of the yammering classes are not Obama scandals.Report

          • Avatar Shazbot4 in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

            I will agree that these are scandals that Hanley mentions and they really do imply Obama is either incompetent or immoral. Even if he couldn’t do more on these fronts, he could have at least said more in defense of doing the right thing on these fronts. I pray he says and does at least some of this before he leaves office or his presidency will be, well, something bad (even if he did good in other ways and saved us from worse things by the other guys).Report

            • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Shazbot4 says:

              He won’t. Not because he’s Obama, but because he’s president.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

                We’ll see. I see hope for him saying something on the drug war front, changing some things in the Democratic party. I strongly suspect he’ll take another stab at Guantanamo.

                The drones and surveillance are here for a while, though, and I doubt he’ll say anything.

                If he goes that far and adds that to the rest of what he’s done (and stopped the R’s from doing) that will make him the best president in a pretty long time.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                that will make him the best president in a pretty long time.

                A depressingly low bar.

                What too few people realize is that the problem isn’t specifically the people we’ve been electing to the presidency, but the institution of the presidency itself, from the popular primary system to its institutional separation from the legislature.

                The executive is too independent of checks, and would be better checked if structured as a prime minister, dependent on his party membership in the legislature. Our president is independent of the legislature, his party, and increasingly independent of the courts.

                The only dependency is on the people, and the secrecy made possible by independence from party and legislature undermines that. More fundamentally, popular selection of nominees guarantees we get only a final choice between grandiose men, people who run n the edge, or over it, of narcissistic personality disorder. Folks who want some stronger form of direct popular election won’t solve the problem in any way.

                In ’08 I was warning friends who thought Obama would dramatically shift the presidency away from Bush’s extensions of executive power that they would be disappointed. Not because Obama’s particularly bad, but because our current system does not select for, nor does it reward, a president who would trim back the power of the office. It’s grown apace for the past century, through Democratic and Republican office holders, not because of flaws in either party but because of flaws in the system. If we want to point the blame at any one person, point it at political scientist cum president Woodrow Wilson.

                But electoral change of personnel can no longer save us; only fundamental institutional change.Report

              • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

                I like the bill of rights(especially the 9th!)

                But there is much in the constitution I like.

                1) voting really needs to be declared a right.
                2) I hate the structure of the senate
                3) it would really do to define the supreme courts role explicitly.
                4) Supreme Court should be 18 year term not life.
                5) states are too independent.
                6) too many veto points destroys accountability as each party can simply point to the gridlock and blame the other guys.

                Yet I am terrified of what would come out of a modern constitutional convention.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to ThatPirateGuy says:

                “Veto points”! Sorry, I get excited when I meet people who understand the concept. It’s one of the things I insist on teaching even though it’s not in most textbooks because it’s crucial to understanding our system.

                Also, as a guy who’s always preferred playing defense to playing offense, I like the idea of being a veto player. 😉Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

            None of the scandals really have anything to do with Obama, only the IRS scandal had any actual wrong doing, and I actually think the IRS scandal has less teeth than even reasonable people think. (I don’t think it even qualifies as a ‘scandal’ in any sense, much less one that has anything to do with Obama.)

            However, I think the point the article is making is that a _sane_ opposition would be able to use the IRS issue to throw some dirt on Obama, along with a little dirt from the AP thing. Not much dirt, but some.

            The GOP…is not a sane opposition.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

              Everybody needs to go after the IRS people responsible for this scandal, not even because of their partisanship, but because the really scandalous thing, when you look at the answers that were being demanded of these Tea Party groups, is that we’ve apparently got a federal agency staffed with Joe McCarthy clones.

              What are your religious views? Which people do you talk to? Give us the names of all your donors. Give us the names of everyone who has interned with you. List all your unofficial contacts. Give us backdoor access to all your websites.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                Erm, while I have read a few of these questionnaires , you appear to have several question in your list I haven’t seen anywhere.

                What are your religious views?
                I have not seen any questions at all about religion. Or heard anyone else mention such question. Nor do I find it plausible that the IRS would ask an _organization_ what religion it was.

                Which people do you talk to?
                Well, this would be an absurd question if actually phrased like that, but, again, I have not see that question. I’ve seen demands to turn over training material and presentation and stuff, but not ‘Which people do you talk to?’.

                Give us the names of all your donors.
                Yes, that question was very inappropriate, and warrants a full investigation as to how it got in there, along with the targeting in the first place.

                Give us the names of everyone who has interned with you.
                Erm…firstly, no, I haven’t see that question. Secondly, who interns for for an organization is _not private information_, and something the government actually already has the right to know, just like they have the right to know who that organization employs.

                List all your unofficial contacts.
                Much like ‘Which people do you talk to?’, this is complete nonsense as a question and not something the IRS has asked.

                Give us backdoor access to all your websites.
                And, again, nope. No one asked that.

                So, I think the point of the article is well proved: Conservatives can’t manage to refrain from making stuff up, even in the midst of _actual government misbehavior_.

                (continued in next post…)Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                However, I shall assume that you were talking issue with ‘I actually think the IRS scandal has less teeth than even reasonable people think. (I don’t think it even qualifies as a ‘scandal’ in any sense, much less one that has anything to do with Obama.)’, and explain what I mean by that.

                The simple fact is, 501(c)4s were being created in violation of the law. Now, this is a violation of the law that the IRS seemed to not take much issue with, but that was before thousands of them appeared out of thin air. (Thanks to Citizen’s United)

                Many of the ones that should not be allowed to exist had obviously political names.

                Let’s make an analogy here: Let’s say there is a neighborhood where street parking is allowed, but only by residents. Residents are supposed to put stickers on their cars, but they sometimes do not, and that law has been almost completely ignored, and it ties up too much time in the courts if the cops ticket a resident, so they ticket no one.

                And then let’s say that a new college opens just past that neighborhood, and now 1000 college kids are parking on the street. So the cops wander up and down the street, putting tickets on every ‘college-looking’ car. (If they hit a resident by mistake, well, that can get straightened out in the courts.)

                This is _not correct behavior_. It is, in fact, misbehavior. It’s called profiling instead of actually doing your damn job. The legality of a car should not be judged by what it looks like, and the legality of an organization should not be judged by the name. There are actual standard, and those standards should be enforced.

                It is also _entirely expected behavior_ by an underfunded police department.

                Now, notice that I’ve been presenting this in a politically neutral manner, whereas certain people seem intent on making this something to do with the ‘right’.

                No. From what I can tell, they just picked the _most common_ political keywords of the incorrect 501(c)3s, and those really were right-wing ones, considering the ratio of right vs. left groups being created. (To continue my analogy, let’s assume it’s a mostly white neighborhood, and a mostly black college, so ‘college-looking’ included things that also indicate race, so on top of it the police look racist. So now it’s a big race issue that actually has nothing to do with anything.)

                The ‘scandal’ of ‘politics’ has rendered the entire actual issue here meaningless. The IRS should not have been caring about the names of groups, and, perhaps more importantly, they should have been REJECTING these groups. (Which, indeed, would have rejected more right-wing groups than left-wing, because there _were_ more of those groups.)

                The problem here is complete inability or unwillingness of the IRS to enforce the law. And then some random profiling (Which looked political) while _continuing_ to be unwilling to enforce the actual law. (As opposed to the pretend law the IRS was enforcing, where 501(c)4s could be somewhat political.)

                Actually, the problem is the law. There’s not a hell of a lot of point for 501(c)4 groups in the first place, and even less point for them to be allowed to keep their donors anonymous.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

                Incidentally, another part of this that everyone seems to be missing…501(c)4s are not required to get permission from the IRS to exist in the first place.

                From what I understand, you don’t actually make ‘a 501(c)4’. You _file_ as a 501(c)4. The organization exists regardless.

                These groups, probably because they were all working off the same legal template and their lawyers all knew they were in a somewhat illegal area of the law, were trying to get _pre-cleared_ as a 501(c)4, which they did not actually need to do. This pre-clearance or lack thereof in no way interfered with their work or money-flow, it was just a _tax_ delay.

                And even if they _hadn’t_ gotten it they could have simply filed as a non-profit as a 527 and paid exactly the same amount of taxes. (That is, none.) The 501(c)4 thing was simply to keep from having from having disclose donors.Report

              • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to DavidTC says:

                DavidTC, were you working from the official IRS form?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                I’ve seen all those questions regarding the scandal. The questions the IRS was asking weren’t at all uniform, which is exactly what you’d expect from a Kafkaesque nightmare designed to befuddle government victims. All you can do is pass round 1 and get to round 2, etc.Report

        • Avatar jaded in reply to George Turner says:

          So when liberal groups were targeted that was totally fine.

          The hypocrisy is amusing.Report

  14. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Isn’t a major facet of the situation here the tail-wagging-the-dog problem Tod has written about extensively before? The conservative media is in effective control of the conservative movement, and media is driven by different incentives than are political leaders. Specifically, the conservative media has found that outrage drives up profits. Therefore, there must be continual outrage, every week. And to gin up outrage requires some degree of control and coordination so as to have as many talking heads outraged by the same thing at the same time.

    If I were going to be very cynical, I’d say that to a certain crowd, using the IRS to make life difficult for your political enemies and using the Department of Justice to harass the media is perfectly fine, so they didn’t want to raise all that much of a stink about it because they knew they’d be back in power one day. But I’m not that cynical, or at least not that cynical that way. I think it’s really that real-life events happened during a previously-scheduled cycle of manufactured outrage, and neither the partisan press and thus the partisans aligned with them were able to improvise away from script in a timely or effective fashion.

    What confuses me is that usually Ailes & Co. are pretty nimble at reacting to breaking events. Or at least that’s been my impression of them. Now, it seems to have taken them a few weeks to get the patter on Benghazi just where they want it to be but clearly another round of “dereliction of duty” had been queued up — so there wasn’t any room for IRS-gate, which was pretty goddam outrageous, and no room for AP-gate, which may not have been all that outrageous after all but it sure looks outrageous, at least at first blush.

    But then again, maybe my impression is wrong, and the rightosphere’s media colossus, like an aircraft carrier, actually takes a considerable amount of energy and time to change course.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Burt Likko says:

      “If I were going to be very cynical, I’d say that to a certain crowd, using the IRS to make life difficult for your political enemies and using the Department of Justice to harass the media is perfectly fine, so they didn’t want to raise all that much of a stink about it because they knew they’d be back in power one day. But I’m not that cynical, or at least not that cynical that way. ”

      The right in general doesn’t worry about that; they know that they’ll be able to switch stories when they get back into power. One chunk of the press is theirs, one chunk cuddles up to power, one chunk doesn’t remember past the last news cycle (especially when cuddling up to the elites); the remaining part which is honest isn’t much to worry about.

      For example, there’s a looooooong list of terrorist attacks on US diplomatic facilities under the Bush II administraion, but ‘He Kept Us Safe [9/11 doesn’t count!]’.

      Liberals were harassed by the IRS under Bush, but hey, they’re a ‘fifth column’

      Reporters were f*cked with back then, but – librul medya!

      There are a few things the right doesn’t mention – for example, the Obama administration has been a motherf*cker on leakers, and the right hasn’t complained, but that’s probably because that’s a matter near and dear to the heart of the military/industrial/security/executive power complex.

      But, in general, the right knows that they can rip Obama on something after doing it during the Bush administration (and Reagan, and Nixon,…) and still get away with doing it in the next GOP administration.

      Assuming that honesty is necessary in these matters is like looking at a game with very imperfect information, and playing it like it’s a game of perfect information.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I don’t know. Plenty of Republicans seem to be able to raise plenty of cash and get elected by saying the stuff that Paul said.Report

      • Avatar jaded in reply to NewDealer says:

        “I don’t know. Plenty of Republicans seem to be able to raise plenty of cash and get elected by saying the stuff that Paul said.”

        Plenty of Republicans raised money because a black man was in the white house and they were going to impeach him for “socialism” because it’s not against the law to be a black President, as much as they’d like it to be.Report

  15. Avatar Barry says:

    Tod: “GOPers need not have even pointed out that those same aides and anchors would have cried bloody murder had the previous administration been caught doing the same; independents and moderates would have filled in those blanks all by themselves. ”

    I’m sorry, but didn’t the previous administration in fact harass liberals?Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Barry says:

      Didn’t count. Down the memory hole. 🙂Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Barry says:

      No, no other administration in the history of time has ever been accused of using the IRS to harass political enemies.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I’m very fond of the mockery that Obama supposedly found out about the IRS thing from the news.

        Given the manifold changes made to DoJ and the IRS over the past four or five decades, precisely because of politically motivated harassment, the President isn’t SUPPOSED to know that sort of thing.

        Whether you believe Obama truly didn’t find out until it hit the papers (undoubtedly from his staff and not actually from thumbing the NYT, yet another of his manifold lies!), the mockery amounts to “HAHA! Obama followed the law! What a tool!”Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Barry says:

      The only one I can think of was the Nixon administration, and using the IRS to harass his enemies and gather information on them was one of the formal impeachment charges against him. He chose to resign.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner says:

        Well, there was the time the NAACP was audited after chairman had criticized W for not addressing it. But I’m sure that was just his way of saying that he wasn’t ignoring them after all.Report

        • Avatar Turgid Jacobian in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Lord knows that that little episcopalian church in the San Gabriel Valley might also take issue with this “it never happened but Nixon and Obama.”Report

          • So Obama is just doing something that presidents do.

            As such, I think that the entire system needs to be reformed to prevent future presidents from doing that sort of thing. We should never allow Republicans the opportunity to say “Obama did it too!”Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

              Great…i agree. I’m sure the R’s will get to that right away instead of feeding Fox and puerile interests.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Oh, I don’t trust the Republicans to do that, Greg. They don’t have the integrity.

                For reasons I hope I don’t have to go into, I don’t trust Democrats to treat these matters as being particularly serious either.

                My best hope is some sort of grassroots groups getting really pissed off and voting the bums out.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well yeah…so my sympathy and/or patience gets a bit lower for people ( R’s in congress in this case) who don’t want to try to make things better. Voting people out is irrelevant unless you change the system in some way. Democracy is not just a one day event. We should have strong citizen review boards for the IRS just like we should have for police departments.Report

            • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Jaybird says:

              Other than there being no evidence whatsoever that Obama was involved.Report

        • Avatar jaded in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          “Well, there was the time the NAACP was audited after chairman had criticized W for not addressing it. ”

          Silly, George Turner just sees that as Bush going after deserved enemies.Report

  16. Avatar Barry says:

    And for Rand Paul, Charles Pierce over on Esquire has the five minute rule for pere et fils:
    they can’t sound sane for more than five minutes; by 5:01 they’ll say something which makes you realize that they are crazy.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Barry says:

      BlaiseP, if they blame for for using Furrin Wurdz, it’s all your fault 🙂Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Barry says:

        It sure is. Apropos to nothing else, has anyone else noticed how The Large-ish Hero of New Jersey has begun to wrap his Pie Hole around Climate Change Denialism? Getting used to felching the Usual Suspects, getting his gag reflex under control. Part of the Grand Olde Party’s initiation tradition, we may presume.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Barry says:

        Gee, I guess Christy was listening to NOAA’s Dr. Martin Hoerling and IPCC lead hurricane author Chris Landsea, Weatherbell’s Dr. Ryan Maue and Joe Bastardi, Virginia’s climatologist Dr Pat Michaels, Dr. Judith Curry (climatologist at GA Tech), and Anthony Revkin in the New York Times, etc. Maybe he needs to start listening to Rosanne Barr and Al Gore for his weather information.

        Tropical hurricane intensity has been dropping for twenty years, and the same climate models that predict the upcoming heat-death of everyone who doesn’t work in a meat packing plant also predict a drop in hurricane frequency.Report

        • Avatar jaded in reply to George Turner says:

          Hurricane intensity has been dropping? My parent’s friends who lost their house in Sandy will be so happy.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

          Then you should tell them how much worse it would be if Sandy had been a hurricane when it made landfall, and perhaps point them to the hundreds of charts and graphs maintained at great expense by organizations like NOAA.

          Three of the top ten Atlantic hurricanes of all time occurred a year prior and during the Revolutionary War, during the little ice age. The worst was the great hurricane of 1780 which had 200+ mph sustained winds that didn’t just snap trees or topple trees, it ripped the bark off trees. 22,000 to 23,000 people in its path were killed, including sailors in both British and French fleets. Some countries in the Caribbean were left with no houses left standing.

          Similarly to blaming Sandy on global warming, several Senators blamed the Oklahoma tornadoes on global warming, even though we’ve been running toward the bottom of historical tornado numbers. NOAA link. In an average year we have 500 tornadoes by this time. This year we’ve only had 286. Heat isn’t linked to tornadoes, which is why July and August have far fewer tornadoes than April, May, and June.

          There’s also this Newsweek gem from the 1974 tornado outbreak.

          Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars’ worth of property damage in 13 US states.
          Trend: To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather. The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down.


          • Avatar Kimsie in reply to George Turner says:

            Blame snowmageddon on global warming.
            And do so with good reason.

            Sandy wasn’t called a hurricane when it hit land, because
            NOAA decided that loophole in insurance was too big.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

            And that’s a good illustration of why global warming isn’t science. It can’t be refuted with evidence. It will end snow, it will make snow worse. It will cause droughts, it will cause floods, it will end droughts and floods that are ecologically important. It will make temperatures hotter, it will make them cooler. It explains everything, even contradictory things, and can never be disproved because each event is just more evidence, no matter what the event was.

            It’s like arguing with people who say “God did it because…” after every swing in the weather. A hurricane blows away a town and it just shows the power and wrath of of Almighty God – or global warming. A drought devastates crops and it shows that people have displeased the Lord, who withholds his favors, or they’ve stirred up global warming and have to suffer the consequences. It’s the same thing, operating the same way. It just sounds fancier now, and the believers are far more strident in their faith, and far less persuadable by contradictory evidence and logic.

            To meteorologists and many climatologists, who are derided as “denialists,” they’re in the same boat they would’ve been in back in the middle ages, trying to avoid the wrath of ignorant masses who see portents and omens of God’s wrath and the end times in every thunderstorm, every crop failure, every strange cloud formation. And yet now the ignorant and superstitious claim to believe in “science,” and see the end times because their prophets told them so.

            It’s the weather, and the historical record shows we’re having an unusual lack of extreme weather.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to George Turner says:

              ummm there are all sorts off ways AGW could be falsified. There could be new evidence showing a lack of connection between atmospheric CO2 and temp, there could be a statistical significant swing in temps, there could be new tested models that explain the weather patterns.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak says:

                None of those have worked. A large number of lead IPCC authors just drastically downgraded the connection between CO2 and temperature in a recent paper (last week). They predicted a 1.3C increase by 2060, with half of it already having occurred. The humorous write up in the lay science community was “Hooray! We’d thought it was too late, but mankind still has a little time to prevent the apocalypse and planetary mass extinction, if we all act now!”

                The analysis was desperately needed to cope with the fact that the planet’s temperature has defied their predictions and is falling below the 95% confidence interval of all the previous IPCC charts that were warning us about global warming. And global warming theory doesn’t even try to explain weather patterns (except in its religious role). That’s a function of climate science and meteorology – with or without global warming.

                The new sensitivity estimate means that in 50 years, your local temperature will average about one degree F hotter than now, and most of that increase will be at night. I suggest you drive 30 miles south and see if you can survive in such a climate while you still have time to stockpile emergency supplies.

                And keep in mind that the new, downgraded sensitivity estimate is from the alarmists at the IPCC.

                And for clarity, the skeptics have always agreed that CO2 would produce some warming. We happily run atmospheric optical data, too, and both alarmists and skeptics agree on the direct IR radiation effects. The key difference is that the skeptics think the climate feedbacks are strongly negative (with evidence), and the alarmists claim (against evidence and logic) that the feedbacks are strongly positive. Strip away any feedback and neither group of scientists finds anything very alarming in the predicted temperature change from IR.

                But without anything alarming, mass legions of loyal followers can’t be mobilized, and climate science isn’t saving the planet from mass extinction. Basically, without the alarm, they might as well be studying beetles in the Amazon. No fancy conferences. No big jets. No supercomputer centers. No fan clubs. No huge grants.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to George Turner says:

                Because the so called “skeptics” haven’t ever drilled a hole in arctic sea ice in their fucking lives.

                Thats not GLOBAL WARMING data, that’s GEOLOGY, says my neighbor down the street.

                He’s probably heading back up to take more cores, too.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Kimsie says:

                Geologists are about the least likely to believe in global warming. I live in a house full of them. Most likely seem to be biologists (all their papers are new again – just tack on “If global warming temperatures do ….” and republish!)

                The ice cores show that CO2 lags temperature, and that the climate’s temperature can increase or decrease rapidly and severely in conditions of low CO2 and in conditions of very high CO2. In fact, we’ve plunged into ice ages with CO2 levels running several times higher than present. That’s confirmed in Antarctic ice cores.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to George Turner says:

                Yeah, we’ve heard about your house, before, haven’t we?
                I seem to recall that folks from your house use illegal substances…

                But hell, if you’d be willing to cite some research… Maybe we could get somewhere.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to George Turner says:

                I mean, dude, I can tell you what my friends have worked on… in addition to that Oscar Winning Movie (Powerpoint is Not a Movie. Does not Deserve OSCAR.)Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to George Turner says:

                Supercomputer centers are a dime a dozen. if you could code worth shit, which you obviously can’t, you’d publish a fucking paper showing how global warming doesn’t exist.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Kimsie says:

                I’ve had GCM source codes sitting on my laptop for years. There’s no way I could write code that bad. I think MIT finally moved away from FORTRAN, though, so maybe there’s hope.

                Below the code is the algorithms, and below that is the math. Our current mathematical approaches to the problem are wholly inadequate, on many levels. The Galerkin shallow-water equations (developed by a guy in tube socks and a powdered wig) assume the atmosphere is infinitely thin (it has no vertical dimension). The equations were a useful way to make idealized ocean currents amenable to the computer power available to men in powdered wigs.

                When expanded with a pseudo-vertical dimension, the equations are used for the atmosphere by all except MIT’s GCM model (which instead uses Navier-Stokes equations – which happen to be invalid for a gas that gas undergoes condensation or evaporation). These climate models don’t have a true vertical dimension and use pressure altitude, so the height is actually in pressure, not in meters. They also don’t conserve Newton’s law of conservation of momentum in the vertical dimension, and don’t take into account conservation of angular momentum as an air column rises or falls. So to them, a rising air column literally speeds up (gains momentum) without any applied force.

                If it could gain enough altitude it could exceed the speed of light as it continued whirling around with a 24-hour period. You’d think it would go flying off in that case, but centripetal force doesn’t exist in the model either. You might think it would fly off because of the diminished force of gravity as you move away from the Earth, but in the models gravity is a universal constant that doesn’t depend on distance.

                But violating the laws of local motion known since the 1680’s is a minor quibble compared to the other problems with the models. The big ones are grid size, condensation and evaporation, cloud formation, optical shading, turbulence, and entropy. Unlike real fluids, the models can run a fluid backwards and happily unmix it. We know this can’t be done real life for anything more than trivial set ups.

                Given that the models are not going to produce a real prediction, and that many of the inputs are just guesses that can vary by almost an order of magnitude between models (some include inputs that the others don’t even take into account, such as various aerosol forcing factors, minor albedo shifts from soot or algae blooms, all the way to freakin’ clouds, etc). Then the parameters are adjusted until the model produces what seems to behave, to the eye, like a halfway plausible planet with an atmosphere.

                Then they start producing warnings of apocalyptic doom and ask for more funding for a bigger computer. But people are sucked in by all the fanciness and expense of it.

                ALL that is needed by the scientists is a couple simple numbers, perhaps described as a single graph on a napkin from Hooters. It would show the average temperature versus CO2 concentration. They don’t have that. They don’t yet know how to produce it with to less than an almost an order of magnitude accuracy for the error bars. So without the one handy number they really need, they’re dazzling the simple folk with fancy bells and flashing lights, accompanied by stark warnings of hell and damnation and the promise of redemption for those who repent their evil ways and send them money.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie in reply to George Turner says:

                Just out of curiosity, what’s your fucking problem with fortran?
                Next, you’ll be telling me what problems you had with QUITO.

                (yup. grandstanding. Anyone laughing can get a cookie — oatmeal cinnamon. will post recipe).Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                The problem is with all the GOTO’s in the GCM code. Much of the code is spaghetti, even though FORTRAN no longer requires them.

                But no matter how well you code a bad approach to a solution, it’s still a bad approach. The method is flawed. It’s used because we simply don’t yet have a better mathematical approach to atmospheric dynamics. We don’t even understand a lot of the fundamentals yet.

                For example, all the atmospheric planetary scientists thought wind speeds would drop on the outer planets, because there was less solar energy to drive atmospheric phenomenon. That turned out to be completely wrong. No changes have been made in any code or theory as a result, it’s just sort of noted as “hrm… interesting.” We don’t have a relation or equation for wind-speed versus temperature, yet obviously such a relation probably exists (planets seem to obey it), and is probably important in a field that’s trying to predict the change in wind speeds resulting from a tiny shift in average temperatures.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor in reply to George Turner says:

                The analysis was desperately needed to cope with the fact that the planet’s temperature has defied their predictions and is falling below the 95% confidence interval of all the previous IPCC charts that were warning us about global warming.

                George, this is a pretty awesome claim that I haven’t heard before and would a “true rejection” more-or-less for me if you can verify it. I’ve looked around for some sources but all I could find was this Skeptical Science post, which – while an obviously biased source – does answer the simple of question of weather the truth lies within the predicted CI. Their point that warming-skeptic predictions have been uniformly off is a cherry on top but sort of beside the point.

                Am I missing something? Is there more recent work that supports your claim?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to trizzlor says:

                The leaked drafts of the IPCC AR5 report contain the graphs which have been circulating around both skeptical and alarmist sites. Here’s one obviously biased article about them in the Daily Mail. (Other newspapers also covered the story, and this story was preceding by articles on how scientists were dealing with the utter lack of statistically significant warming that’s now approaching a two-decade span.

                The AR5 draft is having to cope with the problem, and finally admitted that solar forcing might play some undetermined role in climate, along with some other grudging concessions.

                During the late 80’s and since, we happened to be in what solar scientists term “the grand maximum”, when solar output was higher than it had been for centuries. Alarmists dismissed the connection between the grand maximum and temperatures because temperatures kept increasing after the sun’s output had leveled off. The horrible flaw in that argument is that it means your stove only warms up while you’re twisting the knob.

                The sun is now entering a deep trough, possibly another Maunder Minimum, and solar scientists say we might be in for a very cold period until perhaps 2040 or 2060. Undeterred, alarmists argued that even if that is so, we need to make radical changes now so we don’t get fried later when the sun heats back up.Report

              • Avatar j@m3z Aitch. in reply to George Turner says:

                George, I’m open to argument here, but the graph shown in your link clearly shows temperatures are still within the 95% confidence prediction, even if close to the edge. And then it says they are “about to crash out of” that range…but that in itself is also a prediction, not something for which they have actual data demonstrating it.

                I’ve long been a skeptic about at least the more dire warming scenarios, but you’re mocking unfulfilled predictions by relying on an unfulfilled prediction, and that doesn’t, to me at least, seem to be the strongest way to persuade folks to buy in.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                Hey, at least you’re open to persuasion by evidence. That itself is very rare among most of the alarmists, which is why I often point to the way their belief system is a religion.

                In a story about science the sentence, “‘Dr. Mitchell, our theory was completely wrong! Look at this!” Dr. Samuels said with an excited grin on his face,” would mean you’re getting to something knew an interesting. The feeling a scientist has when an accepted theory is overturned is happiness, sometimes euphoria in the eureka of the moment.

                Try that with a committed alarmist and the reaction is more likely to be outrage, anger, and vicious accusations of heresy, blasphemy, lies, and the work of the devil (the Koch brothers).Report

              • Avatar j@m3z Aitch. in reply to George Turner says:

                Oh, come on, George. There’s that kind of people everywhere, and there’s damn sure enough of them on your side of this issue, too, that there’s no moral high ground to be claimed by pointing to them on the other side.

                And of course you didn’t bother to make a reply to my substantive point. All in all, you’re not really doing yourself any credit now.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                And that should give you an interesting data point. Who on the skeptic side reacts with shock and anger and questions your moral upbringing? The extremely religious people. (Some skeptics are just upset about the egregious fraud of The Team, but would never think to question your morals).

                Heck, just in this little sub-thread I’m having my housemates’ drug use brought to bear as a reason to disregard my opinion about a scientific measurement. Next I’ll be linked with prostitution or accused of hanging around in pool halls. Why would such things pop into an alarmists’ head? Because an apocalyptic religious myth has taken hold of them, slipping through all their filters disguised as their good friend Science, taking advantage of the absence of an already established evangelical apocalyptic myth, like a new gut flora exploding after a strong course of antibiotics.

                Fortunately a variety of treatments can help. The first is to ease the apocalyptic fears. It doesn’t really matter what the planet’s temperature does until the current interglacial ends and the glaciers advance. Due to factors such as the south circumpolar current or the Bering strait, and some still not understood, the planet isn’t going to get back to its normal warmth until the continents drift some more. To geologists, we’re still in an ice age, just taking a few gasping breaths like a guy who keeps having his head dunked in a toilet by an CIA interrogator until he confesses.

                If the planet warms up tremendously it will be a boon, like the Eemian period, the interglacial about 120,000 years ago when hippopotamuses wandered the streets of London (which didn’t actually have streets back then due to a lack of government infrastructure spending). For those afraid of warming, take heart, because even the IPCC projections say that in your lifetime (and that of your kids) where you are probably won’t get any warmer than it currently is just an hour’s drive away. The future can’t be too frightening if you’ve been commuting past it on the way to work all your life without even noticing the horror. The monster under the bed doesn’t scare me, and it shouldn’t scare you, no matter how many awful stories you hear.

                Second, you have a flashlight so the monsters can’t get you. Sea level rise keeping you awake at night? The rate hasn’t increased above what it has been since the 1800’s, and even if it tried, it wouldn’t take any competent engineer a day to architect and cost a system to pump extra water into the bowl of Antarctica where it will remain locked up as ice for thousands of years (done that). Nobody talks about things like that because it takes all the fun out of the scary stories of drowning cities.

                And the monster under the bed isn’t going to have time to get you because the sun is about to come up, er…, has entered a long quiescent phase and we’re going to be cold until we retire to Florida, and then sometime after that the ice age conditions will return and we’ll pay people to drive SUVs all day.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor in reply to George Turner says:

                George, thanks for sending the link, it’s certainly an interesting preliminary finding. Not to bite a gift horse in the face, but it would be nice to have some of the IPCCC draft context for this figure given that: 1. The “official world average temperature” also has errors bars, not shown here; 2. The IPCC has at least four iterations of their predictive model going back to 2000, so it’s not even clear which model is being shown and why the prediction is only starting from ~2005. Certainly the fact that the average temperature never actually leaves the 95% CI in this figure is a much milder result than your claim that the planet’s temperature “is falling below the 95% confidence interval of all the previous IPCC charts“. But as I said before, if this or any other peer-reviewed report shows a significant departure from the prediction then I will fully except the skeptics argument.

                My worry is that this rejection doesn’t go both ways. That if the claim of departure cannot be supported and the final IPCC report shows accurate model predictions, then skeptics will simply argue the data/report have been fabricated and move on to another issue.Report

              • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to George Turner says:

                George, if you’re going to talk to me, try talking to me. I’m not really interested in rambling rants.Report

            • Avatar Kimsie in reply to George Turner says:

              (I did write out a very long and thoughtful response to this … missive.)Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

              It explains everything, even contradictory things, and can never be disproved because each event is just more evidence, no matter what the event was.

              Scientists do not have an very accurate model of long-term weather, and there are lot of things that we are not sure how much temperature change will effect. I’ve read something the other day that pointed out that global warming changes two things about tornadoes, one of which makes more tornadoes and one makes less, and we don’t actually know which is more important, so it’s entirely possible global warming is reducing the amount of tornadoes. (Statistically, the amount of tornadoes is roughly the same, it’s just that we are building denser so they are more harmful.)

              However, there is ONE thing that goddamn global warming predicts…GLOBAL WARMING.

              You appear to have this idea that just because we don’t actually know the results of raising the temperature higher and higher and higher that, uh, it somehow isn’t happening. That does not make any sense at all. There are specific things that we know happen with higher average temperatures. We have more drought, at least on average. Thus crops die. We have melting ice caps. We have deserts expand.

              _Those_ are the bad thing, and those bad side effects are not up for debate. (Unless you want to debate the temperature increase itself, and feel free to do that, but you can’t actually debate the fact that a temperature increase would result in those bad things.)

              We _also_ are going to get random weather patter changes in random places, and because we don’t fully understand many of the reasons weather patterns exist in the first place, we’re pretty crappy at predicting the changes. But, generally speaking, randomizing the weather at all is a bad thing. Yes, one or two areas might luck out and get less tornadoes or less blizzards, but the vast majority of places are going to just have random changes that devastate the ecosystems. (Yes, ecosystems adapted…but it sucks to be living through it.)Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

                Actually, global warming doesn’t necessarily predict global warming. Sometimes they use it to predict global cooling, citing changes in the oceans’ thermo-haline circulation patterns, most famously in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” where temperatures seemed to be hundreds of degrees below absolute zero.

                We also don’t know that higher temperatures will produce more drought. Many models show that there would be increased rainfall along with fewer extremes (those don’t get much coverage because they’re useless for scaring people). In general we know it should get wetter as it gets warmer. Warmer temperatures have also been modeled to produce sea-level decreases (considered unlikely by the IPCC, but not out of the ballpark) due to an increase in snow piling up on Antarctica, and thus a net gain in polar ice mass.

                As I said, they’ve covered all the bases. There is no future climate state that would contradict the theory.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                Sometimes they use it to predict global cooling, citing changes in the oceans’ thermo-haline circulation patterns, most famously in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” where temperatures seemed to be hundreds of degrees below absolute zero.

                I want to print this out and frame it as ‘Most nonsensical climate change denialism’. You just cited a Roland Emmerich movie as if it was an actual prediction of the future.

                That actually happened. In the actual world. You just did that.

                We also don’t know that higher temperatures will produce more drought. Many models show that there would be increased rainfall along with fewer extremes (those don’t get much coverage because they’re useless for scaring people). In general we know it should get wetter as it gets warmer.

                ‘Increased rainfall’ and ‘drought’ are not mutually exclusive thing. In fact, you can’t _have_ drought under climate change without having increased rainfall. This is because the increased rainfall is due to increased evaporation. Which, duh, results in less water on the ground.

                Granted, some of that water is making it back down. And, indeed, near oceans, there will probably be less drought, as more ocean water ends up on land. (Assuming that’s the way the wind moves, of course.)

                In areas _it already doesn’t rain_, aka, deserts, having higher evaporation makes the desert larger and drier, while not actually putting enough water in the air for it to rain. (Changing the humidity from 2% to 4% is not going to make it rain.)

                Heat removes water from the ground, and puts it in the air. That is what causes rain, so we will have more rain.

                Heat removes water from the ground, and puts it in the air. The lack of water on the ground is the _definition_ of drought, so we will have more of that also.

                The fact we’re cycling water _faster_ doesn’t change the fact that less of it will stick around to make it into plants and animals, and more of it will be floating uselessly in the air. (Unless the plan is to operate giant dehumidifiers to water our food.)

                Warmer temperatures have also been modeled to produce sea-level decreases (considered unlikely by the IPCC, but not out of the ballpark) due to an increase in snow piling up on Antarctica, and thus a net gain in polar ice mass.

                Except no, that’s not what anyone has modeled.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                The movie “Day After Tomorrow” took the plot from actual alarmist predictions about the shutdown of the thermo-haline circulation, such as this one from 2004.

                If global warming shuts down the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean, the result could be catastrophic climate change.

                There are tons more of them (which I won’t link to avoid landing in the spam filters), but the big alarmist fad in the mid-2000’s was “abrupt climate change” and “tipping points.” That’s what led to the movie.

                As for Antarctic ice gains, as of 2009 all models under CMIP3 except one predict precipitation increases, and AR4 predicts gains in ice mass under almost all scenarios. When you dig into them, some of the early IPCC scenarios couldn’t rule out a small sea-level decrease.

                (And frankly, countering any of the minor sea-level rise in AR4 is just a public works project that isn’t at all difficult, because it just takes about a dozen nuclear plants and some pumps).Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to George Turner says:

                george, you got called on using a crappy movie not based on actual science. you used a strawman, and a lametastic one, that doesn’t make your argument look good if you need to sink like that. just move on, i could make a better case for your side than you are here.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

                Actually, your craptastic movie was based on the apex of your so called science. It even brought in Pentagon briefings as the basis of its “truthiness.” It was laughed at, even by your side, not one to shy away from illogic and stupidity, as being pretty darn embarrassing.

                My side’s argument is that such claims are ridiculously stupid. Your side’s claims are that they are serious. My side claims that your fears of a 1 degree or even a 5 degree rise in temperatures are ridiculously stupid, like the movie. Your side keeps advancing them with a straight face. We, the audience, are never going to buy into an episode of Magnum PI where life in Hawaii is a zombie apocalyptic nightmare because their average temperature is higher than Cleveland’s.

                We politely ask you to quit being stupid and quit insulting our intelligence, before we’re forced to give you mega-wedgies.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to George Turner says:

                so “my” movie..huh…was laughed at by “my side” yet i’m responsible for it. It was a worse then bad science , it was a bad movie that nobody thought was accurate or good but somehow that makes it something we need to defend. Pick an attack G, you’re all over the place.

                did you ever notice the movie was about an overnight ice age. since that was the entire plot of the movie that might be important. you might have also noticed that the rising world temps and concept of AGW isn’t about an overnight ice age. i know that is a slight difference and it would take a scientist to explain the difference. but trust me on this, they are different ideas.

                so when conservatives aren’t having stuff shoved down their throats or being bent over they are talking about going after my undies. not subtle at all.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner says:

                The movie “Day After Tomorrow” took the plot from actual alarmist predictions

                There were actual predictions of an ice age so sudden that people could barely outrun the cold? This may be the most dishonest comment ever made on this site, and that’s saying something.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Comments dumber than that are being expressed in this thread. The idea that people a degree warmer than you are dying in agony even as we speak. The idiocy depends on people gullible enough to keep buying into it, and to keep buying into it as their last serious scare is laughed off as ludicrous. To the rest of us who sit back and wonder how anyone could be dumb enough to fall for a TV preacher’s 7th prediction of the coming apocalypse after his first 6th were false, yeah, we seriously wonder if you fell of the back of a turnip truck or something.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                What I said was “most dishonest.” Though I may have spoken too soon.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                I’ve pretty much stopped talking to George at this point, who readers may notice only took issue with my pointing out that a Roland Emmerich movie was, in fact, a movie, and The Day After Tomorrow is no more a real prediction than Godzilla was. He apparently had no rebuttal to both my explanation of drought plus increased rainfall _or_ my pointing out that no one is predicting sealevel change to go backwards, accepting both those to instead dispute the idea that crappy science fiction is a real prediction.

                So I will address the prediction of shutting down thermohaline circulation. While there _is_ a theory that that could shut down, nothing that happens in that movie is even vaguely predicted by it. (As was pointed out by the very article that was linked to by George!)

                While the shutdown itself could be near instant (Or not, we don’t know), it wouldn’t cause instant temperature changes, nor would those temperature changes be anywhere near as fast as shown, or as large, or even happen in the same place!

                Shutting that down simply means that the temperature of a few places become more in line with their latitude…Scotland eventually turns into Sweden, for example. And Iceland into Greenland. And France into Canada. And, at the other end, Georgia into Tunesia, or, if you prefer, Texas.

                All that, of course, is an exaggeration (It’s not _just_ latitude and thermohaline circulation that effect the temperature), but the point is that the thermohaline circulation moves warmth up the New England coast, takes it across the ocean, and slams it smack into Europe, making _both_ those places more livable than their latitude would otherwise imply. (And stirring up the ocean while it does it, which makes it more liveable too.)

                If you’ve been paying attention, you will also notice that the thermohaline circulation does not actually effect the temperate of New York very much, (New York is at the same approximate latitude as Spain and Italy and Japan, the temperature is fine there anyway.) which means trying to assert that The Day After Tomorrow has anything to do with that exceptionally stupid.

                In fact, The Day After Tomorrow is not quite as stupid as that, and the freezing of New York is due to some ‘super storm’, not the collapse of the thermohaline circulation. George Turner: Making less sense than Roland Emmerich.Report

  17. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    Stolen from someplace else, but _this_ is why most people don’t care about the scandals one way or another. –


  18. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    I have a theory on the Obama Administration’s crackdown on James Rosen.

    Rosen writes his infamous article about North Korea in 2009. But in early April of 2010, things weren’t so great on the China front. The Dalai Lama had come visiting in February and Obama had been gracious enough. But the meeting with His Holiness was kept to a minimum of fanfare, a low-key affair. Obama knew it would annoy the Chinese if too much was made of the visit.

    We don’t know what was discussed on 1 April but we know Obama was in a serious discussion with Hu Jintao, serious enough to hold up Air Force One on the tarmac until that discussion was finished. Rosen’s source, Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department guy, had been cornered. I strongly suspect, again, this is just conjecture, the information came from the Chinese, who were trying to keep the Americans aware of what was going on in North Korea. And the Chinese were justifiably pissed by the leak.

    At some point, probably at the Chief of Staff level, I’m pretty sure it went that high, collars were grabbed and pointed threats made at point-blank range to the effect that further leaks would not be tolerated. Rosen wasn’t the problem: he was just doing what reporters do, round up sources. Rosen came in for investigation only when Jin-Woo Kim had been trapped, exactly as Wikileaks Boy Bradley Manning had been trapped.

    But Rosen was crossing a line and he knew it: for all practical purposes, he was doing exactly what a foreign espionage service would have done. Rosen went in search of classified information. Walked right into the State Department, got a visitor badge, he and Jin-Woo Kim walked outside and gabbled away — and came back in with a few minutes of each other.

    Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, this James Rosen.Report

  19. Avatar trizzlor says:

    This Breitbart headline from last week fully captures the problem with right-wing media: FLASHBACK: PRESIDENT OBAMA TARGETED GIBSON GUITARS, BOEING ON IDEOLOGICAL GROUNDS. In the middle of revelations about a potentially serious IRS scandal, Breitbart decides to remind you about some bullshit they cooked up two years ago.

    It’s abundantly obvious that these writers are not interested in accurate reporting from a right-wing perspective; they are not even interested in opportunistically taking down the president; they are exclusively interested in getting page-views and padding their ever-bruised egos.Report

  20. Avatar Damon says:

    This is why Republicans annoy me so much–slightly more than the Democrats.

    And folks wonder why I long for the Zombie Apocalypse.Report

  21. Avatar Henshaw says:

    David Weigel at Slate goes into some detail about the CNN interview with Paul. It was just lazy reporting.

    People aren’t paying attention and by any measure the President has enjoyed positive press. If I walked around my office most people would be clueless about these scandals. Why would the President’s approval ratings drop? How many people actually know that government officials knowingly lied about what was going on in Benghazi? It’s not a scandal. It’s just pathetic that they blamed a YouTube video.

    The funniest part about these scandals is when you look at the viewership of Fox and MSNBC. Over the past two weeks viewers are flocking to Fox and fleeing from MSNBC. No one wants to watch their team when there’s bad news.

    President Obama’s numbers aren’t going to fluctuate much unless there’s a major event.Report

  22. Avatar George Turner says:

    First off, your picture alarms me because either you or your photographer is 45 degrees out of phase with our reality and yet you still appear happy, as if you were unaware of such an obvious discordance about horizontal and vertical and where perfectly happy at such an angle.

    Second, I would echo your points and expand upon them, but my G-d man, you’re like halfway sideway in that photo. That or else the world is riding on the back of the Costa Concordia and its fate is subject to the whims of a drunken Italian cruise line captain. It makes me question my belief in God and his benevolence, and whether mankind suffers at the whim of cruel and capricious folly.

    Perhaps you and your wife thought the angled photo would be kind of fun, maybe amusing and whimsical, but I assure you, you are both badly mistaken. Look through any old high school yearbook from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s are any other period and you will not find such a photo, because those of use alive back then understood that playing games with the horizon angle would lead to social breakdown, confusion, and chaos. All photos were taken upright in the posture that God intended, and we did not mess around with fate on that point no matter if we were destined to be a Beach Boy or defense lawyer for Richard Nixon. The rules of physics, optics, and perception don’t play politics, and neither should we.

    I cannot say how deeply this disturbs me. I may never again eat a marshmallow next to a Winnebago with a small gray alien because people might appear from anywhere from odd directions with odd-angled smiles, and all I could think to do is just start blasting at their center of mass with whatever weapon is at hand because I’ve found myself stuck in a Beatles video scripted by the same British Monte Python animators who haunt my nightmares to this day.

    “Death to the sideways or other angled smiling faces that pop out at weird angles from cartoon trees in cheap British productions!” (I’d have said that in all caps, but half the people here would’ve thought I was really disturbed, and the other half would’ve gone hunting cartoon faces.)

    Anyway, you simply cannot rotate your picture 45 degrees, post it on the Internet, and not expect vast legions of people to find themselves flung back in a yellow submarine, curled up in a ball wondering what the heck reality is. Human brains don’t process faces that way. Playboy doesn’t have a 45 degree centerfold because people can’t even think about odd-angled faces and boobs and do the matrix algebra required to rotate ourselves into any sort of mathematically tractable alignment angle. We’re only mammals evolved with a single up direction, not NASA astronauts trained in a universe of docking approaches.

    I beg you. De-rotate, before your picture spreads to the talk shows, financial markets, and then around the world to regions that can’t even process a female face with no angular rotation at all. They are not ready for this, not a hundredth as much as I am, and I’ve been doing image processing since the early 80’s, and even I can’t cope.

    Right yourself. That’s all I can ask. And then ask your wife what you were thinking to get such a diatribe. Hug each other and realize how close you took us to the brink with your thoughtless whimsy.

    (Yeah, this is a fun place to comment. See if you can top that! 🙂 )Report