So I was out trying to locate some new voters to register on the next to last day for new registrations, when I came across this street corner populated by some dedicated Teaparty/Romney voters keeping it classy. They had signs for just about every hysterical conspiracy theory that existed for Obama to date.  They would rotate the different messages every few minutes, sometimes marching into the center of the street disrupting traffic when they could get away with it. I decided to ask them what one of them meant.

I apologize for the primitive nature of this little movie. It’s the very first I’ve edited on my own. I promise to get better if I ever decide I need a new hobby.

Related

  • Cloward–Piven strategy  — the teaparty activist in the video is not making-up this bit of strategy, but it never became the lynchpin of anything, as Glenn Beck has suggested. Legions of teaparty activists need these conspiracy theories, half-rooted in reality, so that they have a reason to get up each day.

The Tea Party Jacobins — Mark Lilla, NY Times Book Review

A new strain of populism is metastasizing before our eyes, nourished by the same libertarian impulses that have unsettled American society for half a century now. Anarchistic like the Sixties, selfish like the Eighties, contradicting neither, it is estranged, aimless, and as juvenile as our new century. It appeals to petulant individuals convinced that they can do everything themselves if they are only left alone, and that others are conspiring to keep them from doing just that. This is the one threat that will bring Americans into the streets.

I would have missed this, had it not been for the ever watchful @jayrosen_nyu who tweeted it again because it was his most popular recent link. For good reason.

There is almost nothing I could write that could make the point better than this thoughtful and prescient post does. Everyone should read it—twice.  It could be the first really complete overview of what is actually happening to this nation, and just how dangerous a predicament we are in.

The concorporate media is part of the problem, so they are hardly going to be the one's to tell this story well, despite articles like this which sneak into their product mix now and then.

If I have any criticism at all, it's that it pays far too little attention to Roger Ailes, the Koch brothers, Dick Armey's Freedomworks, and all the other cynical forces of darkness that are gaming the Tea Party movement—and America—more and more each day.

Please  click the GREEN Retweet button below, and help others understand this growing menace to this foundering American experiment.

Read: The Tea Party Jacobins

 

This is a wonderful interview, and like most of the Washington Journal good stuff, it was buried in the early morning segment when only we hard core @cspanWJ watchers even saw it.

You really need to spend some time with this segment. He covers a lot of ground, and he knows his subject(s) really well. He's got a gift for casually, but concsisely discussing the practical and hypothetical issues raised by this Bizarro-world remix of modern conservatism, Republican cronyism, and all the Batshit crazy that we've been calling the Tea Party, lately.

Watching this segment, I thought about how much I really dislike the term "Tea Party," because it romanticizes a contrived and entirely wrong conception of what the real Tea Party was. But it also fails to describe what is happening in this "movement," or who and what it really represents, or where's it's going. And it's just too fucking informal for a trend that might ultimately take down the entire American experiment.

So, as is my wont, I set about to define it.  It seemed to me that what is happening is a perfect astroturfed storm consisting of:

  • Generally Republican crony corporate capitalism,
  • Fox-news-fed "big government" protesting under the guise of fiscal conservatism.
  • Resurgence of the John Birch Society and other fringe social conservative groups.

The triple-threat might neatly be termed, Trio-conservatism."  

So I liked it so much, I just submitted it to Urban Dictionary as:

Trio-conservatism A more formal designation for the socio-economic blending of corporate, fiscal and social conservatism that now typifies the so-called "Tea Party" movement in the United States.

Love it? Like it? Hate it?  Think I should burn this post and never bring it up again?

If UD approves it, it should be published sometime tomorrow.  I can improve the definition after they do. It's too annoying to spend time making the perfect definition, only to have some UrbanTard editor reject it for totally random reasons. There is no appeal.

About Dave Weigel

Typically, whenever some new event prompts a collective cry of disgust or outrage, the right wing noise machine leaps into action with some demonstration of false or exaggerated equivalency. In minutes, freedom rings with the sounds of "both sides do it." Whatever the meme, be it racist, violent, anti-semitic, or unpatriotic, the right uses an army of social media users and bots to blather 24×7 with noise designed to obfuscate any real event or issue, and exonerate any conservative of anything other than peaceful, "decent," expressions, as is their "constitooshinal rite."

Every other day, some other blogger on the left is wailing and wringing hands over the "disgusting, outrageous, vile, repulsive" indignities from these right wing Hatriots with little or no regard for degree of offense.  Ugly banners are interspersed with death threats on Facebook so often, that it's hard to conclude much of anything except that there's a lot of cranks and sociopaths in America.  And the right is correct when they say that "both sides" have their share of them. Thus, using such 'outrages" as pretext for some larger point or argument is inviting the other side to toss out deflections and red herrings as counterpoint, and it's all one big road to nowhere. It distracts our media, politicians and personalities from the all the lying about facts, policies, and things that really matter. 

The latest exercise comes to us in this less-than-easily-verified document:

Death Threats Against Bush at Protests Ignored for Years

Here's one sample photo from it:

Together with my favorite investigative partner, @Karoli, we're going to keep an eye on these efforts, but until we have something larger to say, just a few observations and thoughts:

  • The page in question is a collection of photos submitted to the sharing site, binscorner.com, by a "user" named "PortoNovo KajaNazimudeen."
  • None of the source links work. They are actually enclosed in A tags (links), but the href= attribute is blank. Hmm. Now why would you make a link to nowhere, unless your purpose was to "suggest" that the links were real, but just "broken." (Most people would never know how to "inspect" the links behind the scenes in the source code of the document.) One might do this so that the reader would not all too easily discover that almost all of them come from a few sources, and without working links, it's a lot of work to confirm that they even come from the sources indicated. But I did check a few, such as Ringo's pictures. (We'll return to him)
  • While Ringo suggests he took most of his "in L.A. over 6 years," many of the posted images look like they could come from any of the many foreign protests over 8 years of the Bush administration. British, German, Dutch, and South American Bush haters (and anti-globalists) all used such rhetoric and images routinely.
  • With today's Photoshop and digital title generators and filters, repurposing such photos is easy to do. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these were originally aimed at Saddam, Carter, Bush I, or Obama, and just "tweaked." There are photo magicians all over the web who love to do such work. I am going to send some to a photo forensics specialist and see what he thinks.

Having said all of this just because I like to be thorough, I believe that most of these pictures are probably real and undoctored, although taken from many different contexts, which makes them hard to evaluate, qualitatively. But that doesn't mean they are not gamed, somewhat anyway.  As mentioned, quite a few of them come from a far-right wing, pro-Israel, nuthatchery called Ringo's Pictures (the oft-debunked, and highly manipulative pro-Israel MEMRI is all over this site).  Just take a look at the editorializing he does on each picture, to see where he's coming from. 

In the About page for his collection of photos, Ringo does try to suggest that he's just a simple, humble, magnanimous truth teller (who hates liberalism), offering up these words of faux-moderateness (Wingnuts so love to posture smugly that they are the only truly devoted, non-violent paragons of civic virtue and temperance):

I do not offer these images as a defense of any similar tactics now being employed by some anti-Obama protestors, in fact, I plead with those opposed to President Obama's agenda to avoid the adolescent behavior displayed by anti-Bush activists over the previous eight years. Remember, just as the media went out of their way to shield the public from the vulgar and anti-American behavior of many anti-war demonstrators, so too will they go out of their way to shine a light on any offensive behavior by even one protestor opposed to President Obama. I offer these photographs only to show the hypocrisy of those on the Left who pretend to be shocked, as if such tactics are new or unique to our current President and his policies.

Now…

Assuming that all or most of these pictures are in fact genuine, let's look at the range of nutcases presented? We have mostly ANTI-WAR rallies, where passions always run high among activists.  That's not exactly the same context as a "tax" or "big government" protest, such as we see with the so-called Tea Party rallies. And even within these protestors, we have a smorgasbord of crazies from Truthers to Larouchies. And remember, a lot of Bush haters were skinheads and assorted right wing hate groups who didn't think Bush was tough enough on immigration and affirmative action. I am reasonably sure that many of these photos are from this group.

But none of this really matters anyway.

The real issue is NOT whether people's politics make them say stupid things and craft goofy misspelled signs.Both sides DO do that, at times. But the contexts and degrees count.

I side with Rachel Maddow here.I like all that noisy, ugly democracy at work.  I think the real issue is the much more serious matter of recklessly inciting the violence with either deliberately violent imagery (reload), urging people to show up with weapons,  and generally conditioning people of limited range and self control to get much too excited about how they express themselves.

The words and gestures coming coming from the likes of Palin, Bachmann, Limbaugh, and other not-so-bright conservatives, Tea Party advocates, and Fox personalities are designed to fire these people up to keep the passions lit; passions they are pretty confident will carry conservatives back to power so they can ruin these people's lives even more than they already have.

I think the Pulitzer prize winning conservative columnist, Kathleen Parker, probably said it best in today's Washington Post.  I will leave it to her to finish my point:

What Americans can do to discourage future McVeighs — by Kathleen Parker

But words matter, as we never tire of saying. And these are especially sensitive times, given our first African American president and unavoidable fears about the worst-case scenario. If Jodie Foster could bestir the imagination of Hinckley, a Sarah Palin in the Internet age could move regiments.

Related

Russell King has penned a brilliant rant, and it's perfectly timed.

I was just about to embark on a treasure hunt to find the best examples of this insane journey these freaks have taken us on. As I've been tweeting lately, Batshit Crazy is The New Normal. I doubt my Rants and Primers inspired it, but I'm gonna pretend it did.  I'd like to see dozens more like it, all which will be included in my primers.

Please tweet this to everyone you've known since elementary school. It's important.

Now the advice.  You're going to have to come up with a platform that isn't built on a foundation of cowardice: fear of people with colors, religions, cultures and sex lives that differ from your own; fear of reform in banking, health care, energy; fantasy fears of America being transformed into an Islamic nation, into social/commun/fasc-ism, into a disarmed populace put in internment camps; and more.  But you have work to do even before you take on that task.

Read the Open Letter (tpmcafe)

Related

Please do sign-up for this

So you get all the hilarity of their planning missives, as Michael P. Leahy lures all the suckers into one big marketing tent for his goofy Saul Alinsky books with their make-believe history.

Oh, and it may also help screw up AFP/David Koch's bus-buying and booking plans for the big event, too.

From March 9 through March 31 Freedom Loving Tea Party activists
will be traveling to Washington DC to HELP STOP Obamacare.
We need YOUR HELP. If you would like more information, please
fill out the form below and we will be in touch ASAP about how
you can help. THANK YOU! — Michael P. Leahy (#tcot Founder)

Take the Town Halls to Washington.

 

I can't wait to see all 85 gazillion billion trillion Teapartiers all assembled on one block.

This is the very essay I was going to try and tackle this week. These fine folks have done a superb job of writing it for me.  You must read it, and then see my note that follows:

How To Do Effective Political Activism: What Always Worked And What Never Did — by Peterson Park Blog

While young liberals and progressives were sitting in coffee shops tweeting, emailing and updating their Facebook status, embracing the tools of the “new activism,” tea baggers were disrupting town hall meetings and staging credible rallies and marches on the halls of power. While the left embraced the delusion that new media technologies have changed the rules of political and social activism, mossback conservatives and libertarians were effectively applying the same techniques of political protest that have worked and worked and worked since the dawn of history.

Now please..

Don't just read the above essay, maybe make a bookmark, and then promptly forget it. Take a few minutes and think about how many you might share it with by employing just the smallest amount of effort.

I don't just mean Retweeting it. Got email lists?  Got phone? Got a neighbor? Got a blog?

The social side of social media makes it so easy to organize voices, but it's getting those voices into the streets where they are really heard by politicians, employers and the media that will really make the difference. And that's the hard part. But social media makes it so much easier than it ever was before.  It provides the multiple megaphones with which we can drive the herd, and the herd can provide the warm bodies in the streets. But that herd must still go there when called upon. And the only way it will, is when it's been educated, enraged, engaged and excited. That's where YOU come in.

You personally may not be able to take to the streets, but you can compensate for that by making so much noise that it helps fire up so many others who might.

Wingnuts get active, and it's why they win. Even when they don't hit the streets, they keep their conversations and narratives alive with constant regurgitation and redistribution, which reinforces all their memes and messages.  It sinks in. The left–and all of us on it–must learn to do this too.

It's not that we don't all want to do it. It's that we simply DON'T do it.  We simply have to find a way to change that.  And very, very quickly. The only way we can start… is to just start.

Look at what @MLsif just do with #demandQuestionTime. That entire effort, as described here,  http://bit.ly/9uTPTU took just a few days. Yes, it's only an online effort at present, but he could very easily issue a call to action which might translate into action offline. It's just one small example of the powerful weapons we have. We just need to start using them. 

SO DON'T JUST NOD YOUR HEAD. 

  • Do your part. (Any part is better than no part at all).
  • Tell someone. Educate, Enrage, Engage and Excite someone
  • Make our narrative happen (and stop echoing theirs so often).
     
  • PROGRESSIVE PASSIVITY is what allowed the right to seize this county.
  • Change that, change our world.

G.O.P. Group to Promote Conservative Ideas.

There has been no shortage of Conservative think tanks. We're inundated with them. What this is really about is an organization specifically designed to exploit the Citizen's United Ruling. 

There are literally hundreds of these advocacy groups already, with combined budgets well over a billion dollars. And they funnel money to countless smaller groups, and astroturf front organizations. 

This will just be one that can channel their national messages, with the really big dollars they know can be raised now, and using top talent to coordinate (wordsmith and style) their message.

And if past is prologue, the left will probably just let this happen, with little if any pushback whatever.

WASHINGTON — A group of prominent Republicans is forming an organization to develop and market conservative ideas, copying a successful Democratic model and hoping to capitalize on the fund-raising and electioneering possibilities opened up by a recent Supreme Court ruling.

Introduction

The entire Teaparty movement is based on ideas that have been continuously discredited for years. Yet the GOP, eager to leverage all the passion and zeal of these misguided populists, is promising policy based on still more of the fiscal absurdity that has already wreaked havoc on our cities.  Over the next few weeks, I am going to collect examples of this ongoing ruination and post them here.

If you have good articles for this reader (I call it a wrapper), please submit as a comment or email it to me and I'll consider including it.

Recent

City cuts into services considered basic by many.

COLORADO SPRINGS — This tax-averse city is about to learn what it looks and feels like when budget cuts slash services most Americans consider part of the urban fabric.  More than a third of the streetlights in Colorado Springs will go dark Monday. The police helicopters are for sale on the Internet. The city is dumping firefighting jobs, a vice team, burglary investigators, beat cops — dozens of police and fire positions will go unfilled.

Backgrounders

California's Proposition 13 : The Mother of all Stupidity

The proposition's passage resulted in a cap on property tax rates in the state, reducing them by an average of 57%. In addition to lowering property taxes, the initiative also contained language requiring a two-thirds majority in both legislative houses for future increases in all state tax rates or amounts of revenue collected, including income tax rates. It also requires two-thirds vote majority in local elections for local governments wishing to raise special taxes. Proposition 13 received an enormous amount of publicity, not only in California, but throughout the United States.

Spread the meme. Republicans are the party that wrecked America

So, to begin this process, and to clarify the situation, I urge readers of this blog to identify the Republican Party by its new brand-name: the party that wrecked America.

Related

Myth: Carter ruined the economy; Reagan saved it.

Carter cannot be blamed for the double-digit inflation that peaked on his watch, because inflation started growing in 1965 and snowballed for the next 15 years. To battle inflation, Carter appointed Paul Volcker as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, who defeated it by putting the nation through an intentional recession.

The Great Lie of Supply-Side Economics, By Paul Krugman

The tax cuts that went through were sold on false premises – what it costs us is far greater than advocates said, advocates who claimed it would actually increase revenue and cost us nothing. It does cost us, hundreds of billions of dollars so far, and that cost has not been presented honestly to the public by either the advocates of the tax cuts or the press reporting on the issue. Without an adequate understanding of the true costs, the public discussion on the issue is distorted and the result is bad public policy.

Why The Party that Wrecked America Can't Fix It

The Republican party has a problem. They have based much of their power, over the last several decades, on the idea of ever-expanding (almost exclusively white) suburbs. The thinking was, as those suburbs become less and less dense — as one wag put it, the further away the houses are from each other — the more those suburbanites will vote Republican. As William Levitt, the builder of the first modern suburb after World War II said, "No man who owns his own house and lot can be a communist."

My Definitions

These are definitions I have created at UrbanDictionary.com.  If you visit them, please vote them "thumbs up?" Thanks!   Note: All terms are to the best of my knowledge, my creations, except where indicated by "*", in which case, I was defining a term coined by others.

* As far as I am aware, Hatriot was first coined by me, but it's not my definition at UD. I'd been using it for over 15 years online, and I am widely credited with first use by many, especially on Twitter where I've used it regularly since 2007. I originally used it in an AOL chat room. A Lycos search at that time (there was no Google) turned up 0 hits. Someone finally added it to Urban Dictionary last winter, when Twitter people were retweeting it almost daily.

** Teapublican was my definition, but I did not coin the term.

About Urban Dictionary

I'm learning that sometimes you have to sidestep certain Wingnut hall monitors at Urban Dictionary to get some terms published. It's really too bad Urban Dictionary is such a poor product. The concept really needs to be done properly, with more respect for crowd sourcing protocols.  It's just too easy for random trolls to "judge" what gets submitted, with no real appeals process short of just resubmitting the whole definition again and hoping for a new reviewer. Ever so lame.