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,, 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.


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.


The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The list below is the entire contents of a section added to Wikipedia, snuck into the Federal Funding section.  As you probably know, any person or group that can learn the basic rules, and document what can pass the very slim tests for a verifiable source can—and often does—game the Wikipedia review and editing process all the time.

Hence, a Tea Party-type Tenther group like The Tenth Amendment Center, gets to fluidly itemize all the state actors and actions predicated on overturning any social program they don't like, or creating gun rights which they do like, based on one or more of their self-serving interpretations of any given10th amendment clause, principle, precedent or dictate.

This sort of section-addition is rarely meant to educate. It's merely a form of infowar propaganda meant to lend the impression of weight to the actions, so that the impressionable will be seduced into thinking they are well founded, credible, and nearing legislative action. In most cases, they're little more than the rhetorical chatter from perpetual local-election noise machines that, in one form or another, have been spamming state legislative processes for decades. Unfortunately, the reckless Republican party and its Tea Party movement cousin have given rise to new and more dangerous (and potentially enactable) variant of these ideas, and they are what is mostly recapped in this list.

I don't mind their data being there, assuming even the most basic facts can be validated. But I do mind it being placed there with no-cross referencing to the background, core issues, viability, and known or potential implications of such proposals.

I also resent the fact that, knowing the overall impact Wikipedia has, that liberal experts and scholars aren't regularly looking at such things and challenging them—openly.  Full disclosure: This knowledge reputation problem has always troubled me about WikiPedia, and it's something I've invested a lot of time thinking about a solution for.

If you know anything about some of these issues, the wording in each action is almost comical. Yet the Tea Party movement-types just eat this stuff up, and regurgitate each action as if they were the most important issues facing America in the 21st century, and a crucial development if they are to continue enjoying what they've been told are their "freedoms."

Note:The wording below is verbatim as it appeared in Wikipedia. Note the word "bipartisan" in the opening paragraph. A few moments looking at their website should dispel that notion quickly.

Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

State Sovereignty Resolutions and Nullification Acts

The Tenth Amendment Center, an organization seeking to promote the concept of state sovereignty, has gathered information on various actions taken by state legislatures in protest to federal actions. The organization is bipartisan. The movement has quietly gained support in a number of states.

    * State Sovereignty Resolutions ("10th Amendment Resolutions") – During 2009, "state sovereignty resolutions" or "10th Amendment Resolutions" were introduced in the legislatures of 37 states; in seven states the resolutions passed (Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Tennessee). As of April 2010[update], resolutions were introduced or reintroduced into the legislatures of 19 states; the resolution has passed in five states (Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming).[4] [5]

    * State Sovereignty Bills ("10th Amendment Bills") – As of March 2010[update], in five states (Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma) Tenth Amendment supporters have introduced "State Sovereignty Bills" (one step beyond the Resolution stage discussed above), which would mandate action against what the state legislature perceives as unconstitutional federal legislation; none have made it past the introductory stage.[6]

    * Firearms Freedom Act Legislation and Federal Gun Laws Nullification – As of April 2010[update], resolutions have been introduced in the legislatures of 27 states that would "declare[] that any firearms made and retained in-state are beyond the authority of Congress under its constitutional power to regulate commerce among the states". During 2009 the legislation passed in Montana and Tennessee and during 2010 the legislation passed in Arizona, Idaho, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.[7] South Carolina has taken the issue one step further: in 2010 a bill was introduced which would effectively nullify all gun registration laws within the state.[8]

    * Medical Marijuana Laws – As of March 2010[update], 14 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) have passed legislation which permit the use of medicinal marijuana.[9] California has a proposed November 2010 constitutional amendment which would go one step further, and legalize marijuana use by persons over age 21 for any purpose whatsoever.[10] The Obama Administration announced in October 2009 that it advised federal prosecutors not to target medicinal marijuana users, or their suppliers, in states that have passed such laws.[11]

    * REAL ID Act – As of March 2010[update], 25 states (beginning with Maine in 2007) have passed legislation and/or resolutions which opposed this legislation. Though the legislation is still on the books, its implementation has been delayed on several occasions and is currently not being enforced.[12]

    * National Health Care Nullification – As of March 2010[update], 30 states have introduced legislation which would declare certain provisions of any proposed national health care bill to be null and void within the state; the legislation passed in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, and Virginia.[13] Such provisions include mandatory participation in such a system as well as preserving the right of a patient to pay a health care professional for treatment (and for the professional to accept it) outside of a single-payer system. Arizona's legislation passed as a proposed constitutional amendment, to be submitted to the voters in 2010.[14] On February 1, 2010, the Virginia Senate took a stand against a key provision of a proposed federal health care overhaul, passing legislation declaring that Virginia residents cannot be forced to buy health insurance. On March 17, 2010, the Governor of Idaho signed a bill requiring the Attorney General to sue the Federal Government if Idaho residents are required to buy health insurance.[15]

    * "Bring the Guard Home" – As of March 2010[update], seven states have introduced legislation which would permit the Governor of the state to recall any National Guard troops from overseas deployments (such as in Iraq and Afghanistan); the bills failed in Maryland and New Mexico.[16]

    * Constitutional Tender – As of March 2010[update], seven states have introduced legislation which would seek to nullify federal legal tender laws in the state by authorizing payment in gold and silver or a paper note backed 100% by gold or silver; the legislation failed in Colorado and Montana.[17]

    * "Cap-and-trade" Nullification – As of March 2010[update], four states have introduced legislation which would nullify any proposed federal emissions regulation under the "cap and trade" model); none have advanced beyond the introductory stage.[18]

    * State Sovereignty and Federal Tax Funds Acts – As of March 2010[update], three states have introduced legislation which would require businesses (and in some cases, individuals) to remit their Federal tax payments to the state Treasurer (or equivalent body) for deposit into an escrow fund. If the state Legislature determined that a portion of the federal budget was not constitutional, or if the federal government imposed penalties or sanctions upon the state for creating the fund, then the money would be withheld.) None have advanced beyond the introductory stage[19]

    * "Sheriffs First" Legislation – As of March 2010[update], three states have introduced legislation which would make it a crime for any federal agent to make an arrest, search, or seizure within the state without getting the advanced, written permission of the sheriff of the county in which the event would take place); none have advanced beyond the introductory stage.[20]

    * "Federal Land" Legislation – As of February 2010[update], Utah has introduced legislation to allow the use of Eminent domain on federal land. Rep. Christopher Herrod has introduced the bill in a state where the Federal Government controls over 60% of the land. The effort has the full support of Republican Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who would have to defend the law. The proposal includes setting aside $3 million for legal defense.[21]

    * "Nullification of Federal Intrastate Commerce Regulation" – As of March 2010[update], four states have introduced legislation which would nullify federal regulation of commerce and activities which are solely within the boundaries of a state and which do not cross state lines. The Virginia legislation has passed one house.[22]
Source: WikiPedia/10th_Amendment