Pot, kettle

I don’t see another explanation for what Tom Friedman was doing when he wrote this column:

The Tea Party that has gotten all the attention, the amorphous, self-generated protest against the growth in government and the deficit, is what I’d actually call the “Tea Kettle movement” — because all it’s doing is letting off steam.


The important Tea Party movement, which stretches from centrist Republicans to independents right through to centrist Democrats, understands this at a gut level and is looking for a leader with three characteristics. First, a patriot: a leader who is more interested in fighting for his country than his party. Second, a leader who persuades Americans that he or she actually has a plan not just to cut taxes or pump stimulus, but to do something much larger — to make America successful, thriving and respected again. And third, someone with the ability to lead in the face of uncertainty and not simply whine about how tough things are — a leader who believes his job is not to read the polls but to change the polls.

So no one on the non-centrist right or non-centrist left gives a fuck about the country? Even David Broder doesn’t write stuff like this.

Maybe this sounded better in the original Mandarin.

Where the fuck is Matt Taibbi these days?

Update Speak of the devil.

137 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    Jim, Foolish LIteralist says:

    so much earnest gibberish from Tommy….

    The important Tea Party movement, which stretches from centrist Republicans to independents right through to centrist Democrats

    What the fuck?

    First, a patriot:

    What the fucking fuck?

  3. 3
    dadanarchist says:

    And he’s right here: Taibbiblog

    Read his takedown of Colin Cowherd – classic Taibbi.

  4. 4
    lacp says:

    Just what I needed for a nightcap – a small taste of Auld Ballywanker.

  5. 5
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @Jim, Foolish LIteralist: What the fuck?

    That’s exactly what I thought. That’s an incredible amount of horseshit to fit into that small a sentence.

    And even more packed into calling the Teatard movement “self-generated.”

  6. 6
    mantis says:

    The important Tea Party movement, which stretches from centrist Republicans to independents right through to centrist Democrats,

    The Tea Partiers are all centrists? Wait. What? Did this come from an automated Friedmanism generator running its “centrist” routine? No human not in a coma for the past two years could write these things and mean them.

  7. 7
    Mayur says:

    Friedman is a fucking neocon fascist pretending to be a centrist.

    Sorry, but sane views on the need for the US to develop sustainable energy and water sources are in no way mutually exclusive with an essentially fascist agenda.

  8. 8
    tomvox1 says:

    Sounds by his 3-point description (and the rest of his column) like Obama is the one Friedman is pining for…but he is too entranced by his own pedantic bullshit to see it. Wanker.

  9. 9
    Elizabelle says:

    Taibbi Rolling Stone piece off to a strong start, beginning with its title.

    “Tea and Crackers”

    Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn’t a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters. As Palin launches into her Ronald Reagan impression — “Government’s not the solution! Government’s the problem!” — the person sitting next to me leans over and explains.

    “The scooters are because of Medicare,” he whispers helpfully. “They have these commercials down here: ‘You won’t even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!’ Practically everyone in Kentucky has one.”

    A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can’t imagine it.

  10. 10
    Ash Can says:

    And Friedman gets paid for phoning this horseshit in?

  11. 11
    beltane says:

    Tom Friedman really is an idiot. David Brooks is dangerous because he is cynical and disingenuous and very intelligent. Tom Friedman is dangerous because he is a moron who should not be listened to by anyone at any time, and yet people listen to him anyway. This man is so out of touch it hurts.

  12. 12
    Tom Levenson says:

    This all feels like that Star Trek episode when Kirk got pitched into a parallel universe in which the Enterprise had become a dog-eat-dog den of viciousness.

    I mean, what’s the alternative explanation for the existence of a job with apparent prestige and riches for someone who combines journalistic sloth, intellectual palsy and the uglification of prose into such an extraordinary brew as one T. Friedman?

    This must just be a temporary and reversibly overlap of timelines, right? I can haz a sane cosmos again soon, plz?

  13. 13
    DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice. says:


    I’m not sure Friedman is as dangerous, but I think his vision for the country may be more frightening. Brooks wants some kind of a cross between Franco and Nixon, but I think, on balance, he would probably preserver the right to vote, given his druthers. Friedman genuinely dislikes democracy.

  14. 14
    Elizabelle says:


    I didn’t have too much problem with the Friedman column, except that his longed for leader does sound a lot like our current President. Don’t know why Friedman won’t admit that.

    And yeah, he’s hippy punching a bit, but he’s dissing conservatives way more. He’s basically called the Tea Partiers hot air and incoherence.

    re centrist Republicans?

    Like who? Richard Lugar is credible; the Maine twins. Michael Bloomberg …

    Otherwise, they’re falling like flies, and only sounding reasonable once they’ve been bounced out of office.

    Maybe David Brooks did the copyediting.

  15. 15
    Elizabelle says:


    I think David Brooks is fatuous.

  16. 16
    jrg says:

    First, a patriot

    As opposed to someone who thinks America is imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists?

    Friedman really is a moron. His columns only make sense if you believe that the “middle” is somewhere between “what the right says about the left” and “what the right actually is”.

    He seems to be completely incapable of looking at reality and coming to a conclusion. He just regurgitates unsubstantiated crap he accumulates from watching politicians on TV and talking to winos on the street.

    Newspapers and their brain-dead brethren the “opinion columnist” can’t die soon enough.

  17. 17
    DonkeyKong says:

    Friedman is saying to those that make under 250,000 dollars and don’t live in a 11,000 square foot ego container…..I mean mansion.


  18. 18
    MikeJ says:

    OT, but I just got robopolled on Murray/Rossi by the league of conservation voters.

  19. 19
    General Stuck says:

    Fuck that fatuous pissant Friedman

    Enthusiasm Gap Closing

    It will close even more before election time. Democrats are just now paying attention, and indies will think hard about voting for the party of GWB just two years out.

  20. 20
    DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice. says:


    Lay it on me, what’d they ask?

  21. 21
    El Cid says:

    I’m shocked that Tom Friedman is a dumbass establishmentarian fact-free fool once again.

  22. 22
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    First, a patriot: a leader who is more interested in fighting for his country than his party. Second, a leader who persuades Americans that he or she actually has a plan not just to cut taxes or pump stimulus, but to do something much larger — to make America successful, thriving and respected again. And third, someone with the ability to lead in the face of uncertainty and not simply whine about how tough things are — a leader who believes his job is not to read the polls but to change the polls.

    Rand Fucking Paul!!!!! Someone get me a bumpersticker.

  23. 23
    mr. whipple says:

    It will close even more before election time. Democrats are just now paying attention, and indies will think hard about voting for the party of GWB just two years out.

    Yup. If you didn’t see Obama’s speech today, you missed a barn burner.

  24. 24
    El Cid says:

    @Elizabelle: So far this is the best part.

    Next best so far:

    After Palin wraps up, I race to the parking lot in search of departing Medicare-motor-scooter conservatives. I come upon an elderly couple, Janice and David Wheelock, who are fairly itching to share their views.
    “I’m anti-spending and anti-government,” crows David, as scooter-bound Janice looks on. “The welfare state is out of control.”
    “OK,” I say. “And what do you do for a living?”
    “Me?” he says proudly. “Oh, I’m a property appraiser. Have been my whole life.”
    I frown. “Are either of you on Medicare?”
    Silence: Then Janice, a nice enough woman, it seems, slowly raises her hand, offering a faint smile, as if to say, You got me!
    “Let me get this straight,” I say to David. “You’ve been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?”
    “Well,” he says, “there’s a lot of people on welfare who don’t deserve it. Too many people are living off the government.”
    “But,” I protest, “you live off the government. And have been your whole life!”
    “Yeah,” he says, “but I don’t make very much.” Vast forests have already been sacrificed to the public debate about the Tea Party: what it is, what it means, where it’s going.
    But after lengthy study of the phenomenon, I’ve concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They’re full of shit.

  25. 25
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @DougJ, etc, etc, Friedman I think would like us to become one big Singapore. His faith in business, and his evident distrust of democracy, and his fondness for loquacious taxi drivers all point in that direction.

  26. 26
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    Friedman is just burnishing his ‘flat earth’ credentials…

    Either that, or he thinks the Tea Party will actually take over the country after the elections and he doesn’t want to be out of a job…

    I have yet to meet a ‘Centrist Democrat’ who wants ANYTHING to do w/ the tea party…

  27. 27
    Zach says:

    Say what you will about the Tea Party, but they’re fighting against their own country which is at least a reasonable-if-misguided homage to the original. Note that they fly “don’t tread on me” instead of “join, or die.”

    I guess hopping onto the green bandwagon and pushing the benefits of authoritarianism failed Friedman so now he’s onto the next thing.

  28. 28
    DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice. says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    That’s about what I think too. It’s remarkably short-sighted and ignorant of cultural issues on his part.

  29. 29
    KG says:

    @Elizabelle: my first thought was that Friedman’s proposed perfect leader sounded like the president. And I say that as someone who didn’t vote for him, and has tended to vote Republican more than not thus far in life.

    @DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.: many people have been critical of democracy, going back to Plato. It is, as Churchill said, the worst form of government devised, except for all the rest.

  30. 30

    @DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.:

    That’s not fair, he’d at least respect polling data garnered from America’s immigrant cabbie population.

  31. 31
    MikeJ says:

    @DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.: They asked, who ya gonna vote for, are you a Dem or Repub, sex, and age.

    I told the truth on who I was voting for, only lied a bit on the demographics.

  32. 32
    Kyle says:

    Friedman is a corporate cargo cultist – the only guy in the world who gets a boner at the sight of a Dell billboard in Malaysia.

  33. 33
    Zach says:

    Taibbi needs to stick to his beat; he should ask around the office before dissing the National Quartet Convention.

  34. 34
    Yutsano says:

    @MikeJ: Dammit I’m curious now too, especially since Patty is running at 51% last polling count. Oh and her office is in my building too.

  35. 35
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @El Cid:

    Well,” he says, “there’s a lot of people on welfare who don’t deserve it. Too many people are living off the government.”

    I don’t think I need to guess about who the people who “don’t deserve it” are.

  36. 36
    dr. luba says:

    Taibbi is a great read.

    The Tea Party movement–cognitive dissonance or rank hypocrisy? Both, it seems.

    “The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them. In fact, their lack of embarrassment when it comes to collecting government largesse is key to understanding what this movement is all about “

  37. 37
    El Cid says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Friedman I think would like us to become one big Singapore.

    No, he’d like the wealthy developed areas and such residents to become one big Singapore, while the rest of the US becomes the cheap labor fields and piquant tourist views of Vietnam.

  38. 38

    Second, a leader who persuades Americans that he or she actually has a plan not just to cut taxes or pump stimulus, but to do something much larger — to make America successful, thriving and respected again.

    He might be right, that might be what some of TeaParty folks [the sane ones] are looking for.

    But it’s not going to happen. The 20th Century was the American Century. It is gone.

    But isn’t this the same thing that the neocons and their various thinktanks are looking for? The TeaParty hasn’t started any wars [yet] and they haven’t actually beat anyone up [again, yet].

    What are these characters going to do when we start running out of oil?

  39. 39
    Elizabelle says:

    @El Cid:

    Hey, Cracker Bingo is coming up. (Although he calls it something else.)

    Lots to like in the Taibbi article. It’s cheering me even more than my martini as I read it.

    What does it say that we get our most credible news from Comedy Central and Rolling Stone?

  40. 40
    dr. luba says:

    Apparently I do no have permission to edit my own comments. Oy.

    I loved the way Taibbi summed up the Teabaggers:

    This, then, is the future of the Republican Party: Angry white voters hovering over their cash-stuffed mattresses with their kerosene lanterns, peering through the blinds at the oncoming hordes of suburban soccer moms they’ve mistaken for death-panel bureaucrats bent on exterminating anyone who isn’t an illegal alien or a Kenyan anti-colonialist.

  41. 41
    suzanne says:

    Friedman makes my head hurt. Seriously, I read his shit and I feel like my brain is constipated from all the pseudo-intellectualism.

    O/T, but I was making GOTV phone calls for Harry Mitchell and Terry Goddard today, and a few of them absolutely had me in stitches. One dude was absolutely oblivious to the fact that there’s an election coming up (apparently he never leaves his house or drives down the street), and wanted me to tell him who to vote for. One dude’s last name was “McAnally”. I politely hung up before laughing until I cried. And one dude I called answered the phone stoned, and only wanted to know Mitchell and Goddard’s position on marijuana legalization. He says to me, “You knew I was gonna ask that!”

    God, if there weren’t other people to laugh at, what would I do for fun?

  42. 42
    Elizabelle says:

    More Taibbi:

    A loose definition of the Tea Party might be millions of pissed-off white people sent chasing after Mexicans on Medicaid by the handful of banks and investment firms who advertise on Fox and CNBC.

  43. 43
    El Cid says:

    @Comrade Kevin: Nor does it take too long to figure out that people use “Muslim” these days instead of saying n******.

    ‘That Obama, I just don’t trust him, I think he’s a damn Muslim plannin’ all sort’a shit we don’t know about.’

    Requires a few logical flights, but you can get to the destination if the listeners are willing to fly there with you.

  44. 44
    Mike in NC says:

    What the fucking fuck?

    Exactly. I went to work this morning and saw a pickup truck in the parking lot with two bumper stickers: one was “PALIN 2012” and the other was a picture of the Confederate battle flag and it read “Never, never, NEVER apologize for this flag”. Wish I’d have met the motherfucker who owned it to wrap a tire iron around his head.

  45. 45
    Davis X. Machina says:

    What are these characters going to do when we start running out of oil?

    Make you buy theirs for them, right down to the final liter.

    There are those who will volunteer for the privilege, too. I’m sure it had some adaptive advantage, back on the plains of East Africa, but the ‘toady’ gene still expresses itself frequently today when its utility is less obvious.

    In a flood, the tall guy drowns last.

  46. 46
    asiangrrlMN says:

    He gets paid to write this shit? I’m making the same offer I made to the editors at The Atlantic. I will write Friedman’s column for half the price. I am a literate, Asian American, bisexual female (a three-fer), and I can cut out the cussing when need be. Now, pay me, bitchez!

    @Yutsano: Hi, hon. How you be?

  47. 47
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Man, this Taibbi piece is fuckin’ great. He’s got teabaggers nailed dead to rights:

    After nearly a year of talking with Tea Party members from Nevada to New Jersey, I can count on one hand the key elements I expect to hear in nearly every interview.
    One: Every single one of them was that exceptional Republican who did protest the spending in the Bush years, and not one of them is the hypocrite who only took to the streets when a black Democratic president launched an emergency stimulus program. (“Not me — I was protesting!” is a common exclamation.)
    Two: Each and every one of them is the only person in America who has ever read the Constitution or watched Schoolhouse Rock. (Here they have guidance from Armey, who explains that the problem with “people who do not cherish America the way we do” is that “they did not read the Federalist Papers.”)
    Three: They are all furious at the implication that race is a factor in their political views — despite the fact that they blame the financial crisis on poor black homeowners, spend months on end engrossed by reports about how the New Black Panthers want to kill “cracker babies,” support politicians who think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was an overreach of government power, tried to enact South African-style immigration laws in Arizona and obsess over Charlie Rangel, ACORN and Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
    Four: In fact, some of their best friends are black! (Reporters in Kentucky invented a game called “White Male Liberty Patriot Bingo,” checking off a box every time a Tea Partier mentions a black friend.)
    And five: Everyone who disagrees with them is a radical leftist who hates America.

    Too bad I quit smoking, because I kind of need a cigarette now.

  48. 48
    Zach says:

    Taibbi rolls out a McEstimate:

    No, what had Santelli all worked up was Obama’s “Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan,” a $75 billion program less than a hundredth the size of all the bank bailouts.

  49. 49
    Dr. Squid says:

    Oy. What. A. Dipshit.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mike in NC: You are in NC, right? I saw a window sticker on a pickup with the Confederate flag and the phrase, “Heritage, not Hate.” I am in Wisconsin. Heritage? WTF?

  51. 51
    MikeJ says:

    @Zach: This is why I think he’s a dishonest idiot. Of course if you say that out loud, some fucker will claim you’re offended by swearing.

  52. 52
    Elizabelle says:

    An amazing number of Tea Partiers actually believe this stuff [death panels, white victimhood], and in the past year or so a host of little-known politicians have scored electoral upsets riding this kind of yahoo paranoia.

    Yahoo Paranoia.

    There's your article in 5 syllables.

  53. 53
    Mark S. says:

    Jesus, his plan is kind of stupid:

    To implement it would require us to actually raise some taxes — on, say, gasoline — and cut others — like payroll taxes and corporate taxes.

    How much would you have to raise the gas tax to offset cuts in payroll (which is huge) and corporate taxes? Or is he just talking about cutting them 1 percentage point?

    It would require us to overhaul our immigration laws so we can better control our borders, let in more knowledge workers and retain those skilled foreigners going to college here.

    Those are two separate issues, but whatever.

    And it would require us to reduce some services — like Social Security — while expanding others, like education and research for a 21st-century economy.

    Because centrists are really down with gutting Social Security.

  54. 54
    piratedan says:

    don’t forget that they’re Christians, who are supposed to be charitable, non-judgemental and tolerant of others…..except when they don’t look like they do.

  55. 55
    James E. Powell says:

    What Friedman does not get is that this Tea Party thing is not really a political movement, in the policy sense of the term. It is just a lot of angry, white people who don’t think in policy terms. They just want to show up on election day and say “Which part of this sentence don’t you understand?” You don’t think, you know, we care about white privilege, you think this bubble fantasy, we’re just gonna to let it grow? Well, Suck. On. This.”

  56. 56
    Zach says:

    @MikeJ: No; I just think Rolling Stone hires fact-checkers who can’t do math or doesn’t hire fact-checkers at all. Change 1/100 to 1/10 and his point’s still fine and Santelli’s still race baiting.

    I haven’t read much of his work, but the general flaw I’ve seen is jumping to conclusions that aren’t supported by his reporting.

  57. 57
    Yutsano says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Tired, mostly. I’m looking forward to being a total hermit this weekend. I plan on being as anti-social as possible, and I even have the convenient excuse of needing to do stuff around here. Plus I get paid Monday.

  58. 58
    burnspbesq says:

    Dear Mr. Taibbi,

    Ignorant and condescending is no way to go through life.

    You’re neither as smart nor as funny as you think you are.

    Very truly yours,


  59. 59
    MattR says:

    @dadanarchist: God, Cowherd is an idiot. I can guarantee the laziest union steelworker still has a tougher day than Colin. I work in IT for a company that warehouses refrigerated and frozen goods. I don’t have the exact number but it is something in the neighborhood of half of all new hires don’t make it a week. Probably not that high anymore with the economy and all, but it was kinda funny installing software into a brand new warehouse and watching people quit mid shift because they just cant handle the cold (not that I blame them). But in Colin Cowherd’s world the people who can stick it out and make sure that all our food gets to where it needs to go, they have no value.

  60. 60
    RadioOne says:

    Friedman is full of it. The GOP, in my lifetime, has only really had one platform and message: “Vote for conservatives, or else this country will die.”

    Sort of sounds a bit like the Tea Party message.

  61. 61
    ItAintEazy says:

    Fuck it. Tomorrow I’m buying that Rolling Stone (Obama cover and all) just as a SUCK ON THIS to all the flat-earth tommies of the world.

    ETA: Oh, and to all the burnspbesq pismires of the world too.

  62. 62
    Kyle says:


    Hence the distinction between ‘Christians’ and ‘Xtians’, the followers of the vengeful, bigoted, randroid Republican Jesus.

  63. 63
    El Cid says:

    @dr. luba: My relatives were really good people once you got to know them and have the right skin color and knew how to keep your mouth shut about certain things.

  64. 64
    El Cid says:

    @Mike in NC: I want someone to print bumperstickers with ‘Confederate’ flags but with slogans for gay rights or stopping global warming or something. Just to confuse people.

  65. 65
    Steve says:

    @DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.: I think Friedman likes democracy a lot, as a theoretical matter. He just gets really bummed that in practice, authoritarian communism achieves all these great things that democracy can’t.

  66. 66
    handy says:


    Cowherd getting paid on the radio to say stupid things is so emblematic of the problem our media have with anointing their “experts,” even in a fairly inconsequential realm as sports. I’ve come to realize most of these guys love to wax about life and “sport as a microcosm of life”– because they actually don’t understand the very thing they purportedly cover. So that we’re subjected to such searing analysis as “The Rays are successful because they have heart and chemistry and all the players buy in to the system.” Yeah, and having David Price anchor your staff sure doesn’t hurt, either. Idiots.

  67. 67
    burnspbesq says:

    Amazing: I’ve found a pundit dumber than Taibbi and shriller than Greenwald.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.


  68. 68
    burnspbesq says:


    Plus I get paid Monday.

    Try not to blow it all on cat treats.

  69. 69
    burnspbesq says:


    Feel free to ignore me if you don’t like what I have to say. I’m certainly going to ignore you.

  70. 70
    Elizabelle says:


    Yeah, but he’s smarter and more willing to go there than our “he said, she said” mainstream media.

    Funnier, too. I laughed my way through the article.

    There are some stretches, but this article seemed more honest than most of the reporting we see on this subject.

    Remember that bizarre early New York Times article on the Tea Party a few months back? More notable for what it would not say? (Accompanied by a gallery of lotso white faces?)

    Taibbi’s work is fairer.

  71. 71
    Yutsano says:

    @burnspbesq: This is where life gets fortunate in that I don’t drink or smoke or spend too much money on stuff. Even my rent is paid for October so I can finally get to working on that cushion I’ve been depleting since I moved. I also wised up and started a TSP. I feel all growed up and stuff.

    Oh and imagine a 6’3″ Samoan with a sadistic streak as an RO.

  72. 72
    FlipYrWhig says:

    OT: So Ross Douthat was the guest on Colbert… and in a segment before his there was a long and not-terribly-funny bit about how people should go to Colbert’s DC rally in costume… which culminated in a mention of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups being especially scary because they’re made out of Reese Witherspoon. That _had_ to have been a stealthy “Chunky Reese Witherspoon” reference, right?

  73. 73
    BGinCHI says:


    If Liverpool doesn’t beat Blackpoop this wknd I’m jumping off a building.

  74. 74
    Redshift says:

    Gaah, my view of the site is surrounded by ads for “Gerry Connolly, and Independent Voice for Northern Virginia.”

    Connolly, our own little Lieberman-in-training…

  75. 75
    Yutsano says:

    This poll doth not say what the reporter thinks it says. Most telling is the last bit at the end about Obama’s numbers.

  76. 76
    Comrade Kevin says:


    I’ve found a pundit dumber than Taibbi

    That’s not hard

    and shriller than Greenwald.

    That, on the other hand…

  77. 77
    jharp says:

    @El Cid:

    This is exactly the position of the few right wingers I still have the displeasure of hearing from. Exactly.

  78. 78

    Since John Cole’s settlement freeze thread is growing old and stale on the vine, I’ll thread-crash here with my odd post about the settlements:


    At the end, you’ll find resources on the settlement enterprise.

  79. 79
    Craig says:

    @dadanarchist: I can’t begin to tell you how delighted I was when I started reading that article – if Taibbi is good at a thing, it is doling out good old-fashioned frontier justice to charlatans and hucksters, and Cowherd is both, and a monumental starfucker besides.

  80. 80
    Yutsano says:

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther: That was gut-wrenching…and very moving. How little the people have learned. How quickly they forget, “For you were a stranger in Egypt…”

  81. 81
    Elizabelle says:

    Here’s that irritating New York Times article that appeared April 15.

    Title: Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated


    Seeing who the Tea Party supported in the primaries, I think Taibbi got it right.

  82. 82

    @Yutsano: Thank you, you’re very kind. I’m kind of anticipating hearing from some people who feel I don’t care enough about people killed via drive-by terrorism (…), so its nice to start w/ feedback like this.

    I realized when I was done writing that I hadn’t really made a point, or even clarified why I think that the settlements will be our undoing, but sometimes you just have to write.

    Hopefully the little list of resources will be helpful.

  83. 83
    burnspbesq says:


    Oh and imagine a 6’3” Samoan with a sadistic streak as an RO.

    The most effective RO I’ve ever met was a 4’10,” 90 pound woman. She was just utterly single-minded.

  84. 84
    burnspbesq says:


    I’m feelin’ ya, mate. Forest are driving me insane. All they had to do this summer was spend two million pounds to get a quality goal-scorer … but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. So here we are, haven’t lost since the first day of the season, and we’re in eleventh fucking place.

  85. 85
    Calming Influence says:

    Tom Friedman heard the words “tea kettle” and miraculously, his synapses linked it to “tea party”. Tom decided to write an opinion column in one of the world’s most influential papers, based on his notion that the “tea kettle”/”tea party” discordance that is happening in his own mind is relevant to the world at large.

    Hilarity ensues.

  86. 86
    Yutsano says:

    @burnspbesq: She isn’t by chance an Ethiopian Army vet? Oh wait she was 4’6″. Played tuba too. She kicked ass.

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther: Sometimes just writing what you feel can be the most effective method of communication. It is what it is, it’s great, and you shouldn’t alter a letter.

  87. 87
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Calming Influence: Friedman’s whole thing is wordplay. He’s like the Tim McCarver of punditry.

  88. 88
    Redshift says:

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther: I found it quite powerful. Thanks for writing it.

  89. 89
    J.Kevin says:

    @Tom Levenson: The episode is “Mirror,Mirror”. Classic. 1967. “Lt. Uhura” rocked the “mini”.

  90. 90
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Yutsano: Getting paid is good. I just made a midnight airport run to pick up a friend. She got fogged in at the Portland, ME airport. I’m guessing her pre-approved ride wasn’t awake. She emailed me this morning telling me she was getting in at midnight. Good times.

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther: Oh, ee, that was so painful and powerful to read. Thank you for writing about it in such a personal way.

  91. 91
    KG says:

    i missed the gubernatorial debate here in California this afternoon, so I just caught a couple of clips on line. I would like the option of voting for someone else that might have half a chance. It cannot be true that Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman are the best two options we have. I refuse to accept that.

    For fuck’s sake, I think my two year old niece would have been a better choice.

  92. 92
    kdaug says:

    This makes me angriest – GRRR. GRRR. GRRR!

    Can I have a cigarette now?

  93. 93
    Yutsano says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Heh. Honestly you would be my first option in that instance as well. Although I’m rather obsessive about either driving myself to the airport or hitching in a taxi. I’m pretty good at factoring in the fees into the trip budget.

  94. 94
    The Dangerman says:

    From Rolling Stone:

    …but the Republicans managed to get back in the game anyway by plucking an assortment of nativist freaks, village idiots and Internet Hitlers out of thin air and training them into a giant ball of incoherent resentment just in time for the 2010 midterms.

    Cmon, tell us how you really feel.

  95. 95
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Yutsano: I drive to my bro’s house (he’s about seven minutes from the airport) and then let him use my car while I’m gone. Added bonus: He never asks where I’m going/where I’ve been/what I’ve done!

    My sleep schedule has been way fucked, though. I’m exhausted.

  96. 96
    Jewish Steel says:

    I do like “Internet Hitler.”

    How does Internet Hitler formerly Jewish Steel sound as a handle?

  97. 97
    Martin says:

    Ok, I run hot and cold on Taibbi, but that was awesome. This made me laugh out loud while watching Glee in the background:

    (Reporters in Kentucky invented a game called “White Male Liberty Patriot Bingo,” checking off a box every time a Tea Partier mentions a black friend.

    Which goes to show you that everyone is in on the scam, but nobody is willing to honestly talk about it.

  98. 98
    suzanne says:

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther: Emily, that was wonderful. I’m going to send the link on to my friends and family.

  99. 99
    MobiusKlein says:

    @@Mike in NC: Sounds like you need a small sized Stars & Stripes on a sharpened knitting needle.

    Don’t apologize for sticking it through his tires.

  100. 100
    Yutsano says:

    @Jewish Steel: Godwin for days man. I think the Internet would asplode.

    @asiangrrlMN: I’m exhausted right with you there hon. I’ll be racking out here soon.

  101. 101

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther:

    Wow, Madame. Just wow. You thread the needle and bring the point home. And even as a Gentile, I’m comfortable in saying you speak for me and so many others.

  102. 102
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Jewish Steel: It’s cracking me the fuck up, I’ll tell you that much.

    @Martin: Everyone but the ‘baggers, apparently.

    @Yutsano: I hear ya. I’m gonna crash soon as well.

  103. 103
    Martin says:

    @KG: Brown will be pretty good. The governor is awfully constrained by the legislature and the various stupid fucking laws we have. His biggest power is veto, and he’ll likely not ever use that. The good stuff he’ll continue – energy, etc. There’s really not much point wasting really good Dems on the governors mansion – it’s not like the Republicans can be reasoned with. Having a loudmouth governor that’s willing to swear in debates is probably just as useful.

  104. 104
    Yutsano says:

    @Martin: It’s just cracking me up that he’s barely advertising and he’s still leading the polls. The Governator may have soured Californians on Republicans for a while there. That and Jerry is VERY lucky in his opponents.

  105. 105
    El Cid says:

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther: I think the very notion that there are Israelis who consider the settler movement to be a threat to Israel in the sense of what they desired Israel to be is just not in any way understood here.

    They’re ‘controversial,’ and they’re controversial because some people think they interfere with ‘peace prospects’ with the Palestinians.

    And that’s about as far as discussion goes here.

  106. 106
    Martin says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Yes. Colbert’s writers are quite plugged in. As are Stewart’s. They’ve pulled content from this site before – including at least one reference to skull fucking kittens.

  107. 107
    Martin says:

    @Yutsano: Yeah, he is lucky. I think the GOP really underestimates the electorate here – California voters have to put up with so much shit, foisted largely by the GOP over the years, that they’ve been forced to be reasonably educated. Meg simply can’t go out there and stick $150M behind a few talking points and expect it to get anything. Same for Fiorina. It doesn’t take a whole lot of money or airtime to combat that.

    In spite of Arnolds flaws, I think he’s probably helped the GOP by not going down the usual batshit route as everyone else on the right has the last 2 years. If we had a more traditional Republican governor, there’d be Patriot missile batteries all across San Diego and coal would be classified as a vegetable for school lunch nutritional standards. As things stand now, the GOP really doesn’t look nearly as insane here as in most other states. That’s got to help their case.

  108. 108
    Yutsano says:

    @Martin: Meg and Carly are just flat-out bad candidates period. Barbara and Jerry are both really fortunate that in a blue state with a relatively active Republican party they put up…those two. Of course the Republican I have to deal with up here is Dino Rossi. Yes I’m still giggling over that. Three times losing should stick a fork in him.

  109. 109
    Sloegin says:

    You really diminish Friedman and what he wrote by calling him stupid. He’s something alright, but he’s not stupid.

    The universe he inhabits to allow him to pen something like that is seriously a black-is-white, up-is-down, night-is-day kind of place. It’s so twisted you can’t even find the start or end point.

    He doesn’t see the world like sane people and how he got there (and so many like him) is the scary thing.

  110. 110
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Yutsano: We have fucking Tom Emmer. Man is flat-out batshitinsanecrazystupid. He makes Pawlenty look palatable in comparison. And yet, he stands a chance of winning.

    On the plus side, any time I see a house with a Tom Emmer sign, I can glance at their other signs and know for whom I will not be voting.

  111. 111
    KG says:

    @Martin: I don’t buy that for a minute. The governor has a lot of power outside of the typical signing laws bit. He sits on the UC Regents and the CSU Board of Trustees. He has some authority in appointing commission members (there’s a lot of power in the fourth branch out here).

    @Yutsano: The Dems have a huge advantage in California. Secretary of State shows that the D/R/I split in the state is 44/31/20 (with 5 going to third parties). It’s been that way since Wilson sold out the GOP for a second term by running on Prop 187.

    ETA: since 2006 the GOP has lost their share of registered voters to Dems and Independents.

  112. 112
    El Cid says:

    Another good part from Taibbi:

    McConnell is the ultimate D.C. insider, the kind of Republican even Republicans should wonder about, a man who ranks among the top 10 senators when it comes to loading up on pork spending.
    With his needle nose, pursed lips and prim reading glasses, he’s a proud wearer of the “I’m an intellectual, but I’m also a narrow-minded prick” look made famous by George Will…

  113. 113
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @El Cid: I missed that. I really like that last sentence.

  114. 114
    Redshift says:


    ETA: since 2006 the GOP has lost their share of registered voters to Dems and Independents.

    The question, though, is always how many to independents or “independents.” There are always a good chunk of “independents” who are fairly reliable Democrats or Republicans, but like to believe they always decide on the merits. More than a little of this year’s “Republicans are winning independents” is actually “a lot of post-Bush Republicans want to pretend they’re not Republicans.”

    But there are also Republicans who actually became Democrats. (My father was one.)

  115. 115
    Yutsano says:

    @KG: I realize the fallout is still happening in Arizona, but I predict eventually that will be the result there as well. Even with an aging population there are still enough younger folks in AZ who will figure out how bad SB 1070 is screwing them over and vote against it and their supporters. Notice how all that noise suddenly died down in Texas?

    And for your nightcap, I give you duck. Spoiled ones at that.

  116. 116
    Mnemosyne says:


    Barbara and Jerry are both really fortunate that in a blue state with a relatively active Republican party they put up…those two.

    I don’t think you understand — Meg and Carly really are the only potential statewide candidates the Republicans have in California. All of the other Republicans can win in their tiny little batshit insane red enclaves, but they get pounded each and every time they try to run statewide. There are just barely enough of them to keep Democrats from having the two-thirds majority they need to pass a budget and raise taxes and the power of “no” is the only power they have.

    If those two go down, the Republicans don’t have shit to run statewide next time, and they know it.

  117. 117
    Origuy says:

    Calitics has Brown as the clear winner. Even Debra Saunders, the conservative columnist for the SF Chronicle, gave it to him.

    Whitman kept bringing up Texas and what they’re doing. That’s going to go over well in California!

  118. 118
    Ailuridae says:


    He doesn’t see the world like sane people and how he got there (and so many like him) is the scary thing.

    By marrying into money? Nepotism? By taking an exceptionally pro-Israel stance in the NYT during the early 80s? By linking Sabira and Shatila to Damour as an excuse for the slaughter of 3000-3500 but not linking Damour to Karantina?

    I think it takes an ignorance or, better, a naivete to be a reporter especially in the “two sides” era of modern journalism. Nothing Friedman has written as a columnist strikes me as particularly insightful while many of his dumber moments (“Suck. On. This!”) stink of privilege, wealth and a complete lack of need to be accountable for one’s words or actions. Friedman nor his kin would ever have to fight in the wars he cheerled; that’s for the poor white trash and the darkies.

    If he’s not stupid maybe he’s playing stupid to advance an agenda. I am ambivalent about Taibbi but his take down of Friedman is one of the better examples of someone speaking truth to power in a long time. Friedman wrote a long and plainly stupid book and because he was Thomas Friedman nobody would point out it was fucking stupid and full of banalities. Except Taibbi. That’s one of the reasons he can get somewhat of a pass for misstating the size of the bank bailouts in every article.

  119. 119
    morzer says:


    Dear Burnie,
    Unlike you, I do some research, and people care what I think.

    cordially fucking yours,
    Matt Taibbi

  120. 120
    Andy K says:


    Okay, hopefully you’re still here….

    That WAS Margaret Cho? Fuck, I’d claim ignorance if it wasn’t trumped by blindness!

    And, BTW, you’re as cute as I thought you were, just in a Taiwanese instead of Korean way, my Duchess….Whatever that means.


  121. 121
    Arclite says:

    Did Taibbi pull a McArdle?

    No, what had Santelli all worked up was Obama’s “Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan,” a $75 billion program less than a hundredth the size of all the bank bailouts.

    I thought the bailout was $750, a mere ten times greater than the other plan.

  122. 122
    MikeJ says:

    @Arclite: Remember that Taibbi said at one point the gov owed $27 trillion[1] because of the loan guarantees in TARP. Which would only even be theoretically true if every loan in the US defaulted and you were unable to get one dime for any of the underlying assets that secured the loans.

    That was one you can’t blame on McArdle level math skills. That’s hackery. He’s not sloppy. He takes to heart Harry Frankfurt’s On Bullshit, in which Frankfurt differentiates bullshit from lying. Liars lie, but they know what the truth is. Bullshitters don’t know and don’t care what the truth is. They want to tell a good story and facts just get in the way, That’s Taibbi.

    [1] Or that neighborhood. Maybe more, maybe less, I’m not going to look it up right now since nobody is paying me and I don’t claim to be a journalist. At least I’m including (metaphorical) error bars with my sloppy cite.

  123. 123
    daveinboca says:

    Taibbi is a classic spermburper of the Jann Wenner variety, a guy who thinks he’s a classic man of the left when he’s really a lifer-loser. And Colin Cowherd may not be a great shining light, but when you consider the baseball walkout of ’94, pls tell us all what that accomplished, besides destroying the Montreal Expos one chance at a pennant/World Series, eh, Matt?

    Millionaires versus billionaires and Matt sides with the po’ folk, ha ha ha.

  124. 124

    […] Juice’s DougJ is incensed by the implication that those on the far Left and Right don’t care about the […]

  125. 125
    rickstersherpa says:

    Since Freidman was the theme of this thread, I decided to post this about the actual cost of the wars Tom did so much to bring about. You see, about 1/3 of the combat and most of the training role for Iraq and Afghan forces is done by contractors. And something you don’t see reported very often is how often these contractors get killed. Have friends doing this business and it keeps me worried.

    http://blogs.mcclatchydc.com/kabul/ and http://www.propublica.org/arti.....fgh-100923

  126. 126
    El Cid says:

    @MikeJ: Though it was completely misinterpreted, I think the $23-27-odd trillion figure started being batted around when Neil Barofsky testified before Congress about TARP and the much larger (approximately 10 x larger) Federal Reserve aid program and included in that discussion basically every single federal resource having anything to do with banks, real estate, etc.

    Barofsky, testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (PDF)

    As massive and as important as TARP is on its own, it is just one part of a much broader Federal Government effort to stabilize and support the financial system. Since the onset of the financial crisis in 2007, the Federal Government, through many agencies, has implemented dozens of programs that are broadly designed to support the economy and financial system. The total potential Federal Government support could reach up to $23.7 trillion. Any assessment of the effectiveness or the cost of TARP should be made in the context of these broader efforts.

    This was reported widely as though this was the amount of money that the bailout might have cost taxpayers. Barofsky both defined and defended this summary view.

    The government currently has about 50 different programs to fix the economy. Those programs include bailing out banks and automakers, and improving the housing market. Barofsky said the way his team came up with that figure is by looking at three different figures for each program.
    “One, how much money is currently outstanding under the program. Two, what the high water mark has been since the inception of the bailout and then three, what is the total amount the federal government has said they’re willing to commit to each program. And at the end, we add them all up,” he explained. “That’s where the 23.7 trillion number comes from. It’s what the federal government has said would be the maximum number for each of the approximately 50 programs.”

    Presumably this would be, what, if every single mortgage the government controlled or backed and every deposit etc. all vanished and went to zero.

    However, it was very confusing to a lot of people, including major international news services who used the $23.7T figure as a cost.

  127. 127
    El Cid says:

    @Ailuridae: Those are some references that most people would need unpacked. Suffice it to say that Friedman’s ability to impose sweeping analyses upon the subjects he’s discussing should get a roughly zero rating.

  128. 128
    Zach says:


    Remember that Taibbi said at one point the gov owed $27 trillion[1] because of the loan guarantees in TARP.

    So the size of the bailout was the size of every guaranteed loan? The total potential of government support doesn’t approach that number because it’s well beyond our capacity to pay. I guess when numbers get big enough people fail to differentiate between them. The total market cap is $15 trillion.

  129. 129
    Zach says:

    Plus, Taibbi’s comparing apples to oranges so it’s not even honest bullshit if it’s actually not just a math error. The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan would cost $75 billion. The sum of the refinance and guaranteed mortgages within would be much greater. The component related to the GSEs alone accounted for $100 billion in preferred stock and $50 billion in mortgages. I believe it aimed to refinance 3-4 million mortgages… so there’s a half trillion or so.

  130. 130
    ItAintEazy says:

    @MikeJ: Edit – Forget it. Cid already made a better post :^[

  131. 131
    sparky says:

    further on, there is a bit of pop psychology in the taibbi piece and in this instance it accords with my view, so i quote (ha!):

    They want desperately to believe in the one-size-fits-all, no-government theology of Rand Paul because it’s so easy to understand. At times, their desire to withdraw from the brutally complex global economic system that is an irrevocable fact of our modern life and get back to a simpler world that no longer exists is so intense, it breaks your heart.

    but the point of it all is at the end:

    The bad news is that the Tea Party’s political outrage is being appropriated, with thanks, by the Goldmans and the BPs of the world. The good news, if you want to look at it that way, is that those interests mostly have us by the balls anyway, no matter who wins on Election Day. That’s the reality; the rest of this is just noise. It’s just that it’s a lot of noise, and there’s no telling when it’s ever going to end.

    yes, indeedy. and at the end of the day, that’s why people like TF can say whatever they wish.

    edit: it is unclear to me why, even if it is an error, Taibbi’s use of a specific number for federal guarantees, loans, grants and other forms of underwriting of the financial system should somehow trump every other point or observation of his. unless of course you don’t care for the message, in which case a single “aha” moment is sufficient for ignoring everything else he says.

  132. 132
    Ken D. says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I caught that too; I think you’re right. Hat tip to the Emmy-winning writing staff (who will probably actually find and read these comments).@FlipYrWhig:

  133. 133
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Andy K: Ha! I am back now. Yeah, that’s Margaret. Amazing, eh? And #blush# thanks for the compliment!

  134. 134
    Zach says:


    unless of course you don’t care for the message, in which case a single “aha” moment is sufficient for ignoring everything else he says.

    I haven’t exhaustively read every comment, but at least in my case I never said that this much hurts his story. I’d assumed it was an accidental error and not deliberate dishonesty, though. In general, I do think that the pains he takes to weave his anti-bailout/anti-wallstreet/pox-on-both-their-houses/american-oligarchy views into a story about the tea party delusion & the hypocrisy of tea party leaders are an unneeded distraction.

    It’s a little ridiculous that he talks about the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan and immediately follows it with stating how it doesn’t matter who’s in charge in DC. We would be enjoying a payroll tax holiday and staring at larger deficits with a worse economy had McCain been elected; small differences in policy lead to dramatically different outcomes in reality.

    His broader narrative also leads him to blame ignorance for tea party racism (for they don’t know that they’re just being manipulated by the race-baiting folks behind the scenes) rather than the fact that a lot of them are actually racist.

  135. 135
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    I posted a link to Tabbi’s article on my favorite wingnut blog (where, naturally, they’ve been full metal teabag for a while). It was deleted on the grounds that it’s “slander.” So awesome.

  136. 136
    4jkb4ia says:

    That may be the best Matt Taibbi piece I ever read.

    (No, the Bernie Sanders one was better)

  137. 137
    KG says:

    @Redshift: late to this, so you may not see it, but…

    At the end of the day, Republicans in California have to win independents 3 to 1 to have even a fighting chance. That’s a tough sell. There are a lot of people out here who lean one way or the other, recent polls I’ve seen suggest that there are only about 10% that don’t consider themselves leaning one way or the other. I’ve gone from being a pretty staunch Republican leaning libertarian to being much more independent (though still registered as a Republican because I’m too lazy to change my registration before I move).

    @Yutsano: that was my first thought when the bill passed. It’ll help the GOP short term, as 187 did here in California, but the backlash will come within an election cycle or two and even people who supported it will be heading the other way.

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