Scientific Journal Rejects GOPer’s Accusations About Climate Study


Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), a climate change skeptic who chairs the House Science Committee, said that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rushed the publication of a study he believes is politically motivated. The journal that published the research called his claims “baseless.”

Editors' Blog

Things Can Always Get Worse

I doubt I need to tell you that it's an incredibly dangerous development that a jet fighter of a NATO member country, Turkey, appears to have shot down a Russian fighter jet operating over a sliver of Turkish territory on the Syria-Turkey border. Allegedly. (Happily for all involved, the pilots appear to have ejected safely from the plane.) It is well worth asking what exactly the Turks were thinking and how far this decision went up the chain of command in Turkey. That said, what's not getting a huge amount of attention is that Turkish and Russian jet fighters got into a dog fight or an aerial confrontation of some sort and the Russian fighter got shot down. Maybe that's random chance. But I doubt it.

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The Real Story Behind Trump's Cheering Muslims 9/11 Fever Dream

You've probably seen this firestorm which has erupted about Donald Trump's claim that he watched thousands of Muslim residents in North Jersey celebrating as the Twin Towers fell fourteen years ago. We just published a fascinating piece on it. Needless to say, nothing remotely like that actually happened. And since it didn't happen, Donald Trump definitely didn't see it. Neither did Ben Carson, who also claimed that he saw the video today. (It's frankly amazing that the whole GOP primary race is now dominated by a demonstrably absurd claim.) But what's really interesting is that it's yet another case where Trump has reached into a subterranean stew of urban legend, rumors and conspiracy theories that have been bubbling along for years and forced them into the mainstream dialog. There were rumors in the days and weeks after 9/11 that something like that has happened. Here are the origins of some of those rumors, the genealogy, if you will, of Donald Trump's latest nonsense.

The Onward March of Bullshit

Quite apart from whether we do or don't have a good strategy for combatting ISIS, we are definitely in one of those bewildering interludes where cable news is chock full of completely nonsensical 'expert' claims which actually make no sense at all. A few moments ago, in an interview on MSNBC, an expert said that (close to verbatim, but paraphrased) 'Clearly our strategy isn't working. Because if it was, ISIS would not have been able to release a propaganda video every day for the last eight days."

I know that the cable nets need to keep the conversation going 24/7 no matter what. But it's genuinely disturbing if this kind of nonsense talk ends up playing a role in the formulation of policy.

Wisdom From Josh

Next time Donald Trump says something outrageous, offensive, ridiculous or demonstrably unconstitutional and you find yourself saying he's now going to decline in the polls, let me help. No. That's not going to happen.

Some people seem to be having a hard time detecting this pattern.

Thanks, Folks

Back on September 21st we kicked off our 2015 sign up drive for Prime, TPM's membership program. Between us, we had a hopelessly optimistic goal. We wanted to sign up 3000 new subscribers by the end of the calendar year. That seemed like such a tall order that I refrained from making the goal public - not good to announce a goal you're not going to meet. But so far, we've done reasonably well. We've got almost six weeks left in 2015 and we're currently at 2022 new subscribers. You get your biggest rush of sign ups at the beginning of a drive. So it's still a pretty tall proposition. But it's definitely possible.

So first I want to thank all of you who've signed up. We're in a transitional period in the digital publishing industry. Lots of publishers are trying to build a 'direct financial relationship' with their readers, as the phrase has it - in other words, trying to get them to pay money to the site. So I thought I'd take a moment to explain not so much why we're doing this but why it's a trend for the industry in general.

This is a challenge for all publishers because they're trying to get people to do something they're not used to doing and haven't needed to do in the past. I know because with every other site beside this one, I'm the reader just like you are. So here's the backstory on what's going on.

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A Pleasing End to a Despicable (and Comical) Story

I confess it is nice to see the political career of David Vitter - someone we've been following closely at TPM for almost a decade - go down in flames tonight. But there's an additional part of the story, an additional piece of good news. As Catherine Thompson explained here, Vitter devoted the last week of his campaign to demagoguing the Syrian refugee issue in a desperate effort to save himself. He even went beyond the standard scare talk and hyperbole to trying to whip hysteria against a specific Syrian refugee who Vitter falsely claimed had mysteriously disappeared and was now at large in the state. (The man in question had, all through official channels and with appropriate notifications, been relocated to the Washington, DC region where he had relatives.)

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Some Historical Perspective On The Current Freakout

Ben Railton has an interesting piece at TPMCafe about how the United States has since the earliest days of the Republic carefully avoided casting its conflicts in Muslim regions as a "War on Islam." Particularly interesting is this language from the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797:

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Read Ben here.

The Rage and the Derp

An amazing little story developing down in Louisiana, one that could tell us a lot about the political salience of the current Syrian refugee hysteria. With his history finally catching up with him, Sen. David Vitter looked like he was heading to near certain defeat in the Louisiana gubernatorial election. His prostitute history got kicked back into the center of the campaign, he got caught having a private eye spy on a prominent Republican sheriff, the polls began to collapse and prominent state Republicans began to abandon him in favor of his Democratic opponent.

The polls still show Vitter clearly behind. But he's latched on to Syrian refugee hysteria as his campaign closing Hail Marry pass. Where it gets really weird and sinister is that this has involved not just scaremongering about refugees in the abstract but Vitter personally sounding the alarm about a specific Syrian refugee who'd been settled in the state and had suddenly gone missing. It turned out that the whole story was bogus: The man in question had been relocated to the Washington DC area through officials channels with all relevant officials notified. But that wasn't before a whole round of Vitter-campaign backed incitement had gotten underway and led to threats against the local branch of Catholic Charities, which overseas refugee resettlement in the area and is actually connected to Vitter's wife. It's quite a story to put it mildly and it shows how quickly political nonsense can escalate into a weird politicking-cum-vigilante incitement that can get someone killed. The election is tomorrow and Catherine Thompson has the story.

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