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Is Michael Cohen of the New America Foundation trustworthy? ("Live From the Campaign Trail")

Can you trust Michael Cohen of the New America Foundation? Read on if you've ever heard of that author of "Live From the Campaign Trail: The Greatest Presidential Campaign Speeches of the 20th Century and How They Shaped Modern America" and want to see whether trusting him is a wise idea or not.

Cohen takes to the pages of the Politico to offer "Extremist rhetoric won't rebuild GOP" (link):

Watching Fox News’ new sensation Glenn Beck is not for the faint of heart. It is a disquieting entree into the feverish mind of a conspiracy theorist who believes, among other things, that the government wants to remotely control our thermostats, that the relaxing of the ban on stem cell research - as well as efforts to prevent global warming - is reminiscent of Nazism, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency might be setting up concentration camps and, finally, that the country is on the path to socialism or possibly fascism but definitely some “-ism” that should be avoided.

1. As recently discussed in relation to Beck's "debunking" of FEMA camps, that agency's plan in case of a catastrophe was documented a couple decades back, and there's a bill that would allow them to build camps on abandoned military bases. The idea that those would be "concentration camps" is as much a strawman as when Beck "debunked" it.

2. On March 9 of this year, US News offered an interview with Obama energy and climate change advisor Carol Browner (link) in which she said among other things:

Eventually, we can get to a system where an electric company will be able to hold back some of the power so that maybe your air conditioner won't operate at its peak, you'll still be able to cool your house, but that'll be a savings to the consumer. And so [we will be] giving people and companies a role in the management of how we use electricity.

Was Cohen unable to do a simple search of Beck's site? I discovered that quote at this page and then at this page and then looked for the original source. Why couldn't Cohen do that? Or, does he somehow think that what Browner is proposing isn't the equivalent of wanting to "remotely control our thermostats"? If so, what exactly does he think that making sure an air conditioner isn't operating "at its peak" is going to do? Either way, Cohen isn't looking too good.

Note also the January 11, 2008 New York Times article "California Seeks Thermostat Control" (link):

Next year in California, state regulators are likely to have the emergency power to control individual thermostats, sending temperatures up or down through a radio-controlled device that will be required in new or substantially modified houses and buildings to manage electricity shortages... The proposed rules are contained in a document circulated by the California Energy Commission, which for more than three decades has set state energy efficiency standards for home appliances, like water heaters, air conditioners and refrigerators. The changes would allow utilities to adjust customers’ preset temperatures when the price of electricity is soaring. Customers could override the utilities’ suggested temperatures. But in emergencies, the utilities could override customers’ wishes...

Wed, 04/08/2009 - 03:38 · Importance: 4