The Scare Party

I didn’t watch the President’s national security speech today, but I take it he made a firm commitment to closing Guantanamo in spite of the lack of confidence from congressional Democrats. Good for you, Mr. President.

I also understand many people watched a split screen duet between the President and former Veep Dick Cheney. This manufactured showdown was nothing other than a gimmick to pull in a few more viewers.

But we’ve got serious issues to consider; we don’t need Sideshow Dick, thanks.

Speaking of Dick — yesterday Glenn Greenwald published a post titled “Terrorists in Prison: is there anything the Right doesn’t fear?

The answer appears to be, maybe tapioca pudding, but I’m not placing any bets on the pudding.

What’s being called “a four-man homegrown terror cell” was busted in New York. The four were unsophisticated hoodlums with no connections to any other terrorist group, and authorities have had them under surveillance for several months. The FBI helped orchestrate their “plot” and even sold them some phony bomb that the four planted around a synagogue.

And faster’n you can say “booga booga!,” the entire Right Blogosphere went into panic meltdown. I swear, just today, Pam Atlas used up her annual budget of boldface italic exclamation points!!! And throughout the Right there are CAPS LOCKS THAT WILL NEVER COME UNSTUCK AGAIN !!!

As Steve M. says, the system worked. Let’s panic!

Did I mention the four hoodlums were jailhouse converts to Islam? You get the picture.

Yet the pathetic, sniveling cowardice of the Right is nowhere nearly as pathetic and as sniveling as some other cowardice — namely, that of congressional Dems. As Glenn says,” There’s no more mewling, craven, subservient entity in the United States than the Senate Democratic caucus.”

Rachel Maddow was at her most brilliant last night explaining that Dems have been terrorized by “Fortuna, Imperatrix Mundi (O Fortuna)” from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Now, that’s pathetic.

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20 thoughts on “The Scare Party

  1. [T]he system worked. Let’s panic!

    No kidding. What does it say about people who freak out when the authorities succeed at their jobs, but who also go into six-shootin’ patriot-poser mode (a cross between Yosemite Sam and Muppet Sam the Eagle) when we fail to protect ourselves?

    It says this:

    Ass here ==> X

    Head here => O

  2. HuffPo reports this afternoon:

    [A]ccording to a comprehensive survey released Thursday morning by the Pew Research Center…. From 2002 to 2009, voters’ partisan identification has moved from virtual parity — 43 percent Republican and 43 percent Democratic at the height of George W. Bush’s popularity in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 — to a massive Democratic advantage today of 53 to 36, a 17 percentage point split, by far the largest difference in the past two decades.

    I guess the opposite of the Scare Party would be the Fumble Party. I wouldn’t put it past the Dems to completely blow their advantage.

  3. Cheney needs to be indicted ,if for the only reason is that after that all he would say would be ” no comment”.

  4. Well, OF COURSE the right is in a tizzy… these folks were detected, monitored, and stopped without any use of torture at all!!11!!1!.

    Shocking. Flabbergasting. IMPOSSIBLE!!

  5. We have adult male chimps in zoos who will, if they take a mind to, rip off your face and more. Lions, tigers, polar bears, are routinely displayed in zoos.
    In some strange, enchanted way, “the terrorists” are much more deadly. With the one-two punch of Allah and magic carpets, there is nothing they can’t do to to invade our minds and homes. Yes, I get down on my knees and thank FOX news every day for keeping me safe from “the terrists”.

  6. This constant fear must be why these cowards have to carry concealed weapons in National Parks.
    “Look out honey, a bee!”
    Hubby pulls out an AK47 and annihilates the bee. Also a Park Ranger, two hikers, three BBQer’s, 1/3 of a hiking Girl Scout Troop, and a bear crapping in the woods.

  7. I can’t help but imagine the outrage that would be displayed if this whole torture, GITMO, detainee debate was switched. If it was the democrats that had just lost an election but would not let the new president mold his own policies without interference from the defeated. I am sure it would be 24hrs of fucking outrage on the cables how the liberals were emboldening the terrorists and hoping the president would fail for purely political reasons (no matter the cost in American lives). I suspect the wing-nuts would have a never ending line of political hacks, would-be journalists, pundits displaying outrage at how the democrats where willing to set-up the new president for a terrorist attack, that they hoped would eventually come. And you know what if the liberals where doing what the wing-nuts are doing now I would be the first to condemn them. This whole affair just shows what a bunch of pussies the democratic congressional leadership is. Nancy Pelosi allows the wing-nuts to turn an illegal torture debate into “it is somehow her fault because she didn’t stop it”. Harry (Mr. Robinson) Reid repeats the irrational fear about bringing the detainees on domestic soil, as if he where actually working for the wing-nuts, what a fucking idiot.

    Leave it to Harry and Nancy to be outflanked by Dead-eye Dick Cheney, the most unpopular republican politician since Tom Delay. This whole affair has really exposed Harry and Nancy for what they are, a couple of political lightweights, unable to go toe to toe with Dick Cheney, unable to support a new president with a 65% approval rating against a demoralized former vice-president with a 13% approval rating. What a couple of losers.

  8. So then this latest terror scam is just as silly as the idea that 6 regular guys could take on all of Fort Dix. A lot of “terrorism” could be prevented if people would just play more video games! They would realize how dumb their plan is and how fantastically lucky they would have to be to survive.

  9. I don’t like the FBI setting people up even though the stupid guys shouldn’t have been going along either..
    Tonight Yahoo’s news items says Cheney’s talk was full of half truths and misquotes.

    I didn’t see or hear Our President or dick.

  10. Cheney’s talk was full of half truths and misquotes.

    His usual MO. He’s trying to build public opinion to save his own ass. Meanwhile, he’s interfering with the government no longer under his control. This guy’s a supervillain both in and out of office.

  11. I wish I was in Tijuana
    eating barbecued iguana
    I’d take requests on the telephone
    I’m on a wavelength far from home
    I feel a hot wind on my shoulder
    I dial it from south of the border
    I hear the talking of the DJ
    Can’t understand just what does he say?

    I’m on a Mexican, whoa-oh, radio

    I dial it in and tune the station
    they talk about the U.S. inflation
    I understand just a little
    no comprende, it’s a riddle!
    On a Mexican, whoa-oh radio.

  12. On the vote, I think it will come back to bite them. I don’t think it is a bad thing to want to know how the money would be spent. I think having a plan and everyone knowing it might be a good idea. I think in the past decade there has been WAYYYYYY too many times we have just thrown money because someone said throw money. I do think the repugs will work them over when the plan is put forth. It’s a no win situation. If we bring the detainees here, we will have the offi music blaring.. if we ship them off somewhere else, we will have the offi music blaring.
    The repugs passed out the money with no accountability. Now if anyone is more responsible about spending, and account for it and the repugs will have ammo to tear it the plan apart.

  13. This is one psychologist’s description of a supreme narcissist and, to me anyway, it fits Cheney to an uncanny T. “He views people, places and things in terms of how that person, place or thing benefits or diminishes him. He becomes hostile whenever a threat to his narcissistic self-image is seen, such as a perceived challenge to his authority, control, dominance or sense of superiority.”

    Overlooking Mr. Cheney as a consumate poseur, he is telling us that we don’t have to abide by international law and torture always results in viable information. If you believe those, his argument wins the day. If you don’t, it loses.

  14. Hubby pulls out an AK47 and annihilates the bee. Also a Park Ranger, two hikers, three BBQer’s, 1/3 of a hiking Girl Scout Troop, and a bear crapping in the woods.

    Hey, you can’t be too careful around bees. Bee stings hurt a little, and all that buzzing can be irritating. Getting the bee is well worth a little collateral damage. You must be one of those liberal socialist fascist anti Americans if you can’t see that we may need to sacrifice American lives to save my fat ass from the terrifying bee.

    And after all, the Ranger and the Girl Scouts were in uniform; they knew what they were getting into when they joined up. Why do you hate the Girl Scouts so much? Whining about it now disrespects their service. If you didn’t want them killed, you should have had Nancy Pelosi stop it. It’s all her fault, and it will all come out in the investigation…

  15. In the last few weeks, I have posted some two dozen items on the tangled mess of issues related to Guantanamo, waterboarding, etc. So I decided to sweep the whole thing into one pile, and see if the big picture makes any sense.

    Here are the facts that we have in fact been able to establish.

    Waterboarding is illegal, it causes more problems than it solves, it actually makes the intelligence-gathering effort harder rather than easier, and is a dumbass idea.

    Cheney is a bottomless fountain of lies, fallacies, and fearmonger tactics; in particular, the notion that the Bush crime family made us more safe and Obama makes us less safe is demonstrable nonsense, and the notion that closing Guantanamo puts us in danger is also poppycock. And virtually all his bullcrap can be shot down using Republican sources.

    The GOP jihad against Pelosi is also loaded with proveable lies and fallacies.

    Now, the details.


    Waterboarding is torture, and illegal. For that we rely on Title 18 of the U.S. Code, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Geneva Convention, and some other rules you don’t get to break. A rightwing radio host who had insisted that waterboarding isn’t torture agreed to be waterboarded – and changed his mind in exactly six seconds. McCain also refuted Cheney’s screeching on the waterboarding issue. Bob Barr, the arch-conservative who led the effort to impeach Clinton, says torture is illegal. Even Reagan jailed cops who waterboarded prisoners.

    The danger of using torture and other such nonsense in a system with virtually no adult supervision is made vivid by the fact that a hundred of our detainees have already died in custody, and a third of them are already confirmed or suspected homicides; meanwhile one interrogator who hated the notion of torturing people committed suicide; details of the incident were covered up by the Pentagon. Meanwhile the Senate Armed Services Committee shot down Cheney’s claim that the abuse at Abu Ghuraib was the work of rogue guards not sanctioned by any higher authority.

    **UPDATE** — Here is a professional interrogator, neatly destroying theGOP arguments about torture. He makes clear the danger of sending untrained interrogators to torture people with no actual rules of engagement; one of the interrogators killed herself rather than torture prisoners. He notes that torture can actually interfere with effective interrogation techniques — once you start using both methods, it’s impossible to separate the good intelligence from the bad, which compromises all the intel, good and bad.


    Cheney has been spouting rather a lot of lies and logical fallacies, in addition to the big ones on waterboarding, Guantanamo etc. Bush’s own Pentagon people shot down Cheney’s claim that Saddam was linked to Al-Qa’ida and other terrorists; the one big-name terrorist who managed to get to Baghdad…was killed by Saddam. Cheney claimed that the Bush gang moved decisively against al-Qa’ida and the Taleban, ignoring the fact that the leaders of both groups are thriving because the Bush administration was too obsessive about Iraq. Cheney implied that Obama was at fault for blocking the release of key documents…It was actually an executive order by Bush. A number of Republicans have said they want Cheney to shut up.


    Cheney falsely claimed that the Director of National Intelligence backed him up in claiming that torture yielded valuable intelligence we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. A CIA investigation showed no evidence that the torture yielded anything valuable. Bush’s FBI Director also rejected the idea that we got valuable intelligence. The claim that torture yielded information which prevented an attack in LA – also a lie, already debunked. Torture actually hurts the intelligence effort: two detainees admitted that they gave inaccurate intelligence just to avoid being tortured – the false intelligence pertained to the mythical Iraq-terror link which Bush and Cheney wanted so badly to establish.

    Also, Cheney stressed the importance of getting good intelligence while omitting the fact the Bush gang regularly ignored or fudged the intelligence they did get.

    Stopping the torture program doesn’t make us less safe. If it did, the Bush gang wouldn’t have stopped it five years ago, would they? Their own actions belie their words. Likewise Bush’s Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge, refuted Cheney’s claim that Obama made us less safe, and Bush’s Director of National Intelligence shot down Cheney’s claim that releasing torture-related memos made us less safe. Bush’s generals refuted the notion that stopping the torture, or even talking about the torture issue, means we’re not supporting our troops – the generals said the torture itself is fostering terrorism and endangering our troops. And lying about it and concealing it isn’t helping our tattered credibility either.


    The Guantanamo detainees are not, as Cheney claims, the worst of the worst. The Bush gang stupidly offered a cash reward in the streets of Afghanistan for terrorists, no proof needed, so any local Afghan with a gun could run out and grab anybody even remotely Arab-looking, kidnap him, and collect the money. An overwhelming majority of the guys we grabbed are innocent of anything, and even the CIA admitted it way back in 2002. The New York Times reported that the released detainees were rejoining the jihad, but it was an invalid report and they had to backtrack.

    If there were evidence against these guys, Bush would have taken them to court. Instead Bush was caught hiding evidence that proved the innocence of some detainees. A court spanked the Bush gang for that – it’s illegal. Privately, the Bush administration admitted to the Germans that some of the detainees were innocent – but resisted saying the same thing to the American people.

    The claim that Obama is endangering us by closing Guantanamo is ridiculous. Even assuming these guys are real terrorists, which in most cases they’re not – you know how many people we have in American prisons who are genuinely dangerous? Proven to be dangerous with actual evidence?

    Cheney has selective amnesia on this issue. He slammed Obama for the effort to ship detainees to other countries…a process begun by Bush and Cheney. Bush and Robert Gates, both Republicans, refuted Cheney on Guantanamo; Bush, Rice and Gates were working to shut down Guantanamo before Obama ever got to the White House.

    [**UPDATE** from AFP: Gates said in an interview that opponents of Obama’s decision to close the “war on terror” prison at Guantanamo were engaging in “fear-mongering,” a reference to Cheney’s stance on the issue. ]


    Two things which have been established firmly, are that the CIA has lied repeatedly to Congress, and that Pelosi did not know about the waterboarding as early as the Republicans claim. Kerry, Obey, Graham, Rockefeller, Specter, Fox News, House Republican leader Boehner, leading Republican Hoekstra pointed out the CIA’s lies to Congress. In fact the CIA is being investigated now, for lying to Congress. It has been established that the CIA lied about the briefings on the interrogations, and four of the above Congress members already have specifically refuted the claim that Pelosi was briefed about the waterboarding. Both the current CIA boss and Bush’s former CIA boss Porter Goss were pressed to back up the GOP accusations against Pelosi; even Goss, a rabid arch-conservative who hates everything Pelosi stands for and would love to see her destroyed, backpedaled rather than accuse her on this point. One GOP investigator not only admitted that Pelosi didn’t know about the torture, but also faulted her for not asking more questions – can’t have it both ways, guys! A logical fallacy.

    Another logical fallacy by the GOP: Bush’s crimes are not extenuated by anybody he claims he told about it. Telling somebody you’re committing a crime doesn’t make it legal: it makes it a criminal conspiracy.
    Another fallacy: that Pelosi should have stopped the torture. Setting aside the fact that she didn’t know it was going on, she wasn’t even Speaker when all this happened – in fact she was in the minority party, during a time in which the minority party was barely allowed to eat in the cafeteria and use the toilets in the House chamber, let alone demand an investigation or legislation. Furthermore the Bush gang made clear time after time that they intended to ignore any Congressional input with respect to any issue which, in their view, infringed upon the national security prerogatives of the executive.
    Another fallacy: how can the Republicans simultaneously insist that there is no scandal, and that Pelosi is implicated in…the non-existent scandal? “Pelosi should have stopped us even though we did nothing wrong!”?

    Newt screeched a stream of insults at Pelosi and demanded she resign. Other Republicans demanded she apologize, or be impeached, etc etc. A new GOP ad shows Pelosi being shot. Classy bunch.


    So here’s the part I don’t understand yet.

    The facts are easy to establish on these issues: the GOP knows that if they push this, it will turn into a year-long probe into Bush’s crimes and follies, a total disaster for the GOP, and in the meantime they can’t gain any traction on the issues they could actually win on, like spending. An even bigger hazard: a number of former Bush administration officials have admitted that the aim of the torture was to force detainees to falsely accuse Saddam of links to terrorism in time for the 2002 elections – a full exploration of that issue could actually kill the party dead, dead, dead. So why are they doing this?

    Perhaps they know their other issues are weak, as evinced by the way the attack on Obama’s spending devolved into the pathetic tea-party fiasco which had no effect whatsoever on the popularity of Obama or his policies.

    Perhaps they’re worried about the coming health care battle, and want to use a side issue like this to soften him up first.

    Perhaps the Pelosi thing is driven by the fact that this bunch of reactionary dead white males like beating up on girls, particularly Democrats: not long ago a Bush administration official admitted that they handled Katrina the way they did because their main aim was to make Kathleen Blanco look bad and beat her up a little. That, not managing the crisis response, was their main focus. But directing their fire at Pelosi now is silly: she and Obama are the two Democrats who are completely secure in their positions (contrary to the precarious position of Reid), and attacking Pelosi gets them nothing – not even a chance to alter the balance in the power in the House

    **UPDATE** — The fact that the GOP is targeting Pelosi because of her gender, was driven home forcefully when they ran the ad allegedly attacking her leadership skills — and portraying her as James Bond babe Pussy Galore. And then shooting her.

    Perhaps they just want to fire up the GOP base, to show that at least the Gestapo wing of the party, with all their sledgehammer political tactics, is still alive and kicking. The only things which can be relied upon to spin up the base are fear and hate, so going that route may just be force of habit for the gauleiters of today’s GOP. But that also alienates the all-important moderates and independents, two groups which the Republicans have inexplicably showed no interest in wooing this spring.

    Perhaps they interpreted Obama’s expressed intent to avoid a partisan fight on these issues as a sign of weakness: “If he says he won’t fight on this, let’s just keep punching him in the teeth until he changes his mind. Bloody him up a little.” That strategy would be pretty ludicrous because if the repeated Republican harassment impelled Obama to pursue these issues he could destroy the Republicans, but as long as he continues the arm’s-length stance, they can keep taking pokes at him, and at Pelosi.

    Perhaps they have no coherent party strategy at all, reflective of the continuing civil war within the GOP – some Republicans want Cheney to fight on, others want him to shut up, some want an investigation into all this, others dread it. Steele wants a probe into all these issues, but he’s an idiot: Boehner was out there insisting that Pelosi apologize, but when he was asked whether he wanted an investigation, he backpedaled. Some Republicans threatened Eric Holder (perhaps they think blacks are weak like women…?); they told him that if there is an investigation, they will fight tooth and nail to smear any Democrat they can, the way they’re doing to Pelosi. How they would make such nonsense work is debateable: perhaps they would go to the old standby – blame Clinton for everything.

    So the Republicans are gambling on a laughably fallacious campaign to try to exploit an issue which could very easily blow back and kill their party, and no one can figure out why. As Herman Wouk would say, giggling idiots juggling dynamite.

    It is a puzzlement.

    Actually, we do know one reason why Cheney went insane and screeched a bunch of desperate nonsense in that speech, even though a lot of Republicans want him to shut up and go away. As his daughter admitted to Fox, Cheney did it because he fears prosecutions are coming.

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