But Right-Wing Terrorism’s a Myth, Part II
March 25, 2010

Over at Salon, Gabriel Winant makes a point I’ve been arguing for awhile: that as time goes by, the DHS report warning for a rise of right-wing political violence looks more prescient than ever. And the same people who ranted that this report was drafted solely as a justification for oppressing peaceful conservative dissenters are–intentionally or not–fomenting this violence.

This is what happens when you subjugate all other concerns to victory for the party: when the RNC seeks to convince its supporters that a modest health care package represents the end of democracy, they should expect some of those supporters to react by using any means necessary to preserve democracy. But rather than taking responsibility, Republican leaders are turning to increasingly pathetic excuses: the Democrats do it too! The media is being mean!

These sorts of rhetorical crutches used to be merely irritating, but now they’re appalling. After spending years harassing the left over their perceived tolerance and sympathy towards acts of political violence, Republican leaders–and, to a much greater extent, the conservative media apparatus–are reminding us of the real issue; that for the modern American right, there is no principle that can’t be sacrificed to the platform, or twisted and perverted into something completely unrecognizable. So remember, folks: politically motivated violence is bad, but it’s at least somewhat easier to understand when white Christian people do it.

But Right-Wing Terrorism is Just a Liberal Myth
February 19, 2010

So remember that report from the Obama DHS suggesting that there might be an uptick in far-right domestic terrorism? I sure do! I also remember most of the conservative messaging apparatus–by which I mean Michelle Malkin, most of FOX News, Joe Scarborough, some right-wing law center, the nominally objective but distinctly hackish Mike Allen and, of course, the Boehner in Chief–flipping the fuck out.

Of course there wouldn’t be any uptick in right-wing terrorism, because right-wing terrorism doesn’t exist! Sure, conservative leaders might occasionally throw a giant convention where each speaker inches closer to inciting outright violence than the last, but none of their legions of followers would actually go out and do anything violent. Any suggestion to the otherwise is just the Obama administration scrambling for a justification to violate the civil liberties these same conservatives hold so dear but wouldn’t extend to non-right-wing radicals.

Of course, that didn’t really explain this. And it still doesn’t explain yesterday’s attack on the IRS.

Speaking of yesterday’s attack: the aforementioned convention finds that shit hilarious!

Radical Islam Russia: This summer’s hot new existential threat
August 15, 2008

A few days ago I wrote a post wondering aloud why modern conservatism looks so much like Manichaeism. That’s not really a new idea – Glenn Greenwald wrote a book on it.

What makes this whole worldview even weirder from a foreign policy perspective, though, is that it looks like part of this philosophy is that there’s only one Ultimate Evil at a time. Which I guess is why John McCain appears to be trying to position Russia as the new one and forgetting all about last week’s big Ultimate Evil.


Raising the Alert from Burnt Umber to Fuschia
July 29, 2008

The Department of Homeland Security is raising the threat level, presumably due to the discovery of some specific or credible new threat information.

The move is based on the nation’s increased vulnerability to a terrorist attack, not on any specific or credible new threat information, spokesman Russ Knocke said.

Okay … maybe not. So why are they raising the alert? Take a look at the lede paragraph, and the list of events that DHS employees need to be increasingly vigilant during:

The Department of Homeland Security is advising employees to be on increased alert beginning next month through next summer because of a series of upcoming high-profile events including the Olympics, both major parties’ nominating conventions, Election Day and the presidential transition.

Huh. Looks like three out of those four events have to do with this election that’s going on right now. Surely, though, the DHS wouldn’t be raising the alert just to try and inspire some Republican-friendly panic. That would be far to cravenly political. Not to mention completely unprecedented.

“To me this is the most novel and interesting of the findings,” said Larry Beutler, director of the National Center on the Psychology of Terrorism in Palo Alto, who reviewed the Columbia team’s research. “There are findings suggesting that the administration’s use of the alert system increased inordinately before the election and each time it did, Bush’s numbers went up about 5 percent.”

Who do you think they are, the Justice Department?

The CIA’s guide to [Redacted]
July 25, 2008

The New York Times has a report today about a declassified memo outlining what the CIA can and can’t do to its prisoners. But good luck figuring any of that out from the actual memo. Kevin Drum has a handy visual aid.

Rest assured, none of it is torture, because none of these techniques are used solely to induce sever pain. Apparently gut-wrenching agony only counts as torture if it’s done out of revenge, instead of, say, to obtain information. Thanks for the info, CIA!

You know guys, the reason people normally want stuff declassified is so that they can have information revealed to them. Not just so it can induce a vague sense of dread.

I would say that the agonizing wait to find out the whole text of the memo is “torture,” but apparently it doesn’t count as torture because the CIA is withholding that information so they may continue to torture others, and not out of pure sadism.

The number one threat to our economy
June 23, 2008


Yes, technically it is true that if a terrorist blew up America, that would be just awful for our economy. And if trees made everyone kill themselves, that would probably also be bad for the economy.

And if the monster from Cloverfield stomped all over Wall Street, obviously the stock market would be in pretty poor shape.

Should I keep going?

Your lips say, “No,” but your eyes say, “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb Iran”
June 6, 2008

Oh, war. I wish I knew how to quit you.

See, if John McCain was your college roommate, then that commercial would be about how his ex-girlfriend is such a bitch and he hates her yet as soon as they bump into each other at some club and get a few drinks in them, you come home to find a sock on the door and end up spending the night in the student lounge on the first floor.

Which would only be a minor inconvenience, except in this case, your roommate’s ex-girlfriend is Enyo, the goddess of bloodlust and destruction. Not to be confused with Enya, who is even deadlier and more terrifying.

Let’s just hope that Enyo doesn’t find out about that other girl McCain’s started seeing on the side – warrantless wiretapping. Because if you put the two of them in the same room, then shit’s gonna go down.

May 21, 2008

Check this shit out. Lieberman, who, remember is chair of the Senate Government Oversight Committee (making him the horribly stunted evil twin brother of Henry Waxman, I guess), apparently feels that his time is better spent exercising oversight over … YouTube videos.

As mcjoan points out, the letter that Lieberman’s writing to YouTube is officially being issued from the office of the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, meaning that he’s trying to use a Senate committee to compel YouTube to censor free speech. Because that’s just the kind of swell dude he is.

Like The Manchurian Candidate, but stupider
April 25, 2008

A lot has been made of the rank hypocrisy of this Krauthammer column in the blogs today, but Tom Barnett accidentally sheds light on what’s truly insane about this column in a completely unrelated post.

McCain would scare me on many levels, but a Dem prez plus strengthened Dem majorities in both houses? Yikes, that’s got Smoot-Hawley written all over it, and that would be significantly more damaging to world stability than even nuking Iran–I kid you not. [Emphasis mine]

Yep, that’s right. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are more destructive than nuclear weapons. Based on this Wikipedia article about the death toll of Hiroshima, that means that if a Democrat gets elected this year, that would kill over 200,000 people. Comparing that to other world leaders, Augusto Pinochet only managed to put 200,000 people in “situations of extreme trauma.” That includes murders, but it’s not all murders.

So in other words, it is the position of what I’d say is a not insignificant minority of Republicans that whether or not Obama ever high-fived Ayers or whatever is a relevant question because there’s a chance that Obama, as president, would condone or even commit acts of unspeakable violence against his own country.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting for someone to explain to me how people who actually believe that are any less insane than 9/11 truthers.

Pennsylvania Primary Day!
April 22, 2008

I totally forgot that was today until this morning’s newspaper kindly reminded me, giving me a strange mixture of relief and nausea. Relief, because it’s one more state I’m not going to have to read about for a solid month before their primary, and nausea because the Pennsylvania Primary is kind of like a bad hangover the morning after primary season would normally have ended. The whole “bitter” mess didn’t do a whole lot to detract from that perception.

In that spirit, here are two news items that you’re going to hear absolutely nothing about today:

The Bush administration has been engaged in a massive propaganda campaign to manipulate the American media for years. The DC press corp, perhaps unsurprisingly, doesn’t seem to give a shit.

Speaking of hangovers, Guantanamo detainees are alleging that they were drugged as part of their interrogation. I’m torn here – disgusting intrusion on their human rights, small step up from being waterboarded, or both?*

Check out the special cameo in that article!

Yet the allegations have resurfaced because of the release this month of a 2003 Justice Department memo that explicitly condoned the use of drugs on detainees.

Written to provide legal justification for interrogation practices, the memo by then-Justice Department lawyer John C. Yoo rejected a decades-old U.S. ban on the use of “mind-altering substances” on prisoners. Instead, he argued that drugs could be used as long as they did not inflict permanent or “profound” psychological damage. U.S. law “does not preclude any and all use of drugs,” Yoo wrote in the memo. He declined to comment for this article.

Well that’s okay. Maybe the Pentagon has another marionette WaPo could interview about this.

*Unless they were being drugged and waterboarded, which is likely. But think about how depressing it is that when this news broke, a reasonable reaction was, “Well, it’s not quite as bad as some of the other shit they’ve been doing over there.”

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