Saturday, April 20, 2013


I'd really, really just like to be happy that Dhokhar Tsarnaev is in custody. Is was thrilling to follow the end of that manhunt, as the letdown from the afternoon turned into triumph. But we're stuck in a political moment we can't get out of:
Beginning several hours before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's capture, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wrote on Twitter that the suspect ought to be placed in military custody.

"If captured, I hope Administration will at least consider holding the Boston suspect as enemy combatant for intelligence gathering purposes," Graham wrote Friday afternoon. "The last thing we may want to do is read Boston suspect Miranda Rights telling him to 'remain silent.'" ...

"NBC reporting Obama admin will treat terrorist as a 'criminal' and not enemy combatant," former State Department official Liz Cheney wrote on Twitter Friday night. "Will Obama allow him to lawyer up?"
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as you probably know, isn't being Mirandized, but that will probably be temporary:
Lawyers have already made one potentially critical decision: he hasn't been read his Miranda rights, at least for now....

But if, for example, Tsarnaev's injuries leave him too incapacitated through the weekend to be questioned, it might not matter that he didn't get mirandized because the judge will read him his rights probably at his bedside on Monday.
Never mind whether Dzhokhar is too incapacitated to talk before he's Mirandized. What if Tamerlan, his dead older brother, was the principal plotter and Dzhokhar literally doesn't have much to tell? What if the brothers had no ties to terrorist organizations and just did the whole thing as a DIY project based on Internet instructions, or what ties existed were solely between Tamerlan and the groups?

The problem is, Dzhokhar might be perfectly willing to talk, before and after getting Mirandized, but he may not know much about how this was all put together. Dave Cullen, who wrote the definitive history of Columbine, reminds us that in that incident Eric Harris "sought out the arms, collected the ammo, researched the big bombs, built all the pipe bombs, drew up the plans and diagrams, conducted the reconnaissance, calculated how to maximize the body count, cooked up batch after batch of failed napalm, and generally devised the plan." Dylan Klebold was very much the lesser partner. This could conceivably be very similar.

And if so -- if Dzhokhar doesn't tell us much because he doesn't know much, or if (because the whole thing was done without terrorist training or contact with terrorist groups) there simply isn't much to tell regarding national security -- and then Dzhokhar is Mirandized, vultures like Liz Cheney and Lindsey Graham are going to howl that the Obama administration is putting us all in danger. That's when we'll really start hearing talk about enemy combatant status and Gitmo and waterboarding.

I don't know if it's going to come to that. What I do know is that the Republicans won't put politics aside, even for a second. They never do.

Oh, and how long do you think it's going top take for someone like Darrell Issa to start grandstanding about the FBI's previous scrutiny of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the fact that no suspicious activity was uncovered?

Remember this: Most Americans think one of the bad guys is dead and the other one is in custody. But Republicans think the real bad guys work for the government.

To Republicans, the bombers aren't the real enemy. Even terrorist plotters who might have helped the bombers aren't the real enemy. The Democratic Party is the real enemy. The Democratic Party is always the real enemy.


Leah said...

You nailed it, absolutely nailed it.

Another problem the center/left has is how much bullshit on so many issues the right hurls at us simultaneously; so many lies, so many phony "facts."

Even so, I wish we could find some way to get a grassroots movement that focuses on just that aspect of the right-wing playbook - their insistence that only they are the real Americans, and all the rest of us who disagree with them, and remember, in so many instances we're talking about a heavy majority of Americans, are un-American traitors.

If we emphasized this the way you do, on a daily basis, we might begin to develop some of the passion on our side that they have at the ready on their's, and one hopes, without using a constant state of rage as the trigger for that passion.

My thanks for what you do here.

Victor said...

Don't forget, that while they express their patriotic love for the Founding Fathers and The Constitution, they just assume that they were as Conservative as they are - totally ignoring the fact that the Founding Fathers were LIBERALS, and the Tories were the Conservatives.

Because Conservatives were trying to CONSERVE The Colonies for their King, while Adams and Jefferson and Washington, et al, were trying to LIBERATE The Colonies FROM the King.

And that the Constitution, and particularly the Bill of Rights, is a LIBERAL document, essentially a gameplan, for how to start and run a country, and still allow room for that gameplan to change through time, since they wrote it in an era when all sorts of new scientific and geographic discoveries were being made, and realized that no nation's constitution should be frozen to a particular period of time, since times change.

But don't even bother trying to have that conversation with Conservatives, they know better, and wouldn't ever admit it if they didn't know better.

Also too - this is also why judges like Scalia, and the "Originalists" in "The Federalist Society," are so very, very wrong.
Times have changed.
They just can't accept that change, because they don't like that white men no longer have all of the money and power. Most, or a lot, of it - but not ALL of it!

Ten Bears said...

I don't believe any of this, for even a minute. We're all familiar with media narratives, with the rewriting of history by those in a position to get away with it, with Goering's repetition of a lie until accepted as truth. With one man down and nothing to say and one possibly permanently incapacitated with, as you point out, quite possibly nothing to say, this stands out as a prime opportunity to forward the agenda. These boys were patsies, they don't want him to live.

Doesn't change the fact they were white, and interviews with family indicate they were just about as "muslim" as most "christians" are "christian". White skateboarder punks no different than any other skateboarder punk. Very easily, quite possibly, patsies, randomly picked out of some computer database and marked for execution.

I don't necessarily disagree with the wingnuts ore the gubmint, Steve, I just have a deeper understanding of history than most. One of these days your mocking dismissal out of hand those who question that which is rewritten by those in a position to get away with it is going to bite your butt.

Good one Vic, though as both a fan of locally produced high quality hand crafted microbrewed ales and a student of actual history I always thought "Liberal" was short for libation.

No fear.

Unknown said...

This sounds like sour grapes that Progressives' "An April 15th attack clearly points to my domestic political opponents" theory won't get a fair hearing now.

As just an example of Progressives sense of who the bad guys are, Amnesty International's Director of Campaigns and Programs tweeted this to Keith Olbermann:

We desperately need a Worst Person in the World list this week. And it must include Wayne LaPierre & the @NYPost editor.

Victor said...

Justin, baby, maybe, just maybe, you "Regressives" are also suffering from "sour grapes," because these guys CAUCASian Muslims, from the CAUCUSES, and weren't dusky Iranians, or other Middle Easteners, to justify another "Crusade?

And Wayne LaPierry is nothing more than a highly-paid spokesperson for gun manufacturers, who need to ratchet up more and more fear and loathing, to sell more and more guns, to the ever lessening number of Americans interested in owning one.

So, he's a shill, working for the grifters, to fleece the rubes.

And it sounds like you're one of the rubes they continue to make a fortune on.
So do us all a favor, and, while you 'lock and load,' STFU, you ignorant doofus of a rube.

Oh, and btw - I'd rather be a PROgressive than a REgressive, any day of the week.

WE look forward to making tomorrow better.
YOU pine for the "Good Ol' Days" of yesterday, when only white men ruled the roost.

That thing you sense in this country?
That's Karma coming with a big heaping helping of oblivion, resulting from the tsunami of dcoming emographic change.

We'll all move forward, if we can keep REgressives like you from taking us backwards.
We want PROgress!
Not REgress.

Unknown said...

I thought the idea was that we were clamoring already for another crusade and that progressives must mobilize to defend muslims from the wave of hate crimes we are sure to commit.

It's cute seeing progressives in full narrative melt-down.

Unknown said...

Also, I notice from your weird capitalization that the center-left is due for another name change. At one point, it was "progressive", then they didn't like their opponents saying mean things about "progressives" so they changed to "liberal" and so their opponents had to reference them as "liberals" in their criticism, and so eventually it had to be "progressive" again.

Progressives have to get used to the idea of pluralism - that not everyone is bound to agree with them and that some people may oppose their agendas. Otherwise they'll keep coming to this point where they're so intolerant of people talking about them critically that they have to treat their own self-appellation as an article of hatespeech, enclosing it in sneer quotes and the like.

Man up. Progressives have spent the last four years trying to stigmatize conservatives as actual terrorists and we still call ourselves conservatives.

Unknown said...

Democrats never made a political issue out of 9/11, even the Bush nonfeasance that allowed it to happen. Republicans will politicize Boston from day one.

Unknown said...

Odd. I seem to recall that former editor of Mother Jones made a movie which argued that the Bush administration orchestrated 911 with the Bin Ladens via the Carlslyle group to serve as a pretext for the invasion of Afghanistan so the UnCal corporation could build a natural gas pipeline. In this memory, the documentary was praised by Democrat strategists and the filmmaker was seated next to President Carter at the 2004 DNC.

"Was it all just a dream...?" I wonder.

Uncle Mike said...

"...made a movie which argued that the Bush administration orchestrated 911 with the Bin Ladens..."

Wow. If that's what you think the thesis of Fahrenheit 911 was, your cognitive ability is dangerously faulty.

he who scoffs at danger said...

I can only go on what's in the actual movie. Perhaps you should review it:

00:31:00 through 00:48:00

Uncle Mike said...

I've seen the movie. More than once. Moore never claims Bush "orchestrated" 9-11 "with the Bin Ladens."

Made it possible to happen through a unique combination of stupidity, hubris, and lack of focus? Yes.

Protected the Bin Laden family after the fact by secretly allowing them to leave the country? Yes.

If that's your definition of "orchestrated," then you need a new dictionary.

he who scoffs at danger said...

You're simply not being honest.

I could waste my time doing a shot-by-shot explication, but I left the link and the time markers for anyone who has genuine doubts about this.

You, on the other hand, apparently know what Moore is alleging in those ten minutes of film and are simply blowing smoke.

Given the broad scope of the headline post of this thread, perhaps it's worth noting something else about Moore being rewarded for his major-release, Hollywood version of Loose Change with an invitation to be seated with Carter at the 2004 DNC.

Throughout these past five years, Progressives have worked hard on framing their opponents as, among other things, crazy people who invent and propagate conspiracy theories.

There was, during the Bush administration, at least one major claim a week swirling through the progressive blogosphere. It actually began before that with the notion that Bush conspired with the manufacturers of Diebold EVS to program vote-multiplying viruses into voting machines. A major event in this history of derangement was a mock trial sponsored by House Democrats, with Rep. Conyers pretending to be presiding over Bush's criminal trial. A clown car of activists, cranks and loonies were invited to "testify" before the "court", including Ray McGovern, who laid out the case that Iraq and Afghanistan were "wars for Israel" and some guy who claimed to have been secretly bribed by the Florida Secretary of State to "fix" electronic voting machines which didn't in fact exist at the time.

The scale, breadth and volume of progressives' irrepressible dementia was what inspired the neologism, Bush Derangement Syndrome. At the time, the best deflection mainstream progressive columnists could muster was to say that Bush was so evil that it made trutherism believable, which is something like admitting to being stricken by it as well.

And boy were they! When progressive radio host, Randi Rhodes got wasted drunk one Sunday night and busted her front teeth on the pavement outside a Manhattan pub, her fill-in host excited the entire progressive media-sphere with the claim that she was the victim of Blackwater thugs on a mission to take out effective critics of the Bush Junta!

Now after five years in the starched suit of office. progressives want you to know how crazy everything conservatives say about President Obama is. Fair enough. A lot of crazy things are said about Obama.

The unforgivable pretense floated with this, however, is that the crazy things said about Obama are unprecedented. When the falseness and abject hypocrisy of this pretension is referenced to progressives own behavior during the previous administration, progressives lie, baldly, with the claim that progressives keep their crazies at the fringes while their opponents suborn craziness and invite crazies into their parlors.

If it could be at all possible to point to something like the GOP inviting Alex Jones to share an armrest with President Bush, please present it. When House Republicans stage some risible mock impeachment trial for Obama in a Capitol basement anteroom with all the skinheads and conspiracy nuts you imagine they secretly golf with, make that claim with a straight face. Until facts like that are in place, the claim that the craziness exhibited by the current administration's opponents is unprecedented is lie. The claim that Democrats actively distance themselves from the lunatics on their side will never be anything more than a lie.

But the lie is told, and it's told with self-conscious modifications of words coined to describe their lunacy; BDS becomes ODS, "truther" becomes "birther". That progressives' attack terminology directly references their own behavior of the last decade tells the whole story: it's not that they forgot what an embarrassing spectacle they made of themselves, it's that they remember, and the memory must, in their view, be punished.

Uncle Mike said...

Feel better after typing all that?

So, you "don't have time" to address my counter of Justin's claim, but you write a weird eleven paragraph rambling screed that I'm supposed to take seriously? Is it hard to see the keyboard when foil covers your windows?

The clip you pointed me to pretty much proves my point: Justin's statement that Moore says Bush "orchestrated" 9-11 is false. Moore claims Bush took advantage of 9-11, and protected his friends the Saudis in the aftermath, yes, but nowhere did he say or even imply Bush orchestrated the event.

Stay on topic, genius.

Victor said...

Justin, baby, I'M A PROUD LIBERAL!!!
And have never stopped calling myself that.

So, go and try to do what you always wanted to do - attempt to do the anatomically impossible, and have sex with the one you love the most in the world: yourself.

Have a nice Sunday!


he who scoffs at danger said...

I wonder if it's worth mentioning that Michael Moore is a full, "fake planes" truther?

Steve M. said...

Excuse me, I've been ignoring this, but what the hell does Michael Moore have to do with anything I wrote?

Oh, I forget: Everything any liberal or Democrat says or does or is rumored to have said or done is the joint responsibility of every Democrat or liberal.

Kathy said...

Wow, not one troll, but two! Two who sound suspiciously the same. I'm impressed.

he who scoffs at danger said...

We are the same. You can address your comments to the he_who_scoffs nic, as that is what I blog under.

@Steve M., not so for Democrats, but precisely so for Republicans, I take it. I didn't notice your use of the fine brush in the broad, Manichean screed you wrote above.

Ten Bears said...

I hate it when I'm right:-\

No fear.

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