Black water ripple wallpaper, Torture Memos Update and Scott Beauchamp Vindicated

Black water ripple wallpaper

Spring Heather Bliss wallpaper

The Torture Memos Are Not Just Sick, They’re Full of Lies: A Closer Look at the Bybee Memo

Why might Bybee, Rizzo, Yoo or others have been interested in Ogrisseg’s study of SERE psychological effects? The initial portions of the Aug. 1, 2002 memo are concerned primarily with demonstrating that the techniques migrating into the interrogation arena from SERE training programs were not harmful, physiologically or psychologically, at least not in a way that would violate the law as construed by the OLC attorneys.

Despite the presence of a “SERE training psychologist” from the very beginning of Zubaydah’s interrogation. Captured in March 2002, Zubaydah told the ICRC he was tortured from the time of capture. He was allegedly waterboarded by June 2002. Now, unhappy with their intel, CIA was planning to move into an “increased pressure phase” on Zubaydah. OLC notes in the memo that it is relying on information about Zubaydah and Yoo/Bybee warns Rizzo if the “facts in your possession [are] contrary to the facts outlined here”, then their “advice would not necessarily apply.”

Of the recently released torture memos, then Assistant Attorney General of the United States Jay Bybee’s was the earliest one issued, dated August 2002. According to most of the published reports Zubaydah was tortured by June of 2002. That being the case all the legal memos, bizarre legal reasoning aside, were ex post facto. The the Bybee memo of 2002 provided legal legal cover for actions that had already occurred. If Obama is sincere about prosecuting only those that went by the guidelines – the acted in good faith defense – then those that tortured Zubaydah in June are eligible for prosecution. Though i wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for those prosecutions.

That some military personal underwent supervised torture, including waterboarding, in SERE training is among the Right’s claims that the technique wasn’t much more then fraternity hazing – to date none of those pundits or bloggers has undergone waterboarding two or three times in one day in exactly the circumstances on which the procedure was performed on captives held by the CIA. Thus the argument becomes yet more false bravado from Mom’s Basement Brigade. Dr. Jerald Ogrisseg, a psychologist with Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, United States Joint Forces Command wrote in one correspondence,

Finally, as indicated in my 24 July 2002 memorandum, Lt Col Baumgartner asked me if I’d never seen the waterboard used, and what I thought of it. I told him that I had seen it used while observing Navy training the previous year, and that I would never recommend using it in training. He asked me why and if I thought it was physically dangerous. I responded that I didn’t see anyone getting physically injured when I observed it, and as stated in my memorandum, the Navy was applying it to medically screened trainees with medical personnel immediately available to monitor and intervene if necessary. However, that wasn’t the point, as psychologically the waterboard produced capitulation and compliance with instructor demands 100% of the time. During debriefings following training, students who had experienced the waterboard expressed extreme avoidance attitudes such as a likelihood to further comply with any demands made of them if brought near the waterboard again. I told Lt Col Baumgartner that waterboarding was completely inconsistent with the stress inoculation paradigm of training that we used, and was more indicative of a practice that produces learned helplessness – a training result we tried strenuously to avoid. The final area I recall Lt Col Baumgartner asking me about were my thoughts on using the waterboard against the enemy. I asked [sic] responded by asking, “wouldn’t that be illegal?” He replied that some people were asking from above about the utility of using this technique against the enemy for the same reasons I wouldn’t use it in training. I replied that I wouldn’t go down that path because, aside from being illegal, it was a completely different arena that we in the Survival School didn’t know anything about.

So the military may have used it in some training , but it does not appear to even be a standard part of SERE training.

In summary, even an initial cursory look at the August 1, 2002 Bybee memo on the “Interrogation of Al Qaeda Operative” shows that the memos were written in bad faith, were meant to deceive, and utilized a memorandum by Jerald Ogrisseg that explicitly warned against using at least some of the techniques (waterboarding) that were approved by OLC.

Detainee’s Harsh Treatment Foiled No Plots – Waterboarding, Rough Interrogation of Abu Zubaida Produced False Leads, Officials Say

In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida’s tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida — chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates — was obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said.

Scott Beauchamp, for those that may not remember (entry at Wikipedia isn’t complete and leans heavily Right in the middle section, but toward the end is not all that bad) was a soldier in Iraq that filed some stories with The New Republic as the “Baghdad Diarist”. The Right was outraged, especially at the suggestion that some of Beauchamp’s fellow soldiers committed war crimes. The debate got silly as it often does with the Right – details like the way a half-track turns and dog versus human dogs were blown up larger then life to, per the Right’s usual modus opernadi, to casts doubts on the larger story. The New Republic rather then take Scott at his word, since there was no counter evidence, caved from pressure by the Right. Michelle Malkin wrote,

Read the whole thing here and watch TNR’s defenders (and advertisers) weep. The maxi-mea culpa runs more than 10 pages and thousands and thousands of words (self-pitying, rationalizing, messenger-blaming), but this is the belated bottom line: The Beauchamp stories are bullcrap. (emphasis mine)

Not to pick on Malkin, but the intellectual elite of the Right, including The Weekly Standard and The National Review had also tired their best to disgrace a young soldier who was putting his life on the line everyday for the war they loved so much. My take was that the Right’s case was weak, Beauchamp had his e-mail and othe privileges taken away and the pressure caused by the Right was also hurting his fellow soldiers. That being the case, Beauchamp might have screwed up, but no longer had the opportunity to freely communicate and express himself and his unit was under the same pressure. In rightwing lala-land there is no reserving final damnation for anyone that opposed their war, one ironically that was based on so many lies that people like the National Review helped echoed. It turns out the major and most damning parts of Beauchamps articles were true, It Looks Like Scott Beauchamp’s Pieces for the New Republic Were Accurate

A senior enlisted Army soldier was convicted on Wednesday of killing four handcuffed and blindfolded Iraqi men with pistol shots to the backs of their heads shortly after arresting them in Baghdad two years ago, The Associated Press reported. A military jury in Germany, where his unit is deployed, found the soldier, Master Sgt. John E. Hatley, guilty of premeditated murder in the deaths of the men, whom he and several other members of his unit had detained after a firefight with insurgents in Baghdad in spring 2007, according to testimony in the case…

If you cannot place the name, Master Sgt. Hatley was the direct superior of Pvt. Scott Beauchamp and the person most used to discredit (along with the gay porn star) the New Republic diary of the life of a soldier in Iraq and the ways they dealt with the pressures of Operation Clusterfuck. All of which Hatley said was absolutely not what his ever virtuous soldiers did.

In February, another military jury convicted the unit’s medic, Sgt. Michael Leahy Jr., 28, of premeditated murder and sentenced him to life in prison. On March 30, Sgt. First Class Joseph P. Mayo, 27, pleaded guilty to murder and received a 35-year sentence. Military legal experts said the soldiers’ rank showed the frustration of fighting insurgents who blended in with the locals…

Which was exactly the subject Scott Beauchamp was writing about. (all emphasis mine)

TNR has never retracted their retraction. The Right, as far as I know has never apologized to Beauchamp or published any updates showing that the guy(Hatley) who put the most pressure on Scott to let the whole story fade away, was guilty of a cover up and convicted of murder.

No, Let’s Not Move On, Torture and the Rule of Law

“We do not torture.” G.W. Bush, 2005.

As everyone has probably heard by now President Obama has released some of the previously secret legal memos the Bush administration used to justify torture. You can download them in pdf from the ACLU here, Abuse of Power: The Bush Administration’s Secret Legal Memos. Glenn Greenwald’s take here –  Obama to release OLC torture memos; promises no prosecutions for CIA officials. Digby has a very good post up that includes some background on how torture has failed as an intelligence tool, though we still hear not just the usual far right conservative apologists, but conservative politicians and former members of the Bush administration. It might, and I empathize might, be premature to say that any and all prosecutions are off the table. Marc Ambender reports, No Immunity For Bad Faith Interrogators

Senior administration officials  have made it clear to me: neither President Obama’s statement nor Attorney General Holder’s words were meant to foreclose the possibility of prosecuting CIA officers who did NOT act in good faith, or who did not act according to the guidelines spelled out by the OLC.

So it’s not correct to say that the administration granted blanket immunity to anyone.

If you read the memos or scan through Glenn’s highlights, as awful as the treatment was, Occam razor and so forth. It is possible that some CIA official or one of the medical personnel to have exceeded the sadistic guidelines set out by OLC’s Jay Beebee and OLC Chief Steven Bradbury. So if evidence is presented that someone acted in a way that was especially sadistic, there is the possibility of prosecution. Reading through a few other articles, such as this one from AG Eric Holder, Obama does seem intent on taking the let bygones be bygones route, Department of Justice Releases Four Office of Legal Counsel Opinions

Holder also stressed that intelligence community officials who acted reasonably and relied in good faith on authoritative legal advice from the Justice Department that their conduct was lawful, and conformed their conduct to that advice, would not face federal prosecutions for that conduct.

The Attorney General has informed the Central Intelligence Agency that the government would provide legal representation to any employee, at no cost to the employee, in any state or federal judicial or administrative proceeding brought against the employee based on such conduct and would take measures to respond to any proceeding initiated against the employee in any international or foreign tribunal, including appointing counsel to act on the employee’s behalf and asserting any available immunities and other defenses in the proceeding itself.

The marginally good news is the current Office of Legal Counsel rejects the opinions put forth by Bush’s OLC,

After reviewing these opinions, OLC has decided to withdraw them:  They no longer represent the views of the Office of Legal Counsel.

In an editorialal response to the memos and Obama’s desire to move on, the NYT ( there is a pro Bush one included) several professors of law chime in. David Cole, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center writes,

They set the C.I.A. loose to slam suspects’ heads into walls up to 30 times in a row, to deprive suspects of sleep for more than a week straight, to confine them to small dark boxes for hours at a time, to slap them repeatedly in the face and abdomen, and to suffocate them with water to induce the perception that they are drowning.
Mr. Obama’s refusal to hold accountable those responsible for the wrongs so evident from the memos is unacceptable.

A child would recognize these tactics as cruel and inhumane. The United States itself treated waterboarding as torture when the Japanese used it against our troops in World War II. Yet through pages and pages of dense legal reasoning, the Office of Legal Counsel lawyers somehow reach the conclusion that these tactics, even when employed in combination and over a 30-day period, are not torture, and not even cruel, inhuman, or degrading.

President Obama should be commended for releasing these memos. But his simultaneous assertion that he will not seek to hold accountable those responsible for the wrongs so evident on the memos’ face is unacceptable. The line C.I.A. agents are not, however, the most culpable. Rather, it is the lawyers and high-level government officials who set this scheme in motion and made it possible. These documents are irrefutable evidence that government officials, including lawyers employed in the Office of Legal Counsel, a Justice Department office meant to serve as the “constitutional conscience” of the Executive Branch, set out to manipulate the law to reach repugnant, illegal results that contravene the very ideals President Obama says must not be sacrificed.

Cole is probably correct about culibility. These memos were written in 2005. We know that the torture started by 2002. Torture done before the 2005 memos were distributed could not have been done in good faith. And that is entertaining the idea that those performing the torture did or could act in good faith. We know that the Army successfully prosecuted a few soldiers for torture – they violated the Military Field manual and claiming they acted under orders was not considered to convey immunity from their actions ( We are also signatories to the Convention Against Torture – Article 2, 2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture. 3. 3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture. ). I tend to think that field operatives and any medical personal that assisted should be prosecuted with grants of limited immunity Where only  the egregious offenders, as Holder mentioned, see jail time. More important perhaps, is that the OLC lawyers and the executive branch who issued the orders be held to account. Some people have inevitably mentioned the Nuremberg trials, as well as Japanese WW II war crimes. I’m going to get into that today; for a good discussion see this post at Anonymous Liberal and the comments. This is over priced at my two cents worth, but Glenn is likely correct on the finer legal point, but A.L. is probably correct about the reality of jury trials.

Just because someone speaks with a certain gravitas, has a “distinguished” resume and went to all the right schools doesn’t mean they are not just as capable and willing to blow smoke up your ass as any ordinary conman. Former Bush administration AG Michael B. Mukasey and former director of the CIA Mike Hayden have a little fun with the truth over at the WSJ, The President Ties His Own Hands on Terror

However, public disclosure of the OLC opinions, and thus of the techniques themselves, assures that terrorists are now aware of the absolute limit of what the U.S. government could do to extract information from them, and can supplement their training accordingly and thus diminish the effectiveness of these techniques…

Its a little disconcerting that Mike and Mike believe this mumbo jumble or they really think that informed Americans do. Simply knowing that we torture has been a recruiting tool for terrorists and has put the journalists and soldiers that they claim to care so much about in greater danger.

It “endangers our soldiers on the battlefield by encouraging reciprocity.” It does “damage to our country’s image” and undermines our credibility in Iraq. (Army Col. Stuart Herrington, a military intelligence specialist)

M&M also repeat another torture myth,

The terrorist Abu Zubaydah (sometimes derided as a low-level operative of questionable reliability, but who was in fact close to KSM and other senior al Qaeda leaders) disclosed some information voluntarily. But he was coerced into disclosing information that led to the capture of Ramzi bin al Shibh, another of the planners of Sept. 11, who in turn disclosed information which — when combined with what was learned from Abu Zubaydah — helped lead to the capture of KSM and other senior terrorists, and the disruption of follow-on plots aimed at both Europe and the U.S.

Its doubtful that the severely mentally disturbed Abu Zubaydah gave up any actionable intelligence under torture. The guy babbled on about tons of things voluntarily, much of it dead ends that could have been found out without torture,

The lessons from Zubaydah and his more noteworthy successors–like Ramzi Binalshibh, an erudite killer who provided little information under extreme duress, and the 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (K.S.M.), who, according to senior intelligence officials, was told his children would be hurt if he didn’t cooperate–were the long-held lessons of going medieval: whatever jumbled information is swiftly gathered is not worth the high price. To establish what was gathered, Bush, in the East Room, did what has consistently landed him in trouble–take creative liberties with classified information. Specifically, he ran through a simplified progression of how each successful interrogation led to the next capture, another interrogation, another capture and so forth. He put special emphasis on Zubaydah–the insane travel agent–saying that, under duress, he gave interrogators information that identified Binalshibh and “helped lead” to the capture of both Binalshibh and the prized K.S.M. This is the sort of thing that has steadily eroded Bush’s relationship with the intelligence community: presidential sins of omission, or emphasis, that would be clear only if you happened to know lots of classified information. In fact, according to senior intelligence officials past and present, Zubaydah helpfully confirmed that “Mukhtar” was K.S.M.’s code name–something key intelligence officials already suspected–and had nothing to do with identifying Binalshibh, who had come to the attention of investigators a few weeks after 9/11 because he had sent wire transfers to Zacarias Moussaoui.

You can and will see rabid conservative after rabid conservative refer to the non-existent fountain of info Zubaydah provided – hey CIA officials like Hayden even read them off and were recorded for the Congressional record – which in Mikey world makes them true. The nearly twin brother to the Zubaydah myth is that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (K.S.M.) provided tons of information, but only because he was tortured. No, what made him talk was simply thinking the CIA would kill his children. Bush, Fox, the WSJ, the NYT and assorted rightwing pundits were all too happy to simply repeat Bush’s twisted version of the the swell connection between torture and intelligence. In every instance we know about, torture produced false leads or the information was or could have been obtained without torture. It is after all Mike and Mike’s interest to continue to dishonor America’s humanitarian ideals and the rule of law, since they both did their part to either see those ideals compromised or provide inane legal cover for them.

Newly Released Memo Inadvertently Reveals CIA Held (and Abused) Missing Prisoner

Among the OLC memos released today [1], one appears to inadvertently reveal that a top al-Qaida suspect captured in northern Iraq in January 2004 was held by the CIA in a secret prison.

After Hassan Ghul was arrested in early 2004, President Bush told reporters [2]: “Just last week we made further progress in making America more secure when a fellow named Hassan Ghul was captured in Iraq. Hassan Ghul reported directly to Khalid Sheik Mohammad, who was the mastermind of the September 11 attacks. He was captured in Iraq, where he was helping al Qaeda to put pressure on our troops.”

Military officials and former CIA director George Tenet described Ghul as an al-Qaida facilitator [3] who delivered money and messages to top leaders.

The U.S. government never publicly discussed Ghul again.

Probably most readers of this blog remember that Bush and the Right repeatedly tried to link Iraq to al Qaeda. It was in the administration’s interests to leave the impression that Ghul was simply captured in Iraq, rather then actually captured in Kurdish territory outside of Iraq’s control.

The tea smokers have been trying to hide behind the military, saying the recent DHS report, i.e. Obama’s report, is an insult to veterans. The investigations that suggested that a few vets might be engaged in radical activities started under the Bush administration. In addition, the military itself was investigating such possibilities, Veterans a Focus of FBI Extremist Probe

The FBI documents show the bureau was working with investigators inside the nation’s uniformed services “in an effort to identify those current or former soldiers who pose a domestic terrorism threat.” The other agencies working with the FBI are the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division, the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Two More Black and White wallpapers and The Better Part of Secession

Black and White beach rocks wallpaper

Black and White forest light wallpaper

Texas Governor Rick Perry wants  secession from the United States of America,

The 10th Amendment was enacted by folks who remembered what it was like to have a very oppressive government, to be under the thumb of tyrants in an all-powerful government.

Working Americans might assume that Perry woke from a coma yesterday after eight years and went straight to the tea smokers rally, but no he has been in some marginal state of consciousness since he has contacted the federal government several times asking for help (details at link). If Perry is joking or pandering or just taken one two hits off the tea bong doesn’t matter. Unless there is a monumental sea change in the average Americans voting propensities and being a secessionist ( some would say traitor) becomes cool, Perry has sabotaged  his presidential ambitions. Of course unless he becomes president of Texas. Joking aside, 43% of Texans voted for Obama and Texas has 12 Democratic Congressional representatives. So speaking of tyranny, Perry does not seem concerned about trashing the genuine populist  ideology of almost half the state. Texas businesses are in fact reaping some nice benefits, directly and indirectly from the Obama plan to make the U.S. more energy independent. Before I get the particulars, I’m not sure how seriously to take Perry or anyone that supports him, but this gentleman is a little upset, Rick Perry Should Stop Embarrassing Texas

Partisanship and political philosophy aside, I can think of few things more irresponsible in this economy than the governor of Texas speaking freely about secession. What business is going to relocate to Texas with him talking like that? Who wants to come to a state to do research at its large land grant universities with a governor who sounds like George Wallace or Lester Maddox naming the regents.

Texas is one of, if not the leader in developing wind energy, Schnurman: Subsidies are blowing in the wind

The renewable energy source is all the rage in Texas, growing by 60 percent last year alone. It’s a fave of the federal government, too, with President Barack Obama approving the continuation of hefty tax credits and adding an option for cash grants from the treasury.

[  ]…That’s a good bet, as long as the federal subsidy remains in place. Wind companies that invest $100 million will recoup more than $74 million in tax credits and accelerated depreciation alone, the UNT study says. The state subsidies are a bonus.

Obama’s support for renewable energy makes the federal tax credit a priority, and that should reduce the need for states and local governments to give more help.

Which raises the question, did Perry accept what the Right has been calling pork funds, otherwise known as the Recovery Act. Yes, of course he did. He whined, waved his arms about and took the cash. American tax payers will not be getting a thank you from little Ricky, they’ll be getting some pandering rants about secession instead. Here we are a not sixty days into the Obama presidency and conservatives have already been bouncing off the wall crazy. So much so that the rantings of Redstate barely register on my outrage meter,

Right now – Governor Perry has to calculate what is best for his 23 million constituents. He has to ask himself the following questions, among many:

– Will America’s national defense be adequate enough to protect Texans after the numerous budget cuts and re-prioritizations of the Obama administration?;

* Will America, and thus Texas, be safe with massive cuts in missile defense even as North Korea and other rogue states seek nuclear weapons and missile capability?;
* Will Social Security and Medicare – currently barreling toward total collapse and massive unfunded liabilities – be solvent and viable for the millions of Texas baby-boomers heading toward retirement?;

Redstate has quite a list of concerns that certain tea provocateurs might want to seriously consider. Setting aside the paranoia about missile defense and Obama’s massive defence spending, if Texas secedes that means we’re not obligated to provide for their defense from foreign or domestic enemies. They’ll have to rise their own army, navy and deploy their own missiles. All Texas military bases will be closed. As a tax payer from another state that receives less federal funds then Texas, this secession stuff is sounding better. Medicare and Social Security?  Medicare needs some help, but that is part of Obama’s health-care reform agenda and as usual all the scare stories about Social Security are just that. Texas will have to start its own safety net or go the social-Darwinism route. Once Perry leads Texas into this right-wing utopia we’ll need to erect a fence around it to keep the elderly from escaping into more civilized territory. No throwing your sick, disabled and newly poor over into Arkansas or New Mexico. Silly, but saner then Red’s proposition and I only went through the first two.

Another day with the tea smokers

Mike Madden’s man in the street style expose on the tea smokers, “On 9/11, I think they hit the wrong building”. I’ve read news stories and watched some video and the they should have bombed Congress guy takes the prize for looney,

Smith said. “Government — to be honest with you, and this will probably be misquoted, but on 9/11, I think they hit the wrong building. They should have gone into the Capitol building, hit out, knocked out both sides of the aisle, we’d start from scratch, we’d be better off today.” I pointed out that “they” did try to hit the Capitol. “Yeah, I know, they missed,” he said. “The wrong sequence. If someone had to go, it should have been the Capitol building. On that day I felt differently, but today that’s the way I feel.”

You cannot judge a political party or movements by a few people much less one guy, but in interview after interview there is a level of anger and lunacy that is going to haunt the Right’s attempts to make tea smoking anything other then a call to America’s Most Radical. CNN Reporter at Chicago Tea Party: It’s “Anti-CNN Since This is Highly Promoted By the Right-Wing, Conservative Network Fox”. The Right is all over this reporter, but watch the hostility toward her in the video and I think one guy has a Rick Santelli for president sign. Someone’s tea leaves are a little over dried. CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen made an obvious observation, much like calling out a gathering of flat earthers. In their eyes, of course flat earthers and rightwingers think they’re perfectly rational.

Just a few months ago the Right, who has suddenly rediscovered the 4th amendment, not only supported these abuses of federal power, but flatly stated that anyone that objected was nothing less then a terrorist sympathizer. One right-wing blogger called Confederate Yankee wrote,

If the FISA court was being dangerously obstructionist in the Administration’s view, then the President would appear to not just have a right, but a Constitutional responsibility to go around the court if he felt American lives were at risk. To act otherwise would be criminal negligence, would it not?

Nothing like making up Constitutional responsibilities out of thin air. N.S.A.’s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress

The overcollection problems appear to have been uncovered as part of a twice-annual certification that the Justice Department and the director of national intelligence are required to give to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on the protocols that the N.S.A. is using in wiretapping. That review, officials said, began in the waning days of the Bush administration and was continued by the Obama administration. It led intelligence officials to realize that the N.S.A. was improperly capturing information involving significant amounts of American traffic.

[  ]…And in one previously undisclosed episode, the N.S.A. tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant, an intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The agency believed that the congressman, whose identity could not be determined, was in contact — as part of a Congressional delegation to the Middle East in 2005 or 2006 — with an extremist who had possible terrorist ties and was already under surveillance, the official said. The agency then sought to eavesdrop on the congressman’s conversations, the official said.

The official said the plan was ultimately blocked because of concerns from some intelligence officials about using the N.S.A., without court oversight, to spy on a member of Congress.

Not likely, but maybe now that Congress itself has been bitten by a program they did not fight hard enough to stop, they’ll reexamine the whole concept of finding a needle in a world wide drag net. A drag net that should require FISA oversight in the U.S.

Conservatives Take DHS Report Personally

Conservatives believe DHS report is about them

Conservatives outraged at DHS assessment warning of violent ‘rightwing extremism’

An April 7 report by the Department of Homeland Security is causing waves of indignation among conservatives for labeling “rightwing extremism” the “most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.”

In its key findings, the 10 page document (PDF link) put forward by the Office of Intelligence and Analysis states that there is “no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence,” but warns law enforcement agencies that the economic recession, coupled with the recent election of the first African-American President of the United States, is driving radical groups’ recruitment.

“The DHS under President Bush was apparently more reluctant to make such assessments about the right. According to CQ, a 2005 report outlining terrorist threats ‘does not mention anti-government groups, white supremacists and other radical right-wing movements,'” noted Think Progress. “Bush’s report did, however, list the threat of left-wing groups such as the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front. And a 2001 report from the Energy Department examined “Left-Wing Extremism: The Current Threat.”

Rightwing blogger and occasional Fox News editorialist Michelle Malkin referred to the analysis as “a sweeping indictment of conservatives.”

Her blog on the topic came on the same day as a Washington Times report on the analysis and a high-profile link from rightwing news blogger Matt Drudge.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said in a ‘tweet’ late Tuesday afternoon, “The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired.”

If Malkin, Gingrich, Drudge and the usual chorus of rightwing echoes are the serious responsible adults they claim to be, we can all assume they read the DHS reports on the rightwing extremists and the left.

(U//LES) Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts. Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn—including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit—could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past.

So conservatives, who have claimed for years their movement does not have a large faction of racists is offended over the government sounding the alarm over white supremacists and violent anti government groups. The conservative movement’s propensity toward knee jerk reactionaryism has once again betrayed them.

(U//FOUO) The current economic and political climate has some similarities to the 1990s when rightwing extremism experienced a resurgence fueled largely by an economic  recession, criticism about the outsourcing of jobs, and the perceived threat to U.S. power and sovereignty by other foreign powers.

An obvious reference to the Oklahoma City bombings and its ties to the ideology espoused by the militia movement and Christian Identity movement. The only way that the National Review and Malkin could take offense at that and similar passages is if they feel some political kinship with those movements.

(U//FOUO) Historically, domestic rightwing extremists have feared, predicted, and anticipated a cataclysmic economic collapse in the United States. Prominent antigovernment conspiracy theorists have incorporated aspects of an impending economic collapse to intensify fear and paranoia among like-minded individuals and to attract recruits during times of economic uncertainty. Conspiracy theories involving declarations of martial law, impending civil strife or racial conflict, suspension of the
U.S. Constitution, and the creation of citizen detention camps often incorporate aspects of a failed economy. Antigovernment conspiracy theories and “end times” prophecies could motivate extremist individuals and groups to stockpile food, ammunition, and weapons. (emphasis mine)

Recent talk and actions by what the right considers its most popular pundits only lends credence to the above excerpt. Perrspectives recently cataloged some of the violence and inflammatory rhetoric by the right. In that post was this remarkable bit of deflection by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin,

WILLIAMS: Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist, under this definition, governor?

PALIN: (Sigh). There’s no question that Bill Ayers via his own admittance was one who sought to destroy our U.S. Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There’s no question there. Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that uh, it would be unacceptable. I don’t know if you’re going to use the word terrorist there.

Maybe it is the case the Right genuinely believes that it’s terrorism is not terrorism. Most terrorists in their own judgment believe their cause is just. Media Matters also documented the often repeated shrill paranoia that seems to have blinded the right and replaced anything resembling rational discourse,

Beck: “I was wrong. Our government is not marching down the road towards communism or socialism… they’re marching us to a brand of non-violent fascism… towards 1984”

FNC’s Napolitano says Wagoner’s resignation is “an absolute power grab and it’s the road to fascism”, “this is Mussolini on the Potomac”

Discussing Obama “power grab,” Gingrich says Goldberg’s “frighteningly prescient” Liberal Fascism describes “how the left is thinking this year”

MacCallum on Rep. Bachmann’s claim that Obama proposals are a “lurch toward socialism”: “I think you’re absolutely right about that”

Rodgers claims Obama “clearly is more sympathetic with the long-term goals of world communism, and let’s be blunt about it, Muslim terrorists, than with any legitimate American goals”

These speakers are all considered mainstream conservatives. The same conservatives that think the DHS rightwing extremism report is about them. None of the major Democratic blogs or Democratic officials thought the leftwing extremists report by the DHS was about them or took personal offense.

Disgruntled Military Veterans
(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from
the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.

Newt Gingrich and Joe Scarborough think this section of the report is an insult to all veterans – if there is a way to use or hide behind the military to deflect criticism, the right can always be depended upon to do so. Newt and Joe also seem to believe all veterans are allied with the most radical conservatism, in addition to ignoring the fact that some domestic terrorists have had a military background ( Timothy McVeigh and abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph were both veterans). Whether we will see violence from a few veterans, whether their motivations are political or otherwise  is a legitimate concern, from 2006, U.S. is recruiting misfits for army

In February, the Baltimore Sun wrote that there was “a significant increase in the number of recruits with what the Army terms ‘serious criminal misconduct’ in their background” — a category that included “aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats.” From 2004 to 2005, the number of those recruits rose by more than 54 percent, while alcohol and illegal drug waivers, reversing a four-year decline, increased by more than 13 percent.

One wonders if the tea smokers will be protesting their tax money used to train felons to use assault weapons and explosives. From a 2008 report, still on Bush’s watch, Military Waivers for Ex-Convicts Increase

Pentagon officials acknowledged that the requirement to recruit more troops — part of an effort to expand the Army and Marine Corps by tens of thousands by 2011 — coupled with declining interest in military service in part caused by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, has led to accepting more recruits with criminal backgrounds. By contrast, felony waivers in the Navy fell from 48 in 2006 to 42 last year and the Air Force had none in either year.

“We’re digging deeper into the barrel than we were before” as a result of the difficult recruiting environment, said a Defense Department official, who requested anonymity because he had not been authorized to speak publicly. “Would I like to see the waivers lower? Yes.”

Domestic terrorism is not a new issue and reports on the right and left have been coming from the FBI  for some time now, New trouble at home

Shank, who is based in the Chicago area, says the concerns about domestic terrorism range from anti-abortion extremists who threaten to attack clinics and doctors to some violent biker gangs that may be involved in organized crime. And the FBI said in June that eco-terrorism — acts of violence, sabotage or property damage motivated by concern for animals or the environment — was the nation’s top domestic terrorism threat. The bureau said then that eco-terrorists had committed more than 1,100 criminal acts and caused property damage estimated at least $110 million since 1976.

Alleged terrorist plots by U.S. citizens are not new, but many of the recent conspiracies were overshadowed by 9/11 and the hunt for terrorists abroad. Most of the foiled plots didn’t get very far. And few got much publicity. But there were some potentially close calls, such as the scheme by William Krar, an east Texas man who stockpiled enough sodium cyanide to gas everyone in a building the size of a high school basketball gymnasium before he was arrested in 2002.

Shank, whose unit mainly searches for fugitives, including some wanted on domestic terror-related charges, led the manhunt for Clayton Lee Waagner, 48, of Kennerdell, Pa. Waagner was convicted in December of mailing hundreds of threat letters containing bogus anthrax to abortion clinics in 24 states.

Lots of Democrats and a few Republicans care about the environment, but most of us are hardly offended that the FBI is keeping an eye on organizations like the Animal Liberation Front. My take is that we’re partly a paranoid nation and partly a nation in which elected officials live in abject fear that they will be blamed should something go wrong. While Republicans tend to be the worse offenders, Democrats have a streak of paranoia themselves. Except for his condemnation of torture, Obama seems to be keeping all of Bush’s excessive claims of executive power when it comes to domestic surveillance, state secrets and national security in general. A 2006 report from The Center for Law and Security certainly put a damper on the rightwing silliness post 9-11 that the country was saturated with al-Qaeda sleeper cells,

Only four individuals have been convicted of federal crimes of terrorism per se. They are Zacarias Moussaoui, Richard Reid, Chao Tung Wu and Shahawar Matin Siraj. These individuals were convicted of attempting to commit terrorism. Three of the four had ties to militant Islamic fundamentalism. Moussaoui, once thought to be the 20th 9/11 hijacker, turned out not to be. Reid, the “shoe-bomber,” was apprehended by other passengers on a transatlantic flight. Wu tried to import Chinese surface-to-air missiles into the United States. Siraj was convicted for planning to bomb a New York City subway.

Pirates, Spin and Hypocrisy

More pirate punks at sea news, U.S. Navy Apprehends Somali Pirates for the First Time

A U.S. Navy ship working as part of a multinational team called Combined Task Force 151, apprehended a group of seven Somali pirates today, the first time the task force has picked up Somali pirates.

The apprehension appears to be in response to what U.S. officials tell ABC News was an order from the Pentagon issued last Thursday to pursue pirates off the Somali coast.

Conservative spin sale

Apparently it is officially open season on pirates. Which leaves yet another Conservative blogger gasping for something relevant to add to the conversation, conservative blogger Jules Crittendon writes, The New Bloodthirstiness

But three dead pirates do not a military campaign or strategy or doctrine make, and Obama despite the tough talk has yet to demonstrate that he is willing to hunt pirates down.* In fact, news reports indicate the dithering has already begun. Never mind that. I just want to say I’m thrilled about the handwringing, Kumbayah-singing, peacenik left’s new enthusiasm for swift, extra-judicial 7.62 justice by executive order, and the lack of calls for human rights investigations, prosecutions,  etc.

Conservative spin sale

This is where we’re all supposed to suggest to the Crit to try to keep up, but it wouldn’t make any difference. A few days ago President Obama was …insert favorite epitaph to convey weakness – pantywaist, indecisive, etc. Now that  Capt. Phillips is safe, Obama doesn’t have a strategy and some strawman hyperbole about human rights. Doesn’t read the news, does not know the difference between justified military action and trumped up wars and thinks the U.S. should commit the same war crimes that we put the Japanese and Germans on trial for. That passes for citizen journalism on the Right. Where were the same conservative bloggers and pundits when Bush decided to pass on decisive action on the pirate problem, Bush Administration Had Issued Plan for Pirates in December

It was nearly silent, however, on what to do if a ship is taken by pirates and crew members are held captive. And what little guidance it provided was vague. U.S. naval forces were given authority to “terminate the act of piracy and any included hostage situation.” Just how they were to do that was left unsaid.

[   ]…”If we try to do some kind of hostage takedown, that’s a whole other ballgame than preventing an act of piracy in progress,” Rear Adm. Ted Branch, the Navy headquarters staff officer responsible for monitoring such crises at sea, told a congressional hearing on Somali piracy in February. “You certainly increase the risk to the crew members in that kind of takedown. Therefore, there hasn’t been any appetite to do those kinds of [operations].”

Asked at a press conference about the Somali pirates, Dana Perino replied, Bush briefed, U.S. consulting allies on Somali pirates

U.S. President George W. Bush has been briefed about increasing attacks by Somali pirates off east Africa, and the United States is consulting with other U.N. Security Council members on ways to combat the threat, the White House said on Wednesday.

Calling it a “a very complicated issue,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino gave no hint of what, if any, action the United States might take following the hijacking earlier this week of a Saudi supertanker with a $100 million oil cargo.

But she told reporters, “The goal would be to try to help get this ship to safety, secure the crew and then work with our international partners to try to alleviate the piracy problem, full stop.”

So Bush took a pass on direct confrontation at the time. There are risks to life and porperty by making the pirate issue solely about fighting and capturing them at sea. It makes for great news coverage and gives the residents of Mom’s Basement brigade of Second Guessers a chance to thumb their chests. There are pirate towns along the Horn of Africa. They have hostages from around the world, one or two sea engagements do not solve that problem. Bush may have been right to take the international solution route, but Obama is held to a different standard. Anything less then a “bloodthristy” response and he is damned by the Right. Obama makes a strategic military decision and the Right flounders around searching for ways to not give credit where due. This has happned less then a hundred days into Obama’s presidency and will be the same tired old right-wing dance routine for the next four years.

Paul Krugman’s recent column was bound to get under the Right’s skin. You’re not supposed to call crazy by its name. Of all the issues touched on in that column, conservative spin meister Tom Maguire zeroes in on the assertion that Tom Delay never said that learning about evolution caused the Columbine shootings. Maquire would be wrong, Come on Now to the World of Fun Now

So did DeLay claim that evolution led to Columbine? Yes! What happened in 1999 was that DeLay went out on the House floor and read out a newspaper letters-column  by a complete imbecile, a person named Addison L. Dawson. That letter is here, and it is extremely kooky.

Delay read someone elses words to convey his thoughts on the causes of Columbine. That is upposed to relieve Delay of taking any part of said letter and believing those were his thoughts on the matter. If that was the case why did Delay bother to read it into the Congressional record.

Palin’s New Disaster

In March, Palin nominated Wayne Anthony Ross for attorney general. Ross, a colorful far-right lawyer and longtime Palin ally who sports his initials, W.A.R., on his Hummer’s vanity plates, was once considered a shoo-in for confirmation. However, his nomination was thrown into grave peril when his opponents presented evidence that he called homosexuals “degenerates,” leveled invective against an African-American student offended by a statue of a Klansman, vowed to undermine the sovereignty of Native American tribes, and allegedly defended men who rape their wives.

Way way back in October of 2008 Palin was the future of the Republican party, Win or Lose, Many See Palin as Future of Party

“She’s dynamite,” said Morton C. Blackwell, who was President Ronald Reagan’s liaison to the conservative movement. Mr. Blackwell described vying to get close to Ms. Palin at a fund-raiser in Virginia, lamenting that he could get only within four feet.

“I made a major effort to position myself at this reception,” he said, adding that he is eager to sit down with her after the election to discuss the future. Asked if the weeks of unflattering revelations and damaging interviews had tarnished her among conservatives, he replied, “Not a bit.”

Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, a conservative group, called it a “top order of business” to determine Ms. Palin’s future role. “Conservatives have been looking for leadership, and she has proven that she can electrify the grass roots like few people have in the last 20 years,” Mr. Bozell said. “No matter what she decides to do, there will be a small mother lode of financial support behind her.”

[  ]…“I would hope she would consider running for president,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which raises money for candidates who oppose abortion.

Bozell could be correct if the pro wife raping and pro Klan is part of the reemergence of the nutroots.

Robert Parry has good column up about the media and the different standarsd applied to Democrats and Republicans, US News Media Fails America, Again

By contrast, the Right grasped the importance of “information warfare” in a modern media age and targeted its heaviest firepower on the frontlines of that war – mostly the political battlefields of Washington – thus magnifying the influence of right-wing ideas on policymakers.

One consequence of this media imbalance is that Republicans feel they can pretty much say whatever they want – no matter how provocative or even crazy – while Democrats must be far more circumspect, knowing that any comment might be twisted into an effective attack point against them.

So, while criticism of Republicans presidents – from Ronald Reagan to the two Bushes – had to be tempered for fear of counterattacks, almost anything could be said against a Democratic president, Bill Clinton or now Barack Obama, who is repeatedly labeled a “socialist” and, according to Beck, a “fascist” for pressuring hapless GM chief executive Rick Wagoner to resign.

Its not difficult to find a liberal blogger that either called Bush a fascist or suggested that he was flirting with a form of fascism. Though you never heard the major networks use such sweeping epitaphs toward Bush. Contrast that with major media figures in print and broadcasting calling Obama names like the nation was a playground and we’re all in second grade.

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Big Tent of Crazy

Tea Parties Forever By PAUL KRUGMAN

[  ]…Republicans have become embarrassing to watch. And it doesn’t feel right to make fun of crazy people. Better, perhaps, to focus on the real policy debates, which are all among Democrats.

But here’s the thing: the G.O.P. looked as crazy 10 or 15 years ago as it does now. That didn’t stop Republicans from taking control of both Congress and the White House. And they could return to power if the Democrats stumble.

[  ]…Thus, President Obama is being called a “socialist” who seeks to destroy capitalism. Why? Because he wants to raise the tax rate on the highest-income Americans back to, um, about 10 percentage points less than it was for most of the Reagan administration. Bizarre.

But the charge of socialism is being thrown around only because “liberal” doesn’t seem to carry the punch it used to.

Krugman, bless him, seems to think there really is such a thing as the Republican Party. A political entity where the majority of the members are dedicated to principled fiscal policy, cautious statesmanship and the promotion of reason. That party wasn’t so bad, but it died with Dwight Eisenhower. Krugman mentions Limbaugh, but Limbaugh just makes for rhetorical shorthand. Conservatives are the party of Beck, Malkin, Palin, Boehner, Savage, Hannity, Coulter, McConnell, O’Reilly, et al- the big tent of the strange, weird and wacky. Are there relatively reasonable Republicans in America. Sure, some of them are friends, but they have zero influence on the Republican party and they’re not going to anytime soon. Considering President Obama’s imbrace of what appears to be Republican-lite polices toward Wall St and Bush’s worse abuses of  the Constitution in regards to national security, its probably just easier to switch parties or become an independent.

It looks like Treasury and Obama are pushing GM in the right direction, ‘Surgical’ Bankruptcy Possible for G.M.

The goal is to prepare for a fast “surgical” bankruptcy, the people who had been briefed on the plans said. G.M., which has been granted $13.4 billion in federal aid, insists that a quick restructuring is necessary so its image and sales are not damaged permanently.

What could emerge is a good GM – one not saddled with “Less desirable assets, including unwanted brands, factories and health care obligations”. Then a bad GM that would resolve its legacy health-care obligations and sell off factories.

Capt. Phillips Rescued, Conservatives Act Like Petulant Brats

What is it about simple facts that confound the Right, Obama twice approved force to rescue hostage

The Defense Department twice asked Obama for permission to use military force to rescue Capt. Richard Phillips from a lifeboat off the Somali coast. Obama first gave permission around 8 p.m. Friday, and upgraded it at 9:20 a.m. Saturday. Officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations said the second order was to encompass more military personnel and equipment that arrived in the Indian Ocean to engage the pirates.

The report goes on to note that the president received regular updates by phone, in person and by memo. The Cod Piece Fan Club, otherwise known as the cons at Redstate writes,

Playing pansy politics with pirates put the Captain’s life at increased risk. His first escape attempt was thwarted by the thugs as Phillips remained adrift from the aid and cover of the US Navy, which sat restrained by an administration too cowardly to let slip the dogs of war. Each day the tension and humiliation of a nation grew.

The well known national hero, one Caleb the Mighty Blogger of the super fuzzy slippers thinks the SEALS and the President of the U.S. should base all its actions and timing on his gut feelings. No doubt it is a wonderful gut to behold. Perhaps as Capt. Richard Phillips makes the rounds of the news shows, someone could ask me if he thinks the Navy should have acted in accordance with the impotent fantasies of right-wing bloggers or based their judgement on professional training and prudent evaluation of a life threatening situation. Thank goodness for Capt. Phillips sake the president and the Navy chose the later course. Claims of a “humiliated” nation are pretentious at best, especially coming from the Osama Bin Forgotten crowd.  How SEALs Carried Out Their Mission

More here, Obama Defeats Pirates, Republican Weakness & Hypocrisy On Military Matters Shines Through Again and Brillant at Breakfast in a post on a WaPo – An Early Military Victory for Obama– article notes Bush’s early military embarassments in  ” by an administration too cowardly to let slip the dogs of war,”  Obama scores an early military victory — and the wingnuts are going crazy

The Chinese jet crashed into the sea and the U.S. plane made an emergency landing in China. This was the first major foreign policy crisis of the George W. Bush administration (the first being the sinking of a Japanese fishing boat by a U.S. Navy submarine helmed by Bush campaign contributors), and it ended after ten tense days with “a carefully worded apology”

Brillant had the stomach to visit Michelle Malkin, yet another winger known for her non-exsistant heroics ( unless we count stalking children and inspecting counter tops)who quoted  Navy Vice Adm. William Gortney’s statement that “The United States government policy is to not negotiate,” and without the slighest bit of introspection or humility states, “Would have been nice to hear those words directly from the commander-in-chief.” Yep, that would have been the perfect response. The commander-in-chief, during the middle of a heated crisis reminds some desparate punks with a hostage there is no good option for them other then death or capture. That would have helped Phillips tremendously. It is never about respect for life or best possible outcomes for the hard-core Right, its about playing puffer fish.

Tea Smoking Causes Memory Loss and Unhinged Behavior

Tea Smoking and Memory Loss

That figure for Bush does not include his 2008 budget with the TARP bail-out that Tea Party organizer Newt Gingrich says he would have voted for. There are some valid criticisms of the particulars of the economic bail-outs under both Bush and Obama, but Gingrich acknowledged in that same interview that something had to be done – say ing the drying up of credit would have tremendous detrimental consequences. Something we’re not likely to hear again because it would undermine his support for the relatively mindless crude populism driving the tea parties of the Right. Glenn Reynolds and some other tea smokers are trying to claim that Fox and its various spokespersons are not promoting the tea smokers, What Part of “FNC TAX DAY TEA PARTIES” Don’t You Understand?

Media Matters: lists Fox News contributors Michelle Malkin and Tammy Bruce as “Tea Party Sponsors.” The sponsors section also lists American Solutions for Winning the Future, whose general chairman is Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich. Gingrich filmed a video “invitation” to attend the April 15 protests.

Does Newt remind his audience that he supported the bail-out.

Throwing in a little conspiratorial aspect to it’s appeals is always a crowd pleaser with the Right, Fox News Supports Potentially Violent Tea Party Goers and Business Guru Neil Cavuto Warns of Infiltrators

If there was ever any question that Fair and Balanced Fox News is in bed with the organizers of the Tea Party movement, consider this statement by the Executive Director of DontGo Movement, Eric Odom: “I will likely be on the Glenn Beck TV program this week or next to discuss the effort on Fox News. We’ve also been on countless radio programs and the Nationwide Movement is really starting to heat up . . . So what does this mean for the DontGo Movement? Well, it means that we, along with Smart Girl Politics and TCOT (Top Conservatives On Twitter), were able to pull off something that multi-million dollar organizations have tried to do for years but failed at . . . Eric Odom”

Fox, Odom, Newt, DontGo might be the new definition of grass roots, but only if the roots are plastic. Beck to attend $500 a plate fundraiser for ‘tea party’ protests.

Beck isn’t just helping with turnout. Discussing his participation in the upcoming protest at the Alamo in San Antonio on his syndicated radio program, Beck announced, “I’m going to do a fundraiser for them” to help defray costs. “So you can come and you can have lunch with me. … I don’t know any of the details, but I’ve heard it’s like $500 a plate or something like that.”

$500 hundred bucks for one plate of food to support a allegedly populist movement when $500 would still buy a lot of groceries for struggling families.

Thank goodness that the far Right Redstate is on the net to explain alway the corporate sponsorships, the $500 dinners, the record deficits of Republican administrations, the trillion dollar occupation of Iraq, That Redstate supported Bush and Republican Congress critters largely responsible for the debt and deregulation fever that lead to our current crisis,  Why Go To a TEA Party? Why Go Now?

And that is what the Tea Parties are all about: continuing Reagan’s revolution of people power against the growing, total state. Republicans lost their way when they tried to work with the statists who only want to make the government ever more powerful and remove power and responsibilities from the people, whom statists do not trust. Republicans were also infiltrated by statists who saw a winning political side and decided to join it.

Yea, those stink’n statists. The only positive aspect of the Reagan legacy was a liberal one, where he woke up one morning and saw that his slash and burn policies were leading the country off a cliff so started to make concessions to those that saw huge deficits and a recession coming – and remember that the last big economic crisis the country faced was Reagan’s S&L debacle.

No, the time for protesting excessive and irresponsible management saw no astroturf  Redtstates in 2005, when the Congressional Budget Office released this report, CBO Confirms Republican Policies Make Deficits Even Worse

Over the ten-year period 2002-2011, the $5.6 trillion projected surplus inherited by this Administration when it took office has been replaced by a deficit of $2.6 trillion, a reversal of $8.2 trillion. Over the 2006- 2015 window, CBO projects a deficit of $855 billion. These figures do not include any new supplemental funding for Iraq and Afghanistan for 2005 and beyond, nor do they reflect the cost of a number of expensive Bush Administration policy proposals discussed below. When adjusted for these policies and the associated interest costs, the 2002-2011 deficit grows to $4.6 trillion (a $10.2 trillion reversal) and the 2006-2015 deficit grows to $6.1 trillion. (See chart,“Surplus Declines $10.2 Trillion Under Republican Leadership.”)

If we had a Republican controlled Congress and a McCain presidency those policies plus the economic crisis, the future deficit would be worse then currently projected. Yet we wouldn’t be seeing any tea smokers ranting in the streets. Big Gov’mint has way of becoming justified under Republican rule. When Democrats try to pull us out of the mess, as Bill Clinton did after Reagan and Bush 41, the gov’mint is out of control and must be stopped.

If I want to read some generally rational critiques of where Obama is going wrong I can always read Paul Krugman or Glenn Greenwald, Obama and habeas corpus — then and now.

Back in February, the Obama administration shocked many civil libertarians by filing a brief in federal court that, in two sentences, declared that it embraced the most extremist Bush theory on this issue — the Obama DOJ argued, as The New York Times’s Charlie Savage put it, “that military detainees in Afghanistan have no legal right to challenge their imprisonment there, embracing a key argument of former President Bush’s legal team.”  Remember:  these are not prisoners captured in Afghanistan on a battlefield.   Many of them have nothing to do with Afghanistan and were captured far, far away from that country — abducted from their homes and workplaces — and then flown to Bagram to be imprisoned.   Indeed, the Bagram detainees in the particular case in which the Obama DOJ filed its brief were Yemenis and Tunisians captured outside of Afghanistan (in Thailand or the UAE, for instance) and then flown to Bagram and locked away there as much as six years without any charges.  That is what the Obama DOJ defended, and they argued that those individuals can be imprisoned indefinitely with no rights of any kind — as long as they are kept in Bagram rather than Guantanamo.

This is Not a Movie, Hostages and Saving Lives

This headline – US Navy misses chance to rescue American captain held hostage by pirates – is a little deceptive since the USS Bainbridge was not close enough to intervene other then possibily blowing up the small boat on which Captain Richard Phillips is being help captive. Assuming that the obviuously courageous Captain values his own life, he no doubt would like to be rescued, but not killed during the rescue attempt, Hostage dies as rescuers attempt to free family from pirates

A young French yachtsman was shot dead yesterday when French commandos stormed his vessel off Somalia, releasing his wife and three-year-old son and another couple who had been held captive by Somali pirates.

President Sarkozy offered condolences as the violent death of Florent Lemaçon, 28, a computer programmer from Brittany, stirred emotion in France: the family’s travels had been followed by many in the country on their internet blog.

Mr Sarkozy ordered the assault, the seventh in a year by French forces against Somali pirates, a week after the Tanit, the Lemaçon’s elderly 36ft (11m) craft, was seized about 400 miles off the Somali coast.

The 101st Fighting Keyboarders, famous for their bravery from Mom’s Basement Headquarters during the six years of the Iraq occupation, suddenly think the French are heroes. A conservative blooger called The Jawa Report pretty much sums up most of the Right’s reaction, Shame: Even the French Show More Balls than Obama

Too bad the one hostage was killed. But there are always risks to these things. Sometimes taking a risk is better than being a Dhimmi to these pirates. Never thought I’d see the day when the French had more intestinal fortitude that our president.

Yep, yawn, a husband and father killed, oh well, sh*t happens. The French get a hostage killed, now they’re right-wing heroes. President Obama has not, he’s shameful. Life is not an action adventure movie. The director doesn’t yell cut and Mr. Lemaçon jumps up, wipes off the red corn syrup and goes home .The THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF NEGOTIATION ASSOCIATIONS (NCNA)

The NCNA is comprised of the designated representatives of the regional negotiation associations, crisis negotiation conference groups, and law enforcement/correctional crisis negotiation organizations operating throughout the United States, as identified by the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit.

Guiding Principles The Goal of the Negotiation Process is to save lives and to resolve crisis incidents while attempting to avoid unnecessary risk to officers, citizens, victims, and subjects. The application of Crisis Negotiation skills has consistently proven to be law enforcement’s most risk effective method to achieve the desired outcomes.

Resolution Determination
The method by which any crisis situation is resolved is ultimately determined by the subject’s behavior. However, standards of acceptability require that law enforcement agencies undertake all reasonable efforts to obtain a nonviolent resolution. Negotiation defusing skills represent law enforcement’s most successful tool (83% resolved without injury: Hostage Barricade Database System (HOBAS June 2001)

To step back for a moment, the situation with Lemacon and his family may have reached a point, that appeared to those French authorities on the scene that perhaps the death of the entire family was immient and made the best call they could under difficult circumstances. One thing the French or American naval authorities should  not do is pander to the fetid heroic fantasies of conservative bloggers, but be guided by their training. There is no threat so urgent as to endanger hostage lives to supposedly teach the hijackers a lesson. Let’s not forget that the same Righties that want so urgently to make punishing thepirates a priority over saving lives are the one’s that thought Iraq would be a cakewalk and we’d be doing the Iraqis a favor. Here we are six years later wih two hundred thousand to a million Iraqis dead and over two million turned into refugees. It is inevitable there will be various crisises during the Obama administration and every time the Right will use it as an opportunity to paint Obama as weak because it didn’t declare all out war or start launching the nukes.

“And I just don’t think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security.” President Gerald Ford(R)

Ford possessed at least a modicum of the statesmanship that used to inform the Republican party.

As noted in the article these hijackings at sea have been going on for at least a year. Ahoy, Obama! They’s Pirates Aplenty in These Waters

More than two years ago, following a massive and dramatically destabilizing military incursion into Somalia by neighboring Ethiopia, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, the chairman of the Africa subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, declared that, “The U.S. must play more of a leadership role, instead of relying on the piecemeal diplomacy that has failed us in the past. The key challenge now is to transition Somalia from a failed state to a peaceful, stable country. We must help establish a credible government that can work to eliminate the conditions that have long made Somalia a haven for terrorists and a source of instability in a critical region.”

“As part of a real strategy for Somalia and the Horn of Africa, we should dispatch a presidential envoy to the region and work aggressively to help stabilize and rebuild that country…” Feingold continued. “Without aggressive U.S. engagement and international determination, Somalia will remain what it has been –- a haven for terrorists, a source of instability throughout the region, and a threat to our national security.”

Somalia has been unstable for quite some time. That instability has yet to be addressed. Short term we need the best possible resolution for the hostages, but long term we and the world need to get at the root of the problem.

Foreign Policy Blog wants to call these pirates “maritime terrorists”. No real objection, but the Right has worn away at the impact of designating people terrorists. They’ve called everyone to the left of Mussolini a terrorist.

The Right’s Commentray Magazine is still clinging to the Obama bowed meme.Flotsam and Jetsam
Jennifer Rubin – 04.11.2009 – 8:23 AM

He is not only the chief of government, he’s our head of state — the equal of any monarch. The White House says Obama didn’t bow, that he ‘grasped (Abdullah’s) hand with two hands and he’s taller than King Abdullah.’ Sorry, but a videotape on YouTube doesn’t quite back that up. Obama clearly bends his body toward the Arabian monarch…

It is as though the entire Right has turned into M’s Manners. All bending at the waist toward another person will be considered a bow. Henceforth we will be a nation of Stiff Backs, the bow police are ever vigilant.

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