County Autumn wallpaper – The Priorities of Conservatives – Its the Unemployed

County Autumn wallpaper

Fox & Friends Promote “Merry Christmas” Billboards – Again!

Yesterday, Fox & Friends second stringer Ainsley Earhardt introduced the bill board ladies as “a group of women who want to keep Christ in Christmas” by urging people to drop “happy holdays.” She emphatically said that “to date they have raised thousands of dollars” for eight billboards but say “their fight is far from over.”

Millions of Americans are unemployed and those forced to apply for food stamps is at an all time high – another conservative and Bush administration legacy, yet these groups are rising thousands to fight the imaginary war of Christmas. The new conservatives seem to have the same priorities as the old conservatives. Conspiracy theories, paranoia, eliminationism and selfishness are ahead of helping their fellow citizens. It little wonder they have this little trumped up war every year, conservatives are as good at fighting imaginary ones as they are at fighting real ones,  Senate report: Bin Laden was ‘within our grasp’

The report asserts that the failure to kill or capture bin Laden at his most vulnerable in December 2001 has had lasting consequences beyond the fate of one man. Bin Laden’s escape laid the foundation for today’s reinvigorated Afghan insurgency and inflamed the internal strife now endangering Pakistan, it says.

[   ]…More pointedly, it seeks to affix a measure of blame for the state of the war today on military leaders under former president George W. Bush, specifically Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary and his top military commander, Tommy Franks.

“Removing the al-Qaida leader from the battlefield eight years ago would not have eliminated the worldwide extremist threat,” the report says. “But the decisions that opened the door for his escape to Pakistan allowed bin Laden to emerge as a potent symbolic figure who continues to attract a steady flow of money and inspire fanatics worldwide. The failure to finish the job represents a lost opportunity that forever altered the course of the conflict in Afghanistan and the future of international terrorism.”

The report states categorically that bin Laden was hiding in Tora Bora when the U.S. had the means to mount a rapid assault with several thousand troops at least. It says that a review of existing literature, unclassified government records and interviews with central participants “removes any lingering doubts and makes it clear that Osama bin Laden was within our grasp at Tora Bora.”

If there is a war on Christmas, the people waging it have nothing to fear with conservatives leading the charge.

Maurice Clemmons, the man accused of murdering four police officers was apparently given clemency by former Republican governor and currently a bastion of conservative punditry at Faux News Mike Huckabee. Without out knowing the details its hard to say whether Huckabee was correct in giving Clemmons clemency ( his previous troubles were mostly about burglary and aggravated assault ( he was 17 at the time – and had a history of mentally erratic behavior). The story does bring to light that Huckabee also previously came to the aid of a convicted rapist/murderer. In the later case it appears that Huckabee was pressured by right-wing Christian groups. That four police officers were murdered is obviously cause for a moment of reflection for them and their families. Another is that sometimes sentencing guidelines that declare  teenagers beyond hope and condemned to prison for life might, accounting for circumstances, be excessive. Clemmons is now the poster boy for sweeping arguments against excessive sentencing for teens.

I sympathize, but Paul Krugman is probably pissing in the wind, The Jobs Imperative

How is a jobs program different from a second stimulus? It’s a matter of priorities. The 2009 Obama stimulus bill was focused on restoring economic growth. It was, in effect, based on the belief that if you build G.D.P., the jobs will come. That strategy might have worked if the stimulus had been big enough — but it wasn’t. And as a matter of political reality, it’s hard to see how the administration could pass a second stimulus big enough to make up for the original shortfall.

So our best hope now is for a somewhat cheaper program that generates more jobs for the buck. Such a program should shy away from measures, like general tax cuts, that at best lead only indirectly to job creation, with many possible disconnects along the way. Instead, it should consist of measures that more or less directly save or add jobs.

One such measure would be another round of aid to beleaguered state and local governments, which have seen their tax receipts plunge and which, unlike the federal government, can’t borrow to cover a temporary shortfall. More aid would help avoid both a drastic worsening of public services (especially education) and the elimination of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Meanwhile, the federal government could provide jobs by … providing jobs. It’s time for at least a small-scale version of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration, one that would offer relatively low-paying (but much better than nothing) public-service employment. There would be accusations that the government was creating make-work jobs, but the W.P.A. left many solid achievements in its wake.

They’re difficult to forget so I could not honestly say forget health-care reform, Afghanistan or the continued failure of so many small banks, but in 2012 those things will seem like small potatoes compared to the number of jobless Americans. If the Obama administration or Congress does not get something like a WPA started (we do not need an actual WPA – people could be hired through the Department of the Interior or Education) they can start packing in 2011.



City Bridge Blue Skyline wallpaper, The Economy and Our Short Collective Memories

skyline bridge

City Bridge Blue Skyline wallpaper

George Santayana once said,” Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Terse, but Santayana implied there was hope if we did learn. George Bernard Shaw was even less hopeful claiming, “We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.” One would think with TV, radio, and on-line editions of newspapers and magazines that we’d be proving that Shaw as an irredeemable cynic and that Santayana need not worry. On the contrary easy access to information, the constant churn of the news appears to be making some of us less informed and less patient, Constant Information – and Nothing Remembered

An August Gallup Poll showed that 65 percent of Americans oppose another economic stimulus even though the first one, which was inadequate by most economists’ calculations, saved or created roughly 650,000 jobs. A more recent Gallup survey had 45 percent of Americans believing that current government regulation of business and industry was too great – a 10-year high. Never mind that it was the lack of regulation that got us into our current economic predicament. Regulation is so last year. In the ingenious film “Memento,” the protagonist had lost his capacity to remember anything. It now seems as if we live in a memento nation – a place where we too instantly forget what’s happened to us.

What passes for news on the major networks is partly to blame ( where the majority of Americans still get their news). They spend a disproportionate amount of air time on health issues ( health issues are generally something everyone takes an interest in thus generate viewers and advertising revenue) and very little on asking about what failed, why and the best solutions when it comes to the economy. That leaves a huge gap in public knowledge and perception. Journalism is supposed to aspire to more then telling us X happened, it is supposed to attempt to tell us how and why.

[   ]….Whether this is a function of our own growing impatience or a cause of that impatience is difficult to say, but cable television and the Internet contribute to a national Attention Deficit Disorder. They disrupt continuity, break the chain of cause and effect, detach memory from action, and heighten the moment at the expense of history and the bigger picture that history provides.

We not only live in a society increasingly without memory; we live in a society in which the present is unmoored, making anything that happens right now far more important than anything that has happened before. Hence, if the economy hasn’t recovered, it must be President Obama’s fault since he is currently president. Or if Congress hasn’t enacted health reform yet, it must be the fault of the Democrats since they are the ones in majority, the history of health reform notwithstanding. Or if deficits are growing, it must mean we should stop stimulating the economy since deficits are the issue of the moment. The present moment is everything.

However much this obsession with the here and now destroys accountability, there is an additional danger to a society that lives in the moment. When our actions and opinions are no longer grounded in a larger context, we are also much more susceptible to slogans and clichés that take the place of experience and memory.

Besides a raft of lies ranging from birth certificates to “death panels” to projections of of their own ignorance and fears, the Beck-Palin-“common sense” conservatism movement  relies on its structural and thus ideological support from both a convenient short term memory, a heaping of denial  and the conservative disease known as aversion to accountability.

Not to pick a fight with Glenn Greenwald on the finer legal points – The administration guts its own argument for 9/11 trials, but his assertion contains an element of cynicism on Attorney General Holder and the Obama administration’s motives for separating terrorist trial for those held at Gitmo. The assertion is that the administration is dividing the trials among civil courts, military tribunals and the to be held without trial only to get the best result. An opinion that might be more cynical then merited, The Army Times, Terror trials vary in civilian, military courts

“I think the Obama administration is trying to straddle this debate between whether we should approach al-Qaida as a problem of massive-scale criminality or as a problem of war,” said Matthew Waxman, a former Bush administration State Department and Pentagon official now at Columbia University law school.

Indeed, on Capitol Hill last week, Attorney General Eric Holder testified, “The 9/11 attacks were both an act of war and a violation of our federal criminal law, and they could have been prosecuted in either federal courts or military commissions.”

The administration is sending professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged henchmen to a civilian trial in New York, while a suspect in the USS Cole bombing in 2000 and four other terror suspects will be tried by military commissions.

The major differences between the systems are the federal judiciary’s independence, rooted in the Constitution and lifetime appointments of judges, and the relaxed rules for admitting evidence in military tribunals.

Federal courts bar evidence obtained by coercion. And the new law regarding military commissions that President Barack Obama signed last month forbids evidence derived from torture and other harsh interrogation techniques. But the commissions still have rules that allow greater use of hearsay testimony and, in some instances, could permit the introduction of coerced testimony.

Military judges ultimately will decide what evidence can be admitted, but the new law allows statements made by defendants to be used even if they are not given voluntarily in certain circumstances, including in combat situations. Written witness statements, rather than live testimony that is subject to cross-examination, also can be admitted by military judges.

The larger issue, for some civil libertarians, is what the American Civil Liberties Union’s Jonathan Hafetz called a “legitimacy deficit.”

The commissions set up under President George W. Bush to try terrorism detainees have been revised several times based on Supreme Court decisions and acts of Congress that moved their rules and procedures closer to federal courts.

“But they just don’t have the credibility and never will have the credibility that federal courts have,” Hafetz said.

Joanne Mariner, director of the terrorism and counterterrorism program at Human Rights Watch, said another indication of the reduced stature of the commissions is that, by law, they can never be used to try U.S. citizens.

“The federal courts are a co-equal branch of government and judges are constitutionally protected from interference. That is really important in politically charged and high-profile cases,” Mariner said. “Military commission judges and prosecutors have no such protection.”

On the other hand, supporters of the military tribunals say they provide sufficient protections for accused terrorists. Moreover, they say, the Sept. 11 attack is a classic war crime — the mass murder of civilians — for which military tribunals have traditionally been used.

“Other things being equal, you would think that targeting civilians makes the crime more grave,” said Gregory G. Katsas, a Bush Justice Department official. “If you don’t try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by military commission, I don’t know who you try.”

A host of leading Republicans, including Bush’s last attorney general, Michael Mukasey, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have said the 9/11 defendants should be tried by military tribunal.

The administration appears to have made pragmatic and political choices after determining that it is likely to win convictions in a civilian trial of the alleged Sept. 11 plotters, but seems less sure of its prospects if suspects from other attacks were tried in federal court.

Holder hinted at this balancing act in his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony.

“I am a prosecutor, and as a prosecutor my top priority was simply to select the venue where the government will have the greatest opportunity to present the strongest case in the best forum,” he said, while rejecting senators’ assertions that convictions are easier in military commissions.

But he also said those who attacked a civilian target on U.S. soil were being sent to a civilian federal court and those who attacked or plotted against military targets abroad were going before tribunals.

Holder’s formulation puts the U.S. in the position of distinguishing between American interests based on which government agency was attacked. The attack on a Navy warship, the Cole, is to be handled by military commission, while the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 have been prosecuted by successive administrations in federal court.

Those 75 prisoners to be held without trial are still subject to legitimate concern, but much it continues to be speculation because of all the secrecy surrounding them. Military commissions do have rules to deal with classified information in trials. So just looking from the outside it would seem that military tribunals would be appropriate. If those to be held indefinitely without trial are that dangerous surely there must be some pretty damning evidence to base that on. The type of evidence that has been handled in civilian trials of terrorists. It does seem to establish some dangerous legal precedents to say that some people can be held incommunicado forever with no legal recourse what so ever. The Bush administration was just as, if not more inconsistent about who should be tried where and why as the SCOTUS itself declared.

Drama Queen Andrew Breitbart might want get some professional help with his over heated hyperbole problem, Breitbart, Big Government’s sensational claims about SEIU assault case fall flat

A Few More Retro Santa Claus and Holiday Posters

These posters/cards are high quality photos, but they are of genuine old paper graphics so the colors and noise issues are to be expected. To me it makes them more authentic looking then ones that are overly doctored in Photoshop.

Santa and Chimney

Santa Claus checking his list circa 1950s. This would have been more a template for a mass produced greeting card then a poster. The sender could write a short message on the list, i.e. something like “Hope you get everything you wish for.”

Children setting a trap for Santa 1950s. As I understand the rules about being naughty or nice, if they has succeeded they would have been sorely disappointed at the consequences.

Yule Tree and small town circa 1950s.

Santa Claus Sleigh and Reindeer

According to the poem  “A Visit from St. Nicholas” , also known as “The Night Before Christmas” or “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, Santa’s reindeer are named,

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen!
“On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!

Coca Cola Santa Claus 1954


Veteran Jon Soltz asks, What Color Is The Sky In Palin’s World?

I never thought Sarah Palin could say something that would leave me totally speechless, but this time, she’s done it. Reports Politico:

Former Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin on Monday accused President Barack Obama of not acknowledging the sacrifices made by the men and women in the U.S. military.

“There’s been a lack of acknowledgment by our president in understanding what it is that the American military provides in terms of, obviously, the safety, the security of our country,” Palin said during an interview with Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren. “I want him to acknowledge the sacrifices that these individual men and women — our sons, our daughters, our moms, our dads, our brothers and sisters — are providing this country to keep us safe.”

Hasn’t acknowledged their sacrifices? Seriously? What’s this look like?

[   ]….The president ended the Stop Loss policy, which involuntarily extended troops in theater past their commitment — one of the most offensive policies to troops who made incredible sacrifice(s).

[   ]….This president also ordered his Pentagon to re-prioritize their funding requests, to move away from high-end, unneeded weapons systems, and towards on-the-ground equipment that our troops in the field right now desperately need. One of those big ticket items, funding for more F-22s, was finally ended under the Obama administration, while funding for more desperately needed on the ground Mine Resistant Ambush Vehicles (MRAPs) was increased. Who opposed ending F-22 funding? Palin’s party.

President Obama at Dover Air Force Base

Both as a Senator and in less then a full year as president, Obama has been very supportive of actve duty military and veterans. President Barack Obama signs the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Oct. 22, 2009 – a blog post written by Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth.

President Obama also  introduced, S. 713, the Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act( passed into law) Obama Steps Up To The Plate

Obama introduced, S. 713, the Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act, legislation written to “ensure dignity in care for members of the Armed Forces recovering from injuries,” which has been referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee for review.
Obama’s legislation would fix conditions at outpatient VA residence facilities by setting higher standards — such as stipulations that recovering soldiers’ rooms will be as good or better as the best standard rooms for active-duty troops — and increasing administration accountability. The bill also provides for expedited repair of maintenance problems in the facilities and, as Obama put it last week, “zero tolerance for pest infestations.”

President Barack Obama signs the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act

At this link – Bush Threatens Veto Over Troop Pay Raise, Military Widow Benefits – there is a photo of Bush is one of his many plastic photo ops with the troops in which he smiles to their face as he and his administraion stabbed the military and vets in the back. And let’s never forget that Palin’s conservative “common sense” party did to returning wounded at Walter-Reed, Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army’s Top Medical Facility

Leaked British Document Indicates War Crimes

holiday snow skyline

City Holiday wallpaper

Its not that heads are rolling in Great Britain, but at least some careers have been ruined and the British post Iraq invasion investigations continue. Leaked British Report: No Preparation for Iraq Invasion So Blair Could Keep Lying

Military commanders are expected to tell the inquiry into the Iraq war, which opens on Tuesday, that the invasion was ill-conceived and that preparations were sabotaged by Tony Blair’s government’s attempts to mislead the public.

They were so shocked by the lack of preparation for the aftermath of the invasion that they believe members of the British and US governments at the time could be prosecuted for war crimes by breaching the duty outlined in the Geneva convention to safeguard civilians in a conflict, the Guardian has been told. (note: Not to mention the total lack of respect for the lives of British and U.S. military forces)

The lengths the Blair government took to conceal the invasion plan and the extent of military commanders’ anger at what they call the government’s “appalling” failures emerged as Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry’s chairman, promised to produce a “full and insightful” account of how Britain was drawn into the conflict.

Fresh evidence has emerged about how Blair misled MPs by claiming in 2002 that the goal was “disarmament, not regime change”. Documents show the government wanted to hide its true intentions by informing only “very small numbers” of officials.

The documents, leaked to the Sunday Telegraph, are “post-operational reports” and “lessons learned” papers compiled by the army and its field commanders. They refer to a “rushed” operation that caused “significant risk” to troops and “critical failure” in the postwar period.

One commander said the government “missed a golden opportunity” to win support from Iraqis. Another commented: “It was not unlike 1750s colonialism where the military had to do everything ourselves”. One, describing the supply chain, added: “I know for a fact that there was one container full of skis in the desert”.

[…] Significantly, the documents support what officials have earlier admitted – that the army was not allowed to prepare properly for the Iraq invasion in 2002 so as not to alert parliament and the UN that Blair was already determined to go to war.

The documents add: “In Whitehall, the internal operational security regime, in which only very small numbers of officers and officials were allowed to become involved [in Iraq invasion preparations] constrained broader planning for combat operations and subsequent phases effectively until Dec 23 2002.”

Blair had in effect promised George Bush that he would join the US-led invasion when, as late as July 2002, he was denying to MPs that preparations were being made for military action. The leaked documents reveal that “from March 2002 or May at the latest there was a significant possibility of a large-scale British operation”.

The closet thing we have this this report is one from Rep. Henry A. Waxman(D) report: Iraq on The Record in which is was determined that Bush and administration officials made at least  237 public statements that ranged from misleading to out right obfuscation.

Jonathan Cohn on the current state of the health-care reform bill, Should We Laugh? Cry? Both?

But the public option fight–however it turns out–could also help progressives in other ways. Whether out of pique, politics, or principle, Lieberman, Lincoln, and Nelson (and maybe one or two others) want to scream about something–and to have a concession they can claim as their own. If they end up demanding the public option as the price of their support–and I’m not saying I want that to happen–perhaps the rest of the bill can go through relatively unscathed. Or, to put it more starkly, if they didn’t have the public option to attack then it’d be the subsidies, or the price tag, or the insurance regulations. Merely by including the public option in his bill, Reid has increased the chances that the final bill is a good one–even if the public option is gone by the time deliberations are done.

And don’t forget that the debate doesn’t end with the Senate. There’s always conference committee. Jay Rockefeller, among the Senate’s most reliably liberal voices on coverage issues, has said he’ll be one of the negotiators.

Cohn notes “But to get a bit of perspective, glance over to the other ideological corner–where the right, and many of its kindred special interests, are going absolutely crazy.” Sure we can all justifiably get mad at Nelson, Lieberman and Blanche Lincoln, but think of current proceedings in historical perspective. Out of forty Senate Republicans the American people cannot find ten that will stand up for genuine “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and the “common good”. Its conservatives first and country last. This has been the conservative movement nihilistic philosophy for fifty years. On every policy issue they ask first and foremost, not for the best solution, but what will make their opponents look bad. Children on the average playground seem more thoughtful by comparison.

Tree Tire Swing Autumn wallpaper, Some Conservative Hypocrisy and “common sense”

fall leaves America

Tree Tire Swing Autumn wallpaper

Conservative Bruce Bartlett writing at Forbes get the Bush/Republican Medicare part D story mostly right, Republican Deficit Hypocrisy

The human capacity for self-delusion never ceases to amaze me, so it shouldn’t surprise me that so many Republicans seem to genuinely believe that they are the party of fiscal responsibility. Perhaps at one time they were, but those days are long gone.

This fact became blindingly obvious to me six years ago this month when a Republican president and a Republican Congress enacted the Medicare drug benefit, which former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker has called “the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s.”

[   ]…Recall the situation in 2003. The Bush administration was already projecting the largest deficit in American history–$475 billion in fiscal year 2004, according to the July 2003 mid-session budget review. But a big election was coming up that Bush and his party were desperately fearful of losing. So they decided to win it by buying the votes of America’s seniors by giving them an expensive new program to pay for their prescription drugs.

Contribution to fiscal deterioration 2009-2010 by American Progress

Some may remember the Bushies threatened to fire Medicare’s chief actuary Richard Foster for publishing the real projected costs (pdf). I’m not sure that Bartlet is telling the whole story when he describes Part D as somehow buying the senior vote – though that figured into to the Bushies thinking. Conservatives generally hate Medicare ( even the one’s that collect it), but also know that dismantling such a popular and successful program would be political suicide. What’s a con like Bush to do. The second best thing. Turn a government program aimed at helping working class Americans into a gravy train for the pharmaceutical industry.

GIGANTIC BREAKING NEWS from Michelle Malkin aptly named Hot Air, “Surprise: Many San Francisco booksellers refusing to carry Palin’s book; Update: Palin apologizes to those whose books weren’t signed”. This is news because 1. Everyone knows that you cannot walk into a Barnes and Noble or Books-A-Million in S.F. and order any book still in print. 2. There is some divine secret truth in Palin’s book and unless all the book stores stock up to the rafters everyone in S.F. will miss out. 3. No one is S.F. has a computer or internet connection so they cannot buy it on-line.

Two conservatives agree with this post and Attorney General Holder that its a good thing to prosecute terrorists, thus Lindsay Graham(R-SC) is a grand standing twit.

By contrast, there is no question about the legitimacy of U.S. federal courts to incapacitate terrorists. Many of Holder’s critics appear to have forgotten that the Bush administration used civilian courts to put away dozens of terrorists, including “shoe bomber” Richard Reid; al-Qaeda agent Jose Padilla; “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh; the Lackawanna Six; and Zacarias Moussaoui, who was prosecuted for the same conspiracy for which Mohammed is likely to be charged. Many of these terrorists are locked in a supermax prison in Colorado, never to be seen again.

In terrorist trials over the past 15 years, federal prosecutors and judges have gained extensive experience protecting intelligence sources and methods, limiting a defendant’s ability to raise irrelevant issues and tightly controlling the courtroom.

A phrase that made its official debut this week “common sense” conservatism. I tend to agree with Albert Einstein “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.” But since it is Sarah Palin and the far Right’s new catch phrase we’ll be hearing it repeated ad nauseum. IS THERE AN ECHO IN HERE, OR IS IT PALIN?

…it’s all about jobs, it’s all about Americans who are hurting right now and what those solutions are that are so obvious, so commonsense that need to be plugged in. And those are Republican, they’re commonsense conservative principles that we just need to apply.


… it’s a clearer and clearer picture that what Americans are seeking, even in a district there in New York, they are seeking commonsense, conservative solutions to all the challenges that we’re facing. I’m glad to see this.

As No More Mister Nice Blog notes this is Palin’s substitute for actual solutions and policies. Her cult-like followers pick it up and fill it with the content of their imaginations. Kind of like sharing a communal bong of ideology. It saves having to actually know things and confusing people with hard facts and difficult decisions. More here, Sarah Palin Tells Rush Limbaugh the Magic Word


But those commonsense solutions there, especially with the cutting taxes on the job creators? That’s not even being discussed.

Healthcare reform?

Not when there are commonsense solutions to meeting health care challenges in our country… So lots of commonsense solutions that need to be plugged in before ever considering federal government taking it over.

The 2010 elections?

It’s all about Americans who are hurting right now and what those solutions are that are so obvious, so commonsense that need to be plugged in.

So the benefits Americans are now reaping from the eight years conservatives ran the White House and the six years conservatives ran all three branches of government was simply a failure of conservative common sense ( thanks for the confession M’s Palin). But if you give them back that control, this time they really promise to be “plugged in” to the common sense that they have not managed to get right for the last fifty years. Sarah Palin and Her Lies (And Her Fans Who Attack Her Critics

From my post as an outside observer, it seems to me that Sarah Palin doesn’t care much about the truth. In that way, she is a very special liar. Instead, Palin seems to love the effect her disingenuous pronouncements have on her audiences and so she just runs with them. Her fans adore her claims about “death panels” and about Obama supposedly “palling around with terrorists” and all the rest. Look at how they roar with approval and fervor when she tosses that red, bloody moose meat to them – how can the mere (non) truth-value of what she is saying ever compete with that? Plus, the fact that her taunts drive her detractors over the edge – well, that just adds to the fun!

Sarah Palin seems to relish the reaction she gets to her claims and complaints. Among her core fan base, the theme that the mean media and the full-of-themselves campaign staffers were unfair to noble, authentic, small-town Sarah seems to be a winner. Whether it is really true is almost irrelevant.

Mountain Path Autumn wallpaper, Attorney General Holder Shocked that Lindsay Graham is a Moron

fall mountains

Mountain Path Autumn wallpaper

For a funny and genuinely insightful look into Sarah Palin and the world she inhabits. It is a little different from the real world, Return After Reading

From NewsBusters, those ever vigilant Conservative media police, NPR Shocker: Attorney General Holder Stumped By Lindsey Graham

Now, the real focus of this NPR piece was Graham’s subsequent question concerning whether or not U.S. officials would have to Mirandize Osama bin Laden if he was captured:

GRAHAM: If bin Laden were caught tomorrow, would it be the position of this administration that he would be brought to justice?

HOLDER: He would certainly be brought to justice, absolutely.

GRAHAM: Where would you try him?

HOLDER: Well, we’d go through our protocol. And we’d make the determination about where he should appropriately be tried. […]

GRAHAM: If we captured bin Laden tomorrow, would he be entitled to Miranda warnings at the moment of capture?

HOLDER: Again I’m not — that all depends. I mean, the notion that we —

GRAHAM: Well, it does not depend. If you’re going to prosecute anybody in civilian court, our law is clear that the moment custodial interrogation occurs the defendant, the criminal defendant, is entitled to a lawyer and to be informed of their right to remain silent.

Graham used to be a military lawyer(JAG) so his views of the law are understandability skewed toward military rather then civil or criminal law. Given Holder’s background serving as a lawyer and as a judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia its possible that Graham’s question struck Holder as being so asinine that he was shocked a U.S. Senator with some law experience would imply reading someone their Miranda rights would some how keep them from being found guilty. Has the Conservative Senator from South Carolina  or NewsBusters for that matter ever heard of a prison. Does he know that in spite of those pesky Miranda rights the U.S. has one of the highest percentages of its population in prison. Is there a big gotcha here for Graham and the Right. Sure if you know as much about the law as a dung beetle knows about relativity theory. The U.S. has read rights to and convicted 145 terrorist in our courts – its not an oh my gosh we’re all gonna die for prosecuting bad guys game changing moment to continue to do so. Some of the current terror suspects being held may get military tribunals. Either way the U.S. judicial systems tries and convicts some very nefarious characters that range from child killers to arsonists with great regularity. There is no reason, other then blind fear and ignorance to think we cannot handle most of those currently at Gitmo, Neoconservative contempt for the Constitution is not only un-American; it is al-Qaida’s greatest ally

In a related post at American Prospect Adam Serwer dismantles what could only be called the semi-insane ramblings of partisan hack Andrew McCarthy of The National Review, Andy McCarthy vs. Thomas Paine

The federal courts have convicted hundreds of terrorists; during the entire Bush administration the military commissions tried three cases. That one of these people tried to escape and hurt someone has zero to do with whether or not the legal system of the United States can handle trying terrorist suspects. What McCarthy is describing above is a security issue, not a legal issue, but since he can’t distinguish between fact and opinion I suppose the above distinction is also too much to ask. Yesterday, former Bush adviser John Bellinger said that military lawyers were so unused to trying terrorism cases that they tried to get them help from the civilian attorneys in the Justice Department. That’s not a qualitative judgment on military lawyers — it’s indicative of the fact that terrorism has traditionally been tried in civilian court and so federal prosecutors have more experience with those kinds of cases.

A civilian trial is no more a platform for KSM than a military commission would have been. That’s ridiculous. KSM was ready to plead guilty and be executed eleven months ago. Whatever soapbox he was going to have, he’d largely already had, and while we’d have had to let him speak before sentence was imposed, that would have been the end of it. Now, he’s going to get a full-blown trial — after combing through the discovery for a couple of years and after putting the Bush administration under the spotlight.

So this is an unforced self-owning. McCarthy wants a military commission for KSM because he’s afraid of “putting the Bush administration under the spotlight.” In other words, a civilian trial of KSM would expose the Bush administration’s illegal behavior, behavior McCarthy supports but doesn’t want exposed for what it is. There’s nothing more telling about the shaky moral case for torture than torture apologists’ fear of their methods being scrutinized before a court of law..

We can all agree, as A.M. asserts, that KSM and those like him are cowards. Though let’s add wussy right-wingers like McCarthy that display a lack of character and courage that is become the adopted mind set of the very same folks that let Osama Bin laden get away and spent a trillion dollars destroying Iraq so we could all pay to rebuild it as America’s economy went in the crapper.

Teabaggers Down with Goldilocks Fever

snow wallpaper winter wallpaper old school house

Old School House Holiday wallpaper

I’m not a big fan of A.N.S.W.E.R. While the Right makes no real distinction designating everyone to the left of Alfred Haighton a communist or socialist, I’m a moderate to liberal Democrat, thus ANSWER is a little too far out their for me. Even though we have some opinions in common just as I share some opinions of a Republican on occasion. So when John ” Assrocket” at Powerline writes in condemning some street violence by ANSWER I’m not going to be so blinded by partisanship that I’ll defend ANSWER. Only its not the simple dynamic that Assrocket would like to portray it as. I’ve watched the video at the rabid Right Gateway Pundit ( a kindred spirit of Alfred Haighton) and what I see is two sides – anti-immigration reform tea smokers versus ANSWER – both sides angry and violent. Like Gateway, Powerline suffers from typical conservative tunnel vision and an addiction to spin. Assrocket in fact goes on to do his Michelle Bachmann impression with calls for more violence – More Liberal Violence ( again ANSWER is not a objectively liberal organization)

We conservatives have long talked about our willingness to fight for freedom. In a sense, that’s generally been metaphorical, especially when talking about domestic rather than foreign enemies. With the far left now on the march, however, it isn’t metaphorical any more. It’s just one more sign of the Age of Obama–fighting in the streets, as the extreme Left has been empowered as never before. ( emphasis mine)

Do weenies like Assrocket, Limbaugh and Glenn Beck ever look at themselves in the mirror. They keep their dainty little hands clean, fighting the good fight from the comfort of their cushy offices and fully loaded keyboard. Those Mighty Righties have started a cycle of rhetorical and physical violence. Any opposition to teabaggery has been met with violence – teabaggers opponents are supposed to stand there and be a punching bag, any deviance from this rule will be spun by spinmeisters like Assrocket ( “Gateway Pundit: Che-Supporting Commie Goons Beat Tea Party Protesters In Florida (AMAZING Video)” as a call for an escalation of even more violence. There is a glaring omission from these fascist-lite pundits – a call to ratchet down the violence, rhetorical or otherwise. The teabbagers are/were planning to burn effigies of Rep. Tom Perriello(D) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Apparently even some teabaggers think things might be veering off into Reichstagish territory, yet the chairman ( the grassroots tea baggers have chairmen now) does not understand what all the fuss is about, Can’t These Teabaggers Burn Their Nancy Pelosi Effigy in Peace?

“We’ve been getting a lot of flack about this,” [TPP Chairman Nigel] Coleman said, “about burning those two in effigy and a lot of people in the public are unhappy about it. The story has gotten so large, it’s kinda strange.”

[   ]…Coleman sent a news release to local media Friday about the event, which opened with: “In a move sure to spark controversy, the Danville TEA Party will close their ‘Fired Up for Freedom’ rally by burning Rep. Tom Perriello and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in effigy in response to the passage of landmark health care legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

The unhinged elements of the conservative movement seem to be suffering a bout of Goldilocks fever – too much violence one minute, not enough the next.

Almost Everything You Need to Know About Conservatives and Bowing

The Right has more outbreaks of faux outrage over President Obama and his bowing or appearing to bow or possibly thinking about bowing then the average teen has of acne. Lawyers, Guns and Money has some historical photos of presidents bowing to various dignitaries and heads of state, The Dwight D. Eisenhower Bowing Hour!. Sadly, No! also has some photos of Bush bowing – Their Memories Are Even Shorter Than Their Johnsons. A pundit from the L.A. Times, apparently in a cranky mood that mom forgot to bring his hot coco writes,

Obama’s breach of protocol is of a piece with the substance of his foreign policy. He means to teach Americans to bow before monarchs and tyrants. He embodies the ideological multiculturalism that sets the United States on the same plane as other regimes based on tribal privilege and royal bloodlines. He gives expressive form to the idea that the United States now willingly prostrates itself before the rest of the world. He declares that the United States is a country like any other, only worse, because we have so much for which to apologize.

Wrong on both counts. President Obama did not apologize for anything and did not breach any protocol. On the contrary bowing in Japan is a custom. One generally respected by visitors, Guide to Bowing

If you plan to live in Japan, bowing will become part of your daily routine–but these will be mostly casual, shallow bows that are more like exaggerated head nods. And the type of bowing most foreigners do is casual, polite bowing to someone who has provided a service or gift.

Bowing shouldn’t be looked upon as a sign of deference or submissiveness. It’s simply a way of showing respect–to customs, traditions, and people.

Bush and Abdullah
Bush and Abdullah holding hands

Holding hands  apparently is not the least bit muticultural.

Bush bows to Pope Benedict
Bush bows to Pope Benedict

The Pope is a religious figure but he is also head of state of a few square miles of land called the Vatican. Bush is not Catholic, why didn’t the Right, suddenly experts on foreign protocol manufacture some outrage over Bush, ” He gives expressive form to the idea that the United States now willingly prostrates itself before the rest of the world. He declares that the United States is a country like any other, only worse, because we have so much for which to apologize.” – Powerline Blog writing about Obama’s bow in Japan. So Powerline would agree that Bush’s bow to the Pope was a way for conservatives to “prostrate” the U.S. to the world.

Bush in China
Bush in China showing deference to a communist
Arrival of Pope Benedict at Andrews Air Force Base
Military salute for Arrival of Pope Benedict at Andrews Air Force Base 2008

Why Did Bush, who was commander-in-chief “prostrate” the U.S. military to the Pope on his arrival by having them salute a foreign head of state.

Bush groping German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Bush groping German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Never listen to a political movement’s lectures on  appropriate behavior that thinks its perfectly fine to grope foreign heads of state.

Scooter Santa Claus wallpaper

Scooter Santa Claus wallpaper

Glenn Greenwald reminds us that conservatives wake up every morning shaking in a cold sweat at the mere though of terrorists or they’re happy to exploit that fear, cultivate obsessive fears or a combination of those things, The Right’s textbook “surrender to terrorists” – “We’re too scared to have real trials in our country” is a level of cowardice unmatched in the world.

Understanding and Combatting Terrorism, USMC Major S.M. Grass, 1989:

Terrorism is a psychological weapon and is directed to create a general climate of fear. As one definition cogently notes, “terror is a natural phenomenon, terrorism is the conscious exploitation of it.”  Terrorism utilizes violence to coerce governments and their people by inducing fear.

[   ]…GOP House Leader John Boehner, condemning Obama’s decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to New York for trial, yesterday:

The Obama Administration’s irresponsible decision to prosecute the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks in New York City puts the interests of liberal special interest groups before the safety and security of the American people.

Boehner has a tendency to break down in tears over projections of of his insecure ego so in his case its reasonable to assume the guy is a genuine basket case. If terrorists have little gold stars next to the names of the people they have managed to “exploit”, John and just about every well known conservative politician and pundit is on the list – mission accomplished they scared the BGs outta these folks. Abolish the Military Commissions and Prosecute Terrorist Suspects in Federal Court

Although some have defended the commissions as an efficient form of military justice, their track record in prosecuting terrorism cases has been abysmal. Since their establishment, the commissions have concluded only three cases, two after trials and one based on a guilty plea. During the same time period, the federal courts have tried more than 107 terrorism cases, obtaining 145 convictions. Several defendants have been sentenced to life in prison.

The only legitimate fear that conservatives could have is that our justice system actually works sometimes. Former New York  Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani(R) in a rare moment of mental clarity said of the convictions of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers,

“[M]any who were bruised by the traumatic event were certain that no verdict by a jury or punishment by a judge will exorcise the pain and terror that remain. … Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani declared that the verdict ‘demonstrates that New Yorkers won’t meet violence with violence, but with a far greater weapon — the law.’” [The New York Times, 3/5/94]