Bill Kristol and James O’Keefe Are Sleazy, But They’re Still Heroes of The Conservative Movement

Sheer Rock Face Monument Valley wallpaper

Sheer Rock Face Monument Valley wallpaper

The first two parts of this post are about specific issues, but also about the conservative movement’s inability to admit wrong, to have moral priorities and the media establishment’s tendency to never punish conservative “experts” for being repeatedly wrong. Fox Analysts Urge “Irresponsible” Obama To Do “Something,” But Won’t Say What

Bill Kristol (William Kristol) wants to go to war in Syria, but he won’t say what that war should look like. Appearing on Fox News Sunday to discuss reports of chemical weapons attacks in Syria, the Weekly Standard editor (and noted Iraq war hawk) attacked President Obama as “totally irresponsible” for indicating that he doesn’t want “to start another war,” saying: “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

[   ]…Kristol’s call for (non-specific) military action got a boost from Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, who observed: “There’s something to be said for doing something. That if they cross a line, you’ve got to do something. Now whatever it is may not directly affect the chemical weapons use, but if it directly affects and harms the regime’s prospects in the war, that would at least be a consequence.”

According to Hume, doing “something” (whatever that is) wouldn’t be as difficult as people suspect. “This isn’t Mission: Impossible.”

The Chicken-Hawk conservative experts are as brave about spending other people’s lives as they ever were. This is the gravely serious analysis Kristol gave the USA in 2003,

On March 17, 2003, on the eve of our invasion of Iraq, Bill Kristol wrote the following:

We are tempted to comment, in these last days before the war, on the U.N., and the French, and the Democrats. But the war itself will clarify who was right and who was wrong about weapons of mass destruction. It will reveal the aspirations of the people of Iraq, and expose the truth about Saddam’s regime. It will produce whatever effects it will produce on neighboring countries and on the broader war on terror. We would note now that even the threat of war against Saddam seems to be encouraging stirrings toward political reform in Iran and Saudi Arabia, and a measure of cooperation in the war against al Qaeda from other governments in the region. It turns out it really is better to be respected and feared than to be thought to share, with exquisite sensitivity, other people’s pain. History and reality are about to weigh in, and we are inclined simply to let them render their verdicts.

Well, it’s been almost four years since Kristol penned those smug, taunting words, and I think it’s fair to say that history and reality have indeed weighed in. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Our invasion has destabilized the entire region (and not in a positive way) and has actually exacerbated the overall terrorist threat our country faces. We are no longer feared or respected, at least nowhere near the degree we were before the invasion. Over 3000 American soldiers have lost their lives (with many thousands more badly injured). Tens of thousands of Iraqis (perhaps hundreds of thousands) have been killed and millions more displaced. We’ve squandered billions of dollars, as well as our national credibility and mystique. And our armed forces are currently bogged down and stretched to the limit as they undertake the thankless task of policing an escalating civil war.

Kristol and his sycophants in the conservative movement have always tried to portray Kristol as their sober cleared eyed foreign policy expert. Kristol is not one to be content to always be wrong about one field of expertise. He has an equally shaky grasp of economics. Paul Krugman Lied and Made Paul Ryan Cry, Then The Economy Died,

The new line on the right is that the economy is now swooning because President Obama criticized Paul Ryan.

And here, via Nexis, is Bill Kristol on Fox News Sunday:

Two months ago, the economy’s prospects looked better and President Obama’s political prospects looked better. Then he gave that speech on April 13th. It was at Georgetown, where he demagogically attacked the Paul Ryan budget and basically started employing the “Mediscare” tactics.

I don’t think it’s an accident that the people have lost confidence in the last two months. I actually think it’s hurt him politically.

Remember earlier this year he was going to compromise with Republicans, he was getting serious about the debt, he was pivoting to the center? I think that April 13 speech could be a moment where people look back and say, he went for a short-term political benefit, but hurt his prospects next year and hurt the economy.

David Frum rebuts:

I would myself lay much more emphasis on economic factors like: (i) the continuing destruction of American consumer wealth as housing prices deflate; (ii) the burden of rising oil prices; (iii) the collective decision of American consumers to increase their saving by 6 points of personal income – a laudable decision, but one that subtracts a lot of demand from the economy.

But if I were a believer in the business confidence theory, here’s the counter-question I’d put to Michael Barone:

Which is more likely to subtract from business confidence: a lame speech by the president – or a highly credible and sustained threat by the majority party in the House of Representatives to force a default on the debts, contracts, and other obligations of the United States?

Frum is also a conservative. While David racks up a fair share of wrongs, he comes out looking like Einstein  next to Kristol. Part two of there is no downside to being bonehead conservative, James O’Keefe’s New Gonzo Army. The Breitbart protégé is hunting for some like-minded compatriots.

And so, on a sunny April morning, here they are at a Citizen Watchdog Summit aimed at training them in the art of citizen journalism, an event sponsored by the conservative Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which was created with support from David and Charles Koch. After an opening address, a speaker asks for a little audience participation.

“How many of you are on Facebook?” About half the agents raise their hands.

“How many of you are on Twitter?” About a quarter raise their hands.

“How many of you have done online video?” Two hands rise up from the crowd.

This is a bit of a problem for O’Keefe, who, during his talk, informs the agents that the goal is to “start an information revolution,” not with “pitchforks or guns” but with media. “I think it’s about video. I’m a video guy.”

O’Keefe scored a big Con victory when Piers Morgan wanted to read a petition before signing it. That is an example of the “revolution.” O’Keefe pointed out to the crowd of seniors that he has a hard time traveling. Why? because he is on probation. And that is only for the one thing he was prosecuted for, not the sleazy behavior and serial lying. In the couple of instances where he has found someone not adhering to the letter of the law, they were ethical misconduct issues, not culture wide examples of rampant corruption. If it is hypocrisy he wants to expose, why have we never seen him pull one of gonzo video attacks on one of those red staters who are collecting unemployment insurance, or depend on Medicare or Social Security – my neighbors in other words. I’m not saying my conservative neighbors would smack this sleazeball, but they would tell him where he could put his gotcha video camera. he gets part of his financing from the Koch brothers. Why no gonzo video on all the govmint subsides the Kochs get – oil subsidies, cheap limber from publicly owned forests, police protection for their property, a govmint safety net for their ill or injured employees. And why is O’Keefe deceiving this retired conservatives by painting them a world view that is so distorted by zealotry it barely resembles the world real Americans live in. Honor has proven very disposable in O’Keefe World.

Autumn Old Truck Wallpaper – Congress is More Conservative and Corrupt Than Ever

Autumn Old Truck Wallpaper

Autumn Old Truck Wallpaper

2013, Congress is More Conservative Than Ever, But They Are The Best Congress Money Can Buy

Failed gun control legislation and a fertilizer plant explosion reveal how poisoned by big money our government is.
By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship. This piece originally appeared on BillMoyers.com.

If you want to see why the public approval rating of Congress is down in the sub-arctic range — an icy 15 percent by last count — all you have to do is take a quick look at how the House and Senate pay worship at the altar of corporations, banks and other special interests at the expense of public aspirations and need.

Traditionally, political scientists have taught their students that there are two schools of thought about how a legislator should get the job done. One is to vote yay or nay on a bill by following the will of his or her constituency, doing what they say they want. The other is to represent them as that legislator sees fit, acting in the best interest of the voters — whether they like it or not.

But our current Congress — as cranky and inert as an obnoxious old uncle who refuses to move from his easy chair — never went to either of those schools. Its members rarely have the voter in mind at all, unless, of course, that voter’s a cash-laden heavy hitter with the clout to keep an incumbent on the leash and comfortably in office.

How else to explain a Congress that still adamantly refuses to do anything, despite some 90 percent of the American public being in favor of background checks for gun purchases and a healthy majority favoring other gun control measures? Last week, they ignored the pleas of Newtown families and the siege of violence in Boston and yielded once again to the fanatical rants of Wayne LaPierre and the National Rifle Association. In just the first three months of this year, as it shoved back against the renewed push for controls, the NRA spent a record $800,000 keeping congressional members in line.

And how else to explain why corporate tax breaks have more than doubled in the last 25 years? Or why the Senate and House recently gutted the STOCK Act requiring disclosure of financial transactions by White House staff and members of Congress and their staffs and prohibiting them from insider trading? It was passed into law and signed by President Obama last year – an election year – with great self-congratulation from all involved. But fears allegedly arose that there might be security risks for some in the executive branch if their financial business was known. That concern was examined by the Columbia Journalism Review, which “consulted four cybersecurity experts from leading think tanks and private security consultancies. Each came to the same conclusion: that Congress’s rationale for scrapping the financial disclosure rules was bogus.” Nonetheless, the House and Senate leapt at the opportunity to eviscerate key sections of the STOCK Act when almost no one was watching. And the president signed it.

Then there’s the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, where last week, fire and explosion killed at least 15 — 11 of them first responders — and injured more than 200. The Reuters news service reported that the factory “had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Why wasn’t Homeland Security on top of this? For one thing, the company was required to tell the department — and didn’t. For another, budget cuts demanded by Congress mean there aren’t enough personnel available for spot inspections.

Same goes for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – OSHA. The plant hadn’t been inspected in nearly thirty years, and there are so few OSHA inspectors in Texas that it would take 98 years for them to take a look at each workplace in the state once. According to the non-partisan reform group Public Campaign, “Already only able to conduct 40,000 workplace inspections a year in a country with seven million worksites, OSHA will see its budget cut by an additional 8.2 percent this year on account of the sequester.”

Congress quietly acquiesces as the regulations meant for our safety are whittled away.

Twelve members of Congress want to make a bad situation even worse, sponsoring the industry-backed General Duty Clarification Act; its banal title hiding that, as reported by Tim Murphy at Mother Jones magazine, “The bill is designed to sap the Environmental Protection Agency of its powers to regulate safety and security at major chemical sites, as prescribed by the Clean Air Act.”

“‘We call that the Koch brothers bill,’ Greenpeace legislative director Rick Hind says, because the bill’s sponsor, GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo, represents the conservative megadonors’ home city of Wichita, Kansas. (The sponsor of the sister legislation in the senate, GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, represents the Kochs’ home state of Kansas.) The brothers have huge investments in fertilizer production, and Hind thinks they’ll ultimately get what they want, whether or not the bill becomes law.”

No coincidence, perhaps, that the sponsors of the House bill and Senator Roberts, Public Campaign reports, “have collectively taken over $670,000 from the chemical manufacturing industry over their careers.” Since 2011, the industry has spent $85.1 million lobbying.

Congress quietly acquiesces as the regulations meant for our safety are whittled away. The progressive website ThinkProgress notes that even though food related infections — which kill 3,000 and sicken 48 million Americans each year — rose last year, congressional and White House budget cuts may mean up to 600 fewer food inspectors at meat and poultry plants, leaving it up to the industry to police itself. That rot you’re smelling isn’t just some bad hamburger.

It’s true that ninety-two percent of Americans say, yes, reducing the deficit and spending cuts are important, but all on their own the people have figured out cuts that make more sense than anything Congress and its corporate puppeteers want to hear about. Mattea Kramer, research director at the National Priorities Project, says “a strong majority” — 73 percent of us — want a reduced reliance on fossil fuels, and fifty percent want something done about climate change. A carbon tax would help with both, and raise an estimated $125 billion every year. Response from Congress: crickets.

Fifty eight percent of the U.S., according to Gallup, wants “major cuts in military and defense spending,” the average American favoring a reduction of 18 percent. Good luck — the Pentagon and defense contractors already are bellowing about the puny 1.6 percent reduction called for in the new White House budget.

Mattea Kramer writes that Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 280 organizations, has “identified 10-year budgetary savings of $2.8 trillion simply by limiting or eliminating a plethora of high-income and corporate tax loopholes.” Congress is busily revising the tax code as we speak but how many of those loopholes and other perks like credits and deductions do you bet will go away?

Not many if the lobbying industry has anything to do with it. The House Ways and Means Committee has eleven working groups considering rewrites and according to the congressional newspaper The Hill, they’re quietly meeting with lobbyists and other interests – “deep pocketed players” — all the time. Keep your eye on who’s donating to the re-election campaigns of each of those working group members as we move toward the midterms next year.

Over on the Senate side, The New York Times recently reported those seeking to cut taxes and hang onto their incentives as the code is revised have found one strategy that seems to work – hire firms that employ former aides to Democratic Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The Times analyzed lobbying files and found at least 28 of his ex-staffers “have lobbied on tax issues during the Obama administration – more than any other current member of Congress.”

Reporter Eric Lipton writes, “… Many of those lobbyists have already saved their clients millions — in some cases, billions — of dollars after Mr. Baucus backed their requests to extend certain corporate tax perks, provisions that were adopted as part of the so-called fiscal cliff legislation in January.”

Senator Baucus’ spokesman was quick to say that his boss regularly rejects requests as well, but the fact is, he added, “Oftentimes good policy can indirectly benefit someone. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.”

Just so. Which is why, for example, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader who likes to complain about the current tax code’s four million words of red tape – seven times the length of War and Peace — will doubtless support tightening loopholes, right? A January report from Public Campaign Action Fund, found that, “Companies that lobbied against bringing jobs back to America and ending tax breaks for offshoring have given McConnell one million dollars to win his elections and look out for their interests.” In other words: don’t hold your breath.

No wonder the biggest newspaper in his native Kentucky said in a recent editorial that McConnell “has long ceased to serve the state, instead serving the corporate interests he counts on for contributions and leading obstruction that continues to plague Congress.”

Sadly, such is the way of Washington, home of the scheme and the fraud, where the unbreakable chain between money and governance weighs heavy and drags us ever deeper into a sinkhole of inaction and mediocrity.

Bill Moyers is managing editor of the new weekly public affairs program, “Moyers & Company,” airing on public television. Check local airtimes or comment at http://www.BillMoyers.com.

Michael Winship is senior writing fellow at Demos and a senior writer of the new series, Moyers & Company, airing on public television.

The National Security State, Terrorism and The Conservative Logic Hole

Blue Ocean Cliffs wallpaper

Blue Ocean Cliffs wallpaper

 

The last few days, staring with the news of the Bush Library opening and this new report from the WaPo is like having a waking nightmare that is on automatic shuffle. The main theme of the nightmare stays the same, the little details change. CIA pushed to add Boston bomber to terror watch list

The CIA pushed to have one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers placed on a U.S. counterterrorism watch list more than a year before the attacks, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Russian authorities contacted the CIA in the fall of 2011 and raised concerns that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed last week in a confrontation with police, was seen as an increasingly radical Islamist who could be planning to travel overseas.

The CIA request led the National Counterterrorism Center to add Tsarnaev’s name to a database known as the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, that is used to feed information to other lists, including the FBI’s main terrorist screening database.

The CIA’s request came months after the FBI had closed a preliminary inquiry into Tsarnaev after getting a similar warning from Russian state security, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

The disclosure of the CIA’s involvement suggests that the U.S. government may have had more reason than it has previously acknowledged to scrutinize Tsarnaev in the months leading up to the bombings in Boston. It also raises questions why U.S. authorities didn’t flag his return to the United States and investigate him further after a seven-month trip he took to Russia last year.

let’s get to the obvious thing first. The WaPo’s shoddy reporting. We already knew that the FBI had Tsarnaev on their watch-list. He was added to the TIDE list. In a quick scan of a few blogs, one suggested that we have reentered the space-time continuum of blame between the two agencies. That might be, but for those who are following the details, this confusion seems to be largely a problem of individual personnel not being briefed very well and the WaPo relying on what one person said instead of taking five minutes to check Lexus-Nexus. Unlike the rest of us reporters at the WaPo do not have to pay to use it.

“The system pinged when he was leaving the United States,” Napolitano said at a Senate hearing this week. “By the time he returned, all investigations had been closed.” The Washington Post notes that since the CIA became involved later, it’s possible Tsarnaev would have still been on the TIDE list when he reentered the country. “If Customs officials had alerted the FBI to his return, the bureau might have found reason to question him further in the months leading up to the attacks,” the paper reports.

However, that seems fairly unlikely. The CIA and FBI asked the Russians for more information on Tsarnaev several times, but got no response until the manhunt was on in Boston. Therefore, he was just a man two agencies had cleared on a list of hundreds of thousands of potential terrorists. A U.S. intelligence official noted Tsarnaev “did not come anywhere close to being a selectee” for the no-fly list. As for what would have happened if the FBI was aware of his return from Russia, the official said, “Probably nothing.”

Since we’re in time trvael mode let’s go back to the problems the FBI was having when our national security policy was to make everyone in the U.S. a potential terrorist. June 19, 2003, THREATS AND RESPONSES: LAW ENFORCEMENT; False Terrorism Tips to F.B.I. Uproot the Lives of Suspects

Federal agents, facing intense pressure to avoid another terrorist attack, have acted on information from tipsters with questionable backgrounds and motives, touching off needless scares and upending the lives of innocent suspects.

After a wave of criticism, Bush administration officials have been revising their policies for handling terrorist suspects. On Tuesday, President Bush issued guidelines restricting racial profiling in investigations to ”narrow” circumstances linked to stopping potential attacks.

In a report earlier this month, the Justice Department’s inspector general found that in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks, many illegal immigrants with no connection to terrorism were detained under harsh conditions.
[  ]…With thousands of tips coming in every week, the F.B.I. was hard pressed in those early days merely to take in the information, officials said, especially since Justice Department orders were that no plausible tip was to be ignored.

In that same report the FBI acknowledge that tipping the FBI off that someone was potential terror suspect became a way for people to take revenge on people they did not like, such as ex-spouses and anyone who looked like they were from the middle-east. Then and now how does the FBI or CIA determine who to watch on an almost continuous basis. That is a lot of resources and manpower focused on someone that might do something. That apparently has not stopped what has become one of the most enormous bureaucracies in the U.S. government from trying to watch everyone, all the time. What happens when you have thousands of people and billions of dollars chasing every tip and every ghost of a suspect, July 19, 2010 – A hidden world, growing beyond control

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

The investigation’s other findings include:

* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.

* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.

* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year – a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.

This is one of the reason to be both concerned and laugh at what national security has become. Because so much of the funding is simply bundled for national security, the details of how it is spent are known to hand full of people and they can only tell Congress in secret meetings about the specifics of how it was spent. basically two lone wackos just went off one day. How is it that anyone can see that coming and take legal action. The FBI could do what they did after 9-11 and simply take people off the street. That will work until someone who thinks abortion is murder, or women should not be allowed to take contraceptives, or someone who thinks vaccines are part of a nefarious government plot, or someone thinks Obama must be taken out because he heard Obama does not have a real birth certificate….is put in a cell without the right to counsel. Why didn’t the FBI pick up on signals from this guy, just because he is white, male and likely list his religion as Christian, Illinois shootings: Suspect helped wounded girl after killing 5

After he shot his way into a home in the small town of Manchester, police say Rick Odell Smith gunned down a great-grandmother, a young couple and three young children. Then he did something that puzzled authorities.

He scooped up one of the children, a 6-year-old girl who was still alive, and carried her to a neighbor’s home. Then he jumped into his white Chevy Lumina and sped off. Police caught up with him hours later and he died in a gunfight with officers.

So a Caucasian male murders one more person than the Boston marathon terrorists: it is not called terrorism. There is no call to stop letting whites immigrate to the U.S. There is no blame game by politicians. There is no wacky conspiracy theories from Glenn Beck – Beck: ‘If You Want to Continue to Discredit Me, You Will Only Discredit Yourself’. Somehow, and being anti-science and anti-rationalism it makes sense, conservatives have come to belive that if you’re murdered by a non-Chritian you’re more dead and your death matters more if you’re murdered by a while male Christian. Another trip down memory lane when conservatives were complaining about national security overreach, “You Don’t Have Any Civil Liberties If You’re Dead” (2010)

Be careful what you ask for; you just might get it. So it is with the uproar from disingenuous conservatives trying to capitalize on the public outcry over the TSA’s airport body scans and aggressive pat-downs. While Charles Krauthammer now spouts “don’t touch my junk” and Rush Limbaugh declares, “Keep your hands off my tea bag, Mr. President,” five years ago the right-wing echo chamber applauded President Bush’s regime of illegal domestic surveillance by the NSA. After all, they insisted then, you don’t have civil liberties when you’re dead.

That stunning defense of anti-terrorism over-reach became a Republican staple in December 2005. After the New York Times revealed the Bush administration’s campaign of warrantless wiretapping, Senator John Cornyn debuted the now famous GOP talking point. The former Texas Supreme Court Justice announced:

“None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead.”

(With no sense of irony, Cornyn in August 2009 accused President Obama of instituting a “data collection program” in support of health care reform.)

Soon, Republican leaders were singing from the same hymnal. On February 3rd, 2006, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, who has stonewalled the Phase II investigation into the misuses of pre-Iraq war intelligence, similarly claimed:

“You really don’t have any civil liberties if you’re dead.”

Just days later, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) joined his colleagues in blessing President Bush’s unilateral abrogation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the Constitution. The failed federal judge insisted that in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, anything goes:

“Over 3,000 Americans have no civil rights because they are no longer with us.”

Of course, Republicans aren’t merely seizing on the TSA passenger imbroglio to embarrass President Obama. As it turns out, the dust-up is another chance for Republicans to further some of their most cherished goals.

Like more, not fewer, violations of Americans’ civil liberties. While Florida Congressman John Mica is pushing for U.S. airports to turn passenger security over to private contractors, Representatives Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) have called for profiling of passengers. “Sure, profiling is okay,” Hoekstra explained, adding, “You know, you do it everywhere in life – it only makes sense.”

Charles Krauthammer couldn’t agree more. Krauthammer is only too willing to sacrifice other peoples’ rights in order to keep the government out of his junkyard:

“The only reason we continue to do this is that people are too cowed to even question the absurd taboo against profiling – when the profile of the airline attacker is narrow, concrete, uniquely definable and universally known. So instead of seeking out terrorists, we seek out tubes of gel in stroller pouches.”

So much for the threat from terror babies.

So profiling and trashing every American’s constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties is OK, but limiting the size of gun magazines is too intrusive. Profiling prevents Americans from being killed? Tell that to those five people murdered in Illinois. Or the families in Newtown. Remember that Adam Lanza’s mother was a conservative gun collector who thought civilization was going to crumple. And in every forum on the internet the gun fetishists claim that no gun safety laws will ever prevent a murder, but throwing all olive skinned, possibly middle-eastern “looking” folks in preventative detention will. It all sounds like something out of a very surreal graphic novel, but it is the reality we all live in. Just in time to prove my point, O’Reilly Demands To Know Why Obama Didn’t Condemn Islam Immediately After Boston Bombing

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly chose on Tuesday night to slam President Obama for failing to condemn Islam in the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombings and claimed that American Muslims aren’t doing enough to stand up against jihad.

During his “Talking Point Commentary” segment, O’Reilly called the President “seriously wrong” for urging the country on Friday to not to jump to conclusions about the bombing suspects’ motivations.

“It’s all about motivation and it’s all about a specific group of people,” O’Reilly declared, referring to Muslims. He then went on to say that suspected Dzhokar Tsarnaev and his deceased brother Tamerlan were definitively jihadists, stating that “only radical Islam allows terror murder.”

April is the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombings by two white Christian conservatives. Maybe Obama didn’t condemn all of Islam for the same reason Bill Clinton did not use Oklahoma City to condemn conservationism and right-wing Christians. Maybe to do so is a tad too sweeping an indictment. O’Reilly is a good example of the kind of lazy knee jerk thinking which permeates the conservative movement. They always get caught on the absurdity, the contradictions, the lack of facts and the hypocrisy. Yet, like mindless zombies they don’t skip a beat they keep clawing at the wall. O’Reilly makes millions for being wrong, for spreading deeply unAmericans values, for twisting and distorting the simplest bits of information. There is no incentive for him to become less morally corrupt. Malignity pays.

Bonus links: Bush’s Library Dedication Reminds America Of 50 Reasons George W. Bush Should have Been Tried For Sedition.

STUDY: Media Overlooked Keystone XL Risks Even After Arkansas Spill

The Bush’s, Conservatism and Historical Revisionism

U.S.M. steam ship Baltic.

U.S.M. steam ship Baltic. The Baltic was a U.S. mail ship. This print was done c1852 by N. Currier.

George W. Bush’s brother Jeb, former governor of Florida has some good poll numbers. Not long ago the Bush name was synonymous with epic failure. We’re a sentimental country that is also hammered everyday about how great and perfect conservatism is. So it was to be expected to some degree that Bush 43 numbers would go up. Those inexorably connected with Jeb’s suddenly looking like a contender for prez in 2016. Yes Jeb has said in the past there is no way he’ll run, but when someone with a Bush-sized ego thinks he can win and his millionaire friends are ready to back him, the infamous Bush ego wins out over any reticence. At that same link, Steve notes the reaction of the WaPo,

 But on fiscal issues, Bush draws criticism from both left and right. Tea party Republicans regard him as a reckless spender.

Even though the same poll shows ex-president Bush with a 93% approval rating among conservatives. The WaPo seems to think there is some movement out there called the Tea Party that is not joined at the hip and knee with the radical conservative movement. This tendency by the WaPo not to get it’s political reality straight and the conservative movement not to acknowledge and take responsibility for it’s disastrous failures is both funny and dangerous. This reinvention of the Bush 43 legacy is not a new tendency among conservatives. From Sarah Palin’s mangling of Paul Revere’s famous ride to Jonah Goldberg’s grandiose rewriting of the fascist movement, communism, conservatism and liberalism, butchering history is a large part of what drives conservatism. Conservatives suffer from the blow-back of their own drivel. By tuning into far Right radio, watching Fox News, subscribing to wacky Glenn beck newsletters – they constantly assure themselves they have done nothing wrong, while simultaneously selling the latest conspiracy theory about the United nation and American sovereignty. So telling themselves that Bush 43 did not lie and manipulate over 4000 Americans to their deaths and crashing the economy, is small potatoes for people who are emotionally, politically and physiologically trained to not accept responsibility for the malevolent crap they do to America. Meet the revisionist George W. Bush — pretty much the same as the old George W. Bush

“As time goes by Bush will benefit from the comparison with Obama,” Victor Davis Hanson of Stanford’s Hoover Institution predicted. “If Obama had been a Bill Clinton-like figure he would have made Bush look like the caricature his opponents have suggested. But Obama has been a great gift for Bush – he’s as polarizing a figure as Bush was.”

Hanson is the Nurse Ratchet of historians. The dreary soft monotone of quiet insanity.

Third, the performance of Bush’s economic team in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis probably deserves more credit than it gets. Despite being a wildly unpopular lame-duck president, Bush still was able to implement a series of international moves (convening the G-20 rather than the G-8) and domestic moves (TARP, the auto bailout) that prevented the crisis from metastasizing into another Great Depression.

All that said, however, there are some cold hard facts that cannot be erased. George W. Bush helmed a war of choice that proved, in the end, to impose powerful constraints (though perhaps not system-changing) for American foreign policy. He pursued his foreign policy aims in such a way as to dramatically lower U.S. standing abroad. He was at the helm when all of the pressures that triggered the 2008 financial crisis were building up and did next to nothing to stop them. And five years later, the GOP is still wrestling with the negative aspects of his political legacy.

I’ve already mentioned two of the worse legacies of Bush and the conservative movement ( you grandchildren will be paying for Iraq and the Great Recession. A few other highlights: Halliburton corruption (no bid contracts, lost billions in government funds), the  Abu Ghraib Prison Torture that cost American lives, 9/11 Intelligence Failures ( Bush infamous failure to act on a Presidential Daily Brief that said Bin Laden likely to attack),  HHS Deceptive Ad Campaign, exposing the name of a CIA NOC agent who was also an expert on Iraq WMD, the Justice Department scandals, and the Bush administration again endangering the troops and the civilian Iraqis they said they were there to save by appointing Republican cronies to rebuild Iraq. Can the conservative movement whitewash these, and dozens of other egregious acts of criminal malevolence and negligence. As Palin would say, you betcha. It is what they do.

Some other news: 20 Forgotten George W. Bush – Dick Cheney Scandals

You probably know that the campaign to rehabilitate the image of the 43d president of the United States has been launched with the opening of his presidential library.

How Conservative Media Reacted To Senate Republicans Blocking Modest New Gun Safety Laws

How Greed Is Dismembering America

The plastic patriot Konservative Koch Brothers’ Plans for Their Upcoming GOP Donor Retreat, the best govmint billionaires can buy.

Notes on Fear and Terrorism in America

Santa Monica Pier wallpaper

Santa Monica Pier wallpaper

 

Future historians should consider the Bush-Cheney years as the Chicken-Little Era. Every day all conservatives did was tell America we were going to all die from a terrorist attack by radicalized Muslims. Actually they would just say Muslims. As though the world’s estimated 1.6 billion Muslims – the world’s second largest religion, were at world with the rest of the world. Back in 2010 the CIA estimated there were about 50 to 100, perhaps 500 Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. That is out of a population of 30 million. There are an estimated 25,000 members world-wide. The math says that less than 1% of the world’s Muslims are members. It doesn’t take many people to commit a few acts of terror and produce the desired results, fear and over reaction. Conservatives practically fall over themselves to live up to those expectations. It is reasonable to be concerned about terrorism or any organized form of violence. there is a point which reaches unjustified levels of paranoia. My anecdotal experience is that conservatives are easier to scare and quicker to reach a paranoid world view. That level of fear may not be much more than normal, humanity has a history of living in fear and has given itself reason for doing so. It may be that conservatives are only a few degrees more paranoid than the average, and that small degree is enough to produce behavior that thus far caused substantial loss of American and innocent foreign lives. It has also cost us in other ways. The Iraq war may end up costing $6 trillion. The US has become a surveillance state. I’m not sure how that could happen since the NRA says it cannot tolerant even modest regulation of fire arms because they need them to protect us from intrusions on the Constitution. Anyone seen the NRA lobbying or pulling guns on Congress over the more despicable parts of the Patriot Act. Of course not. The NRA is all about being armed to the teeth to defend us against their weird fantasies, not reality. It did not take long for the same Chicken-Little conservatives to exploit the religion of the Boston Marathon in the hopes of furthering their radical agenda, Tea Party Congressman Exploits Manhunt For Suspected Boston Bomber To Advance Weaker Gun Laws

A Tea Party Congressman has joined a growing list of conservatives are seizing on the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspect to argue for looser gun laws. Appearing on The Blaze Thursday afternoon, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) suggested that the Bostonians on lock down need high capacity magazines to protect themselves from violence. Via Kyle Mantyla at Right Wing Watch:

What hit me this morning when I heard the residents there around Boston and in the area where they thought someone might be were ordered to stay in their homes, businesses were ordered closed, public transportation was ordered closed. Let me ask you, if you’re sitting in your home and you know there are only two possibilities for people coming, one is law enforcement and the other is somebody who has already killed Americans and continues to do so, how many rounds do you want to be limited to in your magazine as you sit in your chair and wait?

There were about 192,000 licensed gun owners in Massachusetts in 2007. The number has gone up since than and went up with recent events. So despite 192,000 gun owners, the terrorist still managed to murder three people and maim or wound over a hundred others. These gun owners did not seem to join police and FBI in pursuit after the initial fire fight at Watertown. What stopped them. Common sense or letting the professionals do their job. The USA has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world and while it has been declining the last decade, we still have a pretty violent society. Though not so high that it warrants living in fear and staying at home all the time. Eight facts about terrorism in the United States

Your odds of dying in a terrorist attack are still far, far lower than dying from just about anything else.

Your odds of dying in a terrorist attack are still far, far lower than dying from just about anything else.

In the last five years, the odds of an American being killed in a terrorist attack have been about 1 in 20 million (that’s including both domestic attacks and overseas attacks). As the chart above from the Economist shows, that’s considerably smaller than the risk of dying from many other things, from post-surgery complications to ordinary gun violence to lightning.

That said, terrorist attacks obviously loom much larger in our collective consciousness — not least because they’re designed to horrify. So, understandably, they get much more attention.

Note that your odds of being harmed by a friendly gun owner are much higher than being harmed by any kind of terrorist, rather it is a radicalized Muslim or some home grown conservative abortion fanatic. If conservatives were genuinely concerned about preserving the life and health of US citizens they’d stampede Congress demanding a public insurance program like Medicare for everyone. Funding science research that targets what has become known as superbugs – infections resistant to antibiotics will kill more people this year in the U.S. than any kind of terrorism.

Total terror attacks are on decline.

Bill Maher: Comparing violence of Islam to Christianity ‘liberal bullsh*t’ [VIDEO].

On HBO’s “Real Time” on Friday night, host Bill Maher entertained CSU-San Bernardino professor Brian Levin, director of the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism, who maintained that despite the events in recent days, religious extremism isn’t only a product of Islam.

But Maher took issue with that claim, calling it “liberal bullshit” and said there was no comparison.

“You know what, yeah, yeah,” Maher said. “You know what — that’s liberal bullshit right there … they’re not as dangerous. I mean there’s only one faith, for example, that kills you or wants to kill you if you draw a bad cartoon of the prophet. There’s only one faith that kills you or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam. So you know, I’m just saying let’s keep it real.”

Besides playing up his alleged anti-political correctness to get publicity, the major thing that Bill is guilty of here is sloppy thinking. Certainly there are Muslims who are sociopaths. Most of them are not. That is fact, not a point of view. In the next category down are the Muslims who do need some liberalizing. They’re the ones who were and likely still are angry over some cartoons. I have zero sympathy for people offended by any kind of religious cartoon. I don’t know every liberal, neither does Bill, but most of them think of the cartoon nonsense the same way. Though I’ve read some liberals who would prefer that cartoonist not make religious themed cartoons so as not to offend any religion. They’re mistaken to feel that way in my opinion, but I understand where they’re coming from in terms of being sensitive to others beliefs. I grew up on Mark Twain. He was cranky, irreverent,  pro censorship for children, but not adults.

“You’re wrong about that and you’re wrong about your facts,” Maher said. “Now, obviously, most Muslim people are not terrorists. But ask most Muslim people in the world, if you insult the prophet, do you have what’s coming to you? It’s more than just a fringe element.”

It is fair and obvious that there are some violent Muslims. Again this is shoddy thinking on Bill’s part. there are also far radicalized conservative groups around the world. Membership in conservative militia groups spiked when Obama was elected president. Most of these groups have not carried out what we think of as terror attacks. Though remember that the Norway attacks were by a conservative killed 77 people. And that the fighting in the Middle-east is mostly about Muslim killing other Muslims. As this article notes more people were murdered in a terror attack in Iraq during the Boston marathon than the marathon bombings. It is not just Bill Maher – who had some good points to make and went too far. This is about critical thinking. About details that matter. At one point in history Protestants and Catholics were doing a very good job of murdering each other. Even up to modern era Northern Ireland. Maher said that no one could put on a play criticizing Muslims. He might be right about that, but it would not surprise me if Broadway producers were reluctant to put on an anti-Catholic play with child abuse and molestation as it’s central theme. Or a play about the Posse Comitatus paramilitary/Christian movement. Though if Bill could take off his blinders for a minute he might find there has been of anti-Muslim films made and distributed. What Bill is proud of, in an indirect way, and conservatives as well, though they are loath to follow their thoughts to conclusion, is that the U.S., Canada and western Europe have been largely secularized. Sure there are a lot of people that believe in some deity, but like American Catholics who have overwhelmingly embraced contraceptives, or American Muslims that hang on to bits of tradition, they largely think for themselves rather than go by strict interpretation of religious dogma.

One Boston Marathon Bomber Suspect Dead, Police In Pursuit of Brother

Old City Sunset wallpaper, Old city bridge

Old City Sunset wallpaper

Timeline of the hunt for the Marathon attack suspects.

Timline

Larger version.

It seems simple enough unless, like me you stayed up all night following the bits and pieces of the news as events unfolded. At first it seemed like the death of the MIT police officer was not related, and than it was. Later one of the suspects was said to possibly be wounded, but in custody, with the 2nd ( white hat) suspect still on the run. It later turned out the first suspect was still alive when he arrived at the hospital, but died despite a half hour of attempts to revive him. As I post this I’m tracking a couple of Twitter news feeds from Boston and New York and the second suspect is still at large. The NYT just put up a good map with the series of events here, Updates on the Hunt for the Boston Bombing Suspects. One suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings is dead and another is being sought Friday. Twitter is definitely a better medium for following these types of news stories – though it pays to wait for verification before retweeting or blogging anything. Incredibly sad the MIT officer ( Sean Collier0 was murdered. I saw his picture and he was not much more than a kid himself. Sorry, but to me 26 is still very young. Getty has a lot of images up from last night.

I can’t say that I care if Glenn beck is on drugs or having some kind of mental break down, but his family might want to consider getting him into rehab or whatever he needs to get his mental state in the range of normal, Glenn Beck Is Undeterred By Reality On Saudi Nationals And The Boston Bombings

Hours after it was debunked, Glenn Beck continued to beat the drum of a conspiracy theory that the Obama administration is deporting a Saudi national who was behind the tragic bombings at the Boston marathon.

The conspiracy theory arose when Steve Emerson, a guest on Fox News’ Hannity, accused the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of preparing to deport a Saudi national “person of interest” in the bombings at the Boston marathon. Right-wing blogs like Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, Breitbart.com, WND, and Infowars quickly latched on to the story, alleging President Obama wishes to cover up Saudi Arabian and Al Qaeda ties to the attack.

The myth pretends that a Saudi national who was hospitalized after sustaining injuries in the bombing — initially reported to be a “person of interest,” though he never was — is the same man DHS is allegedly in the process of deporting for visa violations.

And as everyone probably knows, the suspects were/are Chechens, What You Need To Know About Chechnya And The Boston Bombing Suspects

After an overnight chase, the media is reporting that the two suspects the FBI identified in Boston Marathon bombers are brothers from the restive Russian state of Chechnya. Here’s what you need to know about Chechnya and why that matters.

Russia is actually a much more diverse country than many realize, with several ethnic groups and states making up the larger Russian Federation. Chechnya is one of those states, home to an ethnic group known as Chechens. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Chechnya attempted to become its own independent territory as many of the former Soviet states did. A similar struggle took place in neighboring Dagestan, which, much like Chechnya, is a Muslim majority state within Russia where the suspects are believed to have lived for a time before emigrating to the United States. The Russian federal government launched several all-out wars to keep Chechnya within the country. The last open conflict ended in 1999, with Russian President Vladamir Putin accused of using excessive force against civilians.

Moscow’s victory in the North Caucasus has never been fully cemented, due to an on and off struggle between the separatists in the states and the central government. Various social media accounts discovered possibly belonging to the two suspects indicate that both share a heavy interest in Chechen issues.

Several Chechen separatists groups still exist and have carried out many heinous attacks over the years. The most notorious of these was in the Russian city Beslan, when a Chechen group took an elementary school hostage in 2004. More than 300 hostages were killed during the incident, including 186 children. Chechen separatists were also behind a hostage taking at a Moscow theater, which ended with the Russian government accidentally killing 130 of those inside the building. Chechens have also been identified or suspected as jihadi fighters in conflicts around the world, including in Syria, while continuing to wage an insurgency against Moscow for the establishment of an Islamic state in Chechnya.

Unfortunately, this does not tell us very much at the moment. An ethnicity does not indicate any sort of defined motive or ties to any possible group or groups and law enforcement has yet to provide any confirmation of the current reporting. Chechen groups also have traditionally focused their ire on Russia rather than targeting the United States. Finally, given their lengthy residence it is difficult to discern what — if any — ties or sympathies the two brothers have to Chechen terrorist groups. The older of the brothers — Tamerlan Tsarnaev — has been in the United States since as early as 1992 as a refugee and in 2002 hoped to box for the United States at the Salt Lake City Olympics.

Not the police or FBI, but some of the media and various internet morons are responsible for this Saudi nonsense that has caused some hardship, The Saudi Marathon Man

What happened next didn’t take long. “Investigators have a suspect—a Saudi Arabian national—in the horrific Boston Marathon bombings, The Post has learned.” That’s the New York Post, which went on to cite Fox News. The “Saudi suspect”—still faceless—suddenly gave anxieties a form. He was said to be in custody; or maybe his hospital bed was being guarded. The Boston police, who weren’t saying much of anything, disputed the report—sort of. “Honestly, I don’t know where they’re getting their information from, but it didn’t come from us,” a police spokesman told TPM. But were they talking to someone? Maybe. “Person of interest” became a phrase of both avoidance and insinuation. On the Atlas Shrugs Web site, there was a note that his name in Arabic meant “sword.” At an evening press conference, Ed Davis, the police commissioner, said that no suspect was in custody. But that was about when the dogs were in the apartment building in Revere—an inquiry that was seized on by some as, if not an indictment, at least a vindication of their suspicions.

There must be enough evidence to keep him there,” Andrew Napolitano said on “Fox and Friends”—“there” being the hospital. “They must be learning information which is of a suspicious nature,” Steve Doocy interjected. “If he was clearly innocent, would they have been able to search his house?” Napolitano thought that a judge would take any reason at a moment like this, but there had to be “something”—maybe he appeared “deceitful.” As Mediaite pointed out, Megyn Kelly put a slight break on it (as she has been known to do) by asking if there might have been some “racial profiling,” but then, after a round of speculation about his visa (Napolitano: “Was he a real student, or was that a front?”), she asked, “What’s the story on his ability to lawyer up?”

By Tuesday afternoon, the fever had broken. Report after report said that he was a witness, not a suspect. “He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” a “U.S. official” told CNN. (So were a lot of people at the marathon.) Even Fox News reported that he’d been “ruled out.” At a press conference, Governor Deval Patrick spoke, not so obliquely, about being careful not to treat “categories of people in uncharitable ways.”

We don’t know yet who did this. “The range of suspects and motives remains wide open,” Richard Deslauriers of the F.B.I. said early Tuesday evening.

As I write this Beck is insisting that President Obama be impeached, based purely on Beck’s hysterical delusions about this Saudi man.

Texas Plant May Not Have Been Inspected in Years, Despite Risks. A 2011 report highlighted hazards at the fertilizer plant, including tens of thousands of pounds of anhydrous ammonia. Safety inspection have improved since the Bush years, but due to budget cutbacks – you know the ones that conservatives said would not have any affect on anything, have impacted the health and safety of American workers, yet again.

The Atlantic is reporting the possibility there might be a third suspect.

(8:30 a.m. ET): Pete Wilson of WBZ-TV in Boston has already interviewed the uncle of the two suspects. When told what has happened to his nephews, he called one of them a “loser” and said the one who was killed “deserved it.” The uncle says the suspects came to the U.S. in 2000 or early 2001, but he has not spoken to them much since 2005. He says the last he heard of him was when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had graduated from high school. When asked “What’s going through your mind?” the uncle responds, “I wish they never existed. They don’t deserve to live on this Earth.”

Did Boston Bombing Suspect Post Al Qaeda Prophecy on YouTube?

Authorities have identified the deceased suspect in the bombing of the Boston marathon, which killed three and injured more than 170, as Tamerlan Tsarnaev. A user by that name has posted a video to his YouTube playlist extolling an extremist religious prophecy associated with Al Qaeda. It is not clear yet whether the user is the same Tsarnaev as the deceased suspect.

Antique map of Southeast Asia 1590 – Keep Calm and Carry On

Antique map of Asia Abraham Ortelius c1590

Antique map of Asia c1590 by Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598).  1590 was the year of the Battle of Ivry where French King Henri IV and the Huguenots beat the Catholic League.

Negaunee, Michigan 1871

Negaunee, Michigan 1871. One of those maps that is not to scale, but the perspective and artistry make it so appealing. 1871 was the year of the Great Michigan Fires. The exact causes of multiple large forest fires are uncertain, but especially high winds that year helped spread the fires.

This debate has been ragging – abet generally civilly for a couple days – Researchers Finally Replicated Reinhart-Rogoff, and There Are Serious Problems. Reinhart-Rogoff did mange to show that an economy could be grown with austerity – IF you massage the numbers. R and R finally respond, but hedge on the facts, agin. people are generally pretty forgiving when you make a mistake, get out in front of that mistake and apolgize or even hedge and say you see where there might be a problem and we’ll get back with some new information later. R and R had their chance at said public generosity as Paul Krugman notes, Reinhart-Rogoff, Continued

What Herndon et al did was find that the R-R results on the relationship between debt and growth were partly the result of a coding error, partly the result of some very odd choices about which data to exclude and how to weight the data that remained. The effect of fixing these lapses was to raise the estimated mean growth of highly indebted countries by more than 2 percentage points.

So how do R-R respond?

First, they argue that another measure — median growth — isn’t that different from the Herndon et al results. But that is, first of all, an apples-and-oranges comparison — the fact is that when you compare the results head to head, R-R looks very off. Something went very wrong, and pointing to your other results isn’t a good defense.

Second, they say that they like to emphasize the median results, which are much milder than the mean results; but what everyone using their work likes to cite is the strong result, and if R-R have made a major effort to disabuse people of the notion that debt has huge negative effects on growth, I haven’t noticed it.

…So this is really disappointing; they’re basically evading the critique. And that’s a terrible thing when so much is at stake.

Even if austerity worked at one or points in this or that country’s economic history there could be other factors  – very economically healthy nations helping with their debt is one thing. Recent history, the past six years, show that every country that has tried austerity – pointing a massive emphasis on paying down the debt, sometimes cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy, have sunk back into recession.

Pervert Mark Sanford (R-SC) due in court over allegation he trespassed at ex-wife’s house

According to the suit, Jenny Sanford allegedly caught the former governor and current congressional candidate on Feb. 3 using his cell phone for a flashlight as he left the house through a rear door. Court records also said McRackan enclosed a February 2011 letter sent to both Mark Sanford and local police warning him not to trespass on the property.

Mark Sanford won a runoff election on April 2 and is now facing a May 7 election against Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch for the congressional seat representing the state’s 1st district. He was forced out of office in 2009 after his affair with Argentinian journalist Maria Belen Chapur was revealed.

The conservative base in S.C. were the same family values hypocrites that let him stay in office so long after the affair was discovered. They’ll vote for him if he is caught beating the family dog. Though Sanford needs moderates and independents to win, so say goodbye to your great comeback Mr. Sanford.

You can buy tea baggers, but for how long, Tea Party DOA: Only Dozens Attended Washington DC Tax Day Protests

On Freedom Works’ website, they announced that 1,000s were expected to their “New Fair Deal” protest at the U.S. Capitol on Tax Day (April 15th), which would be the “next phase of the Freedom Movement.” They hyped it as their “Get Out the Vote” machine. They had a slew of Republican representatives speaking as bait.

[  ]…Apparently Freedom Works/Tea Party has surrendered the pretense of being separate from the Republican Party. That’s probably for the best, since Matt Kibbe is the president and CEO of Freedom Works, and he is a former staffer for the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Freedom Works runs “boot camps” for supporters of Republican candidates. Back when Freedom Works was “Citizens for a Sound Economy”, they used to trick people into signing up as members by selling them insurance policies that required their membership.

[  ]…Still, only “dozens” attended. Perhaps now the Tea Party can go back to being what it once was, long before it got co-opted by the greedy corporatists behind Freedom Works, who find their most natural habitat within the Republican Party. It’s too bad the Tea Party wasn’t what it claimed to be, because we could use a real movement to cut the puppet strings with which big money and big business operate our legislators.

This is not to say the tea baggers and their sugar daddies the Koch brothers still don’t have a lot of pull in the Republican Partay. When you watch Rand Paul (R-KY) or Paul Ryan (R-WI) speak on TV look for the puppet strings.

April 16 Updates on Aftermath of Boston Marathon Explosions. As more pictures and video are collected it would seem they will contribute quite a bit to catching the perpetrator. With so many surveillance cameras in public places, so many people with video cameras and cell phone cameras, I wonder how someone can even consider the idea that they’ll get away with something like this.

The Worst Conservative Reactions To The Boston Bombings. No rest for those who not only want to score political points, but do not mind looking like morbid fanatics while doing so.

In case anyone missed this great post by Bruce Schneier, The Boston Marathon Bombing: Keep Calm and Carry On.