I Kinda Agree With This Guy

Steve Benen links to this quote from up and coming wingnut wannabe Allen Quist, a Republican candidate for the House:

“It’s because I, like you, have seen that our country is being destroyed. I mean, this is — every generation has had to fight the fight for freedom. This is our fight. And this is our time. This is it. Terrorism, yes — but that’s not the big battle. The big battle is in D.C., with the radicals. They aren’t liberals, they’re radicals. Obama, Pelosi, Walz — they’re not liberals, they’re radicals. They are destroying our country. And people all over are figuring that out.”

The thing is, I agree with him. Maybe I’ve just gotten soft on terror, but I really do not see Al Qaeda as an existential threat. I’m just not afraid of terrorism anymore- I’m more likely to choke to death on an apple or get hit crossing the street or to wreck my car than I am to get killed in a terrorist attack. If we’ve learned anything the last couple of years, it is that no matter who is in office, the National Security State is going to reign supreme- because everyone is terrified of having an attack on their watch and of being called soft on terror.

In short, what terrorists do has very little impact on my life. On the other hand, the Republicans in congress have an enormous impact on my life. The banksters and the FIRE crowd have an enormous impact on my life. The insurance lobby has a big impact on my life. The gun lobby has a big impact on my life.

If the Republicans get their way, they’ll be privatizing social security, deregulating more, and my retirement fund and my social security will get looted. If Republicans keep their way, every time I eat a hamburger from a fast food joint, I’m sucking up ammonia. And on and on and on.

So while everyone wants to pile on Quist, they should realize he is exactly right. What the radicals in Washington and in your state house do is far more threatening than anything the terrorists can do. Quist just can’t figure out who the radicals are.






110 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    I’m more likely to choke to death on an apple or get hit crossing the street or to wreck my car

    Or disembowel yourself with a mop in your own home.

  2. 2
    Wingnut Implosion says:

    GOP – Please, please do what Michelle Bachmann wants…I’m not sure I can stomach you people any more.

    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/.....d-tea-gop/

  3. 3
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    They aren’t liberals, they’re radicals. Obama, Pelosi, Walz—they’re not liberals, they’re radicals. They are destroying our country. And people all over are figuring that out.”

    Sarah Palin with a wanger.

  4. 4
    Kennedy says:

    Well said, Mr. Cole.

  5. 5
    demkat620 says:

    Well, this was true in 2001. They never have been an existential threat.

    btw, this was part of an actual email I got from a winger friend today.

    As usual, you try to bring facts to a debate where facts are irrelevant. Your party is aligned with the ACLU. If something terrible happens, your party will not get a free pass because Bush let people out of Gitmo at the request of mouthy democrats. Your party is in charge now, and you have to start taking ownership.

    Yes, facts are irrelevant in a debate.

  6. 6
    Flitterbic says:

    Is not “They are Destroying Our Country” a registered trademark of the RNC, or is it only when it’s in 12 pt. or larger Frutiger font?

  7. 7
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    I always say, there’s a silver lining in every Mushroom Cloud.

  8. 8
    Mike in NC says:

    I’m just not afraid of terrorism anymore – I’m more likely to choke to death on an apple or get hit crossing the street or to wreck my car than I am to get killed in a terrorist attack.

    True story: my wife’s 30-something niece was killed in Africa yesterday. By an elephant ! If they ever learn to fly airplanes we’re doomed.

  9. 9
    Zifnab says:

    The thing is, I agree with him. Maybe I’ve just gotten soft on terror, but I really do not see Al Qaeda as an existential threat. I’m just not afraid of terrorism anymore- I’m more likely to choke to death on an apple or get hit crossing the street or to wreck my car than I am to get killed in a terrorist attack. If we’ve learned anything the last couple of years, it is that no matter who is in office, the National Security State is going to reign supreme- because everyone is terrified of having an attack on their watch and of being called soft on terror.

    Are they? The Bush Administration didn’t seem to mind. And what happened after they dropped the ball on 9/11? Or again during the Anthrax attacks? Or again with the Richard Reed shoe bombing? Or again when national intelligence failed to predict train bombings in Madrid and London (attacks that helped cost us valuable support abroad)? Or again when they decided to torture first and ask questions later, setting off a string of trumped up false alarms? Or when the Chinese managed to jack nuclear secrets repeatedly? Or when Isreal and Lebanon descended into a clusterfuck? Or when we didn’t catch Osama bin Laden after seven years in Afghanistan?

    I mean, holy shit, I could go on forever. National Security Republicans do about as much for national security as fiscal conservative Republicans do for the deficit or libertarian Republicans do for civil liberties.

    The Republicans didn’t pay a political price for failure, they struck the mother load. I’m fucking horrified of another terrorist attack because it seems to compel people to run around like lunatics and strangle whatever functional national security programs we’ve got going in a fit of panic.

    You’ve got guys like Sully calling for Napolitano’s head on a failed attack when all she’s been doing since she took office was cleaning up Ridge’s mess. You’ve got fucking Peter Hoekstra campaigning for governor of Michigan on an out-of-state would-be plane bombing.

    It’s a god damn fucking joke. The only people who pay a price for national security failures seem to be the people interested in taking national security seriously. And really only then because they haven’t spent enough time demagoguing the issue.

  10. 10
    New Yorker says:

    Yes, I’m far more likely to get run over by a knucklehead jabbering on the cell phone when he should be driving than I am to be be killed by al Qaeda, and it’s less than 4 miles in a straight line from my place to the WTC site.

  11. 11
    beltane says:

    The Republicans have somehow managed to transform themselves from a mere political party to a major threat to Western civilization. According to a GOS diary, when this Quist person’s wife died while seven months pregnant, he had the dead fetus removed from her corpse so everyone could see and mourn it. As an amateur medievalist, I can say this guy ranks right up there in the Ghoul for Jesus category.

  12. 12
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Quist just can’t figure out who the radicals are.

    Maybe he can or maybe he can’t. But I do. And they’ve been impacting my life in far more negative terms over a longer period than foreign terrorists.

  13. 13
    Mike Kay says:

    the teabaggers call Obama a radical and the firebaggers call Obama a wall street corporatist.

    Oh, if I only new with pole was correct.

  14. 14
    Mike Kay says:

    @beltane:

    According to a GOS diary, when this Quist person’s wife died while seven months pregnant, he had the dead fetus removed from her corpse so everyone could see and mourn it.

    Oh man. Senator Man-on-Dog did the same thing with a still born fetus.

  15. 15
    jg says:

    So there’s no money to fix SS but trillions for fixing wall street? Thanks bush. Would the TARP money have been used to bail out SS accounts if Bush got SS privatised?

  16. 16
    Mary says:

    Where is the money coming from to keep the firebaggers in business? I have to believe that the unions have pulled their funding…

  17. 17
    Tom Hilton says:

    There’s another angle to this, which is that terrorists are never the existential threat–the reaction to terrorism is the thing that can destroy a country. (Worst-case scenario: Sarajavo 1914.) And the Bush administration’s reaction to 9/11 caused much more damage (to the constitution, to the economy, to thousands of American lives) than the attack itself. So yeah, Republicans really are more of a threat than al Qaeda.

  18. 18
    Mike E says:

    @demkat620:
    Debating a winger is like arguing with a 3yo — if you begin, you have lost.

  19. 19
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Don’t drift too far leftward Comrade Cole, sometimes the circle gets squared on the backside.

  20. 20
    eemom says:

    “Better watch what you say, or they’ll be calling you a radical
    A liberal
    Oh, fanatical, criminal….”

    Just in case anyone besides me is old enough to remember Supertramp…..

  21. 21
    Jay C says:

    What the radicals in Washington and in your state house do is far more threatening than anything the terrorists can do. Quist just can’t figure out who the radicals are.

    I disagree – I think he knows quite well who they are – he’s just engaging in pre-emptive namecalling instead of logical discussion – i.e., the Modern GOP in action…..

  22. 22
    Elisabeth says:

    They aren’t liberals, they’re radicals. Obama, Pelosi, Walz—they’re not liberals, they’re radicals.

    I’m stupid – who’s Walz?

  23. 23
    Mike E says:

    @Mike in NC:
    Damn, that’s rough man. My condolences to your wife/family…

  24. 24
    Dreggas says:

    If the Republicans get their way, they’ll be privatizing social security, deregulating more, and my retirement fund and my social security will get looted. If Republicans keep their way, every time I eat a hamburger from a fast food joint, I’m sucking up ammonia. And on and on and on.

    This is why i only buy the ground beef that the store makes, in store, that day.

  25. 25
    jenniebee says:

    Well, yeah. I mean, it was kind of obvious from about the exact moment that the media revealed that the 9/11 hijackers were armed only with box cutters that these guys had found a low-tech loophole in the way we react to threats and exploited it, but that it was a one-off. The only reason the 9/11 terrorists were able to do what they did was that the survival response we had learned from hijackings during the ’70s was for everybody on board to hang tight, stay calm, do whatever the hijackers said, and wait for the tarmac and the negotiating and the flash-bang grenades to take care of the problem. We adapted to the new paradigm at just about exactly the time that the passengers on the fourth plane heard about the towers, realized the new objective, and decided that a drink cart would make a nifty battering ram.

    Now if only we could all adapt to the idea that we’ve already solved this problem about as well as it’s ever going to be solved, we could maybe get sane again. Because there’s no regime in human history that was ever so well controlled or so tough on terror that it could actually eliminate the threat of terrorism. The Soviets couldn’t do it. The Nazis had saboteurs in the camps and they had project Valkyrie – terrorism at both ends of society – and if they couldn’t fully control malnourished prisoners with id tattoos, what’s the chances that we can control a population free enough and rich enough to engage in international trade? Can’t be done.

  26. 26
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Quist likes a little ammonia with his hamburger. It brings reality into focus.

  27. 27
    Mike Kay says:

    I love the smell of ammonia in the morning! Smells like breakfast patties!

  28. 28
    mcc says:

    @Elisabeth: From the article:

    Allen Quist, a Republican candidate seeking the nomination to go up against Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN)

  29. 29
    calipygian says:

    Quist also recalls the death of his first wife seven years ago when she was pregnant. He had the undertaker remove the 6 1/2 – month foetus from the womb and display it in his dead wife’s arms lying in a glass-fronted casket. That way, he said, he and his family were able fully to grieve the unborn child.

    Uh huh.

  30. 30
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

    –Abraham Lincoln

  31. 31
    Dreggas says:

    @calipygian:

    Sounds straight outta the sci-fi movie we watched over the weekend called “Timber-Falls”.

  32. 32
    Hugh says:

    I mostly agree with you. But I do live in NYC and the shock of 9/11 lingers. One day the bad guys might get a nuke (or some horrible chemical weapon) and if they do they’ll probably use it here. Having said that, the Republicans are making things MUCH worse. The Democrats are behaving responsibly regarding going after Al Qaeda as best as I can see. But I think it’s good to remember what Al Qaeda has done and keep in mind what they want to do. One should be worried about them. One should not be blinded by that worry however.

  33. 33

    This post is exactly right. Remember — the GOP has long been the party of branding. Some years ago, they and their wingnut wingmen/women took one of the most radical agendas imaginable, labelled it “conservative,” and sold, sold, sold, baby.

    It’s of a piece with the reimagining of words to remold reality that is the chief product of GOP “thought”: liberalism as fascism, regulation as socialism, voting while non-white as corruption and so on. And it has been surprisingly effective across the board — but nowhere so much so as claiming that religious tyranny and the arbitrary exercise of state power in defense of established interest is “conservative.”

    So yeah, JGC is entirely right: this yahoo is onto something, but his problem is that he imagines a window while he’s staring into a mirror.

  34. 34
    demkat620 says:

    @calipygian: O.M.G.

  35. 35
    demkat620 says:

    @Notorious P.A.T.: What he said.

  36. 36
    Leelee for Obama says:

    It has always been true that I am in more danger of being hit by lightening ( here in freezing Florida ) than of being the victim of a terrorist attack. Even when I had to fly a few times in 2003/2004, this was still true. Since I no longer fly, it is even more likely. We live in a nation of people who pay money to get the living shit scared out of them at movies, at Halloween exhibits, and entwining themselves in Reality TV. This latest episode was proof that there are ways to prevent blatant attempts to take down aircraft, but all threads must be tied together every time. 20/20 hindsight makes it appear that this shouldn’t have been allowed to happen, but it remains to be seen just how many threads were really apparent before the attempt. We can never be completely safe from a determined or just plain lucky suicide bomber. Maybe part of the reason this guy got on the plane in the first place is that there is too much info to tie together, and that may just be part of the plan. Chatter is what they call it, and it’s a good description.

    This guy, Quist, is right about the basics, but he is one of those who would merrily sell out this country to the supply-side gods. I’m tired of being told I’m a radical. I’ve heard it for decades, and it was BS from the start. Fairness and equal opportunity is all I’ve ever asked for-his epiphany on the National Security State doesn’t lead him to call for fairness and equal opportunity. If Obama, Pelosi and the rest are radicals, then I guess I am, too. I just don’t think so. When he calls for cutting the Defense Budget in half and making the basic needs of the predominance of the population of major importance, then I’ll say I agree with him, But, I won’t be holding my breath-I am not a Smurfette, so blue ain’t my color.

  37. 37
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @calipygian:

    Quist Campaign Headquarters — Bates Motel.

  38. 38
    fizzlogic says:

    They are destroying our country

    That seems to be the refrain I keep hearing from everyone I know who’s on the right.

  39. 39
    gopher2b says:

    @Mike in NC:

    I’m pretty sure you just outed yourself to someone.

  40. 40
    Hiram Taine says:

    On the morning of 9/11 I was sitting reading a book when my daughter called, her husband was a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton at the time, she was utterly frantic and well on the way to full blown hysteria. I had no idea what was going on and spent well over an hour assuring her that an NCO in charge of an aircraft maintenance shop was in very little danger of being sent to wherever as a trigger puller in the front lines of combat, he was far more valuable in a protected rear area doing what he does.

    It was an eye opening experience and that along with a lot of other people’s reactions on that day and the following days made me realize quite rapidly that our own reactions to the events of 9/11 were far more dangerous to us as a nation than were the actual terrorists themselves.

    As I live in the Deep South I was basically completely alone in feeling this way and became ever more estranged from everyone around me as they grew ever more blindly hysterical with fear of terrorism. Within a month or so of 9/11 I had worked out the rough outline of what was going to happen over the next five or six years and it has been utterly unnerving to me to see my cynical and pessimistic predictions by and large come to pass.

    One more major successful terrorist attack and you might as well just throw America down the oubliette, our own overreactions will doom us far more surely than anything the terrorists might do.

  41. 41
    calipygian says:

    This pisses me off to no end also:

    Walz – 24 years enlisted (not officer) in the Minnesota National Guard, Command Sergeant Major, America hating radical.

    Quist – Zero days in the military, arbiter of what is patriotic and what is not.

  42. 42
    Zifnab says:

    @Mike E:

    Debating a winger is like arguing with a 3yo—if you begin, you have lost.

    Nonsense. 3-year-olds learn and eventually grow up.

  43. 43
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @calipygian:

    Quist – Zero days in the military, arbiter of what is patriotic and what is not.

    But he loves him some Baby Jeevus.

  44. 44
    gopher2b says:

    @jenniebee:

    Yup, pretty much.

  45. 45
    Corner Stone says:

    I think it’s pretty obvious who the terrorists are:
    Financial Terrorists
    They told us if we didn’t give them everything NOW,NOW,NOW they would bring it all down.
    Not only did they not satisfy themselves with our money, they used it to roll the dice a few more times and multiply their profits.

  46. 46
    jeffreyw says:

    Jeez, Louise…Why so serious?

  47. 47
    Mari says:

    @Hugh:

    Fears of nuclear terrorism are vastly overblown. Nuclear weapons are very hard to build and are pretty much only within the domain of well resourced state actors. No state will give a terrorist group a nuke because they will be identified and destroyed within days of the warhead being used.

    Terrorists have used chemical weapons before; the results have been underwhelming from the terrorist perspective.

  48. 48
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @jeffreyw:

    Is he yours? never mind I see it’s a shelter doggie

  49. 49
    Zifnab says:

    @Hiram Taine:

    One more major successful terrorist attack and you might as well just throw America down the oubliette, our own overreactions will doom us far more surely than anything the terrorists might do.

    That, at least, I do kinda doubt. Take a look at a country like Israel. They suffered terrorist attacks on a near-daily basis, and while it did radicalize the state to an extreme degree, it didn’t obliterate democracy or doom the nation.

    9/11 was horrific in that it was unique. A second 9/11 will be just that – a second 9/11. And we’ll respond to it with the history of what the first 9/11 gave us as a backdrop.

    Republicans have proven themselves utterly incompetent. That perception just didn’t exist in 2000 like is does in 2010. I don’t see us running back to the GOP as a nation any time soon. I do see us embracing a bunch of stupid, scapegoat, wasteful, empty-headed policy. But we’ll get that as quickly from the Democrats as the Republicans.

  50. 50
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    They are destroying our country.

    I just highlighted the only two words in that screed with any semantic content. The rest is just window dressing to pretty up the pure tribalism. OK, fine, be that way – we’ll play this game the way you want it, wingers. The next time I hear some bullshit from a winger about “our country”, I’m going coming back with:

    Congratulations Sherlock! You figured it out. Yes, it is my fucking country now, not yours. You don’t get to drive any more because you totalled the national car. You ran it off a cliff, flipped it over six times and set it on fire. Now shut the fuck up and get in the backseat before I put you in the trunk, because I’m driving now. And to quote the whaling captain in Zephaniah W. Pease’s The History of New Bedford, “All I want out of you is silence, and damn little of that.”

  51. 51
    Alex S. says:

    But John, this is completely irrelevant now that there was, OH MY GOD, a THIRD STATE DINNER PARTY CRASHER!

    http://www.politico.com/news/s.....31141.html

    He could have easily been a pakistani al-qaida member disguised as an indian ambassador with special dinner knife training.

    Edit: Sorry, gotta correct myself there. The article says it was “an African-American man wearing a tuxedo”. Oh please! An African-American man? Wearing a tuxedo?? He was probably from Nigeria and, judging by the tuxedo, either the son of a wealthy nigerian doctor, or just visiting the dinner, holding his martini and making snide comments to all the people passying by.

  52. 52
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: You never fail to hit the nail on the head! More of this please.

  53. 53
    geg6 says:

    Well, I’m not the least too self-effacing to say that I have NEVER been afraid of terrorists. Not even on 9/11 or the days following. Not even when I found out that I knew people who died that day. Unlike the cowards running the country at the time, I understood that the entire goal of terrorism is to create exactly the type of fear and panic that our leaders, to this day, enable. I am still not afraid of al Qaeda or any other terrorist and never will be. But I do know that the GOP is the most frightening entity on earth. But then, I knew that back in 1980. Same as it ever was.

  54. 54
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Mike in NC:
    My condolences.

  55. 55
    Kobie says:

    @Hiram Taine:

    One more major successful terrorist attack and you might as well just throw America down the oubliette, our own overreactions will doom us far more surely than anything the terrorists might do.

    What he said.

  56. 56
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Alex S.: You know, anyone who wanted to could walk into the WH during the Civil War and Lincoln got shot in a theater, so can we please tell the media to STFU about gate-crashing at the WH? I’m fairly sure the SS would’ve been close enough to shoot anyone who did anything other than sneak in-at least I think I’m fairly sure. The bald guy who’s always close to Obama doesn’t look like he misses much.

  57. 57
    justcorbly says:

    Terrorists occasionally threaten Americans. They do not threaten America.

    Remember: Screw Republicans before they screw you.

  58. 58
    Mike E says:

    @Zifnab:
    Yes sense. Three is the age when if a child cannot learn to control his/her anger, then you have a perpetual child on your hands regardless of the age. Apropos to our discussions here, yes?

  59. 59
    Mark S. says:

    I wish the article on ammonia meat would have gone more in depth on this:

    Meat tainted with salmonella is also a hazard. But while the school lunch program will not buy meat contaminated with salmonella, the agriculture department does not ban its sale to the general public.

    O RLY?

  60. 60
  61. 61
    Hiram Taine says:

    @Zifnab:

    I do see us embracing a bunch of stupid, scapegoat, wasteful, empty-headed policy. But we’ll get that as quickly from the Democrats as the Republicans.

    This isn’t Israel and it really doesn’t matter if it’s Democrats or Republicans, just look at the overreaction to Bomb Crotchit to get a glimmer of an idea of how a successful large scale terrorist attack will be handled by the PTB and the M$M, freak out doesn’t begin to describe it.

    You might also want to keep in mind that Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin were both terrorists so Israel has a deeper familiarity with terrorism than does America.

  62. 62
    jl says:

    Excellent post. I agree. The rash and immature mood of many in the country (some would say cowardly mood) is also more of a danger than the terrorism itself. That is a big part of what allowed the GWB administration to take very counterproductive steps in national security (for example, the heavy handed male Muslim dragnet after 9/11), apart from the Iraq disaster.

    Even now, I read a poll that says a majority in this country would approve of torturing the would-be underwear bomber. Even after he more or less spilled right after his arrest.

    So, I agree, except for a point one commenter made:

    “Or disembowel yourself with a mop in your own home.”

    Being clumsy, I do have to watch out for that one.

  63. 63
    Nick says:

    @Zifnab:

    That, at least, I do kinda doubt. Take a look at a country like Israel. They suffered terrorist attacks on a near-daily basis, and while it did radicalize the state to an extreme degree, it didn’t obliterate democracy or doom the nation.

    In a world where Americans are half as rational as Israelis.

  64. 64
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Mark S.: I am trying to figure out how to live on air and filtered water. I can no longer read stuff about the food-supply, it makes me sick as it is; knowing what might be in it is more than I can presently handle..

  65. 65
    Leelee for Obama says:

    You might also want to keep in mind that Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin were both terrorists so Israel has a deeper familiarity with terrorism than does America.

    This cannot be said often enough.

  66. 66
    El Cid says:

    It’s all about timing. If you said this too close after 9/11/2001, you were not appreciated. Say it now, it seems like common sense.

  67. 67
    AhabTRuler says:

    Take a look at a country like Israel. They suffered terrorist attacks on a near-daily basis, and while it did radicalize the state to an extreme degree, it didn’t obliterate democracy or doom the nation.

    Too soon to tell.

  68. 68
    ajr22 says:

    I used to argue with my conservative friends from Iowa about this. I would ask “are you really afraid of terrorist attacking Cedar Rapids?” Im from Chicago, and I was less afraid than people from rural areas of Iowa. I always just figured they hated teh browns.

  69. 69
    Elisabeth says:

    @mcc:

    Thanks! I was too lazy to clink on the article. I knew someone would do it for me. :)

  70. 70
    geg6 says:

    The joke of it all is that terrorism has always been and always will be. Just in my lifetime I’ve watched Israel deal with the PLO and Hamas; Germany with Bieder Mannhoff, Britain with the IRA and al Qaeda, Spain with the Basques, Italy with…damn, I can’t think of their name. And that’s just a quick run through of the ones I can remember right off the top of my head. Even Japan had a group a decade or so ago. These countries all survived the ordeal with their liberal (in the classic sense) institutions intact, the citizens went about their business without missing a beat. Americans are, as a whole, a bunch of cowardly, frightened children who seem to think there is a way to keep safe 100% of the time. I don’t know when or how we became such a bunch of quivering pantywaists, but I know we are. And the wingnuts and teabaggers more than anyone. They disgust me.

  71. 71
    Elizabelle says:

    Speaking of people who get killed crossing the street:

    NYTimes obit for Deborah Howell, pathbreaking woman journalist and, sadly, one of the WORST ombudsmen ever seen (at the Washington Post, where she was just plain clueless as Fred Hiatt and his crew took that paper into its terminal dive).

    OTOH: good to see she had so many accomplishments.

    OTotherH: did I mention her “work” at the Post? There are none so blind ….

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01.....l.html?hpw

  72. 72
    Dreggas says:

    @geg6:

    This 1000 times over. I still have to shake my head when going throughh an airport. This is the country that faced down the nazi’s and the russians but we have to take our shoes off in the airport.

  73. 73
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole@Top:

    The banksters and the FIRE crowd …

    Why don’t we just add the Banksters the FIRE crowd and call the BREIF. Or is the F already inclusive of the B? If so, I’m cool with that too.

    (Yeah, yeah, I know the brief acronym is spelled wrong up there, but ya gotta keep the RE together.)

    .

  74. 74

    If you’ve felt like things were bleak in 2009, with the majorities Democrats enjoyed, you’re gonna love things after 2010 elections. None of the rightwing nut cases in Congress are in the least danger, excepting possibly Bachman. Some GOP ‘moderates’ might have Primary problems – how that plays out is an open question. Blue Dogs are too close to that edge of GOP-dom to be very safe. Liberal and left Dems are safe and possibly enhanced by the GOP behavior this last year.

    What is going to happen in states absolutely hammered by recession is a tougher question than the media makes it sound. The economy is surely a player, but who gets the blame from voters isn’t real simple. It sure will take good politics for incumbents facing economic disaster.

    I figure the GOP goes more right (crazy) as a whole and picks up some Blue Dog seats – but that is a maybe depending on the level of crazy run against them. It is going to take very smart politics to stave off the GOP this time around. Off-year electoral behavior is rough and giving the “base” little reason to come out isn’t helpful.

  75. 75

    @calipygian: I don’t know why, but this is the most chilling, upsetting thing I’ve read all day (granted, it’s only eight in the morning here, but still).

    That is so…wrong.

    Terrorism: I am somewhat of a fatalist. If someone is intent on doing something (whether good or bad), he will find a way to accomplish it, no matter how many safeguards are in place. And, if it’s my time to die, it’s my time to die.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to do due diligence and gather intelligence and such. It’s just impossible to bubblewrap the world. When I go into the airport, I immediately think of half a dozen ways I could get contraband onto the plane. All the security theater in the world wouldn’t be able to stop the really determined terrorist.

  76. 76
    geg6 says:

    Elizabelle @71: Wow! I hadn’t heard about that. Howell really was a worthless POS as “ombudsman.”. Can’t really say I’m sad about her passing or that I don’t take a horrible bit of pleasure in the manner of it. But I do feel for her family. It’s hard to lose your mom.

  77. 77
    hypusine says:

    Turns out, when citizens react out of fear, the terrorists actually do win. By, you know, definition. Surprising but true facts!

  78. 78
    Mari says:

    @Dreggas:

    Changing demographics could have something to do with why Americans are much more prone to panic now. The population is aging and older people scare more easily.

    The media also has a lot to do with it. It’s not surprising for the nation to be afraid of shoes and bottled water when pretty much the entire TV news industry has spent the past fifty years doing its best to scare the shit out of everybody about everything from black people to sharks.

  79. 79
    Annie says:

    One of the comments in Benen’s piece said it best. Essentially progressives should go on the offensive and start talking about how the fight against Republicans should be the defining fight of this generation. If we do not destroy them, it will lead to the death and dissolution of the US and everything good and decent.

    We need to confront the teabaggers and ask what exactly have the Republicans done for them? WHAT EXACTLY? Farm subsidies to rich Republicans? Affordable health insurance and care for the priviledged? Tax breaks for the rich? WHAT?

    The only thing I can of is that Republicans have still only elected white males to the Presidency. Not a black, illegal alien, Muslim, Kenyan, Communist, Socialist, Maoist, who supposedly spoke Arabic secretly while in the Middle East. (I watched that today on a video of some teabaggers visiting Congress. They actually said the above except for the “black” part — it was implied…)

  80. 80

    I have been having a heated discussion over at Politijab about this very thing. The bottom line is the reaction the US has to a terrorist attack. It is akin to “I am gonna kick your ass M-F” as opposed to the quiet reasoning of “perhaps we aught to ensure that this does not happen” type of response that allowed the UK to defeat the IRA. Unfortunately you then get into a discussion about freedoms and civil liberties and all that and it tends to get into “sides” of an argument that will not budge. See “full body scanners”. My opinion is (and has been ever since some IRA member with some explosives or a gun decided that I was “the enemy”) that every day I don’t get killed is a victory for the good guys and a defeat for the terrorists. I remember when there was some talk of searching backpacks on the subway in New York, and people screamed “invasion of privacy”. I am assuming that this would have changed the minute that someone managed to explode a backpack on the subway, but why not pre-emptively stop that? It never bothered me when my bag was searched going into a store, or a theatre or any other venue, it was just normal. I am all for the civil liberties crowd but you know how many civil liberties do you have when you are dead? I think the “fighting the last war” quote is spot on, you don’t win this kind of thing by “reacting” to the terrorists last act, you win by pre-emptively stopping their next one. JMHO.

  81. 81
    Hugh says:

    @Mari:

    You say that with much certainty. And perhaps you have reason to. I don’t know. I would note that the idea of the World Trade Center falling seemed an impossibility before it happened. Still, I really don’t know about nukes or chemical weapons. I hope you’re right about that. But Al Qaeda or whatever they’ve morphed into are out to do big things if they can. Poison gas in the subway? They’d go for that (a chemical weapon attack that did much harm in Japan as I recall). My point is I think it’s good to remember this and go after them hard in a way that isn’t corrosive to our nation or our relationships with other nations. The Republican approach is corrosive in the extreme. I was/am appalled by what they (the Republicans) did and want to do. But Al Qaeda still needs to be dealt with in a way that respects the depth of their psychopathology and resourcefulness. I agree fully that they aren’t existential threats to the nation – but they are a threat and quite capable of doing serious harm if they can. I think they’re compromised now to the point where it’s hard for them to do much. But their intent remains and if they can rebuild their capacity they will. The challenge for us is to hold onto this fact without enabling the cynical/reactionary right.

  82. 82
    HRA says:

    I cannot agree with the term terrorists for Shamir and Begin unless the term is also used for Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, etc.

    Kudos to you all for your comments and to JC for this thread.
    BJ is always a learning process and I do enjoy learning.

    I agree we should not let terrorism rule our lives. Carpe diem.

  83. 83
    Violet says:

    9/11 was our first real brush with terrorism that actually did significant damage here in the USA. And everyone freaked out. Now it’s been a few years and a lot more people have the attitude you do:

    I’m just not afraid of terrorism anymore- I’m more likely to choke to death on an apple or get hit crossing the street or to wreck my car than I am to get killed in a terrorist attack.

    Whereas closer to 9/11 people didn’t get that running around screaming in terror at the possibility of an attack meant we were actually being terrorized, now a lot more people do understand that concept. And they’re just not being terrorized anymore.

    GOP response to that – scream louder.

    But that doesn’t really work. Because no matter how loud they scream, you’re still not going go back to being terrorized. Sure, you want the government to do logical things to keep us safe. But you don’t want us to turn into a police state because the occasional idiot has a boner bomb.

    The Dems need to capitalize on this new recognition by Americans. Talking points should include “nothing to fear but fear itself”-type comments to remind Americans that they are brave. Subtly equate “brave, strong, resilient” with the Democratic party and equate “cowering, afraid” with the Republicans.

    It isn’t really that hard. The Democrats need better scriptwriters.

  84. 84
    Mari says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Remember, it’ll only take one GOP pickup to shut down the Senate entirely. There’s no way the Democrats can hold 59 (plus the Senator for Likud-HMO) in this economy. There won’t be a functioning legislative branch between this year’s elections and the next time the Senate consists of 60 Democrats or 51 Republicans.

    The Democrats should have thought harder about delivering on policies that the Democratic base actually wants–rather than policies that the GOP wants but won’t ask for in public–but it’s too late to fix that problem now.

  85. 85
    Elie says:

    What is getting crazy to me is the loss of meaning of key terms and words. “Liberal”, “extremist”, “radical” “crazy”, “destroying” — when applied so loosely to describe low key and non dangerous situations is the most radical thing of all of this…if words lose meaning, what is the value of communication? How does one communicate over a shared understanding of reality?

    These people (the Republicans and sometimes more extreme members of the left ) are doing more than trying to redefine reality — they are almost exploding any meaning around a common reality — very very dangerous — perhaps the most dangerous — leaving only fragmented and internal group developed meanings and interpretations…

    Its weird and scary. We have evolved all the technology, the blogs to activate and involve more and more people in public discourse and and at that same time, also begun to witness the disaggragation of common reality and understandings about the world we live in. All aspects of reality are now subject to debate and interpretation. There is no shared, objective reality or at least, it seems to be shrinking. Mass schizophrenia?

  86. 86
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    I understand employing rhetoric to gain a little political traction, but let’s say he really believes this; he realizes that even in the best case scenario that he’ll soon be sharing cocktail weenies and martinis with people he just got done saying are worse than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, right?

  87. 87
    Leelee for Obama says:

    I, for one, have always said our Revolution was an insurgency, and that because that was so, what happened in Iraq should have been foreseen and prevented. But, apparently, that part of our History was not taught at any of the schools the Republicans went to. Imagine that. Yes, to the British, we were the terrorists.

  88. 88
    Elie says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    And I would add to what you say this:

    Who is to know the purpose of a given “terrorist”? The sad thing this all sets up is being led around by our noses by fear — which could be used by many different possible groups to “manage” the US population.

    If they know we will run around like chickens with our heads off looking for terrorists that meet our bogey man images everywhere, they will give us the bogeyman that needs to be evident to control us.

    In the meantime, this enormous distraction just pulls resources and energy from REAL security issues that we should be attending like jobs, healthcare and getting our kids educated

  89. 89
    chuck says:

    @Annie:

    We need to confront the teabaggers and ask what exactly have the Republicans done for them?

    “Lowered taxes. Created jobs. Kept us safe.”

    It doesn’t have to be true if you repeat it like a mantra.

  90. 90
    Mark S. says:

    @HRA:

    I cannot agree with the term terrorists for Shamir and Begin unless the term is also used for Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, etc.

    I don’t recall Washington, et al, participating in anything resembling the King David Hotel bombing or the Deir Yassin Massacre.

    I think an essential element of terrorism is attacking civilians. A stronger argument could be made that the last three or four administrations were terrorists (because of our love of bombing third world countries) than that the Founding Fathers were.

  91. 91
    Xenos says:

    @Mike in NC: More condolences here. Elephants are a highly intelligent species, like certain over-evolved hairless apes, and with a similarly high proportion of murderous assholes.

  92. 92
    BC says:

    Thank you, DougJ. I have been saying since 9/11/2001 that our ancestors are hiding their faces in shame of how frightened their progeny are. We are a nation of risk takers, of people just up and going off into the frontier and making a new life. Remember: the Mayflower was a pretty small ship and sailed across an ocean that claimed more than few sailing ships in the period after Columbus. The settlers in Kentucky and Ohio weren’t so frightened they couldn’t settle those areas. Look at the settlers in the West. And we hide under our beds because of a few misguided people living in the 700s culturally. We need to find our spine and spit at the notion that terrorists are going to make us give up our freedoms and make our knees shake. The worst thing Bush and Co. did was make us a nation so scared we couldn’t think straight, although I realize that was a feature and not a bug. Cheney is trying to rewrite the playbook and we need to push back against him strongly, help the American public to reclaim their heritage as a strong fearless people who can go into the future with our heads high and our eyes looking straight ahead, not afraid of anyone’s bogeymen.

  93. 93
    Neutron Flux says:

    @eemom: I do remember them, and ………… you’re coming along.

  94. 94
    Annie says:

    @chuck:

    LOL. You are so right! That is exactly what is happening. And, that is why we are doomed…

  95. 95
    Hiram Taine says:

    @HRA:

    I cannot agree with the term terrorists for Shamir and Begin unless the term is also used for Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, etc.

    Begin was responsible for the bombing of the King David hotel, I don’t recall any similar activities on the part of Washington, Jefferson and their compatriots.

    For several months in 1945–46, the Irgun’s activities were coordinated within the framework of the Hebrew Resistance Movement under the direction of the Haganah, but this fragile partnership collapsed following the Irgun’s bombing of the British administrative headquarters at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, where 91 people, including British officers and troops as well as Arab and Jewish civilians, were killed. The attack was conducted as a response to the British actions on Black Sabbath, in which they arrested many Jews, and confiscated many important documents from the Jewish Agency. The attack on the King David Hotel was not meant to cause many deaths; before the explosives went off, a call was made by the Irgun to the reception desk of the King David Hotel. However, the call was only made a short time before the explosion, and no call was made to the headquarters of the British administration, based in the hotel. The issue of whether sufficient warning was given is the subject of much controversy. Under Begin’s leadership, the Irgun continued to carry out operations such as breaking into Acre Prison, and the kidnapping and hanging of two British sergeants in response to the execution of several Irgun members by the British; this latter action caused the British to suspend any further executions of Irgun prisoners.

  96. 96
    Mark says:

    BEEF – “a mashlike substance” that customers complain tastes like ammonia…

    People give my family a really hard time for not eating any meat for the last fifteen years – and I say to you folks – nana nana moomoo mad cow.

  97. 97

    @Mari:

    My guess is that the 60 seat chimera is gone in 2010. I don’t know of a GOP seat that leans D and a couple D seats do lean GOP. You have to remember that most GOP challenges to Ds will go through a Primary and that outcome can mean a lot.

    Off-year elections are the payback for disaffecting your base and pols don’t seem to get that – repeatedly. If I’d stayed in organized politics, as an official, what exactly am I supposed to say about Sen Ron Wyden who is up this time and not attack Democrats in the process? Ron is a good guy … and so? Nelson and Lieberman aren’t up this cycle, they can give a rat’s ass and proved it.

    Nothing connects to voters like face to face and known quantities stumping for a candidate. One personal contact is worth about twenty TV ads in generating a vote. I’m not going to be one of them and I’m not sure how that is going to play more generally.

  98. 98
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @beltane:

    The Republicans have somehow managed to transform themselves from a mere political party to a major threat to Western civilization embarrassment.

    There… better… no?

  99. 99
    Ash Can says:

    @calipygian: To be perfectly honest, I can’t fault the guy for doing this. Everyone grieves in his/her own way, and if this was how he could best deal with the situation, I won’t judge.

    However, and most importantly by far, knowing that he went through this in the first place and combining that with the delusion evident in his ranting makes me seriously question his fitness to hold public office at this juncture. A tragedy this extreme had to have messed him up in some way. Now, I’ll admit right off the bat that I didn’t follow the link, because I don’t really want to know any more than I do about this horrific experience of his. So, as far as I know he may very well have come to terms with it, learned to live with it, and moved on, like Joe Biden did after his own family tragedy. However, it sure doesn’t sound like it. All political ideology aside, I can’t help but wonder whether this poor guy just is not sufficiently put back together at this point.

  100. 100
    parksideq says:

    To paraphrase Chris Rock, “I’m not scared of al Qaeda; I’m scared of al Cracka”. Well, in my case replace “al Cracka” with NYPD; some cop* trying to be a hero while I pull out the keys to my apartment is more likely to kill me than a terrorist.

    *I know not all cops are like this; in fact, I believe most aren’t. I’m just outlining a scenario that’s happened more times than it should have around these parts.

  101. 101
    HRA says:

    @Mark S.:

    “I don’t recall Washington, et al, participating in anything resembling the King David Hotel bombing or the Deir Yassin Massacre.”

    This is an interesting read from another perspective in re: to the American Revolution and beyond (1812)
    http://www.redcoat.me.uk/

    In re: to the Arab-Israeli conflict that grew out of massacres in the time we are focusing on, if you search Google under Kibbutz massacres, you will see what occurred on the other side.

    I am against any violence. I am also against the usage of terror or terrorism. On 9/11 we were attacked and it was a crime.

  102. 102
    calipygian says:

    @Ash Can: The link goes to an article in the (U.K.) Independent. It was an interesting article about how the ascendence of an extreme Right Wing movement might jeopardize Republican chances of gaining seats in Congress in the off year election. Of 1994.

    Plus ca change.

  103. 103
    Bill H says:

    What has a bigger impact on my life than Republicans, or the gun lobby, or health care debate, or any of it is, “The most important part of my job is to keep America safe.” The rhetoric of fear which, to quote Glenzilla, changes what kind of nation we are. This endless drumbeat of fear comes from whoever is in power; it is more blunt and obvious from the Republican crowd and phrased in more educated terms from the current batch, but the message is the same, “be afraid and look to me to keep you safe.”

  104. 104
    Elie says:

    @Bill H:

    And the peculiar taint of fear is that once in place, expunging it is difficult as any small trigger can evoke the whole hysteria again…suspicion is always harder to suspend than trust…that is a deep brain instinct that has to be overridden and overwritten purposely and deliberately over time. Unfortunately, each new trigger of the reaction sends you back to the starting line in trying to overwrite it…Desensitization does ocurr — but slowly and over time and in between hordes of people are always heading for the hills with each triggering event…

  105. 105

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I waver on this. I don’t particularly care about showing the contents of my bag as long as everyone has to show theirs as well. However, where do you stop? I mean, by the same theory, one could say that the government has every right to know all personal information about everyone who lives in the country. The more they know about you, the more chance they have of finding a terrorist, right? I would not want to have a full-body cavity search before going on a plane, but it’s one of the only ways to ensure that a person is not hiding something dangerous.

    Personally, I will take more freedom with the small chance of something going wrong than I would in ceding control of my body and possessions to my government. Even in your backpack situation, it really is too much energy expended for such minimal outcome.

    @Elie: Yes. This is very much true. Overreacting is just as bad as not reacting as all. Of course, finding the right level of reaction is not an easy thing, but still. I think most people would agree that the way we handled 9/11 was by far not the best way of doing so.

    I also agree with what you said about language. When W. was in charge, the word patriotic got thrown around until it lost all meaning. The same with the word treason. So many of the buzz words and phrases mean nothing now.

    It’s the same with things such as the Terror Level. It’s been Orange for most of the last eight years. WTF does that even mean? Does anyone even care that we’re at Level Orange?

  106. 106
    El Cid says:

    @HRA:

    I am against any violence. I am also against the usage of terror or terrorism. On 9/11 we were attacked and it was a crime.

    Did somebody, particularly someone of note, suggest we weren’t and that it wasn’t?

    This is different from someone pointing out facts about our losses to that event versus other shit suffered by other peoples in other attacks.

    Who is it, outside of 9-11 inside jobbers, that are denying that U.S. civilians were attacked and that it was a crime?

  107. 107
    sparky says:

    a good post, but as a whacked-out type, i think there’s an important omission.

    why does the GOP now run a sideshow? because they can’t run against corporate America or the national security state, and the Ds have both of those at the moment. there’s nothing left for them to do but side-show.

    neither party is going to run against the corporate state any more than it would run against the national security state. and that’s the omission i referenced. the national corporatist state is the model that people like me were arguing against as to health care because it’s the enshrinement of skimmer operations by the federal government, just like TARP et al.

    and that’s why, while there will be differences on the margins, and as to social policy, there will never be serious divisions between D and Rs as to corporations. Rs don’t pretend outrage like Obama is doing WRT Wall St; they save their hypocrisy for the bedroom not the boardroom. better? worse? depends on whose ox is being gored. but don’t fool yourself into thinking that the Ds are your friend. they may be, so long as what you want doesn’t conflict with what corporate America wants. Gramm got his deregulation passed under Clinton, not Bush.

  108. 108
    Little Dreamer says:

    Wha?

    I’m sorry John, but when you say “I agree with him” and then go on to equate Republicans making things worse, it doesn’t seem that you agree with him as much as you say you do.

    Allen Quist is afraid of liberals and thinks liberals are destroying America. That apparently isn’t what you think at all.

    You and I both know Republicans ARE destroying this country, so please, don’t place yourself in agreement with someone who would like to see you dead if they could.

    Btw, I was NEVER afraid of terrorists or terrorism. I’ve always known that the odds of my having a target painted on my back were pretty much nil. With about 300 million (approx) Americans, only about 3,000 were killed on 9/11 – in that light, what are the odds any one person is going to be a victim of terrorism?

  109. 109
    Little Dreamer says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    It’s the same with things such as the Terror Level. It’s been Orange for most of the last eight years. WTF does that even mean? Does anyone even care that we’re at Level Orange?

    No, because (unless you’re talking about domestic or international flights) we’re not. We stopped being at Orange after Obama took office.

  110. 110
    Little Dreamer says:

    Actually, I’m wrong, it was before that. Just correcting my mistake. I heard Obama lowered it on tv recently, but, that was faulty information.

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