Archive for terrorism

It’s Tough to Argue with Results

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2011 by rottenart

For the past 20 years, one of the most effective attacks Republicans have used against Democrats is the ‘Soft on Defense’ barb. In actuality, one could make the case that Democrats have far more experience (and success) with military conflict but since when has reality had anything to do with politics? It’s been a pretty devastating tactic and one which Democrats have always had a problem defending against, even when it should have been easy.

That era, however, might be coming to an end.

Three distinguished former military members, former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark, former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig, and retired Major General Paul Eaton, tore into the GOP field and strongly defended President Obama’s foreign policy after Tuesday’s debate. The attacks are pretty brutal, though entirely factual:

“While President Obama has kept his promises across the globe, the leading Republicans have been all over the map, offering sound-bite critiques and shifting positions with every change in the headlines as they seek partisan advantage,” Clark said.

“If you took any six of those candidates, you might find sixteen positions on any issue,” said Danzig. “If you added Governor Romney you’d probably find forty six positions.”

Ouch.

Of course, it has the added benefit of being true. Even leaving aside the end of the Iraq war, the steady dismantling of Al Qaeda, the overthrow of Qaddafi and the unwinding of the war in Afghanistan, Obama still has an ace in the hole that the right will have a hard time attacking: Osama Bin Laden. After ten years, it was this administration that killed him. That alone should be enough to neutralize the ‘Soft on Defense’ sop.

If the Republicans want to attack Obama’s foreign policy credentials, I’m sure it’s a debate the administration would heartily welcome.

 

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In Case You’re Under a Rock or On the Moon

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2011 by rottenart

Front Page News!

This Needs More Coverage

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2011 by rottenart

I haven’t highlighted it here, but I’ve been following the disturbing story of Shawna Forde, rogue Minutemen activist and now convicted murderer. C&L has done a terrific job covering the story and calling on the MSM to give it some airtime. That it hasn’t is a complete mystery; it has all the components that usually make for wall to wall coverage.

If you don’t know the whole sad saga, do yourself a favor and read up on it. It will give you little insight into the minds of the lunatic fringe who want to demonize, harass and ultimately do harm to Hispanics living in America. And it will probably break your heart.

Raul Junior and Bresinia Flores are still dead but hopefully Forde’s conviction can alleviate some of the pain and shine a  light on the Right-Wing nativist and extremist groups that still exist in this country.

 

Muslims, Muslims EVERYWHERE!!!

Posted in Funny, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2011 by rottenart

I know this will come as news to most of you, but it has become quite popular for Right Wing nut jobs to hate on Muslims. From threatening to burn Korans on 9/11 to scapegoating their quest to build a community center, the Right will literally go to any length to prove how scary and dangerous Muslims are. This includes (but is not limited to) attempted terrorism, creating a draconian legislative solution to a fantasy problem and generally disparaging about a billion or so people worldwide. It seems that there simply isn’t a reaction too onerous for our friends on the right.

Yes, despite a new study that shows Islamic extremism is in drastic decline in America, it turns out that conservatives are doubling down. Rep. Peter King (R – NY), in his new role as chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, has decided that hearings on domestic terror threats need only focus on Muslims. Obviously, Muslims are the only people who are determined to harm the US, right? Of course, when fellow committee members pointed out that maybe he should widen his focus a little, Rep. King simply refused. Nope, not gonna look into unhinged, white, Christianist militias, nosirreee!

Which is all bad enough. But it seems Paranoiac Muslim Fever™ is causing some Right Wingers’ heads to completely explode. For instance, we all know Glenn Beck is a gibbering lunatic but this seems to prove that his grip on sanity is becoming even more tenuous. I used to think he just spouted his garbage for the ratings and didn’t actually believe any of it. But he seems pretty convinced about this and wants you to study up (Warning! Link leads you directly into the belly of the beast).

Next is Frank Gaffney, who, by any stretch is a wing-nut and a half. But lately he too seems to have jumped completely off the Cliffs of Crazy, tying the marginalized Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper, and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. Of course, he believes this is a conspiracy that has also infiltrated CPAC (along with Teh Gheys, of course) and, in a neat bit of circular reasoning that wraps up numerous other Right wing memes, is in league with President Obama. I mean, if you believe the president is a secret fascist socialist communist Muslim from Kenya, doesn’t this all just make sense?

My question is this: does all this heightened insanity stem from the Republican win in November? Since Obama isn’t the same boogeyman he was when Democrats controlled all three branches of government, does the Right Wing simply need to keep fear alive in any form they can? Sure, Muslims have been demonized since 9/11 by the Right, but this all has a whiff of desperation about it. It’s like their favorite reality show got canceled and they’ve been reduced to watching Survivor: Return of the Has-Been Bad Guys.

Personally, I think they should keep at it. Nothing says ‘responsible leadership’ like predicting a Chinese takeover of New Zealand.

Where Is The Outrage Over “Burn A Koran” Stunt?

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by rottenart

It’s been a while since I’ve said it, but it always seems worth it to repeat: Steve Benen is rarely wrong.

In a post today on Terry Jones, the wack-job pastor from Florida who has rocketed to attention with his asinine “Burn a Koran Day” stunt, Steve points out that there’s a strange silence coming from the Right on the matter. With no less a figure than Saint David Petraeus stating in no uncertain terms that the farce is misguided and dangerous for American troops, you would think that at least some of the blowhards that make up the “intellectual” wing of the Republican party would agree. However, we hear crickets.

Contrast that to how anti-war protesters were treated during the Bush years. Every time someone pointed out what a bad idea it was to invade Iraq, the Right couldn’t condemn them as traitors fast enough. It is un-American to question our leaders in a time of war, they proclaimed. Those of us on the left that dared to voice our opinion (a pastime as American as it is necessary)  were told that we were aiding the enemy. Never mind that it was all fear-mongering and we were proven right in the end: Iraq was a mistake so enormous that we may never regain our standing in the world. Regardless, simply voicing dissent was grounds for treason in those days. Remember the “free speech zones” that kept Bush and his cronies well insulated form public opinion? That’s how they thought of us, no better than mutinous dogs, to be gated up far away from our Dear Leader, lest we bring the country harm with our wish for peace.

American Taliban preacher Terry Jones, on the other hand, is a real threat. His antics will likely cause a conflagration that will make the uproar over the Muhammad cartoons in the Netherlands look like a tea party. Again, don’t take my word for it. Ask General Petraeus. Or ask  NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who pressed his case ahead of a meeting with Obama, who has also condemned the event. The fact is, this wingnut’s hateful actions really are dangerous to American troops. More so than over a million anti-war protesters ever could be. Where are the condemnations from the Right? Where are the calls for treason proceedings? What about not dissenting during wartime? That’s what I thought, nada.

And, lest any of these hypocritical blowhards come out with the First Amendment defense: isn’t that your whole argument against the Park51 community center in Manhattan? That they can do it but that doesn’t mean they should? Though I disagree with the anti-Muslim furor over Park51, it seems the advice is pretty apt in this case. I won’t hold my breath waiting for Beck, Limbaugh or Hannity or any of the other propagandists to decry this fundamentalist fuck-nut: I might die, either from lack of oxygen or the cognitive dissonance making my brain explode.

Catching the Cordoba Crazies

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2010 by rottenart

You may have heard by now that plans are afoot in NYC to build a 13 story Muslim community center two blocks away from the WTC site. The center, dubbed The Cordoba House, has been garnering predictable right-wing ire since it was announced. Our very own cookie monster, Newt Gingrich has made it a pet cause of sorts, imploring the United states to give up on its 1st Amendment freedom of religion and act a little more like Saudi Arabia. $arah Palin, noted non-New Yorker and shameless grifter, has also inserted herself into the fray by making up words and comparing herself to Shakespeare. And those are just the GOP’s leaders’ idiotic thoughts on the subject. We’ve also seen offensive 9/11 porn set to appear on NYC buses and a cringe-worthy ‘song‘ denouncing the center. Deducing from their subtle and informed reasoning, the xenophobes just aren’t that into a mosque in lower Manhattan.

Now, if it were simply a case of ignorant morons and craven political hacks lashing out at a major world religion, then I could sort of see the logic. Privileged white people have been hating on other, more colorful people for a long time and scapegoating all of our country’s ills on some foreign Other is practically a national pastime. I could even cut them a little slack for being so concerned about the sacred ground at Ground Zero, despite their outright disdain for NYC on the 364 days a year that aren’t 9/11. Yes, I’m willing to concede a lot when it comes to ignorant arguments as long as they’re somewhat consistent.

But… SURPRISE! The wingnuts can’t even seem to keep their hate on target unless it’s an election year (you all saw that coming, no doubt). You see, prior to Newt burning some calories trying to turn us into Theocracy-Land and $arah the fame-whore mangling the English language there was already a heathen house of worship four blocks from our national sacred construction pit! Of course this doesn’t count the large number of other mosques in NYC, or even in that other over-compensating symbol of American virility, The Pentagon, which also has a mosque. Why, it’s almost as if America is comprised at all levels of people with different faiths that simply want to practice their own particular brand of mumbo-jumbo in peace accordng to the freedom that we prattle on so much about.

Sadly, this is not the case in today’s Real America™, where we don’t care what religion you are as long as it’s the right one. Witness the waffling of NY Governor David Paterson, who offered to give state land to the Cordoba House’s organizers if they agree to build somewhere else, which is obviously the complete opposite of the 1st Amendment (the organizers refused the offer). NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, to his credit, delivered an intelligent speech on the need for inclusion and tolerance which, predictably, was completely passed over. Not only that, Cordoba Craziness seems to be turning into a pandemic, with opposition to proposed mosques across the country reaching fever pitch.

I think someone should explain slowly and carefully to these lemmings that this sort of anti-Muslim behavior is exactly how Al-Qaeda describes us to the Muslim World. Is it so crazy to think that we should be working to counter-act their image of us as at war with Islam instead of proving their point? Newt, $arah, and the rest of the mouth-breathers know very well that this sort of demagoguery is helpful in firing up their base; the problem is that it’s becoming harder and harder to tell their base from our ostensible enemies.

The Docs of War

Posted in Philosophy, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2010 by rottenart

The political world is buzzing today about thousands of classified documents released to the press by Wikileaks, the secretive whistle-blower website, that give a harrowing and detailed look at the war in Afghanistan. It’s a long, hard slog, reading through the dump, which consist of memos, chat transcripts, e-mails, and other communications from 2004 to 2009. The White House has come out swinging in its denouncement of the leaks while Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, defends his decision to release them. Among the sea of documents are tales of special forces “assassination squads” meant to hunt Al Quaeda leaders, civilian deaths at the hands of Reaper Drones, riveting accounts of out-manned NATO forces facing Taliban fighters, revelations that Taliban forces have acquired surface-to-air missiles, and the barely surprising news that Pakistan’s intelligence service has been coordinating with the Taliban for some time. All in all, it’s a detailed, tedious look at how the war in Afghanistan has been prosecuted (notably, it must be said, under the Bush administration). However, the most shocking part of the release is exactly how not shocking it is.

Now, when I say not shocking, I mean it in the sense that the communications show exactly what many people know: war is ugly, brutal, criminal, and generally a horrible business. In this sense, the documents merely put the inner workings on display. Assange pointed out that, despite the White House criticism, the newest material is seven months old which absolves it from affecting current operations and personnel. Therefore, the impact they will have is mostly lifting a curtain on the day-to-day operations of war. As I said, for most people, the reaction is likely, “yes, and?” As to why the leak is important culturally and historically, well, that’s a different matter.

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