Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 7, 2009
By: Hilzoy

Dueling Videos

The Senate Republicans have put up an unusually boneheaded video about the idea of holding Guantanamo detainees in the US:

Something about 9/11 seems to have produced a kind of amnesia among some people on the right. It's as though they think that we have never before had to figure out such questions as: how can we hold dangerous people in detention safely? When someone has served his time and we think he might go on to do something bad, how might we monitor him to ensure that he doesn't? Suppose we have captured someone who might be guilty of a violent crime, but we do not have enough evidence to charge him: what should we do?

These are not problems that we confronted for the first time after 9/11. They have been with us from the founding of our country. We somehow managed to face down the world's most powerful empire, survive a brutal civil war, defeat Hitler, and live for about forty years with an immense arsenal of thermonuclear weapons pointed at our cities, and do all that without giving up on the rule of law. But let nineteen guys with boxcutters fly planes into our buildings and, apparently, we face a Brand New Existential Threat that causes our entire legal history to fly out of our collective heads.

To explain this point, and to prove that I too can make a movie with Carl Orff's 'O Fortuna' as the soundtrack, I present my own YouTube. (It's the first time I've ever made a movie. Be gentle.)

If we can't have dangerous people living among us, then we are going to have a whole lot of extra prisons sitting around empty.

Just saying.

Hilzoy 12:37 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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I like your ad better hilzoy. You could be the DNC's secret weapon in 2010. And thanks for posting before insomniac hours.:)

I guess the new wingnut meme is tying Obama to The Omen. The Socialist line wasn't working -- Maybe Barrack "Damien" Obama will deliver.

Posted by: Mr. Stuck on May 7, 2009 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Those prisons won't be empty after we fill them with you stupid liberals.

Posted by: ghost poet on May 7, 2009 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

If there's one thing we're really good at, it's maximum security prisons. This is really a pseudo-issue, not worth taking seriously...unless you're a Republican with nothing else to say.

Posted by: Etaoin Shrdlu on May 7, 2009 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

dont forget the Japanese..those Americans.

Posted by: aliasalias on May 7, 2009 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Why do you think republicans are pro death penalty? They don't want to lock anybody up. First the trial then the hanging.

Posted by: Thorin-1 on May 7, 2009 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

You really think the right will get the satire or just agree???

Posted by: bjobotts on May 7, 2009 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Those prisons won't be empty after we fill them with you stupid liberals.
Posted by: ghost poet on May 7, 2009 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

That's 3/4ths of the country nitwit. That rules out democracy huh? Who is "we"?...the minority of stupid?

Posted by: Joey on May 7, 2009 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

As someone who got out of the Dumbest State In The Union the day after I graduated high school and only went back for quickie visits to bury those family members too stupid to emulate my decision, I can only say that sending Gitmo detainees to Colorado would likely improve the place.

Evidence the place is that stupid: Ben Salazar and the moron they appointed to replace him in the Senate, neither of whom are Democrats.

Posted by: TCinLA on May 7, 2009 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

Geez, America's Funniest Videos was using Carmina Burana to score a crotch hits sequence 6 or 7 years ago because the music was overused and over-the-top THEN; but, in the Republican's world, there is no such thing, is there?

You have nothing to apologize for with your video. But remember, they are impossible to parody; the dumb goes all the way to 11.

Posted by: Jim 7 on May 7, 2009 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

'Super Villains'

A common meme among conservatives seems to be the use of 'Super Villains'. The older among us may remember the old CIA reports status reports on the Soviet Union: how it was a super-powerful military threat to the very existence of 'truth, justice, and the American Way`! These dire reports came out constantly right up to the time the Soviet Empire imploded.

When you think about it, how effective could an incarcerated Jihadi, isolated from his culture and without any significant support group, be in causing trouble or enacting some scheme domestically? The reliance in conservative circles for emotionally charged arguments over logical ones seems to be growing by the day.

Posted by: James M on May 7, 2009 at 3:46 AM | PERMALINK

Our prisons are just where Al Qaeda wants to be -- especially their evil leader, Sylar.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on May 7, 2009 at 5:11 AM | PERMALINK

Bravo! Absolutely wonderful; I'm going to spread this far and wide!

Posted by: blueshifter on May 7, 2009 at 6:08 AM | PERMALINK

This garbage represents the ultimate success of the Bush administration's racist fearmongering. There is no logical reason to not keep a terrorist in a US prison. If you were to ask any of these Republicans why an al-Qaeda operative is more dangerous to have here than a drug kingpin, the best they would be able to do would be to talk circles around the idea that brown people are scary.

This is pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. We've elevated Muslim extremism to such a mythical level that we can't even keep terrorists in jail less than an ocean away. That's exactly what they want. What we should be doing is marginalizing them, stripping them of the fear they command. This is counterproductive in the extreme.

Posted by: Rabi on May 7, 2009 at 6:48 AM | PERMALINK

Those prisons won't be empty after we fill them with you stupid liberals.
Posted by: ghost poet

That's only because I have a secret plan to convert all of our empty prison space into luxury condominiums, and then openly discriminate against Rush Limbaugh dittoheads, Michele Bachmann groupies,, FOXnoise addicts, and tea-party camp followers like you, ghost poet.

Youze guys get to ride in the rocket with the criminals you so dearly embrace---and no, there is no complimentary bag of peanuts. We're in a recession, for crying out loud!

Posted by: S. Waybright on May 7, 2009 at 6:50 AM | PERMALINK

On point...Fricking awesome...Skewer the right wing paranoid nuts in the USA... Prisons are a growth industry..And WashDc is where a lot of the biggest crooks live: the politcial class.

Posted by: Bugs Bunny on May 7, 2009 at 7:00 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, prisons ARE a growth industry. Some rural communities actually WANT to have prisons there, because they brings jobs and economic benefits. I've had some co-workers who have done research of the economic benefits to rural america of building prisons.

Of course, you must realize that all this is part of The One's evil socialistnazi plan. He'll build prisons in the Real America (as defined by Sarah Palin), and fill them up with terrorists. Then he'll lock up all the conservatives, having identified anyone to right of Eleanor Roosevelt as a terrorist too. Then he'll build FEMA reeducation camps where "volunteers" in Americorps will be indoctrinated in Madrassa-style training. There, real Americans will be brainwashed to convert to islam, abort their children, and ride public transit to their government jobs in the inner city.

Does this tinfoil hat make by butt look fat?

Posted by: Eeyore on May 7, 2009 at 7:38 AM | PERMALINK

BRAVO! BRAVO! That was awesome Hilzoy. Keep this in your back pocket. It's going to have to be posted again, and again, and again when G.Bay actually does close. I suspect this meme will be sung awfully loud by Clown Choir when that happens.

Posted by: Ronald on May 7, 2009 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

I'm no lawyer, but since not all of these guys have been proven guilty, can they sue the Republicans for defamation of character?

Posted by: nb on May 7, 2009 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Hilzoy, if that's your first, you're off to a rollicking start. Encore!

Posted by: Kevin the Baker on May 7, 2009 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

We have Maxwell AFB "Country Club Prison" down here. I'd feel perfectly safe with a few of them here to wash the golf clubs.

As far as the movie making: It sucks when Ken Burns does it, I hope you've gotten the zooming on pictures out of your system;>

Posted by: martin on May 7, 2009 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Very nice........ now you'll have to do one of U.S. Presidents shaking scary leaders' hands as well.

Posted by: about time on May 7, 2009 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

my god, they really expect us to pee our pants at the very sight of these people! Your movie was brilliant, Hilzoy.

Posted by: sceptic on May 7, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK


Oh sorry I forgot I was supposed to be gentle.

Highly effective, I say. Your film caused me to laugh out loud (gently).

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on May 7, 2009 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks!!! It was brilliant, especially the committee name at the end. I laughed and pounded the arm of my chair and the cat ran away.

I live in northeastern Kansas and would be fine with these people being in Leavenworth. It's a federal prison. We keep lots of dangerous people locked up.

Posted by: Kathryn Huxtable on May 7, 2009 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Awesome, dude. We need to resume the English Empire mode: the new Botany Bay.

Posted by: Bill H on May 7, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

I literally laughed out loud. Good stuff.

It should have ended with a clip similar to the one at the end of the first one. Or heck, you could have just used the same clip.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 7, 2009 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

As someone who got out of the Dumbest State In The Union the day after I graduated high school and only went back for quickie visits to bury those family members too stupid to emulate my decision, I can only say that sending Gitmo detainees to Colorado would likely improve the place.

As long as South Carolina and Mississippi are in the union, Colorado isn't the dumbest, not by a longshot.

Posted by: Vincent on May 7, 2009 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Ye Gads, that's it. We've got a space shuttle program that's winding down in 2010-11. What are we going to do with all those shuttles? Easy! Fill 'em up with terrists and shoot em out into space. Uh, wait, didn't they do that in Superman 2? Ooh, that didn't work out so well...Wait, I know, we could shoot over to Mars!...Uh, no, isn't that what happened with Khan in Star Trek 2? Hell, he damn near blew up the universe. DAMN! I hate sequels.

Posted by: Da Fish on May 7, 2009 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Nice film, though.

Posted by: Da Fish on May 7, 2009 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

That video was hi-larious.

Posted by: Tricky Buddha on May 7, 2009 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

The gopers "We got nothing But Fear" tour continues. I think the majority of the country has moved beyond this despite the Republicans chronic bedwetting. Besides, the Repugs "super villians" include "Bin Laden's messenger" and some poor schmuck that "fought with the Taliban" and looks to be about 13, really? They forgot Bin Laden's dreaded houseboy and live-in maid.

P.S. It is past time for Sen Pat Roberts' "watch" to be over.

Posted by: ckelly on May 7, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Very good job. Taking this to the next level would be excellent strategy. Every time a scary ad is run on TeeVee, produce a cheap parody and run it within 24 hours on the same network. Soon people will actually look forward to it the way I look forward to The Daily Show's skewering of daily nonsense. As someone noted the other day, there is no more effective weapon against this idiocy than making it the butt of jokes.

Posted by: Chopin on May 7, 2009 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

ckelly: Omar Khadr was 15 when captured (14 when picture taken.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on May 7, 2009 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

So, just because we could detain and "handle" the Gitmo prisoners at various spots in the Continental U.S. we should do that because???? Yeah, we fought the Germans and Japanese but I don't think we brought a bunch of the prisoners back to the U.S. This closing Gitmo thing is just symbolic pandering. Keep it open, keep the prisoners there or let them go back to their own countries if that is the right thing to do.

Posted by: jamby on May 7, 2009 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK


I like your idea. Run riposte within 24 hours to teh stupid.

Omar Khadr was a very unlikely threat at 15, but imagine what he'd be like now if he had the opportunity. Guantanamo--send your kid here for terrorist training, we'll do it right!

Picking a nit, Hilzoy--IMHO you need to refer to the background music as the "O Fortuna" theme from Orff's Carmina Burana.

And speaking of Carmina Burana, I doubt that the conservatives making the original video have any idea of what the words in Carmina Burana mean. "O Fortuna" means "O Fate", and talks about the implacability of fate and its utter indifference to the cares and concerns of us puny humans. Pretty far from the "God as micromanager" belief of many fundies. Later in Carmina Burana, "Ego sum abbas Cucaniencis", sung by a baritone soloist, is an abbot celebrating, shall we say, secular joys of life, answered by a lusty men's chorus, presumably of monks, in a rousing drinking (and other joys) song. The overall theme of Carmina Burana, as far as I can tell, is carpe diem, because life is short and Fate doesn't give a shit.

Poor conservatives. So full of fear, so driven mad by it.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on May 7, 2009 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Bravo, Hilzoy! Michael Moore, move over.

Posted by: buddy66 on May 7, 2009 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Really good. Enlarge the type on the crimes next time you do one of these (and I hope you'll do more because you ARE good).

Posted by: catherineD on May 7, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Just saw this featured on 'The Rachel Maddow Show'. That was brilliant. Excellent response!

Posted by: Treacy on May 7, 2009 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, we fought the Germans and Japanese but I don't think we brought a bunch of the prisoners back to the U.S.

Yes, we did. Hundreds of thousands of them, dumbass. You're obviouly a dude, or you would have read Summer Of My German Soldier, and this would not be news to you.

Hilzoy, this was brilliant. You're obviously a natural, so you are now obligated to keep mocking.

Posted by: hamletta on May 8, 2009 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Most excellent. The GOP is becoming more comically pathetic with every passing day.

Posted by: Convolutor on May 9, 2009 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK



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