Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 7, 2009

THEY'RE NOT SUPER VILLAINS; THEY LACK SUPER POWERS.... Literally every attack Republicans have thrown at the Obama administration has been a dud. Some have been more embarrassing than others, but when "socialism" started polling well, it probably should have been a signal to the GOP to reevaluate their smear tactics.

Now, however, Republicans leaders are very excited about the new line of attack. Today, they're rallying support for the "Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act." This follows up on arguments from January, and the message hasn't improved since.

The GOP argument is that the president, by closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, may move as many as 250 detainees to detention facilities in the U.S. Congressional Republicans want to make that next to impossible, arguing that Obama would put American lives at risk by bringing suspected terrorists onto American soil.

This is a very stupid argument.

There are multiple angles to this, but let's cut to the chase: we already lock up some extraordinarily dangerous people in maximum-security facilities. Al Qaeda suspects may be scary, but they don't have super powers. Obama isn't going to just drop off bad guys on Main Street and ask them to play nice.

I'll just quote Jon Stewart's commentary from January, which summed up the problem nicely. In a message to Republicans, the "Daily Show" host explained:

"I know you guys are freaking out, but you know what we in these United States do better than anyone? Imprison people.

"We've got 2.3 million people locked up. Per capita, we're #1... But these detainees are 'the worst of the worst'; the creme de la crud; they want to kill Americans. Yeah, unlike our current inmate population of jaywalkers, cream puffs and boy scouts who only want to hug Americans [images of Charles Manson, Tim McVeigh, et al, on screen].

"Look, I know you're Republicans so you don't watch MSNBC, but check it out on the weekends. They have this 6-10 hour block called 'Lockup.' [video shows a prisoner saying, 'I pulled his brain out and took a bite out of it'] We can't handle these piddly punks from Guantanamo? I'll put a good, old fashioned, USA born and raised, brain0eater against any of those motherf***ers. Any of them. USA! USA!

"Let's stop pretending these Guantanamo guys are all super villains. They're thugs and jackasses, not Magneto. If they had mutant powers we would've known by now. But you don't want them on our soil. I understand. We're safe as long as they're in Cuba with 90 miles of ocean between us. Yeah, nobody could ever make that harrowing journey -- oh, except maybe a six-year-old with access to high-tech innertube technology. I know Janet Reno would like you to believe that Elian got here on the wings of a magical schnauzer, but no! It might be comforting to keep these prisoners in legal limbo, but the thing is they're not actually in limbo. They still exist. So until we can come up with an actual limbo, a phantom zone so to speak, I'll take my chances with the system that's been able to contain the brain-eater guy."

It's hard to know for sure whether Republicans know all of this, but are desperate for an effective attack (in which case they're lying), or if they actually believe their own nonsense (in which case they're fools). Either way, the "Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act" is absurd.

Steve Benen 2:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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Comments

Does this mean they're going to kick out groups like the KKK and the Aryan Nations (who are also considered terrorist groups), too?

Oh you mean, non whites. Oh, okay.

Posted by: Former Dan on May 7, 2009 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

on the other hand, locking a braineater up with a republican would constitute "cruel and unusual punishment." the poor guy would starve to death.

Posted by: mellowjohn on May 7, 2009 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Why do Republicans hate our hard working American corrections officers? Why don't they trust those hard working Americans to do their jobs?

Posted by: pParkerT on May 7, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Former Dan: Hate to break it to you, man, but persons of Arabic and Persian extraction are, actually, "white". As in Caucasian. So that won't work either! What are the GOP hate-mongers to do?!

Now what amazes me is how desperately they're trying to have it both ways. The US is Numero Uno in the World, winning in Iraq and whatnot, but it cannot successfully incarcerate a bunch of terrorists? You just can't do that, folks. Either we're strong, or we're weak. And if we're afraid of a bunch of terrorists sitting IN JAIL on American soil, we've got bigger problems.

Posted by: FreeProton on May 7, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

It's worth noting that the federal correctional officers -- the people who will actually guard the prisoners -- support bringing them to the US as well.

Posted by: b on May 7, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Bring them to Colorado! We already have the Unabomber, Terry Nichols, and Ramzi Yousef. And we had Tim McVeigh before he was executed. The ADX Florence supermax facility probably has better security than Guantanamo Bay.

Posted by: fostert on May 7, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

One catch-all answer for the Republicans when they start saying the government isn't competent to keep these scary terrorists safely locked away (or to run a competitive health coverage system, or to run the large finance companies better than the morons who nearly destroyed the world economy, etc., etc.) --

You're right, the government wasn't competent when the REPUBLICANS were running things.


Posted by: SteveT on May 7, 2009 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

I, for one, am angry that the insouciant Obama administration has been dragging its feet on this. How long will we continue to park our terrorist prisoners within easy grasp of our crazy and implacable enemy and landlord, Cuba?

Posted by: Boolaboola on May 7, 2009 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect what really worries Republicans is that the detainees will get spread around the country, and eventually get access to lawyers, journalists, doctors or psychologists who aren't in on the plan, or just other inmates who spread stories of abuse and wrongful detention.

Posted by: Danp on May 7, 2009 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

They don't them here because we have laws that govern how prisoners are to be treated. Our wimpy prison don't have systematic torture and very specific rules regarding solitary confinement. We actually have to let prisoners exercise, and we can't even keep their eyes and ears covered for months, or lock them up in 'The Hole' for days and weeks. No slamming walls or bug infested food.

We would be forced to treat them like human beings rather then worthless animals and by god, republicans will have none of that.

One more thing, the "Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act". Does it require a conviction or does it assume all at Gitmo are terrorists ?

Posted by: ScottW on May 7, 2009 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP is now almost entirely populated by Silly People.
I should like to see them in a Sillywalking contest.

Posted by: Cazart on May 7, 2009 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

"...but are desperate for an effective attack (in which case they're lying)..."

Liars. Demagogues. They are "rocking the boat themselves and trying to persuade everyone there is a terrible storm at sea."

They do not have the skills need to effectively govern a modern society and they know it. But rather than do the research and understand what it takes to govern an complex urban society, they choose to stay on the sidelines and throw toxic spitwads at the audience.

Posted by: Kurt on May 7, 2009 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect what really worries Republicans is that the detainees will get spread around the country, and eventually get access to lawyers, journalists, doctors or psychologists who aren't in on the plan,

Eh, maybe. But I'm just going to chalk it up to Republicans being a bunch of cowards who think everyone else is a coward just like them. These guys are afraid of everything.

Starting with the assumption that the core base of the GOP is a bunch of cowards actually explains a lot about how they vote and who they vote for. It doesn't cover everything 100%, but it certainly makes a lot of things make a whole lot of sense.

Posted by: NonyNony on May 7, 2009 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans have their panties all in a twist, scared out of their poor little heads that a terrorist might break out of a domestic prison and hurt them. They need to take 3 deep breaths, have a glass of warm milk, listen to their favorite Barry Manilow album, and just plain calm down a little bit.

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on May 7, 2009 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't you all sleep a lot better at night if America just had a "Keep Republicans Out Of America Act?" I know I would....

Posted by: S. Waybright on May 7, 2009 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Look, it's simple: just introduce a counter bill to close all federal prisons in those communities represented by Republicans who sponsor this bill. After all, if their constituents are so frightened, they surely don't want any prisons in their neighborhoods. Of course, it'll mean they'll lose all those jobs (especially in rural areas) but that's OK with them, right? Right?

Posted by: Stefan on May 7, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Man, I guess all those guns and ammo are just for show.

I would have thought they'd be itchin' to take a crack at some escaped Ay-rab terrorist.

Posted by: Jon on May 7, 2009 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

I'm on board with Stefan's plan!

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on May 7, 2009 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

This is a very stupid argument.

Well, duh, it came from a Republican.

Posted by: Joe the Palin on May 7, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK
* It prohibits the Obama administration from transferring any Guandetainee to any state without approval from that state’s legislature and governor

They cribbed this from this last season of Battlestar Galactica, when the Cylon jumpdrives could not be installed on any ship without the approval from the ship's captain.

The Republican party really doesn't have any new ideas.

Posted by: inkadu on May 7, 2009 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Man, I guess all those guns and ammo are just for show.

No they are to to compensate for their small penises. Just like their Penis Compensation Mobiles, whoops I meant Sport Utility Vehicles.

Posted by: thorin-1 on May 7, 2009 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'm on board with Stefan's plan, too, especially if it's done right now, before the 2010 census. Because the prison population is counted as "local", not where the prisoners actually come from, *a lot* rides on prisons. Not just jobs for the locals but also redistricting, how the federal money is apportioned, etc, etc, etc.

Posted by: exlibra on May 7, 2009 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Let me know when the "Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act" clears committee.
. . . jim strain in san diego.

Posted by: Jim Strain on May 7, 2009 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

fostert: No, Colorado is no good. Sen. Johanns of Nebraska has already said that the supermax in Colorado is too close to his state, and insists that people there are peeing their pants at the prospect.

Posted by: Redshift on May 7, 2009 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

FreeProton: I doubt you'll get any Republican to agree that Arabs and Persians are "white." "Caucasian" doesn't mean, like, originating from the Caucasus region or anything, it means good normal 'Merkins!

Posted by: Redshift on May 7, 2009 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Johanns of Nebraska has already said that the supermax in Colorado is too close to his state, and insists that people there are peeing their pants at the prospect.

I wonder if any of these people and Senators pissing in their pants over imprisoning The Big Bad Terrorists here understand what a Supermax prison actually is. It's given that name for a reason, though they're apparently too dumb to realize that.

Posted by: electrolite on May 7, 2009 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK
on the wings of a magical schnauzer

ROFLMAO

Personally I think we should bring them to America and dump them on the street in front of George W. Bush's home.

Posted by: MarkH on May 7, 2009 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

It's actually a step backward.

"Socialist!" Meh. Whatever.
"Fascist!" Huh? Are you feeling okay?
"Pedophile Sympathizer!" Oh, get a life.
"Terrorist importer!" *snicker* 'Fess up. You're completely dry, aren't you?

"Um? Hitler?"

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on May 7, 2009 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

I understand why Cantor has to talk nice to Shelby, but is there no one in the Senate willing to call him out for his cowardice and contempt for the brave people of his state?

Here's an offer. We've got three medium security prisons here in Illinois. Go ahead and put those sad sacks from Gitmo in Marion, Greenville, or Pekin until they figure out which of them are actual criminals. No big deal, just pass along some nuisance funding so we don't have to pay ourselves to repair the damage the reporters do to our lawns. We might also need some help cleaning the furniture in our bars, motels, and restaurants from all the wingnuts pissing and soiling themselves for fear of the terrorist boogey men.

Posted by: Midland on May 7, 2009 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

方正测评

Posted by: meilizh on May 8, 2009 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

Having these prisoners in your state would be a pretty decent economic boost with beefed up security funding, the press crowding around and then the trials. Like a convention that lasts five years.

Posted by: Th on May 8, 2009 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK

Midland - Aren't you worried that, by bringing them here, one of them will take a shine to Gov. Ryan?

Posted by: Kdog on May 8, 2009 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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