Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 4, 2010

QUOTE OF THE DAY.... Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) doesn't want Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the failed car bombing in Times Square, to be Mirandized. Neither does Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.).

"Did they Mirandize him? I know he's an American citizen but still," King said.

"But still"? What does that mean, exactly?

Keep in mind, King will be the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee next year if Republicans retake the House majority.

Come to think of it, there are a few other things to keep in mind. First, as a practical matter, we know that the Mirandizing suspects does not undermine our national security interests. For decades, this wasn't even a subject open to debate until Republicans decided last year this might be exploited politically to confused scared voters.

Second, on Fox News this morning, both Glenn Beck and Andrew Napolitano supported following the law and Mirandizing Shahzad. Congratulations, John McCain and Pete King, you're now slightly less reasonable than Fox News personalities.

Third, as Matt Yglesias noted, reading a suspect his/her rights isn't just some nicety: "[T]o give [a suspect] the death penalty, or indeed any penalty, you need to put him on trial. Which is to say you need to prove that the guy in custody is actually responsible for the crime. And the whole reason cops mirandize suspects is that if you don't, you risk having your evidence thrown out of court. If you gather all the information before mirandizing, you could be throwing the whole thing into doubt. Which is why professionals give out the warning."

And finally there's this important contextual observation from Adam Serwer: "Yesterday, when the primary suspect in the attempted bombing of Times Square was a middle-aged white guy, Republican leaders were the picture of calm, sober leadership. High-ranking Republicans on committees related to national security like Pete Hoekstra and Peter King urged people not to jump to conclusions, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised New Yorkers for not succumbing to fear.... That was yesterday."

Steve Benen 11:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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It's pointing out the obvious, but the word "race" certainly has some bearing on the change in response from the Southern Confederate White People's Treason Party.

Posted by: TCinLA on May 4, 2010 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

"But still"? What does that mean, exactly?

It means: "But he's still a swarthy Middle Eastern foreigner with a funny sounding name who doesn't belong in "our" country and who ought to be tortured."

King couldn't come right out and admit his racism, but that's what it boils down to.

Posted by: electrolite on May 4, 2010 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

The rule of law does not mean anything to the conservatives.

Posted by: dk on May 4, 2010 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Has Peter King been abducted in the night and subjected to waterboarding until he reveals his ties to the IRA?

I know he's an American citizen, but still...

Posted by: TR on May 4, 2010 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

And by that, these statements are a pretty clear appeal to fear. Literally everything is about regaining political power. If they were so interested in retaining political power you think they could try governing responsibly but nooooo, it's easier to just do whatever the hell they want and screw everything up, then scream like babies about anything with Democrats are in power.

Posted by: dk on May 4, 2010 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Why is it that people think Mirandizing is some type of magic fairy dust that grants special protection? A Miranda warning doesn't create rights for criminal defendants, it merely informs the arrested person that those rights exist. As a thought experiment, imagine that we told everyone who gets arrested that penguins live in Antarctica. Failing to tell this to a suspect wouldn't (by itself) cause the extinction of penguins.

Perhaps what they are trying to get at is saying we should deny suspects accused of terrorism of their 5th amendment right against self-incrimination. If that's the case, please come out and say it.

Posted by: Confused on May 4, 2010 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Ironic about the top two RepuG candidates in the last election. McCain misunderstands the ajudication of Miranda vs. Arizona. When St Sarah was asked by Couric about any Supreme Court decisions she found to be important, she said nothing about Exxon vs Alaska. Ah, the "Best and Brighest" of their respective states.

Posted by: berttheclock on May 4, 2010 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

As soon as I heard the suspect was a naturalized American citizen of Pakistani descent, I knew exactly the kind of ride we were in for. These people are as predictable as the phases of the moon.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on May 4, 2010 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

TR beat me to it.

Some terrorists are more better than others.


Posted by: spork_incident on May 4, 2010 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

And Adam Serwer is correct: if this had turned out to be some middle-aged white Tea Partier, McCain would have been on teevee hurrumping about how "we need to wait until the facts are in" and how "he's an American citizen, and is due his legal rights." Now that the guy turns out to be Pakistani, it's to hell with his rights as a U.S. citizen; send him to Gitmo and torture away.

It's way, way past time for McCain to do the nation a favor and retire. He's a disgrace.

Posted by: electrolite on May 4, 2010 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

It's a trap... This is a deliberate strategy to move the conversation from "Awesome capture of bad guys by the Obama/Holder/Police teams" to "Mirandizing bad guys"...

DON'T fall for it, the "Progressive Infrastructure" (as Krugman calls it) should not be baited into this, and should continue to highlight that supporters of effective weel-funded law enforcement officials (Fed & local) won and the bad guys lost.

Posted by: Ohioan on May 4, 2010 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

What is the matter with King and McCain, why wait, just execute him now and get it over with? Save the cost of a trial.

He is guilty as hell, isn't he. Why, the newspapers said so, it must be true.

Posted by: Marc on May 4, 2010 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

It isn't Mirandizing these guys want to away with, it is the Rule of Law. To Peter King and John McCain's way of thinking stinking Muslim terrorists don't deserve no rights. They should be waterboarded until they talk and then shot as foreign sabatours like the enemies they are. That this guy is an American citizen and was caught inside the US has no bearing on it. We are at war and in a war spies and sabatours are shot after being torturerd.

The idea that the Rule of Law protects all of us from being wrongfully accused is meaningless to the Republicans like McCain and King. The law is meant for Christians, not Muslims.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 4, 2010 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

When a possible suspect was a white middle-aged guy, the Republicans were urging calm...indeed. Considering that such a person might have been linked with a far-right militia or the Tea Party -- both of which our "modern" Republicans seem to support -- must stay calm.

However, now that it appears that the suspect is a (brown and middle-eastern) nationalized citizen, it's definitely time to lose our cool and ramp up the fear quotient!

We definitely have an "enemy within" this country, and it's those who are ready and eager to destroy and/or undermine the U.S. Constitution. Most of them have an "R" after their names.

Posted by: winddancer on May 4, 2010 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Note to King, who apparently found his law degree in the bottom of a box of Cracker Jack: It doesn't matter if he's an American citizen; you still need to mirandize him. Oh and BTW, the guy has apparently now confessed -- a confession that would be thrown out had he not been mirandized.

Posted by: mauro on May 4, 2010 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

A Miranda warning doesn't create rights for criminal defendants, it merely informs the arrested person that those rights exist.

Not to mention that the whole point of due process is to safeguard the innocent from unjust prosecution. Presumption of innocence, and all that. What McCain and King are saying to their more mentally challenged constituents is "hey, we already know he's guilty, based on his ethnicity and what we heard on the news."

It's really just craven political opportunism, but hey if it wins them a few more votes, what the hell...

Posted by: DelCapslock on May 4, 2010 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

White guys like McVeigh have the right to Miranda warnings, but brown people, no.

Posted by: Bob M on May 4, 2010 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

republicans are terrorists sympathizers. they want to spread fear

Posted by: merl on May 4, 2010 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Presumably the Cheneys will be in high dudgeon on the Sunday talk shows.

Posted by: bob h on May 4, 2010 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Every time these idiots start up like this, I think of this passage from Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

Posted by: Needles on May 4, 2010 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

... to conclusions, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised New Yorkers for not ...

- Getting ahead of yourself, Steve ?!!

Posted by: Goldilocks on May 4, 2010 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Was McCain really the other candidate campaigning to run this country?

Will the 65 million voters who got President Obama into office be allowed to fully understand what they/we saved this nation from, voters who are made to suffer every single day by Fox and Talk News for picking the best man for the job, when actually those voters deserve a resounding Thank You.

Posted by: Skip on May 4, 2010 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

I can feel my blood beginning to boil ever time Steve King utters a word.
Steve King was a big supporter/fundraiser for IRA terrorism in England and Northern Ireland and may
be responsible for many deaths there!

Posted by: jJS on May 4, 2010 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

as Matt Yglesias noted... : "[T]o give [a suspect] the death penalty, or indeed any penalty, you need to put him on trial"

Unless, that is, said suspect has been deemed an enemy combatant by President Obama or one of his successors.
Then we can just take him/her out.

Posted by: smartalek on May 4, 2010 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Wow a lot of hate here to bad it is skewed by your political beliefs. First off Obama had NOTHING to do with this capture don't fool yourself (to who ever made that comment) and the AG well under his watch DC had the highest murder rate in the country.

But now to the question at hand. This person regardless or race or origin committed an act of terrorism as such under the constitution he is an enemy combatant. Combatatants are not given the same rights as a civilian. Therefore he did not need to be mirandized.

As for you who are just bashing the use of torture all you keep talking about is water boarding it sucks yes. But it is not going to kill you. ( and yes I have been, while on duty in the US Army)

You are pointing fingers at one party but what has this president done except bring us a super power down to the level of everyone else. Yeah let's just all talk nice and things will be ok. Come on that won't work. We need strong leadership which we don't have.

That's my opinion I am sure you all disagree so flame away.

Posted by: Cj on May 4, 2010 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Look, it's a set-up. I wouldn't be surprised if this whole thing was a covert right wing attempt at diverting attention from the oil spill which could mobilize people to demand more environmental protections. That would make it hard for the courageous and noble corporations like BP. The tea partiers are avowedly violent and it wouldn't be hard to find a patsy who happened to have brown skin. What did they offer him? Maybe getting his family out of Pakistan? Maybe 72 virgins/raisins? A new Pathfinder? Maybe dinner with Rush and Glen?

Sounds far-fetched and I don't have any *direct* evidence, but I'm just saying...you know... it's not inconceivable...

Posted by: stevenz on May 4, 2010 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

I know I'm a third generation American citizen who happens to have brown skin and should not be afraid to be in Arizona without some sort of id. But still...

Posted by: Tony V on May 4, 2010 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

What does that mean, exactly?

That means that McCain does not believe in our Constitution any more than Osama bin Laden does. That means that McCain is violating his oath of office to uphold and protect the Constitution.

That means that McCain is, at least, a cynical lying opportunistic politician who will sell his patriotism to the highest bidder when it suits him, and at worst, a Fascist Traitor, who would prefer to see western culture devolve back to pre-Magna-Carta times.

Maybe we shouldn't mirandize McCain.

@Cj - you're quick to jump up and inform everyone that you've been through and suffered and served as a warrior for our nation, and deserve all that honor and glory. . . yet, at the same time, you want to heap that on this creep too?

The Constitution does NOT declare him an "enemy combatant". NOWHERE in the US Constitution will you see that term. That term is a legal fiction, invented by ignorant lawyer, John Yoo, and penciled into the "patriot act" approved by an administration composed almost entirely of Vietnam era draft-dodgers, who are utterly clueless even on the simple matter of safe and sane handling of firearms while quail-hunting, let alone wielding the massive power of the US military.

This idiot is nothing more than a common criminal. He deserves the humiliation of a fair and open trial and life imprisonment. NOT the glorification and martyrdom afforded a soldier. Just because THEY say "Holy War!" doesn't make them soldiers. They're just thugs and criminals. Throw them in jail.

I'll salute the flag for you on Veteran's day, and I'll pray for your soul on Sunday. On Independence Day? I won't even think about you, because you and your kind have NOTHING to do with what happened on July 4th, 1776.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 4, 2010 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Hey remember when the rounded up the friends and family of that teabagger who flew his plane into the IRS building in Texas a few months ago?

Me neither.

In fact he got so little coverage I can't think of the republican terrorists name nor the name of his vietnam-vet victim.

Winston Smith wins again.

Posted by: feckless on May 5, 2010 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

In many ways ther

Posted by: internet marketing specialist on December 28, 2010 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK



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