Newt Gingrich’s All-in Fear Mongering

This is absolutely amazing. Newt Gingrich is being taken seriously on the issue of national security on Meet the Press today. I’ll have to update this post when the video becomes available, but I suspect Crooks and Liars will doubtless already have something up before then.

Newt actually said on the air that “you should be afraid.” Well, that’s a wonderfully nuanced policy position. Exactly the kind of thing you want out of a loyal opposition party.

But most amusing of all is that, in two sentences, Newt managed to both insist that President Obama is practically identical to the Bush Administration on most matters associated with national defense, and then when asked by Dick David Gregory if the nation is less safe with President Obama, he answered, “Yes.” Seemingly devoid of any sense of irony, too.

Another note on the meme building up on Military Commissions: we’ve used military commissions since we’ve had a military, starting with George Washington. And it was George Washington who set the precedent against torture in US military tradition. Just because they’re called the same thing that they were under the Bush Administration doesn’t make them wrong: people arrested on the field of battle, as most of those in Guantanamo were picked up literally on a field of battle in Afghanistan, should be tried in military courts. That’s the right way to do it, and there’s no reason to think that military courts are unjust, unless we’re really going to rethink our relationship with our military.

The problem with the Bush-era military tribunals was the mechanics of those tribunals which were pretty clearly contrary to the Constitution and the history of military justice in this country for two centuries. That’s rather significant in the discussion, not that you’re going to hear it much.



Fear has run amok in the United States in the last few months since the election. We liked talking about hope – and apparently, even voting for it – but we seem convinced we’re doomed. Take all the talk about eruptions at Yellowstone National Park. There hasn’t been one in 70,000 years, there hasn’t been an earth-shaking one in 640,000 years and hundreds of tremors happen every single year since then, but doomsday’ers are convinced that this is the moment when everything changes.

Oyie. For chrissakes, people. If you’re going to panic, lets try focusing on a good, old fashioned bank run, shall we?


The Weapon

Lyrics by Niel Peart of Rush. I’ve always loved this song, but upon recently getting the remastered version of the Signals album, it occurred to me how the current situation seems even more relevant to the lyrics than the Cold War era he wrote them about. I’ve taken the liberty of adding some pictorial links for emphasis:

We’ve got nothing to fear but fear itself
Not fate, not failure, not fatal tragedy
Not the faulty units in this mad machinery
Not the broken contacts in emotional chemistry

With an iron fist in a velvet glove
We are sheltered under the gun
In the glory game or the power train
Thy kingdom‘s will be done

And the things that we fear
Are a weapon to be held against us


He’s not afraid of your judgment
He knows of horrors worse than your hell
He’s a little bit afraid of dying, but he’s a lot more afraid of you lying

And the things that he fears
Are a weapon to be held against him

Can any part of life be larger than life?
Even love must be limited by time
And those who push us down that they might climb
Is any killer worth more than his crime?

Like a steely blade in a silken sheath
We don’t see what they’re made of
They shout about love, but when push comes to shove
They live for things they’re afraid of

And the knowledge that they fear
Is a weapon to be used against them


Aaah! We’re All Gonna Die!!

So sayeth the Republican Party.

Anyway, looks like a great movie, but the tag line could use a bit of work: “Tell House Democrats to stop playing games with politics. (look for the Countdown to Death video game, based on this commercial, at your local Game Stop soon!!) “