Fox News: Terrorist hackers will get your car

Does everyone who listens to Fox News live in fear? Can Fox viewers not sleep at night because of all the terrorists under their beds?

I was trying to ignore a recent Fox News interview with a guy named Morgan Wright, who said terrorists hackers are waiting to take over your car electronically and made some reference to planes flying into buildings on Sept. 11, 2001. But it turns out that this isn’t the first time Fox ventured into al-Qaeda-at-the-wheel terrain.

I know the Fox News demographic is old people, but when its reporters and commentators say the solution is getting a horse and buggy, or driving cars from the 1960s, it just seems like the perfect Fox story: Combine nostalgia with paranoia.

Besides, we’re all dead anyway when Skynet becomes self-aware:

The GOP’s wish … with a capital W

Wow! Mitt Romney was such a bad candidate that Republicans are now longing for the charisma of former president “He Who Shall Not Be Named.” (From the National Journal):

As Republicans reassess their future in the presidential wilderness, seeking a message and messenger to resonate with a new generation of voters, one unlikely name has popped up as a role model: former President George W. Bush.

Prominent Republicans eager to rebuild the party in the wake of the 2012 election are pointing to Bush’s successful campaigns for Hispanic votes, his efforts to pass immigration reform, and his mantra of “compassionate conservatism.” Bush won 35 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2000 and at least 40 percent in 2004, a high-water mark for a Republican presidential candidate. …

These signs of wear and tear to the Republican brand are prompting some of Bush’s critics to acknowledge his political foresight and ability to connect with a diverse swath of Americans, although the economic crash and unpopular wars on his watch make it unlikely he will ever be held up as a great president.

“Unlikely” is understating it. “Never” is the correct word.

But the whole idea of “compassionate conservatism” is an oxymoron to begin with. It’s just that the phrase was  enough to convince media hacks that you can go after programs like Social Security (which Bush did at the beginning of his second term) in a caring manner. “Compassionate Conservatives” told lies to put is in an unnecessary war when it should have focused our military on the real enemy in a cave in another country, gave billions of dollars to the super rich in tax cuts, turned a budget surplus into a huge deficit and alienated nearly every minority group in the nation.

Then it plunged us into a financial disaster.

Because it lost the last presidential elections, the GOP wants us to get the warm fuzzies by remembering the eight years of Bush the Dumber, the person the party totally pretended never existed during the campaign.

That’s why you call it the Stupid Party.


The evil of religious fanatics

GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney attacked President Obama for sympathizing with Islamic extremists after a mob in Libya killed the U.S. ambassador over a movie trailer that was deemed offensive to Muslims.

There are so many things wrong with the preceding paragraph.

1) The movie was some amateur job done by a scumbag in California who turns out to not be who he says he is. In fact, the full movie may not even exist.

In a telephone interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, a man identifying himself as a 52-year-old real-estate developer in California, Sam Bacile, said he had made the film. Saying he was an Israeli-American who had created the film with the backing of Jewish donors, he described Islam as a “cancer.” One of the video clip’s promoters provided the name and contact details for a Sam Bacile, a name that matched the one on the account used to post the clip in July to Google Inc.’s YouTube.

Since that article was published, questions have emerged about the identity of the purported filmmaker. The Journal was unable to reach the man calling himself Mr. Bacile for further comment and as of Wednesday, the telephone number had been disconnected.

A records search turned up no references to any men in the U.S. by the name Sam Bacile. Israeli officials in the U.S. and Israel said they haven’t found any records of an Israeli by the name of Bacile.

2) Islamic extremists are crazy enough to kill people over a movie trailer. There is an ugliness to the core of religious fanatics that is a threat to every living person on the planet. (From John Cole):

The victory in the Libyan elections of nationalist rather than fundamentalist forces, and the rise to power in Egypt of the relatively moderate Muslim Brotherhood has marginalized the militant strain of Muslim activism, known coloquially as ‘jihadis’ because of their emphasis on vigilante violence. The vigilante fundamentalists were small but dangerous groups in Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya and in Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt, and both governments reacted by attacking them and arbitrarily imprisoning them.

The vigilante fundamentalists typically reject elections and democracy, as inauthentic Western imports, and they are headline whores, plotting out attention-grabbing mob actions. These jihadis are tiny groups in Egypt and Libya, though sometimes well-armed and well-trained.

You could make an analogy to the Ku Klux Klan in the United States, which just has perhaps 5,000 active members. But people like Wade Michael Page, who had applied for Klan membership, can make a media splash by simply shooting down people at e.g. a Sikh Temple.

3) President Obama never sympathized with the mob. That was a Romney lie. Mitt Romney made the statement after the murders occurred, though the statement he referred to came from one of the two U.S. embassies under siege before the mob attacked. The Embassy was trying to calm the crowd before it turned ugly, and Romney used that defensive move to score political points.

The reaction against Romney has been scathing (From Buzz Feed):

“They were just trying to score a cheap news cycle hit based on the embassy statement and now it’s just completely blown up,” said a very senior Republican foreign policy hand, who called the statement an “utter disaster” and a “Lehman moment” — a parallel to the moment when John McCain, amid the 2008 financial crisis, failed to come across as a steady leader.

He and other members of both parties cited the Romney campaign‘s recent dismissals of foreign policy’s relevance. One adviser dismissed the subject to BuzzFeed as a “shiny object,” while another told Politico that the subject was the “president’s turf,” drawing a rebuke from Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.

“I guess we see now that it is because they’re incompetent at talking effectively about foreign policy,” said the Republican. “This is just unbelievable — when they decide to play on it they completely bungle it.”

Romney has not backed off the response — “It’s never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values,” he said Wednesday — but his campaign faces a near consensus in Republican foreign policy circles that, whatever the sentiment, Romney faltered badly.

Yes, you read that right. The criticisms are coming from Republicans. This was a massive screw up by Romney. He really doesn’t want to win this race.

Sept. 11, 2012: a word from Dick Cheney

As the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. comes to a close, here’s something to think about:

Dick Cheney went on the offensive against President Obama in a statement to a conservative news site as both political campaigns paused to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The former vice president released a statement to The Daily Caller late Monday that criticized the president over GOP allegations that he has skipped daily intelligence briefings and took undue credit for Osama bin Laden’s death.

“If President Obama were participating in his intelligence briefings on a regular basis then perhaps he would understand why people are so offended at his efforts to take sole credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden,” Cheney told the site in an email through a spokeswoman.

Yes, that’s the guy who got us into an unnecessary war in Iraq that allowed a trapped Osama bin Laden to escape from Afghanistan. That’s the guy who served in the administration that gave up on tracking down the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attack that killed almost 3,000 Americans.

What exactly did the Bush/Cheney administration do to protect the U.S. from terrorism early in its term?

By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.

But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.

In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real….

Yet, the White House failed to take significant action. Officials at the Counterterrorism Center of the C.I.A. grew apoplectic. On July 9, at a meeting of the counterterrorism group, one official suggested that the staff put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place, two people who were there told me in interviews. The suggestion was batted down, they said, because there would be no time to train anyone else.

Just remember. Today was the first Sept. 11 since the attacks that Osama bin Laden was dead. It wasn’t done by Bush. It wasn’t done by Cheney. They would have erected statues to themselves if they had done it. Bin Laden is dead and at the bottom of the ocean because the Obama administration found him and took him out.

There are two appropriate responses to Dick Cheney’s recent comments.

The first is from Joe Biden at this year’s Democratic National Convention.

“Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”

The second is from Dick Cheney in a comment to Sen. Pat Leahy in 2004:

“Go f**k yourself.”

9/11: Making a point

Donald Rumsfeld cancelled his subscription to the New York Times today, because Paul Krugman wrote this:

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

Good thing Rumsfeld didn’t see this from Juan Cole at Informed Comment, because then he would have cancelled his access to the intertubes:

The US public responded nobly to the attacks, but US elites replied with perfidy. Americans pulled together, so that feelings of racial alienation declined. They were careful not to blame Muslims in general, and remembered that American Muslims were among the victims. They were ready to sacrifice to make their country safe.

Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush, however, saw the attacks as “an opportunity.” They were an opportunity to assert American dominance of the oil fields of the Middle East, and therefore, they reasoned, of the energy future of the entire world, ensuring the predominance of the American superpower throughout the twenty-first century. They thus followed a successful overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan with a disastrous military occupation of that country. They coddled the military dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan. They threw international law into the trash compactor and invaded and occupied Iraq, kicking off a massive insurgency and then a civil war, and leaving the country a political basket case. They left hundreds of thousands dead and some 4 million displaced. In northern Pakistan and then in Yemen and elsewhere, a covert program of drone strikes was carried out lawlessly and with no oversight; because it is done by the CIA and is classified, our elected officials cannot even confirm that it exists, much less conduct a public debate as to its legality, constitutional validity, or wisdom.

Meanwhile, one of the Bush administration’s main architects of the Iraq War is saying this:

Dick Cheney, the former US vice-president, has claimed Osama bin Laden would not have been tracked down and killed if it had not been for information gathered by torturing captured al-Qaida leaders.

In a robust defence of what he called “enhanced interrogation”, Cheney said it produced “phenomenal” results and dismissed the Obama administration’s investigations of its legality as “objectionable” and a “terrible precedent”.

Speaking ahead of ceremonies to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the former vice-president rejected accusations that the use of torture undermined the moral authority of the US overseas.

9/11: FedEx Field, Landover, Md.

Before the Washington Redskins home opener with the New York Giants.

Below, Colin Powell, left, on the jumbo screen, shakes hands with Giants quarterback Eli Manning before the coin toss.

The Redskins won, 28-14.