Home / General / What We’ll Charitably Call the Authoritarian “Mind”

What We’ll Charitably Call the Authoritarian “Mind”


Shorter Saint John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Kelly Ayotte, and Peter King: “when the wrong kind of person commits three murders on American soil, the rule of law is a luxury we simply can’t afford.”

Peter King addendum: “Let’s not think this applies to the terrorists that I support.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Who is the right kind of person to murder 3 people on American soil?

    • snarkout

      Same color of skin, different choice of church.

    • KatWillow

      A white christian male with a pistol or rifle, or both.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Owners of Texas fertilizer factories, e.g.

    • From the link it appears to be Irish. Maybe it was a mistake to let them into the White Race? ;-)

      • Hogan

        No backsies!

  • SP

    Forget judge, jury, and executioner, Pantswetter Graham wants to add detective, DA, and forensics expert to his titles too:
    “Mr. Graham said 30 days of confinement and interrogation as an enemy combatant would be an appropriate amount of time to allow the government to look for evidence”
    This guy’s an all-star, he can do anything he puts his mind to, except keep his pants dry.

    • efgoldman


      • efgoldman

        efg html fail, but you know what I mean……

    • heckblazer

      Geez, where does he think he is? Japan?

    • OmerosPeanut

      Imperial or modern?

  • Joe

    Once again Scott Lemieux shows that he doesn’t understand the law. What rule of law is the gubmit not applying in this situation Scott? Please endow us with you witty legal analysis.

    • SP

      …so far no evidence that he was “part of any organized group, let alone Al Qaeda, the Taliban or one of their affiliates — the only organizations whose members are subject” to detention as a part of war.

      “In the absence of such evidence, I know of no legal basis for his detention as an enemy combatant,” Mr. Levin said. “To hold the suspect as an enemy combatant under these circumstances would be contrary to our laws and may even jeopardize our efforts to prosecute him for his crimes.”

    • Scott Lemieux

      Once again Joe shows his complete inability to read posts before commenting on them, or perhaps simply his illiteracy.

      Also, pro tip: the “United States government” does not consist solely of three senators and a member of the House of Representatives. You’re welcome!

      • efgoldman

        ….the “United States government” does not consist solely of three senators and a member of the House of Representatives, who are afraid of their own shadows, and use fear as a campaign device to get the rubes to vote for them… You’re welcome!

        You’re welcome, too, Scott.

        • I wish to disagree. I don’t think McCain is operating from fear.

          He just likes torture.

          • Rhino

            Stockholm syndrome perhaps? It is sort of odd, you would think a guy like McCain would be a staunch civil libertarian, because of his experiences, but year after year he disappoints. It’s as though he has a nostalgia for the hole in the jungle floor… Perhaps that was the last time he truly knew what right and wrong were?

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        lso, pro tip: the “United States government” does not consist solely of three senators and a member of the House of Representatives. You’re welcome!

        Considering the choice of senators and representative, we should all be welcome.

    • Joe, why do you hate America?

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        oh, he *loved* america as long as it was the god fearing authoritarian white man running the thing for his own benefit… but when all these *weirdos* started thinking they had a say in how things were run…

      • calling all toasters

        It was the mandatory homosexuality that got to him.

        • Domino

          I laughed a long time at this. Thank you

        • Rhino

          It’s mandatory now? Do we get a choice on pitch or catch, or is it a lottery?

          • Aidian

            By license plate. Think gas in the 70s. People who ride bikes or take public transit are exempt, ‘cuz they’re already….

  • It’s exhausting having to listen to people who think the 2nd amendment is completely untouchable but don’t give a shit about the rest of the bill of rights. Given that I’m pessimistic about the left’s ability to mobilize against guns like they did for gay marriage, I propose arming all of the non-white and gay people of this country. Then at least we’ll see how far their dedication to gun rights goes.

    • dp

      The second, ninth and tenth amendments are absolute; the rest are just guidelines.

      Get with the program.

      • efgoldman

        I’m willing to bet that neither Grandpa Walnuts nor Huckleberry Closetcase can quote the Bill of Rights in order, and by number.

        • I’m willing to bet they can’t actually quote the Second Amendment either…

        • Anonymous

          I know “Thou shalt have no other guns before me” is in there somewhere….

          • Bill Murray

            Honor thy father’s and thy mother’s guns

            • Anonymous

              But not so much that you’d stick to the types of guns that were good enough for them.

              • Warren Terra

                Forgot I’d been browsing incognito to evade a certain newspaper’s paywall.

      • Johnny Sack

        The Ninth??! You can take yer stinkin’ penumbra and shove it!

        • Rarely Posts


          The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

          The Republican Appointees systematically disparage almost every unenumerated right (unless it happens to align with the Republican party platform and preexisting power hierarchies). They regularly disdain the right-to-privacy, etc. It’s funny because the Ninth Amendment may be the only part of the Constitution that expressly sets out an interpretive rule for the Constitution: explaining how to interpret the rest of it. But the “textualists” and “originalists” adopted a mode of interpretation that specifically ignores this express interpretative rule, and indeed, that they use to undermine it.

          • jb


            As I recall, Robert Bork- a fairly important figure in conservative circles- referred to the Ninth Amendment as an “inkblot”.

        • DrS

          Yeah, my thoughts on the libertarian / conservative view is to strongly back the power of the 10th amendment so far as to obscure almost all of the 9th.

    • A truly great novel.

      IMO, of course.

  • montag2

    This is just base fearmongering and political hackery under the guise of informed concern. The fundamental problem with these yahoos is that Bush wrongly militarized a criminal act twelve years ago, and they now desperately want to increase the power of the national security state by stoking the “war on terror,” to further militarize the response to crime–partly as phony justification for the wrong turn taken almost twelve years ago, and partly to keep this absurd, creaking, Chinese fire-drill of a system going, even though it’s increasingly ineffective as an early warning system, is a swamp of useless information, and corruptly remains enormously, insanely profitable to these numbnuts’ political benefactors, thanks to the U.S. Treasury.

    The last thing Graham, et al, want is a return to reality. Fantasyland is good for them and theirs.

    • Anonymous

      Fantasyland is good for them and theirs.

      The problem is that their Fantasyland has become our Tomorrowland.

    • montag2

      I should add that it should be all the more apparent that these guys are just stirring shit, because what the authorities knew well before air time, and was news this noon is that Tsarnaev was shot in the throat–even if he can talk after surgery, they’re not going to get a lot out of him.

      Beyond that, the police commissioner in Boston has already said that the two brothers acted alone, and since the only remaining suspect is in custody, where’s the justification for the public safety exemption now? Just because the FBI thinks it has justification beyond the limits set by the SC doesn’t make it so.

      There’s just no good reason to not go by the book–read the guy his rights, get him counsel, follow the process scrupulously. The more the Feds (and the reconfigured Four Amigos) press for this to be treated as some major event of international terrorism (which it’s not), the greater the chance that they blow the state cases for murder and attempted murder, on procedural grounds. They gain nothing by this except the glory of grandstanding on the Sunday morning shows.

    • OmerosPeanut

      The part that blows my mind is that they pushed for a security state but hate the idea that the government might actually, you know, have a security state if it gets applied to people like them and not only “the dusky types.” Mission creep must be a truly foreign notion to them.

  • Rarely Posts

    For the historians in the audience: are there any other instances in which an opposition party systematically attacked the President for failing to exceed the bounds of his authority? It’s just strange to have an opposition party so utterly committed to the President abrogating even more unfettered authority to himself. It’s very strange to ask the man you hate to become a tyrant.

    • herr doktor bimler

      Over in the Sadly,Nocracy, Bbkf cites Fox news:

      two douchenozzles were calling obama lazy and ineffectual and were all, ‘boy, clinton would have got the background check measure passed…he would have been on the phone all night to all the legislators until they caved…and lincoln! hoo, boy…he dug up dirt on people and was willing to use it to get his way! that’s what obama should do but he’s not a good preznit, cuz teleprompter!’

    • Depends on how you view authority, but Truman not invading China/dropping the bomb during the Korean War?

      • ajay

        Depends on how you view authority, but Truman not invading China/dropping the bomb during the Korean War?

        Dropping the bomb during the Korean War would have been entirely within Truman’s authority. The US armed forces were engaged in conflict. He was perfectly entitled to order conventional bombing raids – and, therefore, nuclear raids as well…

    • Davis X. Machina

      It’s very strange to ask the man you hate to become a tyrant.

      Not if you’re champing at the bit to exercise those same powers, or exercise them again.

      Remember, it’s normal to have a real American (i.e. a Repulican) in the White House, and when the present anomalous situation is successfully resolved, we’ll have the restoration of legitimate government, which, because it will be a true expression of the People’s will, is something from which we have nothing to fear.

    • Propaganda Minister to The Ghost of Osama bin Laden

      You should know by now that they don’t really mean it. Even if Obama did exactly what these Republicans are demanding they would still be screaming for even more authoritarian actions.

      The point is to paint him as weak and emasculated, just like they’ve been doing since the 2008 election. Even if he actually does gain more power or authority it’s not like he would hold it personally. The office of President would, and they seriously expect to hold that office come 2016 and forever after so who cares if Obama has it in the meantime?

      • OmerosPeanut

        And if Obama went far enough down that rabbit hole they’d attack him for having gone that way in the first place, e.g. chained CPI.

        I should add that I’m not defending Obama in any way on the chained CPI issue. There are simpler methods to keep SSA afloat past 2030 (2040? 2050?) that don’t engage in granny starving.

      • rea

        Even if Obama did exactly what these Republicans are demanding they would still be screaming for even more authoritarian actions.

        Or alternatively, denounce him for doing what they demanded–see also social security, medicare, medicaid, etc. ad infinitum

      • The Kenosha Kid

        He’s weak, he’s emasculated, and he’s COMING TO TAKE YOUR GUNS!

        • Cody

          He’s the weakest socialist tyrant coming to enslave the white man we’ve seen in a while around these parts.

          • Aidian

            Oh, come on, everyone knows he’s too much of a pansy liberal to do the dirty work himself. It’ll be Bill Ayers and the New Black Panthers coming to take your guns. And it’ll be Michele giving the orders. And once you’re disarmed and unable to resist, she’ll make you eat vegetables. Commie Kenyan vegetables.

    • catclub


  • Royko

    What’s bothersome with the idea of a loose exemption for Miranda is that it actually creates political incentives to yank rights even when its unnecessary to do so, just to look “tough” on terrorism.

    And here’s a thought experiment: say that somehow the prosecutors blow the case. What are the odds that he actually gets released vs dropped down a hole?

  • thebewilderness

    I think what concers me most from Senator “five rugs for five bucks” is this argument that the US is the battlefield in the waronterror and so we are all potential enemy combatants.
    Seeing those pictures of police pointing their rifles at people looking out their windows really brought it home. Particularly in light of the shoot anything that moves attitude of the LAPD during the manhunt in February.

    • thebewilderness

      Now I see Peter King, Mr IRA terrorist apologist, is repeating the same bullshit that the US is the battlefield. Criminy!

    • ema

      It’s hard to overlook the fact that a wounded teenage loser without any training managed to elude all those thousands of heavily armed police officers with military delusions.

      Best not to contemplate what happens if they have to deal with a marginally competent terrorist.

      • RedSquareBear

        Were he marginally competent he probably wouldn’t have knocked over a 7-11. He would have caught the next flight (somewhere) and be (somewhere else) by now.

        • Malaclypse

          And if we had a marginally competent press corps, people would not still be under the mistaken impression he robbed a 7-11.

      • Rhino

        I was discussing the matter with a local cop, who opined that like most people who commit a crime of this sort, the brothers likely assumed they would be caught instantly. This is why they had no credible escape plan, and then when some cluster fuck gave them a running start, they tried to improvise an escape, hence all the chaos.

        I asked him what the cluster fuck was, and he said ‘could be anything, but given the security around the event and the incompetence of the brothers, someone HAD to have fucked up hugely. Probably by not sharing info between services, or by one service assuming something was covered by another service.’ He said shit is always stupid when two different forces (up here RCMP and city cops usually) work on the same project.

  • thebewilderness

    The other creepy thing about Senator Graham’s argument about not telling the suspect he can remain silent is knowing exactly what the Senator wants to do if the suspect chooses to remain silent with or without having his rights read.

    • Warren Terra


      After all, Tsarnaev has lived more than half his life in the US, graduated high school with an academic scholarship, and was reportedly well socialized. He’s no dummy, and no stranger. He’ll have taken Civics in school, and will have seen innumerable cop shows in TV. He knows his Miranda rights, even if not told them (one reason we should tell him is that it’s not news to him, so why not tell him?).

      Unless, that is, we’re going to affirmatively tell him he has no rights. Or if we’re supposed to torture him into talking. This would certainly solve the problem of him already knowing his Miranda rights – but at a tremendous cost. And it’s hard to see what we could possibly gain for that cost, except perhaps for some fleeting vengeance.

  • Steve

    McCain & Graham don’t actually believe this. They’re trying to goad liberals into having some conversation that only makes sense in wingnutopia.

    Well fuck off, I say. You’re not law enforcement, you’re not the justice system; you’re just two dithering olds wallowing in the most useless branch of government. Go the fuck to sleep.

  • gcwall

    Why does a criminal act by irrational small time murderers have to be elevated to the status of “terrorism” and “national security?” The idea that there could be murderers patting themselves on the back with every hyperbolic statement and over-dramatized suffering story that appears in the media is frustrating.

    The story of a vengeful bigot and obsequious younger brother hardly earns the title of “enemy combatant.” The republicans don’t seem to be aware that their take on things actually makes the U.S. appear to be weak not strong. Every time we react to small time criminal acts by morons as if we have to summon all the resources of the U.S. to combat them is not a sign of strength. Their acts should be treated with a similar attitude one would have toward swatting a fly.

  • Wow, you mean some pathetic old incompetents are using this opportunity to wave their dessicated dicks and thump their moobs? Shocking. I mean, tediously predictable but still disgusting.
    I bet the 131st Chicken Hawk Brigade is poring over maps of the Czech Republic* e’en now.

    *Joke. Calmez vous pedants.

    • It’s ridiculous to think they’re looking at a map of the Czech republic. My money is on a map of Czechoslovakia, although I would not be surprised if it were a map of the Hapsburg Austrian Empire.

      • mds

        It’s actually a map of Middle Earth.

  • TBP

    One of the few—very few—things I agreed with Thatcher about was her insistence on dealing with terrorists as common criminals, and not to exalt their status or glamorize it into that of warriors. This made sense on so many levels.

  • c u n d gulag

    I’d ask these cowardly @$$holes, “What do you think of John Adams defending the British soldiers after that earlier Boston Massacre?”

    Senators, should they have been tortured, enhanced interrogated, before he defended them?

    • drkrick

      Adams took a lot of heat from the supposedly more “patriotic” (including his cousin Sam) for doing that. Is there any question which side McCain and Graham would have been on at the time?

      King, of course, would have been in a British prison for fomenting rebellion among the Irish. Nobody said the British Empire got everything wrong.

      • Cody

        I’m pretty sure in most scenarios present-day Republicans would in fact be the British.

        “What’s that, I can be rich and powerful and oppress everyone – all I have to do is suck up to the King!”

        • Malaclypse

          Nonsense. Expecting government to provide essential services while refusing to pay taxes is the essence of the modern Republican party.

      • Embra

        King is an opportunist who only sucked up to Sinn Fein cos all the non-violent nationalists had been taken. Hume and the SDLP were tight with Ted Kennedy and the Dems. King wanted to get somewhere fast in a state with a large Irish community.

        As soon as Sinn Fein became a liability after 9-11 King dropped them fast. Ironically they could do no wrong when they were killing Brits but now they’re in the democratic system he doesn’t want to know.

        In 1776, he probably be fighting for the Brits, like so many Irish, and looting anything that wasn’t nailed down.

        • Aidian

          I have a hard time seeing Peter King as an impoverished member of a oppressed nation forced to join the army of the occupying power just to get enough to eat.

          Presumably, had he gone through something like that he’d likely have developed some different views on political economy. Of course, he’d still be a dipshit, he’d just be our dipshit instead of their dipshit. You can’t fix stupid.

  • rea

    The idea of treating him as an “enemy combatant” makes no sense whatever, since that would make him a POW. The GWB adminstration tried to invent a special catagory–“unlawful enemy combatant” or some such thing–under which the accused would receive neither the protections afforded a criminal suspect nor the protectons afforded to POWs. There was no legal basis for that kind of Yoovian approach.

    And, you know, “waterboard him ’til he talks” isn’t going to be a very productive approach dealing with a guy who can’t apeak, and may never be able to speak again.

  • Airborne Simian

    McGramps and Gramnesty are known RINOs. The future leaders of the GOP like Rand Paul want no part of this.

    And of course Obama’s actions are closer to McGramps and Gramnesty (and.Bush) than Paul’s. He goes beyond Bush actually, claiming he can kill and/or hold indefinetly any American citizen he wants. This is the cornerstone of tyranny.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      the cornerstone was laid 11 or so years ago. whatever obama does is just adding bricks to the wall…

    • Rarely Posts

      I’ll be curious to see if Rand Paul actually weighs in on this issue and comes out to defend Obama’s decision not to treat Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant who can be held indefinitely.

      Or do we think that he only weighs in on entirely hypothetical, non-existent situations, so that he can attack a Democratic President for things that haven’t happened and aren’t going to happen?

    • sibusisodan

      McGramps and Gramnesty are known RINOs.

      This is true. Nobody has any reason to think that McCain might be viewed as somehow representative of the Republican Party.

      • Cody

        I hear McCain served in a war – doesn’t that disqualify him?

        • Aidian

          brilliant. made my day. choked on my soda, but made my day.

  • Kurzleg

    I suppose you could call it a conceit of this gang that someone like McVeigh wasn’t part of a larger group still endangering the country while the Tsarnaev’s are. Maybe skin color or surname explain that difference. But couldn’t it also be the reality of the world we live in right now? And isn’t there a difference in scale between the thought group from which McVeigh emerged and that from which the Tsarnaevs did? I’m not necessarily endorsing what McCain/Graham/King prescribe, but I also think it’s reductive to attribute their position solely to racism.

    • DocAmazing

      You might want to go back over news reports of the time regarding the militia movement, groups like Posse Comitatus, and the extreme American right. There were international links being ade at that time (guys like Anders Brevik are not new) and a nationwide armed right-wing movement.

      For that matter, study up on the violent anti-abortion movement and look at some of their international links and US dollars funding their actions in, for example, Central America.

      Just because it doesn’t make the evening news doesn’t mean it’s not happening; just because people have forgotten it doesn’t mean it never happened.

  • The Kenosha Kid

    That should be our focus, not a future domestic criminal trial that may take years to complete.

    Yes, send the suspect to Gitmo where the justice will be swift.

  • Pingback: Why Does John McCain Hate America? | Beware The Man()

  • Shawn

    I happened to be talking in class today about Adorno’s theory of the authoritarian personality and how it doesn’t really hold up as an explanation of Nazism, with a shout out to Zygmunt Bauman’s critique (according to Bauman, Adorno mistakenly argues that Nazism was cruel b/c nazis were cruel).

    Still, McCain and Graham are assholes.

  • If you enjoy Minecraft after trying it here, I strongly urge you to purchase the game at Minecraft’s Store

It is main inner container footer text