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TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

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Happy Valentine's Day, everyone, and what better gift could I possibly give you than the gift of Dick? Dick Cheney, that is. He's going to be on teevee, doing his angry-elderly-crustacean act today. Fearmongering up a dickens! And taking Dick's dictation will be Jonathan Karl, of ABC News. I came up with a bunch of great questions that I'd ask him, but do not live in hope: Spencer Ackerman points out that Karl is "possibly the only ABC reporter to contribute to Cheney's favorite magazine, the Weekly Standard."

So, uhm...look for a tidy game of pattycake. Don't worry, though! Joe Biden will be on Meet The Press today, attempting to get a handle on the plot of Avatar.

Anyway, hello, my name is Jason, and welcome to this Sunday's edition of your Sunday morning liveblog. Please stop sending me snow! Instead, leave a comment, if you want. Or send an email! Or follow me on Twitter. But I am not really into that Google Buzz, stuff, sorry.

We begin with the Vice President-free...


We kick things off with National Security Advisor General Jim Jones, talking about recent operations in Afghanistan. Jones says that this operation will demonstrate the success of the new counter-insurgency-based approach. He says all indicators are up: local involvement, military clears and holds, more civiilian authority on the ground, and a "cohesion" of national and international power that will "send shockwaves" through the region and demonstrate that "we will be successful."

Meanwhile, Wallace wants to know why the U.S. doesn't form an outside the U.N. coalition to impose sanctions on Iran. Jones says because Iran would be better off working through the UN's IAEA. He says that the White House committed to a time frame, and are evaluating what happens next. Wallace says that everything is moving in slow motion: "Why not get tough as quickly as possible?" YES, WHY NOT DROP BOMBS ON THE GREEN REVOLUTION? That would be terrible productive.

Does the U.S. support regime change in Iran? Jones says, "We believe the Iranian people will carve out their own destiny." Wallace asks, "Why not do more?" Uhm...because heavy handed involvement will strip the dissidents of their own rising legitimacy?

Meanwhizzle, what about Biden, taking credit for the Iraq War? Jones says, well, if we follow the plan that's going on, it will be an achievement for the United States, and by extension, the White House. Then Wallace wants to litigate the LOLSurge. HE LOVES HIM SOME SURGE! I wish someone would point out that it will be an achievement for the Iraqis, but no.

Jones goes on to defend John Brennan, "Frankly, if I were a terrorist and I knew John Brennan were in charge of tracking me down, I wouldn't be too confident about my long-term prospects. But Brennan said that criticisms of the President's security policy aids al Qaeda, and Wallace is all screechy about it, but whatever, the GOP said that stuff about Congressional Dems all during the Bush presidency. TELL ME HOW THAT PART OF THE ASS TASTES, CHRIS WALLACE. Please, deeply embed yourself, into that journalism.

Wallace really hates the idea that terrorists might get treated as criminals, and not magical holy warriors. Jones points out that the civilian courts are better at trying terrorists than anyone else, but that no system is perfect. Those detainees need to be dealt with. Jones also starts suggesting that "reconciliation" is part of any post-war situation...which tends to suggest that the White House maybe, finally, imagines that we'll one day be in a post-war situation.

Now, here's Lindsay Graham, jowly Dave Foley-esque Senator from South Carolina. What does he think about Jim Jones' take on terror detainees. Graham says "we're off on the wrong foot," and that the "policies make no sense." Graham still can't get his head around some basic things, like the success of the Abdulmutallab interrogation. "Can you really have a system where the parents of a terrorist convince a terrorist to cooperate?" APPARENTLY WE CAN, LINDSAY. But he says, "I don't think America can feel safe," knowing that Captain Crotchfire was only questioned for fifty minutes before Mirandizing.

I really cannot type enough to keep up with Graham's stupidity, which is really bizarre. He is flat out fearmongering, as if he needs to set a record for it. He's like a Sascha Baron Cohen character, on the teevee, calling for Brennan's resignation, completely disconnected from reality, pumping up Captain Crotchfire's holy warrior status. I've already checked the back of my TiVo, to make sure I'm not actually watching a tape that Osama bin Laden's put together.

Graham hates GITMO, but he hates the rule of law more! So many airplanes are colliding and trains derailing, inside Lindsay Graham's teeny head. It must be like the Red Bull Flugtag up in that dome of his.

Wallace asks about the filibuster and Shelby's crazy pork-hostaging of Obama nominations. Graham opposes Shelby, but suggests Reid's put too many laws in the "hopper" to not be filibusters, and then gets in a few last seconds of crazy, full-tilt fearmongering. We can avoid filibusters if we put more GITMO detainees in stress positions, or something.

Well, very little of that made any sense at all!

Panel Time is here with Bill Kristol and Ceci Connolly and Liz Cheney and Juan Williams.

Kristol says that the White House should maybe just admit that they didn't treat Abdulmutallab correctly, but I think that since the aftermath of the Captain Crotchfire incident has been so wildly successful, that's not likely, unless the White House gets weird. He calls for Brennan's resignation. Liz Cheney says, that successful prosecutions of terrorists in 1993 led directly to September 11th. That's insane, because she is insane, and no one says boo about it, because no one ever says boo about insanity on this show. Save for Juan Williams, who laments to politicization of all of this, to no avail! Everyone on this panel is dedicated to politicizing this. Cheney immediately starts politicizing this.

Cheney says that Abdulmutallab and the process of getting into Yemen demonstrates "incompetence." We've been doing a good job in Yemen, however. Even crazy, fearmongery Lindsay Graham has said we've been "pushing the envelope."

Kristol says that Abdulmutallab can and should be convicted in civilian court, but not until he's been questioned for "three months" by people who aren't in the FBI. In other words, torture the guy for a while, and then watch as the torture gets the case thrown out of civilian court. Kristol was pretty happy to suggest that Democrats were aiding and comforting our enemies by opposing the administration's policies. Brennan's done the same thing now -- and for the record, I think it's as cheap a tactic now as I did then -- but if I'm wringing any satisfaction out of it, at all, it's watching Kristol's thong-strip tighten, claw upwards into his body cavity, so that he has to have a good cry on the teevee about it. That's pretty fun.

Now, apparently, we're going to talk about whether the fact that it snowed proves that global warming is not happening. Of course, up in Vancouver, where the Winter Olympics are happening, they're begging for snow. I'm looking forward to getting a ice-sculpture of James Inhofe this July and watching it melt and then frantically announcing that GLOBAL WARMING IS HAPPENING OMGZ. If any of you make ice sculptures, please let me know, this summer!

Kristol says, "It's nice when you can have more snow and less snow and it proves your point." But that's precisely what's happening! More snow in Washington, DC, less snow in Canada. Kristol is a little but out of depth. Which is sad, since being in his depth is being a lot out of his depth, normatively.

Connolly says, "It's hard for the human mind to consider things that seem counterintuitive." She's very good on this issue, especially that very whispery way she said, "Bill Kristol hasn't yet reached the formal operational stage of cognitive development." She's way solid on this issue, the science, and even the disadvantages that the climate-change realist side has earned themselves with an over-reliance on anecdotal evidence.

Anyway, here's Bill Nye, the Science Guy, to explain some seventh-grade science to Bill Kristol:

And here's the Daily Show, on this topic:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Unusually Large Snowstorm
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

And for fun, here's Charlie Brooker, on how the media covers huge snowstorms:

OKAY! Time to get Dicked!


So, Dread Pirate Cheney is here, promoted as a heroic critic of the administration. We kick things off with Cheney's super-serious take on Captain Crotchfire. "It's the mindset that concerns, me, John." Yes. The mindset that would capture a failure with a scorched scrote as a failure with a scorched scrote.

Karl points out that the White House "says" they've devoted more resources to the fight against al Qaeda than the Bush White House did. As I point out in my questions, this is not something that the current White House merely "says," making it one more interesting thing that someone says, it is objectively true. The current White House is drawing down from Iraq, it's leading to success in the War on Terror, successes the previoud administration could have had themselves but passed on to fight a superfluous war, which largely appeased terrorists. The framing of the question, "the administration says they've dedicated more resources" is unnecessary. You can simply ask Cheney, "Why didn't you properly allocate resourced to the War of Terror." This is not complicated stuff.

Cheney says, "I am a complete supporter of the President's policies in Afghanistan," but that it "took them a while to get there." It took a while to get there because Dick dicked around for years, not allocating the proper resources to that war. Like Cheney's own Secretary of Defense once said that the Obama White House's Afghanistan strategy was "the first real strategy we have had for Afghanistan since the early 1980s." Again, not complicated.

But Cheney says he thinks that it's terrible that we're following the rule of law and treating criminals as criminals. That's too bad for Cheney, but great for America, as the law enforcment approach is the more successful one. I sleep easier!

Cheney criticizes Biden for claiming credit for Iraq, after campaigning against the LOLSurge. There should be, in his estmation, a "healthy does of thanksing George Bush." Cheney still thinks that Saddam had WMDs and links to al Qaeda, which is adorable. Anyway, congrats to the Bush administration for taking out a dictator who had the military capacity of occasionally microwaving a burrito, in lieu of actual substantive achievements against terrrorists. I will pick a medal out of my stool, and wing it along to you!

Cheney is convinced that there will be more 9/11s and stuff. Biden thinks they've shifted to making terrifying a destabilizing attacks in the Islamic world. "I think al Qaeda is out there, even as we meet," planning such an attack, Cheney avers. All of which points out why it was pretty weird for Bush and Cheney to have spent so many years appeasing those terrorists and allowing them refuge. As you can see for yourself, Bush and Cheney really helped touch off al Qaeda's Golden Age. Very simple stuff to grasp.

Cheney thinks that Captain Crotchfire should have been "treated as an enemy combatant," and believes the incident proved that the administration "wasn't equipped to deal with an attack on the United States." Of course, it was a comically failed attack on the United States that the country thinks was handled well.

What to do with Abdulmutallab? Cheney says you should let "professionals" make that judgement. That's exactly what happened of course. Those professionals were in the Federal-Bee-Aye, and as all reports indicate, they've done a masterful job securing Captain Crotchfire's cooperation and getting high-value information from him. Should he have been waterboarded? Cheney basically says yes, and that it's a "mistake" to not be waterboarding people. I am not sure what America would do, with a lot of false information, obtained through a means that's illegal, that taints the legal case against Abdulmutallab. That doesn't seem to me to be an achievement.

But Dick Cheney is a big fan of the sort of governance theories that have been put forward by people like the Taliban, the Khmer Rouge, the Spanish Inquisition, and the like. Torture, however, seems to only inspire more people to become terrorists. i have to imagine that by publicly endorsing and promoting a torture regime, what Cheney is trying to accomplish is to keep people like me in line.

One of the questions I would ask Cheney is: "And while we're on the subject, just because I've heard so many people hilariously attempt to make some sort of grand distinction between Richard Reid and Abdulmutallab, I figured I'd give you a shot, too." Karl more or less takes this up.

KARL: OK. So -- so was it a mistake when your administration took on the Richard Reid case? This is very similar. This was somebody that was trying to blow up an airliner with a shoe bomb, and he was within five minutes of getting taken off that plane read his Miranda rights, four times, in fact, in 48 hours, and tried through the civilian system. Was that a mistake?

CHENEY: Well, first of all, I believe he was not tried. He pled guilty. They never did end up having a trial. Secondly, when this came up, as I recall, it was December of '01, just a couple of months after 9/11. We were not yet operational with the military commissions. We hadn't had all the Supreme Court decisions handed down about what we could and couldn't do with the commissions.

KARL: But you still had an option to put him into military custody.

CHENEY: Well, we could have put him into military custody. I don't -- I don't question that. The point is, in this particular case, all of that was never worked out, primarily because he pled guilty.

And no, I don't know what material significance pleading guilty has to do with anything. Pleading guilty, for example, has no bearing on questioning Reid. And Cheney weirdly suggests that the dividing line here was the lack of a trial. But Reid was nonetheless TRIED. He went through the equivalent legal system.

I think basically, those are the two ticky-tack distinctions that can possibly be made here. Not much, I'm afraid.

Karl cites a pretty classic quote, next:

KARL: Now, I'd like to read you something that the sentencing judge reading the -- giving him his life sentence read to Richard Reid at the time of that sentencing. Here it is. He said to Reid, "You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier gives you far too much stature. We do not negotiate with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice." The judge in that case was a Reagan appointee. Doesn't he make a good point?

CHENEY: Well, I don't think so, in a sense that it -- if it -- if you interpret that as taking you to the point where all of these people are going to be treated as though they're guilty of individual criminal acts. I want to come back again to the basic point I tried to make at the outset, John. And up until 9/11, all terrorist attacks were criminal acts. After 9/11, we made the decision that these were acts of war, these were strategic threats to the United States.

I think the judge does make a great point. These guys aren't much. But when you have a judge who's got some guts and a willingness to be heard and inspire his fellow Americans to connect with the strengths of their core convinctions, what you lose is an opportunity instead to spread fear in the population about magical super-villains who only a marauding gang of incompetent torturers can handle, PLEASE RE-ELECT US FOREVS, Y'ALL.

Cheney says that one should, "go after those who provide [terrorists] safe harbor and sanctuary," but I think that at this point, sending the 10th Mountain Division to attack Dick Cheney would just be a waste of time.

Cheney hates law enforcement and thinks that the people who carry out law enforcement operations are wimps, saying, "And I do get very nervous and very upset when that's the dominant approach." Awww! He's nervous! And very upset! Like a hamster that's been left out in the rain!

Cheney: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding." Like the Khmer Rouge! Reagan signed a treaty banning the practice, however, and I guess that's why Dick Cheney will never be travelling to the Netherlands!

He goes on to say that trying KSM in NYC would provide him "a huge platform to promulgate his -- his particular brand of propaganda around the world." It does not seem that Cheney understands how trials work! A criminal trial does not allow KSM to open "Islamic Jihad: The Musical" at the Winter Garden Theatre. But EVEN IF IT DID: I think it's weird to suggest that such a display would do anything other than secure a conviction. Cheney has a pretty low opinion of Americans to suggest that we can be swayed by an angry show of unabashed nihilism masquerading as religious ecstacy to the extent that we'll say, "You know what? KSM is right! We really should dismantle this country." But then, if Cheney had a high opinion of Americans, he wouldn't be trying to terrify them all the time.

Karl points out the recividism rate of the detainees released under Bush/Cheney, which doesn't impress Cheney too much, because he didn't support the release of anybody, anyway.

Karl: "I'd like to move to Iran." Good luck with that!

Cheney says he "hopes" that sanctions will work, but seems to think that military options have been taken off the table. I'm not sure that's true, at all. I'm also unsure what military options do to counter the nuclear program. Seems to me it could well DELAY the program, but it would also encourage the acceleration of the program.

Cheney says he can't talk about whether or not they ever came close to military engagement with Iran, saying it might still be classified. But it's safe to say that we weren't, since the military was stretched pretty thin.

Ha! Karl throws "dither" in Cheney's face!

KARL: David Sanger of the New York Times says that the Israelis came to you -- came to the administration in the final months and asked for certain things, bunker-buster bombs, air-to-air refueling capability, overflight rights, and that basically the administration dithered, did not give the Israelis a response. Was that a mistake?

CHENEY: I -- I can't get into it still. I'm sure a lot of those discussions are still very sensitive.

Cheney, at the very least doesn't think that Ice Grifter Sarah Palin's suggestion that Obama secure re-election by bombing the snot out of Iran is a wise idea: " I don't think a president can make a judgment like that on the basis of politics."

He goes on to dodge the whole question of Palin's credentials to be President. He also says that he could support repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Karl asks for a quick nugget from his upcoming book, but Cheney doesn't have a quick nugget. I propose that we now refer to Dick Cheney as Dickie Quick Nuggetz.

Panel time! George Will, Jane Mayer, Paul Gigot, and Peter Beinart. Will says that the 30 years from now, historians will be struck by the continuity of the terror policies between the Bush and Obama White House. Gigot says this is because the Cheney argument is winning. D'oh! What a Broder! In fact, the public supports the Obama administration in even greater numbers after the past month of the "Cheney argument" getting aired in public. Oh, Paul Gigot! So sorry about your bad timing!

Gigot sure hopes some people get tortured, though!

Beinart points out that Obama's terror ratings have not gone down. (They've gone up, Peter! It's called math!)

He goes on to say that Cheney is the sort of villain that one wants to have a fight with. I disagree, in part. I wouldn't have deployed Joe Biden, myself, to debate Cheney on Sunday, on Meet the Press, which I HAVE YET TO WATCH, IT'S ON NEXT, CALM DOWN, TEMPORALLY ILLITERATE AMERICANS.

I might have seen my way clear to send Bo, the Portuguese Water Dog, to Meet The Press, as the counter-argument to Cheney, because Bo is sort of the policy equivalent of Cheney in terms of seriousness. Also, because Meet The Press could use some practice on interviewing subjects a little more their speed.

Jane Mayer says Dick Cheney is attacking the wrong president -- Bush wanted torture, black sites, and GITMO ended. "Cheney lost these fights during the Bush years, he wants a rematch against Obama."

One of the things I'd point out about Dick Cheney is that nothing he's doing actually reflects an authentic concern for the safety of Americans, because that's not really an authentic concern. Rather than influence policy, he's trying to influence elections. Mayer, who is a really astute reporter, is quick to point out that he's basically out there, trying to do electoral damage to Obama so no one else has to. She's maybe the first person on teevee who's been willing to say this, either because she's one of the few that have figured it out, or willing to say.

She goes on to point out that the White House, internally, has roiled about terror policy internally, with the same policy-versus-politics debates, and are only now trying to make up for lost time. Mayer should be on this show, always! She's not up there, mystifying anything!

On the other hand, Paul Gigot, who says Scott Brown was elected on a pro-waterboarding campaign. Sorry to say, but few people in the world noticed, let alone care about what Scott Brown has to say about waterboarding. Gigot has done some decent Sunday appearances in the past, but so far, today, he looks like a guy who needs to be immediately wheeled off the set, sent to some sort of hospice, and be spoonfed soft food for the rest of his life.

Mayer says that the difficulties of closing GITMO only demonstrate why we should return to a legal system that's served the United States for two centuries and stop "monkeying around" with legal rules.

Paul Gigot is worried that if they bring GITMO detainees to Thomson, Illinois, and that they subsequently win their habeas corpus argument (it's not an argument, by the way, habeas corpus are rights given to "persons" under the "Constitution," an argument settled long ago, maybe Jane Mayer can help push Paul to that hospice) that said detainees OMGZ MIGHT GET RELEASE INTO THE UNITED STATES.

It almost hurts me to be this much better at this stuff than him, but hey, SUCK ON MY REALITY CHUNK, PAUL GIGOT.

George Will endorses Biden endorsing Biden's approach to Afghanistan. "It doesn't look like the Iraq War, but then who wants a repeat of Iraq."

Oh, I think that Spencer Ackerman needs to tag up Peter Beinart for saying COIN is about "hearts and minds." Maybe Peter should read this? Because Spencer promised this.

Karl is now out there, making the Marc Thiessen, we-are-too-good-at-killing terrorists argument. "If we captured someone, where would we put them?" Will patiently explains that we have a detention facility at Bagram AFB where people can be taken.

Mayer comes back, talking about how effective our criminal justice system and our rule of law is, and how we should hew to traditions that have shown value.

Jane Mayer! You're through to Hollywood! So to speak. PLEASE COME BACK AND BE ON ALL THE SUNDAY SHOWS.


OOOH. I can't wait for MEET THE PRESS to talk to Joe Biden in Vancouver about bipartisanship. What an amazing use of the available technologies!

Biden says the Olympics are "exciting," and that the dead Georgian luger made everyone sad. And now, we leave the vicinity of the traditional vice presidential concerns.

Biden says that they are "absolutely confident" that KSM will be convicted, and, as I've already pointed out, there is no chance KSM is going to end up on the streets of Sheboygan. I don't know Gregory is asking him questions in this way. Finally, he gets to the good one: "What about the perception of fairness in our system?" Biden says, "Acquitted or not he won't be walking the streets." Gregory follows up! Also a good follow-up! What about the fairness? Aren't you pre-judging? Biden circles back on the same points. He's gotten Biden rankled, and he's earned that honestly.

Biden has to calm himself to answer the next question about trying Captain Crotchfire: "Dick Cheney's a fine fella, but he's not entitled to rewrite history." He points out that civilian trials have a much better track record than military tribunals. Biden gets a little bit apoplectic when he contemplates Cheney's contention that the Obama administration is pretending that they are not at war.

Gregory asks why Cheney is so outspoken in his criticism. Biden says he doesn't know. " I'm not gonna guess about his motive. All I know is he's factually, substantively wrong. On the major criticisms he is asserting. Why he's insisting on that. He either is misinformed or he is misinforming. But the facts are that his assertions are not accurate."

Biden goes on to say that when he is out of office, he may be just as outspoken, but more informed about the facts.

Gregory's unemployment question is amateur hour: "You came into office. The unemployment rate was 7.4 percent. It's now 9.7 percent. Where is that evidence?"

All that does is let Biden drop back to talking points, which is what he is doing. CURRENT EVENTS, DAVID! CURRENT EVENTS! You have White House, touting a jobs plan that will add 95,000 jobs per month to the economy...this does not keep pace with the natural flow of workers into the workforce, LET ALONE address the jobs that have been lost over the previous decade. If you inform your questions, David Gregory, with current events, and key insight, you will be thought of a lot more highly.

And so, I'm listening to Joe Biden recite talking points. BORING! YOUR SHOW IS NOW BORING.

Here's the other predictable part of today's interview:

DAVID GREGORY: Couple of other-- issues quickly, if we can. On Iraq you said this week that it will turn out to be one of this President's great achievements. What did you mean?

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: What I meant by that is I think he has taken office and managed the situation incredibly well in Iraq. We are now moving toward a position where there is actual political accommodation among factions who were killing one another just two years ago. We are going to be in a position to bring home 90,000 combat troops by the end of the summer. There will be a successful election, I predict, in Iraq, where there's full participation by the Sunni, Shia, Kurds and other minorities. You are seeing the Iraqis now working, and we have worked very, very hard. I've made a total of 17 trips to Iraq. Four just this year. Working with each of the-- each-- each of the parties. I think they are working-- it will be a great tribute to the Iraqi people. And I think to the government that we've managed this transition, they've managed the transition well.

DAVID GREGORY: Was the war worth it?

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: No, I don't think the war was worth it in the sense that we paid a horrible price, not only in loss of life, the way the war was mishandled from the outset. But we took our eye off the ball, putting us in a much different and more dangerous position in Afghanistan. We lost support around the world. It's taken a lot of hard work to get it back. But we were handed-- we were dealt a hand, and I think we're handling it incredibly well. I-- that's presumptuous to say. I think we're handling it very well, the Iraqis are handling it well. And we built on the positive things that the Bush Administration had initiated. And we have jettisoned those things that were negative.

OH SHOOT ME. Now David Gregory, is ASKING JOE BIDEN, what people who like to root for Alexander Ovechkin should do, now that he's playing for the Russian hockey team in the Olympics. SO IMPORTANT THAT JOE BIDEN HELPS US TO WORK OUT THIS TERRIBLE INTERNAL CONTRADICTIONS ABOUT HOCKEY! What if I just, say, ROOTED FOR THE AMERICAN TEAM, while simultaneously being glad my beloved Caps have one of the best players in the world on out team? OH CRAP I JUST POOPED MY BRAINS INTO MY UNDERWEAR.

Time for a panel, with Rachel Maddow, David Broder's Mini-Me David Brooks Of The New York Times, New York City poverty-tourist and sometime Senatorial nominee Harold Ford -- who my Twitter Friend Teresa Kopec refers to as "Harold Ford (D-Morning Joe)" -- and Representative Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties).

Brooks says that Cheney's "large charge," that Obama is not doing enough to keep America safe, is "bogus," but he feels Cheney is right on the merits as far the KSM trial and reading terrorists their Miranda rights. Maddow interjects by pointing out that "there hasn't been in any known modern terrorism case, any correlation between the usefulness of an interrogation and whether or not somebody gets read their miranda rights" and that there's "nothing magic" about military tribunals.

Harold Ford (D-Morning Joe) does his thang: President Obama's been criticized by Democrats and Republicans, which proves that he is right. Shucky-gee, I hope I get criticized by lots of Democrats and Republicans, OH WAIT, I AM? Guess I'm amazing!

Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties) says that his constituents say some stuff about some other stuff, and so he's concerned about that stuff.

Gregory asks Maddow about the presumption of innocence in these cases, and whether or not the fact that everyone has prejudged the case to its successful conclusion belies the fact that no one really thinks it will be a fair trial. Maddow says that these "tensions" exist in all criminal trials, "but the fact remains" that military tribunals are not very successful at putting terrorists away.

Brooks says that one of the problems that the Obama administration has had to deal with is the fact that "Eric Holder (PH)...took this decision without consulting the President, without consulting the national security apparatus, did it on his own." But that's precisely what's supposed to happen, because the Attorney General's office is supposed to be an independent organization.

Gregory asks Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties) about Brennan's remarks that Republican opposition to the President aids and comforts our enemies. Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties) says that's an "insult." He was probably teething when the Republicans make those same statements, all the time, about Democrats. Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties) basically says It's Okay To Do That IF You Are A Republican, because they represent "the majority of views." And yet, as I pointed out before, the majority of views is that America likes Obama's counter-terror policies even better after the GOP spent a month inveighing against them.

Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties) says he doesn't support the Obama approach to the war on terror. That makes sense. He is in the minority.

Harold Ford (D-Morning Joe) says: Golly gosh, we just met and I like you especially if you have a political future I can get with but let's be fair and nice about the president who might also support me. So I think the terror policies are great, but we can have a conversation about whether or not KSM should be tried here in New York City. You know, in the 12 or so hours I've spent as a New York City resident, it strikes me that New Yorkers are very timid people who need lots of coddling. They get around by limousine. Sometimes, they burn their hands on their coffee. These New Yorkers, who've I've come to know and love and emulate in the tens of tens of minutes I've spent comtemplating maybe representing them with my unique brand of wishy-washy independence, probably are just too scared and soft to deal with KSM right now. But outside of that Obama is awesome. For the most part.

And then Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties) and Maddow get into this, because Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties) wants to assert that Maddow's reality-based facts jibe with his own whimsical notions of the way the world works.

Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties): First of all-- I want to make it clear, nobody's suggesting that President Obama or his Administration don't want us to be safe. What we're suggesting is he's taking unnecessary risks.

MADDOW: Well-- well, can I just-- I'm sorry, though. What's the basis of the assertion that reading somebody their miranda rights is unsafe? We did that with--

Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties): Well, Rachel, you said yourself--

MADDOW: --every-- wait, hold on. We did that with every single person who has been arrested on terrorism charges since 9/11. Nobody's ever made an issue of it until the Obama Administration and this case with Abdula Matallab (PH). Lit-- literally, what's-- what's the problem with being read your rights? That wasn't the problem before.

Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties): Well, first of all, you suggested earlier that-- reading someone's miranda rights does not-- has never indicated that they talk less-- to our intelligence folks--

MADDOW: We've never heard that from the F.B.I.

Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties): The fact of the matter is we do know that after-- the Christmas Day Bomber was read his miranda rights that he did, in fact, stop cooperating with our intelligence.

MADDOW: That's not true, actually. And it's not what we know from the people who've been involved in it.

The alarms that Betsy Fischer sounds in Gregory's ear indicating that the show is at grave risk of televising Rachel Maddow winning an argument go off:

GREGORY: But there is-- but-- but--

RACHEL MADDOW: The factual basis of these assertions is so thin.


Brooks has Maddow's back:

BROOKS: Rachel's right about that. In fact, I think when he was read the rights, the report suggested that he shared more information after that.

Meanwhile, domestic affairs! How about this jobs bill? Brooks says it will "go somewhere," but that this was "good week to hate Washington." BECAUSE OF PARTISANSHIP. Broder's out there: all a-fap!

Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties) says that the "rhetoric doesn't match the reality," and that they are for "long term growth," brought about by magic. Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties) also yammers about the stimulus bill, and how there weren't enough tax cuts, but too much pork. Maddow points out that the tax cuts were the least stimulating thing about the stimulus bill.

Oh, man, and now Maddow's making it her duty to own Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties)'s booty:

MADDOW: So, the theory doesn't match the practice here. But you-- I mean, you in your district are just--

Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties): Well, I-- I can assure you--

MADDOw: you were at a community college touting a $350,000 green technology education program, talking about how great that was gonna be for your district. You voted against the bill that created that grant. And so, that's happening a lot with Republicans sort of taking credit for things that Democrat bills do. And then Republicans simultaneously touting their votes against them and trashing them. That's, I think-- a problem that needs to be resolved within-- within your caucus. Because I mean, you seem like a very nice person, but that's a very hypocritical stance to take.

Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties) goes on to grouse about how the GOP wasn't consulted enough on the bill, which would be meaningful if he wasn't claiming credit for the pork he brought home to his district. I mean, he clearly had time to do that research\

Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties) says he'll continue to take pork for his district. Please send him some.

Harold Ford (D-Morning Joe) reminds him that the GOP ran up some substantial debt and that you can only blame Obama for a few things. He also says that there's been plenty of bipartisanship -- like Max Baucus, endlessly courting Chuck Grassley in camera, on legislation...the sweet, sweet, pointless bipartisanship, meandering hither and yon! Accomplishing nothing! Not a whit! But does the destination matter, when the journey is so bipartisan? Harold Ford (D-Morning Joe) doesn't think so. What Harold Ford (D-Morning Joe) wants to know is why can't he order videos of those Gang Of Six sessions on pay-per-view, in the hotels he stays at whilst traipsing all over New York, meeting its people. He hears Ithaca, for instance, is "gorges." He's not sure what that means! But he'd deeply love to unwind in a private session of Gang Of Six viewing. WHY WON'T KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT!

Harold Ford (D-Morning Joe): I think it just has to be fixed. The Democrats deserve some blame here, but Republicans have to be-- have to be honest here.

DAVID BROOKS: This conversation exemplifies what's wrong with Washington.

David Brooks is right! This conversation should die in a fire!

What about bipartisan summitting? Will this solve everything? Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties) says, basically, finally maybe the GOP will be cut in on the lawmaking!

They've already been cut in! Here's the GOP sauce in the House health care reform bill. Here's the GOP sauce in the Senate bill! SORRY Aaron Schock (R-Meghan McCain's Panties)!

Brooks says the chances of health care reform passing are at about thirty percent, which is the same percentage of Americans who oppose the public option.

Oh blah, let's just skip down to David Gregory doing gentle vetting of Harold Ford (D-Morning Joe). GENTLE VETTING. He's going to make a decision in the "next few weeks." People in New York are concerned! And lots of anonymous people and fake names want Harold Ford (D-Morning Joe) to run. Here's his answer to the tax question: "Paid taxes on all New York income the last two years. And for the first time in '09, my wife and I will file as residents in New York." That's a new twist to a frenziedly backpedalling story.

Harold Ford (D-Morning Joe) also won't talk about his Merrill Lynch bonus, until he's a candidate, at which time he probably also won't talk about it. In the meantime, if you see him walking around Manhattan, please put a coin in his cup!

That's all of this I can possible stand. Time to maybe finish un-embedding my car from the glacial expanse that has consumed it, before another snow storm may be coming on Monday. Did you know I've spent nine days in the same 100 yard radius? Does it show? Because it is not an ideal situation! By a long shot!

Okay! My wife and I are off to give each other piles of snow, for Valentine's Day. May you and yours be well and in love. And now, courtesy of GQ's own Ana Marie Cox, here's New Hampshire State Representative Nancy Elliot with a special Valentine's Day wish for all of us: