Friday, October 23, 2009

The Gitmo shuffle

Obviously the cataclysmic events of 9/11 brought national attention to the Amherst Select Board decision from the night before restricting the display of 29 commemorative American flags in the downtown.

Around 6:00 AM that morning the AP sent out a brief one-paragraph article about the Amherst town officials decision from the night before, just proving how slow a news day 9/11 first dawned.

Unfortunately some of the BIG media (Fox and CNN) got the story wrong--probably in the confusion of what started going terribly wrong at 8:46 that morning. As a result, some folks watched the Twin Towers fall and then heard a story about a small town in western Massachusetts restricting the rights of residents and businesses to fly the American flag. You can just imagine the hate mail that flowed into Amherst Town Hall that week.

Well as that old saying goes, "here we go again." This Gitmo detainees to Amherst story hit the AP wire on Tuesday (curiously they did not carry it a month ago when the Springfield Republican first covered the story) and within hours the story broke about Federal authorities arresting a Sudbury, Massachusetts resident for plotting to attack shopping malls (probably in the Boston area.) Not a good mix for Amherst.

But, once again, the story is not always presented fairly. Some people make is sound as though Amherst is laying out the welcome mat and promising to harbor Osama Bin Laden. The two men now named by Ruth Hooke are, rightfully, getting great scrutiny and may not pass the smell test.

But the actual Warrant article does not name names and does say four times that the person or persons (does not even mention a number) will have been "cleared." Surely out of all the people left at Gitmo, there does have to be one or two who are completely innocent. Therefore they are not "terrorists".

So if they do ever come to Amherst, the town would not be coddling terrorists.

Michael Graham rips Amherst on radio and in print. Ouch.

Howie Carr Piles on. Double ouch.

And now even the Wall Street Journal. Triple ouch.

The Amherst Bulletin speaks, in their wimpy sort of of way.


TCC said...

Lar, such fun in the People's Republic, no?

TCC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Amherst seems a town cursed by god.

Gee, I wonder why that is?

Anonymous said...

"They’re all on antidepressants, and they’re all very depressed.

Hey, moonbats, what time does the candlelight vigil for Tarek Mehanna start tonight?"


Fu cking den of vipers! Eat it.

LarryK4 said...

Oh yeah, it never seems to stop.

And this one they can't blame on me. As you may remember Jennie Traschen hinted I was whipping up resentment towards her and the town back in those dark days after 9/11.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, while all you were doing was faxing every national news outlet under the sun.

LarryK4 said...

Actually I retired my fax machine two or three years ago. Everything is digital these days.

Anonymous said...

"Now, we view Amherst as more akin to a circus freak show of yore: Step right up! See the Armless Wonder, the Flag-Hating Physicist, the Human Torso, the Terrorist's Best Friend!"

Eat it! EAT IT, FU CKERS!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Larry, Glenn Beck, Bill O'reilly.

No need to respond, just do it.

Anonymous said...

Tarek Mehanna is hoping he gets 40 years of home incarceration with the right to be out and about in his new hometown, Amherst. He loves the fact there are two malls close by.

But seriously, the right-wingers are afraid as hell and so Amherst's intrepid attitude, rightly or wrongly, is a target for their mockery.

LarryK4 said...

Apparently Tarek was such a twit that even the Taliban did not want him (who knew they had a stringent educational requirement for membership?)

Anonymous said...

Another Gitmo Detainee Returns to Jihad
By Danielle Pletka

October 22, 2009, 4:21 pm

On October 13, Yousef Mohammed al Shiri, one of the innocent young Muslims illegally detained at Guantanamo, was killed somewhere along the Saudi-Yemeni border by Saudi forces while he was preparing for a suicide bombing. I’ve lost count (and so has the Pentagon, apparently), but by January of this year, at least 61 former detainees had returned to jihad. Let’s add at least one to that number.

Congress voted to let these innocent men be tried in the United States, but hasn’t cleared the way for incarceration or liberation stateside. Apparently, that’s not enough for Amherst, Massachusetts selectman Gerry Weiss. He’s not too worried about terrorism: “I think they were wrongly imprisoned,” he told the Boston Globe. “I don’t believe they want revenge. I think they would be very grateful to any people that show them some kindness. They may harbor some ill will toward the U.S. government, but that would be a lot of people.”

Meanwhile, back in reality, the ever-decent ranking member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, Pete Hoekstra, was today smacked down by his own committee chairman for asking the Obama administration to cough up details on plans to move detainees to Michigan. “This shouldn’t be about a personal issue you want to look at,” explained Rep. Silvestre Reyes.

Hoekstra, how dare you use your position in the House of Representatives to, you know, represent. Just because these detainees want to kill people, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to live in Michigan. Or, better still, Massachusetts.

Anonymous said...


You know the history the best, but correct me if I'm wrong, this is simply the old anti-Irish mentality of the nineteenth century under a new guise. These are haters. I believe when they hated the Irish, they were called Know-Nothings?

LarryK4 said...

Some people seem to hate other people simple for their looks, language or style of dress.

History is littered with examples from Indians (oops, I mean "Native Americans)to Irish, Blacks, Hispanics, Jews and most recently Muslims.

Last I looked we were a nation of law and order where someone is "innocent until proven guilty."

And is that not what our flag represents?

Anonymous said...

"this is simply the old anti-Irish mentality of the nineteenth century under a new guise."

A you insane?

Anonymous said...

No, he's not insane...but I have a strong feeling that YOU, my friend are teetering on the edge of that abyss. Are you the infamous "It's Over" guy from way back? If so, it seems like you have yet to get over your abrupt "dismissal" from the Amherst Schools, eh? My question is: if you hate this town, and its residents, so danged much, then why don't you just move away?!?! There are a million other places to live and, who knows, you might even mange to find your Happy Place again in some new surroundings!

Anonymous said...

My daughter was born on the morning of Sept 10th. I tried to sleep on a loveseat at Holyoke Hospital that evening but really couldn't get much rest. I went home around seven, the morning of Sept 11 to get a little sleep and a shower and change of clothes. I woke up to a call from my Father telling me to put on the TV.

From that day on, I get reminded of Sept 11 as I prepare for my daughter's birthday. I have adopted the idea that you never f***ing know what is going to happen. Why take the chance?

LarryK4 said...

In that case I assume you gave up playing golf in a lightning storm, driving a car, or walking across the street (especially in Holyoke).

Anonymous said...

No, actually. But I'd have to admit I'm getting old to agree.

LarryK4 said...

If we can't trust Federal officials who proclaim individuals "cleared" (and I will want to see that in writing) then how can we trust them to prevent another 9/11 from the uncleared ones?

Xenos said...

The contempt of Michael Graham and Howie Carr is a pretty good character reference. Maybe this town is alright, after all.

I don't disagree with the position of letting cleared people out of jail, but the whole issue at a town level is a really unnecessary political stunt.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, they were looking for press and lord knows they found it (or it found them.)

Anonymous said...

When people are frightened (and I'm not making light of it) in a society, the first thing to get sacrificed is due process.

We just got done fighting a Cold War in which one of the grievances we had with our opponent was that the USSR was maintaining a huge gulag of prisons and labor camps to which countless people were sent without any due process at all. And then they rotted there for years. Some never came out.

To Anonymous 10:11 PM, I say, "why take the chance" of living in a free society at all?

I would not have initiated this article, but what's wrong with giving its sponsors a hearing? Let's dispense with this fraudulent notion of the Zero Sum Game, that a fair-minded deliberate hearing of this article necessarily subtracts from time for consideration and debate on town budgets and spending priorities. That's a bogus argument.

And if you don't like how Town Meeting voted, you can inform yourself of just who those 24 people are that represent you in your precinct, and then vote them out. They might even thank you for it.

If there were a flood of these resolutions, I'd have a different attitude. There aren't.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

"I would not have initiated this article, but what's wrong with giving its sponsors a hearing? Let's dispense with this fraudulent notion of the Zero Sum Game, that a fair-minded deliberate hearing of this article necessarily subtracts from time for consideration and debate on town budgets and spending priorities. That's a bogus argument. "

Dear Mr. Morse: Why is that a bogus argument? I want my town to be managed effectively (i.e. better than it has been) and time is not limitless.

It has been stated in the press that the vote is not needed in order for anyone who may legally live in the US to live in Amherst. That makes the vote "bogus", in my opinion. Therefore since the vote is not decisive, what purpose does it serve?

It appears to me that the purpose of the vote was the desire to represent an entire town to the nation and the world based upon only SOME--maybe many but who knows??? residents' political agenda/belief.

Using town meeting as the public forum for this discussion and others that are not within the decisive power of the TM is a misuse of limited time. We've heard economic crisis over and over again for years. This time we're really up a creek .... unfortunately this use of time for a particular political agenda does not convince me that our elected reps are capable of doing the jobs they were elected to do.

And I feel that it's unfortunate that I have to defend why it's OK for those of us that disagree with TM/SB spending time on this issues.

Many voters do not select the representatives that run for SB and Town Meeting with knowledge of, and a view for, their ability to represent us on a national/international level.

That is what I object to; I fail to see why the above is bogus and using a public forum outside of its purview is bonafide.

Rick said...

“I don't disagree with the position of letting cleared people out of jail, but the whole issue at a town level is a really unnecessary political stunt.”

I tend to agree with the above, and don’t really understand the whole thing. Whether or not they can live in Amherst depends entirely on whether or not they can live in the US, which Amherst has nothing to do with. And if they are allowed to live in the US, they don’t need an invitation in order to like in Amherst if they want. Correct?


PS: Beck, Graham, Limbaugh, Hannity, Serverin, O’Reilly (to lesser extent), etc… are what is scarily wrong with America. Or not them per-se, but that people actually listen to them. Name anyone on the left (with a decent audience) who is the wacko-liar that these guys are – there are none.

Marcy Sala said...

I have in the past agreed with the position that Town Meeting is not the correct forum to be debating issues of a largely national or international significance. As a result, I have always either abstained or voted no on these kinds of articles. My initial reaction to this article was the same. After giving it some thought, though, I'm beginning to be swayed to the other side. The reason for this, is that the most salient reason I hear from those opposing the closing of Guantanamo is, "Where will the detainees go? Name one community willing to take that kind of risk?, etc., etc." If communities themselves don't take a stand on being willing to "take the risk" (on falsely accused, government cleared detainees) then how can we ever hope to move forward with the goal of ending this sad chapter of American history? So, in this case, I'm beginning to think that a TM resolution has at least the potential of making a difference and am leaning in the direction of voting Yes.

LarryK4 said...

"You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them.

And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization."

Anonymous said...

The Zero Sum Game argument that has started to take hold with people is that somehow these resolutions prevent the careful consideration of strictly town matters. If we had a lot of these, I would agree.

But since we have only one of these this year, I would ask how and why does it preempt other worthwhile debate this fall? I don't see it. It's a procedural argument that sounds tremendously principled. But it also allows us to conveniently never get to the substance. Agreed: "time isn't limitless", but is it so limited that there's no time for this?

Why are we jumping through hoops of logic to oppose the discussion of this? Are we really sure that this issue is being addressed in any fashion elsewhere? I saw the comment about this as an "unnecessary political stunt", and I'm actually sympathetic to this view. But just what is "necessary" and "unnecessary" in this context?

I appreciate Marcy Sala's comments. I think that there's a discomfort about this article because it takes us to a place we really don't want to be: to the real possibility that our government has thrown certain relatively innocent individuals in the slammer a considerable distance off of our shores with no recourse.

So where's the harm in discussing this? Simply, that it brings ridicule down on our Town? C'mon, we're bigger than that. Vote it down on the substance, if you wish, but the procedural argument is an evasion.

And, as I believe you will see, the complexity of the zoning articles this fall will put the "expertise" argument (i.e. we don't have it to vote on this), posed by Ms. O'Keeffe, in a different perspective.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

How bout the ARMED robbery in Amherst last night. Center of town.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, how about it.

Was it a black guy or Hispanic? In that case let's round them ALL up and hold them until...

Anonymous said...

we as town meeting members might have opions on foriegn policy but not espertise.....besides if we waste 2 hours or such debating this nothing will come out of passing this article....nothing has ever come out of any non-town article passed....why waste our time......btw mrs hooke et al implies we our helping president obama...if this were a year or we would be working against president bush....same issue but 2 different presidents......2 oppisitie slants

LarryK4 said...

I don't view this as a "foreign policy" decision, I see it as a basic human compassion decision--as in DO WHAT IS RIGHT.

Anonymous said...

I used to object to these articles. But, I don't really care any more. So, town meeting wants to waste time debating a pointless article (releasing the the detainees to the US is up to the US Congress.) They will just extend Town meeting an extra night who cares. It is not my time they are wasting.

LarryK4 said...


And it's not like they are freaken rocket scientists in the first place on the budget, where about 99% have NO business experience.

And it's not like you, Mr. Good Citizen (does not sound like YOU are an actual Town Meeting member), pay them anything extra to deliberate one way or the other as TM is is volunteer position.

So yeah, why the Hell should anybody care?

Anonymous said...

Nice comic. Do political/social/ moral anarchists look like guitar players now?

BTW, Larry's obsession with flags has to do with the absolute ease in which they're able to first fly this way and then that way.

Don't worry Larry, we know that no matter which way the wind blows you'll be turning into it. Flip flopping flags got nothing on you old man.

LarryK4 said...

By "we" I assume you are speaking for all the Anons of the world, young man (more like boy)

Anonymous said...


Those anonymous posters are a courageous lot.

We learned as kids about how to handle these folks from the example of the Original Anonymous Poster in our lives, The Wizard of Oz (and, boy, could he bloviate).

At the end of the movie, we're told to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain".

Rich Morse

LarryK4 said...

I try not too...

Anonymous said...

The problem is that "cleared" in this case doesn't mean "innocent of terrorist acts or conspiring to commit them." It means "inconvenient for the current administration to keep locked up."

E said...

Last I looked we were a nation of law and order where someone is "innocent until proven guilty.

Ummm, not at UMass....

If you are a UMass student who gets arrested, you get booted from school. Why shouldn't we hold these folk WHO WERE ARRESTED to the same standard?

And why should they be placed ahead of other (nicer) folk who want to come to America? What skills are these two perps bringing other than how to kill us?

r4i said...
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