Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Be Vewy Vewy Qwiet--I'm Hunting Tewwowists
Our most entertaining Republican candidate for Wisconsin attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, is at it again. According to the Capital Times, Van Hollen told a press conference today, "We have in Wisconsin terrorists who are training and raising funds."

Holy crap, J.B.!

He declined to offer details (of course) although he'd like to (of course), but he's forbidden to do so by federal law (of course). Van Hollen claims he learned this startling news while he was U.S. attorney for the western half of Wisconsin. Later in his press conference, however, the situation was revealed to be not quite what J.B. made it out to be at first. Capital Times reporter David Callender writes,
But Van Hollen appeared to backtrack later, saying the training he was referring to "is not the physical training, not the things you would customarily hear or see, or anything that rises to the level of illegality."

He also acknowledged that there have been no terrorist acts in Wisconsin either before or since the Sept. 11 attacks, but he added that there are a number of potential terrorist targets, such as power plants and the Capitol.

"I assure you that if there are people who are active in terrorism in the state of Wisconsin and people are at risk of that, they will be taken down," he said. "But people can only be taken down once they have conspired and committed an act in furtherance of that conspiracy."
So let's review:

--There are terrorists training in Wisconsin, except that they're not physically training, or doing anything you would hear or see, and they aren't doing anything illegal. Well, by that definition, if you're standing in the bathroom scratching your ass, you're doing more evil than the terrorists are.

--There have been no terrorist acts in Wisconsin either before or after the September 11 attacks. Damn, J.B., nothing gets past you.

--There are a number of potential targets, such as power plants and the Capitol.
And also Lambeau Field, Wisconsin Dells, my mom and dad's house, and the world's largest six-pack.

--If there are terrorists in Wisconsin, they will be taken down, but only after they've engaged in conspiracy. What does he mean, "if"? Confusion over their existence aside, apparently this means J.B. isn't down with the president's whole preemptive, stick-it-to-them-before-they-stick-it-to-us policy. Appearing to go against Dear Leader in any way, including what to order for lunch, will get you nowhere with Wisconsin's Republican faithful. So which is it, J.B? Are you with the president, or are you against him?

Van Hollen was last spotted on this blog bashing the Democratic candidates for AG, accusing them of celebrating lawlessness by speaking to immigrant rallies a couple of weeks ago, and has compared abortion to homicide. He's a Bush appointee to the U.S. attorney's office, and I was surprised to learn he lives in Waunakee, just up the road from here--because I'd never heard of him actually doing anything until he decided to run for AG. The only polling I can find on the race shows him trailing his primary opponent, Waukesha County DA Paul Bucher, by 26 to 7, but 49 percent are undecided, so it really doesn't mean anything. Van Hollen's strategy appears to be to hammer emotional Republican hot buttons as hard as possible--abortion is murder, immigrants are lawless, and terrorists want to kill your children in their beds right in Waunakee--in hopes of getting people to realize he exists.

But ooh, terrorists in Wisconsin. Very scary.

News Update: An amendment that would have preserved net neutrality lost in the House Energy and Commerce Committee this afternoon. The entire telecommunications bill containing provisions that would drastically reconfigure the Internet now goes to the Senate. It's unknown what will happen there, although a couple of senators are crafting a bill that's a lot like the amendment that was defeated today. Stay up to date by clicking the "Save the Internet" banner at the right.

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