Friday, November 30, 2007


Reaping and Sowing

So, apparently the Republican candidates didn't come off so well at the CNN/YouTube debate. When asked questions about serious issues like torture, gays serving in the military, or the literal value of the Bible by, well, a crowd of average Americans, including some loyal Republican voters, they flailed about and reached for answers. The results weren't pretty, as proven when an openly gay general stuck around to hammer the candidates on their opinions on Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

So, of course, the wingnut welfare brigade are blaming this all on the Democrats. Apparently, those pinko commie lefties at CNN skewed the debate by selecting only the biggest whackos for the debate, and by putting Democratic plants in the audience (never mind the fact that the general, although he volunteered for Hillary, is a member of the Log Cabin Republicans). They're upset about the fact that the candidates came off as nutbags.

First of all, this was a debate for the people. Some of those people are going to be liberals. We do not lose our rights to citizenship because we register as Democrats, no matter how often Ann Coulter daydreams about it. Second of all... at a previous debate, Tom Tancredo and two then-candidates were all too happy to deny the existence of evolution. All the candidates save McCain believe torture is a perfectly valid and wholesome means of extracting info, and they're willing to talk down to the man who was tortured as if he's a child. Romney and Giuliani are fully willing to throw the Fourth Amendment in the crapper. If you're wondering why so many whackos are following you about, it might be because you're leaving whacko bait.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Yes, We, Too, Have Idiots

Yes, Ann Coulter is a shrieking harpy. Yes, she is a hateful bigot. Yes, she lowers the national discourse just by exhaling. But when the hell were we supposed to stoop to her level?

Conservative columnist Ann Coulter is nationally notorious for vitriolic broadsides, but she has been unnerved by invective she received at her Palm Beach home. So much so that she got the county property appraiser to remove her name from public records identifying where she lives.

In doing so, she won an exemption from public disclosure of her address, allowed by law for victims of stalkers or harassment.

Coulter, 45, has called Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards a ''faggot'' and said she wished he would be killed by terrorists. She once said President Clinton ''could be a lunatic'' and wrote of a group of widows of men killed in the World Trade Center that she had 'never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much.''

So maybe it came as no surprise when somebody delivered a greeting card to her home in March with this salutation: ``You self-aggrandizing -- sociopath!! The only thing left after a nuclear war are you and cockroaches.''

And similarly shining bon mots, perfectly on par with the drivel she gets published, continue on throughout the article.

Once again, folks, don't stoop to their level. We've seen the nutbagosphere do this before with the New York Times, with student protesters, with Graeme Frost, and every time, we have decried them. There are lines you do not cross, and the privacy of one's home is one of them.

Monday, November 26, 2007


The Village Idiots

I'm back, baby. And it only took a massive act of journalistic incompetence to do so.

Anyone who's been following Joe Klein over the past few years will know that he's Time's "designated liberal." That is to say, his positions regularly consist of telling Democrats to cover their asses so as not to unleash the divine fury of the Bush administration. Occasionally, for flavor, he will excoriate Ann Coulter, but only while also holding court on the "fanatical", "rage-filled" lefty bloggers who are just as bad as she is (which would be... who, exactly?).

Klein's latest column is yet another example of this glorious adherence to truth and reason. Of course, it's all about how the Democrats are setting themselves up for a fall because, glory be, they actually believe in preserving human rights. When talking about the House FISA Reform Bill, organized by House Democrats to make up for the massive clusterfuck they agreed to back in August, Klein drops this hot one (emphasis mine):

The Democratic strategy on the FISA legislation in the House is equally foolish. There is broad, bipartisan agreement on how to legalize the surveillance of phone calls and emails of foreign intelligence targets. The basic principle is this: if a suspicious pattern of calls from a terrorist suspect to a U.S. citizen is found, a FISA court warrant is necessary to monitor those communications. But to safeguard against civil-liberty abuses, all records of clearly nontargeted Americans who receive emails or phone calls from foreign suspects would be, in effect, erased. Unfortunately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi quashed the House Intelligence Committee's bipartisan effort and supported a Democratic bill that — Limbaugh is salivating — would require the surveillance of every foreign-terrorist target's calls to be approved by the FISA court, an institution founded to protect the rights of U.S. citizens only. In the lethal shorthand of political advertising, it would give terrorists the same legal protections as Americans. That is well beyond stupid.

Now, notice how the first bold section does not exactly match up with the second bold section? How Klein describes the standards surrounding any call to an American subject by a suspected terrorist, then says that measures to make sure that American call subjects are not untowardly spied upon "give terrorists the same legal protections as Americans"? How Klein fails to mention that, under the bill the Democrats last passed regarding FISA, any American call to a foreign party can be monitored without a warrant, regardless of whether or not the government believes the person on the other end is a terrorist?

Glenn Greenwald keeps taking Klein behind the woodshed as Klein tries again, and again, and again, to make himself look like something other than a fool. But it's his latest attempt to explain himself that just defies explanation (again, emphasis mine):

I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right (ADD: about this minor detail of a bill that will never find its way out of the Congress). A court would probably have to make that determination if the House Democratic bill ever became law. But it won't. Some version of the bill now working its way through the Senate probably will be the final Congressional product. It will most likely (a) be bipartisan (b) including generally acceptable language on basket warrants and (c) some sort of limited immunity deal for telecoms that can prove they received specific requests from the Bush Administration for information of the sort that will be made legal by the revised FISA reform--in other words, a grandfather clause. Again, let me say that I'm whole-heartedly in favor of such a bill...and George Bush won't be. But he won't have a choice if it is passed by a veto-proof majority.

So, Joe Klein says, "I can't understand this, I can't read the language, and it's probably not important." Despite the fact that he previously devoted an entire editorial in the print version of his magazine to explaining why the Democrats need to capitulate to Bush's security state again. Furthermore, Klein's a journalist with 38 years of print experience, 15 years of experience as an editorial columnist for major news magazines, and 4 years of experience at Time. I'm a screenwriting major at a tiny communications school with the political experience of a fruit fry, and even I can tell when the government's shit stinks.

Klein is just another symptom of a disease that John Rogers aptly described: "In the American media, there are two constants. In politics, it is always and forever 1968, and liberals are Dirty Fucking Hippies." The so-called "liberal" journalists and talking heads of the Beltway Bourgeoisie have closed their eyes to the fact that politics as we know it is broken. The people have had it up to here with a government that spies on its citizens without reason, that gets its citizens into wars we never should have been in in the first place. And yet, the myth of the ever-wondrous "center" holds sway. There has to be a middle point, the press corps reason, between Airstrip One and the America we once knew. So the so-called liberals will take one step to the left of one step to the left of fascism, look upon people who are actually trying to change the mess we've made for ourselves, and chide them for actually caring when it could easily blow up in their faces.

This is what it takes to be a liberal nowadays in the Beltway press-- cautioning people not to restore the civil rights of Americans because the right wing noise machine might get angry. It's good to see Joe Klein's sufficiently qualified for the position.

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