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.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?