Tuesday, March 27, 2007

If it does not fit, you must acquit

According to David Broder:

For the first six years of the Bush administration, these aides were allowed free rein to carry out whatever policy or political assignment they wished — or supposed that the president wanted done. A Congress under firm Republican control was somnolent when it came to oversight of the executive branch. No Republican committee chairman wanted to turn over rocks in a Republican administration.

You have to feel a twinge of sympathy now for the Bush appointees who suddenly find unsympathetic Democratic chairmen such as Henry Waxman, John Conyers, Patrick Leahy and Carl Levin investigating their cases. Even if those appointees are scrupulously careful about their actions now, who knows what subpoenas for the memos and e-mails in their files will reveal about the past?

They will pay the price for the temporary breakdown in the system of checks and balances that occurred between 2001 and this year — when the Republican Congress forgot its responsibility to hold the executive branch accountable.

It was a fundamental dereliction of duty by Congress, and it probably did more to encourage bad decisions and harmful actions by executive branch political appointees than the much-touted lobbying influence. In reality, many Republican members of Congress did not mind what was happening because they were able to get favors done in that permissive climate. Now, the Democratic investigators will publicize instances of influence by members of Congress, and the political fallout will not stop with New Mexico’s Pete Domenici and Heather Wilson.

So, in addition to the Chewbacca defense, we now have the Ross and Rachel Defense:

HENRY WAXMAN: So, Mr. Rove -- you fired all these U.S. Attorneys simply because they were prosecuting too many corrupt Republicans, and not enough innocent Democrats?

KARL ROVE: We were on a break!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Conservatives: all grown up now

According to noted columnist Cal Brown, conservative voters may be becoming more tolerant of non-traditional sexual lifestyle choices. His latest column, entitled "The Maturing of the Right", opens thusly:

Conservative Evangelical Christian voters have come a long way in a short time. From their nearly unanimous condemnation of Bill Clinton for his extramarital affairs, a growing number of these "pro-family" voters appear ready to accept several Republican presidential candidates who do not share their ideal of marriage and faith.

Thomas then goes on to detail a virtual phone directory of potential Republican Presidential nominees who aren't exactly modern day avatars of Ward Cleaver-like family values, such as Rudy Guliani and Newt Gingrich, both of whom had extramarital affairs with their current wives while married to their previous ones, and Mitt Romney, who is, after all, a goddam hellbound Mormon, not to mention a former governor of Faggachusetts.

Thomas goes on to pontificate:

That substantial numbers of conservative evangelical voters are even considering these candidates as presidential prospects is a sign of their political maturation and of their more pragmatic view of what can be expected from politics and politicians. It is also evidence that many of them are awakening to at least two other realities - (1) they are not electing a church deacon; and (2) government has limited power to rebuild a crumbling social construct.

Now, some of my very small readership may be at this point snidely snorting something along the lines of "Bullshit, fucko, the only reason Christian conservative voters are 'even considering these candidates as presidential prospects' is because conservative voters are all dumbasses and hypocrites who only hold people outside their tribe accountable to their bullshit values, while allowing the most ridiculously false facades and charades of moral living to pass entirely unquestioned in their own annointed tribal leaders." Except, of course, given that my readers are all smarter than I am, nearly any of you might have found a more elegant and concise way of putting it. Nonetheless, I can see the suspicion in your eyes -- you're thinking, well, sure, they'll give Rudy and Newt a free pass, because they loooooove those guys, but if the Democrats were to put up someone who'd been divorced twice as their Presidential candidate, the wingnuts would fall all over themselves screaming 'adulterer, adulterer, adulterer'.

But I want to say, I simply don't think this is true. Thomas makes a persuasive point, and, frankly, I'm sick to death of people hating on the right wing simply because they still adhere to the kind of traditional values that made America strong. Those who say the right wing is full of two faced lying hypocrites are simply demeaning their fellow Americans without foundation. If Thomas says the right wing is maturing as regards tolerance of non-traditional lifestyle choices, well, then, I am willing to take him at his word. And I'll prove it. I'm certain that, given this new maturity on the right, nobody in the conservative blogosphere is continuing to obsess on The Clenis --

There was always a kind of primitive Golden Bowl fertility cult aspect to the Clintons' popularity in the 1990s: So long as the divine king was boffing maidens in the Oval Office, the harvest would come in healthy and rich. Then the king departed to his great tower in the sky, and since then we have had nothing but trouble. Can Hillary tap into this great primeval instinct? Might she subtly suggest that she would restore the orgiastic rituals that brought affluence in the past? Rationalists might doubt that presidential sexual hijinks really enrich the nation. But believers can retort: They sure didn't hurt!

Uh... okay, that's David Frum, in a post dated Wednesday, March 14, 2007. And, um, well, he sure doesn't seem to have gotten to a point where he's willing to accept "presidential candidates who do not share [his] ideal of marriage and faith". But hey, he must be an anomaly, because Cal Brown wouldn't bullshit me! He insists that "Conservative evangelicals have grown up". So while David Frum may still be hatin' on Billy's willie, I'm sure there's no one else on the right wing who is going on and on and on about other people's sex lives --


How To Bomb A Gay Bath House, by Mike S. Adams

But enough about what Ann [Coulter] ought not to do. Here’s what she should do immediately:

1. Start a website called “Global War on Fags” today.

2. Begin writing essays calling for the cleansing and purification of society via the mass murder of homosexuals.

3. Distribute videos on the website showing the actual murders of homosexuals.

4. Circulate instructions on how to bomb gay bath houses in San Francisco.

5. Circulate a “battle dispatch” to give people specific information on America’s most notorious bath houses.

6. Apply for a job at Kent State University.

It... I... but...

Okay, fine, I admit, it doesn't seem like the right has matured any, in terms of becoming more tolerant of other people doing things they might not approve of, that aren't any of their business anyway. But appearances could be deceiving! After all, if indeed the whole conservative movement can get behind someone as permissive towards things like the gay lifestyle as Rudy Guliani is, then, indeed, there are promising signs of personal growth across the entire --

In addition, Giuliani is not in a position to defend family values, given his history of defending special rights for people who actively engage in a homosexual lifestyle. As Michael Long of the New York state Conservative Party said in 2004, “I just don’t see Rudy Giuliani being able to sway conservatives within the Republican Party. The gay marriage issue draws a line down the middle of the street, and Rudy Giuliani is something of a champion of gay rights.” As mayor of New York, Giuliani signed a “domestic partnership” bill; he has supported civil unions for homosexuals; and he lived with two homosexual men.

Is Giuliani the most liberal candidate running for the White House? Hillary and Barack could certainly give him a run for his liberal money. But the hero of 9/11 is no conservative, and it would be a mistake for the mainstream media to count out conservatives this Presidential election season — even if it would cause them trouble meeting their deadlines.

Who wrote that? Certainly not one of the "pro family" "maturing right" conservative voters that Cal Brown is extolling so glowingly. I mean, that would be crazy. That would mean that Brown might have been wrong, and, in fact, conservatives are still the same provincial, pissy ass, tiny-minded, intolerant, joy hating xenophobes they've always been. So whoever wrote that, it couldn't be a conservative...

Nathan Tabor is a conservative political activist based in Kernersville, North Carolina, where he owns a successful small business and was recently a candidate for Congress. He has his Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Robertson School of Government at Regent University.

No, no, it's not true! He must be a liberal plant! Because that would mean that all you guys were right all along, and in fact, Cal is only Brown because he's so full of crap, and conservatives aren't becoming more mature or tolerant, they're just, you know, doing the same fucked up shit they've always been into... ignoring the reality (bungling cokeheaded drunken dumbass bullshit slinging draft dodging power hungry control freak scion of privilege and wealth with no work ethic) in favor of the carefully constructed image (down to earth straight talking flightsuit wearing good ol' boy who will defeat the Terrorists with his bare hands) while insisting that only the people they don't like must somehow live up to their insane medieval moral strictures.

Jesus. It's getting so you can't even trust a conservative columnist these days.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Forward into battle

My lovely, brilliant fiancee got an email forward from one of her co-workers the other day. She's already posted her extremely cogent response to it. As imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I figured I'd follow suit over here, for my audience of... what is it these days... four or five, maybe?

Here's the email forward:

Subject: College Liberals

Sometimes, extreme liberal ideals seem much different when their outcomes directly affect you...
Father-Daughter Talk
A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing?"

She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over."

Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA."

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That's a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I've worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!"

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the Republican party."

See, I think this is fabulous; a totally cogent summation of every loonie liberal fallacy, elegantly encapsulated in this one utterly brilliant parable near worthy of Jesus.

Still, I think it lacks... I don't know... verisimilitude. Or maybe it's just too brief. Anyway, I think it needs a little something to really bring the truth across. So, let me add just a little more to the narrative, for flavor, if nothing else...

Incensed, the young college student immediately retorted, "What, so you're equating my Grade Point Average, an objective assessment of my effort and abilities within the context of a college curriculum, with actual material wealth and property? You're saying that my straight A average is the academic equivalent of your vastly swollen bankbook? Is that it?"

"Of course," the conservative father said, nodding smugly. "It's exactly the same. You worked hard for your grades and resent the idea that someone who hasn't done the same amount of work as you do should get a free ride on your superior talents and greater effort. Well, I've worked hard for the success I enjoy, and like all decent, right thinking, hard working men and women everywhere, I think it's just crazy that I should be expected to give up part of my just earnings to support those who are too lazy to go out and make the same effort to do as well as I have!"

The daughter raised her eyebrows. "Dad, you honestly see no difference between your status in life at the present time and mine? You think they are exactly equitable?"

"Exactly," her father said with assurance. "You've worked hard to get where you are, I've worked hard to get where I am. You deserve your success and I deserve mine. No freeloaders need apply for handouts around here. If your friend Audrey wants a 4.0, she can get off her lazy ass and work for it, just like you did."

"I see," the young woman said. "And similarly, if that homeless man living in a cardboard box in the alley behind the supermarket wants to own his own business like you do, well, he can build a time machine out of old tin cans, travel back to before he was born, and arrange for his mother to marry someone with a million dollar athletic shoe company, so he can start out there as a Vice President when he's 25 and assume control of the whole thing when his dad retires!"

"Wait," the father began to bluster. "That's not... young lady, I worked hard... my grades in college... I graduated near the top of my class... I went to the Harvard School of Business... my management skills when I came into this firm saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars the first year I was here..."

"Daddy," the daughter said, more or less patiently, "you got into Harvard because grampa bought them a new library, and they didn't throw you out when you kept getting drunk and high in your fraternity because grampa bought them three new dorms and a new gymnasium with a pool. You got high grades in most of your classes because you picked really easy classes and hired smart but poor kids to write your papers and take your exams for you. You saved hundreds of thousands of dollars for grampa's shoe company your first year by firing all your American workers and replacing them with kids from Indonesia who did just as good a job for 12 cents an hour."

"But," her father tried to say. His daughter was having none of it; she went on relentlessly, "Daddy, there is no comparison between the way I earn my grades and the way you've 'earned' your success in life. I got into a good school based only on my own grades and SATs, which I got the hard way, by working. I get all As in college because I work my ass off. Remember how you offered to get me into Harvard by endowing some new faculty lounge for them? That's how you do things. I didn't need you to do that for me; I got into my school fair and square. And where you do things like send your hot new 25 year old trophy wife to sleep with Senators for government contracts, then sell shoes to the military for $2,000 a pair that cost you $1.50 each because they're put together in a South Korean sweatshop and made out of pressed cardboard, I actually study and actually turn in my work and actually get perfect scores on my exams because I'm smart and I work hard."

The girl's father looked up alertly as that. "Say, hon, speaking of sleeping with Senators for government contracts, you don't look so bad in a black cocktail dress yourself. I was wondering..."

The young woman flashed her father a furious glare which stopped him dead. She took a breath, then went on, "Plus, I can't understand why you get so pissy about so called 'high taxes on the wealthy' anyway, when you pay your accountant six figures a year to make sure most of your real income and property go through offshore accounts and you end up paying less in tax than a public school teacher!"

"It... I..." the father looked baffled for a moment -- then shrugged and spread his hands. "Honey, that's just how the real world works. Some day you'll understand."

"I understand now, dad," she said. "I understand that your wealth and success and social status all derive from the labor of other people who work for you, whom you pay as little as you possibly can to maximize your own profits. I understand that you cheat, steal, lie, bribe, exploit, and connive at every opportunity to maximize your own assets at the expense of everyone around you. I understand this very well, because I hacked your computer last weekend and have all of this on disc and in hard copy, and I've already sent it all over to the IRS and the FBI, and I think I passed a couple of guys with warrants on my way up to your office today. They should be knocking on your door any second now."

The father's eyes went wide. "What? What? Well... well, that's ridiculous! It's not fair! I have rights! That's an illegal search! You've invaded my privacy!"

The wise... far too wise... daughter sighed. "Yeah, dad. Welcome to the Democratic Party."

Now, there are people... and mind you, I know 'em... who would take enormous umbrage at this characterization of every hard working Republican as basically being inherently corrupt scions of privilege who started out with huge advantages due to the circumstances of their births, and who have employed any means, fair or foul, to advance their own personal agenda and maintain and increase their own personal wealth ever since.

To which I respond merely as follows: there may well be honest, hard working Republicans in America. However, when the leadership of the Republican party is indeed, and inarguably, almost entirely comprised of inherently corrupt scions of privilege who started out with huge advantages due to the circumstances of their birth and who have employed any means, fair or foul, to advance their own personal agendas and maintain and increase their own personal wealth for their entire adult lives and throughout their careers in so called 'public service'... well... the honest, hard working Republicans, whoever they may be and wherever the hell they may be hiding, are just going to have to sit down and shut up for a while. I have no sympathy.

As I said in a previous post -- if there are conservatives or Republicans out there who aren't corrupt, venal, evil, hypocritical sonsofbitches -- they need to stop voting for the goddam corrupt, venal, evil, hypocritical sonsofbitches.

It's as simple as that.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I go to extremes

Time Magazine columnist Joe Klein kindly provides me with a working definition of a "left wing extremist" --

A left-wing extremist exhibits many, but not necessarily all, of the following attributes:

--believes the United States is a fundamentally negative force in the world.

Ummm... hmmm. Let's see. Have I ever stated anywhere that I believe the United States is a 'fundamentally negative force in the world'... well... there was that previous blog post where I called the U.S. an 'evil empire'... yeah, yeah... okay, that's a big ten-four, good buddy.

--believes that American imperialism is the primary cause of Islamic radicalism.\ Hmmmm. Well, there was that whole thing where Jimmy Carter's Secretary of State encouraged the radicalization of Afghani Muslems so they would fight the Soviet Union as our proxies... gee, where did I see that...

Interview of Zbigniew Brzezinski
Le Nouvel Observateur (France), Jan 15-21, 1998, p. 76*

Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

B: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [intégrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Oh, yeah, that's where. Okay. Let's put a check mark on that one and move on to...

--believes that the decision to go to war in Iraq was not an individual case of monumental stupidity, but a consequence of America’s fundamental imperialistic nature.

It... I... well, gee, where do I start with this one? The Louisiana Purchase, the systematic campaign of terror and genocide against the indiginous races of the North American continent, the annexation by force of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Phillipines, 700 U.S. military bases all across the globe, the World Bank being pretty much entirely U.S. controlled... yeah... sounds like we're pretty imperialist to me. Is that the major reason behind the invasion of Iraq? Well, I suspect there are many, many reasons for the invasion and continuing occupation of Iraq, but, yeah, sure as shit, I suspect American imperialism figures high on the list. So sign me up for this one, too.

--tends to blame America for the failures of others—i.e. the failure of our NATO allies to fulfill their responsibilities in Afghanistan.

I... don't know what this means. I think it requires translation. I suspect it means "tends to blame America for the consequences of its own actions", and if so, well, yeah, I'm climbing in that boat, too.

--doesn’t believe that capitalism, carefully regulated and progressively taxed, is the best liberal idea in human history.

Show me an example of capitalism, carefully regulated and progressively taxed, and I'll advise as to how I feel about it. We sure as shit don't have anything remotely fitting that description here in the good ol' U.S.A.

--believes American society is fundamentally unfair (as opposed to having unfair aspects that need improvement). American society is perfectly fair to the 1-2% of the American population that currently controls something like 92% of American wealth. For the rest of us, not so much.

Okay, let me expand on that a little bit. American society has never been about being 'fair', not in economic terms, nor, for that matter, in any other. The United States was founded by a group of rich white guys who came to North America because they were sick and tired of being fucked with by the Church and the State back home. They believed in (among other things) private property, gun ownership, chattel slavery, and the utter immorality of the very notion of an income tax. They kicked Britain off the continent and set up their own government and that government was never about being 'fair', whatever the fuck 'fair' means. The government they set up was about common defense and interstate commerce, and the governing documents they wrote denoted a very long list of things that the government could never, never do to United States citizens... by which, our Founding Fathers meant, white landowning males, and their property, which included by definition, all the non-white, non-landowning males and pretty much all females.

None of this is 'fair'. You could pulverize all of human history and sift through it like bread crumbs for the rest of your life and you would never find a bigger, more arrogant bunch of snobby class-centric elitist pricks than the American Founding Fathers. They had no desire for, nor intention of setting up, a 'fair' society; they wanted a government and an economic system that would support, protect, and defend the already entrenched and wealthy land owning interests. And that's what they (and the rest of us) got.

So, yeah, I guess I can put my initials next to this one, too.

--believes that eternal problems like crime and poverty are the primarily the fault of society. Well, I'd say they are the fault of the entrenched and wealthy property owning interests, which enjoy living in a world of enormous economic class distinctions, because it allows them to live very very well off the labor of others, and feel snotty about it, too. But if you want to boil all that down to 'society', well, sure, what the hell. I'll buy that for a dollar.

--believes that America isn’t really a democracy.We're a representative republic, assneck. In theory. In practice, we are currently pretty much a tyranny. You may disagree simply because Homeland Security hasn't shown up at your door and sent you off to some secret prison to be interrogated for being an enemy combatant...yet... but it could happen in the next five minutes, and there is nothing you or me or anyone else can do about it once it has. That smells like tyranny to me. Take a big whiff of Jose Padilla next time he shuffles by in leg irons and tell me what it smells like to you, you bonehead.

--believes that corporations are fundamentally evil.I like John Brunner's definition of evil, which is basically, anything that treats human beings as chattel, is evil. This is essentially what corporations are all about -- treating everything in the world, including human beings, as marketable, fungible assets. To me, that seems pretty evil, yeah.

--believes in a corporate conspiracy that controls the world. Well, I believe the sonsofbitches do their best, but on my good days, I hope to jesus they aren't quite all the way there yet.

--is intolerant of good ideas when they come from conservative sources. Um... you're going to have to give me an example so I know which kind of 'conservative sources' you're referencing. Conservative sources who believe in small government and taxes on consumption instead of income and a non-fiat economy I'm willing to listen to. On the other hand, if you're using 'conservative' to mean "AAARRRGGGHHHHH FAGGOTS AND NIGGERS AND LIBERALS ALL SUCK AND SHOULD BE DEPORTED AND KILLED AND LOCKED UP AND TORTURED YEEEEEAAAARRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!" and all that other hateful white power shit, then yeah, all those fuckwads can kiss my ass, backwards, forwards, and upside down.

--dismissively mocks people of faith, especially those who are opposed to abortion and gay marriage.

Hey, I mock nearly anyone of faith, if one of their articles of faith is "There's an invisible Scoutmaster In The Sky who loves me unconditionally despite the fact that I want to have everyone who disagrees with me locked up, tortured, and/or killed".

Now, if you add in there that these 'people of faith' use their 'faith' to justify denying other people the right to (a) decide which medical procedures they will and won't have, and (b) get married to whomever they choose, then, you know, I say they're asparagus and I say the hell with them. And if that's dismissive mockery, well, joke 'em if they can't take a fuck. Dumbasses.

--regularly uses harsh, vulgar, intolerant language to attack moderates or conservatives. I don't know if I regularly use harsh, vulgar, intolerant language to attack moderates or conservatives, but I sure as fuck will break into some serious cocksucking vulgarity in response to idiotic horseshit like, I dunno, a fucking drug addict like Rush Limbaugh demanding that that all drug addicts but him be immediately executed, or a she-troll like Anne Coulter calling a Democratic candidate for President a faggot at a major conservative gathering and getting a for the love of Christ standing ovation for it. Show me pictures of Iraqi kids with no arms or legs or newlywed Marines with melted faces and I'll get positively goddam abusive with the fuckheads responsible for that shit, too. Those who do not like this; I have an ass, I presume they have lips; apply as necessary to resolve the issue.

Oh. Um... yeah, yeah, I guess I qualify for this one, too.

This is a partial list, off the top of my head--additions and subtractions will be carefully considered.

No, no, I think this is a fabulous list. Honestly. I had no idea I was such a nutjob, but I'm delirious at the validation.

If readers would like, I'll give you my definition of right-wing extremism next week.

No need, I've done that for you. Where was it... oh, yeah. Anyone who thinks that people who disagree with them should be (a) locked up, (b) tortured, (c) beaten in public, (d) executed, or (e) any/all of the above, are extreme right wing nutballs. You can tell them from the extreme left wing nutballs, because while we believe many things that are actually true regardless of how offensive you find that actuality, we do not advocate anyone being locked up for refusing to subscribe to our belief system, much less such people being beaten, tortured, or executed.

P.S. It would be wildly stupid for me to get into a pissing match by naming names.

One man's 'wildly stupid' is another's courageous honesty, but, y'know, what the fuck, you're a dipshit anyway.

I won't go there...And bear in mind, the characteristics above should be regarded as tendencies, not cast-in-stone beliefs.

In other words, you don't need to REALLY believe any of these things all that strongly for Joe Klein to dismiss you completely (but not harshly or with vulgar language, cuz he's too cool for all that shit, yeah buddy); he'll dismiss you completely if you only kinda-sorta believe one of them. Sweet!

Correction:: Sean Hannity is a ideological extremist and a bully.

He's a fucking jack ass, too. Thanks for playing our game.

Atrios may or may not be an ideological extremist--I was wrong to say he was, since I don't know enough about him--but he sure is a purveyor of extreme and terminally smug rhetoric.

I don't know if Atrios is an ideological extremist, either, but 'smug' is endemic to the blogosphere and the pundit class in general. 'Terminal' is a thoughtless, kneejerk misuse of the language in this context; a great many people writing and voicing their views on a great many subjects are smug, but none of them (perhaps unfortunately) are going to die of it. And from what I've read, Mr. Klein, if anyone was going to die of terminal smugness, you'd be in Cheyne-Stokes respiration right now, you fucking asshat, you.

Readers' Bottom Line: There are no lefties left.I am King!

There are no socialists left.

I hear there are a few in Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands. Maybe a couple down in Cuba, too, I dunno.

No one has ever assumed that "corporate" equals "evil." I do! I do!

No one has ever said that America was an aggressive, imperialistic power in the world. Dude, you need to get out more. Try this blog, or this one, or this one, or this one over here. Lots of people have said that America is an aggressive, imperialistic power. Honest.

No one has ever accused anyone of "blaming the victim" when it comes to crime or poverty.

I... ::staring into space, mumbling to myself:: No, I can't understand this one, either. I'm moving on.

No one--certainly no one in the blogosphere--has ever mocked Roman Catholics. What? Are you crazy? Do we mock Roman Catholics on THIS blog? Does a bear wear a tall hat? Does the Pope shit in the woods? Fuck Roman Catholics and the pedophile priest they rode in on, that's what I say.

Jeez, that's a relief.

Happy to help. Any time, really.

Anyway, while I have always suspected I must be an extremist of some sort or another, I had no idea I was this extreme. I am deeply grateful for the information. Does the position have a salary? Or is it merely titular? Either way, I am proud and honored, and I humbly pledge to never let my constituency down.