How To Tell If You Are An Extremist

Take this, Joe Klein. I’m no left-wing extremist. I’m a rational person.

What kind of extremist are you?

Your Result: Rational Person

You consider these questions obvious straw men, designed to distract people from a meaningful investigation of facts and a serious discussion of relevant political issues.  How boring.

Moderate Extremist
Right-Wing Extremist
Left-Wing Extremist
What kind of extremist are you?
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Posted in Humor and Satire. Tags: . 1 Comment »

John Kerry’s Testimony on Inadequate Care For Veterans in 1971 Sounds Like Reports From Today’s Headlines

The Washington Post reports that the problems with health care provided to veterans are not only occurring at Walter Reed. It is also not only Iraq and not only 2007. John Kerry reported the same type of problems in his testimony before the Senate in 1971. Kerry testified to represent the views of veterans who “feel we have been used in the worst fashion by the administration of this country.”

Kerry’s testimony has frequently been distorted by the right wing to give a false impression that he was attacking fellow soldiers when he was really there to speak out for them. In reading this portion of his testimony substitute Iraq for Vietnam and this sounds just like the reports we are hearing today:

Returning veterans are not really wanted

But the problem of veterans goes beyond this personal problem because you think about a poster in this country with a picture of Uncle Sam and the picture says “I want you.” And a young man comes out of high school and says, “That is fine. I am going to serve my country.” And he goes to Vietnam and he shoots and he kills and he does his job or maybe he doesn’t kill, maybe he just goes and he comes back, and when he gets back to this country he finds that he isn’t really wanted, because the largest unemployment figure in the country – it varies depending on who you get it from, the VA Administration 15 percent, various other sources 22 percent. But the largest corps of unemployed in this country are veterans of this war, and of those veterans 33 percent of the unemployed are black. That means 1 out of every 10 of the Nation’s unemployed is a veteran of Vietnam.

The hospitals across the country won’t, or can’t meet their demands. It is not a question of not trying. They don’t have the appropriations. A man recently died after he had a tracheotomy in California, not because of the operation but because there weren’t enough personnel to clean the mucous out of his tube and he suffocated to death.

Another young man just died in a New York VA hospital the other day. A friend of mine was lying in a bed two beds away and tried to help him, but he couldn’t. He rang a bell and there was nobody there to service that man and so he died of convulsions.

I understand 57 percent of all those entering the VA hospitals talk about suicide. Some 27 percent have tried, and they try because they come back to this country and they have to face what they did in Vietnam, and then they come back and find the indifference of a country that doesn’t really care, that doesn’t really care.

Conservative Blogs Won’t Let Their Lie Die

Glenn Greenwald is perfectly capable of responding to this absurd attack, but since I quoted his post in question in one of my posts I’ll also comment. The issue was conservative blogs claiming that liberal bloggers were hoping that those who attempted to assassinate Dick Cheney had been successful. The response from myself, Glenn Greenwald, and several other liberal bloggers was to say this charge was absurd, and noted that this is based upon quoting some people who comment on blogs.

Patterico actually helps to prove our case in a rather weak attack directed at Glenn Greenwald. Rather than responding to the actual argument made by Greenwald he quotes him out of context and claims that Greenwald’s argument is that there is absolutely no talk involving any degree of violence from liberal leaders. He then argues with this straw man and ignores what Greenwald actually was arguing.

Even in trying to find any signs of violence in the speech of those on the left Patterico builds a weak case. His first example of “leftist hate” comes from Nina Totenberg saying ” [I]f there is retributive justice [Sen. Jesse Helms] will get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it.” His other leftist leaders include people like Alec Baldwin, Spike Lee, and Chris Rock. When he quotes actual politicians he relies on quite old quotations. Trying to bring liberal bloggers into this he quotes Kos’s comments on the contractors who were killed in Iraq, but fails to note that Kos was widely criticized by other liberals for this comment, and his blog was removed from the blog roll of the official Kerry blog in response. He quotes Atrios who is being more humerous than violent by citing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. For that matter, few of his quotes approach the level of violence in advocating the assassination of a political figure which is what Greenwald’s post was about.

Patterico fails to give a single example of a liberal leader or blogger who supported the recent attempt on Dick Cheney’s life. Neither Greenwald nor anyone else I’m aware of has ever claimed that there has never, ever been a single case of someone on the left saying something which could be seen as violent. If we are going to look at lines such as Patterico quoted going back over several years, and including some I would hardly consider to be liberal thought leaders, we could find far more in a very brief time in the conservative media.

The argument Greenwald and others of us made still holds. While some writing comments on blogs showed poor taste in cheering on the Taliban, this is not an attitude supported by liberal bloggers or other liberal leaders. Conservative bloggers who launched these dishonest attacks on liberal bloggers would look better if they simply admitted they were wrong rather than trying to keep this issue open by distorting what was said.