Extremism as Defined by the Right:
Last night on his Fox "news" program, Bill O'Reilly, a man who wants to shove a falafel up Glenn Beck's ass, went the full nutzoid on Rosa Brooks. Now, you may sanely ask, "Who the fuck is that?" She's a (now former) Los Angeles Times columnist and Georgetown law professor who has taken a position as an advisor to the undersecretary of defense policy. Now, you may sanely ask, "Who the fuck fucking cares?" But you are not Bill O'Reilly (unless you are, in which case the Rude Pundit would like to take this opportunity to say, "Really, dude? Really?").
O'Reilly, after sputtering over the fact that Spain is looking into charging ex-Bush administration officials with crimes against humanity, decides to go for some bizarro moral equivalency by dragging Brooks out of the behind-the-scenes advisory position to make her a new poster child for what he sees as far left extremism. He tosses in a few quotes from Brooks's columns where she says that torture is bad and people should be punished for it, even if they're government officials. And, horror of horrors, O'Reilly says she was a "special counsel to George Soros's Open Society Institute," which, in O'Reillyzania, is akin to being Satan's pitchfork sharpener.
Here's how the man bottom lines Brooks's new position: "And now she has access to America's defense secrets at the Pentagon. Again, what the deuce is going on? This is madness...A confirmed far left radical is now operating within the Pentagon." Later, in a discussion with some who-the-fuck-cares Heritage Foundation stooge, he adds, "[T]his woman is as far as left as you can get...And I think they're doing it -- I think she's a spy for elements of the Obama administration. They're putting her in the Pentagon so she can report back to them what Gates and the other people are doing. There's no other reason on earth that this woman who teaches at Georgetown and this and that should be in that position. She's a nut."
So there you go. There's where conservatives draw the line on liberal extremism. By the way, if O'Reilly's people had decided to read just a little more of Brooks's work, like in her position as a law professor, they'd have discovered she's a moderately left wing scholar who calls for sanity and rationality in America's policies in the era of terrorism. Look at her article on the Geneva Conventions, where she cautions both sides of the argument about the applicability of the conventions to terrorism detainees: "Acknowledging that the Bush Administration's read of the Geneva Conventions is not implausible does not require agreement with the Administration's policies. It is entirely possible to accept that the Geneva Conventions don't apply to terrorist suspects, but still consider the Administration's detention and interrogation policies both morally bankrupt and strategically foolish." In the same article, she even chides those on the left who see terrorism as a law enforcement matter for having a "head-in-the-sand quality." Oh, fuck. Not nuance. Makes brain hurt.
Meanwhile, conservatives have gone to paranoiac paradise because the Department of Homeland Security issued a report that said something so patently obvious about right wing extremism that they may as well have put out a white paper announcing, "Oral sex feels great, and ice cream is tasty, especially with pie." What caused Joe Scarborough to sneeringly say that the Obama administration is waging a "war on veterans"? What made Newt Gingrich wind himself by frantically thumb tweeting that the DHS is "smearing veterans and conservatives"? What forced Michelle Malkin to put away the ivory dildo long enough to type that the report was a "piece of crap" and a "sweeping indictment of conservatives"?
It said that when people lose their jobs and homes, they might be easily convinced that immigrants and the black president are to blame, especially if they think he's gonna take their guns and put them in FEMA concentration camps. And they might think about doing stupid shit, like, you know, blowing up a federal building or something. Oh, and because extremist groups, like militias and white supremacists, might try to convince veterans to join up to exploit their skills because, you know, it's that or homelessness, joblessness, and suicide for way, way too many of them.
As the report says, "Prominent anti-government conspiracy theorists have incorporated aspects of an impending economic collapse to intensify fear and paranoia among like-minded individuals and to attract recruits during times of economic uncertainty." Or, in other words, duh. However, for conservatives, this report, which is just a heads up for law enforcement, shows that the White House has it out for them, which is convenient on a day when Fox "news" is trying to prove it's still valid by getting a few people out to stand around with signs and teabags.
The threat assessment also points out that it's the solitary nuts who just need a nudge that pose the greatest danger: The DHS "has concluded that white supremacist lone wolves pose the most significant domestic terrorist threat because of their low profile and autonomy—separate from any formalized group—which hampers warning efforts." Does it really need to be pointed out that the most destructive act of domestic terrorism was committed by a right-wing extremist Army veteran? Makes brain hurt...
So there's your conservative movement's consistency: a slightly liberal law professor is a nut who has no business in the Defense Department, but right wing nuts are representative of conservatives. Jesus. All they've got left are the rubes pathetically tossing tea.