Politics Progressive by Kevin_Foley
Perry to taste Texas justice
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Crypto-racism
by Kevin_Foley
November 26, 2013 10:26 PM | 828 views | 4 4 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

You can’t be overtly racist anymore. So to express their hatred and intolerance, racists have resorted to a kind of code. You substitute more generally accepted words for the ones you can’t use.

An example of crypto-racism in on display in Dr. Mel Fein’s most recent MDJ column. In it, the sociology professor from Kennesaw State University lashes out at poor people, just in time for Thanksgiving. He uses the word “poor” in place of black, but his message comes through loud and clear.

So completely repugnant and prejudiced are his opinions, they invite translation:

 “The fact that the poor are frequently the authors of their own misery is indeed a painful truth,” Fein begins.

This is scarcely a novel observation. It of course overlooks the cycle of poverty that keeps the poor/blacks where they are. They have made great strides in breaking the cycle in other developed nations by providing job training, child care, access to reproductive education and healthcare services, quality education and after school programs, drug and alcohol counseling and other significant social services, but Fein doesn’t want to discuss or advocate those advancements. He’d rather blame the victim.

 “(T)he vast majority are too disorganized to make such efforts (to start businesses),” scoffs Fein.

When he says “disorganized” Fein actually means “lazy.” As in most all of his columns, Fein doesn’t employ research or statistics to support this argument. He just repeats a threadbare stereotype about poor/black people.

“(T)he poor, even if they have insurance, often do not seek help. Doctors, whom they regard as of a higher class, make them uncomfortable. As a result, even when they have Medicaid, they tend to stay home,” Fein baselessly declares.

Now Fein suggests that poor/black people have an instinctual inferiority complex that prevents them from seeking medical help when they are sick. Fein is apparently unaware of the multitudes of poor/black people showing up at free clinics nor does he have any data on the number of poor/black people not using their Medicaid benefits.

 "(W)hen they do see a physician, they are inarticulate when explaining their symptoms. Both intimidated by the doctor and generally inartful in expressing themselves, they make poor reporters of their own conditions. But since self-reports are a physician’s primary means of initiating a good diagnosis, understanding what is wrong becomes problematic,” says the professor.

This passage is not only fact-free, it’s transparently racist. No translation is necessary.

 “(T)he poor don’t enjoy being pushed around (and rich white people do?)  — by anyone, and that includes doctors. As a result, they are less apt to follow medical directions. Perhaps they do not get off their feet when so advised or they refuse to take a prescribed medication,”

Fein deploys a stunning generalization to make his baseless point: Poor/black people are “uppity” when being told what medication to take and how to use it because they “don’t enjoy being pushed around.”

“(T)he poor…drink too much, smoke too much, and eat too unwholesomely. Oddly, most do not even exercise sufficiently,” Fein concludes.

The professor is oddly ignorant that the same statement could be applied to many Americans, regardless of their ethnicity or economic status. But we already know what he really means and who he’s really talking about.

Dr. Fein ‘s crypto-racist opinions are appalling and mean spirited, borne of ignorance and personal bias. He’d do well to just keep his nasty opinions to himself and not besmirch his university any further.

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CobbCoGuy
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December 02, 2013
d young,

You really shouldn't rely on MSNBC's Martin Bashir for your info. You cited a misleading edit from a June 2013 broadcast. The remark you quote is an an out-of-context, and INCOMPLETE, paragraph from a 40 minute conversation. Incomplete in that Bashir selectively left out a couple of sentences.

Nice try, though.

Shortchanged at KSU Marketplace
by Kevin_Foley
November 13, 2013 10:34 AM | 850 views | 2 2 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

What was billed as a “marketplace of ideas” at Kennesaw State University quickly devolved into a second hand store full of debunked Obamacare myths, unsubstantiated opinions, and crypto-racism. Presiding over this shopworn inventory was none other than Dr. Mel Fein, KSU’s favorite reactionary sociologist.

Fein was supposed to debate Obamacare with Dr. Kenneth White, an assistant professor of political science. After KSU President Dr. Dan Papp declared the ground rules, calling for civility and collegiality, Dr. White offered a well-reasoned and ably supported rationale for why Obamacare, once fully implemented, will curb the runaway cost of healthcare while insuring some 40 million Americans so the rest of us will no longer pay for their healthcare.

When it was his turn, Fein could barely contain his disdain for White. He proceeded to condescendingly pontificate on the evils of President Obama and his signature legislation repeatedly and annoyingly punctuating his fact-free presentation with an “oh, and by the way” rhetorical device that quickly became annoying.

Fein breezily dismissed White’s accurate healthcare data as “damned lies” before declaring that law suits against doctors represent 10 percent of the total cost of healthcare in the U.S. (the figure is actually about 2.5 percent).

When Dr. White explained that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecast Obamacare would be paid for in 10 years, Fein’s response was “garbage in, garbage out,” evidently unaware that CBO numbers are accepted as reliable by both parties on Capitol Hill.

It became painfully evident White had prepared for the debate. Fein didn’t bother. Instead, he opined that poor people are incapable of starting businesses and noted, contrary to the Declaration of Independence, all men are not created equal.

The few times Fein did cite data, it was wrong. He insisted Obamacare had driven employers to place employees on part-time status to avoid paying for healthcare, a popular anti-Obamacare myth. In fact, labor statistics show part-time employment has fallen by 681,000 jobs this year.

Dr. Papp sat directly in front of Fein, so I couldn’t see his face but his body language resembled that of a man on the receiving end of a boiling water enema.

Meantime, the evening’s special guest speaker, the estimable sociologist Dr. Jonathan Imber of Wellesley College, was intently studying his shoelaces while Fein mindlessly vented his spleen. I’d love to be a fly on the wall of the faculty lounge at Wellesley when Imber regales his colleagues with his account of Fein’s presentation.

This was clearly not the sort of august and dignified forum Papp or the Dean of KSU’s College of Humanities and Social Studies, Dr. Robert Dorff, had in mind for their Marketplace of Ideas. Billed as “The Great Debate I: Obamacare – Yes or No?” the event was reminiscent of those times you invite an obnoxious uncle to dinner and by the end of the evening, you wish you hadn’t.

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Mike H.
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November 14, 2013
Dr. Fein’s performance reminded me of Sean Hannity on steroids, loud, aggressive, and as Mr. Foley said, “fact-free.” If using the words lie and liar are a substitute for facts, then Dr. Fein buried his opponent under a mountain of facts.

Obamacare isn’t perfect. Improvements could have been suggested by Dr. Fein and debated but Dr. Fein chose not to go the fact based, logic driven path. This was a sad day for KSU.

Pragmatism beats nihilism
by Kevin_Foley
November 11, 2013 02:59 PM | 822 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Tea partiers, did you hear that far-off rumbling this week? If you didn’t, here’s the forecast for 2014: a thunderstorm is coming that is going to blow your unpopular “movement” away.

Right-minded Americans are tired of the goofy guys in tricorn hats and their racist anti-Obama placards. You want some proof?

In Alabama’s severely conservative First Congressional District, the Republican establishment’s candidate Bradley Byrne knocked off tea party darling Dean Young.

In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie won re-election in a landslide attracting the votes of moderate Democrats, blacks and Hispanics.

In Virginia, Clinton insider Terry McAuliffe beat out the tea party’s Ken Cuccinelli for governor.

In New York City’s mayoral race, Democrat Bill de Blasio destroyed his Republican opponent.

It was mostly the same in smaller off-year races across the country. The tea party insurgency, to the extent there ever was one, was soundly beaten back. Voters chose pragmatism over nihilism. They want government to work, not shut down because a few whacko birds didn’t get what they wanted in the 2012 election cycle.

It was a stinging rebuke of extremists Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, Tom Price and their far right media enablers, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

Now the establishment Republican Party, funded by the big money corporate interests who have a major stake in a functioning government and economy, has finally risen up.

As reported in the New York Times Nov. 7, “The party leaders pushing for changes want to replace state caucuses and conventions, like the one that nominated Mr. Cuccinelli, with a more open primary system that they believe will draw a broader cross-section of Republicans and produce more moderate candidates.”

With the holiday season upon us, the GOP reminds me of the film comedy, “Christmas Vacation,” in which Clark Griswold’s slovenly backwoods cousin Eddie shows up on Clark’s doorstep a few days before Christmas. After welcoming him, Clark quickly discovers he can’t get rid of Eddie and his inbred clan.

Like Eddie, the tea party has metaphorically dumped its RV’s sewage onto the GOP’s front lawn. Republicans who enthusiastically embraced their tea party cousins now sorely wish they hadn’t.

This is all good news for Democratic and moderate Republican candidates in 2014.

 

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Shooting Obamacare blanks
by Kevin_Foley
October 31, 2013 08:43 AM | 1242 views | 15 15 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

The Obama administration's unforced errors on the Affordable Care Act roll out have provided the president's critics with plenty of ammo.

As usual, however, they're firing blanks.

First, remember that all of this gleeful chest thumping is coming from the same people on Fox News and Capitol Hill who had no interest in knowing why George W. Bush let 4,500 Americans die in Iraq looking for non-existent WMD.

They're simply outraged that Obama could let the roll out flounder, but when it comes to a 10-year, $1 trillion war we didn't need to fight, not so much.

The right wing propaganda machine in in high gear, churning out one anti-Obamacare lie or distortion after the other. Another MDJ columnist wrote this:

"Florida’s largest carrier, Florida Blue, is terminating about 300,000 policies comprising 80 percent of its individual policies, reports Kaiser Health News (not associated with the insurance company)."

This is only half-true, but reading it and adding it to all the other lies and misinformation you've heard, you would be understandably inclined to believe this is more evidence of failure.

However, Patrick Geraghty, the CEO of Florida Blue, appeared on Meet the Press Sunday to explain that the 300,000 who had been contacted by the company...were not being cut: "What we've been doing is informing folks that their plan doesn't meet the test of the essential health benefits; therefore, they have a choice of many options that we make available through the exchange. And, in fact, with subsidy, many people will be getting better plans at a lesser cost."

Did you hear that: Better plans, lesser cost.

This is just one of many examples of how the conservative media latch on to some bit of information, true or not, distort it, then present it as fact without bothering to give the reader or viewer the full story.

Here's another from Dr. Ben Carson: Obamacare is "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery."

A program that aims to provide health insurance so 30 million uninsured Americans can get preventative and critical care is, ready, as immoral and horrific as holding human beings in servitude; brutally torturing those human beings; killing those human beings; tearing apart the families of those human beings; destroying the souls of those human beings.

This from an allegedly educated man.

Far right media are saying Obamacare web site cost $638 million. The number came from an article in Digital Trends, but the it's wrong, not that conservative talking heads like Sean Hannity would bother to get the story right.

"Who pays $634 million and has three years and screws it up that bad?" Hannity demanded to know.

"A conservative figure would be $70 million. A more modest figure would be $125 million to $150 million," wrote the Washington Post's Fact Checker describing the actual cost of the web site.

Then there is Betsy McCaughey, a frequent Fox News guest, who said Obamacare will vastly expand Medicaid and "pay for it by eviscerating Medicare, taking $700 billion out of Medicare and moving it over to fund this expansion of this entitlement. It's like robbing Grandma to spread the wealth."

Obamacare cuts no Medicare benefits. That's a lie and McCaughey and Fox know it's a lie.The facts don't support the Obama-Obamacare haters so they just make stuff up. The facts are these:

The Obamacare web site wasn't ready for launch Oct. 1. It is being fixed.

After it is fixed around November 30, if you have no health insurance, you'll be able to buy a policy that fits your needs and your budget even if you have a pre-existing condition.

If you have an individual policy and it is cancelled its because it doesn't comply with new standards so you'll get a better policy than the one you had, perhaps for less money.

If, like most Americans, you are covered by a group plan at work, nothing changes.

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CobbCoGuy
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November 07, 2013
I have no confidence in the "tech surge."

Imagine you're one of the Gubmint project managers, IT gurus, or programmers, and here comes the tech surge - more project managers, IT gurus, programmers, etc. from the outside. Bringing in outside folks is basically telling the Gubmint folks that, "You suck. Get outta my way so we can fix this thing." And, "Oh, by the way, stick around and tell me where things stand today, describe your software architecture, your datebases, whatever."

Do you think the Gubmint folks are going to feel warm fuzzies toward the tech surge? Do you think the Gubmint folks are going to welcome the surge with open arms? Do you think the Gubmint folks are going to enthusiastically provide the background and information to the surge so the surge can fix their screwup?

I could be wrong. I've been wrong before; just ask my wife.

What do y'all think?

Patriotism Monopoly
by Kevin_Foley
October 23, 2013 09:16 AM | 1190 views | 11 11 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Those war dead belong to we conservatives! You progressives stay away from them!

That's the message from my local right wing critics. They read my two recent columns about Private David Parman, the late soldier from Missouri whose grave I visited last month in Luxembourg. He died during the Battle of the Bulge, just weeks before World War II ended.

I symbolically apologized to Private Parman for the chaos and dysfunction wrought by tea partiers in the House and Senate that brought the country to a stand still for nearly three weeks. I posited that Pvt. Parman died for a higher ideal, not the "look at me!" antics of Sen. Raphael Cruz and his nihilist nabob buddies, and certainly not for that sociopath, Sarah Palin.

The critics think they own patriotism. They believe you can't be patriotic if you don't agree with their narrow world view. It's not possible to honor America if you're a progressive like me, because we want to see the greater good served, not just what's good for millionaires and billionaires.

What my critics reveal about themselves is hypocrisy akin to Cruz's and Pailn's. They no doubt partake in "socialist" programs like Medicare and Social Security and if they don't today, they will soon. They may also have received unemployment benefits, or veterans benefits, or disability benefits, all of which could fall under their definition of "socialism" (as if they even understand the term). Yet they roundly condemn "government largesse" as "statist."

In fact, their comments could be lifted from any Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity rant. They remind me of the brainwashed soldiers in the "Manchurian Candidate" when they hear the name Raymond Shaw. Conservatives tick off by rote all the jive they've heard from conservative media types when they hear words like Obama or progressivism.

Their 18th century tea party notion of "small government" doesn't work in a 21st century country where 350 million people live in a highly complex socio-economic strata that promises to become even more complex in the decades ahead.

It is that complexity, in fact, with which these poor souls struggle. They desperately want things to be simpler, easier to understand, reduced to black and white. They pine for the days of Andy Griffith and Mayberry - a North Carolina town that had no blacks, by the way.

They get all that from Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, and the rest, who are successful because they appeal to and affirm the audience's fear, ignorance and, yes, prejudice.

Patriotism isn't the private property of right wingers. It's a quality all Americans of good will share. Because I disagree with what you believe doesn't mean I'm unpatriotic.

So get over yourselves, conservatives. As I told one reader, I looked, and on none of the crosses or Stars of David in Luxembourg could I find the words "conservative" or "liberal." 

They were just Americans who died defending all of us.

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CobbCoGuy
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October 29, 2013
Lib,

The list is actually called the Essential Benefits or Essential Health Benefits. Google "obamacare essential benefits." It's all over the internet. Heck, go to the HHS website and use their search bar.

No, what is a problem for Conservatives is the Gubmint telling us what kind of insurance is best for us. The consumer should make that decision.

"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" was a bald-faced lie, and they knew it.

Tea party owns shut down
by Kevin_Foley
October 14, 2013 03:57 PM | 1005 views | 5 5 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Laura Armstrong, an erstwhile MDJ columnist, wrote a piece last Sunday in which she blamed President Obama for the tea party shut down of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial made news last week when a group of veterans entered the grounds despite the closure.

I wouldn't react except Armstrong called me out by name in the on-line comments beneath her column. It would appear her thoughts were in response to my Friday column in which I symbolically apologized to Army Private David Parman for the tea party inspired anarchy gripping Washington.

I happened to visit Pvt. Parman's grave during a recent visit to Luxembourg and began thinking about what it was he died for during the Battle of the Bulge. 

Certainly he didn't give his life for Ted Cruz's or Sarah Palin's vision of what America should be, a nation by and for the one percenters.

Speaking of those two nihilist whacko birds, they predictably showed up at a faux "rally of support for veterans" at the World War Two Memorial this past weekend that was actually what we call in the PR biz a photo opportunity. 

This being the tea party, their phony shindig devolved into a racially-tinged march on the White House to demand Obama's impeachment.

That Cruz could show up with his tea party posse at the memorial is the height of hypocrisy since it was Cruz who demanded and got the memorial and most everything else in Washington shut down.

In fact, if Cruz and Palin had their way, there would be no World War Two Memorial. Nor would there be any memorials in Washington. Nor would there be an Arlington National Cemetery. Nor would there be any veterans benefits.

Cruz, Palin and their benefactors, the billionaire Koch brothers, just want the soldiers, sailors and airmen to serve as the cannon fodder in bogus wars that benefit nobody but the defense industry and its meat puppets on Capitol Hill. Then those vets need to just go away as far as Cruz and the rest are concerned.

But when they can corral a bunch of vets wearing medals and service caps, watch out if you're standing between Cruz and a Fox News camera! You see, Cruz needs to use them as props during his exploitative tea party rallies so he can advance his political career by impressing folks like Armstrong.

It would all be laughable if it wasn't so totally and tragically cynical.

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Lib in Cobb
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October 17, 2013
Boehner said, "We fought the good fight we just didn't win". It wasn't a good fight. A good fight would have had some basis other than defunding The Affordable Care Act. This was nothing more than high level attempted coercion and harassment of President Obama.

On the same note, Ted Cruz claimed victory, due to the courage shown by the House. He used the term, "profiles in courage", more delusion. There was no victory for the GOP. President Obama got just about everything he wanted.

Anti-LGBT views abhorrent
by Kevin_Foley
October 01, 2013 03:09 PM | 1633 views | 3 3 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I am very disappointed in my fellow MDJ columnist Roger Hines. I usually disagree with his opinions, but his arguments are generally thoughtful and well presented.

His Sunday column condemning the gay pride celebration at Kennesaw State University, however, is beyond the pale. I don’t think he’s a bigot, but his vicious words last Sunday dismissing the LGBT community as something subhuman were outrageous.

This isn’t the first time Hines has expressed his animus toward the LGBT community. I’m beginning to wonder if he has some sort of unhealthy obsession about what two consenting adults might be doing in private behind their bedroom door.

I’m sure if I looked hard enough I could find similar opinions in Southern newspapers 60 years ago – just cross out the Hines’ references to LGBT and replace them with “Negro” or “Jew” or “Chinaman.” Thankfully we outgrew those prejudices, or at least I hope we have.

Hines got one thing right: KSU is a public institution supported by tax payers. That includes Georgians who are lesbians, gay, bi-sexual and transgender.

Hines says Atlanta isn’t like San Francisco. Has he ever been to Atlanta? If he had, he would know the city, like San Francisco, is a home to a large and vibrant gay community. I lived in Atlanta. My neighbors were gay. I have worked with gay people my entire professional life. I have found them to be kind and generous, good people who were born the way they were and are proud of who they are.

Their crime, as far as Hines is concerned, is that they live a sexual life he doesn’t understand and abhors which would be fine if Hines kept his views to himself. Instead, he suggests in his column the LGBT community is trying to recruit young people at KSU, a tired and long-debunked myth.

Mr. Hines anchors his troubling opinions in a “Judeo-Christian ethic” while hoping “KSU is inclusive of conservative Christian students somewhere in all of their diversity.” I’d be careful invoking the name of Christ in this discussion if I were Mr. Hines because I’d ask him, “Who would Jesus hate?”

It’s 2013, not 1913 but Hines thinks it’s time to attack, marginalize and dehumanize LGBT people, mocking their sexual preferences and identity while casting them and those who support them like KSU President Dr. Dan Papp as misguided at best and evil at worst. As Mr. Hines puts it, “…we are really, really moving away from our traditional community values.”

Hines should take a ride some Friday evening to Swinging Richards, the gay strip club on Northside Drive, and check out all the cars parked in front with tags that say Cobb.

KSU is a great university because it is inclusive.  Hines is wrong to project his so-called “values” on the university community and everyone else who lives in the county and state.

He received more on-line responses to his Sunday column than I think he’s ever gotten, most condemning his views, which should tell him his ill-informed assumptions about what all Cobb residents believe are way, way out of the mainstream.

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Kevin Foley
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October 14, 2013
Lib, I'm not surprised. Think about the responses I would get for this from those cretins. In all likelihood those who wrote in had to be censored by the web editor.

Cruz’s last stand
by Kevin_Foley
September 25, 2013 11:28 AM | 1177 views | 9 9 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I’m pretty sure Sen. Ted Cruz, the tea party flavor of the month, never thought it would go this far when he demanded a government shut down if Obamacare wasn’t defunded.

Cruz probably hoped he could ride the right wing media gravy train long enough to become a household name in the run up to his presidential bid in 2016, then jump off the locomotive just before it plummeted off the fiscal cliff.

Cruz got the recognition he wanted, alright, but he should have been careful what he wished for.

The cliff is just up yonder ’round the bend and the Texas “whacko-bird” (John McCain’s words, not mine) is still at the controls of this crazy train. If it indeed crashes - and it looks for all the world like that’s going to happen next Tuesday - Republicans will have a lot of ’splainin’ to do come the midterm elections.

I love all the tea party chatter about Cruz and his pals, Sen. Mike Lee and Sen. Rand Paul, being some kind of patriotic heroes, standing up for principle and doing what the Founding Fathers would do.

This is utter nonsense. The Founders compromised, found common ground, gave a little to get a little, and sought agreeable disagreement. Above all, they respected the rule of law and Obamacare is, undeniably, the law of the land.

Barack Obama campaigned on healthcare reform in 2008 and it was a major reason why he was elected president. Obamacare was passed by the House and Senate, signed into law by the president, upheld by the Supreme Court, and re-litigated in the 2012 election during which Mitt Romney staked his candidacy on repealing Obama’s signature legislation – and lost.

Cruz abhors this Constitutional process. He wants to circumvent it, not because he thinks it will be bad for the country. On the contrary; as his buddy Mike Lee told Rush Limbaugh, the reason to kill Obamacare is “because people will like it.”

So Cruz and crew are frantically working on behalf of the health insurance industry, which stands to lose if Americans win because they like Obamacare. 

This also explains why Gov. Nathan Deal has failed to implement Medicaid expansion and set up a state-run health insurance exchange in which insurers would be forced to compete for the business of Georgia’s two million uninsured.

A government shutdown will prove a pyrrhic victory for Cruz and the tea party. As in 1995-1996, his party, including those Republicans who think Cruz is nuts, will be blasted by voters for letting it happen and the GOP will pay for it at the polls a year from now.

When the government re-starts operations after a week or so and Obamacare is funded despite all of Cruz’s machinations, he’ll finally be relegated to the GOP’s back bench where he belongs. 

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Lib in Cobb
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October 01, 2013
@Guido: Since "everybody knows", why do I remain anonymous?

Wobbly conservatives
by Kevin_Foley
September 09, 2013 05:18 PM | 1315 views | 7 7 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

You conservatives crack me up.  You can’t make up your minds. When President Obama isn't Hitler, he’s the appeaser Neville Chamberlain. When he’s not  Uncle Joe Stalin, he’s Silent Cal.

Syrian dictator Basar al-Assad gasses his own people and President Obama wants to enforce the red line he told Assad not to cross, a red line with which the likes of Rep. Paul Ryan, the failed GOP vice presidential candidate, said he agreed when he was campaigning last year.

Now that the red line has been breached, a lot of tough guy conservatives have gone all wobbly – to quote the late Margaret Thatcher – over nailing this bloodthirsty SOB who would commit any moral obscenity to stay in power.

Time for a little history lesson, ladies and gentlemen:

In 1979, the tiny Caribbean island of Granada underwent a bloody coup in which a pro-Communist government was established. Without consulting Congress, in 1983 President Ronald Reagan sent U.S. troops to Grenada to topple the regime. For cover, Reagan told Americans the attack was necessary to protect Americans attending a medical school in Grenada. The students said they were never in any danger.

Killed in the invasion were four Seal Team Six members along with 15 other Americans. The United Nations condemned the attack as a flagrant violation of international law. Reagan’s ally, the aforementioned Thatcher, told Reagan not to invade. Reagan had little to gain by attacking Grenada – except making sure he was reelected the following year.

In 1989, again without seeking Congress’ consent, President George H.W. Bush invaded Panama to remove the pesky drug trafficking dictator, Manuel Noriega, a former U.S. ally.

 More than 500 Panamanians were killed along with 23 American troops to capture one man. Panama’s infrastructure was ruined.

Once again, the cover story went that Bush wanted to protect lives, but there was sufficient U.S. military presence in Panama to guard American lives and interests. It appears now, as in 2003, when Bush’s son invaded Iraq, the first Bush was trying to score political points, showing himself to be a strong and decisive leader ahead of the 2002 presidential election.

Both the Grenada and Panama invasions had popular support at home even though America’s interests were, at best, cloudy.

Obama should have done what he initially wanted to do. Ignore Congress as Reagan and Bush did, hit Syria, then let the chips fall where they may. Obama has nothing to gain politically by striking Syria, other than to show other murderous dictators it can happen to them too if they commit atrocities on the scale of Assad’s.

Obama’s not running for re-election as were Reagan, Bush I and Bush II.

The same congressional chicken hawks who clamored for the take down of Saddam Hussein in 2002 are today wringing their hands over a Democratic president who would use force to show the rest of the world we won’t allow atrocities like the one in Syria without severe consequences.

In doing so, they reveal themselves as the hacks they are, willing to go to war when politically expedient for them and willing to let Assad murder children when it's not.

Obama should now sit back, let Congress tie itself in knots, and  know that his first instinct was the correct one.

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Kevin Foley
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September 20, 2013
For once, Cobb Co. Guy makes a good point, just not the one he's trying to make.

You NEVER saw criticism like this of the Bush administration from the right wing commentators when 4,500 Americans were killed for nothing in Iraq. The Hannitys, Limbaughs, Coulters and Krauthammers, to this day, make all sorts of excuses for Bush's 10-year war.

Progressives criticize their own when it is warranted. We always have. Yes, Obama bungled this, but no Americans died needlessly as a result. He's guilty of doing what every pol does: spinning the narrative. Big deal.

Bursting the bubble
by Kevin_Foley
August 30, 2013 01:21 PM | 1090 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Those who consume news and opinion exclusively from conservative sources, eschewing the so-called mainstream media, are living in an information bubble that’s often devoid of reality. A lot of my critics who post here come to mind.

I came across a great example that demonstrates how this process works. As a media expert and as a public service, I will dissect it for readers:

On August 13, Fox News’ “America Live” program featured Christian Whiton, a former state department official. The host began the segment by telling viewers “a new theory” on the Benghazi attacks had emerged: the CIA, the host said, was running missiles through Libya and a “bunch of those missiles were stolen.”

The host then offered a sound bite from one Joseph di Genova who claims his “sources” told him “400 missiles were diverted” and had “gotten into the hands of some very ugly people.” Di Genova suggested the missiles might be used to shoot down an airliner.

A viewer would be left understandably shaken and angry, especially since this allegation is layered on top of so many others about Benghazi presented by Fox News.

This story is based entirely on Joseph di Genova’s allegation so, question one, who is Joseph di Genova? Is he a former CIA spook? Was he in Libya during the alleged theft? From whom did he learn that missiles fell into the hands of “ugly people,” i.e. Islamic terrorists?

These are very basic journalistic questions any objective producer would ask in order to establish a source’s credibility - but not at Fox News.

You see, Joseph di Genova and his wife, Victoria Toensing, are both high-profile Washington lawyers and long-time Republican operatives who have a record of playing fast and loose with the truth while trading on bogus controversies like Benghazi. At best, di Genova’s credibility is compromised so no self-respecting journalist would take him at his word.

Now that we know who di Genova is, the second question is, why is Fox News providing a platform for a compromised source to make an unsubstantiated and inflammatory allegation?

Most everything the administration has said about Benghazi has been corroborated by multiple independent and credible sources ranging from former CIA Director, Gen. David Petraeus to Greg Hicks, one of the so-called Benghazi “whistle blowers.” There is no scandal, explaining why the investigations looking for one have gone nowhere.

But the Benghazi non-scandal supports Fox News’ relentless assertion that Obama “let Americans die,” a narrative it has pushed for nearly a year. Thus, Fox News must keep Benghazi alive.

Third question: Who is Christopher Whiton? Answer: Whiton worked in George W. Bush’s State Department. He’s a conservative and a frequent critic of the Obama administration on Fox News. Whiton, like di Genova and Fox News, is also heavily invested in the Benghazi non-scandal, having mouthed phony allegations in media interviews.

Whiton was probably supposed to support di Genova’s allegations, so the Fox host must have been shocked when Whiton said the lawyer’s theory “didn’t add up.”

It doesn’t matter. Viewers heard “400 missiles,” “stolen,” Libyan “ugly people,” and “airliners,” so the Benghazi non-scandal lives on at Fox.

If all goes well, the latest non-scandal story sticks and gets repeated by other right wing media types, eventually finding currency inside the conservative bubble. Sure enough, World Net Daily, Town Hall, CNS News and other anti-Obama conspiracy theory web sites and media have repeated di Genova’s unsubstantiated charges.

To summarize: a cable news network headed by a former Republican operative, Roger Ailes, which has invested its tattered credibility in pushing the Benghazi non-scandal, presents another Republican operative’s baseless Benghazi “theory” as fact, then hopes a third Republican operative will support it.

All of this depends on one thing: an audience gullible, stupid or lazy enough to believe it.

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