|November 11, 2013||Pragmatism beats nihilism||no comments|
|October 31, 2013||Shooting Obamacare blanks||15 comments|
|October 23, 2013||Patriotism Monopoly||11 comments|
|October 14, 2013||Tea party owns shut down||5 comments|
|October 01, 2013||Anti-LGBT views abhorrent||3 comments|
|September 25, 2013||Cruz’s last stand||9 comments|
|September 09, 2013||Wobbly conservatives||7 comments|
|August 30, 2013||Bursting the bubble||no comments|
|August 14, 2013||The healing, part 2||27 comments|
|August 06, 2013||Back in the U.S.S.R.||10 comments|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have news for these conservatives. America is a long way from racial harmony and black civil rights leaders know it even if some Pollyannas want to stick their heads in the sand or blather on about how we don't have "colored" drinking fountains in the South anymore.
I recently offered here some pungent examples of the nasty race baiting that has polluted the nation's airwaves since the Martin verdict. Many black Americans were stunned that George Zimmerman could stalk and gun down an unarmed black teenager and walk away from his crime, rightly believing that if it had been the other way around, Trayvon would already be on death row in Florida.
Rush Limbaugh, who (shamefully) speaks for today's conservative movement, chortled on about he could now say "nigga" with an "a" because that's not racist.
I take issue with the comments of another MDJ columnist who recently wrote, "We know we have worked hard to improve race relations, only to have the nation’s first black President join (Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson) and become a divider."
No, President Obama spoke out, quite eloquently, on the shooting of Trayvon and how many African-Americans feel justice was not served in his case and that, as Americans, we can do better. His remarks were even applauded by his 2008 nemesis, Sen. John McCain. The president has also addressed, repeatedly, black-on-black violence while noting that the lack of economic opportunity for young black men leads to a disproportionate number of them committing crimes.
Perhaps the writer didn't listen to the president's speech. If he had, he would have heard this:
"I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. It doesn’t mean that we’re in a post-racial society. It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated. But you know, when I talk to Malia and Sasha and I listen to their friends and I see them interact, they’re better than we are. They’re better than we were on these issues.
"(W) e should also have confidence that kids these days I think have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did, and that along this long, difficult journey, you know, we’re becoming a more perfect union -- not a perfect union, but a more perfect union."
"My sense of betrayal and frustration lies in the total failure of our first black president to be the reconciler he could have been," writes the MDJ columnist.
Reconciliation is it?
Perhaps he didn't hear Fox New's Geraldo Rivera say this: The George Zimmerman jurors "would have shot and killed Trayvon Martin a lot sooner than George Zimmerman did…You dress like a thug, people are going to treat you like a thug."
Is that how we whites of good will help sooth the raw emotions most all of our black friends and neighbors feel as they watched Zimmerman go scot free especially after one of his six jurors now says he "got away with murder."
The reason Rivera, Limbaugh and dozens of other far right media types can get away with this is because they know too many of their white, aging, male, conservative audiences agree with them. But if Al Sharpton, an MSNBC host who drew national attention to the Martin case, expresses outrage over the verdict, he's hurting race relations.
"My purpose is to emphasize how they and President Obama are making things worse instead of better, and how they are saying 'No thanks!' to citizens, including white conservatives, who have worked diligently to promote racial harmony," the writer continues.
Diligently is it?
Somebody who calls himself "Cobb Co Guy" noted on my blog: "Novelist Stephen Hunter put it best: '[The] presumption is that the African-American community is immature, impulsive, prone to violence and incapable of understanding the nuances of the case.'"
That kind of harmony? Or this kind, from National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent: African-Americans can solve “the black problem” if they put their “heart and soul into being law-abiding...”
Reconciliation comes when you have mutual understanding and a productive dialog, acknowledging and accepting each sides' grievances, and working together toward resolution, which is exactly what President Obama is calling for.
We’re supposed to be impressed because local Russian émigré Oleg Ivutin once lived in the old Soviet Union. Ivutin would have us believe he is authoritative enough to declare the United States is on the “fast track” to becoming the Soviet Union.
I don’t know which proves how utterly uninformed Ivutin is; his absurd comments before the Georgia Tea Party, as reported in the MDJ, or his woeful ignorance of American politics.
It sounds suspiciously like Ivutin is getting his political education from Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, and other far right radio conspiracy theorists.
Ivutin says the recent disclosures about domestic metadata spying by the National Security Agency means America is devolving into a Soviet-style “evil empire,” to quote Ronald Reagan. This fits neatly into the bogus tea party narrative that President Obama is a secret Commie.
“Obama’s argument for all this is always, ‘Well, I have this power, but we’re never going to use it. And time after time again he uses it, and whatever is going to happen after Obama we don’t know.”
Ivutin is evidently unaware of 9-11 and the powers President George W. Bush demanded in the wake of the worst terrorist attack in American history. Those powers were timidly handed over by Congress and have been in effect ever since.
We’re told the spying has prevented dozens of terrorist attacks. I guess we have to believe that, but blaming Obama for the scope and scale of NSA spying is nonsense.
Speaking of spying, the KGB, Ivutin says, encouraged Soviets to spy on one another. The FBI, Ivutin added without offering any proof, is doing the same thing through the non-profit group Infragard, which is actually designed to prevent cyber attacks, not report on what your neighbor is doing.
Ivutin bizarrely goes on to compare Soviet and U.S. prisons.
“In Russia, they were benefiting from slavery when they were putting people in jails. Here, private prisons make money off of prisoners. So when prisoners go to prison the prison owner gets money, part of that is profit.”It’s called privatization, Oleg, a concept thoroughly embraced by conservatives like you who contend private industry can do most all things better than the government. It’s also a concept that has been disproved time and again. In fact, the privatized prison system is a national disgrace.
No talk Ivutin delivers would be complete without some old fashioned tea party Red-baiting:
“I look at John McCain and Hillary Clinton. I don’t see any differences on any issues,” Ivutin said. “These people should openly admit that ‘Yes, we’re socialists’... This is why the tea party movement, the Ron Paul movement, the liberty movements are so popular is because everybody understands it finally.”
Except the tea party isn’t popular anywhere but in far right strongholds like Cobb County, where Ivutin and his pals bask in each others’ glow. In the rest of America, only 8 percent of Republicans self identify as tea partiers, according to a January Rasmussen poll. As for Ron Paul, he finished fourth in the Georgia primary last year.
Having failed to make his central point, that the U.S.A. is the next U.S.S.R., Ivutin concluded with the usual hollow tea party talking points:
“(W)e tell … the (GOP) establishment, ‘Look, we go this far. You will split the party of the conservative movement if you go along with this.’ I will be perfectly OK with that…in the future someone will remember that this country was made up of ideals and people who were willing to stand by them, not people who were willing to, just for political conveniences, adjust to things.”Ivutin doesn’t comprehend compromise – those “political conveniences” he speaks of – is a founding principle of the Republic. Americans understand, contrary to the tea party and Soviet dogmas, nobody gets everything they want all the time in American politics.