My Awkward Encounter with a “Deplorable”

So I was at the Chinese restaurant waiting for my food, a middle aged man starts talking to me about Trump, the rioters, etc. He’s condemning the rioters for burning property, hurting people, etc. He’ll get no disagreement from me there. He keeps going, talking about people who get shot by the police because they wouldn’t do what they’re supposed to. It’s Friday evening, I’m in an amiable mood, so I concur. “Yeah, I remember that guy in Milwaukee who wouldn’t put down the gun, and the cop shot him. What was the cop supposed to do?!”

Then the man goes on to start criticizing Obama (now he’s losing me), “and that Obama says Travon Martin could have been his son…Martin beat that guy up, that was a Mexican feller…He beat him up…” Time to interject. “Now as I remember, Zimmerman followed Travon Martin to his house…” “well yeah, he was a neighborhood watchman and Travon Martin was suspicious, because he was wearing a hoodie” (I promise you, that’s exactly what this man said). As I continue defending Travon Martin, a black couple walks in. The second they walk in, the man becomes deathly silent. I just remember concluding by saying, “that’s a different situation”, in comparing Travon Martin to the stuff we were talking about before.

But you’ll notice how the man’s behavior completely changes due to the skin color of those entering. As I’m white, the lady at the counter is white (Yes, the cooks are Chinese, they just have a white lady taking orders), he let’s a fly. I can’t help but wonder, considering that George Zimmerman was not a police officer. If Travon Martin were a white guy named Travis Martin, and Zimmerman were a black man, and everything else had been the same, would this man have the same reaction?

Good to be reminded that just because I’m on the team as these people for the time being, doesn’t mean I should get too comfortable with them. So, Democrats, want to win me back in 2020?

How did America remember what “socialist” means?

BernieSandersfromMSmithArticle

I’m used to boomer generation “conservatives” equating socialism with communist dictatorships.  The boomers lived most of their lives during the Cold War era in constant fear of the communist menace.  I expect better from my fellow millennials, however, particularly the well-educated.

Marion Smith, Executive Director of “Victims of Communism” , has written an ignorant piece of red bait for Politico called “How did America forget what socialism means?”   If I were to write something with that title, I’d argue that decades of fear during the Cold War era, combined with manipulation by right-winged pundits had caused the boomer generation to forget what socialism means and instead equate it with the Soviet Union, as though Soviet style communism was the inevitable result of any attempt at a socialist economy.  As I’ve explained in one of my educational podcasts , Socialism actually can refer to a wide variety of economic systems so long as the means of production are publicly owned and the public decides the distribution of wealth.  Socialism can be anything from total communism to a community of farmers who have decided to collectively organize and share the fruits of their labor.

Mr. Smith’s article shows a picture of Bernie Sanders on the front, and then goes on to discuss the horrors of dictatorial communism, including that of the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba in particular.  His organization, “Victims of Communism”, does an excellent job of documenting the horrors that continue in Cuba.  At no point in this article, however, does Smith explain how this is in any way caused by socialism more broadly, or that it has anything to do with Bernie Sanders.  It pretty much amounts to, Cuba is socialist.  They do horrible things to people.  Bernie Sanders is also socialist.  Therefore…

It reminds me of Dinesh D’Souza’s “2016 Obama’s America” where D’Souza spends an hour or so cherry picking details like how Obama Sr. was a Kenyan revolutionary.  Many of those Kenyan revolutionaries were communistsObama Jr. loves his father and cried over his grave.  Obama must be a communist!

The kind of socialism advocated by Bernie Sanders is not Soviet style, nor Cuban.  He advocates the kind of Democratic Socialism professed by nations in northern Europe like Denmark.  If you want to criticize Bernie Sanders by criticizing Denmark’s economy, or the economies of other such systems in northern Europe, that’s fair game.  But Sanders advocates nothing close to the kinds of dictatorships seen in these countries that identify as “communist”, such as China, Cuba, etc.  Besides, China’s system would be more accurately described as “authoritarian capitalism” .  75% of China’s economy is privately owned.  The corporations exploit workers and make enormous profits, while being backed by the authoritarian “Chinese Communist Party”.

Smith is so disappointed that most of our millennial generation has “forgotten” the meaning of socialism.  By this, he means that we don’t have the same knee-jerk reaction to the word “socialism” as the half of the boomer generation with 24/7 Faux News echoing through their homes.  But these millennials haven’t “forgotten” what socialism means.  The boomers forgot.  The millennials are remembering.  The boomers on the right are still fighting the Cold War.  Someone really should inform them that the Berlin Wall came down.

I’m forgiving of the old.  They are set in their ways, and their worldview has been shaped by experiences that I’ve only read about in textbooks.  But for Mr. Smith, there’s no excuse.

The Love Affair with Netanyahu – Pseudo-conservative Hypocrisy knows no bounds

NetanyahuandBoehner

What are the “conservatives” trying to conserve?  The recent love affair with Israel’s Netanyahu only further proves the hypocrisy of the American right wing.  The same people now praising Israel’s Netanyahu; a decade ago were saluting the flag, praising George W. Bush, and unquestioningly following him into war.  Anyone disagree?  Their response was, “If ya don’t like uh’mer’ca, leave da country!”  Remember that?  Now these same people say, “I wish Netanyahu was our President”.  I want to first expose the hypocrisy of the American right (the pseudo-conservatives) and then move on to show that Netanyahu is not showing great leadership in this situation.

Whatever you think of Obama, he is our President (and birthers, just take a hike right now…seriously).  If the “conservatives” valued any of the principles they claim, they would not go against our Constitution, undermine our national sovereignty, and bring a foreign Head of Government into the middle of our internal political disputes.  According to Article II, “The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur…”  The final decision is to be made jointly between the President and the Senate, but the President is to be our chief negotiator in foreign affairs.  Furthermore, there is a long tradition of Congress putting aside partisanship in foreign affairs for the sake of keeping a united front when facing the rest of the world.  If we are to be strong internationally, we can’t air our dirty laundry to the rest of the world.  But since when do these so-called “conservatives” let that pesky constitution get in the way of partisanship?  The right wing isn’t interested in conserving our Constitution, the separation of powers, or America’s sovereignty.  They at least defended our sovereignty when Bush was in the White House, but even that no longer matters.  Russell Kirk, a true conservative, once said that “some eminent Neoconservatives mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States”.  Lindsey Graham is clearly one of those neoconservatives, as he has said to Netanyahu “We will follow your lead”.

So what ARE these so called “conservatives” trying to conserve?  Israel?  Well, the next time one of the neoconned* starts with all their praising of Netanyahu and how they wish he were OUR President, I’m going to respond, “If ya don’t like uh’mer’ca, leave da country!”

As for Netanyahu, is he really such a great leader right now?  I do want to make it clear that I support our alliance with Israel.  But does Netanyahu really feel the same way?  I wouldn’t think of intervening in Israel’s internal political disputes.  I don’t blame Netanyahu for initially accepting the invitation from Congress.  However, when he saw how much internal controversy it was causing in the US, and how controversial it was with the American people**; he should have politely declined.  If I were him, I would have sent a very polite letter to Congress, something like…

“I continue to value Israel’s friendship with the United States of America, and in the interest of that friendship, I will not, as Prime Minister of Israel, interfere in America’s internal political disputes.  Therefore, out of respect for America’s sovereignty and our continued friendship, I must politely decline your offer to meet with Congress without also having the approval of your President.”

That is what a good leader and good ally would do.  But Netanyahu has decided that short term political gain, and supporting the neocon agenda, is far more important than America’s sovereignty and even Israel’s long term best interest.  Israel desperately needs the US, and this will not be remembered fondly by Americans (neocons perhaps, but they are globalists first and Americans second).  I think Netanyahu now should issue either an apology, or at least some kind of clarification that he hopes that he did not get involved in America’s internal disputes nor did he intend to disrespect the Office of the President of the United States.

*I call them “neoconned” because I speak of your average, grassroots Republicans.  They have been manipulated by the neocons, such as Bill Kristol, Sean Hannity, etc. but they themselves think they are “conservatives” and many have never even heard the term “neocon”.  They have been neoconned.

**I have seen several polls with varying conclusions on this, so in the interest of fairness, I will show you several.

This one shows that a majority of those who answered considered the speech inappropriate without Presidential approval.

This one shows pretty much the opposite of the above

Is Lindsey Graham the slimiest Neocon of all?

LindseyGrahamAgain

Do they get any slimier than Lindsey Graham?  The same fear-monger who wanted to hide the truth about CIA torture, supported sacrificing our constitutional right to a fair trial due to fear of terrorism, supported invading Syria to fight against Assad on the basis that militant Islam is growing (never mind that Assad was fighting AGAINST those very Islamic militants)…well this same fear mongering, half truthing, opportunist now claims that Rand Paul is the one “creating anxiety for no good reason.”

Rand Paul did admittedly make a careless comment that he has heard of “many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.”  Still, looking at the big picture on Rand Paul’s position, he has stated repeatedly that he strongly encourages vaccinations, but opposes Federal mandates, as Dana Bash showed in this article.  This is actually the same position Lindsey Graham takes, yet Graham suggests that Paul would try to stop vaccinations by stating as part of this rebuttal of Paul that “I would reject any effort to stop vaccinations until someone can show me a scientific reason to do so.”  OK, and Rand Paul has made no attempt to stop vaccinations, only to stop efforts at a government mandate.  So what is the problem Mr. Graham?!

As Graham considers a Presidential bid himself, largely in opposition to Paul, this is clearly his first of what are likely to be many cheap attacks and straw man arguments.  I sincerely hope that Graham runs, because he is so detestable that his attacks against Paul would only serve to draw more favorable attention to Paul.  When I think of the other major neocons of our time, both politician and pundit, none do I find so detestable as Graham.  McCain is by far no saint, and a major flip flopper on domestic policy, but there is a consistency to his foreign policy idealism that I can respect (even while I reject it).  As McCain sees the US as a beacon of freedom and progress for the world, he supports almost limitless military invasions, but he also opposes torture.  After all, if we are to be the world’s moral police, we should at least practice such morals ourselves.  Bill Kristol has expressed such idealism as well in his essays for the Foreign Affairs, and I think he really believes what he says.  I think McCain and Kristol are both well intended, but are both idealistic fools who would throw us into devastating quagmires, as they have before.  Still, I could sit in the same room with them and probably have a civil debate.  There’s also Krauthammer, the most sober minded of the neocons.  His neocon hawkishness often carries undertones of pragmatism to the point where Krauthammer is a self-identified “democratic-realist”.  While I think Krauthammer is still far too quick to support military force, I know he thinks it through, and I’ll always listen to his point of view and consider it.  For Graham, however, I haven’t a shred of respect.

PS  I do want to express my gratitude to CNN’s Dana Bash for providing a fair analysis of this recent debate between Graham and Paul.  CNN isn’t perfect, as the recent interview with Paul on vaccines shows, but in the greater scheme of things, CNN has shown itself far more objective than the other major news networks, particularly FOX and MSNBC.  Also referenced above, here is the link the Bash’s article http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/03/politics/measles-vaccines-lindsey-graham-rand-paul/index.html

A link to an excellent Rare article on why the neocons are making a big stink out of this

I miss liking Obama

Obama_2008

In our darkest hour, at least that we millenials can remember, Obama gave us hope.  We had 8 years of fear, debt, a weak economy, and blind nationalism that sickened any of us with even the most basic critical thinking skills.  The Bush era was a nightmare for us.

I admit it.  The neocons had turned me off to America for a while.  To them, that is a mortal sin.  Everyone is supposed to love ‘mer’ca!  If you don’t, there must be something wrong with you.  And to them “America” is whatever they support.  Don’t support the war in Iraq?  Why do you hate ‘mer’ca?!  Don’t want to torture accused terrorists?  Why do you hate ‘mer’ca?!  Don’t like oil subsidies?  Well, you get the idea.

I escaped to England, thinking I would find something better in the land of my forefathers.  Well, it wasn’t England so much as it was London.  I’ll spare you the details, but know that when America suffered over here, I suffered over there.  I suffered over there, so I didn’t have to suffer over here…heh heh heh (Imagine my Bush voice).  When the economy tanked, my own finances likewise tanked.  When I thought all was lost, there was that enthusiastic progressive, multiracial, with and Islamic father and Christian mother, who represented an “America” I found far more appealing.  It was an America where people were free to be different, where hard work paid off.  It was an America of “hope and change”.  It was no longer the America of angry pseudo-conservatives watching endless FOX news, calling food stamps recipients “lazy” while ignoring subsidies for big business, and supporting every war against every nation of brown skinned Muslims since they all look like Osama bin Laden.  That America was dying, and a new one was being born.  That the rebirth was being led by a man who looked Muslim, that was just a plus for me.  Take that neocons!

Due to circumstances, I was moving back home.

When Obama was inaugurated, he declared “Change has come to America”.  To this day, I still think he meant that at the time, but he was wrong.  Change doesn’t come from inauguration.    (I’ve discussed my disappointments with Obama here and here).  Now the Republicans are in control of Congress, and rather than turning over a new leaf, they’re back to the same old tricks.  They are seeking more subsidies, more welfare for big banks, and cuts to school lunches.  We can’t afford decent food for our kids, but we can afford to back risky derivatives trading with FDIC insurance.  (Details in this article).  In all of their efforts to “cut spending”, you will hear no mention of ending oil subsidies, or auditing the Pentagon.  Actually, they will include more funding for weapons that the Pentagon didn’t even request.  But we can’t afford nutritious school lunches – sorry kids.  It’s the same old crony capitalism the Republicans have been pushing since the party was founded.  As the Republicans remind me of why I despise them so much (though I consider myself conservative), I can’t help but miss the Obama I voted for in 2008.  Now, more than ever, we need that Obama.  But he is a broken man now.

We partly have ourselves to blame.  Like Obama, we thought we had won when he took office.  We got lazy while the corporatists on the right and their FOX news viewing grunts got to work.  They obstructed everything, attacked Obama from all angles, and we stuck our heads in the sands.  Eventually, Obama gave in, and now we’ve got an Obama who supports indefinite detention, tolerates oil subsidies, invades countries without Congressional approval, and only faintly opposes torture.  John McCain has done more to end torture than Obama, and McCain is Mr. Neocon!

Still, no matter what Obama has done, I can’t hate him.  In 2008, in our darkest hour, in mine too, he restored my faith in this country.  I’m not an ‘mer’can, but I am a proud American.  But now I know that one man isn’t going to turn it around.  The FOX news viewers may think Obama hates this country because he’s half Kenyan and his father is a Muslim, but I know that Obama loved, and probably still loves, the America that I love.  It’s the America where the poor and downtrodden who don’t stand a chance in Europe can come and have a chance to succeed, and another chance, and another.  It’s the land of opportunity, innovation, and progress.  I have little faith left in Obama, but I’ll never forget what he did for me, and all of us.  Remember what Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve failed over, and over, and over again…and that’s why I succeed.”  We will move this country out of the neocon dark ages, but we will have to fail many times first.

PS  I’m clearly not a typical Rand Paul supporter, but I am a supporter.  I don’t care if it comes from the left wing, the right wing, or a chicken wing on a string at burger king.  I’m not a progressive, but I supported Obama.  I’m not a libertarian, but I support Paul.  I just know that the old left-right paradigm needs to end, and I’ll support any candidate who can make progress towards that goal.

Rick Santorum and the Democratic Party – Strange Bedfellows

 

santorum-clinton

 

What do establishment Democrats and neocon Republicans have in common?  They are both powerful, incompetent, and think they speak for America!  As Rand Paul has wisely advocated a very consistent defense based foreign policy, the establishments of the left and right are blasting Paul for “blaming America”.  The left/right establishment from Hillary Clinton to Rick Santorum, and to a lesser extent President Obama, have advocated arming “the rebels” in Syria, while at the same time fighting against ISIS.  Never mind that ISIS actually came from those very “rebels” in Syria that the establishment helped.  Never mind that ISIS actually has many of those very weapons that the left/right establishment sent them.  To the left/right establishment, this arm your enemies, and blow ‘em up later approach to foreign policy makes perfect sense.  To anyone whose head is located atop the shoulders, instead of between to big hairy cheeks, this makes no sense at all.

I just read probably the worst article ever published in the Huffington, puffington Post.  Rand Paul wisely opposed arming “the rebels” in Syria, and now blames the political establishment, left and right, for having done so and inadvertently aided ISIS.  Instead of admitting their mistakes, “both sides” claim that Rand Paul is “blaming America”.  Well, I’m an American.  Ted Cruz is American.  Bernie Sanders – American.  Pat Buchanan – well you get the idea.  I’ve never heard Rand Paul blame any of us for ISIS.  You who read this, has Rand Paul blamed you?  Are you American?  Rand Paul blames particular political leaders who have made foolish policies that helped ISIS.  Is it blaming America anytime any American blames a politician for their mistakes?  Who would have thought that Rick Santorum, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham would find themselves on the same side as the Democratic National Committee?  Some of my hardcore paleocon/libertarian friends will call them RINOs.  I just call them insane.  Hey, here’s a brilliant idea.  Next time there’s a forest fire – don’t put it out right away.  Pour gasoline on it first, then when it gets really bad, we can start putting it out.  That makes about as much sense as arming the rebels in Syria.

Now, let me be serious.  In conclusion, ISIS must be stopped.  If that means bombs, then let’s drop bombs.  If it means arming Kurds, let’s arm the Kurds.  If it means allying with forces we don’t normally like very much, like Iran or Syria…so be it.  But the greatest threat to our safety comes not from those who hate us from abroad, but our incompetent political leaders and their self-destructive policies that are based more on Cold War prejudices and silly globalist ideologies than America’s best interests.  As Dave Mustaine said, “Yesterday’s answers have nothing to do with today’s questions”.  For America to move forward, we must remove the neocons and the interventionist “liberals” from power at the ballot box.  Is it 2016 yet?

P.S. and No, Dave Mustaine never endorsed Santorum.  He merely complemented Santorum for his devotion to his family.

Ann Coulter really is an idiot – further proof

Ann Coulter Meme

Back in my “Blue Dog Radio” days, I did a piece exposing Ann Coulter’s partisan hypocrisy (Listen to it here if you like).   I have new evidence further proving her idiocy.  As you can see in the meme above, Ann Coulter rightly understands how big government “liberals” create problems, and then want to use yet more government to solve the very problems they create.  On that point, I agree with her completely.

However, this is the same Ann Coulter who supported the invasion of Iraq from the beginning, and now criticized Obama for not doing MORE to stop ISIS.  In other words, she supported a government solution to the lesser evil, Saddam Hussein, which helped create this environment that led to the very existence of ISIS.  Now she wants yet MORE GOVERNMENT to fix the very problem that people like her created?  Sorry Ann, but I must quote thy God, Ronald Reagan – “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem”.

If we had never done what Coulter and her kind wanted, ISIS would be no match for Saddam Hussein.  If we had just backed off and never gotten involved in Syria, Assad and his Russian allies would have defeated ISIS in Syria.  I’m not prepared to trust our current government run by neocons and globalist-liberals again.  As George Will once said, “conservatism seems to be saying government can’t run Amtrak, but it can run the Middle East.”  What sane person would support small government at home, but big government abroad?