|May 16, 2013||Scandal going nowhere||5 comments|
|May 06, 2013||Iraq, now Syria?||19 comments|
|April 30, 2013||Lil’ Limbaugh sobers up||6 comments|
|April 22, 2013||Feeding frenzy||1 comments|
|April 15, 2013||Wealthy, white and privileged||15 comments|
|April 08, 2013||Dr. Carson heals himself||6 comments|
|March 26, 2013||Bachmann's Obama jihad||20 comments|
|March 18, 2013||Emigre Ivutin needs a political education||no comments|
|March 12, 2013||The people spoke, Ryan doesn't care||15 comments|
|March 06, 2013||DHS to launch offensive on America...not||23 comments|
Can you imagine the right wing’s reaction to President Barrack Obama donning a flight suit and then landing in a Navy jet on the deck of an aircraft carrier for the purposes of political theater?
That’s what George W. Bush did ten years ago this month, just weeks after he ordered the invasion of Iraq.
These are the kind of teachable moments we, as informed citizens, need to pay attention to. We should not forget or excuse them, but study and learn from them.
Beneath a White House-produced sign declaring “Mission Accomplished,” with the 2004 re-election campaign cameras rolling, Bush announced an “end of major combat operations,” telling Americans ,"In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”
“…I just died, and I said my God, it's too conclusive,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld would later tell Bob Woodward.
In 2009, Bush admitted, "… putting 'Mission Accomplished' on an aircraft carrier was a mistake.”
Major combat operations weren’t over. In fact, things in Iraq were just heating up as Bush was prancing around in his flight suit on the deck of the U.S.S. Lincoln. They would culminate in a decade-long war of choice, a misadventure of historic proportions that cost the lives of 4,500 Americans and more than $1 trillion.
Worse, the Muslim world saw the slaughter of their co-religionists, more than 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians, and reacted with outrage and contempt for America.
Bush’s Iraq debacle didn’t keep America safe; it further endangered America, radicalizing even more Muslims like the Boston bombers.
We also know from confirmed extemporaneous accounts that Bush was looking for any excuse to invade Iraq and overthrow its brutal tyrant, Saddam Hussein, perhaps because Saddam plotted to assassinate Bush’s father.
"After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad at one time," Bush smirked in 2007.
Other than Bush’s personal vendetta, there was no reason to invade Iraq, yet the administration worked feverishly in the run up to the war to sell Congress and Americans on the supposed threat Saddam posed; WMD “mushroom clouds” and all that B.S.
Anybody looking closely and paying attention at the time – people like Sen. Barrack Obama - knew Saddam was a danger only to the unfortunate people of Iraq, a garden variety dictator, just one of many blood-soaked tyrants around the world.
Question: If America was going to take Saddam out, why not all the others?
Answer: Saddam was the one sitting on one of the largest oil reserves in the world.
Now, the same conservatives who cheered for the Iraq invasion, who promised speedy victory, who said we’d be greeted as liberators, that Iraqi oil would pay for the war are demanding another war of choice, this time in Syria.
Ten years after “Mission Accomplished,” we have another teachable moment for America.
Are you paying attention?
When I saw 13-year-old Jonathan Krohn’s 2009 CPAC speech shortly after Barrack Obama was sworn in, like everyone else, I was struck by the lad’s eloquence.
Most 13-year-old boys would stand up before a crowd of adults, hands in pockets, and self consciously shuffle and mumble. This home schooled Christian kid from Duluth, Georgia was confident and forceful.
I disagreed with everything he said, of course. It sounded a lot like a mindless Limbaugh-Hannity-O’Reilly-Coulter mash-up - which he now admits it was - but Krohn’s performance was nonetheless impressive.
For awhile, Jonathan was the toast of the far right airwaves, cheered as the future of the conservative movement in America. His book, “Define Conservatism,” was a right wing must read.
Then the boy grew up.
“One of the first things that changed was that I stopped being a social conservative,” Krohn said in a recent interview. “It just didn’t seem right to me anymore. From there, it branched into other issues, everything from health care to economic issues...it’s just that I thought about it more. The issues are so complex, you can’t just go with some ideological mantra for each substantive issue.”
Well done young man. You began thinking for yourself. That’s the second step one must take if one hopes to kick conservative addiction. The first step is accepting you have a problem.
“An open mind and critical thought are like a metaphorical AA after a long bender on ideological wine,” Krohn acknowledges. “I’m proud to say that this program has gotten me three years sober.
Addicts often have enablers somewhere behind the scenes.
“I felt justified in my beliefs if for no other reason than no one actually told me I was wrong,” Krohn explained. “Instead, men like Bill Bennett and Newt Gingrich hailed me as the voice for my generation and a hope for America. “
Ah, Bill and Newt, the gambling addict and the serial philanderer; not exactly the best role models there, Jonathan.
As the recovering conservative dirty trickster David Brock says, you were blinded by the right. You were seduced into believing the world is simple; black or white, good or evil, with nothing in between, except that craps table or the comely blonde on your staff.
“The never-ending war between the left and the right seems to me like a couple of drunken college boys fighting over which one of their fraternities is cooler,” Krohn wrote.
As Jonathan now knows, our progressive fraternity is most definitely a lot cooler. George Clooney and Stevie Wonder are members. Over at the conservative frat house you’ll find Jon Voight and Lee Greenwood.
“I was tired of the right using me as an example of how young people ‘get’ what they’re talking about when it’s obvious that I didn’t get what I talking about at all. I mean, come on, I was between 13 and 14 when I was regurgitating these talking points!”
Meantime, Krohn’s recovery has not been welcomed by his old fraternity brothers. They take a very dim view of someone who kicks the habit.
“I have been treated by the political right with all the maturity of schoolyard bullies. The Daily Caller...wrote three articles about my shift, topping it off with an opinion piece in which they stated that I ... wear “thick-rimmed glasses” ... Why don’t they just call me ‘four-eyes’? These are not adults leveling serious criticism; these are scorned right-wingers showing all the maturity of a little boy. No wonder I fit in so well when I was 13.”
Finally, like Beck and Hannity, the Post latched onto the Saudi student story without doing any fact checking to ascertain if, indeed, the student was a suspect; again, basic journalism practice.
Instead, the Post simply reported the student had been "taken into custody" and was considered a "suspect."
See, most right wing media have no respect for the intelligence of their audiences. Their attitude is, facts? We don' need no stinkin' facts! We have a bunch of ignorant viewers and readers who only want their deepest, darkest prejudices and fears affirmed.
We just oblige 'em.
Dr. Ben Carson became an instant conservative star after he insulted the president of the United States at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Carson’s speech there was otherwise un-noteworthy except to the likes of Sean Hannity, who christened the African-American neurosurgeon a presidential contender on the strength of his churlish performance.
Hannity subsequently interviewed Carson and asked the doctor’s views on same-sex marriage.
“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” replied the doctor. Fair enough; that’s an opinion held by many. But Carson continued.
Gays and lesbians, he said, along with criminal pedophiles and degenerates who practice bestiality, cannot be permitted to change the “definition of marriage.”
Same-sex adult couples who love one another and wish to wed so they can enjoy the legal rights of marriage are the same sort as those who molest children or have sex with sheep, in Carson’s view.
Coming from someone with his intellect and academic credentials, Carson’s words were not only shocking, they revealed his abject bigotry.
The comments set off a fire storm at Johns Hopkins University, where Carson teaches at the institution’s prestigious medical school. In response, he appeared on MSNBC to offer an apology - sort of.
“…as a Christian…I have a duty to love all people and that includes people who have other sexual orientations…if anybody was offended, I apologize…My point was that once we start changing definitions, where do we stop?”
Well, Dr. Carson should have stopped right there, but on a radio show just a few days later, he tore into his critics.
“(They) take my words…and try to make it seem that I’m a bigot,” Carson declared. “They're the most racist people there are…‘you have to think this way, how could you dare come off the plantation?’"
If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, then the last refuge for a bigot like Dr. Carson is the metaphorical “plantation,” in which he casts himself as a slave, whipped by the awful lash of progressivism.
And, you know what they grow on that progressive plantation, Dr. Carson? The kind of freedom that got you through the front door of Johns Hopkins, that’s what.
Late last week, Carson had another change of heart. In an e-mail to "the Hopkins Community" he said, “I am sorry for any embarrassment this has caused. But what really saddens me is that my poorly chosen words caused pain for some members of our community and for that I offer a most sincere and heartfelt apology…”
Dr. Carson’s mea culpa appears to be motivated less by genuine remorse and more by the e-mail that preceded his own, one sent to faculty and students by Dr. Paul B. Rothman, CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Carson’s boss:
“…we recognize that tension now exists in our community because hurtful, offensive language was used by (Dr. Carson)...
“Johns Hopkins Medicine embraces diversity and believes that the same civil rights should be available to all regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
“…It is clear that the fundamental principle of freedom of expression has been placed in conflict with our core values of diversity, inclusion and respect.”
Dr. Carson is free to speak his mind. He’s not muzzled by political correctness, as he alleged at the prayer breakfast, no matter how offensive or intolerant his words. But when such words revile many listeners the way his did, there are consequences.
In Carson’s case, it appears he has been uninvited to speak at the Johns Hopkins commencement ceremony as he was scheduled to do in honor of his retirement from the university.
It’s a sad coda to a stellar medical career. And his political future, if he ever actually had one, is D.O.A.
Tiananmen Square or "re-education camps."
Is this the tea party vision for America? They want a country that looks like China?
No, sorry. It wasn't the package. It was the product. Americans emphatically rejected the stuff Republicans were pushing.
I said I was unaware of such a claim and added that I had no idea if it was true.
Well, it turns out it is true. The Department of Homeland Security purchased the ammo, but not to be used against American citizens as my questioner was clearly suggesting.
The bullets are intended for the 90 federal agencies and their 70,000 agents and officers the DHS oversees
Organized by the Bush administration in the wake of 9-11, DHS is responsible for U.S. Customs, ICE, the Coast Guard, the National Law Enforcement Training Center and so on.
Such a bulk buy of ammo for training and use in the field to save taxpayer dollars makes perfect sense...except to the black helicopter watchers, who rushed to ascribe all sorts of nefarious motives to the DHS purchase.
So it was the other night Lou Dobbs, who has successfully transitioned from respected business journalist to a monger of nutty conspiracy theories, played to this delusional paranoia by declaring on his Fox Business show that, along with all the ammo, the DHS had also bought "2,700 light armored vehicles."
Let's see: 1.6 billion rounds of ammo plus 2,700 light armored vehicles must equal Obama tyranny!
Dobbs then asked his guest, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre (of all people), "What in the world is going on at the Homeland Department -- the Department of Homeland Security seems to be arming up and the administration is trying to disarm American citizens?"
Except the Obama administration isn't "trying to disarm American citizens" and there is no evidence to suggest it is.
And the DHS didn't buy the light armored vehicles. The U.S. Marine Corps did.
Dobb's bogus information, like so much of what Fox News reports, came from a discredited blogger famous for making sh...I mean stuff up, the Gateway Pundit.
There are many other such hacks and they're a rich source of unsubstantiated and slanted "facts" for right wing media outlets and tin foil hat wearers.
It's a sad but routine formula for Fox News hosts and other such pundits in today's instant news cycle: Grab something, anything, that will affirm the viewers' or listeners' prejudices, dispense with fact-checking, present it as authentic, bounce it around with a kooky guest like LaPierre or Orly Taitz or Victoria Jackson, and then move on, the damage done.
It's also irresponsible and unprofessional, as Mr. Dobbs well knows.