Myth vs. Reality: Reagan vs. Obama On Planes Being Shot Down

The compulsion of right-wing politicians and pundits to reflexively denigrate President Obama is once again outstripping their devotion to country or respect for the truth. It is uncanny how predictable it is that conservative blowhards will leap at the opportunity to bash the President, even as events of critical significance to our national security are still unfolding.

Reagan vs. Obama

That is the case as information continues to be uncovered concerning the shooting down of Malaysian flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. Some of the more obscenely irresponsible comments come from the usual suspects, such as…

John McCain: I don’t understand this president … this is what we used to call in the military AWOL. There’s a direct loss of American lives here.
Rush Limbaugh: I don’t want appear to be callous here, folks, but you talk about an opportunity to abandon the Obama news at the border?
Todd Starnes: Obama won’t comment on Malaysian jetliner crash until he’s had a chance to read tomorrow’s paper.

On Fox News there has been a specific effort to compare the response of President Obama to that of President Reagan following the shooting down of a Korean jet on September 1, 1983. Of course the Fox position is that St. Reagan acted quickly and boldly to assert America’s outrage and leadership. However, an examination of the facts present a very different picture.

The gist of the criticism hurled at Obama was that his reaction was too timid, too slow, and tainted by his decision to keep his previous obligations with meetings on his schedule. The evidence provided to illustrate the differences between Obama and Reagan was a video of an Oval Office address by Reagan regarding the Korean jet disaster.

The first notable fact that was undisclosed by the right-wing nags is that Reagan’s Oval Office address came five days after the Korean jet was shot down. The Malaysian jet was downed only yesterday but, according to his critics, that is still too long for Obama to have waited to comment. As for the video itself, the depth of Reagan’s outrage extended to his declaration that the attack was a “crime against humanity [that] must never be forgotten” and that the Russians “owe the world an apology.” That’s telling ‘em, Gipper. Make them say they are sorry.

Compare that to Obama’s initial remarks that stated that the attack was “An outrage of unspeakable proportions,” and included a challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin to make a decision whether to continue to support violent separatists.

Obama: Time and again, Russia has refused to take the concrete steps necessary to deescalate the situation. […] We have been very clear from the outset that we want Russia to take the path that would result in peace in Ukraine, but so far at least, Russia has failed to take that path. Instead, it has continued to violate Ukrainian sovereignty and to support violent separatists.

There you have it. Obama laid the blame squarely at Putin’s feet and reiterated his demand that Russia take concrete steps to deescalate. Additionally, Obama called for an immediate cease-fire and an end to Russia’s provision of weapons and training to the separatists. It is an unarguably more aggressive first-response than Reagan’s, but he didn’t ask Putin to apologize so he must be weak.

Fox News and other conservative outlets have also been criticizing Obama for not canceling a couple of previously scheduled fundraising events. But there are some very good reasons for not doing so. First of all, the United States president should not be seen as being so easy to manipulate that an isolated terrorist act, not directed at the U.S., can force him to alter his plans. We are not, and must not be, at the mercy of the terrorists. Secondly, the President made an obligation to the people that organized and attended the events and he should honor that unless his presence would prevent him from taking necessary actions elsewhere, which was not the case.

Furthermore, those making the Obama/Reagan comparison also failed to note that Reagan himself jaunted off to fundraising events shortly following the Korean jet attack. On September 14 he helped raise funds for the Republican National Hispanic Assembly. On September 20 he helped fill the coffers of South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond. On September 27 it was a dinner for the Republican Majority Fund. Apparently it’s OK for St. Ronnie to engage in financial glad-handing after an international incident, but not a malingerer like Obama. For the record, less than a month after Reagan’s tour of GOP fundraisers, terrorists blew up the military barracks in Beirut killing 250 Marines. Can we say he was really on the job? Maybe Darrell Issa should open an investigation into that.

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Perhaps the most peculiar change in the right-wing media due to the Malaysian jet attack is that it has soured the right on their former hero, Vladimir Putin. For months pundits at Fox News and elsewhere were singing the praises of Putin as the model of strength, leadership, and Christian purity. Folks like Ben Carson and Sarah Palin expressed their glowing admiration. There was even a featured article on Fox News that asserted that “Putin Is The One Who Really Deserves That Nobel Peace Prize.”

At this point it’s hard to tell who the right admires more: Reagan or Putin. But it’s clear that they have a visceral hatred for our current president. You know, the one who is charged with leading the nation right now, and for whom patriotism would ordinarily compel conservatives to support in troubled times. But for some reason, right-wingers have chosen to disparage their president at every turn and before they even have facts to form a credible opinion. Not that they ever cared about facts. For them it’s shoot first and ignore the facts later. God Bless America.

St. Vladimir: The Putin Worship Continues On Fox News

The old saying that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” has been taken to heart by Fox News and much of the Republican Party. That is the only explanation for the ongoing love affair that is playing out on Fox News for the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Given an opportunity to compare Putin with President Obama, Fox News invariably comes out on Putin’s side.

St. Vladimir

The latest example of this is Fox News host Jenna Lee who interviewed the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Henninger yesterday. The segment focused on how Putin is teaching the west a lesson that “fatigue isn’t an option,” a reference to the observation that Americans, after more than a decade of war, are tired of it and reluctant to commence a new confrontation over Crimea. In the course of the discussion Lee presented a scenario that favorably juxtaposed Putin to Obama and other American leaders:

“[Putin] had people openly weeping in the crowd. I don’t remember a time when any of us have been moved to weep based on a speech about America. That actually alarms me.”

Really? Because Fox News was one of the most ardent critics of Obama’s impact on his audience. They frequently characterized him as Messianic and looped video of supporters crying, and even fainting, during his speeches. They called him a “celebrity” president and insulted voters as having been swayed by his soaring rhetoric and appeal to emotion, rather than the substance of issues and policies.

Perhaps when Lee says that she can’t remember “any of us” being moved to weep, the “us” she is referring to is Fox News personnel. Certainly the only weeping Obama has ever induced from them is when he defeated Republican opponents at the ballot box – twice. Obama’s passionate oration is often belittled on Fox as theatrics, but the drama produced by Putin is seen by Foxies as powerful and patriotic. They are dripping with admiration for the Russian strongman and lament that Obama doesn’t emulate his persona and tactics. Of course, if he were to do so, Fox would turn and pounce on him for sounding like a tyrant.

Just this morning Fox strategic analyst Ralph Peters called Putin “gifted” and said that “He is a dynamic, powerful leader with a clear vision of what he wants and the west is leaderless.” Sarah Palin’s schoolgirl crush causes her to see Putin as “one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans.” Sean Hannity was “humiliated for my country” after seeing photos of a shirtless Putin doing a butterfly stroke next to a picture of Obama riding a bike (which was a manly pastime when George W. Bush did it).

The infatuation that Fox has for Putin is palpable. But it is also opportunistic. They only admire him so long as they can convert their idolatry of Putin into disparagement of Obama. They tried the same thing with conflicts involving Syria and Iran, but after the administration’s success in forcing both countries to retreat from their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, Fox News likewise retreated. And if Putin fails to achieve his goals in Ukraine, look for Fox to forsake their besainted one. But don’t expect them to give any credit to Obama. That would be sacrilege.

War Lusters: Why Are Tea-Publicans So Obsessed With War In Ukraine?

For the past few months (years?), the Republican Party has been fixated on a single issue that crowded out any other topic of political conversation. Terrorism, taxes, climate change, abortion, the economy – you name it – was ultimately shoved aside in favor of bashing the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Health care has dominated the news coverage on Fox News on virtually every program. That is, until Vladimir Putin sent his troops into the Ukrainian province of Crimea.

This begs the question: What is it about this matter that supersedes the GOP obsession with ObamaCare? Why is the conflict between a couple of former Soviet states such a powerful draw for America’s Tea Party extremists? After all, not too long ago, Crimea was, in fact, a part of Russia. It was just in 1954 that the Soviet Russian Republic ceded control of Crimea to the Soviet Ukraine Republic via a “Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet” that stated it was…

“…transferring Crimea Province from the Russian Republic to the Ukraine Republic, taking into account the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic ties between Crimea Province and the Ukraine Republic, and approving the joint presentation of the Presidium of the Russian Republic Supreme Soviet and the Presidium of the Ukraine Republic Supreme Soviet on the transfer of Crimea Province from the Russian Republic to the Ukraine Republic.”

This is not unlike the transfer of authority for Ellis Island from New York to New Jersey by the Supreme Court. The Soviet leadership certainly did not anticipate that their country would break up and the newly independent Ukraine would scamper off with Crimea. Sixty years later, Crimea is still a predominately Russian community. Seventy-five percent of its population is ethnic Russian. And while the referendum vote last Sunday was rampant with obvious fraud, it is unarguable that a majority of the Crimean residents still associate themselves with Russia. The map below illustrates how segregated the population is. In the blue areas the residents speak Ukrainian. In the red area, virtually all of Crimea, they speak Russian.

Republican War Lust

If there were ever a regional conflict that the United States had little business poking its massive proboscis into, it is this one. It’s fine to take sides rhetorically and even to organize a coalition of nations to advocate on behalf of sovereignty and independence, but rattling the sabers of war over a regional matter that is of no national interest to the U.S. is irresponsible and dangerous. Repeating the mistakes of the previous administration will only cost more American lives without securing anything of value for the loss.

Ron Paul, in a disagreement with his senator son Rand, asked the key question saying “Why does the U.S. care which flag will be hoisted on a small piece of land thousands of miles away?” That question has yet to be answered by the likes of John McCain, Ted Cruz, John Boehner, or any of the squawking heads on Fox News like John Bolton, who take a morbid glee in castigating President Obama as weak and ineffectual because he hasn’t launched World War III yet.

The hypocrites who assert that Obama’s foreign policy is responsible for inviting Putin’s aggression fail to recognize that Putin has never looked to the U.S. for permission to embark on his military misadventures. If that were true, those conservative critics would need to explain what it was about George W. Bush’s foreign policy that invited Putin to invade Georgia. Was he also weak and ineffectual, even after invading and overthrowing the governments of two nations (including Iraq, never did anything to threaten the U.S.)?

So what could possibly be the incentive for so many conservative politicians and pundits to so adamantly excoriate the President and advance the cause of war? The first thing to consider is that Obama’s critics live for chastising him, whether he deserves it or not. They frequently scold him even when he is promoting their ideas. Which is the case with ObamaCare, which was originally a conservative initiative developed by the Heritage Foundation and adopted by folks like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

More importantly, there is a thread of Apocalyptic fervor that runs through the ranks of the right. They have an intensity that is rooted in deep faith and a conviction in infallibility that stems from the same source. They believe that, with God’s help, they will overcome any adversity and that the deadly consequences are not worthy of consideration. And even if they fail, it would be God’s will and that they would be Raptured into Heaven ahead of the Armageddon they so enthusiastically await (and some seek to provoke).

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Consequently, military conflict with a nuclear-armed Russia over a border dispute that has no significance for the U.S. becomes an acceptable option. Diplomacy is the Devil’s way and must be rejected at the outset. The military response is always the first one considered by these dedicated Rapturists. And why not? They won’t be around to suffer anyway.

This is an argument that has no basis in reality and for which there is no rebuttal. You simply can’t convince someone who believes that he is the Lord’s messenger that the voice he hears is coming from his own dementia – or from a Fox News chicken-hawk.

Guess What The Fox News “Psycho” Analyst Found Inside The Mind Of Vladimir Putin

The Fox News Medical “A” Team’s resident psychiatrist, Keith Ablow, has a long history of going “inside the mind” of pretty much anyone who is in the news (and especially President Obama). I recently compiled a list of 35 articles in which Ablow entered the minds of unsuspecting victims of his quackery. What they all share in common is a deep disregard for medical ethics and a penchant for sensationalism, wild conjecture, and deranged diagnoses – such as his affection for the Unabomber. [Here is the News Corpse file on Ablow’s vast crackpottery]

Keith Ablow

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With the Russian foray into Crimea, the rank opportunist in Ablow has marched himself straight into the mind of Vladimir Putin. And you’ll never guess who he found there. After rattling around for a bit to make some baseless assumptions, Ablow discovered that President Obama had established occupancy and become the key factor in everything that Putin does. In fact, Ablow’s excursion into Putin’s mind is really just an excuse to foster ludicrous hypotheses about Obama’s psychological state. Ablow begins his inane adventure by saying…

“I believe Putin’s psychology is being directly fueled by that of President Barack Obama. Obama being Obama helps Putin be Putin.”

Isn’t that simple? Putin isn’t an autocratic dictator with a compulsion for power and influence. He’s just a vessel into which Obama pours his omnipotence. Putin wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine – he might not even have existed – but for Obama. But despite the fullness of Obama’s ability to fuel Putin’s emptiness, Obama is still Putin’s lesser who is motivated by a desire to weaken America, the nation he rose from simple beginnings to lead. Ablow says that…

“Putin apparently believes he was placed on this planet to be the most powerful person he can be, to assert his religious and social beliefs unsparingly and to help reestablish his Russia as the dominant power in the world. Barack Obama apparently believes he was placed on this earth to be the most powerful person he can be, in order to restrain America in the expression of its power.”

Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? The interracial child of a single mother struggles his whole life to achieve lofty goals that most people believed to be unattainable just so he could rip it all apart once he arrived. It’s a theory so brilliant that only Ablow himself can understand it as anything other than idiocy.

Ablow goes on to assert that Obama thinks that “national (American) character is a bad thing,” and that Obama is only interested in “in disempowering the United States.” But it isn’t just America as a nation that Obama is determined to destroy, it is every individual in the nation, whose autonomous freedom Obama has set out to eviscerate. And naturally, Putin’s superior observational capability is further praised by Ablow who said…

“I do not believe that Vladimir Putin would miss the fact that Barack Obama has imperiled the notion of individual autonomy (by seeking to disarm Americans, by seeking to make Americans dependent on unemployment checks and food stamps and by making it officially impossible to choose how to spend your own money, via the Affordable Care Act).”

Somehow, in this article purporting to be an examination of Putin’s mind, Ablow has managed to turn it into a parade of nearly every negative talking point about Obama on the Republican Party’s hit list: guns, unemployment, food stamps, health care. If he had thrown in Benghazi, and taxing the rich, he would have completed the set. But he wasn’t finished. He still had to concoct a conclusion that would denigrate the President as being more harmful to America than Putin or its other foes. And this is what he came up with:

“If Crimea becomes part of Russia or all of Ukraine does, it will be in no small measure due to the psychology of Vladimir Putin, and, in equal measure, due to the psychology of Barack Obama.”

There you have it: Keith Ablow’s excursion into the mind of Vladimir Putin – where the mind of Barack Obama rules. It still isn’t clear how a weak and vacillating Obama in mom jeans can overpower the mental superiority of a masculine and virile leader like Putin (Ablow and his right-wing comrades truly love Vlad), but Ablow’s analyses were never intended to make sense. His sole purpose is to attack the President, and it hardly matters if the attack is coherent. His audience is infected with an inability to grasp reason or logic, and they are overtly hostile to facts. And with psychiatric advice from wankers like Ablow, don’t expect them to get any better.

Sean Hannity: “I Am Humiliated For My Country”

Remember when any expression of disrespect directed at America or it’s leaders was regarded as treasonous and unpatriotic? It was a time when blind and unfaltering loyalty was mandatory and dissent was not tolerated. Dick Cheney famously declared that “You are either with us or you are with the enemy.” And Fox News broadcast a red, white, and blue explosion of patriopathic zeal, castigating anyone who dared to diverge from the approved orthodoxy.

Sean Hannity was prominent among those who draped themselves in the American flag and scorned those who expressed dissenting opinions. Which makes it all the more contemptible that he now says on his radio show that he is “humiliated for my country,” without the slightest bit of irony or acknowledgement of his overt hypocrisy.

Sean Hannity Dumbass

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Sean Hannity was among the first to bash the Dixie Chicks when they said that they were “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” That remark was hardly as anti-American as Hannity’s since, unlike Hannity, it was only directed at George Bush and not the nation as a whole. Hannity also went off on Michelle Obama for saying that “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.” Obama was merely expressing pride in how far the nation has come. It was pride in a specific category of progress, not an overall impression of her feelings of being an American.

So while Hannity called the Dixie Chicks “disgraceful,” and pledged to never listen to them again, and he called Obama “offensive” and insisted that she “owes America an apology,” he has no such regrets for his own expression of disrespect for the nation. In fact, he defended his comments the next day on his Fox News program. And what was it that caused Hannity to suffer such humiliation? Here is whole commentary on the subject:

“Many Americans, including myself are, humiliated today. Take a look at the photo comparison of our commander in chief. There he is juxtaposed with Vladimir Putin […] For the first time in my adult life, I am humiliated for my country. Just the picture of Putin swimming the butterfly, which is a real hard stroke. Yeah, big chested – and by the way, it’s in frigid water that he’s swimming across a river … so you got a picture of that juxtaposed next to Obama on a bicycle in Martha’s Vineyard with the goofy helmet on riding his bike.”

That’s it. Hannity is shamed by Russian propaganda showing a virile Putin swimming across a river, and his own comparison of that to a photo of Obama on a bike. Hannity is obviously smitten with Putin’s rugged good looks (and Caucasian features), his big chest and burly arms glistening in the sun, and his outdoorsy manliness. Never mind that he is a brutal autocrat who is presently engaged in an unlawful aggression against a sovereign nation. Or perhaps that just makes him all the more appealing since it is reminiscent of the Bush Doctrine that resulted in the U.S. aggression against Iraq. Hannity loved that too.

I’m not sure what makes swimming across a river more masculine than riding a bike. I suspect the participants in the Tour de France might object to that characterization. What’s more, Hannity might find Obama more alluring if he were ogling the pictures of him shirtless in the Hawaiian surf. But what turns on Sean Hannity most is smearing the President, even if it means feigning a rather disturbing man-crush for a Russian dictator.

Sean Hannity

The Delusions Of Sarah Palin: Putin’s Bear Wrestling vs. Obama’s Mom Jeans

Yesterday Sarah Palin demonstrated the world-class idiocy that has become the hallmark of her public persona. She pretended that she had predicted the current events in Ukraine, but her version of reality was unrecognizable to anyone who actually has a grip on it. To make matters worse, Palin popped in to Sean Hannity’s show to sop up some fawning validation from her Fox News colleague.

Fox News

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Hannity jumped in with praise for the phony Palin prediction, but it was Palin herself who dragged the whole segment into a pit of pitifulness. Her moronic stammering and belching of buzzwords was almost painful to watch (video below). She often didn’t even seem to know the meanings of the words she strung together, such as when she lambasted President Obama for weakness that she imagined in “the perception of him and his potency.” This may be the first time in history that a president’s potency has been discussed in public.

It went downhill from there, if you can believe it. In a non-sequitur response to a question from Hannity about whether Putin had designs on more than just Crimea, Palin lurched into an obviously prepackaged insult that she was determined to slip in, whether it was contextually appropriate or not. The alleged punch line went like this:

“People look at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans.”

Seriously? This is what passes for foreign policy analysis on Fox News? Palin didn’t bother to identify the people who she thinks look up to Putin. Most of the world sees him as an autocratic aggressor who is violating international law. There was no mention of the complexities of the regional dispute and ethnic division? Nothing about the pending sanctions or the suspension of G8 summit activities. Both Palin and Hannity failed to note the successful unification of the western allies against Russia’s aggression. Palin didn’t offer a single proposal of her own to resolve the situation. Nor did she notice that Obama’s proposals were in line with what every knowledgeable diplomat in the U.S. and our allies have had to say on the subject.

Instead, Palin’s juvenile taunt served to aggrandize Putin in her own image – he as a bear wrestler, she as a moose slayer. And they both loves them some oil drillin. Palin, along with most of her right-wing comrades have been heaping praise on Putin as a leader, while purposefully tarnishing the reputation of their own president in the midst of a serious crisis. This is behavior they fiercely damned during the Bush administration if anyone uttered an opinion that was the least bit derogatory about George W. What was regarded as treasonous in the previous administration is now a daily affirmation from the conservative pews, without regard to the damage it does to our national interest.

Sarah Palin Thinks She Predicted A Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (w/Video)

In addition to being able to see Russia from her house, Sarah Palin now thinks that she was able to see into the future. On her Facebook page Palin is bragging that she predicted that Russia would invade Ukraine if Barack Obama were elected President:

Palin: Yes, I could see this one from Alaska. I’m usually not one to Told-Ya-So, but I did.

Palin and her conservative comrades are taking advantage of events in Ukraine to reignite their cold war passion for conflict with the former Soviet empire. This is a brief diversion from the Putin love-fest that they have been consumed with for the past few months.

Putin/Palin 2016

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However, the evidence of Palin’s alleged prophecy was a trifling passage from a campaign speech she gave in October of 2008. Although she was obviously reading from a TelePrompter a speech that was surely written for her by McCain staffers, the substance of her remarks fell somewhat short of the clairvoyance about which she is boasting. If you look beyond the brief reference to Russia, it is apparent that her prognostication skills are sorely lacking. Nevertheless, the right-wing media machine is in full distribution mode to hype this phony grab for undeserved credit. Everyone from the so-called mainstream, yet lie-riddled Fox Nation, to the wingnuttery of Breitbart News is regurgitating Palin’s boast. But the truth is readily available in her stump speech forecast (video below) that contained what she called the “Four Crisis Scenarios” that would accompany an Obama administration. It’s a bundle of wrongness that will be hard for future political fakers to exceed.

Crisis Scenario #1 was that Obama was “proposing to meet with the regime in Tehran that vows to wipe Israel off the earth.” Of course this never happened, so Palin is starting out with a wild swing and a miss. What did happen was that sanctions implemented by the Obama administration, and diplomatic efforts to unify the international community to oppose Iran’s nuclear weapons program, forced Iran to capitulate, cease development, and agree to inspections.

Crisis Scenario #2 concerned Obama’s advocacy of “sending our U.S. military into Pakistan, without the approval of the Pakistani government, invading the sovereign territory of a troubled partner in the war on terrorism.” Indeed, Obama held open the option of taking action to pursue dangerous terrorists when our so-called allies refused to do so. However, this is the policy that rid the world of Osama Bin Laden, a conclusion that would not have been achieved had Palin’s protocol been in effect.

Crisis Scenario #3 criticized Obama’s position on Iraq when he “voted to cut off funding for our troops leaving our young men and women at grave risk in the war zone.” In reality Obama eliminated the grave risks faced by our troops when he pledged to end the Iraq war and bring the troops home. It was Palin who advocated leaving those young men and women in the war zone.

Crisis Scenario #4 is the money scenario. This is where Palin said that “After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.” Notice that Palin did not say what Obama’s response was or why it would encourage Putin in future military endeavors. For the record, here is what both Obama and John McCain said at the time:

Obama: There is no possible justification for these attacks. I reiterate my call for Russia to stop its bombing campaign, to stop flights of Russian aircraft in Georgian airspace, and to withdraw its ground forces from Georgia.

McCain: Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory.

If Obama was indecisive and lacking moral fortitude, it was in exactly the same measure as Palin’s running mate, McCain. Palin’s remarks were nothing more than the typical carping that occurs in campaigns that have nothing of substance to say. Instead, Palin asserts an absurd scenario wherein Putin would require “encouragement” to engage in military aggression, as if he’s looking to the west for validation. If that’s so, what did George W. Bush do to encourage Putin to invade Georgia?

To a certain extent Palin got lucky in that she happened to mention the Ukraine one time during a campaign rally. But overall her speech was littered with inaccuracies and failed vision. It is surprising that she would bother to remind people of her foreign policy inadequacies. She didn’t predict the citizen uprising in Ukraine, or the ouster of it’s president, or the Russian presence in Crimea, a region whose population is majority Russian and staunchly pro-Russia. And to characterize her 2008 remarks as predictive of what is taking place today is nothing short of delusional.

Putin On The Twits: Fox News Regulars Infatuation With The Russian Dictator

Try to imagine the reaction from Fox News and conservative politicos and pundits if President Obama or any other Democrat lavished praise on a foreign dictator. Consider the severity of the tongue lashing that would ensue, with blistering allegations of collusion, betrayal, and even treason. Tea Party Republicans would be drafting articles of impeachment, and thinly disguised comments advocating assassination and secession would flood the Fox Nation website.

So how then to respond to yet another Fox News contributor expressing his admiration for Russia’s strongman, Vladimir Putin? Dr. Ben Carson wrote an op-ed today that honored Putin for criticizing the United States for “becoming godless and moving away from Christian values.”

Carson: While we Americans are giving a cold shoulder to our religious heritage, the Russians are warming to religion. The Russians seem to be gaining prestige and influence throughout the world as we are losing ours. I wonder whether there is a correlation.

In two sentences Carson has displayed two examples of acute dementia. First, where Carson gets the idea that Americans are giving a cold shoulder to religion is a mystery. For good or ill, this is still a deeply pious nation with a huge majority of professed Christians. Second, Carson is advancing an incomprehensibly absurd notion that Russia is gaining prestige at a time when they are being excoriated for their bungled Olympics, and their support for the brutal Syrian regime of Bashir Assad is straining their international relations.

Carson is no stranger to delusional hyperbole. He has recently equated homosexuality with bestiality, ObamaCare with slavery, and demonstrated that he isn’t afraid to tread on Godwin’s Law by warning that our government is “acting like the Gestapo.” But he isn’t alone in these detours from reality either.

A fool’s parade of Fox Newsies have jumped on the Putin bandwagon. They include military analyst K.T. McFarland, anchor Martha MacCallum, anchor Tucker Carlson, and commentator Charles Krauthammer. And the affection from the Fox crew did not go unnoticed in Russia. An article published in Pravda last year with the fanciful title, “Why Conservative Americans Admire Putin,” gives a pretty accurate account of the commonalities between the Tea Party and the Politburo:

“With no hero to save them they become frustrated and look to Putin, [whom they see] kneeling at Christ’s Holy Sepulcher which Obama never does when visiting Jerusalem. They see him going to church when they know Obama favors Muslims who attack Christians and their churches. They see Putin establishing laws to protect the church and laws against homosexuality. This they admire and this brings them hope. Hope in their upside down world where there is a leader willing to follow Christ. They have no Reagan but they see Putin whom they wish was their president.”

So really, what it all comes down to is worshiping Christ and demonizing gays. As the Russians fall in line on those priorities, the American right has fallen in love with the Russians. Putin can be their Zombie Reagan. But you have have to wonder how far this could go. There are lots of villainous tyrants and demagogues who meet some of these prerequisites. Al Qaeda, for instance, is as stridently anti-gay as they are pro-theocracy. Right-wingers should love that. And you know who else hated gays? Hitler! Plus, if they pray hard enough, they may convince God to bless them with this:

Putin/Palin 2016

Pravda (Hearts) Tea Party: American Conservatism Embraced By Russian Propaganda Press

If this doesn’t cause Tea Party heads to explode, I don’t know what will.

[Actually, I do know what will: Anything President Obama says; or showing that the health care law is working; or suggesting that billionaires be tapped for more taxes instead of poor people; or saying anything bad about Sarah Palin. Actually, lots of things make Tea Party heads explode]

Today the Russian Communist Party’s internal organ, Pravda, published an article extolling the virtues of American conservatism and its natural harmony with the politburo mouthpiece. The article by Xavier Lerma was titled “Why Conservative Americans Admire Putin.” This is a rather astute observation considering how the GOP has so lovingly embraced the Russian president during the Syrian crisis. They have hailed him as a true leader and even proposed that Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize be given to Putin instead.

Fox News
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It has long been recognized that the authoritarian Russian right shares much in common with their comrades in the Tea Party. From subjugating women and opposing reproductive freedom, to denying rights to homosexuals and forbidding marriage equality, to clinging to radical nationalism; to replacing education with indoctrination and science denial; and most of all, they share a common hatred for the U.S. government. Now we can add religious fundamentalism and Obama Derangement Syndrome to the mix. Here is how the Pravda article opened:

“America’s president has torn his land into a thousand pieces. The propaganda media machine covers Obama’s trail of blood and shows the president in a good way without a word of dissent.”

That could have been copied almost verbatim from a Rush Limbaugh broadcast. But it gets even worse. After Pravda laments that “The modern Tea Party’s success was short lived by Obama’s illegal interference,” they pivot to a conspiracy theory of election theft that would make the late Andrew Breitbart proud. The article swallows whole the phony IRS scandal and offers it as evidence of Obama’s corruption, despite the utter lack of any evidence connecting him to it. Then the author asserts that “Americans watch Obama destroying their own country and the world […and…] With no hero to save them they become frustrated and look to Putin,” whom they see…

“…kneeling at Christ’s Holy Sepulcher which Obama never does when visiting Jerusalem. They see him going to church when they know Obama favors Muslims who attack Christians and their churches. They see Putin establishing laws to protect the church and laws against homosexuality. This they admire and this brings them hope. Hope in their upside down world where there is a leader willing to follow Christ. They have no Reagan but they see Putin whom they wish was their president.”

There you have it. Obama is an anti-Christian, Muslim lover, while Putin is the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan. A devout, law and order Christian who can inspire the Teabagging masses. Putin is their 21st century savior who can restore America and the world. The article even includes emails that the author received from Americans wishing Putin could be the U.S. president. And to top it all off, it closes with an evangelical sermon lambasting the “lamestream” media and exalting Putin’s piety and the glory of Christ’s guidance to the “Truth.” [FYI: Pravda, in Russian, means truth].

“American conservatives hear only lies from their TV but what they see on the internet from Russia regarding Putin is true because Christ guides them to see the Truth. The Holy Spirit does not fail them and inspires them to see Russia. They know a tree by its fruit. Putin obviously respects the Christian Church but Obama and their American government does not.”

Apparently Glenn Beck has been moonlighting as a ghostwriter for Pravda. The lunacy of this article proves that the Russians are just as capable of composing dishonest blather as the world champions at Fox News and, especially, Fox Nation (see my ebook Fox Nation vs. Reality for a collection of documented falsehoods put out by Fox’s professional lie-mongers). But the ideological affinity expressed in the article reveals that, whatever distance separates Pravda from the American wingnut, the doctrine espoused is just their cup of tea.

Putin/Palin

American Exceptionalism = American Supremacy

There has been a mini-furor swirling around part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times. It was mostly a fairly tame composition that called for reflection and diplomacy. However that didn’t stop right-wing blowhards from waxing apoplectic, seemingly outraged that Putin had the audacity to express himself publicly. And the height of his hubris, in the view of conservative thought-nannies, was his criticism of that stale symbol of superiority, American Exceptionalism.

Putin: It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

How can the theo-con rightists take issue with that? By doing so they abandon principles they ordinarily regard as core to their philosophy. Neither their spiritual idols nor their nearly spiritual fixation on the “Founders” can live harmoniously with the concept of exceptionalism. What would Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and its assertion that “all men are created equal,” have to say about this?

The truth is that American Exceptionalism is another way of saying American Supremacy. The campaign for such a concept is as repulsive as Hitler’s doctrine of a Master Race. The notion that one group of people, on the basis of their nationality, are better than others, is as odious as one group asserting superiority on the basis of skin color. The original meaning of the phrase had more to do with defining Americans as an “exception to the rule.” It was modern bigots who perverted it into an expression of overarching greatness.

Fox News

Not surprisingly, Fox News is leading the parade for American Supremacy, as they have done for years. This morning, Fox & Friends aired a segment that touched on Putin’s remarks (The segment was also featured as the lead story on the Fact-Free Fox Nation web site). But Fox legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr., and host Steve Doocy were barely coherent as they slid over to a more general discussion of a Syrian intervention and how Putin’s commentary makes it more likely:

Johnson: What’s happening, and I don’t know if Mr. Putin wants to do it or not, but he’s provoking a lot of Americans into a position that maybe, maybe they should be in agreement with the President’s decision to strike Syria. […] If they keep it up, then they will push America to the brink of a Syrian attack. I don’t know if that’s the intended consequence or not, but that will be the effect.

If you had trouble making sense of that, you’re not alone. Johnson has somehow formed the opinion that Putin might want the U.S. to attack Syria. How he comes that conclusion is puzzling, to say the least, and is nowhere in his comments. Putin, of course, has no incentive to support a strike on Syria and, in fact, has been vociferously against it. Indeed, his opposition was the central theme of the New York Times op-ed that Johnson and Doocy were discussing:

Putin: The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. […] Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria.

The one thing Putin left out of that passage was that amongst the many countries having a strong opposition to a strike is the United States. Polls show the American people want no part of another conflict in the Middle East. Putin’s words might just as easily come out of the mouths of Republicans like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and any random Tea Party pundit. And to top it off, lefties like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alan Grayson, and MoveOn.org are just as adamantly opposed.

To recap, before President Obama had responded to Syria’s chemical weapons attack, Fox and the right complained that he wasn’t doing anything. After Obama threatened to punish Assad with military force, Fox and the right complained that he was overstepping his role and violating the Constitution. When Obama announced that he would seek congressional approval for a strike, Fox and the right called him weak and vacillating. After the threat produced a new diplomatic course that would rid Syria of its Chemical weapons, Fox and the right accused Obama of following in Putin’s footsteps. In the end, a diplomatic solution that avoids military force, the outcome preferred by Fox and the right, is now achievable through the joint efforts of Obama and Putin. Therefore, obviously, Fox and the right have come out against it and are castigating both presidents for having succeeded in averting a new war.

Warning: Any attempt to find any logic or cognitive consistency in any of the above summation could result in a severe brain hemorrhage, loss of consciousness, and permanent cerebral disability.

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