American “Exceptionalism”

Vladimir Putin, The New York Times, And Lecturing America

It is literally shocking that the NY Times chose to publish a self serving, propagandistic statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Putin lectures the United States, and questions the “exceptionalism” that America is known for, and even discusses God in a society infamous for atheism during the Soviet Period, when Putin was a member of the Russian Secret Police of that era, the KGB!

Yes, the United States has many problems and faults, but still we are an “exceptional” nation that is a model for the world!

Meanwhile, the Russian Federation has arranged for the disappearance and death of dissidents, even in other countries; invaded the nation of Georgia; massacred hundreds of thousands of people in Chechnya; denies basic freedoms to its own citizens, including freedom of speech and press; and is now on a campaign to persecute and intimidate gays who live in Russia, as well as causing an Olympics crisis with its anti gay laws, which are likely to lead to arrest of foreigners in Russia during the upcoming Winter Olympics!

Putin is, clearly, a dictator and a totalitarian, and the NY Times should be ashamed of itself for allowing him a venue through their newspaper to lecture the US and its government and people!

Instead, what Putin needs to do is look in the mirror, and work on promoting human freedom and opportunity in Russia, on the model of the United States, which has plenty of work left to do, but has a lot to show that is good, to the rest of the world!

Conservatives, Republicans, And Basic Knowledge: Science, Mathematics, History, Economics, Spelling And Grammar, World Diplomacy

Many Republicans and conservatives, whether in Congress, the news media, think tanks, or just ordinary citizens, have a real and fundamental problem with basic knowledge. It makes one wonder where they were when they were young, and supposedly being educated, and the indications that they have learned nothing new as adults.

Consider the field of Science, with many of the Republicans and conservatives believing in creationism, the BIble theory of creation, that claims the earth is maybe 10,000 years old at the most, and that dinosaurs walked with man, with a Creationist Museum open to the public in Kentucky, near the border with Cincinnati, Ohio. There is complete denial of Charles Darwin, to the point of total craziness.

Also, there is the failure of these people to accept that there is global warming and climate change, despite so much evidence that there is a problem, and refusal to plan for the future on the basis that we are facing a long range threat, with Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma being the political leader of the “deniers”.

But also, many Republicans and conservatives seem to have their own version of the process of pregnancy and what is a rape, as for instance, defeated Senate nominees Todd Akin and Richard Mouroick.

But let’s move on from Science to Mathematics, and we are talking here about basic math, arithmetic, not geometry, trigonometry, or calculus. Many members of the GOP, including Paul Ryan, claim a magical system of numbers to come up with their budget plans, but as Joe Biden said to Paul Ryan in the Vice Presidential debate, it does not add up!

Then we move on to history, and the image that America is the greatest nation in history, and has never made a mistake, never needs to apologize, has no faults or shortcomings that anyone needs to learn about. And our exceptionalism is enough to wave in the faces of all nations around the world. Why should we teach or learn about slavery, mass murder of native Americans, discrimination against Jews and Catholics and other immigrants, the exploitation of labor by corporations, the destruction of our environment, the corruption of many politicians over our history, the war crimes committed by our troops in many wars, and so on? NO, that is unpatriotic, and instead we must sanitize all historical learning!

And the field of economics is another area of believing that the best system is NO regulation, and the promotion of Adam Smith’s Laissez Faire economics, expressed in the Wealth Of Nations, and if there is poverty or other human suffering, that is the way it was intended by God, so the promotion of Social Darwinism, the one time Darwin is utilized by these KNOW NOTHINGS!

Spelling and grammar do not matter, as many Tea Party radicals who hold rallies show their total ignorance of all subject matter, and cannot express themselves appropriately, and in a respectable manner! They march with signs that are misspelled, as with the Secession signs now being brandished by many of these characters, who are upset with the Obama victory last week!

World Diplomacy, the whole idea of trying to relate to other countries in a respectful manner, is also insignificant to many, who believe the answer is to BOMB everyone you do not agree with, throw our weight around, and not give a damn about how the world perceives us!

This ignorance and stupidity is totally unacceptable, and the Republican Party and the conservative movement needs to purge itself, or go into the dustbin of history!

Mitt Romney And Foreign Policy: What Foreign Policy?

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the Republican Presidential nominee, spoke before the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention today, and attacked President Barack Obama on his foreign policy.

Romney said that Obama has apologized for America overseas, and has said that Obama does not believe in American exceptionalism, both assertions totally fabricated.

Romney said that Obama has not stood fully behind Israel, when despite some differences personally between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu , Obama has fully backed Israel’s security.

Romney failed to mention Obama’s role in fighting terrorism and eliminating Osama Bin Laden, and his role in helping to push Moammar Gaddafi out of power in Libya, for obvious reasons.

Romney in reality has NO foreign policy, except to threaten an immediate war on Iran, allowing the neoconservatives who took us into unnecessary war in Iraq, to have growing influence.

Romney is a man without “cajones”, as he allows right wing evangelical Christians and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform to push him into support, even though his previous record would show he has taken a different stand in the past.

This is a man without conviction or principles, and has ZERO foreign policy experience!

Some might say that Barack Obama had the same situation, but actually, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for four years, he dealt with foreign policy more than Romney has ever done!

Romney’s total foreign policy background is serving as a Mormon missionary trying to convert people in France to avoid military service; taking vacations overseas with his family; and doing business dealings with Israeli Prime Minister Behjamin Netanyahu back in the 1970s.

Mitt Romney has no clue on foreign policy, and would allow himself to be manipulated by the warmonger neoconservatives.

Foreign policy is Barack Obama’s strongest stand, and this is not the time to experiment on such a crucial area as foreign policy!

The Fourth Of July, American “Exceptionalism”, And “The Newsroom” Rant Of Will McAvoy!

The new HBO series, “The Newsroom”, is a brilliant series, with its main star being actor Jeff Daniels, who portrays an anchorman gone amuck, named Will McAvoy.

The first few minutes of the first episode of this wonderful series is priceless for what it says, and shows the genius of producer Aaron Sorkin, who also was responsible for the “West Wing” series on the Presidency in the past decade.

Will McAvoy is disgusted, in the opening scene, at the “bull” going on during a panel discussion about American “exceptionalism”, and goes berserk in his response, what could best be called a rant!

Frustrated by the constant shouting match between left and right that has existed for what seems like forever, at this college presentation of views he participates in, he goes ballistic!

Saying America is NOT the greatest country in the world, Will McAvoy tells conservatives that we are not the only country in the world with freedom, with 180 having freedom out of 207 nations!

Also, he says that proof that America is NOT the greatest nation includes the facts that we are:

7th in literacy
27th in math
22nd in science
49th in life expectancy
178th in infant mortality
3rd in median household income
4th in labor force
4th in exports

McAvoy goes on to say further that we lead the world in only three categories:

Number of incarcerated citizens per capita
Number of adults who believe angels are real
Expenditures on defense, more than the next 26 nations combined, 25 whom are friends and allies

McAvoy goes on to say that we used to stand up for what was right, including:

Fighting wars for moral reasons
Passing and striking down laws for moral reasons
Waging wars on poverty, not poor people
Sacrificing and caring about our neighbors
Willingness to pay taxes, rather than evading them
Never bragging how great we were,. better than the rest of the world
Creating great technological advancements
Exploring the universe
Curing diseases
Cultivating the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy
Aspiring to intelligence, instead of belittling it
Being a well informed country, led by great men who were revered

If ONLY we had politicians like Will McAvoy, but there are very few, with one coming to mind, and not even a Democrat or Republican, but instead a SOCIALIST, oh my god!

And that is Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who says it as it is!

This is something to reflect upon on Independence Day, the 236th Anniversary!

Remembering the Bicentennial in 1976 under President Gerald Ford, we were much more optimistic back then, but now with the present Republican Party tooting our horns how great we are, but doing everything to set us back to the 19th century Gilded Age, we have a lot of work to do, including ranting like Will McAvoy, and espousing in more realistic terms, like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont!

Mitt Romney: A Chameleon, But Also A Damned Liar!

Mitt Romney, the Republican Presidential nominee, has often been described as a chameleon, a person who constantly changes his views, which already makes him a suspect candidate, as one finds it hard to believe anything he says, and to accept any position he takes on any subject as being his final view.

But worse than being a chameleon is the reality that he also is a damned liar!

Romney has been campaigning on the idea that Barack Obama is a wild spender, when the truth is that federal spending has slowed up under his Presidency.

Federal spending increased the most under George W. Bush, 7.3 percent in his first term and 8.1 percent in his second term, followed by Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and finally, Barack Obama, with only 1.4 percent annually during his first term.

Romney, as Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post observes, lies about Obama “apologizing for America” when he has never done that; claims that Obama does not believe in American “Exceptionalism”, which is also false; and says that Obama is guilty of “appeasement”, which is ridiculous, considering Obama’s exceptional work against terrorism; and while stating all these falsehoods about Obama, Romney exaggerates his job creating while at Bain Capital, another total lie.

For a person who claims to be a “good Mormon”, very religious, it makes one wonder what that term “very religious” means! Apparently, it is the right to lie through one’s teeth and keep a straight face!

Rick Santorum The Frontrunner In The Presidential Race: A Nightmare Scenario!

Imagine the impossible: After ELEVEN frontrunners in the Republican Presidential race, we finally have former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania as the present frontrunner.

This is a literal nightmare, as Santorum would take us back socially to the 1950s; economically to the Gilded Age or 1920s; and would send troops and bomb Iran on his first day in office.

Rick Santorum would try to outlaw contraceptives; outlaw all abortions under all circumstances; reverse “don’s ask, don’t tell” in the military; promote theocracy in America, with his fanatical religious convictions; set out to wipe out most of the New Deal and Great Society; promote the end of any regulation of corporations and banks; promote the interests of the oil industry at the expense of the environment; cut taxes on the wealthy much more than even the Bush tax cuts; and promote military intervention all over the world in the name of American “exceptionalism”!

And there is more, enough to make us wish for George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism”, or the time of Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford or Richard Nixon!

This country would be so damaged and divided, more than ever before, and make us long for the “good old days” of earlier Presidents, who no matter how controversial they were, were never as extreme and fanatical as Rick Santorum would be.

Rick Santorum is a mental case, a danger to the stability and advancement of America, and those who wish he was the Republican nominee, thinking it would be easy for Barack Obama to defeat him, had better think twice and wish that he NOT be chosen, as one can never know for sure how those citizens among us who are emotional and ignorant and overtly “religious”, might not see Rick Santorum as their “Jesus Christ” who can save the country!

This potential for a Santorum Presidency is the most dangerous threat to our future since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, even surpassing the candidacy of Barry Goldwater in 1964, and we must hope that Mitt Romney is able to overcome this challenge, as no matter what one thinks of Mitt, at least we know he is sane and stable, and no threat to the future of the nation, were he to occupy the White House in 2013.

Rick Perry: Dangerous For The Republican Party And America’s Future! He Must Be Stopped!

Texas Governor Rick Perry may have flubbed a bit in his debate performance in Tampa on Monday, but he remains the front runner for the Republican Presidential nomination as of today, and it is looking more likely that he really could end up as the nominee of the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Reagan!

This is dangerous for the party and the nation, as Perry has many shortcomings, as well as dangerous aspects in his background and viewpoints!

For the party, Perry represents a threat to the Establishment Republicans, the middle, the mainstream of the party in the past, and gives power to the extremists of the Tea Party Movement!

With Jon Huntsman apparently floundering, even though the author feels he came across very well in the past two debates, the only hope in the field of candidates is Mitt Romney, with all of his shortcomings and faults, but it will not be easy to overcome the Tea Party takeover of the party!

One could say that if the party nominates Perry, they will lose, and that will be, therefore, only their problem as to how to recover from a disastrous defeat in 2012.

But with the economy so bad right now, the idea is starting to develop that maybe, just maybe, Barack Obama COULD lose in 2012, giving us President Perry, and possibly a Tea Party Congress, enough to make one hysterical and give one nightmares, and the purpose here is NOT to joke, but be very serious!

Were Perry to win, we would face the following, with and without a Tea Party majority in Congress:

1. We would have a President who is not very smart, not very curious to learn, not open to new ideas, very rigid in his right wing beliefs, unwilling to compromise, arrogant, cocky, with a swagger about him, and not willing to be transparent in his activities in the White House!

2. We would have a complete takeover of right wing conservatism, leading to total deregulation, cutting of taxes even further on the rich, attempts to destroy several government agencies or make them ineffective in their work, and resulting in widespread corruption due to “cronyism”!

3. We would have a President who would be arrogant toward the outside world, create crises and possible interventions in other countries, and boast about “American exceptionalism”, undermining relations even with our allies and friends around the world.! The neoconservative view of foreign policy would dominate.

4. Civil Liberties would be violated worse than any President in modern times, and civil rights enforcement for Latinos, African Americans, women and gays would end!

5. We would see a theocracy develop, as Rick Perry would constantly invoke Jesus Christ, talk about God and religion more than any President, including Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, and George W. Bush, and promote as much combination of church and state as one can imagine might happen.

6. The economy would NOT get better, and instead we would have more poverty, deprivation, and human suffering, similar to the reality in Texas under Governor Perry.

7. War would be declared on environmentalists, and scientists, in the name of industry and religion, undermining our education system nationally, as well as our health care programs.

8. Justice and fairness in the law would be undermined, as capital punishment would become a virtue, and the courts, including the Supreme Court, would become the most right wing in American history since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century.

9. The goal of a Perry Administration would be the destruction of Social Security, Medicare, and all other social safety net programs, and basically the repeal of the Progressive Era of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, and the other reforms under Richard Nixon in the early 1970s.

10. Fundamentally, America would go back a full century to the Gilded Age, with the total or near total repeal of the 20th century, which made America the envy of the free world!

This is serious stuff here, no joking, and all efforts must be made in the Republican Party to defeat Rick Perry, and if that fails, and even if it succeeds, do everything necessary to reelect Barack Obama as the only hope for moving forward in the second decade of the 21st century!

Poverty And Health Care Denial: The Disgrace Of American Democracy!

New statistics show that America, the ideal democracy in many people’s minds, has the horrific record of all time highs in number of people mired in poverty, and the number of people who lack health insurance coverage.

The Census Bureau reports that 15.1 percent, the highest since 1983, are in poverty, with a large percentage of these being children.

46.2 million, up 2.6 million since 2009, are in poverty, the number increasing because of the Great Recession.

Meanwhile, 49.9 million, an all time high, lack any health insurance coverage.

The concept that about one out of six Americans are in poverty and lack health care is a disgrace on American democracy!

How can we talk about American “exceptionalism” with such statistics?

How can the Republican Party act as if there is no crisis in America, and that instead they condemn those who are down and out to perpetual poverty, and yet they can sleep at night?

And how can a nation where so many talk about being “religious” can we see the hard hearted attitude of so many Right Wing Christians toward these poor people, and see cheers in the debate last night over the idea that a person without health insurance should NOT be given necessary health care, that it is not the responsibility of all of us to help those in need, and instead let that person die? And this from those who fight against abortion rights, and yet accept and cheer capital punishment!

The hypocrisy of so called “religious” people in the midst of poverty and deprivation is mind boggling!

September 11 Ten Years Later: Its Long Range Impact!

Tomorrow will mark ten years since the greatest tragedy in American history–the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City; the Pentagon in suburban Virginia outside Washington, DC; and the heroism of the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 who prevented that plane’s hijackers from attacking the US Capitol Building or the White House by rebelling, and forcing the plane into a crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania!

Over 3,000 people died as a result of September 11, most in the Trade Center, but some in the Pentagon, and also on the the four planes involved in the terrorist plot.

Additionally, about 5,000 soldiers have been killed in the wars In Iraq and Afghanistan, and about 45,000 wounded, including a few thousand severely wounded, making more than 50,000 killed or wounded as a result of September 11.

It has been very difficult to conceptualize and cope with the tragedy of that day, and ever since in the never ending involvement in the wars against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Words cannot describe the torment that most Americans feel about this greatest of all human tragedies in American history, other than the tragic battles of Antietam and Gettysburg in the Civil War, along with the losses of our troops at Pearl Harbor which led us into World War II.

September 11 changed the American Presidency forever, making it that all Presidents in the future will have to be prepared to deal with a terrorist attack that could come at any time, no matter how much preparation and alertness Americans have. This is a never ending war that will cost us plenty in national treasure, and already has put us into economic straits worse than any time since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Socially, September 11 has made the country fearful of the religion of Islam, and made Americans suspicious of immigrants in general, an ugly revival of religious intolerance and of nativism, which is a massive problem for the long term, and could subject us to more danger because of hate mongers who can incite reactions by people who have no connection to September 11, and yet feel victimized.

September 11 united us briefly, but now it has led to political divisions that endanger the future of the country both domestically and in foreign policy dealings.

September 11 has also made us realize, like at the time of Pearl Harbor but then forgotten, that we are vulnerable to attack, and have been too self assured and cocky about the greatness of our nation, leading to the wrong headed attitude that we are superior and cannot be touched or threatened internally. We have learned the hard way the folly of our self proclaimed “exceptionalism”, a super nationalism which endangers our relations with other nations and makes us feel that we are best in every way, which is far from the truth!

September 11 has also endangered our Bill of Rights and civil liberties, some of it understandable, but much of it dangerous and unacceptable violations in the name of security. It has created an intrusive government which can spy on us with cameras, phones, internet and other forms of technology, and has caused the growth of so many intelligence and spy agencies that the Washington Post has published about secret governments and expenditures that we have no concept of, or ability to gain awareness of in detail!

In many ways, while we have fought the terrorism successfully, we have also become the victims, in the sense of losing our freedoms, security, contentment in being Americans, and sense of well being.

So September 11 has done great harm to us, and its impact will never dissipate, sadly!

The Virtues Of A Perry Or Bachmann Candidacy: Long Range Positive Impact On America!

With the growing likelihood, at least before a series of debates in a six week period in September and October that will test legitimacy, that Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann might win the GOP nomination for President, it must be said that there are numerous virtues if such an eventuality actually occurs!

The virtues are as follows:

1. The odds of such a far RIght WIng candidate winning the national election is extremely low, as America is a centrist nation, and will reject such craziness!

2. The Republican Party would be cleansed by the defeat of a Perry or Bachmann, and come back to its senses, moving to the center of the political spectrum, and by so doing, would have a good chance to win the White House in 2016, as it is not uncommon to have parties switch power in the Presidency every eight to twelve years!

3. The impact of the Tea Party Movement would be dramatically lessened, if not destroyed, by a massive defeat!

4. The Influence of the Christian Right evangelicals would be eliminated as a major factor in future Republican Presidential battles if the candidate loses in a disastrous way!

5. The urban-rural split within the country could be resolved by the triumph of the urban areas, where most of the people live–80 percent in 28 states with only 40 percent of the land area, as compared to 20 percent in 22 states with 60 percent of the land area!

6. Centrists and Independents would return to the Democratic Party in large numbers with an extreme right wing Republican such as Perry or Bachmann!

7. The chances of a strongly Democratic Congress in both houses would increase, as the “coat tail” effect of an Obama landslide would help to bring in Democrats, even in some Republican or swing districts, allowing the accomplishment of more of the President’s agenda, and making the GOP control of the House of Representatives a bad memory!

This election could be similar to the massive defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964, changing the political climate for nearly a generation, bringing to power a moderate Republican, Richard Nixon, as compared to Goldwater.

Of course, such a defeat does not mean the complete end of the Right Wing forces in the GOP, but it would set them back for a period of at least 12-16 years as occurred from 1964-1980. And even Ronald Reagan ended up smoothing the rough edges of the Goldwater ideology when he was President of the United States in the 1980s!

The purging, the purification of the Republican Party, from its extremist roots is necessary to make the party a true, legitimate alternative for America in the 21st century! The American people will not allow such reckless candidates, as Perry or Bachmann would be, to win the White House, as at least the vast majority of them, believe in American “exceptionalism”, a different kind that will not allow anyone in the White House who represents a threat to the whole 20th century democratizing and reforms, and wishes to promote theocracy in America! Even Barry Goldwater did not wish to do that, and in fact, opposed religious influence to dictate to the party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Eisenhower!