|Posted by MLGoodell on July 9, 2014 at 2:55 PM||comments (0)|
As the 2014 FIFA World Cup winds down to its final few games, let’s reflect on what we’ve learned along the way. The most surprising thing, other than the fact that none of the stadia collapsed, is how politicized supporting the sport has become.
The ideologically extreme MSNBC mouthpiece Chris Hayes mocked non fans for being wedded to antiquated ideas. “The aversion that some hold in joining the world to embracing soccer is often weirdly tied to American Exceptionalism,” Hayes said. “And once again, this year, a few anti-soccer trolls reared their ugly heads. But they really don’t matter . . . Even the president of the United States caught the game today. . . And while we didn’t win, that’s ultimately alright because part of embracing a truly worldwide competition is accepting the fact the U.S. cannot simply assert its dominance.”
So, if you’re one of the cool kids you like soccer just as much as you like transgendered urinals. Another ideological brownshirt, Peter Beinart, observed on CNN that soccer fans are generally younger, more liberal, more tolerant of others and “are far less likely than older American to say that America's culture is superior or to say that America is the greatest country in the world.” He thinks that’s a plus.
Beinart explains, “if you look at the states where soccer is most popular, they're overwhelmingly blue states, and the states where soccer is least popular are red states. The only difference between the soccer coalition and the Obama coalition is that African-Americans are right now are not such big soccer fans and of course important parts of the Obama coalition . . . So you can see the Obama coalition as essentially soccer plus basketball. The Republican coalition is essentially baseball plus golf plus NASCAR.”
Which begs the question, what stands out more, Beinart’s incoherence or his ineffable silliness? Of course, the left doesn’t have a monopoly on silliness. Not when it comes to futbol. Ann Coulter spewed her own version of dementia, declaring soccer to be beneath American’s contempt because “It’s foreign.” Like the metric system, it is from “Europe,” and therefore verboten. Even worse, it’s a game played by sissies, and liberals. “Liberal moms like soccer because it's a sport in which athletic talent finds so little expression that girls can play with boys,” Coulter fulminates. “ No serious sport is co-ed, even at the kindergarten level.”
Not to be outdone, the other day Bernard Goldberg passed his judgment in a piece on National Review Online (which effectively transformed a once-respectable forum of ideas into the intellectual version of “The National Enquirer.”). Soccer, he declared, is for losers. “It’s not just because it’s so dull that I don’t like soccer. Another reason I don’t like it is because of the Americans who do like it. Most of these sports fans — a term I use with no regard for either word, “sports” or “fans” — wouldn’t know a fumble from a first down, a hit-and-run from a double play. But every four years they show up at bars and go wild when the American team ties the Tunisians zero-zero, or nil-nil, as they call it.”
The debate over soccer seems like the last nail in the political coffin which is contemporary American society. Why can’t someone simply enjoy a good match without feeling morally superior? Conversely, can’t I choose not to follow the sport, or even actively mock it without attacking true soccer fans? (True fans, by the way, follow the sport year-round, not just every four years–it’s like the Olympics. We can enjoy the passion and drama of Olympic competition without describing ourselves as huge track and field, or luge fans).
An English friend once described soccer as a gentlemanly game play by thugs, as opposed to rugby, which is a thuggish game played by gentlemen. Another English friend refers to the sport as “kiss ball,” yet he lives and dies with the fate of his National Team. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is reputed to have soothed her shattered nation following an unlikely loss to the German National Team by noting that “England has twice defeated German at their national game.”
So there’s a lot of tradition and history to soccer. Ironically, on a continent given to scorning nationalism, Europeans exult in the fortunes of their National Teams. An Englishman who will look down his nose at American patriotism will willingly and reflexively bite the nose off a Frenchman’s face in the unlikely event of a froggish goal.
To be honest, I dislike soccer because it is mired in the past. It was yet another English friend who expressed his envy for the way Americans constantly tinker with our sports. Baseball, hockey, football and basketball are constantly evolving to accommodate changes in equipment and improvements in diet, training and performance.
Consider baseball. Over the years the pitching mound has gotten lower and the strike zone has effectively been cut in half. Every change has been made to improve the batter’s chances of hitting the ball. If those changes hadn’t been made, most baseball games would finish one-nil after 18 innings, contested before as many as three dozen people.
Baseball has changed with the times. Soccer hasn’t. Which is why players fall to the ground and writhe in agony, until they realize they won’t be rewarded with either a penalty kick or the issuance of a yellow or red card. The reason they do this is not, despite what Coulter might say, because they are “sissies,” but because about the only way to score in modern soccer (we’ll leave Germany-Brazil out of this discussion) is by penalty kick or a man advantage.
Which means most games come down to which side is best able to game the system, or to phantom penalties called or legitimate ones ignored. Soccer is too much in the hands of the officials, and not enough on the feet of the players. Which is why I don’t like it. It’s ironic when you think of it. According to trendy-leftie elites, by definition I don’t like soccer because I am a conservative, while in fact, I don’t like soccer because it hasn’t changed. Advocating change is not the purview of the right, which means, I don’t like soccer because it is too conservative for me.
|Posted by MLGoodell on May 1, 2014 at 4:25 PM||comments (0)|
Considering he’s the most timorous and geopolitically unformed President since Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama is remarkably prolific when it comes to slaughtering straw men. Take for example his recent press conference hissy fit in Malaysia. Or it may have been a calculated outburst, it’s hard to tell with this guy. Ostensibly a defense of his nuanced, highly sophisticated foreign policy, by the time Obama was done hyperventilating, the field was so strewn with straw man corpses, it bore a striking resemblance to one of that noted education reformer Bashar Assad’s charter school projects.
Slaughtering straw men is one of the president’s favorite rhetorical devices. When faced with criticism, he presumes to define the terms his critics used, generally in a manner bearing no more connection with reality than his administration’s policy toward, say, Iran. He then proceeds to demolish the arguments nobody has made.
In Malaysia he imputed to his foreign policy critics a desire to invade foreign countries, or to put boots on the ground, in one of his favorite phrases. They still haven’t learned the lessons from our disastrous involvement in Iraq, he charged. What is the matter with these people? How on earth can they continue to pursue the misguided, failed policies of the past? Obama’s arguments completely destroyed all those critics calling for us to invade every country that looks at us cross-eyed. The only problem with his rhetorical victory is nobody has made the arguments he just blew out of the water.
And that’s the seductive appeal of the Straw Man approach. If you put words in your critics’ mouths, it’s easy to destroy them. When Obama opens a can of Whupp Ass on his critics, he looks like Rambo. Okay, he looks like Rambo with skinny arms, but still, that’s a whole lotta mayhem raining down.
Even Rambo, er, Obama knows he can only take this Straw Man thing so far. Here’s what he said about Syria. “Those who criticize our foreign policy with respect to Syria, they themselves say, ‘No, no, no, we don’t mean sending in troops.’ Well, what do you mean? ‘Well, you should be assisting the opposition.’ Well, we’re assisting the opposition. What do you mean? “Well, perhaps you should have taken a strike in Syria to get chemical weapons out of Syria.” Well, it turns out we’re getting chemical weapons out of Syria without having initiated a strike. So what are you talking about? And at that point it kind of trails off.”
What can we learn from this sophomoric outburst? One, we can conclude it’s not just tobacco the President is still when Michelle isn’t looking. This sort of incoherent recapping of an amazing internal dialogue suggests that the Choom Gang is alive and well and hanging out by the White House basketball court.
We can also conclude that the reason it “kind of trails off” at the point where Obama brags about getting chemical weapons out of Syria is because his imaginary interlocutor considers it rude to say, “Really, Mr. President? Tell me, are you lying to my face or are you really that stupid? Because anybody who can read a newspaper knows that Syria has missed every deadline you’ve extended for turning over the chemical weapons they say they have. We don’t even know about the rest of them because there’s no independent inspection team to verify. Furthermore, you may recall the only reason we’ve gotten this far is because Vladimir Putin came riding to the rescue. Do you remember when you were wilting from an attack of the vapors because grown ups in Washington said you needed to do something because Assad violated what you called a red line? Do you remember how panicked you were? Do you remember denying ever calling it a Red Line? Do you remember how you crumpled in Putin’s big, strong arms when he untied you from the railroad tracks like Dudley Dooright?”
“Did you ever stop to think, Mr. President, that if you hadn’t proved yourself worse than a coward over Syria, that Russia might not have invaded Crimea? Did you stop to think how far your foreign policy is from robust? Did you ever stop to think that what you call a calibrated, low-profile set of diplomatic maneuvers’ is the geopolitical version of hiding in a bathroom stall until the jocks have gone off to football practice?”
That’s probably the main reason your critics start drifting off at that point.
We’ve gotten to a pathetic point in history where people want to believe our president actually intends to destroy American power as a force for good in the world, because it is hard to imagine someone stupid enough to do this by accident.
|Posted by MLGoodell on April 19, 2014 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
We owe a debt of gratitude to the folks at Home Depot who came up with the wonderful concept called Spring Black Friday. At last, we have a name for the awkward Friday before Easter. For years people have referred to it as, uh, you know, that day when schools are out, Wall Street is closed, and there’s nothing to do but go to church.
But now, we have a name for it. Spring Black Friday. It is the perfect counterpoint to the traditional Black Friday, which occurs the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday, of course, is as close as Americans come to a religious holiday, that day after the gluttonous feast, when families go to the local mall and worship at the feet of the Great God Commerce.
Fulfilling as Black Friday is, when we all buy things we can’t afford for people who don’t need them, all to observe what we call “Holiday,” it is sometimes hard to go a full year without worshiping again. Granted, there is Valentine’s Day when we buy chocolates, flowers and cards, and St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo, when we gather in bars to drink ourselves into oblivion, but somehow these minor Holy Days don’t quite fill the gap between Holiday and Graduation Day (which occupies the entire month of June).
Thankfully, last year the marketing department at Home Depot came up with Spring Black Friday. This year, they’re doing it again, and joined by such stalwarts as Lowes and Walmart, it promises to be bigger than ever. At last, all Americans will have a place to worship during this bleak, empty season. Spring Black Friday should fill out our religious calendar. We will be fulfilled.
In his “Inferno,” Dante described the nine circles of hell. Actually, he got that wrong. There is a tenth circle, and it is the exclusive domain of everyone in the marketing and advertising racket.
|Posted by MLGoodell on April 9, 2014 at 4:30 PM||comments (0)|
My head tells me to leave it alone. Don’t write about it. Just leave it alone. The damage is already done. You can’t save a culture intent on suicide. So keep your mouth shut, don’t make waves. Don’t intentionally offend those whose taking of offense is beyond your ken.
Then my heart tells me in Nazi Germany they called this attitude “internal exile.” That was the place where those intellectuals, writers and artists unable or unwilling to flee would hide. That place was inside their heads, because that was the only place it was safe to be. So I wondered is it right to witness our slide into totalitarianism without at least letting people know where they are headed?
What was Mr. Eich’s crime? What did he do that rendered him unemployable? Did he rape a child? Did he bribe a Senator? Lie on his resume? No. He donated $1,000 to support Proposition 8, the California initiative which defined marriage as an act between a man and a woman. At the time this was the position held by just about every public figure and virtually every American citizen capable of rational thought (or somewhere close to 300,000 people). It was a time when reasonable people could disagree on whether the state should redefine marriage. It was a time when people could oppose state-sanctioned same-sex marriage and not be accused, and convicted, of hate crimes. It was just six short years ago.
Most articles about Mr. Eich’s auto-da-fe refer to Proposition 8 as an initiative to ban gay marriage. Actually, it did no such thing. In fact, there has not been a single initiative or law passed anywhere in the country which banned gay marriage, or made it illegal. All they have done is confirm, or codify the status quo. Gays have been free to marry as long as Barbra Streisand has been singing show tunes. That’s why God invented the Unitarian Church, and SWAT teams have never been dispatched to arrest Rev. Samantha while she unites Warren and Bruce in Holy Matrimony.
Nobody has ever banned gay marriage, because, in the eyes of the state, and in the eyes of history, gay marriage has never existed. You can’t ban something that has never existed. Yet none of this matters as our culture goes careening over the cliff of rationality. Nor does it matter how his Inquisitors learned of Mr. Eich’s despicable deed. Which is the worst part of the story.
An Internal Revenue Service employee illegally leaked the names of National Organization for Marriage (NOM) donors. This crime is another example of the dangerous extent to which the current administration has politicized the bureaucracy. Even more disturbing than the actual leaking is the refusal of the (even more politicized) Justice Department to investigate and prosecute.
This is no small matter. This is the erosion of the rule of law upon which our nation was established. When the state is allowed to pick and choose which laws it will enforce, and when the state abets those who would punish others for their beliefs, we are creeping perilously close to totalitarianism.
In short, it is not the series of actions which are so terrifying, but the lack of response those actions have inspired.
|Posted by MLGoodell on April 4, 2014 at 3:00 PM||comments (0)|
I woke up yesterday morning with our president’s voice whispering in my ear. No, I haven’t bought an ObamaLama, (Note: The following is a paid advertisement. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the editorial staff at www.mlgoodell.webs.com).
ObamaLama is the revolutionary new alarm clock now sweeping the nation. Yes, thanks to the same technology which enabled millions of uninsured Americans to finally get the health care they deserve, the ObamaLama, allows you to wake up each day to the sound of our beloved President’s voice. Just set the time you want to wake up, by turning the innovative devices on the back called dials, and the next morning (or afternoon if you’re one of the millions of Americans freed from job lock!) you can start your day full of confidence, knowing that our President “has your back.”
(We now return you to our regularly scheduled program).
Again, I don’t yet have an ObamaLama, mainly because, since the merger, Amazon.gov is having fulfillment issues whenever traffic exceeds 100,000 users. Instead, our beloved leader’s words came to me through the miracle of NPR on my clock radio, reporting on his campaign speech in nearby Ann Arbor. Bolstered by reports that ramping up the minimum wage would free another half-million Americans from the humiliation of having to go to work each day, Obama was in town to support a statewide initiative to boost it to $10.10 an hour.
Among other crowd-pleasing remarks, the president extolled the merits of allowing anyone to earn that much, “regardless of your last name, the color of your skin, which country you were born in, or who you love.” That Angelou-esque litany of interest groups, which passes as policy these days, gained the expected cheers from the crowd of reliably liberal collegians, though none was greeted as enthusiastically as “who you love.”
This struck me as curious. Why on earth should our president’s by now obligatory nod in the direction of homosexual normatization generate such acclaim? Could it be that this generation of children, having been indulgently raised free from restraint or even guidance, nonetheless feels the need to rebel? Grasping for issues, they can find only one which reflects a generational divide. That, of course is same-sex marriage. Our president has evolved in dramatic fashion, going in just three short years from believing marriage is between a man and woman to claiming “marriage equality is the defining issue of our age.”
So for the purposes of pleasing the crowd, the President boasts he has their collective back. It is a bit off-putting, though, this pandering to an unformed audience. It should be somehow beneath the office of the president to assist children’s bid to shock their parents. Whenever Obama gets in front of a collegiate audience, he reminds me of that old Sprint commercial in which a business executive brags that the money he is saving is his way of “Sticking it to the man,” to which his assistant replies, perplexedly, “But you are the man.” (See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG-VB5xb6KM).
Because, in fact, that is what the President is doing in front of his youthful audiences. He is sticking it to the man without understanding that he is, for what it’s worth, the man. Given their upbringing in a culture defined by self esteem enhancement and moral relativism, today’s college freshmen are arguably the most ethically immature and spiritually unformed generation ever to matriculate in what used to be called the civilized world. Is it any surprise then that whenever the mean old world gets too icky and scary, this President flees to where he feels most comfortable, before an audience of his intellectual peers?
|Posted by MLGoodell on April 1, 2014 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
In a stunning development, the Associated Press announced on April 1 that “President Barack Obama's health care overhaul was on track to sign up more than seven million Americans for health insurance on deadline day Monday.”
You may recall that the Congressional Budget Office determined that seven million people would need to sign up for health insurance on the government run exchanges for Affordable Care Act to work. The fact that exactly as many enrolled as required makes this achievement all the more impressive, especially when you consider that, as recently as March 30, the day before the deadline, most people doubted they could even come up with six million sign ups.
As remarkable as this accomplishment is, it gets even more astounding considering that Obamacare’s official fan site, er, website, healthcare.gov, was down for four hours on March 31. Since this constitutes fully one sixth of the day, signing up more than a million customers is damn near miraculous. Since even after billions of dollars of fixes and revisions the site still tends to crash when more than 100,000 people access it at the same time, one has to feel so proud of the more than one million people who patiently waited at the portal until number 100,000 left the site, so as not to overwhelm it.
For all those who claimed Obamacare was a train wreck, here is a profound rebuttal. It works. More than a million people signed up in one day. People all over America who did not have health care can now get health care. Fifty-year-old men who lived in fear of a sudden, unwanted pregnancy, can now face each day with confidence knowing their maternity costs will be covered. Gay men and women can get married without worrying where their contraception will come from.
It is a bright, shining day in America. It is, to borrow a phrase, Morning in America. And it is all the result of The Affordable Care Act. For all those who claimed it couldn’t be done, we can say with pride, go crawl back into your cave you racist haters.
In other news today, the AP reported that the CIA has identified the powerful “tractor beams” which lifted MH370 out of the earth’s atmosphere. President Obama, taking a break from filming an episode of “Girls” remarked that “while we don’t know these aliens’ intentions, we’re going to assume they are peaceful.” The president also called up the world’s media to refrain from using the term “alien” to describe the otherwordly creatures. “It’s such a hateful term,” he noted. “We prefer to call them unexpected visitors.”
Also, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a breakthrough in the latest round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Apparently Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu admitted that his country is a imperialist tool, that the perfidious Zionists stole Palestine from its rightful owners, and that Jews do in fact drink the blood of Christian children. In order to make things right Netanyahu announced that all Israelis would commit suicide at midnight tonight.
“This is a great achievement,” an exultant Kerry exclaimed. “We identified mass suicide as perhaps the major stumbling block standing in the way of a comprehensive peace agreement. Thanks to Prime Minister Netanyahu, we have indeed, achieved peace in our time.”
In a related story moderate President something-something Rahmani (get actual name from Wikipedia before posting–Ed) announced that Iran was ending the nuclear weapons program they never actually had. “If all the Jews are already dead, then building nukes is just a waste of time and money,” Roumahni explained. A jubilant Obama gleefully welcomed Iran back into the family of enlightened nations.
Finally, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he was giving Crimea “back to its rightful owners,” and withdrawing all troops from the Ukrainian border. “Watching the way President Obama consistently took the high road and refused to react to any of my provocations, I realized we really were living in the Nineteenth Century. I am so ashamed. So from here on, I’m surfing on the arc of history. Plus from now on, I keep my shirt on.”
It is so exciting to live in a world in which all problems, no matter how intractable they might seem to be, can be solved just by wishing them so. Thanks, President Obama, for making our world better and better in every possible way. Or, to put it another way, in Obama’s America, every day is April Fool’s Day.
|Posted by MLGoodell on March 27, 2014 at 5:30 PM||comments (0)|
Half my inbox these days consists of Gorean alarums about global warming having caused “unprecedented drought in California,” which generally start out by referencing “the driest winter since 1976.” Besides giving a new meaning to the term “unprecedented,” these appeals serve as the ideal springboard from which to launch appeals for money.
Stripped down to their barest essentials, the environmental message is that George Bush unilaterally abrogated the Kyoto Accords, a climate-saving treaty which the US Senate rejected by a 95-1 vote, (It may have been 95-2, but details don’t really matter since I’m arguing on the liberal side of the spectrum here), Big Oil and the Koch Brothers are collaborating to drown hapless South Pacific Islanders, and everything would be better if I sent the Environmental Defense League, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Al Gore and Organizing for Action $100 each.
It is with some guilt that I turn to rest of the emails clogging my in box which basically boast that record low temperatures and high snow levels in the Midwest prove that climate change is a hoax and that Obama lied about whether you could keep your doctor. There are no problems in the world except those born of the overheated imagination of leftist socialist anti-capitalist enviro-freako-wierdos. And, I hold in my hands the power to make all those problems go away, if I would just send Ted Cruz, Jim Dement, Sarah Palin and the Crossroads GPF Fund $100 each. Oh, and buy a copy of Rush Limbaugh’s latest children’s book.
Being a bit of a dinosaur, I tend to recall the last time we had unprecedented droughts and record cold temperatures and high snow levels. I don’t recall anyone saying anything about Global Warming causing those phenomena, probably because back in the seventies environmentally-oriented people had their knickers in a twist about The Coming Ice Age. Some people, true radicals I’ll grant you, went so far as to ascribe heat and cold, snow and drought to bizarre things called weather patterns, stationary high pressure cells camped off the coast of California, and other meteorological terms.
Sadly, as time has passed and more Cassandras have taken over tv stations’ weather maps and environmental fund raising operations, it becomes harder to find anyone capable of discussing the weather without screaming like a Banshee (it is the goal of every serious essayist to fit Cassandras and Banshees into the same sentence as often as possible).
It has been said of the Internet that the easier it is to transmit information, the stupider we all come–I doesn’t know if that’s true, but I did read it on the Internet–and that certainly has proved to be the case with the escalation of normal weather into disaster, and the unique into unmitigated horror. As Mark Twain once said, “Every body talks about the weather but–eek! Run for your lives!”
Surely you all agree that it is high time to return weather to its natural role as what happens outside. I am happy to take on that task. In fact, I am confident I will be able to shut up both Al Gore and the super secret Koch Brothers if you will just send $100 to my new 501 (c)(4) organization (send me ten grand and I’ll let you look at my list of secret funders), Weather Not Climate.
|Posted by MLGoodell on March 17, 2014 at 2:45 PM||comments (0)|
I’m so glad I gave up on America after the last election. Otherwise I would look at the world today and wonder whether to cry, run away and hide, or simply stick my head in the oven. However, since the last election, I am able to view this vast diorama of human suffering and decay with sang-froid. Actually, it is not quite sang-froid. What I feel more than anything is amusement.
There is such rich comedy in this clown circus running around pretending to be grown ups, it is hard not to laugh. Now, if history is our guide, the consequences of these subdural inebriates and their mind-gnawingly naive and willfully simplistic behavior will be one of vast deprivation and infinite suffering for the American people. These craven appeasers, with their policies so self-deluding they make ostriches look like visionaries, have set in motion a process of decline which is well-nigh unstoppable.
But it doesn’t matter. If our cities burst into flames, if our people starve or are enslaved, it doesn’t matter. Because after four years of watching this group about whom the only question was, were they incompetent or traitors, the American people decided they wanted four more years. They looked at Mitt Romney and decided Lena Dunham was the only adult in the room.
In November of 2012 Americans chose decline. The American nation chose to die. The American people chose so stupidly that they don’t deserve to live. Which is why I can watch the world continue to unravel, and laugh. I find it to be high comedy. For instance, what could be richer than the commentary I heard on NPR this morning as I drove Mary to chemotherapy? They had an “expert”-- yes, one of those-- who pointed out, in a deliciously deadpan delivery, that the challenge confronting the Americans and Europeans following the Crimean referendum, was how to respond without jeopardizing nuclear reduction talks with Iran.
Is that not the funniest thing you’ve ever heard? I don’t know who this guy’s writers are, but they made him sound even funnier than Bill Maher thinks he is. Watching the comedy unfold, two thoughts come to mind. The first is a question. When will China decide to overrun Taiwan? (The answer can be expressed in months rather than years).
The second is that the president and the vice-president have both described gay marriage the defining issue of our age. Watching the world unravel, it is obvious they are right.
|Posted by MLGoodell on March 5, 2014 at 4:00 PM||comments (0)|
At first glance, it might seem surprising that a bunch of guys who loathe the military as much as Obama and his playpen pals do, are so obsessed with looking tough. But if you put it in perspective,it begins to make sense. Do you recall how those Choom Gang guys used to hang around the flag pole out in front of the high school, as far away as possible from the jocks who liked to beat them up?
That’s why the stoners always moved in a pack, because it made them look tough, and as every high school kid knows, if you can’t be tough, the next best thing is looking tough. Furthermore, if you can’t be tough around the tough guys, at least you can be tough around the nerds. Most of the time, striking a pose is fine. If you’re an insignificant night clerk at the local Seven-Eleven, looking tough might even dissuade some punk from robbing you. Of course, if he does go ahead and pull that gun, within seconds you’ll be lying in a pool of your own urine, sobbing and begging him not to kill you. But, like I said, that’s fine.
However, if you happen to be president of what used to be known as the most powerful country on earth, striking poses can come back and bite you. This is what Obama has yet to learn. You can’t go around mouthing tough guy phrases and striking poses that impress your stoner buddies. Because in the real world there are guys like Putin who like to show off their pecs and wrestle bears and alligators. They see you in your mom jeans cracking wise about consequences and costs, red lines and knocking chips off your shoulder, and they just laugh.
Which is what has just happened in Ukraine. Leave all the geopolitical mumbo-jumbo aside. Forget about Crimea basically being Russia, and only falling under Ukrainian jurisdiction for the past sixty years or so. Or whether the current Ukrainian government is more or less corrupt than the previous one. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is that the United States has become a joke.
The day after Obama warned Putin there would be costs if he sent troops into Ukraine, he procured permission from his rubber stamp parliament to do just that. And to recall the Russian Ambassador as well. It would have been better to have said nothing than to make more empty threats. This person currently Occupying the White House has adopted a foreign policy the exact opposite of Teddy Roosevelt’s. And it doesn’t work.
Luckily for our hapless leader, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose that moment to visit the White House. It was very kind of him to sit down for a photo op, and to keep his mouth shut while the President threatened him with boycotts and international isolation if he doesn’t do exactly what Obama wants him to. Must be nice to know we’ve still got some allies, otherwise who would we be able to push around?
Choom Gang foreign policy would be a joke if it weren’t so disastrous for America’s future, and by extension, that of the world. Many people have resented the American Century, and they have chafed under our clumsy leadership. We’ll have to wait to see how much more enjoyable it will be living in a world divided neatly between Russia and China. We’ll see what good soft power achieves when wielded against thugs and bullies.
At the end of the day we will have to learn how to live in a world in which we are mocked by our enemies feared only by our allies.
|Posted by MLGoodell on February 5, 2014 at 3:05 PM||comments (0)|
We’re in the silly season now. The network news shows have run out of mud to sling at Chris Christie and none of it has stuck. (Though, take another look at the Zapruder film and tell me that chubby baby in the stroller on the grassy knoll doesn’t bear an uncanny resemblance to the future New Jersey Governor). I t’s too early to actually run for the 2014 midterm elections, but too late not to start worrying about them. This is the time when Congressmen and women contemplate treason. It’s the time strategists begin strategizing, and the Taliban wing of the Republic Party starts strapping on their suicide vests.
It is the season when the GOP, recipient of Obamacare, the greatest electoral gift since the Nazis burned down the Reichstag, starts trying to give it back. The Taliban wing, made up of true believers, are on a mission to cleanse the party of apostates and heretics. They want to destroy John Boehner, and Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell, because they have broken their promise to do everything in their power to repeal Obamacare. That they actually have no power to do so doesn’t enter into the calculations of the Taliban. They want to fire Cruz missiles at the enemy, shutting down the government until Obamacare is repealed.
It’s hard to imagine a more stupid line of attack These people don’t understand that the public blames them when the government is shut down, even when it is impossible to shut down the government. They flourish poll results showing that a majority of Americans think government is to big. What they don’t understand it this same majority, when so instructed by the dominant media, will blame the GOP for shutting down the government.
The Taliban blame the grown ups in the party for recognizing that true reform cannot occur until they have veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress, and that won’t happen as long as they are seen as irresponsible bomb throwers. They recognize that the dominant media, and their Democrat opponents are ever ready to tar them with the brush of extremism, and they understand there is no better recipe for forcing Americans to keep voting Democrat than for the extreme right wing to force their party into an ideological straight jacket.
Recognizing the danger, GOP leaders are trying to find some common ground. Paul Ryan hammered out a two-year budget agreement with Patty Murray that did little to rein in the deficit, and nothing to slow the growth of government. But it did have the benefit of postponing bitter budget battles and the temptation to shut down the government until after the elections. Ryan held his nose and signed the agreement not because he’s become a tax and spend enthusiast, but because he wanted to take a weapon away from the Democrats and their media lapdogs.
Apparently they are trying to do the same thing with immigration reform, which has the right wing reaching under their turbans to scratch their heads. Why, they wonder, would they take that on? Considering most polls show only 3% of the population gives a rip about immigration reform, why move that front and center? Probably because Republican leaders understand that, absent action, the media will use it to drive a wedge between the party and the voters who would otherwise vote for them.
How is it possible that inaction on an issue only 3% of the public actually cares about will result in voter hostility? Perhaps because people are too stupid to know what is good for them, or even what is real. Back in the 1980's, when true crime cop shows, those precursors of “Reality TV”, had their heyday, surveys showed that 80% of Americans considered crime the number one issue, even though that same 80% said they thought their neighborhood was safe. Thus, for most Americans, the reality of television trumps the reality of personal experience.
No doubt it will be the same with immigration. Despite the fact that they don’t care about immigration reform, most Americans will absorb the steady media-driven condemnation of Republicans for “standing in the way” of immigration reform. They will conclude, “I can’t vote for that guy because he doesn’t care about an issue which means next to nothing to me.”
This is the only possible reason for Republican leadership to contemplate pursuing such an agenda. They are more afraid of the media than their own lunatic right wing. It’s an ugly situation. A classic example of the GOP’s uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It is exactly the sort of lunacy one can expect in a country in which local television news is the primary source of information for three out of four people. This is lunacy. This is further support for my view that people generally get the government they deserve.
I suppose the only question remaining on the subject of immigration is why do people still want to come here?