Archive for January, 2011

SOCIALISM

Posted in Uncategorized on January 30, 2011 by Ted Salins

Ted Salins © 2011

Remember that first time you went home from college or the military? You couldn’t wait to see your mom, your friends, your hometown, your favorite hangouts. That’s how most Americans feel about our country. We love it for what it has been to us.

How many of you felt, “no, instead of going home for Thanksgiving, I want to go Moscow where I’ve never been, have no friends, it’s cold and I can march lockstep with Marxists and give up my freedoms.”

Can we stop demonizing a large percentage of Americans as Soviet style totalitarian socialists? This idea is illogical and absurd.  “Fidel Castro likes Obamacare, but the American people don’t” (Sarah Palin, CNN,  3/26/10);  “Most of the liberals I know want to live in a nanny state” (CSPAN caller) ; “Russia called, they want their socialism back” (Teaparty sign).

In other words, conservatives choose to work hard and take personal responsibility while those who disagree are  lazy and want to be fed and clothed by the government.

Think of twenty people you know. How many of them do not work hard? How many game the welfare system or attend Communist Party meetings? One? Two? None? Where are these lazy Trotskyites?  These accusations are specious: Those who claim Government meddling is “socialism” overwhelmingly voted for politicians who borrowed  money from Marxist China. Those that rail about “lazy” welfare recipients and brag about responsibility do not feel responsible to clean up man made pollution, whether it causes global warming or not.

Furthermore, it was a recent neo-conservative administration that subscribed to torture, passed off taxpayer paid propaganda as news, planted fake reporters in legitimate press corps, put undue pressure on scientists to manipulate research  and spied on the public through telephone lines – actions one can attribute to Soviet style totalitarian models. In another era, I was tear gassed and beaten with a club exercising my right to peacefully demonstrate against the war in Viet Nam. Who attending a “tea party” can say that? 

Recently, someone made the outrageous claim that “Obamacare” was “socialist” because it would deny breast exams for women until they were 50. I asked which specific provision in the proposals said this. In the time it takes to do a “Google” on his I-Phone, he came back with “It was at an HHS panel” (the source changed from a provision). I pressed, “When and where was the panel and who said it?” (I actually knew the answer). His response:  “I’m not your librarian. Do some reading. Don’t be lazy”.

Again, with “lazy”. This person makes a vague claim he did not take the time to justify, yet I’m lazy? Confucius said, “He who thinks he’s superior proves he’s not.”

Columnist and talk show host Mark Joseph asks, “Why is ‘Socialism’ such a dirty word? A government for the people by the people should banish all pejorative definitions of it.”  We have always socialized taxes, military, education, civic pride and protection.  That’s the responsible thing to do.

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IN DEFENSE OF JIMMY CARTER

Posted in Commentary on January 4, 2011 by Ted Salins

Ted Salins © 2011

If Ronald Reagan had volunteered as a Naval Officer to enter the melted core of the first nuclear accident at Chalk River, Ontario to supervise the clean up, and to expose himself to the melted core of Three Mile Island as President to reassure a frightened nation – monuments would be built.

If George H.W. Bush had personally made dozens of trips to impoverished parts of Africa to oversee the near elimination of guinea worm disease and to start mass inoculations for river blindness, his legend would be mythic.

If George W. Bush had conducted Sunday school throughout his entire presidency, he would be regarded as a true Christian.

If any of the above went to hot spots around the world to monitor democratic elections in unlikely, dangerous places, he would be cited as a tireless fighter for human rights and the spread of democracy.

Yet Jimmy Carter actually did all of the above and many Americans treat him with such vile as can only be explained as partisan hatred. A quick search on the blogosphere to find comments about the former President:

“He should just go away and do what old people are supposed to do.”

“He is a senile old fool who should stay home and watch the grass grow.”

“I am amused by the mental failings of this old man.”

“Maybe if (Carter) would just shut up and go away these stories of his failures would as well.”

“Why doesn’t this old fool just give it up and leave us alone.”

“Jimmy Carter is the poster child for former Presidents who should be seen and not heard. I guess we should be grateful he doesn’t play golf or we all would be ducking for cover.”

There seems to be three themes: 1) Carter is old, 2) old people have no value and 3) he and other older people should leave us alone. Where are these marching orders coming from? Are we to believe that angry posters who sit at their computers spewing venom are more decent and committed than Jimmy Carter? “This man has degenerated into the useless idiot category,” one of them wrote. What is the usefulness of that post? What child will it save from river blindness?

All presidents have their detractors, but none in such an inexplicable, lockstep manner. The theory seems to be that bad things happened during The Carter Administration and as President he made mistakes. Gee. Sounds like every administration – why is his held to a higher standard?

The reasons on the blogosphere that most “explain” why he is “the worst president” are “high interest rates”, “gas lines” and the Iran hostage crises.  By this standard, Reagan should be judged on the outbreak of AIDS, the crack epidemic and the murder of 250 plus Marines in Lebanon; George W. Bush would be responsible for the beheadings of Americans posted for all to see on the internet. Is that not worse than Carter’s high interest rates? Can someone explain the specific date and moment when Carter made the decision to “force” private companies to raise interest rates on the American public? Did the banks beg him, “Please Mr. President, don’t make us raise rates on our fellow citizens!”. Where is the proof that high interest rates during Carter’s term were easily avoided and with what policy? Explain.

Jimmy Carter was not perfect – no one is. Some of his policies did not work. I could easily argue that the beheadings of Americans are directly related to decisions by George W. Bush’s misadventure in Iraq. How many Americans were beheaded during the years of the Carter Administration? If “gas lines” make you want to punch a hole in the wall, the beheadings should make you burn the house down.

Carter made what is regarded as the worst presidential speech of all time, the “malaise” speech, July 15, 1979. Here is a sample:

“…In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communitie­­s, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indul­­gence and consumptio­­n. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning…”

If you have a problem with that, then you probably think old people have no value and should just “go away”.