The Conflicted World of Putin, Paul and Barry

 

This is crazy.  Not straight jacket crazy, but the kind of crazy that makes you uneasy and then keeps you there.  My problem, is that I find myself siding with Rand Paul and Vladimir Putin, and I don’t like it one little bit.   I didn’t like either of those political leaders, until Senator Paul decided to stand up for the restoration of our civil rights, through a lawsuit against the U.S. Government if necessary, and Putin, since he decided to let Edward Snowden, take temporary cover in the Moscow airport, while he (Snowden), looks for a more permanent solution to the wants and warrants placed on him by the federal government for espionage.   Espionage, for spying on people who were spying on U.S. citizens without the knowledge of some members of the House and Senate.  At least that’s what Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, says – that she was refused access to to information on the NSA’s secret spying programs.

So now the military is telling the Congress to go fish?  Isn’t it supposed to work the other way around?  Aren’t the people and their representatives supposed to be in charge of the military?  And so Rand Paul and Vladimir Putin, have now joined forces as they take a stand against the government?   A right-wing United States Senator and a regressive semi-fascist Russian dictator, joining forces against the USA?   Things haven’t been quite this crazy since Barry Goldwater, wanted to drop the big one on North Vietnam.  A nation which later turned out to be no threat at all to the United States.  Is there a lesson in there somewhere?  That sometimes, maybe, we turn out to be our own worst enemy?  It’s all very conflicting.

I am even conflicted with good old Ed Schultz, the populist’s populist, who went on the air on MSNBC this past weekend and raved about Snowden being a “punk” for not having the courage to come back to the U.S. and face federal prosecutors.  Or maybe…..what?  Rendition for being a terror suspect and an enemy of the United States?   The military can legally do that, you know.  They probably wouldn’t with Snowden, because of the publicity it would cause, but who knows anymore?  When key elements of the Constitution, like the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments have been set aside, when the feds can kidnap someone from the street and take that “suspect” to a cell in a foreign nation without the advice of an attorney or a public hearing with a real judge…..who knows what might happen?  I wish Big Ed hadn’t said that, because in all likelihood it’s just not that simple.  Well, it might be, but I doubt it.  Not when a U.S. Senator and a retro Russian ring stealing  President join forces to make the United States look like some out-of-control and bumbling military behemoth lacking the savvy to handle its own security issues without being in violation of the Constitution and then criminalizing a 29-year old private citizen who apparently felt a need to try and get the country back on track.

But a track that’s taken us where?

To Vladimir Putin, the guy who imprisoned members of the band “Pussy Riot” for staging a peaceful protest inside a church.  And he’s now taking sides with someone whose stated goal is to restore constitutional law in the United States through the use of transparency?  Putin, has nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Nevertheless, these are the strangest of strange fellow travelers.

There is  of course, more to come with regard to Edward Snowden.   Those who currently approve of his actions could eventually turn out to be mistaken.  Or, they might be right and  Ed Schultz, might decide he’s not a “punk,” after all.  Snowden, that is, not Ed Schultz.  In any event, this was a badly needed dialogue for the people of the United States and their elected representatives.   The saddest part perhaps, is that it took a whistle-blower to bring it about.

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An interesting idea (paraphrased) from Thom Hartmann – What have we become now that we are the country that whistleblowers flee from, rather than the country they flee to? 

And while that’s going on, where is Mr. Obama?  Is he taking  an angry position (which he should) as the Supreme Court strikes down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act?  Is he taking the lead in building a coalition to bring domestic spying under greater control through increased transparency and a possible revision of the Patriot Act?  Is he calling in the press to rail against the madness of letting student loan rates double at a time when the nation’s credit card debt has been eclipsed by student loan debt?  No, he’s not.  He’s leaving the country on an African tour to promote Democracy, encourage trade and maybe see Nelson Mandela.  I read somewhere that he is also going to talk about climate change.  Again.  Which he just did on a trip to Berlin.  Seems like things are getting a little too hot for the President to be leaving on another world tour,  although it is perhaps understandable.  Promoting Democracy abroad is fairly safe, albeit foreign ground, compared to dealing with voting rights, student loan debt, domestic spying and immigration reform here at home.

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