activism, constitution, Constitutional violations, corruption, David Petraeus, Edward Snowden, income inequality, John McCain, McCain, occupy, OWS, protest, repression, Senator McCain, Tea Party, Vladimir Putin, wealth inequality
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) published an Op-Ed on the Russian news website Pravda, in it he criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin. While his criticisms of Putin may be accurate the exact same criticisms can be applied directly to the United States. McCain holds no moral high ground from which he can chastise others. Here are a few excerpts from Senator McCain’s Op-Ed:
I make that claim because I respect your dignity and your right to self-determination. I believe you should live according to the dictates of your conscience, not your government. I believe you deserve the opportunity to improve your lives in an economy that is built to last and benefits the many, not just the powerful few. You should be governed by a rule of law that is clear, consistently and impartially enforced and just.
Oh really? McCain believes we should have dignity, self-determination and live by our own conscience? Hmmm…. To me dignity isn’t a state that can spy on our ever activity, a state that gathering information on it’s own citizens without any reason to suspect wrong doing or even peripheral involvement in criminal activity. Then lies to Congress that it doesn’t gather information on citizens. A state that has decided it can go through your emails without a warrant while the founding fathers made it illegal to go through the mail without a warrant. Then the state can release non-criminal information to the public and in the process bring down the former CIA director David Petraeus and the Commander of US forces in Afghanistan John Allen just because somebody complained to an FBI friend.
Dignity is not living under a government that claims the authority to assassinate it’s own citizens without any due process or review. It is not living in a country that openly admits to torturing prisoners or indefinitely holding individuals. Dignity is not had in a country that can perform home to home searches of lawful residents in order to find a suspect.
McCain also asserts a belief in an economy built for the many instead of the few. Yet here in the US income inequality is growing rapidly, middle class wages are flat for 3 decades and corporate profits have never been higher. Right now the Walton family of Walmart own more wealth than the bottom 40% of the population. Currently CEOs make 350 times the median income for full time workers. So why not focus your attention at home where it is needed? This country could use an economy like McCain claims to believe in.
A Russian citizen could not publish a testament like the one I just offered. President Putin and his associates do not believe in these values. They don’t respect your dignity or accept your authority over them. They punish dissent and imprison opponents. They rig your elections. They control your media. They harass, threaten, and banish organizations that defend your right to self-governance.
Hmmm… that sounds an awful lot like the US. If you protest against the government there is a fair chance you will end up in jail or harassed by the system. Just look at both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, both were harassed in one way or another. But also any type of activist that challenges the authority of the government is likely to find themselves in legal trouble. At the very least they will end up monitored by the government so that officials can find something to bring against them.
Then rigged elections, what you mean like unfair redistricting by the states? Maybe attempts to keep people from voting by cutting the number of days they can vote? How about a system built that benefits the two established parties but hinders any outside candidates from running for elections? Or could he be referring to the fact that if a third party candidate runs s/he can expect both parties to dump vast amounts of money and resources to ensure they are defeated?
Or control of the media, really he doesn’t support control of the media. Well has he paid attention to the vast wiretapping of AP offices or the Fox reporter threatened with charges for accepting information? There is also the fact that many news sources check with the administration before publishing stories. Yeah we don’t hear about that often except papers like the Guardian which publish stories the administration doesn’t like. Then there is the ban on the press photographing the coffins of soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. While I don’t want to see them personally there should not be a prohibition against it, that is not freedom of the press.
Sergei Magnistky wasn’t a human rights activist. He was an accountant at a Moscow law firm. He was an ordinary Russian who did an extraordinary thing. He exposed one of the largest state thefts of private assets in Russian history. He cared about the rule of law and believed no one should be above it. For his beliefs and his courage, he was held in Butyrka prison without trial, where he was beaten, became ill and died.
Can you say Edward Snowden? Somebody exposes violations of our Constitution and rule of law and does McCain praise him? No instead he condemned Putin for granting Snowden asylum. That doesn’t sound like somebody who supports allowing for the exposure of corruption and violations of the rule of law.
Overall McCain may be correct about the state of affairs in Russia but he needs to take a closer look at the state of affairs in America. The land of the free is not so free anymore. The government of the people, by the people, for the people is no longer alive. It is a government of the political elite, by the wealthy, for the power.