12 September 2013

The difference is obvious

Now that a certain Eastern European president now has a high-visibility op-ed penned in the New York Times, I’m using this post to head off the following question. But even before now, I sometimes got asked this – either implicitly or explicitly – in some form:

‘But Matt! How can you possibly compare our president to theirs? Don’t you know he’s an evil, brutal dictator, who violates his own citizens’ human rights and ignores their cries for Freedom™? Can’t you tell the difference?’

Sure I can. What do you take me for, an utter ignoramus?

Obviously, one of them is the head of an opaque, oligarch-funded political machine, part of a system which structurally disenfranchises third parties, who is supported in many instances by a creepily unreflective and unquestioning cult of personality, who occasionally poses shirtless for the paparazzi, who continues his nation’s history of throwing suspects into gaol indefinitely without trial or legal representation in the name of ‘national security’, who uses his shadowy internal security apparatus to spy on his own citizens, who uses excessive police force to crack down on protests, who may be using the tax system to harass dissidents, who uses the legal system to maintain a chilling and undemocratic culture of secrecy, and who seeks to use his nation’s military might to restore and reassert a past golden era of imperial hegemony.

The other, of course, is Vladimir Putin.

  1. http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cid=N00009638
  2. http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Political_Reform/Third_Parties_America.html
  3. http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/26/a-letter-to-obama-supporters/
  4. http://www.newser.com/story/56768/buff-shirtless-obama-graces-mag-cover.html
  5. http://www.salon.com/2012/09/17/obama_fights_for_indefinite_detention/
  6. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-07/the-justice-department-says-nsa-surveillance-is-legal-but-it-wont-tell-you-why
  7. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/28/warrantless-electronic-surveillance-obama_n_1924508.html
  8. http://www.juancole.com/2011/11/police-crackdowns-on-ows-coordinated-among-mayors-fbi-dhs.html
  9. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/25/shocking-truth-about-crackdown-occupy
  10. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/05/truth-justice-the-american-way/
  11. http://www.factcheck.org/2013/06/irs-probe-so-far-yields-partial-partisan-facts/
  12. http://www.pdcnet.org/ijap/content/ijap_2009_0023_0001_0095_0104
  13. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14650045.2012.749241#.UjHLJX-UP7F

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