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Putinfreude

As someone who is a gripey traveler, I must admit to having had a hathos surge when reports of the crappy hotels in Sochi surfaced [1]. Still, is it just me, or is the US media having a little too much fun bitching about the supposed politics of these Olympics? It’s all about Putinfreude — taking pleasure in anything that makes Vladimir Putin look bad, or denying that anything good that happens in Sochi could reflect well on him.

Take the lead story in today’s New York Times. [2] Headline from front page of online edition: ‘A Triumph for Putin, Games Arrive as Russia Suffers a Slump’. Sample passage:

Lilia Shevtsova, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center [3], argued that the International Olympic Committee awarded the games to Sochi — over Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea — when Mr. Putin was at the zenith of his powers in his second term but when the verdict on his legacy remained an open one. Many had been critical of his authoritarian instincts after he rose to power, including the tightening of news media and political freedoms and the war in Chechnya, but Russia had indisputably recovered from the chaos of the 1990s.

“At that time, Russia was ‘rising from its knees,’ ” Ms. Shevtsova wrote inan essay [4] on the center’s website, “whereas now — in 2014 — Russia has started its downward slide.”

The Times greets the opening of the Games with a nasty editorial [5] blasting Putin’s leadership, because Pussy Riot and gay rights. To be fair, the Times was just as harsh on China’s leadership in advance of the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing (for example [6]). And to be even more fair, there is nothing particularly wrong with the points they and other critics are making about the problems with Putin’s government. Putin certainly intends the Sochi games as an image-builder; the press is doing its job when it reminds us that the official story isn’t the whole story.

I get all that. Still, from reading, watching, and listening to coverage of the approaching Games over the past month, I can’t help having the feeling that quite a few people in the Western media aren’t going to be fully satisfied unless a lesbian FEMEN [7] protester rigs her boobs to explode when the Patriarch blesses the Olympic crowd.

Readers, post examples of Putinfreude if you run across any. By “Putinfreude,” I mean instances of Western media seeming to take inordinate pleasure in Sochi’s problems.

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85 Comments To "Putinfreude"

#1 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 7, 2014 @ 1:23 pm

Mike,

I’m more interested in the sentiment of the average Ivan Sergeyevich than in the opinion of some trendy westernized journalists in the capital, and I see no evidence that the Russians as a whole particularly mind living in an unfree society. Putin’s only meaningful opposition is the Communists, who are at least as authoritarian as he is, from the left instead of the right. Russians are not liberal democrats, and they aren’t all holding their fingers crossed for a magical future with a Starbucks and a porn-parlor on every corner.

#2 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 7, 2014 @ 1:26 pm

If anyone’s intellectual and moral bankruptcy is being revealed here, it’s the people who think that the sole measure of a society and a government is how it treats journalists and stray dogs.

As for gays, there are a lot of societies around the world that are much more cruel to gays than Russia. start with those Arab democrats that the liberals’ beloved Arab Spring brought into power.

[NFR: Well said. — RD]

#3 Comment By VikingLS On February 7, 2014 @ 1:44 pm

“Really? You don’t think that a lot of people would have gotten upset if, in the run-up to the Salt Lake City Olympics, it had been reported that stray dogs were being rounded up and killed? I sure do. ”

Stray dogs almost certainly were rounded up and killed in Salt Lake City prior to the Olympics the same way they are in most cities in the USA.

Had the dogs NOT been removed then “Packs of feral dogs roam Sochi’s streets! Putin’s government seems incapable of handling public services we in the west take for granted, such as animal control!”

#4 Comment By Fran Macadam On February 7, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

“I’m a big fan of Putinfreude. Who wouldn’t take pleasure in the embarrassment and incompetence of a corrupt, morally-bankrupt and increasingly authoritarian government?”

But isn’t that “Obamafreude” too?

As Chomsky put it, it doesn’t take any moral courage at all to denounce the sins of people in other places and other times you can do nothing about, while carefully ignoring those evils that would require courage to act against here and now against your own authorities, but that you could influence if you chose.

What country does this better apply to, Russia or the nation that houses 25% of the world’s entire prison population, with only 4% of the world’s population (and which has been similarly described by national and international human rights organizations (obviously not the State Department):

“The State Department’s 2012 human rights report … said that limited access to health care, food shortages, abuse by guards and inmates, inadequate sanitation and overcrowding were common in Russian prisons, and that in some the conditions can be life threatening.”

USA! USA! Number One!

It does now seem, that western political ideology has devolved into a duopoly alliance consisting mostly of homosexual rights activism and advocacy of bombing the hell out of people on the other side of the world.

No wonder any countervailing force to this receives hostile propaganda cover from compliant corporate media figures anxious to preserve careerist high official access.

#5 Comment By Fran Macadam On February 7, 2014 @ 2:20 pm

“So I will admit to Putinfreude- he & his government while better than the Soviets are far from being democratic. Ask any Russian journalist or political dissenter what they experience on a day to day basis.”

There are many more political parties represented in the Russian Duma and Federal Council than in the American Congress. Only a duopoly of donorist-controlled parties is allowed in what former President Carter says “is no longer a functioning democracy.” Over the past decade, a fourth branch of “Deep State” government unconstrained by either democratic accountability or law has grown up in secret and whose raw power over the American people the nominal open government now defers to.

Many deferential political leaders in Congress now refer openly to reporters as traitors and criminals who threaten the national security of the United States for reporting to us on the massive secret spy apparatus turned inwards against the American people – something that an earlier Congress had termed “turnkey totalitarianism.”

Ask yourself how U.S. journalists like Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Scahill, the Associated Press, James Risen have all been mistreated by our own American authorities. Interrogated, threatened with arrest, imprisoned, phones tapped and spied upon. Leading government figures urging new interpretations of the First Amendment by their tame in-house lawyers, which supposedly give them full constitutional authority to trample our freedoms, even if they do say so themselves.

I can feel no schadenfreude about our own sad state of decrepit democratic accountability even though I oppose it. How cowardly it would be to then rejoice in the failings of others.

What can be said, is that while they have advanced greatly in terms of democratic accountability over the last 25 years, our own liberty has faded in favor of authoritarianism and its usual trappings.

Is it that they must advance, while we decline? What joy can there be in that?

#6 Comment By VikingLS On February 7, 2014 @ 2:30 pm

I am actually eligible to apply for Russian citizenship. The primary reason I that I don’t is because of the corruption of the government there. That much is real.

The problem I have with what people in the west say about Russia seems to boil down to some idea that if the government is corrupt life there really must be miserable for everybody, and that’s just not true.

SOme things that Russians take for granted:

Unless you need a hospital the doctor comes to you.

It’s normal to have a small house in the country in addition to an apartment in the city.

It’s normal to have 5 to 6 weeks of vacation and to actually take all of it and to take it when you want it.

If there’s nothing going on in the office there’s no reason to act busy.

It’s okay for things like public transportation to run at a financial loss.

If the woods look lovely dark and deep, feel free to walk in them. Trespassing? What’s that?

Being consistently late to work is fine if that’s not interfering with your ability to do your job.

Yes I’m sure some of you are going into the windup with some comment about declining birth rates, crime, “what if you’re gay?”, etc. Yeah I know that better than you do, don’t bother. I’m just saying it’s not all misery all the time.

#7 Comment By Jan Hus On February 7, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

DeepSouthPopulist says:
February 7, 2014 at 10:37 am

“It’s just propaganda from Western media. But it’s the kind that goes over well with America’s gay-obsessed lumpen.

Speaking of moral standing, Russia doesn’t have more WMDs than any other nation. Russia isn’t the only nation in history to ever use nuclear weapons civilians. Post-cold war Russia doesn’t have the highest incarceration rate in the world. Russia has not launched any mass invasions lately or maintain over a hundred military bases around the world. Russia doesn’t work as closely with Israel or the Wahhabi butchers in House of Saud as the US does. Russia isn’t carrying out a drone war that has claimed the lives of a great many civilians including children. Putin’s government suppresses strong criticism in Russian media. Obama and our government don’t have to. Our media does it for them! Russia isn’t running a worldwide electronic spy gulag in collaboration with the same Western powers that complain about Putin’s abuses.”

Well said. Thought it worth repeating.

#8 Comment By Northern Observer On February 7, 2014 @ 3:34 pm

The policy elites of the United States have a lingering slavophobia that taints their thoughts and interactions with Eastern Europe, Russia and former members of the Soviet Union.
This needs to be addressed and soon, as for better or for worse, the Slavic World is one of the West’s key allies in the fight against resurgent Islamic fanaticism throughout the world. To toss this aside over issues of governance and minority treatment is not simply short sighted but self harming. It is long past time the the United States put down the stick and brought out the carrot in its relations with Moscow.

#9 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 7, 2014 @ 3:45 pm

Re: Yes I’m sure some of you are going into the windup with some comment about declining birth rates, crime

Russia, as of last year, had higher birth rate than America. The population crash seems to have bottomed out. (One of the nice things about ecology is that demographic trends, at least for a species like ours, are often self-correcting in the medium term.)

As for crime, I don’t know that Russia has equivalents of inner-city Detroit or even rural Appalachian Kentucky.

Re: Post-cold war Russia doesn’t have the highest incarceration rate in the world.

For that matter, even the Soviet Russia of the 1980s incarcerated fewer people than we did.

#10 Comment By Tab2 On February 7, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

But I don’t agree with US liberals that he’s entirely wrong on the issue.

In what way do you see him as right? What aspects of his policies to you favor?

#11 Comment By MikeCA On February 7, 2014 @ 4:35 pm

Calling people morally bankrupt because you disagree with their concern over the plight of gays,journalists & other oppressed people is hardly the way to have a civil exchange. One could argue that being indifferent to their concerns is far worse. I don’t see any hypocrisy in calling out Putin for his misdeeds while also acknowledging that the US is not perfect and that there are far worse leaders with far more draconian laws in other nations. It seems some of you dislike gays so much that you’re willing to defend Putin because you’re just so tired of hearing about gays. He’s shut them up and told them to mind their manners or else, well done! It must really burn you that you can’t do the same here and that short of totally disengaging from the world you’ll continue to hear about them- Rod will make sure of that!

#12 Comment By Tab2 On February 7, 2014 @ 4:38 pm

Hector:
As for gays, there are a lot of societies around the world that are much more cruel to gays than Russia. start with those Arab democrats that the liberals’ beloved Arab Spring brought into power.

[NFR: Well said. — RD]

Of course there are worse places to be gay.

Do you folks not understand trajectory? For almost two decades, Russia was liberalizing, and not just about gay rights. In a well-worn pattern repeated over and over in Russian history, Putin is consolidating power and turning the clock back on hard-won freedoms. The only difference this time around is that he’s not going after the Jews.

#13 Comment By David J. White On February 7, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

Stray dogs almost certainly were rounded up and killed in Salt Lake City prior to the Olympics the same way they are in most cities in the USA.

Stray dogs are routinely rounded up and killed in this country? Seriously?

#14 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On February 7, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

The corruption in Russian has had an unintended positive side effect. Russians install dash cameras in their cars because they come in handy during an accident. It prevents it being your word against someone with connections when fault is assigned.

But the unexpected benefit is those cameras have recorded some of the most amazing stuff on YouTube. Meet the Russian fireball videos:

#15 Comment By Fictional Jimbo Whales On February 7, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

Rod, if I were to call you a fascist, it wouldn’t be because of your views on homosexuality but your pro-blasphemy law stand. The reason being that what constitutes “blasphemy” is incredibly vague (i.e. Is all heresy blasphemy? Is some? What sort? The desecration of icons would be blasphemous to you, not to a Calvinist. Did Thomas Jefferson commit blasphemy when he rewrote the Gospels? Did Joseph Smith when he added to them? Do Protestants and Catholics for leaving out 3 and 4 Maccabees?) and so it ends up being a tool for oppression (and let’s not even get into the issue of which religions can and cannot be blasphemed).

However, my point is that you don’t seem to really weigh whether there is some connection to the desire to control speech (blasphemy laws) and equality (feminist issues and gay rights) and the actual controlling of political speech and their ability to play a role in the governing of their state (political rights). So, when people harangue you for supporting Putin with qualifications, it’s most likely because they see blasphemy laws, inequality between the sexes, and the marginalization of homosexuals as early warning signs for the removal of political rights for other groups.

Also, if you’re going to comment on my comment, please don’t ignore the many non-homosexuality related points I have made simply to comment on homosexuality. Especially since (I’ll repeat it) I think the support of blasphemy laws is the most offensive of the things about Putin you endorse.

[NFR: How do you figure I support Putin’s blasphemy laws? I think what Pussy Riot did was disgusting and deserved punishment of some sort, though not on blasphemy grounds. And by the way, if you were to call me a fascist, not only would that be a stupid thing to say, it would also be the last comment you would make around here. — RD]

#16 Comment By Tab2 On February 7, 2014 @ 4:57 pm

DeepSouthPopulist

children

The problem is that children are everywhere, so any “promotion” of homosexuality in public entails the possibility of exposing children to “propaganda”.

#17 Comment By DeepSouthPopulist On February 7, 2014 @ 5:54 pm

MikeCA, cc: Tab2

I don’t see any hypocrisy in calling out Putin for his misdeeds {snip} – MikeCA

MikeCA, in relation to the homosexual policies if these policies are what you hand in mind, what specific “misdeeds” are you referring to?

Seriously. What misdeeds? I’m not trying to be a wiseguy or a jerk. But do you understand that the pool of people in this world who believe that Putin has committed “misdeeds” when it comes homosexual policy is limited to Western liberals only?

You don’t even have all of America on your side, much less the world. Don’t confuse the fact that your side has sole possession of the megaphone in Hollywood, New York, DC and the other hives and is always blaring into it without giving anyone else a chance with having majority much less universal support for your positions on homosexuality.

The Russian policy is perfectly fair, reasonable and balanced. The government has not deemed homosexuality illegal. The government does not sanction hunting down homosexuals. Russia treats homosexuals much better than many other nations, as others have noted.

Implicitly, the Russian authorities seem to understand that for as long as there have been human beings in the world, there have been homosexuals. Putin and the Russian government are not trying eradicate homosexuality. They just understand that any society and nation that wants a future as to make the man-woman marriage, healthy children and the family primary.

All Putin did was a sign a law that in my colloquial paraphrase, boils down as follows: We don’t care what you do. We’re not coming after you. But you and your supporters not going to get away with representing homosexuality as normal or desirable to Russia’s children. That’s all.

#18 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 7, 2014 @ 6:07 pm

Re: There are many more political parties represented in the Russian Duma and Federal Council than in the American Congress

Sadly for the New York Times nitwits, most of them aren’t made up of liberal democrats. Russians aren’t Americans, believe it or not.

Re: One could argue that being indifferent to their concerns is far worse

One could argue a lot of things, including that the earth is 6,000 years old. Ken Hamm just proved that. But I see no reason to believe that the dissident journalists, for the most part, represent a broad segment of public opinion, and I see a lot of reason to believe that they support a social order that would benefit the elites at the expense of everyone else. Russia is by nature an authoritarian society. Either the journalists can live with those constraints, or they can move to someplace which shares their values, maybe the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In any case, I don’t see why we should be overly concerned about them, at the expense of the broad masses of Russians.

Re: It seems some of you dislike gays so much that you’re willing to defend Putin because you’re just so tired of hearing about gays.

No, I offer a qualified defence of Putin because I agree with his foreign policy, because he’s restored Russian pride, and because he’s stopped the Russian social collapse and done things like curtail abortions. I *don’t* support the antigay laws, though they pale in contrast to the laws in places like India, China, the English Caribbean, not to mention Africa and the Islamic world. Funnily enough, some of us are concerned about issues beyond just gay rights.

#19 Comment By William Dalton On February 7, 2014 @ 6:30 pm

“Putin certainly intends the Sochi games as an image-builder

“Exactly. The government has boasted for years of producing a sleek, stylized, and trouble-free games — and it’s utterly bungled the job. The government is like a belligerent teenager that obnoxiously shouts “WATCH THIS” and then falls on his face. Should we look away and pretend we didn’t see?”

Every country hosting the Olympic Games uses them as an image builder. The missed deadlines for furnishing the media their hotel rooms aside, I see no evidence the Russians aren’t doing an excellent job – as good a job as other host countries.

“Interestingly enough, most Russians today (at least the ones who were around for it) seem to be nostalgic for the Brezhnev years.”

Strangely enough, many Americans seem to be as well.

“@Bob Wilcox Russia’s anti-gay laws are no different than the ones many Southern states here in the US have passed.

“Ummm … no. Russia’s anti-gay laws would never pass a First Amendment challenge in the courts over here.”

Thanks to DeepSouthPopulist for documenting that Russia’s “anti-gay” laws are aimed at the protection of children, not restricting adult activities. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has not struck down laws which punish the dissemination of obscene and other sexually explicit material to children that would be protected from general censorship.

“Now Rod–if this were a “secular fundamentalist” state, one that had recently adopted measures aimed at curtailing public promotion of Christianity (to protect the children, naturally), and one in which mobs were beating uncloseted Christians in the streets–don’t you think you’d be enjoying it a bit if the showers in CNN’s hotel rooms weren’t working, and said country got a bit of bad press?”

Actually, we had such an Olympics six years ago, in Beijing. Very little attention was given by the U.S. and Western press to the suppression of Falun Gong and Christian churches which are not given official recognition by the state.

“[NFR: The US boycotted the Moscow Games not to protest communism, but to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. — RD]”

Irony of ironies.

#20 Comment By William Dalton On February 7, 2014 @ 6:46 pm

“The problem is that children are everywhere, so any “promotion” of homosexuality in public entails the possibility of exposing children to “propaganda”.”

Tell it to the tobacco industry here in the U.S. They are prohibited from promoting their wares, even among adults, on the ground that such promotions will be seen by children.

#21 Comment By John Dore On February 7, 2014 @ 10:02 pm

[NFR: How do you figure I support Putin’s blasphemy laws? I think what Pussy Riot did was disgusting and deserved punishment of some sort, though not on blasphemy grounds. And by the way, if you were to call me a fascist, not only would that be a stupid thing to say, it would also be the last comment you would make around here. — RD]

With respect, I think a lot of folks are getting a sort of “but he kept the trains running on time” vibe of your admiration of Putin’s anti-gay stance, even though it is obvious that Russia continues to be a shambling mess (logistics and human rights) despite any sort of opportunistic alliance with the Orthodox church.

It’s still quite puzzling that you keep defending the man despite his actual persecution (and execution) of journalists, rather than your potential persecution at the hands of pro-gay people.

[NFR: “Defending the man” = not agreeing that Russia is a total and complete hellhole and Putin is responsible for it all, and that the Western media is being fair. — RD]

#22 Comment By VikingLS On February 7, 2014 @ 11:04 pm

“Stray dogs are routinely rounded up and killed in this country? Seriously?”

Yes, it’s called animal control. Your city has one. If they didn’t your town would have dog packs. Seen a dog pack lately?

#23 Comment By VikingLS On February 7, 2014 @ 11:08 pm

“Do you folks not understand trajectory? For almost two decades, Russia was liberalizing, and not just about gay rights.”

This is just not true. Putin came to power in 1999. Russia did not continue to liberalize at that point.

#24 Comment By VikingLS On February 7, 2014 @ 11:22 pm

“How do you figure I support Putin’s blasphemy laws? ”

Because error has no rights. Either you agree Pussy Riot are brave and noble (no matter how many chickens they stick up their privates) or you’re praying for the second coming of Ivan the Terrible. There just isn’t any logical middle ground.

#25 Comment By VikingLS On February 8, 2014 @ 12:08 am

“There are many more political parties represented in the Russian Duma and Federal Council than in the American Congress. ”

True but there are only 4 that really have significant numbers, United Russia, The Communist Party, Fatherland, and A Just Russia.

Of the 4 only the last would appeal to the west and coincidentally it’s by far the smallest and weakest.

#26 Comment By Hector _St_Clare On February 8, 2014 @ 12:16 am

Tab2,

Do you not understand common sense? Russia’s ten year period of ‘ liberalizing’ was characterized by one of the most spectacular economic and social collapses of modern history. Massive rises in poverty and inequality, seizure of state assets by the greedy and well connected, job losses, huge drops in life expectancy and standard of living. , beggars in the streets. Your buddy Boris Yeltsin should have been tried for treason for what happened under his watch. Russians have mostly put the Black Age of the 1990s behind them, and most of them say ‘good riddance’. That’s why Russians today don’t give a fig about liberalism. the fact that you do, says more about you than about the Russians.

It’s sad that it needs repeating, but again: democracy does not mean rule by the people, it means rule by that section of the people which is best able to manipulate democratic institutions. At least folks like the Communists and Putin were honest about their contempt for democracy, in contrast to the elites that run America today.

#27 Comment By Fictional Jimbo Whales On February 8, 2014 @ 1:21 am

“Disgusting people, these Pussy Rioters, and they ought to face some kind of sanction for their blasphemous display in the Moscow cathedral.” From this post: [8]

“Pussy Riot got two years in the slammer for invading the Moscow cathedral and desecrating it by their obnoxious performance. That’s longer than I would have given them.” From this post: [9]

The first comment of yours indicates that Pussy Riot deserves punishment for blasphemous acts. The second post implies that you think it appropriate to jail people “desecration,” just fewer than two years. That is how I figure you support blasphemy laws.

[NFR: They ought to have been sanctioned for trespassing inside the cathedral and desecrating an altar. If they wanted to blaspheme on the street out front, fine by me. — RD]

#28 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On February 8, 2014 @ 6:32 am

William Dalton is correct, laws passed to protect children are often applied more broadly than initially advertised. I’ve seen it so much that I have an immediate suspicious reaction when I hear the phrase “think of the children.” Here’s a Wikipedia article on it:

[10]

#29 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On February 8, 2014 @ 7:07 am

Random public service announcement.

The people who round up stray animals and euthanize them are not to blame. It’s the knuckleheads that don’t spay or neuter their pets, and let them run feral that are to blame. In the US the typical animal shelter euthanizes about ninety percent of the animals that are surrendered or captured. Many of the animals are too aggressive to be adopted, but resource constraints also limit the number of no kill shelters as well.

Source: we adopted a nice dog from an animal shelter and asked questions about animal shelters from the workers.

#30 Comment By Tab2 On February 8, 2014 @ 9:30 am

This is just not true. Putin came to power in 1999. Russia did not continue to liberalize at that point.

Yes, it is true. From 1999 to around 2010, things in Russia continued to liberalize. I did not say the law liberalized. The society did. The press flourished. Gay people started organizing (yes, I know some folks here view it as satanic or something, but it’s a sign of freedom in a society).

All Putin did was a sign a law that in my colloquial paraphrase, boils down as follows: We don’t care what you do. We’re not coming after you. But you and your supporters not going to get away with representing homosexuality as normal or desirable to Russia’s children. That’s all.

I’m not going to keep discussing this with folks who remain willfully oblivious to what the law means on the street and in people’s lives. I would suggest, even if you only do it as a mental exercise, you visualize what would constitute going too far vis-a-vis gay people. At what point would you find it wrong? Fix that in your mind, and then let us know when Russia passes that point, because it will.

#31 Comment By Tab2 On February 8, 2014 @ 9:34 am

the fact that you do, says more about you

Fine, you don’t give a damn about a free press. You don’t care about minority rights, even religious minorities. You don’t care about corruption.

I do.

[NFR: Boy, is that ever self-flattering. I care about a free press, minority rights, and religious minorities, and I care about corruption. That does not require me to endorse your maximalist point of view about what that should mean, and how Russia should get to that point. You remind me of the neocons prior to the Iraq War. When it was suggested to them that perhaps Iraq wasn’t culturally ready for Western-style liberal democracy, they responded, “What, you don’t think Arabs deserve freedom?” That was not at all what the critics meant, but that was the story neocons told themselves to dismiss the concerns. That worked out well for everybody. — RD]

#32 Comment By EngineerScotty On February 8, 2014 @ 12:39 pm

The people who round up stray animals and euthanize them are not to blame. It’s the knuckleheads that don’t spay or neuter their pets, and let them run feral that are to blame.

True, but most feral animals are born feral, and are not escaped/abandoned pets.

Russia is home to a large feral dog population, and has been for a long time. Some of them even ride the Moscow subway!

[11]

#33 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On February 9, 2014 @ 12:19 pm

EngineerScotty, true but I suspect that’s dependant upon the area. If your animal control has done a good job rounding up the native feral population, then the knuckleheads become the problem. But if you already have a large feral population than it’s not going to increase it.

The shelter where we adopted our dog said Massachusetts shelters have surplus capacity. So our dog was actually imported from Akin South Carolina which has shelters that were over capacity.

#34 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 10, 2014 @ 8:37 am

As to “liberalization” of economies formerly under Communist Party rule, one of the most laughable cases was not in Russia, but Poland. For decades, the small independent family farms were the bulwark of resistance to collectivization. After the parliamentary maneuver by the Peasants Party that unexpectedly broke their alliance with the Communist Party, the hot-shot liberal economists who rushed in where angels feared to tread took one look at agriculture, and said “these little farms are so ineffecient, we need to combine them into larger units with better economies of scale.”

(Note: The USA had its own collectivization of agriculture in the 1930s. You can read about it in The Grapes of Wrath. It was called “tractored out by the cats.”)

I don’t share Hector’s qualified admiration for Putin, I consider his policies to be “commissars without communism,” to turn the slogan of the Kronstadt mutineers on its head, but he’s right that liberalism is not a univeral value, nor a universal panacea.

The problem is that children are everywhere, so any “promotion” of homosexuality in public entails the possibility of exposing children to “propaganda”.

Well, from the gay activist point of view, they do want children to learn to think of gay individuals and gay households as a “normal” part of life, rather than as objects for scorn or ostracism. Some want children to come to think of homosexuality as something to try, but most are not interested in that — as Bobby has eloquently pointed out many times. If its something you are born with, you don’t look to bend people NOT born that way to try it, you simply want it known and accepted that you are born that way, there’s nothing wrong with you, and you want to live your life.

There are, in my seldom humble opinion, reasons to be cautious about that. It remains a reasonable possibility that, all other things being equal, it is best for children to be raised by a male parent and a female parent — the combination that is capable of conceiving and giving birth to children in the first place. There is a lot of subtle psychology that is really not known.

At some point in this debate, gays have to recognize that they ARE different, and they can’t “have it all.” If you are drawn to a family life that doesn’t generate children, there is no entitlement to have the law fix that for you. Every option has its costs and its benefits. Still, it would be best to teach children that some people are born that way, and they are in all other respects pretty much like the rest of us, entitled to the peace and quiet enjoyment of their lives, and to pursue any line of work for which they are qualified. Also, adoption by a gay couple may be infinitely better for a child than bouncing around the foster care system for several years, or adoption by a couple of serial adulterer alcoholics.

Sexual orientation doesn’t change the way anyone shops for groceries or does their laundry, nor does it impact one’s qualifications to be an industrial engineer.

#35 Comment By Thomas Aquinas On February 12, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

“As Chomsky put it, it doesn’t take any moral courage at all to denounce the sins of people in other places and other times you can do nothing about…”

Citing an apologist for the North Vietnamese and the people that brought us the killing fields. Wonderful. Chomsky, the guy who spent most of his adult life in smitten bromances with nearly every American-hating left wing dictator.