A Popeye: I Have To Fisk This Smoking Gun Opinion Piece, Because My Head Will Explode Beyond Repair If I Don’t…Part 3: Well, I Started Cleaning This Mess So I Might As Well Finish It…

Continuing to slog through the obvious ethical, logical and journalistic horrors that infest pundit Wajahat Ali ‘s anti-US opinion piece “Is It Time for Me to Leave America?” (the previous installment is here):

“This is not a flippant or hyperbolic thought exercise, and I’m not the only one to increasingly ponder the question: “Where else can we go when this country turns on us?”

“I’m not the only one” is a rationalization, not a justification.

“Earlier this week, New York Times journalist Farnaz Fassihi was trolled and harassed on Twitter for simply stating the following: “I’m a child of immigrants. When I was a kid, everyone I knew wished they could raise their children in America, now, everyone I know wishes they could raise their children outside of America.” If you’ve traveled and talked to people over the past few years, her statement wasn’t extraordinary, it’s a sadly common utterance. 

Fassihi wasn’t “harassed” on Twitter (nobody’s forcing him to read critical tweets), and “trolled” means people simply pointed out what a stupid thing he had written, which is what Twitter does. “If everyone he knows” wishes they could raise the kids outside of America, then he lives in a bubble, and a really weird one. Why should anyone take a statement like that seriously? It reminds me of New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael famously saying that “everyone she knew” supported George McGovern in the 1972 Presidential race. The response to that is, “You need to get out more, kid.” I’m not believing the comment is “sadly common” until I see some evidence.

“Most people around the world aren’t rejoicing at America’s self-inflicted downfall, they’re looking at us with pity, sadness, and a desperate hope that we get our shit together. After all, the United States is still the most powerful and wealthy country in the world, and a doorstop against rising authoritarianism.”

“People around the world” need to get their own “shit together,” and one very popular way to do that is to come here.  Currently hey don’t live here, they don’t have our values or culture, they are unenlightened observers. This is the tell-tale whine of those who want the United States to be more like the rest of the world.It is also, unfortunately, number one in all the wrong categories. We lead the world in COVID-19 deaths due in large part to rampant right-wing disinformation about vaccines.

False. We “lead the world” because this is a big country not run by a dictatorship, and a substantial number of people aren’t going to shut down their lives because Dr. Fauci tells them to. In addition to that, the Wuhan virus deaths have been deliberately inflated here (“with the virus” is not the same as dying of the virus) while the statistics of other large populations are not trustworthy.

We have 390 million guns for 330 million people, so it’s not surprising we lead the world in mass shootings and gun-related deaths. (While I was writing this column, we just witnessed another deadly shooting in Tulsa—just as the 21 victims of last week’s Uvalde, Texas, shooting are being buried.)

The U.S. has the 32nd-highest rate of deaths from gun violence in the world. Guns equate with power, and the rights every citizen in the United States has allow more abuse of individual power as well as more individual liberty unrestrained by power. Like the song says, “You can’t have one without the other!”

We don’t ban assault rifles, but we do incarcerate more people than any nation on Earth.

A particularly telling comment, and a dishonest one. The two halves of the sentence are non sequiturs. More individual freedom requires the enforcement of laws, and it inevitably means more criminals, as well as the need to lock up those criminals to allow the law-abiding public to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is a straw man: it’s easy to avoid incarceration: don’t commit crimes.

And there’s “assault rifles” again. Do you think this guy has bothered to learn the difference between actual “assault weapons,” which are banned, and semi-automatic rifles, which aren’t? Let’s give him a semi-automatic and challenge him to “assault” a stronghold defended by automatic weapons. He’d learn the difference really quickly.

We’re the only industrialized country that doesn’t guarantee paid parental leave, but we’re so “pro-family” that we’re restricting women’s rights to abortion, even as many countries continue to expand them.

Ah, the old “only industrial country” trick again. Everybody does it! Ali believes that if the United States doesn’t adopt literal nanny state policies because of other priorities, it’s not worth living here. This is not a socialist nation, but one that emphasizes individual responsibility rather than government dependence. Ali is welcome to advocate another way, but hates the values on which the nation was formed. Those values include advocating for changes, but being a loyal citizen if you are unsuccessful.

As for abortion, we appear to be one of the few “industrialized countries” that have concerns about all the human lives being snuffed out by abortions. Hooray for us.

And for the first time, the U.S. was labeled a “back-sliding democracy” by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, due to the actions of the Trump administration.

An appeal to authority, and an unconvincing one, related to Big Lie #3. What a surprise: a leftist international organization smears the Trump administration, while the Biden Administration openly attacks free speech, secure voting, due process, the Equal Protection Clause, and holds political show trials, among other abuses.

It’s pretty clear that this country and its democracy aren’t trending in the right direction.

I can’t argue with that!

Just this week, we’ve learned that the GOP is unleashing a multi-pronged precinct strategy using Republican operatives to allege voter fraud in close elections. A majority of Republican voters believe in the Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, and nearly 65 percent of them believe in an aspect of the white supremacist “replacement theory.”

If he hadn’t already, that section would mark Ali’s essay as nothing but a pure propaganda piece. Both parties are gearing up to challenge close elections. As Ethics Alarms has explained repeatedly, there are excellent reasons to believe that the 2020 election was distorted by factors going back years, and the use of mail-in ballots created a legitimate reason to be dubious. It’s not a “Big Lie,” it is an open question that is unlikely to be resolved.

These talking points are now mainstream, thanks to Fox News and Republican elected officials.

Hilarious! The author of this Democratic talking point spectacular is complaining about talking points. This agent of the mainstream media, a progressive and Democratic propaganda machine that dwarfs its conservative counterpart, is complaining about Fox News.

Conspiracy theories—such as QAnon and the associated “groomer” panic—have radicalized individuals to commit violence, including members of the violent mob that tried to overthrow our free and fair election on Jan. 6. It’s a near certainty that numerous QAnon supporters will be elected to office this November.

Ugh. “Groomer panic”…meaning parents opposing sexual instruction and LGBTQ indoctrination in the public schools. The Horror. Then we get the party line that the mob of fools and clowns who rioted at the Capitol realistically threatened anything but property, dignity and proper institutional order until they could be brought under control within a few hours and were locked up for many months. Rioters of color, however, were cheered on and tolerated just a few months earlier, despite more violence and far longer disruptions of government functions. Ali’s conclusion: people “like him” are in peril in the United States of America.

I have to stop now to walk the dog and clear my head.

I’ll get through this, I swear, if it kills me…

2 thoughts on “A Popeye: I Have To Fisk This Smoking Gun Opinion Piece, Because My Head Will Explode Beyond Repair If I Don’t…Part 3: Well, I Started Cleaning This Mess So I Might As Well Finish It…

  1. False. We “lead the world” because this is a big country not run by a dictatorship, and a substantial number of people aren’t going to shut down their lives because Dr. Fauci tells them to. In addition to that, the Wuhan virus deaths have been deliberately inflated here (“with the virus” is not the same as dying of the virus) while the statistics of other large populations are not trustworthy.

    It’s worse than that. Even with the inflated numbers, we lead only in absolute numbers, because we are 5 times larger than any single European country. Our case rate and death rate are *identical* to Western Europe. The “follow the science” crowd are not playing fair with the numbers.

    It is a flat lie that we are handling it worse in any way.

  2. As for the rest, bravo for taking it on. The rebuttal basically writes itself, but it takes patience to not emolate oneself in the process!

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