Tag Archives: Sweden

G. Murphy Donovan and the American Thinker Badmouth America, Glorify Russia, And Thus Commit Treason

zxs4kg

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the (now-deceased) North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Photo by the Kremlin Press Service.

The pseudoconservative “American Thinker” e-zin has recently (on March 18th) published an utterly ridiculous anti-American, pro-Russian propaganda screed by well-known Russophile G. Murphy Donovan.

In his screed, Donovan falsely claims that Russia is not an enemy but an ally against Islamism (with which, in fact, Moscow is allied against the US); that American and European politicians are trying to resuscitate the Cold War to poke Russia; that the crisis in the Crimea is “manufactured”; and that the West, led by the US, bears sole responsibility for the breakdown in Western-Russian relations. In passing, Donovan makes a number of other utterly false claims about Russia designed to paint that country as a cultural brother and a friend of the US.

Below are Donovan’s nine most ridiculous lies and my rebuttals of them:

1)

“Harder still to believe that American politicians, Right and Left, are trying to resuscitate the Cold War — or something hotter.”

No, the West is not trying to resuscitate the Cold War; Russia has revived it, and it did so long before it illegally invaded the Crimea.

Already as of 2007, it was threatening to aim its nuclear-armed ballistic missiles at all of Europe. In 2008, it deployed Iskander ballistic missiles to the Kaliningradskaya Oblast. It has launched a series of cyber attacks and an arms race against the US, flush with oil and gas revenues sufficient for this. It has developed and deployed SEVERAL types of intermediate range ballistic missiles in flagrant violation of the INF treaty. It has repeatedly flown nuclear-armed bombers into US, Japanese, and even Swedish airspace. (By God, what has Sweden done to Russia?)

When asked what their bombers were doing flying so close to Alaska, the Russian Air Force said, “We were practicing attacking the enemy” – and that “enemy”, in their perception, is the US.

Russia is the one who has revived the Cold War, and it bears SOLE responsibility for that fact.

2)

“Russia, the EU, and America also share a common enemy, that insidious fifth column: domestic and global Islamism.”

No, the West and Russia do not share a common enemy in Islam; Russia is an ALLY of that enemy and thus an enemy of the US. It remains the chief weapons supplier, financial sponsor, diplomatic protector, and nuclear fuel and technology provider for Iran and (minus the nuclear parts) Syria. It has withheld from the US information that could’ve been used to prevent the Boston Bombings. It continues to arm and aid anti-American regimes (Islamic and non-Islamic alike) all around the world, from Syria, to Iran, to North Korea, to Venezuela, to Cuba. It also continues to demand that Israel give up its nuclear deterrent and withdraw to indefensible pre-1967 armistice lines.

If you are a friend of Russia, you are an enemy of Israel. You cannot support the appeasement of Russia and still claim to be a friend of Israel.

Had it not been for Russia, global Islamism would lose its only major sponsor, protector, and ally against the US. Syria and Iran would thus lose their only major patron besides China and would be forced to stop threatening Israel, stop building WMDs and stop sponsoring terrorist organizations.

3)

“And the American Right is not blameless; excusing terror, regime change folly, the recent litany of imperial failures. In the 2012 US election campaign, there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between candidates, Right and Left, on US foreign or military policy.”

Utter garbage! In the 2012 election, there was a WORLD of a difference between GOP and Democrat candidates, ESPECIALLY on foreign and defense policy. In a nutshell, Obama and the Democrats continued to advocate America’s unilateral disarmament and the appeasement of Russia, China, and Iran, with Obama famously mocking Romney that “the 1980s are asking to have their foreign policy back” (to which I’d reply, “the 1930s and Neville Chamberlain are asking for their foreign policy back”).

OTOH, Mitt Romney advocated rebuilding the US military, reviewing the New START unilateral disarmament treaty, and a tough approach to Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, as well as Islamic terrorist organizations around the world. Also, Romney would NOT have tried to impose dangerous “peace accors” on Israel.

4)

“Yes, Russophobia! The pragmatic gains of the Reagan era have been set aside for an irrational fear of all things Russian.”

Utter garbage as well. The American people and the GOP are not plagued by Russophobia or any other irrational fear of Russia; they are merely critical of Russia’s BEHAVIOR – which is highly detrimental to AMERICA’S own national security interests, as well as the security of key US allies (incl. Israel) and the whole world. OTOH, Putin still lives in the Cold War era and he, like his KGB cronies, is still mired in his irrational hatred of the United States, which drives all his FP actions.

5)

“When demagogues like Hillary Clinton compare Russian behavior to Nazi Germany, she mocks Allied history and the sacrifice of 5 million Russians in WWII.”

Utter rubbish yet again! (And it proves that Donovan is well to the left of Hillary Clinton on foreign and defense policy.)

The Soviet Union STARTED World War II together with Nazi Germany in 1939 by signing the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, invading Poland and conquering half of that country. Not only that, but it deported thousands and thousands of Poles in the conquered lands to Siberia and Kazakhstan (where most of them died in the gulag) and executed, for no reason whatsoever, FORTY THOUSAND Polish officers in Katyn – and then LIED about it for the next HALF-CENTURY. The Soviet Union then continued its imperialist binge by invading Finland and taking away one tenth of that country’s territory.

And you know, folks, why the USSR was so surprised by the German invasion of June 1941?

Because the Soviet Army was, at that time, in OFFENSIVE positions, awaiting Stalin’s order to invade Germany and German-occupied Poland. Hitler simply preempted Stalin by a few weeks. Had he not done so, Stalin would’ve invaded first.

6)

“Russian blood chits, we might add, that made the Allied victory over Nazis possible in 1945.”

No, they did not. It was US involvement, war production, and financing of the war (the US alone bore 50% of its cost on the Allied side) that made the Allied victory over Germany (and Japan) possible. And in retrospect, it was a foolish mistake to aid the USSR in defeating Nazi Germany; the US should’ve let Berlin and Moscow duke it out among themselves, just like it’s allowing Assad and Al-Qaeda to duke it out among themselves in Syria today. It’s too bad that someone had to win. It’s a pity the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany could not BOTH lose.

It was more foolish still for FDR and Churchill to insist that the Wehrmacht surrender unconditionally on all fronts. This left the Germans with no choice but to fight bitterly to the very end. Had the Germans been given honorable surrender terms on the West front, they would’ve turned all their resources against the Soviets – and the Soviet occupation and subjugation of half of Europe might’ve been avoided.

7)

“Never mind that the difference between Putin’s Russia and Gorbachev’s Soviet Union is like the difference between caviar and carp.”

Again, a blatant lie. If anything, Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, at least in its latter years, was actually better than Putin’s Russia today. Gorbachev significantly loosened repression in the USSR; Putin has reinstated it. Gorbachev closed the gulag camps; Putin has reopened them. Gorbachev agreed to Germany’s unification, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and to allowing Eastern European countries to choose their own paths of development. Putin has, for the last several years, been constantly meddling in European affairs and threatening European countries – esp. those that broke off the Russian yoke in 1991 – with nuclear weapons and warning them not to ally themselves with the EU or the US and has deployed nuclear-armed ballistic missiles on Poland’s doorstep.

Gorbachev signed the INF treaty banning intermediate range missiles and dutifully dismantled them before the USSR collapsed; Putin has resumed their development, production, and deployment, in flagrant violation of the INF treaty.

8)

“Yet, Americans have much in common with Russia: history, religion, art, literature, sports, dance, dogs, music, science, space travel, adult beverages, recreational sex, and almost all things cultural”

Again a blatant lie. The US and Russia could not be any more different. For starters, the US is based on a culture of the rule of law (hence the huge backlash against Obama’s refusal to enforce federal law); Russia, on the rule of men. The US is based on individual and economic liberty; Russia, on a culture of utter and unlimited submission of all to the current ruler (Tsar/General Secretary/”President”). In the US, church attendance is disproportionately high among Western nations (and conservative churches’ membership has SURGED in recent years); in Russia, it hovers around 10%.

The HUGE cultural differences between the US and Russia are best illustrated by this fact: had Donovan been a Russian, writing in Russia, and criticizing RUSSIA’S foreign policy, he would’ve been either assassinated by Putin’s KGB thugs or, at best, imprisoned in a gulag camp.

9) The reason why Ukrainian ex-President (and Putin puppet) Viktor Yanukovych has been ousted from office is because he was an utterly corrupt kleptocrat who was preparing to slaughter en masse his own citizens protesting his policies, as documents found in his former residence have revealed. He was preparing to quell the protests by force, just like Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro is doing today. The US and the EU did not, in fact, lift a finger to support the Ukrainian resistance at that time, and are barely doing anything to help Ukraine today. So for Donovan to claim that the US and the EU orchestrated that coup is a blatant lie – just like everything else he writes.

Shame on you, Mr Donovan, for lying so blatantly, for badmouthing your own country, and for being an apologist for the most dangerous dictator in world history since Stalin.

WikiLeaks’ Founder Julian Assange Recieves Asylum from Ecuador

Ecuador said Thursday that it will be granting asylum to WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange. This decision, although good for the supporters of Assange, does little to defuse the growing standoff at the Ecuador Embassy in London, where Assange has been held up for two months claiming political persecution.

Julian Assange has been granted political asylum from Ecuador

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ricardo Patino said he and Ecuador believes that Assange faces real political persecution, including the possibility of extradition to the United States, where Patino said he believed that Assange would not have a fair trial.

“It is not impossible that he would be treated in a cruel manner, condemned to life in prison, or even the death penalty,” Patino told journalists in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. “Ecuador is convinced that his procedural rights have been violated.”

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Britain said they are disappointed with the decision, but they are going to continue to try and perform their legal obligation of extraditing Assange to Sweden where he faces sexual assault charges.

Assange rose to ‘fame’ after his site, WikiLeaks, released huge amounts of top-secret U.S documents. This led to outraged Americans and calls to politicians to have Assange hunted down like a terrorist, so he can stand trial in America for his crimes.

Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning on allegations of sexual assault, but fears that Sweden and the United States are working together so he could ultimately stand trial in the U.S.

Ecuador Minister of Foreign Affairs Ricardo Patino

Sweden officials have claimed that two women have come forward and accused Assange of sexual misconduct, and they have denied that their actions of extradition are politically motivated. Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny declined to comment on the asylum decision by Ecuador.

When the decision was made that Assange was granted political asylum, there were cheers outside of the Ecuador Embassy from Assange supporters.

Assange remains in the Ecuador Embassy where he has been staying since June 19th, just days before he faced extradition to Sweden. British authorities pledge to arrest Assange if he leaves the Embassy. The investigation in Sweden and Britain is still ongoing.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @chrisenloe

The Swedish Disaster – America’s Future?

sweden map

If Obama gets re-elected, and if the Democrats gain any more power in Congress than they already have, it is almost certain that America will quickly turn into a full-fledged European welfare state.

Obama’s America is not the America you grew up in. It is not the America you want your children to grow up in.

I know, because I actually grew up in Obama’s America. It’s called Sweden.

For decades, the American left has touted Sweden as a role model for America: its income security system, its universal, tax-paid child care, and of course its government-run, single-payer health care system. From college professors to politicians, liberals have done everything in their power to convince America that they should entrust their and their children’s future to a Swedish-style social democratic welfare state.

God help America if they succeed.

Before I share the true story about Sweden, let me explain how close we are to fulfilling this wet Swedish dream of the left. The federal government only needs to add three more features to the already large American welfare state: single-payer health care, universal child care and general income security.

As I explained in my column last week, the road to a single-payer system is already paved. Proposals for federal, universal child care have been floating around in liberal circles for many years. Thankfully the idea has not yet gotten serious traction here in America, but don’t hold your breath on that. As recently as in 2008 Hillary Clinton made it one of her major issues.

The second biggest trophy for welfare statists, after single-payer health care, is a general income security system. It means, plain and simple, that government taxes us to hand out income replacement checks when we are home from work for a variety of reasons, such as caring for a sick child.

Sweden’s general income security programs are very elaborate. Predictably, they have also eroded workforce participation and raised government dependency to alarming levels.

In 2009 Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) introduced a bill to create a general income security program. It was called the FIRST Act, “Family Income to Respond to Significant Transitions”, and gained two dozen sponsors. Thankfully, it never made it out of committee.

That does not mean it won’t come back. Keep in mind how relentless the liberals were in getting a government-expanding health reform done. Behold Obamacare. The idea of a general income security program has strong support by the influential Center for American Progress, whose senior economist Heather Boushey has testified before Congress in ardent support of the act.

One of the most serious problems with the welfare state is that it is socially and economically deceitful. It comes front-loaded with benefits – you get your entitlements from day one – but the true cost does not appear until much later. And when the cost comes, it hits others than those who cashed in on the benefits.

Let me use my own background to illustrate. My grandparents were born in the 1910s into a country that had no welfare state whatsoever. They got married and had children in the late ‘30s and ‘40s, still without a welfare state to take care of them. They lived by the old-fashioned work ethics that has underpinned Western Civilization for centuries: work hard, be virtuous and charitable, and take care of your family. They were poor, but they were still able to feed, clothe, house and educate their children. And they were proud of it.

My mother once said of her upbringing: “We never had time to complain about how poor we were. We were too busy doing our homework.”

As my parents grew up during the ‘50s, the Swedish welfare state started growing. The socialists who ruled Sweden uninterruptedly for 44 years expanded government in all thinkable and unthinkable directions. There was universal child care, and all kids were supposed to be in it. There was socialized health care. Public housing was expanded to such a degree that only families with very high incomes could afford a house.

Private landlords were reduced to a curiosity.

Even when you rented from public housing you got a tax-paid subsidy check toward your lease. You got an annual child benefits check (as opposed to the American tax credit version).

And then of course there was general income security.

In Sweden, the general income security was set up to pay the paycheck for pregnant women, for women who had just had a baby, for women who wanted to stay home with their baby, for anyone who wanted to stay home and take care of a sick child or a relative in need of assistance.

In 20 years’ time, from 1960 to 1980, the size of government as share of GDP went from 18 percent to 40 percent. For my parents’ generation, it looked like Sweden had found The Ultimate Solution to all social and economic problems. They voted passionately to keep the welfare state in place, even when systemic problems began showing up in the early ‘80s.

To pay for its enormous spending, government needed tax revenues. Lots and lots of tax revenues. Local income taxes doubled from 1960 to 1980. The top bracket of the national income tax reached 80 percent and in some absurd cases even topped 100 percent! The value added tax (a complicated European replacement for the sales tax) climbed to 25 percent.

To pay for the general income security system the Swedish government raised the payroll tax year after year. It is now twice as high as the American payroll tax.

Inevitably, this max-tax policy started affecting the free part of the economy. Economic growth slowed to a crawl, private consumption virtually stagnated, and after the recession in the early ‘90s Sweden never recovered from its huge private-sector job loss. Today Sweden has as many private-sector jobs as the country had 20 years ago.

This stagnation in the private sector also shows itself in sharp increases in the actual tax burden. For every $100 a taxpayer paid in taxes in 1990, he paid $143 in 2000.

Again, under the world’s highest taxes the private sector has stagnated. Tax revenues have stagnated as well – but demand for services and entitlements from the welfare state have skyrocketed. This is the work of a combination of reckless generosity from the welfare state and rising poverty due to a poorly performing economy.

In response, Sweden’s lawmakers have instituted perpetual austerity programs. They cut services, reduce entitlements and try to change eligibility rules to lock more and more people out of the welfare state. But they don’t cut taxes to compensate; if they did, they would admit that the welfare state is no longer working.

The price for this perpetual austerity policy is high. Health care services have been cut to bare bones, with, literally, deadly consequences. Patients die of curable conditions at rates that would cause a revolution in America.

When my grandfather got heart problems in the 1990s, after a long life of hard work and putting his faith in the welfare state to be there for him when he needed it, he was admitted to a government-run hospital, courtesy of the Swedish single-payer system. His experience was so terrible that he begged my grandmother: “If I get ill again, please do not send for an ambulance. I’d rather die at home than go back there.”

He passed away peacefully at home. My grandmother, on the other hand, ended up in the harsh, budget-starved hands of a government-paid elderly “care” home. After a traumatic period of neglect, malnourishment and carelessness she died alone, humiliated and abandoned by a welfare state she had put her faith and money into all her life.

Her experience is shared by vast numbers of Sweden’s elderly today. Despite the world’s highest taxes the Swedish welfare state still cannot care for the most vulnerable. Elderly care homes are cutting costs to the point where they impose severe rationing of food, coffee and personal hygiene for their residents/patients.

The rest of the welfare state is in equally bad shape. The general income security system orders cancer patients back to work in the name of cost cutting. What was once created as a compassionate government institution to allow people to get well without the pressure of having to rush back to work, is now a bureaucracy with one single goal: to cut its costs and terminate entitlement payments to individuals as quickly as possible.

All this is systemic and inherent to the welfare state. It brings this destructive ausiterity upon itself. Its confiscatory taxes crush the private sector. Adding insult to injury, the welfare state itself de-incentivizes work: when government promises people all sorts of perks to people, one big reason to work hard is gone.

My parents grew up to enjoy all the perks the welfare state provided for them; my generation, born in the ‘60s, pays the price in the form of low income, perpetually high unemployment, low and stagnant standard of living and a grim outlook on the future.

I left Sweden in the late ‘90s. I have never looked back. The last thing I want is for America to become another Sweden.

There is still time for America to turn the tide on the welfare state. But not much. Only a strongly conservative Congress and a freedom-minded president can safeguard us against being transformed into another Sweden.

Sweden Crushing Homeschoolers

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Jan. 17, 2012  — A leader of Sweden’s Liberal Party last week called for a change in the country’s social services law so that the government can take children away from home-schooling families more easily by allowing social workers to do so.

The call for the change comes amidst already stringent penalties in Sweden for home schooling. The Home School Legal Defense Association and Alliance Defense Fund and have applied to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of one family whose child was abducted by the government in 2009 and have filed a brief in a Swedish appellate court on behalf of another family fined an amount equivalent to $26,000.

“The right of parents to choose the kind of education their children receive is a fundamental human right recognized in international legal documents including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sweden has lost its way and is ignoring basic human rights joining Germany in repressing educational freedom. It’s important that free people stand up to governments who persecute their own people,” said Donnelly

“Parents have the right and authority to make decisions regarding their children’s education without government interference,” said ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska. “Swedish policy on home education is at odds with recognized international legal standards that uphold the right of parents to direct the education of their children.”

Liberal Party politician Lotta Edholm called for the change to the country’s social services law in a Jan. 10 column in Aftonbladet, a prominent Swedish newspaper. Edholm then wrote on her blog: “Today I write with Ann-Katrin Aslund on Aftonbladet’s debate page that the social services law should be amended so that social services are able to intervene when children are kept away from school by their parents — often for religious or ideological reasons.”

The statement is the most direct and serious threat to date for home-schooling families in the Nordic country, where the climate for home-schooling has continued to deteriorate. The Swedish Court of Appeal has agreed to review three different cases in which government officials denied permission to home-school.

“ADF and HSLDA will continue to defend home-schooling families in Sweden and other European countries until we win,” Donnelly said.

Homeschool Parents to Lose Children Permanently

PURCELLVILLE, Va., Oct. 12, 2011 — Swedish officials on the Island of Gotland are seeking to terminate the parental rights of homeschool parents Christer and Annie Johansson. The latest development in this monumental homeschool rights case started when the state seized the parents seven year old son in June 2009. Domenic, now 9 years old, has been held in state foster care for more than 24 months.

News of these developments does not sit well in the homeschool community. “The United States Supreme Court has called the termination of parental rights the family court equivalent of the death penalty,” notes Michael Donnelly, Director of International Relations at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

Seven-year old Domenic Johansson was snatched by Swedish police in June 2009 from an airplane bound for India, his Mother’s homeland. Among the reasons given for the seizure was that Domenic was homeschooled. Since then his entire family has been denied virtually any contact with their son. HSLDA and the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) filed a joint application on behalf of the Johansson family at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in June 2010 and have been working to support the family since shortly after Domenic’s seizure.

Both ADF and HSLDA are currently asking for letters to be written in an attempt to renew attention to the family’s case and to encourage Swedish officials to release Domenic back to his family.

“The government shouldn’t abduct and imprison children simply because it doesn’t like homeschooling.  That’s bad enough. But now the state is going even further by attempting to get the parents out of the way altogether,” said ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska. “This simply cannot stand.  We will do everything in our power to help reunite this family.”