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CURMUDGEON'S CORNER: Political ads aren't just silly, they're insulting (OPINION)

October 10, 2012

This is the season of political ads on TV and radio. Some of them are silly while others are insults to the intelligence of voters.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is hammering the old reliable Democrat vote-getter in Rhode Island: the Republicans want to take away your Medicare. Whitehouse is shown in his ad addressing nodding and smiling senior citizens who appear to be in a nursing home environment.
The truth is that not one Republican proposal would have any effect on people already on Medicare or those over age 55. According to the Social Security trustees, Medicare will be out of money by 2016 if changes aren’t made. Whitehouse never says how he proposes to leave Medicare unchanged.
In Rep. David Ciccilline’s most recent ad, it appears he’s running against Mitt Romney instead of former RI State Police Col. Brendan Doherty. Sheldon Whitehouse beat incumbent Sen. Lincoln Chafee in 2006 by running against despised-in-Rhode Island George W. Bush. Ciccilline seems to be following this formula. Meanwhile Doherty seemed to more than hold his own in a debate with Ciccilline last Sunday night.
Republican challenger Mike Ryan’s ad accusing Rep. Jim Langevin of taking $20 million in taxpayer money while gasoline prices reach $4 a gallon, meanwhile, is ridiculous. Ryan is self-funded and Langevin also has a left-wing independent challenger which enhances Ryan’s chances in November. However, if Ryan keeps running ads as dumb as this, Langevin is a shoo-in.

n In the last Curmudgeon’s Corner I described the Obama administration’s handling of the turmoil in the Middle East as stumbling and bumbling.
According to a conservative website, “The Daily Beast, a left-wing website affiliated with Newsweek Magazine, reported that, according to three as-yet unnamed US intelligence officials, the Obama administration knew within 24 hours after the recent terrorist attack that the attack was the plot of al-Qaeda or an al-Qaeda affiliate. And yet the administration has been telling Americans and foreigners alike for the last two weeks that the attack was a spontaneous revolt against some obscure video on the Internet.
In an interview with NBC’s Ann Curry, Libyan President Mohamed Magarief stated that the attacks on the US embassy in Libya had ‘nothing to do with’ the video and that it was a pre-planned act of terror. When pressed by Curry to detail his evidence for this, he assured Curry that so far, all the evidence discovered shows that it was an attack planned by al-Qaeda. He also gave the common-sense argument that the Obama administration has been hoping would be lost on Americans: because the video is relatively old, ‘Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September. They chose this date, 11th of September, to carry a certain message.’
We have been hearing repeatedly from this administration that the cause of the violence in the Middle East that exploded on September 11th and killed four Americans was merely the manifestation of hurt feelings over a 14-minute anti-Islam video posted months ago on YouTube. Obama made the claim during his taping of “The View” (part of his “busy schedule” that prevented him from meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu).
There are now off-the-record reports that the two ex-SEALs were not protecting the American Ambassador to Libya. In fact, they were working for another “agency” to determine what happened to missing weaponry we supplied to the Libyan rebels.
There is video that shows Libyan rebels training with US shoulder-fired missiles capable, by the way, of taking down an airliner. These are not the ubiquitous RPGs of Russia and Chinese design.
Our late ambassador was the Obama administration’s representative during the fighting in Libya who negotiated with and delivered weapons to rebel groups. He was at our consulate in Bengazi for the same reason the ex-SEALs were –to find the missing weapons.
The Obama administration is desperately trying to bury this story until after the election.
Another Obama foreign policy failure is in Afghanistan where we have been fighting for over 11 years. “60 Minutes” correspondent Laura Logan interviewed Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai and Marine General John Allen last Sunday.
Gen. Allen acknowledged that Pakistan is a sanctuary for al-Queda and other terrorist groups. We are losing this war just as we lost in Vietnam.

n Federal District Court Judge William Smith ruled in the West Warwick case I wrote about two weeks ago that citizens have a “right to walk away from law enforcement officers when the officers have initiated verbal contact” without probable cause “and that walking away cannot alone support a finding of reasonable suspicion.” What a gross distortion of reality!
Six foot two inch, 250-pound Mark Jackson, who suffered from schizophrenia and heart disease, died of cardiac arrest while in police custody. The victim’s sister who brought the suit said she wants police to become –in effect- street psychologists.
If this ruling stands, it creates a lose-lose situation for both police and citizens. If a suspicious person is walking away from a crime scene and an officer orders him to stop and he chooses to exercise his “freedom to walk away”, what are the officer’s options? Use some degree of force to detain him and risk violating his “rights” or let a suspect walk away?
Last week a woman in southern California allegedly ran down a border patrol agent and carried him on the hood of her car for several hundred yards before he finally fired five shots killing her.
“I want justice. Yes. Whoever shot my wife, that guy whoever that is, that guy needs to get shot,” the victim’s husband Gilbert Alvarado was quoted as saying. “Where’s the evidence that my wife threatened a trained officer? You know? He’s a trained officer to use lethal force, shoot my wife like that and just not even call an ambulance?”
Perhaps she was just exercising her right to drive away from a law enforcement officer trying to question her.

n There has been much said and written lately about liberal bias in the media. A good example is MSNBC which doctored a tape of a rally that made it seem as though Mitt Romney was pleading with the crowd to chant “Romney-Ryan” instead of “Ryan, Ryan”.
When people who were there began to call talk radio and complain, the tape of the rally was examined. What really transpired was VP candidate Paul Ryan introduced Mitt Romney while the crowd is heard chanting “Ryan, Ryan”. When Romney came out, most of the crowd switched to “Romney, Romney” whereupon Romney urged them to shout “Romney-Ryan”.
Is it no wonder that MSNBC has the lowest number of viewers compared to the other six networks?

Richard August is a North Kingstown resident and a regular contributor to the Standard Times. He served for six years on North Kingstown’s Audit Committee and was its chairman for the last two. His opinions are his own.

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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