Rob Douglas: Sen. Graham’s proposed boycott

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Rob Douglas

Rob Douglas' column appears Fridays in the Steamboat Today. He can be reached at rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Douglas here.

— Dear Sen. Lindsey Graham,

As you know, “with all due respect” usually means the opposite in political parlance. To be specific, in Washington, D.C., jargon, it often means the party employing the phrase believes the party being addressed is akin to the hind end of a gelding.

With that understanding, let’s proceed.

Senator, with all due respect, your suggestion that the United States boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, is the dumbest idea to emanate from our nation’s capital since Rep. Hank Johnson suggested in 2010 that Guam could capsize if the military stationed additional personnel on the island.

On Tuesday, to the bewilderment and disgust of every American equipped with an IQ above that of a turnip, you told The Hill that President Barack Obama should consider boycotting the Olympics in February if Russia grants asylum to NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Given that many in your profession can’t remember the nonsense they said one day earlier, much less three, let’s review the utterances that have folks calling you the Jimmy Carter of the Republican Party.

“I would just send the Russians the most unequivocal signal I could send them,” you told The Hill. “It might help because what they’re doing is outrageous. We certainly haven’t reset our relationship with Russia in a positive way. At the end of the day, if they grant this guy asylum it’s a breach of the rule of law as we know it and is a slap in the face to the United States.”

In typical D.C. fashion, you promoted your proposed Olympic boycott with a media blitz. Here’s what you told NBC News:

“I love the Olympics, but I hate what the Russian government is doing throughout the world. If they give asylum to a person I believe has committed treason against the United States, that’s taking it to a new level.”

Going further, according to NBC News, you “suggested that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s actions should raise the specter of the pre-World War II Berlin games hosted by Adolf Hitler’s regime.”

Senator, with all due respect, the first rule of political argument is never make comparisons to Hitler or the Nazis. The only atrocities comparable to those conducted by the Nazis under Hitler are those of the communist regimes of Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin.

Given that Steamboat Springs — known to the world as Ski Town USA — is the hometown of 79 athletes who’ve competed in the Winter Olympics since 1932, more than any other town in the U.S., I’m tempted to point out that only an imbecile would suggest boycotting the Olympics because the Obama administration and Congress are incompetent when it comes to dealing with Putin.

I’m tempted to point out that in Washington, you’re best known as Sen. John McCain’s Mini-Me and that McCain thinks a boycott is a foolish idea.

I’m tempted to point out that Speaker of the House John Boehner said about you, “He’s dead wrong. Why would we want to punish U.S. athletes who’ve been training three years to compete in the Olympics over a traitor who can’t find a place to call home?”

Finally, I’m tempted to point out that you couldn’t begin to understand the training regimen and sacrifice that Olympic athletes undertake given that the only competition you excel at is elbowing other senators aside when a television camera is present.

I’m tempted to make those points — and many more from the same vein — but I won’t. After all, to do so might be considered disrespectful.

So instead, I’ll adopt the words of U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky.

“If there are any lessons to be learned from the American boycott of 1980, it is that Olympic boycotts do not work,” Sandusky said. “Our boycott of the 1980 Olympic games did not contribute to a successful resolution of the underlying conflict. It did, however, deprive hundreds of American athletes, all of whom had completely dedicated themselves to representing our nation at the Olympic Games, of the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Senator, heed those wise words and stop calling for the sacrifice of Olympic athletes on the altar of American foreign policy.

With all due respect,

Rob Douglas

To reach Rob Douglas, email rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.

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Comments

Luke Crespin 1 year, 5 months ago

Got a good laugh out of this but also agree with the point and think it's well written. I was shocked to even see this suggestion come up and I'm glad no one else is jumping on this idea!

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Stuart Orzach 1 year, 5 months ago

Perhaps the lesser known actions of the Suharto regime in Indonesia in 1965, carried out with the active support and full backing of the U.S. government, should make the list of Hitleresque atrocities. Those unfamiliar with the story would do well to view this report in today's news:

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/7/19/the_act_of_killing_new_film?autostart=true

I don't suppose we'll be hearing the phrase "with all due respect" uttered at City Council any time soon. The true meaning of this euphemism was always obvious to me.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 5 months ago

Even worse is that this is over someone that made information public. He was not secretly giving materials to our enemies. He did on a large scale what government does all the time, selectively release secret materials to advance his political cause.

Depending upon your political viewpoint, he may be a hero or bad guy. But he is certainly not worth boycotting the Olympics over. If he had done something like assassinate leading figures and then sought refuge in another country then we would have a reason to be so upset.

But all he really did was to confirm that the US was doing what everyone expected in monitoring enemies of the US. So our enemies are not surprised or helped by knowing this information. The surprising part is how much the NSA has to collect on US citizens and our allies to follow the bad guys.

And how poorly the NSA handles internal security. If a contractor like Snowden can be briefed on this then why should anyone believe that Russian and Chinese spies working as contractors have not been briefed? Certainly the NSA is not operating on a need to know basis.

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Joe Meglen 1 year, 5 months ago

Rob,

Your comparison of Senator Lindsey Graham to a gelding’s ass in an insult to the gelding.

The most interesting part of the Snowden whistle blowing case is that this is old news. The unconstitutional federal government spying on Americans has been reported many times over the years. This includes a segment by 60 Minutes 13 years ago:

http://cryptome.org/echelon-60min.htm

Now, after more than a decade, the controlled corporate media “discovers” the story?

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mark hartless 1 year, 5 months ago

If only we could get a majority of Americans to boycott these jackwagons in DC instead of re-electing them over and over and over...........

I'd rather have Snowden, and the first 99 people out of any phone book running Congress than the Grahams that are there now...

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Don Thayer 1 year, 5 months ago

Why is no one commenting on the fact that Snowden told 'we the people' that our government is violating our Constitutional rights by spying on us? Rob, you're dropping the ball big time.

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Bob Smith 1 year, 4 months ago

Senator Lindsey Graham is a goddamn freak. I'm not kidding. Pay just a little attention to this a-hole and you will see I am right on target.

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cindy constantine 1 year, 4 months ago

A picture of Lincoln next to this worthless post is a real disconnect, Bob. I remember last year when you considered yourself to be a "troll" for "outting" the anon posters---now I agree with that moniker of yourself so why don't you change the pic to something in keeping with the tone of the majority of your posts----like, maybe, a TROLL

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john bailey 1 year, 4 months ago

I thought Bob was a teacher? teacher troll, maybe.....~;0)

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mark hartless 1 year, 4 months ago

Careful Cindy. There is waaaaay too much anger in your post today... Just kidding...

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rhys jones 1 year, 4 months ago

So what's with the new Slopeside Grtill banner trashing up the bottom of my screen? The top alone isn't good enough for our friendly Pilot? The mighty dollar must outweigh the user's experience to our fine publication. I recommend the Pagosa Sprins Sun, both for a more readable format, and a more user-friendly town. Bye bye, Slopeside.

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rhys jones 1 year, 4 months ago

While I doubt that my lowly post had much if anything to do with it, thank you, Pilot, for removing that offensive banner at the bottom of the page. Unlike the banners at the top, which can be minimized in a reasonable time to gain access to the text they hide (Alpine Ranch to the exception; it takes its sweet time) the bottom banner could not be removed or minimized, making this site appear as a Penny Shopper might -- or a poorly designed website -- too busy. As some of us in website design have learned, more is not necessarily better. Thanks again. I might stick around now.

oops. Spoke too soon. This site is still trashed. It comes and goes at will. My bad. Please disregard this post.

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john bailey 1 year, 4 months ago

yes, you did Ryes, it invaded my puter too. stop the madness and remove this ad at the bottom please , the top is bad enough....

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 4 months ago

That banner ad is obnoxious. It is harder to read text when next to moving video.

This paper's website is now among the worst for newspapers. With a pop up ad on the top that requires clicking to reduce and now a motion banner across the bottom, the ability for the reader to actually read an article is seriously impaired.

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rhys jones 1 year, 4 months ago

When they increased the font size (the old wasn't bad) they reduced what would fit in one page. Now the readable window is so small, the user is constantly scrolling, besides the distraction caused by the banner. Welcome to the new Steamboat Penny Pincher. The more I see of that, the less time I will spend here. Others too, I would presume. That ought to sit well with the other advertisers. I would love to see the Analytics for this site: Total visits, pages per visit, time spent on pages, bounce rate -- over the last two or three years. If these forums are any indication, the numbers have taken a dive. Video jumping in and out, a visual nightmare -- that ad SUCKS.

Not only THAT -- but now, this site has so much crap loading, it kills my radio server. I used to kep this site open in its own tab. No more. See ya, you penny-pinching thieves.

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rhys jones 1 year, 4 months ago

One (hopefully) last thought, before I depart this subject (digression) and site (again): As is widely known, Google and Facebook are in cahoots. I find the sidebar ads in Facebook strangely coincidental to my browsing history. If this is more than a coincidence, that means Facebook has access to my history, stored in my root directory, in its own folder. If they have access to this folder, they can also access my bookmarks (Favorites, for Explorer users) and saved logins and passwords. I did not store my bank account login details there, but virtually everything else. So somebody could theoretically do a lot of damage, had they they urge.

So I don't log in to Facebook any more than necessary to catch up, then I ditch their site. I consider them a security threat. Now, with Google's affiliation with our Pilot, the same situation exists here. You think the NSA can snoop -- ha -- nothing like Google. What if THEY are in cahoots... and who is really pulling the strings, in the charade we witness daily?

Privacy is an illusion, in this era. Nevertheless, I will delude myself into thinking that by exiting this site, I am fixing a security hole. See ya!!

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Tim Keenan 1 year, 4 months ago

Just put an "m." before steamboattoday.com, and you'll have a vastly better experience.

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