Saturday, October 3, 2009

About Those Olympics

I considered it strange that the right, and even some on the left, were criticizing Barack Obama for traveling to Copenhagen to support Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games.  One thing this country needs right now is jobs, and the $20 billion plus in economic activity that hosting the games would generate would create a LOT of jobs.  I expected Rio to win for two reasons.  After the scandal arising from GOP dominated Utah’s bribery to get the 2002 winter games, and the subsequent shakeup in the IOC, that body already looks on the US with disfavor.  Also, no South American nation has ever hosted the games before.  But I figured it was still worth a try.  I knew it would not be Obama's fault, if we didn’t win.
However, when the IOC announced that  Rio had won the games, the cacophony of abject joy coming from Faux Noise and the rabid right shocked even me.  What do they have against America?  Why are they so glad that Chicago won’t get all those jobs.  They were openly revealing the true nature of their pseudo-patriotism, and it was ugly.  So I spent the next couple hours collecting a picture here and a quote there in preparation for this article.  Then I settled down to watch a little TV.  Rachel Maddow covered the same story, and dang that woman!! Not only is she far better looking than I am, but also, she had everything I had and more.  So instead of sharing my hodgepodge of notes, here’s her video.

This morning, I learned something new.  It may be at least partially the GOP’s fault that Chicago was eliminated first.
GOPgo ...Chicago was eliminated during the first round and received the fewest votes. A New York Times article points out:
In the official question-and-answer session following the Chicago presentation, Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, asked the toughest question. He wondered how smooth it would be for foreigners to enter the United States for the Games because doing so can sometimes, he said, be “a rather harrowing experience.”
A “harrowing experience” may be an understatement. Immediately after 9/11, the Bush Administration began requiring fingerprints and photographs of tourists from all but 28 countries entering the US. President Bush required that all foreigners register online within three days of travel. Thirty-five (mostly European) countries now participate in the US Visa Waiver program, however tourists from the rest of the world still have to jump through the following hurdles:
  • Pay hefty visa processing and issuance fees.
  • Undergo an interview by a visa officer at the US Embassy.
  • Provide evidence which shows the purpose of the trip, intent to depart the United States, and arrangements made to cover the costs of the trip may be provided.
  • Present convincing evidence that an interested person will provide financial support if the applicant does not have sufficient funds to support him or herself.
The average wait for a US visa has risen to about three months. Brazil, which will host the 2016 Olympic summer games in Rio de Janeiro, has a reciprocal visa policy with all countries… [emphasis original]
Inserted from <Think Progress>
Since the subject did come up during the discussion at the IOC, it must have been a concern to them.  This represents a major impediment to tourists wanting to attend.  At least we won’t be besieged by right wing crazies screaming that Obama is welcoming terrorists during the Olympics.
However, I would not be fair, if I did not mention that I did hear one reasonable voice coming from the right, Joe Scarborough, so here’s credit where credit is due.
joe-scarborough Count me as one conservative who is disappointed that President Obama's hometown will not be hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.
Chicago is a beautiful city that would have made a perfect backdrop for the Olympics. The President was right to fly to Copenhagen to try to land the games, not for the sake of his city, but for the good of his country. The fact President Obama failed makes me respect him more for taking the chance, and the fact many right-wing figures opposed the President's mission shows just how narrow-minded partisanship makes us all.
For the better part of 20 years, a bitterness has infected our politics that has weakened our country.
We Republicans spent eight years trying to delegitimize Bill Clinton.
Democrats spent the next eight years doing the same to George W. Bush.
Now that a Democrat is in the Oval Office again, it is the GOP who is trying to delegitimize a sitting president.
When I try to talk to Republicans about the need to break this cycle of viciousness, some cite the chapter and verse of every hateful left wing attack against George W. Bush…
Inserted from <Huffington Post>
Joe does fail to mention one key difference.  Barack Obama is a legitimate President.  Bush was not.  So far, Obama has stolen no elections.  He has created no bogus intelligence to start a war of aggression.  He has ordered no torture, etc.  My only complaint to Obama’s legitimacy is his tendency to try to keep the unconstitutional executive power purloined by the Bush/GOP regime.  No, comparing the legitimate attacks of the left against Bush’s criminal policies bears no resemblance to the GOP’s attacks against Obama.
Anyway, through this entire incident, the GOP has portrayed that they wrap themselves in the flag of patriotism only for personal gain.

PS.  There's some great personal news in today's Open Thread.


themom said...

Rachel Maddow is the best. When I saw the film clips of those cheering "the loss", I was floored. I have decided it is not worth my time to try and get into the heads of these right wing idiots. They make no sense, and are proving their un-patriotic stance. I do believe that the IOC is still full of fraud and graft. Any organization that large has a hard time avoiding the fall.

We will just try again in the future - that is what we do - we don't give up!

Annette said...

Tom, the only thing I disagree with on your post is the one line..

My only complaint to Obama’s legitimacy is his tendency to try to keep the unconstitutional executive power purloined by the Bush/GOP regime.

He has asked for Congress to do their damn job and overturn these things through Legislation, not him by Executive Order.. as Bush put a lot of them in.. If they are done by EO, then another President can come along and just do them again with no problem, however if Congress overturns them with a LAW and it becomes an amendment to the Constitution as it should.. then a sitting president in the future would have a harder time of doing things with it.. That's what he has asked Congress to do and that's where your anger should be placed, not with Pres. Obama, but with Congress, for not fixing this.


Hi Tom!

You are absolutely right. The Olympics, whatever we say against the Olympics, will provide jobs, lots of them, and bring in life to a forlorn city and, had the US won, would have revived prestige for America.

I'm actually surprised to read comments in The Times by people who appear to be from the US who are joyful -- they wanted so badly for Obama to "lose" they couldn't give a damn that America lost.

Tragic mentality.

And know what else? Most serious national papers in the UK published stories about Rio winning as factually as possible with no real snide remarks against Obama but The Times which is owned by Murdoch trumpeted gleefully --"Snub for Obama as Rio hosts 2016 Olympics"

What an extraordinary thing to banner! Slap Rio and Obama in one sitting.

Murdoch and his sinister tentacular media group are hell bent on destroying Obama anyway he can.

Randal Graves said...

Bush didn't steal an election. Others stole it and gave it to him. Probably didn't find out until the next day. Staying up late watching reruns of Dora the Explorer is hard work.

Oso said...

Occasionally Scarborough does that,making a reasonable sounding statement then filling it in with "let's not sink to the level of those vicious liberals".

about what you'd expect from a guy who'd rather kill his intern rather than soil her outfit.

Distributorcap said...

as far as the limbaugh dittoheads and the beckites - if obama cured cancer they would trash it.

they are hopeless andthey will be the downfall of this nation.

they would rather be right than do right

personally anyone who cheered the loss and said obama was wrong to make the case can all eat shit and have no health insurance

there was another reason the US didnt get the games - the IOC is pissed at the USOC for wanting to start a cable channel...... very complicated

there wsas no way chicago was going to win - but i am glad obama tried and took a chance - more than any right wing d-bag would have done

TomCat said...

Hi Mom. When they comment here, I correct them in a respectful way. You can lead a pig out of the crap, but you can't lead the crap out of the pig.

Annette, I hate to disagree, but he did ask Congress to retain the provisions in the PATRIOT Act used by Bush to spy on the American people.

All too true, HB, and Murdoch has tentacles world wide. :-(

Randal! Don't you KNOW Dora is way above his comprehension level? He is responsible for what his stormtroopers did at his behest, not because he understood, but because he opted to become Fuhrer.

God one, Oso.

DC, they would rather be right than do right is a perfect summary. But, if they want so much to he right, how do they always manage to be so wrong?

Complaint Department Manager said...

Great minds indeed, TomCat. But DAMN, at 4:30 in the mornin'??? I guess my great mind is a bit of a loafer.

Glad you brought up G.W.'s legitimacy as a Supreme Ct justice gave him the job, not us.

I still think he shouldn't have bothered, but like said over at Sue's, I understand. If it were in my back yard, I simply couldn't promise not doing the same as he did.

Jolly Roger said...

Eh-I like my headline and graphic better :)

MadMike said...

Another great post on this timely and most controversial topic. I linked it to JR's which I cross posted at my place. Its not that I liked his headline and graphic any better of course:-)

Great site TC! I will definitely return to add my two cents...Sorry:-)

BTW if you would like to be a contributor at my place just send me an email to We would love to have you and it's a no stress job:-)

Mary Ellen said...

The fact is, Tom, 45-47% (depending on what poll you read) people in Chicago did not want the Olympics here. Think about it, we're talking all of Cook County which is mostly Democrat. There was very good reason why so many in Chicago didn't want it. It's been known for awhile that all those jobs have already been handed out to Daley's buddies...with NO BID contracts! Do you honestly believe that those jobs are going only to those who live in Illinois? Not hardly.

We also know that with the corruption of the Daley machine that the taxpayers were going to be stuck paying for all the money that Daley promised to give his political backers.

Cook County is already the highest tax county in the country. And if anyone thinks that the Olympics would have given us a surplus....dreaming. There are never "surpluses" when it comes to paying off the Daley machine.

And that only touches on a few problems with having the Olympics here.

Sure, many Republicans may be happy and think this is a stick in the eye to Obama...but that has nothing to do with the real facts as to why we didn't get the Olympics.

In fact, Daley, in his usual idiotic manner, made some comments shooting down Rio before he left, which is a complete breach of protocol. I'm sure he pissed off more than a few of the IOC members with what he said.

I love's a great city, but it is no equipped to handle the influx of people that would come to visit. Our transportation is lacking, and I can list numerous problems they would have with security.

TomCat said...

Thanks, C. Yup. My posts went up a little late today. I like to go to bed early and get up to do my research when I'm fresh and it's quiet. It follows that since Obama is a President, and Bush, a pResident, that justified attacks against Bush, based on his actions, cannot compare with attacks against Obama, based on lies.

Welcome, Mike. I like your place as well. I'll shoot you an email.

Nunly, I have to bow to your expertise on Chicago, as that's home to you. The last time I was there was to protest the Democratic Convention in '68. I remember all too well Daley's daddy's machine. His cops put a big dent in my head.

TomCat said...

OOPS!! I missed JR! That is one heck of a graphic!

Buzzardbilly said...

On the Olympics, I felt all along that Rio would win simply because the Olympics has never been in South America at all. Rectifying that oversight would have held a lot more importance in the minds of the IOC than anything, at least that's how I see it.

And, FUX News and the people who believe them has to crow just to keep from having to report on the running scandals stemming from and rampant ass-wiping The Constitution took during the Bush regime.

Excellent post!

Hill said...

"Anyway, through this entire incident, the GOP has portrayed that they wrap themselves in the flag of patriotism only for personal gain."

Perfect summation.


Dusty said...

Anything the Rethugs like..I dislike and anything they hate I love..its a natural progression for me. ;)

Jack Jodell said...

It's clear that the Republicans and conservative pundits in general aren't pro-America in the least. They are, plain and simple, pro only themselves and those in lock-step agreement with them.

The entire lot should be given gold medals for world record-breaking hypocrisy and treachery.

TomCat said...

Thanks Billy, and welcome. The Bush/GOP regime was the most catastrophic time for our Constitution in history.

Thanks, Hill. I also saddens me that it's true.

Dusty, it sure does flow that way, doesn't it?

Too true, Jack. Add those that finance them.

libhom said...

I was pissed at Obama for going. He should have been strongarming Democratic Senators into supporting the public option rather than shilling for a corrupt Olympics bid that Chicago liberals and progressives were fighting so hard to block. As usual, Obama put wealthy interests ahead of middle class and poor Americans.

BTW: Olympics do not bring billions of dollars of economic activity in. In fact, they divert public resources to wealthy developers at the expense of economically productive government spending.

TomCat said...

Libhom, I'll have to look into that. If local progressives were fighting it for those reasons, I was not aware that was the case. Back online for only a month, I still have a lot of catching up to do.