published Friday, February 14th, 2014

Hart: Putin preens for the world

By Ron Hart

One thing you never hear in an American household is, "Honey, hurry in here, the luge is about to start." Luge is a "sport" where two men push a sled and then let gravity take over.

I have long been an advocate of postponing the Winter Olympics eight years just to see if anyone noticed. Let's face it -- some sports are just too white. Take curling. Curling is not a sport; it is a drinking game. The winners should get free appetizers and drinks, not medals.

It is not that I want to see the U.S. in a position where we can lose to Iceland. It's just that Winter Olympics "sports" seem so unnecessary. No doubt there are some good athletes, but the whole spectacle reminds me of what Winston Churchill said when he had to watch trained circus dogs walk on their hind legs: "It's not that they don't do it well, it is that they do it at all."

What I find interesting about these Winter Olympics is seeing how the iron-fisted Russian president has handled everything. First, Putin said he would enforce his strict "no gay" ban. Then he spent $51 billion to build the venue. I speculate that almost $2 billion made its way through the cronyism and government bureaucracy and into the facilities, which is a higher percentage than Solyndra got, but not enough for the hotels to be decently designed and attractive. The lesson here is that when you ban gays, you cannot expect fabulous interior design.

Considering that there were no gays in Russia, the opening ceremony music and ice dancing went well. One small glitch happened when one of the Olympics rings did not open. The over-and-under is that within 30 days the person responsible for the glitch will be found with 45 bullet holes to his head or, as they call it in Putin's Russia, "death by natural causes."

The opening ceremony producers were so scared to let Putin know of the foul-up that they spliced together rehearsal footage showing the five Olympic rings functioning properly. It was the same footage shown on Russian TV. The media relationship there is similar to Obama's relationship with NBC News.

So far, the death toll has been well within the margin of error for a Russian-run Olympics. By mid-games everything was running well. Even the French stopped surrendering when they heard the starter's gun.

I'm sure you enjoyed the pairs ice dancing. They say we should pay attention to who wins, as this often predicts who will win the next Tony Awards.

It is good to see Putin wanting to reintroduce his country to the community of nations. With his testosterone and his nukes, it is best we all get along with each other. An isolated and angry Russia would not be good for the rest of the world.

Back at home, Obama has started to channel his inner Putin with the way he has gone after his detractors. His IRS and Attorney General's office have gone after "enemies of the statist" big time. It's a sad day when NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden feels safer in Putin's Russia than in the United States.

As we once had with the tea party, Russia said it would allow citizens to hold protests in Sochi. Protestors would be allowed to voice their opposition views in designated protest zones, also known as Siberian gulags.

When Putin's other girlfriend douses the Olympics torch to end the games, there will be a welcome sigh of relief. Putin, a man who enjoys releasing pictures of himself shirtless, will be proud and smug in his assurance that, under his anti-gay policies, nothing will be allowed to be flaming too long in his Russia.

Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com.

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