Friday, May 22, 2009

Yes We Can?

Once upon a time I took a lot of heat for calling Obama just another politician, a charismatic empty suit woven of nebulous promises and stitched with threads of unfounded hope. It all just seemed too easy. After nearly a decade of the machinations of Richard "Dick" Cheney and his half wit pal George W. Bush, Obama was a breath of fresh air. He spoke rapturously with a poetic ring to his deep voice and the people responded. He was young, handsome and a Madison Avenue dream, he could be packaged and sold with tremendous success and lo November did come and to the shock, relief and delight of many the world over he won election. He won an historic vote becoming the first African American President of the United States of America.

And now, the first hundred days are past and where are the hopes and dreams? Indeed, perhaps yes we can, but have we? Where is the change that was promised, where is the new day in America? Grim, stupid wars still wage and threaten to escalate. Guantanamo is still in business and between the Democratic controlled House, Senate and Executive there appears to be no hope what so ever to change the state of affairs in that poisonous little corner of Cuba. Habeas Corpus is still off the books and may disappear into the annals of American history as they sink further into the morass of a rule by fear. It seems the change that Obama is believing in right now is a change from the ad hoc approach to unitary executive power a la Bush to a new police state regime that allows for the disappearing of persons without charge or trial for an indefinite (read eternal) period. From the ground up, Obama is planning to create a new and sinister notion of the rule of law that breaks with the long tradition of rights as initially endorsed in the Magna Carta and perhaps most beautifully stated in the Constitution of the United States. Ironic that the new president chose that remarkable document to stand before as he delivered his speech. I can only assume he did so in order to wipe with the words there enshrined.


24 comments:

thwap said...

The Public Relations industry was developed in the USA, no?

Obama is selling authoritarian government. He knows exactly what he's doing. If he doesn't, he's demented.

The system is demented and he learned the system.

He's truly scary.

CC said...

I have to admit, it's depressing how fast Obama reneged on every principle he ever had. If he had any to begin with.

Stimpson said...

I was glad to see him win in November, of course. The alternative was Old Man McCain and reactionary Caribou Barbie. But I knew from the start he wasn't going to stray far from mainstream U.S. politics, if at all. He *is* a liberal, not a socialist or any kind of radical, after all.

Still, the last couple of weeks have been grating. And that's without considering his earlier decisions to keep Maher Arar on the no-fly list and re-impose duties on Canadian softwood lumber.

Stimpson said...

"last couple of weeks" - really, I meant the last month or so, since that much-ballyhooed "first 100 days". Jeez, time flies.

Adam C said...

No matter how skeptical I was going in (and I was plenty skeptical), I was expecting better than this.

Alison said...

It was a great post, if you mean specifically the one you did The Day After. I linked to it from The Galloping Beaver so it would also get airplay on ProgBlogs. Much to my surprise, people were enraged.

Somena Woman said...

PSA --

Applause!

Just last night I wrote a LONG post critical of my progressive friends who got really mad at me when I dared to suggest that not Only was Obama not going to different than Bush -- but that he could end up being worse.

And you just made me eat my words.

I think maybe.. just maybe -- we are getting smarter quicker.

It took 8 years for people to get fed up with Bush -- and all that opposition to what Bush had been doing was WIPED CLEAN AWAY by the delusions of the election...

The illusion that by voting -- something substantive would change AND that people who exercise their democratic rights actually have control over things.

The electoral process in both Canada and the US is a joke - It's a sham.. a carefully crafted soap-opera to make people think they have a choice.

But whether it's Bush or Obama, Or Macain.... is like asking people if the prefer Coke, Pepsi or RC.

No matter which you chose.. you still only end up with Soda.

And the only thing that differentiated what kind of President Obama would be vs What kind of President McCain would be -- was like giving people "The Pepsi Challenge" and calling it democracy!

Thank GOD! Maybe People aren't going to wait 8 years to get fed up with Obama -- doing the same thing as Bush, but under a different banner.

I didn't think I would see progressives get this frustrated - this quickly!

Fucking Amen!

To everything you said.

liberal supporter said...

It takes years to build something, and it can be torn down in a day.

Bush had 8 years of tearing down. To expect Obama to build it back in 4 months is ludicrous. Don't forget that the US Senate is still up in the air.

You can argue it's "meet the new boss same as the old boss", but the critical difference is that Obama seems intelligent, and does not seem to be wearing ideological blinders.

Bush was allowed to "grow into the job" for 9 months, before the 9-11 takeover. I think we can give Obama at least as long to clean up the mess. It will likely take until his second term to see what you would recognize as true progressive policy.

Most people are giving him a huge pass because of how close we came to vindictive Sarah, doing the troopergate on all who she dislikes, with atomic weapons.

Kusotarre said...

liberal supporter:

You are delusional.

The critique here isn't simply that Obama has failed to turn back the illegalities ofthe Bush Administration, but that he has wholly embraced them and, in some cases, actually surpassed them.

This most recent fuck up about "preventive detention" is just fucking nuts. Obama said (paraphrasing) "where we cannot prosecute due to X, Y, Z, we need the power to detain indefinitely."

The ENTIRE POINT of a criminal justice system is to not allow arbitrary detention by an executive power.

You need to stop apologizing for Obama. He clearly isn't in search of more time, he is looking to cement into law what Bush only succeeded in ducking from the law.

In a sane country, impeachment proceedings would be being proposed.

Dr.Dawg said...

*cough*

June 28, 2008:

http://drdawgsblawg.blogspot.com/2008/06/change-we-can-believe-in.html

The fact of his election is of far more significance than anything Obama might do, can do, can't do, won't do after his inauguration.

liberal supporter said...

You are delusional.
That's the second time I have been called that today. Did you follow me from hunter's, "Kusotarre"? Who were you over there?

This most recent fuck up about "preventive detention" is just fucking nuts. Obama said (paraphrasing) "where we cannot prosecute due to X, Y, Z, we need the power to detain indefinitely."-

The laws of war provide exactly that capability. But you must follow the Geneva Conventions. The quote you are "paraphrasing" revolves around the fact that the US will no longer ignore the Geneva Conventions.

There is a real problem with what to do with some of the detainees. By opening the discussion, he is at least departing from the "if you knew what we knew, you'd support us completely, so do it anyway" of the previous administration.

The ENTIRE POINT of a criminal justice system is to not allow arbitrary detention by an executive power.
True, but war time gives any nation that ability. You can argue about whether Al Quaeda declaring war on the US in 1998 gives the US the right to treat detainees as POWs, but if it is a war, they are within their rights. Now they will rejoin the world community and follow Geneva.

You need to stop apologizing for Obama.
You need to disguise yourself better, since your concern trolling does not mask your far right position. Your entire line of "rebuttal" is classic BT.

In a sane country, impeachment proceedings would be being proposed.
Yes, it seems the right wingers are resorting to "you are mentally ill". Looks like you got the memo too.

Gube said...

In a sane country, Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the Torture 13 would be indicted and convicted of war crimes.

In a sane country, the financial "geniuses" who decided to take the world economy for a joyride and drive it into a ditch would not be getting multi-skillion dollar bonuses of taxpayer money.

In a same country, health care reform meetings would have at least one advocate for a public single-payer option.

I think we can safely say that the United States is the farthest thing from a sane country.

Adam C said...

The laws of war provide exactly that capability.No. They don't. There is nothing in the Geneva Conventions providing for detaining people away from any battlefield, arbitrarily labelling them a threat, and imprisoning them for years or decades.

Kusotarre said...

liberal supporter:

So is Rachel Maddow a Blogging Tory, too?

How about Glenn Greenwald? Amy Goodman?

The ACLU? AI? HRW? ICRC?

You can make all the well-poisoning accusations you want.

You can pretend all these "terrorists" were picked up in battlefields, not from their homes, or off the streets.

You can pretend that the government's inability to bring sound prosecution isn't relevant.

You can draw false equivalency between an actual war and the WOT.

It doesn't make your argument any more sound.

The simple facts (yes, facts, not even opinion at this point) is that Obama has surpassed the Bush arguments on several important issues.

If this was McCain, if these speeches announcing such sweeping disregard for the American Constitution wasn't dressed in such hypocritical and grandiose rhetoric, you'd be shitting our your fingers by now.

I propose you change your name from "liberal supporter" to "unconditional 'liberal' supporter".

You're not a liberal. You're not a progressive.

You are an apologist.

KEvron said...

i'll wait for the details, as there is a precedence for indefinite detention during wartime. personally, i think terrorism is a crime, and should be prosecuted as such.

fun rant, though. you've got a gift for hyperbole....

KEvron

Kusotarre said...

Yep, there is a precedent for indefinite detention without trial in the US during a war.

The internment of Japanese-Americans.

KEvron said...

and of japanese prisoners of war....

KEvron

psa said...

well KEv, that argument would hold more water if the u.s. of a. had actually, you know, held japanese prisoners of war indefinitely after the cessation of hostilities, without trial and spent some years getting their jollies by torturing the "detainees". and speaking of trials, wasn't it the u.s. of a. that did indeed hold trials of certain japanese prisoners for the crime of torture? jeeziz. when jesse the body ventura is the most sensible public personality in the nation there's trouble.

as dawg pointed out in his article, illegal, unconstitutional, domestic wiretaps got the nod from obama, he refuses to investigate and prosecute the high crimes and misdemeanors of his predecessors or the vile creatures that carried out the torture on their behalf and now he wants to legitimize endless detention without trial or charge or need to present cause. this ain't about fixing the other guys mess, it is all about the fact that obama seems intent on perfecting that mess.

hyperbolically yours
psa

KEvron said...

"that argument would hold more water if the u.s. of a. had actually, you know, held japanese prisoners of war indefinitely after the cessation of hostilities"

the point of your emphasis is lost on me.

"without trial"

japanese prisoners of war didn't face trial, the odd war criminal notwithstanding.

"and spent some years getting their jollies by torturing the 'detainees'"

you're thinking of the chimp, i think. obama has banned the practice of torture.

"and speaking of trials, wasn't it the u.s. of a. that did indeed hold trials of certain japanese prisoners for the crime of torture?"

it CERTAINly was, ODDly enough.

i agree that those who established the practice of torture should be prosecuted. i'm disappointed that this has yet to happen, and likely never will. but who knows? maybe they're making the case as we type.

"jeeziz."

gesundheit.

"when jesse the body ventura is the most sensible public personality in the nation* there's trouble."

maybe you should have posted his youtube clip instead.

"as dawg pointed out in his article, illegal, unconstitutional, domestic wiretaps got the nod from obama"

if you're refering to the telecom immunity, i've always agreed with that; i see their part in the taps as ill-advised compliance rather than collusion. if you mean the fisa taps, i don't have a problem with legally sanctioned surveillance. the 72 hr grace period is troubling; the need for it baffles me. however, but then the fisa system already provided the privilege of leeway. the privilege should be closely scrutinized, and revoked at the first abuse (read: "bum lead"). if you mean the monitoring methodology, i don't consider this to be either a violation of my privacy or of "probable cause". the secrecy aspect of it is very disturbing; the system should be subject to congressional oversight.

"he refuses to investigate and prosecute the high crimes and misdemeanors of his predecessors or the vile creatures that carried out the torture on their behalf"

i don't think "refuse" is the right word, unless, of course, you're going for hyperbole.... all kidding aside, do you think he could make the case against chimpco stick? executive privilege would make for a tough case. i think "reluctant" is the better word.

"and now he wants to legitimize endless detention without trial or charge or need to present cause."

covered that. still waiting.

"this ain't about fixing the other guys mess, it is all about the fact that obama seems intent on perfecting that mess."

"obama seems" is "fact"?!

"hyperbolically yours"

at last! something we can agree on....

when obama starts declaring wars based on fudged evidence, giving the green light on torture, instituting regressive tax codes, dismantling social security, pandering to social conservatives on issues like stem cell research funding, abortion funding and anti-ssm legislation, then i'll agree to your comparison to the chimp.

KEvron

thwap said...

It's quite clear to those who choose to see it.

Obama is saying that he can designate anyone a terrorist and, whereas bush II said he'd get around to establishing kangaroo courts to convict them of something, Obama is saying that he'll simply hold them indefinitely if he wants to.

Pointing to past bad precedents of the USA wartime is the lamest of justifications for anyone claiming to be serious about human rights and the rule of law.

Mike said...

Bravo PSA.

When you have lost Rachel Maddow, then you pretty much have lost everyone except the dedicated Obama fan boys...I wrote a lovely piece of two on my disappointment.

Obama is Bush with a better tan and a better speaking voice.

Damn them both.

KEvron said...

"When you have lost Rachel Maddow"

and, more imprtantly, jesse ventura....

KEvron

Adam C said...

i see their part in the taps as ill-advised complianceIt was criminal compliance KEvron; sort of like "ill-advised" embezzlement.

KEvron said...

"KEvron; sort of like "ill-advised" embezzlement"

exactly, except completely not.

KEvron