Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Spain wimps out — just like us

According to a story posted Thursday, April 16, on, “Spanish prosecutors will recommend against opening an investigation into whether six Bush administration officials sanctioned torture against terror suspects at Gauntanamo Bay.”

And what brilliant rationale did Spain’s attorney general offer for begging off this war-crimes investigation?

The six named officials “were not present when the alleged torture took place.”

Give me a fucking break. They ordered it. Justified it. Provided preemptive legal cover for those who did it. Those are crimes of equal magnitude, no matter where the Bush Six were when they happened.

So … let’s check our scorecard, shall we?

Spain could have indicted the “Bush Six” for war crimes, but has chosen not to. Instead, they’re telling the human-rights lawyer who brought the case that he ought to go after the soldiers and intelligence officers who actually committed the acts, even though there is likely no way those individuals can ever be positively identified.

Meanwhile, President Obama has ruled out any prosecutions against those who actually committed the war crimes under legal cover from the White House because they were just following orders. (Gee, what a novel defense; I’ll bet that one has never failed before…) And his administration shows no sign of having the backbone to go after those who ordered the use of torture.

Chalk up another victory for Bush and his cabal of thugs, and another defeat for justice, truth, and human rights.

I’m going to bed now. Somebody wake me if Obama ever decides to man up and do the right thing. But don’t worry — I won’t be holding my breath.

WTF is Obama thinking?

If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ve probably heard, seen, or read that President Obama has nominated Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) to his cabinet as Secretary of Commerce.

In a word: Why?

This simply makes no sense, either pragmatically or politically. Here’s why:

1. Gregg’s economic ideas and policies as a senator are diametrically opposed to those of President Obama, the Democratic Party, and the majority of Americans. He is pro-corporations and anti-labor. There is no indication that he will moderate his positions in his role as Commerce Secretary.

2. The Democratic governor of New Hampshire, John Lynch, has said that he will appoint a Republican to fill Gregg’s seat in the senate to avoid altering the partisan balance of that deliberative body. This was one of Sen. Gregg’s conditions for accepting the appointment.

3. The Republican Party, its public mouthpieces, and its constituents have so far shown absolutely no regard whatsoever for Obama’s gestures at bipartisanship. All they do is cackle about how gullible he and the Democrats are for kowtowing to a party that has no other agenda right now but to obstruct the Democrats’ legislation and cabinet appointments.

So what the hell is the Obama administration doing? They won’t win any points with the Republicans, because the GOP isn’t playing the bipartisanship game; they won’t gain the filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate, because Gov. Lynch has pussied out and is covering his ass with New Hampshire’s conservatives by vowing to keep Gregg’s seat in GOP hands; and the administration is placing an ideological opponent into a key position of influence.

Please, Mister President, wake up and smell the coffee: this is politics, not a campfire round of “Kumbaya.” If  you, your administration, your party, and the people collectively gain nothing from a given option, choose another option. The time for offering olive branches to the GOP is over. Start playing to win, or the GOP will drink your fucking milkshake in 2010.

And the hope begins to tarnish…

In his first couple of weeks as president, Barack Obama has issued some good executive orders and signed some good legislation. But it was bound to happen sooner or later—we always knew he would eventually start to compromise his principles.

And here we go: According to the L.A. Times, President Obama has signed an executive order that preserves his authority to employ the reprehensible practice of “extraordinary rendition.”

In other words, despite all of his lofty rhetoric about closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay and shuttering the CIA’s “black sites,” President Obama apparently agrees with the Bush administration’s policy of abducting U.S. citizens or foreign nationals from their homes or off any street in any city anywhere in the world and “rendering” them to a foreign location or authority for detention and questioning.

Is this the change I’m supposed to believe in? I’m supposed to make excuses for why it’s okay for the president to assert the right to kidnap people and possibly hand them over to regimes that use torture? Sorry, no can do. I wanted to believe Barack Obama was telling the truth in his inaugural address when he said, “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.”

Excuse me, Mister President, but I wasn’t aware that our ideals condoned kidnapping.

You’ll need to do better than this if you want to make us believe you stand for more than putting a new face on the same old evils.

Bon Chance, Monsieur President

I spent this morning and early afternoon watching coverage of the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Had steak and eggs for breakfast. Kept the tissues nearby. Only wept twice — once before he spoke, again as he talked of Washington and his men on the riverbank whose snows were stained with blood.

I was pleased to hear President Obama (damn, I enjoy typing that) not only acknowledge non-believers as equals besides those of faith, but also repudiate the most heinous legacy of the Bush Years with this powerful statement:

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

May this truly mark the dawn of a new and brighter chapter in America’s history.

Welcome, Mister President. And good luck.

Amusing Parallels

Over lunch this afternoon with glennhauman and gryphonrose, the subject turned (as it often does) to the topic of current politics.

It was noted that Senator Obama seems to be following much the same strategy against Senator McCain in the general election that he employed against Senator Clinton during the primaries. Put simply, Obama sits back — cool, calm, and unflappable — and lets his opponents self-destruct.

Then I thought about McCain’s self-applied moniker “maverick,” and his penchant for taking the stage to the song “Highway to the Danger Zone,” from the Top Gun soundtrack, and exiting to the theme from the movie Rocky. Obviously, McCain doesn’t realize that his symbolism is a mess here.

First of all, Senator McCain, you might want to remember how the original Rocky ended: The scrappy, temperamental white “underdog” got his ass beat in by the publicly lauded black man, lost the big decision, and ended up collapsing into the arms of a younger woman of dubious intellect and poor prospects who had stuck by him because … well, what else was she gonna do?

Second, don’t be too quick to invoke the Top Gun mystique, Mr. Would-Be Maverick. You might have forgotten how that movie ended, too: The feisty, hotheaded Navy pilot known as “Maverick” ended up losing in his bid to be “top gun.” And he didn’t just lose — he flamed out, crashed his plane, and killed his partner.

Who won? The cool, calm, unflappable “Iceman.” Remember the warning Goose gave Maverick? “They call him Iceman because that’s how he flies: perfect, no mistakes. He wears you down until you get bored and make a mistake, then BAM! He’s got you.”

Sound familiar yet, Senator McCain?

Twenty days to the end credits. Someone get the music cued up for Senator McCain’s exit, please….

The Bradley Effect

In case you were wondering after my earlier political post just how big a difference the Bradley Effect could make in the electoral math on November 4th, let me spell it out for you.

Let’s be optimistic and assume that, because of the strong anti-Republican sentiment in the country, and the ongoing economic meltdown, that it blunts Obama’s results by five percent.

As of this morning, a reliable electoral-math site,, projects an Obama victory over McCain in the electoral college, 343 to 184, with 11 votes currently tied (in Missouri). Encouraging, right?

Now factor in the Bradley Effect. The following states flip from Obama to McCain:

Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, West Virginia, Missouri, Maine, New Mexico.

Post-effect electoral result? A McCain victory, 278 electoral votes to 260.

Still think McCain has no road to the White House? Think again. He’s playing the race-hatred card because it’s the one trick in his arsenal that might win him the election.

And I say again: Please let me be wrong.