Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Liberal Barack?

Two weeks ago a Miami television new's show host asked me, "Is Camelot back?" The world (I included) was amazed and overjoyed that Obama had been elected, that reason and dignity and intelligence would return to the White House. The press was talking about Caroline Kennedy for the United Nations, Robert Kennedy, Jr for the Environmental Protection Agency. We were dizzy about the possibility of bright, good people representing the people of the United States. And we were still stunned that the Reign of Terror would soon be over.

That same week, Michael Moore, also jubilant, nonetheless darkened the horizon, recalling Obama's call for more troops to Afghanistan and his bizarre stay-the-wrong-course views on the Middle East, noting that the best we could hope for was that Obama would break most of his campaign promises in the tradition of all presidents.

Now it seems, for the time being at least, that Obama is yet another Clinton-style Republocrat. His cabinet even includes Bush's Secretary of Defense and his followers are crying foul.

Here's a paragraph from Peter Baker's December 8th article the New York Times:

Liberals Wonder When Obama’s Team Will Reflect Them

"CHICAGO — President-elect Barack Obama’s appointments have tilted so much to the political center that they have drawn praise from the likes of Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh. That alone would seem enough to set off a revolt in his liberal base. But a month into Mr. Obama’s transition, many on the political left are trying to hold their tongues."

Here's a link to the rest of the article.

So much for Camelot, at least for now.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Will Become of the Torturers?

There are petitions circulating on the internet, urging politicians to preempt the President's certain and upcoming preemptive pardoning of all his criminal lackeys. The list of crimes and criminals (including the President) is long. Bush, it seems, has the authority to pardon everyone: the torturers, the renditioners, the eaves-droppers (those blessed souls who have read my emails so carefully) and the water-boarders.

But now that intelligence and reason seems to have reappeared (after how long?) in US politics, I wonder if there is hope.

Here's a bit from a recent article in The Progressive:

One of Barack Obama’s first acts as president should be to instruct his attorney general to appoint an independent prosecutor to initiate a criminal investigation of former Bush Administration officials who gave the green light to torture.

At Obama’s press conference on Dec. 1, he spoke of upholding America’s highest values as he introduced Eric Holder as his choice for attorney general. Holder insisted there was no tension between protecting the people of the United States and adhering to our Constitution.

A few months ago, Holder was even more explicit. “Our government authorized the use of torture, approved of secret electronic surveillance against American citizens, secretly detained American citizens without due process of law, denied the writ of habeas corpus to hundreds of accused enemy combatants and authorized the use of procedures that violate both international law and the United States Constitution,” he said. “We owe the American people a reckoning.”

For the rest, click here. After that, you might want to read Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.