Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Michael Barone says Obama governs Chicago Style

Not Chicago Style, Obama Style
Posted by Writingresource on
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 5:06:56 PM

Mr. Barone is wrong on all counts..

.President Barack Obama likes to execute
long-range strategies and his most exciting skill
has been his facility for accomadating new facts
and using them to refine his long and shortterm strategies.

As Barack Obama deals with difficult problems ranging
from health care legislation to upheaval in Iran, we
have seen that his skills and approaches provide more
effective leadership than we have seen in years.

His 2008 campaign was a largely flawless execution
of a smart strategy and he won, regardless of how many
sour grapes the entertainers and pundits want to harvest.

On domestic policy, he has been executing his long-range
strategy of investing in the American people and providing
resources to sustain them as they suffer the consequences
of eight years of irresponsible Republican spending and an
ill-advised corporate war.

His long-range strategy of talking to America's enemies
has already been a success. North Korea's missile launches
are par for the course. The demonstrations in Iran against
the mullah regime's apparent election fraud is proof that
Barack has given hope both at home and abroad.

Obama never assumed anything. This is why his strategy
works. Now that he is seen as a reasonable man, rather
than someone hell-bent on war and destruction, it is much
more difficult for totalitarian regimes to cast us as the enemy.
It is about time we drew a line in the sand.

He not only expressed deep concern about the election,
he said in no uncertain terms that the Iranian regime's abuse
of their people would not stand. He is the first president since
Clinton who does care about the details of policy. His hands on
approach is refreshing.

Once he purges his administration of Robert Gates and
other deadbeats and hangers on... things will proceed
even more expeditiously.

For the first time in nine years we have coherent public policy:
He has moved to provide better access to healthcare,
invest in America, restore civil rights, and give the middle
class and the poor an even break. His efforts to responsibly
provide for the least powerful among us while relieving
business of the burden of providing health care is a win-win situation.

Obama quickly announced the closing of the prison at
Guantanamo Bay and is engaged in that process.
And it is about time.

His insistance that Israel not expand illegal settlements
is prudent and long overdue. A brilliant beginning.

The government takeover of General Motors and
Chrysler to bail out irresponsible corporate executives
was prudent.We could not afford to put millions of
Americans out of work and a reform of the industry
was long overdue.

His plan for instituting universal pre-kindergarten
is supported by scientific evidence and is critical to our
national security. It is about time we began fixing
our failing schools.

He has done nothing to keep the Republicans out
of serious policy negotiations and has allowed various
congressional operators to do what they do. He will
then sign or veto their work. While promising a politics
of mutual respect, he is intelligent enough to point out the
criminal violations of his predecessor which got us into so
much trouble. To ignore those mistakes would be folly.

The corporate press generally loves Obama because
he has done little to challenge the corporate
hegemony which continues to waste our resources
at home and abroad. And writers, editors, and
the general public have problems with him
for the same reason.

Obama entered the presidency with supreme
self-confidence. He was and remains one of the best
and brightest of his generation. His confidence has
already worked in our favor.

A temporary transfer of large segments of the
American economy from the private to the
public sector, during this time of economic
uncertainty, has historical precedents.
And the moves by the previous administration
to privatize our homeland securty, military
defense, and regulatory agencies has been a

It is about time we reversed that dangerous trend.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is irrelevant. And Kim Jong Il
is predictable. With Obama in the seat of power, we are
in much better shape than before. He is smarter than both
of them. Bush and Ahmadinejad had some things in common,
but intelligence and judgement were not among them.

It's generally good for American presidents to have
long-term strategies. And in setting public policy
it is essential to get the details right. And in guiding
the nation in a dangerous world itremains vital to
adjust to face hard realities and unexpected events.

This is what Obama does best. His intelligence,
vision, and integrity are good for America.

best regards, Tim Flanagan

Box 22, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034editor, teacher, writer...

Tags: leadership accountability competence

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Iranian Election Results

This was an important election.
Ahmadinejad learned well.

Iran's most recent "election"
was simliar to the American
elections of 2000 and 2004.

As yet, the administration
in Iran has been relatively
benign. They have not
pursued policies nearly
as damaging as
the corporate
machinations of Dick Cheney

and his band of thugs...

but this newest power-grab
might make Ahmadinejad
as feckless as George and
Dick in his
thirst for power.

The actual seat of power in Iran has shifted,
and while this shift might be inevitable, the
infighting and posturings it may inspire could
prove lethal.

There are at least three choices:
Ahmadinejad's tenuous house of cards,
Mir Hossein Mousavi's grassroots movement,
and the reality of Ayatollah Jannati and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,

the actual power in The Guardian Council.

Ahmadinejad's aspirations are untenable and his days
are numbered. And The Guardian Council is no longer
perceived to be an unwavering seat of power. They blinked.

"According to the information received from
provinces and from Tehran, Mousavi has got
65 percent of the votes cast." (Liberal cleric

and former parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi
came second in the election with a total of 13.3
million votes, while president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came
third with only 5.49 million votes.)"
Leaked Iran Presidential Election Results : Mir-Hossein Mousavi Won

False choices will not determine the fate of
the Iranian nation. And if leaders in America

and elsewhere can find the necessary courage,
Mousavi's victory and the will of the Iranian
people will neither be ignored nor denied.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Ugly Truth about Torture

The Bush administration tortured people.The talk about a "few bad apples" was a lie.
A spineless congress allowed these crimes
to happen. The saddest part of this tragedy
is that too many Americans are not aware of
the extent and depravity of these crimes.

And a vocal minority of Americans see nothing
wrong with engaging in illegal acts of torture,
even when these involve rapes of children and
outright murder. At some point voices of reason,
temperance, and sanity... must rise together and speak.

Torture is immoral, illegal, and ineffective.
It is time to restore the rule of law and sanction, fine,
punish, or imprison those who broke the law. Proactive
moral compunction inspired by courage and fueled by
integrity, will triumph over a surrender to fear and the
embrace of "situational ethics." We must reject cowardice,
surrender, and ignorance... in favor of courage,
faith, and intelligence. Ethics reflect our values. Either we
have values... or not. We must demand accountability from
our leaders or replace them. Bush lied and Obama parses
and parcels out half-truths.

It is time to take a stand and do the right thing. tmf

General Taguba’s report revealed that the overwhelming majority of detainees at Abu Ghraib had no connection to terrorism. Suspected terrorists were being funneled to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan or Guantanamo.

“These were people who weretaken off the streets and put in jail — teen-agers and old men and women,” he
told the New Yorker shortly after retiring in 2007. “I kept on asking these questions of the officers I interviewed: ‘You knew what was going on. Why didn’t you do something to stop it?’”The answer to that question was that the low-ranking soldiers were taking orders from Washington to engage in torture.

“These M.P. troops were not that creative,” Taguba said. “Somebody was giving them guidance, but I was legally prevented from further investigation intohigher authority. I was limited to a box.” Taguba
says that the U.S. Commander in Iraq General “Sanchez knew exactly what was going on,” but because Taguba was limited to investigating enlisted men and junior officers, he wasn’t allowed to conduct a thorough investigation.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has a different explanation for what happened at Abu Ghraib: all the blame should be left at the feet of American soldiers. In essence, the vice president who hadtaken
five deferments to the draft during Vietnam in order to avoid military service wants to blame the troops: “At Abu Ghraib, a few sadistic prison guards abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulations, and simple decency,” Cheney told the American Enterprise Institute last month. “For the harm they did, to Iraqi prisoners and to America's cause, they deserved and received Army justice. And it takes a deeply unfair cast of mind to equate the disgraces of Abu Ghraib with the lawful, skillful, and entirely honorable work of CIA personnel trained to deal with a few malevolent men.”

Americans have a choice of believing either a two-star general and the soldiers in the field who say they were directed to torture by higher ups, or Dick Cheney and the politicians in Washington. Of the politicians in Washington, Taguba
says they were well-informed of the torture taking place at Abu Ghraib:

 “[Former Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld is very perceptive and has a mind like a steel trap. There’s no way he’s suffering from C.R.S. — Can’t Remember S***. He’s trying to acquit himself, and a lot of people are lying to protect themselves.” Ditto for Cheney, apparently.
We can escape from this swamp of lies. tmfCOUNTER TERROR WITH JUSTICE

In the name of the "war on terror," the U.S. government
has subjected people who have not been charged with or
convicted of any crime to:

Torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment
or punishment

• Abductions (known as
extraordinary rendition),
disappearances," and secret detention

• Illegal, indefinite detention in
Guantanamo, Bagram,
U.S. facilities, & secret CIA sites  

• Denial of legal rights, including
fair trials and habeas corpus--
the right to challenge the legality of one's detentionAdditionally,
the U.S. government has employed
companies that have been implicated in cases of killings, torture, and rape, and has failed
to adequately
investigate and prosecute abuses.

These practices are wrong.
They are
illegal under U.S. and international law.
They violate American principles of justice.
Military and intelligence experts have said these practices are
The United States government must end these human rights violations immediately
hold accountable all those who authorized and implemented them. Detainees must
be charged and given fair trials, or be released to countries where they will not be at risk
of human rights abuse. The U.S. government must respect and protect human rights,
and counter terror with justice.

It’s up to people like us—people around the world who
want justice, security, and human rights—to make sure it happens.

Join Amnesty International USA’s
Counter Terror With Justice Campaign Team
More about torture: