Meh Culpa

My letter to “Organizing America” the former Obama campaign site

(Written while unsubscribing, as a protest.)

I am not a Democrat.

I was a Democrat for a little over 30 years–until Diane Feinstein started acting and voting like a Republican. I told her I would never vote for her again and I won’t.  My point? Barack the president seems to have forgotten the promises he made as Barack the candidate. I have never seen such timid leadership in my life. No, wait:  the Democrats have behaved in such a manner all the way through the Bush administration. They kowtowed to the Republicans (who played serious hardball) while there was a big, wistful to-do in the MSM over “bipartisanship” that never happened because the Republicans were nasty and excluded the Democrats from almost every opportunity to make a difference. Perhaps the Democrats and Barack the president believe they should take the alleged high road and refuse to behave as the Republicans did.

With all solemnity, I adjure you… Now is not the time to abandon progressive ideals because a minority of crazy, hard right, radical Republicans–who don’t have much of a party left, mind you–are playing up the rhetoric and the lies and inflaming the wingnut populace against the president’s erstwhile agenda, inciting the crazies to riot and possibly to assassination.

Elegance and grace will not give us single payer and/or a public option or even decent health care. Besides, it would appear Barack the president and the rest of the Democrats have given up on both. If events unfold as I see they might, the insurance companies will realize even more profits if health insurance is mandated. How middle class and lower class Americans will pay, I don’t know. Tax deductions will not help. They are actually rather worthless. Americans need real help, upfront.

I cannot tell you how sickened I am with the current state of affairs. Single payer (with an option to retain private health insurance as is possible in the UK) is the right thing to do. Allowing Blue Dogs to mark this territory and bark orders to the rest of us is absolutely the wrong thing to do, and slightly insane into the bargain. While Teddy Kennedy was alive, you had a majority and you could have passed a good bill that contained both. Now all you have is mush.

What we Americans needed was an FDR on the economy and an LBJ on civil rights and health care. This administration hasn’t come close to giving us either one. What I see is a money-grubbing party that’s still beholden to big business, a party without backbone.  It’s appalling, truly.

And it’s not just health care. Barack the candidate was worrisome when he voted on FISA. But Barack the president has abandoned all principle on warrantless wiretapping as well as in legal cases concerning Guantanamo detainees, doing precisely what the Bush administration did before him, or worse. Barack the president did not seek to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He has left it to Congress, whose members will do nothing, ever. Barack the president has set up another Guantanamo in Bagram, and created an environment where anything will go by alleging that because Bagram is not on American soil (WTF?! It’s a US air base! Does that mean McCain isn’t really a US citizen? Hmph.), people detained there will have no right to habeas corpus let alone any Constitutional right to due process within the US legal system.  Barack the president still allows extraordinary rendition.  Barack the president has allowed the same people who destroyed the economy (think Wall Street investment bankers, Goldman Sachs, the New York Reserve, and the Fed) to retain control over the economy. Nothing has changed in that respect. Barack the president doesn’t want to do anything about the Bush administration higher-ups who approved torture and created an ethos where it could thrive and become even more twisted than Gen. Miller and John Yoo originally planned. Barack the candidate wanted to remove us from theaters of war while Barack the president is digging in in Afghanistan.

Barbara Boxer might give me hope, but it’s not yet clear she won’t do what she’s told by the White House, by the so-called Democratic leadership, or by the insurance and drug companies. But Barack the president and the rest of his administration? No, I have no hope at all.

I’m writing in the hortatory subjunctive now:  Look to your principles once more, recall the promises you made and work to fulfill them. Think of the people who voted for you, Barack & Company. Think about why they voted for you. It wasn’t simply your “soaring rhetoric,” you made promises that voters wanted kept. I urge you to reconsider your path, which thus far is filled with so many broken promises (after only nine months!). Remember that we who voted you and other Democrats into office can just as easily vote you out of office. Or, as in my case, simply not vote at all. There is no one worth voting for anymore.

Ignore me at your political peril. You will fail otherwise. A pity, but it’s true.

Sincerely yours–

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September 8, 2009 Posted by | 2008 presidential race, Abu Ghraib, Afghan War, Afghanistan, Bagram, banks, Bush administration, civil liberties, Congress, corruption, Defense, Democrats, Due process, Economy, far right, Federal Reserve, Foreign policy, gay rights, Geneva Conventions, Guantanamo, habeas corpus, human rights, Iraq War, Obama, Obama administration, politics, Republicans, torture, Treasury, US Constitution, war crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Splish Splash: Skimming Wikileaks.com

I finally got around to reading ProPublica, well into the depths of an article about Wikileaks and the Congressional Research  Service, an org that  pumps information only for members of Congress.   I am so not interested in CRS reports, but Wikileaks.com, now that’s another bag of tomatoes.

Wikileaks.com is to spreading secrets as Madge was to dishwashing liquid.  Today I discovered a NATO report dated January 14, 2009, Metrics Brief 2007-2008 (.pdf file), that records a 45% increase in Afghan civilian deaths in the last year, while kidnappings are up 50%.   IED attacks, which have risen 27%,  are deemed the “single largest cause of casualties.”  Many of them would seem to be against the Afghan government, as attacks  against that entity have skyrocketed to almost 120%.  The document’s all graphs, slides, and stats,  so it’s a fairly easy read.

Another  link that caught my eye has to do with a white supremacist shot to death by his wife two months ago in a domestic violence homicide.   I suppose we should be a grateful public.  By gunning down her husband, the independently wealthy James G. Cummings, Amber Cummings of Belfast, Maine has potentially saved us from a “dirty bomb,” the makings of which were in her home.   No one,  from the coppers to Senator Collins, has any comment.  Natch.

In other news,  there’s the article “McCain Solicits Russian U.N. Ambassador” originally published at the conservative  WaPo last year.  At first I thought it was a sex story because that’s what sells,  but it’s about campaign donations.  Still, very droll.  The Russians despised McCain’s positions–and might wish they had a few missiles aimed at Sarah’s house–so they  wouldn’t have given his campaign any money even if they were allowed.   The article does show how far wrong McCain’s campaign could go, which makes it amusing and a tad pitiful.

A 2007 document alleges that the United States has violated chemical weapons conventions in Iraq.  I thought that was common knowledge.  I guess I was wrong.

There’s about 237 pages worth of SOP for Camp Delta (.pdf file) in Guantanamo signed by the nefarious Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller,  who was later sent to Abu Ghraib to make that facility more  Gitmo-esque.  The article preceding the .pdf file claims evidence of psychological torture, which I assume is about cavity searches and intimidation by military dogs.  There could be more evidence I’m not getting because it’s written in dull militarese and I’m short on time.

When I do get some time–after my next two exams and the paper about ovarian cancer–I’m going to look into the Counterinsurgency link, which boasts military doctrine for unconventional warfare used by US  Special Forces;  UK insurgency doctrine from 2007, or doing-to-the-Taliban-and-Al-Qaeda-what-they’ve-done-to-us;  there’s ” McCain’s real Petraeus doctrine,” about US trained death squads and a number of other slimy details the Pentagon doesn’t want you to know.  We’ve got all sorts of goodies here at Wikileaks, boys and girls.   I counted forty-three links, although some,  such as those under “Catalyzed analysis and reportage,”  may redirect and talk about related doctrine, reports, and projections.

Be good and learn a lot.  😉

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Afghan War, Afghanistan, Defense, Foreign policy, Guantanamo, Pentagon, Russia, torture, UK | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reminder to self

Watching bipartisanship get a drubbing by the Republicans this week didn’t surprise me. I was hoping after the Inauguration that they’d settle down and play nice, but I wasn’t surprised when despite their promises (i.e., McCain’s to Obama), the party devolved into the same old harpy that’s plagued us since the era of Gingrich and the Contract on America (a pun).  I was reminded of something, though.  When I was almost of voting age, my dad–a reactionary Republican if ever there was one–explained to me how he came to his voting decisions:  he considered what would benefit him personally and voted for that.

My voting rationale is the antithesis of my dad’s. I vote for what I believe is right for the American people and for the country as a whole. I vote against war because, as a general principle, I don’t believe in war. I believe in direct, not indirect, self-defense.  I vote for choice because even if I don’t like the choice, I’ll defend a woman’s right to choose. If she wants to have a baby, that’s her choice regardless of whether I think it’s a bad choice.  (Case in point,  Nadya Suleman.  I thought she should have stopped by the first disabled child, but she had the right to choose to carry to what passed for term.  She also has a right to live with the consequences of her choices. Unfortunately, her children will have to live with those consequences, too.)

Had I been in Congress last fall, I probably would have voted against TARP because it rewarded the wealthy and the powerful at the expense of the regular people getting screwed.  From my point of view, helping distressed homeowners was the only reason to vote for TARP at all.  Although some people blamed those homeowners for not living up to their responsibilities, not all buyers understood what they were getting into. Many consumers didn’t have the education or they were defrauded by unscrupulous lenders like Countrywide or they simply lost their jobs.  (The actual rate of unemployment was 9.2% in April 2008.)

I also agree with Joseph Stiglitz that banks are in denial about their insolvency, that they created the problems that put Wall Street & Co. in this dire situation.  I believe that the insolvent banks should be nationalized–not as an act of vengeance, but ultimately for pragmatism’s sake–and that the bankers who are still running the show should be dismissed because they keep doing the same old things that don’t work.   Since he’s part of the same system, I probably would have suggested another Treasury Secretary than Geithner, too.  (But who would in her right mind would want that job?)

I was so relieved when Obama was elected that I suppose I relaxed more than I should have.   I even started winnowing my subscriptions to various and sundry progressive organizations. The Reminder to Self truly arose the other day when I discovered the administration will need continuous nudges about the things I believe in.  If I want torture ended, then I need to agitate against torture.   If I think Obama should stick to his campaign promise to get us out of Iraq, then I need to keep reminding him of that.  If I think Israel seems to be calling too many shots in our foreign policy, then I need to argue for an equal playing field in the Middle East.  And on it goes.

I care about so many issues.  I simply can’t tackle them all.  😐

February 14, 2009 Posted by | bailout(s), banks, Economy, Foreign policy, Iraq War, Israel, Middle East, Obama, Obama administration, recession, torture, Treasury, US Constitution | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments