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By Michael Dobbs

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Getting Warmer

Posted on Feb 25, 2009
Obama speech
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

By Robert Scheer

We are lucky to have Barack Obama as president. I write that even though I believe the content of his Tuesday evening speech deserved no more than a B+ / A-, for its failure to seriously address the origins of the banking crisis and for only hinting at the severe military budget cuts required to get close to his goal of reducing the federal deficit by the end of his first term.

But first the positives, which were stunning, and I am not referring only to his superb delivery, which thankfully is logical and informed and inspires without pandering. The one truly memorable, historically significant line—unfortunately desperately needed because of the shameful actions of his predecessor—was: “ … I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States does not torture.” 

That simple declarative sentence justifies my vote for the man, no matter my disagreements with him. It is recognition of the essential vitality of a free society as defined by our Founders through the protections they wrote into the Constitution and which George W. Bush so casually demolished. As Obama put it, “ … [L]iving our values doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger.”

Another gift of this speech is the reassertion that government exists to redress our grievances rather than exacerbate them. His is a bold reincarnation of the wisdom of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that the Democratic Party had all but abandoned. Obama’s insistence that government rather than just the “free market” should set needed priorities is refreshing and important, particularly in light of his emphasizing the changes needed in education, health care and energy efficiency—the three areas that a short-term view of economic growth has systematically neglected since the New Deal.

So, he was great, and when I was just listening to the speech, I was quite enthralled, as were those around me. But on reading his remarks, I have questions.


Square, Site wide

Speaking of the financial crisis, he observed, quite correctly, “ … [I]t is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we’ll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament.” Then he went on to observe, “Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market.” Leave aside that his top economic advisers, particularly Lawrence Summers, were responsible for that gutting. Maybe they have reformed and will now do the right thing.

But the right thing begins with a recognition that it was deregulation, specifically the ending of all statutory regulation of the “hybrid instruments,” that allowed for the exotic financial products that have turned so toxic. Just read the language of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which Summers as treasury secretary pushed and which he got lame-duck President Bill Clinton to sign. 

When Obama stated “I ask Congress to move quickly on legislation that will finally reform our outdated regulatory system,” he missed the point. The system is not outdated; it is a get-out-of-jail-free card for Wall Street bandits. Unless we return to the New Deal-created rules that separated the activities of banks, stockbrokers and insurance companies and put them under tight regulation, we are doomed to a repeat of this meltdown. 

The other problem with the speech is that while Obama made some fleeting references to getting rid of Cold War-era weapons and did promise an end to the Iraq disaster, he once again left open the door to the United States being trapped in an even more treacherous quagmire in Afghanistan.

At some point, if he is to make good on his promise to cut the deficit by half within four years, he will have to confront the military-industrial complex, which now obtains much larger annual budget allocations than when President Dwight Eisenhower issued his famous warning.

Currently, military spending makes up 60 percent of the federal government’s discretionary budget. Let me offer one example of why the president must begin to turn swords into plowshares if we are to have a sound economy. That example concerns his bold call for spending $15 billion a year on the entire program to develop alternative sources of energy. Sounds like a lot of money, but it isn’t when one considers that an almost equal amount, $14 billion, for Virginia-class submarines—worthless in fighting landlocked terrorists—was pushed through the Congress in the month before Obama took office.

The critical test for Obama will be to break that incestuous circle of influence—particularly the clout of the bankers and the war profiteers and the other top lobbies that pay off both parties—and put the public interest first.

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By Max Shields, February 26, 2009 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment


You sound like Dorothy: if you just click your heels you’ll be back in Kansas.

Sorry, Obama is not the remedy - try some reality. You’ll find it sobers you up so you can see the problem for what it is and not some dreamy-eyed version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

O is so Over his head he wont’ see Kansas for a long long time. He sipped the coolaid when he bought into the empire’s plutocracy lock stock and barrel.

He’s not going to figure this one out until he gets rid of all the empire baggage…it’s just the Dem version of Reagan/Bush/Bush. He’s spending money like it’s suppose to help, and has no clue that it’s going down the toilet faster than the “checks” can get written. It’s all about a Dem version of trickle down and money is going in all the wrong places and doing nothing, like sunlight on a dry arid desert.

He hasn’t studied the problem. He hasn’t a clue about the cause of any of his initiatives. He’s got nothing but white empire supremist solutions from the club he so proudly belongs to.

No, Tony, try some meditation and inner growth…it will do more for you (and each of us) than anything O is proposing.

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By psickmind fraud, February 26, 2009 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

I was originally hopeful about Obama, but much of that hope soon faded. Obama after getting the nomination immediately is seen sucking up to AIPAC. Then we get Biden as the VP candidate. Obama took more contributions from the financial sector than McCain, more than $22 million total. Then we get Clinton as SS, so with her and Biden we have Zionists in control, and Obama doesn’t comment on Gaza in January.  All he wants to do in the Middle East is juggle troops, not end the wars.  Okay, so he thinks it’s okay to go into Pakistan, too. 
At home, the bankers are getting theirs…and ours too.  Energy-wise, he sometimes talks clean coal, which doesn’t exist, and nuclear, which is dangerous and extremely expensive. 
Other than that, Barackie’s doin a heckuva job.

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By Prajna, February 26, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nice rhetorical style; but in its substance, it simply demonstrates how right Nader was.

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By mjt01, February 26, 2009 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

One of the indicators of where Obama plans on taking the nation is in the people he wants to appoint to sensative positions. Many of the individuals have been more than disappointing, but this one is shocking. According to, Obama’s candidate for the National Intelligence Council, Chas Freeman, has stated that the Chinese were far too cautious in their slaughter of students during the Tiananmen Square massacres of 1989.

So Obama’s candidate thinks it an inadequate display of force for a government to slaughter 3000 peacefully demonstrating students, and brutalize and imprison countless others. This was not an opinion given with inadequate knowledge of the facts at the time of the killings, but in 2006 after with full knowledge of the facts.

So what is an adequate response to peaceful demonstrators to save the dignity of the state—kill 30,000 of them, 300,000, nuke the city?

What will this bastard do if he ever gets into power? Machine gun a million in the protesting in the National Mall?

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By Eric L. Prentis, February 26, 2009 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

US bank “stress tests” being preformed by Geithner/Bernanke are a shame/political cover and cannot possibly tell whether banks are able to cope with a more severe economic downturn. Prof. William K. Black reports: that the FBI, in 2004, uncovered epidemic mortgage “control fraud,” initiated 80 percent of the time by the lenders. The securitization of nonprime loans on the books of large banks coupled with not having the mortgage paperwork necessary to determine whether their nonprime loans are fraudulent will lead to an exercise in futility. Could the real reason that the government is performing bogus stress tests is so, wonder of wonder, they will turn out positive and the Fed/Treasury can justify more taxpayer money for their loser, insolvent, crony Wall Street banks.

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By lewb, February 26, 2009 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

I believe after Bush,for a president there is no nowhere to go but up. There was a similar feeling aftre Nixon left office and Ford took over. But the afterglow is shortlived. There is much that troubles me about Obama, his Administration is filled with insiders who are not about change,and who are the architects of the continuation of the status quo. I see a man of compromise,when what we need is bold action to renew our spirit of the can do. We as a people have not been asked to sacrifice,now we are having to sacrifice for having propped up the false economy foisted on us by the greedy few.The military budget is a bottomless sinkhole that produces nothing of value. We have no manufacturing base,we were the engine of manufacturing in the world for a long time. What we are now are consumers,with little hope for a return to real economy with tangible assets for it’s people.We are witnessing our own demise,because of our delusions that we were on the right path. We now see no road on which to right ourselves,to regain what has been lost.

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By Tony Wicher, February 26, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment


I am not a total Obama groupie, just one who believes that our best bet at this time is to coalesce behind him against the forces of reaction.
While I strongly support Obama against reactionary and imperial forces, I am starting to get very critical of him in one area. It is his Afghanistan/Pakistan policy that concerns me most deeply. The “war on terror” is a sham, intended only to perpetuate war, undermine the Constitution and justify an obscene military budget, but one can only fully understand this if one realizes who the perpetrators of 9/11 really are. I would combine support for Obama in other areas combined with strong criticism of his Afghanistan/Pakistan policy. I was horrified today to read that Leon Panetta, the new CIA chief, said that drone attacks based in Pakistan would continue. I think Panetta is an intelligence novice who knows nothing about CIA operations, which is good in that he is at least not implicated in CIA crimes, but bad in that it is very easy for the CIA to pull the wool over his eyes.

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By psickmind fraud, February 26, 2009 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Tony, if Obama et al didn’t have us all bent over, we’d be glad to get behind him. 

Our Halffrican American, in presidential tradition, believes lip service will keep us compliant, and not any kind of lip service we might enjoy at that.

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By psickmind fraud, February 26, 2009 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

I have to agree with you about the credit, Jason!!.  We have a dumbass conservative talk show on the radio in the morning (same station carries the Lush Rimjob show in the afternoons).  She rants that people shouldn’t be spending money they don’t have and using credit, then bemoans that business is suffering because they can’t get credit.

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By P. T., February 26, 2009 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

The U.S. nationalizes banks all the time.  When a little bank somewhere is insolvent, it is nationalized and then sold off.  The big insolvent banks have managed to convince people that nationalization is something novel.  That’s what money—and campaign contributions—can buy them.

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By Tony Wicher, February 26, 2009 at 10:36 am Link to this comment


After all what Obama and his lieutinants said and done, and after all the comments and posts especially
the excellent posts by Folktruther and Maxshields,
        x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

After all Obama has said and done so far, precisely. The “excellent posts” by F and M (and you) are about as “excellent” as Bobby Jindal’s rebuttal to Obama’s speech. You guys are about as disconnected from political reality as he is. You see nothing and are interested in nothing beyond your own ideological blinders. Your complete irrelevance is massive.

The time is now for all Americans of good will to get behind Obama.

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By M.B.S.S., February 26, 2009 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

cyrena:  there is a reason that extraordinary rendition is referred to as “torture by proxy.”

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By elizabethe, February 26, 2009 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

I am allowing one week for my request for Robert Sheer to get an interview AFTER doing his homework on the truth of Obama’s agenda publicized BEFORE THE ELECTION.I believe they have changed the website that was there, and the agenda publicized likely is MOST retrievable by a “book” mentioned on it, before, that MUST BE AVAILABLE…to present the “how lucky we are to have Obama” backup information, and can we, TruthDIG editorial, please have the campaign booklet that publicized his agenda…surely the “cuts” in GOVERNMENT and the INCREASES in the RED INK MILITARY and the invasion in huge numbers into Afghanistan, where Obama expected to “redeploy” the troops from Iraq (anyone knows The Troops do not want redeployment, they want to come home, and the war to end, it was NOT for imperium, and Obama is a hypocrit, offender and liar, and how many already can guess, he tenders 90,000 troops into Afghanistan in the agenda offered, not known nationally, just as the truth of CHALLENGE AGAINST CORRUPT POLITICS WAS OFFERED BY FOUR CANDIDATES, Baldwin, Barr, McKinney, and Nader.  SIX not TWO were on the ballot and the CONTEST was due, and still IS for honest Constitutional democracy and the truth of each candidates AGENDA is the required information for this country to have ANY president! The media did not want the REAL TRUTH OF SIX and HONEST DEMOCRACY TO HAPPEN!

But, get the little book to find your “cuts” (I am saying he is intending to cut the government and increase offenses in military, and that certainly WAS NOT what the young people campaigned for, but there is little excuse for their lazy stupidity, it was the MEDIA HYPE that they relied on, the MEDIA enthusiasm such as SHEERS’ “lucky” Commander in Chief MEANS FRONT LINES…first get the truth, for TruthDIg, get the little book they posted was available for their platforms, it will obviously be black and white, and then then then, interview him with your homework done, as to his intended CUTS….get the clarity, WHAT CUTS IN THE MILITARY DOES HE INTEND?  You said in the article above, that he was missing that AS IF HE IS GOING TO CUT THE MILITARY…one of you is a HOUDINI of great pretense and intentional misleading…current msn article leads with a headline, “tough cuts in the budget” - he is intending to use taxes for military and end the government.  Tough, NO HANGING TIME, after you publish the truth, truth dig, we did not vote for the Obama of horrific military offensives and the Obama who cannot and would not have the courage to stand on the front lines of a heinous attempt to occupy…NO, this is not American Democracy, it is modern day hitler, due to hang.

Thank you, publish truth, and the right stuff can happen, I see the truth first, publish the book summary, and especially the truth about cuts, the increases or cuts in the military published during the campaign, (I am certain I know what I am saying, but that is not good enough, this audience needs Sheer to do his homework, and let the audience find out if Sheer already knew he is lying up front in the lead, with Houdini style usurption of democracy, tendering media lies, not truth.,

WE DO NOT WANT YOUR LIES, we want truth from TruthDig.

Read his little book, then get the interview, and in one week, we want the Truth of Obama and his CUTS, the BEFORE the campaign, as published and the NOW in front of the nation, as the CURRENT interview truth from TruthDig! (government cuts or military cuts, current truth required)

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By P. T., February 26, 2009 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

A reason for the financial crisis is the huge Wall Street bonuses.  The bonuses gave bankers an incentive to gamble.  If the gambles paid off, the bankers got huge bonuses.  If the gambles did not pay off, the bankers were not penalized (In fact they still got some bonuses.)  So the bankers gambled.  Economists call giving somebody an incentive to do the wrong thing a “perverse incentive.”

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By Eric L. Prentis, February 26, 2009 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

President Obama, let the old loser banks die, start a new bank with the new money, don’t throw good money after bad.

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By truedigger3, February 26, 2009 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

Tony Wicher wrote:
“No, Obama is the steward of the fall of the American empire, its return to democracy, and the establishment in its place of effective institutions of international law”


After all what Obama and his lieutinants said and done, and after all the comments and posts especially
the excellent posts by Folktruther and Maxshields,
after all that, you write such nonsense.
Are you on some sort of a medication that is clouding
your brain by its side effects??!!

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By Tony Wicher, February 26, 2009 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

By Max Shields, February 26 at 8:38 am #

But then O is the steward of empire. We shouldn’t expect different; but to pretend that he is different in ANY way of importance is BULL.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x


No, Obama is the steward of the fall of the American empire, its return to democracy, and the establishment in its place of effective institutions of international law. It is not that Obama is so special, but that the American empire is falling due to internal contradictions and historical necessity. Obama’s job is to pick up the pieces. He’s doing a great job so far.

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By Folktruther, February 26, 2009 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

Way to go, Max.  It is evident that reason can have an effect on conventional, emotional truth and Hopeful identification with authority, including puedo-prgressive authority.  Since the media won’t print or air your arguments (or mine) people have not been exposed to them.  But it is evident they do have an effect, even by people recently dazzled by Obama bullshit and his nice smile.

People will change given that they hear what the media doesn’t tell them.  The question, then, is how to get these arguments to the American people.  And then, to get them to act on them.

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By Max Shields, February 26, 2009 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

Look, for the Dem/Obamaites, I ask, even if you think Obama is making the right gestures away from Bush’s heavy handed corporate policies, total (although some could argue diffently on various fronts) neglect of the pressing environmnental issues, his determination to privatize as much as possible (e.g., social security), and to keep health care clearly privatized in a broken system with 45 million or so un-insured and millions more underinsured, and then the Iraq/Afghanistan wars/occupation, etc. etc; what exactly is the net on any of these problems/issues?  When all this is truly accounted for: Exactly what is Obama doing to significantly change that? I’m not talking about a speech or symbolic gestures, but real root cause change?

I would submit NOTHING at all. Even when he makes some financial gestures that are not targeted to the root causes. His healthcare is still privatization with some subsidization for private insurers and providers. The healthcare system is broke. We know that only single payer, effectively implemented, will correct it. Short of that you can actually make a bad system worse.

The hand he has shown, the hiring of staff and the plans he’s laid out on foreign and domestic policy, tell us what he’s up to. It’s not that he’s not moving fast enough. It’s that he’s moving in the wrong direction if we can first agree on the problems (which are multifaceted). Does he understand that? Apparently he does, but he doesn’t understand it from a systemic perpective. Solutions applied without understanding causes and realizing limitations will exaserbate a spiriling dysfunctional and pathological problem.

He has shown no deep understanding of the problem, simply a political maneuver to appease various factions.

Apologizing for this does NOT solve the problem(s). Excusing him, when the problems are clear, have been articulated by people who understand, is just not acceptable. His judgement is the Question. Who is he “listening to”, “how does he define the problem” and “what will he do to address these very deep systemic problems?”

Producing a trillion dollar stimulus package to sprinkle over the landscape to hope something grows won’t do it. In fact, there’s no sacrifice in that approach, and the problem does not go away - I would further submit that it gets much much worse.

In sum, his solutions as he has thus far laid them out, differ little in substance from his predecessor; and are half-hearted at best. In other words, these plans are not up to the job before us (and him). Minus the comparison of Bush baseline on public speaking, in my book, it’s a border D Minus/F performance of judgment and depth of understanding and approach to a systemic problem.

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By Leefeller, February 26, 2009 at 9:05 am Link to this comment


For what is worth, we may be in more agreement then not. Especially regrading the wars. I have no expertise regarding the economy, though I do have distrust of special interests and their lack of empathy toward the people, all people. 

What was his comment on Social Security about? 

Your last two posts are appreciated, we must always question authority, I would expand on these but do not have time.

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By dihey, February 26, 2009 at 8:51 am Link to this comment


I believe that Mr. Panetta stated yesterday that “harsh interrogation techniques” might be used in extraordinary circumstances but that he would probably not approve these.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

Earlier this month Mr. Panetta stated the following:

“The Obama administration will not prosecute CIA officers who participated in harsh interrogations that critics say crossed the line into torture, CIA Director-nominee Leon Panetta said Friday.

Asked by The Associated Press if that was official policy, Panetta said, “That is the case.”

It was the clearest statement yet on what Panetta and other Democratic officials had only strongly suggested: CIA officers who acted on legal orders from the Bush administration would not be held responsible for those policies”.

That is a clear-cut violation of principles set down during the “Nuremberg Trials”. Mr. Panetta and by implication President Obama intend to violate the well established principle that “I was ordered to do this” does not count as a defense. Essentially all Nazi criminals tried the defense that “Hitler ordered me to do this” which was true in many cases such as the infamous “murder all political commissars of the Red Army which you capture”.

Shame, shame on you Mr. Obama! You have implicitly signaled that foreign “intelligent agents” cannot be sent to Scheveningen or Guantanamo for that matter (as long as it is open) if they torture American citizens (including our soldiers)if their “higher-ups” have ordered them to do that.

So much for Obama’s pious crap during the campaigns. As I have said so often, he is a bag of hot air and little spine. Give me the Israelis any day. They hunted and arrested the torturers and murderers of Jews wherever they lived in the world and brought them to trial in Jerusalem!

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By Max Shields, February 26, 2009 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

The problem with “Purple Girls” comment - though sincere and consistent over the many many months of her devotion to the O phenom, is that the comment DOESN’T GET IT.

Why, because I’ve yet to read a criticism here, and I can speak mostly to my own, that is expecting GRATIFICATION (immediate or otherwise).

If by gratification you mean significant improvement say in the economy; that’s hardly to be expected regardless of agreement or disagreement with O admin. On the other hand, if you mean an end to our warring ways, well that is another story.

If you just take Iraq, and forget about the headlines (remember how these headlines were ready to spin Bush for most of his 8 years) stating the spun line that Obama is getting the US out of Iraq, followed by well not really…he’s simply re-deploying “combat troops” and his 16 month pledge to do even that (mind you this is not an exit of US occupation) is now 19 months and again, the US will have “permanent bases there with 10s of thousands of, yes, troops (all troops are ready for combat) and even more thousands of mercenaries.

NO CHANGE (certainly not a change from where Bush left off). Remember for those who wanted to “believe” the word was, he’s the guy who’s going to get US out of Iraq and war, he’s the “peace” candidate. Well that was never true, but the line was empatically and mindlessly pushed by the Dem progressives (is that an oxymoron?).

We all know about Afghanistan and Pakistan - the renewed front on the “war on terror”. As soon as Obama bought the “war” on terror, he sunk any real change.

So, this is not impatience or desire for gratification, this is the SAME war and occupation those of us who rallied and screamed against.

What we have is a Dem twist to the Repub MO.

The only people who don’t see this are diehard Dem/Obamaites and Republicans. For the Dem/Obamaites, the poor guy just needs a break and he’s the right man for the times. For the Republicans, Obama is a ‘socialist/commie’, whatever.

Both of these pictures have been controlling the American political landscape for the better part of a century. Tic/Tac is what we got in the campaign. Barely any light between McCain/Hillary/Obama except the mythology each camp creates around this faux choice. And so it goes….

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By Inherit The Wind, February 26, 2009 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

Regarding PG’s post, again:

Out of such an otherwise consistent (and predictable) pile of fertilizer it’s nice to see grow one perfect rose.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 26, 2009 at 5:18 am Link to this comment

Purple Girl, February 25 at 11:18 am #

It has become a rather embarassing reality that no matter what this President does (or doesn’t do) he will never live up to the immediate Gratification expectations of the left. Being a ‘lefty’ myself (Kucinich Prim. voter) I find this disturbing and ironic.Is nearly 40 yrs of corruption, deception and sociological Stagnation to be rectified in less than 40 Days?
My Kucinich vote was nothing more than a Protest vote- wanting to assure that our voices would be heard. But knowing full well, it was not one the nation would whole heartedly accept.It would be like waking a sleep walker- detrimental to the sleeper and possibly dangerous for the waker.When I began volunteering for the Obama Campaign I knew I was working with a ‘waker’ who would use slow subtle persausion to guide US way from walking any further on the expressway,hoping to guide US back to where we started. His Election alone got US back on track with ‘Equal Rights for All’.
Do I love all his cabinet choice- No. Do I wish he were a magician who could wave a wand and the last 40 yrs never happened- Yes.
But I refuse to grant any ammunition to the Right to claim ‘See even the Left is pissed’- Not an Inch, not a flinch, not One glitch in the armor. The Right was able to defeat the Dems for 12 yrs with help from Dems to destroy Pres Carter. We lost what should have been a cake walk in ‘00, because of the lefts ‘Sexism’ outrage over a blow job and philandering.
I am an Avid Believer in Questioning Authority, but I will not be so arrogant or humiliate myself by attempting to out think this President and his intentions. That would be as foolish as Jindals willingness to follow Obama with a Response. I would sound as Uninformative, irrelevant,ignorant and ill equipped.Jindal sounded like one of those chewed up ‘50’s Hygiene films from JR High health class, narrated by Mr. Rogers.
No Doubt the Right should sit down and shut up, but the left could use some ‘schooling’ too. Lets stop and learn how ‘moving people to your way of thinking’ is done by a President far more talented and obviiously more persausive than any of Us have been over the last 40 years.


Who are you and what have you done with Purple Girl?

You can’t be her—this is the second major post you put up under her name I agree with 100%!

BTW, it’s a GREAT post advocating real politik and politics being the art of the POSSIBLE!  I especially liked “Not an Inch, not a flinch, not One glitch in the armor.”

Lady, unlike most head-in-the-clouds or tin-foil hatters here, YOU GET IT!

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By Max Shields, February 26, 2009 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

By Leefeller, February 26 at 7:05 am #

This comment, in its near entirety, seemed to be a failed attempt to ‘support’ Obama by making statements about “GOP” comments and the like. I think your missing the entire point. First, I see nothing that would indicate a GOP orientaton to the comments (maybe there’s one in this thread?). Second you seem to think that criticizing the POTUS means we want “him” to “fail”. Now that’s a nifty one. By stating that there is still rendition, that Gitmo hasn’t gone away (and will be replaced because he refuses to frame this terror thing as police action rather than a “war”), and that we will be in Iraq until either the empire collapses or indefinitely with 10s of thousands of troops and massive bases, that we have expanded the war through escalatin and expansion…and that’s just for starts.

As to the economy, he’s just the same ol’ same ol’. The problems with this economy are deep and systemic. Pouring money into it “hoping” something will stick is mindless - but typical. Obama and his advisors prefer this is a redo of the Great Depression. We have problems that a simply nod to will not begin to confront. Nothing creative or new with Obama.

And what’s this with sacrifice? What’s the sacrifice? People lose their jobs? Their homes? How is losing your home a sacrifice. In many cases its criminal. So when people get a pink slip its really a “sacrifice”?

What needs to be understood is that this economy and is consumption and energy extravagance is OVER. That means we DON’T GO SHOPPING to stimulate the economy. But that’s not what Obama is saying, that’s not what a stimulus package is about…it’s not about sacrifice at all.

But then O is the steward of empire. We shouldn’t expect different; but to pretend that he is different in ANY way of importance is BULL.

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By cyrena, February 26, 2009 at 3:19 am Link to this comment

By M.B.S.S., February 25 at 7:12 pm #
“we do not torture.”
small print*  but we retain the right to extraordinary rendition


The print is the same on both of these. Torture is an absolute, and not to be practiced under any circumstances, including the non-existent ticking bomb scenario, which the Dershowitz and other crowd have used for an excuse to ‘legalize’ it.

Extraordinary rendition on the other hand, is a perfectly valid and sometimes useful tool in apprehending international criminals, (particularly former heads of state wanted for war crimes – like Pinochet) and other. In fact, this particular tool (and it is ‘legal’ in a limited sense) is actually designed for people like bin Laden, (if it could be proven that he was responsible for crimes and could not be apprehended any other way) and similar types.
So yes, there is a reason for retaining the right to a process allowed by international law.

Torture on the other hand, has no such purpose.

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By Leefeller, February 26, 2009 at 3:05 am Link to this comment

Now that we know the GOP and others have made their complaints, by caucusing this tread and that Obama is just Bush with a happy face.  I will be sure to buy some shopping carts, for I predict in the future, shopping carts becoming important leverage for negotiating prime space under bridges.

According to these self procalimed very reliable sources, In 40 days Obama has done nothing right, and it is determined by the same people he will do nothing right from now on.(Of course they knew this to be true from day 1)  Seems like Nader should join the GOP and enlighten them in how it should be done, or the GOP could support Nader and enlighten him on why Bush was great, I would love to be at the meeting. 

I remember Gravels attack on the Military complex and the blank look on Obama and Hilliary’s faces. So I would agree with part of the doomsday assessments regrading the imperialism intents.

Wishing for failure does have it’s merits, knowing who the failure wishers are and why they want it to be, would clearly answer the question of their agendas. Failure of the U.S. would be important to many factions inside and outside our borders.  Guess we need to make a list, so we can figure out why they feel the need for such failure?

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By PlanetaryWitness, February 26, 2009 at 1:47 am Link to this comment

The naivete of the people of this country makes me so tired! Do you REALLY believe that torture is not part of the repetoire of our “noble” militants, war mongers, and politicians? Do you not KNOW that two parties still equal one government (two heads, one dragon), regardless of who is elected or selected? Has the past not shown you over and over and over again that absolute power corrupts absolutely? Do you think that the title of USA “entitles” you, or exempts you from the long proven (yet forgotten) truths of humanity, or exempts you of personal responsibility? If YOU (the people) didn’t agree to go to war and kill, there would be no war! If you decided to be responsible with your own actions, you would not STILL need someone you don’t know (who doesn’t know YOU or CARE about you) to decide what is BEST for you and everyone else while conducting their own lives and business in the most etrocious and hideous ways…If you KNEW that planting a seed on a dollar bill did not produce fruit, but that planting it in the earth and CARING for it would, would you still consent to giving up your autonomy for the sake of the ECONOMY? WHAT is the “ECONOMY”, and WHO do you think it serves? YOU? And what about the rest of your brothers and sisters around the world? You DO know we are all brothers and sisters on this planet don’t you? Or are you from another planet?

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By KDelphi, February 26, 2009 at 1:23 am Link to this comment

The last thing the US should worry about right now is the fricking deficit.

I also do not think that it is “extremely fortunate” that we are finally saying, in honesty(? cmon, most people know better!)) that we dont torure—-no civilzed country, does, nor has the death penalty. (We should abolish it.) Can you imagine thinking that we DID torture, in camera, ala Abu Gharib before Dubya?  NOt a big achievement, so far…

If we “arent going to torture”, I would feel awhole lot better if the people who did it so blatently were prosecuted.But, how many neo-libs would be exposed…and renditions stopped

If you are a neo-liberal, you probably loved it.

And will someone tell Pelosi to sit down! lol.

I am glad he is reversing the bush tax cuts (I wish he’d reverse the get out of jail free cards, too). I like Hilda Solis. I think that “
health care insurance reform” is exactly what we dont need, (we need universal care, NOT “insurance”)and, “entitlement reform” just means gutting social security and Medicare. (we certainly need to drop Med Advantage, and, the mandatory brand name drug coverage)Since no one with coverage seems to care much about people who do not recieve it, YOU talk to him about that one!

Saying that “kids dropping out of school” was “letting the uS down’ was silly, and, as I see it,it is the other way around. Our schools suck.We need to rid ourselves of No Childs Behind Left and the voucher system—esp. for religious schools!Lets improve the schools we have, not scatter people!

Yes, it is important for kids to choose the right parents, who dont have to work 80 hrs a week (if they can find work) and can read to them (if they can read) and to spend lots of time with them over dinner (if they have food) Yes, important kids, so go divorce your parents if they are not good for you.

I am tired of “we are all responsible” also. NO, not everyone is—-as far as I can tell, the working classes played by the rules. The poor didnt “speculate in the stock mkt”, but, they still lose everything. There is plenty of blame to go around, but, it should go where it belongs.Saying that Geithner or Summers has “learned a lesson” defies credability.

Our “former self” is unsustainable” and undesirable , as far as I can see. We do not need to be “stronger” we need to be better and more effective. We need to catch up with the rest of the world. We need to decide if we want Empire or a decent life for our citizens.

It is increasingly clear that we cant have both.

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By prole, February 26, 2009 at 1:20 am Link to this comment

“First the positives, which were stunning” - stunningly remiss, that is. “And I am not referring only to” oily Obama’s dismal delivery, which laughably is stilted and disjointed. He couldn’t even get the timing right, starting his lucubration too soon, before the equally dreary Pelosi could call the congressional cabal to order. If the hapless Bush had done the same he’d have been roundly rdiculed by smug ‘progressives’. But that’s of no real significance compared to what was said, or more importantly, what was not said. If “The one truly memorable, historically significant line—unfortunately desperately needed because of the shameful actions of his predecessor—was: ‘… I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States does not torture’”, then it still remains to be proved that potential loopholes won’t be exploited in that “simple declarative sentence”.  In any event, even if showboating Obama had been defeated in the election, McCain could have stood there and said the exact same thing, as he was spearheading the opposition to torture in congress contrary to Bush’s dastardly desires, before Obama jumped on the bandwagon.  Unfortunately, neither McCain nor Obama - who have a lot of other things in common, too - could stand there and “say without exception or equivocation” that America’s favorite client states do not torture. In fact, the U.S.‘s leading foreign aid recipients, Israel, Egypt, Columbia, Mexico, Turkey, Pakistan and others all make widespread use of torture. Blustery Barack apparently isn’t troubled enough by torture to even make mention of that, let alone end all aid to countries that practice it. And that’s not the only criminal conduct that two-faced Obama failed to mention. Both before and after the inauguration moral scum Obama has maintained a rigid self-imposed silence on Gaza, while the terrorist Jewish State runs riot. That alone justifies my not voting for the man, no matter my agreements with him. And now with AIPAC stooge Obama’s political soulmate Netanyahu in power, the tortue and terror in Palestine should mushroom, without a peep from the new chickenhawk president; who will no doubt be up to his elbows in gore in Afghanistan, himself. Oh yes, “We are lucky to have Barack Obama as president” alright - if “we” are an investment banker or a zionist torturer. Or a pandering ‘progressive’ pundit. But maybe “we” should “leave aside” all that too, just like with the noxious Larry Summers.  And therby square the circle and keep faith in our ‘progressive’ false messiah, Bulls**t Barack. Just let “enthralled” partisans keep telling you “he was great”. If you repeat it often enough, you may even start to believe it, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

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By elizabethe, February 26, 2009 at 1:10 am Link to this comment


He said that well before the election!  In a videotaped speech before a audience that videotape was posted on his website.

So, to me you, Mr. Sheer, are being ENTIRELY disingenuous, thinking you can imbue Obama with the known assumptions of the unknowing american majority who hears only catch words…THANKS TO THE LIKES OF YOU, MR. SHEER….amazing….hope, change, and peace.

Notably the latest post seen here was aghast at the term lucky, and I share the view…and I believe the poster may be the same as me in his disgust that “Americans do not torture” as if that is an accomplishment…IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE A STANDARD, and WE HATED BUSH, and I HATE OBAMA, maybe this poster above thinks the comment and the sarcasm belong to your ridiculous lead and horrific statement of “lucky” and historic achievement that Americans do not torture….this is supposed to be a NORM, not a lucky event thanks to Obama, and indeed, it is not thanks to Obama, it is required!!!!!

McCain and Congress and the rest of them do not get it, and I would say the media is the henchmen of the horrific military which you now pretend you will get Obama to cut….when he wanted to increase the spending for the military and send in troops, how disingenuous can you get, you want him to be innocent of his crime, his intentions…as if they never existed…his intentions certainly did, and I wondered HOW the media was so handy at glossing over Obama’s increased military intentions…not noticed by the public…and I was told explicitly by a campaigner, a young woman, “that is NOT what we campaigned for”  I know what she campaigned for—the empty vessel and the three hype catch words and the NO CONTEST, GIVE HIM THE VILLAINS TYRANNY AGAINST PROPER DEMOCRACY…MAKE THE DEMOCRATS THE WIN

So, I suggest Mr. Sheer, as Editor of this site, and presumably a VERY ABLE REPORTER, that you directly interview Obama, and ask him specifically ABOUT THE CUTS you missed hearing about!!!!!!  ASK HIM…and get back to us.

Tell him one poster said (you can name me if you want to, Elizabeth Ellis, an independent who claims the election is voter fraud of misinformed voters at a majority level and that there is no two party rule, and that there is a majority of non-partisan voters at over 100 million against the 62 million combined two parties registered voters…thus there was no excuse for the insistence of ONLY TWO viable choices when there were SIX on the majority of ballots in the 50 states.  FOUR challengers, and one very MAJOR challenge as an independent with a strong and credible track record in the public interest that Obama cannot begin to match, but oh yes, as the leader of the corrupt democrat party, he should have to debate Nader, oh yes!

Mr. Sheer, did you review the campaign website before the election for Obama where he and Joe Biden described the stimulus package…dependent upon oil interests, right there on the site…OH YES, that young woman would say, “That is not what we campaigned for”  I would agree, again the truth was she campaigned for the anti-democracy party and media rule.

Can you undo the media lies?

Get the truth of Obama’s agenda before the nation, now not later!!!????

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By CJ, February 26, 2009 at 12:00 am Link to this comment

Well, we’re lucky (kinda) insofar as Barack Obama is better than George W. Bush, but that’s not saying a whole lot.

Yes, it’s a good thing the U.S. supposedly no longer torturers, but that’s a little like saying that while the U.S. doesn’t nuke it’s otherwise okay with “collateral damage.”

No, what we endured was D-grade talk, as reps of ruling elite carried on in tradition of mutual self-congratulations. Obama has no serious plan for anything, though he’s throwing lots of money around.

He has no intention of presenting Congress with a single-payer healthcare plan, which, as Stiglitz noted this morning on Goodman’s program, he’s (reluctantly) concluded would be the way to go.

Obama is looking more and more to be fast talker. So was Kennedy, who people forget authorized Bay of Pigs and then advisors to Vietnam. Kennedy was hawk, as is Obama.

I heard of how America will be renewed, restored to former self. Which former self? Just before Bush and economic collapse? Back when Clinton balanced the budget? Which is all these people seem to be concerned for. Even Lou Dobbs speaks for them.

Meanwhile, old guard dressed up as new guard, all supposedly elected by Hip-Hop generation. Is this all they had in mind?

Now, withdrawal from Iraq is to be delayed. I wrote long ago that at most only two months would be required to withdraw from Iraq, from where—as it happens—Iraqis would have us (and teensy coalition contingent) depart as soon as possible. Now, 19 months, meaning more likely two more years at least. Meaning 2011, eight years after Shock & Awe. And then with 50,000 troops remaining—just in case of what? WMD?

THAT is idiocy, indeed worse than idiocy insofar as invitation to trouble.

STILL no mention of reality that has become empire, or stab at empire. Not by Obama, certainly not by big media, as truth remains unspoken.

Standard lines is all that were delivered up, complete with standard standing ovations on the part of government elite, which, by the way, has demonstrated no willingness to cut their own pay, after having legistlated deregulation in the cause of capitalist adventurism. (Pay boosts for members of Congress and others in government are invariably approved without also granting small business yet another tax break.)

What a fraud. Make that an F, for that fraud and for failure, to deliver up more than cheap talk that once again appealed only to indoctrinated nationalist impulse.

Obama plans to halve debt. We got noxious gas in the form of promises, promises. When the best economists agree that at least two-to-three times the stimulus is necessary.

But okay, A for form, as he’s not bad talker, and likable fellow. But F for content. Not just for him, but for all present at chamber, as they continue to fail so miserably at addressing exactly what they hypocritically claim is their principle concern. Forever trying to have it both ways: insurance companies AND reasonably priced healthcare; defense industry AND peace (War AND Peace); debt AND surplus; the maintenance of free-market capitalism AND democracy. Blatant contradiction never occurs to indoctrinated minds of which Tom Paine complained. (Paine is never cited.)

What I heard was the planned continuation of wealth for the few at the expense of poverty for the many.

Were Obama serious he’d have talked of ways by which to end waging war (by various means) and to redistribute wealth downward, by which means economic problem would be instantly solved. Albeit, at the expense of those attendant at chamber last night, among other capitalist extremists attendant elsewhere.

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By Paul, February 25, 2009 at 10:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What you are smoking Mr. Scheer? The speech was full of lies starting from who invented the automobile and finishing “we will not bail out irresponsible home owners and speculators”. Actually the automobile was invented in Germany and according to Mr. Bernanke, we will bail out speculators. And by the way our troops will stay in Iraq as far as anybody can see and Obama’s military budget this year without war spending will be bigger than in previous. And social security trust fund will be looted by Mr. “Hope”.

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By Max Shields, February 25, 2009 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

Little something from T. Jefferson.

Against Standing Armies
“There are instruments so dangerous to the rights of the nation and which place them so totally at the mercy of their governors that those governors, whether legislative or executive, should be restrained from keeping such instruments on foot but in well-defined cases. Such an instrument is a standing army.”—Thomas Jefferson to David Humphreys, 1789. ME 7:323

“I do not like [in the new Federal Constitution] the omission of a Bill of Rights providing clearly and without the aid of sophisms for… protection against standing armies.”—Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. ME 6:387

“Nor is it conceived needful or safe that a standing army should be kept up in time of peace for [defense against invasion].”—Thomas Jefferson: 1st Annual Message, 1801. ME 3:334

“Standing armies [are] inconsistent with [a people’s] freedom and subversive of their quiet.”—Thomas Jefferson: Reply to Lord North’s Proposition, 1775. Papers 1:231

“The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force.”—Thomas Jefferson to Chandler Price, 1807. ME 11:160

“A distinction between the civil and military [is one] which it would be for the good of the whole to obliterate as soon as possible.”—Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786. ME 17:90

“It is nonsense to talk of regulars. They are not to be had among a people so easy and happy at home as ours. We might as well rely on calling down an army of angels from heaven.”—Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1814. ME 14:207

“There shall be no standing army but in time of actual war.”—Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776. Papers 1:363

“The Greeks and Romans had no standing armies, yet they defended themselves. The Greeks by their laws, and the Romans by the spirit of their people, took care to put into the hands of their rulers no such engine of oppression as a standing army. Their system was to make every man a soldier and oblige him to repair to the standard of his country whenever that was reared. This made them invincible; and the same remedy will make us so.”—Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1814. ME 14:184

“Bonaparte… transferred the destinies of the republic from the civil to the military arm. Some will use this as a lesson against the practicability of republican government. I read it as a lesson against the danger of standing armies.”—Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Adams, 1800. ME 10:154

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By Max Shields, February 25, 2009 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment


I always mean what I say and what I say is thoroughly and completely documented. If you don’t get it and still think your 4th grade reader was the beginning and end of US history…happy dreams.

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By FiftyGigs, February 25, 2009 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment

“Can we get this much right - The United States of America is an Imperial Empire.”

Do you mean according to your predetermination that it is?


The United States of America is a global power where a unique political philosophy formed and has flourished for over 200 years. The singular notion that all people are created equal, and possess in their being rights which are unalienable and are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

These principles are not subject to transfer or repudiation, even if Putin doesn’t like it. They are not optional for other countries. They are not principles we can refute and pretend are just ours.

As such, we Americans affirm the unalienable rights of all human beings on earth.

One man’s imperialism as an extension of authority is another man’s imperialism as an extension of liberty.

An isolationist USA cannot be free.

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace. A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.” George Washington, First State of the Union address.

Granted, he was articulate. Guess he was just pullin’ the wool over people’s eyes too, huh.

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By Max Shields, February 25, 2009 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment

Can we get this much right - The United States of America is an Imperial Empire.

Scheer has probably made such statements as well as number of other commentators here.

So, we have a new term limited emperor - Barack Obama. He stands on a podium looking down at his subjects and because he’s clear, articulate and says somethings to appease his “subjects” YOU ALL GENUFLECT.

Robert Scheer should know this HE’S A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT (and I’m talking about Scheer, not Obama who is doing PRECISELY WHAT HE SAID HE WAS GOING TO DO!)

No Mr. Scheer uses his “progressive” creds to give this new Emperor an A MINUS. Did Scheer loose his mind? Or does he pick and chose when to use it? I suspect the latter.

Obama is a Democrat and as such is providing the Democratic version of the Republican version of Empire. He’s out to save the (Wall Street/Bankers) NO matter the nods to you Mr. Scheer. In the end the MONEY goes to the BANKSTERS.

Now you say that, but you give Emperor Obama an A MINUS!!!

And you state unequivocally, THAT WE ARE SO LUCKY TO HAVE TO HAVE OBAMA for Emperor (president)!!!

Get off it. You then talk about Iraq and Afghanistan and trillion dollar military industrial budget and several other “mis-steps” that don’t quite give him a A or A+.

Scheer, I’m calling you out. There are posters on this board that I don’t call out Eugene, EJ, but these are your garden MSM mouth pieces.

Scheer, you aren’t an MSM kiss-up. You KNOW BETTER. And that’s why I’m calling you out…

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By Allan Gurfinkle, February 25, 2009 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You should have seen Geithner on the Lehrer(sp?) report ...... he excoriated the bankers ... who in his words have lost the trust of the nation and the world .... Geithner was appalled, appalled I tell you…. he as we all know has spent his life in ‘public service’ ... and will now save us from the predations of the awful bankers .....  Thank heavens, all praise to Obama.

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By dr wu, February 25, 2009 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

Wise up folks, see Obama for what he is: a cold war/hot war centrist “liberal” who has a “jones” for invading Afghanistan. Last night he made a pitch for a new American century. (i.e. we must rule the world)! This does not bode well. See below:

What? the American Century Part II? Yes, Obama said it last night, (“The only way this century will be another American century is if we confront at last the price of our dependence on oil and the high cost of healthcare; the schools that aren’t preparing our children and the mountain of debt they stand to inherit.”) Here he was following up on Henry Luce’s claim that the 20th century was the American one. Add to that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s notion of America as “the indispensable nation.” Then go back in time to the Puritan idea that we are chosen people that will bring light unto the world and that we are a city upon a hill for all to see, a beacon of goodness. And don’t forget the Project for the New American Century which promoted American global leadership. Fundamental to the PNAC was the view that “American leadership is both good for America and good for the world” and support for “a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity.

Can this be? Is numero uno in our future?

No doubt, we were a can-do country during the 20th century –climbing out of the depression, winning the war, helping our friends with the Marshall Plan and surpassing Great Britain as the major economic and military powerhouse. But we suffered during the Bush years, with the Iraq war debacle, Guantanamo, the Katrina Debacle, the Wall Street melt-down.

Are there still customers for Brand America? Probably not and God seems to be looking at us with a jaundiced eye, and so maybe now’s the time to became a caring, peaceful country like Sweden, or Norway. Mixed economies with great social services. And perhaps a new UN , minus the likes of John Bolton, can become the new city upon the hill.

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By altlic, February 25, 2009 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

Purple Girl - you go girl!

who do we appreciate
Purple Girl!

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By felicity, February 25, 2009 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

Max - the eight years referred to the stats.  As far as the military-industrial complex goes, it’s far more than 60 years - more like millenia.

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By blogdog, February 25, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

as so many cite, and others pointedly ignore…the POTUS is saying one thing and doing another on virtually every issue of importance

as so many predicted, and others dismissed….this POTUS is playing out the role of a Manchurian Candidate, hand-picked to run Left Cover for the continued advance of the New World Oligarcy (NWO) agenda

of course many, as Mr. Scheer regularly does, dismiss any of this as “wacko conspiracy theory.” — sure, grasp the red herring of “incompetence” and the limited hangout of plain old “greed,” by minor-league, quick-bucks, scammers - a “perfect storm” of coincidences - or trash any and all notions of a global conspiracy of finance oligarchs, by citing any of the plethora of cult-like, Cassandra survivalists, ranting over mark-of-the-beast-Bohemia-Grove-Illuminatti connections…well, that takes care of that…one of the easiest disinfo. ops ever run

Note:  Though one significant case is moving forward — Harlyn Geronimo, a 61-year-old sculptor and Vietnam veteran, filed a federal lawsuit in Washington, D.C., Tuesday seeking to claim the remains of his great-grandfather, who was buried at the Apache Prisoner of War Cemetery at Fort Sill, Okla., in 1909.

It has long been rumored that several of Yale’s “Bonesmen,” including, by one account, Prescott Bush, father of one Bush president and grandfather of the other, robbed Geronimo’s grave and brought back his skull and femurs, and his horse’s bit and saddle horn, to the Tomb.

A 1918 letter, found buried in the Yale archives by a writer three years ago, says as much, but one tribal leader and others who have studied the matter reiterated Wednesday that they don’t believe it was Geronimo’s grave that was disturbed. Old Prescott, grandfather of the man who announced, “Mission Accomplished,” stole the wrong bones…that Bush family “incompetence gene” again — hell, maybe it is all just “incompetence” — now that proves I’m no “conspiracy theorist,” I only believe the conspiracies that are fact, and I’d love nothing better than to see the Skull and Bones Society served with a Search Warrant, hammered out to the letter of the law and executed by a US Marshal; just as I’d like to see one served to have produced in a court of law, for inspection by certified documents experts, the original birth certificate of President Barak Obama. If neither has anything to hide, why not just clear the air and be done with it, OK?,0,4370368.story

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By M.B.S.S., February 25, 2009 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

“we do not torture.”

small print*  but we retain the right to extraordinary rendition

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By Hope Less, February 25, 2009 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The critical test for Obama will be to break that incestuous circle of influence—particularly the clout of the bankers and the war profiteers and the other top lobbies that pay off both parties—and put the public interest first.”

Don’t hold your breath!

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By Max Shields, February 25, 2009 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment


8 years!!!? Another jokster. The military industrial complex as we’ve come to know it is over 60 years old.

Corporatism started big time in the US in the mid-19th Century.

But as far as O doing anything about them - hell no. I don’t expect HIM to do anything about it. I expect some folks to start looking behind the curtain on this TRUTHdig board to a little thing called critical thinking.

Instead of making excuses begin to ask WHY? simple question can get you more TRUTH than A- with a touch of whatever Mr. Scheer wants to throw in for good measure. What’s the point of telling people here how “lucky” we are to have this Obama. It might as well be Bill Clinton or Hillary for that matter.

Must be some Hillary fans out there just itching to put a little burst in this Obama bubble.

But seriously, watch what Obama DOES, not what he says in a meeting tailored for a little of this and a little of that. We all know he’s not Bush when it comes to giving a speech. He can equivocate and provide the moment of nods here and there, without ever committing to anything that YOU think he is all about.

He’s got that down. He knows how to keep the “left” flank in line. He has a history ever since his college days. Very reasonable. And that will get us 20 years of unreasonable quaqmire war in Afghanistan.

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By Max Shields, February 25, 2009 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

Tony Wicher,
More of your joking ways.

Big pol talk big politics, and one dare not question because what do critics know, they want Obama to just end the occupation of Iraq and pull out of Afghanistan. Foolish children…what do they know, Tony…not like wise Tony. He’s been there, done that and all growd up.

“those foolish idealogs” Tony so wise you don’t know which way is up or down. Reasonable…that’s a Dick Cheney line. You remember when your other half called everyone who wanted out of Iraq and Afghanistan, just a bunch of fringe unreasonable loonies who don’t UNDERSTAND the reality we’re facing, the threats and the real stuff of politics.

Tony, you’ve become Cheney’s new alter-ego.

I like what Zinn once said, Our job is not to be political calculators but to be aggrivators, to push and push and to question, and criticize, and demand. That’s our jobs as citizens!! Not to be advocates for the establishment.

You’re an Obamaite, Tony. You toss in a little “progressive” talk but in reality you like the neoliberal mantra and Obama has always been your guy, because you see in him what David, neocon/fascist, sees in O - you see a way to be at war and have the “peaceniks” all fall in line silently.

Seeming more and more like a bunch of sheeple chumps.

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By angriest hippie, February 25, 2009 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes.  Finesse and nuance!  That’s the ticket.
Now get me that morphine drip.

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By felicity, February 25, 2009 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

It should be noted that Obama faces formidable forces in the corporate world and Congress (Republican and Democrat) who will not look kindly on - and thus work prodigiously - to thwart any attempt by him to make any real cuts into the life-style they’ve been enjoying for years.

Finesse and nuance are the tools called for until, hopefully, they end up defeated without knowing what hit them.

Their (Congress not excluded) handiwork during the last 8 years has managed to increase our health-care costs by 87 percent: increased the uninsured among us by 19 percent:  increased the families in poverty by 19 percent: reduced median household income by 1 percent AND here’s the kicker corporate profits have increased by a whopping 68 percent. 

It took eight years to set up that disgusting reality, it’ll take more than 40 days to tear it down.

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By Leefeller, February 25, 2009 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

Purple girl good post, my concerns are real also. 40 days and 40 nights, the chicken little crowd is always ready to do their their chicken dance routine.  Will Obama attempt to clean up 40 years and 40 nights of trickle-down, free for all gone wild at the top economics, I do not know? I will wait and see, lets give him 41 days and nights.

Hearing the same tired old rehashed verbiage:
“I told you so” crowd. ! “All you Obamaites are lemmings”  “We are doomed the sky is falling because Obmama is the same old business as usual”.  Wishful thinking from sour grapes, losers, you may have to wait a bit longer for the sky to fall, if you are lucky it will be sooner than later! 

Predictions of demise seem somewhat premature, maybe you clowns can do something to speed it up!

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By Tony Wicher, February 25, 2009 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

By SteveK9, February 25 at 11:27 am #

Give the guy a break.  Taking on the military-industrial complex (thanks Eisenhower) will happen in due course, but that will be a multi-year struggle.  It will be made more effective by ratcheting down tensions in foreign affairs, something else that will take time, but I believe Obama will accomplish.

    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Hey, Steve, this sounds very sensible to me. Obama has to take on the MIC to accomplish both his economic and foreign policy objectives, but it isn’t easy to take on the most powerful bureaucracy in the world with the world’s biggest budget, with sociopathic criminals buried deep in our intelligence agencies and armed forces. He needs all the help he can get, not the kind of negative, non-constructive attacks we constantly hear from Folktruther and Shields.  Obama is the best president we can hope to get. We should be backing him against the MIC, not opposing him for being part of the MIC. What are Shields and Folktruther trying to do, drive him into their arms? Of course they think he’s already there, so what can you do? They as ideologically far from contact with political reality as the Republican Party sounds these days.

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By Max Shields, February 25, 2009 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment


Give the “guy a break”!!! You’re joking right. That’s what the Republicans were asking you for 8 years….just give the guy a break…can’t a guy get a break here. I coulda been a contenda, but I just never got a break….

How’s it feel to be on the same page with David Horowitz the exteme right-wing neocon, who find Obama’s policies very much to his liking…

Obama’s worked real hard to get folks like David on his side…

Try this give me a break….

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By Jason!!, February 25, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Its unanimous then.

Sheer is a paid elitist operative attempting to use the resources of this site to manipulate his followers.

Shame on you. lol

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By SteveK9, February 25, 2009 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

Give the guy a break.  Taking on the military-industrial complex (thanks Eisenhower) will happen in due course, but that will be a multi-year struggle.  It will be made more effective by ratcheting down tensions in foreign affairs, something else that will take time, but I believe Obama will accomplish.

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By marcus medler, February 25, 2009 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This was an excellent analysis. I applaud the comparison of one weapon, yes just one weapon, system with the same cost for energy independence. You are correct, the crunch and the ouches and the possible backlash will occur when he starts on the war mongers and weapon hogs and their support system. If he is to be successful, he must turn these tax hounds onto a new bone. A good one for all would be energy independence, a new transportation system, universal health care and free education. Ouch , does seem sort of like Germany, France and all of the other grown ups. I am afraid most Americans still think like kids in diapers.

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By Max Shields, February 25, 2009 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment


Once “progressives” like Sheer drink the Obama coolaid its all about A- / B+ crap.

The TRUTH (as you rightly put it) needs to DUG into, Sheer says that we’ve got this little problem with the A- speech, the trillion dollar sacred lamb called - The Military Industrial Complex. Just a tiny problem, that keeps you from a perfect A big O.

Than Sheer talks about this little bitsy thing called the escalation of war into Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s just keeping him ever so slight away from a straight A (or even an A+). We’re GETTING WARM (I can feel the temperature rising OOOOOBBBBBAAAAAMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAA; higher and higher and higher.

So, A minus Sheer. That’s some friggn score card you have it’s on a curve using that last idiot to occupy the White House as the baseline for improvement - A minus. Aren’t we soooooo lucky to have our very own Barack Obama. Sheer is that why you went to war to have a Prez like Obama - you did go to war, Bob, Right? or am I confusing you with someone else, who went to war for the US of A to have the best friggn war machine run by the new and historically improved prsident. time he’ll do better…as O smiles that broad smile of his…like he’s looking at you Sheer…making sure that alls well on his left flank while he does the business for the right.

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By Folktruther, February 25, 2009 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

Scheer’s comment that he was impressed by Obama’s “we do not torture” claim is disgusting.  He knows as well as the rest of us that Obama is continuing the Bushite policy of torture while stating “we do not torture.”  Only one of the Obamanations that is being promoted.

It is the sanitizing of the murderous hypocracy of the powerful by the pseudo-progressive truthers that has deluded the American population to support policies that is driving us into the ground. The American people cannot mobilize to defend themselves as long as the progressive mass media ignores plans like Obama’s to Strengthen social security by guting it.

The American people must develop their own truth media and truth sources, since most likely the US will increasingly restrict the Internet.  We have been gaslighted, as psychologists are now calling it, by delusive rhetoric of the learned and mass media to identify with our own oppression. 

What is most necessary is to de-Educated and De-Inform the American population of the delusive truth and barbaric value assertions that have indoctrinated us.  Including the intelligent and highly articulate bullshit of Obama’s speech.

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By Max Shields, February 25, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

Obama is an example of just how far to the right this country has moved.

The tipical “liberal” verdict is Obama is “refreshing” after 8 years of Bush. It sounds like the “Perfect Storm” when the crew thinks they’ve seen the worst and they just to get passed this last little “wave”.

Just because the North American continent will be around for many years, doesn’t mean this war machine is not down for the count.

Someone commented that Obama has no clue about the monetary system. Whether he does or not, he’s doing nothing to deal with one of the central issues head on.

For the obamaheads, this is NOT about perfection; it isn’t about personal principles, it’s about the fundamentals that are sinking and the lemmings that are following. This has been a long emergency, and it is now here like NEVER before. Platitudes may make some think the good ship empire lollypop is just facing another storm, but this aint simply another storm.

The sooner we begin to demand a hard look at the fundamentals, the consumption Obama is looking to recover “back to”, the wars that propel this economy into endless war, the continued war on terror and the use of torture under this administration.

Make no mistake, obama is a war president, owned by the people who paid the bills for a two year marketing campaign. And their looking to get their money’s worth. He just needs to keep some of thos on here silent. And he’s doing that just like Clinton did. No noice on the escalation into Afghanistan or Pakistan and the resulting killing of children and civilians. Total silence - Obamaites are just another flavor of the greed and selfishness that continues to be the trade mark of a country that long ago took a hard right turn.

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By AT, February 25, 2009 at 11:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you again Bob. It reminds me of the days of Rampart.

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By Alex, February 25, 2009 at 11:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rhetoric is the art of using language as a means to persuade. That is all we got last night, nicely done, but still, that’s not going to save us, no matter how eloquently is was put.

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By Tom Semioli, February 25, 2009 at 11:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Politics? Government? - it’s all showbiz, as last night’s “speech” proved once again.

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By sns, February 25, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

a B+ for more rhetoric and not much else…yet?

either Obama does not recognize that the real issue is structural or he just wants to throw good money after bad to help float those that contributed to our financial woes.

nationalize the banks barry. that means a SPECIFIC plan. get rid of the zombie banks. address the structural issues and the morphing way of american life. but you can’t do that. because if you did, then the banks that would fold would carry bed bonds which were speculative and would invoke lawsuits by said bond bondholders which would decimate the banking industry since said bonds were issues in bad faith on bad loans.

so we shall, with mellifluous rhetoric, describe all the ways to throw good money at bad and hope to hell the rest of the world is in worst dire straights so that our mighty dollar does not collapse in the meantime.

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By Jason!!, February 25, 2009 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Why is this a world economic crisis????

“We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.” David Rockefeller Baden-Baden, Germany 1991

Pay careful attention to the “World Bankers” role…

They own you and you let them becuase as Obama tells it- the world revolves around credit. scamed!

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By Jimmy James, February 25, 2009 at 10:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The center of the financial world is in the process of transferring itself to Saudi. We have lost the high ground and our economy is in shambles. Our natural resources are limited and our labor costs are too high for investment. Saudi sees the end of their oil dominance (peak oil) and wants to maintain dominance via currency. They were in the process of engineering the collapse of the US/UK economy (price per barrel)and acquiring all US companies essential to this goal on the cheap. This is a long term plan temporarily interrupted by Obama’s election. Will they pick it up later or intercede to ensure the plan’s success. Isn’t it funny how rebublicans scream about taxes not even levied and said nothing about the high cost of gasoline? The think tank that established the tax “talking point” for the republicans was probaly funded by big oil and a part of the long term strategy of the oil kings.

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By Jason!!, February 25, 2009 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

I am amazed at the lack of monetary understanding of our population. Obama said last night that the problem is credit has dried up. He is right but he is only supporting the banking position.

Lets put it in simplistic terms:

Credit does not come from direct holdings of a bank. In other words, if a bank has 100 dollars it does not mean that is their total lending ability.

Credit comes from a fractional monetary system. In other words, a bank in the US can have a 1 to 10 ratio so if they have 100 dollars, they are actually able to lend 1000 x 10.

When a bank loans 1000 dollars against the 100 in holdings, they get to realize the full amount plus interest. In other words, their deposit on the same 100 would increase to 100 + 1000 + interest X 10. No one has the money, it was simply invented based on your promise to repay the loan. Banks then sell and trade this monopoly “money”.

The banking system creates 100,000 off the original 100 dollars. Things fall apart when you either have a run on the banks (large deposit withdraws) or the loans go bad. When the loans go bad, the money “created” from it also evaporates and that can run into the millions on a single home loan.

Since the 30’s our economic system has operated on this scam and all Obama’s plan does is extend the same problems we had with it. In order for our system to survive, saps like you have to continue taking out loans to create more money. His plan has nothing – I repeat NOTHING – to do with stabilizing the economic failures of the current system. He is offsetting the bank losses with your tax dollars so the banks can start anew with new loans and more interest.

Its one big scam on the taxpayer, homeowners and the government continues it culpability in it. They talk in vague terms hoping you do not catch on to what is happening. Wake up- your getting ripped off!!!!!!!!!!!

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By Louise, February 25, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

President Obama did not give a long and detailed account of the reasons for our current economic crisis. He did not offer the score at the end of the still in play game. Most folks are not that dumb.

What he did do was lay out as simply as possible, what he has done to date. Now, had he given a long and detailed account of why we are here, and offered a detailed plan on how to change course, the majority of the audience including Congress, would not have understood a word he said. Some may have even fallen asleep! After all, nobody understood a word Geithner said a couple of weeks ago.

Instead, what the president did was offer confidence that the problems were recognized and that he had confidence the problems would be solved. And on that point I give him an A+. Look at how much he has managed to accomplish in a few short weeks! Ticking off those accomplishments, or actions, or planned actions is really all one can do when speaking to people who think everything should be laid out in easy bite sized bits, readily consumed and quickly satisfying.

Maybe the problem here is we are not accustomed to having a president who speaks honestly, in simple language. I mean simple language that actually makes sense! Maybe we have already been spoiled by the presence of a leader who makes time in every day to actually work on real problems, and actually communicate with the folks who elected him. And even those who didn’t.

Bush is gone. And so are the days of a nonplussed media trying desperately to make sense out of the nonsensical. Just tell it like it is can be a real challenge when you’ve spent eight years telling it like it isn’t.

Last night we didn’t have to hang on every word, wondering what the babbler was babbling about. Last night we didn’t feel our toenails curling up into our feet. Last night we didn’t get a knot in our stomach or hear about horror and terror. Last night was not an exercise in down is up and dumb is smart and the sky is falling, so go shopping.

No, the presidents speech last night was simply great, and greatly simple! Delivered with ease and easily understood. How refreshing is that?

I say breath deeply and enjoy the moment.

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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, February 25, 2009 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

The military-industrial complex was behind 9/11. Really confronting the military-industrial complex means reopening the investigation into 9/11. As long as the facts of 9/11 are not exposed there can be no real confrontation.

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By BobZ, February 25, 2009 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

Last night’s speech by Barack Obama was yet one more reminder of why so many of us volunteered last year to help him get elected. What a pleasure it was to have a president who tells the truth and lays it on the line for the American people. Not only did he repudiate torture but he repudiated Wall Street for exacerbating the economic crisis we find ourselves in. He also challenged all of us as American’s to step up to the plate and help our country out in its time of need. When did President Bush call on us to do anything except go out and shop? Change is finally here and not a moment too soon.

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By angriest hippie, February 25, 2009 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To the “United States does not torture” line, Obama might have added: “we outsource that to other nations.”

My wife and I enjoyed the Hope a Dope speech in our matching Hello Kitty jammies and slippers, with milk and cookies.  A morphine drip would have made our cozy hour complete.

Everything’s gonna be all right.  Decisive steps are being taken.  No halfway, half baked, Clintonesque window dressing here.  Nope.  No, sir!

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By RdV, February 25, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

So, the “prosperty is right around the corner” crowd demanded that Obama paint a happy face on everything and believe that the paltry bone thrown in terms of tax cuts would insure a chicken in every pot.
  I’d rather have a leader tell it like it is—and not frame it as shared responsibility-suggesting high school dropouts (welfare mothers anyone?) were an intolerable drain—unless they offer themselves up as cannon fodder- but condemning the crooks on Wall Street would be “too angry”.
  Now, the dutiful boy, backtracks—promising to withdraw from Iraq only to escalate in Afghanistan. Hey, here’s an obvious way to save some major bucks—pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan completely.
  Sooner or later, Obama will fall on his face—the charade can only last so long because we are going down. We are going down.

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By mjt01, February 25, 2009 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

Purple Girl,

For some issues change must by its nature be slow. One can not reverse the course of a tanker in ten minutes. The economy is one of those, and there are many others.

But there are other issues.  Issues which go to the very core of the meaning of our nation.  Issues which can be changed in a day with an executive order. We can outlaw renditions. We can stop hiding behind the State Secrets, especially when the rest of the world knows most of what happened anyway. The recent application of the States Secret Privilege was not ignoring the elephant in the living room, it was ignoring the brontosaurus in the shower stall.

One can negotiate how a stimulus should be applied, and still be an ethical person. A president can argue for differing applications of tax cuts—I might disagree, possible vehemently, but the president would not be displaying immoral or illegal behavior.

But to support rendition, torture, the opacity of government, the lack of responsibility in government, the violation of the Constitution, and more—these are immoral, unethical and illegal. These are not just illegal, they are fundamental core mistakes which demonstrate that demonstrate the inner values of Obama.

We are not getting what we were promised. Transparent government is good government. Obama is putting additional layers of obscurity over the crimes that need exposure.

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, February 25, 2009 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

It has become a rather embarassing reality that no matter what this President does (or doesn’t do) he will never live up to the immediate Gratification expectations of the left. Being a ‘lefty’ myself (Kucinich Prim. voter) I find this disturbing and ironic.Is nearly 40 yrs of corruption, deception and sociological Stagnation to be rectified in less than 40 Days?
My Kucinich vote was nothing more than a Protest vote- wanting to assure that our voices would be heard. But knowing full well, it was not one the nation would whole heartedly accept.It would be like waking a sleep walker- detrimental to the sleeper and possibly dangerous for the waker.When I began volunteering for the Obama Campaign I knew I was working with a ‘waker’ who would use slow subtle persausion to guide US way from walking any further on the expressway,hoping to guide US back to where we started. His Election alone got US back on track with ‘Equal Rights for All’.
Do I love all his cabinet choice- No. Do I wish he were a magician who could wave a wand and the last 40 yrs never happened- Yes.
But I refuse to grant any ammunition to the Right to claim ‘See even the Left is pissed’- Not an Inch, not a flinch, not One glitch in the armor. The Right was able to defeat the Dems for 12 yrs with help from Dems to destroy Pres Carter. We lost what should have been a cake walk in ‘00, because of the lefts ‘Sexism’ outrage over a blow job and philandering.
I am an Avid Believer in Questioning Authority, but I will not be so arrogant or humiliate myself by attempting to out think this President and his intentions. That would be as foolish as Jindals willingness to follow Obama with a Response. I would sound as Uninformative, irrelevant,ignorant and ill equipped.Jindal sounded like one of those chewed up ‘50’s Hygiene films from JR High health class, narrated by Mr. Rogers.
No Doubt the Right should sit down and shut up, but the left could use some ‘schooling’ too. Lets stop and learn how ‘moving people to your way of thinking’ is done by a President far more talented and obviiously more persausive than any of Us have been over the last 40 years.

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By mjt01, February 25, 2009 at 7:18 am Link to this comment


It was particularly galling to suffer the excesses of Bush43 when he spoke as if he were an imbecile. But that was just a matter of ego, not one of final effect.

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By LHO39, February 25, 2009 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

Recall that Bush also said that the US does not torture. Talk is cheap but some talk is more valuable than others. We will need to see how things evolve. Sadly some beats go on.

The comment made here that we are lucky that McCain and Palin are NOT in charge is magnificent.

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By mjt01, February 25, 2009 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

“We are lucky to have Barack Obama as president.”, Robert Scheer

No, we are not lucky to have Obama as president, we are merely lucky to not have McCain and Palin running the executive branch.

Obama is a breath catcher for the nation. He does not represent any significant improvement in the control of governmental power against the individual, or a movement towards a less aggressive military posture in the world.

Obama supports the continued use of the so called States Secret Privilege against individuals who have been rendered to foreign nations for torture. This is not because such people don’t deserve recompense or justice. Or that the nation and the world don’t deserve to have sunlight upon this hideous practice. Even though Obama says that we will not torture, he will not give up rendition. He has stated that it is too useful a tool to give up. There is no purpose to rendition if it is not to torture So he is merely outsourcing it. This is not just the support of torture, it is the aiding, abetting and practice of torture.

Obama supports the mass violations of the Constitution that were carried out by the Bush43 regime. He refuses to investigate tens of thousands of violations of the 4th Amendment which are also Federal felonies in the wiretapping cases.

Obama is refusing to allow Gitmo detainees access to the Courts.

Obama is expanding the insane military adventures initiated by the Bush administration. While he is ostensibly dampening down an incredibly unpopular war in Iraq, he is enlarging an even more unwinable war in Afghanistan, and taking all the steps necessary to initiate one in Pakistan. This is just the swap of one battle theater for another, unfortunately larger war.

Obama claims that Rove is above the law of the land and Congress, and that he need not testify before Congress.

Obama says that the Bush43 emails can not be subpoenaed into court.

In short, Obama is carrying on the unconstitutional and inhumane practices of the Bush43 administration, and in some cases widening them. It is clear that Obama supports an authoritarian hierarchical government that is intertwined with corporate power. Obama’s policies are only a slight slowing of the rush to the Corporate State that we saw under Bush43. Just long enough for the US to become inured to the freedoms lost in the last round with the necons.

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By truedigger3, February 25, 2009 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

Robert Scheer said that we are lucky to have Obama as a president. And the reason for that “luck” is that Obama declared:

“I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States does not torture.”
And also because Obama said:
“living our values doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger.”
This from a president who didn’t take any concerete
steps to stop that torture,  secret renditions and
locking people without any due process.
Also we are lucky because Obama reasserted
“that government exists to redress our grievance s rather than exacerbate them.”
What a good piece of trite hot air! That sentence
was said millions of times before!!
Nothing specific was said about the real reasons for our current economic crisis or any concerete steps to solve it.!
So, in Mr. Scheer opinion, we are lucky
because we have a president who is a good orator,
who does not always speaks the truth and always speaking in generalities that cannot be pinned down.  Lucky indeed!!

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By Gloria Picchetti, February 25, 2009 at 4:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

President Obama gave a one of the most outstanding speeches ever. Bush’s bank bailout is and always will be out of control. I do not believe it can be regulated. Northern Trust had a bash in LA after it took bail out funds over a billion and half USD. Ah ha! The bank used only “operating funds” not bail out funds to throw the party! With that logic, how can bankers come up for air? Northern Trust already had thousands of long time customers who can easily afford any vacation they want whenever they want.

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