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Obama Can’t Duck the Tough Ones

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Posted on May 21, 2009
Obama
AP photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Dueling teleprompters: President Obama walks a fine line in his speech on Thursday.

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

President Obama’s lieutenants would love it if all the networks ran a crawl line at the bottom of the screen during news broadcasts that kept repeating: “The economy, health care, energy, education. The economy, health care ... .”

Then there’s reality. Over the past two weeks, the past has ensnared the present, deflecting attention from Obama’s domestic priorities and raising issues that divide his coalition. We’re talking about torture as much as health care, military commissions as much as green energy, and Nancy Pelosi as much as Barack Obama.

In principle, the president is philosophical about this, but he is also frustrated. “The balance he wants to strike,” senior adviser David Axelrod said in an interview before Obama’s big speech on terrorism on Thursday, “is to solve the mess we found in ways that don’t trigger endless, backward-looking partisan battles that inhibit our efforts to get other things done.”

This may be reasonable, but Obama is caught between two powerful forces and two conflicting ideas. Republicans want to change the subject from their own party’s failures and distract from the progress Obama and Democrats in Congress are making on health care and cap-and-trade legislation. Their slogan might be: Bring on the past!

Many Democrats, in the meantime, are eager to hold the Bush administration accountable for its policies on torture and all manner of other things. Large numbers in their ranks, including human rights activists who met with Obama on Wednesday, are deeply unhappy with a series of Obama decisions. These include accepting some Bush approaches, notably barring the release of photos of prisoner abuse and continuing to use military commissions to try certain terrorism suspects. The complementary slogan from these Democratic critics might be: You can’t escape the past!

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Characteristically, Obama tried to cut through all this with his Thursday speech. He tried to position himself between the two camps and turn it from a no man’s land into common ground. He presented himself as a careful balancer making “tough calls involving competing concerns.”

The fact that Obama had to give the speech at all reflects the administration’s realization that its initial efforts to put these issues to bed have fallen short. Why?

Led by Dick Cheney—who gave a speech of his own on Thursday—many Republicans believe that national security is still the Democrats’ greatest vulnerability. With little to say on domestic issues beyond attacks on Democrats for being “socialists,” many in the GOP still see the security issue as their best political card.

Democrats are obviously worried about this—witness the timidity of Senate Democrats on Tuesday (in the face of demagogic Republican pressure) in cutting the administration’s request for funds for moving inmates out of Guantanamo. Are Senate Democrats for closing Guantanamo or not? If they want to bar moving prisoners to the continental United States, where will the terrorism suspects go? Guam? American Samoa?

Obama explicitly answered critics to his right and critics to his left. He was unequivocal in laying the problems he faces at the feet of the Bush administration. “We are cleaning up something that is—quite simply—a mess,” he said and criticized the “fear-mongering that emerges whenever we discuss this issue,” an indirect swipe at Cheney. He strongly defended his decision to close Guantanamo and insisted that the country could not “turn our back on its enduring principles for expedience sake.”

But in passages not likely to satisfy his critics among civil libertarians, he again defended his decision to block the release of photographs of prisoner abuse, arguing that making them public “would inflame anti-American opinion” and endanger American troops. And while he pledged to try to use normal legal processes with as many detainee cases as possible, he said that there were some among them “who cannot be prosecuted yet who pose a clear danger to the American people.” He added: “I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people.”

Obama’s detailed arguments showed that he now understands, as he didn’t even a week ago, that in the wake of the Bush-Cheney administration, the words “trust me” don’t work on national security issues anymore.

Obama clearly wants to put all these issues aside and get back to the economy, health care and the rest. “I have no interest in spending our time re-litigating the policies of the last eight years,” he insisted. But many others do, and even a good speech won’t stop them.

E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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By Paracelsus, May 26, 2009 at 12:25 am Link to this comment

It might have been NPR and it was about Obama’s comfort in the White House at this point.  The statement was that he enjoys the power, as opposed to the lack of power he had in Congress.  I don’t know what to think about that.

I’m not happy about it. I am reminded of George Washington’s letter to John Hancock during the most difficult times in the American Revolution, “...I have no lust after power but wish with as much fervency as any Man upon this wide extended Continent, for an oppertunity(sic) of turning the Sword into a plow share.”

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/learn/features/timeline/amrev/north/falls.html

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By samosamo, May 24, 2009 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

By Mary Ann McNeely, May 23 at 3:56 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)
I will NOT be voting for this man in 2012, no matter who the Republicans run.  Won’t be fooled again!
*****************************************************

Oh ,yes you will get fooled again no matter which way you vote by limiting yourself to those 2 inseparatable parties, dem or repubs.

Think 3rd party especially for any of your congressional seats up for election in 2010 and 2012 because that is where it might be easier to knock both dems and repubs out the senate and house of representatives, I mean you DO want something besides a dem or arepub don’t you?

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By samosamo, May 24, 2009 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

By garth, May 24 at 5:40 pm
““All of this latest flap is to distract attention away from the shaft being put to the American people in the form of the credit card bill, written by the credit card companies, and the health insurance bill being written by the insurance companies.”“
**************************************************

Now, never let it be said that these are the only things that attention is being distracted from; instead, always let it be said that as information goes the more of a mishmash of differring crises, events, BS, razzle dazzle, fluff, american idol, almost 24/7 spectator sports year round or any other number of miscellaneous empty and worthless distractions that our ‘beloved’ and unpatriotic MSM throws to us, it is all about covering up what the controllers, not the owners but the controllers of the conservative owned MSM, don’t want people to see or hear.

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By garth, May 24, 2009 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

E. J. Dionne has it backwards. All of this latest flap is to distract attention away from the shaft being put to the American people in the form of the credit card bill, written by the credit card companies, and the health insurance bill being written by the insurance companies.
They’ve got control of all this information and could settle it once and for all, but they want to keep this staged act going as long as it will keep the media blabbering about it. 
I wonder if the public is wasting its time following this back and forth between Pelosi and Panetta and the dueling speeches of Cheney and Obama. Nice touch.
This is getting more and more like WWF everyday.  Now, it seems they’ve named the opponents for the upcoming world champioship match: Darth Vader (Cheney) vs. Luke Skywalker (Obama).

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By Cathy, May 24, 2009 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

Paracleus, I have the same fear that he will get us into more “misadventures” in the Middle East.  His “terrorist talk” is similar to Bush, if not identical—with the eloquent touch.  What we need right now is “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  Our “fear” agenda is creating more hate and more terrorists. 

I wish I could remember where I heard this—I think it was just this past Thursday.  It might have been NPR and it was about Obama’s comfort in the White House at this point.  The statement was that he enjoys the power, as opposed to the lack of power he had in Congress.  I don’t know what to think about that.

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By ThomasG, May 24, 2009 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

Subjectified Law and Order

Subjectified law and order is the law and order of CONSERVATIVE RIGHT-WING EXTREMIST REPUBLICANS and their DLC - Democratic Leadership Council’s minions of the Professional Middle Class singularity, that is influenced by political special interest and personal prejudice taking place within the minds and emotions of those that are of the CONSERVATIVE RIGHT-WING EXTREMIST REPUBLICAN and Professional Middle Class singularity, who advocate, make, and benefit from subjectified law and order that is imposed upon the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION as a class and culture and who have had no part in promulgating the subjectified law and order, do not benefit from the subjectified law and order that is imposed upon them and are, in fact, class and culturally subjugated, oppressed and tyrannized by subjectified law and order that is imposed upon them by the American aristocracy and Professional Middle Class singularity, as the dominant classes and cultures in the United States.

Subjectified law and order was used by the British against the American colonists, by the American colonists against the Native people of North America and subjectified law and order is now being used by the ruling classes and cultures of the 30% combined minorities of the American aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class singularity against the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION as a class and culture.

We all know what the result was of subjectified law and order by the British against the American colonists and the Native Nations of the North American continent by American colonists and their descendants.

The result of subjectified law and order was subjugation, oppression and tyranny in the case of the British against the American colonists that resulted in revolution and subjugation, oppression and tyranny by the American colonists and their descendants against the peoples of the Native Nations of North America that led to genocide and internment in concentration camps that exist to the present day.

The result of class and culturally subjectified law and order imposed by the classes and cultures of the 30% combined minorities of the American aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class singularity against the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION of the United States will be no different than it was in the case of the British and the American colonists, or the American colonists and their descendants against the peoples of the Native Nations of the North American continent; the result will be eventual revolution or continuing subjugation, oppression and tyranny that will lead to genocide and internment of the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION as a class and culture.

At the present time, class and culturally subjectified law and order by the classes and cultures of the American aristocracy and Professional Middle Class singularity has in our nation, the United States, with a population of three hundred million, imprisoned more of the common population than China, a nation with a population of one billion more population than the United States.

It is time for a change; it is time for a multi-party political system to be institutionalized in the United States, so that the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULAITON can have a political party and represent themselves in the government of the United States.

It would be a tragedy for the United States as a nation to put off this much needed reform in our political system and allow the subjugation, oppression, tyranny, imprisonment, genocide and internment that history has shown will eventually result.

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By Paracelsus, May 23, 2009 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment

Obama has not committed to peace neither in Iraq or Afghanistan. I fear he will embroil us in some misadventure in Pakistan or the out skirts of Russia. He is not sincere about prosecuting torturers. For the moment I can offer a song done by Joan Baez in France. Apparently she is more popular in France than in America.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqrb_MzQId4&feature=related

Le Déserteur

Le DÉSerteur
(Boris Vian)

Monsieur le Président
Je vous fais une lettre
Que vous lirez peut-être
Si vous avez le temps

Je viens de recevoir
Mes papiers militaires
Pour partir à la guerre
Avant mercredi soir

Monsieur le Président
Je ne veux pas la faire
Je ne suis pas sur terre
Pour tuer les pauvres gens

C’est pas pour vous fâcher
Il faut que je vous dise
Ma décision est prise
Je m’en vais déserter

Depuis que je suis né
J’ai vu mourir mon père
J’ai vu partir mes frères
Et pleurer mes enfants

Ma mère a tant souffert
Qu’elle est dedans sa tombe
Et se moque des bombes
Et se moque des vers

Quand j’étais prisonnier
On m’a volé ma femme
On m’a volé mon âme
Et tout mon cher passé

Demain de bon matin
Je fermerai ma porte
Au nez des années mortes
J’irai sur les chemins

Je mendierai ma vie
Sur les routes de France
De Bretagne en Provence
Et je dirai aux gens

Refusez d’obéir
Refusez de la faire
N’allez pas à la guerre
Refusez de partir

S’il faut donner son sang
Allez donner le vôtre
Vous êtes le bon apôtre
Monsieur le Président

Si vous me poursuivez
Prévenez vos gendarmes
Que je n’aurai pas d’armes
Et qu’ils pourront tirer.

XX

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqrb_MzQId4&feature=related

I pray that most Americans will not be obedient to commit atrocities for the government in Washington, DC. I no longer see it as an American government, but a government of occupation.

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By KDelphi, May 23, 2009 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

ardee-good link! I have to close some stuff to listen to it any further…

And, here is the article, excellent , too…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/19/AR2007101900835.html

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By Mary Ann McNeely, May 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I will NOT be voting for this man in 2012, no matter who the Republicans run.  Won’t be fooled again!

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By ardee, May 23, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

Tropicgirl notes:

    “Furthermore, I am absolutely stunned that the accusations toward the CIA don’t go as far back as Clinton, who started the “renditions” to the black sites that tortured our prisoners.”

Rendition began as far back as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, allowing rendition of escaped slaves back to the state from which they fled…But of course thats a bit over the top in the case you mean.

Rendition as we know it began with Reagan actually:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15521231

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By KDelphi, May 23, 2009 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

tropicgirl..sexual sadism is an illness. I do not want these people coming home and sitting around unemployed.

Yes, go after Cheney, et al, give them the worst punishments. But, even grunts with 6th grade Ky. (no offense to Ky) educations know that it is wrong and, illegal to rape. Further, someone told troops it was ok to do this. Private contractors were in charge. It was all so illegal..but, as Michael Ratner said, on Real News Now, the REAL crime of it all, was the illegal invasion of Iraq, that Bush and Cheney started (dont forget psychopathic Rummy) and , that Congress in BOTH parties approved!! Cmon, peeps! I dont want them there anymore!

http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=3758

The “memories” will not leave these soldiers,and, you may meet them at your local pub…they may date your daughter. I think each person in Congress who votes to not prosecute should have their daughter marry one of the troops that raped.

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By dihey, May 23, 2009 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

I am beginning to wonder whether President Obama believes anything he utters publicly or whether his carefully honed hot-air speeches are all for effect.

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By Purple Girl, May 23, 2009 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

Hand Torture,Rendition,Black Sites and Hit squads Over to the International Community for Investigation & Prosecution.Since these criminal acts involved Foreign nationals from around the World - The Global Community should have the right to determine if the Bush admin Acted Illegally. Further, do to the facts as to how the Bush admin ‘justified’ and whom they used to implement them leaves no Branch of Our Gov’t or any Agency above suspecion of complicity. So we are therefore incapable of providing an impartial, untainted, anaylsis or legal proceeding (Scalia’s Twisted Torture v Punishment Illogic negates even a SCOTUS Review).
We as a Country are left with only Determining if the Bush Admin Exercised an Abuse of their Powers and committed acts of treason in the commission of these international crimes.By Politicizing the Justice Dept they hired those who would support and legitamize their illegal International activities. We need to walk the last 8 years Back wards- allowing the internationals to determine guilt on these various War crime and possible Crimes against Humanity Charges- then we can follow up with supporting convictions as to how they usurped their limited authority under our Constitutional Laws.
And Voilia! The main issues are off the table for now- so that Obama may proceed with his forward looking agenda. It will take years to get through All the Bushies and all their Crimes- start with the Top Godfathers- Cheney,Rummy & Wolfie- then move down through the Ranks. Cheney already admitted W only knew “Basically’ what was going on- therefore charges of usurping the power of the presidency is certainly on the list for US to prosecute later. If any die in the mean time- still prosecute in absentia, for the sake of history and forewarning to future Public Servants.
As for the Release of more Torutre Photos- Hand them to those who will be prosecuting. Public release is unnecessary since it will not lend itself to any further indictments- Tortures,torture regardless it ‘s various forms. Additonally why have none of the Supposed Left or the ACLU considered for a moment the Wishes of those Detainees in the Pictures- Should we committ another act of inhumanity by disgracing and humilitating them further with a World wide exposing release of their degradation at the hands of War Criminals. Human Rights means asking those who are affected their thoughts and wishes- otherwise you are being the same immoral monsters that you claim to be trying to expose.

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By tropicgirl, May 22, 2009 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

Here is the original article that ordered the photos to be released in 2005. I do not believe all the photos have been released, but keep your eyes open in the very near future:

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001218842

What Obama is actually hiding is the evidence that these photos represent. We would then be able to judge whether…

1.  This was widespread throughout military prisons, not just by the CIA. We already know this but the photos would further provide evidence.

2. It may show whether or not it was just a few bad apples, like Obama says, by the type of servicepersons who are pictured.

3.  We may get an idea of where this took place and what year(s)

4.  We would get an overall picture of whether they even adhered to the twisted CIA outlines of what could be done. We already know they didn’t by the fact that they raped children and women and men.

Furthermore, I am absolutely stunned that the accusations toward the CIA don’t go as far back as Clinton, who started the “renditions” to the black sites that tortured our prisoners.

The accusations also need to go back as far as Reagan (forget Bush Sr for now). What he did in Central America, with the help of David Betray-US (petreus) was ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. If you think raping children is bad, raping nuns is about just as bad.

I don’t care if you are right or left, as long as you are a sincere human being you could not possibly accept this.

The left wing gatekeepers better start shutting up about Bush and Cheney and focus on the “WAR CRIMINAL OF THE HOUR - OBAMA”. THE ELECTION IS OVER AND WE HAVE A NEW PRESIDENT, DIDN’T YOU HEAR? Don’t make the same mistake that was made with Bush.

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By tropicgirl, May 22, 2009 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

Here is the original article that ordered the photos to be released in 2005. I do not believe all the photos have been released, but keep your eyes open in the very near future:

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001218842

What Obama is actually hiding is the evidence that these photos represent. We would then be able to judge whether…

1.  This was widespread throughout military prisons, not just by the CIA. We already know this but the photos would further provide evidence.

2. It may show whether or not it was just a few bad apples, like Obama says, by the type of servicepersons who are pictured.

3.  We may get an idea of where this took place and what year(s)

4.  We would get an overall picture of whether they even adhered to the twisted CIA outlines of what could be done. We already know they didn’t by the fact that they raped children and women and men.

Furthermore, I am absolutely stunned that the accusations toward the CIA don’t go as far back as Clinton, who started the “renditions” to the black sites that tortured our prisoners.

The accusations also need to go back as far as Reagan (forget Bush Sr for now). What he did in Central America, with the help of David Betray-US (petreus) was ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. If you think raping children is bad, raping nuns is about just as bad.

I don’t care if you are right or left, as long as you are a sincere human being you could not possibly accept this.

The left wing gatekeepers better start shutting up about Bush and Cheney and focus on the “WAR CRIMINAL OF THE HOUR - OBAMA”. Don’t make the same mistake that was made with Bush.

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By hippie4ever, May 22, 2009 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

Tropicgirl, I believe you. I heard these charges briefly & then they immediately disappeared. Considering how “family-oriented” the Xian Reich considers itself to be, I wonder how they’ll spin child rapists in the military? I’ll take the high road; every military has within its ranks functional sociopaths and sadists, and such types gravitate towards law enforcement.

But this scenario is different, and the last time I encountered something like this was in a fictional French film. A boy, maybe 10 years old, visited the bathhouse for the village, and while bathing three Nazi soldiers raped the boy. Sorry I cannot remember the title, but even this example is imperfect; the Nazis weren’t committing torture but rape; the lad’s mother wasn’t present and the point wasn’t coercion but an individual power-play. The village priest went to the Nazi commandant, who was shocked and angered, and proceeded to find and punish the offenders.

That’s right, the Nazi in charge stood up for the French child; that’s more than the American military does. BTW, did Cheney authorize this?

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By MarthaA, May 22, 2009 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here are the torture pictures Australia released:  http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11923.htm

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By KDelphi, May 22, 2009 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

tropicgirl—I still cant get pics like this to open..I guess I should be glad, but, what little I HAVE seen, if people think that it is ok, to let it go (move on, whatever) they should, if they can have a look…then they should decide.

I think it is my pc, but, my ISP has been known to censor before.

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By tropicgirl, May 22, 2009 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

Media Ignores Real Controversy Behind Torture Photos; They Show Prison Guards Raping Children
 
Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Thursday, May 21, 2009

The real reason behind Obama’s reversal of a decision to release the torture photos has been almost completely ignored by the corporate media - the fact that the photos show both US and Iraqi soldiers raping teenage boys in front of their mothers.
The Obama administration originally intended to release photos depicting torture and abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq by the end of May, following a court order arising out of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit first filed by the ACLU in 2004.
However, a reversal of Obama’s decision was announced this week, after he “changed his mind after viewing some of the images and hearing warnings from his generals in Iraq and in Afghanistan that such a move would endanger US troops deployed there,” according to a Washington Post report.
In response, the ACLU charged that Obama “has essentially become complicit with the torture that was rampant during the Bush years by being complicit in its coverup.” The Obama administration has also sought to protect intelligence officials involved in torture from prosecution at every turn.

http://www.infowars.com/media-ignores-real-controversy-behind-torture-photos-they-show-prison-guards-raping-children

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By Anarcissie, May 22, 2009 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

I imagine both Bush and Obama, as well as their predecessors, have had to follow the ruling-class agenda.  This is becoming increasingly difficult because some of its most fundamental principles, like war and imperialism, don’t work over the long term.  Meanwhile we are distracted by arguments like “We can have an empire without war and terror” versus “War and terror are necessary to maintain our “security” (that is, global domination).  Is there a common ground?  What difference does it make?  The problem is precisely what the two arguing parties have in common; what Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan and so on have had in common, the albatross around our neckes: empire.

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By Cathy, May 22, 2009 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

I felt this was so important that it should be repeated here in case other readers miss it.  This idea of ‘prolonged detention’ was talked about extensively on Rachel Maddow last night.  She likened it to the movie “Minority Report” come to life.  But as the quote below shows, we’ve been here before. 

dihey:  “I have before me the original of an order of the police of Breslau, dated May 18, 1933 for the arrest of my father on the grounds of Hitler’s ‘law for the protection of the people and the state’ of February 28, 1933. The order did not state which real law my father had broken nor did it specify the length of his arrest, which eventually lasted until April 1945. This type of incarceration became known as ‘Schutzhaft’ meaning ‘Protective Incarceration’. It was assumed without any proof that my father was a danger to the people and state of Germany, hence had to be locked up indefinitely.
‘Schutzhaft’ existed in Germany before Hitler became its chancellor. It existed during the Weimar Republic and was probably enacted soon after Germany became an empire in 1870. What was new is that Hitler filled his prisons and concentration camps with millions of ‘dangerous’ people based on his version of ‘Schutzhaft’.
Have tens of thousands of American soldiers died or become wounded in the defeat of the Hitler regime and to end this abomination in Germany only to have President Obama institute an analogous regime here?”

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By Cathy, May 22, 2009 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

hippi4ever sais:  “Where was Eric Holder when the conversation turned to torture and “national security”? Obama took the question, with his Attorney General present & conspiculously silent in the same room. Had Holder been a strong AG he would have spoken up, and said “Mr. President, as Attorney General I am pursuing the following…” Mr. Holder is serving quietly at the bequest of Barrack Obama; not a good sign for civil rights or the rule of law. Dictators generally enjoy similar relations with their staff.”

Most disturbing and apparently Holder and the rest of Obama’s company were dead silent the day before at the “private” meeting with the human rights’ folks. 

As for the mess that keeps coming out, I read a very interesting blog on Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Atlantic, shortly before Obama was elected and it talked about the massive about of bad revelations that would keep coming out as more and more was uncovered and folks came forward.  That’s happening now.  Obama should have read a few blogs then and maybe he should now.  Yes, I know, he dismissed blogs and bloggers a couple of months ago. 

I’m sorry that President Obama is frustrated.  So are the American people.  Smart Americans—those who try to stay informed and engaged, and who read about history—want the issue of Bush Administration crimes examined and, if need be, prosecuted.  That’s what the Attorney General is there for.  Obama can then go about all of the other vitally important things that need to be done. 

These issues are not going to go away, and they shouldn’t, if America is ever going to retain some measure of prestige in the world again, and guard against a future regime which could make Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld’s antics look like a mere garden party. Let’s face it, Watergate pales grossly in comparison to this mess.

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By KDelphi, May 22, 2009 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

Good point, Shift—“re-litigating”...

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By hippie4ever, May 22, 2009 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

Where was Eric Holder when the conversation turned to torture and “national security”? Obama took the question, with his Attorney General present & conspiculously silent in the same room. Had Holder been a strong AG he would have spoken up, and said “Mr. President, as Attorney General I am pursuing the following…” Mr. Holder is serving quietly at the bequest of Barrack Obama; not a good sign for civil rights or the rule of law. Dictators generally enjoy similar relations with their staff.

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By KDelphi, May 22, 2009 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

ITW—I dont know sh*t about cable. But, I am shutting it off. I would get a dish, if I wasnt supposed to be moving—who knows how that will pan out..I was so sure…

They collect what you view?? !!!!!! Also I think that mine is already through the cable box and my pc constatnly needs to be re-booted, as does my cabel box. I have an old pc, but, that could be the problem….who knows. The people who come out always want you to “upgrade”

Marshall and ardee—I think that Bush is a war criminal , yes , we’ve established that. But, I think that Marshall’s point is that, Dems are loathe to discover that , on foreign policy, things have changed very little. That is ONE of his points, and, I think Dems would be hard pressed to dispute it much..but , I do think that Bush et al need to be prosecuted for war crimes…as well as Dems that went along with it.

In the same vein of thought, if Bush is a war criminal and, Obama is a Constitutional Attorney, and he has Eric Holder (who may be tainted by Clinton), why is he not being prosecuted? Clinton did not leave our country is very good straits, economically, nor in foreign policy. We have never stopped occupying or bombing, and, the Dems seem to be becoming more and more like GOP, as they draw in more and more money.

Honestly, did any progressives here really think that Pres. Obama would be so hawkish? Be honest.Did you really think that his economic and fiscal policies would be so weighted towards the banks, that he would hire Geithner and Summers? McChrystal and Gates?

I am NOT “supporting you” Marshall, I would never, ever vote GOP. Sure, Bush got almost everything he wanted, but he couldnt have done it without the cooperation of the Dems!

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By Shift, May 22, 2009 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

“I have no interest in spending our time re-litigating the policies of the last eight years,” he insisted.

The last eight years have NEVER been litigated!  This is just another excuse to free the rich and political class from accountability.  He might as well say let’s not prosecute thieves and murderers.  It’s the same thing.  Obama believes in a different standard for the powerful.  He is their home boy.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 22, 2009 at 4:17 am Link to this comment

Truthdig and Huffpo need to take up this issue of cable conglomerates censoring TV.  Why did they pick MSNBC, but not Fox to censor?

The answers are obvious.
1) Fox is a bigger advertiser
2) The more sophisticated cable boxes allow them to monitor AND COLLECT what we view.
3) The ownership is undoubtedly Republican and are Murdoch-ing the cable bandwidth.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 22, 2009 at 4:14 am Link to this comment

KDelphi, May 22 at 2:01 am #

ITW—My cable switched over to the PPV crap too, and, the menu sucks and it keeps re-booting, I just gave up on it tonight. They come out and tinker and come out. I’m just going to have it shut off…

can you do msnbc.com? I dont watch it, but, I assume that there is a website…
*************************************

Yeah, but it’s a 2nd-best solution.  They tell they need to send a technician to install a cable card in my TV! Amazing. It’s a PCMCIA card. You slide it in the slot just like you slide any PCMCIA card into a laptop.  These are the same guys who when I called them out for bad reception years ago talked boosters, amplifiers and filters instead of doing what I did after I kicked him out: Traced which length of cable was bad…

I took a tiny hand-held TV with an adapter for a cable F-Connector and went from junction to junction until I found where reception fell off, and replaced that piece of cable. DUHHHHH!

If you have a cable modem they want to install software on your PC. NFW!

Obama needs to drop this nonsense of covering the past to move on.  He needs to let the LAW take its course, and let whomever gets caught go to jail.  Plus he needs to kick the “Intelligence” community in the teeth, and either find or bring back mil commanders who aren’t loyal to bushco.  Remember: Botch, a la Stalin, was PURGING the military of non-neo-con flag rank and O6 levels.  Obama NEEDS those men and women Botch purged.

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By ardee, May 22, 2009 at 3:30 am Link to this comment

Marshall, May 22 at 3:09 am #

You prattle about the effectiveness of an administration that violated constitutional law, the trust of the electorate and was incessantly dishonest if not outright lying. This is what you consider a role model for governance?

Amidst the wreckage of an economy, when Bush was handed a balanced budget, full employment and a seemingly nation you boast about his great leadership.

With 4500 dead American children and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis you wistfully long for a return to arrogance, lies, wiretaps, and creepy indifference to law and the intent of the founder.

On a website where most criticize Obama’s appointments and decisions you post empty rhetoric about the left worshiping his every move?

I wonder which truths you honor, if any, or are you simply an incorrigible ideologue with no regard for morality, justice, the reputation of our nation, the condition of our citizens or the intent of our founders?

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By Marshall, May 22, 2009 at 12:09 am Link to this comment

By MarthaA, May 21 at 8:58 pm #
By ardee, May 21 at 8:02 pm #

I understand you guys hate Bush (and/or Cheney, etc…) as evil war criminal devil puppet chickenhawk blah blah blah whatever.  We’ve established that.  His administration did, however, manage to push its agenda through much of the time - a talent Obama may be showing signs of shedding as he begins to lose focus and, thus perhaps, support.  Despite Bush’s inarticulateness, we all pretty much knew where his administration machine cabal clan terror organization insert your pet term here… stood, and that was in part what pissed off so many liberals.

As i suspected during the Dancing with the Obamas campaign, obama-bots would be sorely disappointed to find that the man was campaigning from the left, only to govern by necessity from the center right - with regard to national security anyway (not fiscal policy).  The disenchantment on this board illustrates that.  Like with most Presidents, the rhetorical idealism of the campaign differs greatly from the harsh reality of actually making policy, and i suspect we will see further “righting” of his positions as realpolitik takes hold.  What will draw the nastiest vitriolic ire and practiced invective from the progressive left is the prospect that one of their own might actually affirm policies of their most hated nemesis/ex demon-in-chief.

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By KDelphi, May 21, 2009 at 11:01 pm Link to this comment

ITW—My cable switched over to the PPV crap too, and, the menu sucks and it keeps re-booting, I just gave up on it tonight. They come out and tinker and come out. I’m just going to have it shut off…

can you do msnbc.com? I dont watch it, but, I assume that there is a website…

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By samosamo, May 21, 2009 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

By dihey, May 21 at 9:38 pm

I sure as hell hope not but the actions of our government is not encouraging at all, especially since of late, those new yorkers were snookered into a supposed attack on 2 jewish synagogues and by some quiant authoritrian measure deep in the pages of some draconian directives from w & dick’s tenure these guys were or are quickly being classified as homegrown terrorist and I don’t believe that bill h.r. 1955 or some such number or called the ‘homegrown terrorist act’ has been signed into law unless it happened while I was out looking for employment; there is a post on this site about that if you haven’t seen it yet.

Yep things are really starting to roll and the paranoias are using methods that could make ‘1984’ look like an open democracy like france.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 21, 2009 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

ardee, May 21 at 8:02 pm #

The right wing has the media in its pocket, thus they are able to frame the debate much better than an indecisive and cowardly democratic party.
***************************************
Yeah, I just found out tonight Comcast has blocked access to the most liberal cable news service, MSNBC.  They are extorting extra rental fees for cable boxes and digital adapters (for use on digital TVs that should not need them) to be able to see MSNBC again.

I got nothing but bullshit excuses and promises that my TV viewing would be “better”.  About the only TV I watch is either sports or MSNBC.  My older kid watches NO TV (doesn’t even care that his TV has bad reception—it’s perfect from his X-Box).  My wife watches nothing but the Home network (Flip This House, and other real estate and home red shows).  My younger one watches PBS Kids, Jimmy Neutron and SpongeBob.

WTF do I need “On-Demand” and PPY special digital shit for?

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By Paul Jefferson, May 21, 2009 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It has just hit me like a crystal bullet.

Rollzone, you are so right. Obama, asmuch as I voted for him as a strong leader, is being far too cautious, and should, to use a historical phrase, “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” with what he wants to do. The phrase “endangering the troops…”  is laughable. What are troops for except to be put in dangerous situations? Why do we have an armed force to protect the country?
If the President doesn’t show more backbone, and, in everything he does, turn back the Bush policies in every area possible, he is going to lose my support, period. His actions remind me of the MLK Jr. phrase, “I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”..which is what he’s doing for the Republicans. Get over compromise—it’s not in their vocabulary.
Stop thinking about re-election already. Govern, and lead.

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By dihey, May 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

I have before me the original of an order of the police of Breslau, dated May 18, 1933 for the arrest of my father on the grounds of Hitler’s ‘law for the protection of the people and the state’ of February 28, 1933. The order did not state which real law my father had broken nor did it specify the length of his arrest, which eventually lasted until April 1945. This type of incarceration became known as ‘Schutzhaft’ meaning ‘Protective Incarceration’. It was assumed without any proof that my father was a danger to the people and state of Germany, hence had to be locked up indefinitely.
‘Schutzhaft’ existed in Germany before Hitler became its chancellor. It existed during the Weimar Republic and was probably enacted soon after Germany became an empire in 1870. What was new is that Hitler filled his prisons and concentration camps with millions of ‘dangerous’ people based on his version of ‘Schutzhaft’.
Have tens of thousands of American soldiers died or become wounded in the defeat of the Hitler regime and to end this abomination in Germany only to have President Obama institute an analogous regime here?

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By jackpine savage, May 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

There is a huge difference between being a centrist and being a triangulator.  The former comes from conviction while the latter is mere expediency.

Regardless of what Obama thinks and believes, his actions have been mostly triangulation…particularly on foreign policy/national security (and torture).

If he continues to triangulate he’ll be left alone in the center of his own imagination…and his presidency will be an utter failure.

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By MarthaA, May 21, 2009 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Marshall:

If you think Bush is a good leader, then you must be either one of the elite aristocratic EXTREMIST, which is highly unlikely, a DLC toady EXTREMIST, a paid REPUBLICAN EXTREMIST lobbyist or a head-in-the-sand lumpen proletariat EXTREMIST, if you think Bush was a good leader, as George W. Bush plainly didn’t lead his administration at all, only followed Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and the like, as a puppet, who memorized and did as he was told; and, unlike Reagan, who was good at his script, Bush had difficulty following his script and thought it was “hard work”.  Dick Cheney was his appointed leader, therefore Dick Cheney is trying to defend what he led Bush to do.  Bush was only following orders; you don’t see Bush defending his administration, he’s just thankful it’s over, the one defending their unlawful deeds is Cheney.

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By ardee, May 21, 2009 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

The right wing has the media in its pocket, thus they are able to frame the debate much better than an indecisive and cowardly democratic party. Obama is trying his darndest to meet in the middle but his failure lies in his belief that the GOP will ever do such a thing.

In order to take back the headlines and the initiative Obama should press forward with investigations into torture, war profiteering and constitutional violations of the previous administration, which by the by is the reason I am astonished by Marshall making an unbelievable noting like this:
“Whatever disagreements one had with Bush’s policies, he had the “leader” thing down pretty well and managed to get things done - with or without popular support.  Obama is trading on popular support but unable to convince us of his own convictions and ability to lead.”

What I wonder does Marshall boast about in the actions of our very worst President ever, one whose every utterance was a malaprop or an outright lie and whose Vice President was the most powerful in our history and the most Machiavellian as well.

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By Marshall, May 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

This is why i didn’t vote for Obama; because i suspected he’d become permanently mired in a hole of equivocation and compromise that would render him ineffectual.  Whatever disagreements one had with Bush’s policies, he had the “leader” thing down pretty well and managed to get things done - with or without popular support.  Obama is trading on popular support but unable to convince us of his own convictions and ability to lead.

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By KDelphi, May 21, 2009 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

thanks rollzone.

Pres. Obama doesnt really commit to anything. It is infuriating to me!

And what about this war criminal? Commander of the Coverup
http://socialistworker.org/2009/05/19/commander-of-cover-up

On McChrystal:
When an anonymous Army interrogator “at great personal risk” blew the whistle to Esquire in August 2006 on an extensive torture enterprise at Camp Nama, he described the then-unknown McChrystal as being an overseer who knew the ugly truth. Torture at Camp Nama included using ice water to induce hypothermia. It was not a rogue operation unless we consider generals like McChrystal “rogues.” As Esquire reported:

“...Once, somebody brought it up with the colonel. “Will [the Red Cross] ever be allowed in here?” And he said absolutely not. He had this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there’s no way that the Red Cross could get in—they won’t have access, and they never will. This facility was completely closed off to anybody investigating, even Army investigators.”

“...But the president is also disappointing a generation of antiwar activists who voted for him in hopes of an end to imperial adventures and torture sanctioned by the executive branch. Now a man who should perhaps be on trial at The Hague is in charge of Afghanistan. Obama needs to know it’s not just the Tillmans who are enraged by this terrible choice.”

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By Ribald, May 21, 2009 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

Obama has been trying to consolidate support in a futile bid for middle ground in areas where there really is none, just as there is no middle ground between a tall cliff and the sea.
  He has let his political enemies set the terms of policy debates, plays by their rules, then concedes defeat through his actions while claiming he’s not even playing the game. Meanwhile, his supporters in the congress are following his “lead,” just as they followed Bush’s. The public at large seems confused at Obama’s actions, but optimistic that he can turn things around.
  Still, the leadership vacuum persists in Washington. Obama may simply need time to get used to his role, but I doubt it. As long as he feels like he is in charge, he will allow political “compromise” to turn his administration into farce.

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By rollzone, May 21, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

hello. my opinion is that a leader takes a side on an issue, and gives all to succeed. he is not a mitigator, a balancer, a common grounder- he is a man of conviction and purpose; unafraid of consequences: when true to himself. failure is part of growth, and only when human lives hang in the balance of an outcome should a leader even take pause to pray for guidance. firm direction is needed here. take a stand and go forward and lead- or resign. waffling is for breakfast. also, how can someone be afraid to endanger his troops?

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