Posts Tagged ‘Indecision 2012’

What harm could it do?

Posted on November 6, 2012 at 3.24 pm

Q. It’s not about YOU. Get over yourself and vote for Obama. I mean, really, think about it. What harm could it do????? Think of the alternative. I know it sucks, but people will SUFFER thanks to people like you, just like they did under 8 years of Bush. Can’t you see that?? You are 4,000 times smarter than me. Why can’t you see it? — flippingthroughcrates, from tumblr.

A. Wait, is this a joke?

Given that it’s Election Day and not April 1st, I guess I’m going to have to assume that it’s not.

“It’s not about YOU.” I quite agree! It’s about the Afghan and Pakistani children who are being killed under Obama’s drone warfare, which far outpaces the drone activity of his predecessor.

“What harm could it do?????” Well, statistically, none. My vote will not be the deciding factor — and where I live (Northern Virginia) will overwhelmingly go for Obama. It’s not even a contest. But outside of statistics, it could do quite a lot of harm. Here’s why: I’d be voting for a child assassin. And I’m just not comfortable doing that.

“Think of the alternative.” Wait, you mean the non-alternative? Let’s be serious: Obama and Romney do not have substantially different policies, especially on the issues which matter most to me (foreign policy). What they do have is substantially different style, rhetoric, and graphic design. That’s not enough for me.

I know it sucks but people will SUFFER thanks to people like you, just like they did during 8 years of Bush.” People will suffer no matter who is elected President. People would suffer if Ron Paul was elected President. The President is not our savior, and there is no person who, upon installation in the Oval Office, could stop human (or, heck, even only American) suffering. That’s just not how the real world works. What I know, however, is that both Obama and Romney will cause a lot of people to suffer — and indeed die, which is kind of worse than being unemployed — unjustly in the Middle East.

“You are 4,000 times smarter than me. Why can’t you see it?” Thank you. That’s very kind. But I have to beg to differ:  I do see it. I see that Obama (and Romney) is not a candidate for whom I can cast a moral vote.

I’m not voting for more drone strikes.

I’m not voting for invasion of Iran.

I’m not voting for more foreign aggression.

I’m not voting for murder.

If you can vote for all of that in good conscience — well, so be it, I guess. I cannot and will not, and there is no argument which can be made to persuade me otherwise.

‘For All’? Not so much.

Posted on September 20, 2012 at 8.44 pm

election:</p>
<p>In a new campaign called “For All,” Obama supporters are encouraged to “[c]hoose one of your reasons for voting and write it on your hand, then pledge to vote.”<br />
While some have called the whole hand gesture thing creepy, I see it as a good marketing idea. After all, this is the age of We Are the 99% and Pet Shaming — the whole have-supporters-submit-photos-with-text-following-a-strict-format thing works for online marketing, and it works well. I have no doubt that we’ll see “For All” photos on Buzzfeed any time now (if they’re not there already).<br />
For me what’s creepy is the brazen hypocrisy of the theme of this project: “For All.”<br />
The reference, of course, is to the end of the Pledge of Allegiance — the “with liberty and justice for all” bit. And the implication is that liberty, justice, and other good things like cleaner energy, as the back of Ms. Johansson’s hand declares, will be available for all under a second Obama term…not just the few rich people Mitt Romney invites to his weekend clam bakes.<br />
That’s a great message, but it’s not one which meshes with Obama’s actual record in office.<br />
Glenn Greendwald has a great book out which has an incredibly appropriate title for this discussion:  With Liberty and Justice for Some. If you’re not familiar with Greenwald’s work, he’s a civil liberties litigator and prolific writer whose online home was Salon until he very recently departed for the UK’s Guardian. <br />
As one review summarizes,</p>
<p>[The book] is a damning indictment of America’s two-tiered justice system in which political and financial elites are vested with virtual legal immunity while everyone else is punished for the most trivial of legal infractions. Instead of the law being used to protect those most vulnerable, it has instead, especially in the past four decades, turned into a weapon to protect the powerful from prosecution for their many crimes, and these crimes are outlined in the book with shocking effectiveness.</p>
<p>To give an example on which Greenwald spills a lot of ink, one of the defining features of Obama’s promise of change in 2008 was a return to the rule of law in contrast to the Bush era. He specifically indicated in debate with Hillary Clinton that he would investigate Bush Administration officials for potential war crimes. Yet, even before he took office, Obama indicated that he would not actually pursue the matter. “Nine days before Obama’s inauguration,” Greenwald writes, “the New York Times published an article headlined ‘Obama Reluctant to Look Into Bush Programs.’” And, indeed, the Bush torturers have gotten away scott free.<br />
That’s not the only instance in which “For All” has been proven a flat-out lie in an Obama Administration policy vs. Obama Campaign rhetoric match-up. In an interview on the book, Greenwald comments [emphasis added]:</p>
<p>Obama has displayed no interest whatsoever in holding elites accountable for criminality: not just political actors, but financial elites as well.<br />
If anything, it’s even more unlikely that he would hold elites accountable in his second term…by shielding those who came before him, Obama ensures that he can commit crimes with impunity as well. That’s why all elites—political, financial, media—are motivated to defend and preserve this lawbreaking license for their class.</p>
<p>For further examples of the lack of equal treatment under Obama, consider his assassination without trial of an American citizen and his innocent, 16-year-old son.<br />
Consider his endorsement of additional drug war spending, a failed program which disproportionately targets minorities and the poor. (Is Lindsay Lohan in jail? No? Ok, I think the point is made.)<br />
Consider Bradley Manning, who was held naked and alone in a tiny cell for up to 23 hours a day while the people responsible for the crimes shown in the documents he leaked walk free.<br />
Consider how eager Obama is to retain the power to indefinitely detain Americans without charge or trial.<br />
Consider what would happen if you committed fraud and also what happened to the Wall Street execs who committed fraud (I don’t have a link for that, because nothing happened except that they got tons of free money).<br />
However nice the pictures may look and however well this campaign may work, Obama is not “For All.” Not even close.<br />
— Bonnie</p>
<p>P.S. For serious, you should read Greenwald&#8217;s book. But while you&#8217;re waiting for it to ship, check out fellow Tumblrerrrerr Jayel Aheram&#8217;s excellent review which I edited for Young American Revolution Magazine.

In a new campaign called “For All,” Obama supporters are encouraged to “[c]hoose one of your reasons for voting and write it on your hand, then pledge to vote.”

While some have called the whole hand gesture thing creepy, I see it as a good marketing idea. After all, this is the age of We Are the 99% and Pet Shaming — the whole have-supporters-submit-photos-with-text-following-a-strict-format thing works for online marketing, and it works well. I have no doubt that we’ll see “For All” photos on Buzzfeed any time now (if they’re not there already).

For me what’s creepy is the brazen hypocrisy of the theme of this project: “For All.”

The reference, of course, is to the end of the Pledge of Allegiance — the “with liberty and justice for all” bit. And the implication is that liberty, justice, and other good things like cleaner energy, as the back of Ms. Johansson’s hand declares, will be available for all under a second Obama term…not just the few rich people Mitt Romney invites to his weekend clam bakes.

That’s a great message, but it’s not one which meshes with Obama’s actual record in office.

Glenn Greendwald has a great book out which has an incredibly appropriate title for this discussion:  With Liberty and Justice for Some. If you’re not familiar with Greenwald’s work, he’s a civil liberties litigator and prolific writer whose online home was Salon until he very recently departed for the UK’s Guardian.

As one review summarizes,

[The book] is a damning indictment of America’s two-tiered justice system in which political and financial elites are vested with virtual legal immunity while everyone else is punished for the most trivial of legal infractions. Instead of the law being used to protect those most vulnerable, it has instead, especially in the past four decades, turned into a weapon to protect the powerful from prosecution for their many crimes, and these crimes are outlined in the book with shocking effectiveness.

To give an example on which Greenwald spills a lot of ink, one of the defining features of Obama’s promise of change in 2008 was a return to the rule of law in contrast to the Bush era. He specifically indicated in debate with Hillary Clinton that he would investigate Bush Administration officials for potential war crimes. Yet, even before he took office, Obama indicated that he would not actually pursue the matter. “Nine days before Obama’s inauguration,” Greenwald writes, “the New York Times published an article headlined ‘Obama Reluctant to Look Into Bush Programs.’” And, indeed, the Bush torturers have gotten away scott free.

(more…)

How much can we blame a President?

Posted on September 19, 2012 at 12.36 pm

When each new President takes office, he is allowed something of a grace period in which he may say, effectively, “I’m simply cleaning up the other guy’s mess; soon I’ll get to the good work on my own agenda.”

This is all good and fine for a while, but sooner or later his partisan opponents in particular will begin to demand an end to these claims. With Obama, of course, we have long since passed that point — that the President puts too much responsibility for the economy on Dubya is a standard Republican talking point. Obama apparently disagrees, and it may be an effective election strategy:

In a big campaign speech in Ohio this week, President Obama made perhaps his most focused case that the economy is still struggling because he inherited a giant mess created by eight years of Republican policies. And according to a new Gallup poll , Americans don’t necessarily disagree: Three and a half years after George W. Bush left office, 68 percent of Americans still blame our 43rd president a “great deal” or a “moderate amount” for the lousy economy. The “blame Bush” crowd includes 67 percent of independents and, surprisingly, 49 percent of Republicans. What’s more, those numbers have remained relatively static since August 2010. Mitt Romney is running hard against Obama’s economic record, but could Obama keep his job by running against Bush’s?

Those are fascinating stats, and while I’m no fan of Obama’s economic strategies, it’s good to see that Republicans are beginning to accept that Bush wasn’t so hot either.

I think the bigger issue, however, is this:  How much responsibility is it actually fair to attribute to any President for the policies and changes in the country which occur while they’re in office? Typically supporters of any candidate are eager to give their guy credit for all the good stuff while just as eagerly asserting that all the bad stuff is out of his control. Whatever we conclude about the President’s responsibility, I’m pretty sure that conclusion is wrong.

(more…)