Friday, December 19, 2008

Obama's Carnival of Beasts Continues

"The politics of common ground will not be found on the far right or on the far left. That is not where most Americans live. We will only find it in the firm middle ground of common sense and shared values."
--Barack Obama, approvingly quoting Tom Daschle (11 Dec., 2008)

As Obama now speaks approvingly of the vile triangulation tactics pioneered during the Clinton regime, his carnival of beasts continues. One right-wing pick after another. A few liberals have turned up among them, but they're being given token roles of little real importance. All the big slots are going to the conservatives--after running on "change," Obama has assembled a team that runs the ideological gamut from A to B, from Republican-lite to Republican-outright. It has been a dreadful thing to behold.

His just-announced choice to deliver a benediction at his inauguration is "Pastor" Rick Warren, a reactionary scumbag of the Religious Reich variety who compares legalized abortion to the Holocaust and compares homosexual marriage to incest and pedophilia. This election season, Warren crusaded in favor of California's noxious Prop. 8, which stripped away such marriage rights to gay couples. This is one of the first voices Americans will hear from this administration when Obama is sworn in.

Getting to offer a benediction at an inauguration is a relatively minor thing, of course. Symbolically, though, it's an atrocity, particularly after the last 8 years, and an open insult to every decent, liberal American, after Obama has already dished out to them one insult after another via his choices to run his administration. Whatever his other shortcomings, Obama has always given the impression of being quite intelligent. His choices since election, however, give the impression of a degree of stupidity bordering on the cretinous. What is to be gained by giving a creature like Warren such a prominent national stage? It can only give him greater prestige and that is to the detriment of the United States and everyone in it. The only point seems to be a vain, stupid, doomed effort to curry favor with the right.

After they politically bury him, perhaps they'll send him some flowers.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How Offensive!!!

When he chucked his shoes at "President" Bush this week, Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi proved he understood the key to getting lots of press: give good visuals. The cable news networks are running to ribbons the footage of his shoe-throwing protest. It's one of the most entertaining things many of those programs have ever aired. Less entertaining is some of the reaction the incident has drawn in the U.S..

Reg Henry, who isn't a Bush supporter, had this to say about it (writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):
"...when anyone, especially a foreign national, physically attacks the president of the United States, be it with shoes, sandals, socks, bras, jockstraps, cream pies or anything else absurd or smelly that comes to hand, then it is an assault on the dignity of all of us, even if some of us are not very dignified.

"This rule applies to any president and I will brook no opposition on this point. The office demands respect even when the person doesn't."
Juan Williams isn't a liberal, but he plays one on TV. He's one of the regular stable of faux lefties imported onto such programs to give a phony sense of balance. In one such appearance on Bill O'Reilly's wretched Fox News freak-show, this was his reaction to the flying footwear affair:
" many American lives have been sacrificed to the cause of liberating Iraq? How much money has been spent while they’re not spending their own profits from their oil? American money. So I just think it’s absolutely the act of an ingrate for them to behave in this way. Just unbelievable to me."
Ah, the voice of Offended Empire... "Those ungrateful darkies! And after all we've done for them!"

Of course, what Bush really did for them was concoct a noxious faragoo of lies to rationalize a massive campaign of slaughter inside their country, the home of Muntader al-Zaidi. What a grave national insult it is that this fellow--failing to realize he's only supposed to think badly of that sort of behavior when it comes from brown people with funny names like Saddam Hussein--took offense at it and committed the unpardonable sin of throwing a shoe at our brave Maximal Leader! Even our "liberal" commentators say so!

Bush and his lies murder thousands; a fellow throws a pair of shoes. Outrageous!

My own reaction: Too bad it wasn't a brick.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Liberals Argue Over the Merits of Disappointment

On MSNBC's COUNTDOWN last night, Keith Olbermann said Obama's foreign policy apparatus, publicly rolled out yesterday, isn't just a "team of rivals"--it amounts to "a coalition government."

Bad news for those who thought they'd be getting "change" from an Obama administration.

But some people are loving it. Jeremy Scahill has a good piece out today noting that Obama's picks are finding much favor on the right:
"Karl Rove, 'Bush's Brain', called Obama's cabinet selections, 'reassuring', which itself is disconcerting, but neoconservative leader and former McCain campaign staffer Max Boot summed it up best. 'I am gobsmacked by these appointments, most of which could just as easily have come from a President McCain,' Boot wrote. The appointment of General Jones and the retention of Gates at defence 'all but puts an end to the 16-month timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, the unconditional summits with dictators and other foolishness that once emanated from the Obama campaign.'
"Boot added that Hillary Clinton will be a 'powerful' voice 'for "neoliberalism" which is not so different in many respects from "neoconservativism."' Boot's buddy, Michael Goldfarb, wrote in The Weekly Standard, the official organ of the neoconservative movement, that he sees 'certainly nothing that represents a drastic change in how Washington does business. The expectation is that Obama is set to continue the course set by Bush in his second term.'"
Most of Scahill's comments are dead on target but there is one puzzler in the pile. Consider this passage:
"We were told repeatedly during the campaign that Obama was right on the premiere foreign policy issue of our day--the Iraq war. 'Six years ago, I stood up and opposed this war at a time when it was politically risky to do so,' Obama said in his September debate against John McCain. 'Senator McCain and President Bush had a very different judgment.'"
Obama has been an opponent of the Iraq war since before he entered the Senate and that campaign rhetoric was consistent with his record. Try to make that passage fit with this though:
" is also disingenuous to act as though Obama is engaging in some epic betrayal. Of course these appointments contradict his campaign rhetoric of change. But move past the speeches and Obama's selections are very much in sync with his record and the foreign policy vision he articulated on the campaign trail..."
Scahill's judgment that "there is not a single, solid anti-war voice in the upper echelons of the Obama foreign policy apparatus" is a correct one. How can that be "in sync" with his previous record and his campaign rhetoric?

A few days ago, I slammed Glenn Greenwald for feigning bewilderment at liberal disappointment with Obama's appointments to date. He was, in my view, grossly overstating his case and he, himself, must have eventually come to the same judgment of what he'd written, because he returned a few days later with a new piece in which he outlined Obama's liberal Senate record and campaign rhetoric on subjects such as the use of torture, the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, trial by "military commissions," illegal surveillance and other items, and noted that Obama has recently shown "some conflicting signs" on these issues "that create some uncertainty." What does Greenwald see as "conflicting signs"? In almost every case, it's Obama's choice of rightist appointees who completely contradict his own views on these subjects.

It seems a little disappointment is in order after all.


Monday, December 1, 2008

The CIA & Obama's Would-Be "Cure" For It

Until recent days, John Brennan, who has been Barack Obama's top advisor on intelligence matters, had been the President-elect's assumed choice to head the CIA. Brennan is a vile rightist, one of George Tenet's long-serving hecubi who spent a few years as Deputy Executive Director of the CIA during the outgoing Bush's administration. Among other things, he has supported and defended the Bush administrations' use of torture and of "rendition" (shipping people to foreign countries where they can be horribly tortured with impunity) pimped for Bush's illegal wiretapping scheme and for immunity for telecoms who collaborated with Bush without regard to the law or their customers' rights. After a minor firestorm of controversy erupted over Brennan's potential appointment, he wrote a letter to Obama on Nov. 25 withdrawing his name from any potential intelligence-related post.

The real story isn't that he has now withdrawn. It's that he was ever even a contender in the first place.

The CIA is a mess at the moment. It has been subject, under the Bush administration, to the same sort of ideological purge as was the Justice Department and other agencies. Quality intel pros--those charged with gathering and making sense of the data necessary to, among other things, protect the U.S. from terrorist attacks were given the heave-ho because they weren't "loyal" enough, or conservative enough. The corporate press has virtually ignored this but Porter Goss was named by Bush to head of the agency with explicit instructions to carry out such a purge. From Newsday, in 2004:
"The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources.

"'The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House,' said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to the agency and to the White House. 'Goss was given instructions... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda.'"
This was done and in very ugly fashion. As it progressed, one senior administration official told Knight-Ridder that the purge "appears to be directed at 'everybody who said there was no connection between Iraq and al-Qaida and everybody who they think leaked information that undercut what the administration was claiming.'"

"This is a classic case of shooting the messenger," said one senior official. 'Unfortunately, they're the same messengers we're counting on to warn us of the next al-Qaida attack.'" 

Robert Dreyfuss has been one of the few journalists who tracked this sorry affair in any detail:
"Since Goss took over, between 30 and 90 senior CIA officials have made their exit, according to various sources, some fleeing into retirement, others taking refuge as consultants. Others, unable to retire, have stayed, but only to mark time at the agency. Morale, already low after several years during which the CIA was accused of a series of intelligence failures related to September 11 and Iraq's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, is now at rock-bottom. The agency's vaunted Near East Division, in particular, which served as the 'pointy end of the spear,' as one CIA veteran put it, in simultaneous wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the 'global war on terror,' has been decimated."
That entire Dreyfuss article is worth a read.

Within only months of Goss's appointment, nearly the entirety of the senior management of the clandestine services--the branch which handles the spies--had been fired or had quit.

Goss eventually left. The purge, unfortunately, didn't. Under Michael Hayden, his successor, the CIA inspector general launched an investigation into the administration's detention and "interrogation" practices. Hayden's response was the launch an investigation of the inspector general.

This is what's been happening at CIA. Longtime, high-ranking intel pros being eliminated in a political purge and replaced with Bush yes-men. This is the agency that will confront Obama when he is sworn in.

And Brennan was his solution? 


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gabler Argues for "Joe McCarthy Gene" in GOP

Neal Gabler has a noteworthy op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times today in which he argues that there is "something deep in the DNA of the Republican Party that determines how Republicans run for office, and because it is genetic, it isn't likely to be expunged any time soon." He calls it the Joe McCarthy gene. Gabler's basic premise--and it's a solid one--is that McCarthy is much more a founding father of contemporary conservatism than was Barry Goldwater.
"McCarthyism is usually considered a virulent form of Red-baiting and character assassination. But it is much more than that. As historian Richard Hofstadter described it in his famous essay, 'The Paranoid Style in American Politics,' McCarthyism is a way to build support by playing on the anxieties of Americans, actively convincing them of danger and conspiracy even where these don't exist."
The paralells to the present are obvious and Gabler isn't making any sort of new or radical observation. In recent years, the thesis finds support in, among other places, the increasing tendency among a growing segment of the right to try to rehabilitate Joe McCarthy himself. This year saw the publication of "Blacklisted By History" by longtime conservative writer M. Stanton Evans, yet another lengthy, error-ridden, misleading and false stab at McCarthy revisionism and yet again, it has received a great deal of "mainstream" attention in advancing a notion previously the province of the fringe of the fringe of the nut right.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Glenn Greenwald Wrong on Obama & the Left

Glenn Greenwald is probably the best political bloggers on the internet but he's way off base on the matter of liberal disappointment about the administration Barack Obama has been assembling:
"I've been genuinely mystified by the disappointment and surprise being expressed by many liberals over the fact that Obama's most significant appointments thus far are composed of pure Beltway establishment figures drawn from the center-right of the Democratic Party and, probably once he names his Defense Secretary and CIA Director, even from the Bush administration--but not from the Left."
A good rule of thumb in dealing with politicians is "never expect anything from a pig but a grunt" but Greenwald has grossly overstated the degree to which Obama could have been expected to do what he has, in fact, done. For my part, I knew exactly what Obama was and I've found many of his appointments, to date, to be outright shocking. You don't ride a wave of progressive, anti-conservative sentiment into the White House then totally snub those who elected you while putting into high positions those whom they had just rejected. Obama won by defeating those people. You don't campaign on the illegitimacy of the Iraq war then appoint all hawks. You don't campaign on hope and change then try to recreate a hopelessly bad administration of the past. Anyone who wanted Clinton 2 had their candidate. She lost, and managed, in the process, to remind us why Bill Clinton was such a write-off.

After he'd pounded her into submission at the polls, Obama offered the expected polite, conciliatory remarks toward Hillary Clinton but those who suggested she'd be receiving a high position in his administration after waging such a needlessly ugly and protracted campaign seemed off their collective rockers. Obama said Clinton would be on anyone's short list for VP but everyone recognized that as the words of a gracious victor, and the behind-the-scenes reporting confirmed she'd never even been seriously considered for that post. Nor should she have been. The single biggest item that had allowed him to crush her in the primaries was that she was wrong on War-On-Terror-related policy and now, Obama offers to make her Secretary of State? Greenwald isn't being honest when he suggests this is predictable.

And Clinton is only one example. Through most of his other appointments, Obama is going out of his way to throw shit in the face of those who elected him and giving them nothing more for their efforts than the stinky mess to clean. The Big Three automakers are currently seeking a government bailout. What sort of moral authority does Obama have to chide them for bad decisions and being "resistant to change" if he's doing this?

Greenwald persists:
"It's difficult to understand what basis progressives think they have for demanding greater inclusion in his cabinet and other high-level appointments, and it's even more difficult to understand the basis for the disappointment and surprise being expressed over the fact that center-right Democrats and Republicans are welcomed in his inner circle, but--as The Nation's Chris Hayes put it--'not a single, solitary, actual dyed-in-the-wool progressive has, as far as I can tell, even been mentioned for a position in the new administration.'"
On what basis? How about the assumption that the President they just elected isn't a complete idiot? Hayes, in the piece Greenwald quotes, answered that in the next few sentence:
"Remember this [the left] is the movement that was right about Iraq, right about wage stagnation and inequality, right about financial deregulation, right about global warming and right about health care. And I don't just mean in that in a sectarian way. I mean to say that the emerging establishment consensus on all of these issues came from the left.... And yet, no one who comes from the part of American political and intellectual life that has given birth to all of these ideas is anywhere to be found within miles of the Obama cabinet thus far. WTF?"
This isn't just a matter of picking people who have been defeated by voters and who are offensive to those who elected Obama; this is a matter of putting into positions of power those who were completely wrong about the central issues of our time. Obama is going out of his way to do this. As I've noted more than once, we've already done "stupid" when it comes to the executive branch. It didn't work out so well for us.

Obama hasn't yet been sworn in and he's already looking like a failed president.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Did You Ever Hear the One About Clinton The Liberal?

Bill Clinton really is a sign of how far to the right American institutions have lurched in recent decades. While pilloried as a "socialist," Clinton, as president, was actually more conservative, from a policy standpoint, than George Bush Sr., his Republican predecessor, and, looking at him generically, his governance would have been regarded by any neutral observer as mainstream conservative Republican right up until he came into office.

There's an unfortunate "conventional wisdom" about Clinton though. It began during his administration. The crux of it is that Clinton ran for office as a DLC "New Democrat"--a conservative--then took a hard turn to the left, once elected. This led to a public rejection of his--and thus of liberal--rule, a rejection most prominently expressed by the Republican seizure of congress in 1994. Chastened by this, goes the "conventional wisdom," Clinton became much more like the conservative he'd run as.

If one had a quarter for every time some variation on this theme had played out in the corporate press over the years, one would be very rich indeed. It's biggest flaw is that it isn't true. Not a word of it. The problem it represents--and the reason I'm addressing it here today--is that this "conventional wisdom" is now being used against Barack Obama as an argument against his adopting any overly liberal ways.

Obama doesn't seem to need pounded by this in order to avoid acting on any liberal instincts he may have; his choices for top positions in his administration continue to be a carnival of beasts. Still, there was the San Francisco Chronicle a few days ago saying Obama "must tack toward the political mainstream to avoid miscalculations made by President Bill Clinton, who veered left and fired up the 1994 Republican backlash."
This has already drawn an appropriate reply from columnist Norman Solomon.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

...And the Hits Just Keep Coming

As a Senator, Hillary Clinton has been pretty worthless. During the Democratic primaries earlier this year, she talked up her record, arguing it gave her more experience. A quick check of that record revealed that, in her 8 years in the Senate, she's authored or co-authored fewer than two-dozen bills, nearly all of them concerned with frivolous nonsense like naming roads and bridges. This was in sharp contrast to Barack Obama who, though having served only a portion of a single term, had authored or co-authored hundreds of bills on every subject under the sun. While Obama had been working like a house of fire on substantive issues, she’s been a passive space-filler, showing no initiative and content to sit back, collect a paycheck and vote on other people’s work, siding with the Bush administration on nearly everything that mattered. Still, those in the corporate press liked Hillary and while they reported her own crowing about her superior "experience," the truth about that experience was mostly kept from public view.

Throughout the primaries, Clinton ran an absolutely despicable campaign. Faced, in Barack Obama, with a surging contender who threatened to topple her from what she seemed to consider her right to be this year's party candidate, Clinton turned her campaign into a loud, obnoxious circus headed by an utterly unscrupulous serial-liar of a candidate who cheerfully wallowed in sleaze and garbage on a daily basis. She continued plugging away long after she'd passed the point where she could numerically win the nomination, formulating a despicable strategy of riding the matter all the way to the convention, preventing Obama from accumulating enough delegates for an outright win and trying to convince the party superdelegates to pull a George Bush Jr.--to overturn the results of the election and coronate her as the candidate. Even when Obama cinched enough delegates to make him the undisputed winner, she failed to concede and only gave up the ghost when this proved too much for even many of her least ethical supporters in the party. Even as she was surrendering the fight, she launched a vain effort--virtually attempted blackmail--to lobby to be chosen as Obama's Vice Presidential candidate.

The words "stop it, already" seemed as alien to her as simple human decency. Her presidential dreams crushed though, she did eventually shuffle off the stage, the quiet reaction of most conscientious observers being "good riddance to bad rubbish."

It seems it just wasn't to be.

This week finds the press awash in stories that Barack Obama is considering naming this same Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State.

Rumor? Possibly. Those in the press have to have something to report if they wish to keep Bush's last-minute antics off the front page. The fact that the story doesn't immediately sound absurdly far-fetched is a comment on the expectations engendered by the present transition.

And by the way, Henry Kissinger told an Indian audience, yesterday, that, if true, this would be "an outstanding choice." Sort of says it all.


Friday, November 14, 2008

A Political Zombie Movie

"Don't let Obama break your heart." A good message to liberals, from Tom Englehardt at Tomdispatch. Englehardt argues that, if you want change, you'd better start demanding it, and to hell with the present calls, from many quarters, for giving the upcoming administration "a chance." Regarding the entrenched interests in the capitol, he says "Leave Obama to them and he'll break your heart."

His piece paints a dire portrait of the Obama administration presently being assembled:

"All you had to do was look at that array of Clinton-era economic types and CEOs behind Obama at his first news conference to think: been there, done that... You could scan that gathering and not see a genuine rogue thinker in sight; no off-the-reservation figures who might represent a breath of fresh air and fresh thinking..."

It's an ugly picture. I like Englehardt's description of this as a "political zombie movie." It's the Administration of the Living Dead and perhaps, effectively, the end of Barack Obama's administration. The man who rode into office trumpeting hope and change seems poised to do nothing more than deliver more of the same. What a surprise, right? I've said it more times than could easily be counted: never put your hope in politicians, folks. It's a fool's venture.

It does make me wonder what on earth Obama is thinking. He's never been any sort of radical but he does have liberal impulses and he was a very active fellow in the Senate. Was the point of being president just to be president? Didn't he have any larger ambitions?

I'm a born skeptic of politicians with ambitions, mind you, but Obama has a lot of the right instincts and, facing the wreckage that is the legacy of his predecessor, could do an invaluable service by showing some sign of vision at this point in history. The country needs some things right now very badly. If he's going to behave as a conservative Republican, which is what the vile presence of these rotting zombies suggests, we would have been better off with McCain, because when McCain did something outrageous as president, the only party that shows any hint of a sense of responsibility wouldn't divide over the matter. This is what happened during Clinton; party loyalty--a worthless commodity, if there ever was one--was forever becoming entangled with the matter of what was actually best for the country.

I disagree with Englehardt's suggestion that what we're seeing from Obama now is merely a consequence of his beginning to be consumed by the corrupt culture in Washington. Obama is a big boy and can make his own calls. The reason there aren't any mavericks or out-of-the-box thinkers on that stage is because he hasn't put them there. And that's a shame.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Righties Harden For War

L. Brent Bozell III, the founder of the Media Research Center, is one of the biggest phonies in a contemporary conservative movement primarily noteworthy for generating phonies and he's just held a post-mortem on the rather bad-for-Republicans election results. As reported by the New York Times on Friday, about twenty of America's conservative elite gathered on Thursday at his Virginia home to assess the election and plot the future. Their conclusion?
"The moderate wing of the Republican party is dead."

From the Times story:
"...they said that if future candidates for public office want to tap into the vast fund-raising and grassroots resources of the conservative movement, they would have to fit a 'job description' holding them to a set of core principles, like fiscal restraint, opposition to abortion, tough border security and a strong national defense."
This is to be expected and, oddly enough, it's probably the right move, from their perspective. Hardening their positions always runs the risk of causing damage at the polls when elections roll around but that isn't a sure thing and from a policy standpoint, it will help them get their way for at least the next two years, because Barack Obama seems inexplicably intent on a course of "can't we all just get along"-ism.

Contrary to the hysterical ranting we've heard from the right, Obama never had a full-bore liberal agenda as any sort of goal. Obama could follow in Clinton's footsteps, as his early picks seem to be suggesting, but his record of public service--hundreds of bills he either authored or co-authored on every conceivable subject (in only a partial Senate term), for example--suggested he was a great deal more ambitious than this "can't we all just get along"-ism that seems to have infected him.

His election was historic. If he goes down that path, it will be the only thing history remembers of him. "Can't we all just get along"-ism is a dead-end--embracing it up front is like publicly committing seppuku.

When Democrats are in power, the corporate press worships consensus. Moderation. Bipartisanship. In other words, a complete lack of real debate and of real choice.

In politics, moderation is supposed to be achieved via the process itself, by starting with a strong position then making whatever compromises with the other side are necessary to get done whatever it is you really want, with the majority, by virtue of their superior numbers, getting a little more of what they want. That's how it's supposed to work.

When, instead of a strong position, you start, right out of the gate, with a mushy moderate rock-as-few-boats-as-possible one that gives in to the other side right up front, the other side always wins. Always. When you play that game, the opposition then has no motivation to do anything other than adopt a solid position of strength, with a consequence being that the eventual "compromise" much more closely reflects the party that took that more solid position.

The last two years of rule by a "can't we all just get along"-ist Democratic majority in congress are a painful lesson in this regard. The majority gives in before it has even started, while the other faction takes the most reactionary possible position and everything congress does is either stalemated (when it tries to make any progressive moves) or so closely resembles outright conservative Republican legislation that its pointless to note any differences.

Sure, Obama could follow in Clinton's footsteps--be, from a policy standpoint, indistinguishable from a conservative Republican and engage in vile triangulation as a means of maintaining his position. What does that get, though? Nothing accomplished--nothing good, anyway--and you spend four years filling space, being progressively destroyed by the other side and, ultimately, history has no memory of you. Clinton's only place in history is the impeachment fiasco; nothing else will be remembered. Does Obama really want to be remembered only as the first president who wasn't completely white or does he actually want to do something with his time in office? He has to decide, and it isn't looking very promising from these early names being floated for positions in his administration.

Meanwhile, the rightists are hardening their position. John McCain--a lifelong, hardcore conservative--is, from their perspective, a "moderate." So while Obama is talking about keeping Robert Gates as Defense Secretary (one of Daddy Bush's pet war-criminals who should be in prison, rather than running a government agency), the conservatives are digging in and preparing for war


Friday, November 7, 2008

The Upcoming Obama Administration is Already Looking Problematic

From Barack Obama's appointments so far and those deemed to be on his "short list" for key positions in his administrations, the prospects for that administration are looking pretty grim. Nearly everyone the transition is talking about hiring is either a former Clintonite or a conservative Republican (and it isn't as if there's usually much difference between the two). If Obama's picks end up looking like his VP pick, as this early talk suggests, we'd have probably been better off with John McCain. Obama was not elected to give us Clinton Redux but that's the direction he seems to be steering.

Despite the insane reactionary ranting during the campaign, Obama isn't a fellow who has ever shown any evidence of harboring any particularly radical ideas. An Obama win in the campaign was only a small potential "victory" for America--at best, it may staunch the bleeding a bit. The last 8 years have seen a virtual one-party state in the U.S., with a quasi-dictator at its head who has gotten whatever he wants, without any checks. A right-wing thug was allowed to run riot. The response to that has to be equivalent. Not a riot but a full-bore, no mercy effort at erasing every vestige of this sort of dictatorial governance.

Obama is coming into an executive branch that has been absolutely devastated by the last 8 years of this sort of rule. If he and his next several successors vowed to entirely reverse all of it, the work wouldn't be done in the lifetime of anyone reading these words today. It certainly isn't going to be done if the first thing he wants to do is embrace the "can't we all just get along"-ism so beloved by the corporate press whenever Democrats are in power. That isn't what Obama was elected to do either. It's not the time to get along. It's the time to start flushing some toilets, before the accumulated backwash drowns us all. That's the only proper liberal response and the only proper American one as well.

lushing their shit is inevitably going to infuriate the right but--and this is critically important--anything Obama does is going to infuriate them. Bill Clinton was a conservative, barely distinguishable in any meaningful way from a Republican yet became the target of the most virulent campaign of hatred and slander of perhaps any President in the history of the U.S.. The lesson here? The right doesn't have their party in the White House and that's always going to bring down their fury. Even if you go along with every policy they advocate (as Clinton virtually did), it will be the same story. So fuck them. Do what needs to be done. The shit has to go--flush it.

Even if one is as bereft of judgment as to disagree with everything I've just outlined, it should still be a point of agreement among all that Obama was elected to bring change.

Instead, we're getting "Rahm-bo", Podesta and all the rest, with talk of conservative Republicans being placed in top slots. Clinton redux. That isn't "change," no matter how one looks at it.

If he really chooses, as has been suggested, to maintain Robert Gates at the Department of Defense... well... to put it bluntly, if his instincts are that bad, he's too stupid to be President. We've already done stupid. That didn't go over so well