Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ted Rall Says, Obama Should Resign -- Updated, Bumped & a Bit Sticky

I have been saying since just days after Obama was inaugurated, that I think it is likely that he not make it through one term in office. My reasoning is, as Victor Davis Hanson has articulated it, the bill will come due on both Obama's promises and policies. And no one is going to like the bill.

Everyone who voted against him will feel like they're paying someone else's bill, and everyone who voted for him will believe the other person was supposed to pay their bill. Everyone will feel cheated.

And, after the bill is presented, and the feeling of having been cheated has really set in, the anger will start to spew forth in unprecedented ways.

And, the members of Congress will begin to fear for their seats. And, I believe, they will feel forced to draw up some sort of formal condemnation of Barack Obama's policies, many of which they themselves voted for.

I call it a "American No Confidence Vote", and if the numbers reach above 80% in both the Congress and American public opinion, then Obama will have no choice but to leave office.

Ted Rall is the first real voice on the American Left who seems to truly agree with my position. Expect more in the future.

From the Springfield State Journal-Register:

MIAMI — We expected broken promises. But the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obama’s inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity and follow-through.

From health care to torture to the economy to war, Obama has reneged on pledges real and implied. So timid and so owned is he that he trembles in fear of offending, of all things, the government of Turkey. Obama has officially reneged on his campaign promise to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. When a president doesn’t have the nerve to annoy the Turks, why does he bother to show up for work in the morning?

Obama is useless. Worse than that, he’s dangerous. Which is why, if he has any patriotism left after the thousands of meetings he has sat through with corporate contributors, blood-sucking lobbyists and corrupt politicians, he ought to step down now — before he drags us further into the abyss.

I refer here to Obama’s plan for “preventive detentions.” If a cop or other government official thinks you might want to commit a crime someday, you could be held in “prolonged detention.” Reports in U.S. state-controlled media imply that Obama’s shocking new policy would only apply to Islamic terrorists (or, in this case, wannabe Islamic terrorists, and also kinda-sorta-maybe-thinking-about-terrorism dudes). As if that made it OK.

Read the whole thing.

Midnight Rider updates:

What the hell is all the fuss? Isn't this what we want? Preventive detention for Muslims? The ability to arbitrarily stop Muslim immigration? To be able to round up, jail and/or deport a man because he attends a mosque, a woman because she wears a veil in public? Isn't that what so many are advocating?

But wouldn't someone declared to be part of a militia (as recently defined) constitute a possible future combatant?

When Pasto or Epa or Charles or I say no no, this is where VB and BNP can lead we're derided as deluded, ignorant to the ways of Islam, wimps fooled by taqiyya. Well, this is where it leads.

Welcome to the new America.

And if one voice from the left isn't enough, how about another?

Glenn Greenwald at Salon (shudder, I can't believe I typed that):

Facts and myths about Obama's preventive detention proposal
[Updated below - Update II (Interview with ACLU) - Update III - Update IV - Update V - Update VI]

In the wake of Obama's speech yesterday, there are vast numbers of new converts who now support indefinite "preventive detention." It thus seems constructive to have as dispassionate and fact-based discussion as possible of the implications of "preventive detention" and Obama's related detention proposals (military commissions). I'll have a podcast discussion on this topic a little bit later today with the ACLU's Ben Wizner, which I'll add below, but until then, here are some facts and other points worth noting:

(1) What does "preventive detention" allow?

It's important to be clear about what "preventive detention" authorizes. It does not merely allow the U.S. Government to imprison people alleged to have committed Terrorist acts yet who are unable to be convicted in a civilian court proceeding. That class is merely a subset, perhaps a small subset, of who the Government can detain. Far more significant, "preventive detention" allows indefinite imprisonment not based on proven crimes or past violations of law, but of those deemed generally "dangerous" by the Government for various reasons (such as, as Obama put it yesterday, they "expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden" or "otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans"). That's what "preventive" means: imprisoning people because the Government claims they are likely to engage in violent acts in the future because they are alleged to be "combatants."

Once known, the details of the proposal could -- and likely will -- make this even more extreme by extending the "preventive detention" power beyond a handful of Guantanamo detainees to anyone, anywhere in the world, alleged to be a "combatant." After all, once you accept the rationale on which this proposal is based -- namely, that the U.S. Government must, in order to keep us safe, preventively detain "dangerous" people even when they can't prove they violated any laws -- there's no coherent reason whatsoever to limit that power to people already at Guantanamo, as opposed to indefinitely imprisoning with no trials all allegedly "dangerous" combatants, whether located in Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Western countries and even the U.S.

(2) Are defenders of Obama's proposals being consistent?

During the Bush years, it was common for Democrats to try to convince conservatives to oppose Bush's executive power expansions by asking them: "Do you really want these powers to be exercised by Hillary Clinton or some liberal President?"

Following that logic, for any Democrat/progressive/liberal/Obama supporter who wants to defend Obama's proposal of "preventive detention," shouldn't you first ask yourself three simple questions:

(a) what would I have said if George Bush and Dick Cheney advocated a law vesting them with the power to preventively imprison people indefinitely and with no

(b) when Bush and Cheney did preventively imprison large numbers of people, was I in favor of that or did I oppose it, and when right-wing groups such as Heritage Foundation were alone in urging a preventive detention law in 2004, did I support them?; and

(c) even if I'm comfortable with Obama having this new power because I trust him not to abuse it, am I comfortable with future Presidents -- including Republicans -- having the power of indefinite "preventive detention"?

(3) Questions for defenders of Obama's proposal:

There are many claims being made by defenders of Obama's proposals which seem quite contradictory and/or without any apparent basis, and I've been searching for a defender of those proposals to address these questions:

Bush supporters have long claimed -- and many Obama supporters are now insisting as well -- that there are hard-core terrorists who cannot be convicted in our civilian courts. For anyone making that claim, what is the basis for believing that? In the Bush era, the Government has repeatedly been able to convict alleged Al Qaeda and Taliban members in civilian courts, including several (Ali al-Marri, Jose Padilla, John Walker Lindh) who were tortured and others (Zacharais Moussaoui, Padilla) where evidence against them was obtained by extreme coercion. What convinced you to believe that genuine terrorists can't be convicted in our justice system?

For those asserting that there are dangerous people who have not yet been given any trial and who Obama can't possibly release, how do you know they are "dangerous" if they haven't been tried? Is the Government's accusation enough for you to assume it's true?

Above all: for those justifying Obama's use of military commissions by arguing that some terrorists can't be convicted in civilian courts because the evidence against them is "tainted" because it was obtained by Bush's torture, Obama himself claimed just yesterday that his military commissions also won't allow such evidence ("We will no longer permit the use of evidence -- as evidence statements that have been obtained using cruel, inhuman, or degrading interrogation methods"). How does our civilian court's refusal to consider evidence obtained by torture demonstrate the need for Obama's military commissions if, as Obama himself claims, Obama's military commissions also won't consider evidence obtained by torture?

Finally, don't virtually all progressives and Democrats argue that torture produces unreliable evidence? If it's really true (as Obama defenders claim) that the evidence we have against these detainees was obtained by torture and is therefore inadmissible in real courts, do you really think such unreliable evidence -- evidence we obtained by torture -- should be the basis for concluding that someone is so "dangerous" that they belong in prison indefinitely with no trial?

If you don't trust evidence obtained by torture, why do you trust it to justify holding someone forever, with no trial, as "dangerous"?

the rest here


Pastorius said...

Think about this;

First, Obama declared that there is no war on terror,

Second, he tells us instead that there are man-caused disasters that need to be dealt with.

So, he has, in effect, completely diluted the meaning of Islamic terrorism, until it can be conflated with any human being who MIGHT want to kill Americans in the future. In other words, he has stated that he has the right to lock up a person according to a thoughtcrime, or a potential future crime.

Reminds you of Minority Report, doesn't it?

We should have known there was more to Obama's disposal of the "War on Terror" term than simply that he did not believe we were at war with Islamic terrorists. Especially because he clearly IS aware we are at war with such people, since he is the one who has moved so hard against Pakistan.

So, why else would he have diluted the meaning of terrorist in such a way, if not for some larger strategic reason?

Interesting, to say the least.

By the way, here's a question to ponder, does owning a gun mean that you might want to kill Americans in the future? Does making a statement like, they'll only get my gun if they pry it from my cold, dead hands, mean that you are a potential killer of Americans? Does making a statement like, the reason the Second Amendment exists is so that Americans can protect themselves against the government if it gets out of control,

a la Thomas Jefferson, who said,

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government"

-- Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

Pastorius said...

Is Thomas Jefferson then a man who MIGHT have been a future killer of Americans?

midnight rider said...

He was, indeed, as were all the Founders who themselves would have stood against this.

Our American President is in direct contravention to American Traditions, Values, Laws, to the very definition of American.

Always On Watch said...

If a cop or other government official thinks you might want to commit a crime someday, you could be held in “prolonged detention.”Might? Someday?

Damn, this is surreal.

Always On Watch said...

So, why else would he have diluted the meaning of terrorist in such a way, if not for some larger strategic reason?Reminiscent of Stalin?

Pastorius said...

Who really knows what Obama's plan is?

Epaminondas said...

Y'know the only defense for supporters of O is that 'he would never just lock up americans for thoughts' ..ok fine. Let's even give them that

But one day.... there WILL be such a man, and Obama will have made it all LEGAL.

And they called him Bushitler?

And yes..Jefferson was a dangerous future criminal.

The bleating of the left now is pretty funny.

Pastorius said...

Yes, I think you're right, Obama would not lock anyone up for thoughts.

However, I do wonder if Obama will lock some people up for repeatedly using Jefferson quotes "in a threatening manner"?

I.E., YOU.

I don't mean that I think you are doing anything wrong, but more than anyone here, you quote Jefferson and explicitly pronounce that the reason a well-ordered militia is necessary is to protect the citizens against the government.

Sounds like a person priming for insurrection to me, given the, apparent, Obama paradigm.

Annie Jeffries said...

When I heard clips of this speech, I was infuriated. Wondered where the voices were shouting against him. Sure glad I found this site. Reagan may have been the teflon president but Obama has taken full advantage of all the upgrades since then. How, in God's name, does he get away with something like this?

Pastorius said...

Hi Annie,
Glad to meet you, and thanks for the encouraging words.

I can not, for the life of me, understand how Obama is getting away with this stuff.

I am left to believe that most of my fellow Americans are either,

1) not paying attention,


2) have little understanding of the Constitution and the American Tradition.