Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dear George: Your Presidency is a Warning Beacon for the Ages

There's a neat web site, at Goodbye.us, where people can post their heartfelt letters to George Bush. I didn't think I'd have anything to post, but, of course, finally did:

Dear Former President Bush:

I really have little to say to you anymore. It's time to focus on the future and the only thing I care about from you in the future is to resist your inevitable attempts at historical rewrites.

Instead, your Presidency should serve as a warning beacon to future politicians to shun lying the country into war, not to deregulate wildly, to govern by uniting and not dividing, to embrace science over fantasy, to avoid politicizing the Justice Dept (at least), to help the people in their need (Katrina).

If we let you rewrite, gloss over and falsify these last eight years, you turn off the beacon. Your ideological heirs could run us up on the rocks again.

Looking forward, I know you and your operatives will seek to rewrite history to try and etch your false version of events in stone. You're going to find this to be pretty difficult because your record was so bad and those us who had to live through this will not let you succeed at your revisionism.

I do hope you are held to account for the laws you have broken.

I'm very happy our nation is finally free of your reign.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A national debate about a nation following the law

Glenn Greenwald marshals evidence and logic to show the absurdity of our national debate over investigating, and possibly trying, Bush-Cheney officials for torture. This post has many helpful links for online debate.

Combine press reports of approval of torture techniques at the highest level of government, with US signed and approved treaties binding us to prosecute torture, and it's clear that the law compels us to act.

The default judgment should be that we follow the law and investigate reports of torture. Wouldn't we investigate murder? It speaks poorly of us as a nation that following the law is viewed as a fringe perspective.

We must investigate the torture record and prosecute the wrongdoers.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

We do Obama a disservice by withholding policy criticisms

Watching Sunday morning news shows, catching up on Josh's updates from last night's post, and seeing some of the debates I've been in here, it seems we need a better debate and understanding of the benefits and perils of criticizing our new President.

Josh's update makes the point:

If Nate's right about what Obama's plan is, having people pushing for something better from the outside is part of it. So under either scenario, holding your tongue makes no sense, in addition to being unethical.

Adrian Fenty, on Meet the Press just now praised the Obama economic recovery plan, saying it's just what we need. It's nice to be positive, but that's not entirely true.

The truth is that the Obama plan is a damn good start toward what we need, but it's not big enough for the problem we face. So, if we all run around muting any criticism then the Obama Recovery Plan will have fewer voices trying to make it better.

It's likely that Obama and his team have judged they will have a larger plan in the end if they start low to get bargained higher rather than starting high and getting knocked down. There's some logic there.

But if we limit our roles to a choir praising anything he does, we will be doing him a disservice. We can help with spreading the word on the depth of the Bush crater Obama and Congress need to fill. By remaining involved, remaining active, and not adopting partisan fictions around our Leader's greatness, we can help create the policy environment to make President Obama a huge historical success.

Of course, we should remember to keep the disagreements to policy.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Republicans still in the driver's seat?

You have to hope there's a grand play at work in the economic recovery plan. Josh Marshall notes:
And yet the desire to get a substantial number of Republicans to vote for the bill appears to be having a big impact on the proposal's size and shape. Quite likely, leaving it too small and too tilted toward tax cuts to get the job done.
Paul Krugman and others have shown the current plans for the stimulus are not keeping up with the growing crater left by Republican policies. As Krugman shows, economic output is down by 8% but plans will only cover 3%.

We're hemorrhaging 1/2 million jobs per month now - but the Republicans are obsessed with defending their ideology and the Democrats are obessessing with pleasing Republicans.

Hopefully, that's not all there is to the plan.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Obama Scores Big With Justice and CIA Appointments

President-Elect Obama delivers change and a new course for our nation with today's notice of appointments.

Leon Panetta at CIA will bring an established leader with the power to take control of an agency badly tarnished by Bush corruption and embrace of torture.

The appointment of Dawn Johnsen at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel is a very hopeful sign. From this office John Yoo wrote memos helping Bush and Cheney introduce torture. Johnsen's writings on this and other subjects have been spot-on and properly outraged.

The rule of law -- returning to America!