Politics and Media Headlines 4/22/09
MakeThemAccountable (thanks to diy.despair.com)
A Lexicon of Disappointment (by Naomi Klein, The Nation)
All is not well in Obamafanland. It's not clear exactly what accounts for the change of mood. Maybe it was the rancid smell emanating from Treasury's latest bank bailout. Or the news that the president's chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, earned millions from the very Wall Street banks and hedge funds he is protecting from reregulation now. Or perhaps it began earlier, with Obama's silence during Israel's Gaza attack. Whatever the last straw, a growing number of Obama enthusiasts are starting to entertain the possibility that their man is not, in fact, going to save the world if we all just hope really hard.
This is a good thing. If the superfan culture that brought Obama to power is going to transform itself into an independent political movement, one fierce enough to produce programs capable of meeting the current crises, we are all going to have to stop hoping and start demanding. The first stage, however, is to understand fully the awkward in-between space in which many US progressive movements find themselves. To do that, we need a new language, one specific to the Obama moment. Here is a start.
Click through for the definitions of Hopeover, Hoper coaster, Hopesick, Hope fiend, Hopebreak, Hopelash, and Hoperoots. “Sample sentence: ‘It's time to stop waiting for hope to be handed down, and start pushing it up, from the hoperoots.’” Need I say that The Nation was one of the hopium pushers during last year’s primary? But at least they didn’t trash Hillary the way some others did.—Caro
Wednesday: Foxhole Liberals (by riverdaughter at The Confluence)
I suspect that there are a lot more people out there who in the next couple of years are going to discover their inner liberal. After all, it’s one thing to rail about deadbeats on unemployment when times are good. It’s quite another thing to be ON the unemployment line, realizing you haven’t done anything wrong but that the wealthy shareholders of your company preferred a juicier dividend to your wage slavery… That social safety net doesn’t look so bad now that we’re all sitting in the same foxhole, does it?... And really, are the proscriptions against gay marriage that important when we’re all struggling to keep our heads above water?
Keep it in mind as you watch the tea party phenomenon develop. There is an opportunity out there to turn this country on its head for the persons who seize it. And it won’t be long before Americans all over the country demand more of their government to do something. Liberalism may become the next new religion for Republicans too.
Right wingers are fond of saying that a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged—presumably by a dark-skinned person on welfare. But can we now say that a liberal may be a conservative who was mugged—by Republican policies?
The opportunity that Riverdaughter points to is being squandered, however. The party poobahs still don’t understand that you can’t create and sustain a long-term movement based on a person or by strategizing to win just the next election. The right wing is successfully diverting the resentment shown in last week’s tea parties from the people responsible for our current predicament and to each other. Democrats, so-called progressives, and so-called liberals are looking down their noses instead of trying to educate, trying to help people understand what damange the Republicans have done.—Caro
Report Gives New Detail on Approval of Brutal Techniques (New York Times)
A newly declassified Congressional report released Tuesday outlined the most detailed evidence yet that the military’s use of harsh interrogation methods on terrorism suspects was approved at high levels of the Bush administration… The Senate report documented how some of the techniques used by the military at prisons in Afghanistan and at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as well as in Iraq — stripping detainees, placing them in “stress positions” or depriving them of sleep — originated in a military program known as Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape, or SERE, intended to train American troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations.
According to the Senate investigation, a military behavioral scientist and a colleague who had witnessed SERE training proposed its use at Guantánamo in October 2002, as pressure was rising “to get ‘tougher’ with detainee interrogations.” Officers there sought authorization, and Mr. Rumsfeld approved 15 interrogation techniques.. “The paper trail on abuse leads to top civilian leaders, and our report connects the dots,” Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said on Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. “This report, in great detail, shows a paper trail going from that authorization” by Mr. Rumsfeld “to Guantánamo to Afghanistan and to Iraq,” Mr. Levin said.
President Obama Discusses Possible Prosecution of Bush Administration Officials (by Jake Tapper at Political Punch, ABC News)
"For those who carried out some of these operations within the four corners of legal opinions or guidance that had been provided from the White House, I do not think it's appropriate for them to be prosecuted," President Obama said [Tuesday]. "With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that that is going to be more of a decision for the attorney general within the parameters of various laws, and I don't want to prejudge that. I think that there are a host of very complicated issues involved there." The White House also suggested, for the first time, that any public investigation of interrogation policy should be like the 9/11 Commission.
The 9/11 Commission. Great. It settled ALL the questions about 9/11.—Caro
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