Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Barack Obama and the Task Ahead - Bush's Legacy and Crimes: Time For President Obama to Act

UPDATE: 1:05 PM Jan. 21, 2009

President Barack Obama- The Whole World is Watching !
Bush faces criminal investigation or lucrative career on the lecture circuit ?
Washington Times claims Bush's Reputation will rise in the years to come as his legacy is re-evaluated ?
Will President Obama give him a free ride or do the right thing ?

Barack Obama Sworn in as President of the United States

Keith Olbermann recaps the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama on the first opening of "Countdown" in Obama's administration.

Did Obama Diss George Bush in His Speech?
Jan 20, 2009
Watch more at

Anyway as we see the Inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States is seen as a sign of hope by people around the world. Will their hopes be fulfilled or dashed . Will the task ahead for President Obama just be too much for anyone to deal with effectively.

"Obama's inauguration: A day for hope" By Rupert Cromwell The Independent January 20, 2009

The anticipation that stretches from America's capital to almost every corner of the earth has many reasons. One of the worst and most unpopular presidents in US history is departing. There is a sense of new beginning, of fresh new energies brought to bear on the enormous problems of the hour. But the most remarkable thing is the most obvious. The most powerful man in the world, the man who steps into the shoes of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan is black.

and he sums up his article thus:

Obama has a chance to usher in an equally long Democratic era. Government is back in fashion, and so is "progressive" thinking – to use the vogue word for a liberalism that for three decades here has been ashamed to speak its name. But the changes run far deeper than even politics. The 44th president is coming to power at the most critical economic juncture in 80 years. The task of his administration is no less than to reinvent American capitalism. This will involve far more than the $800bn stimulus package that Congress will soon pass. It will also require a complete overhaul of the financial markets, and of the American ways of health care, energy consumption and education.

Eight years from now (or four if everything goes dreadfully wrong) historians will be debating the Obama legacy. By then race may be the least significant component of it. No matter the colour of his skin, the weight of expectation that will settle on his shoulders at noon today is more than any single individual should be asked to carry – even the leader of the most powerful country on earth.

But if Obama truly places the US on a new course, he will be remembered alongside Washington, Lincoln, and FDR as one of the greatest presidents. If not, he will go down as one more failure. Whether he was white or black will have been irrelevant.

"Forgive and Forget the Crimes of the Bushies? I Don't Think So"

By Paul Krugman, The New York Times. January 19, 2009.

So Mr. Obama should reconsider his apparent decision to let the previous administration get away with crime.

Ed. Note: With powerful establishment figures like Nancy Pelosi now speaking publicly about the possibility of pursuing the criminal acts of the Bush Administration, it's vital to keep the discussion going.

Last Sunday President-elect Barack Obama was asked whether he would seek an investigation of possible crimes by the Bush administration. "I don't believe that anybody is above the law," he responded, but "we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards."

I'm sorry, but if we don't have an inquest into what happened during the Bush years -- and nearly everyone has taken Mr. Obama's remarks to mean that we won't -- this means that those who hold power are indeed above the law because they don't face any consequences if they abuse their power.

Let's be clear what we're talking about here. It's not just torture and illegal wiretapping, whose perpetrators claim, however implausibly, that they were patriots acting to defend the nation's security. The fact is that the Bush administration's abuses extended from environmental policy to voting rights. And most of the abuses involved using the power of government to reward political friends and punish political enemies.

and from Code P on ensuring that President Obama keeps some of his promises to the American People:

"Obama Made 8 Big Promises for Peace He'd Enact as President ... Don't Let Him Forget"

Posted by Jodie Evans, CODEPINK Women for Peace: Action Blog on January 18, 2009.

During the campaign Obama promised to end the war in Iraq, shut down Gitmo, stop torture and much more.

As Barack Obama is sworn in as President of the United States of America, we are more mindful than ever of the Promises for Peace he made to the American people during his campaign, especially his promises to:

1. End the war in Iraq
2. Shut Down Guantánamo
3. Reject the Military Commissions Act
4. Stop Torture
5. Work to eliminate nuclear weapons
6. Hold direct, unconditional talks with Iran.
7. Abide by Senate approved international treaties.

Jordan Smith in an article at argues that it is more likely that Bush will not only escape any criminal charges but should have a lucrative career on the lecture circuit. To the professional politicians and bureaucrats like Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and the rest of these thugs all the evil acts they commit are just all part of the game of politics. They are unable to sympathize or empathize with those whom they cause suffering and death. And so it goes. Meanwhile most of the so called journalists in the Mainstream Media are just there to play their part in promoting the propaganda of the current administration especially if the administration is willing to fill up the spaces on their Sunday Talk shows where they can pretend to ask the important questions and the hard questions. It's just all part of the political circus. Will this continue with Obama's administration or will the Media go on the attack in his case since he and his supporters have been critical of the media in the past.

"War Crime Trials for Bush? Try Fat Fees on the Speaking Circuit" By Jordan Smith, AlterNet. Posted January 20, 2009.

He's the most loathed political figure since the advent of public opinion polling, but Bush is set to rake in big bucks on the rubber-chicken circuit.

One would expect a man like George W. Bush -- one who has single-handedly destroyed America's image in the world -- to slink off into well-deserved ignominy. But there's little chance of that. Instead, he's poised to line his pockets on the lecture circuit, a man who's led a famously unexamined life ready to pontificate about world events for fat fees.

He crassly told journalist Robert Draper that his chief post-presidential intention is to "give some speeches, just to replenish the ol' coffers." Other members of his disastrous administration are already "replenishing" their coffers.

Of course, Bush's coffers are not what most would consider depleted; he's leaving office with assets valued somewhere between $8 million and $20 million. But once he embarks on the lecture circuit, he'll be able to augment that fortune considerably. Bush will be able to command between $100,000 and $150,000 per speech, says Lourdes Swarts, president of 21st Century Speakers, a prominent speaking agency. For talks to overseas audiences, the figure rises to something closer to a quarter-million dollars. "The speaking market is wide and expands to overseas audiences," says Swarts.

and he concludes that Bush will not suffer financially besides money from the lecture circuit :

...Even without his family's massive wealth, Bush would never be destitute. Since the Truman era, Congress has given former presidents a pension adequate for a comfortable retirement. Bush will receive $186,000 a year, in addition to travel funds, mailing privileges, Secret Service protection, office space, staff and transition expenses.

On Bush's legacy if all someone were to read was the Washington Times and other right wing media you would think that the Bush Presidency was for the most part a resounding success story except for a few glitches . To the rest of the world that is those who haven't drunk the Kool Aid as it were see Bush's Presidency as an unmitigated disaster for America and for the world. Once again the Washington Times accepts at face value most of the Karl Rove/ Dick Cheney playbook and talking points. They are not interested in delving into the facts but rather just proving that their man their Republican right wing President was right about most things . They even suggest that the mainstream media all along was out to get Bush. If anything the Mainstream Media appeared to give the Bush administration the benefit of the doubt if not actually defend him over and over again against his detractors .

EDITORIAL: Mr. Bush's mixed bag The Washington Times January 19, 2009,January 19, 2009

George W. Bush, whose eight years in the White House end tomorrow at noon, leaves the presidency a very unpopular man - very much like President Harry Truman when he left office in 1953. As historians carefully examined the larger Truman presidential record over the next few decades, his legacy changed substantially, and to some extent this could be the case with Mr. Bush.

The Washington Times article ignores the fact that Bush was warned about the activities and dangers of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden but the Bush administration ignored these warnings from the various intelligence agencies. Bush as we now know was more concerned about Saddam though he was not an imminent threat to the US.

Beginning with 9/11 this attack was predicted though not specifically. The Intelligence community warned the Bush Administration that Al Qaeda planned an Imminent attack on the US. This and other intel was ignored because the Bush Regime was more focused on how to engineer a new invasion of Iraq or to find ways to bring down Saddam even though he was not an imminent threat to the United States or even to Israel.

The Washington Post in its defense of Bush's obsession with Saddam overlooks that it was the Americans who helped put Saddam and his Baathists party into power in Iraq. It was the American government along with the British , French and Germans who sold him his weapons to build up his military along with providing Saddam with his so called Weapons of Mass Destruction. It was the Americans who encouraged Saddam to fight a disastrous brutal and bloody war against Iran against whom Saddam used his weapons of mass destruction.

It was also the Americans who did nothing nor did they criticize Saddam when he killed large numbers of Kurds and Shia.It is America that helped keep these facts from being fully exposed to the general public because at the time Saddam was one of America's allies. The brutality of Saddam's regime with its use of summary executions , torture, and rape rooms were known and tolerated by successive American Regimes of Ronald Reagan and George Bush sr. until Saddam made the mistake of invading Kuwait.

For instance the Washington Times claims Bush attacked Iraq based upon the intelligence available. But this is not true. One it was Bush who told UN inspectors to leave Iraq. The UN inspectors may have had some concerns about their freedom to do their inspections but these were in fact minor issues. The Bush Regime refused to accept what these inspectors found which was that Saddam no longer had large stocks of weapons of Mass Destruction. The Iraqi government and the country had been weakened by years of harsh sanctions. Over 500,000 children in Iraq had died due to the sanctions . Saddam also was not in any way tied to Osama Bin Laden . Osama Bin Laden had called for Saddam 's death. These were known facts . The Bush administration we know cherry picked the Intel and when the intel did not fit with their plans to attack Iraq agencies were told to go back and return with cooked-up intel to fit with the Bush Regime's intention of invading and occupying Iraq.
For instance the claim that Saddam had bought or tried to buy Yellow cake Uranium was proven to have no basis and this was known to the Bush Regime before they attacked Iraq. Though they didn't bother to tell Colin Powell or the UN that the intel was weak or just bogus. The claim that Saddam had a stock pile of aluminum tubes to use in nuclear reactors was also known to be untrue and was known to be so by some members of Bush's administration. The aluminum tubes were not in fact the type to be used in a nuclear reactor. This lead to the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame because her husband came back with his report on Niger and that Saddam did not buy yellow cake uranium in Niger or elsewhere.

Torture: only three inmates tortured so what's the big deal asks the Washington Times.

But this only refers to three of the top detainees tied to the 9/11 attack. It does not address the abuse and torture of thousands of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan and in American facilities around the globe. It also does not take into account the renditions of suspects to countries which are known to torture political prisoners . For instance under international law it is a crime to turn prisoners over to a state which routinely abuses and tortures prisoners. It is also a crime to abuse or to intentionally humiliate prisoners . The Washington Times as we can infer does not believe in the jurisdiction of the United Nations or of the World Court or the Geneva Conventions over American policies or legal opinions so is uninterested in any arguments which are based on the Bush Regimes flagrant violations of the Geneva Conventions in these matters. So what the Washington Times and much of the US media focuses on are these more obvious crude forms of physical torture such as waterboarding in which the person believes they are drowning and about to die. And Cheney and Bush and Condoleeza Rice claim that an action is only torture if there is the possibility of organ failure or death. This is not the accepted definition of torture . But the Washington Times believes that a Republican President and vice-President are the only ones whose contrived definition of torture is the true definition of torture. For instance sleep-deprivation, stress positions, loud music and the use of strobe lights for extended periods of time combined with being exposed to extreme temperature either cold or heat combined with the use of snarling dogs or prolonged periods of solitary confinement or threatening a prisoner with execution or making them take part in pretend execution combined with insults denying detainees the right to practice their religion reading the Qur'an or not being permitted to pray according to their religious obligations; all these are forms of abuse and torture which are prohibited under the Geneva Conventions and other International Agreements.

It also should be noted that the Washington Times points out waterboarding they claim was only used three times on detainees by the Bush Regime. But this is not much of an argument since waterboarding is a form of torture and is prohibited by International Law. The law doesn't say that a country contravenes the law only when twenty or more people are waterboarded. Permitting the practice even once is constitutes a breach of the law.

But this is similar to fallacious reasoning and defense for instance of the harsh and abuse treatment of detainees at Guantanamo in which Bush and Cheney and the Ultraconservitives claimed that because Guantanamo is not on the mainland of the United States then abuse of detainees and denial of their basic rights such as being charged and having legal counsel available or that their families be notified where they were being held were suspended. But wherever American soldiers and personnel go they are still under the jurisdiction of American law. And if they are not under the jurisdiction of American law they are still under the jurisdiction of International Law and the Geneva Conventions. But surely even then shouldn't American personnel be governed by " common decency " or possibly according to the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you or turn the other cheek or the meek shall inherit the earth or Blessed be the Peacemakers as in the Sermon on the Mount. Of course Conservative Republicans and conservative Democrats who are Christian Evangelicals either ignore the Sermon on the Mount because it smacks of " Liberalism " and " communism" or just like to "cherry pick" from the Bible those passages which support their ultra-Conservative agendas. In the same way they believe America is specifically named in the Bible as God's chosen nation and people though Israel may be in a tie for this honor or come in second place.

But because of this so called American Exceptionalism no nation or people in the world have any right to criticize American domestic or foreign affairs. Therefore If an American president or vice president decides to torture detainees or to invade a country or if it were to launch an all out Nuclear War this would according to this logic a matter of God's Will. As Bush himself said he decided to become President because God spoke to him . Bush says he decided to invade Iraq because God spoke to him and directed him to invade Iraq. So was it God who told him not to be too concerned about all those suffering black people in New Orleans after the Levees broke. Was it God who directed him to buy that Ranch in Texas and then sell it once Obama took power. Was it God who told Bush not to pay any attention to Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden prior to 9/11.

Once again this is all part of the American Mythos in which America is seen as exceptional among all the nations of the world. If America is so chosen then it has a destiny to fulfill which is directed by God. And if we accept American Exceptionalism the whoever is the President of the United States that person is not there merely by the chance of a democratic election but is elected because God has chosen that person to fulfill part of God's plan for America and the world.

But I wonder if these Conservative Christian Evangelicals and their Neoconservative friends and their constituency of Racists and White Supremacists feel the same way about President Barrack Hussein Obama. Will they respect the office and give President Obama the benefit of the doubt at least for the first hundred days or so. During President George W. Bush's first eight months he spent most of his time on vacation until 9/11 gave hum a rude awakening that he had been asleep at the wheel. Of course some on the right are already comparing President Obama to the Anti-Christ mentioned in the Book of Revelation or they compare him to Adolph Hitler because they believe that with his eloquence and charisma Obama has been able to achieve power against all odds using various propaganda techniques of persuasion combined with his ability they claim to use mass hypnosis to trick millions of Americans into believing in him as if he were a prophet or the Messiah. We can expect a lot of this nonsense over the next four years. Some of it is possibly harmless but some of it is downright ugly and possibly dangerous for the first family and for Americans who support President Obama whom the ultraconservatives and their minions in the media characterize as being UnAmerican, or "Evil Liberals who are not in their words "Real Americans".


and so it goes,

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