Just Jake

Jake Highton is a journalism professor at the Reynolds School of Journalism, University of Nevada, Reno. He teaches media law, history of journalism and advanced reporting. Highton is the author of numerous books, including "Nevada Newspaper Days." He writes a weekly column for the Daily Sparks Tribune.

Location: United States

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thunder from the Left

G.W. Bush did get a third term after all. The sellouts of President Obama have been monumental.
His presidency was supposed to be transformational, a “breath of fresh air.” That air is now fetid. The rancid Bush policies continue.
• Terrorist suspects at Guantánamo (Cuba) and Bagram (Afghanistan) are still being imprisoned indefinitely: no trials, no charges and no chance to prove their innocence.
• The Bush policy of “extraordinary rendition” is still in place.
• Obama continues to swell the largest military budget in the world. Capitalistic militarism still reigns supreme.
• Obama is still fighting 2 1/2 wars, one in Iraq, one in Afghanistan and one-half of one in Pakistan.
• “Enhanced interrogation techniques” still is policy. (The moon-baying Dick Cheney can be heard nightly on Fox boasting of torture.) Obama’s CIA director says it would “gravely damage national security” to release torture documents. (National security is the lame excuse for “covering your ass.”)
• Blackwater goes by a new name but it still gets fat government contracts for its dirty work.
• Promised transparency? A CIA report is heavily censored and four pages of its recommendations blacked out. (Defense Secretary Gates, odious Bush holdover, is furious that the AP filed a photo of a Marine killed in Afghanistan. Nearly all newspapers did not publish it, including the gutless New York Times. The sooner Establishment newspapers begin to show war’s grim realities the sooner the war will end.
• Immigration reform? Embarrassing Obama silence.
• Campaigning, Obama opposed don’t ask, don’t tell. Today the military fires a winner of nine air medals for valor because he is gay. The Obama silence is deafening.
• Obama, the apostle of gay marriage, has grown chary, murky and cowardly on the issue.
• Obama, the proponent of medical pot, is silent on the issue.
• He is silent on union card-signing except when uttering applause lines at labor gatherings.
• The House passes a vastly watered down bill on climate change. Not a peep from him.
• Obama issues signing statements, ignoring Congress just as Bush did.
• The president’s pay czar won’t reveal details of corporation compensation because it might make the Fat Cats “targets of populist anger.” Obama should study FDR. Roosevelt would have said to hell with what the rich bastards think. He would welcome their hatred instead of cowering like Obama.
Universal health? Every industrial nation has it except America. Obama says the public option is only a sliver of the solution. No, it’s the whole solution. No public option, no solution. His bipartisan approach is wasted on such cretins as Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley and the Blue Dog Democrats.

America may have the world’s best medical system but it is two and one-half times more costly than elsewhere.
Some things Obama can do nothing about. Universal health care is a lost cause in reactionary America. Vested interests are spending $1.4 million daily to bribe Congress to halt any meaningful legislation. Congress always follows the money. Re-election depends on it.
Government can’t negotiate the horrendous prices of drugs. That was Obama’s gift to Big Pharma for its support.
We have also seen the recrudescence of what Richard Hofstadter called “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”: “heated exaggerations,” “distorted judgment” and “leaps into fantasy.”
Obama is falsely labeled a socialist, an antichrist. He is called downright evil. His health plan means death panels that designate grandma to die.
John White, professor of political science at Catholic University, offers a reason for such madness: the old order has changed. The country that older people grew up with no longer exists. Where America was 87 percent white in 1970, today it is 70 percent. It now has 50 million Latinos and 40 million blacks.
The “apostles of the absurd,” as columnist Bob Herbert calls them, are angry that America has a black president, an alien with no right to be president.
The racist South will never acknowledge the legitimacy of a black president. It persists in fighting the Civil War.
Nevertheless, Obama has failed to use the White House as the bully pulpit it is. He should forcefully promote his agenda instead of deferring to the negative GOP.
He should denounce the 60-vote filibuster in the Senate and call for its abolition. The filibuster is what The Nation calls it: “that undemocratic holdover from the days of slavery and segregation.”
The darkness at noon that fell under Bush has barely been lifted by Obama.


Blogger Social Democrat said...

I have included some quotes from the Tuesday, October 21, 2008 article of Just Jake entitled "Obama by far the best"

"McCain means perpetual war. Obama would pull out from Iraq." Of course, to be fair, you might have meant that
"Obama would pull out from Iraq USING BUSH'S TIME TABLE!"

Jake, if you could find some time in you busy reading schedule to check out "The Gamble" by Thomas E. Ricks you might find some reasons for pause. Consider that prior to the 2006 elections Bush was so hapless about what he was going to do about the clusterfuck in Iraq he was planning on withdrawing half of the combat brigades in the first step of an Iraqifaction. Of course, as is usual with him he didn't actually bother to think about whether this would actually work. It was only when the Democrats mopped the floor with the Republicans in 2006 that he was startled enough to actually change course in Iraq. Otherwise he may have prematurely withdrew from Iraq.

Of course, your narrow political opinions will prevent you from even acknowledging this. That is ok, because the same divorce from reality is what allowed you to be suckered into believing Obama would
"pull out from Iraq" despite the man's vague position on the topic during the campaign trail.

9:39 PM  

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