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Frickin’ Obama

February 12th, 2009

Wednesday’s strip makes reference to one of the first major offenses of the Obama administration. I’m not talking about corrupt appointees or the failures of some very smart people to comply with every aspect of a far too complex tax code. I’m talking about the decision by Obama’s justice department to endorse the Bush administration’s grossly-expanded “state secrets” privilege.

Glenn Greenwald’s account at can be found here: Obama fails his first test on civil liberties and accountability — resoundingly and disgracefully

Let’s be clear: this isn’t about the ability of the executive branch to have “state secrets,” it’s about their abuse of that privilige as a mechanism to do whatever the hell they want and to stop courts from even examining the potential offenses.

I’m inclined to cut the new adminstration some slack given that Obama hasn’t even finished filling his cabinet yet and has inherited both the worst financial crisis in 80 years and two wars but there’s no sugar-coating this. Much has been said of Obama’s Lincoln-esque desire to heal the country and an ingredient of that seems to be to not punish and basically forgive the previous administration. I won’t get into the pros and cons of that “forward looking” forgiveness but we certainly can’t have the Obama administration use any of the tools which the Bush administration never had any right to use in the first place.

Bush violated human rights, civil liberties and the power of the courts when he abused the “state secret” privilege. Obama has just done the exact same thing regarding the exact same case. Without a doubt: on Monday, the Obama administration violated human rights, civil liberties and the power of the courts.

The only difference is Obama can fix this. Obama’s D.O.J. must completely reverse itself in this case or – less than three weeks into Obama’s presidency – they’ve become complicit in Bush’s offenses and perpetuated them.

Simply, it was wrong for Bush and it’s still wrong now.

– Steve

Stumble it!

One Response to “Frickin’ Obama”

  1. BWM Says:

    This is, frankly, why I really couldn’t get excited about this last election, or any election in years. I know alot of people expected “better” out of Obama (and many out of McCain), but they never should have. Sure, Obama will turn back many of Bush’s screw-ups, but also commit some of his own screw-ups; and the next president will cut back some of Obama’s mistakes while reviving some of Bush’s, and on and on. Two steps forward, one step back enough to appease voters for a while. The end, no matter when you decide to measure from, is that we have, in total, a more damaged country. The tax code, actually, is a great example; with small concessions here and there, sure, both parties have set up the tax code to benefit who they like and shift the burden to the rest of us. Bush was a terrible president, but we didn’t just need a different president, or one from the other corrupt party; we needed an entirely different breed of statesman. This is why.

    BTW, it’s fascinating that Lincoln did many of the same things as Bush and is applauded, or at least forgiven, for it, and here is Obama celebrating Lincoln and endorsing those same policies. Soul polluting corruption is bipartisan.