Tag Archives: Obama

Attorney General Considers Torture Probe

To those who voted for Barack Obama, it is still baffling why a candidate who promised to get at the root of corruption and violation of laws, has refused to take active steps to bring to justice those who are guilty of ignoring the Constitution. Attorney General Eric Holder, told Newsweek, that he is considering beginning a criminal investigation of the Bush administration’s interrogation practices that were used on suspected terrorists. When asked if this idea would fit into the desires of the president, Holder responded: “i hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president’s agenda. But, that can’t be a part of my decision.”

It is about time an attorney general placed the rule of law over the rule of politics. Barack Obama may insist on looking forward rather than backward, but how does that approach fit with his support for affirmative action?

US-Israel Compromise On West Bank Settlements

Reports from Jerusalem indicate the Obama administration has reached a compromise agreement with the Netanyahu led Israel government. Under the agreement, Israel will announced a six month moratorium on construction of new housing in the West Bank, and the United States will ignore the building of 2,500 housing units now on delay. Israel sources suggest Obama is not willing to give in regarding the need to end further construction of housing in the West Bank as well as requiring evacuation of many units in a final compromise agreement between Israel and Palestinians. He needs evidence that America can force Israel to compromise or he will lose any credibility he might currently possess with Arab leaders.

Israel is still arguing its government made housing agreements with the Bush administration and Obama must adhere to those commitments by George Bush. Of course, this idea makes no legal sense let alone foreign policy sense for any American government. Obama was elected to END Bush agreements.

Red, Not Green Light, On Iran Attack, Says Obama

President Obama made clear that Joe Biden’s mouth that roared did not speak for the American government when he indicated that Israel had the right to launch air strikes on Iran. The president said his administration had made clear to Israel that “absolutely” opposed such action. “We have said directly to the Israelis that it is important to try and resolve this in an international setting way that does not create major conflict in the Middle East.” He admitted the United States could not tell other nations what to do, but “what is also true is the policy of the United States to try to resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear capabilities.” He wants to work through diplomatic channels, not the channel of airplanes bombing targets.

Unfortunately, while Joe Biden is a man with deep compassion he too often allows his mouth to speak before consulting his brain. The last thing to tell the current right wing Israel government is they have a right to throw the entire Middle East into a state of terror.

Slow Road To Equality For Gays Says Government!

Barack Obama promised gays last fall he would take steps to end the infamous “don’s ask, don’t tell” policy in the armed forces which compels gays and lesbians who speak the truth concerning their sexual orientation to be dismissed from the service. Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he had advised Obama to move “in a measured way” to make any change in the policy. “It’s very clear what President Obama’s intent here is. He intends to see this law change. “I’ve had conversations with him” and urged a cautious approach. The assumption of this approach is that a crisis will arise by ending the policy toward gays and lesbians. For some reason, no one asks the simple question as to why would there be a crisis? Who would be upset?

Right now in Iran and Afghanistan gays and lesbians are engaged in combat operations. As far as we know, there are no incidents of soldiers protesting serving alongside with gays or lesbians. In the absence of any incidents against gays and lesbians, we can assume other members of the armed forces don’t give a damn about serving with those who have other sexual experiences.

The integration of the armed forces occurred during combat in the Korean War. Some whites did not like the changes, but they accepted them and life proceeded. The same result will come about if we end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Obama Supports Medvedev On Freedom

President Barack Obama told the Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta of his firm belief that Russian President Medvedev was working to further the concept of freedom in his nation. “I agree with President Medvedev when he said that freedom is a better way of life for a country. “I see no reason why we cannot aspire together to strengthen democracy.” He also expressed his hope both nations can reduce the size of their nuclear arsenals and deal with the divisive program of former president Bush to build an anti-missile system on the border of Russia.

A key issue of human rights in Russia is the imprisonment of MIkhail Khodorkovsky whose trial is generally viewed as a kangeroo court interested in conviction rather than justice. Obama hopes that Medvedev will change the Putin oppressive actions toward those fighting for human rights. Perhaps, at some point Medvedev will challenge Putin and create a democratic society.

US Congressman Urges Settlement Freeze In West Bank

American Congressman Robert Wexler, a prominent political ally of President Obama, urged the Israel government to place a freeze on West Bank settlements, arguing to do so would send a message that Israel is ready to compromise. “A request for a moratorium or freeze in settlement activity that can be mutually agreed upon by the US and Israel in the next several weeks is a tiny, tiny gesture and down payment to make when you look at potentially what is on other side of the equation.” Wexler pointed out if the Israel willingness to compromise on an important issue did not meet with reciprocal gestures by President Abbas, Israel comes out on top as the nation seeking peace. In a sense, Congressman Wexler urged Israel to call the bluff of Palestinians regarding their interest in peace.

Hopefully, Prime Minister Netanyhu will listen carefully to sound advice. A few months of no housing in the West Bank is not a terrible price to pay to discover the seriousness of Palestinian leaders. Wexler also pointed out the Israel media has rarely reported what Obama is demanding of Arab nations such as direct economic links with Israel, cultural and educational exchanges and over-fly rights for Israel airlines.

Now is the time for Israel to demonstrate it is willing to go the extra mile in the quest for peace. That will achieve greater results than invading Gaza.

“Uncle Tom” Obama Urges Gay Military Delay

I voted for Barack Obama and believe he eventually will become an outstanding president, but his actions pertaining to gays and lesbians lack any semblance of decency. In a recent press conference, Obama urged patience and noted that African Americans had to wait. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Tuesday said he wanted to make the law prohibiting gays serving n the armed forces “more humane.” “One of the things we’re looking at, is there flexibility in how we apply the law?” The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have cautioned not proceeding too quickly but building support for any change among the officers of the armed forces.

In 1952, I worked on the US 7th Army integration plan to mix Negro and white soldiers. President Truman had issued a direct order to immediately proceed with integration. At this time, American soldiers were fighting in Korea and enduring ten times the casualties that have resulted from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We proceeded with the executive order. Yes, we had riots and disturbances both from enlisted men and officers. Anyone resisting integration was simply told they either accepted the orders of the President or they would have orders cut within twenty four hours for front line combat in Korea.

There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE members of the armed forces would be upset at having gays or lesbians in their ranks. Frankly, many currently know there are such individuals in their ranks. It is time for Barack Obama to issue and executive order ending discrimination against gays and lesbians. If you don’t like it, leave the service.

Obama, Unemployment, Madoff And Future

The conviction of Bernard Madoff has created many scenes of joy at the sight of a lying manipulator finally being sent to prison. But, the Madoff conviction also highlights a basic mistake of the Obama administration–focusing on prominent people as though this will in itself create jobs. The unemployment rate continues to rise despite pouring over a trillion dollars into the economy. Obama’s focus is mainly on restoring financial health, but it also has a hidden assumption that once banks and Wall Street are OK it will translate into more jobs for those unemployed. Placing Bernie Madoff in jail for 150 years is an emotional high for many, but it does not place food on the table of those unemployed.

Obama continues to claim adherence to the ideas of FDR and the New Deal, but he misses the point. The significance of the New Deal was creation of government sponsored jobs whether on WPA building projects or building road sin forests or paying artists to paint or musicians to play music. Obama makes much of re-educating the workforce, but this is based on an assumption if the workforce had higher technology skills there would be jobs. But, is there any evidence gaining new technology translates into new high tech jobs?

The current workforce is fundamentally different from those who joined WPA work projects in building schools or highways and bridges. We offer the following suggestions:

1. Create a 250,000 Teacher Corps which would place an entire team of Teacher Corps staff into a single school. Free such schools from the need to meet irrelevant testing standards and allow them to invent a 21st century education model.
2. Create a new rapid transit national system which would offer travelers speedy travel on trains rather then on planes. Place a hundred billion into revamping large city rapid transit accompanied by laws banning cars from entering these cities Monday-Friday.
3. Create a new Business Stimulus Fund for those with new business ideas. Allow the creative ideas of young Americans to emerge along with new jobs.
4. Model the New Deal programs for theater, music, art, and literary projects.
5. Let’s get going with new technology that will eliminate the need for an oil centered economy. Talks is cheap, get them going–NOW!

Israel Blasts UN Report On Gaza

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations blasted a report by UN Humanitarian Affairs chief, John Holmes which sharply criticized actions in Gaza that resulted in the death of hundreds of Gaaza civilians. Gabriela Shaley charged the report was biased and ignored the fact thousands of rockets had been fired into Israel from Gaza. “The report completely ignores the context in which Israel’s defensive actions were taken.” A defensive tone increasingly characterizes Israel’s respond to any critical comments directed toward its government. The Netanyahu government has still to grasp that George Bush no longer is in charge of American foreign policy and there is no one in the American government who automatically supports any action on the part of Israel.

A defensive tone will only go so far. The Obama administration is taking a proactive stance toward the Palestinian-Israel conflict. It waits in vain for a proactive stance from Netanyahu who believes whatever Israel has done in the past can not be changed. The American Congress which has completely supported Israel for decades is now asking questions and demanding changes not cosmetic smoothing over of West Bank policy. The world awaits a proactive Israel statement on foreign policy which outlines concrete steps to curtail West Bank building and lift the embargo in Gaza which only serves to strengthen Hamas, not damage its power.

It is time for Israel to look forward and cease returning to the past to justify every violation of human rights.

Is North Korea For Real?

It is extremely difficult attempting to interpret actions by the North Korean government and even the best “experts: are as much in the dark as anyone writing on the Internet. We simply do not know the “why” of current North Korean politics. Is the belligerence an attempt to pave the way for Kim Song Il to usher in his son as the next ruler of the nation? Is he really concerned about an attack on his nation, if so, by whom? There are too many uncertainties to identify the best way of dealing with a rogue president who may well be completely out of control. President Obama has been calm, he has assured the American people they are safe, and he continues trying to communicate with the hermits from the hermit kingdom of the north.

Hysterical voices on the right in America want Obama to do “something.” Perhaps, Obama can pick up on suggestions from Republican intellectual giant, Bill Bennett, who urged the president to send phone cards and Xerox machines to Iran. Perhaps, these items can be sent to North Korea. Of course, I would love to see the Xerox machines hit the ground in North Korea on the run.