Monday, November 21, 2011

In Praise of Obama

Let it never again be said again that Progressive Alaska never publishes anything that praises President Obama:
MR. GIGOT: Guantanamo's still open, military tribunals of enemy combatants are being pursued. A lot of the things that were very, very contentious in your administration have been maintained. And yet, they're not so controversial now. What do you make of that?

MR. CHENEY: They campaigned against most of those programs. They're reluctant converts. But I think they've made the right decision with respect to Guantanamo. It's still open.

There are reasons why we did what we did, and they're still valid. And I think they've learned, over time, the benefit of that. And I'll give them credit for the enhanced drone program and the fact that they have been very successful in terms of taking out additional targets.

MR. GIGOT: You spent a lot of time on Iran and their nuclear program when you were in office. They are back in the news again with the recent U.N. report that they are pursuing a weapons system. Do you have any doubts that they are intent upon getting a bomb?

MR. CHENEY: I don't. I think they clearly are committed.
MR. GIGOT: Remember in 2007, the national intelligence estimate which said with high confidence that Iran had abandoned their program in 2003. How do we get from 2007 to now 2011 where the U.N. essentially says, "Yes, they have been pursuing it across this whole period"?

MR. CHENEY: I remember when the N.I.E. came out, I was actually confronted by friends of the U.S. who suggested that we had arranged for that finding to alleviate any requirement we might have felt to do something about the Iranian nuclear program. That's not what we were doing.

What the N.I.E. process produced was clearly a flawed result. It, in part, flowed out of the continuing legacy, if you will, of the national intelligence estimate on Iraq [weapons of mass destruction] that turned out to be wrong as well. There's a process that had been adhered to. But it produced a flawed result, without question.
MR. GIGOT: We have news reports that Israel is thinking again about a strike on the Iranian nuclear facilities. You faced a similar situation regarding Syria. From your memoir, I know that the Israeli officials came to you and said, "Here's the intelligence we have about Syria." Tell us how it played out inside the administration.

MR. CHENEY: This would have been early 2007. We acquired intelligence that said the North Koreans had assisted the Syrians in building a nuclear reactor in eastern Syria. We, I, had great confidence that this was good intelligence. I advocated a course of action that would have involved a military strike by the U.S. to take it out.

It was a target all by itself in the desert. There wasn't likely to be any collateral damage. The reactor had not yet been fueled, so there wasn't likely to be any radioactive fallout. It was a very doable proposition.

The decision was made not to do that. The president was reluctant. Partly, there were doubts about, "How good's the intelligence?" Again, part of the legacy of the earlier failures on Iraq WMD.
The Israelis decided they'd take it out, and they did. It worked perfectly. There was never any word at that time. It was a great opportunity for us to demonstrate to the Iranians that we were prepared to use military force, if necessary, to block proliferation or the acquisition of a terrorist-sponsoring state of nuclear capability. Unfortunately, I lost the argument.
MR. GIGOT: Do you have any doubt that if the Israelis conclude the U.S. will not act militarily against Iran, they will strike on their own?

MR. CHENEY: I think there's a very good possibility that the Israelis view this as a fundamental threat to their existence and that they will act.
MR. GIGOT: If you were president, what would you do to dissuade them?

MR. CHENEY: I'm not sure I would. If they decide they need to do that, I would like to think the U.S. would be supportive.

Glenn Greenwald, commenting on Cheney's lavish praise of Obama wrote the following a few hours ago:
Along with most neocon figures from the Bush era, Cheney has lavished Obama with praise before for his Terrorism and civil liberties policies, but this is the first time that he so graciously expressed his gratitude for being fully shielded for his crimes. Indeed, we should all be grateful, because as President Obama has taught us (though not the Indonesians) — and just as Chancellor Katehi today teaches — the only way we can begin healing and moving forward is if we all band together to shield those in power (but nobody else) from the consequences of their wrongdoing.
 Greenwald is so right about this.  One of the commenters at one of the two previous post (I have hours of papers still to grade) linked Iraq War apologist Jonathan Chait about why Obama is such a transformationally positive figure in American politics.  Greenwald goes after Chait (and other anti-Democracy American exceptionalism apologists) as well as Cheney:
Jonathan Chait, whose career (like the magazine that long employed him) has been devoted to complaining that liberals are so unreasonable and unSerious (that is when he and his magazine wern’t cheerleading for the Iraq War and vowing to re-make the Democratic Party in the image of Joe Lieberman), today complains that liberals are so unreasonable because they don’t swoon for Obama the way he does; maybe Chait could ask Dick Cheney to explain to him why this is so. Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan today observes that Chait, David Frum and himself all adore Obama and believe he has done an absolutely superb job, and just cannot for the life of him understand why many liberals don’t share this sentiment. Aside from the fact that the question sort of answers itself — is it really baffling that a President viewed with such adoration by David Frum, Andrew Sullivan and the permanently-New-Republick-ed Jonathan Chait doesn’t provoke the same level of giddiness among many liberals? — perhaps Sullivan also could ask Dick Cheney to explain this to him, or ask Tom Friedman, Morris Davis, Jack Goldsmith, Anthony Romero, Paul Krugman, Eric Schneiderman, or this consensus of experts (or, for that matter, Andrew Sullivan or Andrew Sullivan).
Go, Glenzilla!


Anonymous said...

It is time for this country to heal by voting for Hillary

Anonymous said...

I don't see how anyone can praise this President who has epically failed to write a budget in 3 years!!!!!!!!

What a loser in every sense of the word. Worst leader EVER.

Anonymous said...

at 12:24 -- originally, I intended to vote for Hillary but her stance on the War lost my vote.

So, I switched to Obama. I would have to do a serious pro and con for both of them to see which is the lesser of two evils now.

How I yearn for a candidate (with a snowball's chance of winning) that I could actively and eagerly vote for.

Obama will never be that person again.

Joie Vouet said...

Does Greenwald's "this is the first time that he so gratiously expressed his gratitude for being fully shielded for his crimes" imply that Greenwald thinks Obama is shielding Cheney?

I don't think Obama's intent is to shield Cheney, although that may be an unintended consequence of a President acting in his own interest, more generally in the interest of the office of the president. It's difficult to imagine any fully informed president acting any differently.

Jeanabella said...

Presidents don't "write budgets" do they?
Given the condition of this government when President Obama took office, it's a wonder anything can get done let alone change everything we want changed.
Google The Presidents accomplishments so far and see what you may have missed. Complaining about this President sounds like Palin in the comments.
Power of people getting involved with their government is needed and is finally happening again.
The people engaged make the difference, not just the President, who happens to be very intelligent and amazing in how he can deal with the crazy tea party GOP and neocons and all the rest of the drama queens on the hill, not to mention around the world.
Thanks to those who voted for Mr. Obama, we have the best man in the position of President! This mess we are in started a long time ago and the people who helped put us here, mostly come from an ideology very different from Mr. Obama or myself and many other people in the world. This didn't just happen, it took the last 30 to 40 years to develop by folks like Cheney & the right wing mentality, and will not be cleaned up or "fixed" in a few years, but it's up to the people to speak up and that is what this President is encouraging people to do. I don't remember President Bush asking people to call their representative to push for a vote that was for the good of the people. Oh, by the way, bookmark the link on the Presidents accomplishments since it is updated regularly, and may help to keep
some perspective.


dominicastar said...

100% agree with you Jeanabella.

What i don't understand Phil, it's like you are ignoring or ignorant of how the system works. Who in congress was supporting Obama to close Guantanamo Bay (sorry if spelt wrongly) Was the support overwhelming and Obama refused to take action to shut it down?! Or was there a way he could have gotten the votes to shut it down and he turned a blind eye??

This is a rhetoric question as you know good and well the votes DID NOT and DO NOT exist! So what's your complaint?

Regarding prosecuting Cheney and Bush; I so want this to be done; Obama said that he would like to take the country forward, which i understand because he landed in a mess and he wanted to fix it up; so I understand that he didn't want to worsen the mess with an investigation (which equates to wasting precious time and to have everyone be co-operative as possible)!

Still I do not agree, but Obama is privy to more information than I ever could have; and he hasn't given me any reason so far to distrust his judgement; so I'm with him on this matter based on my faith in his judgement! (Call me a worshiper all you want, I'm satisfied with my conclusion for this leap of faith)

Finally, I do not understand why you believe that Obama was a Progressive person in the true sense of the word, if you believed that than this is your own fault; there was and is information out there, be more active and do some research to help form your opinions!

May I suggest that 'An Audacity of Hope' written by Obama states his way of thinking- the person he is, and so far Obama is living up to what he has written in that book. If you are disappointed that he is EXACTLY who he said he is, then that is the reality you created for yourself; were you hoping he would be someone else?

I do not understand your frustration with him.

hedgewytch said...

Jeanabella and dominicastar have said it well.

When I saw this post, I thought, ahh, he's going to mention how this super committee is playing out and how the Dems listened to the progressive voices and did not cave into the GOP. The President's chess game on this is amazing to watch being played out.

We didn't vote Jesus or Capt. America into office, we voted for a solid democratic centrist who is absolutely brilliant about making end runs around the GOP obstruction. But even as masterly as his strategy is, he is the President, not King or Dictator, and there is only so much he can do when he doesn't have the full support of Congress behind him.

Obama said clearly in his inauguration speech that he needed the voice of the people to stand up and speak out to their representatives. He said he couldn't do it alone.

And he shouldn't have to. Thus we have OWS.

Those who say they won't vote for Obama. Your lack of vote or your vote for one of the "others" (shudder) is actually extremely counterproductive to your own progressive goals.

Anonymous said...

Well, we all knew you were an asshole Phil, but we didn't know you were really that stupid.

You were challenged by one of your posters to come up with 10 positive things that President Obama has done, NOT taking someone else's publications. So, at best, you are displaying your passive aggressive personality.

You are disingenuous, and dishonest if you think your opening statement takes you off the Obama bashing hook. In fact, the snide, back door approach just lowers any estimation of you as an honorable man.

Obviously the postings have gotten under your skin, because they are right on, so you volley with this backhanded, high school approach.

You are so transparent in your ugliness when you think you're being oh so clever. You aren't. You're being an ass. Read 'em and weep and learn a thing or two about how a brilliant man and politician works:

Barack Obama, Best Budget Strategist in History

Anonymous said...

I'm mystified. What kind of silly pseudo-intellectual flim-flam is this?
Is anybody buying it? Really?

I guess Munger is lamenting that John McCain/Dan Palin, are not leading the country right now.
Because of course, with 34 months in office, by now McPalin would have:

> Put an immediate end to capitalist corporate cronyism. Appointed Don Yung-il Ethics Advisor heading up a Congressional Task Force investigation into political corruption.
> Withdrawn all troops from Iraq/Iran/Pakistan/Afghanistan...wait...shucks, where ever that is that George Bush declared war on.
> Shut down the Mexican border with land travel forbidden (if they can't take a plane to the U.S. from Mexico City, they can't come) and activated Operation 'Arms Across America' - all military troops stand guard shoulder-to-shoulder 24/7 from the Atlantic to the Pacific, inspired by our North Korean allies. No need to pay for a big wall.
> Completely balanced the federal budget and created a budget surplus without printing any additional currency.
> Created more new jobs than there are people in the U.S.
> Issued an immediate moratorium on ALL tax assessment and filing requirements for anyone able to document income of over $250,000.
> Repartitioned the Middle East to stop the quarreling between the Jews and Muslims and to make sure they all have enough room for their countries' borders;
> Cut ALL foreign aid entirely and gave it to Franklin Graham so he could establish World Peace through church-building and end global hunger. Getting back to our roots as a Christian planet, created by God in six days.
> Reestablished North and South Korea as just one country under the leadership of Dear Leader Kim Jong-il.
> Bombed the crap out of Georgia to show those Russians who's boss, with a couple of warning strikes at Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania for good measure.
> Unsubscribed to those communist organizations United Nations and the Security Council. Screw that; we're the leader of the Free World. We're not afraid of you, France!

So which of the Three Stooges are you planning your life around as president in 2012 - Romney, Bachmann or Perry?
Certainly not Herman Cain, right? Please. Right?

Anonymous said...

I'm not interested in McPalins, nor in entertainment industry-influenced roles characterized by "presidential types" like Martin Sheen and Donald Sutherland. I don't live in "West Wing" world. This is not The Matrix where we're all seeking 'The One'. Dumbledore's wisdom and skilled use of a magic wand exists only in fiction.

Everyone can understand how government works, educated or not. The system and the process. The bilateral governing relationship between Congress and the Executive Office and the many positions in between that make up the administration - Cabinet, the various Secretaries, etc. Ultimately, the power of Congress directs the president.

Roosevelt was president during the Great Depression and World War II. Since then, we've had 11 presidents before Barack Obama. Most of them were informed, well-educated statesmen. Some were better spoken than others. We had a couple that were shocking in their ridiculousness and lack of ethics and morals.

There appears to have been a significant reduction in both substance and wisdom since Nixon. That guy wasn't so much ignorant or stupid; he was a cheater and thief. Since then we've had ethically-challenged AND lack of wisdom. We seem to have turned that around with the election of President Obama.

Sure, there's a bunch of stuff I don't like. But my concerns and criticism would undoubtedly be far different than yours.
Like, there's STILL no move toward universal health coverage and there remains the condition of mounting medical debt in America. And not even a conversation. It's the same as it's ever been: a whole bunch of us middle-income/self-employed have little or no insurance for ourselves and children in our care.
No, President and Mrs. Obama, Senator Murkowski, in fact we DON'T qualify for the welfare-based Medicaid system, the state and federal answer to health care. Which Sean Parnell thinks we don't really need anyway.

Like, this man has done absolutely NOTHING to stop the perverted meddling in women's fundamental right to choose what happens inside their own bodies and their destinies; and the bizarre notion that women should be punished for having sex.
Oh, and please pass federal law that says sex is not medically necessary for men, that "erectile dysfunction" is not a medical condition, and medical insurers cannot pay for Viagra if they won't also cover birth control and abortions.

Like Michelle Obama and her brother Craig Robinson (Oregon State University basketball coach) shamelessly and publicly pandering to Nike and Nike pandering right back. But who wouldn't, really? And she's not the president.

But I'll take what we've got. The man is a statesman. He's a superior diplomat with a perfect temperament FOR THE JOB. He's calm and speaks well, he's educated and knowledgeable. In foreign relations with world leaders, so far he's been _exceptional_. The right mixture of power and authority tempered with graceful and willingness. He hasn't embarrassed himself, made any foolish brash comments, insulted anyone, or issued war-mongering ultimatums.
He's the closest America has come to old-fashioned good manners, intelligence, diplomacy and statesmanship since John F. Kennedy.

With what he's been given, what would you expect him to DO in 34 months? I think he's done quite well cleaning up messes left to him and smoothing out diplomatic relations with a whole gang of countries who expect no intelligence from the United States and only respect us because we HAVE the nuclear weapons and capability that we restrict from everyone else by covenant and treaty.

Whatever it is you think he should "do" in Libya and Yemen, consider what he has to work with and what he's done.

Or not. As you choose.

Anonymous said...

Glenn Greenwald is my hero - he doesn't differentiate between Dems or Repubs when the latest occupant of the White House tramples on our Constitutional liberties.

Bush/Cheney did it, now Obama is doing, both with his own warmongering actions and by protecting the Bush/Cheney administration criminals.

They are ALL war criminals.

The Obamapologists are no different from the Palinbots - they all worship a clayfooted politician because of outward appearances.

They all create in their minds what they want a leader to be and then attribute those qualities to the current leader, if he or she has the desired party affiliation, regardless of the very ugly reality of that "leader's" actions.

Obama is every bit as detrimental to our liberties as Bush was. If you don't hold all politicians to the exact same standards, then you are a self-deluded fool.

The smug, sanctimonious Obamapologists in this thread lead that particular charge.

Anonymous said...

...The timing turned out to be brilliant. China is in the midst of a leadership transition, when it is harder for important decisions to be taken quickly. The economy is looking shaky, with house prices falling across much of the country. The diplomatic blitzkrieg moved so fast and on so many fronts, with the strokes falling so hard and in such rapid succession, that China was unable to develop an organized and coherent response. And because Wen Jiabao’s appearance at the East Asia Summit, planned long before China had any inkling of the firestorm about to be unleashed, could not be canceled or changed, premier Wen Jiabao was trapped: he had to respond in public to all this while China was off balance and before the consultation, reflection and discussion that might have created an effective response.

In this position, he acted prudently, which is to say he did as little as possible. His public remarks were mild. He did not pound his fist (or, like former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, his shoe) on the table. He did not rage against and upbraid his neighbors. He did not launch tirades about American arrogance and aggression. He uttered no threats but renounced no claims; he even participated in a quick unscheduled meeting with President Obama.

The effect of this passive and low key response is to reinforce the sense in Asia that the US has reasserted its primacy in a convincing way. The US acted, received strikingly widespread support, and China backed down.

That is in fact what happened, and it was as decisive a diplomatic victory as anyone is likely to see. Congratulations should go to President Obama and his national security team. The State Department, the Department of Defense and the White House have clearly been working effectively together on an intensive and complex strategy. They avoided leaks, they coordinated effectively with half a dozen countries, they deployed a range of instruments of power. In the field of foreign policy, this was a coming of age of the Obama administration and it was conceived and executed about as flawlessly as these things ever can be....

Anonymous said...

The Great Rope a Dope trick

...Last summer during the debt ceiling hostage crisis, Obama appeared to be the loser, but yesterday Republicans woke up to the reality that they lost Big Time--that we were going to get $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions, with 50% of the cuts coming from the military and none of the cuts from Social Security and Medicare. The Congressional water carriers for the Military Industrial Complex are in a panic.

Republican lawmakers moved quickly Monday to protect the Pentagon from automatic budget cuts that will be triggered by the supercommittee's failure, with the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee saying he'll soon introduce legislation to repeal them.

President Obama immediately threatened to veto any attempt to undo the spending cuts. That means that Republicans would have to get a 2/3 rds majority to undo the first meaningful cutback in the Military budget in 60 years. In addition, if Obama also threatens to veto any attempt to restore the Bush Tax cuts in 2012 (they expire automatically on January 1, 2013), progressives will have totally changed the inequality dynamic, without having to pass a single piece of legislation.

So why aren't progressives celebrating this morning?

Jeanabella said...

To anonymous accusing some of us of being smug and self-deluded:

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. Albert Einstein

Google President Obamas' Accomplishments

Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

**Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.**

And THAT Jeanabella is exactly why Phil can't stand President Obama, why he feels the need to bash our president, because Mr. Obama IS a great spirit and Phil, well, not so much.

Did you notice the lame ass approach that he took dredging up his hero, slimy Firebagger Greenwald, you know the creep that is in cahoots with Grover Norquist and Jane Hamsher? Yeah, and did you notice how he surrepticiously (he thought) promotes his other hero, Dick Cheney under the guise of bashing Mr. Obama?

Not foolin' anybody Phil and you're delusional if you think you are. You are so blatantly filled with the jealousy of a failed man with nothing much to offer when you look at Barack Obama and see how successful he has been and will continue to be, that the need to tear him down becomes an addiction of sorts, feeding the negative chemistry and ego. Sarah Palin and you are two peas in a pod, aren't ya?

Mediocre is the PERFECT word to describe Phil, so THANK YOU for your astute and timely post Jeanabella. Mediocre is all he is and all he'll ever be and so he must tear down and attack instead of uplift and support. Makes perfect sense!

Clearly, Jeanabella, you are also a great spirit who recognizes a kindred soul in our president. Bless your heart.

Jeanabella said...

To Anonymous Nov. 22, 2011 6:08 PM

Thank you for the compliments, Kindred soul.

Anonymous said...

Obama Turns The Super Committee Failure Into A Weapon Of GOP Destruction

Obama has managed to take the failure of the Super Committee which was born out of the Republican Party’s creation of the fake debt ceiling crisis, and turn it into a weapon to use against congressional Republicans. The GOP had been assuming that Democrats would cave on their demands for both the protection of entitlement programs and raising taxes on the wealthy.

The Democrats didn’t cave, and now the Republicans have a big problem.

Republican hawks (especially in the Senate) have already started to squawk over the potential triggering of defense cuts. While Democrats are concerned about the automatic domestic cuts, they seem willing to hold their ground and battle to get the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share. Congressional Democrats are behind Obama, and he sent a very loud message today that he is not going to allow the GOP to wiggle off the hook.

President Obama used the phrase balanced approach numerous times in less than six minutes. His message to Republicans was that they have no hostage to ransom this time. He is willing to sit back and let the pressure on them build until they agree to raise taxes on the top 2%. He is targeting the $100 billion in Bush tax cuts for wealthiest Americans, but I suspect that the president wants more. Obama holds the veto pen, so small sacrificial amount of revenue is going to be enough.

Obama has always had his eyes on a bigger prize and longer term endgame. By not budging, congressional Republicans have played into his hands. Obama can win without doing anything. If Republicans want to prevent those defense cuts, they are going to have to break ranks and agree to raise taxes on the wealthy. Obama dictated the terms. He told the Republicans how it has to be, and now we’ll see how much pressure they can take before they crack.

Well played, President Obama. Well played.

Philip Munger said...

Back from another 14-hour day at work. First time I've had a second to look through the comments. Got to go keep my shop from freezing up and work on Strider's inflamed toes, so - carry on.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, your hero, Phil is a traitor to the cause, now isn't he? Oh, yeah, I forgot, you love him and use him to support your Firebagger arguments, don't you? Yep, you're a traitor to the cause too, don't ya know?

...I have always known that Glenn Greenwald is a opportunistic, dishonest, fact-ignoring blowhard. But today we get to add ironic to that … Greenwald wrote a column accusing the SEIU, a union that has endorsed President Obama for re-election, of attempting to “co-opt” the Occupy Wall Street movement. Why? Well because apparently …. they have trademarked and copyrighted the phrase “99 percent.”

…. The very same Glenn Greenwald who is accusing the SEIU of trying to use OWS’ language (heaven forbid!) for their own purposes …. (is) trying to sell (and promote) winter gear for the OWS protesters being disbursed by the notorious Firedoglake. But of course, Greenwald fails to mention that he stands to financially gain from donations to FDL, as the treasurer of FDL’s PAC, Accountability Now, and his company, DMDM Enterprises, is used to taking money for “administrative expenses” from Accountability Now.

An examination of FEC reports shows that Greenwald’s DMDM Enterprises received more than $40,000 from FDL’s Accountability Now from 2008-2010, and of course, we have no idea how much more he has received as salary as Treasurer…..

Philip Munger said...

ano @ 7:04 am:

I don't agree with Greenwald's position on SEIU's Obama endorsement.

However, the article you link to accuses Greenwald of profiting from fdl's move to get winter gear to OWS, which is probably untrue. His post endorsing support for the cold weather gear was his most open endorsement of fdl I've ever read.

You're right, and the article is also, that he should have disclosed there his earlier role as treasurer of an fdl pac, for which he received fairly typical renumeration.