Megan Fox Mark Halperin got suspended from Transformers 3 MSNBC for calling Michael Bay President Obama Hitler “kind of a dick.” But the only thing I could find unprofessional about his saying that was that it’s a comment which is way overdue.
There’s nothing wrong with calling the President a dick, especially when he is one. And there are plenty of reasons to call this President a dick. Here is an unfortunately all-to-abbreviated list of reasons why.
The war in Libya is illegal and the administration doesn’t give a fuck
Does anyone else remember liberals angrily protesting the war in Iraq on the grounds that it was (and still is) illegal? What about how we all said that imposing democracy via military force doesn’t make sense and wouldn’t work? And there used to be those signs at demonstrations that read: “Bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity.” Turns out that those signs neither clever, nor anti-war. They were just a vulgar display of anti-republican partisanship.
At least when Bush got us involved in pointless wars, he actually went to Congress, so we have a record of which members of Congress were for them and which were against them. Obama’s excuse for not doing this, even after the ninety day emergency period which allows a president to basically go to war without consulting Congress under the 1973 War Powers Act, is that the war in Libya is…not a war.
Seriously, they call it “kinetic military action,” which is even more cringe-inducing than Bush’s rebranding torture as “enhanced interrogation.” It sounds like the kind of argument a lawyer would make. But as it turns out, the President’s lawyers have been trying to persuade him against using it because it’s too damn stupid.
All of this might not be so egregious if the military’s mission in Libya really worked out the way Obama’s supporters imagined it would. But obviously, there was never any guarantee that we’d be in and out in days instead of months (years?), and Libya would immediately become a peaceful democracy full of smiling people because wars are really fucking complicated and lots of shit can go wrong. And that’s why we have these precautions against a president declaring war by fiat. It’s not something which should be taken lightly, as if it were just “kinetic military action,” or “free-form jazz explosions.”
Obama is worse on whistle-blower protection than Bush
Here is what President-elect Obama had to say about whistleblower protection on his transition website back in late 2008:
“We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistle-blower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.”
Bradley Manning has just recently been moved from solitary confinement. Of course he still hasn’t been tried yet, having been denied full access to courts and due process. But this hasn’t stopped the President from simply declaring him guilty. Here’s what he had to say about Manning last April:
We’re a nation of laws! We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.
Usually, when someone’s accused of a crime, we put that person on trial and that judicial process is how we find out whether or not the defendant is guilty. That’s how justice is supposed to work. It’s kind of amazing that the President – who I hear is supposed to be a constitutional law scholar – can scold someone for making individual decisions about how laws operate, and then make an individual decision about how the law operates.
Manning’s not the only whistle-blower that the administration’s gone after. Thomas Drake, a senior NSA official who leaked information about the NSA’s illegal activities during the Bush years, just recently ended his legal battle with the DoJ. They recently dropped all charges (charges for doing exactly what the President had said federal employees should be doing), but only after he agreed to a plea deal. I was under the impression that plea deals were for people who had actually done something wrong.
According to the New York Times, Obama had already surpassed every previous administration in pursuing whistle-blowers by mid-2010. Obama’s Justice Department subpoenaed Times reporter and author James Risen in order to get at his CIA source. The administration was actually renewing an old subpoena which had expired under Bush. In a surreal move, the administration prosecuted Risen’s alleged source under the Espionage Act, as if whistle-blowing to an American reporter were the same as conspiring with a foreign spy.
Guantanamo is still a thing; due process of law, like whatever
On the night of Obama’s inauguration, he signed an executive order to close the straight-out-of-a-dystopian-comic-book extralegal prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But then some right-wing talking heads got real mad about it, so Obama caved.
It was a tough choice for the administration. Should the President restore due process and demonstrate the efficacy of the American justice system, or should we keep indiscriminately locking people in cages, so Sean Hannity can’t accuse the President of abetting terrorists? The answer soon became clear.
Locking up “suspected terrorists” without any charges, or hope for trial, isn’t the only way the administration’s been trying to undercut the rule of law. In the Mohamed v Jeppesen Dataplan case, the courts granted the executive branch the right to basically overrule any court’s decision, on any case, by invoking state-secrets privilege. In this particular case, a victim of Bush’s extraordinary renditions was trying to sue over being sent overseas to be tortured. Sure, that might have been illegal, but when it comes to Americans sending suspects overseas to be tortured, we need to look forward, not backwards.
It doesn’t appear that the administration invoked state secrets in another torture case, Saleh v. Titan. That’s the case brought to the Supreme Court by some Iraqi victims of torture at a prison called Abu Ghraib. The administration is instead just urging the Supreme Court not to hear the case, which they probably don’t want to do anyway.
Net Neutrality fail
While campaigning, Obama told us all that the full and free exchange of information starts with an open internet, which meant net neutrality. But then he started reading some conspiracy theory internet forums and learned that many of the people there believed net neutrality was a plot by the government to shut down their shadowgovernment.net domain by any means necessary.
Of course, that’s ridiculous on its face, but that didn’t stop the administration from caving to their demands and giving up on net neutrality. Apparently it’s more important to be nice to a fringe group of angry, mouth-breathing imbeciles than to have a full and free exchange of information. That’s overrated anyway.
The ‘global war on terror’ more global than ever
Two years ago, a US drone strike in Pakistan killed some sixty people. They were attending a funeral. If that’s all you know about this story, you may presume this was done in error. Obviously the drone had the wrong coordinates, or the firing mechanism was screwed up, and we accidentally and tragically blew up a funeral, like that time Clinton accidentally blew up an pharmaceutical factory in Sudan with cruise missiles.
But the drone attack wasn’t a mistake. Someone at the Pentagon decided that it would be a good idea to blow up a funeral. It was a “terrorist funeral.” And since, obviously, the US military would only kill terrorists at this terrorist funeral, now we’d have sixty more terrorist funerals to bomb. Then we can have more terrorist friends and terrorist family members attend those terrorist funerals, and we’d have another set of terrorist funerals to attack, and so on, ad infinitum. Genius!
Obama’s been spreading Bush’s idiotic war on terror to lots of other exciting places besides Pakistan, too. I’ve already dealt with Libya. The CIA is building bases for air strikes in Yemen, even though we’ve been launching strikes in Yemen since at least as far back as late 2009. And an unnamed “partner country” is reported to have carried out an attack in Somalia just a few days ago.
On top of the wars in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the administration is reserving the right to carry out targeted assassinations in any country, on any person, just as long as some Washington bureaucrat says they might be a terrorist. This must be the “death panel” Sarah Palin was talking about. Unsurprisingly, advocates for civil liberties and the rule of law have a problem with this, but you can bet the administration will fight them every step of the way.
He’s a Jesus freak. Jesus freak. He’s Jesus freaky. Yow!
Before serving even six months of his term in office, Obama had already mentioned his imaginary friend Jesus more times than George W. Bush did during his entire eight years as president. If he had mentioned Santa Claus as often, the press would be trying to unlock the mystery of Obama’s obsession with bearded pedophiles. But, for some reason, very few people seem worried that the most powerful person on the planet takes his cues from a long-dead apocalypse-cult nut-job.
Obama’s also against gay marriage on religious grounds. He explained his opposition during his 2004 Senate campaign and hasn’t revised it since:
“I’m a Christian….And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”
One of Obama’s first acts in office was to expand Bush’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. This is a way for religious organizations, which double as charities, to receive federal funding without the normal restrictions. A private charity can legally choose to help only their fellow believers; they can even discriminate in hiring based on their religious beliefs; but once a charity accepts federal funds, it forfeits the right to discriminate, based on First Amendment church/state separation. The faith-based initiative is a loophole for those kinds of restrictions and, apparently, Obama has no problem with that.
The guy he appointed to head up the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is Joshua DuBois. DuBois is a Pentecostal minister. Pentecostals are the ones who are known for snake handling. In doing this, they emphasize Mark 16:17-18 and Luke 10:19, where Christians are told they can survive poisonous snake bites with faith in Jesus. That’s the guy who’s sending “inspirational” Bible quotes to the President on his BlackBerry every morning.
And I haven’t even gotten into how the Affordable Care Act is essentially a giveaway to private health insurance companies, or how the alleged Wall Street “reform” doesn’t actually rein in the rampant fraud that led to the ’08 crash, or Obama’s “negotiation failures” on tax issues and the budget, or continued warrantless wiretapping, or the renewal of the Patriot Act, or how more undocumented immigrants are being deported under Obama than under Bush, or… damn.
You probably wouldn’t vote for a Republican with a record like this. You wouldn’ t send him money or defend him publicly, or privately, for that matter. So why would you do the same for a Democrat? You only would if you were, to take Mark Halperin’s words out of context, “kind of a dick.” Maybe we should stop seeing the President as an ally who’s lost his way because of corporate influence and start seeing him as an obstacle to overcome.
And that’s worth hoping for.