Abe's blog

The Decider

 Apropos of my post below, Obama is planning to review the plethora of onerous executive orders issued by President Bush:

President-elect Barack Obama is poised to move swiftly to reverse actions that President Bush took using executive authority, and his transition team is reviewing limits on stem-cell research and the expansion of oil and gas drilling, among other issues, members of the team said Sunday.

Clearly, much more needs to be reviewed besides the issues mentioned above, but for a guy who's more than a month from taking office, this is a very encouraging start.

-A

Back from the brink

 While I'm still processing the full import of Obama's win -- I'll blog about it more later -- one very, very encouraging item that's popped up is his intention to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. From Spencer Ackerman:

 

Less than a week after his election, and more than two months before he takes office, Barack Obama is signaling that this monstrosity is coming to an end. This, I submit -- to my uncle and anyone else --  is change you can believe in. The AP, via Time:

"President-elect Obama's advisers are quietly crafting a proposal to ship dozens, if not hundreds, of imprisoned terrorism suspects to the United States to face criminal trials, a plan that would make good on his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison but could require creation of a controversial new system of justice."

 

The news that the Guantanamo prisioners will come to the United States to stand trial is, by any measure, outstanding news. The illegal dentention of War on Terra prisoners has been a long-standing affront to our collective humanity, it's beneath us, and it's high time that it comes to an end. The "creation of a controversial new system of justice" referenced above is, I think, a bit of hyperbole from the AP -- the judicial power of the United States, after all, is "vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish."

So the Constitution already provides for the establishment of courts as necessary, and really, U.S. law already provides ground on which to deal with the people in Guantanamo and the crimes for which they are accused might eventually be accused. That they have been detained as they are, and that they have yet to be chanrged with crimes, is one of the Bush administration's more egregious legacies. Good on Obama for already signaling that Guantanamo will be closed.

-A

The new poll tax

The great Rachel Maddow on the modern poll tax:

(still working on embedding video. Watch it anyway, foo!)

(H/T, Pandagon)

-A

End of the Republican era

 The always-excellent Sidney Blumenthal, writing in the Guardian:

Today's election is poised to end the Republican era in American politics - an era that began in reaction to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, the Vietnam war and the civil rights revolution, was pioneered by Richard Nixon, consolidated by Ronald Reagan, and wrecked by George W Bush.

Almost every aspect of the Republican ascendancy has been discredited and lies in tatters - its policies, politics, and even its version of patriotism - down to the rock-bottom notion that progressive taxation itself, initiated by a Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, who John McCain hails as his personal icon, is unpatriotic.

...

Now, certain factors that have dominated US politics for 40 years seem destined to recede to the far corners. In economics, supply-side panaceas and deregulation created the worst crisis since the Great Depression, requiring a conservative Republican administration to part-nationalise banks, something unimaginable under any Democratic administration. In foreign policy, neoconservatism led to the morass in Iraq and Afghanistan while undermining the western alliance. In social policy, the evangelical right battered science, the separation of church and state, and the right to privacy. Finally, the conservative principle of limited government has become a watchword for incompetence, cronyism, corruption, hypocrisy, and contempt for the rule of law.

Really, read the whole thing. It hits both the macro level of decades of history, and the micro level of the campaign itself.

-A

Just voted!

 Just dropped off the ol' ballot. It feels pretty good.

It's hard to believe that this interminable election campaign (far, far too long) is nearly over. It's hard, too, to untie all the emotions that are bound up with it, at least for me.

For those of you who listen to the show, you've heard Joe and I pour out a lifetime's worth of angst over the last several years. So much has happened that one's sense of outrage (if one has been paying attention) blurs between this war and that Constitutional affront and this abuse of power ... It's like a background white noise of outrage.

War. Torture. Election theft. Disenfranchisement. Disappearing liberties. The abolition of science in the public sphere. The triumph of plutocracy. The reign of fear in electoral politics. The reign of cowardice in Congressional politics. And on and on.

Will an Obama win really signify the end of all this, a turning toward something better? I want to believe it so badly. I do believe it on some level. But I'm skeptical.

What if he's some kinda corporate Manchurian candidate. What if, behind the reasonable, progressive facade it's just business as usual in an Obama administration?

Whatever the outcome tomorrow, our work as progressives is not over. It's just begun. More on this later.

-A

End game

 We knew it would come down to this.

The Republicans can't win on the issues. The well of fear-mongering has run dry. Most Americans now realize that Barack Obama is, in fact, black.

So they're trying to steal it, like we knew they would. The long-expected voter purges have begun, and the GOP -- in the name of God and country, no doubt -- are trying to disenfranchise thousands of Americans. We're lucky here in Oregon, in that our vote-by-mail system is largely immune to this garbage. But in places like Georgia, Ohio, and Florida, the game is afoot.

To me, it doesn't get much dirtier than this -- if it looks like you're gonna lose the election, do your level best to make sure only the Right Kind of People vote.

-A

More from BHL

 Bernard-Henri Levy, who appeared a few weeks back on the show, sat down recently with Salon.com's Beth Arnold.

He's the same guy who appeared on the show -- haughty, grandiose, and quite entertaining.

-A

Ugly

 As Election Day approaches, and as an Obama victory looks more probable, the McCain campaign is serving as the focus of an untrammeled and vitriolic collective id. Lots of these people are just scared shitless that a black man might sit in the White House.

Good on yer, Krugman

 Continuing on a theme, congratulations to Paul Krugman of the New York Times for his Nobel prize in economics. For my money, Krugman for many years now has been the best columnist on the Times' op-ed page, and one of the best in the business, period. His liberalism comes in large part from a place that is grounded in hard economics, which makes him both hard to refute, and able to refute mindless conservative free-market dogma.

For example, since the brouhaha over the uber-costly financial bailout erupted a couple of weeks ago, Krugman has been hitting hard on the need for taxpayers to receive an equity stake in return for their rescue of investment in the financial sector. And now it looks like it's going to happen.

Let's hope Paulson & Co. keep reading their Krugman.

-A

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