Just some thoughts

Meet the new boss, just like the old boss…

The Oathers

These guys are really grasping at straws trying to claim Obama may not be President because of the inaugural oath flub. Obama is President. Get over it. These “oathers” are putting themselves into the same nutter class as the ones demanding Bush be arrested, which makes them all idiots in my book. If you’re going to oppose Obama at least do it over legitimate differences in political philosophy, governance, and policy issues.

Lowry’s Benediction

Most of Rev. Lowry’s benediction was fine, but I admit feeling disturbed when he made the following statement and what I assume are unintended racist overtones:

“Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.”

Perhaps it’s because I was born and grew up after the civil rights era that I don’t get this part of the benediction and assume has some connotation from that time period that simply doesn’t fly for me in this time period. I particularly disliked several notions these saying bring to mind:

  • Asians (“yellow”) were somehow overly industrious (or even hinting at  aggressiveness of Asians towards non-Asians).
  • I find it disturbing that he implies the racism against blacks was somehow voluntary with the whole “asked to get back” shtick.
  • Implying whites have never done anything “right” until this inauguration. I’m sure Lincoln, the abolitionists, and all the assorted civil rights people appreciate having their work denigrated so

I’m going to assume it was just something resonating from the civil rights era and was not intended as a racist slight towards anyone. Perhaps it was a regional thing, since I never heard anything even remotely like those words during the assorted civil rights awareness programs, Black History month, and history classes in school.  In Arizona the emphasis was more on the civil rights leaders that impacted the state which tended more towards important women, Native Americans, and Hispanics than African Americans (also part of the reason MLK day in Arizona is officially called Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil Rights Day).  That’s the problem with sayings or phrases that are not cross-generational or too regional. They can become misconstrued as a society and generations change.

Gitmo Exec Order

Apparently there is already a draft version of an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay. About the only thing I don’t agree with in the order, if true, is halting the war crimes trials over the year long period the facility is being shut down. As they say, justice delayed is justice denied. Let the trials continue while shutting the facility down so the detainees innocence or guilt may be determined without further needless delay.

A Dose of Reality

I laud the fact that the United States has a black president now, but disagree with all those who view Obama’s ascendancy as a panacea for all the racial turmoil in this country, past and present, and the idea that the U.S. is now post-racial. Enjoy the moment, and be proud as Americans of what was accomplished, but don’t let Mr. Obama’s success be used as an excuse to ignore ongoing problems or be hijacked into pushing negative social or racial agendas.

Much hatred and discrimination remains between all races, religions, genders, and ethnicities toward other races, religions, genders, and ethnicities. The U.S. has come a long way, as evidenced by the ability for Mr. Obama, Ms. McKinney (Green Party Presidential nominee for those who were unaware), and Mrs Clinton’s abilities to run for the Presidency but we have much work to be done in eliminating discrimination, harmonizing relations, and basing a society on the merits of each individuals skills and abilities rather than some label they’ve been assigned.

Political ramblings

Some interesting contradictions.

From BarackObama.com:

Bring Our Troops Home: Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.

So key points:

  1. U.S. out of Iraq in 16 months of ascension to Presidency.
  2. No permanent bases in Iraq.
  3. Keep troops in Iraq to protect embassy and diplomats.
  4. Keep troops in Iraq/region if Al Qaeda builds a base, and target said base for attack.

I have no real problems withdrawing troops from Iraq, as noted in point 1, only so long as it done in a fashion that will not leave Iraq or the region destabilized or would allow the rise of dictatorship or Islamic extremism be it from Iran, the remaining Iraqi or Syrian Baathists, Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabis, or Al Qaeda.

I also have no problem for their being no permanent bases in Iraq if that is what the Iraqi government and people decide. If they allow us and want us to maintain military facilities there the U.S. would be fools not to take advantage of such an opportunity should it prove of tactical or strategic value both militarily and economically.

Point 3 is in fact meaningless for the Obama campaign to state. U.S. embassy’s always keep a security detachment, including military personnel, to protect their compounds and personnel. If troop numbers over and above the normal security deatils assigned embassies is employed then the Obama campaign’s position contradits point 1, withdrawal of U.S. military forces.

Point 4 is the one that shows the contradictory nature of Obama’s stance on Iraq as his policies seem suspiciously identical to the current administration’s position when dealing with Al Qaeda. It’s also a reactionary position (wait until a threat has arisen) rather than a proactive one (preempt the threat). It’s also curious that when the current administration makes a  strike on Al Qaeda they’re promptly lambasted yet Mr. Obama indicates he would do exactly the same thing. To decry the current administration’s position and then co-opt for yourself and say that it is a suitable approach is disingenuous and hypocritical. Decry the questionable means from which the Iraq war came about, but refrain from adopting the same same tactics when you do so.

More inconsistencies:

  • Decrying the Republican led tax-break for American citizens and yet proposing another $1000 tax break via his “Making Work Pay” tax credit.
  • Claims to want fair trade by making trade agreements and treaties to open up foreign markets but wants to change NAFTA, block CAFTA, and end other nations “unfair” practices, and subsidies yet making no mention of the U.S.’s practices perceived as unfair elsewhere in the world. I won’t even waste time on the non-issue of NAFTA again. Free trade is a two way deal.
  • Freedom to Unionize, which is fine and I support those who wish to do so, but what about those who should have the freedom of choice to not join a union? I don’t hear anyone supporting right to work states like Arizona (where right to work is guaranteed by the State Constitution), where you aren’t forced to join a union in order to gain or retain a job, let alone promotion in their job field. So does Obama only supports union workers but not all workers in America?

An annoying inaccuracy (a variation on one that’s always made against opponents):

Under President Bush, the federal debt has increased from $5.7 trillion to $8.8 trillion, an increase of more than 50 percent.

What is failed to be mentioned is the fact that Social Security, Medicare, and other federal programs make a large part of the federal debt. Couple this with the negative influence a high debt has to the economy and you’ve got  the current state of the U.S. economy: weak dollar, lost jobs, inflation all being fueled by debt, local and world economic instability, and rising oil prices. According to government figures prior to the September 11, 2001 attack the U.S. was predicted to have a surplus of over $1 trillion. Post 9-11 led to more deficits largely attributed to the tax cuts used to keep the economy going, funding the War on Terror and Homeland security, and Medicare/Medicaid. All parties from the citizens to the highest elected officials are responsible for the debt, including Mr. Obama, not just Mr. Bush and his administration.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Obama and Democrats have a number of good ideas and policies as do Republicans on immigration, employment, energy policies, etc. Policies that could easily be meshed together if not for extremists and special interest groups on both sides interfering in order to have their pet agendas implemented. My problem with Obama arises when he co-opts policies that he then decries in others as wrong or disruptive or unhelpful. It’s a bit deceptive for one claiming to want to unify the country to be behaving in such a fashion.