Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Is Obama Another Ivy-League A-Hole? Asks Actor John Cusack

Back in 2010, actor John Cusack posted on his Twitter account a call to violence against Fox News, Dick Armey and Newt Gingrich.


Naturally it caused a furor in the conservative blogosphere since many, including your truly, believed posting an incitement to violence could easily inspire some mad wacko to act out. Interestingly enough, the liberal media didn't have much to say, while continuing to admonish people like Rush Limbaugh for inspiring conservative nut jobs to violence. But that's not surprising.

What is surprising, is John Cusack's latest commentary on Barack Obama. Now, don't get too excited, he still hates the conservatives, and I'd venture to say he will probably vote for Obama again, but an opinion piece in Truthout and an interview he conducted with law professor Jonathan Turley about Obama's "war on the constitution" is pretty darn interesting. Long, but worth the read.

I wrote this a while back after Romney got the nom. In light of the blizzard of bullshit coming at us in the next few months I thought I would put it out now.

Now that the Republican primary circus is over, I started to think about what it would mean to vote for Obama...
Since mostly we hear from the daily hypocrisies of Mitt and friends, I thought we should examine "our guy" on a few issues with a bit more scrutiny than we hear from the "progressive left", which seems to be little or none at all.
Instead of scrutiny, the usual arguments in favor of another Obama presidency are made: We must stop fanatics; it would be better than the fanatics—he's the last line of defense from the corporate barbarians—and of course the Supreme Court. It all makes a terrible kind of sense and I agree completely with Garry Wills who described the Republican primaries as " a revolting combination of con men & fanatics— "the current primary race has become a demonstration that the Republican party does not deserve serious consideration for public office."
True enough.
But yet... ... there are certain Rubicon lines, as constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley calls them, that Obama has crossed.
ll political questions are not equal no matter how much you pivot. When people die or lose their physical freedom to feed certain economic sectors or ideologies, it becomes a zero sum game for me. This is not an exercise in bemoaning regrettable policy choices or cheering favorable ones but to ask fundamentally: Who are we? What are we voting for? And what does it mean?
Three markers — the Nobel Prize acceptance speech, the escalation speech at West Point, and the recent speech by Eric Holder — crossed that Rubicon line for me...
Now this is where it gets interesting:
Mr. Obama, the Christian president with the Muslim-sounding name, would heed the admonitions of neither religion's prophets about making war and do what no empire or leader, including Alexander the Great, could do: he would, he assured us "get the job done in Afghanistan." And so we have our democratic president receiving the Nobel Peace Prize as he sends 30,000 more troops to a ten-year-old conflict in a country that's been war-torn for 5,000 years.
Why? We'll never fully know. Instead, we got a speech that was stone bullshit and an insult to the very idea of peace.
We can't have it both ways. Hope means endless war? Obama has metaphorically pushed all in with the usual international and institutional killers; and in the case of war and peace, literally.
To sum it up: more war. So thousands die or are maimed; generations of families and veterans are damaged beyond imagination; sons and daughters come home in rubber bags. But he and his satellites get their four more years.
The AfPak War is more H. G. Wells than Orwell, with people blindly letting each other get fed to the barons of Wall Street and the Pentagon, themselves playing the part of the Pashtuns. The paradox is simple: he got elected on his anti-war stance during a perfect storm of the economic meltdown and McCain saying the worst thing at the worst time as we stared into the abyss. Obama beat Clinton on "I'm against the war and she is for it." It was simple then, when he needed it to be.
Under Obama do we continue to call the thousands of mercenaries in Afghanistan "general contractors" now that Bush is gone? No, we don't talk about them... not a story anymore.Do we prosecute felonies like torture or spying on Americans? No, time to "move on"...
Now chaos is the norm and though the chaos is complicated, the answer is still simple. We can't afford this morally, financially, or physically. Or in a language the financial community can digest: the wars are ideologically and spiritually bankrupt. No need to get a score from the CBO.
Drones bomb Pakistani villages across the border at an unprecedented rate. Is it legal? Does anyone care? "It begs the question," as Daniel Berrigan asks us, "is this one a "good war" or a "dumb war"? But the question betrays the bias: it is all the same. It's all madness."
One is forced to asked the question: Is the President just another Ivy League Asshole shredding civil liberties and due process and sending people to die in some shithole for purely political reasons?
There will be a historical record. "Change we can believe in" is not using the other guys' mob to clean up your own tracks while continuing to feed at the trough. Human nature is human nature, and when people find out they're being hustled, they will seek revenge, sooner or later, and it will be ugly and savage.
In a country with desperation growing everywhere, everyday — despite the "Oh, things are getting better" press releases — how could one think otherwise?
Just think about the economic crisis we are in as a country. It could never happen, they said. The American middle class was rock solid. The American dream, home ownership, education, the opportunity to get a good job if you applied yourself... and on and on. Yeah, what happened to that? It's gone.
The next question must be: "What happened to our civil liberties, to our due process, which are the foundation of any notion of real democracy?" The chickens haven't come home to roost for the majority but the foundation has been set and the Constitution gutted.
Who would have thought Cusack gave two hoots about the constitution. Frankly, I couldn't care less that terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki was taken out, even if he was a U.S. citizen, he lost that right and privilege when he started killing people, but some of what Cusack says is pretty heady stuff.

In his phone interview with Turley, Cusack asks his opinion on various constitutional and civil liberties issues. Turley says of Obama:

Truth be known President Obama has never been particularly driven by principle. Right after his election, I wrote a column in a few days warning people that even though I voted for Obama, he was not what people were describing him to be. I saw him in the Senate. I saw him in Chicago.[snip] He was never motivated that much by principle. What he's motivated by are programs. And to that extent, I like his programs more than Bush's programs, but Bush and Obama are very much alike when it comes to principles. They simply do not fight for the abstract principles and view them as something quite relative to what they're trying to accomplish. Thus privacy yields to immunity for telecommunications companies and due process yields to tribunals for terrorism suspects.

Turley even claims Obama is worse than George W Bush, in some ways. Whereas GW

  "effectively ordered the death of an American citizen in order to kill someone else,

Obama, on the other hand,

"ordered the killing of two US citizens as the primary targets and has then gone forward and put out a policy that allows him to kill any American citizen when he unilaterally determines them to be a terrorist threat. Where President Bush had a citizen killed as collateral damage, President Obama has actually a formal policy allowing him to kill any US citizen."
I don't agree with everything they discuss, but these are two more disillusioned Obama voters.  Who knows who they will vote for come November.

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