Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Jindal Redux

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Dick Cheney, in his rebuttal to Obama’s speech on terrorism, may indeed have pulled a Bobby Jindal. To wit,

And when they see the American government caught up in arguments about interrogations or whether foreign terrorists have constitutional rights, they don’t stand back in awe of our legal system and wonder whether they had misjudged us all along.

Instead, the terrorists see just what they were hoping for: our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity.

Yes, how dare our democracy get in the way of defending our democracy. What was Bush’s famous quote? “If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.” Yeah.

Ask Not What the President Can Do For You…

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The question you should be asking yourself is not whether Obama is implicitly giving torture a free pass by refusing to personally indict its propagators, but whether any sitting president can bring up charges against a former president. The answer is ‘no,’ but the reasoning is mainly predicated upon tradition of the office rather than simple legal precedent.

So as such, will Obama break tradition and indict Bush (from whose office the torture memos clearly originated)? The answer is again ‘no.’ It’s tough enough being the first Black president faced with the biggest economic crisis since the big one, two foreign wars and an obstinate, raving opposition, but to break tradition on top of that? He’d be pilloried by the pundits, and he’s banking on the public’s patience and goodwill right now.

There’s a political bonus that he’s enjoying by being classier than his opponents, for sure, and it’s really throwing the Republican party for a loop – if you want a laugh, try comparing Obama’s inclusive and lofty rhetoric to Michael Steele’s faux-ghetto patois – but I still think the crux of the matter is, he can’t be seen as doing anything that insults, however superficially, the office.

However, if like me you would still like to see Bush & Co get what’s coming to them, don’t yell at Obama: Pressure the Justice Department, who still have the option to move on the issue, or Congress, who have the option to pressure the Justice Department.

EDIT: Yes, I, too, would like to have been able to overhear the conversations between Biden and Specter. I’m sure they alone would push the decorum of Congress straight into the British Parliament zone, at which point, who needs soaps?

Pacific Hegemony

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Not that you’d know it considering the perspective of this article, but I can’t help but snicker as the flustered response the US Navy had at getting its nose trimmed.

It’s understandable – the guy with the wide angle lens and the shortwave radio standing on your front lawn snapping pictures of your living room may not be doing anything technically illegal, but it’s a stretch to sympathize with him when you trip him as he walks by.

Kinda reminds me of Bush’s boneheaded accusative response when a US spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet over Chinese waters. (Thankfully without the boneheaded accusative response.) It’s a realpolitik situation and we’re no longer the hegemons.

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