Just More Outrageous Bi-Partisan Agreement: “CIA nominee John Brennan to face tough questions in Senate” – latimes.com

Just note that the headline might lead you to think he was going to have a rough time being confirmed but that is not what it says, nor what it means.

In effect, it means that (1) a few senators exercised over his not having paid them due deference by reading a report he plans to ignore before meeting with them, (2) a few more concerned about killing citizens abroad without according them their rights and explaining themselves, and (3) a few worried about leaks (not worried about why there aren’t more and why so many resources are applied to finding them unless they favor the administration, but about why there are any that do favor the administration).

And it means he will get through the hearing and confirmation this time despite significant opposition leading to his withdrawing his name from consideration last time for the questions his prior conduct had raised.  Now, after compounding his earlier sins and presumably his rationalization skills, he can expect confirmation.

After all, we all agree that torture and unconstitutional intrusions on individual rights are acceptable, don’t we?

CIA nominee John Brennan to face tough questions in Senate – latimes.com.

Why I will not vote for Obama again…probably…

No one had higher hopes for President Obama.  No one feels greater sympathy for him as he has had to cope with wars and an economic meltdown he did not begin against an intractable Republican opposition more committed to getting him out of office than to resolving problems that confront the country.  But he has not only followed his predecessors in allowing the violation of civil liberties and the expansion of un-reviewed executive authority, he has expanded upon both.  He has given precedental weight to behavior which, were it confined to his predecessor’s administration, might be thought of as another sad aberration from American ideals, similar to interning the Japanese, or the earlier imprisonment of Eugene V. Debs*, and by his doing so, made constitutionally prohibited behavior more acceptable to Americans and more to be expected by people from other countries dealing with ours and with us.

He has set a course that says to all, “Whatever we once wanted to be, which included living up to some high ideals, from which we sometimes fell woefully short, we now want something quite different:  to have our way, as the president sees that way, no matter what.

The single most egregious example is recounted in this post from Glenn Greenwald blogging for Salon.com. regarding the targeting for assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen.  Give this and the likely consequences in the future under either Republicans or Democrats a few minutes thought:


If you are like me, i.e. you have little formal tie to the ideals of the country or any role in its governance other than that which is yours through being a citizen, and particularly if you are young and reasonably able to anticipate living here in 50 years after future administrations have come to take the powers he is assuming unto themselves as simple working assumptions, validated by time in place and both parties, think about what Greenwald says for a few minutes.

Some will note that I left room with “probably” in the headline for changing my mind.  I did so for two reasons:  the first is that Obama himself might alter his path and come home to what I hope were once his values.  The second is that at the time I write this it is possible the Republicans will nominate, and significant numbers of Americans show themselves willing to elect, a candidate so outrageous that voting for Obama again requires a violation of English to express:  a choice between worst and worst.  In that case, I’ll vote for him again.  Remote though I think the possibility to be at this time, the Republicans could nominate a candidate committed to our ideals to a greater degree than is Obama.  I suppose I will have to vote for him or her.

*  Lest a reader point it out as vitiating my whole point, both these happened under Democratic administrations.  Falling short of our ideals is one area of non-partisan performance in our history and under the even the best of circumstances is likely to remain so.

In many instances, didn’t Obama set the expectations he is failing to meet?

I really don’t want to be unsympathetic to Barack Obama, or any president, yes, including his predecessor, for having a strong ego and lots of self-confidence.  Deciding to run for a major party’s nomination, securing it and then running for election against the nominee of the opposing party are not for the short-winded, weak-willed or those racked with self-doubt.  In fact, I don’t want a president who lacks self-confidence.  But some explanation of things done or left undone at odds with campaign commitments, whether they be apologies for personal failings in key areas or simply thoughtful expositions of why one has chosen a path other than that proposed  need not undermine a healthy ego or a self-confident character.

A cynic might think Obama would rather run in 2012 against the background of a Republican Congress than with a Democratic one that had failed to meet public expectations and thus isn’t going to do more than the minimum to rally Democratic voters in a year when he is not on the ballot.  But that’s like deliberately choosing to enter the second half of the game behind rather than ahead of the other team.  It may be the modern political calculus but it takes some getting used to to accept that being in the lead the whole game isn’t better.

Glenn Greenwald (I know, him again) makes a list of items in which Obama has not only failed to live up fully to his campaign pledges but has either failed completely or has adopted the very policies he criticized when practiced by his predecessor.  Sometimes he’s gone farther than Bush did to make these latter policies unacceptable.