Nothing’s changed. Bush got his third term, and that’s why there will never be prosecutions.

(Cross-posted from www.progressive-independence.org.)

Paul Krugman says that prosecuting the previous regime for war crimes is about recovering America’s soul, and as usual he’s absolutely right.

the only way we can regain our moral compass, not just for the sake of our position in the world, but for the sake of our own national conscience, is to investigate how that happened, and, if necessary, to prosecute those responsible.

What about the argument that investigating the Bush administration’s abuses will impede efforts to deal with the crises of today? Even if that were true – even if truth and justice came at a high price – that would arguably be a price we must pay: laws aren’t supposed to be enforced only when convenient. But is there any real reason to believe that the nation would pay a high price for accountability?

For example, would investigating the crimes of the Bush era really divert time and energy needed elsewhere? Let’s be concrete: whose time and energy are we talking about?

Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to rescue the economy. Peter Orszag, the budget director, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to reform health care. Steven Chu, the energy secretary, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to limit climate change. Even the president needn’t, and indeed shouldn’t, be involved. All he would have to do is let the Justice Department do its job – which he’s supposed to do in any case – and not get in the way of any Congressional investigations.

I don’t know about you, but I think America is capable of uncovering the truth and enforcing the law even while it goes about its other business.

Still, you might argue – and many do – that revisiting the abuses of the Bush years would undermine the political consensus the president needs to pursue his agenda.

But the answer to that is, what political consensus? There are still, alas, a significant number of people in our political life who stand on the side of the torturers. But these are the same people who have been relentless in their efforts to block President Obama’s attempt to deal with our economic crisis and will be equally relentless in their opposition when he endeavors to deal with health care and climate change. The president cannot lose their good will, because they never offered any.

(A good follow-up to his column may be found here.)

Back to the topic at hand.  Columnist Reihan Salam explains how U.S. dictator Barack Obama could blow both the midterm elections and his own chances for re-election.  I submit the following as examples of how the Obamassiah has already blown it, with consequences that go far beyond mere electoral calculations:

It’s business as usual under the Obamassiah regime, and the only “change” is in the face of the fascist dictatorship screwing us all over.  Bush got his third term, after all.  What’s to be done about this?

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    • geomoo on April 27, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    I probably agree with a lot of your views, but I object vehemently to the framing.

    McCain would have been the third Bush administration, and it would be difficult to exaggerate the difference a McCain presidency would mean to us.  The claim that there is no difference between Obama and Bush is easily falsifiable:  women’s rights, labor issues, climate change, veterans issues, respect for science and on and on and on.  If your hope it to persuade people, you need to make a specific argument on the issues you are focusing on.

    Making it about Obama feeds into the cult of celebrity so damaging to our discourse.  Debating Obama is a god/Obama is Bush is a waste of time.

    Even the torture debate, on which Obama’s behavior is in line with your argument, the terms and conditions of the discussion are radically different than they would ever have been under Bush.

    I think you are saying that we have become an empire whose government is controlled more by moneyed interests, the MIC, than by we the people.  And electing a new president hasn’t changed that.  Of course it hasn’t changed that.  If we had elected Al Sharpton, he wouldn’t be able to stroll in and change everything–he’d be dead within the week if he tried.  This is a complex problem requiring complex solutions–demonizing one man, and by implication the people who worked hard to elect him, is not helpful.  Or at least I don’t see anything it can accomplish.

    From all appearances, Obama has no interest in resisting the full-out assault on our constitutional republic.  I want to join with you in fighting this.  I feel our fight is weakened rather than strengthened by this sort of inherently polarized thinking.

    • Viet71 on April 28, 2009 at 2:32 am

    Obama is a dictator, because he has not relinquished the dictatorial powers he inherited from Bush.

    This is no time to candy-coat the ugly truth.

    • ANKOSS on April 28, 2009 at 4:09 am

    will not bring us closer to the truth. Obama is a man trying to do good in the narrow range of discretion that our permanent government, the corpo-militarist machine, permits him. That is why the permanent war continues. That is why the looting of the Treasury by Wall Street continues. The predatory owners of America have allowed Obama to feed a few crumbs of reform to the sinking middle class, but the machinery of destruction rumbles on.

    The puzzling thing about the Obama optimists is that they won’t do the simple math of netting what he has done right against what he has done wrong. Obama is running a big negative balance, and no amount of wishful thinking changes that fact.

  1. ha-ha

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