Thursday, June 03, 2010

A Report Card for President Barack Obama.

July 31, 2011 at 6:15 P.M. Spacing was altered in this essay since my previous review of this work. I will try to repair the harm done from a public computer in New York. I cannot say how many other writings have been altered or damaged by New Jersey's hackers. I will struggle to discover and correct any and/or all additional inserted "errors" in my writings by making use of public computers in New York city.
June 8, 2010 at 12:06 P.M. "Errors" inserted overnight have been corrected, once again. ("Roberto Unger's Revolutionary Legal Theory" and "More Cybercrime and Censorship.")
June 6, 2010 at 12:19 P.M. Any time that the e-mail address in this essay is altered or incomplete, it means that N.J.'s hackers are still permitted to get away with their crimes. This spectacle has become symbolic of America today.
June 4, 2010 at 11:46 A.M. The e-mail address that was corrected after several inserted "errors" yesterday was altered, again, overnight. The goal of these methods is to maximize psychological harm to the victim. ("What is it like to be tortured?" and "More Censorship and Cybercrime.")
June 3, 2010 at 11:19 P.M. The e-mail address cited in this essay has been corrected three times during the first day that the work was posted as a result of hacker-inserted "errors." The correct address may be found in The New York Review of Books page 17, where it is also listed, in the event that the web site address continues to be defaced. Sadly, this vandalism is very likely due to New Jersey corruption.
June 3, 2010 6:51 P.M. "Errors" were inserted by hackers several times after my posting of this essay today. I expect more alterations of the text over the next few days in violation of copyright laws and the U.S. Constitution. Have you no shame, Mr. Rabner? Mr. Menendez, do you condone these crimes? ("Does Senator Menendez Have Mafia Friends?" and "Is Senator Bob 'For' Human Rights?")
As I type these words it is early in the month of June, 2010. Barack Obama's presidency has settled into a comfortable cruising speed. Some reflections and assessments may be in order.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I voted for Obama and wish him (like any American president) to do well for the nation.
During an interview after his first year in office, Mr. Obama gave himself a B+ as president. I would have given him an A, at that time. Today, I concur with his assessment and award Mr. Obama a B+ for his efforts. Faced with the same candidates, I would vote for Obama again.
The interim elections will not be good for Democrats. As America's first African-American president, a B+ may not be good enough. I want many more African-Americans in the White House. Excellence is a moral obligation for Mr. Obama.
The stagnation in Afghanistan and Iraq, dangerous spreading of the cancers of fanaticism and international terrorism, armed conflict, revolutionary movements and religious fundamentalism that is, essentially, anti-Western -- all of these forces are worse today than when the president took office. How much of this reality may be attributed to Mr. Obama is difficult to say. It is impossible to deny that President Obama inherited a catastrophe from Bush/Cheney.
At the end of July, 2010 we are witnessing the most bloody month in terms of American casualties since the conflict in Afghanistan began. Things will get worse before they get better -- if they get better in Afghanistan.
The revolutionary movement in India and the deepening chaos in Pakistan are highly worrisome developments -- as is China's increasing power in the world and intense displeasure at the evident disasters in the making in the Middle East, Korea, South Asia, and elsewhere. China does not wish the US to remain in the neighborhood forever.
Like many people in the farthest and most dismal places on earth, this soon to be "rival Superpower" wonders who or what (if anyone) is in control in America? No wonder China is creating its rival global news source for the world in the English language.
I do not believe that China -- or the U.S. -- will be "prodded" in one direction or another by anyone. To suggest such a thing -- that a huge country can be "prodded" to do something by a rival -- is to insult people.
I wish I could say who is in charge in America. We continue to deliver mixed and/or confused messages, appear ignorant and ill-informed on the issues, indulge in torture and our own forms of censorship and terrorism (i.e., "robot bombs" dropped on villages to kill one man, maybe), then make decisions behind closed doors that contradict our public protests and promises. This hypocrisy is not missed by observers in the world.
Torture is not a trivial issue for billions of persons on the planet in danger of losing their faith in America. ("What is it like to be tortured?")
A nation with 16 independent intelligence agencies is bound to lack coordination and efficiency in information flow to the top, that is, we are not effectively synthesizing or filtering data. It is possible that we will fail to prevent a future attack because of this inefficiency and inadequate interpretive mechanisms.
The U.S. intelligence community and military seem to ignore the president and American courts, notably in the continuing public criminality which you are witnessing at these blogs, also in hideous forms of cruelty to detainees, or even unfortunate members of the population, like inmates and all poor women. Government is spying on Americans to an astonishing extent and shows no sign of revealing the whereabouts of information gathered about each of us. ("Terry Tuchin, Diana Lisa Riccioli, and New Jersey's Agency of Torture.")
New Jersey is a spectacle of corruption, mafia control of police and courts, inept and bribed officials top-to-bottom that is horrifying and unacceptable in countries like Brazil or Chile, even Peru and Cuba, to say nothing of Europe. People have begun to wonder whether the United States of America is in irreversible decline or still exists as anything more than a pale shadow of what it once was. The feds cannot control Trenton. How will they control Iraq?
New Jersey's level of corruption in government cannot be tolerated in America. Any more "errors" to be inserted in this text? Tim Arango, "Iraq War Defies a U.S. Timetable," in The New York Times, July 3, 2010, at p. 1 and Richard A. Opel, "Bombers Hit U.S. Aid Compound in Afghanistan," in The New York Times, July 3, 2010, at p. A8. (1,134 U.S. service people killed in Afghanistan alone.)

Living in New York affords the intelligent and attentive person who reads and thinks -- I do a little of both -- ample opportunity to listen to people chatting in several languages, often at fancy locations, thus picking up items of information that provide a good notion of what people on the street are saying in many places in the world. At the moment, we are not highly regarded or very impressive to foreigners. I wish America to be both -- a marvel to the world and the "City on a Hill" that all of humanity admires and emulates.
With all our faults, we have been exactly that ideal during much of the twentieth century. We must be that political ideal once again. I am referring to a moral and political-legal ideal, I emphasize this point, not weapons or military bases. The U.S. once provided the standard to the world on human rights and legality. No one makes this claim for the U.S. today.
Mr. Obama's promise to close the Guantanamo facility will not be kept. The photographs of U.S. atrocities will not be made public to the media or people. 1,000 photos of American tortures of detainees are being suppressed. Denials and cover-ups are never the answer to a crisis of legitimacy. The protection of friends and cover-ups after the disclosure that U.S. lawyers and doctors participated in this Holocaust-like evil undermines respect for the medical and legal professions in this country -- deservedly, in the state of New Jersey, especially, whose tribunals are adjuncts to the mafia -- diminishing American credibility on human rights issues throughout the world.
We still refuse to join the world criminal court. "Holocaust-like" is not an inappropriate analogy considering the one million plus deaths in the aftermath of the two Iraq wars, Afghanistan, Pakistan and "elsewhere" and (by some reckonings) this includes 500,000 children. Philosopher Joy Gordon has documented this death toll with compelling thoroughness.
"In some respects this is worse than Bush. First, because Obama has claimed the right to assassinate American citizens whom he suspects of 'terrorism,' merely on the grounds of his own suspicion or that of the C.I.A., something Bush never claimed publicly. Second, Obama says that the government can detain you indefinitely, even if you have been exonerated in a trial, and he has publicly floated the idea of 'preventive detention.' Third, the Obama administration, in expanding the use of unmanned drone attacks, argues that the U.S. has the authority under international law to use extrajudicial killing in sovereign countries with which it is not at war." ["Fidel Castro's 'History Will Absolve Me.'"]
"Such measures by Bush were widely considered by liberals and progressives to be outrages and were roundly, and correctly, protested. But those acts which may have been construed (wishfully or not) as anomalies under the Bush regime have now been consecrated into 'standard operating procedure' by Obama, who claims, as did Bush, executive privilege and state secrecy in defending the crime of aggressive war."
http://www.worldcantwait.org/ (305 Broadway #185, New York, N.Y. 10013, 866-973-4463.)
This e-mail address is altered, periodically, by New Jersey's hackers: "WORLD-CAN'T-WAIT.ORG" ("Roberto Unger's Revolutionary Legal Theory" and, again, "Fidel Castro's 'History Will Absolve Me."")
8 million jobs lost from the economy. A few hundred thousand new jobs created after the stimulus will not make much difference, especially if they are temporary census jobs paying peanuts. Michael Powell, "U.S. Reports Job Growth Lagged in Private Sector," in The New York Times, July 3, 2010, at p. 1. (9.5% jobless rate as labor force shrinks -- people stop looking for work -- means a rise in crime rates in about 30 days. Real unemployment is over 10%; officially, the rate is 9.6% of Americans are jobless.)
Obama's broken promise to close Guantanamo and our double standards increase the dangers and will reduce the options for dissidents throughout the world. We cannot condone or be a part of torture, rape, secrecy, betraying the rule of law on fundamental human rights issues, like freedom of speech and religion. Sanctioned cybercrime and censorship, burning the Qu'ran, raping and murdering tortured detaineees, who are often uncharged and unconvicted of any offense, takes our legal system back to the ninth century before Magna Carta. (Again: "Is Senator Bob 'For' Human Rights?")
"Unsurprisingly, the Obama administration has refused to prosecute any members of the Bush regime who are responsible for war crimes, including some who admitted to waterboarding and other forms of torture, thereby making their actions acceptable for him or any future president."
"Crimes Are Crimes No Matter Who Commits Them," in The New York Review of Books, May 17, 2010, at p. 17. ("How Censorship Works in America" and "What is it like to be tortured?")
Is this our commitment to legal ethics?
Mr. Obama seems indecisive or powerless to do anything about this horror for which history will not be kind to America's first African-American president presiding over the enslavement of brown people from the Third World. "Magna Carta" may or may not be italicized, depending on the writer's choice. ("America's Holocaust.")
The American economy is "failing to adjust" to new circumstances in the world. We are not "moving on" from the fiscal meltdown. ("How Censorship Works in America.")
We are falling behind in research and development, losing brilliant minds to incarceration, criminality, corruption and cronyism in many key industries, even academia in addition to the arts is losing amazing people to Asian competitors. Excellence has become a category of guilt. Mediocrity is celebrated as a form of democracy. Genius is deemed "offensive" also as a category of guilt, especially among minority men. It is a fault to "try to be better than everyone else" at anything. Genius is dismissed as the result of "lots of practice." This sort of effort to achieve excellence was once deemed a virtue.
A few inserted "errors" since earlier today, but fewer than I expected. ("More Censorship and Cybercrime" and "What is it like to be censored in America?" then "Is Humanism Still Possible?")
Our educational system reflects this collapse into listless "averageness." We are now 20th in the world in intellectual achievement among college graduates. Most of my fellow citizens will not read a single book during their adult lifetimes, many are incapable of doing so (especially among N.J. judges), while ephemera like "Grey's Anatomy" or "Glee" produces orgasmic rapture among critics in once respected publications such as The New York Times. ("Nihilists in Disneyworld" and "Manohla Dargis Strikes Again!")

You are invited to draw your own conclusions, once more, concerning the spectacle that you are witnessing at these blogs. A review of "Robin Hood" has now been altered at least five times in a 24-hour period by hackers using N.J. government computers. U.S. media is untroubled by this public censorship.
Who will be next? What publications will be subjected to organized content-based computer crime and harassment by persons using government technology in the future? Violations of my Constitutional rights are the potential violations of anyone's rights. ("What is it like to be plagiarized?" and "What is it like to be censored in America?")
The oil spill in Louisiana has made it abundantly clear that federal reactions have been slow and incompetent, no better than under President Bush when Katrina struck the same territory. Many people in the Gulf area will suffer for generations to come and the ecosystem will be severely damaged. Happily, Dick Cheney is feeling just fine. If Mr. Obama is not careful, this oil spill will become emblematic of his presidency, a fitting symbol of forces of contamination permitted to grow out-of-control. New Jersey? Iraq? Public censorship, organized crime controlling an American jurisdiction cannot be permitted to stand, Mr. Obama, even when it is Democrat territory. ("Law and Ethics in the Soprano State" and "New Jersey's 'Ethical' Legal System.")
I appreciate that we have a docile corporate media in this country, but it saddens me to realize that we also have a corporate government. It really does not matter all that much who occupies the White House, the executives at BP and other megacorporations "gotta get theirs." Normally, this would be O.K. Lately, average Americans have been getting screwed on a colossal scale by these corporations and paid-off politicians. (New Jersey!)
Please see "Is Congressman Steven Rothman (D) on the take?" A friend said: "They're all on the take." This corruption charge does not include Mr. Obama, whose honesty is beyond question. Working and poor families do not seem to matter to anyone in Washington -- after election day. Rural folks may not matter much even on election day if politicians can win the big cities. This is not O.K.
$20 billion will not solve the environmental disaster resulting from an oil leak that is still not under control in terms of the environmental damage we have suffered.
This estrangement from our values is not what Americans expect of their government at this difficult moment in our history. There is a great deal of anger and frustration expressed by ordinary people. These emotions may explain the Tea Party's success, so far. This is probably when N.J. should try to insert more "errors" in this essay or to alter some of the names mentioned. ("What is it like to be tortured?" then "What is it like to be censored in America?")
Mr. President: People are hurting beyond the beltway. There are few jobs, not many educational or other opportunities, sexism is rampant, racism is still with us, women suffer from persistent and evil forms of sexism in jobs and schools, children are at greater risk than ever from child-porn and -prostitution which has become yet another protected criminal industry in New Jersey.
State officials inserting "errors" in these essays make it clear to the world that our commitment to free speech is a lie, unless we happen to be media millionaires. ("More Child-Porn and -Prostitution in New Jersey" and "Judges Protect Child Molesters in Bayonne, New Jersey.")
Judicial appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court are a plus for the president. It is sad that such appointments have recently become opportunities to debate everything except competence and intellect, especially "representation" for various groups. We will no longer have a white male Protestant on the High Court after Mr. Stevens departs to write his memoirs. I suspect that "White Male Protestants" have become America's latest minority group.
Some people feel that they are not being remembered by decision makers despite bearing the bulk of the load in American history. I see their point. I think this recognition of the plight of "working poor" families, especially in rural areas, made John Edwards an attractive candidate in the primaries. Maybe that is why the attack machine went after Mr. Edwards. I suspect that some of the people inserting "errors" in these writings disapprove of Mr. Edwards because (like the rest of us) he is a flawed human being.
Why are you worrying about poor and rural whites, Senator Edwards? They don't have big lobbyists, do they? Well, they have the Constitution just like everybody else. That's Communism! No, it's called "fairness." Either "T-Party" or "Tea Party" is fine by the way.
Poor people includes whites, browns, blacks and many Asians. Arizona demands to see their "papers." Fifty states creating fifty immigration policies is not a very good idea. Recently, Arizona legislators have suggested denying and/or revoking the citizenship of persons BORN in the U.S. whose parents are (or were) illegal immigrants, despite the provisions of the Constitution.
We also do not have much of the Bill of Rights left as the Conservative Phalanx continues to chip away at the exclusionary rule, Miranda rights and the 6th Amendment right to counsel, as well as allowing for occasional torture, rape, and eavesdropping by the government without "good cause." Evidently, the 5th Amendment's protections against being made to testify against oneself and the 4th Amendment's requirement of "reasonableness" in searches are "plots by the Taliban" to make us unsafe. I hate to say it, but I think we are more unsafe than ever thanks to the C.I.A.
Based on what you are seeing at these blogs, you decide how much of the First Amendment still stands. ("Morality Tale.")
What the hell? Are you with Al Qaeda? Don't you wanna get Ossama bin Laden? Dead or alive? Well, then? Whatever it takes. The rights of ordinary Americans are being lost in this "War on Terror." What will we do when the terror comes from our own government?
We have abandoned the peace process in the Middle East. As a result, there is no control over the actions of Israel -- including the appalling embargo which is causing so much suffering to many people in Gaza and in Turkey, the one Islamic country with a previously cordial relationship with Israel -- and there is a further heightening of the tensions in the entire region. We must be more active in bringing the parties to the negotiating table.
Mercifully, we have health insurance. Unmercifully, we will need that health insurance soon unless we control the polluters and do something to cure the AIDS epidemic. MILLIONS continue to die from AIDS, including many children, as we cut funds for research. Please provide all the help you can to organizations such as "AIDS Walk, New York."
I would rather spend $1 billion per month on research to end the AIDS epidemic and in the fight against cancer than in the continuing Iraq/Afghanistan military efforts.
Despite the proclamation of "ending the military component" of our efforts in Iraq, 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future; Iran's nuclear program will require "attention"; and Afghanistan's Taliban brigades continue to make Pakistan and "other places" their home away from home. Al Qaeda has spread to Africa and Latin America.
What exactly have we accomplished with these wars -- other than the removal of Mr. Hussein in Iraq and his replacement by the Ghandi-like honesty of Mr. Karzai's government in Afghanistan -- after so much effort? Is Mr. Karzai a true democrat?
Mr. Obama, much of the hope and romance associated with your candidacy has vanished in a morning after fit of depression as we appreciate just what we got ourselves into. We need your best efforts to cope with this Hydra-headed monster called "America's decline" against which we struggle.
The state of the American Union is uncertain and endangered. Peace and prosperity appear to be things of the past. The future for America's young people looks very grim indeed. We need reason to hope that things will be better. The number one word spoken by persons asked about the Obama administration -- in New York's liberal centers! -- is "disappointment." What is it like in the rest of the country? ("Obama Says: 'Torture is a Secret!'")
The following letter by Jeremy Varon was published in the Times, July 2, 2010, at page A24:
The failure of President Obama to use the powers of his office and his personality to make good on his pledge to close Guantanamo Bay is despicable. If the detention camp was a moral blight and a foreign policy liability on Day 1 of the administration, it certainly remains so today.
That the administration would claim credit, as a senior official says, for "trying to close" the prison, while actually failing in its goal, is a level of cynicism that is mind-boggling. I voted for Mr. Obama on the basis of his promise of real change. With respect to Guantanamo, there has been none. For this reason he has lost my vote. On some things, like undoing a legacy of extrajudicial detention and torture, there can be no compromise.

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