Monday, December 29, 2008

Suggestion 16: More Truth and Reconciliation - Will President Obama soft pedal bringing some crooks to justice?

Last time, we talked about the need to bring light to the festering skullduggeries that were rife, during the last eight years -- either through official malfeasance or private turpitude that was fostered and enabled by a general atmostmere of lawlessness. Many people are frothing for a time of comeuppance. For a fierce and ferociously determined version of this drive, see -- Justice after Bush:Prosecuting an outlaw administration, by Scott Horton, in Harpers.  Nice to see folks out there who make me seem mild and moderate. forgiving.

Of course, much of the tone will be set by President Barack Obama.  I have no private window to the President-Elect’s inner thoughts.  Having discussed, last time, the curing benefits of light, let me admit that he might choose a different tack -- to quash some scandalous revelations about Bush era travesties.

One can picture the lowest of reasons -- in order to gain leverage with many of the top players in the New Aristocracy.  Yes, BHO seems to have the smallest list of IOUs of anyone ever elected to the presidency.  Still, he’s human and that means keeping a corner of our minds skeptical.

Or, perhaps, some members of his circle have already been suborned, either by direct corruption or by the kind of blackmail trap that I caution against in another place.  (If I could grab the lapel of every single young idealist, now heading for Washington, and force them to read one thing, it would be this desperately urgent warning!)

Or else -- more likely -- Barack Obama may go to the opposite extreme, and justify downplaying the full extent of recent crimes, with the highminded purpose expressed by Frederick March, when he played President Lyman in Seven Days in May... preferring that the American people never learn how terribly they were betrayed, in order to maintain the beneficial illusion that we truly are a blessed nation, somehow above the dismal and fetid cesspools of corruption that spoiled Rome and so many other empires.

(Part of a 12/08 series of “unusual suggestions for America and the Obama Administration.)”

Indeed, we already have some evidence that this kind of thinking is at work.  Certainly much more went on than the public ever knew, a couple of years ago, when a large number of generals and admirals must have staged some kind of work action or warning that forced George Bush to replace Donald Rumsfeld with Robert Gates, as Secretary of Defense, prying immature fingers off the tiller of national survival.

Anybody else -- any other group -- would have blabbed or bragged afterward, but not the flag officers.  Their subsequent stony silence over what happened may represent their loyal effort to preserve a sacred image... that of total and perpetual subservience to civilian authority.  A supremely honorable, if frustratingly mysterious event, for which (if it really happened) we owe the officer corps, a lot.  (See#9)

President Obama may decide to not to pursue Bush-era dirt, for some reason like that.  And, if so, I suppose I can understand...

...but no.  I am author of The Transparent Society. So which side of all of this do you expect me to come down on, in the end? 

Judge Louis Brandeis said that “light is the best disinfectant.”  It is also the one great advantage of an open society.   People find it all too easy to come up with rationalizations not to step under the glare.  It is a trap of human nature, and even decent leaders are tempted by secrecy. But there comes a point when sunshine becomes our only hope

Steady progress toward light is what makes us healthier, when all other forms of government shrivel under the naked sun.

--Continue to Truth and Reconciliation Addendum: How radical might it all get?


William_Shatner said...


Is this #16, in consideration for my comments on why Obama MUST -- HAS TO, bring the hammer down on corruption? Or are we just thinking sympatico again? I did not know that you wrote that "BlackMail" piece. I'm not trying to be a suckup when I say; "You are writing what I'm thinking." I suspect that much of Congress's capitulation has to do with what Rove inc. found out with the internal spying, plus, probably years of inside the beltway "made men."

I think that Bush himself is compromised by some blackmail-based alliances, all the way to his rotten frat boy core. He got promoted by pigs like Rove, because he was compromised. The head of "child endangerment" was put there by Rove, after he found out about his interest in young Pages.

When you look at the Watergate Hookers and Poker scandal -- which didn't seem to grab near as much press as it should have. You have the head of the CIA retiring, and Homeland Security found buying. The question that we beg to answer was; "Is this an example of the carrots and sticks used to compromise our representatives?" If someone doesn't by the conspiracy theory angle -- YOU can try to up with a better explanation for what that was about.

I'd say that If I had people of the world, looking at my blog, and sought my advice on panels, and I were published like Dr. Brin, here, I'd probably be a lot more formal, and reserved in my points.

But I don't often get people listening to me -- except for the past two months -- they no longer think I'm crazy. I'm really not used to that.

>> As I was saying before; there can be no Truth and Reconciliation, if the honest Republicans have to share the same boat as the crooked ones. If there is no downside to taking the money and run, you've got wealthy crooks and honest poor folks competing -- who is going to win that match-up, you think? Obama is doing the Republicans no favor by being soft on crime, and moving ahead with the "important matters." There is nothing more important to a Democracy than Justice -- not just a legal system, but Justice.

The economy will go up or down, the power of America my wax and wane, maybe wax again. But our honor and integrity are like our environment -- best if left in a pristine state, and never to be harmed unless there is a good reason. There is never really a good reason, however.

>> I'm thinking that, being a contrary person myself, my New Years resolution is not to take anything seriously, and become as much of a bimbo (bimbob?) as I can. I'd like to be more fun at parties, and reality will be bumming people out too much. All the shallow, fun people, will be shocked and awed by the turn of events, so there will be this huge gap in the "charming banter." I'm seriously good at being a fun person, and not so good at convincing those who know it all -- who really annoy those of us who actually do, know it all.

William_Shatner said...

Good Advice for Obama's first 100 days;

Really, I'm happy about a move towards Public Works projects and the like -- but Obama is going to fail if he does not deal with this.

If they want revenue to fund the re-investment in America. Rather than try and print the money, or hope China wants to buy more US Debt -- I recommend that he go after corporations who ripped us off. With Haliburton and Carlysle, he could get a good $20 Billion at least.

And end the damn Fed. We pay these industry banking insiders to print money and pay them interest for it. The government gets all the responsibility and the Fed all the profits and power. Isn't this the largest theft and Socialism for the rich experiment ever or can we just call it just the biggest fraud?

[Disclaimer: nobody else is responsible for my comments -- including me]

Anonymous said...

"Still, he’s human and that means keeping a corner of our minds skeptical."

Especially when said human has come through the murky world of Chicago politics, has had to disavow some high-profile dubious associations, and has a team already in self-exculpatory mode over the disposition of the now vacant Senate seat.

It would be nice to be pleasantly surprised, but I fear much of this series of posts represent a surprising triumph of hope over experience.

William_Shatner said...

Anonymous said...
"Still, he’s human and that means keeping a corner of our minds skeptical."

Especially when said human has come through the murky world of Chicago politics, has had to disavow some high-profile dubious associations, and has a team already in self-exculpatory mode over the disposition of the now vacant Senate seat.

It would be nice to be pleasantly surprised, but I fear much of this series of posts represent a surprising triumph of hope over experience.

Why not just include the Murky world of politics in the USA? I'm sure Obama is also guilty of THAT association.

I have real concerns, based upon appointments who resemble Republicans. But the talking points of the right, don't worry me, and I try not to become MORE enamored of Obama because he has crooks accusing him of being crooked -- like I did with Bill Clinton, who was also responsible for every crime in Arkansas.

The Senate Appointment seat scandal -- which I'm sure is part of the status quo in Washington, rather than an exception. It is only notable that someone got caught doing this. Obama was instrumental, actually, in bringing it out. If you recall, the phone call had the Governor incensed that Obama wouldn't play ball -- he was surprised in fact.

Anonymous said...

As everyone with any common sense knows full well, Obama will never bring any of these criminals to justice.

American soldiers waterboarded prisoners before, during the Phillipine uprising. It was official policy, ordered by top brass, then as now. Hearings were held...and nothing was done.

Not one American faced any charges or served any prison time for waterboarding Phillipine insurrectors in 1901.

What makes you people imagine that any Americans will face any charges or serve any prison time for waterboarding or beating to death or suffocating or strangling Iraqis or Afghans?

You people are indescribably naive. Why do you think the first thing the criminal sociopaths in the White House did was to set up massive warrantless wiretapping on all Americans? You didn't really think it had anything to do with keeping us safe from terrorists, did you?

The massive NSA warrantless wiretapping was the ideal method of obtaining blackmail material on political opponents. The poisonous files J. Edgar Hoover accumulated in 30 years of snooping and prying, the sociopathic criminals currently in the White House undoubtedly built up within a month using modern technology.

Does Obama have something in his past that can be used against him? Without doubt. Everyone does. With the modern level of technology used to sweep every phone conversation in America for 7 long years, you can bet they found something, somewhere either on Obama, or on someone he cared about.

It's perfectly obvious why Obama and Biden will never ever ever ever ever prosecute or even allow truth-and-reconciliation hearings, or for that matter even permit congressional hearings, into the vast crimes of the monsters in this White House. Obama's and Biden's relatives have surely been caught in some incriminating activity, whether smoking pot or downloading movies, or something else, that can and will be used to destroy their lives unless both Obama and Biden play ball.

If you don't realize what's going on with the warrantless wiretapping, you're unspeakably naive. The NSA is building one of the world's largest data centers -- what for? To archive all that dirt. Evenless trillions of hours of blackmail, ready to use.

Welcome to the transparent society, folks.