Nov 4, 2010

when elections don't matter

I was going to blog extensively about Glenn Greenwald's recent visit to South Puget Sound Community College, but I see that Berd beat me to it.

Instead, the abridged version.

1. At this point, in the Obama presidency, at least as it relates to civil liberties, you're either naive or cynical. Consider his track record, as summarized by Greenwald:
Civil liberties were at the forefront of the critique of the Bush-Cheney administration. Yet virtually all of these powers are still in place, or have been strengthened.

Obama symbolically ended...
* Authorization for torture. (It was no longer in use by the time he was inaugurated.)
* The use of CIA black sites. (They were already empty.)

Obama continued Bush-era practices for...
* State secrets
* Guantanamo Bay detention
* Drone attacks
* Covert activities / "interference" (that fuels terrorism, in Greenwald's view)

Obama invented...
* The right to order the CIA to target American citizens for assassination

Greenwald's summing-up: "The idea that Barack Obama would do more to institutionalize and entrench and strengthen Bush-era policies... was something that not even the most cynical Democrat would have foreseen."

2. Greenwald seemed much more upbeat about the Tea Party and the Republican "shellacking" than many in his liberal audience. Partisanship, if nothing else, deflates the president's ego.

3. New Mexico Republican Gary Johnson: savior of civil liberties? From an unidentified woman in the Question and Answer session: "I had drinks with Gary Johnson, and got a little bit drunk. He's really awesome.... He's a Republican and he's completely awesome."

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