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Paul Krugman Sums Obama Up

Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winning Economist took a second look at Obama in an article published in Rolling Stones, and then a follow up with ABC News. His conclusion? Obama is likely to be the most effective, and certainly the most successful president we have ever had. 
“Bill Clinton is an incredibly gifted politician,” Krugman told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl. “But, in fact, Bill Clinton was not a consequential president. And Obama, although clearly not the natural politician, is a consequential president.”
With his polls so low right now, it's difficult to get behind this kind of arithmetic, but Krugman shows that the economy is on the rise, unemployment is down, health care has been reformed and significant financial reform is in place. The environmental issues are being addressed.  No, he admits, it might not be everything you wanted, but it is more than any president has accomplished in decades.

Reading this, I felt a bit vindicated. Though I would never have claimed Obama was 'the most successful', he was doing much better than his press. What has always bothered me about his press though, was the amount of it, the shear mass of the machine.

You expect Fox News, and some jabs from the main stream editorials. Then there are the web papers on the far-right like Town Hall, National Association of Scholars, the NRA main sight,
The usual suspects. Also, the republicans in congress, just like the democrats with Bush (expected, and accepted). The Koch brothers were more active, not liking things going the way they were, especially with Obama going directly at the environment and health care.

Likely, Obama was the Koch's worst nightmare - between 1998 and now Koch has been an environmental terror (with one of the few companies I have ever heard of being tried and convicted for double homicide). Obama not only wants EPA powers to increase, he was making it happen. It wasn't going to be a few $10 million dollar fines any longer. Likely, shut downs were on the horizon. So, we also expect some flack from that area.

Some flack. Sure. .. but sweet mercy...

The girl friend video coming out of the Koch, from  Americans for Shared Prosperity should have been the real clue. That was the point the shadows were pulled back. Whether that was a purposeful move or not, it was the beacon that caught my attention. The ad, which I'm sure you have seen, has a woman who is acting like Obama is an abusive boyfriend -- and is warning us to drop him, not to vote for him again. Again? This was published on Sep 21, 2014.

This is the second term. Right? This is Anti-Obama, like two years
too late. Isn't it?

No. Not at all. They just don't appear to care any more that you notice.

I'm not capable of doing the amount of document research that would be required for a true analysis -- I'm just going to put that up front -- but I believe, just from the amount I've been able to do, that no President has been against the continuous demagoguery Obama has over his two terms. There is the slams and the mud during the election, but then people get down to doing their jobs. The sensationalist go back to writing real news, and waiting for someone, normally a Congressman, to do something extremely silly. But that didn't happen with Obama.

  • Crowds of mudslingers continued
  • Torrents of false controversies were created
  • Demagoguery was shouted at every Presidential move
  • Congress took on a culture of obstruction

For example -- despite Obama's pre-election release of his official Hawaiian birth certificate in 2008;[1] confirmation, based on the original documents, by the Hawaii Department of Health;[6] the April 2011 release of a certified copy of Obama's original Certificate of Live Birth (or long-form birth certificate); and contemporaneous birth announcements published in two Hawaii newspapers.[7] Polls conducted in 2010 suggested that at least one quarter of adult Americans said that they doubted Obama's U.S. birth,[8][9] while a May 2011 Gallup poll found that 13% of American adults (23% of Republicans) continued to express such doubts. -- Wikipedia

Hundreds of lawsuits, some filed by GOP leaders, some from Congressman, Senators, and Tea Party members. In 2009 and 2010 the numbers in the South and in the Tea Party are so high, that they are seen as useful to many of the GOP. They under mind anything Obama does, inciting angst toward any decision he makes. A few Republicans openly gaff at the claims that Obama's Presidency is not legitimate, but most do not. Colorado GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck is caught on tape complaining about walking the line between openly agreeing with the "Birthers" and denying the legitimacy of their claim to keep them going.
"Will you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I'm on the camera," Buck said to the worker while laughing. "God, what am I supposed to do?"

Democrat Philip Berg's lawsuit allegations that Obama had lost his U.S. citizenship while living in Indonesia were criticized by WND in August 2008 as not supported by U.S. citizenship law. -- Yes, Democrat. The Birthers are on both sides.

NOTE: Obama is not the first President to be the subject of controversy surrounding the location of his birth. Andrew Jackson was the subject of similar claims, although it is not certain that they were raised during his presidency. Some said that Chester A. Arthur was born outside the United States, with his birth records later allegedly falsified to show he was born in Vermont.

Today we still have a large, activist minded, population of mostly southerner republicans and Tea Party members who are still convinced. Since no one will listen to the truth as they know it, they attack any move or policy connected to Obama, with confusion and disinformation. A good example of this is Common Core. And they were so good and vehement at their claims that Louisiana Governor  Bobby Jindal decided to sue the Obama administration:
...accusing it of illegally manipulating federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards.
The U.S. Department of Education has used a $4.3 billion grant program and federal policy waivers to encourage states to adopt uniform education standards and testing. The Republican governor says that "effectively forces states down a path toward a national curriculum" in violation of the state sovereignty clause in the Constitution and federal laws that prohibit national control of education content.
The State Auditor report, after his investigation had a much different view of Common Core. The facts Bobby had based his suit on were all contrived and extremely far from the truth of things. Gov. Jindal fell into the trap that many parents have fallen into. The strong conspiracy believers have created convincing websites, with lengthy and appealing arguments about Common Core which from the ground up are false. Not only conspirators either, parents and Gov. Jindal are up against serious propagandists who are paid by the Koch machine to cause confusion and distrust, such as Jane Robbins.

Ms Robbins is a prolific writer and skilled demagoguery creator. After reading the State Auditor's report, check out some of her writing and the contrast between them is so broadly different, you are sure they are talking about two different things. But there are also some fake websites who are more subtle, and even more convincing, even to those who do understand what Common Core is and what it is not. But I have become convinced that the efforts behind Ms. Robbins, the fake websites and the activists, are not Common Core itself, but to bring doubt and distrust to Obama (who in this case had nothing at all to do with Common Core, and is prevented by Federal law to interact with local schools directly).

Common Core as a vehicle for demagoguery however is brilliant, and tying it to Obama is easy. The more you understand what it is and what it means to our educational system, the more you question why anyone would be against it -- which leads me to Obama. The effect is long lasting against him. I can guarantee you that Gov. Jindal is not any happier with Obama now, than he was when he thought Obama was behind an effort to take over the school system and control the states through forced acceptance of the Common Core State Standards. I promise you he didn't read the report from the State Auditor and say, "Oh, wow. I should call him and apologize. What an idiot I was. The man saved our schools." The confusion of Common Core has been removed, but the distrust of Obama has remained, as it has for millions of parents across the nation.

It is in the way our minds work. Nothing in that report suggests that Obama is not trying to control the school system, only that he doesn't have control over Common Core. The implication remains, and implications, implied truths, are difficult to unseat. Which is why they are used in advertising all the time. Their effect is long lasting, and they adjust the victim's perspective unerringly toward the direction the marketing creator wishes him to go. There are many Self Help pseudo advisors who like to say, "No one can make you feel anything." Which is absolutely false. It is called marketing and it is a $100 billion a year business which has taken the task of making you feel a particular way, an unerring science.

The use of implied truths can be as simple as putting a sexy model on the hood of a sporty looking car -- implication "this car will attract hot looking women who you will get to have sex with" or very elaborate. Darren Brown's show is heavily based on the use of implied truths and he demonstrates repeatedly that the power of implied truths are often greater than actual truths.

"In the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantanamo, we have compromised our most precious values." -- Obama
Background: In 2002 GW Bush released an order to the military which gave clear distinction to those known as Taliban, and those known as al Qaeda. In this order, those known as Taliban, were considered under the protection of the Geneva Conventions. Those known as al Qaeda however, were not.

It was this knowledge of the power of implied truths, which stopped me when I saw this headline in my Inbox from the New York Times, I took more than a normal amount of interest.
Close the Overseas Torture Loophole
President Obama should not consider any legal loophole that might permit an American official to engage in torture or cruelty
There is an insinuation to this article plug, which implies "President Obama is considering the legal loopholes to engage in torture..."

If you don't bother to read the story, this insinuation remains in our minds. -- on purpose? Of course.

Reading the article we find some serious craftsmanship displayed. I could teach a semester on propaganda writing and demagoguery just off the number of tactics shown in this and the news article which it is referring to, printed in the Politics section.

After I read this Editorial (has to be an editorial, because it doesn't say anything, has no facts and leads no where), and admiring its craftsmanship, I wondered first, Why? See, on its own, it is good, but for something this well done, normally the writer would also understand that a seeded connection, something already worrying the mind of the reader, to some other event would solidify this message -- in other words, the subject isn't random and the meeting in Geneva in November that it describes, is not enough. First of all the meeting is vague, hasn't happened and isn't in our livingrooms. It's just a calendar event. No one has a personal connection or investment in "a meeting in Geneva." This Editorial, in the literature world, is a bomb. You don't set a bomb off in an unpopulated area.

A quick Google search and I find that the Senate Committee has been given an update on the report they have requested regarding the use of torture during Bush's administration only a few days before the news article in the Political section was created -- perfect.

The report about this SEnate Committee and the opening of those wounds that Bush gave us, on McClatchy D.C. came out on October 16th.

Back on Oct 7th, Politico has an article - CIA didn't know it had Senate 'torture' report but no other news reports are showing up on this subject between Politico and McClatchyDC.

McClatchy hits with it on the 16th. On the heals of McClatchy is Huffington Post, which basically recaps McClatchyDC, and then on the 17th RT, with Ring of Fire, and the Dallas Morning News all come out with variations on the same theme.

On October 18th, The New York Times comes out with some thing new. A new angle. Not surprising. It is two days after the news broke, and you expect a paper like the NYT to give us a new angle. So the NYT publishes, not an article about Bush and torture, but one on Obama and torture.
Obama could Reaffirm a Bush-era Reading of a Treaty on Torture  by Charlie Savage
Charlie Savage is not a light weight.  He received a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2007 for his coverage of presidential signing statements for the Globe. Other awards he earned while at the Globe include the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award and the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency. He has written a book and has many other distinguishing marks on his impressive record.

After this report Mr. Savage follows up with two more:
Peace Prize Laureates Urge Disclosure on U.S. TortureBy CHARLIE SAVAGE
Twelve of President Obama’s fellow Nobel Peace Prize recipients are pushing him to release a Senate report about the C.I.A.'s use of torture after the Sept. 11 attacks.
October 27, 2014, Monday

Board Says Saudi Detainee Should Be RepatriatedBy CHARLIE SAVAGE
Officials determined that it was no longer necessary to imprison Muhammed Murdi Issa al Zahrani at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he has been held for more than 12 years.
October 21, 2014, Tuesday
But let's go back to his first one. The follow ups are good, but let's look at the beginning. It's good too, and much more interesting.

First Mr. Savage points us to a UN article which he says Bush refers to in 2005 saying that it doesn't apply to the "CIA and the military prisons overseas." Which isn't quite true.

First off the article that he points us to is the affirmation of the original from 1949. The  document he points us to was created and signed On February 4, 1985, at the Convention to reaffirm that the original still holds and that these new "clarifications" are also agreed too. This document is very similar, I suspect, to the document that Obama will sign in November at the next Convention, once again reaffirming our commitment to these agreements, and making them part of our international treaty with the rest of the world -- we'll get to that in a moment.

Also the date is wrong, which is probably on purpose. I doubt very much that Mr. Savage is so reckless in his research that he would miss this date by a year.

Also, the quote is wrong. George Bush, apparently did not say this to us in 2005 or 2006 or publicly at any other time as Mr. Savage is implying. Someone did. Yes. But not Bush. It is one of the excuses/reasons Bush had, which in his mind justified the torture of several hundred captives, but he never said it outloud like Sen. Mitch McConnell does on a regular basis.

Publicly, our first hearing about anything on this subject is on Wednesday Nov 2, 2005, the Washington Post is the first to come out with the CIA Black Sites, (in the United States) that no one wants to talk about. And, no one does talk about them. The UN is already all over it however and has been for some time.

In a CNN article on Sep 6, 2006, it is reported that Bush for the first time acknowledges the existence of the prisons, while also declaring that no torture is going on there.
NOTE: Also, on the 6th September 2006 : President Bush asked Congress to pass the Military Commission Act of 2006 which included to re-define U.S. obligations under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions to change the absolute prohibition on inhumane treatment with a "flexible" standard, which would assess on a case-by-case basis whether particular conduct would amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment...Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention places an absolute prohibition on inhumane treatment of detainees during an armed conflict. 
The CNN article also states that:
The United States has claimed that the Guantanamo detainees are not on U.S. soil and therefore are not covered by the U.S. Constitution.
The government has argued that enemy combatant or "unlawful combatant" status means detainees can be denied legal protections usually afforded prisoners of war, as outlined in the Geneva Conventions.
Notice that these are Not Bush's words. This is some "source" that CNN was able to get ahold of -- also, not a treaty but the Constitution is being cited as the protective document.

John Yoo wrote a legal opinion, dated March 14, 2003, which he issued to the General Counsel of DOD, five days before the invasion of Iraq started. In it, he concluded that federal laws related to torture and other abuse did not apply to interrogators overseas – which at that time the administration applied to Guantanamo as well as locations such as Iraq. This opinion was based mostly on a memo Yoo wrote on Jan 9, 2002 The memo states that:
Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949.Conflicts not of an international characterARTICLE 3In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, 
Yoo basically reasons that the terrorist are not of international character and that the territory of Afghanistan is not theirs so they are not one of the High Contracting Parties. Also Article 3 deals only with domestic conflicts "not of an international character"

NOTE: Article 4 Titled Prisoners of War deals with international conflicts and says at (3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power. are to be covered under this treaty, which removes any argument that the al Qaeda were not followed under the conventions, as attempted to be reasoned by Yoo. This is noted as well in a report created by the Council of Europe on April 8, 2005 which investigated, "Lawfulness of detentions by the United States in Guantánamo Bay"  

Notice that this report from the Council of Europe is dated well before the Washington Post first came out with their story. In this report, it clearly states that Guantanamo Bay is "Not in a legal black hole" and refers to the arguments that the president and Yoo attempt to present. The report also says that conditions and status reported on The are accurate.

So, clearly our NYT article by Mr. Savage is not starting out on the right foot. Bush didn't say this to us as he implies, it didn't happen in 2005 and that paper he linked to is not the right one anyway. Question: Why?

Good question, but we don't have enough information, so let's hold on to that and move forward. So our next paragraph we find that Obama, in 2005, then a Senator, "acknowledges and confirms existing obligations under ... the UN Convention Against Torture" with a link. We follow the link and we find ourselves inside of rather heated debate with Senators who seem to know all about the detentions and torture. The date is October 5, 2005 (Nov 2nd is the WP release).

There is a great deal of discussion going on, I really wish that we had more of it, but for right now I don't see the part where Bush is using the "not on our soil" line, or anyone bringing that up with McCain's amendment.

This meeting results in action, the administration adopted the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 to address the multitude of incidents of detainee abuse. However, in his signing statement, Bush made clear that he reserved the right to waive this bill if he thought that was needed. Well.. not really.. In 2006 when they find out that Bush is doing it anyway, the arguments start, ... what it appears to say is:
"Unfortunately, I think the government's right; it's a correct reading of the law," said Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "The law says you can't torture detainees at Guantanamo, but it also says you can't enforce that law in the courts."
So, not legal to torture but you can't do anything about it, which doesn't show our loophole about being off US soil.  Wikipedia says this:
The Detainee Treatment Act cited the U.S. Army's Field Manual on interrogation as the authoritative guide to interrogation techniques, but did not cite a specific edition of the Manual. The contents of the Manual are controlled by the Department of Defense, and thus the executive branch controls whether a given technique will be permitted or banned. The Manual has been revised since the Amendment became law. The Department of Defense has claimed that none of the techniques permitted by the new Field Manual 2-22.3 is classified.[11] 
Also, the Detainee Treatment Act's anti-torture provisions were modified by the Graham-Levin Amendment, which was attached to the $453-billion 2006 Defense Budget Bill. The Graham-Levin Amendment permits the Department of Defense to consider evidence obtained through torture of Guantanamo Bay detainees, and expands the prohibition of habeas corpus for redetainees, which subsequently leaves detainees no legal recourse if they are tortured.
So, even after it is written in such a way that the courts have no jurisdiction inside Guantanamo, they add yet another amendment to it removing habeas corpus so it doesn't matter anyway. Take That! but still no "outside of our boundries" thing. Where is that?

The reason I'm asking is because Mr Savage is going to make a point here in a moment. This is the hook.

"But the Obama administration has never officially declared its position on the treaty, and now, President Obama's legal team is debating whether to back away from his earlier view. It is considering reaffirming the Bush administration's position that the treaty imposes no legal obligation on the United States to bar cruelty outside its borders, according to officials who discussed the deliberation on the condition of anonymity.

Well done huh? First, ignore his stance as a Senator, and then ignore the executive order he put into effect the second day on the job, and ignore everything he said at the Nobel award. Ignore all of that and say, "but he never officially declared his position on THIS treaty..."

We make the doubt, and put the Obama administration in to the reader's mind. Then, right on top, we reinforce President Obama, once more (before it was just Obama, now it is President Obama... a tech tip to study). We slide in and past that his legal team is debating, but then we tack back to "his earlier view". Reinforcement again.

The implication, with the way the mind works under normal everyday labors and distractions, will summarize to: Obama is considering Bush's tactics, and keeping the loophole open. The loophole is being outside of the United States -- which Bush used, remember? Back when he fooled everybody.

Blank paper, for food.  And, we are set up. We are now convinced of a solid point which wasn't actually made, only implied.

Sources are "anonymous" .. which isn't all that uncommon. We don't really care anyway. If you went through the Bush days, when this was all happening. When people we trusted in the News were saying "Yep, its true. We torture people. Rape and fake executions as well." The Bush days bring all of that in your head again, and your are looking right at Obama.

Blank piece of paper... buys real diamond ring.

Just down a little ways we have the quick link to the 2009 executive order that Obama made on the second day he was in office. It is there, and easy to miss, and then right after Mr. Savage links to that he says:
"that forbade cruel interrogations anywhere, and made it harder for a future administration to return to torture."  
"But military and intelligence lawyers are said to oppose accepting that the treaty imposes legal obligation on the United States' action abroad. They say that they need more time to study whether it would have operational impacts." 
In March Obama cleared up the fact that "a global Bill of Rights-style treaty imposes no human rights obligations on U.S. military and intelligence forces when they operate abroad, rejecting an interpretation by the United Nations and the top State Department lawyer during President Barack Obama’s first term."

Now, in that global Bill of Rights style treaty, is, yes, provisions against torture and other foul things. But also, there is enough provisions which would hinder our dealing with events like the Haitian Refugees back in the 90's with Clinton. Clinton then proclaimed the stance of "on our own soil" when he met with the Coast Guard a large population of refugees coming from Haiti on rafts. He caught a lot of flack for that from the International community, who protested him regarding human rights. Basically he said, they can have all the human rights they want, back in Haiti. Guarding our borders is a major concern right now, and adding in complications like this new Human Rights Bill of Rights would not make matters any easier.

That is the implied point we bought into earlier. We were given the two, juxtaposed, and connected, sort of. The Treaty, is all about torture, and not signing it means our government still has a loop hole. But that is clearly not true.

Mr. Savage knows all of this because he wrote the article about us declaring this stance in March. He also knows that even without signing this new treaty on Human Rights, Obama's executive order is still in full effect, and so is the new law. There are no loopholes at all in his Executive order, nor do they exist in the other places he bound it to, such as,  the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution; the Federal torture statute, 18 U.S.C. 2340 2340A; the War Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. 2441; the Federal assault statute, 18 U.S.C. 113; the Federal maiming statute, 18 U.S.C. 114; the Federal "stalking" statute, 18 U.S.C. 2261A; articles 93, 124, 128, and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. 893, 924, 928, and 934; section 1003 of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, 42 U.S.C. 2000dd; section 6(c) of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Public Law 109 366; the Geneva Conventions; and the Convention Against Torture.

Mr. Abraham D. Sofaer who is a former top State Dept lawyer is thrown in at the end of the article as a credible plea for human compassion. Mr. Sofaer is not a fan of Obama, and in fact is quite outspoken about him and his policies.

So, like most things we hear about Obama and the fears people bring up about him, repeatedly, we find that even the NYT, using skilled writers like Savage, are weaving more webs, which have no reality around what they shout. Obama is in no way backing down on his stance about torture. That door is very closed, with many bars across the threshold. This treaty in question will add nothing to those bars, nor take anything away. The questions of whether to sign, or what signing means, are all dealing with other matters, which are extremely important to us.

He's doing a good job, despite the wars against him. I think Paul Krugman is right.

Check out how his Health Care is Really doing.

Imagine for a moment, if Obama didn't have all of these things weighing him down, how amazing our nation's recovery could have been by now.

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