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Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Prison that Won't Go Away

President Obama has decided to keep open the military prison at Guantanamo and will continue trial by Military Commission (The Prison That Won't Go Away, New York Times, March 8, 2011).

After President Nixon ordered his Attorney General to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, Attorney General Elliott Richardson and his deputy William Ruckelhouse resigned in protest.

Where are resignations from the Justice Department in protest against this misguided policy?

Why has no one raised a voice against a policy that will continue to damage the US in terms of its standing abroad, especially in the Arab world.

Because it is President Obama, from whom so much was expected, who has endorsed the Bush policy, it may be that the world's reaction will be even more severe than it was to the intial imposition of the policy.

It is a sad day for America.

Sent to New York Times

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Obama's new Gitmo policy

If there is one thing that George Bush did that destroyed America's image in the world, it was the sequestering of terrorist suspects in the prison at Guantanamo bay – America's Devil's Island. For a time, it seemed that with the Obama Administration in power, there was a chance that America's reputation might be restored (Obama's new Gitmo policy is a lot like Bush's old policy, Washington Post, March 8, 2011).

Alas, President Obama has accepted the George W. Bush mindset and has decided that laws and natural justice are irrelevant and that we will continue to hold suspects at Guantanamo Bay; and that we will continue to deny them trials in American courts, courts that have shown a remarkable capacity for providing fair trials to terror suspects; and that we will continue to hold some suspects indefinitely without trial.

The country and the world expected better of Obama, so the damage to our reputation caused by his “acceptance of the political reality” and abandonment of American values will be all the more severe.

Sent to Washington Post

Broke Town USA

There is of course a simple solution for the financial crises facing
states, cities, and towns (Broke Town, USA, New York Times Magazine,
March 6, 2011: 26-29). They desperately need Federal aid.

When New Orleans was devastated by Katrina, we had no difficulty with
pouring federal aid into Louisiana to restore and improve that city.
Today the States are facing the financial tsunami unleashed by Wall
Street. Most of them are facing budget deficits. Part of their
response is to cut aid to counties, towns and cities which put their
precarious finances in jeopardy - would that Watson could come up with
a costless solution!

What is needed is federal funding equivalent to about 25% of each
jurisdiction's 2007 budget. That money would remove the dangers of
drastic cuts to public services, to unemployment payments, to
medicare, and to the alleviation of poverty in a world in which 18% of
the working population is unemployed or underemployed.

Sadly, there is no political will to pour such necessary federal aid
into the states. A century from now, we will look back with regret on
that missed opportunity to stoke the recovery; just as today we regret
Roosevelt's attempts at budget balancing in 1937.