Since Obama's inauguration, I have been keeping track of Obama's performance (by my own subjective measure). Every time he says or does something I like or dislike, I add or deduct him an appropriate number of points.

He started out with a clean slate (0), and after just a couple weeks on the job, he stands at at a rating of (-6) by my count.

Here's a rundown of what he's been up to lately, with appropriate adjustments to the Obameter:

• Jan 23: Obama tells Republicans to quit listening to Limbaugh
Bonehead move, Mr. President. You don't give someone like Limbaugh a spotlight like that. This only inflates his ego, and gives him more power.
Obameter: -1 (-7)

• Jan 23: Obama rescinds global "gag rule" on abortion
Enacted by Reagan in 1984, rescinded by Clinton in 1993, and reimposed by Bush in 2001, Obama has re-removed the "global gag rule" on abortion. This policy forbade US government support for any organization that in any way fostered, provided or even advised women about abortion. Family planning clinics around the world couldn't even talk about abortion, if they wanted U.S. funding -- a clear violation of free speech rights. No matter how you feel about abortion, preventing people from even talking about it was just plain wrong.
Thanks for doing the right thing, Mr. President.
Obameter: +4 (-3)

• Jan 24: Obama bombs Waziristan (Pakistan)
You may have missed this on the news, but Obama's first military action as Commander-In-Chief was to authorize bombing of targets in Waziristan using unmanned drones. Waziristan is the tribal area which lies between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Putatively, Waziristan is part of Pakistan, but the truth is that it is a no-man's land, controlled only by the tribes. This is where the Taliban and Al-Queda have been reportedly hiding, and if Osama bin Laden is still alive (which I doubt), he's probably here.
Obama, meet LBJ. This decision was so bad on so many levels: You cannot bomb these people into submission. You're inevitably going to hit innocent civilians, which just further turns the tribes against the U.S., and they're honour-bound to retaliate. It escalates the cycle of violence. Also, by bombing inside Pakistan's borders -- without Pakistan's permission! -- Obama is further inflaming this highly unstable nuclear-armed state with the so-called "War on Terror."
The decision by Obama's administration to escalate in Afghanistan and beyond is probably going to haunt him for the rest of his administration. This terrifies me.
Obameter: -10 (-13)

• Jan 26: Obama gives his first TV interview as President to Al-Arabiya
In a brilliant PR move, Obama gave his first TV interview to al-Aribiya, a Dubai-based network. In it, he addresses the Arabic world, saying the U.S. wants to listen instead of dictate to the world, and repeatedly calls for "respect," which plays very well to Islamic ears.
Obameter: +4 (-9)

• Jan 26: Obama appoints Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury
Talk about putting the fox in charge of the henhouse! Geithner, formerly head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, and former policy director at the IMF, this guy is one of the ARCHITECTS of the current economic crisis... and now Obama wants him to fix things? That, plus the guy's tax cheating make him an inappropriate for the job. I suspect Obama was strong-armed into this choice -- Geithner's a tool of Wall Street, who was a weak and compliant regulator, and didn't see the financial mess coming. This isn't change, it's more of the same.
Obameter: -4 (-13)

• Jan 29: Obama signs Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law
Thank you, Mr. President. This should have happened a long time ago.
Obameter: +4 (-9)

• Jan 29: Obama calls Wall Street bonuses "Shameful"
At a time when these institutions are teetering on collapse, and are begging the taxpayers for bailouts, they give their execs BILLIONS of dollars in bonuses? Greedy fucking bastards.
Obameter: +2 (-7)

• Jan 30: Obama calls for 10% budget cut to Defense spending
Finally! 10% is just a drop in the bucket, but at least it's a start. Let's see if he can actually do it.
Obameter: +2 (-5)

• Jan 30: Obama restricts lobbyists, but still lets some on his staff
He pledges to keep them out of his administration, but in reality, there are already a couple of notable exceptions who have been given waivers: William Lynn, Raytheon’s former top lobbyist, has been nominated as Deputy Secretary of Defense... and Mark Patterson, former lobbyist for Goldman Sachs, as chief of staff for Treasury Department Secretary Timothy Geithner. Both are conflicts of interest in my book.
This would be a positive for Obama, except for the waivers, so I'm marking it as a wash.
Obameter: 0 (-5)

• Feb 1: Obama preserves renditions as counter-terrorism tool
Sure, he ordered Guantanamo and the CIA secret prisons closed. But one thing his executive order didn't do was stop extrordinary renditions, outsourcing torture to other countries. We need to hold Obama's feet to the fire on this.
Obameter: -3 (-8)

Current Obameter reading: (-8).
And, so, Obama's true colours are now showing: He's Israel's Bitch.

Let's review how I see it:

Right-wing Jewish Supremacists (U.S. corollary: White Supremacists) in the Israeli government, with backing from the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex and End Times Christian Fundamentalists, are committed to taking over all of the historic lands of Israel currently occupied by Palestinians. While the Israeli government officially denies this is the real long-term goal, its actions speak much louder than words.

In the West Bank, this takeover is being accomplished through the incremental use of settlers to steal land, and apartheid-like measures to oppress the non-Jewish residents. In Gaza, the takeover is being accomplished through creation of a "ghetto," a closed off and blockaded pocket of Palestinians, many of them refugees from other parts of Israel.

With the impending election of Barack Hussein Obama as president of the United States, the warmongers in the Israeli government see that they only have a short time to advance the Zionist cause under the Bush Doctrine, before Obama takes office.

On U.S. election day, Nov. 4, 2008, Israel breaks the cease fire with democratically-elected Hamas, provoking the militants by sending IDF soldiers on a raid into Gaza. Hamas retaliates with renewed rocket fire.

On December 27, 2008, under the rubric of "fighting terrorism," with weapons supplied by the United States, Israel begins bombing civilian targets in Gaza, saying that the targets are being used by Hamas militants. Hundreds of civilians are killed.

On Jan 3, 2009, the Israeli ground invasion begins, using U.S. military armaments and with the backing of the United States. Many more Gazan civilians die. Hamas continues to fire homemade rocket and mortar attacks into Israel from Gaza, as does Fatah, Hama's chief political rival in Gaza. Very few Israeli civilians are killed. International aid workers and journalists are kept out of Gaza by Israel. A humanitarian crisis ensues, which Israel denies is happening. 15% of all buildings in Gaza are destroyed. Electricity, water, and food are almost completely destroyed. Hospitals and schools are bombed, as well as all police stations.

Although the Israeli's claim that they are there trying to stop rocket attacks, it becomes clear that they are trying to destroy Gaza's infrastructure and get the people to flee. Egypt continues to keep the border between itself and Gaza closed, so that refugees cannot cross into Egypt. Forcing large number of Gazans into Egypt now appears to be one of the primary unstated goals of the invasion, but Egypt does not cooperate.

During this tumultuous period, president-elect Obama is repeatedly asked to make a statement on the crisis, but demurs, saying "there is only one president at a time." However, because of his earlier statements criticizing the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, it is clear that this is a dishonest stance on Obama's part. (Obameter: -1 (+4))

President-elect Obama's very first appointment after the election was the appointment of Rahm Israel Emmanuel, hawkish Democrat and son of a Jerusalem-born member of the militant Zionist paramilitary organization, Irgun, as his White House Chief of Staff. This ensures that pro-Zionist voices are the only ones heard in the administration. (Obameter: -2 (+2))

On January 17, 2009, just before the U.S. presidential inauguration, Israel declares a unilateral ceasefire without any agreement from Hamas. It is immediately clear that this was timed in order to provide Obama cover, so he does not have to address ongoing violence in Gaza.

The day after the inauguration, Obama began calling leaders in the region: Israel, Egypt, Syria, and Palestinian "leader" Abbas (who has no power base, and is just a stooge). Who didn't Obama call? Hamas. (Obameter: -1 (+1))

Speaking at the State Department yesterday, Obama finally broke his silence. And it was immediately clear where Obama stands: Israel are the "good guys," Hamas are the "bad guys."

Some choice quotes from Obama, with my responses:

"America is committed to Israel’s security."

But obviously not Palestine's security.

"And we will always support Israel’s right to defend itself against legitimate threats."

And what of Palestine's right to defend itself?

"For years, Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at innocent Israeli citizens."

And for years, Israel has been killing, occupying and blockading innocent Palestinian civilians.

"No democracy can tolerate such danger to its people, nor should the international community, and neither should the Palestinian people themselves, whose interests are only set back by acts of terror."

Let's not forget that Gaza is also a democracy. Hamas was democratically elected.

Obama went on to talk about innocent Israelis, but not innocent Palestinians. He equated both sides, as if Israel and Hamas were morally equal. They clearly are not.

What Obama never did was criticize Israel's behaviour over the past few weeks. Obama never addressed the root causes of the violence.

The only positive things Obama said was to state that the crossings into Gaza should be opened, and the blockade ended. (Obameter: +1 (+2)) However, it's clear that the Israelis are not interested in doing so, and will probably find excuses to ignore this. Obama also appointed George Mitchell (who helped broker the 1998 Good Friday Accords in Northern Ireland) as U.S. envoy to the Middle East. (Obameter: +2 (+4))

I was willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, but it is now clear that his policy towards Israel will not be substantially different than the Bush administration. Obama is unwilling to address the root causes of the conflict. He has broken the silence, and his policies are now open to fair criticism. Because of this speech, I've just lost a lot of respect for Obama.

For more on the Obama speech, and what it means, I encourage you to listen to Noam Chomsky's interview with Democracy Now! today.

Obameter: -10 (-6)
Cool! My photo got published!

Last November, the Guardian UK newspaper asked Flickr users to submit photo messages for Obama in the wake of his historic election. I participated, and the Guardian selected my image for inclusion in a book they published!

The book has now been published! I have received my copy as a participant. See? There I am on page 44!
taken for the Flickr group, "A Message for Obama."
Obama's political appointments continue to confound. While I can't say I've approved of some of his choices for his cabinet, this one seems to be a winner: Obama will pick Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu as his Secretary of Energy.

Chu won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997 "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.” He is Professor of Physics and Molecular and Cellular Biology of University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which does unclassified scientific research. Chu is noted for pushing for the development of technologies to reduce the impact of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. [Source: Wikipedia]

He's a real, honest-to-goodness scientist, who understands climate change is real, and he's NOT a professional politician. I've never heard of him before, but if he's as promising as his bio on Wikipedia says, we're FINALLY getting some grownups in the White House!

(Ganked from BoingBoing)
kevyn: (Default)
( Nov. 6th, 2008 02:03 pm)
taken for the Flickr group, "A Message for Obama."
.

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