Friday, March 6, 2009

Dark days for justice in America

If you thought Bush leaving office was a sign that things were turning around in America,you were wrong.

The Beltway media establishment is still pro-Republican, despite how ridiculous, petty, and few they've become. Democratic officials are outnumbered on television appearances 4 to 1, and even the center-left shows like Countdown with Keith Olbermann and the Rachel Maddow Show spend a good lot of their time re-hashing GOP appearances and footage from the hard-right shows, and the puppet-heads.

Al Franken is no closer to being certified the winner of the Minnesota senate race.

Bernie "$50B Ponzi Scheme" Madoff may be getting a plea deal.

As for the presumed Enlightened state of California, things are looking dark here too with one lone Republiscum able to singlehandedly block the passage of the state budget.

Adding to that, it now appears likely that the California Supreme Court will uphold Prop 8, which will set precedent for anyone in the future with enough money to use the Ballot Initiative process to strip any minority group of whatever rights they choose.

It gets worse. Former Democratic Governor of Alabama, Don Siegelman, who was convicted by a Republican-dominated court (indeed by a judge who is friends with Karl Rove) on trumped up charges brought by the AL state attorney who is married to a friend of Karl Rove, has lost his appeal on all but two charges to another court dominated by Republican judges.

But if you are getting your hopes up over the deal that Obama fenagled with Bush over getting Rove and Harriet Miers to testify about politicizing the Department of Justice, don't get too excited. Their testimony will not be under oath, but only under penalty of perjury, and behind closed doors. Remember all those cases that were successful when the witnesses didn't have to testify under oath? No? Didn't think so.

It looks like Rove has succeeded in his takedown of Siegelman, and he's going to walk away from this current hearing as well, thanks to the limp-wristed approach by the Obama administration. You know, that "Look forward, not back" approach to everything. The real problem with that approach is that by ignoring past misdeeds, Obama is tacitly guaranteeing that those same misdeeds WILL HAPPEN AGAIN. Where's the change in that?

To be fair, Obama has only been in office for a very short time, and he has a lot on his plate. Sure, Obama is doing some good things, like overturning Bush's ban on stem-cell research, and making health care reform a major issue. And while he's also done some other good, like releasing a batch of those horrible legal memos drafted by Bush's Office of Legal Council, he has done so on the heels of upholding one of the most egregious of Bush's power grabs, the wanton abuse of the State Secrets privilege, despite his campaign pledge that he would reverse it. Given the pattern of behavior that seems to be emerging here, I hold out little hope that we will see any real justice with regards to the crimes of the Bush administration, and if we do, it won't be because of Obama's help, but perhaps in spite of it.

That said, I'm still giving Obama the benefit of doubt, and I will very gladly admit my errors of judgment if I am wrong. I hope I am.

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