A brief roundup of some recent news. Here's the ACLU on Obama's civil liberties record:
[O]n a range of issues including accountability for torture, detention of terrorism suspects, and use of lethal force against civilians, there is a very real danger that the Obama administration will enshrine permanently within the law policies and practices that were widely considered extreme and unlawful during the Bush administration. There is a real danger, in other words, that the Obama administration will preside over the creation of a "new normal."
(That touchingly generous use of the future tense is exactly why I've redirected my ACLU donations elsewhere).
Here's Maude Barlow on the Obama administration's contemptuous rejection of the UN General Assembly declaration that access to clean water is a fundamental human right:
The United States, as you know, has not been supporting rights regimes for decades now, so this is just a continuation. And I have to tell you, listening to the statement from the United States yesterday at the United Nations, I wouldn’t have thought there was any difference between George Bush and Barack Obama’s administrations. It was haughty language. They scolded Bolivia.
(No surprise there, since Obama's been smirking condescendingly at the quaint obsession our little brown brothers down south exhibit over US-sponsored massacres, terrorism, rapes, bombings, dictatorships, and other similarly trivial grievances since the day he took office. He's nothing if not consistent.)
Here's Daniel Ellsberg pointing out that Obama is...:
...a president who has indicted more people now for leaks than all previous presidents put together. And two of those people -- Thomas Drake and Shamai Leibowitz -- have been indicted for acts that were undertaken under Bush, which George W. Bush administration chose not to indict.
Here's Diane Ravitch, former Assistant Secretary of Education under George Bush (who's since seen the light), talking about Obama's plans for education:
[A]lthough he doesn’t admit it, he’s building his education agenda right on top of the Bush education agenda, which is to test and punish, to close schools, to evaluate teachers in ways that are unfair and unsound from a research point of view, to increase the number of privately managed charter schools.
And finally, in reference to the Convention on Cluster Munitions becoming international law despite US opposition:
The U.S. has historically been one main users of cluster munitions, but it – along with other key powers like China, India, Israel, Russia and Pakistan – has refused to sign on to the treaty.
The George W. Bush administration actively opposed the treaty, saying cluster munitions served an important military role.
It was hoped that the Barack Obama administration would shift this position...
...but he hasn't, of course. (Though his lack of support for the ban didn't stop the author from suggesting hopefully that "it is unclear where Obama stands on the issue"; you'd think this information from June...:
Amnesty International has released images of a US-manufactured cruise missile that carried cluster munitions, apparently taken following an attack on an alleged al-Qa’ida training camp in Yemen that killed 41 local residents, including 14 women and 21 children. [...]
"A military strike of this kind against alleged militants without an attempt to detain them is at the very least unlawful. The fact that so many of the victims were actually women and children indicates that the attack was in fact grossly irresponsible, particularly given the likely use of cluster munitions," said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme.
...would have offered some clarity, but apparently Obama's approval of an attack using a cruise missile packed with cluster bombs isn't evidence one way or the other as to where he stands on the issue of cluster bombs.)
You might be tempted from all of this to say that Barack Obama is identical to George Bush in every conceivable way, right down to their dental X-rays, retinal capillaries, and DNA sequences—and I'd be tempted to agree. But as I observed in the title, there are at least a few cosmetic differences. I didn't mention the one and only cosmetic difference that matters to his throngs of his admirers, though, rendering the rest of this information superfluous: he's a Democrat. Four more years!