Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's Amazing What Brains Can Do For The Presidency: Obama's First 45 Days

Signing the orders on Gitmo

Watching the President work through his first 100 days is almost as tiring as being the President during that short period of time. To say that he hit the ground running after his inauguration would be an understatement. And while anyone in the office could have done better than backslapping George, Barack Obama managed to do more in less time and under the worst conditions ever presented to a President since Roosevelt.

Since Jan. 20th, President Barack Obama has:
  • Suspended all pending federal regulations so that they could be reviewed. Bush had done the same thing when he first came to office. Difference: Bush sneaked in over 200 deregulations while Clinton issued only 12 executive orders.
  • Enacted a wage freeze for Senior White House Staff.
  • Announced stricter guidelines regarding lobbyists.
  • Signed executive order suspending all on-going proceedings for Guantanamo Military Commission and that the facility would be closed within a year.
  • Signed an order to restrict interrogations to the Army Field Manual.
  • Issued Ethics Commitment by Executive Branch Personnel setting stricter limits on incoming executive branch employees.
  • Signed two memoranda regarding energy independence.
  • Rescinded the Mexico City Policy, banning funds to international groups that provide abortion services. ·
  • Established the policy of producing a weekly Saturday morning video released through and
  • Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
  • Increased Afghanistan troops by 17,000.
  • Outlined an exit strategy for the Iraq war.
  • Formulated and signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
In contrast, George Bush (first term):
  • Proposed a $1.6 Trillion tax cut - Unsuccessfully.
  • Established The Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, but didn't fund it with the promised $2 billion.
  • Abandoned The Kyoto Protocol.
  • Built up the country's missile defense system.
(second term):
  • Failed attempt to privatize Social Security
  • Signed the Class Action Fairness Act
  • Five-day European Tour to repair alliances
  • Nominated John Bolton as the US Ambassador to the United Nations while congress was in recess because both parties filibustered the nomination.
  • Proposed an energy plan that gave subsidies to oil, coal, nuclear and gas industries.

The Fair Trade of Hatred: Who's Importing and Who's Exporting?

Hatred Does Globalization
(With a little help from the Christian Right,
Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and right-wingnuts overseas)

When Fred Phelps and his daughter were denied access to Great Britain because of their reputation as hate mongers, we all cheered for Britain. Britain then gave an encore performance in the form of its Prime Minister coming out against California's famous Proposition 8:


"This attempt to undo good that has been done is unacceptable,” Brown said. “This shows why we have always got to be vigilant, always got to fight homophobic behavior and any form of discrimination.”

While most of America's hate groups are home-grown (KKK, Christian Identity) some, like Watchmen on the Walls have come in from other countries. Watchmen comes from Latvia (one of the few foreign places that embraced Bush when he came for a conference in Riga). It preaches hatred against gays and Jews.

From Wikipdia:
In Latvia, the Watchmen are popular among Christian fundamentalists and ethnic Russians, and are known for presiding over anti-gay rallies where gays and lesbians are pelted with bags of excrement. In the Western U.S., the Watchmen have a following among Russian-speaking evangelicals from the former Soviet Union. Members are increasingly active in several cities long known as gay-friendly enclaves, including Sacramento, Seattle and Portland.
Watchmen on the Walls is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Of course, since America has an overabundance of hate groups and far-right supporters, it's only natural that we should start exporting some of them: in the form of good will and religion, of course.

From PinkNews UK.:

(New York, March 4)- The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) condemned a seminar designed to attack lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Ugandans under the cloak of religion.

The American religious right is finally showing its hand and revealing the depth of its support for homophobia in Africa," said IGLHRC's Executive Director Cary Alan Johnson.

In African countries as well as other countries around the globe where right-wing Christian ministries are now rooted, HIV rates have gone up amongst gays because they are denied treatment and prevention programs. In some countries, being gay is a criminal offense. And missionaries do little or nothing to stop the hatred from spreading. As in the above, they actually help the stigma to proliferate. Even though prominent churchmen such as Desmond Tutu have come out against discrimination, the powers of the American missionaries (bearing medicine and preaching abstinence-only prevention) is too strong:

Afrol News:
Desmond Tutu, the former Archbishop of Cape Town and a Nobel Peace Price winner, has lent his name to the fight against homophobia in Africa and around the world. The prominent South African says homophobia is a "crime against humanity" and "every bit unjust" as apartheid.

Here's a belated but (hopefully) related thought: just how much hatred is exported by authors/media people like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter? A good deal of their books have been translated into foreign languages and Ann herself can boast just how many copies of her books have floated overseas.

And how many viewers overseas do the televangelists have? Certainly more than we have progressives.

Rick Warren's largesse in Africa still demands conversions, and along with those conversions come new crops of right wing righteous zealots. After all, his motto is "Whatever it takes."

Just a thought.

*Lively is also a renowned Holocaust denier.