Tag Archives: Nobel Peace Prize

TIME’s lazy, unimaginative choice

TIME magazine cover of Barack Obama as Person of the Year 2012

TIME magazine’s having made Barack Obama its “Person of the Year” yet again (it first gave Obama that designation for 2008) reminds me of the ludicrously premature awarding of the Nobel Peace Price to President Hopey-Changey-Droney for 2009.

Not that TIME routinely is exactly creative or visionary in its naming of its annual “Person of the Year.” Winning a U.S. presidential election often if not usually is enough of an accomplishment/“accomplishment” for an individual to win the designation. Jimmy Carter won the designation in 1976 and Ronald Reagan did in 1980. Bill Clinton won it in 1992 and even George W. Bush won it in 2000 and in 2004 — and then, as I noted, Obama won it in 2008 and then again this year.

The Nobel Peace Prize selectors are a lot more creative — the only two U.S. presidents to win the prize during my lifetime (I was born in 1968) were Jimmy Carter in 2002 and, as I noted, Obama in 2009. (Well, Al Gore, who actually won the presidency in 2000, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, but he wasn’t coronated as president by the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court.)

I fail to see why, other than TIME’s lack of vision or creativity or imagination, Obama was named the magazine’s “Person of the Year” again this year.

I mean, TIME’s selection comes right as Obama apparently just handed over U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice’s scalp* to the KKK, headed by Grand Dragon John “Sore Loserman” McCain, so that the much more acceptable old white guy (John Kerry) can be made U.S. secretary of state instead, and as Obama apparently is poised to sell us out to the Repugnican Tea Party fascists on Social Security, and Goddess knows what other historic Democratic achievements the center-right DINO Obama will dismantle during his second term. (Surely Obama will be a progressive president in his second term, the Obamabots theorized. The gloves will be off! Yeah, right. I’m so glad that I voted for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on November 6.)

TIME’s 2008 designation of Obama as its “Person of the Year” I can accept. He not only beat Billary Clinton in the protracted Democratic presidential primary season, which was a political feat, but his election as the nation’s first non-white president was at least a milestone if not technically a great accomplishment.

But TIME’s 2012 designation of Obama is just fucking lazy.

True, Obama, given his dismal first term, is damned fucking lucky to have been re-elected. He promised “hope” and “change” but delivered more of the same. Instead of pushing through a progressive agenda when both houses of Congress were in his party’s control in 2009 and 2010, he squandered his once-in-a-lifetime political capital by trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors — and thus his party lost the House to the “tea party” traitors in 2010.

Obama won re-election last month only because the Repugnican Tea Party dipshits incredibly stupidly nominated one of the most unlikeable people on the planet as their presidential candidate for 2012.

Multi-millionaire Mormon Mittens Romney is so freakishly unrelatable that even many if not most Repugnican Tea Party traitors had to hold their noses while they cast their votes for him (better the despicable white guy than the black guy again), so of course Mittens lost the so-called “swing vote.”

Obama didn’t win re-election because he’s so great, but because his opponent was so unbelievably bad, replete with telling his Richie-Rich donors on hidden camera in May that he already had written off 47 percent of the American people as being lost causes.

Fuck, make David Corn of Mother Jones magazine, who broke the “47 percent” story in September, the “Person of the Year.” He did more to win Obama re-election than Obama did.

Even TIME magazine’s editor seems to credit changing U.S. demographics to Obama’s re-election more than to Obama himself. Reports Reuters:

[TIME magazine] has tapped U.S. President Barack Obama for its Person of the Year for the second time, citing his historic re-election last month as symbolic of the nation’s shifting demographics and the rise of younger, more diverse Americans.

In announcing its annual selection [today], the magazine called Obama the “Architect of the New America.”

“He’s basically the beneficiary and the author of a kind new America — a new demographic, a new cultural America that he is now the symbol of,” TIME editor Rick Stengel said of Obama, who was also selected for the honor in 2008 when he became the nation’s first black president. …

Obama is the beneficiary of demographic changes and the resultant national cultural changes, to be sure — as well as he was the beneficiary of what Howard Dean built in his failed 2004 Democratic presidential bid (indeed, in 2008 Obama rode Dean’s wave right on into the White House) — but how, exactly, is Obama the “author” or the “architect” of these changes?

Um, aren’t national demographic changes a lot bigger than just one individual?

Barack Obama could fart or sneeze and it widely would be called a great fucking accomplishment.

Only in a dying empire, it seems to me, could this be the case.

*If you thought that Obama actually was going to defend a person of color from the lynch mob to the death, don’t feel too badly. I also actually thought that maybe this time Obama wouldn’t throw a person of color who is under attack by the white supremacists under the bus, but, of course, just as he did with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod, he apparently tossed Susan Rice right under those big wheels.

Because he’s a man of character and courage, you see.

Let’s make him the “Person of the Year” every year!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

UN looking into legality of slaughter of bin Laden

Was this past weekend’s assassination of Osama bin Laden legal?

Unsurprisingly, in the articles that I’ve read online, Americans tend to say that of course it was — he was an “enemy combatant” with whom we were “at war”; U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder actually called, quite speciously, bin Laden’s assassination “an act of national self-defense” (and not, say, a revenge killing); and besides, Barack Obama had said when he was campaigning for president that if we got bin Laden in our sights then he would order him killed (as though if you simply warn someone that you will do something illegal, such as rape her or murder him, if you get the opportunity to do so and then do so, then your actual act is not illegal because hey, you’d given him or her a warning!) — while those outside of the U.S. are much less likely to make such a certain pronouncement, expressing problems with the facts that bin Laden was unarmed and that the raid on his compound was conducted without the consent or even the prior notification of the government of the sovereign nation of Pakistan. Bin Laden should have been captured, if at all possible, and put on trial, since everyone, even the likes of bin Laden, has the right to due process, these dissenters have expressed.

One of these dissenters, Kent University international lawyer Nick Grief, called bin Laden’s killing what it apparently was: an “extrajudicial killing without due process of the law,” and he noted that even Nazi war criminals were brought to trial at the end of World War II.

Louise Doswald-Beck, former legal chief for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that bin Laden was not an enemy combatant but that “He was basically head of a terrorist criminal network, which means that you’re not really looking at the law of armed conflict but at lethal action against a dangerous criminal.”

Another British lawyer, Michael Mansfield, said, “The serious risk is that in the absence of an authoritative narrative of events played out in Abbottabad, vengeance will become synonymized with justice, and that revenge will supplant due process. … Whatever feelings of elation and relief may dominate the airwaves, they must not be allowed to submerge core questions about the legality of the exercise, nor to permit vengeance or summary execution to become substitutes for justice.” [Emphasis mine.]

And it looks as though the United Nations is investigating the legality of bin Laden’s assassination. Reports The Associated Press today:

Geneva – The United Nations’ independent investigator on extrajudicial killings* has called on the United States to reveal more details of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideaway to allow experts to assess the legality of his killing.

South African law professor Christof Heyns said in a statement [today] that Washington “should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards.”

Heyns says “it will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture Bin Laden.”

His statement echoed similar appeals from other UN officials, human rights groups and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

U.S. officials say the raid is legal under U.S. and international law.

Of course “U.S. officials say the raid [was] legal under U.S. and international law.” How often does the perpetrator of a crime admit it?

In any event, it’s not like the U.S. is going to respect any adverse finding by the UN anyway. The UN Security Council would not rubber-stamp George W. Bush’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War, but the Bush regime went ahead and launched it anyway in March 2003. The U.S. respects the UN only when it is convenient for the U.S. to do so, which is one of the many reasons that the U.S. is so hated throughout the world: its blatant hypocrisy and double standards.

I still believe that the assassination of Osama bin Laden was meant, at least in part, for Barack Obama’s political gain. I believe that Obama wanted to show that he’s just as bad a bad-ass as George W. Bush tried to pass himself off as, and also, what’s better to counter the charges that Obama is not really an American and actually is Muslim than to snuff out Osama bin Laden, to take him dead or alive dead?

The so-called “swing voters” are susceptible to such wingnutty charges that Obama isn’t a citizen and that he’s actually a Muslim, and it’s the support of the “swing voters” (he’s screwed his progressive base) that Obama so very badly wants for his re-election.

Weirdly, though, in the White House photo of the gathering in the Situation Room during the operation to assassinate bin Laden that everyone has dissected to death —

In this image released by the White House and ...

— to me, Obama doesn’t look like the leader of all of it. To me, he looks like he’s just kind of shrinking in the corner, a bit bewildered and perhaps overwhelmed by all of it, and hell, just from this photo, Secretary of State Billary Clinton appears to be more in charge than Obama does. Obama appears in the photo to be an onlooker at most.

In any event, Osama bin Laden is dead, which even Al-Qaeda has acknowledged, and it’s not like there will be formal repercussions for the U.S. government for once again very apparently having violated international law.

But it will be interesting to see for how long the U.S. can maintain its position as the global bully. Bin Laden’s actions significantly weakened what he believed to be the “great Satan,” the American empire, costing the United States at least $3 trillion, pundits are saying. (Of course, much if not most of that $3 trillion went to greedy war profiteers, not for the actual benefit of the U.S., and much of it simply disappeared and remains unaccounted for to this day.)

And as China is poised to become the world’s No. 1 economy within the next decade, as the U.S. economy continues to teeter on the brink of collapse, how long will the U.S. be able to call the shots globally?

It is in the long-term interests of the United States of America — and any other nation’s — to follow the rule of law. It is easier and more convenient, in the short run, to circumvent the law, but to circumvent the law often bites you in the ass later, often (if not usually) costing you more than if you had just done it right the first time.

Because he was not put on trial, but was assassinated, Osama bin Laden is now, to many in the Muslim world, a martyr whose manner of death only proves his assertions about American abuse of power against Arabs and Muslims to be correct. We Americans can, and should, fully expect bin Laden’s death to be avenged. And then we’ll avenge that. This tit-for-tat bullshit bloodshed can go on for years and years and years, which is exactly what the war profiteers and the weasels of the military-industrial complex want.

And just as the United States was somewhat recovering from its reputation as the global asshole that the treasonous members of the unelected Bush regime earned it, Barack Obama, by mimicking George “W. for Wanted Dead or Alive” Bush, has taken us backasswards again.

Can we at least take away that Nobel Peace Prize that he so prematurely was awarded while the UN investigates the legality of his unilateral order to assassinate bin Laden?

P.S. Reuters reports a little more thoroughly today of the United Nations’ looking into the legality of bin Laden’s assassination. Reuters reports today:

Martin Scheinin, UN special rapporteur on protecting human rights while countering terrorism … and Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said that in certain exceptional cases, deadly force may be used in “operations against terrorists.”

“However, the norm should be that terrorists be dealt with as criminals, through legal processes of arrest, trial and judicially-decided punishment,” the independent experts said in a joint statement.

“In respect of the recent use of deadly force against Osama bin Laden, the United States of America should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards,” they said. “It will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture bin Laden.”

Scheinin, a Finnish law professor who teaches in Florence, and Heyns, a South African human rights law professor, report to the UN Human Rights Council, whose 47 members include the United States. …

Navi Pillay, the top UN human rights official, also called this week for light to be shed on the killing, stressing that all counter-terrorism operations must respect international law.

“We’ve raised a question mark about what happened precisely, more details are needed at this point,” her spokesman Rupert Colville told a briefing in Geneva [today].

*Those Obama apologists and American jingoists who take exception to the word “assassination” (as though only, say, an American president could be assassinated) at least cannot argue that bin Laden’s killing was indeed, at the least, an extrajudicial execution.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Obama already relegated to mediocrity

At a time when our public-school teachers are getting pink slips, our “representative” government in Washington has given the war profiteers about $1 billion thus far via the Obama administration’s bullshit U.S. military action in Libya.

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who I would support over Barack Obama in 2012, according to The Associated Press “said he would offer an amendment to the next budget resolution that would prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used to fund U.S. military operations in Libya.”

The AP notes that “His effort could gain significant congressional support, including the backing of tea partiers, if the U.S. military operation is going full-bore when lawmakers return from their recess next week.”

“We have already spent trillions of dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which descended into unwinnable quagmires,” the AP reports Kucinich wrote his colleagues. “Now, the president is plunging the United States into yet another war we cannot afford.”

If the “tea partiers” are on board with reining in the continued looting of the U.S. Treasury via the bloated military-industrial complex, especially during a time when we’re told that we can’t afford to attend to actual human needs, then, while I diametrically disagree with them on the majority of the issues, I certainly can partner with them in that.

And I agree wholeheartedly that the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to Obama ridiculously early in 2009 should be revoked. Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, and others have made the call to take the ill-awarded prize back.

Ralph Nader’s statement — and Kucinich’s, too — that Obama’s having launched a military attack on Libya without the consent of the U.S. Congress is unconstitutional and impeachable is spot-on. While I don’t expect Obama to be impeached — yet — the fact that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and other war criminals and traitors remain at large instead of being excecuted for their treason and their crimes against humanity, including mass murder, doesn’t mean that the arrogant Obama — who excels only at breaking campaign promises — gets to continue the imperial, unaccountable, above-the-law presidency that the unelected Bush regime began.

Having shit and pissed upon his base for the past two years, it will be interesting to see the change in the percentage of Obama’s campaign contributions that have come from individuals versus corporations from his 2008 presidential campaign to his 2012 re-election campaign.

While Yahoo! News reports that “Obama raised $59 million for his presidential campaign during the first half of 2007,” and that “Obama’s prospective GOP challengers would have to raise $590,000 a day between now and June 30 to match that pace during this campaign,” this seems to assume that the same level of enthusiasm for Obama that existed in 2007 exists now.

Corporations might be enthusiastic about Obama, but progressive individuals like me? I surmise that millions of us progressives who gave him campaign contributions for his 2008 run — based upon his blatantly false promises of “hope” and “change” — won’t give him a fucking rent cent for his 2012 campaign. I certainly won’t. So I surmise that the only way that he’ll be able to match his 2008 take is if he is able to make up for the loss in his base through getting bribes — er, campaign contributions — from his biggest benefactors, the corporations.

Realistically, Obama probably will be elected to a second lackluster presidential term. I could see an impeachment attempt against him in the future, probably a Bill-Clinton-like bullshit impeachment attempt by the right, but perhaps, just perhaps, even a justified impeachment attempt from the left.

What opportunity Obama had — but squandered. With popular opinion on his side and both houses of Congress controlled by his party for two years, Obama did diddly squat.

He could have been a great president. Instead, he already has joined the pantheon of mediocre U.S. presidents.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

President Obama’s prize apparently meant as a pre-emptive strike for peace

 

List of Nobel Peace Prize winners since 2000. US President Barack ...

AFP graphic

Barack Obama is the third current or former Democratic U.S. president or vice president to have won the Nobel Peace Prize this decade. You just don’t see any warhawk Repugnican politicians who put corporate profits far above mass civilian casualties on the peace-prize list, do you?

So on the heels of being blamed quite unfairly for losing the United States the 2016 summer Olympic games — which would have been an unfairly unprecedented five times for the summer Olympics to have been held in the same nation (and would have left Britain at No. 2, having hosted only three summer Olympic games, including 2012) — President Barack Obama today was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Not to sound too much like the wingnuts, but:

For what?

For not being George W. Bush?

That seems to be the message of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama, who hasn’t been in office for even a full year yet; it seems to be a thank-y0u message to Americans for having chosen Obama over hawkish John McCainosaurus in November 2008.

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize seems to have been awarded more for what he hasn’t done — such as to start a bogus war in violation of the wishes of the United Nations Security Council, as the unelected BushCheneyCorp did when it launched its Vietraq War in March 2003 — than for anything that he has done.

“Obama told reporters in the White House Rose Garden that he wasn’t sure he had done enough to earn the award, or deserved to be in the company of the ‘transformative figures’ who had won it before him,” The Associated Press reports today, adding, “But, he said, ‘I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the challenges of the 21st century.'”

An AP “analysis” probably correctly notes that “the prize seems to be more for promise than performance. Obama so far has no standout moment of victory. As for most presidents in their first year, the report card on Obama’s ambitious agenda is an ‘incomplete.'”

Yeah, really, it seems to me that there’s no other way to read the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama than as a message from the rest of the world as to the kind of U.S. president they hope Obama will be. This makes me feel at least mildly badly to be an American, to be feared by the rest of the world as the bully on the global block who has a tendency to go off half-cocked.

Of course, that is exactly how the wingnuts want us Americans to be perceived, even though that results in such blowback as 9/11. (But, of course, such blowback as 9/11 is as politically good for the Repugnican Party as the Reichstag fire was good for the budding Nazi Party. Bad for Americans, good for the Repugnican Party — isn’t that how it always is?)

Baby-boomer-asshole blowhard Rush Limbaugh, whose best service to his nation would be to die already, remarked of the Nobel Prize committee’s decision to award the peace prize to Obama: “They love a weakened, neutered U.S, and this is their way of promoting that concept. I think God has a great sense of humor, too.”

God, of course, is an old white Repugnican man who loves to start bogus wars for his war-profiteering cronies and for multinational corporations that want to steal other nations’ natural resources for the private profits of a filthy-rich few.

Everyone knows that.

Anyway, the peace prize committee should have known how awarding the prize to Obama would have been received politically within the United States, with even foaming-at-the-mouth lefties like me asking: “For what?” Or maybe I’m being U.S.-centric for stating that, but still…

In any case, the peace prize has been awarded, so let’s just hope that Obama lives up to it.

Which was the message of the peace-prize committee in the first place, methinks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized