Thursday, June 28, 2012

Good news or bad news? Court upholds health law

So. According to this statement from the Oklahoma Policy Institute, it looks as if the US Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act. I was both surprised and relieved to read this when I opened up my e-mail just now. OPI's post provides a link to the entire decision. (It's almost 200 pages long, so I'll have to read that later.)

BBC News reports that the law was upheld by a 5-4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the deciding vote. Justice Anthony Kennedy, sometimes described as the key swing vote on the court, wrote the dissent.

OPI welcomes this decision as a step forward in the journey to bring quality healthcare at a reasonable price to all US residents, and calls on Oklahoma lawmakers to move forward on implementing the ACA:
The Supreme Court also upheld expansion of the Medicaid program, a provision that will particularly benefit low-income uninsured Oklahomans, paid for almost entirely by the federal government.

For the 1.7 million Oklahomans who are privately insured and happy with their plan, coverage is now more secure and comprehensive. Insurers can no longer deny their claims or drop their coverage without oversight. Their insurer will now cover routine preventive care, like immunizations and cancer screenings, for no co-pay or additional out-of-pocket cost.

The health law is already working to strengthen consumer protections and ensure that Oklahomans are getting what they pay for from their insurers and providers. It’s now up to state leaders, regardless of their personal political preferences, to move forward quickly to implement the Affordable Care Act.
That's an optimistic assessment about the ACA's effects. Others have less optimistic assessments. As Physicians for a National Health Program point out:
Although the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the unfortunate reality is that the law, despite its modest benefits, is not a remedy to our health care crisis: (1) it will not achieve universal coverage, as it leaves at least 26 million uninsured, (2) it will not make health care affordable to Americans with insurance, because of high co-pays and gaps in coverage that leave patients vulnerable to financial ruin in the event of serious illness, and (3) it will not control costs.

Why is this so? Because the ACA perpetuates a dominant role for the private insurance industry. Each year, that industry siphons off hundreds of billions of health care dollars for overhead, profit and the paperwork it demands from doctors and hospitals; it denies care in order to increase insurers’ bottom line; and it obstructs any serious effort to control costs.

In contrast, a single-payer, improved-Medicare-for-all system would provide truly universal, comprehensive coverage; health security for our patients and their families; and cost control. It would do so by replacing private insurers with a single, nonprofit agency like Medicare that pays all medical bills, streamlines administration, and reins in costs for medications and other supplies through its bargaining clout.
Some folks argue that the Affordable Care Act is merely the beginning of a process that will ultimately lead us to a single-payer system. Right-wing opponents of the law certainly made that case as the bill was making its way through Congress.

I would like to believe that the ACA will lead to a better system, but I'm not sure that it will. On the other hand, if the Supreme Court had struck down the law, this would have been a decisive blow against any kind of comprehensive national health insurance coverage. Thus, while I'm not particularly happy with the ACA, I am relieved that it wasn't struck down.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What is marriage?

About a month and a half ago, President Obama announced that his position on gay marriage had "evolved" to the point that he now supports the right of same-sex couples to marry. Depending on the perspective of the commentator, this meant Obama was defying the will of God, had committed a serious political blunder, had made a wishy-washy statement that "sold out" gay rights, or had done something "historic and brave."

Despite the controversy over the president's statement, it seems that same-sex marriage is becoming more and more accepted. According to blogger Richard Kim of, we have reached the point that "it is increasingly untenable for anyone bidding for mainstream credibility to remain opposed to same-sex marriage."

Kim said this in an essay about the changing position on same-sex marriage of one David Blankenhorn. I've never heard of David Blankenhorn before now. He seems to be the founder of something called The Institute for American Values. He appeared as an "expert witness" as part of the legal defense of California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8. Recently, Blankenhorn very publicly recanted his opposition to same-sex marriage. Richard Kim used this occasion to share some thoughts on the issue of marriage that are much closer to my own than what I usually see in the gay or progressive press:
Back in 2005, in the wake of a rash of state constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, Lisa Duggan and I argued that the gay movement—and progressives at large—should focus on advocating for a range of household recognitions, for “decentering” marriage as an institution even while fighting for legal equality. Here’s what we wrote:

For gay activists, and indeed for all progressive activists, it would be far more productive to stress support for household diversity—both cultural and economic support, recognition and resources for a changing population as it actually lives—than to focus solely on gay marriage. By treating marriage as one form of household recognition among others, progressives can generate a broad vision of social justice that resonates on many fronts. If we connect this democratization of household recognition with advocacy of material support for caretaking, as well as for good jobs and adequate benefits (like universal healthcare), then what we all have in common will come into sharper relief.

Of course, Lisa and I lost that argument, at least when it comes to setting the strategies of gay and progressive organizations. The fight for same-sex marriage has scored some significant victories in the intervening years, including Obama’s recent “evolution,” but those wins have come within the framework of same-sex marriage as an isolated right granted to a minority group, the equality/dignity line that Blankenhorn acknowledges has become the dominant framing of the issue. In some cases, the passage of gay marriage has actually eliminated alternative forms of household recognition like domestic partnerships and reciprocal beneficiary statuses. And despite our perhaps outlandish wishes, no progressive movement has risen up to champion the proliferation of diverse forms of household recognition, despite the fact that Americans increasingly continue to live outside of marriage (see Eric Klinenberg’s excellent new book, Going Solo, for example, in which he documents the rise of living alone as the predominant residential pattern). Indeed, in the years since we wrote that article, I’ve often felt as if the debate over same-sex marriage has raged on the national stage while queer radicals like myself and marriage advocates like David Blankenhorn were off to the side, hosting our own tangential debate. We lost the war over issue framing—and in a way, so did Blankenhorn.
My opinions and feelings about marriage are not quite the same as Richard Kim's. For one thing, despite his unease with marriage as an institution, Kim says he's been a consistent supporter of the right of same-sex couples to marry. I have taken the stand that I don't need the right to participate in an oppressive institution. But as an old-school radical lesbian feminist, I can certainly identify with his feeling of simply being cut out of the entire national discussion.

I think the biggest question here is, what is marriage? Is it a commitment between two loving adults to engage in a lifelong relationship, and the commitment of the larger community to support them in this? Or is marriage an institution designed to enforce a set of social patterns and norms that society finds desirable? Richard Kim offers an excellent illustration:
The primary difference, of course, is that Blankenhorn and I fundamentally disagree about what marriage should mean—for gays and straights alike. As the founder of the Institute for American Values, Blakenhorn has attacked single mothers, championed federal marriage promotion as welfare policy, railed against cohabitation and no-fault divorce and opposed access to new reproductive technologies. One of his institute’s latest crusades has been against anonymous sperm donors because it leads to “fatherless” children, an abiding preoccupation of his. Suffice to say, I don’t agree with any of this. I think divorce can be a great thing—as anyone leaving an abusive marriage might confirm. And I think all the debates over which type of family produces the best outcomes for children ought to be meaningless as a matter of state policy. Gay or straight, single or married, let’s try to create the conditions in which all families can succeed. Blankenhorn sees an inner circle of honor and benefits that should be attached to marriage, and he’s now extended that circle to include gays and lesbians. I want to scramble that circle.
Richard Kim seems to believe that some version of "marriage" is possible without this kind of patriarchal baggage. I disagree. But I'm pleased to see that on the edges of the oversimplified national debate about same-sex marriage, there are thoughtful and complicated voices such as Richard Kim's.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Also today... the 40th anniversary of the signing into law of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which states that:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

 Despite the long list of exceptions that qualified this mandate, the passage of Title 9 was an important milestone of the second wave of the US feminist movement. While it is best known for equalizing opportunities for girls and women in school and college athletics, it has also been an influential piece of legislation in other ways.

The Title IX Blog  has a list of links to resources about Title IX and its effects on society, and posts about today's anniversary that you can find here and here. The Web site has additional resources.

You might also want to read this thoughtful essay by Catherine R. Stimpson on women and sports. Among Stimpson's points is this:
On balance, the Utopian feminist fan thrills to the radical vision and uses it as the horizon of possibility. I hope that the presence of women in sports will be a rebuke to corruption and a murderous desire to win; that it will provide a moral and psychological leavening; and that it will weaken gender as one of life's organizing principles. Interestingly, the currently major study of collegiate athletics found the women athletes less materialistic than the men.[25] At the same time, the liberal feminist fan believes in that old shibboleth of "being effective." I seek gender equity in sports. Women should have as many athletic opportunities as men, be able to play as hard and well as possible, be recognized and rewarded with an income and the currency of hard-earned celebrity for it.

Given the political culture of the United States, with its oscillations between gender conservatism and belief in equality of opportunity, the liberal vision of sports is implemented more often than the radical. The push and pull towards equity is notoriously incomplete, jagged, and uneven. As the century turned, women were 56% of United States undergraduates, but in the major schools, they had only 36% of the athletic operating budgets and 32% of the recruiting dollars.[26] Even the liberal vision wrenches the guts of the diehard sports traditionalist.

National Typewriter Day

Today is National Typewriter Day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

of cockroaches and queens

I've been thinking about archy and mehitabel, and that always makes me think of Rosalie Sorrels:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Management theories

Truthdig has posted this interesting essay by the ever-interesting William Pfaff about the ideas of management theorist James Burnham. Burnham was a Trotskyist--"during the period when Trotskyism was a serious matter among American intellectuals," Pfaff says--before evolving into the loopy sort of extreme right-winger who worships Ayn Rand.

Pfaff analyzes Burnham's 1941 book, The Managerial Revolution, and concludes that it accurately predicted an undemocratic U.S. society run by the managers--not the owners--of large corporations:
Burnham’s Trotskyist period ended with a declaration in 1940 that he had decided that Marxism was merely a form of imperialistic class politics, and he proposed a new theory which said that the managerial class was the new force in the class struggle, seizing privilege and control over society. Capitalism, he said, as a form of social organization, was finished. His new managerial class was taking over in German Nazism, Soviet Stalinism and in F.D.R.’s New Deal.
Pfaff goes on to say:
Burnham’s theory that a new class of professional and technocratic managers were taking control of modern economies accompanied another phenomenon of the wartime and postwar years in the U.S. Intellectually moribund university business schools were reawakened by the influence of “scientific” and strategic management theories and practices developed by military staffs and at such institutions as the RAND Corporation. These made use of mathematical models, behavioral theory and operations research (usually a glamorized and heavily numerate version of empirical or common-sense analysis) and gave business executives an aura of scientific professionalism.

This combination eventually gave us the version of global finance and industry that has given us world crisis. It generally is run by managers who, without necessarily investing a farthing of their own money, control the American (and increasingly European) economies, enriching themselves by assigning to one another titanic emoluments as rewards for having been hired, for carrying out executive duties that earlier professional managers performed for unexceptional rewards and eventually rewarding themselves for leaving their jobs.
This reminded me, actually, of the annoying management guru Peter Drucker, whose worship of the managerial class was accompanied by a subtle contempt for democracy and ordinary working people. A quick Google search turned up a review of Burnham's book by Drucker. Drucker loved it--except for this:
(I)f society is to continue free, it must be asserted that ideas are not economically determined, that they are not "myths" invented to cover economic power; and above all, it must be re-asserted that power must be legitimate and that legitimacy is not a function of economic reality but one of the basic beliefs of society. If Mr. Burnham thinks that the totalitarian power wielded by the managers will be "legitimate" simply because it mirrors the existing structure of industrial production, he denies all possibility
of right or wrong in politics.
Drucker was an interesting and complicated guy, actually, who came by his distrust of government power as a Jew who fled the Nazis. He really wanted to believe in the benevolence of the managerial class.

William Pfaff seems to believe that Burnham--though he later abandoned these ideas--was able to accurately predict the fate of the world in The Managerial Revolution. I think he's wrong. There is nothing so difficult to predict as the future, as George Orwell argues in the passage below. Pfaff refers several times to Orwell's analysis of Burnham's ideas, and I think this is the essay that Pfaff mentions:
Power worship blurs political judgement because it leads, almost unavoidably, to the belief that present trends will continue. Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible. If the Japanese have conquered south Asia, then they will keep south Asia for ever, if the Germans have captured Tobruk, they will infallibly capture Cairo; if the Russians are in Berlin, it will not be long before they are in London: and so on. This habit of mind leads also to the belief that things will happen more quickly, completely, and catastrophically than they ever do in practice. The rise and fall of empires, the disappearance of cultures and religions, are expected to happen with earthquake suddenness, and processes which have barely started are talked about as though they were already at an end. Burnham's writings are full of apocalyptic visions. Nations, governments, classes and social systems are constantly described as expanding, contracting, decaying, dissolving, toppling, crashing, crumbling, crystallising, and, in general, behaving in an unstable and melodramatic way. The slowness of historical change, the fact that any epoch always contains a great deal of the last epoch, is never sufficiently allowed for. Such a manner of thinking is bound to lead to mistaken prophecies, because, even when it gauges the direction of events rightly, it will miscalculate their tempo. Within the space of five years Burnham foretold the domination of Russia by Germany and of Germany by Russia. In each case he was obeying the same instinct: the instinct to bow down before the conqueror of the moment, to accept the existing trend as irreversible. With this in mind one can criticise his theory in a broader way.
In other words, Burnham did identify a powerful trend in society, but there is no reason to insist that this is how everything will end up.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer begins and the struggle continues

As Starhawk reminds us, today--and tonight--marks the Solstice. For all of its great and sometimes excessive heat, summer is a time of great joy for me. On this Solstice, I like to think of things that help me feel connected to the Earth, other women, the community, and the ongoing struggle to set the world right.

Here are two random things that give me hope:

First, thanks to Spinifex for sharing this radio interview with renowned Indian eco-feminist Vandana Shiva.  Shiva describes not only the peril we face, but the great and growing strength of the movement to undo that peril.

Second, thanks to Tamlyn for sharing this video made by Oklahoma labor activists. The times we live in are both scary and exciting, and seeing that activists here are working to raise the voice of ordinary working people gives me hope.

At the risk of sounding like a pagan, I would like to say that the Earth and her seasons are sacred. Actually, I guess I am a pagan of sorts, an agnostic pagan. So finally, thanks to Beacon Press for sharing this video of poet Mary Oliver reading her poem "The Summer Day."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Michigan, the Oklahoma of the north?

Thanks to Kansas National Organization for Women for a link to this post from Jezebel about an extreme anti-choice bill that has since been passed by the Michigan House of Representatives. Among other provisions, the bill would ban all abortions for any reason after 20 weeks of pregnancy. There are no exceptions.Not even if the life or health of the pregnant woman is endangered by the pregnancy. Not even if the fetus has such serious problems that it will never be able to live outside the womb.

To add insult to injury, according to Jezebel, two pro-choice female legislators have been banned indefinitely from speaking on the House floor. One of these legislators, Democrat Lisa Brown, apparently gave offense by using the word "vagina" in her floor speech opposing the bill.

JOS of Feministing reports that the bill passed on June 13 by a vote of 70 to 39 after only 20 minutes of debate. The anti-choice Michigan Senate is likely to consider the bill in September

Besides the ban on all abortions after 20 weeks, the bill is what pro-choice advocates call TRAP legislation. According to the National Abortion Federation, the acronym stands for Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. The goal is to drive abortion providers out of business under the pretense of regulating clinics to make sure they meet proper medical standards.

According to Feministing blogger Chloe, the Michigan bill includes:
: state-mandated scripts for doctors that masquerade as faux concern for women who are being coerced into abortion, new TRAP laws to make insurance more complicated and expensive for providers, stricter regulations for clinics, new rules about the disposal of fetal remains that would affect women who have miscarriages as well as abortions, and a new measure requiring the presence of a doctor for a medical abortion in a state where many women rely on tele-med prescriptions because so few counties have a provider on the ground.
Chloe provided a link to the text of the bill, and recommended reading the ongoing coverage of the Michigan situation by Angi Becker Stevens at RH Reality Check. Robin Marty, also of RH Reality Check, wrote another excellent analysis of the bill.

Michigan state lawmakers seem to want to vie with the Oklahoma Legislature for the honors of producing the most extreme and ridiculous laws to limit women's lives and freedom. Of course, in Oklahoma, valiant and well-organized activists managed to defeat one of the worst anti-choice bills considered in the recent legislative session. Maybe our Michigan sisters will be able to do the same.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why you won't see me wearing a Thunder t-shirt

Dave Zirin at tells the ugly story of how the former Seattle Supersonics basketball team became the OKC Thunder.
Strip away the drama and the Heat are called “evil” because their star players exercised free agency and—agree or disagree with their decision—took control of their own careers. The Thunder are praised for doing it the “right way,” but no franchise is more caked in original sin than the team from Oklahoma City. Their owners, Clay Bennett and Aubrey McClendon, with an assist from NBA Commissioner David Stern, stole their team with the naked audacity of Frank and Jesse James from the people of Seattle.

For non-NBA fans, as recently as 2008 the OKC Thunder were the Seattle Supersonics, a team of great tradition, flare and fan support. They were Slick Watts’s headband, Jack Sikma’s perm and Gary Payton’s scowl. They were a beloved team in a basketball town. Then the people of Seattle committed an unpardonable offense in the eyes of David Stern. They loved their team but refused to pay for a new taxpayer funded $300 million arena. Seattle’s citizens voted down referendums, organized meetings and held rallies with the goal of keeping the team housed in a perfectly good building called the KeyArena. Despite a whirlwind of threats, the people of Seattle wouldn’t budge, so Stern made an example of them. Along with Supersonics team owner and Starbucks founder Howard Schultz—who could have paid for his own new arena with latte profits alone—Stern recruited two Oklahoma City–based billionaires, Clay Bennett and Aubrey McClendon, to buy the team and manipulate their forcible extraction from Seattle to OKC.

Stern is a political liberal who has sat on the board of the NAACP. Bennett and McLendon are big Republican moneymen whose hobby is funding anti-gay referendums. Yet these three men are united in their addiction to our tax dollars. In Oklahoma City, where rivers of corporate welfare awaited an NBA franchise, Stern, Bennett and McClendon had found their Shangri-La.
To Zirin, the appropriate response to this situation is for all right-thinking people to root for the Miami Heat to beat the Thunder in the current NBA finals. I dunno. I think a better response is to ignore the whole sorry spectacle. Noam Chomsky says that sports in our society serve mostly "to provide training in irrational jingoism," and I think he has a point.

Update: Hat tip to my friend Pat Reaves for finding this recent Miami Herald article. It demonstrates that the owners of the Miami Heat are just as greedy and irresponsible as the owners of the Thunder, and the local government of Miami-Dade is just as irrationally generous to sports teams and millionaires as the government of Oklahoma City is. An auditor's report uncovered serious problems with the county's oversight of the Heat's arena:
The pointed, 60-page document released Thursday faults Miami-Dade for having “little idea” about whether the team has met financial benchmarks that would trigger profit-sharing from the county-owned arena.

Though the Heat’s operating budget is consistently submitted late, it has never faced repercussions from the county. And the county apparently wasn’t aware the Heat was required to submit an annual budget for big-ticket capital expenditures, the audit states.

“The county’s hands-off approach to an operation that now generates more than $60 million a year is perplexing, especially an operation that has yet to produce sufficient profits to result in profit-sharing,” Inspector General Christopher Mazzella wrote.

Neither party criticized in the report acknowledged culpability. Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s office said the audit covers a timeframe that pre-dates his tenure, and he is working to fix any problems. Miami Heat representatives disagreed with the audit’s conclusions. Heat lawyer/lobbyist Jorge Luis Lopez said the inspector general “spent a significant amount of taxpayer money on what appears to be a witch hunt.”
I'm old enough to remember when the private owners of professional sports teams paid for their own arenas, and I think it should have stayed that way. Or else, if professional sports teams are not viable without large and continuing public subsidies, those teams ought to be publicly owned.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Target closes site of rescheduled union election

If, like me, you've tended to shop at Target because they're "not as bad as Walmart," you are in for a rude awakening, at least when it comes to the issue of workers' rights.

So, what happened in Wisconsin?

Thanks to Occupy Philadelphia for the link to this thoughtful analysis of the failure of progressives and union activists in Wisconsin to recall the union-busting Republican Gov. Scott Walker. A small silver lining to this cloud: Democrats appear to have regained control of the Wisconsin State Senate in the same election.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Barack Obama the cynical warmaker

As far as I can tell, Barack Obama has always been a nice centrist Democrat in favor of doing government "business as usual" in a slightly kinder and gentler fashion than the Republicans have done it. "Change" was always an advertising slogan, and never a plan of action. This is no where more evident than in Obama's management of the U.S. war machine. Three recent posts from Truthdig demonstrate this.

In the first of these posts, Andrew J. Bacevich describes Obama's leadership of "The Golden Age of Special Operations." Obama is campaigning for re-election as the man who ended the Iraq war and who is ending the war in Afghanistan. But the president is simultaneously conducting more and more secret military operations. While the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) existed long before the Obama presidency, this president is making greater use of it than ever before.
From a president’s point of view, one of the appealing things about special forces is that he can send them wherever he wants to do whatever he directs. There’s no need to ask permission or to explain. Employing USSOCOM as your own private military means never having to say you’re sorry. When President Clinton intervened in Bosnia or Kosovo, when President Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, they at least went on television to clue the rest of us in. However perfunctory the consultations may have been, the White House at least talked things over with the leaders on Capitol Hill. Once in a while, members of Congress even cast votes to indicate approval or disapproval of some military action. With special ops, no such notification or consultation is necessary. The president and his minions have a free hand. Building on the precedents set by Obama, stupid and reckless presidents will enjoy this prerogative no less than shrewd and well-intentioned ones.
Then, Bill Boyarsky analyzes the recent New York Times report that President Obama is personally selecting the names of people to be killed because they are suspected terrorists.
The idea of Obama picking out individuals for the death list brings back memories of President Lyndon B. Johnson selecting targets for bombing in Vietnam. So intent was Johnson on micromanaging the war that he lost sight of how the bombing strengthened the will of North Vietnam. Like Johnson, Obama micromanaging the drone attacks, with their killings of noncombatants, may be strengthening our foes.

In his first campaign for the presidency, Obama pledged to pull most troops out of Iraq and concentrate on Afghanistan, capturing or killing Osama bin Laden and defeating al-Qaida. It was his promise to end the Iraq War that got the attention and affection of liberals, who ignored the underplayed but consistent warlike aspects of his foreign policy pitch.
Boyarsky goes on to note that
With drone technology growing more refined and deadly, Obama has dispatched the robotic killers on an increasing number of missions. Two of those assassinated by the machines were Americans—Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric, and Samir Khan, a U.S. citizen traveling with him. Awlaki, a propagandist who called for more attacks on the United States, had plotted with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “underwear bomber” whose attack on an airliner bound for Detroit failed.

The Justice Department produced a memo justifying the killing of citizen-terrorists, saying that internal, secret executive branch deliberations satisfied Fifth Amendment requirements for due process. Such reasoning seems to constitute a threat to the freedom and the lives of any American targeted by the government as a terrorist or an accomplice. The Justice Department memo remains secret.
Finally, Robert Scheer adds his own searing analysis of the New York Timesreport. He mocks the "steely warrior" Obama, who is willing to send drones to attack designated US enemies, even if that results in the death of children.

Scheer argues that the story was "planted" in the Times to promote the president's credentials as a tough military leader in the midst of the re-election campaign. He notes that Pfc. Bradley Manning was held in solitary confinement for many months, accused of releasing information with a much lower security classification.
Pfc. Bradley Manning was held for many months in solitary confinement for allegedly disclosing information of far lower security classification. The difference is that the top secrets in the news article are ones the president wants leaked in the expectation they will burnish his “tough on terrorism” credentials. This is clearly not the Obama whom many voted for in the hope that he would stick by his word, including the pledge he made on his second day in office to ban brutal interrogation and close the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. “What the new president did not say was that the orders contained a few subtle loopholes,” the Times now reports concerning the early promises by Obama. “They reflected a still unfamiliar Barack Obama, a realist who, unlike some of his fervent supporters, was never carried away by his own rhetoric.”

Parse that sentence carefully to learn much of what is morally decrepit in our journalism as well as politics. The word “realist” is now identical to “hypocrite,” and the condemnation of immoral behavior addresses nothing more than “rhetoric” that only the “fervent” would take seriously. The Times writers all but thrill to the lying, as in recounting the new president’s response to advisers who warned him against sticking to his campaign promises on Guantanamo prisoners: “The deft insertion of some wiggle words in the president’s order showed that the advice was followed.”

How telling that reporters who might as well be PR flacks are so admiring of the power of “wiggle words” to free a politician from accountability to the voters who put him in office: “A few sharp-eyed observers inside and outside the government understood what the public did not. Without showing his hand, Mr. Obama had preserved three major policies—rendition, military commissions and indefinite detention—that have been targets of human rights groups since the 2001 terrorist attacks.”
As Boyarsky and Scheer both point out, Obama has adopted policies that were roundly condemned by progressives when George W. Bush carried them out. Obama seems to be making the shrewd calculation that progressives will have no where else to turn in the upcoming election. As for myself, Obama will most likely get my vote, but he won't get my support in the form of money or volunteer time.