The high ideals are certainly evident in the mood of the electorate in hopeful approval of the new president. But the deception is there as well, as evidenced in some recent news items. This is an exchange between Bill Moyers and MIT economist Simon Johnson, a guest on his news show, dating from February 13:
Bill Moyers: And, yet, Secretary Geithner's chief-of-staff is the former lobbyist for Goldman Sachs. How - serious question - how do they make a dispassionate judgment about how to deal with Goldman Sachs when they're so intertwined with Goldman Sachs' mindset?
Simon Johnson: … the new administration has a lot of rules about lobbying. And they have rules that basically say, I think, as understood the rules, when they were first presented, I was very impressed. They basically said, "We're not going to hire lobbyists into the administration. There has to be some sort of cooling off period."
Bill Moyers: And the next day Obama exempted a number of people from that very rule that he had just proclaimed.
Simon Johnson: Yes. It's a problem. It's a huge problem.
Bill Moyers: So here's the trillion dollar question that I take from your blog, that I read at the beginning, quote, "Can this person," your new economic strategist, in this case Geithner, "really break with the vested elite that got you into this much trouble?" Have you seen any evidence this week that he's going to be tough with these guys?
Simon Johnson: I'm trying to be positive. I'm trying to be supportive. I like the administration. I voted for the president. The answer to your question is, no, I haven't seen anything. But you know, perhaps next week I will. But right now, as we speak, I have a bad feeling in my stomach.
Full transcript of BMJ for February 13
This is but one indication that there may be some difficulty in the new administration being able to meet the high ideals expressed by Barack Obama during his campaign. Another would be the actual carrying out of the anti-war platform that he ran on. Even though there has been a plan for a draw-down of troops in Iraq, there has been mention of "50,000 advisors" even after that draw-down has been achieved. And sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, while matching campaign promises, is not exactly an anti-war move. It is possible, as has been alleged, that more civilians are being currently killed in Afghanistan by the US army than by the Taliban. If true, this is also a serious problem for this president.
Also, even though President Obama has with great fanfare made plans for the closing of Guantanamo, ending the imprisonment without trial for some 200 prisoners there, his justice department has simultaneously refused the right of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan the right to a trial, using exactly the same argument as the Bush administration.
See truthout on Bagram prison
In another disturbing fact, a lawsuit pending against illegal wire-tapping by the Bush administration was attempted to be shut down by the current justice department, using, again, exactly the same argument as the Bush administration did.
See truthout wire-tapping legal battle
It may well be that the moneyed powers behind any Washington administration have more to say about the way the country is run than the public. For a discussion of this topic, see
Michael Winship blog entry
All of this is disturbing, and matches the astrological determination that the Obama administration, inaugurated under a void of course moon and Mercury retrograde, might begin after a while to look a little different than the promise that was initially held out, once in office.