Obama Derangement Syndrome

Before I get into my main point, let me make it clear that I think both major party candidates for President this year are about as qualified for the office as my cat. Both John McCain and Barack Obama have repeatedly demonstrated they are more than willing to sell out personal liberty as long as it will get them the votes needed to take office. Since the current administration decided to push the pedal to the floor in accelerating the consolidation of power in the executive, the future under either of these yahoos (or the respective morons each chose as a running mate) is dismal at best.

Okay, with that out of the way, it is hilarious to watch “conservatives” like Andrew McCarthy bemoan the possibility of a “socialist” Barack Obama bringing on “the death of freedom”. It’s not that I disagree with his analysis on Obama, it is that I don’t see how this is a substantive change from the current administration which McCarthy has routinely sold his principles to defend.

On the socialism angle, fine Obama’s a socialist. In a country where the “conservative” president pushes a ridiculous $700+ billion bailout deal, however, who in the major party duopoly isn’t? The difference is at best one of a small degree in details rather than any bedrock principle. McCain and Obama may disagree on specifics, but both stand steadfastly for the continued expansion of federal intervention in the economy. In fact, as was clearly the case with Bush, I’d argue that McCain is far more dangerous on that point because Republicans will fall in almost lockstep behind the creeping “conservative” socialism with little protest (imagine if this were Al Gore’s second term and he was proposing such massive intervention in the market? Then the Republican slugs might actually grow spines).

All the “death of freedom” nonsense against Obama is hard to understand from Republicans who have stood by and excused the use of torture on terror suspects; the ridiculous security theater at airports and elsewhere that instills fear and violates our rights while doing nothing to protect us from terrorist attack; the wholesale re-creation of insidious domestic intelligence operations. And these folks then presume to lecture us that freedom may not survive and Obama administration unscathed?

Frankly it is hard to understand the vehemence with which Democrats and Republicans support their particular presidential candidate or oppose the other party’s selection. Both fundamentally stand for using the power of their office to punish and persecute those whom they deem unworthy — the only point they ever seem to disagree is in the detail of who precisely the victims will be.

Ah, yes, American elections — nothing but year ’round special pleading.

American Atheists on Barack Obama

The last few weeks have been a bit amusing as Barak Obama seems to have gone from “Change You Can Believe In” to “Policies the Establishment Will Be Comfortable With.”

After all, it wasn’t too long ago when Samantha Power drew criticism for saying that Obama’s 18-month withdrawal plan was a “best case scenario.” Now, Obama himself is clearly distancing himself from his own promise of a quick withdrawal from Iraq (and Obama, after all, is the Senator who said the withdrawal should have begun in 2007).

Similarly, Obama says he’s going to vote for the bipartisan FISA bill which will provide immunity for the telcommunication companies that cooperated with the Bush administration’s illegal wiretapping of Americans.

But, Obama really jumped the shark with his promise to not only continue but expand George W. Bush’s faith-based initiatives. For once, I agreed with the American Atheists’ analysis,

“This makes it official – the Democrats are trying to outdo their Republican colleagues in using religion and the lure of more taxpayer money to turn houses of worship into voting blocks,” said Zindler. “Obama wants to continue the discriminatory policy of taxing millions of Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists and other Americans who profess no religious beliefs, and give that money to organized religion. That’s unfair, that’s discriminatory, and it endangers our First Amendment freedom.”

Dave Silverman, Communications Director for American Atheists, said that the Obama pledge to continue Bush’s programs is a risky economic and social experiment. “The faith-based initiative allows religious groups to use our money in programs that are poorly monitored, have little or no accountability, and drain resources for their more effective secular counterparts,” said Silverman. “This is pandering to religious groups, and offers the lure of free government cash in exchange for political support.

Apparently either a McCain or Obama presidency will resemble a 3rd Bush term a lot more than people are willing to admit at this point.