Doing the Right Thing


From time to time, Obama earns a trip to the woodshed. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that he’s also doing a hell of a lot of good, and taking the country in directions it should’ve been going all along:

I’ve been ragging on Obama relentlessly over the ways in which he has continued the vile policies of the Bush administration. Here’s a big attaboy for changing one ridiculous decision:

The Obama administration will endorse a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality that then-President George W. Bush had refused to sign, The Associated Press has learned.

U.S. officials said Tuesday they had notified the declaration’s French sponsors that the administration wants to be added as a supporter. The Bush administration was criticized in December when it was the only western government that refused to sign on.

Administration sources only spoke anonymously because they had not yet informed Congress of the decision, but they said exactly the right thing:

[snip]

“In the words of the United States Supreme Court, the right to be free from criminalization on the basis of sexual orientation ‘has been accepted as an integral part of human freedom’,” the official said.

Amen, brother. Amen.

It feels good to see us headed in the right direction. There was no reason not to endorse the U.N.’s declaration. Unless, of course, you’re a homophobic, frothing fundie. I’m glad Obama’s announcing this is no longer the case for the United States as a whole.

In other doing right news, Tim Geithner’s fessed up:

Claiming full responsibility for the situation, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told CNN today that his office “asked Sen. Chris Dodd to include a loophole in the stimulus bill that allowed bailed-out insurance giant American International Group to keep its bonuses.” He said he requested the measure to prevent costly governmental litigation.

It looked for a little while like the Obama administration was going to play the coward and let Dodd be their scapegoat. Kudos for resisting the urge.

You might also want to throw a little support Obama’s way to ensure that obnoxious Bush Health Care Denial rule gets nixed. Y’know – the one that would’ve let religous fuckwit doctors impose their morality on their female patients. Obama’s moving to axe that one. Let’s show him we’ve got his back.

Comments

  1. says

    Some background: AIG was legally obligated to pay those bonuses; they had been contractually guaranteed quite some time ago, before AIG was in serious trouble. (Whether it should have done so is another matter, but once they agreed to do it, they were required to.)Should something that’s contractually guaranteed be called a bonus? Well, no – if it’s guranteed it’s then actually salary. There’s an historical reason for it being referred to as a ‘bonus’, but it’s really not.The thing that has me confused about the bonus issue is this: The really bad thing that many people complained about with the Bush administration was the way that it just shoved the law aside whenever it wanted.Why are people trying so hard to throw the blame around for Liddy (the new guy at AIG) and Geithner (and through him, the government) trying to uphold contract law now? I would have thought that expecting CEOs and the government to uphold the rule of law was kind of important.Note that excluding the payment of bonuses from the bailout wouldn’t have helped. AIG would still be contractually obligated to pay them, and so would have needed (0.1%) more bailout money to pay for whatever they took that money away from.There’s plenty to get upset about with AIG. This wasn’t it. It’s a way of politicians making a lot of noise in the media to distract you from what is really going on.If you want to be outraged by the AIG situation, figure out what they heck they were doing that meant that they really needed 170,000 million bailout. Geithner will probably lose his job over this, but actually he probably did the right thing in this case.

  2. says

    Speaking only for myself, I’m outraged at both the bailout and the bonuses. Both have been conducted in secret, and with a good deal of mendacity when they were discovered (or re-discovered). As part of the bailout deal, the government could have insisted that the institutions accepted that those bonuses would not be paid. That’s a contract, just like the contracts they had. Any contract can be voluntarily renounced by both sides.If the leaders of those institutions decided to take whatever they could get out of going bankrupt, the details should have been made public. Geithner, et. al., could have also explained to those leaders that there would be added interest in any claims of fraud or negligence in the running of those institutions.The problem I have with this is that the Obama Administration is continuing to be led around by the nose by these assholes. They don’t deserve a cent, and it could have been arranged.BTW, if AIG hadn’t been handed that $170 billion, it could have been given to whoever was waiting for a payout directly, should they have petitioned for it.None of this has been done in the open. In this case, I think the symbolic problem of the bonuses is entirely in line with the “real” problem of the rest of the money AIG was handed.