The Pentagon issued a report this week stating that the Guantánamo Bay detention center meets Geneva Convention standards, which (to say the least) seems absurd. Haven't we learned by now not to trust the Executive branch to tell us how well the Executive branch is doing? The ACLU helps you demand that the Obama Administration grant human rights groups access to Guantánamo -- because, you know, we might believe a more independent assessment. Mr. Obama might tell us he's reluctant to let such groups in because he plans to close Guantánamo within 12 months anyway. Key word in that sentence? "Plans." No Executive, of any party, gives up newly-acquired Executive "powers" very easily.
The Union for Concerned Scientists assists you in demanding further climate change action from Congress. I look at UCS's list of demands and I don't see a cap-and-trade system, in which corporations that pollute less than they're allowed can "sell" their "credit" to corporations that pollute more than they're allowed. I recall, also, that Mr. Obama called upon Congress to pass a cap-and-trade system on Tuesday night. I'm not a big fan of cap-and-trade -- I think old-fashioned regulation, with old-fashioned penalties, works pretty well. Of course I'd take a company's actual size (and thus ability to pay) into account when assessing a penalty, but I'm quite irritated that a Democratic administration hesitates to punish corporations after all they've done over the last eight years. Worse, I'm quite irritated that nominal "conservatives" are far less strident in punishing corporations for their sins.
I have a pair of alerts from Consumers Union. In one, they help you demand immediate credit card reform. The Fed cracked down on credit card rate hikes, but the rules don't go into effect for another year and a half, and in the meantime credit card companies are hiking their rates while themselves paying just about no interest on overnight loans. What a racket! The other alert helps you demand that the FDA inspect food production plants every year. The source of that Peanut Corp.-related salmonella outbreak might have been a leaky, pigeon-infested roof, which might be amusing if nine people weren't dead and 6,000 more weren't seriously ill. And that roof? Like the rest of the plant, not inspected by the FDA since 2001. Perhaps not coincidentally, Mr. Bush assumed power that year.
Finally, Dave Lindorff finds Mr. Obama's address to Congress on Tuesday night wanting -- and, not content to be negative, he makes dozens of suggestions that I'm a bit ashamed I didn't think of. Sometimes I wonder if Mr. Obama is playing a possum game, in avoiding direct challenges to the corporate establishment now so that they won't see what hits them later. But he might also just be a centrist. And anyway, it's not my job as a citizen to fantasize about how great things could be down the line. This is my job: tell Mr. Obama that he's not hitting the corporate establishment hard enough now, and demand that he hit harder.
UPDATE. An alert reader points me to Glenn Greenwald's recent report comparing the Pentagon's self-examination, so to speak, with a Guardian report stating that Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed was beaten right up until his release this past Saturday.