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Gitmo Closes

“I think they’ll discover that trying to close it (Gitmo) is a very hard proposition.”

—Dick Cheney

Eight years after the first prisoners arrived at the US prison camp at Guantanamo, Cuba, President Barack Obama brought yet another promise one he made in campaign literature and in his first interview after election. The culmination of one of his first Executive Orders led to yet another sweeping victory – a triumph the White House was more than happy to share with the dominant and supportive Democrats in Congress. The increasingly shell-shocked Republican opposition to the plan collapsed with GOP members fighting to get Guantanamo’s 196 remaining prisoners relocated to unused mega-prisons in their home Districts.

Upon the heels of the quick prosecution and convictions Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle and Powell, and Blair in England, for their lies that caused the recently-ended Iraq and Afghan Wars, and the on-going trials in the torture cases; it’s one more feather in the cap ending this wildly successful first year in office for the man who promised “change.”

The further prosecutions of Geithner, Summers, a pack of Goldman Sachs and other high-rolling executives and the re-regulation of the money markets stabilized Wall Street. The Peace Dividend from the quick, decisive end to the Occupations led to a surge in confidence that, in turn, brought on resurgence in the economy and diving unemployment rates.

The end of the wars led to a justly-won, universally-celebrated Nobel Peace Prize for the president and the hard-nosed bargaining that paid dividends with the historic Copenhagen Treaty further burnished Obama’s reputation on the world stage.

Detroit saw records sales as the US Auto giant used government loan-guarantees and retooled and captured the market on low-cost high-efficiency rechargeable – solar or grid – vehicles, more than meeting the goals set at the Copenhagen Summit. The mass conservation programs and homeowner solar systems covering over 50 million homes and funded by stimulus money led to enormous energy savings which allowed over 50 coal-fired power plants to be shut down. The ending of Mountaintop Removal coal-extraction wasn’t missed at all; when even with the reduced demand, more miners found work underground. The preservation and restoration of all of the nation’s public forests as carbon reserves has exceeded the goals of the summit.

Obama’s approval ratings hover around 84%, where they’ve held ever since the historic overhaul of Health Care that saw all Americans gain access to medical coverage under “CitizenCare,” a single-payer government system comparable to other western Democracies. Medical bankruptcies ended overnight.

* * *

OK. I know nothing comes easy. I’m sick already of the abundance of lame end-of-first-year analyses – predictable on all sides. The Public – purse and psyche – has taken a severe beating. And, it looks like it’s not going to get any better soon.

But, can’t we get anything? Even something as odious as Guantanamo? After all, this is what was promised:

“Guantanamo has become a recruiting tool for our enemies. The legal framework behind Guantanamo has failed completely, resulting in only one conviction. President Bush’s (now Obama’s) own Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates wants to close it. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, wants to close it. The first step to reclaiming America’s standing in the world has to be closing this facility. As president, Barack Obama will close the detention facility at Guantanamo.”

— Obama Campaign fact-sheet on Counter-Terrorism

MICHAEL DONNELLY thinks the Supreme Court decision equating corporate cash with Free Speech is the final blow. We just can’t let them get our day (or year), too. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com