For those who still think President Obama is a Muslim


 

…..don’t worry, he’s still persecuting American Muslims or otherwise making their lives miserable.  Here’s the latest victim of Obama’s Islamization of America.  An American citizen with an unusual name like so many of us here in America, born and raised, Samir Suljovic was denied entry/return to America after visiting family in Montenegro and given no reason why, nor was he given any recourse to due process. Consequently he was stranded in an airport in Germany and received no assistance from the US Embassy in that country, in effect proclaiming him persona non grata and according to some accounts confiscating his personal effects and searching them without his permission.  In essence the Muslim Obama administration has denied this real Muslim American his rights and protections guaranteed him by no less than the Constitution an act that would otherwise make GW Bush and all his neo-con advisors who began this trend of abrogation, proud.  Anyone who is concerned about Obama’s bona fides as an imperialist vis-a-vis American Muslims, need look no further than this Administration’s continuation of the no-fly list.  Suljovic was finally allowed to return home, without any explanation why he was delayed or who was responsible for him being allowed to return after three weeks.

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A more focused criticism of the Obama assault on liberty


The last several posts here have been very critical of the Obama administration’s approach to domestic politics and particularly it’s heavy handed approach to dissent.  Unfortunately, it’s so extensive one article posted here listed 20 examples of the Administration’s assault on domestic liberties.  I began to think perhaps such a long article which underscores so many points might be as oppressive as Obama’s policies so this one very concise piece by Coleen Rowley from one of my favorite sources, Consortium News makes the point very well about a very frightening trend started by Bush and solidified by the current administration.

U.S. intelligence says the terror threat from al-Qaeda is receding, but Congress keeps on expanding the scope of this “war” so as not to look “weak on terror,” now adding new military powers that could be used against American citizens.

The political, military industrial, corporate class in Washington DC continues to re-make our Constitutional Republic into a powerful, unaccountable Military Empire.

The U.S. Senate has just voted 93 to 7 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012, which allows the military to operate domestically within the borders of the United States and to possibly (or most probably) detain U.S. citizens without trial.

Forget that the ACLU called it “an historic threat to American citizens,” this bill is so dangerous not only to our rights but to our country’s security that it was criticized by the Directors of the FBI and the CIA, the Director of National Intelligence and the U.S. Defense Secretary!

For the first time in our history, if this Act is not vetoed, American citizens may not be guaranteed their Article III right to trial. The government would be able to decide who gets an old-fashioned trial (along with right to attorney and right against self-incrimination) and who gets detained without due process and put into a modern legal limbo.

Does anyone remember that none of the first thousand people the FBI rounded up after 9/11, and who were imprisoned for several months (some brutalized) were ever charged with terrorism? Does anyone remember that hundreds of the Gitmo detainees who were handed over to their American military captors in exchange for monetary bounties were found, after years of imprisonment, to have no connection to terrorism?

When in doubt about a case, what do you think the government will again do? Does it prefer to submit its evidence to a jury’s scrutiny and its witnesses to the trouble of being cross-examined in court by a defense attorney or would it be easier to have no questions asked and dump the accused into detainee prison without rights? I think we already know that answer from the nearly ten years of experience at Guantanamo.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, declared that suspected citizens open themselves up “to imprisonment and death” He added: “And when they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them: ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’”

Of course, the politicians will say we are just talking about a few cases. But in fact the sky’s probably the limit given the current legal ambiguity in the Patriot Act expansion of “material support for terrorism” to now include humanitarian aid and even mere advocacy speech without any need to prove an accused person intended to support any kind of terrorist violence.

The Department of Justice has been currently using this ambiguity for over a year to investigate 23 American citizens who are anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis. Additionally, the “war on terror” will undoubtedly expand even more when it is de-linked from 9/11.

See “The War on Terrorism Congress Never Declared — But Soon Might” by Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor, expert on these issues and associate dean for scholarship at American University Washington College of Law, which states:

“An individual may be detained for providing ‘direct support’ (which, in the government’s view, may be nothing more than minor financial or logistical assistance) in aid of ‘associated forces’ that are ‘engaged in hostilities against … coalition partners.’

“Thus, the NDAA effectively authorizes the military detention of any individual who provides such assistance anywhere in the world to any group engaged in hostilities against any of our coalition partners, whether or not the United States is in any way involved in (or even affected by) that particular conflict.”

Given this expansion of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force contained in the 2012 NDAA to encompass undefined “associated forces,” we could witness the U.S. government targeting a large range of political dissidents, human rights activists, humanitarians, and maybe even “occupiers.”

The NDAA is deliberately confusing for political purposes but much is at stake. President Barack Obama’s determination as to whether or not he will veto the problematic 2012 war funding bill will determine how Benjamin Franklin’s glib response to the woman waiting outside the Constitutional Convention is ultimately answered. Franklin and other founding fathers had created “a Republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”

But a lawless Military Empire could now await where U.S. “emergency war powers” trump the Constitution, where the Commander in Chief becomes king for a term(s), the military enters into domestic police-state actions in violation of 130 years of Posse Comitatus law, and the Constitution becomes as quaint as the Geneva Conventions were for Alberto Gonzalez and the Bush Administration.

Corrupted, compliant politicians have already allowed their fears to get the better of them by going along with pre-emptive war in violation of the Nuremberg Principles and international law and torturing in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture.

So why should they also not go for detaining American citizens without constitutional rights or trial?

You can tell President Obama he needs to live up to his threat to veto this legislation or you can sign Sen. Mark Udall’s petition.

This abdication to repression on Obama’s part led me to ask is it the position or our political system that makes presidents abuse their power and totally disregard the Constitution.  Indeed, Obama a Constitutional lawyer has turned out in many ways to be as bad as his predecessor even after suggesting, as Rowley points out, that he would be different.  I’m simply not at the stage where I believe in the lesser of two evils concession, although there are surely some good points made on that theory’s behalf.  We should hold our elected officials to their words; if they promise they will not abuse the rights of American citizens and then it turns out that they have picked up the baton of state sponsored, government endorsed oppression, they should be voted out of office and it should be made explicitly clear to them the reason is because of their betrayal.  I wish Obama supporters would get on board with this idea; his misuse of his executive powers should be no more acceptable to the electorate than Bush.

Obama’s Image with the International Community


GW Bush was such a bad president that anyone elected after him would be warmly received on the world’s stage and the new office holder would barely have to do anything to get such  adulation.  The fact that an African-America with a very exotic past and name would be the next president guaranteed him success even if his policies were/are as disastrous as those of Bush.

In his first year, Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize when all he did was make a speech in Cairo reiterating basic precepts that this country was founded on or has built up for the past 200 years, but such ideas were so denigrated or ignored by the Bush administration  that to hear them come from Obama after years of neglect and abuse sounded like a new country had been born on the North American continent.  Sure, there is no doubt that many people hoped the election of Obama would signal a change in the approach America would take towards the rest of the world but sadly such a change has yet to come to pass.

America is still stuck in two wars with no sign of either abating and there is a growing likelihood of a third front looming on the horizon with Iran . Regrettably, after a rather pitiful response to Israel’s massacre of aid activist, Obama doesn’t appear to be able to stave off such a possibility.

The Obama administration is celebrating its victory in getting the UN Security Council on Wednesday to approve a fourth round of economic sanctions against Iran. Obama also is expected to sign on to even more draconian penalties that should soon sail through Congress.

Obama may be thinking that his UN diplomatic achievement will buy him some credibility – and some time – with American neocons and Israel’s Likud government, which favor a showdown with Iran over its nuclear program……

Just as the neocons and Israel wanted “regime change” in Iraq, they have long hungered for “regime change” in Iran, too. A favorite neocon joke at the time of the Iraq War was to speculate on which direction to go next, to Syria or Iran, with the punch-line, “Real men to go (sic) Tehran!”

But the world has such high expectations of an Obama presidency that despite these shortcomings and many others people are still willing to place their hope in the American president’s ability to change the world for the better. Unfortunately these attempts are sorely misguided and very premature.

For example, why would the International Criminal Court  want the US, which is not a signatory or member, and thus not bound by the rules of the Court,  be the enforcer of the Court’s decisions while being out of reach of the purview of the Court?  Such an idead definitely sends the wrong signal to law abiding nations.  Over one hundred countries are members of the ICC, and while there is no lack of  international lawlessness and atrocities the world over for the Court to investigate and adjudicate, it has only managed to  work on cases from the African continent, something which no doubt offers the newly formed unified combat command  of the Defense Deparetment, AFRICOM,  a lot of encouragement and raison d’etre for years to come.

The United States has only recently ended eight years of a complete disregard for international bodies and their decision making processes, yet it is now being enlisted to enforce at the point of military action, internationally arrived at edicts?  Such is the proposal being considered by the ICC.  Perhaps in another time and another place something like this could be contemplated, but now it is too early to tell whether America is ready to assume the role of world leader or remain the world’s number one aggressor.  Judging by the her reaction to the Israeli pummeling of ally Turkey and the sabotaging of diplomacy as well as the reaction to raw power and murder occuring at the time of the ICC convention in Uganda ,of all places, now is not the time for America to enforce any law when it demonstrates abject violations of the law at every turn.  The ICC would be better off rethinking this idea and the sooner they dispel themselves of it, the better and safer we might all be.

Not Possible to be Innocent


It was very difficult to understand the Bush Administration’s irrational hatred and disregard for Muslims except that it was based on racism and fear.  So, the news that his administration kept imprisoned those people he knew were innocent should come as no surprise. Did politics have something to do with it as the article implies?  Bush/Cheney were riding high from the benefits of the 911 catastrophe and their false and misplaced sense of patriotism could have easily masked the release of people from Guantanamo Bay who were innocent but that’s an option they didn’t even appear to approach.  Rather they dug themselves deeper and deeper pursuing people the likes of Jose Padilla, et.al weaving scary scenarios of Muslim hordes roaming throughout the country to wreak havoc on an ill-prepared public all the while actively  ripping the US Constitution to shreds.  Indeed, one can say quite accurately the Bush Administration wanted to consolidate power for the conservative wing of the GOP with it’s Muslim scare tactics and make it possible for any future administration to only go down the road of fascism and government abrogation of citizen rights.  From the looks of things, in that we can say they succeeded!

Now You Get Mad?


We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, now you get mad!

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and
appointed a President. You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to
dictate energy policy. You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted.
You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed..

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us. You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war. You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq . You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people. You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping
Americans. You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden. You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city drown. You didn’t get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich. You didn’t get mad when, using reconciliation; a trillion dollars of our tax dollars  were redirected to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage which cost over 20 percent more for basically the same services that Medicare provides. You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans… oh hell no.

The Dance of Denial


It has been very revealing watching members of the Right deny the responsibility of their ideology for two tragic murders that have recently occured which captured the attention of the Nation.  First came the cold blooded slaughter of an abortionist, Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas followed up shortly by the brutal killing of a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC of all places.

Dr. Tiller’s death is troubling because he had been the target of anti-abortionists’ rage before and even the person charged with his murder had been known to stalk and even vandalize  the clinic where Tiller worked in the days preceeding his death.  Several people in the clinic have gone on record saying they knew about Scott Roeder’s attempts at disrupting the operation of the clinic and notified the proper authorities yet nothing was done to apprehend Roeder and possibly prevent Dr. Tiller’s death.  Such ineptness on the park of the federal beaucracy does not mean that even more layers of government are necessary to protect the citizens but rather irresponsible civil servants need to be replaced with more diligent and efficient ones.

The death of Stephen Jones at the National Holocaust Museum at the hands of a white supremacist is a tragedy underscored by the fact this murderer had a long history, easily documented that could possibly point to such a heinious crime being committed by his hand, age notwithstanding, yet he very easily walked down a metropolitan city street with a .22 caliber rifle and shot and killed an armed federal agent.  The reason why I mention again both of these crimes is because of the contortions those on the right are taking to distance their ideology from these two men who claimed to hold that ideology near and dear to them.   Political pundits are taking great lengths to say that these murderes aren’t from the right at all but rather from the left of the political spectrum, despite the fact they, the perpetrators clearly identify with the Right.  Punditry has managed to make actions a mark of political persuasion and not words and have told their admirers that death and killing are marks of the political left, terrorism marks of Muslims,  while the opposition the Right makes to anything is noble and necessary to save America from its enemies.

This was the kind of meme advanced by Dick Cheney, more recently, and the entire Bush administration before which reduced all argument to ‘with us or against us’ sloganeering.  In that small universe built by the likes of the triumphant Right there was nothing that we did to  those ‘against us’ that could be considered illegal or immoral behavior.   The concept of “exceptionalism” had been developed to the point that meant even the boundaries of legality didn’t apply to us or we made every attempt to legalize illegal behavior in order to legitimize our unlawful actions.  It was a vicious circle we continue to traverse by denying the rational of these latest criminals for their criminal behavior.

News accounts and political pundits have taken great pains to classify these murderers as lone gunmen who are completely separate and detached from the environment which they have enveloped themselves.  By doing so they hope to further distance themselves from the effect their rhetoric has on the people who listen to and subscribe to it.

In our system of law as it pertains to capital crimes unless there is a conspiracy there is no guilt by association. Conversely there is also no innocence by association. Christian leaders and conservative citizens in general have jumped at the chance to label Mr. Roeder a vigilante, a monster and things far worse.

Regrettably this tactic is only applied to members of the right who spent an entire two terms of a right leaning Republican administration to paint with the broadest of brushes entire groups of people based on the actions of individual(s).  This has been a common practice of demagoguery; the politics of the many condensed into the actions of the lone individual.  Cries of bombing the institutions that are symbolic of political ideology have given way to the absolute negation of ideology and their import on an individual’s actions.   Murderers on the right have suddenly appeared on our political landscape and killed their perceived foes because they were inherently defective and acting completely on their own, while the last eights years of a Republican administration were spent literally trying to root out whole communities of conspirators who lurked in every corner of our country waiting for a chance to reap their collective death and destruction at the earliest possible moment on an unsuspecting public that need the invasive protection of a government bureaucracy.

Finally the absence in many cases of condemnation from the progenitors of rightist motivation for such murderous tendencies is another characteristic of the sudden revisionism going on in Obama’s America.  During the Bush years people were always challenged to condemn the acts of coreligionist or fellow ideologues, today’s America sees there is no need for condemnation because such acts rarely accomplish anything and not worth the time spent doing so.

Condemning Roeder doesn’t add anything to the pro-life cause. Pro-abortionists are always quick to remind the Christians of Christ’s rule of not judging or condemning. Why add fuel to the fire by condemning Mr. Roeder, isn’t it just a matter of six of one and a half dozen of the other? Both Tiller and Roeder have One that will be their final judge and he is neither hot under the collar, biased or partial. Why don’t we leave all that to Him?

In many ways such ideas mirror the current glossing over done by the Obama administration vis-a-vis Bush Administration crimes of torture and violations of the US constitution and are entirely motivated by groups’ needs to absolve themselves of responsibilty for actions of the past or the future.

Could the Government be Complicit in the 12/25 Terror Attack?


Even this early after the event there are attributed news stories to say certain officials in government wanted Umar AdulMuttalib  to enter the US, even though they knew of his terrorist ties.  The rational was his presence would lead actionable intelligence, bigger fish during his visit in America.   If  intelligence knew of his connection to Awlaki who it’s said is in Yemen, who could be bigger than that on the shores of America?  Frankly, the answer is no one, but what AbdulMuttalib’s failed attempt did do for the government was to allow intelligence officers to go on record saying, under certain circumstances, they could  and would target  American citizens for assassination no matter where they were in the world and continuing the previous administration’s assault on the US Constitution .  Building on the Bush administration’s precedent of proclaiming a war on terror, something the neocons have claimed Obama is no longer prosecuting,  the present administration has taken the step of reinterpreting the 5th amendment’s proscription of violating one’s life, liberty or property without due process, and in the process established future  precedent which could allow for extra judicial killing of any American, any where in the world.  For a government that finds its purpose in massive military expenditures and the perpetuity of conflict, the risks to the general public  of allowing Muttalib into the country  were dwarfed by the benefits to the government of a citizenry motivated by fear to allow constitutional and fiscal excesses .