On New Year’s Eve, while few were paying attention, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill which authorizes the military to investigate and indefinitely detain any American citizen that the President chooses. It is now the law of the land, passed by both houses of Congress and signed by a Democratic president, that you can be identified as a possible terrorist and put into the hands of the military without any communication with the outside world – including attorneys, family, friends, or journalists. The military can then hold you without hearings or trials of any kind for the rest of your life if they so choose.
This is probably the single most frightening legislative act ever undertaken by an American Congress or president. The idea that a president could even remotely consider signing such a draconian and unconstitutional bill into law would never have occurred to me even during the Bush administration. The fact that the first black president in U.S. history is also the first president to turn his military against his own people should bring us all to tears of rage. I voted for this president. I donated to his campaign. For these things, I am now deeply ashamed. This is not a president that brings hope. This is not a man who represents to voters who he really is. This is not a man that I can ever vote for – no matter who the opponent is. Because ultimately, regardless of who Obama’s opponent turns out to be, that person will not have been involved with this law. That person will not have been a person who voted to turn the U.S. military against Americans. That person will not have enacted a law that would fit perfectly into the books of any tin pot dictatorship across the globe. In fact, nearly every dictatorship or authoritarian government worldwide has exactly this law on their books. All dictatorships need this law in order to pick up citizens who dissent and put them away in secret places – or kill them.
I don’t like Ron Paul because I think he’s probably a racist and a homophobe, but he’s angry about this law and he was one of the very few who voted against it. Seems reasonable to me. Let me put it this way: No president who signs a law like this should ever be reelected. Any opponent is preferable by a very wide margin. I hate myself for saying this because I have voted for Democrats all my life. But this is a presidential betrayal of the highest order. Worse, it is a governmental betrayal. Its magnitude is so great that it calls into question our ability to manage a democratic system. It weakens the very foundations of everything we have assumed and trusted about our system. It is an abysmal and terrifying start for the new year.
The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.
No American citizen can allow the U.S. military to take them into custody. And therein lies the real problem. If Americans find that they have no governmental or legal recourse to prevent their arbitrary abduction, arrest or ‘detainment’ by the military, then they have only one possible option left. That would be armed resistance against the U.S. military. What would you do if your son or daughter disappeared into a military prison without any trial? What if all three branches of government agreed that it was just fine to make Americans vanish without trial? With the current climate surrounding the Supreme Court this could certainly happen. What if a president began using this power to make troublesome people or political opponents vanish? What would your option be?
Your option and the option of great numbers of other frightened Americans would be something resembling armed resistance. Eventually, Americans would start killing U.S. military personnel. Soldiers who jumped out of vans to snatch Americans off streets would be shot to death by people defending themselves. This would be justified. In any democracy it would be legal self defense. In a country where the military has been turned against the citizens it becomes justifiable and necessary to kill military personnel while still firmly supporting the nation and its Constitutional basis. This is the unthinkable potential situation created by President Obama and our Congress.
Obama has signed a law that operates outside of the Constitution which guarantees due process to all American citizens. We are all presumed innocent until proven guilty. Obama, the House of Representatives and the Senate do not want that to be the case anymore. They are eliminating that fundamental Constitutional protection. This is a violent and dangerous act against freedom and the American people.
Obama has signed a law which now makes every member of the military a potential threat to every American citizen at home and abroad. You must remember that nothing in this bill requires anyone to prove that a detainee is a terrorist. Since no lawyers or courts are involved no one actually needs to prove anything. The law will simply be used to arrest and hold anyone of the President’s choosing for any reason of the President’s choosing.
A journalist could be detained by the military because the President asserts that the journalist wrote something suspicious in a newspaper article. We may never hear from that journalist again.
Think very carefully about this the next time you watch your troops celebrating Thanksgiving during an NFL broadcast. Those smiling, turkey-eating troops now have the power to march into your house, throw you into a canvas bag and take you to a cinder block cell where no one will ever hear from you again. That’s no exaggeration. What do you think ‘indefinite detention’ means?
The President signed this bill into law with his own little attachment to it – a statement. He claims to have significant issues with the detention provisions. He promises that his administration will never use those provisions to detain Americans. He ‘promises.’ But of course he signs the law. He takes the power. But he wants us all to feel a little better about it because he promises he really won’t use it. This is one creepy little bullshitter if I ever saw one.
Obama has lost all my admiration, my support, my money, and my vote. I will vote for anyone else. Anyone. I don’t care if it’s a Republican. I don’t care if the person can’t read, write, or do arithmetic. The bottom line is that whoever that person is, he or she won’t be Obama. Recall elections should be held to try to remove Senators and Representatives who voted for this bill. I am personally voting for a Democratic primary opponent to my current Representative who voted for this law. People who pose as liberals – like Al Franken – should be removed. The very idea of a liberal Democrat voting for this terrifies me. It really means that we are running out of options. Someone is so interested in gaining this power of indefinite detention that they are willing and able to get everyone working in concert for it. They have totally overcome the distinctions between Democrats and Republicans… liberals and conservatives.
Obama has seized the single most important legal power underlying all dictatorships and authoritarian governments: the power to make people disappear.
Here’s an interesting Russia Times America report on the bill from early December 2011:
The United States government is attempting to physically destroy the Wikileaks organization. The ‘Cablegate’ release of diplomatic communications has begun to reveal that Western democracies maintain shadow governments that are outside the reach of their electorates. They appear to have a system in place that is not subject to the outcomes of elections. For me, that is the main thing suggested by the leaks.
The Obama administration is fully engaged in a very serious information war that threatens to turn the public eye toward the inner workings of a government sliding very quickly toward a new form of corporate/government fascism. The obvious connection between government, corporations, and the military is now under public scrutiny as we watch officials tell companies like Amazon and Paypal to cut off the Wikileaks operations. A democratic superpower is influencing, through threats or friendly suggestion, the behavior of companies that are enormously powerful on the Internet. It has become clear that we absolutely cannot expect any form of free expression to exist where Amazon or Paypal are concerned. The fact that Amazon controls most of the book trade in the U.S. is an emergency and should ultimately result in a move toward a more open source form of book selling. I would not want to be in the position of trying to sell a book on Amazon that contained thorough investigative reporting on U.S. government secrets or corruption. One call from Joseph Lieberman could shut everything down for my book.
The important thing about the Wikileaks is that they change journalism. They open a deep wound in the side of government that bleeds secrets, incompetence and corruption. The wound will continue to bleed because there will always be someone willing to leak the information. It’s simple human nature. There will always be a place to send that information and there will always be journalists to sift through it and print it for us to read. If this Wikileaks is killed, another will pop up.
Wikileaks is nothing more than a reporter sitting at a desk answering the phone and taking notes from a confidential source. Wikileaks is a reporter. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have openly declared themselves to be extremely dangerous enemies of a free press. They have already begun threatening university students who try to download or link to the Wikileaks data (the data is here, by the way). They will stop at nothing to end Wikileaks. We should be prepared for this. They will stop at absolutely nothing. Just wait for the leak. Then you’ll know.
Here’s an excellent article by John Naughton at the Guardian Newspaper about how governments now must either live with open access to information or try to shut down the net.
Mature Content – Language
When was it you realized that Americans had unwittingly elected a horrible president? Was it when he decided to cover up photographic evidence of systematic atrocities by U.S. troops? Was it when he took tax money to buy General Motors? Was it when he decided to continue an illegal war of aggression against Iraq? Was it when he decided to continue a Vietnam-like quagmire in Afghanistan? Was it when he decided that he would let British Petroleum defecate into his mouth? Was it when he began to falsify scientific research data about the water in the Gulf? Was it when he decided that he could constitutionally force every American citizen to purchase health insurance from brutally self-interested corporations? Was it when he decided to use the power of his office to forcefully defend the military’s anti-gay bigotry and discrimination?
Or was it when he ordered his Homeland Security employees to stick their fingers into your genitals if you decide not to allow the government to blast you with x-rays in a ‘full body scan?’
President Barack Obama has finally positioned himself, uniquely among modern presidents I think, so that actual physical resistance to a presidential order is not only logical but morally imperative.
The Transportation Security Administration is installing full body scan machines that use x-rays in airports across the nation. If you refuse to be photographed naked and dosed with x-rays that many scientists are very worried about, the TSA will force you to accept a physical ‘pat down’ that involves the probing and touching of your penis, vagina, breasts, and buttocks. In one airport, a woman’s blouse was removed in full public view to expose her bare breasts. Nearby agents then taunted and mocked her for several minutes as she tried to regain her composure and escape the area. This is a full-blown sexual assault that warrants a full physical response in self-defense, followed by prosecution of the TSA agents involved.
Why not just go through the full body scan machine? Because it photographs you naked. The TSA and the manufacturers have continually asserted that the machines cannot store images. But they have been proven repeatedly to be lying about this and thousands of the nude photos have been stored by the machines. Think about it. Would you build a scanning machine that could not save the photograph showing a bomb strapped to someone’s butt? Don’t you think you might need that photo in a courtroom trial at some point? Of course the machines store images. Only an idiot would think otherwise. They also shoot radiation all over your body. The pilots’ union is very nervous about this and wants pilots exempted from the machines. Scientists are weighing in to say that the radiation can have long-term effects on the human body. This is scary enough. But stop to think about how these machines will sit in airports and be tended to by dimwits earning minimum wage. Are we to expect these crotch-grabbing imbeciles to keep sophisticated x-ray machines in proper adjustment? Will it take a baby getting barbecued in one of these things to wake people up?
Yet, the TSA asserts that it has the right to pursue incredible monetary damages against you if you refuse the full body scan and the genital touching procedure. They can come after you even after they make you miss your flight and leave the airport. Shocking. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals actually upheld this civil penalty right.
We are far down the rabbit hole when a person, who doesn’t want to risk his or her health to x-ray radiation managed by low-level government employees, cannot reasonably refuse having their genitals and breasts touched without being turned into a criminal and put at risk of at least a ten thousand dollar penalty.
These TSA people can feel the genitals of children also. There’s no protection. You think this is pretty bad? Well it gets worse. They can also go inside your pants. If the agent decides that your clothing is a little too loose, they can go inside to feel your private parts. They can do it to children.
If some dude in an airport touches my special Christmas package, I’m going to put his head on the floor. I think anyone else should do just the same.
Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security, insists that the new procedures are necessary to thwart terrorist threats. Bullshit. These x-ray machines that they are trying to zap us with come from a company that employs the former Secretary of Homeland Security. Sound odd?
November 24, 2010 is National Opt-Out Day. People going through security at American airports are encouraged and expected to resist the governmental assault on freedom from unreasonable search – to resist being dosed with radiation and groped in the groin. I frankly hope that Opt-Out Day turns into a real nightmare for the TSA and for airlines. Thousands of people refusing to be assaulted by government goons will jam up airport lobbies very quickly. Flights will be delayed. Passengers will be asking for refunds. The airlines will react with anger on Capitol Hill.
Terrorists don’t have to blow up airplanes. Why are we allowing ourselves to be victimized at airports? Terrorists can just as easily climb onto trains or buses and blow them up. Will the TSA start touching our penises and vaginas at train stations and bus depots? Why wouldn’t they?
On November 24 American air travelers need to stop pretending to be mild sheep in their own airports. Have you ever noticed how when we set foot in an airport we suddenly become Mr. and Mrs. Proper? We behave as if we are all the most casual of normal harmless little people without the least tendency toward even the slightest outburst. We take it up the ass because we are all told to behave in just a certain way or we’ll be arrested. It’s a waste of energy to worry too much about terrorists. What air travelers should be more worried about is inattentive airline mechanics down on the tarmac. That’s where the real damage is done. Incompetence is far more dangerous than terrorism.
Americans have punched the idiot Obama hard in the face with the recent election results. They can do it again by punching gropers. ‘Touch my kid’s crotch and I’ll stick my fist down your throat.’ That’s the proper response.
One suggestion I have for our smiling President is that he should offer to demonstrate the new ‘pat down’ procedure on Secretary Napolitano. He could reach those long slender fingers of his down into her business pants, lift a roll or two of fat out of the way, and give the Secretary a good finger job for national security. We’d all be watching.
We all have a right to travel freely in this country without being subjected to dangerous radiation or getting groped. We have shown our crappy politicians what our anger can do in the recent mid-term elections. On November 24 let’s show them again.
Update 11/18: New York lawmakers are introducing legislation to prohibit the TSA from using the nude full body scanners at all airports in the state, including JFK, the largest international airport in the country.
President Barack Obama has failed to uphold the primary duty of the President of the United States, which is to protect it from physical harm. This president has inexplicably ignored his responsibilities and has turned over a planetary mega-disaster to the foreign oil company that caused the disaster. The total reliance upon a company that has proven itself incapable of planning for problems with underwater oil wells is an abdication of responsibility, a total loss of control and a political nightmare that will effectively end the Obama presidency. If you are a Democrat, as I am, you had better watch the video below. When James Carville, one of the great Democrats and political strategists of the 20th century screams at you this way, with this much anger and this much disbelief, you are a lame-duck president. Doesn’t matter how well you smile. Watch:
Carville is on the money. Obama should have immediately recognized that this hole in the Gulf is a very bad Chernobyl-level disaster that is going to wipe out the southern coast of the United States and possibly kill most life in the Gulf of Mexico. He should have set up an emergency command center in Louisiana at which he was present and he should have put the military at the site of the disaster so that they could use cameras and submarines to keep an eye on what British Petroleum was doing at the well head. There is no reason to believe what BP is telling the U.S. government. There is no reason to believe that they are actually trying a ‘top-kill’ procedure. There is no visual evidence of this and the U.S. military would be able to verify or refute the company’s claims.
The BP oil spill is a Chernobyl-level disaster. It is ongoing and will kill enormous stretches of coastline and turn large portions of the Gulf into dead zones. It will also kill human beings. BP is putting people out into poisonous waters without any Hazmat breathing gear. Those people are starting to get sick already. The poisons can destroy brain tissue and apparently damage lungs.
Fisherman hired to help clean up are getting sick from chemicals at oil spill:
President Obama has failed to put sufficient resources along the coasts to help with cleanup. Instead, he maneuvers politically by sending 1,200 National Guard troops to help ‘protect’ the border in Arizona when everyone knows that those troops cannot do anything at all but stand around and drink coffee. It is not legal for them to arrest anyone crossing the border and they are not authorized to do so. But they could certainly help down in Louisiana with oil.
Obama has decided to visit the area on Friday. So he can have a look. Why doesn’t he put his head into the thick sloppy goop that will be surrounding his boat. When he comes up he’ll be a well-oiled president machine.
This is a very weak president. He does not have the ability to move quickly – in real time – during an extended crisis. It is appalling that he has not been able to overcome his inertia over the course of an entire month of unfolding disaster. If I were an enemy of the United States, I would be paying very close attention to what is going on here and make my move right about now. Like North Korea.
What we find out later about this oil spill will make today’s anger seem mild. Never again will I be misled by a politician who paints himself as a hero to the people. Never. We were all so excited about having a woman candidate in the primaries and a black candidate in the presidential election. But those things really aren’t important enough. We feel proud for electing the nation’s first black president but look what it got us. It got us a corporate middle manager who gives billions to Wall Street friends, turns healthcare reform into a windfall for the insurance companies, continues two useless and expensive wars, continues to hold people in prisons without charges, and cannot figure out how to take control during a horrendous man-made disaster.