by Marvin Ramirez
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: As we read the little information that mainstream media has published in their controlled media about the recent scandals that have surfaced within the Barack Obama’s presidency, we wonder how much more there is in there, and what has been happening in the president’s administration that we never expected. I ran into this very detailed article by Shaid Buttar, Obama’s legacy, which give us a lot more light of what and how much this president has done to destruction and deterioration of the same Bill of Rights and the Constitution he swore to defend and obey. Due to the length of the article, it will be published in two parts. THIS IS PART 2.
Obama’s legacy: A tyrannical dictatorship?
by Shahid Buttar
The First Amendment: freedom of the press
President Obama also reiterated his recent call for a reporter shield law to enable the press to do its job without interference from prosecutors. This suggestion lends itself to criticism on the grounds of both hypocrisy and insufficiency.
A reporter shield law is important, but the president’s speech ignored both his own administration’s attacks on the press (which he needed no legislation to have curtailed), as well as its vindictive, predatory, and authoritarian crackdown on government whistleblowers (like Thomas Drake, or Bradley Manning, or John Kiriakou) who have resigned their careers to inform the public about government abuses.
The First Amendment: rights to dissent, assembly, and speech
President Obama also recognized that the ham-fisted security measures for which he and his predecessor are both known run the risk of “alter[ing] our country in troubling ways,” before pledging a “proud commitment to civil liberties for all who call America home.”
As a seeming illustration, he allowed an extended (and quite thoughtful) interruption from the audience, noting that the opportunity for a citizen to challenge her president reflects the vitality of liberty in America.
But his rhetorical respect for dissent stands in sharp contrast with the actual actions of federal agencies. Recent investigations have documented a vicious crackdown on dissent executed by the FBI, in partnership with police agencies around the country, to violently suppress the Occupy and peace movements.
At the same time, the IRS was discriminatorily auditing conservative groups, as well as transpartisan constitutionalist groups, including the organization I lead, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Letting a heckler interrupt a speech is no substitute for respecting the public’s rights to assembly, speech, and the press. Words are welcome, but they are far from enough.
Praising American Muslims while abusing us
President Obama’s comments regarding American Muslims were also welcome, but again, ignored the harsh reality on the ground.
He reiterated that the US is not at war with Islam, praised the support of American Muslims for US counterterrorism operations, and indeed, play a key role in winning the battle for hearts & minds abroad. He even reminded listeners that terrorism in America has been instigated by anti-government Christians more often than by Muslims.
Yet during the president’s tenure, the FBI has infiltrated mosques around the country, lied to communities—and courts—about it, recorded sexual encounters to enable blackmail, and bribed unsophisticated Muslims of all races into government-initiated plots in order to inflate both its own institutional reputation and the threat of domestic terrorism (while conspicuously ignoring real plots, like the Boston marathon bombings).
Restoring First Amendment rights—for the press, dissidents, and religious minorities—will require wide-ranging changes at the FBI that few in Washington have discussed.
Perhaps most remarkably, the president explained that “Force alone cannot make us safe,” before noting the overwhelming and untenable costs of war, and the greater opportunity to achieve lasting security by winning not just battlefields, but also hearts & minds.
But the president—like his predecessor—has long ignored many of those opportunities.
On the one hand, he explained how building roads, schools, and hospitals can undermine terrorist recruitment, in sharp contrast to the torture and drone strikes that encourage it.
But giving weapons to dictators, protecting American textile manufactures through discriminatory tariffs, enabling terror networks to fund themselves through the black market opportunities created by the failed war on drugs, and destabilizing global food markets by encouraging domestic agricultural overproduction through corporate subsidies, all play an enormous roles in enabling terrorism. Yet none of these subjects are even discussed in these terms in Washington.
If his rhetoric matched reality, the president’s speech would have been world historical, repudiating a decade of lawlessness and restoring the best in America. And it was excellent, even if occasionally duplicitous. The question now is whether it was anything more than words, and whether the Administration will convert the president’s welcome rhetoric into long overdue action.
That, in turn, depends in part on whether Congress grows more assertive in asserting its checks & balances on executive power. Fortunately, we can each encourage that result