Tag Archive: Obama Administration

Jun 12 2018

The Assault on Freedom of the Press

The war with the press did not start with Donald Trump. It began under George W. Bush and expanded when Barack Obama went after New York Times reporter James Risen in that administration’s prosecution of Jeffrey Sterling, a former undercover CIA agent accused of espionage. The Justice Department wanted Mr. Risen to testify at the …

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Mar 15 2018

CIA Torture Rears Its Ugly Head Again

Torture is back in the news with the nomination of the Central Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Gina Haspel, who ran the black site at which Abu Zubaydah was detained and interrogated, to head the agency. She personally supervised the torture of Zubaydah who was waterboarded 183 times over the course of one month and lost …

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Aug 21 2012

You’re Doing It Wrong!: Obama’s Constitution by John Cusack

Cross-posted from Voices on the Square…

Welcome to You’re Doing It Wrong, a weekly column taking the Powers That Be (PTB) – whether they be political, media, or business – to task for poor information, poor framing, and poor leadership.

This is an extraordinary piece by John Cusack with Jonathan Turley that needs to be read by everyone, and especially by those of us who consider ourselves progressives and/or liberals. It’s long, but it’s well worth the read. Printed in its entirety with permission from the author, John Cusack.

*****

By John Cusack

Now that the Republican primary circus is over, I started to think about what it would mean to vote for Obama…

Since mostly we hear from the daily hypocrisies of Mitt and friends, I thought we should examine “our guy” on a few issues with a bit more scrutiny than we hear from the “progressive left”, which seems to be little or none at all.

Instead of scrutiny, the usual arguments in favor of another Obama presidency are made: We must stop fanatics;-he’s the last line of defense from the corporate barbarians-and of course the Supreme Court. It all makes a terrible kind of sense and I agree completely with Garry Wills who described the Republican primaries as ” a revolting combination of con men and fanatics…the current primary race has become a demonstration that the Republican party does not deserve serious consideration for public office.”

True enough.

But yet…

Jul 30 2012

Obama administration stonewalling UN questions about abuse of Occupy protesters

In December of 2011, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Protection of Free Expression, Frank La Rue, and the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, Maina Kiai, sent a letter to the Obama administration reminding the U.S. government of its international obligations to “take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of all peaceful protesters be respected.”

This letter was prompted by the government’s response to the Occupy movement.

The Obama administration many months later has yet to respond:

Federal officials have yet to respond to two United Nations human rights envoys who formally requested that the UI.S. government protect Occupy protesters against excessive force by law enforcement officials.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the two envoys called on U.S. officials to “explain the behavior of police departments that violently disbanded some Occupy protests last fall” and expressed concern that excessive use of force “could have been related to [the protesters’] dissenting views, criticisms of economic policies, and their legitimate work in the defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” …

In the letter, the envoys raised a particular concern that the “crowd control techniques used to manage and disperse these assemblies might have been intended to insert fear and intimidation on protesters throughout the country.”

The letter to the Obama administration was made public at the UN Human Rights Council meeting.

Jun 11 2012

Lame Ducks Cooking Up A Catfood Christmas for Country

A perfect storm is brewing in the elite backrooms where policy is made and it is beginning to bubble up from the factory floor into the media where their policies are sold.  Prepare the vital organs of your body for a “December Surpise” as some are calling it. The debt ceiling will be reached before the elections, sequestration from the Budget Control Act of 2011 will be going into effect (and huge military contractors are already threatening massive layoffs). The elite rhetoric about the need for austerity will likely be at a fever pitch on the campaign trail and in the media.

It’s going to be a mighty (if completely contrived) crisis.

Fortunately the elites have already got the answer to all of the problems that are being prepared to come to a head.  Never fear, they’ve been working on it for decades.

A “Grand Bargain” will solve everything.  

May 29 2012

FOIA Revelations Show Administration Role In Occupy Crackdown

DHS documents were released to Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) that despite extensive redactions reveal a greater administration role than previously known in the crackdown on the Occupy movement.

The release is described on the PCJF website:

Homeland Security Documents Show Massive Nationwide Monitoring of Occupy Movement

Documents just obtained by the PCJF from its FOIA request show massive nationwide monitoring, surveillance and information sharing between the Department of Homeland Security and local authorities in response to Occupy. The PCJF, also on behalf of author/filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee, has made a series of FOIA demands regarding law enforcement involvement in the Occupy Crackdown. …

This set of released materials reveals intense involvement by the DHS’ National Operations Center (NOC) in these activities. The DHS describes the NOC as, “the primary national-level hub for domestic situational awareness, common operational picture, information fusion, information sharing, communications, and coordination pertaining to the prevention of terrorist attacks and domestic incident management. The NOC is the primary conduit for the White House Situation Room and DHS Leadership for domestic situational awareness and facilitates information sharing and operational coordination with other federal, state, local, tribal, non-governmental operation centers and the private sector.”

Documents are available in 3 pdfs here, here and here.

Apr 08 2012

Squat and Spread Your Cheeks

Thanks to five out of nine Supreme Court justices at the urging of the Obama administration that’s what 14 million Americans a year can expect to hear when they get arrested and sent to jail.  That includes several hundred thousand people per year arrested for minor infractions, everything from having unpaid traffic tickets to, oh, what is it that protesters get charged with… disorderly conduct, public nuisance or irritating an idiot that has mistakenly been issued a badge, a gun and a can of mace.

Supreme court justices allow for routine strip-searches of inmates in US jails

By a 5-4 vote and splitting along conservative-liberal ideological lines, the high court ruled that privacy rights involving the searches were outweighed by security concerns by jails about a suspect hiding drugs, weapons or other contraband.

The decision could have broad impact as nearly 14 million Americans spend time in jail or prison every year, including an estimated 700,000 people in jail for less serious misdemeanor offenses.

The justices upheld a ruling by a US appeals court based in Philadelphia that it was reasonable to search everyone entering a jail, even without suspicion of any criminal activity.

The decision was a victory for the jails and for the Obama administration, which argued for an across-the-board rule allowing strip-searches of all those entering the general jail population, even those arrested on minor offenses.

In Justice Breyer’s dissent in Florence vs Board of Chosen Freeholders he makes clear just what sort of searches that the Supreme Court at the urging of the Obama administration has given a blanket imprimatur to:

‘a visual inspection of the inmate’s naked body. This should include the inmate opening his mouth and moving his tongue up and down and from side to side, removing any dentures, running his hands through his hair, allowing his ears to be visually examined, lifting his arms to expose his arm pits, lifting his feet to examine the sole, spreading and/or lifting his testicles to expose the area behind them and bending over and/or spreading the cheeks of his buttocks to expose his anus. For females, the procedures are similar except females must in addition, squat to expose the vagina.’

Mar 07 2012

Congress moves to criminalize protest, Occupiers beware!

There is bill that is dangerous to your first amendment rights that has moved through Congress and awaits the President’s signature.  The aptly titled, “Screw The First Amendment, You Damned Protesters Get Off My Lawn Act innocuously titled “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011,” has passed the Senate by unanimous consent and the House recorded only 3 votes against it.  There has been virtually no coverage in the mainstream press.

This bill which its sponsor Thomas Rooney (R-Fla) says was written to tighten up restrictions on trespass on the White House grounds is a monument to what a difference one omitted word can make and to the importance of precise language in law.

The revisions would make the law vague and open to exploitative interpretation that would effectively outlaw protest not only near persons or locations protected by the Secret Service (presidents, vice presidents, presidential Candidates, foreign dignitaries, etc.) but also at events vaguely described as, “special events of national significance.”  

Aug 10 2010

The Week in Editorial Cartoons, Part II – Climate Change Obstructionism

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

Nick Anderson

Nick Anderson, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Houston Chronicle