Obama: An Authoritarian Corporatist

by Leif Brecke

Civil Liberties

“Reporters Without Borders has released its annual World Press Freedom Index and the United States fell 27 points to No. 47 on the list. Why? “more than 25 [reporters] were subjected to arrests and beatings at the hands of police” during Occupy movement protests.”   https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/01/25-6

“Signed Trespass Bill, making it a federal offense to be “disruptive” at political events”

Obama signs anti-protest Trespass Bill  http://rt.com/usa/news/trespass-bill-obama-secret-227/

How Big a Deal is H.R. 347, That “Criminalizing Protest” Bill? http://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/how-big-deal-hr-347-criminalizing-protest-bill

“Continued and expanded Bush’s police state”   http://www.salon.com/2012/03/05/the_cost_of_americas_police_state/singleton/

Homeland Security Communicated with Local Officials About Occupy   http://news.yahoo.com/homeland-security-communicated-local-officials-occupy-203232737.html

Why Obama’s ‘targeted killing’ is worse than Bush’s torture: Both are legally prohibited but speciously justified by the White House. The difference? Obama’s policy kills innocent bystanders   http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/20/why-obama-targeted-killing-is-like-bush-torture

Attorney General Holder defends execution without charges,” Glenn Greenwald, salon.com, March 6, 2012   http://www.salon.com/2012/03/06/attorney_general_holder_defends_execution_without_charges/singleton/

“San Francisco attorney Jon Eisenberg thinks he’s learned a thing or two about Barack Obama over the past 15 months. Eisenberg, who won a landmark decision against the government in Northern California’s U.S. District Court Wednesday on a wiretapping case, says that when it comes to violating civil liberties in the name of national security, the present occupant of the White House is just as bad as — or “even worse” than — his predecessor.” http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2010/04/obama_wiretap_ruling.php

Three myths about the detention bill: The language of the bill President Obama will sign is crystal clear on most key issues — and it is repugnant   http://www.salon.com/2011/12/16/three_myths_about_the_detention_bill/singleton/

“Claims ACTA could be ratified without Congressional approval and that it would override US law” : http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120307/13454918027/obama-administration-acta-is-binding-dont-worry-your-pretty-little-heads-about-tpp.shtml

“Authorized the assassination of US citizens abroad, an unprecedented declaration of executive power”   http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/world/middleeast/07yemen.html?hp

Pentagon Says U.S. Citizens With Terrorism Ties Can Be Targeted in Strikes atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/pentagon-says-u-s-citizens-with-terrorism-ties-can-be-targeted-in-strikes/

The killing of Awlaki’s 16-year-old son: Extreme secrecy, as usual, shrouds this act, but it underscores how often the U.S. uses violence around the world   http://www.salon.com/2011/10/20/the_killing_of_awlakis_16_year_old_son/

Holder: U.S. can lawfully target American citizens   www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/holder-us-can-lawfully-target-american-citizens/2012/03/05/gIQANknFtR_story.html

US requests for secret spying warrants rose to nearly 2K in 2011, and not a single one was rejected http://boingboing.net/2012/05/03/us-requests-for-secret-spying.html

“Defended the use of warrantless wiretapping”

Obama Channels Cheney: Obama adopts Bush view on the powers of the presidency.   http://boingboing.net/2012/05/03/us-requests-for-secret-spying.html

DOJ Urges Supreme Court to Halt Challenge to Warrantless Eavesdropping:   http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/02/scotus-fisa-amendments/

Officials Push to Bolster Law on Wiretapping:   http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/us/19wiretap.html?_r=1

“Refused to declassify a secret memo regarding the president’s power for warrantless spying” http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/08/obama-doj-john-yoo-memos-on-spying-must-stay-secret/244312/

“Defended the use of warrantless GPS vehicle tracking, which was ruled unconstitutional”

Busted! Two New Fed GPS Trackers Found on SUV   http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/11/gps-tracker-times-two/all/1

“Allowed TSA to continue and expand its outrageous security theater”   http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/274033/ten-tsa-outrages-charlie-cooke

“Specifically requested additional money for more TSA full-body scanners”   http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/02/14/budget-calls-for-more-airport-scanners/

NYPD Surveillance: White House Helped Pay For Surveillance Of Muslim Neighborhoods http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/27/nypd-muslim-surveillance_n_1303400.html

Unaccountable, unjustifiable (foreign) drug war spending   http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/09/world/la-fg-narco-contract-20110609

“Supports mandatory DNA testing of those arrested for crimes, regardless of whether they have been convicted” http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/34097.html

Obama Eyeing Internet ID for Americans http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20027837-501465.html

From Bush to Obama, the snooping goes on: The Patriot Act’s section 215 – just renewed by Congress – permits almost unlimited powers of surveillance of US citizens   http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/may/27/patriot-act-civil-liberties

Invoked “government secrecy” against a lawsuit by AT&T customers “who claim federal agents illegally intercepted their phone calls” http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/04/06/BARP16TJOQ.DTL

Raided homes of peace activists in Minneapolis   http://minnesotaindependent.com/71242/peace-activists-targeted-by-fbi-call-raids-harassment

Obama admin wants warrantless access to cell phone location data  http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/03/obama-admin-wants-warrantless-access-to-cell-phone-location-data/

Sought access to private e-mail correspondence without needing to go through a judge   http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/opinion/30fri1.html?_r=3

Attack on Whistle Blowers and Hightened Secrecy

Toobin: Obama has been ‘very tough’ on leakers   http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/07/politics/obama-leaks-prosecutions/

“Jane Mayer on the Obama war on whistle-blowers,” Glenn Greenwald, salon.com, May 16, 2011 http://www.salon.com/2011/05/16/whistleblowers_6/singleton/

The liberal betrayal of Bradley Manning: Why have liberals not rallied to the WikiLeaks source’s defense?   http://www.salon.com/2012/04/10/the_liberal_betrayal_of_bradley_manning/

“When President Barack Obama took office, in 2009, he championed the cause of government transparency, and spoke admiringly of whistle-blowers, whom he described as “often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government.” But the Obama Administration has pursued leak prosecutions with a surprising relentlessness. Including the Drake case, it has been using the Espionage Act to press criminal charges in five alleged instances of national-security leaks—more such prosecutions than have occurred in all previous Administrations combined. The Drake case is one of two that Obama’s Justice Department has carried over from the Bush years.”

“The Secret Sharer: Is Thomas Drake an enemy of the state?” Jane Mayer, New Yorker, May 23, 2011 http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/23/110523fa_fact_mayer?printable=true&currentPage=all#ixzz1pF3Ew3Kr

The Most Transparent Administration Ever™

Two events from this week provide context for comparing Obama to his predecessor on secrecy. http://www.salon.com/2012/03/30/the_most_transparent_administration_ever%E2%84%A2/singleton/

Editorial: TSA spreading its wings beyond airportsAnti-terror teams target bus, train depots, cruise ships. Have your papers ready. http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/tsa-333360-vipr-something.html

The Obama administration should rethink its outrageous proposal that would allow the government to lie to citizens about whether documents exist.   http://articles.latimes.com/2011/oct/31/opinion/la-ed-secrets-20111031

Marijuana (Civil Liberties and Medicine)

“But over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multi­agency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. “

Obama’s War on Pot: In a shocking about-face, the administration has launched a government-wide crackdown on medical marijuana   http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/obamas-war-on-pot-20120216?print=true

Is Obama’s Drug Policy Worse Than Bush’s? The War on Medical Marijuana Escalates   http://www.alternet.org/drugs/152666/is_obama%27s_drug_policy_worse_than_bush%27s_the_war_on_medical_marijuana_escalates?page=entire

Immigration and the Prison-Industrial Complex

“‘Lost in Detention’: As Obama Admin Deports Record 400,000, Film Explores What Immigrants Face Behind Bars,” October 20, 2011, Democracy Now!   http://www.democracynow.org/2011/10/20/lost_in_detention_as_obama_admin

“Obama administration reports record number of deportations,” Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times, October 18, 2011 http://articles.latimes.com/2011/oct/18/news/la-pn-deportation-ice-20111018

Class Warfare

Growth of Income Inequality Is Worse Under Obama than Bush by Matt Stoller, fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/04/growth-of-income-inequality-is-worse-under-obama-than-bush.html

$16 Trillion in Secret Bailouts

First Federal Reserve Audit Reveals Trillions in Secret Bailouts   https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/08/28-3

Obama’s Wall Street cabinet  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=13208

Why Obama’s JOBS Act Couldn’t Suck Worse   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/09-13

Obama Signs “Fraud-Friendly” JOBS Act into LawEconomist: Bill will bring fraud, destroy jobs http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/04/05-8

Obama’s Creepy Executive Order: Permanent War Economy   http://www.progressive.org/permanent_war_economy.html

New Obama Foreclosure Plan Helps Banks At Taxpayers’ Expense   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/24/foreclosure-plan-obama-harp-refinancing_n_1028554.html?ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=776950,b=facebook

Former JPMorgan Lobbyist Manages the Banking Committee Expected to Investigate JPMorgan’s Trading Loss http://truth-out.org/news/item/9297-former-jpmorgan-lobbyist-manages-the-banking-committee-expected-to-investigate-jpmorgans-trading-loss

War

“Obama has now unilaterally attacked more countries than Bush, notably bombing inside Pakistan, Yemen and now Libya without Congressional approval.”

“Look at the record, says Chomsky: Obama is in many cases worse than George Bush and Tony Blair — on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, Egypt — and would be indicted for war crimes if the Nuremburg principles were applied.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8mA4HYTO790

Announced “Withdrawal Plan” that leaves more troops in Afghanistan than when he started http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/06/22/250807/obamas-troop-reduction-afghanistan/

Authorized military intervention in Libya without the approval of Congress:   http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jun/16/obama-the-new-caesar/

This was after stating as a presidential candidate, “President Does Not Have Power Under Constitution to Unilaterally Authorize a Military Attack’   http://cnsnews.com/news/article/obama-president-does-not-have-power-under-constitution-unilaterally-authorize-military

“Announced a $60 billion sale of arms to the Saudi Arabian dictatorship, the largest arms deal in history” http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-20016181-503543.html

“Sold arms to abusive Bahrain regime and used legal loophole to avoid telling Congress about it”   http://www.salon.com/2012/01/30/obama_quietly_sells_arms_to_human_rights_abuser_bahrain/singleton/

“Granted a waiver allowing four countries to continue receiving US military aid even though they use child soldiers” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/27/AR2010102707157.html

“Obama, Iran and preventive war,” Glenn Greenwald, salon.com, March 5, 2012   http://www.salon.com/2012/03/05/obama_iran_and_preventive_war/singleton/

“Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing,” Greg Miller, Washington Post, December 27, 2011 http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/national-security/under-obama-an-emerging-global-apparatus-for-drone-killing/2011/12/13/gIQANPdILP_story.htmlEx-CIA

Official Slams Obama’s ‘Indiscriminate’ Use of Drones   http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/06/06-2

Could Obama Be Impeached for Waging War in Libya Without Approval of Congress?   http://www.democracynow.org/2011/6/20/glenn_greenwald_could_obama_be_impeached

US more unpopular in the Arab world than under Bush: A new poll confirms prior ones: anti-American sentiment is now at dangerously – even unprecedentedly – high levels   http://www.salon.com/2011/07/13/arabs/singleton/

Air strikes in Yemen kill 45 suspected Qaeda militants http://news.yahoo.com/yemen-air-raids-kill-10-suspected-qaeda-militants-063148843.html

“Ordered a cruise missile and cluster bomb attack in Yemen that killed women and children, suppressed the civilian casualties, and then imprisoned a journalist who revealed the truth”   http://www.salon.com/2012/03/14/obamas_personal_role_in_a_journalists_imprisonment/singleton/

Broke promise to reject the Military Commissions Act: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/promise/178/develop-an-alternative-to-president-bushs-militar/

“Continuing policy of maintaining thousands of troops at over a thousand military bases around the world” http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/MA12Df01.html

Obama has opened three new military bases in Honduras   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/world/americas/us-turns-its-focus-on-drug-smuggling-in-honduras.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1

2,500 US Marines to be stationed in Australia http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57325630/obama-u.s-to-expand-military-in-australia/?tag=stackObama’s

New War in Uganda http://spectator.org/archives/2011/10/31/obamas-new-war-in-uganda

Obama says 100 combat-equipped troops will help in hunt for Lord’s Resistance Army’s wanted leader Joseph Kony.   http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2011/10/20111014174712102972.html

As troops pull out of Iraq, Obama plans more combat forces elsewhere in the Middle East  http://www.salon.com/2011/10/31/what_withdrawal_means_for_an_empire/singleton/

A look at US Presence in Iraq After (Some) Troops Leave   http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/10/a-look-at-us-presence-in-iraq-after-troops-leave/ 

Obama Quietly Renews U.S. Embargo on Cuba http://news.yahoo.com/obama-quietly-renews-u-embargo-cuba-190536530.html

US sold bunker-busting bombs to Israel: report   http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g_fbHW-9pGfmTay0V9gyCNrmq2Fg?docId=CNG.d992cfcc9e648d8c70f329e5edb171b2.e1

US Resumes Arms Sales to Bahrain.  Less than three months after including Bahrain on a list of human rights offenders requiring the United Nations’ attention, the Obama administration seems to have changed its mind   http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2011/09/bahrain-united-states-weapon-sale

Obama cozies up to Central Asian dictator: The exigencies of the Afghan war lead the administration to ask for military aid to Uzbekistan   http://www.salon.com/2011/09/17/uzbekistan_afghistan/

New American Ally in Somalia: ‘Butcher’ Warlord:   http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/09/new-american-ally-in-somalia-butcher-warlord/

(Also check out Jeremy Scahill’s extensive piece on U.S. history in Somalia):   http://www.thenation.com/article/163210/blowback-somalia

Environment (Just a preliminary overview)

Obama’s policies are Game Over for the Climate says James Hansen who directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is the author of “Storms of My Grandchildren.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/opinion/game-over-for-the-climate.html

Obama Boosts Coal Exports Prompting Allies Complaints:   http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-31/obama-boosts-coal-exports-prompting-allies-complaints-1-.html

Ignoring Protest and Warnings, Obama Ushers in Era of Unprecedented Arctic Drilling   http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/24-5

Obama says Deepwater Horizon environmental review had to be waived because of bad law — which he could have fought   http://www.salon.com/2010/06/03/salazar_3/singleton/

Obama Endorses KXL Pipeline, Native Americans Forced to Protest from ‘Cage’ Obama: indefinite ‘development of oil and gas infrastructure’   http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/03/22-3

Keith and Joe Romm, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, discuss Obama’s decision to scuttle new, tighter pollution regulations until 2013, sticking with the ones his own EPA director called “legally indefensible” just last month. “This is worse than what the Bush administration wanted to do on air pollution,” Romm says.   http://current.com/shows/countdown/videos/joe-romm-says-obamas-hold-on-smog-reform-worse-than-bush-administration

“There are a lot of things about environmental policy from the Bush era that we’d like to see reversed, but one thing he may have done better than Obama is preserve, or at least not destroy, national parks, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. We already know these treasured public places, America’s best idea, are in trouble, but PEER has put together an interesting analysis: the National Park Service under Obama has taken a series of actions that are either worse than Bush-era policy or that actively undo protections implemented during those eight years.”

National Parks Policy: Obama Vs. Bush http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/national-parks-policy-obama-vs-bush.html

“The Center for Progressive Reform analyzed data gathered from the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) over the last 10 years, and reveals that the Obama administration has entertained an astonishing number of industry lobbyists, after which it often proceeded to weaken an also-astonishing number of environmental rules.”

Obama’s Compromises on the Environment are as Destructive as Bush’s Ignorance   http://www.treehugger.com/energy-policy/obama-worse-bush-environmental-protection-new-report-alleges.html

Obama’s ‘Poverty-Relieving’ Plan for Africa a Profit Boon for Giant Agribusiness

$3 billion investment from BigAg leaves sustainable agriculture, small-scale farmers’ voices behind http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/18-3

More on Civil Liberties

The US Government Is Running A Massive Spy Campaign On Occupy Wall Street   http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-government-is-running-a-massive-spying-campaign-on-the-occupy-movement-2012-5

Has the FBI Launched a War of Entrapment Against the Occupy Movement?

Is the government unleashing the same methods of entrapment against OWS that it has used against left movements and Muslim-Americans?   http://www.alternet.org/story/155581/has_the_fbi_launched_a_war_of_entrapment_against_the_occupy_movement?page=entire

The Automation of Government Coercion   http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2012/05/the-automation-of-totalitarianism.html

secret Laws
secret Courts
secret Surveillance
secret Prisons
secret Killing
My freedom is dying behind closed doors. So is yours.

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