Saturday, December 17, 2011

Obama and arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention, committing civilians to military custody in the US

President Barack Obama has a terrible record on civil liberties. The fact that any of the authoritarian Republicans running for their Party's nomination to run against him would be worse - Ron Paul included, maybe especially Ron Paul - doesn't change the fact that Obama's record is terrible.

Will Bunch comments on the latest sad piece of evidence of this (President Obama: A tough-talking coward Attywood 12/15/2011):

Barack Obama had a remarkable chance to be that most courageous president in American history. He became the 44th president after a dangerous, generations-long slide of a national security state run amok was punctuated over the last decade by some of the most outrageous abuses in America's long history -- the acceptance and carrying out of unlawful torture and the establishment of a gulag of prisons, some secret and one in Guantanamo Bay that stood for the world as a dark beacon of everything that had gone off the tracks in the 2000s. At the very core was the chucking of the longstanding right of habeas corpus, that anyone suspected of crimes -- no matter how henious -- would get a day inside a court in what was once the world's greatest criminal justice system.

But President Obama was not courageous. He is a coward. He did the easiest, most politically expedient things. He backed down from closing Guantanamo without a fight, asserted a right to hold terror suspects forever without facing trial, ordered and successfully carried out the extra-legal killing of an American citizen, and now he's about to sign a bill that not only ratifies some of those terrible things but broadens his power to hold even citizens indefinitely. [my emphasis]
This is part of an ugly trend that has produced an increasing criminalization of public protest, as we had seen in the grimly militarized responses of many urban police departments to the Occupy protests. It's also the case that some of the ugliest responses occurred in cities with Democratic mayors.

Will mentions Papa Doc Paul, too: "Sure, you could vote for the only one candidate who opposes that, in Ron Paul, but Paul would carry a ton of awful baggage along with his flouride-frightened pals from the John Birch Society into the White House. Who wants that?"

He's being generous to Papa Doc here. A Papa Doc Presidency would very soon - like before Inauguration Day - discover that the Republic was being urgently menaced by dangerous Communistoliberals and scary black people and that them thar Islamunofascists actually were as bad as other Republicans have been saying. And the "libertarian" civil liberties fluff would be out the door.

Small-d democracy needs both an active protest movement on a variety of fronts outside the Democratic Party as well as a Democratic Party that's a lot more Andrew Jackson and Franklin Roosevelt and much less Grover Cleveland and Herbert Hoover.

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