Friday, April 26, 2013

Obama: Cruel And Unusual Punishment

They are not that different. Photo via Gawker.
Barack Obama is great at giving rousing speeches of consolation after every fresh mowing down of Americans, whether it's toddlers in Newtown or runners and their supporters in Boston, but his presidency is marred by having increased some of the cruelest policies in the history of this country. Those who love him, want to pretend this is not happening. They give the guy a pass they would not dream of giving George W. Bush. After 9/11 and with the pretext of fighting terrorism, this country threw the Constitution in the garbage and set it on fire, discarded the Geneva Convention, and imposed a series of unprecedented measures that strongly curtail the safeguarding of individual rights and the administration of true justice. What is going on in terms of lawlessness is directly proportional to our revolting public discourse about freedom and democracy. Revolting.
1. Guantánamo. Wasn't he supposed to close it? There is a terrible hunger strike going on, in which some prisoners are being force fed with tubes up their noses. Some of these prisoners have been festering in there for more than a decade. This defies the Geneva convention, the American Constitution, and every human rights law in existence. This is an outrage. For instance:
In September 2012, a Yemeni man named Adnan Latif died at Guantanamo in what officials say was a suicide. Latif had been cleared by the Bush and Obama administration, and a federal judge had ordered his release. That order was overturned on the Obama Department of Justice's appeal, however, and Latif died after a decade of imprisonment despite never having been accused of a crime. He was the ninth person to die at Guantanamo.
2. Drone attacks in Pakistan. I'm no fan of islamist barbarians, but these attacks seem to hurt far more civilians than they should. They also increase the fanatical hatred that these people harbor for the US.

3. Mass deportations of undocumented immigrants through a cruel, inhumane, utterly repulsive system manned by the Department of Homeland Security and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), which is based on keeping detainees in private prisons that happen to make money by the inmate. This is appalling.
There have been more deportations in Obama's presidency than at any other period in American history. This has been documented extensively, but if you want your liver to collapse, read William Finnegan's piece in The New Yorker about an American man, Mark Lyttle, a unfortunately brown skinned redneck, who was deported to Mexico twice, despite the fact that he is mentally ill, and as American as apple pie and egregious human rights abuses. Out of 400,000 deportees, about 1% are American citizens who are wrongly deported because of a despicable system that is willfully blind to justice and reason.
Since it looks to the rest of the world that we only shed tears, do vigils, light candles, bring flowers and write poems when Americans suffer, think of your fellow citizens. That could be you on the wrong side of the incompetent, sadistic bureaucrats of the DHS and ICE. Hell, with enough bad luck, someone might confuse you with a member of Al-Qaeda and send you to Guantánamo, where you have no rights whatsoever.
These things not only go on unabated in the era of Hope and Change, but they are pursued with unusual zeal, because Obama's greatest fear is to be accused of being soft on terrorism, of being a tender hearted liberal who doesn't have the balls to stand up to the "enemies" of this country.
So next time he brings a tear to your eye with his oratory, remember, there but for the grace of God you go. We are letting this country become a fascist state. It has become worse during this Democratic presidency. Don't whine later when your rights are trampled.

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