Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

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“You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t know your privacy is violated”. Those were the words out of the mouth of Mike Rogers, the chairmen of the House Oversight Committee of the United States Intelligence agencies. This ridiculous and frightening quote was said during a hearing about concerns American University College of Law professor Stephen Vladeck had over the NSA surveillance program. Mike Rogers has made it clear on many occasions how he supports the NSA surveillance program and feels the American people are on a need to know basis.

Thanks to Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked several top secret NSA documents to various media outlets. American citizens now know that their privacy is being violated. This has infuriated the Congressman, who has implied that Snowden may have been helped by the Russian Government. Saying “I believe there’s questions to be answered there. I don’t think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB” when asked by David Gregory if he thought the Russians helped Edward Snowden. Rogers has done everything in his power to label Snowden as a traitor, who’s “acts of betrayal place America’s military men and women at greater risk” and will have “lethal consequences for out troops in the field”. All of this is fear mongering at it’s best, as there is no evidence, what so ever that Snowden was or has been working with Russia, and that any of out troops are at greater risk.

Mike Rogers has a way of ginning up fear so he can continue his agenda. Which makes him very dangerous to American citizens and their rights. One example of this was a short exchange I had with him on Twitter the other day:
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The “changes” that Rogers is talking about in Obama’s Drone Policy was just lip service for those who are opposed to the drone program. There was no actual policy change for targeted strikes. On December 11th of 2013 a wedding party in Yemen was struck by a drone, killing 12 civilians. Yet Rep. Mike Rogers still thinks that so called “self-imposed red tape” is limiting drone strikes, and making The United States less safe. What the Congressmen doesn’t understand is that drone strikes are creating more individuals looking to attack and plot against U.S. interests. In a report by The Washington Post it shows that “U.S. drone strikes is stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants and driving tribesman to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the United States”. In the article a businessman whose two brothers were killed in a U.S. strike in March is quoted saying “These attacks are making people say, ‘We believe now that al-Qaedea is on the right side’”.

Just the other day on February 10th, two new revelations became known about the U.S. Drone policy. Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill released a report about “The NSA’s Secret Role in The U.S. Assassination Program” on their new news website The Intercept (Firstlook.org/theintercept/). In the report:

“a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.”

The former drone operator goes into further detail about how these strikes are conducted, using “the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist’s mobile phone” to “geolocate” a suspected terrorist. He makes it clear that “that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.”. “But he also states that innocent people have “absolutely” been killed as a result of the NSA’s increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic” Yet, Rep. Mike Rogers is furious over the fact that the American people know now what the government is doing in their name, with their tax dollars.

The other news on the U.S. Drone program that broke the other day by the Associated Press, was that the Obama Administration is weighing the decision if they should launch a drone attack on a U.S. citizen. The target is an “American citizen and suspected member of al-Qaida who is allegedly planning attacks on U.S. targets overseas” If the Obama Administration goes through with this attack, this would be the fifth U.S. Citizen killed by a drone strike under President Obama’s term. Under Obama’s new “policy”, American’s suspected of terrorism overseas can only be killed by the military and not the C.I.A.. This is the “red-tape” the Mike Rogers is referring to when he Tweeted me. The new policy isn’t about how it is legal/constitutional to kill a U.S. citizen, without trial. The new policy and “red tape” is about the method we kill a U.S. citizen.

Yet, Mike Rogers continues to spout out lies, and spin the truth. In the Academy Award nominated documentary “Dirty Wars”, Jeremy Scahill shows first hand what the effects of U.S. drone strikes have on the people of Yemen. Graphic images of women and children who have been killed by U.S drone strikes is disturbing, and eye opening. The effects it has on the villagers left in the destruction is heart breaking. One of the villagers says to Scahill “If children are terrorist we are all terrorist” while showing him photos of the aftermath of a drone strike, which killed women and children.

Mike Rogers is the Chairman of the committee that is suppose to over see all the U.S. intelligence committees, and says the U.S Drone Policy has too much “red tape”. Since becoming Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in 2011, Mike Rogers has received over $162,000 in campaign contributions from drone manufacturers (opensecrets.org). Any reasonable person would consider this a conflict of interest, but not in U.S. politics. Mike Rogers has a history of defending policies in the sake of campaign contributions. Back in March of 2013 Rogers was the biggest supporter of CISPA, a bill that would make American’s personal data accessible to the U.S. Government by setting up a knowledge-sharing agreement with private companies. Rogers tweeted, and then deleted a link to a story about how CISPA supporters, had received 15 times more cash from pro-CISPA groups compared to the opposition had received from anti-CISPA groups.

Mike Rogers’ wife Kristi Clemens Rogers, who is a former CEO of Aegis LLC, a security defense contractor company. Aegis would of benefited from CISPA, but it was voted down in the Senate, and threaten to be vetoed by President Obama. As CEO of Aegis, Mrs. Rogers was “focused on business development and new-market-entry relationship building for Aegis LLC and the worldwide Aegis Group, drawing on her established global network of relationships with key stakeholders in U.S. federal civilian, defense and intelligence agencies, foreign governments and leading private sector companies to pursue and secure new business opportunities in Latin and South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa, and to land U.S. defense and intelligence contracts.” Mrs. Rogers now works for Manatt, a lobbying firm were she is focused on “executive-level problem solving in the defense and homeland security sectors”. So you can safely say, Mr and Mrs. Rogers have a lot of stock invested in defense contractors success. Once again, any reasonable person would consider this a conflict of interest for Mike Rogers.

On February 4th, Mike Rogers finally went off the deep end, by accusing Glenn Greenwald of “selling his access to information” and calling him a “thief” and an “accomplice” to Snowden. Glenn Greenwald is the journalist who broke the story on the NSA snooping program based on the documents leaked by the whistle blower Edward Snowden. Mike Rogers is once again trying to protect his cronies in the defense and intelligence community, by threatening to imprison a journalist who has exposed them. Rogers is also sending a message to other journalist that he will not let The Constitution get in his way. Greenwald has not broken any laws by reporting on the NSA’s unconstitutional program, but he has angered those who benefit from it.

Mike Rogers is a very dangerous man, and his actions put American’s safety and liberties at risk. By calling for more Drone Strikes, which create blow back and new enemies toward the U.S.. Saying “red tape” let’s individuals who want to harm U.S. interest remain free, when the drone program is already responsible for countless civilian deaths. He does not argue the fact that we are killing our own citizens, he is arguing the fact that there is too much “red tape” preventing us killing our own citizens. He wants to keep American’s in the dark about their privacy being violated, labels journalist as criminals, who should be prosecuted. His campaign contributions mold his policies and his voting record. Mike Rogers puts his personal gain over the well being of the American people by supporting programs which are unpopular and dangerous to our country. Mike Rogers is the man who is in charge of overseeing the Intelligence Committees, when he should be the one being overseen. Mike Rogers is a man who gets angry at the fact that there is “red-tape” preventing the United States from killing one of it’s own citizens, without trial, whenever it feels someone is guilty. That kind of mindset, and ideology is what makes Mike Rogers The Most Dangerous Man in Congress.

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“February 23 marks 1000 days in prison for Bradley Manning – a young gay man locked up for allegedly leaking the scandolous U.S. diplomatic communications published by Wikileaks.

These leaks exposed the rampant criminality of American foreign policy – but President Obama has chosen to imprison the alleged leaker, Manning, rather than those who committed violent war crimes such as massacring journalists and other civilians in Iraq.” Via (http://www.bradleymanning.org/support_events/bradley-manning-1000-days-in-prison-for-doing-the-right-thing)

1000 Days. You have read that correctly. 1000 days in prison for saying something he saw was wrong. So much for that speedy trial clause in the 6th Amendment: “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy . . . trial . . . .” People argue that what Bradley Manning did has put lives in danger. Whose lives have been put in danger? The people who committed the war crimes, those responsible for the death of innocence? Nope, they are not the ones who have been sitting in a jail cell for 990 days. They are not the ones who had to endure 11 months of solitary confinement and torturous conditions under a Peace Prize Winning Presidents Administration.

 

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In April of 2011 during a fundraiser Obama was asked again about Manning’s treatment, he responded by saying: “I can’t conduct diplomacy on an open source,” Obama told an unidentified questioner. “That’s not how … the world works. If I was to release stuff, information that I’m not authorized to release, I’m breaking the law … We’re a nation of laws. We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate … He broke the law.” Mind you this statement was made a year before the Manning trial would actually begin. So now according to Obama the Commander-in-Chief, Manning broke the law and he is guilty before he even stands trial before the military courts.

Bradley Manning is not a terrorist, nor did he “aide the enemy”. Bradley Manning did what the U.S. Government begs people to do; Say Something when you see a crime happening. Manning did not sell these leaks to foreign governments, or terror groups, he released it to the public so in his words, it would create “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms”. 990 days after being imprisoned the discussion has died down, the debate is no where to be found, and reforms are not on the horizon. What Bradley Manning exposed can not be ignored, and we must keep fighting for transparency from an Administration that promised peace, and transparency. If we have learned anything from the attacks on Whistleblowers, this Administration does not want the public knowing what they are doing in our names.

 

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”- The United States Constitution- 5th Amendment 

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Remember when the Constitution used to be the law of the land? A list of fundamental laws that have been followed for over 200 years. The Constitution guarantees every American Citizen their day in court, no matter the crime. Samir Khan, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, and Anwar al-Awlaki did not have these rights, they were murdered by an Unmanned Predator Drone by the President of the United States. The leader of the nation who is suppose to uphold these laws. Now Samir Khan and Anwar al-Awlaki were alleged terrorist, and self proclaimed members of Al-Qaeda. No matter what group they belonged too, they were still American’s who have the same rights as you and I. I don’t agree with their message, but I do agree with The Constitution. Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was the son of Anwar, a 16 year old boy from Denver. He was also murdered by a Predator Drone, and what was his crime? According to former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Abdulrahman al-Awlaki “should have [had] a far more responsible father,”. Well every American better start worrying about what kind of actions their parents are taking now, because having bad parents I guess now makes you a bad person.

We now live in a time in which our every move is monitored, from writing an E-mail, talking on the phone, text messages, social networking, and even while talking a walk outside. Our Government knows our every move, who we associate with, the hours we work; Yet, we know little about what our Government does in our name. The Drone Program being one of the most secretive and non transparent program. According to many studies and investigations in Pakistan alone, the drone program has a 2% success rate. “A study at Stanford and New York University titled ‘Living Under Drones’ claimed that only two percent of drone strike casualties in Pakistan are top militants, and that the large number of related civilian deaths turn Pakistanis against the US.” (http://rt.com/news/pakistan-drones-study-civilians-933/) Further investigations find that more than 200 children have been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan alone. We also have drone campaigns going in Yemen and Somalia where many civilians, women, and children have been killed.

The Drone program itself began under George W. Bush, but when President Obama took office the program became a mainstay in Obama’s foreign policy. The amount of strike dramatically increased, and the long reach of the US government lengthened. The idea of the program it take US soldiers out of harms way, and to destroy targets with better accuracy. But that has not been the case, and the amount of blowback due to civilian deaths has caused normally peaceful citizens to garner hatred towards the United States. If in Pakistan the drone program has a 2% success rate, the other 98% have families, friends, and neighbors who are outraged and the death of their fellow citizens.

I am 26 years old, and for the majority of my life we have been at war with a noun: “Terror”. It began with seeking revenge for those who plotted 9/11 and has turned into a full fledged annihilation of anyone “suspected” of posing an “imminent threat”. What is an “imminent threat”? That we are still unsure of, the definition has been twisted to fit the policies of our current government. In the years past since 9/11 we have seen new laws that are suppose to protect us, we have seen new technology that is supposed to save lives. Yet, we are 12+ years, 2 different Presidents into this war and what do we have to show for it? Our Constitution has been bent every which way, our rights to privacy, and freedom of speech have been trampled on. All it took was a charismatic Democrat, for Americans to fall in line and support the once unpopular Bush Policies. Policies that would have called for Bush’s impeachment, have rewarded Barack Obama with a second term. Hopefully now people are starting open their eyes to what our government is doing in our name.

“When your government knows everything about you, and you know nothing about them, it is time to take a stand”

Bradley Manning is a 24 year old U.S. Army solider from Oklahoma, who is facing life in prison because he spoke out against what he believed to be wrong. An openly gay solider who had access to classified networks for long periods of time. He believed that files and videos that he had access to deserved to be in the public domain. He said he hoped the material would lead to “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms”. Manning leaked this information to Wiki Leaks so the public could really know what was actually going on in these wars that cost millions of deaths, and billions of dollars.

Manning was arrested on May 29, 2010, on July 29, 2010 Manning was moved from Kuwait to the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. He was held for 9 months as a “maximum custody detainee”. During those 9 months he stayed in a 6x12ft cell, with no windows for 23 Hrs a day. He was denied sleep between the hours of 5am and 8pm, no sheets for his bed, no pillow, and forced to sleep in his boxers, which resulted in server chaffing of the skin. Frustrated with his treatment Manning made a sarcastic comment to one of the guards saying if he wanted to hurt himself, he could do so “with the elastic waistband of his boxers or his flip flops”. After that comment Manning was forced to sleep naked, and stand in front of his cell naked every morning.

Manning’s treatment was brought to the public’s attention and there was immediate outrage. In March of 2011 State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley speaking to a small audience called Manning’s treatment “ridiculous, and counterproductive, and stupid”. This caught headlines, and at a Press Conference a few days later, Jake Tapper from ABC News asked President Obama if he agreed with P.J Crowley’s statement. Obama responded by saying “I asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards.” “They (the pentagon) assure me that they are. I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well.” A few days after that press conference P.J Crowley resigned as State Department spokesman.

In April of 2011 during a fundraiser Obama was asked again about Manning’s treatment, he responded by saying: “I can’t conduct diplomacy on an open source,” Obama told an unidentified questioner. “That’s not how … the world works. If I was to release stuff, information that I’m not authorized to release, I’m breaking the law … We’re a nation of laws. We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate … He broke the law.” Mind you this statement was made a year before the Manning trial would actually begin. So now according to Obama the Commander-in-Chief, Manning broke the law and he is guilty before he even stands trial before the military courts.

It is an outrage that a President like Obama who ran on a platform of ending torture, and transparency would allow this to happen. And, when confronted about what was going on he would just respond with “He broke the Law” and “his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards.”. Glad to see “Our” basic standards are what Obama considered torture when he was running for President in 2008, and  in which he bashed former President Bush of doing to alleged foreign terrorist. Now “Our basic standards” are allowing torture of an American Citizen, who didn’t even stand trial. If this would of happened today, under the NDAA 2012 (which Obama signed into law 1/1/12) Bradley Manning or anyone who speaks out against war crimes, or wrong doing by their government would be arrested and detained indefinitely with no right to a trial. You would just disappear and your voice would be silenced.

On October 21, 2011 Obama makes a big announcement: “After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011. As Commander-in-Chief, ensuring the success of this strategy has been one of my highest national security priorities.” also stating by the end of the year all troops will be withdrawn from combat in Iraq. Woo, everyone praise Obama, Hooray!!! He fulfilled another promise….Wait not so fast. Obama and Leon Panneta both said that they intended on keeping up to 20,000 combat troops in Iraq past the 12/31/11 deadline. They didn’t want to end the war, they were forced out by the Iraqi Government. Why were they forced out you ask? Well in a cable released by Wiki Leaks, in which they received from Bradley Manning, it shows that US forces were responsible for at least 10 Iraqi civilians (LINK) which included a 70 year old grandmother, and 5 month old infant. The US government covered this up by bombing the house in which the crime was committed, but before they could , the people of the village captured photos, and reported eye witnesses account to back up the cable provided by Bradley Manning. Which stated that an autoposy performed on the victims showed that they were handcuffed and shot in the head. The Iraqi government was furious about this and refuse to accept Obama’s plea to keep 20,000 combat troops in Iraq for the years to come. Now, Obama uses this as a big campaign message, that he fulfilled his promise to the end the War in Iraq, yet when the real hero is Bradley Manning.

So now Bradley Manning, a brave solider who has been tortured for 9 months, charged with “aiding the enemy”, and now faces life in prison, for what? Speaking out about something he thought was ethically and morally wrong. Something he felt that the American people deserved to know what was going on in the Middle East. Tortured by the administration of a President who claims to care about humans rights, and transparency. Who says that  “I was clear throughout this campaign and was clear throughout this transition that under my administration the United States does not torture,”
“We will abide by the Geneva Conventions. We will uphold our highest ideals.”. What a crock of shit. And people wonder why I dislike Obama so much, they say “Oh, it’s just one person who broke the law” When did speaking out against murder, rape, violence, and depravity become breaking the law. Bradley Manning did what was right and now faces life in prison. Make your voice be heard and speak out!!!

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” -Thomas Jefferson

When reading the headline of this article I feel that people’s first thought would be that I am crazy. How could Ron Paul win the GOP nomination and if so, how could he beat Obama. Well it is pretty simple in my honest opinion. First, I will tell you how Ron Paul is the only one who can beat Obama and how he his the only person running in both parties who is not corrupt or bought off by banks and big business.

List of top Donors for GOP Presidential candidates:

Mitt Romney

  1. Goldman Sachs- $367,200
  2. Credit Suissie Group- $203,750
  3. Morgan Stanley- $199,800
Super Pac: Restore our Future 
John Paulson donated $1 million to Restore our Future SuperPac which is a pro Romney Super Pac. John Paulson is a hedge fund manager, and became a billionaire by short-selling sub prime mortgages in 2007. His net worth is $15.5 Billion according to Forbes magazine. In 2011 he made bad trades with Bank of America, Citi-Group, and Sino-Forest Corp.
Newt Gingrich
  1. Rock-Tenn Co- $27,500
  2. Poet LLC- $20,000
  3. First Fiscal Fund- $15,000
Super Pac: Winning our Future
Sheldon Adelson has donated $10 million to the pro Gingrich Super Pac so far, and has said he will donate millions more. His net worth is $21.5 billion, according Forbes he is 8th wealthiest man in America and 16th wealthiest man in the world.
Ron Paul
  1. U.S. Army- $24,503
  2. U.S. Air Force- $23,335
  3. U.S. Navy- $17,432
Super Pac: Endorse Liberty
The pro Ron Paul Super Pac is funded by many individual contributions. A majority of the donations are small, but by many individuals.
                       By showing who donates to each candidate says a lot about each candidate. Mitt Romney is obviously backed by banks, Wall St., and the wealthy. These are same people who funded Obama in 08′ and are still funding him again in 2012, but not as much as Mitt Romney. It is very frightening to see someone who could possibly be our next President be bought by the same people who got us into the mess we are in today. You can say the same thing about Newt Gingrich, his top donors are not that shocking, but his Super Pac is frightening as well. Sheldon Adelson is one of the richest men in the world, and he is one of the main reasons Newt won the South Carolina Primary. Being so indebted to one industry or person is very dangerous when you could possibly be the next President. The majority of Ron Paul’s donations come from the military and individual citizens giving small donations. This shows the Ron Paul will not owe anyone anything except the citizens of the United States, and not banks, lawyers, Wall St. or the wealthy.
How Newt Gingrich, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney are no different.
                      You may think that Romney and Gingrich differ from Obama by all the rhetoric that they spew, but they are really no different. They all agree on The Patriot Act and spying on US Citizens in the name of safety, they all agree on keeping Gitmo Open, they all agree on The NDAA (which gives the President power to imprison US citizens indefinitely without trial), they all oppose gay marriage, they all want to bomb Iran, and they are all bought off by Wall St. and the wealthiest people in the world.
                     They claim to all have different views on foreign policy, yet they are the same. The only thing they disagree on is the way each persons foreign policy is implicated. Obama wants to sanction the economy of Iran and cripple the Iranian people, Newt and Mitt want to bomb Iran and cripple the Iranian people. Obama feels that we should police the world, and nation build in foreign countries, as do Mitt and Newt. They all agree we should have went into Libya, but Mitt and Newt think we should have done it sooner. All three are warmongers and want to profit off our military.
                     They all believe on spending like there is no tomorrow. They all agree on the Bush/Obama bailouts, and do not believe in true capitalism. They believe in the concept of “too big to fail”, while giving the tax payers money to Wall St. and the big businesses that causes the financial crisis.
                      They all believe in torture and that Bradley Manning is a terrorist. Everyone cheers Obama for the end of the Iraq War, yet if it was not for Bradley Manning we would still be in Iraq today. So what does Manning get for calling out the lies of our Government? He gets tortured and held without a trial for months by the Obama Administration. If Newt, Mitt, or Obama win in 2012 whistle blowers and people speaking out against the wrongs of their government will have to live in fear of being arrested.
How Ron Paul can beat Obama?
                       If Ron Paul wins the nomination for President of the United States the citizens of this country will have a real choice for the first time in my lifetime. They will have a choice between two different candidates, with two different views of the direction of this country. If Newt or Mitt win, there is no real option. Ron Paul believes in civil liberties for all citizens, it does not matter if you are black, white, rich, poor, gay or straight.
“You have to remember, rights don’t come in groups we shouldn’t have ‘gay rights’; rights come as individuals, and we wouldn’t have this major debate going on. It would be behavior that would count, not what person belongs to what group.” – Ron Paul
                       Ron Paul believes in the rights of everyone to marry who they want, and that the government should not get involved. As long as others don’t push their views on anyone else.
“If two parties with two sets of bad ideas cooperate, the result is not good policy, but policy that is extremely bad. What we really need are correct economic and politcal ideas, regardless of the party that pushes them.” -Ron Paul
                         Another major reason Obama won in 08 was because he had the youth vote, a vote that now Ron Paul is in control of. Youth support for Ron Paul has been exploding and it shows in the first the contest for the nomination. I Iowa Paul carried the youth vote 48% for Paul next was Rick Santorum with 23%. In New Hampshire Ron Paul had 47% of the youth vote, Mitt Romney had 26%. In South Carolina Ron Paul had 31% of the youth vote, Newt Gingrich had 28%. Besides just having the youth on his side, Ron Paul has independents. In a CBS poll conducted on 1/9/12 if Ron Paul vs Obama happened today 47% of Independents would vote for Paul and only 40% for Obama. Paul is the only candidate who beats Obama when it comes to independents. The youth and independent vote is vital for anyone to win the general election and Ron Paul has both.
                          So, if it does come down to Obama Vs Ron Paul in November the American people will have a real choice between: A man bought by the banks and Wall St. or a man bought by the American people, a man who has destroyed our civil liberties or a man who will protect our civil liberties, a warmonger or a peace keeper, a man who believes in rights for certain groups or a man who believes in rights for all, a man who is pro-torture or a man who is against torturing another human being. If Romney or Newt win the nomination, it will be sad day for this country.
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