Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Obama's Fascist Legacy

Obama's Police State
I am more relieved than ever that the Obama presidency is over, not because I think anything will improve under a Trump presidency, now complacency towards the march of tyranny will finally die. Every leftist crying that the inevitable Trump presidency will bring fascism here has apparently been asleep for the past eight years because they have failed to grasp that the Obama Administration has set the precedent for fascism. He didn't just continue the Bush era police state; he expanded it and made it much worse. The fourth and fifth amendments have been obliterated under his administration; he not only extend the Patriot Act twice and left the PRISM program in place, he broadened it by allowing the NSA to share the private information of American citizens with federal law enforcement if they come across evidence of a crime, giving way to the use of parallel construction in prosecutions. It was also not too long ago that he signed the amendments to Rule 41, allowing judges to issue search warrants for computers outside of their jurisdiction. It was under his administration that the subpoena power of FBI field offices were expanded to include email data and browsing history and the Cybersecurity Internet Surveillance Act was passed, eliminating liability for tech companies that share Americans' data with the DHS and requiring the DHS to, in turn, share this data with the NSA, DOD, and Director of National Intelligence. Lets not forget that it was this administration that signed indefinite detention into law through a provision in the 2011 NDAA. The same administration assassinated four American citizens, through drone strikes, without a jury trial, around the same time. Now that the dictatorial powers to indefinitely detain American citizens accused of abetting terrorism, without a criminal trial, and executing them via drone strikes has been handed over to Trump, I am sure the left will start paying attention to the exponentially growing executive powers. Under his administration, civil asset forfeiture revenue ballooned from 1.5B in 2008 to a peak of 4.5B in 2014, exceeding the aggregate value of property stolen by common thieves (3.9B). The same administration brokered more weapons sales than any other since World War II, and lifted the arms embargo on the totalitarian socialist regime of Vietnam. On his watch, local and state police received more surplus military weapons than under previous administrations, and non-military federal spending on guns and ammunition jumped from 55M in 2006 to 112M in 2011. Even administrative agencies such as the FDA,  the EPA, the United States Mint, and the VA bought 335M in military gear and weapons. The EPA, for instance spent 3.1M on guns and ammunition from 2006 to 2014.

Obama's Imperialism 

The Obama admin destabilized three near east countries through three illegal wars, conducted without congressional authorization, in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Libya has been turned into a wasteland overrun by warlords and Salafists; Yemen has been bombed into oblivion and starved by the Washington backed Saudi coalition, and Syria might have shared the same fate as Libya were it not for 'Russian aggression.' You would think that out of anyone, a noble prize winner would be repulsed by the usual excuses of collateral damage and cheap appeals to expediency, which is best exemplified by his arming of 'moderate rebels' i.e. Salafi terrorists who invaded Syria from the surrounding Gulf states and coopted the early protests.

Authoritarian domestic policies tend to be correlates of perpetual warfare either at home or abroad; historically, there is a high degree of comorbidity between the two. At present the Obama admin has deployed special forces in four different countries (Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq) and is conducting the CIA drone program, that has killed hundreds of civilians during Obama's tenure, in seven different countries. It is no wonder that he has ramped up the war on terror propaganda and ramped down our constitutional rights.

Side Note: A popular misconception is that Obama ended the war in Iraq, which is false on two grounds: the agreement with the Iraqi parliament to withdraw all troops by 2011 was negotiated under the Bush admin and there are at present still a couple hundred special forces in Iraq.

The Trans Pacific Partnership 

The so called 'free trade' agreement that Obama tried to push through congress, but failed, would have had the same effect as his foreign policy, which is the consolidation of corporate power on a global scale (i.e. globalism). Had Obama been successful in this endeavor, the Trans Pacific Partnership would have dealt a single death blow to our national sovereignty. Even though it died with Clinton's loss, it still had a significant impact on our laws; the Country of Origins Labeling Act was repealed, the DARK Act was signed into law, and the executive office was given fast track authority on future trade agreements.

Final Note

I do not believe that the election of Trump has saved our republic, but it has, for the time being, slowed the political momentum towards despotism by sowing discord between the press and the executive office. Perhaps a hostile press will unwittingly bring the Obama administration's abuses to light when Trump inevitably capitalizes on them for his own agenda.

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