Okay, Bill Quigley. Do you know him?
He's an attorney. I used to be so glad when I'd hear him on a Pacifica Radio. Especially during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He's well spoken and he has a way of explaining things that makes sense and sounds interesting. (Not an easy task. Sometimes you can explain really well but it's boring. Sometimes you can be interesting to listen to but, after the show goes off, listeners are still trying to figure out what you were saying.)
And then he became a loss. A negative. At the start of 2009, throughout that year, really, I couldn't read or listen to him. He was in the Cult of St. Barack.
In fairness to him, it was a new presidency and he might have just been being optimistic.
But I couldn't take it.
Fortunately, for about two years now, he's given up the hopium and been one of the most salient critics of Barack that you can catch.
He has a new piece called "Twenty Examples of the Obama Administration Assault on Domestic Civil Liberties" and here's the start:
The Obama administration has affirmed, continued and expanded almost all of the draconian domestic civil liberties intrusions pioneered under the Bush administration. Here are twenty examples of serious assaults on the domestic rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, the right to privacy, the right to a fair trial, freedom of religion, and freedom of conscience that have occurred since the Obama administration has assumed power. Consider these and then decide if there is any fundamental difference between the Bush presidency and the Obama presidency in the area of domestic civil liberties.
On May 27, 2011, President Obama, over widespread bipartisan objections, approved a Congressional four year extension of controversial parts of the Patriot Act that were set to expire. In March of 2010, Obama signed a similar extension of the Patriot Act for one year. These provisions allow the government, with permission from a special secret court, to seize records without the owner’s knowledge, conduct secret surveillance of suspicious people who have no known ties to terrorist groups and to obtain secret roving wiretaps on people.
Criminalization of Dissent and Militarization of the Police
Anyone who has gone to a peace or justice protest in recent years has seen it – local police have been turned into SWAT teams, and SWAT teams into heavily armored military. Officer Friendly or even Officer Unfriendly has given way to police uniformed like soldiers with SWAT shields, shin guards, heavy vests, military helmets, visors, and vastly increased firepower. Protest police sport ninja turtle-like outfits and are accompanied by helicopters, special tanks, and even sound blasting vehicles first used in Iraq. Wireless fingerprint scanners first used by troops in Iraq are now being utilized by local police departments to check motorists. Facial recognition software introduced in war zones is now being used in Arizona and other jurisdictions. Drones just like the ones used in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan are being used along the Mexican and Canadian borders. These activities continue to expand under the Obama administration.
Wiretaps for oral, electronic or wire communications, approved by federal and state courts, are at an all-time high. Wiretaps in year 2010 were up 34% from 2009, according to the Administrative Office of the US Courts.
Criminalization of Speech
Muslims in the US have been targeted by the Obama Department of Justice for inflammatory things they said or published on the internet. First Amendment protection of freedom of speech, most recently stated in a 1969 Supreme Court decision, Brandenberg v Ohio, says the government cannot punish inflammatory speech, even if it advocates violence unless it is likely to incite or produce such action. A Pakistani resident legally living in the US was indicted by the DOJ in September 2011 for uploading a video on YouTube. The DOJ said the video was supportive of terrorists even though nothing on the video called for violence. In July 2011, the DOJ indicted a former Penn State student for going onto websites and suggesting targets and for providing a link to an explosives course already posted on the internet.
Use the link for the full list. And I know it's after Thanksgiving but I will say one thing I'm thankful for in 2011 is Bill Quigley's voice. He's not doing partial ethics, he's demanding real ethics, real changes and if all you have is the cosmetic, he's not going to pretend otherwise. We could use a lot more like Bill Quigley, A LOT MORE. I'm thankful we've at least got one.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"