Obama’s free ride on civil liberties abuses: The Bush era protesters are silent despite the growth of the surveillance state and an illegal military intervention

By Kyle Harding, Opinion Editor



Where have the civil liberties advocates and anti-war protesters within the Democratic Party gone?

A key part of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was criticism of post-9/11 abuses of civil liberties. Circa 2007 there was no shortage of pundits talking about warrantless wiretapping by the Bush administration.

So why do you never hear about it now? Given the lack of media attention it gets, one could be forgiven for thinking that the president put a stop to this practice, which is the exact opposite of what has happened. According to a September report by the American Civil Liberties Union based on documents obtained from the Department of Justice through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, between 2009 and 2011 there was a 60 percent increase in the use of pen register and trap and trace surveillance on phones. Pen register surveillance keeps track of the numbers you are calling, while trap and trace keeps track of the numbers calling you. In addition to the increased phone surveillance, email surveillance increased as well.

President Obama’s abuses are not limited to electronic surveillance. The Drug Enforcement Administration continues to raid medical marijuana dispensaries even though they are operating within the laws of their state. He took presidential power to new heights when he carried out airstrikes in Libya without obtaining congressional approval, a violation of the War Powers Act. No mention of “illegal wars” from the mainstream press.

On top of all of this he signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, Section 1021 of which provides the military with the authority to indefinitely detain anyone, even American citizens, without a trial. These powers are not limited geographically in any way, as applicable on American soil as they are in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Obama claimed he had “serious reservations” about NDAA, then he signed it anyway. The bill set a new and dangerous precedent when it comes to governmental authority, codifying into law for the first time in our nation’s history the authority to detain U.S. citizens without charges. Even if you are naive enough to trust the Obama administration with this level of power, keep in mind that future administrations will have this power as well.

Away from the homefront,  the ironic recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize has carried out the same policies he opposed as a candidate. He has stepped up the war effort in Afghanistan and carries out a drone war, complete with a secret kill list, in Yemen and Pakistan. While his enablers love to give him credit for ending the war in Iraq, the truth is he attempted to keep our troops there past the December 2011 withdrawal date negotiated before he took office. His proposed extension to the Status of Forces Agreement was rejected by the Iraqis. Obama didn’t so much end the war as he was kicked out of it.

Despite all of these violations, the sycophants who make up the Democratic Party remain enamored with the President. Liberals are the new authoritarians.

If there’s one thing we learned from the Bush administration, it is that conservatives don’t give a damn about an intrusive government that spends a lot of money as long as it is their guy doing the intruding and the spending. And the one thing we will learn from the Obama administration is that liberals don’t give a damn about civil liberties abuse and military intervention as long as it is their guy doing the abusing and the

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