Tag: obama

President Obama’s Track Record on Drug Policy

President Obama has made great strides in healthcare reform for people who use drugs, but his approach to criminal justice reform leaves a lot to be desired.

Obama recently granted clemency to 214 prisoners serving time for nonviolent drug crimes, bringing his grand total of commutations to 562 – more than those of the previous nine presidents combined. Obama has also achieved other relevant key policy aims, such as the expansion of addiction treatment, but he seems to have fallen short of securing permanent sentencing reform.

In 2004, four years before being elected, Barack Obama described punitive drug law enforcement as an “utter failure”. He made a significant attempt to combat this during his first term, as he signed the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) 2010. This legislation effectively reduced the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine offences and powder cocaine offences, a disparity that was widely perceived to be racist.

Very Turkish abduction from the seraglio and crocodile tears of the ‘West’

The whole experience was psychedelic, even for seasoned observers of Turkish politics, most of whom were first-hand witnesses or indeed victims of the periodic interventions of the “guardians of the republic” – in 1960, 1971, 1980, 1997 and, for that matter, 2007.

Fighter jets and helicopters flying over Istanbul and Ankara, dropping bombs on police headquarters and the parliament, sporadically opening fire on civilians; tanks and platoons occupying central locations, among them the two bridges on the Bosphorus, the Ataturk airport, TV stations and General Staff headquarters; a president defying the mutiny on Facetime and calling the “nation” to take to the streets; a quick denouement which left 265 dead, 1440 wounded and an even stronger “strongman” behind.

Cycle of Insurgency: President Obama setting stage for more officers to be gunned down

In a move symptomatic of the current debacle, the White House is considering lifting the ban on transferring weapons of war to police departments nationwide. After Ferguson, the administration banned the transfers. Now it’s rethinking the move.

Political posturing is behind the announcement and decision. One of the major reasons officers are being gunned down in the streets like never before is because of the “warrior cop” mentality departments across the country have adopted. They are given the tools of war from the Department of Defense, but do not have the training to use them. So, concussion grenades maim children, rifles are used to shoot unarmed people, and MRAPs are used to violate the Constitutionally-protected right to peaceably assemble.

President Obama Openly Supports War Criminal

While it isn’t over, the indications are the coup against Erdogan has failed. The stated goals of those behind the coup were to return to a secular government and reinstate the rule of law.

The President of the United States encouraged people to “support the democratically elected government of Turkey”. He said this while his administration is in the midst of a multi-year effort to overthrow the government of President Assad in Syria. The US, historically, doesn’t care about democracy or elections. The US wants Erdogan in power because he has more or less been an obedient lackey. While there are moments of discord, Turkey is still a faithful dog at the end of one of the many leashes held by the US. This allows Erdogan to behave in a manner that would not be tolerated from a non-puppet state.

Dissecting the Dallas Police Memorial

Yesterday, the memorial service for officers killed in the ambush that has dominated the news cycle was held. What could have been a somber moment marking America’s descent into tyranny was turned into a beautiful piece of public propaganda. So much so, that Fox News chose to televise the entire service without commercials. There’s no reason for Americans to miss one single tear, one utterance of the word “hero”, or one glimpse of the grieving families.

The Mayor of Dallas opened up the parade of the dead and stated plainly, “we did nothing wrong.” The opening implication is that Dallas PD is free of the police brutality issues plaguing departments all over the country. Dallas Police have a record of police brutality that goes back years. At the beginning of this year, it was still so bad that Mother’s Against Police Brutality held a protest and press conference proposing a 9 point plan to end a pattern of systemic violence. The city gave rise to the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, a group of black men trained by Army Rangers, who took to patrolling their own streets while armed because the police couldn’t be trusted. Department of Justice complaints have been filed against the department and videos surface with regularity of officers victimizing citizens. Officers were regularly cleared by bogus internal investigations. Dallas is not the home of community policing, nor was it a model department. Although, admittedly, it did appear to at least be attempting to clean up its act.

Saudis Push Washington Revolt Against Obama on Syria

That 51 US diplomats reproached President Obama’s Syria policy by calling for greater American military force deployed against the Damascus government was itself a remarkable sign of official dissent within Washington. But the president’s authority was further brazenly undermined when a few days later the Saudi rulers endorsed the dissenting US diplomats – while being received at the White House.

Several things can be discerned here. For one, the US policy on Syria is reeling from failure. The objective of regime change – which has impelled the whole war in that country for the past five years – seems to be fading as an obtainable goal. Russia’s military intervention beginning last October to stabilize the Syrian state put paid to that. Reports that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the top commander of the so-called Islamic State (IS or Daesh), has been killed in a Syrian/Russian air strike in the group’s eastern stronghold of Raqqa suggests that the foreign-backed terrorist insurgency is indeed facing final defeat.

The US covert tactic of using a dual-track political process of supposed peace negotiations to allow for mercenary proxies to regroup has also come unstuck. Syria and its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies have not relented in targeting terrorist militia, even those whom Washington disingenuously refers to as «moderates» and «on ceasefire». The cessation in hostilities called for by Russia and the US back in February is sundered because it never was a bona fide ceasefire in the first place, as far as Washington was really concerned. It was only a side-way maneuver to facilitate regime change by political means.

Obama Promised Open Government, But Hasn’t Delivered Yet

From torture to campaign finance, the president can still order important transparency reforms — but there isn’t much time.

President Obama took office promising to usher in an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability in the federal government.

Back in 2009, when he said federal agencies “should take affirmative steps to make information public,” he promised that the administration would make openness a centerpiece of its agenda.

But as the curtain closes on Obama’s second term, many of his lofty promises remain unfulfilled.

For example, despite signing the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which was supposed to usher in a new era of protections for officials who speak out against waste and fraud, the Obama White House has brought more cases against whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined.

White House U-turns on Pakistan drone deaths

The Obama Administration has reversed its position on which countries will be included in its upcoming estimate of the civilian deaths caused by the US drone program, according to a report in yesterday’s Washington Post.

Earlier this week, a report in the Post – based on briefings from anonymous Administration officials – stated that strikes taken in Pakistan by the CIA would not be included in the numbers. However, an article in yesterday’s Post – also based on anonymous US government sources – now suggests that the White House has changed its position, and will include strikes taken in Pakistan in its tally.

The exclusion of Pakistan would have meant that as many as two-thirds of known US drone strikes – including some of the worst reported errors – would have been left out of the US tally of deaths. Strikes in Pakistan have included an attack on a funeral in June 2009 that killed as many as 50 civilians, and a strike on a meeting of tribal elders in March 2011 that killed 41. Pakistan has reportedly seen the use of some of the most controversial aspects of the US drone program, such as ‘signature strikes’, where individuals are targeted on the basis of patterns of behavior.

How Obama Aims to Conquer Crimea

When US President Barack Obama perpetrated his coup d’état in Ukraine in February 2014, and even had his agent Victoria Nuland select the person who was to rule Ukraine after the coup, it was with the expectation that the new government would renegotiate, and soon end, the Russian lease of the naval base at Sebastopol in Crimea, which wasn’t due to expire until 2042. (Up until 1954, that base had been in Russian territory because Crimea was part of Russia; but, after the Soviet dictator Khrushchev in 1954 arbitrarily transferred Crimea to Ukraine, and then the Soviet Union itself broke up in 1991, Russia was keeping its navy there by paying a lease on it from Ukraine.)

However, instead of the US winning control of Crimea as had been planned, the racist-fascist anti-Russian «Right Sector» forces, which Obama’s people had hired to carry out the coup in Kiev under the cover of ‘democratic’ demonstrations against the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych (who had received over 75% of Crimeans’ votes in the Presidential election, prior to being overthrown), terrorized Crimeans during the coup, and this terrorizing of them, simply added insult to their injury. On February 20th, Right Sector forces massacred Crimeans who were escaping from Ukraine’s capital, fleeing the rabid sentiments in Kiev against supporters of Yanukovych. Right Sector caught up with them at the town of Korsun, burned some of their buses, and murdered some of the escaping Crimeans, though most survived — some of them severely injured.

Also, early in March of 2014, shortly prior to Crimea’s referendum on whether to remain within Ukraine, a Crimean who had served in Kiev as a prosecutor in the democratically elected Ukrainian national government that had just been overthrown, and who had likewise escaped from Kiev, was now safely back home in Crimea, and did a Crimean TV interview. This former prosecutor, Natalya Poklonskaya, took questions from the live TV audience. The interview was posted to YouTube on 12 April 2014, and, as I described it, linking to the YouTube, she proceeded there to «inform her fellow Crimeans what she had seen happen during the overthrow, and why she couldn’t, in good conscience, remain as a Ukrainian official in Kiev, and swear loyalty to the new Ukrainian Government. She had heard the chants of the Maidan protesters and smelled their piles of burning tires, and seen their marches in Kiev with Nazi symbols and salutes, and she didn’t want to become any part of that. So, she quit and was now unemployed back home in Crimea at the time of this interview».