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Archive for the ‘Oath of Office’ Category

I voted for Obama because he represented the people, and called for change and transparency in government, but most of all because he admitted that he inhaled. Little did I think that he would be cowed by the shadow government. Little did I think that he would allow the continuation of corporate government as usual. Little did I think that his presentations to the public would be photo-ops, but here is one of them, that are as big as life and twice as ugly.

Counterpunch

April 10 / 12, 2009

Fakes Left, Goes Right

Obama’s Crossover Dribble on Marijuana Policy

By FRED GARDNER

Executive summary: Obama fakes left, goes right. Passes to Holder at the head of the key. Holder holds the ball, looking for a cutter. Looks in to Brown posting up, then swings it over to Russoniello on the wing. The Warriors veteran finds Obama behind a screen from Holder. Obama launches from beyond the arc… Off back iron. Rebound, Sibelius.

It has been business as usual for the Drug Enforcement Administration since Barack Obama took office. Attorney General Eric Holder has decreed a “policy change,” and some PC (as in Pro-Cannabis) lobbyists and lawyers have hailed that “policy change” as a major victory. But try explaining it to workers at any of the six dispensaries that have been raided by the Obama-era DEA.

“I would have let them in if they would have showed me something,” said John W., 35, who came to the front door of Emmalyn’s on Howard St. in San Francisco on the afternoon of March 25. “They were dressed kind of like me,” according to John, who was garbed in a football jersey. “Once they actually got in I could see that they had bulletproof vests that said DEA on the back. But I couldn’t see that from the door. The only thing I could see was a person with a gun. I asked for a search warrant or a badge but they didn’t show me either one, they just battered down the gate.

“They rushed in and pushed us down -me, two or three patients, a lady who doesn’t work here anymore, and Rose [a beautiful woman of 30 who was behind the counter when your correspondent visited Emmalyn’s a week after the raid]. There were between 15 and 20, all DEA. The man lying next to me didn’t put up any kind of struggle but he kept saying, ‘I’m a patient.’ And ‘Why are you doing this?'”

“They never asked me no questions. They just went through the whole place and took the medicine we had and the little bit of money.” Some heavy machinery was deployed to rip out a safe that had been bolted to the floor. The agents hauled it off, past a passionate group of protesters on the sidwalk chanting, “This medicine is marijuana. Listen to Obama.” Did they know that Obama has said no such thing?

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Obama Has to Hold Bush Accountable for the Laws He Broke

By Elizabeth Holtzman, The Nation. Posted January 16, 2009.

Obama cannot let former Bush administration officials get away with breaking the law without violating his own oath of office.

President Obama, on his first day in office, can make a number of changes that will mark a clean break with the Bush presidency. He can, and should, issue an executive order revoking any prior order that permits detainee mistreatment by any government agency. He should begin the process of closing Guantánamo, and he should submit to Congress a bill to end the use of military commissions, at least as presently constituted. Over the coming months he can pursue other reforms to restore respect for the Constitution, such as revising the Patriot Act, abolishing secret prisons and “extraordinary rendition,” and ending practices, like signing statements, that seek to undo laws.

While these steps are all crucial, however, it is not enough merely to cease the abuses of power and apparent criminality that marked the highest levels of George W. Bush’s administration. We cannot simply shrug off the constitutional and criminal misbehavior of the administration, treat it as an aberration and hope it won’t happen again. The misbehavior was not an aberration — aspects of it, particularly the idea that the president is above the law, were present in Watergate and in the Iran/Contra scandal. To fully restore the rule of law and prevent any repetition of Bush’s misconduct, the abuses of his administration must be directly confronted. As Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen — recently tapped by Obama to head his Office of Legal Counsel–wrote in Slate last March, “We must avoid any temptation simply to move on. We must instead be honest with ourselves and the world as we condemn our nation’s past transgressions and reject Bush’s corruption of our American ideals.”

What we need to do is conceptually simple. We need to launch investigations to get at the central unanswered questions of Bush’s abuse of power, commence criminal proceedings and undertake institutional, statutory and constitutional reforms. Perhaps all these things don’t need to be done at once, but over time–not too much time–they must take place. Otherwise, we establish a doctrine of presidential impunity, which has no place in a country that cherishes the rule of law or considers itself a democracy. Bush’s claim that the president enjoys virtually unlimited power as commander in chief at a time of war–which Vice President Dick Cheney defiantly reasserted just last month–brought us perilously close to military dictatorship.

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