As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her speech at George Washington University yesterday condemning governments that arrest protestors and do not allow free expression, 71-year-old Ray McGovern was grabbed from the audience in plain view of her by police and an unidentified official in plain clothes, brutalized and left bleeding in jail. She never paused speaking. When Secretary Clinton began her speech, Mr. McGovern remained standing silently in the audience and turned his back. Mr. McGovern, a veteran Army officer who also worked as a C.I.A. analyst for 27 years, was wearing a Veterans for Peace t-shirt.
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
Henry David Thoreau
A week ago today, I was literally cooling my jets in a freezing cold DC jail for protesting the continuation of the illegal and immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For an offense (crossing a police line) that doesn’t even have any jail time associated with the penalty, if convicted, I stayed in jail for 50 hours. I was arrested with seven others and six of us had the similar fate of spending an unreasonable amount of time in jail for standing up for peace and justice.
After spending two nights in jail, we were taken to the court building where we spent another eight hours in a holding cell in leg shackles. When we were finally summoned to the traffic courtroom our wrists were shackled to chains wrapped around our waists.
During our unfortunate incarceration, two male members of the group had to go to the hospital for numbness in their hands and fingers because of the tightness of the handcuffs. After sleeping on cold concrete for 50 hours, Elaine Brower and I were cramping up in pain.
For minor infractions, we have to return to DC for a hearing on June 9th—since my charges don’t require jail time, and since I have already done 50 hours, I wonder what penalty will be imposed for my inevitable verdict of “guilty.”
The following is based on a talk delivered at the Free State Project’s Liberty Forum in Nashua, New Hampshire, Saturday, March 20, 2010.
In the United States, civil liberties are seen as the province of the left. The ACLU, the Bar Association, the Democratic Party, people who err in favor of procedural protections for criminals and even terrorists — this is what tends to come to mind to conservatives who condemn civil liberties as a leftist interest, and to liberals who celebrate it as a great anchor of their political philosophy.
But what happens when the left-liberals are in charge of the executive branch, its police, its justice department, prosecutors and military courts? Predictably, conservatives fear the government will be soft on foreign and domestic villains. Liberals hold out hope that due process will be restored.
Libertarians, too, will often adopt this general lens through which to see political reality. Just as many progressive writers discussed the coming of Obama as a new dawn for the Bill of Rights — or, at least, the amendments they openly favor — many libertarians hoped that the Bush era of warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention, torture and police statism would recede with the electoral victory of the Democrats.
But here we see the problem. For if the left are the most institutionally important guardians of civil liberties, then the ascent to power of one of their own will often mean a quieting of dissent. Left-liberals become caught up with economic policy, become corrupted, or simply tire of finding more reasons for their own partisan figurehead to be criticized, and look the other way. Just as Republican administrations can often implement domestic interventions with a freer hand — look at Bush’s effortless Medicare expansion compared to how long it has taken for Obama to move on health care — Democrats can expect a less hostile climate in which to build up executive power to the detriment of civil liberty. And indeed, even if they have good intentions, they run against political pressure from the opposition accusing them of being soft with the police power. A left-liberal in office is the perfect storm for the destruction of our privacy and the rule of law. Just remember what Clinton did at Waco, or the erosion of liberty after the Oklahoma City Bombing, and the truth of this was confirmed long before January of last year when Obama took the throne.
Last week I had the opportunity to bring up spending and transparency in two important hearings. On Wednesday I questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on some highly questionable uses of funds at the Federal Reserve, and on Thursday I asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about exorbitant spending at the State Department.
It is extremely important to continue bringing these issues up, especially in light of our difficult economic times, when so many are out of work, as I saw up close in my district at the Oceans of Opportunity Job Fair in Galveston two weeks ago. Those who are working live with the fear of losing their jobs as they struggle to pay bills. Meanwhile, Washington is talking of increasing their taxes, something voters were promised, clearly and adamantly, would not happen in this administration.
Government also struggles with money, but the struggle centers on how to get more of your money into government coffers. Rather than expanding the Federal budget in the face of economic downturn, we should be focusing on eliminating waste and being the very best stewards of public funds that we can possibly be. Most businesses have had to streamline and cut back in order to survive, and so it is only fair for our government to do the same.
KINGSTON, NY, 27 February 2009 — The wealth of plain, hard facts upon which The Trends Research Institute’s forecasts are based belie the lofty promises made by President Obama’s first address to Congress.
“We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before,” said President Obama.
Said Celente, “The government has yet to fix the levees in New Orleans. There is still a hole in the ground where the World Trade Center once stood. Washington has started two wars it can’t win and doesn’t know how to finish. The massive bank, brokerage, auto and insurance company bailouts have done nothing to resuscitate the sinking economy. The Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) that candidate Obama championed has not “relieved.” President Obama’s $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will not lead to recovery and the nation will not ‘emerge stronger than before,’” Celente continued.
Obama announces the appointment of CFR-Bilderberg members George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke at the State Department.
In a flurry of diplomatic activity in his first week in office, U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday named special envoys for the Middle East and the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
Newly confirmed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Obama had chosen George Mitchell, a former senator and seasoned international trouble-shooter, as an envoy who will try to jump-start moribund Arab-Israeli peace talks.
Obama tapped former ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke as a special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan and related issues.
George Mitchell is not simply a CFR member — he is a former director of the globalist organization. [like Dick Cheney]