Hedges v. Obama: Did the Bill of Rights Die Today?

Published: Wednesday 13 February 2013


As I head west on Chambers Street toward the Court House I hear a huge roar followed by loud chanting ricocheting off the stonewalls of the buildings and I’m elated.   This is amazing, I think.  There must be hundreds of people protesting the NDAA outside 40 Centre Street.  But then I realize the protest is the transit workers school bus strike now in its third week.  I stop to take a few photos and give them a thumbs up before continuing along my route.

By the time I reach the 40 Centre Street I’ve already missed Hedges, Ellsberg, Drake, Chomsky and the other notables who’ve already entered the Court House.  What I find are 25 or so activists milling around and a huge group of photographers standing in a line on the opposite side of the sidewalk watching the proceedings along with several police cars and officers.  So much for my dream of a large peoples presence to protest Obama signing the NDAA into law on December 31, 2011 as unsuspecting Americans sipped champagne and sang “Auld Lang Syne.”  Perhaps Obama figured no one would notice and most people didn’t but Chris Hedges did and he filed a lawsuit against Obama and Panetta.

Whenever I mention the NDAA most people give me a quizzical look and ask, “What’s that?”  To which I give them the ‘in a nutshell’ answer.  The NDAA stands for the National Defense Authorization Act, which has provisions for the government to use the US military against US citizens and can throw us into prison without due process until the end of hostilities, which in our case of permanent war means forever!   They then look at me and ask, “Are you making this up?”  To which reply, “Google it.”  Let’s be honest who could make this up?  Well, besides some member of the SS.

This is why plaintiffs and supporters in the Hedges v. Obama lawsuit are challenging the controversial indefinite detention provision set forth in Section 1021(b)(2) of the NDAA and were back in court on February 6th.   The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, referred to as the Magnificent or Freedom 7, are:  Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, NDAA Case Coordinator and founder of Revolution Truth Tangerine Bolen, author Noam Chomsky, Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, Occupy London activist Kai Wargalla and journalist and activist Alexa O’Brien.  Bruce Afran & Carl Mayer serve as counsel for the plaintiffs.

Back in May US District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled Section 1021 of the NDAA was unconstitutional.  Her ruling returned us to the country we were before Obama signed this act into law.  Meaning the government cannot strip a US citizen of due process or use the military to arrest US citizens and hold them in a military prison indefinitely.  Judge Forrest then granted a permanent injunction on the NDAA provision, which was appealed the next day by the Obama White House.  The 2nd Circuit Court of appeals then placed Section 1021 of the NDAA back into effect. 

Hedges describes the NDAA as, “The final battle between the restoration of due process and the imposition of a military state.” 

They seek to subjugate us all.”  Chris Hedges

 The only thing more craven then Obama signing the NDAA into law is the total lack of any coverage by the corporate media, which has proven itself to be nothing more than the propaganda arm of the corporate state.  There were no cameras from NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX or CNN in front of the courthouse.  The reporters were from Democracy Now!, RT, WBAI and various other independent media outlets.  But worse still is the complete denial on the part of the American public that anything out of the ordinary is going on.  The willful ignorance of American’s is astounding to me.  We’ve become a nation of zombies.

Obama is a brand and I believe he was put into office to do what no Republican could ever get away with.  He’s the kindler gentler face of corporate empire. Here we have a president who’s much worse than Bush in so many ways.   Obama’s extended the wars, created new wars, extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich, gave additional bail out money to the banks, allowed the health insurance industry to write the healthcare bill, extended the Patriot Act, escalated drone attacks (6 times more frequently than Bush) and prosecuted twice as many whistle-blowers under the Espionage Act of 1917 as all other presidents combined.  Obama has assassinated three US citizens without due process and now wants to carry this draconian power out at home and to that end signed the NDAA into law and amazingly still finds time to ruminate over his ‘kill list’ on ‘Terror Tuesdays.’

Under his watch not one member of the Bush Administration has been held accountable for leading us into wars built on false evidence and lies; not one banker's been held accountable for the fraud and corruption that brought down the global economy.  Obama is every corporatist’s wet dream.

Is the American public willfully ignorant or just ignorant?  Or as a friend of mine told me when we were arguing over Mr. O and his policies. “Well, I don’t want to know.  I’m happy with my little life and if I know I’ll just be depressed.”  Perhaps that’s the same logic the Germans used as Hitler came to power and began systematically stripping away civil liberties and silencing all descent.  I used to wonder how the Germans could remain silent with all that transpired but now see it happening here in the US and I’m truly amazed and pissed off by our complicity in this corruption. 

Glenn Ford refers to Obama as the “more effective evil” and I have to agree with his assessment.  I mean give me a break.  Don’t listen to what Obama says. Talk is cheap.  Look at his actions.  It’s not that difficult.  Obama’s completely charmed and neutered the African American community.  And the hypocritical liberals are so full of crap.  They’re a bunch of crybabies who under Bush raised holy hell and now under Obama remain silent sycophants to his reign of terror.  These so-called liberals are enabling cowards.  Defending their murderer in chief at every turn.  The liver lilied, hypocritical liberals lay prostate and impotent at Obama’s feet pleading to be stomped on.  They beg for their enslavement.  Jesus, are they truly that deaf, dumb and blind?   

The corporate takeover of our government and the erosion of our civil liberties continue and if it’s allowed to continue unabated then we are truly done for.  We will be a full-blown corporate police state with no rights and no jobs.  We’ll be a penal colony.  A third world country filled with serfs and warlords.  Hedges affirms, “All these laws are being put through by design.” 

The sooner Americans figure out there’s no two party system the better.  There is only one party and that my friends is a corporate party that serves the 1% and the corporations.  Our government has been taken over by corporate forces that have no loyalty to any nation but only to profit and they will exploit all humanity and the planet until collapse.  Because like Chris Hedges says, “The only word they know is, “More!”

But here’s the rub we live on a finite planet with finite resources.  As corporate forces continue to rape and pillage mother earth we’ll all be fighting for scraps.  The so-called elites and the 1% believe their money will save them and for a time it probably will but rest assured when there’s no clean water or clean air and the planet's completely radio active from all the nuclear spills and the oceans are polluted by the oil spills and only used as a dumping ground for plastic and chemical wastes no amount of money will save these greedy bastards.  They’re going down just like the rest of us.  The only difference is they’ll be shocked, as they believe their own hype.

But alas, we have to keep bearing witness to these atrocities even when nobody else does.  It’s no time to get discouraged because my dream is one-day the 100th monkey will figure out what’s really going on and then we’ll all be washing our coconuts.  Until then one must keep the faith, keep showing up, standing up and speaking truth to power.

On my way home I again pass by the transit workers and this time stop to listen to their grievances.  They get it.  Our 29 billion dollar mayor is trying to break their union.  I encourage them, “Don’t let them do it.  Stay strong.”

Throughout history all totalitarian regimes have eventually turned on their own citizens.  The violence always comes home to roost but like Gandhi said,

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win.” 

Chris Hedges: NDAA Update 2.7.13.

ABOUT Jill Dalton
Jill Dalton is a recovering army brat/writer/performer who has appeared in film and television as well as performing her solo plays in New York and around the country. Most recently she can be seen in and consulted for William Hurt on the HBO film, “Too Big To Fail.” Her articles have been published on: Dandelion Salad, RSN, OpEdNews & Progressive Activists Voice. She is currently writing a screenplay.
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Trish House's picture

You said; "The so-called

You said; "The so-called elites and the 1% believe their money will save them and for a time it probably will but rest assured when there’s no clean water or clean air and the planet's completely radio active from all the nuclear spills and the oceans are polluted by the oil spills and only used as a dumping ground for plastic and chemical wastes no amount of money will save these greedy bastards. They’re going down just like the rest of us. The only difference is they’ll be shocked, as they believe their own hype."

That also exactly describes the middle class like that friend you mentioned, and then there is the massive group of the poor who are too overwhelmed by the need to survive to drag their sorry butts to anywhere to fight back.

We have to rely on the hundredth monkey theory and to realize that it only takes 10% of the population to get it and insist on change to make things happen.

My theory is that for as long as we continue to support the system we are in via working in our corporate jobs, by paying taxes and mortgages we will always be the effect of the deciders who can pull the rug out from under our entire existences by simply firing us, or by forclosing on our homes, and by forcing us through taxation to go on paying for a militarized government that intends to overthrow the rights of the population.

So how do we protect ourselves from this thuggery? We need to create land reform so that every American has a right to a fair share of the land and natural resources we need to make ourselves self sustaining. This can be done fairly simply by simply granting everyone the right to the home they are in - or by giving them foreclosed homes, or free land bases if that is what they prefer (I would). We should then insist that all basic services are public property - water, electricity and basic health care, and we should insist that people help to create local community food supplies that provide the basics like organic fruits and vegetables and meat supplies through small farming.

If we want freedom then we must have a steady platform from which to express our will. When we own our homes with no obligation to the banks, and when we are in control of our own healthy food supplies, water and energy we will have made our own steady platform. From there we can say NO to the corporate jobs unless they pay us fairly for our work, our creativity, our passion and our lives. We can say NO to taxes that pay for wars, politicians and a judicial system that cause us harm. We can say NO to bankers that charge usurious interest so that we may have access to the basic things we need to live, like shelter, and a supply of food, and health care. Basic health care, education, elder care we can all provide each other in the time we save not buying our survival from corrupt entites that steal our lives and freedom right from under us. We MUST cease supporting the enemy and start supplying our own self defense if we want lives of liberty and plenty.

I don't understand the lack

I don't understand the lack of concern about this either. Is it because we so believe in the cartoon version of America, land of the free and all that? Have we become oblivious to the encroaching reversal of our rights, or is it just too incomprehensible to imagine the greatest free and democratic country on earth would turn on its own?