‘… The Right Of The People Peaceably To Assemble…’

Bill Quigley of CommonDreams.org points out that the practice of arresting protesters has increased markedly since Obama’s inauguration:

Since President Obama was inaugurated, there have been over two thousand six hundred arrests of activists protesting in the US.   Research shows over 670 people have been arrested in protests inside the US already in 2011, over 1290 were arrested in 2010, and 665 arrested in 2009.   These figures are certainly underestimate the number actually arrested as arrests in US protests are rarely covered by the mainstream media outlets which focus so intently on arrests of protestors in other countries.

Arrests at protest have been increasing each year since 2009.  Those arrested include people protesting US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Guantanamo, strip mining, home foreclosures, nuclear weapons, immigration policies, police brutality, mistreatment of hotel workers, budget cutbacks, Blackwater, the mistreatment of Bradley Manning, and right wing efforts to cut back collective bargaining.

(Boldface mine.)

This fits together perfectly with President STFU’s penchant for government secrecy, warrantless searches, indefinite detention without trial or conviction and often enough without charge, and legal venues such as military tribunals that have no obvious constitutional basis, and of course, executive orders authorizing the assassination of American citizens without any sort of due process. The message is a very old one, familiar to most peoples of the world… except Americans, who tend to have their heads buried in something-or-other to avoid seeing illegal government actions that are right before their eyes.

A decade ago, I regularly showed up at organized peaceful protests of a variety of things… the Iraq war, the continued unjust application of the death penalty, etc. … and never once gave a thought to the possibility of being arrested for what I did. The First Amendment explicitly guaranteed my right to do what I did, and that was good enough for me.

Now I am in no physical condition to walk even one block, let alone participate in any sort of mass protest. But if I could, and if I did… how long do you think I would remain at liberty? Oh, and you Obama supporters out there who are not fond of the assortment of wars our nation is engaged in… how’s that hopey-changey thing working out for you?

An afterthought about something I want to make clear beyond all misunderstanding: I do not support any of the Republican candidates for President either. McCain would have been vastly worse than Obama in matters of civil liberties, and any of the lame-brained fools the GOP is contemplating in 2012 would be even worse than McCain. This is not a partisan matter. I am unwilling to cede my rights and liberties to any president of any party… and you should be equally unwilling.

Got that? Good!

AFTERTHOUGHT: as if that weren’t enough, Joshua Holland of AlterNet points out that Obama now stands in violation of the 1973 War Powers Resolution… and a cowardly Congress isn’t doing a damned thing about it. We drift closer and closer to an executive-only government.

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