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preventive detention

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 4/01/13

Chokwe Lumumba Makes Bid for Mayor of Jackson

Human rights lawyer and former Republic of New Afrika official Chokwe Lumumba has his sights set on the top job in Mississippi’s biggest city. “It give us an opportunity to demonstrate that we are great in terms of administration of human rights – something that would Martin Luther King proud,” said Lumumba, who is a city councilman. Jackson, the state capital, is 80 percent Black. Back in 1971, when the Republic of New Afrika came to town, “there was only one Black on the police force, and he could only arrest other Black people,” said Lumumba.

Rally for Temple University African American Studies

There has never been an educational institution in America that truly wanted to educate Black people properly,” said Dr. Molefi Asante, speaking to a student rally in support of Temple University’s beleaguered African American Studies program. Asante is credited with establishing Temple’s doctoral program in African American studies, in 1988. Since then, “every successive administration has sought to destroy the program,” he said.

Blacks Saddled with Obama for Eternity

President Obama’s “Kill List” and preventive detention legislation “have created conditions for people of color in this country that makes our survival very tenuous, indeed,” said Dhoruba bin Wahad, a former leader in the Black Panther Party and co-founder of the Black Liberation Army who spent 19 years in prison for his political activities. Speaking at a rally for political prisoners. bin Wahad said: “The sad part is, we’re going to be saddled with Obama for the rest of our lives, as the senior, elder statesman of Black politics in America.”

Double-Barreled Protest Against NAACP

Demonstrators will gather at the Washington offices and Baltimore headquarters of the NAACP, on April 3 and 4, respectively. Organizer Rev. Edward Pinkney, the former chief of the Benton Harbor, Michigan, NAACP, the civil rights organization has sold out its legacy to corporations. “The people on the top are being paid, and yet they don’t do anything” for the membership or the masses of Black people, said Pinkney.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of December 10, 2012

 

Wal-Mart-Free Newark

As “the leader in the retail industry in paying its workers the lowest wages,” Wal-Mart should be barred from doing business in Newark, New Jersey, said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress. “We need living wage jobs,” said Hamm. “The minimum wage is a slave wage.”

Wal-Mart Exploits Obamacare

President Obama’s health care legislation has been a special boon to Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest corporation. “What changes with Obamacare is that anybody making up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level now qualifies for Medicaid,” said journalist Mary Wheeler. In recent months, Wal-Mart has cut the hours of large numbers of workers. “There’s a big incentive for Wal-Mart to make sure that as many of their employees are below the federal poverty level” as possible, said Wheeler.

Multinationals Super-Exploit Third World Workers

Labor unions, elected officials and grassroots activists in New York demanded that multinational corporations be made accountable for working conditions at factories in the developing world. “We must push them to sign the international Fire Safety Act and follow international labor laws,” said Fazi Foezia, a member of DRUM – Desis Rising Up and Moving – and a Bengladesh national. “They exploit our workers and don’t pay taxes to our governments.” Garment factory fires in Bengladesh and Pakistan have killed hundreds in recent months.

Raising Retail Wages Would Boost Economy

A study by Demos finds that “raising wages in the retails sector at the largest employers to a threshold of $25,000 a year for full-time, year-round workers would bring a million and a half people out of poverty, generate between $11 and $15 billion in GDP, and create between 100,000 and 132,000 new jobs.” Corporations would benefit, too, from a more loyal work force and greater consumer spending power.

Disaster Officials Offer Loans, Not Aid

Federal officials are more concerned with generating loans to fatten the $1 billion a year disaster loan service industry, than in providing direct aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy, according to a study by Strike Debt, an offshoot of the Occupy Movement. Credit-worthiness, rather than need, becomes the watchword, said Strike Debt spokesperson Pamela Brown. “By using the lens of debt, they are exacerbating any kinds of inequalities that are already existing” in disaster-struck areas, “putting renters and minority communities” in additional jeopardy.

No Charge, No Trial, No Justice

Civil and human rights activists gathered at Central Connecticut State University, at New Britain, for a conference on preventive detention, last weekend. President Obama’s preventive detention law, part of the National Defense Authorization Act, was designed to target “those who are engage in dissent,” said conference organizer Daniel Adams. Activists should also oppose more recent legislation that might exempt U.S. citizens from detention without charge or trial. “It’s got to be all of us or none of us,” said Adams.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of October 8, 2012

 

College Admissions Must Consider Race

The U.S. Supreme Court should reject a challenge to affirmative action at the University of Texas, at Austin. “Removing race from consideration in admissions is impractical,” said Inimai Chettiar, of the Brennan Center for Justice, at the New York University School of Law. “I don’t see how you can divorce race from who a person is.” The University of Texas “has followed the Supreme Court’s mandate in previous cases to the letter.”

Myth of Black Progress

The exclusion of incarcerated persons from many data sources “calls into question claims about Black progress” over the past 35 years, said Becky Pettit, author of Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress. For example, there has been “no improvement in the high school dropout rate among young Black men since at least the 1990s,” and “young Black males dropouts are more likely to be in jail or prison than to be employed.” Dr. Pettit is a sociologist at the University of Washington.

Two Parties: One Vision

What the debate showed is how similar the two parties are,” said Arun Gupta, co-founder of The Occupied Wall Street Journal and The Indypendent. “We heard nothing about the most important issues.” President Obama “could not commit himself to stand for one thing that the vast majority of the people of this country need,” said Gupta, who is covering the campaign for Alternet, Truthout and The Guardian.

ObamaRomneyCare

President Obama made the most honest statement of the debate, when he said “Romneycare and Obamacare are, effectively, the same” and a “Republican idea,” said Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter. Another gem: Romney, trying to act like a populist, challenged “corporatist Obama” on his support for too-big-to-fail banks. “And, because Obama is taking cash from the same sources, he’s not able to respond.”

NDAA May Lead to Mass Lockups

The assault on civil liberties by the Obama administration has been worse than under Bush,” said veteran reporter Chris Hedges, a plaintiff in a suit against the preventive detention bill signed into law by Obama, last New Year’s Eve. A federal judge this summer declared the law unconstitutional, but an appeals panel put it back in effect, pending a final ruling. “This opens the ability of the state to classify an entire group of people – and, probably, American Muslims will be the first one – who can be just rounded up,” said Hedges.

Wal-Mart Walkouts

Workers walked off the job at Wal-Mart stores in Los Angeles, while employees from Europe, Latin America and Africa flew into the city under the banner of the Wal-Mart Global Union Alliance. The retail giant’s prices are low “because they’re taking from us,” said Wal-Mart “associate” Dan Hindman. “We’re paying for these low prices.” Alke Boessinger, a union organizer from Switzerland, said: “Unless workers unite as one, Wal-Mart will do whatever it can to silence people.”

Detroit Water Strike

AFSCME Local 207, in Detroit, claimed victory in a brief strike by water workers. Union official John Reihl said Michigan’s governor is determined to seize the mostly Black city’s water resources through “a combination of suburban control and privatization.”

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What Obama Has Wrought

 

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The meticulously scripted spectacles of the two corporate party conventions are very poor backdrops for clear thinking – but luckily, the ordeals are almost over. What remains after the tents are folded, are the crimes of this administration and its predecessor: both horrifically evil in their own ways. History will mark Obama as the more effective evil, mainly because of the lack of opposition.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of May 28, 2012

 

Obama Asked to Veto a “Poison Pill” Whistleblower Bill

A bill purporting to protect whistleblowers contains a “poison pill” that would effectively abolish federal workers’ rights to access to the courts, said Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a founder of the NO FEAR Coalition and herself a noted whistleblower. The so-called Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which has passed the Senate, would allow a board of federal employees acting as judges to pass final summary judgments on workers’ discrimination complaints – a reversal of guarantees to due process provided by the 1964 Civil Rights Act, said Coleman-Adebayo. Historically, she said, the board has turned thumbs down on all but 2 percent of discrimination complaints. If the House passes the measure, Coleman-Adebayo urges President Obama to veto it. “You do not want to be the president who overturned the 1964 Civil Rights Act.”

Roots of Police Killings of Blacks in New Orleans

New Orleans has always been “a very violent city with a particularly toxic racial environment,” said Dr. Jeffrey Adler, professor of history and criminology at the University of Florida and author of “The Killer Behind the Badge: Race and Police Homicide in New Orleans, 1925-1945,” an article recently published in the prestigious Law and History Review. “The low level of training, the lack of professional standards, the corruption of politics, were more powerful and more deeply entrenched in New Orleans than in many other southern cities,” said Adler. “If police officers believed that social stability was bound up in rendering African Americans submissive and compliant, then they understood resistance as a threat…and they could shoot.”

Hunger Strike at Virginia’s Prison

A number of inmates at Virginia’s infamous Red Onion maximum security prison refused to eat in protest of harsh conditions, including mass solitary confinement. “The racial dynamic that exists there, it’s out of control,” said Max Gaskins, who spent four years behind bars at Red Onion and is a founding member of SPARC, Supporting Prisoners and Acting for Radical Change. “I saw men get their eyes shot out, me were shot in the back and paralyzed,” he said. Prison officials now claim the hunger strike has ended.

Black Middle Class “Largely Cut Ties” With Black Poor

The African American middle class has partly been successfully integrated into the American mainstream and has, maybe to the greatest extent in its history, cut ties with the Black and working class,” said Dr. Gary Peller, a professor of law at Georgetown University, in Washington. Peller is author of the new book, Critical Race Consciousness: Rethinking American Ideologies of Racial Justice. Integrationism “helps to apologize for the basic distribution of wealth, power and prestige in American society.” Dr. Peller said “Black nationalism achieved its real pinnacle of theoretic sophistication in the late 1960s and early Seventies, with Malcolm X and his followers, the Black Panther ideologists, and others.” The Panthers, in particular, “not only had programs for Black liberation, but also had a critique of American involvement around the world.”

POP Protest in Newark Only 43 Days from Goal

The People’s Organization for Progress (POP) has passed the 338-day point in its daily demonstrations in Newark, New Jersey – just 43 days from matching the 381-day longevity of the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, Bus Boycott. Nearly 200 local organizations have endorsed POP’s marathon action for jobs, housing, education, peace and justice. “The only avenue we have is to do what POP has done, to be out there and demonstrate and let people know that we’re not satisfied,” said Jerry Owens, vice president of the local long shore workers union and president of the area’s A. Philip Randolph Institute.

Cory Booker and Obama Beholden to Vulture Capitalists

The Black Misleadership Class, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker and President Barack Obama, “must deliver the votes of their people to the campaign contributors who made their careers possible,” said Bruce Dixon, managing editor of Black Agenda Report. However, they “must pose as at least half-hearted opponents of the blood-sucking model of parasitic vulture capitalism practiced by Bain Capital, JP Morgan, Citibank and other players.” Obama’s “heart belongs to JP Morgan.”

Preventive Detention Gone Wild

It’s come down to the point where some guy riding a bike down a street in New Delhi is a threat to the United States and we’ve got to know where he’s going, what his name is, who his family is and who his friends are, so we can round him up and put him under surveillance so that he can’t communicate with some guy who’s riding a bike in Malaysia,” said Doug Valentine, co-author of a paper, “The Dangerous World of Indefinite Detention.”

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Obama’s War: Criminalize the Left

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Like no other president in modern times, Barack Obama is determined to criminalize the Left opposition through relentless reshaping of Constitutional notions of law. Whistleblowers are domestic public enemy number one. “Having knowledge of government wrongdoing is criminal, in the eyes of this administration.”

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Freedom Rider: Protesting NATO

 

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The NATO summit meeting later this month, in Chicago, will be the place “where new Obama administration restrictions on civil liberties will be put into full effect.” Nevertheless, it is necessary to protest NATO’s role as “the armed wing for European and American elites who control the destiny not only of the capitalist nations they represent but of people around the world.” NATO is a club for killers.

Not Voting for Obama: We're Not Even Buying a Voting Ticket to the Show

 

by Ezili Dantò

The author supported Obama in 2008, for the sake of Haiti, the U.S. and the world. But no more. “Under the Obama tenure, indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens is lawful in the land of the free and the brave and Haitians are saddled with George Bush and Bill Clinton.” When a duopoly rules, voting is a sham. Susan Rice takes over the role Colin Powell played for the Bushes while Cheryl Mills is out there pushing the Duvalierist agenda in Haiti previously championed by Bill Clinton's commerce secretary, the late Ron Brown.”

When It Looks and Feels Like Totalitarianism…

 

by BAR editor and columnist Jemima Pierre

The Obama administration has spent the last three years building the infrastructure of a totalitarian police state, that “has surpassed the Bush administration’s attempts to expand executive power by crushing the civil liberties of US citizens.” At the center of the repressive edifice is preventive detention without trial, buttressed by various measures that, effectively, criminalize dissent. Clearly, and methodically, “the US government is preparing for domestic insurrection.”

Eric Holder Tortures the Constitution

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made the Constitution scream, in an effort to justify his president’s claim to “the power of life and death over any inhabitant of the planet, including citizens of the United States.” Discovering presidential powers never before revealed, Holder severed citizens’ rights to “due process” from the “judicial process.” Access to the courts is not required, when the president is judge, jury and executioner.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of January 23, 2012

 

Hundreds Protest Obama in Harlem

About 400 people gathered in Harlem to protest President Obama’s foreign and domestic policies. “We’re here to send a clear message to President Obama that he cannot come to Harlem without receiving a scathing message about his service to the 1%,” said Nellie Bailey, of Occupy Harlem, which called for the demonstration. Preventive detention was high on the list of grievances. “Without a doubt, it’s the rise of a police state,” said Bailey. Occupy Wall Street, MoveOn, and Stop Stop-and-Frisk sent delegations to the protest outside of the Apollo Theater, where the President held a fundraiser. “I never thought he would sell out like this,” said Jose LaSalle, of Stop Stop-and-Frisk,” to the point he would sign a bill like this and know how it affects minorities and people who are fighting for justice.”

Mothers Against Stop-and-Frisk

Mary Black’s teenage son was stopped five times in five months for no good reason by New York City police – all within a two-block radius of his family’s Harlem apartment. Ms. Black and other mothers have joined with Stop Stop-and-Frisk to protest a policy that saw 700,000 New Yorkers accosted by police, last year, most of them young Black and brown men. “People don’t deserve for their children to be treated this way,” said Ms. Black.

Preventive Detention Suit

Journalist and author Chris Hedges and other plaintiffs sued President Obama for his New Year’s Eve signing of a preventive detention bill. “The way this law is written is really terrifying,” said Hedges. “It’s the whim of the security and surveillance state, whoever they want to go after, they can pretty much do so under this legislation.” The former New York Times correspondent believes “there has been a clear effort on the part of the security state to try to tar the Occupy movement as an enemy of American democracy.”

Punish Police Torture

It’s time to recognize torture under federal law as the crime against humanity it is,” said Taylor Flint, of Chicago’s People’s Law Office, at a Capital Hill briefing. Illinois Rep. Danny Davis has introduced legislation to punish police torture of suspects. Over a 20-year period, a police squad under detective John Burg tortured at least 200 suspects into giving false confessions. One of them, Darrell Cannon, spoke at the briefing. “Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Cannon, who served 26 years in prison. “I can never forgive, I can never forget.” Congressman Davis’ bill would also eliminate the statue of limitations on police torture.

Handwriting on the Wall” in Nigeria

The gasoline price hike “was the straw that broke the camel’s back” and led to a general strike in Nigeria, earlier this month, said Aniedi Okure, of the Africa Faith and Justice Network, in Washington. The Nigerian government first doubled, then reluctantly reduced, prices for gasoline, causing instant inflation in a whole range of other prices. Although a major oil exporter, Nigeria imports most of its gasoline. Mr. Okure blames the Nigerian elite – “the .0001%,” as he called them – for vast economic disparities. “I’m praying that this awakening does not die out,” he said. “The politicians saw the writing on the wall. We might have had a French-style revolution on our hands.”

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What to Do When Your AZZ Gets Locked Up: A Review

 

by The G-Man

With the U.S. in its fifth decade of mass Black incarceration, and preventive detention for American citizens now codified into law, it’s way past time for every person of color or political dissident to get prepared to “meet The Man.” A crusading legal analyst and activist has written a book that could serve as a first line of defense. Her advice: “Never feel that you can negotiate with the police. Keep your mouth shut!”

Listen to Black Agenda Radio, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey, on the Progressive Radio Network – Week of January 2, 2012

 

U.S. Waging Two-Prong War of Repression

With the signing of preventive detention legislation, Washington is “upping the stakes, where the United States homeland is now part of this so-called global war on terror,” said Tony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “All of us who are in one way or another in solidarity with the Cuban revolution, with 21st Century socialism in Venezuela, are now at the top of a hit list of ‘terrorist supporters’ who could be arrested an detained indefinitely.” He expects the emergence of a “great global movement that has to oppose this international thrust of finance capital and the Obama administration and the other NATO countries. They have to crush the rising class conflict in the United States and in other western capitalist countries,” said Prof. Monteiro. “So you have this two-sided project What they are proposing is a regime of domestic and global repression, of fascism.”

Blacks Will Vote for Obama, But Without Enthusiasm

Most Blacks will still vote for President Obama this year, “but it will be different, this time,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. “Before, people thought they had a real champion who was going to make a difference in the lives of Black people, but it didn’t happen. We’re not going to see the same kind of enthusiasm for Obama this time around.” In 2008, “we heard many of our Black leftist friends and many nationalists who were predicting that if Obama didn’t get elected, we would see a police state – but people have experienced that with Obama. We were told there would be economic catastrophe, but that has occurred even with Obama there.” In a lot of ways, said the Black Is Back chairman, “Obama has outdone Bush,” including “the declaration of the right to kill even U.S. citizens any time he wants to.”

UNAC Conference Against Preventive Detention

Preventive detention without trial “is the most serious blow to the Bill of Rights that we have experienced, and it’s no accident that it is occurring while” the U.S. is ”expanding military adventures abroad,” said Chris Gavreau, a spokesperson for UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “The language is so broad, they will use these laws against anyone that they seriously think is a threat to their ability to implement foreign policy.” UNAC will hold a conference March 23-25 in Stanford, Connecticut, to plan “a broad campaign to fight around indefinite detention” and other civil liberties violations.

For Whom The Whistle Blows

While there is still a myth of freedom of speech, journalists’ voices worldwide are being drowned out” by imprisonment of those “that speak truth to power,” said veteran whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. “We have a state-run media in this country – what we call the corporate media – that is influenced more by corporate pressures and by money and politics, than by a search for truth,” said the former Environmental Protection Agency official whose battle with the agency led to landmark protections for federal employees that speak out. “Journalists as whistleblowers, whistleblowers as journalists – at some point it would be lovely to see those communities merge.”

UN Force Should Leave Haiti

The United Nations has failed to acknowledge its responsibility for the cholera deaths of 6,000 Haitians and the sickening a half a million others, despite the fact that the world body’s “own report is the most persuasive evidence of the UN’s culpability,” said Fran Quigley, director of the Health and Human Rights Clinic at the University of Indiana Law School. Quigley recently returned from a fact-find trip to Haiti, where “a lot of people think its long past time for the peacekeepers to leave, even before this deadly cholera outbreak.” Haitians should have their rights protected, including from the United Nations,” said the law professor.

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Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of December 26, 2011

 

Preventive Detention Threatens Occupiers, All Dissidents

The recently passed preventive detention measure poses a direct threat to the Occupation movement, said Dr. Margaret Flowers, an organizer with the encampment at Washington DC’s Freedom Plaza. People in power would like to paint dissenters as allies of terrorism. “Occupy London was actually determined by London police to be a terrorist organization,” said Flowers. Had she even imagined, back in 2008, that Barack Obama would be leading the preventive detention charge? “It doesn’t matter who is put into the system, it only works for the top one percent,” she said.

The Democrats’ “Killing Embrace”

The Occupy movement is constantly “being invited into the killing embrace of the Democratic Party,” which is ”just another face of the enemy,” said Carl Dix, of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Dix, a founder of “Stop Stop-and-Frisk,” harkened back to 2008, when virtually the entire Left “got swept up in Obamamania.” “The guy who says he is the best leader for the empire isn’t going to represent your interests,” he said.

NATO Committed War Crimes Against Libyan Civilians

NATO’s refusal to investigate civilian deaths in its seven-month bombing campaign against Libya is in violation of Article 15 of the Geneva Convention on the Wounded and Sick, Francis Boyle, the world-renowned University of Illinois professor of international law. The Article states that combatants are obligated “to go out and search for the wounded and sick, also the dead,” said Boyle, “but it doesn’t look like NATO really cares.” In fact, NATO policy was not to investigate civilian deaths in Libya – a practice that guaranteed the official death toll would be zero. “To violate the Geneva Conventions is a war crime, there is no doubt about it,” said Boyle.

Christmas in Newark is for Demonstrations

For the People’s Organization for Progress (POP), Christmas was simply day-182 of its marathon of demonstrations for jobs, housing, education, justice and peace. POP and its many allies spent the holiday at their usual places of protest in downtown Newark, New Jersey, keeping a promise to demonstrate for 381 consecutive days – the duration of the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott. Min. Thomas Ellis, of the anti-violence Enough is Enough Coalition, said “fighting for jobs for people in the community is one of the issues that we stand with POP on…. POP stood up against the war before the war started in Iraq, and the Enough is Enough Coalition stood with them on the corners of Broad and Market Streets, in March, 2003.”

American Revolution was a Racist Revolt

Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, said, the American revolt of 1776 against British rule “was basically a successful revolt of racist settlers. It was akin to Rhodesia, in 1965, assuming that Ian Smith and his cabal had triumphed. It was akin to the revolt of the French settlers in Algeria, in the 1950s and 1960s, assuming those French settlers had triumphed.” Dr. Horne explores the racist roots on the American Revolution in his new book, Negroes of the Crown. “It was very difficult to construct a progressive republic in North America after what was basically a racist revolt,” said Horne. “The revolt was motivated in no small part by the fact that abolitionism was growing in London…. This is one of the many reasons more Africans by an order of magnitude fought against the rebels in 1776, than fought alongside them.”

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The Racist Roots of Obama’s Preventive Detention

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

With his claim to the right to kill and indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or trial, President Obama “has crossed a Constitutional Rubicon that would have been beyond the capacity of George Bush or any white Republican.” The groundwork for Obama’s nullification of the rule of law was laid through federal “prosecutions whose sole purpose has been to establish that there exists an ‘enemy within’ U.S. borders, that it is largely Black as well as Muslim, and which requires a greatly expanded police state with extraordinary powers.”

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