HYPOCRISY: Obama Helped Create Executive Power He Now Criticizes

 

President Obama is now using Donald Trump to raise awareness about the same executive power he has been abusing for the last eight years.

Obama released a 61-page report on Monday, as the result of a presidential memorandum he issued to prepare the next president for “key legal and policy frameworks that currently guide the United States’ use of military force and related national security operations.”

The purpose of the report appears to be a set of guidelines for the next president. However, in reality, it serves as a reminder of the hypocritical actions that have become pillars of the Obama administration.

For example, when discussing the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force that was granted following 9/11, the report makes it sound as its purpose was solely to eliminate al-Qaeda and the Taliban, i.e. the organizations it claimed “planned, authorized, committed, [and] aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.”

However, the report then goes on to list all of the ways that same AUMF has been used as a “blank check” to support desired military action in the Middle East. This includes the justification for going after the Islamic State, which was formed after Sept. 11, 2001.

Not only will Trump inherit the same endless war Obama inherited from Bush—just with different militants—but Trump will also inherit Obama’s drone program. This program comes with military action used by Obama in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

It’s not just presidential war powers… While Obama has not issued as many executive orders as Bill Clinton, he has signed nearly 50 percent more presidential memoranda than the last Democrat in office. When looking at both executive orders and presidential memoranda, Obama has used more executive power than any other president since Harry Truman’s “Do Nothing Congress” in the 1940s.

If Obama is worried about Trump having too much power when he is in office, then it is Obama’s fault. If he truly cared about the American people, he would have spent his time as president setting the standard. Instead, he spent it looking for loopholes and searching for ways to expand executive power, and now we get to live with the results.

Follow Rachel Blevins on Facebook and Twitter.

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Rachel Blevins is a Texas-based journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives.

US Lawmakers Move to Criminalize ‘Fake News, Propaganda’ on the Web

The witch hunt for “fake news” and “Russian propaganda” has been kicked up a notch, after the House passed a bill quietly tucked inside the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, designed to crack down on free speech and independent media.

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Under “Title V—Matters relating to foreign countries,” the bill seeks to “counter active measures by Russia to exert covert influence … carried out in coordination with, or at the behest of, political leaders or the security services of the Russian Federation and the role of the Russian Federation has been hidden or not acknowledged publicly.”

It lists media manipulation as:

  • Establishment or funding of a front group.
  • Covert broadcasting.
  • Media manipulation.
  • Disinformation and forgeries.
  • Funding agents of influence.
  • Incitement and offensive counterintelligence.
  • Assassinations.
  • Terrorist acts.

“It is easy to see how this law, if passed by the Senate and signed by the president, could be used to target, threaten, or eliminate so-called ‘fake news’ websites, a list which has been used to arbitrarily define any website, or blog, that does not share the mainstream media’s proclivity to serve as the Public Relations arm of a given administration,” Global Research reported.

The frightening attack on speech and independent media was opposed by only 30 members of the House, including Tulsi Gabbard, Thomas Massie, and Justin Amash — who stated that he fought against it.

“As long as the government engages in intelligence activities that violate our rights secured by our Constitution, any Intel Authorization bill should be opposed,” Justin Amash told Sputnik News.

The bill must now pass through Senate, though a senior Rand Paul aide has told Sputnik News that the Senator is currently holding the intelligence bill for several reasons — and that they are looking at this specific issue very closely.

“Curiously, the bill which was passed on November 30, was introduced on November 22, two days before the Washington Post published its Nov. 24 article citing ‘experts’ who claim Russian propaganda helped Donald Trump get elected,” Zero Hedge noted.

The ‘experts’ the newspaper cited was a group called “PropOrNot,” although it have refused to name the experts behind the operation. The organization has promoted a Ukrainian hacker group on their Twitter feed.

PropOrNot also listed over 200 websites that they accuse of peddling Russian propaganda, including extremely popular news websites on all sides of the political spectrum, including The Drudge Report, Zero Hedge, TruthOut, Sputnik News, and even WikiLeaks.

Former presidential candidate Ron Paul’s website is also mentioned in many of the articles on so-called fake news, an issue that should be concerning to those who believe in free speech, including his son, Senator Rand Paul. The elder Paul has long been a vocal supporter of freedom of speech, as it is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, and he and his supporters have repeatedly been the target of finger pointing and demonization.

In 2012, a risk-assessment report from a Missouri-based fusion center stated that support for Ron Paul’s presidential bid was a sign of membership in a “domestic terrorist group.”

“For purposes of this definition it does not matter whether the sites listed here are being knowingly directed and paid by Russian intelligence officers, or whether they even knew they were echoing Russian propaganda at any particular point: If they meet these criteria, they are at the very least acting as bona-fide ‘useful idiots’ of the Russian intelligence services, and are worthy of further scrutiny,” the so-called experts cited by PropOrNot state.

Many of those listed on censorship hit lists are speaking out against the attempt to stop independent media.

“Information is dangerous and with this new reactionary shift of people making ban lists of so called ‘fake news,’ it shows us how afraid they are of knowledge and differences of opinion that spur people to have an open mind,” Luke Rudkowski, the owner of We Are Change, one of the sites on the blacklist, previously told Sputnik News. “Information is very dangerous for the establishment status quo that tried to keep things the way they are.”

The bill, Zero Hedge notes, will soon proclaim much of the internet to be “criminal Russian propaganda if it is allowed to pass.

I originally published this piece on Sputnik News

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Cassandra Fairbanks is a DC-based writer and political commentator who has been published in a range of outlets including Sputnik News, Teen Vogue, TeleSUR, and Bipartisan Report.

BREAKING: WikiLeaks Bombshell Confirms Close Ties Between Turkey, ISIS

In the video above, Rachel Blevins covers the latest WikiLeaks release, which features nearly 60,000 emails from the account of Turkish President Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak. These emails reveal the ways Erdogan’s family is involved in the Isamic State’s illegal oil trade.

Sources:
https://wikileaks.org/berats-box/

https://www.thepressproject.gr/article/103870/exclusive-wikileaks-documents-relations-erdogan-ISIS-oil-smuggling

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-russia-turkey-idUSKBN0TL19S20151202

 

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Rachel Blevins is a Texas-based journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives.

How Congress Is Using Russia, Israel To CENSOR Free Speech

Freedom of Speech is guaranteed in the First Amendment for a reason, but there a few ways today’s Congress is working to limit it, and they doing it as quietly and covertly as possible.

The term “Fake News” may have started out as a term describing some of the ridiculous articles your family members share on Facebook, but it has now made its way all the way up to Congress.

In fact, H.R. 6393 – Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 has a special section highlighting the U.S. government’s favorite kind of propaganda: Russia propaganda.

“The bill establishes an executive branch interagency committee to counter active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence over peoples and governments. It places travel restrictions on personnel and consular of the Russian Federation in the United States.”

The text of the bill noted that the term “active measures by Russia to exert covert influence” covers activities that are “intended to influence a person or government that are carried out in coordination with, or at the behest of, political leaders or the security services of the Russian Federation.” This can include things such as the “establishment or funding of a front group,” “Covert broadcasting” and “Media manipulation.”

The interesting thing about this bill is that it coincides with a recent hit-piece from the Washington Post that claims that according to “experts,” over 200 websites acted as “routine peddlers of Russia propaganda during the election season.”

The latest Intelligence Authorization Act has passed in the House of Representatives, and is currently waiting for a green light from the Senate before it moves to President’s Obama’s desk.

But that’s not the only way Congress is working to limit the freedom of speech

The Senate recently passed S.10 – Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which claims that it seeks to “combat increasing incidents of anti-Semitism on college campuses nationwide.”

The important thing to note about this bill is that it was passed with unanimous consent by the Senate. Also, the bill was reportedly created as a response to several alleged anti-Semitic incidents that occurred in the days after the election—despite the fact that Donald Trump has shown the utmost support for Israel.

The first point from the bill is valid. It defines anti-Semitism as “Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews.”

The bill then goes downhill from there, claiming that anti-Semitism is also defined by “Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust,” “Demonizing Israel by blaming it for all inter-religious or political tensions” and “Judge Israel by a double standard that one would not apply to any other democratic nation.”

This bill is essentially saying that if a college student criticizes the Israeli government, then he/she is against all Jews. How is that logical? As Americans, we criticize our government all the time—not because we’re anti-American, but because we realize that the actions of a government do not always accurately represent the will of its people.

There is no doubt that when Donald Trump tweets about wanting to limit free speech by going after anyone who burns the American flag, there will be an abundance of media coverage. However, when Congress is actively considering bills that could suppress free speech, there is little coverage. Now is the time to start raising awareness about these bills before they are made into laws that will have an impact on all Americans.

 

Follow Rachel Blevins on Facebook and Twitter.

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Rachel Blevins is a Texas-based journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives.

Congress Considering Bill To Allow Provocative ‘No-Fly Zone’ In Syria

Image via Reuters

Image via Reuters

The United States Congress is currently discussing an extremely dangerous bill that could escalate the situation in Syria and lead to a greater global conflict involving the U.S., Russia, Iran and China.

H.R.5732, the “Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2016” was passed in the House of Representatives on November 15. The bill would give the U.S. the power to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, which would only serve to increase tensions between the U.S. and Russia. According to U.S. Military Gen. Joseph Dunford, “controlling all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia.”

Gen. Dunford treats the question about controlling the air space and imposing a no-fly zone as if those two mean a completely different thing militarily. He proceeds to agree with Sen. Roger Wicker in saying that imposing a no-fly zone may not necessarily require the U.S. to go to war full-scale.

We must however keep in mind the implications of imposing a no-fly zone which essentially translates to controlling the airspace by the one enacting it. It would also prevent the Syrian military and government from operating in the airspace of their own country further weakening the Syrian government’s fight to hold power.

Russia has many assets in Syria and has continued to stand by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while the U.S. and its Western allies fund and support “moderate Syrian rebels” working to overthrow Assad and his regime. The U.S. actively working on militarily eliminating a Russian ally could be considered an act of war in itself. Russia is very much aware of Western funding and support of radical Islamic rebels including ISIS.

In Dec. 2015, Russia’s Defense Ministry revealed it had proof that Turkey was involved in Islamic State oil trade. Since then, they have continued to point the blame at the U.S. and its allies for ISIS and the destabilization in Syria.

We can also confirm these are not false allegations from Russia. “The Podesta Emails” leaked by WikiLeaks consisting of email conversations from top officials of the Democratic Party, including Hillary Clinton, confirm the direct sales of weapons to ISIS.

Despite Clinton losing the presidential election, tensions remain high between the U.S. and Russia. American media continues to absurdly push a false narrative of Russian cyber attacks being behind the leaked DNC emails from Wikileaks, despite the lack of any evidence for such allegations. Mainstream media outlets have doubled down on their propaganda by further releasing a list of proclaimed “fake news.”

The same media pushing this narrative of fake news and working with the Russians, have done very little coverage of the H.R.5732 bill. The bill was received in the Senate, read twice, and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations as of November 16. If it passes the Senate, it will go to the president for approval.

Once approved, the U.S. can enact a no-fly zone and have the authority to shoot down any aircraft including Russian air force targeting ISIS militants. Russia has recently deployed its own S-300, S-400 air defense SAM’s warning against a U.S.-led coalition. Based on the history of the Syrian civil war, it would appear the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act isn’t mainly focused on protecting Syrian civilians, but rather protecting U.S. interests and rebels from pro-Assad forces.

ISIS was nearly eliminated, losing most of its ammunition and heavy vehicles in October by Russian airstrikes, yet the terrorist organization has been rejuvenated and is still operating. A no-fly zone may actually be used to prevent Russian air force from targeting ISIS militants and provide cover for further rebuilding and rearmament.

While the U.S. claims to be at war with ISIS, it continues to take stands and promote actions that in fact would support, protect and build up the terrorist organization. The approval of H.R.5732 could be a big step in protecting ISIS militants and in providing a stronger influence of power to the U.S. and its allies in Syria.

A no-fly zone could pose more danger as it more easily allows the possibility of conflict and error to take place. It very well could be a closer push towards direct conflict between Russia and NATO. Recent announcements of the Russian ‘Satan 2’ missile powerful enough to “wipe out UK, France or Texas” could indicate Russia’s preparedness for such a turn of events in Syria. Their recent massive nuclear war training exercises involving 40 million of its citizens could reiterate preparations for potential global conflict.

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