For godsake, wake up America!

Shortly before Christmas I had a bet with my mother that there would be one more big news story before the clocks struck midnight on New Year’s Eve. I cheated, of course, because I knew President Obama would be signing the National Defense Authorization Act, which he did on New Year’s Eve (see here). Strangely, though, this historical and truly terrifying moment, when American citizens had their liberty removed, was barely reported in America and the rest of the world. Never in the history of modern democracy has such a law been passed (Obama still has a six month window that allows him to veto the Act). This recent Forbes piece explains the implications of the National Defense Authorization Act far better than I can…

The National Defense Authorization Act is the Greatest Threat to Civil Liberties Americans Face

In the decade since 9/11, America has become a not-so-slowly unfolding nightmare. The Patriot Act (which amongst other things allowed for the indefinite detention without trial of foreign nationals, such as me), the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, right wing nut jobs invading American politics, the spread of Christian fundamentalism, a media that is no longer balanced and objective and now largely a mouthpiece for the right, a disgustingly immoral foreign policy highlighted by the Arab uprisings, the unregulated financial industry that has put millions of people below the poverty line (not just in America, but all over the world)… and now we have the National Defense Authorization Act, of which President Obama said, after he’d signed it off:

“I want to clarify that my administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens,”

Well, that’s nice of Obama; but the point is, and this is what makes it terrifying because it’s so open to abuse, it’s now written in law that American citizens can be held indefinitely without trial. If I had a time machine and could go back to New York on September 10th 2001, and I told Americans about this new law in 2012 they just wouldn’t believe me; they’d think I was completely, barking mad; after all, isn’t America the land of the free, the beacon of democracy? Not any more; now it’s on par with places like Iran and Syria.

The poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti is now 92 years old. Here he is reading a poem he wrote in 2007…

Other posts I’ve made about the National Defense Authorization Act:
The nightmare begins
The Muppets do dictatorship
Hello citizens of the world, we are Anonyomous and can’t spell

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