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Obama was a good president. Despite all predictions, he managed, in the four years of his term, to win over a good number of Republicans, mostly from conservative rural counties which appreciated his efforts to lower taxes on struggling "Walmart" families, as families came to be known which depended on the retailer not just for shopping but increasingly scarce jobs. The predatory China importer, after construction of the hotly contested NAFTA superhighway, perfected a supply chain of cheap goods off-loaded in Central America and Mexico, going straight to the superhighway and rail system, running to the major distribution point in Kansas City. From there goods were shipped to mega-retailers across the country. With human rights and work conditions in China worse than ever, no American goods could compete with its rock bottom wages. Many Americans now worked anywhere they could just to survive. Those employed by Walmart often gave back a good part of their wages to the cheapest source of food and goods, Walmart. Thus it became the equivalent of the company store of old.

Obama had fought vigorously, against the supra-national trade agreements which made massive economic transformation possible, but in the end was betrayed by his own party. As with Jimmy Carter, it turned out the party's incumbents were not interested in reform after all, but in their own hold on power. Too late did the American people understand that reform was the last thing on their minds. The billions made in the process of draining the last of the capital accumulated by the middle class since the Fifties found its way to invincible campaign war-chests, and to the accounts of lobbyists who were often well-connected to congressmen. In order that nothing interfere with the agenda, which was interspersed with a noisy tug-of-war over health care reform which would never happen, newly elected Speaker of the House Steny Hoyer declared the indictment of Bush-Cheney for war crimes "off the table."

Then came the horrifying attacks which frightened Americans, at the next election, into the arms of a presidential campaign promising to level entire regions with nuclear weapons, to eliminate threats to America once and for all. Obama in vain reminded people that this was genocide, but the nature of the attacks had so traumatized the population that now anything was possible.

The new president lost no time flexing her muscles. During the Bush-Cheney years the precedent had been set, and left unchallenged, that in times of crisis the president was a law unto himself. The case Padilla vs. Rumsfeld had never reached the Supreme Court, since the Bush administration had released Padilla to the civilian courts before it could be decided. The principal issue before the Court was whether the Congressional Authorization for use of Military Force post September 11 gave to the President the powers to militarily detain a United States citizen by classifying the detainee as an "enemy combatant."

Briefs filed by the new administration cited the past legalese of John Yoo and Alberto Gonzalez, and expanded upon it. Then it was announced that a terror cell had been uncovered in Nebraska consisting of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans and their wives, which had disguised its nefarious activities under cover of peaceful dissent and protest. With the make-up of the Supreme Court changed from the Bush years, the administration was ready to assert the authority to hold any American in secret, without trial or charges, thus completing the groundwork begun by the arrest of Jose Padilla.

For in the meantime Justices Scalia and Roberts had passed away, who were considered unreliable for such a task by the Bush administration. For this reason only was the Padilla case made moot by Bush by releasing Padilla to a civilian trial. It was remembered that even Scalia had sided with one of the court's most liberal members, Justice John Paul Stevens, in the case of Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, in which the court decided that the Bush administration's "enemy combatant," Hamdi, must either be charged with a crime, or released. As socially arch-conservative as they were, Scalia and Roberts, before they were lawyers, were historians. They could not be counted on to find that the country's Founders had envisioned a day when wartime powers should eliminate the Bill of Rights forever.

The Nebraska cell jarred the public mind, as it consisted entirely of blue-eyed, blond Midwesterners pressing for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from the former Soviet republic of Georgia. With the new court in place, the stage was set for the mass round-ups which would follow, as enraged Americans saw the results of the recent raids on social security to feed the war and war contractor machine. Reports of elderly found literally starving in strapped rural communities became common, and more than once children were sighted rummaging through the garbage of the gated communities.

For the nation's super-rich, and there was little in between this and the newly poor, had begun to disappear to private islands off-shore or behind walled "Green Zones" in America modeled after early experiments in Baghdad. But those were child's play compared to the present art of enabling the lushest of living standards in the midst of the most hostile environments, secured by the private armies of Blackwater.

The mass round-ups were disguised as unprecedentedly aggressive sweeps of illegal aliens, who bore the brunt of the arrests, but inevitably the most outspoken and effective of activists against the government seemed to disappear at the same time. Families pursuing their loved ones were often given stories concocted by investigators which laced truth with fiction, such as that he or she was seen gambling in Las Vegas with a person not his or her spouse.  NSA surveillance made it easy to add details and names which gave many stories a mild plausibilty. Those who pressed too hard for answers would disappear at the next round-up as well, and a formerly free and rambunctious citizenry learned to stay silent.  The government was just too strong.

But for the weak rubber-stamp congress subject to intimidation and blackmail made easy by 24-hour NSA surveillance, no distinction could be made between the Executive Branch and the government. Though attempts at political mobilization and change through the ballot box were made, the government's new spying and detention powers, combined with the ease with which any vote could be manipulated electronically, left no choice but armed revolution. Groups calling themselves the "Thomas Jefferson Brigade" and the "Patrick Henry Battalion," often consisting of veterans, sprang up for a bloody and drawn-out war.

Legal analysts lamented that, at every stage of the way, precedents had been allowed to stand unchallenged which led to the next expansion of executive powers. The precedents which the Bush-Cheney administration of the past had set, which at the time had been called by a small minority of activists "impeachable offenses" which constituted "breaking the law," were breaking the law no more.

One well-known freedom fighter, an idealistic former strategist for Obama who, although from a wealthy family, took up arms at the sight of Americans starving, was quoted famously as saying, from the Air Force brig in North Dakota which had been set up for "politicals,": "You know what? They were right. We should have cut off their tail feathers but good, right up to their balls, and impeached in the middle of an election. We should have impeached their treasonous asses while we could have, and put them on ice for war crimes later."

This freedom fighter was executed later with the words of Nathan Hale on his lips, "I only regret, that I have but one life to lose for my country."

This Tuesday September 10th Rep. Dennis Kucinich will be making another push for impeachment. Call and email your congressman HERE and demand he co-sponsor HR 1345, for the impeachment of George Bush. For more information on the continuing impeachment movement go to RepublicansForImpeachment.com

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Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He writes for Truth Out, Alternet, Consortium News, Op-Ed News, and other Internet media. He reported from Afghanistan in 2009 and produced a short documentary film on the (more...)
 

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