President Obama’s ‘Brownshirts’ May Be Closer to Smashing Down Your Front Door Than You Think
By Paul R. Hollrah
In a speech in Colorado Springs on July 2, 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) ignored his teleprompter for a moment and spoke from the heart:
“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set,” he said. “We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded (as the military)… People of all ages, stations, and skills will be asked to serve.”
It brings to mind scenes from the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, East Germany, the People’s Republic of China, Cuba, North Korea and, more recently, Venezuela, where every city, town, village, and neighborhood had(has) groups of citizens, called cells, who keep tabs on each other and their non-cell neighbors.
Farfetched? Most Americans ignore the possibility that Obama might attempt to copy his leftist counterparts in the communist, fascist, and socialist world. But Obama’s “brownshirts” may be closer to smashing down your front door than you think. Consider just a few recent incidents.
On Wednesday, Aug. 24, heavily armed agents of the U.S. Department of Justice, carrying search warrants signed by a federal judge, raided facilities of the Gibson Guitar Company [See reports here and here] in Memphis and Nashville. The raid was similar to a previous raid carried out in November 2009 when more than a dozen federal agents, armed with automatic weapons, raided Gibson’s U.S. manufacturing facilities and confiscated more than $1 million worth of valuable wood products imported from Madagascar.
The Justice Department maintains that the wood confiscated in the 2009 raid was obtained in violation of Madagascan law. However, Gibson has in its possession documents from the Madagascan government, certifying that the wood seized in 2009 was legally exported under their laws and that no law has been violated.
This year’s raid appears to involve quantities of rosewood and ebony imported from India. According to Gibson, the Justice Department “has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of the law in India…”
What was Gibson’s crime? Inasmuch as many Gibson guitars are produced by U.S. craftsmen, using rosewood and ebony imported from India, the Obama Administration finds Gibson in violation of the Lacey Act. According to the Rainforest Alliance, “… the law makes it illegal to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant, with some limited exceptions, taken or traded in violation of the laws of the U.S., a U.S. State, or relevant foreign law (emphasis added).”
Because the ban on illegal timber, as defined in the Lacey Act, has not been defined by a clear set of regulations, it leaves the Obama administration a wide range of discretion to persecute businesses that may have displeased them. The law is so broad and ill-defined that, according to Gibson officials, a user can run into trouble even though they have no knowledge of a law in force in a foreign country.
“We have letters from a very high-level government agency in India that says that this product was (an) allowable export,” argued Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz. “And in fact, we have been buying the same product for well over 17 years… Wood that we are buying is being bought by other companies in the industry and they have not had any kind of action… not so much as a letter or a postcard.” [Note: A glimpse at the pages of the CF Martin & Company catalog (above right) backs up what Juskiewicz said.]
What should give us all cause for concern, especially those of us who are among Obama’s most consistent critics, is the knowledge that C.F. Martin & Company, another leading guitar maker, uses the same imported woods. So exactly what is it that distinguishes Gibson from Martin? Chris Martin IV, CEO of the Martin guitar company, is reported to be a long-time Democratic Party contributor, donating tens of thousands of dollars to Obama and other Democrats. By contrast, Gibson’s Juszkiewicz has a long history of supporting Republican candidates.
In another recent case, 24 federal agents raided Atlanta-based A-440 Pianos, which had imported a number of antique Austrian Bösendorfer pianos outfitted with 855 keys made of old ivory. According to an Aug. 28 report in the Wall Street Journal, when A-440 was preparing to import the pianos, knowing that the piano keys were made of ivory more than 100 years old, they asked officials at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species how to prepare the necessary paperwork. Convention officials alerted U.S. Customs.
“There was never any question that the instruments were old enough to have grandfathered ivory keys,” according to the Journal. Unfortunately, A-440 executive Pascal Vieillard apparently did not have all of his paperwork in order when two-dozen federal agents swarmed into his warehouse. Facing a maximum sentence of one year in federal prison and a maximum fine of $100,000, Vieillard pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating the Lacey Act and was given a $17,500 fine and three years probation. His company faces a maximum fine of $500,000 and five years probation.
How long does it take for a piano importer, a small business, to earn $500,000 in net profits, and how many jobs will be lost because Obama’s “brownshirts” were unable to control themselves?
National Review Online was incredulous. Mark Steyn asked, “Two dozen federal agents? To raid a piano importer? Does the piano industry have a particular reputation for violent armed resistance? Or is it that the most footling bureaucrat now feels he has no credibility unless he’s got his own elite commando team? …But look at it this way: Imagine if, instead of 24 agents, the federal piano police had to make do with a mere dozen to raid a small importer.”
In Obama’s world, that would represent a real breakdown in law enforcement.
As a Republican activist who has experienced numerous threats on my life and on the lives of my wife and children, and as one who has been beaten unconscious by union thugs at a public political event, I have some sense of the level of violence that always exists just beneath the surface when Democrats and their leftist constituencies feel threatened. But all of those things happened at a time when the American people could have some faith that the rule of law was respected by the people and by law enforcement agencies alike.
We now live in a different era. We live at a time when the Attorney General of the United States feels no obligation to enforce the law against armed New Black Panther thugs who threaten and intimidate voters outside a polling place in Philadelphia… just because the thugs were there in support of Democratic candidates. We live at a time when violent union thugs are allowed to occupy the capitol building of a sovereign state… just because the Republican governor and the Republican members of the state legislature did the jobs they were elected to do. And we are living at a time when the executives of a failing “green energy” company can… after paying four visits to the White House… obtain a $537 million loan guarantee, and for no better reason than that Obama needed a “poster child” for his ill-conceived initiative.
Law-abiding citizens, I’m sure, held out some hope for justice when they saw televised reports of FBI agents hauling away dozens of cartons of documents from the headquarters of the failed Solyndra solar energy company in Fremont, Calif.. But what they fail to consider is that the FBI reports to Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States, and that Holder reports to Obama, whose reelection chances are in jeopardy. What viewers saw as a collection of evidence of massive political corruption may have been, in fact, the confiscation and destruction of evidence of massive political corruption.
With memories of the Kennedy assassination, Wounded Knee, Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the Oklahoma City Bombing cover-up fresh in our minds, do we really trust the FBI to conduct a full and complete investigation of criminal conduct while they are under the direct supervision of political thugs such as Holder and Obama?
Obama as an American imperialist?
The article below is from a libertarian source so is a bit hysterical about "imperialism" but the view that Obama is in fact a loyal American (in his own confused way) intent on expanding American influence abroad does have some cogency. It is certainly true that Obama has expanded American military committments overseas. He is no peacenik. During his run for the Presidency he was rather mocked for saying that he would expand the war into Pakistan -- but he has been doing just that for some time now, even catching Osama bin Laden in the process. Increased military engagements are of course also consistent with Fascism
Obama’s apparent inconsistency on several issues has helped fuel the public debate over his beliefs. But if anything in Obama’s rhetoric and policies has been constant, it is his devotion to the American empire. Throughout the presidential campaign, he promised to fulfill the mission of his heroes, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy: strengthening American influence across the world. Obama declared that, like the globalist American leaders of the past, “we must embrace America’s singular role in the course of human events.”
Many of the candidate’s most loyal supporters were veterans of the movements against U.S. interventions in Southeast Asia and Central America, but Obama himself flatly asserted that the United States “has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known” and therefore “must lead the world, by deed and example.” Before audiences who somehow saw him as a peace candidate, he lauded Franklin Roosevelt for building “the most formidable military the world has ever seen” and promised to continue the tradition. As lifelong peaceniks plastered his face on their cars and homes and made their children march in parades for him, the candidate made it clear, in speeches, articles, and the 2008 Democratic National Platform, that if elected he would seek to enlarge the Army and Marine Corps, increase military spending, and escalate the war in Afghanistan.
Similarly, 10 months after taking office, Obama used the Nobel Peace Prize to declare war on potentially most of the world. In his October 2009 acceptance speech, the president pledged to go “beyond self-defense”—with armed intervention when necessary—anywhere “the inherent rights and dignity of every individual” are denied. Moreover, he ominously asserted that economic development “rarely takes root without security” and that “military leaders in my own country” believe that “our common security hangs in the balance” so long as climate change is not swiftly and forcefully addressed. Seldom has a political leader delivered such a strident and comprehensive call for American hegemony.
As we now know, Obama’s imperial rhetoric was not empty. With the cooperation of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, he did in fact increase Pentagon spending and expand the Army and Marine Corps to create the largest and most powerful military in the history of the world, tripled down in Afghanistan and Pakistan, launched new military operations in Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, and maintained 50,000 troops in Iraq.
Clearly, anyone who saw Obama as a peacemaker simply did not listen to what he was saying. But his commitment to preserving and expanding the American empire should also be no surprise to anyone familiar with the facts of his childhood. Obama is, after all, the empire’s son. Neither New York Times reporter Janny Scott nor conservative public intellectual Dinesh D’Souza—the authors of books on Obama’s mother and father, respectively—understand this. But for anyone with knowledge of the involvement of the United States in Indonesia and Kenya during Obama’s childhood, the information Scott and D’Souza provide makes it clear that Obama is fundamentally a product of American imperialism.
Let us begin with a physical fact: Obama literally would not exist without the Central Intelligence Agency. His father and mother met at the University of Hawaii’s East-West Center, which was created by Congress and directed by CIA operatives. Obama’s father was brought to the University of Hawaii by the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation and the U.S. State Department at the request of Tom Mboya, a CIA-backed leader in the Kenyan independence movement. The dormitory where Obama Sr. lived at the East-West Center was funded by the Asia Foundation, also a creation of the CIA. According to a 1961 congressional report, the mission of the East-West Center was to inculcate pro-American sentiment in foreign students and thereby “win the battle for men’s minds.” John Witeck, a scholar who once worked at the center, has called it “a true cult of imperialism.”
More important than the CIA connections of Obama’s parents, the world in which he was raised was filled with people devoted to bringing American ways of life to the rest of the world. From Janny Scott’s biography of Stanley Ann Dunham, A Singular Woman, we learn that Obama’s mother built her life around a commitment to spreading American business practices to rural Indonesia. What we don’t learn from Scott’s book is the political context or meaning of Dunham’s state-sponsored secular missionary work.
Shortly after divorcing Obama’s father, Dunham married Lolo Soetoro, the son of an upper-class Javanese family and a lieutenant in the Indonesian army, who in 1962 was sent by the Indonesian government to study at the East-West Center. Scott tells this story but omits what made the liaison possible. At the time, the Kennedy Administration, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), was sending tens of millions of dollars per year to the Indonesian government in an attempt to win its loyalty against similar bribery from the Soviet Union. Much of that funding was used to send elite Indonesian students, such as Soetoro, to American schools. In particular, to schools—such as the East-West Center—that worked directly with U.S. intelligence and security agencies and trained foreign students to teach American business methods and philosophies back in their home countries.
In 1966 Soetoro returned to Indonesia to work for the military, which had just carried out mass executions of communists and suspected communists. Scott does not mention that according to a congressional report, 1,200 of the Indonesian military officers who organized and led this purge, which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, had been trained in U.S.-based counterinsurgency programs, or that many of the weapons used in the killings were supplied by Washington. The elimination of communists, who had violently protested U.S. influence in Indonesia, cleared the way for a greater influx of American and American-trained nation builders, such as Soetoro and Dunham. Obama’s mother and stepfather were the velvet glove of “development” covering the iron fist of state violence.
In 1967 Dunham moved with Obama to join her husband in Jakarta, and she soon took a job at a school operated by the USAID. Obama wrote in his 1995 memoir Dreams From My Father that the move was part of “the promise of something new and important” for his mother, namely “helping her husband rebuild a country in a charged and challenging place beyond her parents’ reach.” Dunham taught English to Indonesian businessmen to prepare them for U.S.-sponsored training in American business schools. It is well documented that during this period the USAID and CIA worked together closely in developing pro-American elites in Indonesia and elsewhere. One of those pro-American elites was Obama’s stepfather, who sometime in the late 1960s or early ’70s began working as the governmental liaison in the Jakarta offices of the California-based Union Oil Company.
Obama’s mother spent several years at the USAID school, then took a series of jobs—all sponsored directly or indirectly by U.S. government agencies—studying and promoting American-style economic development in rural Indonesia. Through the 1970s Dunham worked on a string of projects funded by the USAID; then in 1981 she was hired by the Ford Foundation’s Southeast Asia regional office in Jakarta to help develop microfinance programs in rural Indonesia. The Ford Foundation’s entanglement with the CIA during this period has always been public knowledge, with journalists, academic scholars, and congressional investigators documenting a long history of covert funding and what the sociologist James Petras has called “a close structural relation and interchange of personnel at the highest levels between the CIA and the Ford Foundation.” A 1976 congressional investigation showed that close to half of the foundation’s international projects were funded by the agency. Dunham left the foundation in 1988 to work as a consultant and research coordinator for Bank Rakyat Indonesia, with her work again funded by the USAID. In narrating Dunham’s and Soetoro’s careers, Scott consistently fails to mention the intimate connections between Obama’s parents and U.S. agencies or, more important, to notice that an expansive U.S. foreign policy created Obama’s world.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)