Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Will The Occupy Wall Street Movement Help Obama's 2012 Chances? Not Likely

Not a good week for progressives attempting to defend the president's domestic actions. 

I.  Earlier in the week, the Obama administration helped coordinate the simultaneous shutdowns of several OWS encampments around the country:
Remember when people were freaking out over the Patriot Act and Homeland Security and all this other conveniently ready-to-go post-9/11 police state stuff, because it would obviously be just a matter of time before the whole apparatus was turned against non-Muslim Americans when they started getting complain-y about the social injustice and economic injustice and income inequality and endless recession and permanent unemployment? That day is now, and has been for some time. But it’s also now confirmed that it’s now, as some Justice Department official screwed up and admitted that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated the riot-cop raids on a dozen major #Occupy Wall Street demonstration camps nationwide yesterday and today. (Oh, and tonight, too: Seattle is being busted up by the riot cops right now, so be careful out there.)

Rick Ellis of the Minneapolis edition of has this, based on a “background conversation” he had with a Justice Department official on Monday night:
Over the past ten days, more than a dozen cities have moved to evict “Occupy” protesters from city parks and other public spaces. As was the case in last night’s move in New York City, each of the police actions shares a number of characteristics. And according to one Justice official, each of those actions was coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies.
According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.
Well gosh, that’s exactly what happened. Good to know the FBI and DHS are “always there to help a brother out.” (This is their motto, in Latin.)

(And for those who are understandably doubtful about as a news source, here’s an AP story from a couple hours ago that verifies everything except the specific mention of DHS coordination.)
Here's Michael Moore on this:

II. Yesterday, around Washington State, Obama's Justice Department raided at last 14 legal (by Washington State and local laws) medical marijuana dispensaries, in coordinated raids that were most likely signed off on by the president:

In one of the largest day of raids on marijuana dispensaries since President Obama took office, at least 14 dispensaries were hit in Washington state yesterday in a coordinated set of actions. From the Seattle Times:
At least 14 Puget Sound-area medical-marijuana dispensaries were swept up in a long-expected law-enforcement raid that ranks as the largest since the state approved medical marijuana.
The coordinated raids across Thurston, Pierce and King counties targeted dispensaries that, according to law enforcement, were hiding behind the medical-marijuana law to make illegal sales, in some cases to people who were not patients. More than a dozen people were arrested.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle said the raids in Seattle were part of four ongoing investigations.
The multiple raids across Washington state included both local and federal law enforcement agencies.
According to a statement from the Department of Justice, the dispensaries targeted were not just violating federal laws against marijuana; they were also in violation of the state’s medical marijuana law. From United States Attorney office of the Western District of Washington:
Today, Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local law enforcement executed search warrants in four ongoing federal investigations in Western Washington relating to illegal drug distribution and other crimes in violation of federal law. Each of the investigations targets commercial enterprises that purport to operate as “medical” marijuana establishments but also fail to comply with applicable state law.
As set forth in the search warrant affidavits unsealed by the U.S. District Court today, these businesses attracted the attention of federal law enforcement for a number of reasons: their failure to abide by state medical marijuana guidelines; indications that they were distributing large amounts of drugs; and evidence they were laundering large amounts of money. Some of these marijuana stores were the subject of complaints from their surrounding communities as well as medical marijuana supporters, concerned about businesses operating outside the letter and spirit of state law. One operator was arrested this morning for violating the court ordered terms of his federal supervised release for a prior federal conviction.
*emphasis added.

We will likely find out in the coming months if these raids were just another piece of the Obama administration’s multi-agency war on medical marijuana or were exclusively about prosecuting a handful of bad actors who were  flaunting the state’s medical marijuana laws.

It would be easier to believe the DOJ’s claims that these federal raids were part of a good faith effort to enforce the state’s medical marijuana laws if Obama administration had not already taken so many actions to undermine states’ medical marijuana systems.


Anonymous said...

Dear, oh dear. It's embarrassing when a blogger bases a whole post on disinformation.

Here's some Google homework for you: Check out a little right-wing rag called "The Examiner." It's the ONLY source of this supposed revelation about the DHS "coordinating" this effort, carried by Wonkette in the article you linked, and parroted by Moore (and Olbermann) and others who should know better, unless they're just interested in confusing people.

Check it out. Do some research. Every single story you'll find leads back to that one unsubstantiated allegation in "The Examiner."

Done it yet? Good. Then I look forward to your update setting the record straight. Because you always do that when you get your facts wrong, don't you, Phil?

SameOld said...

Thanks, Phil.

Those who don't get Obama is a right winger get to rue the day when they reelect him. Reelection means he is answerable to no one.

Anonymous said...

You'll be happy to know that you and Rush are spreading the same lies about Obama helping to evict the protestors. Shame on you! Nice to see so called liberals helping the right wing destroy the president. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Unfortunately, like climate change, denial doesn't make any difference -- by the time those who deny come around, it will be too late to change things.

I would prefer not to vote for Obama again as he has, in my opinion, done more to forward the Republican agenda and put it in place than the Republicans could have hoped, simply because so many people have blind faith in him doing the right thing.

However, I'm not willing to sit out the election without voting and, in my opinion, the other candidates are far worse, particularly on issues that intimately affect my life as a woman.

So, until I feel there is a real choice, unlike the last election, once again, I will hold my nose and vote for the lesser of evils.

That is, if Israel hasn't begun the last nuclear war by then.

Keep it up Phil. Some of us are doomed to fulfill Cassandra's curse --- crying out warnings in the face of disbelief.

angela said...

Love your blog Phil.
But sadly, sometimes it's like stepping into Free Republic around here.

KaJo said...

That picture of President Obama is real popular with the right wing ads paid for by the Koch brothers' America for Prosperity.

Are you sure you're a "progressive"? I'm not so sure you are. Sometimes your POV seems more like a "stealth blogger", a PINO (Progressive In Name Only).

Anonymous said...

In his defense, he never said he was progressive. He isn't. That's the name of the blog. I think it's meant to be subtle tongue-in-cheek.