News Release

Obama: Radical or Rhetoric? * Rule of Law * Climate Change


Following President Obama’s inauguration speech, CNN stated: “His was a call for radical changes even as a divided Congress rules over an undecided nation.”

SHAHID BUTTAR, [email], @bordc
Buttar is executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. He said today: “Some critics of Mr. Obama’s inaugural address may describe his comments as radical. But insisting on values as fundamental as ‘equality before the law’ and the ‘enduring strength of our Constitution’ are hardly radical. Indeed, they are simply restatements of principles that have long united America.

“If observers want to criticize the president, they should instead challenge his derogation in practice of the same values he professes in his lofty speeches. The President’s first term unfortunately witnessed a continued extension of the Bush-Cheney legacy, and he seems no more inclined than his neo-con predecessors to heed longstanding constitutional limits on executive power.

“Extrajudicial assassination using armed drone aircraft, the use of unmanned aerial drones to conduct domestic spying without warrants, the NSA’s dragnet warrantless spying program, the FBI’s resurrection of COINTELPRO, the unprecedented crackdown on immigrants under President Obama, the use of immigration enforcement as a pretext to create a national biometric identification scheme for all Americans (including citizens), the continuation of racial profiling in the drug war and the new threat of military detention within the U.S. all reflect a dangerous side to the president’s legacy that undermines the rights of all Americans, regardless of political party or ideology.”

DAPHNE WYSHAM, via Lacy MacAuley, [email]
Wysham is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and is the founder and co-director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network. She said today: “Obama is finally and fearlessly uttering the words ‘climate change’ in the context of needing to take aggressive action. While this is welcome news to climate change activists, the words will be meaningless unless a) the Obama Administration rejects the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline; b) Obama selects a new EPA administrator who is willing to take action under the Clean Air Act to rein in CO2 emissions from all sources; c) he stops pushing for dangerous energy development deep offshore in the Gulf, in the Arctic and via continued fracking for oil and gas; d) he pursues a renewable energy standard for the entire country; and e) he directs our publicly financed development banks and export credit agencies to get out of fossil fuels entirely. “