Paul Rosenberg writes: Because Barack Obama is the United States’ first black president, there are many who still automatically associate him with Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. And with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, it’s virtually a knee-jerk reaction to associate his presidency with the fulfillment of King’s dream.
But, as the almost-simultaneous sentencing of Chelsea nee Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison should remind us, a more accurate historical comparison to that time would link Obama to Richard Nixon, rather than King. Nixon, after all, tried to have Daniel Ellsberg jailed for revealing the Pentagon Papers, and Ellsberg himself has said, “I’m sure that President Obama would have sought a life sentence in my case.”
Elaborating further, Ellsberg said, “Various things that were counted as unconstitutional then have been put in the president’s hands now. He’s become an elected monarch. Nixon’s slogan, ‘when the president does it, it’s not illegal’, is pretty much endorsed now. Meaning not only Obama but the people who come after him will have powers that no previous president had.” [Continue reading…]