Friday, 17 January 2014

January 17th - Will today be memorable?

President Obama has curiously decided that 17 Jan 2014 was to be the day he would make a speech regarding justice, liberty and the role of the intelligence communities, including the NSA.

President Obama has preempted the final report from his privacy board, so the date appears carefully chosen, but why?

If you meander around the 17th of January in history a few topical items pop up.

In 1964 on the 17th of January, the President's wife, Michelle Obama was born. Happy 50th to the First Lady. In a few years my wife will also be 50 and I know I'd better have a damn good reason, and something my wife would be proud of, if I was to do something else that wasn't focusing on her big day.  Will the President make his wife proud and stop the spying on all citizens, all citizens' children and Michelle Obama's children?

In 1961 on the 17th of January, President Eisenhower, a general, a Republican, gave his farewell address which presciently warned of the vigilance required to keep the Military Industrial Complex in check to avoid freedoms being crushed. Will Obama now reward Edward Snowden who at great personal risk served the people by being the vigilant citizen that Eisenhower prayed for?

If Eisenhower's timeless speech was day 1, then President Obama was born on day 200 in Hawaii.

In 1893 on the 17th of January, the monarchy of Hawaii was overturned in a coup d'├ętat by the Citizen's Committee of Public Safety.  This paved the way for President Obama to be born into a state that had joined just the Union not quite two years prior.

Painted by William Ranney in 1845, this depiction of the Battle of Cowpens shows an unnamed black soldier (left) firing his pistol and saving the life of Colonel William Washington (on white horse in center). {Source Wikipedia}
In 1781 on the 17th of January, a fledgling nation had a decisive victory over a tyrannical oppressor at the Battle of Cowpens as part of the American Revolutionary War. Two US Navy ships have carried the title of USS Cowpens in honour of this feat.

During the Battle of Cowpens, a heroic unnamed black soldier was depicted in Ranney's painting of the battle to have saved the life of Colonel Washington, George Washington's second cousin.  Will President Obama be as heroic as the unnamed soldier on the 17th of January 2014?

Will President Obama heed the warnings of President Eisenhower from the 17th of January 1961?

Will the President honour his wife's 50th birthday on this January 17th by doing what is right and showing respect to Mr Edward Snowden who risked it all to answer the historic clarion call of President Eisenhower for all citizens to be vigilant and protect freedom from oppression by the military industrial complex?

Let's hope President Obama's speech echoes through history with sufficient pride for future generations to venerate the date of 17th of January 2014.


  1. A tragic response from the President.

    Perhaps the only way forward is to use the admissions and omissions of the President to have the members of the executive, Senate and Congress who continue to support the breaking of the Constitution, impeached.


    § 241. Conspiracy against rights

    If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any inhabitant of any State, Territory, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured - They shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results, they shall be subject to imprisonment for any term of years or for life.

    § 242. Deprivation of rights under color of law

    Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any inhabitant of any State, Territory, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such inhabitant being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results shall be subject to imprisonment for any term of years or for life.


    "For the purpose of Section 242, acts under "color of law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official's lawful authority if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties,. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.