It Was a Good Run While it Lasted
(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein.)
Astute readers will also notice that Obama's signing statement has no legal binding whatsoever and only refers to Obama's momentary intentions on how he "wishes" to interpret the law. It does not place any limits whatsoever on how a future President might use the law as written. - Mike Adams, Natural News
RIP Bill of Rights, 12/15/1791-12/31/2011.
It's pretty telling that Barack Obama signed the NDAA into law on New Year's Eve, one of the many days of the year when Americans are dedicated to the proposition of getting as drunk as possible as quickly as possible.
The bill was a necessary one, the biggest and most immediate one being the continuation of the paychecks of our servicemen and servicewomen. Of all the possible government shutdowns, the Republican Party is all too well aware that, in this paranoid, post-9/11 nation, most intolerable would be one of our national defense. The GOP, true to their sweaty, gun-to-the-head style of legislative hostage-taking, were already making noises to the effect that they were quite willing to let this happen if Obama didn't give them what they wanted. After all, they were still smarting over having to give Obama the two month payroll tax cut extension while the liberal media was declaring this a major victory for the Democrats and the administration. Somehow, the GOP needed to save face.
And if this was simply a matter of Obama being painted with red ink into a corner and being forced into a lose-lose situation, then his limousine liberal constituency who think he's the greatest thing to come out of Chicago since the World's Fair of 1893 might be able to make a case that he was once again forced to make an unpalatable decision. After all, the Supreme Court had already stated at least twice that the President of the United States should not have line item veto powers.
But the operative word of the phrase "the lesser of two evils" is still "evil." And that doesn't explain everything in the National Defense Authorization Act. And it also doesn't explain Obama's use of signing statements, used heavily by Bush and several of his predecessors for decades, a homemade Presidential style of line item vetoing that essentially gives the executive branch the unofficial ability to create, water down, alter or nullify laws, provisions and amendments in a bill (and, don't forget, on the campaign trail three years ago, Mr. Obama came out swinging forcefully against signing statements in a populist response to liberals pissing and moaning about Bush's excessive use of them).
The most notorious provision in this military funding bill is Obama essentially giving himself the power to accuse, arrest, detain, prosecute, torture and even execute any American citizen that he or his pogrom arbitrarily designates as an enemy combatant or even just a dangerous critic of the administration and its policies.
In spite of the fascist psychopaths that made up much of the Bush administration, one that allowed faith-based initiatives to guide Bush's policies, one that basically redefined hence legalized and implemented torture, one that invaded two sovereign nations that had nothing to do with 9/11 and made us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks than we were in 2001, one that outed a covert CIA agent and purged part of the Justice Department in the interests of simple, vicious partisan politics then thumbed its nose at congressional subpoenas...
...in spite of the consistently ruinous and ultra right wing agenda of what had been judged, until now, as the worst presidential administration in history, even Bush didn't dare give himself the power to assassinate American citizens and their children without due process and to arrest and detain American citizens in the dead of night with as little due process and transparency.
What Obama's strangely silent supporters seem to forget is that the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution, was written and ratified by the Founding Fathers for the express purpose of preventing future federal governments like Obama's administration and the 112th Congress (also, arguably, the worst legislative body on record) from running roughshod over the basic, inalienable rights given to us in the 18th century. Recognizing the potential for abuse, the Founding Fathers were not content to merely not give the government the right to abridge basic freedoms. The Bill of Rights, in many clear ways, actually prohibits the government from making power grabs such as those seen since 2001.
And, indeed, one could ask where all the liberal outrage is. If Bush had made such a power grab, liberals would be screaming loud enough to make God reach for his earplugs about impeachment. Oddly enough, or perhaps not, limousine liberals who'd voted for Obama over three years ago aren't even whispering the "I" word because, well, think of the alternative.
Well, I'm here to say that Barack Obama is the alternative. In many ways more fascistic than George W. Bush and every Republican before him, Barack Obama had at the end of last year proven once and for all to be a traitor and an enemy of the people. And calling for impeachment wouldn't even be a viable option. That would require two major Acts of Congress. And, as dearly as the Jim Crow GOP would love to legislatively lynch Mr. Obama, they certainly will not do it over the purging powers of the NDAA. And what does this mean for anyone suddenly stripped of their first, fourth and God only knows how many amendment rights?
If it wasn't for liberal blogs such as Firedoglake, accused Wikileaks source Bradley Manning's name wouldn't even be an asterisk (and it hasn't even been close to proven that Manning even leaked classified material to Wikileaks much less than he was even the official conduit). Imagine a whole nation of Bradley Mannings, silent and invisible victims of the USA PATRIOT Act and this new encroachment of the civil liberties of any dissident American. Bush left behind a completely altered government of which Hitler would've been proud and, as predicted years ago in this very forum, Obama was all too eager to exploit those sweeping Unitary Executive powers given to him by his predecessor. What indications has Obama given his base that the next guy wouldn't be as exploitative if not moreso?