January 23,2012

Don't Let Us Down, President Obama!

Roy Lisker

Quote by Bruce Fein, Constitutional Lawyer : "The NDAA defiles due process more egregiously than did the Fugitive Slave Act. Section 1021 empowers the military to detain for life without trial any American citizen captured in the United States whom the president maintains is "substantially support[ing] .. al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces" engaged in hostilities against "coalition partners" of the United States. None of the key terms in section 1021 are defined to constrain the president's power to disappear Americans into dungeons at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere. "Al Qaeda" is undefined. "The Taliban" is undefined. "Associated forces" is undefined. "Coalition partners" is undefined. "Substantially supporting" is undefined. The words can mean whatever the president, like Humpty Dumpty, wants them to mean. "Substantial support" might be said to include any criticism of the United States government for flouting the Constitution in combatting international terrorism.

[..]In sum, under the NDAA the president may imprison for life any American citizen for an alleged linkage to international terrorism against coalition partners of the United States on his say-so alone - the very definition of tyranny articulated by James Madison, father of the Constitution, in Federalist No. 47."

Section 1021 of the NDAA makes the President the only citizen of the United States with the power to abrogate habeus corpus with impunity. This must be the only example in all recorded history, of the ruling party (as the Republicans are in fact), giving dictatorial power to the leader of the Opposition. What it means is that we are essentially under One-Party Rule, and well on our way to Fascism.

Since President Barack Obama has "allowed" Congress to generously extend to him some of the principal instruments of absolute power, he could at least try to redeem himself by using this power where it can do the most good:

His first act in the exercise of this new freedom should be to send George W. Bush to indefinite detention in a secret prison in the Middle East. Then, to make up for his lethargy in the promotion of civil rights, he can start rounding up the remaining villains from the period of the Civil Rights movement: the real murderers of Martin Luther King, Jr., of John and Robert Kennedy; the murderers or their accomplices who happen to still be living of Emmet Till, the Viola Luizzo, Reverend Reeb, Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney, Medgar Evers, the demonstrators at Kent State and Orangeburg! Send them all to Guantanamo! He has the authority to do it. Power is never real power unless it's exercised.

To win the next election all Barack has to do is send Mitch Romney to Bagram Airforce Base in Afghanistan (why not Abu Graib?). The other Republican candidates are all clowns of course, but he might as well put them in jails around the country until after the election is over.

Then go after Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Condalezza Rice, the officers of the KKK, Rush Limbaugh ..Henry Kissinger! Obviously keep Jack Abramoff in jail indefinitely. Reach over to England and lock up Rupert Murdoch. Arrest perpetrators of crimes against humanity all over the world and ship them to The Hague. President Barack Obama is passing up a unique opportunity to rid the world of the extreme lunatic Right, and if he doesn't use it in a hurry, he's going to lose it. Observe that it was this extreme lunatic Right that gave him this unlimited power in the first place! Well, now he can pay them back in a way that has all our blessings.

Finally he should use his authority to lock up the framers of the NDAA for treason. Start with Lindsey Graham, Carl Levin and John McCain.

There is a serious point that people (including right-wing Congressmen) are overlooking: In future elections, an incumbent president could lock up his opponents to guarantee his victory. It's been done throughout history and all over the world. This "law" is a double-edged sword, and I don't understand why Congress, as corrupt as it is, didn't realize that simple fact. Think of all the times in history when a monarch simply dissolved Parliament when he didn't like what it was doing: Charles I, Cromwell, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin. Think of Richard III locking up the sons of members of his own family and arranging for their murder. The provisions in the NDAA can gradually develop into a monster that could devour even the people who placed it into law.

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