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Forum Post: Obama's Assault on American liberty

Posted 8 years ago on March 24, 2012, 1:21 p.m. EST by Jflynn1964 (-206)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

From the UK's Guardian:

President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens. It was a symbolic moment, to say the least. With Americans distracted with drinking and celebrating, Obama signed one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country … and citizens partied in unwitting bliss into the New Year.

Ironically, in addition to breaking his promise not to sign the law, Obama broke his promise on signing statements and attached a statement that he really does not want to detain citizens indefinitely (see the text of the statement here).

Obama insisted that he signed the bill simply to keep funding for the troops. It was a continuation of the dishonest treatment of the issue by the White House since the law first came to light. As discussed earlier, the White House told citizens that the president would not sign the NDAA because of the provision. That spin ended after sponsor Senator Carl Levin (Democrat, Michigan) went to the floor and disclosed that it was the White House and insisted that there be no exception for citizens in the indefinite detention provision.

The latest claim is even more insulting. You do not "support our troops" by denying the principles for which they are fighting. They are not fighting to consolidate authoritarian powers in the president. The "American way of life" is defined by our constitution and specifically the bill of rights. Moreover, the insistence that you do not intend to use authoritarian powers does not alter the fact that you just signed an authoritarian measure. It is not the use but the right to use such powers that defines authoritarian systems.

The almost complete failure of the mainstream media to cover this issue is shocking. Many reporters have bought into the spin of the Obama administration as they did the spin over torture by the Bush administration. Even today, reporters refuse to call waterboarding torture despite the long line of cases and experts defining waterboarding as torture for decades.

On the NDAA, reporters continue to mouth the claim that this law only codifies what is already the law. That is not true. The administration has fought any challenges to indefinite detention to prevent a true court review. Moreover, most experts agree that such indefinite detention of citizens violates the constitution.

There are also those who continue the longstanding effort to excuse Obama's horrific record on civil liberties by blaming either others or the times. One successful myth is that there is an exception for citizens. The White House is saying that changes to the law made it unnecessary to veto the legislation. That spin is ridiculous. The changes were the inclusion of some meaningless rhetoric after key amendments protecting citizens were defeated. The provision merely states that nothing in the provisions could be construed to alter Americans' legal rights. Since the Senate clearly views citizens as not just subject to indefinite detention but even to execution without a trial, the change offers nothing but rhetoric to hide the harsh reality.

The Obama administration and Democratic members are in full spin mode – using language designed to obscure the authority given to the military. The exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032) is the screening language for the next section, 1031, which offers no exemption for American citizens from the authorisation to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial.

Obama could have refused to sign the bill and the Congress would have rushed to fund the troops. Instead, as confirmed by Senator Levin, the White House conducted a misinformation campaign to secure this power while portraying the president as some type of reluctant absolute ruler, or, as Obama maintains, a reluctant president with dictatorial powers.

Most Democratic members joined their Republican colleagues in voting for this un-American measure. Some Montana citizens are moving to force the removal of these members who, they insist, betrayed their oaths of office and their constituents. Most citizens, however, are continuing to treat the matter as a distraction from the holiday cheer.

For civil libertarians, the NDAA is our Mayan moment: 2012 is when the nation embraced authoritarian powers with little more than a pause between rounds of drinks.



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[-] 2 points by PandoraK (1678) 8 years ago

For any sitting President an appropriations bill for military funding is a no win situation...it isn't the fact that it's funding for the military that is the issue, but all the extras that are rolled into that bill which can effectively 'tie the President's hands'.

We really need to look at the way our legislature is operating. Present a bill for funding and tossing everything including the kitchen sink, wording it so that it's all tied together, so that no one part can be excluded without destroying the whole.

Look to congress who presents these bills which are more about tearing us down than building us up.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 8 years ago

PandoraK - are you actually suggesting Washington would work better without politics?

[-] 2 points by PandoraK (1678) 8 years ago

Considering the way politics works damned straight.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 8 years ago

but then who would we blame w hen WE elect gun nuts, military supporting, cut education, cut taxes for the rich representatives?

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 8 years ago

I should have added the qualifier, 'today'...and it has always been a shared responsibility. We are all accountable.

[-] 1 points by Blank102 (86) from American Canyon, CA 8 years ago

Now that is a good idea.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 8 years ago

This post should also point the finger at Congress as well.

First the Patriot Act, then AUMF, and then the NDAA of 2011. All passed with extreme majority by both democrats and republicans in congress.

Congress and the past 2 presidents have completely violated the constitution by passing laws that are illegal due to other laws already set in place to protect our rights and the rights of sovereign nations. But those laws don't matter to them because they passed these new laws... even though the laws that say the new laws are illegal have not been repealed.

In short - Fuck the government. People need to stop voting for these clowns. These republicrats are destroying America.

And now one of the few congressmen fighting against this BS is no longer in congress. Dennis Kucinich will be missed. One of the small numbers democrats to stand up against this legislation, the banks, and the war crimes.

Great post. Keep getting this information out there.

Great links from the ACLU to further your knowledge on these illegal and unconstitutional powers:

ACLU files law suit against the Obama administration for war crimes... not the first time either.


"I'm not disgusted at President Obama personally. It's President Obama's policies on civil liberties and national security issues I'm disgusted by." - ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero


"The Obama administration’s adoption of the stonewalling tactics and opaque policies of the Bush administration flies in the face of the president’s stated desire to restore the rule of law. ... when these photos do see the light of day, the outrage will focus not only on the commission of torture by the Bush administration but on the Obama administration's complicity in covering them up." - ACLU


The ACLU filed many lawsuits against the Bush administration for this kind of bull shit. It should be a HUGE warning sign that Obama is getting the same treatment from the ACLU.