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Tuesday, 28 September 2010
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Obama the Tyrant

There was a time in my youth (a relative phrase) when I threw around certain words for casually than I do... tyranny, dictatorship, etc. to describe things I disagreed with. I rarely if ever do anymore. One reason I stopped is because I came to the realization several years ago it doesn't actually change anyone's mind. Words have meaning... and when you use the wrong word to describe something, they simply ignore what you say. Screaming tyranny and dictatorship is the equivalent of a band turning up the volume and playing louder when they're out of tune.

The second reason I stopped is because I also came to the realization that both of the current parties... well... suck... hard. They have mastered this very simple trick, where every couple of years they simply trade places in the majority, by playing off of people's fears regarding certain social issues, call each other out on certain economic issues, and then don't really change anything once they have power. Republicans scream for smaller government, and yet when they had the opportunity during the first 6 years of the Bush Administration, they increased Federal spending by record amounts (only to be later trumped by the Democrats).

Did that make Bush a tyrant? Or Obama? Put plainly... no. Liars and thieves? Yes. As Radley Balko pointed out though, this does make Obama a Tyrant (emphasis in the original):

At this point, I didn't believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record.  In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki's father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims.  That's not surprising:  both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality.  But what's most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is "state secrets":  in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are "state secrets," and thus no court may adjudicate their legality.

Balko goes even further:

You can't even make the weak argument that the executive at least has to claim this power in the course of protecting national security. Because it doesn't matter. Obama is arguing that he has the right to keep everything about these executions secret - including the reasons they were ordered - merely by uttering the magic phrase "state secrets." In other words, that this power would only arise under a national security context is deemed irrelevant by the fact that not only is Obama claiming the president's word on what qualifies as "national security" is final, he's claiming the power in such a way that there's no audience to whom he would ever need to make that connection.

Obama has already cited "state secrets" in several Bush era cases regarding wiretapping and torture, even though he specifically campaigned on stopping those extreme measures. Now he's going one further, saying he has the unilateral right to kill an American with no review or recourse.

What is sad here is that Republicans, in their zeal to remove Bill Clinton from office for cheating on his wife, have turned impeachment into a game. This is why impeachment exists. Ordering the assassination of an American citizen, without due process of law, certainly should qualify as a high crime worthy of impeachment. The even sadder realization is that Democrats would never suggest such a thing, because that would mean turning on their own. Republicans would also never suggest such a thing, because they yearn to have that exact same dictatorial power once they return to the Oval Office.

# Posted at 13:37 by Nick  |  Comment Feed Link 2 Comments  |  No Trackbacks

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Tuesday, 28 September 2010 16:54:39 (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)
The pax on both their houses meme is nice as a thought but in the end you have to decide which is worse and vote against them. The only quibble I have with your entire post is the casual dismissal of perjery by implying it was all about an illicit affair, the former illegal the latter not. Not saying it wasn't an abuse of the procedure as you suggest, just reminding that there was an underlying, no pun intended, legal basis.
Thursday, 07 October 2010 12:42:11 (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)
Any idea where I can see the DOJ brief they're talking about?
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