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Obama Continues Trampling On Civil Rights

English: White House from Constitution Avenue

Image via Wikipedia

If you aren’t regularly reading Glenn Greenwald over at Salon.com, you should be.

He consistently hold’s our president’s feet to the fire over his seeming disregard or unwillingness to fight for our civil rights.

The latest atrocity is Obama‘s announcement that he will sign the detention bill — despite claiming for months that he would veto it.

Obama to sign indefinite detention bill into law

The bill is, according to the ACLU and Human Rights Watch:

the first time indefinite detention has been enshrined in law since the McCarthy era of the 1950s, when — as the ACLU put it — “President Truman had the courage to veto” the Internal Security Act of 1950 on the ground that it “would make a mockery of our Bill of Rights” and then watched Congress override the veto. That Act authorized the imprisonment of Communists and other “subversives” without the necessity of full trials or due process (many of the most egregious provisions of that bill were repealed by the 1971 Non-Detention Act, and are now being rejuvenated by these War on Terror policies of indefinite detention).

Like Greenwald, I have detected a pattern in Obama’s decisions that show he is no defender of Civil Rights, and has done everything in his power to seize on and bolster the executive powers of the presidency:

Obama, as I documented last week and again below, is not an opponent of indefinite detention; he’s a vigorous proponent of it, as evidenced by his continuous, multi-faceted embrace of that policy.

Obama’s objections to this bill had nothing to do with civil liberties, due process or the Constitution. It had everything to do with Executive power. The White House’s complaint was that Congress had no business tying the hands of the President when deciding who should go into military detention, who should be denied a trial, which agencies should interrogate suspects (the FBI or the CIA). Such decisions, insisted the White House, are for the President, not Congress, to make. In other words, his veto threat was not grounded in the premise that indefinite military detention is wrong; it was grounded in the premise that it should be the President who decides who goes into military detention and why, not Congress.

This is indeed a dark time in America, and as I warned my Republican friends when George W. Bush launched the notion of the “unitary executive”, a dangerous one for democracy.

-Chris

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December 15, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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