Feb 22 2013

The Outlaw In the Oval Office

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

The word in beltway circles is that President George W. Bush Barack Obama is negotiating with Republicans to provide more information on the lethal attack last year on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya in order to insure the confirmation of his nominee for CIA Director, John Brennan, who headed the CIA torture program under the Bush administration. So why you ask is this of any importance? It would seem this new capitulating to Republican whining, as reported in The New York Times is a tactic to hold back the Department of Justice memos authorizing drone attacks:

The strategy is intended to produce a bipartisan majority vote for Mr. Brennan in the Senate Intelligence Committee without giving its members seven additional legal opinions on targeted killing sought by senators and while protecting what the White House views as the confidentiality of the Justice Department’s legal advice to the president. It would allow Mr. Brennan’s nomination to go to the Senate floor even if one or two Democrats vote no to protest the refusal to share more legal memos. [..]

Only after an unclassified Justice Department white paper summarizing the legal arguments was leaked to NBC News this month did the administration make two legal opinions on the targeted killing of American citizens briefly available to members of the Intelligence Committees.

But the documents were available to be viewed only for a limited time and only by senators themselves, not their lawyers and experts.

This news set off a most righteous rants by Esquire‘s Charles Pierce that prompted Glenn Greenwald to tweet:

After reading The New York Times article and Ed Kilgore’s reaction at the Washington Animal, Charles Pierce had this to say about a bad idea that is getting worse:

This is what happens when you elect someone — anyone — to the presidency as that office is presently constituted. Of all the various Washington mystery cults, the one at that end of Pennsylvania Avenue is the most impenetrable. This is why the argument many liberals are making — that the drone program is acceptable both morally and as a matter of practical politics because of the faith you have in the guy who happens to be presiding over it at the moment — is criminally naive, intellectually empty, and as false as blue money to the future. The powers we have allowed to leach away from their constitutional points of origin into that office have created in the presidency a foul strain of outlawry that (worse) is now seen as the proper order of things. If that is the case, and I believe it is, then the very nature of the presidency of the United States at its core has become the vehicle for permanently unlawful behavior. Every four years, we elect a new criminal because that’s become the precise job description.

(emphasis mine)

The previous paragraph was just as bruising.

So much for the pledge of greater transparency made by Pres. Obama in his last State of the Union address:

I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way. So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage with Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.

The most worrisome parts of all of this is that these criminal acts by the president, vice president or any of the civil officers of the United States are now the norm, unconstitutional laws that have been passed and unlawful executive orders are acceptable and rubber stamped by the courts. The system of checks and balances no longer exists since Congress has refused to hold the Executive Branch accountable for high crimes and misdemeanors since Ronald Reagan ignored the law with the Iran/Contra affair and literally taken off the table by the Speaker of the House never to be mentioned. Now, Congress and the Courts nonchalantly brush aside the concerns that President Barack Obama has become judge, jury and executioner of American citizens for crimes against the United States that they might commit simply for what they said or for whom they were associated. The proud principles that we cherished have been not merely diminished but dismissed and the Constitution is now just a lovely document that is on display in the National Archive.

Charles Pierce has it only partially right when he said liberals were “criminally naive, intellectually empty, and as false as blue money to the future.” If they aren’t speaking out and standing against this criminal in the Oval Office, demanding that Congress fulfill its sworn duty, then they too are criminals under the law.

Democracy in the United States is on life support with little hope for recovery.

1 comment

  1. TMC

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