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January 2, 2012 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Two days ago, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), "with reservations about key provisions in the law — including a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge".

Obama's signing statement.

FBI Director Robert Mueller has said the measure would inhibit his bureau's ability to persuade suspected terrorists to cooperate immediately and provide critical intelligence.

The NDAA also freezes $700 million in aid to Pakistan until Islamabad gives assurances it is helping fight the spread of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
posted by stinkycheese (341 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is astute commentary about why Obama signed this version of the NDAA: he was blackmailed.

Of course it's on Reddit so you know it could all be backmasked commentary about My Little Pony.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 11:32 AM on January 2, 2012 [42 favorites]


Signing statements were bullshit under Bush, and they're still bullshit under Obama. In the presence of ANY better alternative, there's no way in hell I'd vote for Obama again this year. Fortunately for him, there is no better alternative that I've seen.
posted by deadmessenger at 11:32 AM on January 2, 2012 [17 favorites]


Hope and change!
posted by bradbane at 11:34 AM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is some incredible bullshit.
posted by loquacious at 11:36 AM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, it was a nice run while it lasted, hey maybe we could try being a dynastic water empire or something.
posted by The Whelk at 11:37 AM on January 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is astute commentary about why Obama signed this version of the NDAA: he was blackmailed.

It would really behoove everybody to read this analysis before raging at Obama about this.
posted by kafziel at 11:37 AM on January 2, 2012 [53 favorites]


Quote:
For example, FBI Director Robert Mueller has said the measure would inhibit his bureau's ability to persuade suspected terrorists to cooperate immediately and provide critical intelligence. He told Congress it wasn't clear how agents should operate if they arrest someone covered by the military custody requirement but the nearest military facility is hundreds of miles away.
So... he is complaining that the FBI doesn't get the same powers the military does?
posted by vanar sena at 11:38 AM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is astute commentary about why Obama signed this version of the NDAA: he was blackmailed.

It would really behoove everybody to read this analysis before raging at Obama about this.


Agreed, most anger is at the system. But it comes out against the individuals. The problem is in how to change the system when a majority of the electorate doesn't want anything to do with it.
posted by meinvt at 11:39 AM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bush's signing statements read like "I'm the president, fuck you" and Obama's call out the patent bullshit in the bill, with reasoned arguments for and against. I just don't get the Obama hate. I really don't.

Knee-jerks, react!
posted by roboton666 at 11:41 AM on January 2, 2012 [41 favorites]


That reddit post makes horrible sense and is totally in line with current republican " burn down the government no matter what " mindset.
posted by The Whelk at 11:44 AM on January 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


From the signing statement:
Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law.
The problem with this is that despite Obama's decision to interpret his way around enforcing this law, it's still on the books and can easily be brought fully to bear under a future administration. But this is, again, something to be laid at Congress's feet. Just like this provision here:
Sections 1026-1028 continue unwise funding restrictions that curtail options available to the executive branch. Section 1027 renews the bar against using appropriated funds for fiscal year 2012 to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the United States for any purpose. I continue to oppose this provision, which intrudes upon critical executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees, based on the facts and the circumstances of each case and our national security interests. For decades, Republican and Democratic administrations have successfully prosecuted hundreds of terrorists in Federal court. Those prosecutions are a legitimate, effective, and powerful tool in our efforts to protect the Nation. Removing that tool from the executive branch does not serve our national security. Moreover, this intrusion would, under certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of powers principles.
If you're still mad about Guantanamo still being open, it's because of shitty under-the-radar legislation like this.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:44 AM on January 2, 2012 [29 favorites]


Ok., I have followed orders and read why and how O. got blackmailed. What this tells
me is that the system is broken beyond repair--a president who must sign something though he doesn't want to and a congress that can force him to because, well, they put things in a bill that made him sign it rather than stand up on a priciple--but wait: isn't he a constitutional lawyer?
posted by Postroad at 11:48 AM on January 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Funny how under the radar legislation is only ever used by Republicans and only for evil. Are Democrats too stupid or too disorganized to push their own agenda here? ...don't answer that.
posted by lubujackson at 11:49 AM on January 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


From the linked explanation:
He signed it because if he didn't, defense spending including benefits to veterans and their families would not have been authorized. The sections of NDAA that many people here seem to have a problem with are sections that were added into the document by primarily Republican legislators and which the President adamantly opposes but was powerless to stop.
He, uh, could have refused to sign it. He could have said "Fuck you, congressional republicans! Hey everybody, do you see what these people did? They tacked on some crazy shit that erodes the basic Constitutional right to due process onto a bill that's supposed to provide for veterans. Can you believe that your elected officials are that crass? I swore to protect the Constitution and I'm not signing that because the addendum should be reserved for oppressive dictatorships that we as freedom-lovers are supposed to hate. Pass a new bill without the fascism and I'll sign it."

He won't take a stand, he won't stand up for anything. He's shit. At least Bush seemed to get some joy out of destroying our foundations. Looking sad when you do it just makes you look pathetic. Even if the veto got overridden he could say that he took a stand. He doesn't have much to lose at this point anyway.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:49 AM on January 2, 2012 [116 favorites]


Obama made dinner reservations to celebrate the new law?
posted by telstar at 11:51 AM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't get how this NDAA can change the rights we enjoy under the Constitution. I would think the constitutional guarantee of habeas corpus couldn't be abrogated by a mere law.
posted by Tashtego at 11:51 AM on January 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


What Mayor Curley said, pretty much. Veto it for that exact poison pill, make a stink about it, and if Congress overrides him then it's entirely on them. Otherwise, claiming you had no choice is just enabling your abusers- or being part of the problem all along.
posted by hincandenza at 11:53 AM on January 2, 2012 [18 favorites]


Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law.

I read it as an invitation to challenge the law in the Supreme Court, something which would happen as soon as a president exercised the law.

I think that the interpretation that the law authorizes indefinite military detentions of american citizens is wrong, anyway.
posted by empath at 11:53 AM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't get how this NDAA can change the rights we enjoy under the Constitution.

It can't.

That's why I don't get the paranoia over this. Their constitutional rights, that means congress and the president can't just decide to throw them out.
posted by empath at 11:54 AM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Glen Greenwald on the Three Myths of the Detention Bill.
posted by jabo at 11:57 AM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


empath: So why the signing statement?
posted by stinkycheese at 11:57 AM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


There were several vaguely related civil liberties stories I'd no particular plans on posting about :

President Obama and the Spread of Security Theater

Your Boxing Day TSA Report

TSA Got Everything It Wanted For Christmas
I.e. nudey scanners, "behavior detection officers", and VIPR teams (previously).
posted by jeffburdges at 11:57 AM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love signing statements.

They're like the scene in The Shield where Smithy is teaching the Strike Force how to beat a Lie Detector test..."in your mind you answer a different question, not the question they're asking"...so "in your mind you sign a different law into being, not the one you've been given".
posted by Chekhovian at 11:58 AM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'd guess the NDAA will be defended as consistent with "rebellion or invasion the public safety," which is the constitutional exception to habeas corpus.

Nothing new here, folks. All empires fall.
posted by diorist at 12:00 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Meh - why not veto the bill? If the Republicans don't have actual dirt, they'll just make something up. "What actually happened" and "what Republicans say happened" aren't even remotely related to each other any more.

Sure, this law can't legally deny Americans their right to habeas corpus or other Constitutional guarantees, but whether they can actually be denied their rights depends on how independent the judiciary is, and how subjugated military authority to the civilian government. So...essentially, yes, we should be concerned about this.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:03 PM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is astute commentary about why Obama signed this version of the NDAA: he was blackmailed.

Of course he was.
But call the proponents of this bill out on it.

Hold a prime-time press conference that says "The author of these provisions, $insertname, is holding veterans hostage so s/he can have the right to lock up Americans without a trial. "
Look the American people in the eye and say, "I will not sign bills that violate the Constitution regardless of what important things they are attached to."

Blackmail only works if it's a secret. So make it not a secret. Shout it from the rooftops.

It can't work any worse than the other tactics he's tried.
posted by madajb at 12:04 PM on January 2, 2012 [31 favorites]


OK, say we grant that sometimes a small injustice has to be committed in the name of greater justice.

If he doesn't sign it, military benefits don't get paid until they work this out (small injustice) in order to preserve civil liberties (greater justice). That sucks, but it makes sense.

If he does sign it, he puts his name to a bill eviscerating key civil liberties (HUGE injustice) so that military benefits get paid without interruption (small justice). That sucks, but also makes no sense.

Especially considering that second scenario was never going to happen anyway. His veto would have gotten overridden. Military benefits would get paid; he doesn't sign off on bullshit legislation; he gets to use the bully pulpit to loudly and repeatedly shout that the Republicans are trying to burn the country down; he does the right thing which energizes his "base"; he reclaims any semblance of being the guy who said "As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."

By signing it, much is lost. What is gained? "They made me do it" is almost never a valid excuse, right? It's certainly invalid here.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:11 PM on January 2, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'm not sure how I feel about this.

On one hand, I think Obama should have stepped up to the plate, and just vetoed the whole thing. For one, it would have forced Congress to reconvene from its recess, which would actually be a pretty big "Fuck You" to the legislature.

On the other, the veto would have almost certainly been overridden. The president cannot wish laws into existence, and if he genuinely believed that the current defense bill is the absolute best thing that the 112th Congress was capable of delivering (and, sadly, it probably is), his only options are to sign the bill and move on, or to obstruct the process of the bill becoming law by a few weeks.

I guess Obama took the high road in this situation, but I still have a bad taste in my mouth from it.

That all said, if there's one person that positively needs to be thrown under the bus for this terrible piece of legislation, it's Carl Levin. It's about time that we start holding our legislators accountable for their actions -- the President is only a tiny fraction of the American Democracy. If we continue to elect complete morons to the House and Senate, the president will continue to be presented with an endless stream of poor-quality legislation.
posted by schmod at 12:13 PM on January 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


This is the part I keep trying to explain to people: However scary it sounds, they could already do most of what this allows, and the Constitution says that citizens are entitled to habeas corpus, so they remain entitled to habeas corpus. The Supreme Court has already come up with a very good structure of interpretation for when citizens can be held without, and that idea of public safety is not a broad one that can be just applied to whoever they think is dangerous. It's not just something you can ditch when a person is thought to be dangerous; resorting to the legal system would have to be dangerous. How well does that work? Well, Yaser Hamdi got sent back to Saudi Arabia. And no, this NDAA would not have changed that.

It's not that I agree with this. It's not that I think it's a good idea. But if Obama hadn't signed it, then this year that would have become a weapon against him. "Obama refused to sign this bill with benefits for veterans!" It would not matter that he had a very good reason to do so. And the next administration would have, whether or not a law like this was passed, gone ahead and done just whatever it damned well pleased in the name of "fighting terrorism" because a Republican vote would be seen as a mandate for that and even without the FY2012 NDAA passed as written, pretty much everything it authorizes was possible. This was not a winnable fight. There may always be other ammunition to be used in an election year, but why just hand the opposition an assault rifle over a non-issue?
posted by gracedissolved at 12:16 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's very easy for people who don't rely on veteran's benefits for necessities to decide that a few weeks without them is no big deal, as long as it makes Obama look sufficiently butch for your tastes.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:22 PM on January 2, 2012 [43 favorites]


I can't wait for their secret interpretation of this one!
posted by CautionToTheWind at 12:25 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's very easy for people who don't rely on veteran's benefits for necessities to decide that a few weeks without them is no big deal, as long as it makes Obama look sufficiently butch for your tastes.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:22 PM on January 2 [+] [!]


It would be unfortunate if veteran's benefits were delayed, but surely there is some price that is not worth paying to avoid that delay? Are you convinced the price we've payed here was worth it?
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:27 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Signing statements are unconstitutional. I believed this during the Shrub era, I believe it now. This should have been vetoed. Period.
posted by zomg at 12:30 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


including a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge".

This is false.

Let us turn to the statute, shall we?

Section 1021 is entitled: AFFIRMATION OF AUTHORITY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES TO DETAIN COVERED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE.

It details the ability of the Armed forces to detain covered persons under the AUMF passed to authorize the war in Afghanistan.

Section 1021(e) states:
(e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.
Page 265.

Section 9 of Article I of the Constitution of the United States holds:
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

A Writ of Habeus Corpus allows any person, through their next best friend, to move to have a Federal Court determine whether or not their detention is lawful.

Hence, the statement: "including a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge" is false.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:30 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's why I don't get the paranoia over this. Their constitutional rights, that means congress and the president can't just decide to throw them out.

According to a Sesame Street civics lesson, sure. Have you seen the real world lately?
posted by crayz at 12:31 PM on January 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


empath in 2006 in Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006). on President Bush's signing of indefinite detention:

The US government no longer represents the people and should be disbanded and replaced with one that will. Everyone needs to re-read their Declarations of Independence.

empath in 2012 on President Obama's signing of indefinite detention bill:

That's why I don't get the paranoia over this. Their constitutional rights, that means congress and the president can't just decide to throw them out.

Amazing! What changed from 2006 to 2012?

I'm sorry, but it's incredibly easy for Obama to move to the right when no-one on the left will really hold him accountable. This shit was wrong then, and it's wrong now.
posted by formless at 12:32 PM on January 2, 2012 [17 favorites]


I had some big response written up but deleted it in favor of a TL/DR.

- The public doesn't really listen to the President
- When the public does listen to the President it is run through a media "balance" filter.
- So the Bully Pulpit doesn't actually exist.
- If you're mad at Obama about this you are giving John Boehner a monster Boehner
-I agree that it sucks that Democrats seem to be such wimps but they are generally aiming for "more" of things and Republicans are aiming for "less" of things. The result of deadlock is "no things" so that's sort of a shitty bargaining position.
posted by ghharr at 12:32 PM on January 2, 2012 [17 favorites]


That's why I don't get the paranoia over this. Their constitutional rights, that means congress and the president can't just decide to throw them out.

Most of our rights were thrown out a long time ago. The government claims that the new rules are in line with the constitution, when they clearly are not. If they were honest, they would just add an asterisk next to each clause in the Bill of Rights that says "unless you are suspected of terrorism" in the footnote.
posted by deanklear at 12:33 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


But if Obama hadn't signed it, then this year that would have become a weapon against him. "Obama refused to sign this bill with benefits for veterans!"

What's stopping them from saying that anyways?

A staggering pile of utter falsehood has been lobbed at Obama since his inauguration in the hopes that something would stick. Betting on the Republicans' sense of honor, decency, or respect for the truth is a losing proposition these days.


You just can't be a progressive and play defensive politics at the same time.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:33 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


That previous link should go here: The Great Writ.
posted by formless at 12:34 PM on January 2, 2012


empath in 2006 in Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006). on President Bush's signing of indefinite detention:

The US government no longer represents the people and should be disbanded and replaced with one that will. Everyone needs to re-read their Declarations of Independence.

empath in 2012 on President Obama's signing of indefinite detention bill:

That's why I don't get the paranoia over this. Their constitutional rights, that means congress and the president can't just decide to throw them out.

Amazing! What changed from 2006 to 2012?


Please don't do this. This thread is about the legislation.
posted by clockzero at 12:37 PM on January 2, 2012 [13 favorites]


as long as it makes Obama look sufficiently butch for your tastes.

I see where you're coming from, but I don't think this is totally fair. Maybe I shouldn't have conflated the justice argument with the political benefit argument, which are entirely different in my opinion.

Having veteran's benefits delayed would be awful, but... I mean... yes, I am arguing that it is not as awful as signing off on the bill. Regardless of the political outcome, I think he did the worse of the two available options. You're right that it's easy for me to say. I hope that I wouldn't feel differently if the veto meant my paychecks were withheld, but of course I can't be sure. But I hope so. I realize that "complicated world is complicated" but the oath of office he took was "to the best of [his] ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." I don't think he's following through on his oath.

Entirely separately is that I also think it's the wrong political move, but that's way less important to me. I should have been more clear.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:37 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's very easy for people who don't rely on veteran's benefits for necessities to decide that a few weeks without them is no big deal, as long as it makes Obama look sufficiently butch for your tastes.

It's very easy for people to be snide about civil liberties until they're the one detained without trial.
posted by rodgerd at 12:42 PM on January 2, 2012 [30 favorites]


Of course it's on Reddit so you know it could all be backmasked commentary about My Little Pony.

Of course, do you think Princess Celestia gave her sister Luna official charges or a trial before indefinitely detaining her on the moon? It was a simple power grab, and the apologists for it make me sick. No matter how much you like your leader it is always a mistake to give them unaccountable total power.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:43 PM on January 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Bush's signing statements read like "I'm the president, fuck you" and Obama's call out the patent bullshit in the bill, with reasoned arguments for and against. I just don't get the Obama hate. I really don't.

Simple, it's down to "Boy, i really don't like this bill, and it basically violates the constitution i swore to uphold, but i'll sign it anyway, but say i have reservations." It's such bullshit it's not even funny. if you have reservations about it, DON"T SIGN IT! It doesn't fucking matter if he says his administration will never do it, guess what, it's an election year and your administration may not even last another year, but you've just given power to whoever follows your caving ass to do it. Obama and all the senators and congresspeople who agreed to this bullshit should be tried for treason of the constitution. Because this bullshit is the last nail in it's coffin. Fuck Obama. I voted for him, but never again after this.
posted by usagizero at 12:46 PM on January 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


What's all the fuss? The strict constitutionalists on the Supreme Court will knock it down. Right?
posted by three blind mice at 12:47 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Claiming vet's benefits and other budgetary concerns were "held hostage" is bullshit. That sort of thing happens all the goddamn time.

Obama could've gotten out and fought about this. Vocally. He'd have had the public on his side. Moreover, sometimes you've got a responsibility to fight for the right thing even when you know you're gonna lose, because not fighting is wrong. He wouldn't have looked weak for losing the veto fight; he'd have looked like the only sane person in the room. Instead, once again, he looks like a total pansy.

This is some serious "burned the village to save the village" bullshit. Obama had a better toolbox for fighting this than anyone else, but he didn't go for it because he was afraid he might get hurt somehow. Wah.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:48 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Please don't do this. This thread is about the legislation.

And also about Obama, considering he signed it.

So, assuming the Reddit analysis is right, and Obama only signed because of the bludgeon that is defense benefits, is that always going to be the case?

What incentive do the Republicans now have to negotiate fairly in the super-committee meetings or any followup meetings about the automatic spending cuts in the next year?

Seems like with this they'll be even more emboldened.
posted by formless at 12:51 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not standing up to evil people doing evil things because there would be consequences is why evil is allowed to happen. "The optics were bad" is the Presidential version of "just following orders", with the added bonus that Obama knows he's the last line of defense, promised millions of supporters he wouldn't do it, and fucking does it anyway

"Let me note my objections for the record" before you do it anyway is just pathetic bet-hedging horseshit
posted by crayz at 12:52 PM on January 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Let us turn to the statute, shall we?

Section 1021...
posted by Ironmouth


Have you checked Section 1022? It does not appear to have a similar disclaimer for the loosely defined category of "Foreign Al-Qaeda Terrorists".
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:53 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is the part I keep trying to explain to people: However scary it sounds, they could already do most of what this allows, and the Constitution says that citizens are entitled to habeas corpus, so they remain entitled to habeas corpus.

President Joe Republican just replaced one of the liberal justices with a conservative one. Now what?

You can't depend on the courts, you have to fight this stuff at every step. If Congress wants to override, let them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:54 PM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Have you checked Section 1022? It does not appear to have a similar disclaimer for the loosely defined category of "Foreign Al-Qaeda Terrorists".

I agree.

However, the statement in the OP that this legislation allows for unlimited military detention of american citizens on american soil is simply not supported by the facts.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:54 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Have you checked Section 1022? It does not appear to have a similar disclaimer for the loosely defined category of "Foreign Al-Qaeda Terrorists".

However, few, if any provisions of the Constitution have been found to apply to foreign citizens on foreign soil.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:57 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


How can the 2012 NDAA possibly be spun as Democrats taking the high road? The defense of fundamental liberties is not a non-winnable issue. The high road would have been a statement that Obama was vetoing NDAA because he refused to sacrifice fundamental American freedoms on the altar of partisan politics and corporate payoffs. As it is, though, Obama looks politically duplicitous. Plus, he's missed a rather singular opportunity to use a cleave issue of citizen rights to gain support in both his liberal base and Ruby Ridge libertarians (who typically vote Republican).
posted by diorist at 12:57 PM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Section 1027 renews the bar against using appropriated funds for fiscal year 2012 to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the United States for any purpose.

I sense a loophole. Bake sales. Car washes. 50-50 tickets. We can do this, people.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:58 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


if i hear one more "12-dimensional chess" argument excusing Obama for dismantling the civil liberties of U.S. citizens, because it's all part of his secret master plan to defend the civil liberties of U.S. citizens, i am going to fucking barf.
posted by facetious at 12:58 PM on January 2, 2012 [17 favorites]


if i hear one more "12-dimensional chess" argument excusing Obama for dismantling the civil liberties of U.S. citizens, because it's all part of his secret master plan to defend the civil liberties of U.S. citizens, i am going to fucking barf.

The law does no such thing.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:00 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hence, the statement: "including a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge" is false.

Here's McCain and Lindsey Graham explaining how the bill allows us to to deny the right to an attorney to American citizens ("when they say 'I want my lawyer' you tell them 'shut up. you don't get a lawyer'"). There was an amendment brought to vote to explicitly clarify that the bill does not apply to American citizens, and that amendment was struck down

That is the bill Barack Obama signed into law of his own free will
posted by crayz at 1:01 PM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Last time I checked, no vets had fought or died, for you know, the Constitution of the United States, so I doubt any of THEM would support having their checks delayed in order to uphold the rights enshrined in the aforementioned document.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 1:02 PM on January 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm no Constitutional expert, but this reading of the actual law seems to indicate that no, it does not allow for indefinite detention of US citizens.

The system is broken and needs fixing. If there's a reason to hate Obama, it's for not trying harder to fix it.
posted by spitefulcrow at 1:02 PM on January 2, 2012


Here's McCain and Lindsey Graham explaining how the bill allows us to to deny the right to an attorney to American citizens ("when they say 'I want my lawyer' you tell them 'shut up. you don't get a lawyer'"). There was an amendment brought to vote to explicitly clarify that the bill does not apply to American citizens, and that amendment was struck down

My link is to the enrolled version of the bill. You can't deny the facts. I read statutes all day long. That's what I do.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:05 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Keep voting for Republicans and you will get more of this. Keep blaming Obama for whatever happens to piss you off about the governement and you will get more of this. Keep complaining and complaining and complaining--and sooner or later--there will be an Applestore app to automate the process for you.
posted by Sparkticus at 1:07 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ironmouth: ...the statement in the OP that this legislation allows for unlimited military detention of american citizens on american soil is simply not supported by the facts.

This was a quote from the first linked article in the quote. It comes from ABC News.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:09 PM on January 2, 2012


I'm no Constitutional expert, but this reading

Great start with the 'hysterical emo-lefties' thing.

Ironmouth, does 1022 not apply to terrorists on US soil? IANAL of course but I'm having trouble finding a meaning for it that does not say that a US citizen on US soil " who is accused of being, “a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force” and “participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.” is not eligible for military detention. Could you walk us through it?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:10 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Apparently, if we keep voting for Democrats we get more of this, too.
posted by diorist at 1:11 PM on January 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


I read statutes all day long. That's what I do.

I think you need to reread them. The authors of the bill along with a multitude of commentators have all outlined how this bill allows for exactly what you want us to believe it doesn't allow.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:11 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Last time I checked, no vets had fought or died, for you know, the Constitution of the United States, so I doubt any of THEM would support having their checks delayed in order to uphold the rights enshrined in the aforementioned document.

This. A thousand times.

I put on a uniform and went into a foreign land with the full knowledge that people there would want to kill me. Risked my life. Got hurt. Went through emotional crap. But having my vet's benefits disrupted while this shit was fought tooth and nail would somehow be a greater sacrifice than any of that?

And I'm not even one of the guys who actually got shot at. Somehow I doubt any of them would quail in fear over such a sacrifice, too. Would it suck? Sure. Would it be less than they've already given? I can't see how.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:11 PM on January 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


My link is to the enrolled version of the bill. You can't deny the facts. I read statutes all day long. That's what I do.

Oh whoops, it looks like you are correct. As an American citizen I can't be indefinitely detained by my own government unless I'm one of the 4 million citizens living abroad or on one of the 62 million yearly international trips

I'm so sorry I misread this actually quite progressive piece of legislation
posted by crayz at 1:12 PM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


the President is only a tiny fraction of the American Democracy

I, too, am tired of having to explain this to people.

It's very easy for people who don't rely on veteran's benefits for necessities to decide that a few weeks without them is no big deal, as long as it makes Obama look sufficiently butch for your tastes.

Exactly. Thank you.

Instead, once again, he looks like a total pansy.


No, you look like one for spouting off critical bullshit instead of putting yourself in his position.

I personally can't believe the shit President Obama puts up with. It's seriously not worth it. I don't even know why he puts up with everyone's shit, from stupid hillbilly Republicans who can't get past soundbytes to tantrum throwing Democrats who don't give a shit about real people and just want to show off that they are interested in politics and somehow have a higher moral compass that needs not attend to practical demands of actually thinking about people who need their benefits.

If I had his talent and intelligence, I would have sailed out of politics a long, long time ago. I'd have been like, "Later, bitches. Have it your way. Good luck not burning down the damn country." I wouldn't even look back. I'd telecommute to a board of directors position from some tropical paradise.
posted by anniecat at 1:15 PM on January 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


I understand the rage. I think it's justified, and I feel it too. I get that 'he was blackmailed' isn't a really acceptable excuse, and I agree with that point, actually.

But people are overlooking this part of the explanation, I think:
The only way he could have stopped these sections from being included would have been to try to veto the bill in its entirety, a move that would have been both political suicide as well as being futile, as Congress would simply have overridden him.

In terms of whether or not this went into effect it doesn't seem to matter if he signed it or not.

By allowing it to pass with a signing statement he at the very least got to express his own thoughts on it in an official way.

I am not saying any of this is ok, but it might be good to remember.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 1:17 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


The only way he could have stopped these sections from being included would have been to try to veto the bill in its entirety, a move that would have been both political suicide as well as being futile, as Congress would simply have overridden him.

I get that the veto would've been overridden, and therefore ineffective.

I cannot see how this would have been futile, or political suicide. Obama would've been the indisputable good guy. He'd have fought the good fight. He'd have had a giant sign showing where the real failures of our government were -- with Congress, rather than Congress AND the Presidency.

Instead, he's just another part of the problem.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:19 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I read statutes all day long. That's what I do.

I think you need to reread them. The authors of the bill along with a multitude of commentators have all outlined how this bill allows for exactly what you want us to believe it doesn't allow.


I'm a lawyer. I do this for a living. I can read, with my own eyes, Section 1021(e). Can you not read it?

the words read as follows:

(e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

What other reading is possible? Seriously.

Read this analysis if you want more detail:
It is also worth emphasizing, however, that the Obama Administration, civil liberties and human rights organizations, and some members of Congress worked tirelessly and quite effectively to improve the final bill dramatically from the versions the Senate and (especially) the House had earlier passed. Because of those efforts, Subtitle D of the NDAA is not nearly as problematic as many critics have suggested. Indeed, the final bill actually contains a handful of provisions that improve upon current law, and one—which will be our focus here—that helps to resolve an important interpretive debate about whether the Executive’s detention authority under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) should be informed and limited by the laws of war. . . .

Yes, the House-passed bill would have comprehensively prohibited expenditures for criminal trials of terrorism suspects; but the Administration successfully insisted that the conferees strip that provision from the final bill. As for law enforcement authorities, the conferees added the provision quoted above, expressly confirming that “[n]othing in [section 1022] shall be construed to affect the existing criminal enforcement and national security authorities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other domestic law enforcement agency with regard to a covered person.” Therefore the bill cannot possibly be read to “strip the F.B.I., federal prosecutors and federal courts of all or most of their power to arrest and prosecute terrorists.”
And, as to lifetime detention of U.S. persons, the bill by its very terms (thanks to an amendment introduced by Senator Feinstein) confirms what would have been the proper reading anyway—namely, that its detention authorization provision (section 1021) does not “affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” For good measure, section 1022 also provides that its purported presumption of military detention “does not extend to citizens of the United States.”
These are real lawyers, doing actual legal analysis of the provisions in the bill, analysis that mirrors the analysis I provided up above.

It is quite simple. These are the facts. The OP is in error in stating that " including a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge".

The statement is demonstrably false. Anyone who says otherwise isn't reading the bill.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:20 PM on January 2, 2012 [18 favorites]


If I had his talent and intelligence, I would have sailed out of politics a long, long time ago. I'd have been like, "Later, bitches. Have it your way. Good luck not burning down the damn country." I wouldn't even look back. I'd telecommute to a board of directors position from some tropical paradise.

Heh. Something like this.
posted by 4ster at 1:20 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


For good measure, section 1022 also provides that its purported presumption of military detention “does not extend to citizens of the United States.”

Right, so what I'm asking is if that lack of presumption is the same thing as saying it is not possible?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:27 PM on January 2, 2012


Didn't I hear the same realpolitik justifications with the Telecom Immunity Act? But of course there were real options then. There aren't so many now.

And not to lay this all at Obama's feet, but it's a damn shame when the the head of the party can't get more cooperation so he isn't forced to sign legislation he so vigorously opposes.
posted by quintessencesluglord at 1:27 PM on January 2, 2012


I get that the veto would've been overridden, and therefore ineffective.

I cannot see how this would have been futile, or political suicide. Obama would've been the indisputable good guy. He'd have fought the good fight. He'd have had a giant sign showing where the real failures of our government were -- with Congress, rather than Congress AND the Presidency.

Instead, he's just another part of the problem.
posted by scaryblackdeath


The only real benefit I can see to passing it with a signing statement basically saying that some measures in the bill are unnecessary or even unconstitutional, as opposed to vetoing it, is that the signing statement does offer some (meager/temporary?) protections to US citizens against those parts of the bill if brought up in a court of law.

But I'm honestly still pretty ignorant on these sorts of things and the more I read on signing statements the less clear I am, so I'm not entirely sure. It would be great to hear others' input.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 1:27 PM on January 2, 2012


That all said, if there's one person that positively needs to be thrown under the bus for this terrible piece of legislation, it's Carl Levin.

Imagine how I, a MI Dem, feel. Michigan is so whack, it's like Phoenix, Arizona with blizzards. I don't know there is a Dem alternative to Levin (or Stabenow) who can win in this screwed up place. And you do NOT want any of our Republicans in the US Senate. Although it'd be great if good old Rick Snyder would run - he might do less damage to Michigan as a Senator than he's doing as governor.
posted by NorthernLite at 1:27 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is astute commentary about why Obama signed this version of the NDAA: he was blackmailed.

It would really behoove everybody to read this analysis before raging at Obama about this.


Obama is a politician. Politicians (almost universally) will do whatever they can to stay in office; they weigh risks and advantages of every move.

Sometimes we see a politician who breaks that mold; this is very rare, and most often comes from rogue individuals (like Ralph Nader) who are not a part of our bought and sold Plutocracy.

Sometimes we get leaders who can articulate on behalf of the people, in ways that help them truly understand why certain compromises have been made - necessary, or not.

Sometimes (very rarely) we get a leader in the White House.

Barack Obama is a good man who was helped to seize an historical moment, and get two major things done: 1) get rid of the Bush legacy; 2) help wash away the stain of our collective guilt about slavery in America (by anointing a black man to our highest office).

That said, Barack Obama is not the leader America was so desperately wanting to convince (and is still trying to convince) itself of. Currently, there is a large dose of cognitive dissonance being distributed by a very large percentage of Obama's supporters. They are delivering rationales like the one written above, trying to satisfy themselves about Obama's motives, so that their choice (and sub-textual disappointment) can be better rationalized.

What most people don't consider is that ALL of the "sturm und drang" about Obama, Romney, and the rest is all a side show for the relatively few people and institutions who slather money about during election time, getting us all worked up our differences. The media is one of these institutions. They love political horse races because it means more paid ads; they're like real estate agens who represent the buyer and seller. The media is oh, so, "helpful", but is it, really?

Anyway, America, as long as you continue to hear the giant sucking sound of politicians feeding on the private money tit, we are going to have wash-rinse-repeat versions of what we've been going through for the last several decades.

Oh, btw, if Obama was the "gifted" leader that he has purported to be by his followers, he would have told the American public, in blazing rhetoric, what was behind the GOP BS move to "tie his hands". The American people would love to see a President who calls on passive-aggressive behavior, and behind the scenes BS. How refreshing that would be. However, it's really hard to do when a President is trying to keep the large commercial bundlers (like Goldman Sachs, Obama's largest corporate bundler in 2008) happy.

So, folks, don't get all in a tizzy; we are going to go through the same BS circus again, this year, with everyone calling everyone else wrong; delivering diatribes about how "the other guy" is to blame, and blah, blah, blah. Watching, from the sidelines, will be the large private groups who run the SuperPacs, and the large corporations who buy access. No matter who you vote for, the latter group is who you are going to put in office. Enjoy!
posted by Vibrissae at 1:28 PM on January 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Ironmouth: By my count, you have now basically said I was lying or didn't know what I was talking about three times in this thread.

AGAIN, the quote you are having such a problem with comes from ABC News. I also linked an analysis on the same question from the New York Times. These are legitimate sources, like it or not. I'd ask you to cease suggesting there is no legal basis for concern.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:28 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think he should use it. Republican congressmen, senators, presidential candidates, and propaganda outlets, en masse, could be detained indefinitely without charge on strong suspicion of association with separatist Dominionist militias and anti-abortion terrorist organizations.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:28 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you think this is a Dem vs. Repub. You are either misinformed or an idiot.

These are the few Senators who voted against this bill. Everyone else needs to be removed from public service.

Cardin (D-MD)
Coburn (R-OK)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Durbin (D-IL)
Franken (D-MN)
Harkin (D-IA)
Lee (R-UT)
Merkley (D-OR)
Paul (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Sanders (I-VT)
Wyden (D-OR)

Not Voting - 1
Moran (R-KS)
posted by psycho-alchemy at 1:33 PM on January 2, 2012 [20 favorites]


Barack Obama is a good man who was helped to seize an historical moment, and get two major things done: 1) get rid of the Bush legacy; 2) help wash away the stain of our collective guilt about slavery in America (by anointing a black man to our highest office).

I don't see how he has done either of those things. #1 may have been a short-term effect, but here we are again, watching our government completely abdicate its stated values. As for #2...sorry, man, but unless you've got your TARDIS and your sonic screwdriver handy, stains like that just don't wash. That's one we get to live with.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:34 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is astute commentary about why Obama signed this version of the NDAA: he was blackmailed.

That is wrong, Obama could have called this out. He could have done speeches. He could have done a youtube video. He did nothing. His only reservations regarding the bill, which he expressed while it was being written in committee, involved its limits on his own powers.

Also he chose to sign it on a Holiday, while most people weren't paying attention for a reason.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 1:41 PM on January 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


empath in 2006 in Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006). on President Bush's signing of indefinite detention:

The NDAA doesn't make anything worse than it already is, unlike what the Bush administration had done. It's just a back track on Guantanamo, basically.
posted by empath at 1:48 PM on January 2, 2012


As an American citizen I can't be indefinitely detained by my own government unless I'm one of the 4 million citizens living abroad or on one of the 62 million yearly international trips

That's not what it says.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

If you are an American citizen OR a lawful resident OR you are arrested in the United States, then nothing in this bill changes anything about your legal rights. It's only for non-American citizens arrested abroad.
posted by empath at 1:51 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The Statement of Authority to Detain does apply to American Citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland. Are you familiar with the Padilla case? That is a Federal court case involving an American citizen captured in the United States who was held for several years as an enemy combatant. His case went to the Fourth Circuit. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said: An American citizen can be held by our military as an enemy combatant, even if they are caught in the United States, because once they join the enemy forces, then they present a military threat and their citizenship is not a sort of a get-out-of-jail-free card; that the law of the land is that an American citizen can be held as an enemy combatant. That went to the Fourth Circuit. That, as I speak, is the law of the land." (source)

What's worse is that, according to Carl Levin, it was in fact the Obama administration itself which asked for the removal of language that protected U.S. citizens and lawful residents from indefinite detention.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:54 PM on January 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


For good measure, section 1022 also provides that its purported presumption of military detention “does not extend to citizens of the United States.”

Right, so what I'm asking is if that lack of presumption is the same thing as saying it is not possible?


No. Read the bill. The "presumption" being discussed is that it is presumed that terrorist suspects seized by the United States military in the course of military operations are presumed to be required to be held in military detention. U.S. citizens who are deemed terrorists, who are seized by the US Military, during military operations are not presumed to go into military detention and the Secretary of Defense need not apply for a waiver to detain them in civilian custody if they are seized by the military during military operations. One of the ways in which NDAA 2012 is markedly better than the prior year's versions in that it allows for waivers and that the old requirements that the person not be a redicivist and a couple of other issues. In other words, on that point, this bill is an improvement over last year's version.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:55 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The right to trial is an inalienable right. Inalienable right for all people, citizens of the USA or not.

This is Enlightenment Philosophy 101, the foundation for our Constitution. Arguing about citizens vs. non-citizens is a red herring.
posted by amuseDetachment at 1:55 PM on January 2, 2012 [21 favorites]


Conservative justices are not markedly more likely to overrule Hamdi. This isn't a question, once you hit the courts, of liberal vs. conservative. The courts Do Not Like It when the other branches of government try to tell them they have no say over things. O'Connor wrote Hamdi, joined by Rehnquist and Kennedy. Scalia dissented... joined by Stevens, to say that the court hadn't gone far enough in restricting the Executive. Only one judge on the entire court at the time thought that Hamdi should have been denied habeas corpus and that was Thomas, whose justification boiled down to "but, but, terrorists!" As much as conservative politicians are likely to love his reasoning there, I don't think it has a chance in hell of ever becoming the majority rule.

Congress passes laws all the time that are essentially subject to an implied "as far as we can get away with this under the Constitution", especially where there's existing case law. It may not be the best practice in the world, but it's hardly unique to this situation.
posted by gracedissolved at 2:02 PM on January 2, 2012


The right to trial is an inalienable right. Inalienable right for all people, citizens of the USA or not.

I agree, but let's at least be clear on what the bill actually does.
posted by empath at 2:03 PM on January 2, 2012


No. Read the bill. The "presumption" being discussed is that it is presumed that terrorist suspects seized by the United States military in the course of military operations are presumed to be required to be held in military detention. U.S. citizens who are deemed terrorists, who are seized by the US Military, during military operations are not presumed to go into military detention and the Secretary of Defense need not apply for a waiver to detain them in civilian custody if they are seized by the military during military operations.

Right, it says that the executive branch doesn't have to hold them in military custody, but that doesn't preclude the executive branch from doing so.

The thing that this bill does is to codify already existing powers of the executive branch which were granted by the AUMF and the Military Comissions Act of 2006. These powers were set to expire in 2014, but unfortunately it now looks as if they are permanent.

In other words, on that point, this bill is an improvement over last year's version.

True, but an improved piece of unconstitutional shit is still a piece of unconstitutional shit.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:06 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


empath: I voted and volunteered for Obama expecting him to not pass bills like this without a fight. It might not be as bad as you expect, or whatever, but it's pretty damning. If he doesn't bother to fight for reforming the banking system or civil liberties, the two defining issues which created the popular support of his base, I see no reason to defend him.

I should've volunteered for Hillary, at least she may have had more of a fighting spirit.
posted by amuseDetachment at 2:07 PM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]



It's very easy for people who don't rely on veteran's benefits for necessities to decide that a few weeks without them is no big deal


It's my understanding that the reason why we are supposed to hold these people in such high esteem is because they are ready and willing to make sacrifices for Constitutional freedom. This seems to be one of those cases. Glad we are looking out for the short term interests of freedom fighters so in the long term we can withhold the freedom of the innocent indefinitely.
posted by any major dude at 2:11 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


No. Read the bill. The "presumption" being discussed is that it is presumed that terrorist suspects seized by the United States military in the course of military operations are presumed to be required to be held in military detention. U.S. citizens who are deemed terrorists, who are seized by the US Military, during military operations are not presumed to go into military detention and the Secretary of Defense need not apply for a waiver to detain them in civilian custody if they are seized by the military during military operations.

Right, we aren't lawyers so you have to walk us through this, so what if the military was responding to an Al Qaeda attack on US soil? Is military custody an option?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:11 PM on January 2, 2012


Oh, btw, if Obama was the "gifted" leader that he has purported to be by his followers, he would have told the American public, in blazing rhetoric, what was behind the GOP BS move to "tie his hands". The American people would love to see a President who calls on passive-aggressive behavior, and behind the scenes BS. How refreshing that would be. However, it's really hard to do when a President is trying to keep the large commercial bundlers (like Goldman Sachs, Obama's largest corporate bundler in 2008) happy.

Really? Because guess what. Most Americans are fucking for this shit. Haven't you paid attention? He would have gotten slaughtered.

Remember 41% of Americans self-ID as Conservative, 36% ID as Moderate, 22% ID as liberal.

Why else would McCain and Lindsey Graham be all about how great this is? Why would Obama's threatened veto of the Gitmo provisions of prior legislation encounter huge revolts in his own party, resulting in them passing by a veto-proof majority?

Its because people are still stupid on the issue of terrorists. They are personally scared and stupid and about as tuned into the actual facts of the legislation as the people here who insisted that the US could detain US citizens terrorist suspects seized in the US indefinitely, despite the language not saying that.

Ironically, those of us who live in areas actually hit by terrorists on September 11, have no need for these ridiculous protections. But since the majority of people are this dumb, and since huge amounts of veterans benefits and other important part of government activity, lawmakers will not reverse these odious provisions. They will not, because a majority of Americans do not support their repeal. So, is it worth allowing the people who will make things worse, such as Mitt "double Guantanamo" Romney in charge:
ROMNEY: I am glad [detainees] are at Guantanamo. I don’t want them on our soil. I want them on Guantanamo, where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil. I don’t want them in our prisons, I want them there. Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo.
There is very much an element of political calculation here. The calculation is this: Obama is trying to get reelected. He wants to close Guantanamo. Congress forbade that by a veto-proof majority. The leading candidate wants to make Guantanamo twice as large and torture detainees. So, the President makes a decision to push back in some areas and not push back in others, in order to assure that Romney doesn't get into the White House.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:20 PM on January 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


I should've volunteered for Hillary, at least she may have had more of a fighting spirit.

And as discussed in the previous Clinton v Obama thread, there's no evidence to support this, and that pretty much anybody in the know vehemently disagrees with this.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:27 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Right, we aren't lawyers so you have to walk us through this, so what if the military was responding to an Al Qaeda attack on US soil? Is military custody an option?

Any person ordering the military to perform a law enforcement function in the U.S. commits a felony, per 18 U.S.C. sec. 1835.

So, no, there would be no military detention. It is illegal for the military to arrest anyone not a military person in the US.

Having said that, a US citizen, who committed a terrorist attack on US soil is in military custody. His name is Nidal Malik Hasan. He is a military officer who shot persons on a military base and is therefore in custody under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:27 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ya know, these "stupid Americans" of yours did elect Obama even though he made closing Gitmo an election promise.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:28 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's why I don't get the paranoia over this. Their constitutional rights, that means congress and the president can't just decide to throw them out.

According to a Sesame Street civics lesson, sure. Have you seen the real world lately?


OK, I'll bite. Which US citizens have been indefinitely detained under the AUMF legislation.


BTW, this is the first time it has been said in legislation that such detention cannot occur.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:30 PM on January 2, 2012


Any person ordering the military to perform a law enforcement function in the U.S. commits a felony, per 18 U.S.C. sec. 1835.

So, no, there would be no military detention. It is illegal for the military to arrest anyone not a military person in the US.

Having said that, a US citizen, who committed a terrorist attack on US soil is in military custody. His name is Nidal Malik Hasan. He is a military officer who shot persons on a military base and is therefore in custody under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.


So, someone accused of being a terrorist and attacking America can be held under 1022?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:30 PM on January 2, 2012


(If the military responds to the attack)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:32 PM on January 2, 2012


So, let me see if I have this right? The safety and well-being of Americans who need veteran's benefits always trumps the safety and well-being of non-American citizens who need to know that their right to a trial will be respected by the U.S. government?

I really don't understand how people who claim to be fighting for social justice and defending those who are disadvantaged somehow ignore the situation of people who aren't citizens. It makes it seem like, in the moral calculus being used, some people matter a lot less than other people. And when that difference lines up with whether or not someone is a U.S. citizen, it starts to look like an ugly form of nationalism to me.
posted by overglow at 2:33 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ya know, these "stupid Americans" of yours did elect Obama even though he made closing Gitmo an election promise

Exactly. Do you think that people who vote for a President agree with everything a President says he will do? Its impossible. So people could vote for Obama who were for keeping Guantanamo open.

In fact, let's look at the polling:

PRINCETON, NJ -- By a better than 2-to-1 margin, Americans are opposed to closing the Guantanamo Bay prison that houses terror suspects and moving some of those prisoners to the United States. Americans express even more widespread opposition to the idea of moving the prisoners to prisons in their own states if Guantanamo is closed.

that was in 2009. AFTER Obama was elected. 65%-32% wanted Guantanamo open.

The majority of Americans do not agree with us on these subjects. The only question is is it worth it to throw we have away for this legislation, which would have most likely passed over a veto, just as when Congress forbade spending of funds to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo by a veto-proof majority. Why did Congress do this? Because Guantanamo is not seen as the blot it is by over 66% of the people. That's a political fact that every analysis of this question has to deal with.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:37 PM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


[folks, not removing any comments at this point, but please remember you're talking to everyone and don't let the thread become one person taking on all comers and/or getting interrogated by everyone. The thread is for everyone, don't make it all about you. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:37 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any person ordering the military to perform a law enforcement function in the U.S. commits a felony, per 18 U.S.C. sec. 1835.

So, no, there would be no military detention. It is illegal for the military to arrest anyone not a military person in the US.

Having said that, a US citizen, who committed a terrorist attack on US soil is in military custody. His name is Nidal Malik Hasan. He is a military officer who shot persons on a military base and is therefore in custody under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

So, someone accused of being a terrorist and attacking America can be held under 1022?


No. Hasan is held under the Uniform Code of Military Justice because he committed a military crime on a military base. he's the Fort Hood Shooter, a Major in the U.S. Army.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:38 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Note also that the Military Commissions Acts (2006 and 2009) do not apply to Hasan. He shot people in violation of US Military law on a military base. So Section 1022 does not apply.

Nor is his detention indefinite. He goes to trial in March and will be tried by a court-martial, tried by officers, represented by counsel.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:40 PM on January 2, 2012


Ya know, these "stupid Americans" of yours did elect Obama even though he made closing Gitmo an election promise

Exactly.


Exactly, people don't care enough for their to be massive blowback from these kinds of decisions or it would have happened during the campaign. Great attempt to doublespeak out of it though.

So, someone accused of being a terrorist and attacking America can be held under 1022?

No. Hasan is held under the Uniform Code of Military Justice because he committed a military crime on a military base. he's the Fort Hood Shooter, a Major in the U.S. Army.


I don't understand why you brought him up then. My point is if the military responds to an attack on our homeland by the foreign military force known as Al Qaeda, can they hold citizens they believe are participants under 1022?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:41 PM on January 2, 2012


*there
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:42 PM on January 2, 2012


Guantanamo is not seen as the blot it is by over 66% of the people. That's a political fact that every analysis of this question has to deal with.

Sorry, I didn't realize I was donating, volunteering and voting for a finger in the wind rather than a President. I won't forget again
posted by crayz at 2:44 PM on January 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


From the signing statement... My Administration will aggressively seek to mitigate those concerns through the design of implementation procedures and other authorities available to me as Chief Executive and Commander in Chief, will oppose any attempt to extend or expand them in the future, and will seek the repeal of any provisions that undermine the policies and values that have guided my Administration throughout my time in office.

I wonder if the strategy here was to let the Democrats vote in support of the full bill to give them (and him) cover against claims they don't support the troops blah blah blah, then work with them to repeal those parts they don't actually support, thus making the fight solely about those parts and not the bill as a whole. Not sure that would work, but it sort of makes sense in my head.
posted by schoolgirl report at 2:47 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Exactly, people don't care enough for their to be massive blowback from these kinds of decisions or it would have happened during the campaign. Great attempt to doublespeak out of it though.

How is what Ironmouth said doublespeak? It was plain as day. No need to resort to personal attacks.

Sorry, I didn't realize I was donating, volunteering and voting for a finger in the wind rather than a President. I won't forget again

I'm perfectly happy to be disappointed but not actively or passively let someone many times worse in. Then again, I make my opinions known in every available local and state political race so as to better the national party. 51% of agreement is still better than 1% as long as I get involved.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:49 PM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


How is what Ironmouth said doublespeak? It was plain as day. No need to resort to personal attacks.

The entire premise is that there would be a political price to pay for the decision because of the opposition to it, if that was the case it would have been kept out of the campaign. Obama has no problem doing that, he did it with the switch on his gay marriage position.

You might as well toss out a flag burning poll, showing for or against. Okay, so people think that but nobody actually cares enough to vote based on it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:53 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just bought a hundred-pack of razor blades for everyone who wants to scrape the "Obama 2008" stickers off their bumpers.

Then we can all slit our wrists.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:02 PM on January 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm perfectly happy to be disappointed but not actively or passively let someone many times worse in.

That's a fine perspective, but every time we have one of these threads where people type some words about how they'd like Obama to honor campaign promises or do the moral and constitutional thing, we get piled on by Team Donkey telling us naive, doe-eyed hippies how "The American People™ disagree" and how much worse the other guys are, as if political opinions are just a fact of life and speaking a word against our dear leader is an own goal

If we're not even allowed to speak our opinions and try to change minds on a god damn forum on the internet then what? Just accept that every time he compromises his own professed beliefs and campaign promises that Obama Knows Best? This really is the 11-dimensional chess argument, and it's getting pretty fucking old
posted by crayz at 3:05 PM on January 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


You might as well toss out a flag burning poll, showing for or against. Okay, so people think that but nobody actually cares enough to vote based on it.
furiousxgeorge: This is exactly right. The defining issue for the 2012 election will be the economy.

Those of you appealing towards political calculation haven't realized that if anything, by passing NDAA, Obama has been trapped in the worst possible position. If he fought this, it may have dominated the news for about a week, but the Democratic base would've been pleased.

Instead, the Republicans have trapped Obama into royally pissing off his volunteer base. If you do text sentiment analysis of topics on Obama online, you're going to see a serious shift in negative sentiment among his base that hasn't really existed before this. His volunteer base has just evaporated. I suspect the sentiment is rapidly moving from "well what are we going to do" to "fuck this guy, I'm going to vote for him but that's it". Good luck telling your friends you're volunteering for Obama, they will bring up NDAA and it will become fashionable to hate on him for this, this is how memes work and you can't really stop the weird social ostracization.

If there was any trap at all by the Republicans, the trap was to PASS this legislation, rather than to fight it. Obama is turning out to be beyond ineffectual from a rhetorical standpoint, and it's a damn shame.
posted by amuseDetachment at 3:07 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I should've volunteered for Hillary, at least she may have had more of a fighting spirit.


Hillary voted for the Patriot Act, and the Iraq War, and the AUMF, and every other Bush era national security bill you probably oppose. She only started voting against that stuff when it became apparent it was going to hurt her chances of getting nominated.
posted by empath at 3:08 PM on January 2, 2012 [13 favorites]


empath: Yes, my point is implicitly that Obama hasn't delivered at all, and Hillary's mealy-mouthed promises would at worst be no different, and she would've fought harder in areas she cared about (e.g. healthcare).

It doesn't matter if Obama's campaign ideals in 2008 promised better than Hillary, he has failed. Ideals and campaign promises don't count if you can't even advocate the position as president (let alone deliver results).
posted by amuseDetachment at 3:11 PM on January 2, 2012


Hillary voted for the Patriot Act, and the Iraq War, and the AUMF, and every other Bush era national security bill you probably oppose.

And then Obama made her Secretary of State. It's really asking a lot sometimes for civil libertarian leaners to stick with the Dems. I understand some folks only vote strategically and there are some good arguments for that method but it does really get irritating sometimes when folks act like it's the only and obvious choice for what to endorse when you get to the polls.

amuseDetachment: I doubt he loses any support, as you said, it's the economy. We are in "Surely this..." territory at this point.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:12 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's really asking a lot sometimes for civil libertarian leaners to stick with the Dems.

The Democratic party has never, ever been the party of civil libertarians.

On the other hand, neither has the Republican party.

The party of 'civil liberty' has always been 'split-government', because of paranoia about the other party's intentions, but that's getting to be less and less the case.
posted by empath at 3:19 PM on January 2, 2012


Obama is not Galadriel. He would take The One Ring for himself, with noble intent.
posted by Xoebe at 3:19 PM on January 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


Obama on signing statements, 2008
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:20 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


It should be noted that Ron Paul was one of the few that voted against this, and he's running for President. So if decrying this legislation is such a politically damaging a position to take that the democrat president can't risk it, why would a Republican underdog risk it?

(My guess is it's integrity.)
posted by chronkite at 3:22 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Democratic party has never, ever been the party of civil libertarians.

Yes, we are realizing that now. It's why I'm not planning on voting for Obama again.

I was as shocked as anyone when they started sounding like it during a brief period during the Bush years.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:22 PM on January 2, 2012


Obama is not Galadriel. He would take The One Ring for himself, with noble intent.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:24 PM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Of course it's on Reddit so you know it could all be backmasked commentary about My Little Pony.

Of all the things that could happen, this is the... Worst... Possible... Thing!
posted by sourcequench at 3:26 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was as shocked as anyone when they started sounding like it during a brief period during the Bush years.

By 'they', you mean Russ Feingold -- and....? Most Democrats went along with every goddamn thing Bush wanted to do, and got dragged kicking and screaming into opposition when they opposed him at all. They're a party of corrupt cowards and always have been. My support for the Democrats is only because the Republicans are far worse.

Out of Edwards, Clinton and Obama, Obama easily had the best record on civil liberties, but he was only in the Senate for four years and was already running for president for half of that time. And out of the people running for president right now who have a chance of winning, he's easily the best, so he's going to continue to get my support. And when 2016 comes around, I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that Feingold gets the nomination and not Clinton or Biden.
posted by empath at 3:29 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Republicans should look at this as a great opportunity, spending the new year getting all the legislation they want signed by Obama, since it's clear he's a pushover in an election year. All those right-wing laws be a great present to whichever Republican replaces Obama for being a spineless Quisling.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:31 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just don't get how to have a conversation about this with people who think that vetoing this legislation is not political suicide.

Honestly, most Americans are sick of politics and you get one short sentence with simple words to state a position. The republican position is:

"Obama tried to cancel care and services to our patriotic veterans." This is supported in the mainstream consciousness by the veterans who got letters of the impending cut-off of benefits during the period between the veto and the override vote (scheduled by Boehner to occur after all agencies have to inform folks that benefits may be cancelled, but early enough to ensure few are actually impacted).

I've been generous, I could have made it shorter, but take a dozen words and explain to me why vetoing veteran benefits was a good thing again? Remember, I'll be starting to tune out after the tenth word.
posted by meinvt at 3:32 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


People seriously need to read the bill(relevant sections are 1021 and 1022) so that they are not confused by the lawyers and lawmakers who will try and tell you that U.S. citizens cannot be indefinitely detained. The first thing one needs to understand is that the executive branch already had this authority per the AUMF. This power was granted to apprehend those responsible for 911. Some people in this thread want you to believe that this bill doesn't apply to American Citizens, but if this is true why are the authors of the bill and many other Congressmen and women saying it does apply to U.S. citizens? Why is the ACLU saying that it applies to U.S. citizens? Why is the President himself saying it applies to American Citizens? But still we have people trying to tell us that we shouldn't worry that this bill doesn't allow the military to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens. This is a lie, a bald faced lie.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:33 PM on January 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


I've been generous, I could have made it shorter, but take a dozen words and explain to me why vetoing veteran benefits was a good thing again? Remember, I'll be starting to tune out after the tenth word.

"Because the bill authorizes indefinite detention of Americans without trial."
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:34 PM on January 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


meinvt:

"veterans fought and died to protect the rights this bill takes away."
posted by TheTingTangTong at 3:36 PM on January 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Most Democrats went along with every goddamn thing Bush wanted to do, and got dragged kicking and screaming into opposition when they opposed him at all. They're a party of corrupt cowards and always have been.

It is more my recollection that a lot more folks would make public noises but fail to deliver the votes in the end due to political pragmatism. Our favorite concept. However, I agree the party is terrible.

By 'they', you mean Russ Feingold -- and....?

I remember the angry and righteous rhetoric from the left on some of these sorts of issues during the 2004 and 2006 campaigns.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:42 PM on January 2, 2012


chronkite: It should be noted that Ron Paul was one of the few that voted against this, and he's running for President. So if decrying this legislation is such a politically damaging a position to take that the democrat president can't risk it, why would a Republican underdog risk it?

(My guess is it's integrity.)


Well, he also has nothing to lose. He has absolutely zero chance at the presidency and would be shot down by his own party if he did. I'm pretty sure the Republicans would rather have Obama in office than Ron Paul - he's radical and uncontrollable, and would pretty obviously fly the country straight into the ground if he were given control of it. The Republicans would rather lose a battle than watch the bomb drop, so to speak.

That being said, he'll never make it within a mile of the nomination.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:44 PM on January 2, 2012


Hmm, I should be more careful with my language in a conversation about political candidates. I do mean 'shot down' in the metaphorical sense, as in they would sabotage his campaign or undermine his support.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:46 PM on January 2, 2012


No no, you had it right.
posted by chronkite at 3:46 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Democratic party has never, ever been the party of civil libertarians.

On the other hand, neither has the Republican party.

The party of 'civil liberty' has always been 'split-government', because of paranoia about the other party's intentions, but that's getting to be less and less the case.


If only there were a party that spoke out against the deterioration of our civil liberties...

Hey, what the hell; in a "winner takes all electors" state like Connecticut (mine), my vote doesn't affect the outcome of the election anyway, so I might as well register my dissent.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:59 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I should've volunteered for Hillary, at least she may have had more of a fighting spirit.
S'why she left Bill, on principle. Women leave men abusive or unfaithful men and easily hold families together for the same reasons in our political process that principle has trumped political necessity and expediency for the past 200 years holding disparate elements of the country together - there are strong support systems in place and people place the reality of a situation above their internal need to feed their expectation of an illusory ideal that ... oh, wait, I'm posting in the wrong quantum reality, sorry.

Clearly Obama were he to veto this bill would get the full support of the American people who appear to all know precisely what the bill is about, so the only conclusion must be, yes, he's a big pussy for not doing so.

Particularly when so many senators (of his own party) were all so onboard for closing Gitmo.

Many senators are on board with this too. Seems strange that they'd be happy to torpedo "their" guy again. A democrat. But the guy from my backyard voted against it and he's a Dem, so, y'know, perhaps it's just that Obama is SO much a big pussy they're just disillusioned. Or something.

That said, the big threatening thing here is that it's a statement that the military is expected to do the work of the courts when it comes to terrorism.

Plenty to be said there on that, I think it was a nice extra special "FUCK YOU" with a little pink bow tied on it to ride it on the budget for the DoD and the DoE security given the above sentence.

Which is the big problem here. The military shouldn't be doing that work and shouldn't have to as a matter of U.S. policy. That Obama placed those (correct) sentiments in a signing statement only makes the - political vs. civilian system / military as a source of legitimacy - snarl all the worse.

So, on the one hand I agree that there is a lot of b.s. being tossed about on this whether it's for political ends or not - and really, fuck editorials, they're not news, they're not even really information, they're editorials, opinion, we should all know this - but all that aside, we can't support something without embodying it.

Lemme reiterate that last bit, because some folks are under the impression of a sort of "torture is ok if the torturer goes to jail for it" sort of paradigm.
The ideals we seek have to be embodied, most particularly by the government we're trying to run.

I understand political expediency here. And I'd even cut the government some slack on it, but this is not only the thin end of a wedge it's predicated on an idea that was wrongheaded in the first place.
Seeking to mitigate it only prolongs it's existence and allows for a greater chance for it to take hold.

There is no difference between the indefinite military detention of a given terrorist and that of an American citizen.
You cannot hold someone without charging them for something in some way before some legal body representative of a legitimate government.

And sure, it seems swell that we're clarifying at least something along those lines (for example, a given detainee getting a hearing and representation by military counsel). But not when the legitimacy of the procedure is what was at question in the first place.

The debate becomes arbitrary as to whether someone was a "co-belligerent" of AQ, or an "associate" or a "material contributor" or "chewed gum" in "class" - it doesn't matter.

There were clear lines regarding what legal authority resided where back when people hijacking planes (to Cuba, et.al) was so common it was a skit comedy premise.

All of this is obfuscation.

Practically speaking, a veto is not politically expedient. And, as it happens, it's a fairly astute move the Obama White House made.

Unfortunately, politics change and even if Obama vetoed this it wouldn't change the will of the senate or the apparent desire of the people to yolk force (and corollary responsibility) into as few channels as possible.
Preferably, one guy it seems. Even in opposition to whatever the cause of the day may be.

Yeah, that's worked out real well in the past.

The senate and the house should be getting kicked in the ass on this no matter what one guy has to say about it.

As it is we're probably going to have to wait to see what nine people have to say about it.

I don't relish that, politically. But, systemically, it would seem to be their necks on the block.
I mean, the Supreme Court isn't going to hand off the power of the courts so lightly.
And there's a fight to be had there over jurisdiction. "Free government is founded in jealousy, not confidence" Jefferson said. So I'm hopeful.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:04 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Ron Paul, I just googled him and found this video of him talking about the NDAA way back in May. Of course in true Ron Paul style he goes on to talk about some other crazy stuff about the federal reserve. I guess that means everything else he says must be incorrect. I also found some stuff about him being a racist. Is that true?????
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:10 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also found some stuff about him being a racist. Is that true?????
“I think we can assume that 95 percent of the black men in that city [Washington, D.C.] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”
-- Dr. Ron Paul.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:19 PM on January 2, 2012


Ron Paul is a racist, but that derail doesn't excuse Obama throwing the American people under the bus so that he can get re-elected.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:23 PM on January 2, 2012


It only makes sense when viewed in the wider context. You have the converging and related crises of climate catastrophe, energy scarcity, financial meltdown, and economic instability heading your way. The US Army Strategic Studies Institute warns that the US must prepare for a ”violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States”, provoked by ”loss of functioning political and legal order” and ”unforeseen economic collapse”.

Your state is being militarised in anticipation of widespread public disorder to ensure the continuity of your government. The US is repositioning troops on active duty on US soil; it has set aside the Posse Comitatus Act to allow those troops to enforce public order; commenced city-scale lock down training procedures; commissioned Halliburton to construct a continent-wide mass detention and secure prisoner transportation facility; handed the President powers to suspend the constitution (and habeas corpus) and invoke martial law at his discretion and without Congressional approval; and, through the TSA, rebased public tolerance of what are essentially methods of public surveillance and mass social control. It has achieved this by shifting entire categories of the legislature and executive into 'deep state' extra-legal mechanisms, beyond public scrutiny and accountability.
posted by falcon at 4:28 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Obama is going to continue to be bullied until he stands up for himself. And a hundred million other people. Isn't that why he was elected?
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:29 PM on January 2, 2012


Well played republicans. This particular bit of wedge politics was pretty effective. It pisses off liberals and also scares paulites who might be leaning towards Obama.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:31 PM on January 2, 2012


It's a shame Obama's conscience didn't wake up for the Patriot Act's excesses. In fact, he seems to have embraced it.

Having a "War on Terror" is like "F**king for Abstinence".
posted by shnarg at 4:35 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is very much an element of political calculation here. The calculation is this: Obama is trying to get reelected. He wants to close Guantanamo. Congress forbade that by a veto-proof majority. The leading candidate wants to make Guantanamo twice as large and torture detainees. So, the President makes a decision to push back in some areas and not push back in others, in order to assure that Romney doesn't get into the White House.

No. Obama is not trying to get re-elected. Goldman Sachs and others who view Obama as their man are trying to get re-elected, via Obama.

Look, this country was royally screwed over by monied interests that supported George Bush, Bill Clinton before him, and all the way back to Reagan - to a degree that almost confounds similar influences in the past. It got out of hand, and everyone got pissed.

So, the monied interests decided it was time for a little moderation, you know - one step forward, and soon enough (because they can afford to wait), two steps back, until this Democracy has had it's blood sucked completely dry. Then, they move capital on the wire to the next opportunity.

I am *sick and tired* of hearing about "political expediency" and "what's realistic", and how Obama made "calculations". According to whom? According to Big Media who profit from this charade? According to political "analysts" and "pundits" (many of whom sincerely believe that money doesn't control politics)?

This country is delusional about what undergirds our political system. It's a plutocracy, and we have had so many years of easy going that we don't have any idea of how we're presently up to our knees in quicksand. We (collectively) think it's just a little mud puddle.

Obama is *no different* than any other recent politician. Also, he is *powerless* to change the directions of this country. Only you and I and every other citizen can do that, and guess what? We aren't going to do it until the majority of citizens (no matter their political affiliations) realize that the votes they cast are like chips on a Las Vegas table - i.e. "the house" (represented here by the Plutocrats) always wins in the long run.

How about this: no more excuses!. No more "political expediency" decisions, or "strategies" that are laid out by those who profit from keeping the present Plutocracy going. Man, this is going to take a long time, because political culture in this country seems largely to have no idea what kinds of challenges we face.

Obama is just another pawn; he's smart enough to know how the system works, but he has failed to call those who have a card up their sleeve, or loaded the dice. That's what will keep him in the game. His future is assured, just like Kurt Weill's bankers!!.

I may even vote for Obama, but I'm not kidding myself - until we get the rapacious bastards who buy and sell our Democracy, we're fucked!
posted by Vibrissae at 4:39 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bye bye Fourth Amendment Right. Maybe We will meet again some other day. I hope I don't have to shed blood to find you or to prove you have been taken away.
posted by brando_calrissian at 4:42 PM on January 2, 2012


Is that true?????

Well, he's probably as racist as any of us. You'd have to ask him. I see a lot of people saying that, but the only evidence they produce are some newsletters from the eighties that he didn't author, and has repeatedly disavowed.

It's like Michael Jackson being called a child molester..simple minded people believe shit like that because well there MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG with him. Just look at him! All different and shit. Where does he get off...etc.

You'd think if the man were a practicing racist they'd have a hell of a lot more ammunition to use against him. He's delivered over four thousand babies (!!!!!) and I have to imagine that gives you a perspective on things that supersedes the racist/not-racist thing.

When someone can't be engaged on the moral battlefield (he has one of the most impressive voting records I've ever seen) you have to resort to name calling, ridicule, and derision. Keep googling his name and you'll see plenty of it.

And yes let's get back to the original point, which is that Obama is a pandering jackass just like any other and you should all be ashamed of yourselves for voting for him and thinking that somehow meant "change."
posted by chronkite at 4:42 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know people are upset about this bill, but getting angry at Obama is stupid because this really, really isn't his fault, for the following reasons:

1.) He didn't write the bill.
2.) He in fact, along with his administration and a number of nonprofits, made the bill as less bad as was possible, as has been documented earlier in this thread, and then added a signing statement to express his disapproval of the bill and intention not to use its powers.
3.) He quite clearly had no support in Congress to stop the bill. He tried to get the bill amended to make it less onerous and that didn't work, because the GOP wants an authoritarian state and there are plenty of conservative and "centrist" Democrats who want one too.
4.) He quite clearly had relatively small support among the general public to stop the bill. You know: the people who vote. (And before you start complaining about how you vote: you're not the core of the Democratic party base.)
5.) Vetoing the bill would have been an empty gesture since the votes were there to override a veto.
6.) It also would have been a politically disastrous empty gesture.
7.) It would have been politically disastrous because the defense authorization bill, like it or not, is vitally necessary to keep the nation's economy from collapsing. "Go ahead," says the GOP, "veto the bill. Make sure you stop every soldier's paycheck. Watch all those towns that rely on defense industry jobs begin their slow economic collapse overnight. We're cool with that." And they would be, because the GOP simply does not care about people at all any more. I know it's easy to sit in an armchair and say "well Obama SHOULD have held principle above millions of people getting their next paycheque in an economy where they absolutely rely on that money to just barely keep their heads above water," but once you're actually doing the job, idealistic-but-idiotic sentiments such as that have to be the first thing to go.

Now, after all that, if you want to whine OBAMA IS WORSE THAN BUSH HE SOLD US OUT, well, that's great. But maybe you could save that level of delusional fantasism for your next night of D&D?
posted by mightygodking at 4:45 PM on January 2, 2012 [18 favorites]


Everyone, the NDAA is the bill that basically funds the entire American military. Vetoing it would have had enormous consequences. The clauses for indefinite detention were a tiny part of the bill. There had previously been a vote in the Senate to remove these provisions, but it was defeated. Obama had no evidence that his veto would be anything by overridden by Congress, achieving him nothing but a moral victory. The problem here is not Obama signing the bill, but Congress sending the president a bill that was basically booby-trapped.
posted by Panjandrum at 4:48 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a shame Obama's conscience didn't wake up for the Patriot Act's excesses. In fact, he seems to have embraced it.

Well yeah, I'm not sure how else you can interpret his decision to extend it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:48 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Right, what MightyGodKing said.
posted by Panjandrum at 4:49 PM on January 2, 2012


his decision to extend it

Twice.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:51 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


MightyGodKing, Panjandrum, welcome to the discussion! A lot of great points have been brought up here tonight, do yall have anything new you'd like to add to the. . . oh, wait, here why don't you two start at the top? The thread will still be here when you've done some reading.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 4:53 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


TheTingTangTong, if you have specific points made in the thread that you feel refutes what we've said, perhaps you'd like to post them here.
posted by Panjandrum at 4:57 PM on January 2, 2012


I do not care to reiterate the counterpoints made already on several occasions, though thank you for the offer.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 5:01 PM on January 2, 2012


Keep googling his name and you'll see plenty of it.

Yeeeah I was trying to be funny and failed..... I know who Dr. Paul...sorry for the derail.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:02 PM on January 2, 2012


People seriously need to read the bill(relevant sections are 1021 and 1022) so that they are not confused by the lawyers and lawmakers who will try and tell you that U.S. citizens cannot be indefinitely detained. The first thing one needs to understand is that the executive branch already had this authority per the AUMF. This power was granted to apprehend those responsible for 911. Some people in this thread want you to believe that this bill doesn't apply to American Citizens, but if this is true why are the authors of the bill and many other Congressmen and women saying it does apply to U.S. citizens? Why is the ACLU saying that it applies to U.S. citizens? Why is the President himself saying it applies to American Citizens? But still we have people trying to tell us that we shouldn't worry that this bill doesn't allow the military to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens. This is a lie, a bald faced lie.

I've read the bill. Have you? Would you please specifically respond to my long, detailed comment above demonstrating conclusively that the claim made by the OP is wrong? And not by just continuing to throw out cites to articles that ignore the plain language of the statute

Also, for everyone up there saying goodbye to the Fourth Amendment, please explain how a statute would somehow override a Constitutional Amendment? It is not legally possible.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:06 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey, I was wondering if you could take a look at my question above. "If the military responds to an attack on our homeland by the foreign military force known as Al Qaeda, can they hold citizens they believe are participants under 1022?"
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:09 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bye bye Fourth Amendment Right. Maybe We will meet again some other day. I hope I don't have to shed blood to find you or to prove you have been taken away.

FWIW, we still have a Second Amendment Right.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:09 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I do not care to reiterate the counterpoints made already on several occasions

I can see how retyping "well he should have TAKEN A STAND even despite all of that" would be tiring.
posted by mightygodking at 5:10 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you are unhappy with the legislation produced by Congress and legislative process take it up with your Congressional representatives.
posted by humanfont at 5:13 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lemme get this bit of political reasoning straight - Obama should veto something almost all Democratic senators voted in favor for?
Harry Reid's the head of the party, he voted for it.

I can only assume some of you noticed the "Dem" next to Obama's name when you voted for him.

(In fact the only states where both senators voted against it were Oregon and that notable Liberal stronghold *cough* of Idaho. )

What's the political reasoning there then? He's got no balls? His party is on board with this. Demonstrably.

Your state is being militarised in anticipation of widespread public disorder to ensure the continuity of your government.

I remember when that happened under Bush. And before that when Clinton interred all those folks in the FEMA sites.

People seriously need to read the bill(relevant sections are 1021 and 1022) so that they are not confused by the lawyers and lawmakers who will try and tell you that U.S. citizens cannot be indefinitely detained.


Yeah, look, this is about as helpful as shouting "fire" in a crowded theater next door to a theater that's actually on fire.
This doesn't eliminate the fourth amendment.
That's not to say this is not vague, or there aren't huge problems with it, or that habeas corpus won't evaporate in an emergency under a whole smorgasboard of laws and executive orders alluding to that.
But -
A. that hasn't been done here
B. the SCOTUS will probably be pretty serious about this ... eventually ... and
C. what something says or doesn't on a given piece of paper isn't going to protect you if the political climate is such that they can get away with it - case in point: Jose Padilla.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:16 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do not care to reiterate the counterpoints made already on several occasions, though thank you for the offer.

The "counterpoints" in this thread have been less than convincing. Basically, there have been 4 different strains of thought happening here:

1) Obama should have vetoed the bill and dealt with the consequences.
2) Obama should have done more to ensure the final bill was less shitty.
3) Obama did the best he could with a shitty bill. (this is where I fall)
4) It doesn't matter, these statutes are unconstitutional anyway.

There's also a fifth position, which is Obama didn't do enough to make sure those darn terrorists are locked up. Since this is Metafilter, though, no one is ignorant to make that decision.

Regardless, the matter is far from settled. I expressed my opinion that the true blame lies with Congress for allowing these parts of the bill to happen in the first place. Perhaps you would like to address that, instead of simply throwing out one-line snark? Because I wouldn't have made those points if I thought they had been adequately refuted previously.
posted by Panjandrum at 5:24 PM on January 2, 2012


Hey, I was wondering if you could take a look at my question above. "If the military responds to an attack on our homeland by the foreign military force known as Al Qaeda, can they hold citizens they believe are participants under 1022?"

I guess I wasn't clear enough. First off, I will assume that you mean "indefinite detention." It is impossible for there to be indefinite detention of a US Citizen or foreign national seized on US soil because the Constitution itself prohibits it. Such a person can file for Habeus to be free of it. That's been the whole purpose of Guantanamo.

Second, the military is forbidden to arrest citizens in the US other than military outside of the jurisdiction of military bases. So it can't even effect an arrest. Say an MP off duty witnesses you shoot someone. His arrest powers are as a citizen only, same as you or me. An off-duty cop in jurisdiction has complete powers of arrest as a sworn officer.

No statute may override the constitution.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:27 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


what something says or doesn't on a given piece of paper isn't going to protect you if the political climate is such that they can get away with it - case in point: Jose Padilla.

Padilla won his Habeus case. Bush never dared take it to SCOTUS and relented once the district court's crappy ipinion was reversed.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:30 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would you please specifically respond to my long, detailed comment above demonstrating conclusively that the claim made by the OP is wrong?

Here is a link to Volokh explaining different theories about the NDAA, which are far more complex, nuanced, and negative than the way you present the bill. Specifically that the bill as signed does not expand existing authority to indefinitely detain Americans captured within the United States, but that authority arguably already existed

Robert Chesney (linked from Volokh) also states:
Bottom line: The Senate version of the NDAA is neutral regarding US citizens in the U.S., but certainly can be read to provide clearer statutory authority to encompass citizens abroad
You are playing a complete apologist on this and ignoring the critiques a great number of credible lawyers, politicians and NGOs who have serious concerns with this bill as signed into law

That it is even a question whether Americans can be indefinitely detained - that an amendment explicitly clarifying that they cannot be indefinitely detained when captured within the United States was voted down and the bill's authors are on video stating that that is exactly the scenario they wish to happen, grossly undermines your credibility and the idea you are arguing in good faith

Also, for everyone up there saying goodbye to the Fourth Amendment, please explain how a statute would somehow override a Constitutional Amendment?

Because the Fourth Amendment doesn't have an army or a branch of government. We're apparently down to the point of trusting a single circuit court with habeas reviews, and you are coming into this thread making extremely carefully worded statements in support of an absolute abomination of a bill
posted by crayz at 5:33 PM on January 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


If you are unhappy with the legislation produced by Congress and legislative process take it up with your Congressional representatives.

I'm unhappy with legislation produced by my legislature and signed by my president, and I'll take it up with my fellow citizens right here. Thanks
posted by crayz at 5:39 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't understand why you are talking about arrests/law enforcement. We are talking about a military attack on our homeland by a foreign military organization like Al Qaeda, not crimes. Surely such combat actions are handled differently.

If you are unhappy with the legislation produced by Congress and legislative process take it up with your Congressional representatives.

A good point, here is a partial list of some Congressional representatives anyone who is dissatisfied with this legislation should contact:

Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Conrad (D-ND)
Coons (D-DE)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Hagan (D-NC)
Inouye (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)

Altmire
Andrews
Baca
Barrow
Berkley
Bishop (GA)
Bishop (NY)
Boren
Boswell
Brady (PA)
Brown (FL)
Butterfield
Cardoza
Carnahan
Carney
Carson (IN)
Castor (FL)
Chandler
Clarke (NY)
Connolly (VA)
Cooper
Costa
Costello
Courtney
Critz
Cuellar
Cummings
Davis (CA)
Deutch
Dicks
Dingell
Doggett
Donnelly (IN)
Engel
Gonzalez
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Hanabusa
Hastings (FL)
Heinrich
Higgins
Hinojosa
Holden
Hoyer
Inslee
Israel
Jackson Lee (TX)
Johnson (GA)
Johnson, E. B.
Kaptur
Kildee
Kind
Kissell
Langevin
Larsen (WA)
Levin
Lipinski
Loebsack
Lowey
Matheson
McIntyre
McNerney
Meeks
Miller (NC)
Moran
Owens
Pascrell
Pelosi
Perlmutter
Peters
Peterson
Rahall
Reyes
Richardson
Ross (AR)
Rothman (NJ)
Ruppersberger
Ryan (OH)
Sánchez, Linda T.
Sanchez, Loretta
Schiff
Schwartz
Scott (VA)
Scott, David
Sewell
Shuler
Sires
Smith (WA)
Sutton
Towns
Tsongas
Visclosky
Walz (MN)
Wasserman Schultz
Wilson (FL)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:42 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


ZenMasterThis: Indeed we do! And since I have two hands, I can exercise it more than one instance at a time...

And I trained my dog to help me exercise my second amendment right. If I could just get him to fill the mags for me...

Its funny that the people who think this type of legislation and the previous hijacking of our rights like the Patriot Act think that it only affects criminals. Those people also think that the only folks that need guns are cops and military. They forget about the criminals who hold no law in regard. And get guns. Its not a fair or level playing field.

Not that my second amendment right will get me very far in this world anyway. I can't own a machine gun or heavy weapons, even as a felony-free citizen. Uncle Sam can, and he commits felonies all over the world. I can't own a tank. Uncle Sam can. If I buy enough guns for me and my hunting buddies and their elderst sons (shut up, it could happen), I am a terrorist. If me and my 300 FB friends walk down the street in the same clothes carrying guns, we are terrorists.

The second amendment would matter if a foreign body came on our shores, or from the north or south, or activated because they have been here for 100 years. But the scariest enemy to the US citizen (and the most likely) is who is in control of the weapons that us civilians are not allowed to own. They have made it so we can not own the types of weapons that now actually matter in war. And with the corporations in control of where we war, not congress (sorry), the corps are the enemy. Jerks. Oh, but wait, they are just pieces of paper. Charters, with a directive to extend the investment dollar of the share holder, with no expected expiration date. But they don't want to kill us because they want us to buy SHIT!!!!!

What the fuck. We are disarmed as a citizenry. And if/when whoever is in control wants to fuck us up as citizens, they will have to give the order to a volunteer based military. So will CRP. John from San Antonio shoot on citizens from and in his own country? Or is the question, under what circumstances (orders) will John, as a soldier, shoot on fellow citizens?

Maybe that job would be left to contractors...

Where are the fucking CIVILIAN CONTROLLED DRONES and TANKS?

What about civilian policing?

Why are our police militarized? Is it so they can say we don't need the second amendment? Its not all because of the North Hollywood bank robbery, although there are a lot of knee-jerk reaction laws as a result...

And why don't my neighborhood cops live in my neighborhood? Someone tried to to tell me it is because its too dangerous for the policeto police their own neighborhood. WTF?! But I am expected to turn in my neighbor, testify against him, and still have to go home and live next to his kin. And thats not potentially dangerous? Oh, and if I don't turn him in, I am an accessory. WTF?
posted by brando_calrissian at 5:44 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I expressed my opinion that the true blame lies with Congress for allowing these parts of the bill to happen in the first place.

Well-put. The bill was written by a GOP House and a Dem senate without a filibuster proof majority. And all of Congress looks closely at the polls and damn well realizes that the vast majority of their constituents approve of Guantanamo and military comissions. Unlike us, they approve of these things. They think them good. (See my poll link above to Gallup's polling on the subject).

Obama is left with a series of shitty choices on this one, none of which are good for the country or him. If he vetoes it, you do realize Congress woild likely override, no? Anyone who thinks Demint voted no for any reason other than he thought it should allow for unlimted detention of any terrorists.

Listen, if there is a path that creates a better result, I'd love to see it. But given the way congress acted when it was controlled by the Dems i.e. voting to strip Obama of the right to expend funds to move detainees from Gitmo to the US by a veto-proof majority, I don't see a better result coming from this.

In the end, I think our disagreement is with whether or not a better result was possible. Those who think it was, I believe are, on the whole, mistaken.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:44 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


No statute may override the constitution.

Dude seriously, did your law degree come from a box of Captain Crunch? Do you think the executive has never violated the Constitution and got away with it because they didn't get caught soon enough, or because of the specific judges on the courts that decided the case, or because of public opinion at the time, etc?

It is impossible for there to be indefinite detention of a US Citizen or foreign national seized on US soil because the Constitution itself prohibits it.

Jose Padilla, the guy you hold up as proof that our Constitution stands intact, was an American arrested in America, held as an enemy combatant for three and a half years, tortured, and then just shuffled over to the civilian courts without any clear ruling that doing this again to another American would not be allowed

That is what you want us to swallow as justice in Obama's America, because not a single thing he or this Congress has done will stop it from happening again

posted by crayz at 5:47 PM on January 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


It's so cheering to hear that the ability of the US to disappear people is probably restricted to ausländer.
posted by pompomtom at 5:47 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey, I was wondering if you could take a look at my question above. "If the military responds to an attack on our homeland by the foreign military force known as Al Qaeda, can they hold citizens they believe are participants under 1022?"

It is my understanding that in the event of an attack requiring military intervention as a means of resolution the military would be able to detain individuals involved regardless if US citizenship even without this new law. It would then be up to the executive to designate the individuals as enemy combatants or criminals. If they were combatants it would then be necessary to find that they were unlawful combatants, then hold a military tribunal and then they could be indefinitely detained or even executed. We haven't see anything like the since WWII though. The individual would be able to challenge their detention and status in court, unless congress found that this was an invasion and then invoked their power under article 1 section 9 to suspend Habeas Corpus.

Though I defer to more learned legal minds if they want to correct me.
posted by humanfont at 5:50 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, for everyone up there saying goodbye to the Fourth Amendment, please explain how a statute would somehow override a Constitutional Amendment? It is not legally possible.
...
No statute may override the constitution.

There are two problems with this statement. The first and most obvious is that any challenge would need to work its way through the courts, and in the meantime innocent citizens would be harmed.

But even more importantly, you've admitted in the past that laws and interpretations can override the constitution. We've had this discussion before, in regards to the Fourth Amendment and car searches:

Read the decisions. They are the ones to talk to. Its like asking a physicist if he thinks gravity is "fair." These are our laws. The automobile exception is 85 years old. It isn't going away. Like it or not.

There you explicitly state that there are indeed exceptions to the constitution.

10, 20, maybe 30 years from now indefinite detentions could be a part of life for US citizens. It will be justified by future gnerations with a casual shrug and claim of:

"These are our laws. The terrorist exception is 30 years old. It isn't going away. Like it or not."
posted by formless at 5:50 PM on January 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


There you explicitly state that there are indeed exceptions to the constitution.

You misunderstand. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that a warrant is needed to search a car trunk. The warrant exception holds that the Constitution never required a warrant to search a car or other conveyance. it does not say that the Constitution itself does not apply to situations for some reason. In other words, the plain language of the Constitution applies to homes and places of residence and not cars.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:57 PM on January 2, 2012


Brando, you, as a non felon, are absolutely allowed to own Title II weapons such as automatic rifles. You'll have to get some additional approvals and pay more taxes, every year, but it is legal. What you would do with it in terms of protecting yourself from the government, if it ever came down to that, is a mystery, but thar ya go.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 5:58 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


There you explicitly state that there are indeed exceptions to the constitution.

Sssh... He's an expert!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:59 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


it does not say that the Constitution itself does not apply to situations for some reason

There is no ruling anywhere that says that. Rulings "interpret" the Constitution, they don't "rewrite" it. That's the big lie of the judiciary. What are you, a strict constructionist?
posted by crayz at 6:04 PM on January 2, 2012


No statute may override the constitution.

Dude seriously, did your law degree come from a box of Captain Crunch? Do you think the executive has never violated the Constitution and got away with it because they didn't get caught soon enough, or because of the specific judges on the courts that decided the case, or because of public opinion at the time, etc?


But if a President was going to do that, it really wouldn't matter what this statute said, would it? We're talking about legislation here, not extra-legal acts.

Part of the issue here is how peopke analyze politics. Some see it as personality, and want a politician whose personality makes them feel good. They would rather lose gloriously than compromise, even if doing so puts everyone in a worse situation than before.

Others, like me, see it as a mix of legal powers and the ability to get votes and seek the most optimal situation given the circumstances.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:07 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Others may realize that always taking the locally optimal path may not lead to the best long term outcome. Picking the lesser evil at every step just gets you to hell slower.
posted by Pyry at 6:15 PM on January 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


it does not say that the Constitution itself does not apply to situations for some reason

There is no ruling anywhere that says that. Rulings "interpret" the Constitution, they don't "rewrite" it. That's the big lie of the judiciary. What are you, a strict constructionist?


Read the text of the Fourth Amendment.
It doesn't mention cars, or even buggies.

However if a motor home is up on blocks and being used as a home, a warrant is required unless another exception is required.

Is it your point to tell me that tens of thousands of cases decided on searches of autos are wrong? Based on what? Every court in the land disagrees with you.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:16 PM on January 2, 2012


"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Is a car not an 'effect'?
posted by Pyry at 6:22 PM on January 2, 2012


Padilla won his Habeus case. Bush never dared take it to SCOTUS and relented once the district court's crappy ipinion was reversed.

True enough. But in terms of practical effect, pyrrhic victory.

I don't want to go to far afield, but the then executive branch effectively stalled. I'd argue the stall was purposeful enough in itself, and effective for what it was used for. Given the overall pattern with Gitmo, rendition, etc.

Essentially, one can't argue for a given kind of treatment for a prisoner if one can't locate the prisoner or assert jurisdiction for them.
The executive branch can effectively brush off civilian government as far as military affairs go if they assert it's scary secret enough. And it will go unchallenged at least as far as effect and accountability.

Yoo's still walking around as far as I know.
So, technically, as far as what this says, I'm with you. The spirit of the thing, different story,
(not that I've read you contesting that point), I think it's a dangerous bill. It shouldn't just be leashed as it's been, but taken to the pound and destroyed.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:23 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Others may realize that always taking the locally optimal path may not lead to the best long term outcome. Picking the lesser evil at every step just gets you to hell slower.

Excellent point. The real argument is whether this compromise provided the best outcome. The problem Obama faced was one of no allies. His own party had stripped him of his power to move Gitmo detainees over an explicit veto threat, with a veto-proof majority. The most likey scenario was that they would do it again, possibly with worse terms than the President obtained. And what value an overriden veto? He loses the fight, weakens himself in relation to other upcoming battles on this front becasue GOPers know he will be whipped by his own party if he does. Furthermore, he opens himself up to a political attack that may help the GOP remove him from office, allowing them to impose even worse terms later.

What advantages do you see in a veto given what I've said here? If you disagree with my premises, where and why?
posted by Ironmouth at 6:26 PM on January 2, 2012


"taken to the pound and destroyed." Much like Fluffy Von Steel ....
posted by brando_calrissian at 6:26 PM on January 2, 2012


The question this raises in my mind is whether or not newly elected President Santorum is going to attempt imprison Dan Savage under the auspices of this act. Surely someone who has said so many despicable things about the Commander in Chief is a terrorist.
posted by feloniousmonk at 6:31 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yoo's still walking around as far as I know.

Yoo provided legal advice he heartily believed in. I disagree with his advice, but literally he committed no criminal act. The ACLU did Padilla a disservice in adding Yoo. Under qualified immunity analysis, Yoo took no actions against Padilla--he never even provided advice on Padilla's case. ACLU added Yoo as a defendant for its own purposes and distracted everyone from Padilla's plight in a vain attempt to score political points through discovery. It was not a move in Padilla's personal interest and likely lost his case.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:31 PM on January 2, 2012


"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Is a car not an 'effect'?


No, it is not. This is one of the most developed parts of criminal procedure. The original case is 80 years old. Some states require a warrant--the US Constitution does not, from nearly the beginning of the auto age.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:36 PM on January 2, 2012


Well that's not obvious from the plain language at all. If you had asked me, out of the blue, whether a car was an effect, I think I would have leaned towards 'yes'. Where is the dividing line anyway? Would a locked chest be an effect? Is there a size limit?
posted by Pyry at 6:40 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth, you're doing that thing where you take over the thread again.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:46 PM on January 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Not sure what the size limit would be, but there are other directions from which the fourth amendment is being attacked from. By even the SCOTUS and states's AG...
posted by brando_calrissian at 6:48 PM on January 2, 2012


"We're right and that's it."
posted by jeffburdges at 6:56 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


What advantages do you see in a veto given what I've said here? If you disagree with my premises, where and why?

I think Obama would be far stronger as president if he rode the populist front, took Congress head on and did things that got his base excited. The things he bloody well promised in order to get elected.

Closing Guatanamo, regulating Wall Street, bringing the troops home and health care are things that got him elected. Obviously there was a plurality of American's who supported these.

We are looking at Congressional approval rating of 9%. I don't think taking them on would hurt him.

If he is caught in a legislative trap, he should be going on a 24/7 blitz on a one bill/one topic to prevent it from happening again.

He is more worried about the effect this bill will have on his image than the bill itself. He had the ability to protest before the fact. But he never put out a clear statement of opposition and then signed on New Years in an effort to keep it out of the news cycle.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 6:58 PM on January 2, 2012 [15 favorites]


It never fails to amaze me how some people on all axes of the political spectrum can justify and excuse any action whatsoever on the part of their Chosen One. While it doesn't amaze me, it does sadden me.

Then again, it is hardly limited to politics. Look at any celebrity. There will always be those die-hard fans who will refuse to see anything that their worshiped one does as wrong. They'll excuse it, pretend it never happened, or whatever it takes so that the object of their adoration does not suffer any tarnish.
posted by 2manyusernames at 7:36 PM on January 2, 2012


Jonathan Turley: The NDAA's historic assault on American liberty
posted by homunculus at 7:38 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


ACLU report card finds fault with Obama, rivals
posted by homunculus at 7:39 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


While I agree with Ironmouth's reading of the statute under discussion, it seems a bit naive to me to think that there are no exceptions to Constitutional Amendments. For example, there are time, place, and manner restrictions on free speech, but such restrictions are not at all in the plain language of the First Amendment. (I'm also not saying that those restrictions are necessarily unreasonable, although I think in the last twenty years we've time, place, and mannered a lot of our freedom away.)

Also, this response:

This is one of the most developed parts of criminal procedure. The original case is 80 years old.

rather makes formless's earlier point, doesn't it?
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 7:41 PM on January 2, 2012


This is astute commentary about why Obama signed this version of the NDAA: he was blackmailed.

TL;DR: Obama continues to be a giant pussy. I'm not sure exactly what his supporters think it accomplishes to detail how, specifically the opposition pushed and he folded - as if somehow if you add enough (imagined) details it becomes OK.

We obviously don't really know exactly what happened, and we probably never will. But what I don't understand is why Obama supporters just make stuff up and then say that's the reason he does this or that.

Whatever you want to say, Obama clearly didn't put up a fight. The only thing he said publicly was that it would make things less 'flexible' for him. Obama Supporters then make up a bunch of stuff he didn't say, but imagine he thought in order to justify his inaction.

--
The basic problem here is that you're basically assuming that the republicans would have been willing to 'pull the trigger' and defund the military, the same way they threatened to do over the debt ceiling and the budget. That seems highly unlikely to me. And had they actually tried to do that, it would not have worked out very well for them politically (since we know that the debt ceiling and budget arguments damaged them more then Obama)
What this tells me is that the system is broken beyond repair--a president who must sign something though he doesn't want to and a congress that can force him to because, well, they put things in a bill that made him sign it rather than stand up on a priciple--but wait: isn't he a constitutional lawyer?
What it should tell you is that Obama didn't really care about the issue very much, and wasn't willing to put up a fight. Remember Obama never even said publicly that he was opposed to it on anything other then that it reduced 'flexibility'. That's what's so annoying about Obama supporters in situations like this. They make arguments that Obama doesn't even bother with.

And again, the 'analysis' is mostly just stuff the guy imagined in his head, not based on any statements from the administration.
On one hand, I think Obama should have stepped up to the plate, and just vetoed the whole thing. For one, it would have forced Congress to reconvene from its recess, which would actually be a pretty big "Fuck You" to the legislature.
They only passed it when he removed his veto threat.
No, you look like one for spouting off critical bullshit instead of putting yourself in his position.
Put myself in his position? Seriously? The guy chose to run for president of the United States. It's not supposed to be an easy job. If we had known he was going to be such a pussy, we could have voted for someone else.

Also the whole "Actually guys the president is super-weak and can't do anything" is such bullshit it's ridiculous. I've never seen Obama really fight on something, other then healthcare, which he got. If we applied the standard of 'really it's all congress' then he doesn't actually deserve credit for any of the stuff he's claiming credit for.
Really? Because guess what. Most Americans are fucking for this shit. Haven't you paid attention? He would have gotten slaughtered.

Remember 41% of Americans self-ID as Conservative, 36% ID as Moderate, 22% ID as liberal.
-- Ironmouth
You always say this shit, and then use it to justify whatever conservative position Obama holds. Why do you even pretend to be a liberal? 90% on of the time you post, you're defending conservative policies and positions.

Anyway, 'conservative' is not a strict linear separation where every single person who identifies as 'conservative' thinks we should be able to detain people without lawyers. Ron Paul, for example, calls himself a conservative and is opposed to indefinite detention without a trial. Many conservatives are afraid of the government, and wouldn't want them to have this power.

You keep saying, again and again, that because a plurality of Americans ID as conservative, that means that most Americans support whatever conservative position Obama is taking on whatever the issue of the day is. It's moronic.
But since the majority of people are this dumb, and since huge amounts of veterans benefits and other important part of government activity, lawmakers will not reverse these odious provisions. They will not, because a majority of Americans do not support their repeal. So, is it worth allowing the people who will make things worse, such as Mitt "double Guantanamo" Romney in charge:
Crap like this is why it would be hilarious of Ron Paul wins the republican nomination. So much for these arguments.
Having said that, a US citizen, who committed a terrorist attack on US soil is in military custody. His name is Nidal Malik Hasan. He is a military officer who shot persons on a military base and is therefore in custody under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
I thought he was brain dead, but apparently he's regained consciousness. He was a member of the military, so obviously military courts have jurisdiction. It's the same reason Bradley Manning is under military detention, or any random soldier who breaks the law.
The entire premise is that there would be a political price to pay for the decision because of the opposition to it, if that was the case it would have been kept out of the campaign. Obama has no problem doing that, he did it with the switch on his gay marriage position.
I'm pretty sure Ironmouth made the same arguments about DADT and defending DOMA back before Obama did anything about them.

---

Also, this Clinton fantasy league stuff is just ridiculous. Hillary was going out of her way to prove how 'tough' she was by voting for bush policies. She would have been at least as 'conservative' as obama on this stuff, she supported the iraq war.

posted by delmoi at 7:43 PM on January 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Every thread about Obama involves someone calling him a pussy. It's disgusting.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:59 PM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, he's probably as racist as any of us. You'd have to ask him. I see a lot of people saying that, but the only evidence they produce are some newsletters from the eighties that he didn't author, and has repeatedly disavowed.
That's baloney.

The only evidence that Ron Paul didn't author them is that he now says he didn't.

He did not previously disavow them or say that he didn't author them, when their absurdly toxic content was publicly brought to his attention in interviews back in the 1990s. He instead defended them, and made not one indication at all that he might not have been the author.

And even ignoring that, and taking him at his (current) word that he didn't author them:

(1) What ridiculously poor judgment, to allow people to publish stuff in his name, for his own personal profit, without bothering to check what they actually say, for decades;

(2) At the very least, he's the kind of guy who lets out-and-out bigots write things in his name. Did he genuinely not know that these (supposed) people who he (supposedly) let write things in his name were bilious? Absurd.
posted by Flunkie at 8:09 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


While I agree with Ironmouth's reading of the statute under discussion, it seems a bit naive to me to think that there are no exceptions to Constitutional Amendments. For example, there are time, place, and manner restrictions on free speech, but such restrictions are not at all in the plain language of the First Amendment. (I'm also not saying that those restrictions are necessarily unreasonable, although I think in the last twenty years we've time, place, and mannered a lot of our freedom away.)

Let me explain. The constitution, must, by definition, regulate the ability of the government to do things. It does not allow for a free-for-all in the world. It can arrest you. It can prevent you from standing in front of the President while he gives a speech. It can prohibit you from using a writing to defraud another or defame another, regardless of your freedom of speech. Similarly it may punish you from lying under oath, despite your freedom of speech. And it can prohibit you from disclosing military secrets when you are charged with protecting them. A spy may be punished for writing down secrets and sending them to the Kremlin.

When it does so, it is not relying on an "exception" to the Constitution. It is acting within its authority, authority that the constitution grants it to do things, through many clauses.

The word "exception" in terms of the "warrant exception" means only searches which the fourth amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures were never intended by the framers' principles to apply. Now you may or may not agree with the Court's interpretation of what the Framers intended, but most definitely the Court is not saying that it decides that "we don't like this Constitution thing here." It is saying that the Constitution was not intended by the founders to count this type of search as "unreasonable."
posted by Ironmouth at 8:11 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The entire premise is that there would be a political price to pay for the decision because of the opposition to it, if that was the case it would have been kept out of the campaign. Obama has no problem doing that, he did it with the switch on his gay marriage position.
I'm pretty sure Ironmouth made the same arguments about DADT and defending DOMA back before Obama did anything about them.


My only statement was that I wanted it done legislatively, so that if a GOPer came in, they would have to pass a law to bring back the old way. I've always been opposed to DOMA and DADT.

the President is not in favor of Gay Marriage. He's said that from day one. He's in favor of Civil Unions. He has stated that his views are in flux, personally.

I oppose President Obama on his position on gay marriage. Since marriage is a state issues and we both live in the District of Columbia, where gay marriage already exists, the question is moot.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:17 PM on January 2, 2012


Yoo provided legal advice he heartily believed in.

We've danced around with that before and again, don't want to go too far afield. Not Yoo particularly, but toss a cat in that general direction and someone gave someone else some marching orders and no one is 'responsible' for anything all the way to the top.
I'm in a bit of pain so I'm loose and hyperbolic and not really up for precisely speaking but I think it's clear that the perpetrators of that particular injustice, and others, haven't been brought to heel (ok, I'll stop with the canine metaphors) and that while this bill isn't Night and Fog, that kind of political atmosphere can be fostered with enough steps in that direction.
Same sort of lack of responsibility while exerting opaque power under the cloak of operational security.

Indeed, one of the things I don't like about it is that it is vague. Certainly enough to where Joe Layman (and IANAL) can get confused enough about it to think that it does mean detention of American citizens.
And, given the ambiguity with which Padilla's case was settled (socially and politically if not technically or strictly speaking legally, and I'm trying not to go there so please take the lawyer hat off and take the logic and form instead of the minutiae - not that this isn't important, and in fact, exactly what I'm arguing as important, but y'know, it's f'ing metafilter here not congressional committee or a law library, so grain of salt) - how the exact issue was sidestepped by putting Padilla into a civilian court ...
... and sort of the same deal with al-Marri where you violate the crap out of someone's rights and subject them to a kind of punishment, if not torture, then somehow escape the fruit of the poisoned tree beef because that happened while they were designated an enemy combatant.
Hamdi too, really.
It's sort of a short circuit which is kept in a limbo, granted a clarified limbo with this bill but still a limbo, because of the ambiguity that politically no one wants to hit head up.

Still, its not the function of our government to keep its citizens from screwing up, it is the function of citizens to keep the government from screwing up.

but shove that stuff over for a bit -

Was it Lindsay Graham that said if a U.S. citizen takes up arms against the U.S. then they should be treated as an enemy combatant?

The general idiocy aside - what does that really mean?
So Citizen Joe Donut has been lobbing T.N.T. off overpasses. Let's even say he's doing it for Allah.
We find Joe Donut in the U.S. He, miraculously, doesn't resist and he's captured.
How does one treat him as an enemy combatant? Detain him indefinitely? Waterboard him?
Were we supposed to shoot Joe Donut even though he's sitting in his underpants doing nothing in particular?

What's going on here, apart from the glaringly obvious, is that there is, still, an attempt to exert government power without regard to government institutions and attendant democratic controls. Not in one piece, just another bit of it.

Ambiguity lends itself to that well. And bends to the political climate as well.
I'm not talking lizard-men here, it's straightforward conspiracy.

Look at Cheney. For 200-odd years the VP did nothing but sit on his rear end.
Then Cheney orders the CIA to not tell Congress about a certain counterterrorism program.
Now, drop everything you think you might know about that and think: can the VP do that?

The National Security Act of 1947 says "Maybe." Because it says as long as the Gang of Eight are in the know - ok. For some things. Sorta.
At that time, IIRC, Seymour Hersch was reporting all sorts of things and on that particular thing thought it was possible the administration was engaging in targeted assassinations.

So now we've got Obama in the room with JSOC and the op on Bin Laden on the big screen t.v., drone strikes in Pakistan, etc. etc.
The material of those issues aside - where's Joe Biden?
Back to status quo, yeah, but we still haven't settled the VP issue. The man is different, yes, but the office is the same.

You see the problem here. It's not the stuff itself, it's accountability for the stuff.
This is not to say the Obama administration hasn't blacked out its share of documents.
Just that the flow lines of power are overt and obvious and with bills like this they are less so.
And that this is by design.
As is not putting 2 and 2 together.
Anger is swell, but it's easy for an opponent to channel.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:22 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Paul is clearly a bigot. He changes his position back and forth on civil rights issues based on where the political wind blows and when called to task for bigoted positions he uses state's rights as an excuse.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:32 PM on January 2, 2012


When it does so, it is not relying on an "exception" to the Constitution. It is acting within its authority, authority that the constitution grants it to do things, through many clauses.

We're probably down to quibbling about the plain-language significance of "exception." To me, the language of the First Amendment says plainly that Congress cannot prohibit free speech under any circumstances. When free speech is prohibited by Congress (sometimes reasonably and sometimes not) and the prohibition is not struck down by the Court, that is an exception to the Amendment -- an instance not conforming to the general rule. That is, the plain language says, "No speech may be prohibited," but some instances of speech are prohibited.

And that's not just my idiosyncratic interpretation of "exception." Some attorneys also think about the Constitution that way (pdf).

Anyway, I also agree with you on how the Fourth Amendment has been read and applied by the Court. And, yes, I think they're doing it wrong.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 8:38 PM on January 2, 2012


Padilla allegedly received training in Pakistan, and had all but renounced his citizenship but was sent back to commit terrorist acts. As far as a citizen can be an enemy combatant, Padilla pretty much fits the definition.

Remember the guy that flew his cessna into the BoA building in Tampa in 2002? Even though that guy had expressed support for Bin Laden, nobody ever tried to claim he was any kind of enemy combatant (of course he died in the crash).

There has to be a certain point at which you really are an enemy combatant even if you were born in the US.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:43 PM on January 2, 2012


There has to be a certain point at which you really are an enemy combatant even if you were born in the US.

Only if you've already accepted the category of "non-uniformed enemy combatant" as an acceptable label for terrorists. Personally, I don't think this is part of a reasonable classification scheme.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 8:57 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I get frustrated being called an Obama apologist for pointing out that the guy has accomplished a lot, really an incredible amount for three years given the political climate he is working within. Personally, I'm a bit disappointed that there wasn't a primary challenge to him from the left, even if strategically it may turn out to be better in the long run.

Even more, I'm disappointed that I can't even name a responsible, nationally credible candidate who could have challenged Obama from a meaningful left position. Seriously, who is there? Likewise, with this legislation I'm a lot more concerned by the clear super-majority of congress who thought it was a good idea than I am that the president didn't spend more "bully pulpit" time raging against the incoming tidal wave.

Whether genuine or astro-turf a major effect of the teaparty movement was a clear set of congressional representatives representing what they believe are the priorities of the voters who elected them. We don't seem to have the equivalent on the liberal side, and I'm at a loss for how to get it to coalesce. I was hopeful for the Occupy movement, but there doesn't seem to be the drive to really engage within the political process coming out of it. Meanwhile I'll keep supporting Sanders almost unequivocally and keep sending the correction missives to Leahy when he gets one wrong (like PIPA and this one).
posted by meinvt at 8:59 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The liberal drive in the political process built in 2004, came into its own in 2006, and peaked in 2008. Liberals got what they got out of it. If it wasn't enough for you there isn't much to say, it's going to be hard to have anywhere near the power they had before the midterms again any time soon so the status quo isn't going to shift that much.

In the end, major change means serious reform in the way Washington works, not just making the best of your bad situation. You have to shift the balance of power between money and people, not Republicans and Democrats. A smart guy once said:

"If we do not change our politics -- if we do not fundamentally change the way Washington works -- then the problems we've been talking about for the last generation will be the same ones that haunt us for generations to come."

"But let me be clear -- this isn't just about ending the failed policies of the Bush years; it's about ending the failed system in Washington that produces those policies. For far too long, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, Washington has allowed Wall Street to use lobbyists and campaign contributions to rig the system and get its way, no matter what it costs ordinary Americans."

"We are up against the belief that it's all right for lobbyists to dominate our government--that they are just part of the system in Washington. But we know that the undue influence of lobbyists is part of the problem, and this election is our chance to say that we're not going to let them stand in our way anymore. Unless we're willing to challenge the broken system in Washington, and stop letting lobbyists use their clout to get their way, nothing else is going to change."

"If we're not willing to take up that fight, then real change--change that will make a lasting difference in the lives of ordinary Americans--will keep getting blocked by the defenders of the status quo."


In the end though, breaking corporate dominance just isn't a pragmatic goal. Obama would lose the election if he suddenly got tough on corporations, and then we would have Romney and everything would be worse. So what part of this system is there for the Occupiers to engage with?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:14 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's why I don't get the paranoia over this. Their constitutional rights, that means congress and the president can't just decide to throw them out.

This is a long thread, and I'm only partway down it, but you only get habeas corpus if you're allowed access to the courts to ask for it. This bill explicitly says that if you are ACCUSED of terrorism, no proof necessary, you can't be brought before the Judicial Branch, that your punishment will be handled entirely by the Executive, with the aid and assistance of the Legislative.

While the Judicial branch may take a dim view of being shut out in this way, it doesn't matter what they say if the Executive refuses to go along with it. Any two branches can override the third -- and, in practice, the Constitution.

Let's just say that I'm not real sanguine about Obama's willingness to go to bat for an alleged terrorist, considering that he was perfectly willing to authorize extrajudicial killings quite recently.

Especially when you consider that the administration has secret laws, and secret interpretations of public laws, neither of which they are willing to disclose, this signing statement means about buttfuck nothing.

The only thing that matters is the classified interpretations of this law, and I doubt very much you'd like what they say under shroud of secrecy.
posted by Malor at 9:35 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Look: it's really simple. Are you going to let Repubs manipulate you into voting against Obama? Or are you in this for the long haul?

It's not about Obama. It's about who comes after. It has a 99.99% chance of being a Republican in the next election. 92% chance if Obama wins a second term (pulling these odds out of my ass, if you were curious). Do you want that Republican to be someone like Romney, or someone like Bachmann? If Obama loses the next election, you might get Romney for now, but who do you think will come after that? An Obama loss will affirm the Repub base and their perverse tactics. An Obama win will give them pause, at least beneath all their public bluster. After that, Repubs will run someone more centrist (which will probably shift a little further right by the time the next, next election comes around) and sane. That will be okay, though obviously not preferred. Because after that, and possibly after two terms of that, we will likely get a milquetoast Repub and an acceptable Dem. And both of them will be more centrist. That's when we start working on moving the dialog back to the Left. Then, it's about persisting in moving the conversation further Left, and maybe following up two terms of an acceptable Dem with another Dem, acceptable or not.

And yes, I'm talking about a strategy that is twelve to twenty four years long, if not longer by necessity. This isn't some intellectual exercise about voting for the most perfect candidate today on principle. This is fucking real life--real human politics. And not human as in what you, in your own egoistical assessment of what your own opinion is worth, but human as in the general tendencies of all the people around you who have no fucking clue about what the hell you're talking about. And just to engage in a little hyperbole: this is about the future of Democracy. Are you gonna fuck it over just because you're transiently annoyed? Or are you going to work at it, and stick with it through the difficult times because the relationship is worth it?

(Disclaimer: I'm drunk.)
posted by effwerd at 9:37 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not about Obama. It's about who comes after.

Exactly. Obama's signing statement, or good intentions, or whatever holds him back from exercising the worst aspects of this will no longer be a restraint, the day he leaves office. Which is precisely why people should be terrified that Obama made the decision to sign NDAA into law in the first place.

Are you in it for the long haul, as far as protecting what civil rights remain?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:45 PM on January 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


That's baloney.

The only evidence that Ron Paul didn't author them is that he now says he didn't.

He did not previously disavow them or say that he didn't author them, when their absurdly toxic content was publicly brought to his attention in interviews back in the 1990s. He instead defended them, and made not one indication at all that he might not have been the author.
The thing about Ron Paul being a racist: How many of the people bringing up this racism stuff hold Hillary responsible for all the race baiting her campaign did during the 2008 primary? Remember Mark Penn's "Did he ever sell cocaine" bit?

Anyway, what's amazing here is that Ironmouth thinks, apparently, that his reading of the law is more precise then Lindsay Graham, despite the fact that Graham actually wrote the bill.

At the very best you could say it's ambiguous. Lots of legal experts do say it could allow for detainment of citizens, and that's what the bills authors say the intent is. So the reality is someone could be arrested under this act, held in prison for years while the issue goes through the courts.
Padilla allegedly received training in Pakistan, and had all but renounced his citizenship but was sent back to commit terrorist acts. As far as a citizen can be an enemy combatant, Padilla pretty much fits the definition.

Remember the guy that flew his cessna into the BoA building in Tampa in 2002? Even though that guy had expressed support for Bin Laden, nobody ever tried to claim he was any kind of enemy combatant (of course he died in the crash).

There has to be a certain point at which you really are an enemy combatant even if you were born in the US.
First of all what does "all but" mean in reference to renouncing his citizenship? You either do or you don't. People like McVeigh considered themselves patriots, but McVeigh killed a lot of people.

The problem here is that a fair trial should be how we determine if someone is guilty of doing whatever. The problem with saying someone "is" an enemy combatant is that they might not be, that's why you have a trial before an impartial judge to be sure.

And it's not like the country is being overrun by turrists and we simply don't have time to give people trials.
In the end though, breaking corporate dominance just isn't a pragmatic goal. Obama would lose the election if he suddenly got tough on corporations, and then we would have Romney and everything would be worse. So what part of this system is there for the Occupiers to engage with?
Exactly! We need to give up without even trying! That's the spirit!

Seriously though, what makes you think Obama ever even wanted to get tough on corporations? It's never been part of his platform, as far as I can tell. He was in favor of anti-corruption in the campaign, but pretty much immediately dropped it once he got into office.
It's not about Obama. It's about who comes after. It has a 99.99% chance of being a Republican in the next election. 92% chance if Obama wins a second term (pulling these odds out of my ass, if you were curious). Do you want that Republican to be someone like Romney, or someone like Bachmann? If Obama loses the next election, you might get Romney for now, but who do you think will come after that? An Obama loss will affirm the Repub base and their perverse tactics. An Obama win will give them pause, at least beneath all their public bluster. After that, Repubs will run someone more centrist (which will probably shift a little further right by the time the next, next election comes around) and sane. That will be okay, though obviously not preferred. Because after that, and possibly after two terms of that, we will likely get a milquetoast Repub and an acceptable Dem. And both of them will be more centrist. That's when we start working on moving the dialog back to the Left. Then, it's about persisting in moving the conversation further Left, and maybe following up two terms of an acceptable Dem with another Dem, acceptable or not.
Oh please. There is no way you can know any of this. What is it about politics that makes people think they're nostradamous? you can't predict the future. The system is much too complex. Who would have predicted, in 2004 that the democrats would crush bush in congressional races in two years, and that we would have a black, democratic president in 2008?

Who would have predicted that two years after that, republicans would crush the democrats in midterms? The RNC chair, Michael Steel at the time, didn't even think it would even happen.
After that, Repubs will run someone more centrist (which will probably shift a little further right by the time the next, next election comes around) and sane.
Comments like this, you realize that candidates are chosen via primaries, like we're seeing now? There is no way to predict exactly how people are going to vote in them, especially years out. It's certainly not as simple as "we lost last time, lets elect a moderate." It's all about whatever the individual voters are thinking about, how hard-core they're feeling, and so on.
Exactly. Obama's signing statement, or good intentions, or whatever holds him back from exercising the worst aspects of this will no longer be a restraint, the day he leaves office. Which is precisely why people should be terrified that Obama made the decision to sign NDAA into law in the first place.
Exactly. The real issues here are the precedents being set.
posted by delmoi at 9:55 PM on January 2, 2012


Are you arguing we should vote for Ron Paul if he wins the Republican nomination, effwerd? I've wondered about that myself, probably read more about his infamous voting record if he's nominated, not worrying about it now.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:56 PM on January 2, 2012


Are you in it for the long haul, as far as protecting what civil rights remain?

Whoever comes after Obama may end up abusing this legislation, sure. Sucks to be whoever gets caught up in that. But this kind of legislation are details that don't matter in the overall cultural movement that we need to be concerned about. If the culture can shift enough that this kind of legislation becomes unacceptable, then, whether this legislation gets annulled in the next twenty years or not, this is more important than the legislation itself.

I see this as triage. We've got to start thinking about salvaging the republic and moving, however slowly, back to a more sane manifestation. When we persist in arguing over transient inconveniences, we stray too far from the most strategic aspects of the battle.
posted by effwerd at 9:58 PM on January 2, 2012


Exactly! We need to give up without even trying! That's the spirit!

Seriously though, what makes you think Obama ever even wanted to get tough on corporations? It's never been part of his platform, as far as I can tell. He was in favor of anti-corruption in the campaign, but pretty much immediately dropped it once he got into office.


You make a strong case and I am now convinced. :)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:58 PM on January 2, 2012


This is about very, very important stuff. It's about whether the government can just lock you up and throw away the key by labeling you a terrorist, which SHOULD make you throw up when you hear it.

But you're too busy worrying about what a libertarian doctor may or may not have thought about brown people twenty years ago to admit he's right about this or anything else.

OK let's say Ron Paul is a bigot. So?

How does that have anything to do with the fact that he was in the very tiny minority (along with my man Al Franken!) that voted the morally correct way on this bill?

And now let's take him at his word, and he's not a bigot. He still voted the correct way on this and many, many other bills, and you're slandering him by accusing him of being a hateful, conniving liar. Damn that's harsh! You sure you want to say that to his face?

And now let's..bear with me here...let's imagine that the truth is more complex than the bigot/non-bigot dichotomy. Let's imagine that he's a product of his generation and experiences, like all the rest of us.

Winston Churchill was a terrible racist asshole, but we can thank him that there is an England at all today. I'll bet the majority of US presidents have been on the bigoted end of the spectrum, especially the ones who owned slaves.

Some of them have become national heroes for their ability to set aside their personal prejudices and just get the fucking job done.
posted by chronkite at 10:00 PM on January 2, 2012


Are you arguing we should vote for Ron Paul if he wins the Republican nomination, effwerd?

Ha! Oh, hell no!

As much as I admire his view on the War on Drugs, that's about all that broken clock has to offer. I'm arguing that if you care at all about liberal politics, you need to vote for Obama, regardless of the noxious compromises he has made. It is not the perfect solution; it is the best we've got for now. And it will help us correct our course over the long haul, no matter how much we might lose in the short term.
posted by effwerd at 10:03 PM on January 2, 2012


Whoever comes after Obama may end up abusing this legislation, sure.

Okay, let's be blunt: It's a given that this law will provide the necessary legal insurance for leaders to violate your rights and my rights and the civil rights of generations of Americans and non-Americans to come. If it had reached the desk of a Constitutional scholar with any bottle, it would have never been signed.

This is only triage to the extent that the surgeon is now hacking off limbs to beat the remaining survivors with.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:05 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've never considered the lose of civil liberties a worthwhile compromise for gaining social programs, effwerd.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:10 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, I think one very likely truth about this law is that the Occupy movement scared them into it.

Congress knows that hellacious domestic unrest is coming. With our absolute refusal to deal with our debt problem, we're headed down the same path as Greece. We'll print money to avoid direct defaults, but this will just cause a DIFFERENT, and much worse, set of problems. We'll still be cheating our creditors, and there will still be hell to pay. It won't all unwind like it has for Greece, but it WILL unwind. And when it does, there will literally be blood in the streets.

There's blood in the streets now, fer chrissake, just with a bunch of people who want the laws to be fair and to apply to everyone. It's going to get worse, much worse, and that's what this law is probably really for. It's no mistake that Fox, the propaganda arm for the Republican party, has already been calling the OWS protestors terrorists.

This law is to make damn sure that if you're too loud in your dissent while the elites loot what's left of the Treasury, you can be conveniently and quietly be silenced and, if necessary, gotten rid of entirely, without any ability to make your case to a judge or, horror of horrors, to the public.

They can now explicitly do this. All they have to do is CALL you a terrorist, and terrorism is anything they define it to be, and you're gone. It's right there, in black and white.

How much more of a thump to the head do you need with the clue-by-four?
posted by Malor at 10:11 PM on January 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


And it will help us correct our course over the long haul, no matter how much we might lose in the short term.

There is a Ben Franklin quote that comes to mind when folks express the sentiment that we should be willing to trade away our liberty.

Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.

Because it's such a silly sentiment it makes me want to go get drunk.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:12 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I mean, just think about it: for the first time in a generation, you saw significant domestic dissent in the United States. Scrupulously peaceful, but significant.

The same year, they pass a law that says they can lock up anyone they like, anytime they want, for as long as they like.

This is not coincidence.
posted by Malor at 10:14 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is only triage to the extent that the surgeon is now hacking off limbs to beat the remaining survivors with.

ROTFL

If it had reached the desk of a Constitutional scholar with any bottle, it would have never been signed.

I don't disagree at all. It's obvious to anyone with a principled understanding of the Constitution that this legislation is bullshit to the core. The problem isn't the legislation though. It's about how Obama felt compelled to sign it into law despite its glaring flaws. I am simply advocating patience. There will be pain and hardship. We're on that track regardless. We've just got to find a way to mitigate it, and then correct. We can't do that if we keep getting caught up in every single tragic loss of basic human rights, which in the entire view of human history is a transient and correctable thing.
posted by effwerd at 10:14 PM on January 2, 2012


I've never considered the lose of civil liberties a worthwhile compromise for gaining social programs, effwerd.

I've not implied that I am willing to accept this legislation because I hope to get any "social programs" out of it in return. I am all about righting the ship. That's it.
posted by effwerd at 10:16 PM on January 2, 2012


Bullshit, effwerd. We're in this mess because Obama got his pen out and signed it.

You can't dodge that. This is Obama's fault. THE BUCK STOPS THERE.

If he had vetoed it, and Congress had overridden, then we could have blamed Congress. But he couldn't be bothered. At best, he was willing to let the Republican terrorists threaten some hostages. At worst, he didn't fucking care.
posted by Malor at 10:17 PM on January 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


laws don't mean shit

if you aggravate those with power you are going to suffer for it, legally or not
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:18 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not defending Obama, Malor. I agree with you. Obama made a huge mistake in signing this into law. I'm just saying that it isn't any reason to withdraw support for him. Hold him accountable. Everyone who despises this legislation should hold him accountable. Please!

But don't vote for someone else in the next election because of it. Vote with the long view in mind. That's all I'm saying.
posted by effwerd at 10:21 PM on January 2, 2012


Everyone who despises this legislation should hold him accountable.

...how?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:22 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


...how?

Letters? Email? Protests?

Insufficient? Well, democracy is hard. And it takes a lot of hard work. And a lot of compromised decisions.
posted by effwerd at 10:26 PM on January 2, 2012


I'm just saying that it isn't any reason to withdraw support for him.

If that's not enough for you to stop supporting him, then I question whether there is anything that could.

It's not about the fucking team. It's not about keeping the Republicans out of power. It's about not voting for the man who willingly threw out about 350 years of progress in human rights, the man who wadded up the Constitution and used it to wipe his ass.

Regardless of what you think the Republicans might do or might have done, the fact is that Obama did that. Willingly. Voluntarily. And I submit that voting for that man is treason.

At least, with the other candidates, you don't know they're criminals. And I can give you an absolute guarantee that at least one Republican candidate takes the Constitution very, very seriously.
posted by Malor at 10:26 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Imagine the chaos if Ron Paul actually won the Republican nomination. We'd witness so many Democrats and Republican voting the opposite party. Imagine the fights here on metafilter. lol
posted by jeffburdges at 10:28 PM on January 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Letters? Email? Protests?

Insufficient?


Yes, politicians don't register as protest things that don't cost them money or votes.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:31 PM on January 2, 2012


What frustrates me the most about these discussions is that I don't understand what all of this sound and fury signifies. What am I supposed to do as a Democrat who isn't thrilled about this? If Democrats don't vote for Obama, my earlier crack about President Santorum using this to lock up Dan Savage seems, at this moment in time, about as likely as any other outcome.

As others have said, and I've said myself elsewhere, this is not a problem with individuals in our government, it's a problem with how our government is staffed. What is the purpose behind dropping all support for Obama over something like this, knowing that the alternative is likely to be far worse, but also knowing that Obama is a product of a profoundly flawed system just as his GOP counterpart will be when that support is dropped and he loses?
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:34 PM on January 2, 2012


Whoever comes after Obama may end up abusing this legislation, sure. Sucks to be whoever gets caught up in that. But this kind of legislation are details that don't matter in the overall cultural movement that we need to be concerned about. If the culture can shift enough that this kind of legislation becomes unacceptable, then, whether this legislation gets annulled in the next twenty years or not, this is more important than the legislation itself.
Well, but whether or not Obama gets re-elected is kind of irrelevant. Whoever is president in 2012 will either be someone who meekly acquiesces to this or supports it, unless Ron Paul ends up being the nominee (which, while he might win Iowa, is still pretty unlikely)
Okay, let's be blunt: It's a given that this law will provide the necessary legal insurance for leaders to violate your rights and my rights and the civil rights of generations of Americans and non-Americans to come. If it had reached the desk of a Constitutional scholar with any bottle, it would have never been signed.
Why assume that because someone is a "constitutional scholar" they actually care about civil liberties, etc. Just like people who support civil rights need to understand the constitution to argue for them, people who oppose civil rights need their own scholars in order to argue against them. I'm sure John Yoo is pretty well versed in the constitution.
You know, I think one very likely truth about this law is that the Occupy movement scared them into it.

Congress knows that hellacious domestic unrest is coming. ... All they have to do is CALL you a terrorist, and terrorism is anything they define it to be, and you're gone. It's right there, in black and white.
The law specifically refers to Al Quaeda, Though. Not just any 'terrorist'. They can't just call you a 'terrorist' and lock you up, and it doesn't even matter if they call you a terrorist or not. They have to call you a member of al-quaeda or an affiliated group.
With our absolute refusal to deal with our debt problem, we're headed down the same path as Greece.
Why compare us to Greece and not Japan? Japan has a much, much higher debt/GDP ratio then Greece ever did.
Letters? Email? Protests?

Insufficient? Well, democracy is hard. And it takes a lot of hard work. And a lot of compromised decisions.
Democracy means voting. Not writing letters, certainly not sending emails, voting. If you're not willing to pull support for a candidate over something, then they have no reason not to do it, regardless of how much spam they have to delete.

On the other hand, if you send them a big check they might care what you think.
If Democrats don't vote for Obama, my earlier crack about President Santorum using this to lock up Dan Savage seems, at this moment in time, about as likely as any other outcome.
Seems like it would be hard for people to buy Dan Savage as an Al-quaeda sleeper. And I said, the law only applies to AQ, not 'terrorists' in general.
posted by delmoi at 10:36 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Insufficient? Well, democracy is hard.

Democracy isn't hard. Most Americans want the ability to disappear foreigners.

Respecting human rights is hard.
posted by pompomtom at 10:38 PM on January 2, 2012


Regardless of what you think the Republicans might do or might have done, the fact is that Obama did that. Willingly. Voluntarily.

Well, except for the signing statement, which is a part of the public record.

Yes, politicians don't register as protest things that don't cost them money or votes.

It's not going to be easy for anyone. What other choice do we have? Revolution? I'm too civil to advocate that. Voting against Obama? I'm too practical to advocate that. Do what you can with what you've got, but keep the long view in mind. None of it is perfect. None of it is good. It's what we can salvage and that's it.
posted by effwerd at 10:38 PM on January 2, 2012


To break the cycle you have to break the two party system. Start supporting third party candidates and independent candidates at every level. That is the true long view.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:40 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


To be clear, I don't actually think that a hypothetical President Santorum would actually try to lock up Dan Savage. (Although it's not as far from possible in my mind as I'd like.) There's no shortage of mayhem that a newly emboldened GOP "governing with a mandate from the people" (as they would undoubtedly refer to any victory) could cause, I'm just using it as a placeholder.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:41 PM on January 2, 2012


There's no shortage of mayhem that a newly emboldened GOP "governing with a mandate from the people" (as they would undoubtedly refer to any victory) could cause

Well, they are beholden to Congress, just like Obama who had no option here but to sign the law. The Democrats could simply make hostage threats any time he tries to do something they don't like.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:44 PM on January 2, 2012


Hypothetical question: Could the executive and legislative branches just call domestic acts of foreign terrorism by US citizens a "rebellion" and suspend Habeas Corpus through the front door anyway?
posted by Talez at 10:45 PM on January 2, 2012


Democracy means voting.

This is overly simplistic, and I'm certain you know it. Corporations don't vote, do they?
posted by effwerd at 10:48 PM on January 2, 2012


Democracy isn't hard. Most Americans want the ability to disappear foreigners.

Ha! You make my argument for me! Yes, democracy is hard. And harder than preserving your precious human rights. Because it is about cultural notions and not about petty little legislative expressions.
posted by effwerd at 10:50 PM on January 2, 2012


Think of restraints to what the executive and legislative branch "may do" under circumstances perceived sufficiently alarming...as cobwebs.
posted by telstar at 10:52 PM on January 2, 2012


Well, except for the signing statement, which is a part of the public record.

Which means precisely jack and shit. The only part that matters is the signature.
posted by Malor at 10:53 PM on January 2, 2012


So as best as I can tell, Ron Paul's position on campaign finance is in keeping with the Citizen's United ruling. This seems to be Romney's position as well as Santorum's. If I withdraw my support for Obama, who, while not having done much on the issue is at least not openly opposed to the concept, what does that do to help solve the larger systemic problem of the corrupting influence of money in politics? Is it worth it to punish Obama to get another set of people who are going to do terrible things and fail to fix any real problems?

These discussions so quickly ramp up to eviscerating opinions about Obama and declarations of hatred for his policies that I don't feel like anyone is talking about the next step. Give me something substantial. What do I do after I follow all of the advice in this thread and dump Obama over this?
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:55 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


er, Citizens United, of course.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:55 PM on January 2, 2012


Which means precisely jack and shit. The only part that matters is the signature.

Well, the public record can matter, but you're more correct in the practical sense. But I'm not arguing that Obama was justified in signing this into law. I'm saying it's not sufficient reason to withdraw support for him in the 2012 election.
posted by effwerd at 10:58 PM on January 2, 2012


So as best as I can tell, Ron Paul's position on campaign finance is in keeping with the Citizen's United ruling. This seems to be Romney's position as well as Santorum's. If I withdraw my support for Obama, who, while not having done much on the issue is at least not openly opposed to the concept, what does that do to help solve the larger systemic problem of the corrupting influence of money in politics? Is it worth it to punish Obama to get another set of people who are going to do terrible things and fail to fix any real problems?

I would donate your time and money to a 3rd party campaign and start to raise awareness for the issues you care about. Neither party will solve their own corrupted status for us. I believe the Green Party, for one, is against corporate influence in politics.

Judging by your interest in Santorum/Romney/Paul you seem to be considering Republicans, if you must support a Republican option I would take a look at Buddy Roemer:

As part of his presidential campaign, Roemer has stressed the need for campaign finance reform. He has vowed to only accept campaign contributions under $100.

“Whenever anyone asks me if I should first get elected before I go about changing the system, I tell them that’s the worst way to create change,” Roemer said in a statement. “It never happens. My campaign is about showing that you can run clean, you can run with integrity, and you can keep your promises. I challenge Mitt Romney and every candidate for federal office to stand up for something more important than their own election.”

posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:04 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Regardless of what you think the Republicans might do or might have done

I think this is interesting. You are placing a lot of emphasis on what you think Obama and future administrations might do with this power. Just because they have the power to do this, do you think they (Obama or anyone to follow) will do this without some politically justifiable position? And if it is politically justifiable, then that's exactly what I am arguing about. We have to get to a point where we can convincingly argue on a national level that it is NOT politically justifiable. We won't be able to do that in the next twenty years if Obama loses the next election to a Repub. We have to take that baby step. And then the next. And the next.
posted by effwerd at 11:05 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm saying it's not sufficient reason to withdraw support for him in the 2012 election.

Then I repeat: there is nothing that could be. If overthrowing the absolute linchpin foundational piece of American freedom isn't enough to convince you not to vote for the man, then I don't think there is anything that ever could be.

Yay Democrats! Thick or thin, no matter what!
posted by Malor at 11:09 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yay Democrats! Thick or thin, no matter what!

Just to be clear: I'm not about Democrats no matter what. I'm about moving to the Left.
posted by effwerd at 11:11 PM on January 2, 2012


Just to add a little emphasis, let me quote felonious monk:

Give me something substantial. What do I do after I follow all of the advice in this thread and dump Obama over this?
posted by effwerd at 11:12 PM on January 2, 2012


I mentioned the Republicans because if Obama loses, one of them wins, unless things go really sideways in the next 10 months or so.

I find it really difficult to divorce my support of Obama, holding my nose or not, from the consequences of not supporting him. This is why I asked the question, because as far as I can tell, regardless of my support for a 3rd party candidate, it either comes down to Obama or the GOP in the White House come next year. Given this, I don't see a net positive to disowning Obama. To me this is a legitimate dilemma that instead of being addressed is resulting in me being told that I am supporting the downfall of the republic by continuing my support of Obama.

Personally, I don't think that a third party is any more likely to initiate serious electoral reform than any of the incumbents, but that's really neither here nor there. I think 3rd parties are in a chicken-or-the-egg situation with respect to this reform.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:14 PM on January 2, 2012


Third parties have an obvious self interest in at least pushing enough reform to get themselves to the table. You can trust them that far at least, and once they start to be a threat you can trust at least that one of the parties will start to take their concerns more seriously.

I find it really difficult to divorce my support of Obama, holding my nose or not, from the consequences of not supporting him.

That's fine, just don't ignore the consequences of supporting him either, that's what gets folks upset.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:28 PM on January 2, 2012


Ha! You make my argument for me!

Errm, yay us?

Yes, democracy is hard. And harder than preserving your precious human rights.

Enshrining the militarism and xenophobia that seems to be par for the course in the USA in legislation, as per the topic of this post, seems to be a piece of piss compared to respecting human rights - cf all the argument in this thread about how important it is that the rights of Americans exceed the rights of others.
posted by pompomtom at 11:29 PM on January 2, 2012


Well, if we're talking about what gets folks upset, I'll go ahead and throw it out there that being told I am supporting the downfall of the republic because I support Obama against the GOP is pretty upsetting. Not that you furiousxgeorge are doing this (at least that I've seen) but that is absolutely the tone that political threads on MeFi are taking over the past several years. I am a "don't point out the problem unless you can offer a solution" type of person, though.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:35 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


cf all the argument in this thread about how important it is that the rights of Americans exceed the rights of others.

I'm sorry if it seems that way. I don't know about others, but at least personally I don't think indefinite detention should extend to foreigners either. If we really believe in our open and transparent justice system, we should use it everywhere. Eating your own dogfood in a judicial sense.

Or even better, using international courts, like the ICC. And yes, that includes terrorists. Scary noun people are still people.

I don't bring it up often in arguments because it's hard enough convincing Americans that Americans deserve due process under their own system.

Which is absurd when you think about it.
posted by formless at 11:39 PM on January 2, 2012


I'll go ahead and throw it out there that being told I am supporting the downfall of the republic because I support Obama against the GOP is pretty upsetting.

Yes, and other folks get tired of being told they are emotional morons who lack the cold, perfect logic of Obama supporters and are causing the downfall of the Republic when they don't support him. But hey, that's what we do.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:40 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't believe that I have said anything of the sort. I have attempted to approach this discussion in good faith.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:42 PM on January 2, 2012


Sorry, should have added the same personal disclaimer you did.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:43 PM on January 2, 2012


If overthrowing the absolute linchpin foundational piece of American freedom isn't enough to convince you not to vote for the man, then I don't think there is anything that ever could be.

I don't know how many people have to say that he hasn't done that.
posted by empath at 11:44 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fair enough. No side is acquitting themselves particularly well on this issue, in aggregate.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:44 PM on January 2, 2012


Yes, and other folks get tired of being told they are emotional morons who lack the cold, perfect logic of Obama supporters and are causing the downfall of the Republic when they don't support him. But hey, that's what we do.

Well, I did qualify that that was hyperbole :) And I certainly didn't mean to imply that anyone was an emotional moron for whatever reason.
posted by effwerd at 11:47 PM on January 2, 2012


Chris Hedges "Brace Yourself! The American Empire Is Over & The Descent Is Going To Be Horrifying!"
posted by telstar at 11:47 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am a "don't point out the problem unless you can offer a solution" type of person, though.

That doesn't seem to be very prudent and would seem to invite disaster in any group endeavour.

I don't know how many people have to say that he hasn't done that.

Well Goebbels wasn't specific on how many times you have to repeat a lie until it is accepted as truth so I guess you guys will have to play it by ear. We are talking about a depraved criminal that has ordered the assassination of an American citizen who was a minor. He kinda already stepped over the line long before this bill reached his desk. If a president ordering the assassination of a child doesn't constitute him overthrowing a linchpin of our democratic system then I don't know what does.

I'm still in awe of this thread where several people have stated that the pertinent sections of the NDAA FY 2012 don't do specifically what the authors of the bill say it was intended to do. Am I saying that they are going to start locking up people and shipping them off to camps? No. But it does seem to be a very big nail in the coffin of the American Republic and the freedoms of the American people insofar as they ever existed. I guess the only thing left to do at this point is to arm yourselves and hope that the plutocrats who own this country get their shit together before we have to do this the old fashioned way.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:15 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The NDAA Explained: Part One, Part Two
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:40 AM on January 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't know about others, but at least personally I don't think indefinite detention should extend to foreigners either.

I agree with that too. I don't think its a stretch to say that Obama wishes Bush didn't do any of this. If Bush had just acted correctly, Obama wouldn't have to deal with any of this. But it is a legal and political reality for everyone. This means decisions have to be made. And making each and every one of those decisions in a way that injures the Administration politically makes zero sense to me, given the known, polled support that most of these policies have in the US electorate. Because if we lose, the guys who nearly to a man declared in front of a live audience on national tv that waterboarding isn't torture are going to take over. So you are gonna win some and lose some here. And the fact is, the first time Obama tried to get his views on Gitmo pushed forward, his own party stabbed him in the back over a veto threat with veto-proof numbers. Losing like that results in what you see here. These are political realities--this bill would have passed over a veto threat and would have been overriden in an election year. So doing all the things recommended by Obama's enemies here would have done nothing to stop the bill from passing. What course of action is to be taken in that circumstance? A quixotic stand that helps no one but makes the farthest left of his party feel good? Asking politicians to give us warm fuzzy feelings is what got us into this space in the first place.

I'm still in awe of this thread where several people have stated that the pertinent sections of the NDAA FY 2012 don't do specifically what the authors of the bill say it was intended to do.

Why do you prefer to believe what John McCain has to say over the President? McCain's a war-mongering liar who wants nothing more than to tell his base he won this game. The reason why we say it isn't true is because the actual words of the statute say nothing of the sort. Read 1021(e). It is the actual operative language here. And it says, in unambigious language it does not apply to US citizens or foreign nationals in the US. There's no way around that language, which I directly cited upthread. This is why we say this. Because the words of the statute support our reading, unambiguously.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:42 AM on January 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


the guys who nearly to a man declared in front of a live audience on national tv that waterboarding isn't torture are going to take over.

There's no way around that language, which I directly cited upthread.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:49 AM on January 3, 2012


Ironmouth, I don't even know what to say at this point.

The bill frankly says the exact opposite of what furiousxgeorge, etc, claim it says, from even a cursory reading.

Neither of the controversial sections applies to American citizens. Obama said he's doesn't believe it applies to American citizens and isn't going to interpret it as such. If it were to be applied to American citizens, it would be thrown out in court.

I get that it's bad policy, and it was bad policy when the Bush administration opened Guantanamo 10 years go. I agree that indefinite military detentions without trial are bad, but it's not a change in policy. It's just a clarification of the current policy toward detainees.
posted by empath at 12:49 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


What have I said it says Empath? I've simply been asking questions, the last one was:

I don't understand why you are talking about arrests/law enforcement. We are talking about a military attack on our homeland by a foreign military organization like Al Qaeda, not crimes. Surely such combat actions are handled differently.

IANAL, Ironmouth can swear up and down he is right but other, more qualified lawyers disagree. Not my place to judge, but I do know this law gives plenty of cover to the type of folks who can claim torture is legal with a straight face and get away with it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:52 AM on January 3, 2012


Neither of the controversial sections applies to American citizens.

Dude would you please freaking read what people have been posting here over and over? What you just said is unequivocally false:

A fair reading of the new law would acknowledge a couple of basic points.

First, the NDAA at minimum reinforces and strengthens governmental authority to hold indefinitely terrorist suspects arrested outside of the United States, including American citizens arrested outside of the United States. By giving the practice an explicit statutory grounding—and one that is broadly worded—the NDAA makes the practice of indefinite military detention less vulnerable to legal challenge. With two branches of government now firmly behind the practice of indefinite detention, the Supreme Court will be hesitant to strike down as unconstitutional even the most aggressive assertions of the detention power.

posted by crayz at 12:57 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why do you prefer to believe what John McCain has to say over the President? McCain's a war-mongering liar who wants nothing more than to tell his base he won this game.

First of all, the president himself admitted in his signing statement that he has the power to indefinitely detain American citizens when he says: "Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation."(source) Anyone who reads this can only come to one conclusion: the president himself seems to think that the bill authorizes him to indefinite military detention of citizens without trial.

The reason why we say it isn't true is because the actual words of the statute say nothing of the sort. Read 1021(e). It is the actual operative language here. And it says, in unambigious language it does not apply to US citizens or foreign nationals in the US. There's no way around that language, which I directly cited upthread. This is why we say this. Because the words of the statute support our reading, unambiguously.

Well there are those(INCLUDING THE PRESIDENT WHO SIGNED IT, THE AUTHORS WHO WROTE IT, AND THE COSPONSORS OF THE BILL WHO SPONSORED IT) who claim that it does do what you claim it does not. Here is a selection from the last article I linked which touches on the very subsection you keep harping about:

Subsection 1021(e) says that section 1021 does not change existing law “relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”

On its face, it should be obvious that this provision does not specifically protect citizens; in fact, the reference to citizens is entirely superfluous. (The provision might just as well have specified “redheads, AARP members, and any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” If it had not been written with future political maneuvering in mind, it would simply have referred to “the detention of persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”)

One way in which the language of the provision is meaningful, however, is in its specific reference to captures and arrests that occur “in the United States.” To whatever extent the provision serves to curb the law’s scope, it clearly does not stop the law from strengthening and expanding the government’s legal authority to detain indefinitely persons arrested outside of the United States—whether US citizens or non-citizens, and whether the arrests take place in Pakistan or in Paris. In short, the relevant line is not one of citizenship, but of location.

Moreover, the provision’s reference to “existing law” begs far too many questions. It is precisely the scope of existing law that is subject to vociferous debate and continuing litigation. Under the Bush administration, the law was interpreted to allow the indefinite detention of both citizens and non-citizens arrested anywhere in the world, including the United States.

While the Supreme Court upheld the military detention of an American citizen captured as part of the armed conflict in Afghanistan, it has yet to hear an indefinite detention case involving anyone—citizen or non-citizen—picked up in the United States. Nor has it handled a case involving a terrorist suspect, as opposed to a participant in a traditional armed conflict. With these fundamental questions still in play, it is disingenuous to say that the law could not be used to detain Americans deemed to be involved in terrorism.
(source)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:00 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I agree that indefinite military detentions without trial are bad, but it's not a change in policy. It's just a clarification of the current policy toward detainees.

You are misinformed empath. The bill codifies executive powers which were set to expire in 2014. So if you agree that the executive branch having these powers(temporarily) is bad would you not also agree that Congress and the President making them permanent is even worse?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:03 AM on January 3, 2012


I'm just gonna throw this out there because I can't really pass up a chance to use one of my favorite quotes from the federalist papers.

The veteran legions of Rome were an overmatch for the undisciplined valor of all other nations and rendered her the mistress of the world. Not the less true is it, that the liberties of Rome proved the final victim to her military triumphs; and that the liberties of Europe, as far as they ever existed, have, with few exceptions, been the price of her military establishments. A standing force, therefore, is a dangerous, at the same time that it may be a necessary, provision. On the smallest scale it has its inconveniences. On an extensive scale its consequences may be fatal.(source)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:12 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I meant to edit that bit about not pointing out problems if you don't have solutions out because it's kind of a non sequitor and doesn't really apply to politics in the large. However, it's a perfectly prudent position if you're trying to manage a team for a business and I submit that it does the exact opposite of invite disaster. In that context, a team of people who do nothing but point out problems without offering solutions will destroy an organization from the inside out. I've seen this happen many times. Although there is a similar poisoning effect in politics (as evidenced by the tone of derision that permeates most of this thread) issues tend to be larger and as a principle it ignores the role of the media, etc. That being said, it sure would be nice to transition from simple criticism into something that is actually actionable in a plausible fashion.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:15 AM on January 3, 2012


It's just that some of us do have solutions. Stop voting for all the people signing off on this stuff. The problem is people don't embrace the solution for various reasons, not that it doesn't exist.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:17 AM on January 3, 2012


I think many are missing the dynamic. These policy enactments are invariably binary weapons - they require and present two components which are presented separately but become active when mixed.

So for example, the anti-terrorism laws are ostensibly directed at swarthy skinned chaps with a penchant for the Koran. But wearing the wrong T-shirt (animal rights, abortion, etc.,) can have you classified as a terrorist AND THEREFORE a legitimate subject of those laws.

Likewise, under the constitution you are protected from these detention powers. But separate legislation has empowered the President to suspend the constitution and impose martial law AND THEREFORE make you a legitimate subject of these powers.

This is the militarisation of your state, installed layer by layer in such a way as to avoid triggering your immune system.
posted by falcon at 1:18 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


See also, The Patriot Act and the Drug War.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:19 AM on January 3, 2012


That being said, it sure would be nice to transition from simple criticism into something that is actually actionable in a plausible fashion.
No, there's a fundamental misunderstanding. This isn't some kind of team game. We volunteered for Obama to fix the banking system and his position on civil liberties (and to a close 3rd, healthcare). On the two points he has utterly failed (and arguably healthcare was a wash).

I don't care which team is winning. I want him to fight tooth and nail for those issues, and he hasn't done so. Civil liberties are one of the fundamental issues where it's okay to go die on a rock for. If he wants to risk his re-election career for it, it's worth it. That's the fundamental disagreement here. It's totally worth it to make banking and civil liberties a BIG DEAL, I don't care if this becomes a diversionary issue, his chickenshit fear of doing anything at all is what's pissing us off. I believe fighting for habeus corpus is an obligation, it's not a calculated risk where one must weight the pros and cons. It is his presidential obligation bar none. If he's unwilling to fight for the issues that matter, then he's worthless.

If he passes SOPA as well, it may very well sway me away from my reluctant Obama vote towards volunteering for Ron Paul (taking the hit of the potential temporary economic/political fallout of a Ron Paul 4-year presidency). I am not alone in this line of thinking, yes it's extreme and there will be horrible social consequences, but you must understand that there is some legitimacy in the perspective that there are some serious long-term irrevocable risks from NDAA/SOPA.

Obama's inaction is practically criminal. It takes some serious failures to shift someone from a lifelong volunteering/straight-ticket Democrat to consider volunteering for a Republican wackjob racist candidate.
posted by amuseDetachment at 1:32 AM on January 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


I understand that your solution is to vote 3rd party. I don't think there will be a viable alternative candidate because at this point it's too late to get on the ballot in most states. I suspect that if the GOP wins the White House they will start doing things that will make us look back at this as part of the good old days (I think this because this is what the front running candidates have said, from disbanding the EPA and Departments of Education and Agriculture to bombing Iran).

I honestly don't know what the solution is myself, but I can't abide by one which comes with the potential of another war in the Middle East. I suppose ultimately I am asking for a better solution than that. The problem is that given the confines of our political system there may not be a better solution. This is the dilemma to which I referred earlier.

The two party system comes inherently with a deep tension between idealism and pragmatism, and I believe this is the chasm across which we currently gaze.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:33 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


To be clear, I also wish Obama would choose to die on this hill, but he hasn't, so I am trying to figure out how to proceed with a minimum of additional damage.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:35 AM on January 3, 2012


. I don't think there will be a viable alternative candidate because at this point it's too late to get on the ballot in most states.

I don't believe that is accurate, not going to go looking up the filing deadlines at this time of night, but as neither main party even has a nominee yet I think they have time.

Anyway, the solution isn't necessarily immediate victory, things like debate access and increased attention and fundraising are major steps on the way towards viability.

Let me see if we agree on this: In order for change to occur, at some point people are going to have to vote for it. That is a necessary part of the solution.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:38 AM on January 3, 2012


So for example, the anti-terrorism laws are ostensibly directed at swarthy skinned chaps with a penchant for the Koran. But wearing the wrong T-shirt (animal rights, abortion, etc.,) can have you classified as a terrorist AND THEREFORE a legitimate subject of those laws.

The actual language of the law is explicitly and exclusively members of al-Qaeda, but y'know, why offer an informed reaction? Nobody else is.

As for this third party blather, do we need another Remedial Twelfth Amendment lesson? Either somebody gets >50% of the electoral vote - and no third party candidate does that without completely supplanting a major party, at which point they're not a third party anymore - or the House votes by state, and with this House that means a Republican President. Unless you genuinely believe that another Obama term will be worse than the eventual Republican candidate in office from 2013 to 2017, you vote for Obama. Because those are seriously and with absolute honesty the only two possible outcomes.
posted by kafziel at 1:46 AM on January 3, 2012


It's possible I am misinterpreting the info I've been able to find on the filing deadlines, but it's my understanding that most, if not all, have passed. The handful of states I've looked up have either already passed or pass in the next few weeks.

I agree that at some point people are going to have to vote for it, but I don't find any alternative in this election who represents significant change. If I did, I'd be voting, campaigning, donating, etc. for them in a heartbeat. I think the presidential election is probably the wrong place to start anyway. Given that I believe the biggest problem is money in elections, and that this point it'd take a Constitutional Amendment to fix that, I genuinely do not know if there even is a solution to this mess. This is why I keep asking.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:47 AM on January 3, 2012


The actual language of the law is explicitly and exclusively members of al-Qaeda, but y'know, why offer an informed reaction? Nobody else is.
Al Qaeda isn't an organization with an acting chair, it's a loose group of organizations with a couple central figureheads. There's no Al Qaeda phone directory. It's pretty easy to accuse anyone of being part of Al Qaeda if you don't have to provide proof in a court of law.
posted by amuseDetachment at 1:49 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Al Qaeda isn't an organization with an acting chair, it's a loose group of organizations with a couple central figureheads. There's no Al Qaeda phone directory. It's pretty easy to accuse anyone of being part of Al Qaeda if you don't have to provide proof in a court of law.

If this is your concern, then stop pretending it has anything to do with this law. Your concern is about the government throwing legality to the wind and illegally imprisoning undesirables on falsified charges. This law has literally zero impact on the ability or motivation of anyone in power to do that.
posted by kafziel at 1:52 AM on January 3, 2012


kafziel: The NDAA makes this kind of behavior an order of magnitude easier to justify, that's the problem. It is true that laws cannot stop all injustices, but they do change the motivations and the ability. Agents can do much, much more in the middle of the bureaucracy within the executive/military when they can hide behind a document like the NDAA. To deny that NDAA provides substantial cover for unconstitutional activities is delusional.
posted by amuseDetachment at 1:57 AM on January 3, 2012


It's possible I am misinterpreting the info I've been able to find on the filing deadlines, but it's my understanding that most, if not all, have passed. The handful of states I've looked up have either already passed or pass in the next few weeks.

Sure that isn't primary deadlines?

As for this third party blather, do we need another Remedial Twelfth Amendment lesson?

No, we need more condescending bullshit. There is no particular reason a third party can't take an election on the strength of the personality of a candidate, it's happened at the state level and could happen at the federal level as well even without any congressional coattail.

There is no reason a third party could not gain congressional seats and caucus with one party or another to gain relevance at first. Toss in a couple more Socialists like Sanders and see where it gets us.

Unless you genuinely believe that another Obama term will be worse than the eventual Republican candidate in office from 2013 to 2017, you vote for Obama. Because those are seriously and with absolute honesty the only two possible outcomes.

No, some folks don't vote on that basis. Some folks decide to vote for the candidates who best represent their views regardless of the effect on the outcome. Not to mention, there is serious discussion of a well funded third party run by Americans Elect this time which would give us a third option. Everybody could decide to vote Green or Libertarian if they wanted to! Really!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:59 AM on January 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


This law has literally zero impact on the ability or motivation of anyone in power to do that.

If you trust the government enough to allow it to detain any person on earth, in secret, without oversight, why bother with laws in the first place?
posted by crayz at 2:00 AM on January 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Your concern is about the government throwing legality to the wind and illegally imprisoning undesirables on falsified charges.

Yeah quiet down back there. This country has never illegally imprisoned anyone on falsified charges.

This law has literally zero impact on the ability or motivation of anyone in power to do that.

Still sitting here at my desk literally in awe of the ostriches in this thread.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:02 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


>Or even better, using international courts, like the ICC. And yes, that includes terrorists. Scary noun people are still people.

Are you having a lend? That will never happen.

The USA purported to support the ICJ until it was inconvenient, because of the terrorism. The USA's terrorism, of course.

The USA doesn't event pretend to support the ICC - unless it conveniently relates to foreigners - and it doesn't even need that particular farce now that it has legislated its right to disappear whoever, whenever, wherever, as long as they're not US citizens (probably).
posted by pompomtom at 2:03 AM on January 3, 2012


No, some folks don't vote on that basis. Some folks decide to vote for the candidates who best represent their views regardless of the effect on the outcome.

Yes, and some people write-in Bart Simpson. These are equally intelligent and informed ways of use one's vote, with equal efficacy in getting your views represented.
posted by kafziel at 2:07 AM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh wait all those times we imprisoned people without trial were legal. My bad sorry for the misinformation out there. Let me rephrase for clarity: This country has always legally imprisoned people on falsified charges.

Again, sorry for the misinformation about what was and wasn't legal.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:10 AM on January 3, 2012


No, some folks don't vote on that basis. Some folks decide to vote for the candidates who best represent their views regardless of the effect on the outcome.

Yes, and some people write-in Bart Simpson. These are equally intelligent and informed ways of use one's vote, with equal efficacy in getting your views represented.


Not really, there is no way to determine which Bart Simpson the write-ins are referring to, but if a third party candidate gets votes they are actually elected.

However, if you are hoping to express the view of, "This is the person I feel best represents my views." you can't really go wrong in being as efficacious as you are intending to be.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:11 AM on January 3, 2012


But separate legislation has empowered the President to suspend the constitution and impose martial law AND THEREFORE make you a legitimate subject of these powers.

No such legislation exists. Such legislation is inherently unconstitutional. The constitution may not "be suspended." The only provision allowing indefinite detention of US citizens is in the Constitution itself. It states that in time of rebellion or invasion, the writ of habeus corpus may be suspended. This country has been invaded once, 30 years after it was formed. The writ was not suspended. Only one man has suspended the writ of habeus corpus--Abraham Lincoln.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:11 AM on January 3, 2012


Yes, and some people write-in Bart Simpson.

With crap metaphors like that, no wonder politics on Metafilter is such garbage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:16 AM on January 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Crap metaphors are where we're vikings. Meaning of course the "One who excels" interpretation, sarcastically.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:19 AM on January 3, 2012


Apparently you guys failed to look through the rest of the reddit thread for this as I haven't seen the point about the passage with objections posted:
...A bill requires two passes through Congress for a veto to be overridden. it has to be passed the first time, vetoed, and then passed through Congress again, with the President's objections having been considered.
here is what Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution says about vetoes:
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law.
Obama, instead of vetoing this atrocious law and requiring the bill to be forced through with his "Objections," simply signed the bill into law and made an unconstitutional signing statement in an attempt to excuse his actions. if he had vetoed it, he could easily have made a statement to the people that could have prevented the bill from being passed at all, and pushed for, say, another defense budget bill to be passed - one that did not strip us of rights that we've held as totally inviolable for the last 234 years.
this is not "clever political manuevering by the Republicans." Obama chose to pass this affront to our human rights, of his own will. in fact, the Obama administration reportedly [1] pushed for the bill to allow for indefinite detention of Americans.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 4:28 AM on January 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Personally I think Americans get too hung up on Obama. On whether he's the guy you thought he was or not. Or why he's not able to achieve the things you think he should be able to. It doesn't matter why the guy can't get the job done, just that he can't. At this stage it also doesnt really matter if he's a liberal or a conservative, just that all policy produced by your government is functionally identical in the end regardless of the apparent cosmetics of political affiliation. I think Americans need to stop fixating on the fact that the dream is dead and start realising that Obama was never the dream, just the means to it.

He's failed, that's it. This is where we are.

You need serious change you can believe in and you need to do it without putting all your eggs in the same flawed basket, the one that has never worked and will never work. Your political system is a failure. Don't feel bad, it's pretty much the same all over the world, you just believe it more because a fundamental aspect of the American identity is belief in the importance of belief.

You just had the most supposedly liberal president in 30 years sign a bill into reality that effectively means that I, as a foreign national, could put in jail for the rest of my life if some mid-level bureaucrat in your government decided this Mefi post constituted malicious intent.

Get your act together America. If you could get mobilised behind Obama, why can't you get just as mobilised behind the ideas Obama was supposed to espouse?
posted by rudhraigh at 5:36 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you could get mobilised behind Obama, why can't you get just as mobilised behind the ideas Obama was supposed to espouse?

Because the support for Obama was largely a reaction an hilariously absurd alternative. They couldn't continue with Bush the Lesser, even though the electorate would prefer it, because of the constitutional requirements. Obama was the only possible alternative to an obviously corrupt/insane pairing.

You just had the most supposedly liberal president in 30 years sign a bill into reality that effectively means that I, as a foreign national, could put in jail for the rest of my life if some mid-level bureaucrat in your government decided this Mefi post constituted malicious intent.

Most American voters have exactly no problem with this.

Read the thread above and you'll see that the Overton window on this particular issue has already been dragged so far in one direction that the important thing is your citizenship. Your rights, 'as a foreign national', have already been discarded by one team in order to win an absurd team-vs-team competition.

If you could get mobilised behind Obama, why can't you get just as mobilised behind the ideas Obama was supposed to espouse?

Because no-one was ever mobilised behind those ideas. They were mobilised by having a team that might win, because there's an hilariously anachronistic system in place to ensure that only the richest can be in charge, and the electoral system is about choosing one pony out of a pair pre-chosen by the monied class, and (just quietly) most everyone is OK with that.
posted by pompomtom at 6:00 AM on January 3, 2012


The thing about Ron Paul being a racist: How many of the people bringing up this racism stuff hold Hillary responsible for all the race baiting her campaign did during the 2008 primary?
(1) No, the thing about Ron Paul being a racist is that Ron Paul is a racist.

(2) I remember widespread discontent on Metafilter and elsewhere about Hillary's behavior on this.
posted by Flunkie at 6:16 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


You just had the most supposedly liberal president in 30 years sign a bill into reality that effectively means that I, as a foreign national, could put in jail for the rest of my life if some mid-level bureaucrat in your government decided this Mefi post constituted malicious intent.

Oh, for Christ's sake. That's not what the bill says.
posted by empath at 6:18 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


the support for Obama was largely a reaction an hilariously absurd alternative. They couldn't continue with Bush the Lesser, even though the electorate would prefer it, because of the constitutional requirements.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but if not, this seems like a weird assertion. Bush's approval rating was in more or less constant decline ever since his artificial huge spike at 9/11, and by 2008 only about 30% of the electorate approved of him.

Even Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal says he left office "with unusually low popularity".
posted by Flunkie at 6:26 AM on January 3, 2012


No, we need more condescending bullshit. There is no particular reason a third party can't take an election on the strength of the personality of a candidate, it's happened at the state level and could happen at the federal level as well even without any congressional coattail.

There is no reason a third party could not gain congressional seats and caucus with one party or another to gain relevance at first. Toss in a couple more Socialists like Sanders and see where it gets us.


If you actually believe any of this, I've got a bridge etc. No, really. I'd love for you to provide even a shred of evidence to support these theories. Where's the rise in third-party (not so-called independent) affiliation? Where's all of these strong-personality candidates that have made huge inroads into state-level politics? If they exist, what has made it a viable federal strategy? You want us to believe this actually is a thing, then throw us a bone.

And Sanders? How many states are like Vermont? It's not enough for a majority, let alone a viable third party. Out of all of the states that voted for left or left-leaning candidates in 2008, I can count on one hand those that could even hypothetically generate someone as left or further than Sanders: places like Washington and Massachusetts. In the meantime, you could say probably say goodbye to Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Rhode Island; and definitely forget about New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

No, some folks don't vote on that basis. Some folks decide to vote for the candidates who best represent their views regardless of the effect on the outcome. Not to mention, there is serious discussion of a well funded third party run by Americans Elect this time which would give us a third option. Everybody could decide to vote Green or Libertarian if they wanted to! Really!

To which I point to the years 2001-2009 as evidence of what happens when enough people vote Green or Libertarian when there's obviously no chance of that party winning. You want to despair about how Americans keep on getting hoodwinked into moving the center ever rightward, then don't complain about the dumbasses who enabled it. As for Americans Elect? You'd rather have a party that mandates "centrists" run on a split-party ticket and selected by a board? How in any possible world would that bring about a platform to the left of Obama?
posted by zombieflanders at 6:34 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think a third party candidate to the right of Romney (should he be nominated) is more likely than a third party candidate to the left of Obama.

If someone on the left wanted to make a serious run, they'd have to be starting already-- they already know who the nominee will be.
posted by empath at 6:41 AM on January 3, 2012


*boggles* Instead of spending your political capital trying to get Obama unelected, you could be spending your political capital trying to get the authors of this legislation in congress unelected. Obama may be a weak livered ally in this, but he's an ally nonetheless. The willingness for progressives to stab each other in the back instead of their shared opponents is exactly why we're in this mess in the first place.

This is just more Republican obstructionism. A mere law can't overshadow the Constitution. Period. Idiots in Congress pass unconstitutionsl laws all the time. It could hearten a midlevel bureaucrat to give it a whirl, sure, but those are exactly the dudes who take siging statements seriously.

Fight to get the zealots out of Congress. Pinning this on Obama is playing into the hands of the people who authored it.
posted by Skwirl at 6:42 AM on January 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fight to get the zealots out of Congress. Pinning this on Obama is playing into the hands of the people who authored it.

There are 535 people in Congress to take down, but I don't know what good it would do. I think they're mostly pretty average power-hungry folks, acting together in their own self interest to create horribleness. Obama has the power to fight back, but he doesn't. So far he's vetoed 2 bills and done almost no real public shaming of either party. I don't know why you think he's an ally in this.

What, other than pathetic nattering and the DADT repeal, has Obama done to make *anyone* think he gives a damn about civil rights? Gitmo, Awlaki, domestic surveillance, etc. These things are under his control and he has spent exactly ZERO political capital dollars on them. Now we've got all of Bush's executive overreaching becoming 12 years, 2 presidents and 2 parties worth of policy. Long-standing policy *does* have a way of overshadowing the Constitution.
posted by pjaust at 8:24 AM on January 3, 2012


"If he had vetoed it, and Congress had overridden, then we could have blamed Congress."
...But we can't blame congress for voting for it (in fact, crafting the bill) in the first place? M'kay...

"What am I supposed to do as a Democrat who isn't thrilled about this?"
Not a Democrat myself. But there's the ACLU. the Center for Constitutional Rights is really on point on a lot of this.

I get tired of saying this because the cacophony is overwhelming, but Obama is not the problem. Never was. It doesn't matter if you like him or don't or plan to vote differently the ONLY thing that counts is that you champion the CAUSE not the man.
I mean - what the hell do you think CCR has been doing the past 10 years? Obama was barely on the scene when this started, he's going to be long gone before it's all over. Where the hell were you? Voting? For 10 years?
No one is going to spoon feed you justice and liberty from a ballot.
Do any of you seriously think a politician - no matter who it is - is going to tend to your desires just because you VOTED for them? Get a clue.

You don't like this? Then kick in and ante up. Put your brain to work and write letters, support the cause through organizations, they're not hard to find, they're even mentioned
in news articles on these things. The CCR is a wonderful outfit on this topic. If you can't use your mind to create the kind of environment you want to see then
just cut them (or someone else) a check.

It's not Obama's job to go fight tooth and nail for YOUR belief. It is your job to fight tooth and nail to make the environment for your belief the dominant one
so Obama can follow that.
This was the big problem under Bush. The government and access was essentially shut down. Now there's a chance to actually change things through the tools that exist,
but this ONE GUY hasn't done - blah blah blah - so every senator is off the hook, all the apparatus of the government are useless, no social agencies exist and change is not possible.
Jesus, the U.S. fucking deserves a dictatorship.


There has to be a certain point at which you really are an enemy combatant even if you were born in the US.


This is sort of the crux of the matter. There really doesn't have to be, it's a false dichotomy. The Obama admin a bit ago dropped the term, as far as relying on Presidential authority. They were going to put it in the hands of congress (which kisses it and makes it all better)

Then there are all these qualifiers to make it seem palatable. Support has to be "substantial" or "direct" or "harbored" or "planned" also "9/11," etc.

It always comes back to 9/11.
Shit. 9/11, I'm still holding in Saigon... whoops, wrong narrative, sorry. Still, tragic, but it's 10 years old. WTF good would any intel on it be now?

I digress. Point being - legitimacy. Just because it's law doesn't exactly make it so. Whether or not it violates the constitution or appears to or whatever (and the NDAA on this seems as vulnerable to a constitutional challenge as the Hamdi case was even if, so no big).
It has to be given legitimacy by being used and seen to be a useful thing.

The thing with Padilla - the point there is that we know the government can DO this kind of thing, what it hasn't been able to do is do it legitimately.

The thing to ask yourself at this point is: What, if anything, has really changed? I mean, materially. What's been the material impact of this bill (and its attendant political qualities) on anyone's life so far? (Free apple if you can answer that offhand).

Well - Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. 'member him? Used to sell pressboard? Actual bad-guy type bad guy. Murdered Danny Pearl? Yeah, that guy. Shoot him on sight kind of bad guy.
A few years ago, around this time KSM was transferred to civilian court. Then? He wasn't.
The plug got pulled. The senate withdrew all funding for it. Then banned bringing any prisoners to the mainland.

Ok, so - last year we had a National Defense Authorization Act, which Obama signed, which stopped the DoD from getting any money to send anyone from Gitmo anywhere else or building anything in the U.S. to house detainees (we'd've been happy to have 'em in Illinois).
And he pissed and moaned about having to do that as well. (I don't recall if he did the whole signing statement thing, but if you've got a longer term attention span, this whole debacle now should be giving you deja vu.)
So the AG Eric Holder is all pissed off because the case against KSM is rock solid and the military side (having dropped the charges, been ordered to move KSM, then having the process reversed, etc) isn't ready for any of this apart from the case itself, the laws on this are ambiguous (because it hasn't been done before, at least the way the senate seems to want to do things).

I mean Obama signed an executive order to close the place (IIRC his very first one). The senate told him to go to hell. So, that's what, then? Him being a pussy? I'll cede all criticism of the man and his time in office. But explain to me how the president is supposed to - or should - subvert the will of congress. We'd have a benevolent tyrant. And what would we have when we elect the next guy?
But this is where congress, or at least elements in congress and the government, seems to be going.
Down to micromanaging the bill to the point where they put KSM's name in Sec. 1027


You understand the situation here? It's not that, or it's not just that, the president can detain people (perhaps Americans perhaps not, but in any case these vaguely defined enemies, anywhere in the U.S. because everywhere is the battlefield) but that he is constrained to not release them or try them in civilian courts.

That was LAST YEARs bill. Clear?

This year the augmentation (in 1028) is that no one can be transferred out of Gitmo.
(...the Secretary of Defense may not use any
amounts authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available
to the Department of Defense to transfer any individual
detained at Guantanamo to the custody or control of the individual’s
country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other
foreign entity if there is a confirmed case of any individual
who was detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba, at any time after September 11, 2001, who was
transferred to such foreign country or entity and subsequently
engaged in any terrorist activity.)

Neat huh? So you can apply that to anyone, Syria probably, but France or England or Canada. Conceptually, even the U.S.

So again, let's not look at this particular choo-choo (well, yeah, let's look at it, but) - but rather where the rails go.

The danger is not the eradication of the fourth amendment, but the sidestepping of it by changing the venue from federal trials to military tribunals.
This turns terrorists and terrorism suspects from criminals (or suspected criminals) to combatants (which they are not).
The danger is the same whether it's a citizen or not. Once a suspect is in military custody they lose access to the system that grants them, by right, their protections - so whether those protections still stand is a moot point.

And again, by design. If the history of all this isn't a dead giveaway. It's not like I'm wearing a tinfoil hat connecting random dots, it's a straight line. And hell, I've never googled Ron Paul. Never even yahooed him.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:28 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or even better, using international courts, like the ICC. And yes, that includes terrorists. Scary noun people are still people.

Are you having a lend? That will never happen.


You spent the previous three comments complaining that nobody in this thread supported the rights of foreigners. I lended my support for foreigners, going so far as to cite an international body like the ICC, which you immediately attack. Yeah, we know it's unrealistic in the current political climate. That doesn't mean some of us don't support it.

But this wasn't really about asking whether anybody in this thread supports the rights of foreigners, was it? It was mostly to complain about Americans.

That's fine if you want to do that. Yes our foreign policy is hypocritical. But I'll know next time not to offer support, because that's not what you're looking for.
posted by formless at 9:36 AM on January 3, 2012


Still sitting here at my desk literally in awe of the ostriches in this thread

In the last NDAA thread I eventually came to a point where I just asked the people who thought this wouldn't apply to American citizens whether it would be used as legal justification in the future to detain American citizens, not whether it's constitutional in some strict sense.

A simple yes/no question. Will this bill be used in the future to detain American citizens? Not whether it will be finally overturned, not whether it also applies to Al Qaeda.

For what it's worth, I'll start out. I believe that yes, it will be used to detain Americans. It will be used as legal justification by some future administration to imprison Americans without trial.
posted by formless at 9:43 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


A simple yes/no question. Will this bill be used in the future to detain American citizens?

Yes.

As Smedlyman pointed out above it still may be challenged by the courts, but given the juking and jiving done by the Bush administration to specifically avoid a Supreme Court ruling on the matter of the executive's authority I doubt these tyrannical powers will be used extensively(against u.s. citizens) until the judicial branch can be counted on to toe the line.

I get tired of saying this because the cacophony is overwhelming, but Obama is not the problem. Never was. It doesn't matter if you like him or don't or plan to vote differently the ONLY thing that counts is that you champion the CAUSE not the man.

You are correct that Obama is not the problem, but he is damn well part of the problem. I do agree, though, that the political problems(and hell pretty much about every problem we currently face as a civilization) are structural and won't be fixed by voting, but rather by an active and informed citizenry. Luckily we are still at a point where the active and informed part doesn't need to involve guns and sabotage, but our children and grandchildren may not be so lucky.

Just found this article by Naomi Wolf. It's an interesting take on the long term implications of the NDAA FY 2012.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:11 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think what is disturbing here is the fear that Americans have of their government. I was talking to my 80 yr old Dad the other day and his observation is that fanatics on either side are not good, and the pendulum swings back and forth. He also said it was a lot worse during the Great Depression.

Can't answer the legal eagle question about this law. I figured he would sign it before year end, due to the finance aspect of it -- and possibly it might be challenged (by someone, not necessarily stemming from the White House).

As for Americans Elect, I did a lot of research on them. It especially interested me, as Eliot Cutler, who ran for Governor here in Maine, is part of it. He gave a big speech that I happened to catch on public radio during a long drive, and mentioned the group. It sounded so nice when he talked about it. Then I researched the heck out of it and it seems like one more corporate interest party - one that presents itself as a grassroots effort. Ha. Fucking. Ha. Not.

BTW, Cutler lost as an Independent and our Dem candidate lost and we got Paul LePage, Tea Party buffoon extraordinaire, who was just in the news for wanting to cut MaineCare (state health care) benefits to people who really need it. So in case you want to join Americans Elect, please do your research and decide for yourselves. It's a wolf in sheep's clothing. Just because I say "Ayuh" sometimes doesn't mean I'm stupid.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 11:33 AM on January 3, 2012


What do you think?
posted by homunculus at 11:51 AM on January 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


This thread is so long and so fraught that I fear that many of you may have missed this excellent line from NorthernLite about Michigan up top:

Michigan is so whack, it's like Phoenix, Arizona with blizzards.

That, my friends, is comedy gold.
posted by Aizkolari at 12:31 PM on January 3, 2012


Luckily we are still at a point where the active and informed part doesn't need to involve guns and sabotage, but our children and grandchildren may not be so lucky.

If it were that easy I'd do it myself.
Thinking of Obama as "the problem" is less valuable because the solutions become more narrow in scope.

Y'know the "but they have tanks and nuclear weapons!" arguments against fighting government forces bugs the hell out of me because it's entirely possible to run a guerrilla campaign in the U.S. (most particularly because "their" arsenals can become ours, it's always better fighting a wealthier opponent, your endurance is increased).
But if you have to run one than you've catastrophically failed in all other regards to make the forces against you seem incapable of running a government.

If Joe Sixpack isn't going to get out into the streets to bitch, he's not going to give you fuel, ammo or food at the risk of being labeled a collaborator.

So long before you (or our grandkids) go out into the field, the groundwork should have been laid through creative leadership, mobility (tougher to do quickly with the TSA, but there are still buses and trains for mass movement, just need more planning), surprise, distraction (look - abortions! look - they want your guns!) to create conditions for victory before battle is joined.

Sapping their will to execute this is far more important than killing any particular body.
Probably why so much oligarchy exists. I think people got wise to the "hey, we could just kill Hitler!" thing. (Although man, that fucker had some luck. I mean people really tried).

So, whatever criticisms of Obama himself, and there are valid ones, the "pussy" thing just doesn't wash with me. At least as far as me putting my COIN hat on and analyzing what's happening in form devoid of the flavor of the particulars.
He's avoiding engagement with a superior force. He's avoiding a static disposition and maintaining a fluid environment while preserving his forces to find another front to fight on.
He's running away.
Like any good guerrilla commander.

So folks who oppose the bill should take that time granted by the fact this isn't a fait accompli but rather an increment to make resistance appear larger than it is and strike from unexpected directions.
I think a lot of conservatives who don't like the idea of Obama taking their firearms like the idea of giving him the power to detain U.S. citizens even less.

Which, one has to wonder, given the social conversation vs. the actual language of the bill why it's been characterized so hyperbolicly in the first place.

I mean, I like to have the information clear here on metafilter because we're sharing ideas and it fosters greater communication to espouse one's opinion genuinely. So I might bullshit now and then with hyperbole, but I'm not going to lie to you.

The play is right there. All the tools are there. I'm not saying Obama is a mastermind who's purposefully fighting an ideological guerrilla war in order to open up holes we can run through (which would be cool, but no, he isn't) but it's all sitting right there anyway.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. All that.
Make the cause loom large regardless of the disparate elements that make it up. Politicians will follow.
Look, as dumb as Joe Public is, they WORK for Joe Public. So who's the real idiot?

They think voters want politicians who have healthy dollups of pickled cabbage stuffed into their underpants, you're going to see a lot of talking heads on CNN demanding full body shots so people can see how much sauerkraut they're sporting in their unmentionables.
Only thing that needs to be done to make the reality is to cause a few shadows.
Fighting heads up because you think you should be tough is for suckers.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:17 PM on January 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thinking of Obama as "the problem" is less valuable because the solutions become more narrow in scope.

Yeah I hear what you're saying. I should have been more clear. I agree Obama is not the problem facing us, but in my opinion he as the commander in chief is responsible for his actions. So from where I'm standing he, along with every other authoritarian cocksucker who voted for this bill, will bear some of the responsibility for every American that may be unconstitutionally detained as a result of this legislation. Not to mention the scores of other poor souls who are currently being imprisoned in our international system of interment camps. That is the thing that really bugs me. Some people here are pontificating on how this bill is no problem or threat while at the same time the very legislation they are poo pooing is enabling the very thing they say will never happen to us. So i know it's cliche but everyone knows the famous saying by Martin Niemöller. If we as a people don't stand up and seriously alter our course we have a world of hurt coming our way.

Which, one has to wonder, given the social conversation vs. the actual language of the bill why it's been characterized so hyperbolicly in the first place.

Listen we can debate all we want about what the bill actually does, but the truth is that no one but our oligarchs know what the endgame is here. What is clear is that the wording is vague enough to give future Presidents the latitude they need to lock up whoever the hell they want given that they have a cowed judiciary. Make no mistake incrementalism is the name of the game. It is not for my own personal liberty that I fear, but for the liberty of future generations.

Y'know the "but they have tanks and nuclear weapons!" arguments against fighting government forces bugs the hell out of me because it's entirely possible to run a guerrilla campaign in the U.S. (most particularly because "their" arsenals can become ours, it's always better fighting a wealthier opponent, your endurance is increased).

Shhhhhhhhh.....poco a poco mi comandante.

sup assorted intelligence agencies
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:06 PM on January 3, 2012


I haven't been impressed with a president since Jimmy Carter, fwiw. Nixon, no, Ford, okay but not really. Reagan, hell no. Clinton, meh... too much wah wah, not enough oomph. Bush Sr. No. Jr. hahahahaha, we have stories of him here in Maine, so no. He's an embarrassment. Obama. Meh. I would never vote for a Republican or a middle of the road candidate, ever. But I don't even think my vote counts. Still, I do it. And Dem for now but these guys need to step up their game if they want to beat the woo-woo Koch-fueled bastards. I ain't rich, so where are they getting their money from?
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:45 PM on January 3, 2012


but in my opinion he as the commander in chief is responsible for his actions. So from where I'm standing he, along with every other authoritarian cocksucker who voted for this bill, will bear some of the responsibility for every American that may be unconstitutionally detained as a result of this legislation.

Yeah, I agree. It's his ship, bottom line.

It is not for my own personal liberty that I fear, but for the liberty of future generations.

S'what I mean. You inflate the cause, make it seem worse than it is. Get people pissed off. Simple but effective. Address or create a grievance. Field a mob in reaction. Create oppressive legislation that fails to solve grievance (key: oppressive). Rinse. Repeat. Mob demands more legislation. Govt. creates more, which fails, but creates more oppression, etc. Pretty easy to get the ball rolling with just a little inertia. Like an avalanche. Chaos in the streets, but you can stop it, you're a big hero (of course you can stop it, you created it). Terror 'broken' by terror. Brownshirts 101 really.

Myself I tend to run the other way. That is - make the senator deny he has sex with horses, yeah. But use situational jujitsu. They're bigger and stronger, so you use their organizational inertia against them. Take a public position, advance it way further, enough to be believable - not the comedy improvisation "yes, and...", similar in form, but plausible, not hilarious - publicize it to create public outrage. This makes them distance themselves from the sentiment. So - yeah, anyone with a firearm is a terrorist, say or, in this case, 'this imprisons U.S. citizens without trial' etc. Although I'd've gone a bit further.
But then I'm not hampered by any moral sensibility. Oh, I might seem rational sometimes here, but I am an utterly ruthless M.F.er. Which is why I'm not really public on this. Don't consider myself public leadership material.

The day comes we really do need to loose havoc, I'll come in handy. But y'know, s'like wishing for a 4 alarm fire so you get some use out of those hydrants down the street. Crazy. In retrospect, I have no idea why I've devoted my life to it. I should have taken up a musical instrument as a child....

Ahem. The Point being, we can change the endgame from here, force the bill to be rethought or even bait a fight that they're bound to loose (the old "let's you and him fight" - in this case the "him" being the SCOTUS) or at least give ourselves the best possible environment for fighting this in the future. Through myriad techniques we can all learn from sources available at our public libraries without resorting to strategically placing certain ubiquitous technological devices in concert with common household chemicals mixed in the proper proportions. *cough*

I haven't been impressed with a president since Jimmy Carter,

Can anyone say "Jimmy Carter" with a straight face in a political discussion?
It's like saying "The Cubs" while discussing baseball. There's this little concessionary sort of chuckle there. :-)
posted by Smedleyman at 8:35 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Absolute Moron's Guide to the New Detention Laws
posted by stinkycheese at 10:23 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Atlantic: Obama Says Bill Breaks with Our Values, Signs It Anyway
posted by stinkycheese at 10:26 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


"One official explained that President Obama does believe, however, that American citizens can be temporarily detained, and that the military has the right to capture and hold any citizen who is engaged in conflict against the United States."
posted by stinkycheese at 10:32 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Amnesty International: “Despite expressing serious reservations, the Obama administration has paved the way for legislation that will authorize indefinite detention. The bill places enormous power in the hands of future Presidents, and the only answer the President has is to say 'trust me'... Once any government has the authority to hold people indefinitely, the risk is that it can be almost impossible to rein such power in. President Obama has failed to take the one action - a veto - that would have blocked the dangerous provisions in the NDAA. In so doing, he has allowed human rights to be further undermined and given al-Qaeda a propaganda victory.”
posted by stinkycheese at 10:35 PM on January 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


More than a propaganda victory. That's a HUGE win for those guys... Al Qaeda's goal has always been to make America eat itself, and there's a huge bite taken right out of the Constitution.

They are beating us SO BAD. Rather, we're beating ourselves on their behalf. It was just a few hundred guys in the whole organization in 2001, and LOOK WHAT THEY DID.
posted by Malor at 11:27 PM on January 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Daily Show: Lockup Everyone
posted by homunculus at 12:23 AM on January 4, 2012


That's a HUGE win for those guys.

Absolutely. Back in '08 our govt successfully prosecuted "Care International" - essentially three guys named Muntasser, Almonla, and Mubayid in federal court.
They proved these guys misused funds and defrauded people, all the kinds of things you'd generally do in a criminal court.

Ok. So at the time you had all these 1/2 ass convictions for "material support" and "maybe this guy's a terrorist even though we only saw him jaywalking so put him away for 30 years anyway" sort of crap.

Well, "Care" was linked to all kinds of The Base operations in Bosnia, Algeria, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. - and high level operatives across a wide swath of terrorist outfits related to AQ.

Well, ok, prove that. Like legally. Well, they couldn't. And, pro-tip from the guys back then - they didn't try in the end.
They nailed the guys on straightforward criminal charges for which they could get convictions and no one said the word "terrorism" in the case.
So they do some short time and everyone thinks - crap the system is broken, we should be electrifying these three dofus' gonads the rest of their lives regardless of what it does to the legal system because we're all Jack Bauer now. Grrr!

But the practical upshot of the non-terrorism, relatively simple conviction was to reveal the nature of the fundraising network and expose its elements.

Which really did a lot of good that torturing the crap out of three otherwise useless boneheads would not have accomplished.
Good as in, saved lives, limited exposure of U.S. intelligence assets, prevented initiation of terrorism operations before they start by exposing the funding trail, all the sort of stuff that legislation like this will completely derail.

Indonesia, not a country known for generally peaceful conflict resolution, finally dealt with one of the most dangerous terrorism groups in history using basic police work and prosecution instead of military force.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who's testicles are at least 9.7 on the Moh's hardness scale, seems to think harsh interrogation and/or indefinite detention is not the way to go, and his track record has born it out.
Big on communication, Yudhoyono. Was a commando before he became a general.

I'm not ready to canonize the guy. But it's really weird when somewhere like Indonesia has a former military officer as head of government and is stepping back political military involvement and the U.S. is just rolling on with it.

I dunno. I really don't.
I'd like to force the issue with an army of people's grandmothers engaging in conflict against the U.S. government. Big purses maybe. Or just sending $1 to an AQ charity. Put me in Gitmo sonny, I'm an enemy combatant.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:09 PM on January 4, 2012


To go back to Congress's role in this for a moment...a lot of the D yes votes don't surprise me, but what the crap was Sherrod Brown thinking here? He doesn't disappoint me very often.
posted by naoko at 2:22 AM on January 5, 2012


The Young Turks did a fantastic job of covering this law...
posted by jason says at 11:17 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Colbert Report: The Word - Catch 2012
posted by homunculus at 8:45 AM on January 6, 2012


ACLU on Obama: “He will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law.”
posted by stinkycheese at 3:44 PM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wall Street Journal: A new issue is creeping into the election that riles tea-party groups, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Ron Paul campaign and more than a few supporters of President Barack Obama. It's the National Defense Authorization Act, which Mr. Obama signed on New Year's Eve and which includes a provision giving the government the power to indefinitely detain any terror suspect captured on U.S. or foreign soil, even if that person is a U.S. citizen. Mr. Obama signed the bill "with serious reservations" and pledged not to detain U.S. citizens without trial.

That has done little to quell critics on the right and left. The law has sparked an effort in Montana and other states to recall the lawmakers who signed it. ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero called it a "blight" on Mr. Obama's legacy and has launched a nationwide petition drive to repeal it. And in interviews in Iowa, a number of voters who backed Mr. Obama in 2008 cited the law as one of several reasons they were now wavering. When a group of Occupy protesters tried to barge into the Obama campaign's headquarters in Des Moines, their primary complaint was Mr. Obama's signing of the NDAA.

posted by stinkycheese at 2:37 AM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


The evil of indefinite detention and those wanting to de-prioritize it
posted by homunculus at 12:54 AM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Over Fifty Citizens On Ten Day Fast For Justice Carry Guantanamo Cell To President Obama’s Front Door: The 92-hour vigil in front of the White House comes little over a week after President Barak Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which essentially makes Guantanamo permanent by barring the transfer of detainees to the United States, severely restricting transfer to third-party countries, and potentially grants the Executive the power to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens.

“President Barack Obama promised to shut down Guantanamo within a year almost three years. His signature on the NDAA annihilates that already faded promise,” says Brian Terrell, a human rights advocate from Maloy, Iowa. “Three years later, 171 Muslim men still remain in indefinite detention at Guantanamo. Ironically, most have been cleared for release and should be free to go. But they remain behind bars. We want to remind the President and people who visit the White House of Obama’s Guantanamo and Bagram detention regimes. It is easy to forget that Bagram held 600 prisoners when Obama took office. It now holds 3,000 and is being enlarged to hold more than 5,000,” Terrell concluded.

posted by stinkycheese at 10:31 AM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anonymous declares Day of Action against NDAA
posted by stinkycheese at 5:49 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Re: the Young Turks link
I still disagree with the characterization that we've deliberately "targeted and assassinated U.S. citizens without trial." He uses al-Awlaki as an example.

People who have been wanted on arrest warrants have been killed resisting. al-Awlaki was tried and convicted under Yemeni law so he had a sort of due process, plus U.S. treaty law, bit of a catch-22 for us there tho. Do we respect other countries domestic legal judgements?
Apparently it's been "if we feel like it" for a while, so no argument there.

But that aside - was he 'resisting arrest'? Yeah, I sure as hell think so. Apart from hiding and evading authorities while urging others to attack the U.S. he participated in all sorts of plans to attack the U.S. like blowing up a plane over Chicago. I sort of take that personally, yeah.
That the bombs weren't sent to me personally or against armed forces of the U.S. or law enforcement but sent: "to whom it may concern" doesn't really enter into it.
It's still resistance with force.

So, while I think the congressional authorization to "war" on AQ or anyone vaguely connected with 9/11, international law has long allowed lethal force against individuals or groups who are an imminent threat to a given country.

al-Awlaki was definitely in that category.
If there's a building with a hostage situation, you know hostages have been killed, you know whoever is in there is threatening to kill others, it's not unlawful to take them out with snipers simply because they haven't had a trial.

That said, I understand the explication of the reasoning: "ok to use military force against AQ/911 terrorists ----> ok to imprison indefinitely using the military"
and arguing against that.

But saying we've already "assassinated U.S. citizens" is a cheap shot that only validates that reasoning. The opposition has nowhere to go.
I mean if you say "ok, well then, I guess we already have assassinated a very dangerous U.S. citizen ... so what's wrong with keeping them alive but in jail? That's less egregious, isn't it?"

Silly. The reasoning for use of force against people like al-Awlaki is because he's unreachable by conventional means and conventional force and he's organizing violence against the U.S. in an ongoing way.
The flaw is the breach between domestic law and military force/ international law.

Which is the same problem here - and indeed, using military force against al-Awlaki is a REBUTTAL to the concept of indefinite detention and military retention (tribunals, etc.). Or rather, is logically one, I don't think anyone's picked up the ball on that.

But think: you kill someone like al-Awlaki because he's dangerous (demonstrably), is a continuing, ongoing threat (demonstrably) and is outside other means of power (obviously, he was unreachable). So force is necessary (I'm open to arguments of degree and kind, but the necessity to use force in that case is an established fact as far as I'm concerned)

But - if we had captured al-Awlaki he may still be dangerous, but he is no longer an ongoing threat (he's in custody) and he's clearly not unreachable.
He is by definition in our power.
By using the military to detain him our use of military force then becomes ongoing - against a U.S. citizen even.
This situation threatens to supersede civilian power.

And that's why this law is so damn dangerous. More dangerous than any drone strike.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:46 AM on January 11, 2012


I still disagree with the characterization that we've deliberately "targeted and assassinated U.S. citizens without trial." He uses al-Awlaki as an example.

A better example would be al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son. AFAIK he wasn't accused of anything.
posted by homunculus at 10:50 AM on January 11, 2012


Yeah, that gets into the collateral damage thing. No contest. Ugly stuff.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:05 PM on January 11, 2012


Washington Post: 10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free
posted by stinkycheese at 12:25 PM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


@stinkycheese: Wait a cotton pickin' minute. You mean the US government can search through your stuff without a warrant, detain you indefinitely without trial, try you in secret by military tribunal, and avoid accountability by invoking national security? And the only thing they need to invoke this is to classify you as a terrorist? And OWS has been likened to terrorism? And the only thing that protects you is the discretionary opinion of a bunch of guys who already might not like your politics, and might get replaced shortly by some folks who like them even less? Why, that's disconcerting.
posted by falcon at 6:22 AM on January 15, 2012


10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free

Who are the victims of civil liberties assaults and Endless War?
posted by homunculus at 11:03 AM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


From homunculus' link:

"who are the prime victims of America’s posture of Endless War? Overwhelmingly, the victims are racial, ethnic and religious minorities: specifically, Muslims (both American Muslims and foreign nationals). And that is a major factor in why these abuses flourish: because those who dominate American political debates perceive, more or less accurately, that they are not directly endangered (at least for now) by this assault on core freedoms and Endless War (all civil liberties abuses in fact endanger all citizens, as they inevitably spread beyond their original targets, but they generally become institutionalized precisely because those outside the originally targeted minority groups react with indifference)."

About as plausible an explanation as I've heard for how the US government is getting away with such fundamental and rapid change of the Constitution.
posted by falcon at 3:24 AM on January 17, 2012


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