Rabble-rousing
March 28, 2012 10:01 PM   Subscribe

Why I’m Suing Barack Obama

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges has filed suit against President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes controversial provisions authorizing the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world, without charge or trial. Sections of the bill are written so broadly that critics say they could encompass journalists who report on terror-related issues, such as Hedges, for supporting enemy forces. "It’s clearly unconstitutional," Hedges says of the bill. "It is a huge and egregious assault against our democracy. It overturns over 200 years of law, which has kept the military out of domestic policing."(via)

More recently: Totalitarian Systems Always Begin by Rewriting the Law

Naomi Wolf chimes in: The reason I'm helping Chris Hedges' lawsuit against the NDAA

Chris Hedges's Endgame Strategy

Here is an archive of Chris Hedges' columns at truthdig.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar (98 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Gonna miss that guy.
posted by codswallop at 10:15 PM on March 28, 2012 [20 favorites]


What guy?
posted by davelog at 10:22 PM on March 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


Somehow, Hedges' lawyers managed to misspell the President's name. Does it still count as suing somebody if you screw up their name?
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:26 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does it still count as suing somebody if you screw up their name?

It depends if there's a fringe on the flag.
posted by pompomtom at 10:29 PM on March 28, 2012 [32 favorites]


Whatever happened to that nutty judge in Georgia (I think it was) that demanded the President come to court in person?

davelog: what guy are you asking about? I don't know no guy.
posted by Xoebe at 10:36 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does it still count as suing somebody if you screw up their name?

Yes of course.

But it doesn't exactly help your case. If you can't even get the name of the frigging president of the US of A right, what are you going to get right? It immediately makes it look sloppy, perhaps hobbled together in a few hours of spare time, by someone who doesn't have the resources or even care enough to have a second pair of eyes go over it before handing it in.
Idiots.
posted by sour cream at 11:01 PM on March 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Goodness knows there's nothing worse than a suit being brought by someone without resources.
posted by kenko at 11:19 PM on March 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


One word: Ripeness.
posted by anewnadir at 11:33 PM on March 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Goodness knows there's nothing worse than a suit being brought by someone without resources.

True, but misspelling the name of the President, who is also the defendant, smacks of frivolity.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:54 PM on March 28, 2012


Nice publicity stunt, but I doubt he has standing to sue.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:07 AM on March 29, 2012


Only people who have themselves been extrajudicially assassinated have standing to sue.
posted by hattifattener at 12:11 AM on March 29, 2012 [20 favorites]


Only people who have themselves been extrajudicially assassinated have standing to sue.

More of a slumping, really.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:14 AM on March 29, 2012 [14 favorites]


Somehow, Hedges' lawyers managed to misspell the President's name.

That's what happens when you don't have a birth certificate
posted by mattoxic at 12:27 AM on March 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


What guy?

That g
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:32 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


On the one hand, this lawsuit's pretty useless in the practical sense. On the other, the provisions it opposes are shitty and unamerican, and I don't really mind people hearing more about that.
posted by klangklangston at 12:47 AM on March 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


Contentious lawsuit without legs brings out a bunch of contentious comments witho...aw hell. I love snark too much to finish that.
posted by Drumhellz at 1:09 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nice publicity stunt, but I doubt he has standing to sue.

Especially since they now aim drones at the knees.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:11 AM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Sweep the leg, Johnny! Obama!"
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:14 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, just an aside, over in meta-talk there are several discussions about why threads are deleted, what an example.

The law suite will go no where for basic legal procedure issues, it just is not the kind of thing that can be elevated to the SCOTUS.

Also the elements of the Defense Act that seem to many to be unconstitutional are giving traditional Obama supporters severe cognitive dissonance.
posted by sammyo at 4:17 AM on March 29, 2012


Good on Hedges. This NDAA is a travesty. People making fun of him now won't be doing so if and when the teeth that are now bared start biting. And if history is any indicator, they will start biting. How Obama's name was spelled will, as Gil Scott-Heron once said "no longer be so damned relevant".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:29 AM on March 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Obama would probably not bother to defend the provisions in court, if it ever went to court. He didn't want them, says he's not enforcing them, and says they are unconstitutional anyway.
posted by empath at 4:54 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


If he's suing someone on how the bill is written, then why isn't he suing the co-sponsors of the bill? Or the 79 Senators that made it veto-proof (and made Obama's highly mitigating signing statements necessary)? The fact that he can't spell the President's name right is a minor quibble to not having any idea of how the government works or the fact that the President actually reduced the scope of the bill by not having it passed without executive modifications.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:54 AM on March 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


the fact that the President actually reduced the scope of the bill by not having it passed without executive modifications

Good thing he'll be President forever. If someone else were to get into office, who knows what could have happened.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:00 AM on March 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


Going to get dismissed. Case isn't justicible for want of ripeness. He's going to have a hell of a time demonstrating that he's in any actual danger of having the law be enforced with respect to him. In the absence of such danger, there's nothing for the courts to do.

His lawyers should know better.
posted by valkyryn at 5:08 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama would probably not bother to defend the provisions in court, if it ever went to court. He didn't want them, says he's not enforcing them, and says they are unconstitutional anyway.

Exactly! Why else would he specifically ask Congress for these powers (according to Carl Levin) and then sign them into law? Because he doesn't want them, that's why! Get a clue, folks.
posted by indubitable at 5:09 AM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


[Few comments removed. You know the drill, don't totally fuck up political threads and you can continue to have them. ]
posted by jessamyn at 5:20 AM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


valkyryn is correct. This is nothing more than a publicity stunt by Chris Hedges. Any bets if he has a book coming out soon?
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:29 AM on March 29, 2012


If he's suing someone on how the bill is written, then why isn't he suing the co-sponsors of the bill? Or the 79 Senators that made it veto-proof

Because the exectutive carries out the laws. Even if a president vetoed it, and then Congress overrode the veto, the President would still be sued. It's not a personal thing.

The real issue is the distortion over what the NDAA actually does. Section (e) is clearly saying the the provisions of NDAA don't apply 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.

Of course, the Constitution and posse comitatus already made such protections. The NDAA doesn't expand the power to detain, in reality, it probably narrows it.
posted by spaltavian at 5:33 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


True, but misspelling the name of the President, who is also the defendant, smacks of frivolity.

The bs concern trolling over spelling is what smacks of frivolity given subject and the stakes for the future of our democracy.

Co-defendants in this case: Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, and Birgitta Jónsdóttir.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:36 AM on March 29, 2012


Good thing he'll be President forever. If someone else were to get into office, who knows what could have happened.

Good grief, this constant rebuttal of "what about future presidents?!" and your "Good thing he'll be President forever" schtick in particular is getting tiresome. It's not even relevant, and it's the liberal version of the intellectually lazy "If you vote for Obama then you hate freedom" bullshit.

In case you're not up on your civics, what happens is that Congress writes a bill, then votes on it. The President can veto it if they wish, but if the votes exceed 2/3 of Congress, then the veto can be overridden and the bill passed without executive authorization. The only way that the bill can be modified when presented with a veto-proof majority is via signing statements. And for those who don't know what the NDAA does, it also provides the funding (i.e. paychecks, health care and benefits, food and lodgings) for US soldiers, so not passing it is essentially letting the other side say that you are denying the troops their, and be technically correct.

So, do you veto the bill, knowing that it will be overridden, and you'll be attacked by 50%+ of the country and 100% of the press for telling the troops they can fuck off and not be able to lessen it's impact; or do you sign the bill as it has been done for many years, imprint your own much narrower interpretation to it on the controversial parts, and hope that people actually research it before going off half-cocked on internet discussion boards?

Exactly! Why else would he specifically ask Congress for these powers (according to Carl Levin) and then sign them into law? Because he doesn't want them, that's why! Get a clue, folks.

You mean the powers he explicitly rejected in his signing statements?
posted by zombieflanders at 5:38 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


denying the troops their livelihoods, that is.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:39 AM on March 29, 2012


You mean the powers he explicitly rejected in his signing statements?

He didn't reject them he merely said he would be so benevolent as to not authorize the detention of U.S. citizens by the military. It was in fact the Obama administration that asked for the language to be added to the bill according to cosponsor and democrat Carl Levin.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:45 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Any bets if he has a book coming out soon?

More likely he's trying to start a fight that will turn into a book.

I loved "War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning," but his efforts at becoming a pundit have been pretty lackluster since then. You don't get to declare yourself a moral authority: it's like giving yourself a nickname (says the guy writing under a pseudonym....)

Hedges excels when he's doing serious reportage and reflecting on that, but his stuff on atheism and the liberal class has been pretty weak sauce and full of the narcissism of small differences. It's all just signaling: "I knew liberals. Liberals were friends of mine. You sir are no liberal!" it's posturing, not moral clarity.

Is there anyone that fame won't ruin?
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:50 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


So once again as in the case of Julian Assange the debate becomes about personalities instead of the actual substance of the issues at hand.

this constant rebuttal of "what about future presidents?!" and your "Good thing he'll be President forever" schtick in particular is getting tiresome. It's not even relevant

Ostrich head meet sand.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:01 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I suspect it passed because the corporations, seeing the unrest in the streets, knowing that things are about to get much worse, worrying that the Occupy movement will expand, do not trust the police to protect them. They want to be able to call in the Army. And now they can."

Of course! Why didn't I see that? I must be ideologically blinkered. Thank you for your moral clarity!

The difference between Hedges and others on the radical left like Chomsky or Rorty is that it used to be a requirement for public intellectual that you actually be an intellectual, that you aspire to erudition through rigor and research. Now we get folks like Wolf and Hedges: piecework pundits who do outrage on a deadline.

I'd be happy to talk about the issues, but Hedges keeps butting in to talk about himself. He makes himself the topic of the conversation: it's not about the NDAA and it's not about Obama. It's about him: "why *I* am suing." Should I be happy or sad that the President is smarter than his critics?
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:08 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: This article is about the legal concept. For the fruit status, see Ripening.
posted by Blue_Villain at 6:11 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why else would he specifically ask Congress for these powers (according to Carl Levin) and then sign them into law?

He didn't. He asked for the provisions which passed, which were a watered down version of the provisions in earlier versions of the bill. He publicly said he would have preferred nothing at all, and that the provisions that were included in the bill essentially do nothing at all. Read his signing statement.
posted by empath at 6:15 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ostrich head meet sand

Is it really that hard to understand the system of checks and balances in the government? It doesn't matter if the President was Hillary Clinton, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, or Noam Chomsky himself: the bill still would have been passed. And guess what? If the 2013 NDAA says the same thing and again gets passed by a 2/3 or higher margin, the President's veto still won't matter. But heavens forfend assigning any blame to those 79 Senators for being dicks when you've got Obama to attack.

I don't like it, but at least I have the basic concept of things down. If you don't understand how that works and how statements like yours and Blazecock Pileon's are indeed 100% irrelevant, then maybe you shouldn't be posting articles about it and get huffy when people point out your massive gaps in logic.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:20 AM on March 29, 2012


Co-defendants in this case: Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, and Birgitta Jónsdóttir.

Where's Ramsey Clark?
posted by octobersurprise at 6:39 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd be happy to talk about the issues, but Hedges keeps butting in to talk about himself. He makes himself the topic of the conversation: it's not about the NDAA and it's not about Obama.

Actually, *you're* making him the topic of the conversation right now, with your comment. But so what if Hedges personalizes the subject by mentioning that he himself (as a journalist who has spent time in the Middle East with "terrorists") is someone who, under the frighteningly vague language of the NDAA, is under potential threat of detention? That should come as no surprise. Why shouldn't he mention this relevant point in his article?

But aside from that, it's not true at all that his article is "not about the NDAA" or "not about Obama". His article is exactly about the NDAA and Obama. Or didn't we read the same article?

So, back to how you'd "be happy to talk about the issues"... now's your chance! This is your platform! What, exactly, do you think about the issues? Hedges has been very clear about what he thinks. All you've done so far is be clear on what you think about Hedges.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:40 AM on March 29, 2012 [11 favorites]


assigning any blame to those 79 Senators for being dicks when you've got Obama to attack.

Those 79 Senators did NOT campaign on restoring Habeas Corpus.
I went to an Obama rally here in FL - and heard him speak for several minutes about the importance of Habeas Corpus, and how he would restore it, and close Gitmo.

He has done the exact opposite.

do you veto the bill, knowing that it will be overridden, and you'll be attacked by 50%+ of the country and 100% of the press

Are you kidding me? I know that Obama believes in Habeas Corpus. I heard him speak elegantly about it. But you (and Obama) think that it is better to play politics and ride out the poll numbers - rather than take a stand on a critical civil liberty issue.

The very idea is disgusting to me. You want your president to be more concerned with poll numbers and election cycles then he is concerned with his own values and beliefs.

Yes - you veto the bill! You don't just stand by as civil liberties are eroded.
Talk about a cowardly approach to gov't.
posted by Flood at 6:40 AM on March 29, 2012 [14 favorites]


Spaltavian, I find it curious that for your interpretation of the NDAA you go to a blog run by a bunch of hacks from Brookings institute rather than say the ACLU.

>He didn't. He asked for the provisions which passed, which were a watered down version of the provisions in earlier versions of the bill. He publicly said he would have preferred nothing at all, and that the provisions that were included in the bill essentially do nothing at all. Read his signing statement.

Empath, we've gone over this before. I have yet to see any evidence to contradict Senator Levin's statements(for context relevant part starts at 4:21:09, Levin's statement begins at 4:40:05) on the Senate floor. As I said in the previous thread I am more than willing to withdraw my assertion that it was the Obama administration which asked for the language to be added if presented with evidence that this is in fact not the case.

>gaps in logic.

Which gaps would those be? The only logical fallacies I see in this thread are a bunch of strawmen and ad hominems which ignore the very serious issues at hand.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:45 AM on March 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Empath, we've gone over this before. I have yet to see any evidence to contradict Senator Levin's statements(for context relevant part starts at 4:21:09, Levin's statement begins at 4:40:05) on the Senate floor.

I don't really care to convince you or any of the other nutty Obama haters in the thread. I'm just stating it for the record.
posted by empath at 6:50 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


nutty Obama haters

Give me a break. People have legitimate grievances with some of the very disappointing turns his presidency has taken. Simplistic, dismissive and mean-spirited characterizations like this have no place on Metafilter.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:55 AM on March 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


Are you kidding me? I know that Obama believes in Habeas Corpus. I heard him speak elegantly about it. But you (and Obama) think that it is better to play politics and ride out the poll numbers - rather than take a stand on a critical civil liberty issue.

And how would you propose he do that? If you're talking about making an emotional argument that a majority of the country disagrees with and won't actually advance policy, then you're right. If you're talking about taking advantage of the process that unfortunately even some supporters of HC don't seem to understand, then you're completely wrong.

The very idea is disgusting to me. You want your president to be more concerned with poll numbers and election cycles then he is concerned with his own values and beliefs.

You don't know who I am and what I believe or want, so don't presume to define them for me. Myself and others have pointed out exactly how he was imposing his own values and beliefs on the NDAA. You can choose to ignore them in favor of insulting me all you want, but that doesn't change the facts.

Yes - you veto the bill! You don't just stand by as civil liberties are eroded.
Talk about a cowardly approach to gov't.


So...you're choosing not to research how your government works? If you follow up on what I posted re: the veto process and signing statements, you'd realize the difference between the ineffectual emotional choice and the mitigating procedural choice.

Which gaps would those be? The only logical fallacies I see in this thread are a bunch of strawmen and ad hominems which ignore the very serious issues at hand.

If you're willfully ignoring basic civics concepts even after they've been explained to you in an easily-understandable way, I'm not sure what you will listen. You can call them "strawmen" and "ad hominem"--which makes no sense, given that I'm only insulting the assholes who wrote the bill--all day long, but that doesn't change their veracity.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:01 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]



IAAL.

While Hedges presents strong moral claims, AS A LAWSUIT it's garbage and will be immediately DISMISSED. Note that I do NOT saying that the reasons for dismissal are morally or ethically proper, but only that the court WILL dismiss based on them.

Courts will decide only "actual cases and controversies" between the parties. It's not enough that Hedges points out even very great injustices. He must also show that he himself is harmed by them. Hedges makes no attempt to show this and has no hope of doing so, and he therefore lacks STANDING TO SUE.

There are many more lawyers' labels under which the court will dismiss, which every lawyer learns in the first year of law school:

This is not a legal question but a POLITICAL QUESTION, for Congress and the Executive Branch to decide, not the courts.

The issues are not RIPE for decision. The court does not have enough to work on, and many more things can happen, any of which will make a decision unnecessary.

The case is MOOT. The issues the plaintiff complains of no longer exist, but are purely theoretical.

Even if the court could decide the question, it should ABSTAIN from doing so because it would not be able to create or enforce a REMEDY. Specifically, a court could not order the release of prisoners from Gitmo or supervise the process. This could create an unseemly conflict between the divisions of government and could lead to branches of government issuing conflicting commands to one another.

The President cannot be sued because the government has SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY.

There is no possibility that Hedges's suit will survive a motion to dismiss. In fact, IMHO it's a frivolous suit, filed only to get publicity.
posted by KRS at 7:12 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Totalitarian New Systems Always Begin by Rewriting the Law
posted by 3FLryan at 7:14 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


you'd realize the difference between the ineffectual emotional choice and the mitigating procedural choice.

That is an utterly absurd statement.

I realize the difference between right and wrong - between courage and cowardly arguments about procedure.

I can hear you now, defending Stephen Douglas - the procedure requires us to recognize the right of slave owners and to uphold the fugitive slave laws.

How far do you go with that procedura BS? Just how many of your values will you ignore for procedure.

Ineffective emotional choice - what a load of crap.
Try - I stand up for what I believe in, and the rest be damned. I certainly won't be cowed by procedure.
posted by Flood at 7:14 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


>I don't really care to convince you or any of the other nutty Obama haters in the thread. I'm just stating it for the record.

You don't have to convince me of anything all you have to do is provide some evidence to back up your assertions. When one make assertions about the truth or falsity of a statement it is usually good manners to back up your assertions with evidence; I have done so why can't you?

>"strawmen" and "ad hominem"

You said: Is it really that hard to understand the system of checks and balances in the government? It doesn't matter if the President was Hillary Clinton, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, or Noam Chomsky himself: the bill still would have been passed. And guess what? If the 2013 NDAA says the same thing and again gets passed by a 2/3 or higher margin, the President's veto still won't matter. But heavens forfend assigning any blame to those 79 Senators for being dicks when you've got Obama to attack.

This is a strawman because you frame your statment in such a way as to give the impression that I or anyone else who might challenge Obama on this doesn't also hold the congress just as culpable. Furthermore, you also assume that our argument hinges on who is/was the president when said legislation was passed. Neither of these is the case and are therefore strawmen as you attempt to frame the debate in such a way as to paint a false picture of what the actual substantive issues are. My own position is that the NDAA is horrible legislation regardless of who wrote and/or signed it into law. The issue isn't about who did what(or any of the hypothetical situations you propose), the issue is that this bill and its provision seriously undermine the rule of law and the constitution.

Old'n'Busted said: This is nothing more than a publicity stunt by Chris Hedges. Any bets if he has a book coming out soon?

This is a clear ad hominem which has no bearing on the legal and constitutional substance of the issues at hand.

So yes ostrich head meet sand.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:18 AM on March 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


That is an utterly absurd statement.

I realize the difference between right and wrong - between courage and cowardly arguments about procedure.


Obviously, you don't, otherwise you would have seen the part where the veto override doesn't allow the President to lessen the impact whereas the signing statements do.

I can hear you now, defending Stephen Douglas - the procedure requires us to recognize the right of slave owners and to uphold the fugitive slave laws.

How far do you go with that procedura BS? Just how many of your values will you ignore for procedure.


Holy fuck is this offensive and wrong on just about every level.

Ineffective emotional choice - what a load of crap.
Try - I stand up for what I believe in, and the rest be damned. I certainly won't be cowed by procedure.


Dude, seriously: do your fucking research.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:22 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


[At this point I am showing up again to say that if you can't have a respectful conversation with other MeFites -- all other MeFites -- we will be much less excited about having political threads on MetaFilter. Act like adults and have a healthy respectful discussion which this is, so far, not approaching. If oyu need to have one on one discussions, take those to email/MeMail. Thank you. Feel free to also go to MetaTalk.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:26 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Try - I stand up for what I believe in, and the rest be damned. I certainly won't be cowed by procedure.

Obama wasn't cowed by procedure. He made the provisions toothless, then specified in the signing statement that they did nothing, nd directed the federal government to proceed as if nothing has changed.

This whole thing is a tempest in a teapot. The only reason those provisions are staying on the books is that no one has standing to sue, because there's no possible way they could be interpret to actually do anything.
posted by empath at 7:26 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is a strawman because you frame your statment in such a way as to give the impression that I or anyone else who might challenge Obama on this doesn't also hold the congress just as culpable.

Since you have refused to actually, y'know, say any of that, the point stands until you do.

Furthermore, you also assume that our argument hinges on who is/was the president when said legislation was passed. Neither of these is the case and are therefore strawmen as you attempt to frame the debate in such a way as to paint a false picture of what the actual substantive issues are.

This argument would hold a lot more water if you actually bothered to use Obama's interpretation rather than merely his vote (or anyone else's for that matter).

My own position is that the NDAA is horrible legislation regardless of who wrote and/or signed it into law. The issue isn't about who did what(or any of the hypothetical situations you propose), the issue is that this bill and its provision seriously undermine the rule of law and the constitution.

And yet you refuse out of hand to accept any argument that points to any mitigation whatsoever of the parts that do the undermining.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:30 AM on March 29, 2012


But aside from that, it's not true at all that his article is "not about the NDAA" or "not about Obama". His article is exactly about the NDAA and Obama. Or didn't we read the same article?

Apparently we didn't read the same articles? I don't see the discussion of the NDAA you're referring to in any of the links, just a bunch of innuendo, some resume burnishing, and one long paragraph quoting parts of the bill.

There's no analysis or discussion of the bill's language: that he lazily outsources to Greenwald without actually linking to the relevant posts. There is a discussion of how Reagan officials complained about him, and then a long discussion of the press pool system in the First Gulf War when he was once briefly detained.

Mostly, though there's innuendo about corporations turning us all into the dispossessed.

So I guess his posts are "about the NDAA and Obama" in the same way that my comments are: those terms get mentioned in passing. If you think I've gone into insufficient depth, you should say the same about Hedges.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:34 AM on March 29, 2012


There is nothing in the constitution nor any congressional law that gives any real meaning to signing statements.

The next president could easily ignoring any signing statement. Show me one place where a Presdient is legally bound by the signing statement of a previous President.

What if Santorum becomes president in Jan? And Obama signed a law (with constitutional and legal backing) that allows him to ignore Habeas Corpus.

Your procedure arguments are meaningless - and offensive - to me.
You can call Obama's signing statement whatever you want - to me, it is extra-constitutional mumbo-jumbo.
To me it is cowardly.
posted by Flood at 7:34 AM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


And if he just vetoed it, it would have been over-ridden and you'd get the same result you just described, minus the result of at least a chance of Obama trying to make it toothless. So what exactly is it you want? Can you state in one sentence what you want the result to be and what effect that result would have on the overall issue?
posted by spicynuts at 7:39 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


What if Santorum becomes president in Jan? And Obama signed a law (with constitutional and legal backing) that allows him to ignore Habeas Corpus.

If Santorum becomes president in January 2013, he will not be able to avail himself of the 2012 NDAA because it expires in September. But maybe that's just an offensive and meaningless procedural nitpick?
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:39 AM on March 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


There is nothing in the constitution nor any congressional law that gives any real meaning to signing statements.

The next president could easily ignoring any signing statement. Show me one place where a Presdient is legally bound by the signing statement of a previous President.


Okay, so then you're admitting the choice was between being screwed over, and being screwed over a little bit less for the duration of his administration. Good to know.

What if Santorum becomes president in Jan? And Obama signed a law (with constitutional and legal backing) that allows him to ignore Habeas Corpus.

It wouldn't have mattered because the law still would have passed regardless of what Obama said or did. If you haven't gotten that by now, then you're never going to.

Your procedure arguments are meaningless - and offensive - to me.
You can call Obama's signing statement whatever you want - to me, it is extra-constitutional mumbo-jumbo.
To me it is cowardly.


I can't control your complete and utter ignorance over what was taught to most US citizens in grade school. If the veto override process is offensive to you, claiming that I support slavery is just a really mind-bogglingly shitty way of lashing out, to say nothing of a fucked-up worldview.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:41 AM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


BTW, once the light bulb goes on, feel free to apologize at any time.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:43 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Spaltavian, I find it curious that for your interpretation of the NDAA you go to

My interpretation is actually based on a straightforward reading of section (e). Your entire counter argument is that a "bunch of hacks" agree with me.
posted by spaltavian at 7:49 AM on March 29, 2012


Talk about missing my point. My original point was this:
I heard Obama speak about Habeas Corpus. I know he believes in it. I believe in it.

It is not the veto process, or the fact that the law will passed -
it is his unwillingness to fight for what I know he believes. For the very reason I voted for him.

You think Obama (and I) should change our value system to look good in the public eye.
Go along with some terrible law because it is expedient, and difficult to raise the issue in public.
Obama apparently agrees. I do not.

Standing up for what I believe in is a "fucked-up worldview." Wow, what a said world it has become.
I would veto a law that this wrong every time, and take my lumps with it. And every great leader would do the same.

You can say whatever you want - but this is a cowardly failure of Obama to stand up for his beliefs.
posted by Flood at 7:51 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


BTW, once the light bulb goes on, feel free to apologize at any time.
Yes, when ever you are ready to apologize - just let me know.
posted by Flood at 7:52 AM on March 29, 2012


Talk about missing my point. My original point was this:
I heard Obama speak about Habeas Corpus. I know he believes in it. I believe in it.

It is not the veto process, or the fact that the law will passed -
it is his unwillingness to fight for what I know he believes. For the very reason I voted for him.


It is the veto process. That is where he chose to make the "fight," but in a way that the 79 in Congress couldn't really oppose him. For whatever reason, you prefer what those 79 said stands unopposed, although hopefully that's only because you don't understand how bills become law.

You think Obama (and I) should change our value system to look good in the public eye.
Go along with some terrible law because it is expedient, and difficult to raise the issue in public.
Obama apparently agrees. I do not.


Nothing of the sort.

Standing up for what I believe in is a "fucked-up worldview." Wow, what a said world it has become.
I would veto a law that this wrong every time, and take my lumps with it. And every great leader would do the same.

You can say whatever you want - but this is a cowardly failure of Obama to stand up for his beliefs.


I'm sad to hear that you would have vetoed the law and ignore the one chance that you had to do anything to reduce the harm of the bill. The fact that you would rather do absolutely nothing but talk about the loss of habeas rather than take an actual stand for it by doing something to protect it still seems fucked up, as does believing that any great leader would trade away that ability.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:02 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would veto a law that this wrong every time, and take my lumps with it.

Well, I would raise an army of the People, march on Washington, and make those bastards do the right thing. That's what I'd do, I tells you. Yes, sir.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:03 AM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


I do believe that Mr. Hedges may have a trip to a nice tropical location somewhere near a place called Guantanamo Bay in his future...
posted by jason says at 8:13 AM on March 29, 2012


There is nothing in the constitution nor any congressional law that gives any real meaning to signing statements.

The president executes the laws. He does this by creating policies when he implements laws passed by the congress. It's his primary constitutional power, in fact. So, yes, signing statements are perfectly constitutional, and his directives to the federal agencies have the force of law.

The problem with Bush's signing statements is that he basically used them to over-ride the law or ignore the clear intent of the law. Obama's signing statement in this case merely clarified how he was going to interpret those provisions.
posted by empath at 8:22 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


rather than take an actual stand for it by doing something to protect it

I suppose this is the crux of our dis-agreement. I don't see this as his signing statement as having any value. To me it is meaningless. He can still issue directives to the military and other agencies that will essentially take the teeth out of the law. With or without the signing statement, the President has get leeway in how a law is implemented.

However, by making the signing statement, and not fighting for it - he did 3 things.
1. he took another step down the slippery slope of slowly eroding civil liberty in this country.

2. he allowed all those 79 Senators to ride out this vote unchallenged. One of my democratic Senators here in FL, Bill Nelson, voted in favor of the NDAA. Nelson is getting a pass on that vote, because Obama signed it. He certainly should throw it back at the Senators. Democratic senators should have to explain why they voted for this. Now, all Nelson has to say is: well, the President supported it. I didnt do anything out of line - that is what the whole party was doing.

3. He missed a chance to raise the issue with the public. Instead, once again, a key civil right is being swept away - and there is absolutely no dialogue about it in the public arena. The President has teh bully pulpit - and could make it an issue. And it needs to be an issue - we need public discourse about it.

Instead, Obama signed the law, and America is a littel less free.
I just do not see how or why I should applaud this. It disgusts me.
posted by Flood at 8:26 AM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


We knew this would happen if we had to keep feeding a standing army. We have known for a long time.

"In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people."

- James Madison, 1787.

Armies don't starve before anyone else does.
posted by edguardo at 8:48 AM on March 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


I suppose this is the crux of our dis-agreement. I don't see this as his signing statement as having any value. To me it is meaningless. He can still issue directives to the military and other agencies that will essentially take the teeth out of the law. With or without the signing statement, the President has get leeway in how a law is implemented.

It's not so much a disagreement as you not understanding how this all works. For starters, the signing statement is in no small part the very same leeway you're asking for. Why you refuse to believe that is beyond me. And ignoring the entire concept of the veto override doesn't help, either.

However, by making the signing statement, and not fighting for it - he did 3 things.
1. he took another step down the slippery slope of slowly eroding civil liberty in this country.


I agree that the NDAA is another step on that slope. But I also understand that the signing statement was the fighting. If you are somehow able to come up with a way that a President can force Congress to not do their job (write and pass legislation with the ability to overturn a President's refusal) without violating the most central laws of our government, you'd be very popular. But until then, the President can't just stomp his feet, say no, and expect that Congress will listen to him when they have the right to officially ignore him. What he can do is make it at least a little less bad until the next bill is signed.

2. he allowed all those 79 Senators to ride out this vote unchallenged. One of my democratic Senators here in FL, Bill Nelson, voted in favor of the NDAA. Nelson is getting a pass on that vote, because Obama signed it. He certainly should throw it back at the Senators. Democratic senators should have to explain why they voted for this. Now, all Nelson has to say is: well, the President supported it. I didnt do anything out of line - that is what the whole party was doing.

The senators most certainly do have to explain themselves. After Obama pushed back and threatened vetoes of the far more draconian original bill, the Senate modified it (at the request of both the Administration and groups like the ACLU) to clarify things like not requiring military force. Even those who introduced modifications that failed voted for it. The fault of them not being pushed on it has absolutely nothing to do with Obama and everything to do with--hold on to your hats--people not pushing them on it. All they needed was 13 Senators to do that.

3. He missed a chance to raise the issue with the public. Instead, once again, a key civil right is being swept away - and there is absolutely no dialogue about it in the public arena. The President has teh bully pulpit - and could make it an issue. And it needs to be an issue - we need public discourse about it.

This issue has been in front of the public for years, and to my continuing horror they choose to ignore it completely. In the meantime, the bully pulpit no longer exists as a dependable tool for the President, especially on issues that are not already a concern to the populace.

Instead, Obama signed the law, and America is a littel less free.
I just do not see how or why I should applaud this. It disgusts me.


Nobody's asking you to applaud anything. We're just asking you to acknowledge how the government works. Claiming that we support slavery because you don't know about checks and balances is just being ridiculous.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:06 AM on March 29, 2012


I agree that the NDAA is another step on that slope.

But Chris Hedges is stool for trying to do something about it amirite?

Awesome quote edguardo, thanks for that. Which work does it come from? There's also this James Madison quote from The Federalist 41:

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. On any scale it is an object of laudable circumspection and precaution.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:14 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


But Chris Hedges is stool for trying to do something about it amirite?

I didn't say anything about him other than a re-reading of the rules of Congress would help make his case stronger, so I don't know why you're replying to me.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:17 AM on March 29, 2012


Nobody's asking you to applaud anything. We're just asking you to acknowledge how the government works. Claiming that we support slavery because you don't know about checks and balances is just being ridiculous.

When signing statements aren't consistently enforceable between administrations, let alone acknowledged fully as guidance by Congress and the judicial branches of government, perhaps you should not be handing out civics lessons.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:21 AM on March 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


When signing statements aren't consistently enforceable between administrations, let alone acknowledged fully as guidance by Congress and the judicial branches of government, perhaps you should not be handing out civics lessons.

Considering that I've already pointed out multiple times that signing statements are only applicable within a single administration and are best efforts to fend off Congress perhaps you and AElfwine Evenstar shouldn't be lecturing people on comprehension.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:27 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem is my lack of understanding of how the gov't works?
So, you are saying the signing statements are now the way the gov't works.

Yes, the last two presidents have employed signing statements - but to me, that is part of the erosion of the rule of law. I understand the constitution. Signing statements are not in the constitution. I understand that laws are passed by Congress, and there any of them authorizing signing statements either.

What exactly do you want me to understand? That the president is using an extra-constitutional power to gain the power that he already has in executive directives.

So your plan to save the constitution is to use extra-constitutional means. Brilliant plan. Ignore the structure of ouor gov't in an attempt to save the structure of our gov't.

Please show me where in the constitution, or which congressional law, gives legal force to signing statements. Until you do that - you have nothing.

That the President choose to play Bush's signing statement game, rather than make a public fight for what is likely the most important civil right that we have.

The Bully Pulpit no longer exists? What BS! Were you asleep when Bush used the Bully Pulpit to start a war in Iraq. The bully pulpit exists - Obama just compromises his values, rather than fight.
posted by Flood at 9:30 AM on March 29, 2012


Good. This is bad legislation, and it needs to be challenge. Fortunately, this is exactly how bad legislation gets overturned.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:33 AM on March 29, 2012


The problem is my lack of understanding of how the gov't works?
So, you are saying the signing statements are now the way the gov't works.


Not even remotely what I said.

Yes, the last two presidents have employed signing statements - but to me, that is part of the erosion of the rule of law. I understand the constitution. Signing statements are not in the constitution. I understand that laws are passed by Congress, and there any of them authorizing signing statements either.

What exactly do you want me to understand? That the president is using an extra-constitutional power to gain the power that he already has in executive directives.


I want you to understand that (1) in this case, the extra-constitutional power was actually used to attempt to lessen the effect of the law, as shitty as using that power may be; and (2) that the only other option was to let what Congress wrote stand unopposed.

So your plan to save the constitution is to use extra-constitutional means. Brilliant plan. Ignore the structure of ouor gov't in an attempt to save the structure of our gov't.

No, it's not my plan, nor did I ever say it was. The structure of the government has already been compromised, but given the option between letting Congress run unfettered and doing something to try and stop that, I prefer the latter in this case.

Please show me where in the constitution, or which congressional law, gives legal force to signing statements. Until you do that - you have nothing.

Since I didn't make the argument before, you're snapping at your own tail here.

That the President choose to play Bush's signing statement game, rather than make a public fight for what is likely the most important civil right that we have.

The Bully Pulpit no longer exists? What BS! Were you asleep when Bush used the Bully Pulpit to start a war in Iraq. The bully pulpit exists - Obama just compromises his values, rather than fight.


So you don't understand vetoes and now the bully pulpit. If you can show me where Bush used the bully pulpit to convince people to go to war rather than the people already supporting it to begin with, we'll talk.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:40 AM on March 29, 2012


Or, for that matter, being dicks about it.

Sorry I was trying to be funny, but you are right I was off base. Regarding signing statements I suggest you read this.

These statements provide “one way in which a President may indicate his intent to refuse to enforce a provision of a congressionally enacted law that he believes to be unconstitutional.” However, there is little evident support for the notion that objections or concerns raised in a signing statement may be given substantive legal effect. As one commentator has suggested:

"Where the President has played a major role in drafting or supporting a particular statutory provision, presidential statements should be granted interpretive significance.... When the President opposed the provision being interpreted, however, his signing statements ... lack persuasive authority."

This observation is buttressed by the analysis of the district court in Dacosta v. Nixon, which stated that a bill, when passed by Congress and approved by the President, “establishe[s] ‘the policy of the United States’ to the exclusion of any different executive or administrative policy, and ha[s] binding force and effect on every officer of the Government, no matter what their private judgments of that policy, and illegalize[s] the pursuit of an inconsistent executive or administration policy. No executive statement denying efficacy to legislation could have either validity or effect.”
(pg. 14)

Not to be a dick(seriously) but your argument is bs.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:40 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's from his speech at the Constitutional Convention of that year.

Really, it is ironic that he should speak out so strongly against the perils of a standing army, only to find later as President that the militias and War Department were inadequate to the task of taking Canada, or even defending the capitol, during the War of 1812.

I'm no historian, but I know the United States expanded the navy after that war, still during Madison's presidency.

It seems he came to understand that a nation either fields an effective military, or it can and will be enslaved or assimilated by a nation which already has.

At some point, some of us became disgusted by that, but that disgust has never been shared by the people giving or carrying out the orders.

The President and the Congress might talk about protection from terrorism, or national security, but in their cold black hearts, they know that American prosperity is the direct result of American militarism.

Business follows the flag, which follows the army.
posted by edguardo at 9:43 AM on March 29, 2012


[AElfwine, you need to give the thread a rest. If this was something you posted because you thought it was interesting and worth sharing, let it alone and let people find it interesting or not. If you posted this to have a place to argue with people about this, that's not okay, and needs to not happen again.]
posted by cortex at 9:43 AM on March 29, 2012


Not to be a dick(seriously) but your argument is bs.

This is what I've said:
Okay, so then you're admitting the choice was between being screwed over, and being screwed over a little bit less for the duration of his administration.
and
What he can do is make it at least a little less bad until the next bill is signed.
So I'm not sure if you're trying to respond to someone else here or if you think you guys are trying to be clever.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:46 AM on March 29, 2012


Following the words of cortex, I am just going to let this be.
We could just keep going around in circles.

You think a signing statement is a fight - and a veto is letting it pass unopposed.
I think a veto is the correct form of opposition that he should have used.

We will just have to agree that we will not be able to agree.
posted by Flood at 9:47 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


The president executes the laws. He does this by creating policies when he implements laws passed by the congress. It's his primary constitutional power, in fact. So, yes, signing statements are perfectly constitutional, and his directives to the federal agencies have the force of law.

By this very reasoning, though, the president might as well veto the bill and, if (and that's a big "if" -- the president's pull with his party would have no small effect on the likelihood of assembling the votes to override) the veto is overridden, issue exactly the same directives and statements he would have done had he signed it. The choice between veto and signing statement seems like a bit of a false dichotomy.
posted by multics at 9:50 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


AElfwine, you need to give the thread a rest. If this was something you posted because you thought it was interesting and worth sharing, let it alone and let people find it interesting or not. If you posted this to have a place to argue with people about this, that's not okay, and needs to not happen again.

I posted it because I thought it was an interesting thing that I had not seen covered by any major media sources. But as it's my fpp you are correct that I should give it a rest as etiquette demands. And so I will. Again, zombieflanders I apologize if I offended you; as Flood said we will have to agree to disagree on this one.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:56 AM on March 29, 2012


I agree to us agreeing to disagree, as disagreeable I have most certainly been.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:01 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


And if he just vetoed it, it would have been over-ridden

"If we'd have tried, we'd have simply failed. Best not to try in the first place."

A signing statement is no form of "fight". Indeed, a signing statement has no legal validity of any kind. It is a mere statement of intent by the current seated President and does not appear anywhere in the Constitution and the laws of this country. It doesn't even legally bind the current President, let along any subsequent President.

When the President is presented with a law, he can approve it by signing it, or he can disapprove it by vetoing it. These are the only two choices in law; these are the only choices that have meaning.

Mr. Obama approved this bill.

If any of you wishes to talk about signing statements, please explain what effect such a statement has in the real world.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:05 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree that I too have been disagreeable even cantankerous. And I do apologize for my gruff-ness.
It is an issue that irks me.

But hopefully we can walk away (grumbling) with a nod and hand-shake.
posted by Flood at 10:08 AM on March 29, 2012


Go through all recent political threads, search out president doesn't won't isn't, should "fighting for..."

Now, can anyone tell me what this actually means? Straight up.

I see self labeled 'warriors' raising armies, snark, not good enoughs... Tell me who are you, it is easy to belittle efforts of politicals, when one is not at the whim of electorates. Do you have words or ideas that make policy? Complaining that the president isn't fighting, and claiming that one would fight, we're "they president... Seems like a just so fiction, rather than a policy promise, rhetoric, easily stated, as the stakes are zero, and the forum not the same as a public discourse.

Goodness sakes, d. Kucinich got put out... If he isn't the model of a fighter... Who is?

But what does it look like when a president "fights" for something?
Taking tighty righties to task? Mocking? Belittling? Dean screaming? Stern faces? Finger wagging? Shouting? Spitting? Plackards? Should he go full on code pink?

Change his Facebook status to his bra color?

Rebellion or something? I just don't comprehend how people can overlook both the key players in all the things, and how a country can't be that "lurching beast", yes, inaction is disgraceful, but the public must act to convey what is desired, bottom line is, you aren't voting for progressive people, you aren't out in numbers like the right has been, making you 'desired outcomes' known, simply saying, I liked candidate Obama, that's enough, now I am disappoint...that's, honestly, and sorry if this is cold, but, not good enough, if it weren't a web of procedure and checks and balances and counterbalances... You get the massive swings that accompany other forms of totalitarian states.

And Bush would have been able to make his bankrupt social security thing fly, and no child would be forever, and on...
The basic civics gaps, and free ride that the congress has had, to do, say and enact absurd, totalitarian legislation is mind boggling. Not talking about this thread, just in general. During the bush era, they were ignored, and now again congress is ignored as the key player.

It is easier to pin it on "not fighting". Also wrong.

You can only support the president... Bashing him doesn't allow him to be more liberal or progressive.
it actually promotes the opposite impression to the public "even his allies aren't supporting his agenda, it is illigitimate'... When his allies actually mean, we support his agenda, and want it to ge even furrrrther. The second part there isn't clear to the public when people who actually support a change agenda bash him. Unless someone actually thinks this would have looked different with another democrat president (it simply wouldn't be any different, as noted, this was inevitable, and procedure, and farting on the bill in a fireside address would change nothing). People were content to say "fox gave tea party free publicity no fair, now go fight for me mr. President...that isn't a workable situation for making change. Change is a verb not an adjective. But whatever.

You can bash congress, and achieve change, they set the pace, and craft the policy the days.

I know people will respond to this by saying "bush was a dictator", so why isn't president Obama (sometimes by people wanting him to 'fix' America)?

But besides the tangled wars, what has been lasting that bush built?
It was congress all along. Cleverly playing the wide eyed knaves... But the seat of power all along. People spoke of the "imperial presidency", I wish more folks would get het up about the Papal Congress.

I don't mean to say "how to act", fight for what you believe in and the outcomes you desire (clearly stated desired outcomes would definitely help progressive, liberal minded folks develop a common lexicon and language) I am only frustrated that the discussion so often sticks on only one of four actors in the united political dynamic.
posted by infinite intimation at 10:11 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Exactly! Why else would he specifically ask Congress for these powers (according to Carl Levin)

I love how everyone read the multiple links to that video of Levin and just took the (utterly misleading) paraphrases of what he said as gospel truth. If you actually watch the video, it's clear that that's not remotely what Levin is saying.

It's hard to know how a democracy is supposed to function if even people who declare themselves to be passionately concerned about a particular issue won't take easily available steps to actually learn some basic facts about it. The Obama administration always opposed these measures (which are, at base, an attempt to circumscribe the power of the Executive), and the NDAA itself includes no authorization of new powers for the Executive.

Even Mother Jones--hardly a shill for the administration--is capable of recognizing that simple fact:
So it's simply not true, as the Guardian wrote yesterday, that the the bill "allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil who could then be shipped to Guantánamo Bay." When the New York Times editorial page writes that the bill would "strip the F.B.I., federal prosecutors and federal courts of all or most of their power to arrest and prosecute terrorists and hand it off to the military," or that the "legislation could also give future presidents the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial," they're simply wrong.
The handwringing over this bill is just so wildly disproportionate, it's hard to fathom. Meanwhile, a politicized Supreme Court is about to snatch subsidized health insurance from 30-40 million uninsured Americans as well as throwing many of the insured back into a world where pre-existing condition rules can be used to arbitrarily deprive them of their insurance if they get sick, and liberals are greeting this mostly with a yawn. Because, you know, if we just wait for another two or three generations we're bound to get single-payer universal coverage. Sigh.
posted by yoink at 10:18 AM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Co-defendants in this case: Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, and Birgitta Jónsdóttir."

Wait, he's suing Chomsky too?
posted by klangklangston at 10:32 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


infinite intimation:

"Fighting" against this bill would have been vetoing it. Signing it is not "fighting" it.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:46 AM on March 29, 2012


> The handwringing over this bill is just so wildly disproportionate, it's hard to fathom.

Then why the "signing statement" at all, if the powers that Mr. Obama agreed not to use don't actually exist?

> Meanwhile, a politicized Supreme Court is about to snatch subsidized health insurance from 30-40 million uninsured Americans

...and so we can't discuss anything else until that is resolved, probably in three months?

> and liberals are greeting this mostly with a yawn.

Salon, for example, had four separate articles by three different writers on the topic in the last 24 hours alone. The Huffington Post has had a permanent box with a picture of the supreme court in it for the last three days and has probably front-paged a dozen articles on the subject during that time.

It's been all over the "liberal" press all week, it was impossible to avoid. I don't believe you made any attempt to actually check your facts before saying that - I think you just made it up.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:55 AM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wait, he's suing Chomsky too?

According to me apparently he is...

*read: co-plaintiffs
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:56 AM on March 29, 2012


Because, you know, if we just wait for another two or three generations we're bound to get single-payer universal coverage. Sigh.

Not to state the obvious, but since you brought this up, even opponents knew that the situation Obama had going into office was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring American healthcare up to the level of industrialized nations. That's gone, now. Poof! It's pretty much a certainty that we won't ever see this chance happen again in our lifetimes. It was a wasted chance to affect real change, and it was thrown away so that Democrats — including Obama — could keep their corporate paymasters happy. What a waste of potential!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:37 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Because, you know, if we just wait for another two or three generations we're bound to get single-payer universal coverage. Sigh.

Not to state the obvious, but since you brought this up, even opponents knew that the situation Obama had going into office was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring American healthcare up to the level of industrialized nations. That's gone, now. Poof!


Single payer was never going to happen, was never on the table and was never talked about by candidate Obama at any point. If you're angry that some sort of public option was not included, be mad at the conservative Democratic senators who made the Democrats' 60-seat 'fillibuster-proof' majority a fantasy.
posted by spaltavian at 1:35 PM on March 29, 2012


Totalitarian Systems Always Begin by Rewriting the Law

Congress has passed into law over 20,000 statutes since 1789. No wonder Orwell thought they would wrap things up by 1984.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:50 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hrmmm....I guess his new book wasn't selling so well, so this might put the paperback on the map.

He jumped the shark awhile back, but I really don't blame him--poor guy has been (read put himself) through a lot.
posted by whatgorilla at 3:06 PM on March 29, 2012


NDAA hearing notes

“Government lawyers in New York court tell Judge they can’t directly rule out detaining Chris Hedges for reporting, Occupy London for protesting, or the author of a hypothetical book on politics for expressing an opinion, under NDAA sections 1021 and 1022.”
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:53 PM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


“Terrorists” at Home
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:04 PM on March 31, 2012


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