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haverchuck

National Defense Authorization Act

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This makes me so uncomfortable. The great irony to me is that this was proposed by a republican, you know, the party that is supposed to hate big government.

Edited by feels good man

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This whole NDAA thing has blown my mind. First, how little news coverage there has been on it, especially once the Senate passed it and the only thing left was Obama's signature. I suppose part of what the video says is true, that it was lost in the pre-holiday and then the holiday mayhem, but mostly I think it's just that people supporting it don't really want to draw attention to it and are just stoked that it got past, and then Obama supporters don't want to bring up this bad press as the campaign season nears. Most people I've brought this up to - very liberal people - just kind of shrug and say, "well, I'm sure Obama had a good reason for it." It's preposterous.

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Most people I've brought this up to - very liberal people - just kind of shrug and say, "well, I'm sure Obama had a good reason for it." It's preposterous.

This makes me even more uncomfortable. Surely our great leader has our best interests in mind!

I mean, what can you do to over turn this at this point? Is it even possible? I really need to break out my government book and read it again.

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Hey Blackstar, how do you feel about this Obama move?

Is it as bad as it seems? Are people just overreacting?

Or is it a necessary evil for society like marijuana laws?

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http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/president-obama-signs-indefinite-detention-law

"The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield."

"In addition, the breadth of the NDAA’s detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of an actual armed conflict as required by the laws of war."

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Hey Blackstar, how do you feel about this Obama move?

Is it as bad as it seems? Are people just overreacting?

it's a horrendous move, on several levels. first and most importantly, in fact: it leaves open to fester the gaping hole blown in our 5th Amendment rights by the previous administration. factually, it makes us as Americans less safe from government overreach or misjudgement or plain error. it permits the Federal government to detain any person, anywhere, any time, for any length of time. that's effectively nullifies the entire concept of due process, which was put in place to give ordinary people legal recourse which would keep them safe from their government:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

secondly, symbolically, it shows that Obama is incapable of understanding symbolism or taking a stand on apparently any issue. a Constitutional scholar, let alone one of his caliber, should know that some things aren't open to comprimise. the Bill of Rights and the central underlying principle of our judicial system aren't among them.

the only scenario that even partially ameliorates his decision on this matter is, worryingly, deeply cynical: that he'll make a serious push when he inevitably regains office next year to repeal these powers by separating them from a Defense Authorization Bill proper and dealing with them piecemeal, along with the ongoing insanity surrounding the Guantanamo detainees and other casualities of the "War on Terror". Obama is very well-known for playing the "long game" in politics, and perhaps he figures that the Republicans throwing themselves against the wall will radically weaken them and the Democrats will ride his coattails to another workable majority. that, however, remains a political calculation rather than a policy decision and might be a fantasy in any case. for the time being it appears as though he's simply a coward when it comes to standing up for serious change or policies that diminish the powers of the Executive Branch, which were radically expanded during the previous administration.

sadly, our options remain between a party actively seeking to further empower those with the most at the expense of the masses and a party too weak, self-serving and stupid to combat them. Obama could be (could have been?) the force to refocus and energize the Left in this country, which has been withering for a generation now, but it looks as though he's just another Democrat.

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After talking about this with a friend of mine, he suggested that Obama signed the NDAA into law because:

A.) He knew he couldn't fight the GOP in vetoing it, and

B.) Once this reaches the Supreme Court, they are going to declare it unconstitutional, and it will be eliminated anyways.

Thoughts?

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Adam, I'm sorta addressing that point in this next little bit after I quote blackstar. but basically, to that I say "LOL!"

Hey Blackstar, how do you feel about this Obama move?

Is it as bad as it seems? Are people just overreacting?

it's a horrendous move, on several levels

the only scenario that even partially ameliorates his decision on this matter is, worryingly, deeply cynical: that he'll make a serious push when he inevitably regains office next year to repeal these powers by separating them from a Defense Authorization Bill proper and dealing with them piecemeal, along with the ongoing insanity surrounding the Guantanamo detainees and other casualities of the "War on Terror". Obama is very well-known for playing the "long game" in politics, and perhaps he figures that the Republicans throwing themselves against the wall will radically weaken them and the Democrats will ride his coattails to another workable majority. that, however, remains a political calculation rather than a policy decision and might be a fantasy in any case. for the time being it appears as though he's simply a coward when it comes to standing up for serious change or policies that diminish the powers of the Executive Branch, which were radically expanded during the previous administration.

how do you feel about the fact that Obama's (apparently) the one who pushed for further exec power on this bill?

According to some senators, Obama is the one who pushed to further say fuck your constitution. that's scary.

skip ahead in the Young Turks video to the 8 minute mark and listen to them discuss this. Obama just isn't liberal.

Edited by haverchuck

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Yeah Obama didn't appear to be hoping for someone else to repeal it later. He was asking for more power than the bill allowed.

It's amazing how hated Obama is on the right considering how moderate he has been the past three years.

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yeah, this last year or two is when I fully grasped just how deep the "toe the party line" rhetoric goes.

Honestly, at this point, I think Obama could make gay marriage illegal federally and ban abortions,

the right would still call him names & attack him. Is that cause he's black or cause he's a democrat?

Edited by haverchuck

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I think people just put too much stock into hating him to turn back now.

But considering what Republicans were predicting of Obama four years ago (public option, weak foreign policy, he'll remove Guantanamo, tax hikes, etc) they should consider this term a success.

I almost think they wanted Obama to do all those things so that they could be the heroes in 2012 and set the country back on course. Instead Obama has set 2012 up as a somewhat anti-climactic election between two anti-human rights, pro-aggression, pro-corporation, pro-tax cut parties.

But if anyone in media actually came out and said that, they would be sure to expect less viewers/listeners. People tune into politics when they think it's the end of the world and there's someone out there who will save it.

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how do you feel about the fact that Obama's (apparently) the one who pushed for further exec power on this bill?

it's not just this bill; his administration has shown a real and disheartening reluctance to roll back any of the excesses of executive power expanded by the previous administration. he's shown himself to be rather less interested in bold leadership (read: Change) than in realpolitik, which however you slice it is not what a record number of Americans voted for in 2008.

Instead Obama has set 2012 up as a somewhat anti-climactic election between two anti-human rights, pro-aggression, pro-corporation, pro-tax cut parties.

he's still going to win, but only because the Republican field of candidates is as poor as any i'm aware of; certainly in my lifetime. the question is: is his presidency, taken as a whole, going to be seen as a crippling missed opportunity (as i doubt the widespread enthusiasm and willingness to vote for someone perceived as being for bold change to our political system will come along for another generation) in American history or is his 2nd act going to be as ballsy as his 1st should have been? frankly, i have no idea.

Is that cause he's black or cause he's a democrat?

it's because Republicans are psychologically incapable of being on the losing side. the head-down machismo and cynicism as relates to governing is a function of this, but as John Ralston Saul has said: "... manful cynicism is probably a disguised form of confused helplessness."

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My question is since the NDAA covers a lot more than indefinite detention without trial (funding, programs, healthcare costs, sanctions), what would have happened to these other sections had he vetoed the bill? It is also my understanding that he replaced the power of the congress to the exec branch. Now, would congress be more likely to repeal the law later if they had no power in that section of the bill than if they had the power?

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Chris Hedges Sues Obama Admin Over Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens Approved in NDAA

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 is 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.”

We speak with Hedges, now a senior fellow at the Nation Institute, and former New York Times foreign correspondent who was part of a team of reporters that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. We are also joined by Hedges’ attorney Carl Mayer, who filed the litigation on his behalf in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/WoqLT5yqE1k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Edited by haverchuck

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and the searches by Homeland Security at every airport are as blatantly clear a violation of the 4th Amendment as has ever been put to paper in America. but that doesn't mean they won't stand, and people won't stand in line like cows on the meat processing conveyor waiting to get wanded for contraband shampoo bottles. suits are fine but the courts are as unreliable as any other branch of government in protecting our Constitutional rights nowadays.

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tumblr_lxkdgbHAXW1qj7hp7o1_500.jpg

— George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, p. 204, 1949.

And in the general hardening of outlook that set in round about 1930, practices which had been long abandoned, in some cases for hundreds of years—imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions, the use of hostages and the deportation of whole populations—not only became common again but were tolerated and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive.

This is something I personally came across when perusing through a chapter towards the three-quarter mark of 1984. After hearing about the NDAA, then reading this, I was completely in awe of what an ethical relevance Orwell's writing has to the policies of our current era, down to the exact issue. I'm making the presumption that the 1930s Orwell is referring to here has to do with the non-fictional timeline of events in our world, and not one set in his alternate fictional timeline which was purposely constructed for 1984. This is based on the fact the novel was published in 1949. Even if I am wrong, it is equally relevant in the sense that it still makes him an augur of ethically disgraceful governing.

Edited by optimistic

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tumblr_lxkdgbHAXW1qj7hp7o1_500.jpg

— George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, p. 204, 1949.

And in the general hardening of outlook that set in round about 1930, practices which had been long abandoned, in some cases for hundreds of years—imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions, the use of hostages and the deportation of whole populations—not only became common again but were tolerated and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive.

This is something I personally came across when perusing through a chapter towards the three-quarter mark of 1984. After hearing about the NDAA, then reading this, I was completely in awe of what an ethical relevance Orwell's writing has to the policies of our current era, down to the exact issue. I'm making the presumption that the 1930s Orwell is referring to here has to do with the non-fictional timeline of events in our world, and not one set in his alternate fictional timeline which was purposely constructed for 1984. This is based on the fact the novel was published in 1949. Even if I am wrong, it is equally relevant in the sense that it still makes him an augur of ethically disgraceful governing.

Except that it isn't common and thatimprisonment without trial andtorture to extract confessions, never went away.

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http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/we_won_--_for_now_20120917

We Won—for Now

Posted on Sep 17, 2012

AP111203126557-300ndaa.jpg AP/John Minchillo

Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, who is suing the government over a controversial provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, is seen here addressing a crowd in New York’s Zuccotti Park.

By Chris Hedges

In January I sued President Barack Obama over Section 1021(B)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorized the military to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely, strip them of due process and hold them in military facilities, including offshore penal colonies. Last week, round one in the battle to strike down the onerous provision, one that saw me joined by six other plaintiffs including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, ended in an unqualified victory for the public. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, who accepted every one of our challenges to the law, made her temporary injunction of the section permanent. In short, she declared the law unconstitutional.

Almost immediately after Judge Forrest ruled, the Obama administration challenged the decision. Government prosecutors called the opinion “unprecedented” and said that “the government has compelling arguments that it should be reversed.” The government added that it was an “extraordinary injunction of worldwide scope.” Government lawyers asked late Friday for an immediate stay of Forrest’s ban on the use of the military in domestic policing and on the empowering of the government to strip U.S. citizens of due process. The request for a stay was an attempt by the government to get the judge, pending appeal to a higher court, to grant it the right to continue to use the law. Forrest swiftly rejected the stay, setting in motion a fast-paced appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and possibly, if her ruling is upheld there, to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Justice Department sent a letter to Forrest and the 2nd Circuit late Friday night informing them that at 9 a.m. Monday the Obama administration would ask the 2nd Circuit for an emergency stay that would lift Forrest’s injunction. This would allow Obama to continue to operate with indefinite detention authority until a formal appeal was heard. The government’s decision has triggered a constitutional showdown between the president and the judiciary.

“This may be the most significant constitutional standoff since the Pentagon Papers case,” said Carl Mayer, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

“The administration of President Obama within the last 48 hours has decided to engage in an all-out campaign to block and overturn an order of a federal judge,” said co-lead counsel Bruce Afran. “As Judge Forrest noted in her opinion, nothing is more fundamental in American law than the possibility that journalists, activists and citizens could lose their liberty, potentially forever, and the Obama administration has now lined up squarely with the most conservative elements of the Republican Party to undermine Americans’ civil liberties.”

The request by the government to keep the law on the books during the appeal process raises a disturbing question. If the administration is this anxious to restore this section of the NDAA, is it because the Obama government has already used it? Or does it have plans to use the section in the immediate future?

“A Department of Homeland Security bulletin was issued Friday claiming that the riots [in the Middle East] are likely to come to the U.S. and saying that DHS is looking for the Islamic leaders of these likely riots,” Afran said. “It is my view that this is why the government wants to reopen the NDAA—so it has a tool to round up would-be Islamic protesters before they can launch any protest, violent or otherwise. Right now there are no legal tools to arrest would-be protesters. The NDAA would give the government such power. Since the request to vacate the injunction only comes about on the day of the riots, and following the DHS bulletin, it seems to me that the two are connected. The government wants to reopen the NDAA injunction so that they can use it to block protests.”

The decision to vigorously fight Forrest’s ruling is a further example of the Obama White House’s steady and relentless assault against civil liberties, an assault that is more severe than that carried out by George W. Bush. Obama has refused to restore habeas corpus. He supports the FISA Amendment Act, which retroactively makes legal what under our Constitution has traditionally been illegal—warrantless wire tapping, eavesdropping and monitoring directed against U.S. citizens. He has used the Espionage Act six times against whistle-blowers who have exposed government crimes, including war crimes, to the public. He interprets the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act as giving him the authority to assassinate U.S. citizens, as he did the cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. And now he wants the right to use the armed forces to throw U.S. citizens into military prisons, where they will have no right to a trial and no defined length of detention.

Liberal apologists for Barack Obama should read Judge Forrest’s 112-page ruling. It is a chilling explication and denunciation of the massive erosion of the separation of powers. It courageously challenges the overreach of Congress and the executive branch in stripping Americans of some of our most cherished constitutional rights.

In the last 220 years there have been only about 135 judicial rulings that have struck down an act of Congress. Most of the cases involved abortion or pornography. Very few dealt with wartime powers and the separation of powers, or what Forrest in her opinion called “a question of defining an individual’s core liberties.”

Section 1021(B)(2) authorizes the military to detain any U.S. citizen who “substantially supported” al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces” and then hold them in military compounds until “the end of hostilities.” The vagueness of the language, and the refusal to exempt journalists, means that those of us who as part of our reporting have direct contact with individuals or groups deemed to be part of a terrorist network can find ourselves seized and detained under the provision.

“The Government was unable to offer definitions for the phrases ‘substantially support’ or ‘directly support,’ ” the judge wrote. “In particular, when the Court asked for one example of what ‘substantially support’ means, the Government stated, ‘I’m not in a position to give one specific example.’ When asked about the phrase ‘directly support,’ the Government stated, ‘I have not thought through exactly and we have not come to a position on ‘direct support’ and what that means.’ In its pre-trial memoranda, the Government also did not provide any definitional examples for those terms.”

The judge’s ruling asked whether a news article deemed by authorities as favorable to the Taliban could be interpreted as having “substantially supported” the Taliban.

“How about a YouTube video?” she went on. “Where is the line between what the government would consider ‘journalistic reporting’ and ‘propaganda?’ Who will make such determinations? Will there be an office established to read articles, watch videos, and evaluate speeches in order to make judgments along a spectrum of where the support is ‘modest’ or ‘substantial?’ ”

Forrest concurred with the plaintiffs that the statute violated our free speech rights and due-process guarantees. She noted that “the Court repeatedly asked the Government whether those particular past activities could subject plaintiffs to indefinite detention; the Government refused to answer.” The judge went on to criticize the nebulous language of the law, chastising the government because it “did not provide particular definitions.” She wrote that “the statute’s vagueness falls far short of what due process requires.”

Although government lawyers argued during the trial that the law represented no change from prior legislation, they now assert that blocking it imperils the nation’s security. It is one of numerous contradictions in the government’s case, many of which were illuminated in Forrest’s opinion. The government, she wrote, “argues that no future administration could interpret § 1021(B)(2) or the AUMF differently because the two are so clearly the same. That frankly makes no sense, particularly in light of the Government’s inability at the March and August hearings to define certain terms in—or the scope of—§ 1021(B)(2).” The judge said that “Section 1021 appears to be a legislative attempt at an ex post facto ‘fix’: to provide the President (in 2012) with broader detention authority than was provided in the AUMF [Authorization to Use Military Force Act] in 2001 and to try and ratify past detentions which may have occurred under an overly-broad interpretation of the AUMF.”

The government, in effect, is attempting to push though a law similar to the legislation that permitted the government to intern 110,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II. This law, if it comes back into force, would facilitate the mass internment of Muslim Americans as well as those deemed to “support” groups or activities defined as terrorist by the state. Calling the 1944 ruling “an embarrassment,” Forrest referred to Korematsu v. United States, which upheld the government’s internment of Japanese-Americans.

The judge said in her opinion that the government “did not submit any evidence in support of its positions. It did not call a single witness, submit a single declaration, or offer a single document at any point during these proceedings.” She went on to write that she found “the testimony of each plaintiff credible.”

“At the March hearing, the Court asked whether Hedges’ activities could subject him to detention under § 1021; the Government stated that it was not prepared to address that question. When asked a similar question at the August hearing, five months later, the Government remained unwilling to state whether any of plaintiffs’ (including Hedges’s) protected First Amendment future activities could subject him or her to detention under § 1021. This Court finds that Hedges has a reasonable fear of detention pursuant to § 1021(B)(2).”

The government has now lost four times in a litigation that has gone on almost nine months. It lost the preliminary injunction in May. It lost a motion for reconsideration shortly thereafter. It lost the permanent injunction. It lost its request last week for a stay. We won’t stop fighting this, but it is deeply disturbing that the Obama administration, rather than protecting our civil liberties and democracy, insists on further eroding them by expanding the power of the military to seize U.S. citizens and control our streets.

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