The Big Think

January 2, 2012


Filed under: Quoth — jasony @ 10:00 pm

“All endeavor calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan, endure the last hours toil. The fight to the finish spirit is the one… characteristic we must posses if we are to face the future as finishers.”

Henry David Thoreau

Signed, Sealed, Detained

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:04 am


“In his last official act of business in 2011, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act from his vacation rental in Kailua, Hawaii. In a statement, the president said he did so with reservations about key provisions in the law — including a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge.

The legislation has drawn severe criticism from civil liberties groups, many Democrats, along with Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who called it “a slip into tyranny.” Recently two retired four-star Marine generals called on the president to veto the bill in a New York Times op-ed, deeming it “misguided and unnecessary.”

“Due process would be a thing of the past,” wrote Gens Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar. “Current law empowers the military to detain people caught on the battlefield, but this provision would expand the battlefield to include the United States”

I haven’t heard anyone outside of government defending this, not even the war-hawk right who you’d think would be okay with anything that strengthens our government’s ability to protect the poor defenseless population (cough, Todd Beamer, cough). If this had happened under the previous administration we all know that there would have been an unholy racket about the president “shredding the Constitution” and setting up a Fascist government. Now? Not so much.

Don’t misunderstand me. I do not think that the President is going to use this bill to start pulling political opponents off the street and disappearing them. Emphatically NO. I’m not all conspiracy-theory about this. Saying it’s a horrible bill and goes against our ideas of due process and rule-of-law isn’t the same thing as saying the president is eeeevill and Fascistic. It’s terrible law, and shockingly bad in light of the fact that the President held himself up as such a strong constitutional scholar–and convinced so many people to vote for him based on that claim. But we all know how laws that get passed now with the promise that they won’t be abused by the current administration (cross our hearts… just give us this power now and everything will be okay) will be reinterpreted, stretched, and applied with a far wider interpretation by a future administration (hey, the law is there and has been on the books for a while). So the slippery slope argument definitely applies.

Even members of his own party have publicly acknowledged that this bill was badly written and allows this very thing to legally be interpreted from the document. So they proposed language that would remove the possibility without defanging the legislation in general. That language was stripped from the final bill.

This cartoon on Instapundit says it well:


There is no more damning evidence of the failure of this administration to live up to their campaign promises of open government, trustworthy government, and fair government than this. In light of the Change we were told would happen, the passing and signing of this bill (by both parties) is indefensible.

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