Note the typical argument in favor of giving up our civil liberties. The defender of these extraordinary powers goes on and on in a breathless tirade about the severe dangers we face from the present set of terrorists. People who argue in this way don’t want any body else to get a word in edgewise, because someone might ask, “These terrorists may be as big a threat as you suggest, but is it possible that there is even a bigger threat than what these terrorists pose? What about the threat of giving up our civil rights to the great powers within our own country who might choose to end our democracy in favor of a dictatorship?”
You even hear the answer to this implied question in this video. The people who dismiss the need for our constitutional protections cannot see any immediate danger if we eliminate the constitutional protections. Of course, to even say they do not see the threat in the present circumstances is an implicit admission that such a threat is conceivable in distant future under different circumstances. In those circumstances it would be too late to claw back the protections we are giving up today.
Our citizens who demanded the addition of the Bill Of Rights to the Constitution written by our founding politicians, saw the possibilities. They wanted written protection because they knew that they could not depend indefinitely on an unwritten social contract.
As any good lawyer will advise, “If you want behavior from a contractor, you had better put it in writing. Do not depend on oral contracts.”
I suggest people look ahead for people who might use these new powers badly, because I know that many people’s memories don’t reach back to the far distant past of three years ago. Imagine if Dick Cheney had clear legal authority to do some of the awful things that his administration did. Without even the tiniest worry about the legal consequences of his actions, there is no telling what he might have done. It shouldn’t be that hard to imagine it, though.
Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Dec 15, 2011 With high unemployment and widening inequality in the US, the 2012 presidential hopefuls battle over financial strategy. Inside Story US 2012 discusses with Tim Dickinson, Rick Perlstein; and Mark Calabria.
I was a little surprised that they included Mark Calabria from The Cato Institute, a place full of whackos if there ever was one. They handled him almost as well as Faux News would handle any liberal they would allow on their network.
Nobody corrected him, but Mark Calabria is totally wrong to suggest that Keynes would be in favor of high income tax cuts as a way to stimulate the economy. Low income tax cuts may be better than high income ones, but they are still not the best stimulus. Massive hiring of people by government instigated work projects is something that Keynes would have favored and something that Obama did not try. It is not just government spending that Keynes promoted, it was a specific kind of spending. Tax cutting is a form of government spending, but it is not the form that Keynes advocated.
By the way, for a long time I thought that existential was a fancy word that had a meaning so vague I didn’t really comprehend what it meant. At some point I realized what a simple word it was. An existential question is a question about whether or not the entity under consideration can continue to exist. What can be more stark and not-vague than that?
I do not know how you could be unaffected by this video. However, if you somehow manage to remain dry eyed, consider the previous post Bill Of Rights RIP to realize that watching this video could subject you to the same treatment as Bradley Manning. If I say I am sorry for posting this and turn you in for watching it, do you suppose they’ll go easy on me?
Tell me, can you vote to re-elect a President that lets this kind of stuff go on? He has the power to stop it, yet he does nothing and even encourages it.
Here is an email I received to petition the White House once more. This time, the deadline for action is really near – and I do mean deadline in the most literal sense of the word – if you miss it, the Bill Of Rights may be dead.
Here is the message that I sent via this call to petition.
Dear Mr. President,
I urge you to veto the National Defense Authorization Act. While you seem to believe it limits your powers, my concern is that it gives unconstitutional powers to presidents, including the power to imprison people without charge or trial. You should use your Constitutional power to veto this dangerous bill.
I don’t know how I could possibly vote for you in 2012 if you fail to veto this bill.
But on Wednesday the White House said Obama had lifted the threat of a veto after changes to the law giving the president greater discretion to prevent individuals from being handed to the military.
Critics accused the president of caving in again to pressure from some Republicans on a counter-terrorism issue for fear of being painted in next year’s election campaign as weak and of failing to defend America.
When it comes time to vote for President in 2012, I don’t know how I am going to be able to vote for Obama. In the last election, I used the threat of not voting for him as a way to nudge him in a different policy direction. Now that he has an established record, there is no nudge room left. I don’t know if I could sleep at night if I were to cast a vote for him again.