Final Curtain: Obama Signs Indefinite Detention of Citizens Into Law As Final Act of 2011

President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens. It was a symbolic moment to say the least. With Americans distracted with drinking and celebrating, Obama signed one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country . . . and citizens partied only blissfully into the New Year.

Ironically, in addition to breaking his promise not to sign the law, Obama broke his promise on signing statements and attached a statement that he really does not want to detain citizens indefinitely.

Obama insisted that he signed the bill simply to keep funding for the troops. It was a continuation of the dishonest treatment of the issue by the White House since the law first came to light. As discussed earlier, the White House told citizens that the President would not sign the NDAA because of the provision. That spin ended after sponsor Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) went to the floor and disclosed that it was the White House that insisted that there be no exception for citizens in the indefinite detention provision.

The latest claim is even more insulting. You do not “support our troops” by denying the principles for which they are fighting. They are not fighting to consolidate authoritarian powers in the President. The “American way of life” is defined by our Constitution and specifically the Bill of Rights. Moreover, the insistence that you do not intend to use authoritarian powers does not alter the fact that you just signed an authoritarian measure. It is not the use but the right to use such powers that defines authoritarian systems.

The almost complete failure of the mainstream media to cover this issue is shocking. Many reporters have bought into the spin of the Obama Administration as they did the spin over torture by the Bush Administration. Even today reporters refuse to call waterboarding torture despite the long line of cases and experts defining waterboarding as torture for decades. On the NDAA, reporters continue to mouth the claim that this law only codifies what is already the law. That is not true. The Administration has fought any challenges to indefinite detention to prevent a true court review. Moreover, most experts agree that such indefinite detention of citizens violates the Constitution.

There are also those who continue the long-standing effort to excuse Obama’s horrific record on civil liberties by either blaming others or the times. One successful myth is that there is an exception for citizens. The White House is saying that changes to the law made it unnecessary to veto the legislation. That spin is facially ridiculous. The changes were the inclusion of some meaningless rhetoric after key amendments protecting citizens were defeated. The provision merely states that nothing in the provisions could be construed to alter Americans’ legal rights. Since the Senate clearly views citizens are not just subject to indefinite detention but even execution without a trial, the change offers nothing but rhetoric to hide the harsh reality. THe Administration and Democratic members are in full spin — using language designed to obscure the authority given to the military. The exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032) is the screening language for the next section, 1031, which offers no exemption for American citizens from the authorization to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial.

Obama could have refused to sign the bill and the Congress would have rushed to fund the troops. Instead, as confirmed by Sen. Levin, the White House conducted a misinformation campaign to secure this power while portraying Obama as some type of reluctant absolute ruler, or as Obama maintains a reluctant president with dictatorial powers.

Most Democratic members joined their Republican colleagues in voting for this unAmerican measure. Some Montana citizens are moving to force the removal of these members who they insist betrayed their oaths of office and their constituents. Most citizens however are continuing to treat the matter as a distraction from the holiday cheer.

For civil libertarians, the NDAA is our Mayan moment. 2012 is when the nation embraced authoritarian powers with little more than a pause between rounds of drinks.

So here is a resolution better than losing weight this year . . . make 2012 the year you regained your rights.

Here is the signing statement attached to the bill:
————-

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31, 2011
Statement by the President on H.R. 1540
Today I have signed into law H.R. 1540, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.” I have signed the Act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed. In hundreds of separate sections totaling over 500 pages, the Act also contains critical Administration initiatives to control the spiraling health care costs of the Department of Defense (DoD), to develop counterterrorism initiatives abroad, to build the security capacity of key partners, to modernize the force, and to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations worldwide.
The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists. Over the last several years, my Administration has developed an effective, sustainable framework for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected terrorists that allows us to maximize both our ability to collect intelligence and to incapacitate dangerous individuals in rapidly developing situations, and the results we have achieved are undeniable. Our success against al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents has derived in significant measure from providing our counterterrorism professionals with the clarity and flexibility they need to adapt to changing circumstances and to utilize whichever authorities best protect the American people, and our accomplishments have respected the values that make our country an example for the world.

Source: ABC

682 thoughts on “Final Curtain: Obama Signs Indefinite Detention of Citizens Into Law As Final Act of 2011”

  1. Bob esq, I am not a lawyer but negligence sounds like the way to go although someone like Bob may well argue a woman knows she could potentially kill or irrepairably harm a fetus with alcohol, tobacco (or drugs).
    The no duty to rescue may be the reason docs have killed babies born from late term abortions (according to some news reports but then the killing of a viable fetus is news because it is the uncommon).
    Tony continues to ignore the just keeping the baby alive. If it is viable when a late term abortion is performed then turn it over to children’s services. That idea would deflate his argument because he seems to prefer finding a way to call women murderers.

  2. Tony,

    The majority of states don’t allow late term abortions except in extenuating circumstances. The Supreme Court has held that late term bans must include such exceptions for threats to the woman’s life, physical health, and mental health. The grey areas being argued currently are all about defining the boundaries of these exceptions under various (and variously worded) state laws, but no state to my knowledge allows unrestricted late term abortions. The key to Roe is viability. Most pro-lifers don’t want limits on late term abortions, which are both scientifically and legally reasonable. They want abortion banned period. The problem with your analysis rests in improper seating of the issues legal reasoning. Roe wasn’t decided on the issues of self-ownership. It was decided on the right to privacy via the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Two different lines of logic.

    “My logic is that Locke’s principle is not law, and by counter-example not considered by our government to be one of the “other” inalienable rights of man as Bob claims it is, and on top of all of that, no rights allow any of us to deprive another person of life without just cause.”

    The confusion here is inalienability and enumeration are separate issues. The principle of self-ownership, the right itself, is inalienable, but that does not mean it cannot be limited and it is not required that it be enumerated to be found in the law. Inalienability is a quality of rights that only applies to your ability to transfer your rights, not for the law to define the boundaries of those rights. Defining the boundaries of rights under the social compact is the very essence of law and what defines the limitations accepted for the mutually gained benefits of society.

  3. Carol,

    Actually, the drinking and smoking would go to a negligence type charge since there’s no evidence of specific intent to kill.

    Still, you may want to think about how it all compares to the common law duty to rescue; i.e. in that there generally is none.

  4. Tony C.: “That is a false equivalence, it is just like arguing that the Constitution is based upon Judeo-Christian principles when it was specifically not.”

    No, it’s not; just like the ninth amendment is not made of green cheese.

    I’ve grown tired of you and your counter-factual premises.

  5. @Gene: As a matter of legal reasoning and jurisprudence, Bob is indeed correct. The 9th and 10th Amendments are direct results of Hamilton and Madison’s positions.

    I did not argue that point, I agree with that point. I argued that Hamilton wanted NO enumeration of rights, and that is not what he got.

    However, this is all tangential to the central question we began with, and so is current legal reasoning and jurisprudence. I am not dismissing the importance of that in general, but my argument is not so much about what is currently legal or illegal regarding abortion, but what should be legal and illegal. I think the legal reasoning that allows unconditional late term abortion is flawed reasoning.

    In defense, Bob thinks that Locke’s principle of self-ownership decides the matter, so that has led us to this tangential issue: Why should I believe Locke? His principle of self-ownership is not in the Constitution, and our courts clearly do not adhere to that principle absolutely, so they do not consider it inalienable. Prostitution is outlawed, organ selling is outlawed, people can be compelled to undertake acts, even acts that endanger them (soldiers and cops and firemen for starters).

    My logic is that Locke’s principle is not law, and by counter-example not considered by our government to be one of the “other” inalienable rights of man as Bob claims it is, and on top of all of that, no rights allow any of us to deprive another person of life without just cause.

    It is hypocritical (in my view) to say a woman’s self-ownership gives her the right to kill an infant a few hours before birth (whether any examples exist or not), but a woman’s self-ownership does NOT allow her to engage in sex for money. Why should a harmless act be prohibited but a harmful act allowed without question? (and I say “harmless” in the sense that the exact same act is legal without question when payment is not involved.)

    To the extent “self-ownership” is cited by law, it is very selectively cited, it is clearly not considered an inalienable right, because it is alienated in some circumstances.

  6. @1zb1: “E=MC^2″ proundly [sic] changed our understanding of the universe and increadibly [sic] impacted on every aspect of our lives. It doesn’t take a wind bag like you to explain something when it is valid or true,

    Ha! You think that E=MC^2 is obviously true? I think every physicist on the planet when it was introduced would laugh at you, including Einstein. In fact, Einstein might be pissed at you for so cavalierly trivializing the work he put into his most famous postulate.

    The correctness of Einstein’s 1905 derivation of E=mc^2 was criticized by Max Planck (1907), who argued that it is only valid to a first approximation.

    Einstein himself produced six different proofs over forty years, and none of them were valid, they all contained assumptions he could not justify, or had fatal logic errors discovered by others. The first general (but still limited) proof of E=mc^2 for which physicists could not find a flaw was produced by Max Laue, a German physicist, in 1911, while Einstein’s proofs were still in question and under fire. Famously, Einstein reviewed and agreed with Laue’s proof, but then a few years later when he attempted to recapitulate Laue’s proof before an audience, Einstein failed to include one of Laue’s critical arguments, so the proof he presented was still flawed. A more general proof than Laue’s was produced in 1918, by Felix Klein.

    Still, further criticisms were leveled by Herbert Ives (1952) and Max Jammer (1961), asserting that Einstein’s derivation “begs the question,” i.e. it subtly assumes precisely what it attempts to prove.

    Finally, in 2008 (just four years ago) Hans Ohanian (a physicist and textbook author) argued, in yet another peer-reviewed paper, that Einstein’s original derivation was wrong for still other reasons. (Which does not necessarily dispute the result, just Einstein’s reasoning that led to the result.) Here is a copy of Ohanian’s review and critique, for those interested.

    You think it is “obvious” because it is celebrated and famous; your proof is by authority or by acclaim, and authority or acclaim does not make it true, correct, or easy to explain. I am sure Einstein would say the same.

    The chair of Department of Mathematics where I did my undergraduate work had a common retort for students that dared to claim something was obvious: “If it is so obvious to you, come to the board and write us your simple proof.”

    So get up, come to the board (and glory!), we cannot wait to applaud your genius. Prove to us that E=mc^2.

  7. Tony says “I offer logic. Tony “Logic is neither a science nor an art, but a dodge. ~Benjamin Jowett. May7be Benjamin and you have met.

    Angrymanspeaks, me neither.(:

    Bob, esq. I also negleced to ask him if a woman who drinks or smokes,should be prosecuted or held as someone guilty of attempted murder.

    Tony, I mentioned detention, one to see if you felt that a pregnant woman has to be watched over possibly held somewhere official so she does not do something you consider wrong. I also mentioned it in an,effort , as I specifically wrote, to get the discussion more on tract (It was also supposed to be mildly tongue in cheek but that was more in my thght as i wrote it then the way it appeared although nothing, and apparently noone, can pierce your inability to see past your own illusions and illogic.

  8. TC: you said: “In my view that is what they did, if various paths of philosophy all lead to the same conclusion, that is stronger evidence for the robustness of the conclusion than any of the logical threads leading to it.”

    If ever there was a monument to your complete lack of “logic and reason” it is demonstrated by your own words.

  9. @Bob: Yes, the inalienable right of self-ownership is not mentioned in the constitution; but that’s about as sound as arguing that the ninth amendment is made of green cheese.

    That is a false equivalence, it is just like arguing that the Constitution is based upon Judeo-Christian principles when it was specifically not. Oh, the religionists can point at art-1-sec-7 and say, look, they except Sundays in the count of work days for the President, that is their wink and nod to the Christian day of rest!

    Just because the Constitution happens to produce the same results as something Locke advocated, or the Bible advocated, or atheist philosophy advocates, does not constitute a wholesale endorsement of those philosophies.

    For example, atheists like me also revere life, property rights, and keeping our vows, promises and contracts: The constitution supports the atheist conclusions. There is clear evidence in numerous letters that Thomas Jefferson was an atheist. The Constitution does not mention God, not even in the oath of office. But that DOES NOT mean the Constitution analytically includes the principles of atheism, that is an overreach.

    What it means, logically, is that there is obviously more than one path to arrive at the conclusion. In my view that is what they did, if various paths of philosophy all lead to the same conclusion, that is stronger evidence for the robustness of the conclusion than any of the logical threads leading to it.

    Because of that I think the founders chose to simply assert the conclusion, because the conclusion was robust, they could get a majority to vote for the conclusion, even if they could not agree on the philosophical underpinnings that led them, individually, TO the conclusion.

    Locke is not included analytically, the Bible is not included analytically, Paganism and Jefferson’s atheism are not included analytically. The Constitution is a standalone document. In my opinion as a logician, the other inalienable rights of mankind do NOT include anything specific, like the right of self-ownership (or more contentiously, the right to financially support people like Julian Assange that are disliked by our government).

    In my opinion as a logician, the phrase is there to create the presumption of a right, but leave the legality of specific acts up to future courts; much like the presumption of innocence until proven guilty by due process.

    Consider this hypothetical: If self-ownership is a presumptive right, why should the USA outlaw selling one’s organs? A person can donate a liver lobe, a lung, a kidney, a cornea, skin (for burn victims), even a hand or foot, and recover from the surgery with no (or little) decrease in life expectancy. If the foot is the transplant in question, then of the two people in the waiting room scheduled for psychological counseling, one of them is going to be wearing a prosthetic foot for the rest of his life. Why do we prohibit a rich injured man from paying the uninjured man some large sum of money to accept that lifelong burden in his stead? According to Locke the foot is the uninjured man’s property, after all, and if he is of sound mind and firmly believes the money will change his life, then by Locke’s principle of self-ownership, he should be able to sell his foot, to dispose of his property as he sees fit.

    I do not subscribe to that view (although other countries disagree with me) because of the implications. I do not know the particulars of why the US courts agree with me, but probably for the same general reason: they do not like the implications.

    But it also means they reject an absolute application of Locke’s principle of self-ownership. It is not, analytically, in the Constitution under the rubric of other inalienable rights of mankind, not in the view of our courts.

  10. tc: you calling your rants “logic and reason” is like calling the bible the word of god because it says so. both statements make no sense whatseover.

    “E=MC^2” proundly changed our understanding of the universe and increadibly impacted on every aspect of our lives. It doesn’t take a wind bag like you to explain something when it is valid or true, but it does take one like you to make something sound sensible when it is in fact senseless.

  11. @1zb1: It would also help if you reduce you rants to a more concise length.

    I offer logic and reason to defend my position, you offer shouting. I admit shouting takes less text, it just isn’t ever going to make anybody think to defend their position. Which means you might as well not write anything at all.

  12. This has gotten ridiculously tedious even by my low standards.

    BTW:the laws of physics, and by extension chemistry and biology (call it nature if you will or science if you prefer) predate all “written” laws of “man” by at least 14 billion years. In other words we have on one hand facts and reality (as best we understand them at any given time through the “scientific method”) and on the other hand a collection of codified human prejudices and ignorance built upon millenniums of other peoples prejudices and ignorance. Needless to say we have as always a large percent of the population that prefers prejudice and ignorance over facts and reality.

    So happens even our founders understood this when they wrote: “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God “.

    TC: you have to come up with a new line besides the one about lying, or else people might think you have a persecution complex. It would also help if you reduce you rants to a more concise length. Verbosity and persecution complex don’t go well together. In the future I promise to try and shorten my rants next time I have something useless to say.

  13. Gene and Bob, Esq.,.
    You are working overtime in trying to convince Tony C. of the errors of his unique view of our history. Maybe he is behind the Tennessee bill to erase slavery from their history books too!

  14. Sorry, Tony. As a matter of legal reasoning and jurisprudence, Bob is indeed correct. The 9th and 10th Amendments are direct results of Hamilton and Madison’s positions. In addition, Madison and other legal writers at the time of the amendments viewed the 9th and 10th as twin guardians of our federalist structure of government. Over the years, the courts have continued to uphold them as federalist rules of construction.

  15. Ignorance on parade: “What the evidence shows is that a majority of founders believed “other rights” exist, they signed off on it. So do I. But I am also certain the founders knew they were writing a standalone legal document that would have to speak for itself, and that makes the absence of any Lockean self-ownership generating principle for those “other rights” glaring. They certainly knew of it.”

    Ignorance on parade: “So now you will resort to “analytic” existence, as part of the “inalienable rights of mankind.” Yet the founders could not have possibly believed that, … Either they had a much different definition of “inalienable” than we do, or self-ownership was simply not among the “inalienable” rights of mankind.

    Ignorance on parade: “It (the inalienable right of self ownership) is not in the Constitution.”

    Deductive reasoning is analytic; it requires no reference to the external world, it does not add to our store of knowledge; it merely rearranges it.

    Deductive reasoning can also be counter factual; as when you begin with the premise that the social contract as understood by the founders does not exist. This would include the genesis right of all property rights; i.e. the inalienable right of self ownership.

    You fail to win the assent of the audience simply because you insist on using counter-factual premises in your reasoning.

    All celestial bodies are made of green cheese

    The moon is a celestial body

    Therefore the moon is made of green cheese.

    Yes, the inalienable right of self-ownership is not mentioned in the constitution; but that’s about as sound as arguing that the ninth amendment is made of green cheese.

  16. @Angry: I won’t read you if you lie about me.

    The Bible is not the first book of laws. The earliest evidence anywhere we have for the Torah is from about 600 BC. Here are other laws that predate it:
    # Code of Urukagina (2,380-2,360 BC)
    # Cuneiform law (2,350-1,400 BC)
    # Code of Ur-Nammu, king of Ur (ca. 2050 BC)
    # Laws of Eshnunna (ca. 1930 BC).
    # Codex of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin (ca. 1870 BC).
    # Code of Hammurabi (ca. 1790 BC)
    # Code of the Nesilim (c. 1650-1500 BC)
    # Hittite laws (ca. 1650–1100 BC).
    # Hebraic law / Torah / Old Testament (ca. 600 BC).

    In particular, the Code of Hammurabi predates the Torah by about 1000 years, and is lengthy, explicit, and for the most part secular, it is far more detailed than anything in the Bible.

    You simply do not know what you are talking about.

    You are also wrong about my moral code, it has no supernatural basis.

    I suppose your mind is so chaotic and full of hatred for other people that you just cannot imagine living your life by any moral code without the constant threat of eternal damnation hanging over you. It must be really hard for you to constantly resist those voices in your head urging you to murder, rape, and steal.

    So, even if it is hard for you to imagine, just accept that I am different than you: I do not need a threat to behave fairly or kindly towards others, I can give to charity without seeking supernatural approval points, I care for my extended family because I love them and they love me, I care for others because I have empathy and their suffering provokes anguish in me. They do not have to have eternal souls to feel pain, or defeat, or despair, or to have hopes, or be in love or dream of a better life or to laugh until they are out of breath. I do not need a fantasy to add value to their life, they do not have to be eternal. Their innocent joy in life adds joy to my life, the pain inflicted upon them inflicts emotional pain on me.

    I guess you need the crutch, you don’t have the strength or empathy it takes to act honorably on your own. I have no need of a God to take credit for what goes right or take blame for what goes wrong in my life, I will not redirect my responsibility. I do not need blessings, or luck, or approval of anybody but the persons I love. When it comes to my actions the buck stops with me, for better or worse.

  17. @Bob: I didn’t win the assent of the audience, I don’t really care. The point isn’t to win, the point is to have the better logic, for those people that can follow logic, and believe that logic is what wins.

    I have it. You don’t. If like you 99% of the people cannot allow logic to supercede their emotions, then fine, that is their disability. Maybe some day they will get over it. In the meantime, I write for those that can follow it, and correspond with those that can argue with it.

    You are correct (for the third time), the Constitution does not grant rights. It does assert we have certain specific rights that the founders, collectively, thought it was important to BE specific about. Obviously, they did not, collectively, think any right of “self-ownership” was important enough to be specific about it.

    Plus, they called it the Bill of RIGHTS for a reason; the rights are indeed phrased as restrictions on government, but a third grader could figure out the restrictions were entirely in the service of detailing a RIGHT of the people. There is no other plausible way to interpret the title, the “Bill of Rights.”

    So now you will resort to “analytic” existence, as part of the “inalienable rights of mankind.” Yet the founders could not have possibly believed that, they believed in the death penalty for non-murder offenses, such as horse stealing. They believed in lashes as punishment. They believed in slavery, for goodness sake.

    Either they had a much different definition of “inalienable” than we do, or self-ownership was simply not among the “inalienable” rights of mankind.

    It is not in the Constitution. But once we leave the realm of reality and enter the realm of your imagination, I suppose all sorts of things could be in there, “analytically,” or “implicitly.” Maybe you can find us Ben Franklin’s secret decoder ring so we can parse it.

  18. @Carol: Right, because that is absolutely NOTHING like anything I said.

    What is your crazy obsession with detention? I have certainly never mentioned it, it is entirely a fiction in your own mind. We do not detain innocent people to prevent them from committing crimes, even if they have the means to commit crimes and the motive to commit crimes.

    People are innocent until proven guilty; if a mother is developing a normal fetus and has crossed the limit of voluntary abortion, and she unilaterally chooses to abort the child anyway, she has committed a crime, she has killed a person, and she should be punished. I do not condone “preventive detention,” it is a mark of dictatorship. Bush and Obama condone it, but I do not.

  19. Carol Levy: “What if she had doubts about the pregnancy? Does that make a miscarriage suspect?”

    Tony C. “Possibly, it depends on the evidence. If I have witnesses that hear a wife threatening the life of her husband, and the next day he ends up dead of a heart attack, it will be investigated as a murder with her the primary suspect. So your hypothetical is no different: The fetus was a person, the person is dead, police and prosecutors should be convinced her “doubts” were not translated into action.

    Carol,

    You should have asked him if women who suffer miscarriages due to working too hard and putting their bodies through excessive stress should be prosecuted for manslaughter or negligent homicide.

    c.f. Duty to Rescue

  20. Tony,

    You ignorant slut.

    Hamilton and Madison were not overruled in the context which you originally contended above. Hamilton’s objection ripened into the ninth amendment; a rule of construction to ensure idiots like you don’t bastardize the constitution.

    The inalienable right of self ownership exists analytically; i.e. the concept of the predicate self-ownership is contained within the concept of the subject inalienable rights of mankind.

    Your argument that the Founders would have placed the right of self-ownership within the constitution if that’s what they intended is a load of horse shit because, one last time, the constitution does not confer any rights whatsoever.

    None; zero; zilch.

    The Bill of Rights is merely a set of further defined restrictions of power of the Federal government. Hell, it wasn’t until 1925 that the Supreme Court created the incorporation doctrine to compel states to protect the right of free speech.

    Regardless, you keep insisting you won this argument. That is, you won the assent of the audience. Show me a poster here who accepts your line of reasoning and I’ll show you a juristic moron.

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