Many liberals continue in a state of denial about Obama’s comprehensive and relentless assault on the Constitution he took an oath to preserve, protect and defend — the only promise a President is required by law to make. They say, “Oh, Bush started it,” or, “All Presidents have done the same things.” The former is irrelevant and the latter is simply not true.
When running for the Democratic nomination for President in 2008, Obama said he would support a filibuster in the Senate against any bill immunizing the telecoms retroactively for collaborating with the government in illegal surveillance of the American people. In July, after securing the nomination, he voted to pass a bill immunizing the telecoms retroactively for collaborating with the government in illegal surveillance of the American people.
We should have known then what sort of a man he was, but I myself, working on his campaign in a state of great hope and faith, just couldn’t believe it.
George W. Bush claimed the right to detain America citizens indefinitely without trial as a power he possessed in a time of war — the war on terror. Since this war is undeclared, and since there will always be terrorists we might conceivably consider ourselves at war with, Bush was claiming a permanent right — permanently abolishing habeas corpus, a cornerstone of our Constitution and the sine qua of any free state. Habeas corpus is the principle that the state cannot imprison its citizens without trial, except in times of war or open rebellion against the government. Suspending habeas corpus by claiming that the nation is in a permanent condition of war or rebellion is the first act of any dictator.
Obama has adopted Bush’s abolition of habeas corpus and taken it one step further. Obama claims he has the right to imprison or kill, without trial and even without public notice, any American citizen he deems, on his own authority and no other, to be at war with America. This guts the Constitution — makes the Constitution a joke. Obama’s assertion of this “right” not only justifies but demands immediate impeachment.
In 2011, Obama signed into law H.R. 347, a bill that makes it illegal for any citizen to engage in “disorderly or disruptive behavior” in a building or area occupied by a government official who is receiving Secret Service protection, whether or not the citizen knows that such an official is present. Disorderly and disruptive behavior is not defined. What this means in practice, among other things, is that the Secret Service or other law enforcement officers can eject or arrest protesters from any place a President is appearing. If the President is giving a speech in a public park, for example, and the President’s people don’t like a sign you’re carrying, or what you’re shouting at the President, you can be removed from the scene or jailed.
This is probably the most blatant subversion of the First Amendment in all of American history. Obama’s failure to veto it is one of the most shameful derelictions of duty by any President.
THE FOURTH AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The simple fact that Obama has seized and searched all my phone records, all your phone records, all the phone records of every American who has a phone, without probable cause in the vast majority (that is in tens of millions) of cases, is the final proof that Obama’s war on the Constitution is not just some good faith misunderstanding or bumbling on his part. The Constitution means nothing — nothing — to Obama’s imperial and majestic self. He sees himself as above it.
But he is not above it. We have means of redress within the Constitution itself to remove a President who tries to set himself about it. We need to do that while the Constitution still operates, if only nominally, as the organizing framework of our republic.
Obama has declared all-out war on whistleblowers and the journalists who report their leaks. The Obama administration is happy to provide its own leaks to the press, as long as they paint the administration in a favorable light, but anyone who leaks anything that paints the administration in a bad light is targeted for prosecution. Obama has used the Espionage Act to go after whistleblowers seven times during his term so far — more than all other previous Presidents combined.
Edward Snowden, like Daniel Ellsberg — who released material that had a higher security classification than what Snowden released — may have broken the law, but the idea that he can be reasonably prosecuted as a spy or traitor is tyrannical nonsense, the conception of a megalomaniac.
Obama’s justice department has also conducted sweeping surveillance of journalists suspected of reporting leaks, using orders from secret rubber-stamp courts to justify what is on the face of it a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. Thousands of phone records from AP reporters were seized in a dragnet operation aimed at tracking down the source of a leak by someone who may or may not have passed it along to the AP. The extent of the seizures makes a mockery of the Fourth Amendment’s insistence on having both specificity and reasonable cause for such seizures.
This is all intended to have a chilling effect on the operations of a free press, and some journalists are reporting that it’s working — that investigative journalists are terrified of reporting anything that might displease the administration, that doesn’t simply regurgitate the information contained in the administration’s press hand-outs. The few members of Congress who are briefed on the machinations of Obama’s secret surveillance state are not allowed to speak publicly about them. Obama’s Director of National Security lied blatantly and with impunity to Congress about the extent of NSA surveillance — which makes one suspect the reliability even of the secret briefings. Whisteblowers who try to tell the American people what their government is doing in their name are prosecuted as traitors and spies. Reporters who report on what the whistleblowers are saying are themselves targeted as potential criminals.
Without an honest executive, without a fully informed legislature and without a free press, America is doomed to remain in the dark about what Obama is doing — which is exactly where he wants us to be. He knows best, it seems — and the Constitution be damned.
In any case, by the time he leaves office, there won’t be much of it left functioning.