What sparked this burst of outrage was MSNBC talking head Rachel Maddow’s fawning, obsequious display of self-prostration of the president’s signing the legislation containing that noxious provision on the grounds he’d issued a “signing statement” that he disagreed with it. I was under the impression that if a president truly disagreed with some piece of legislation which Congress, in its infinite lack of wisdom and maturity, had passed that the Constitution has this thing called a veto.
So, Barak Obama has issued a signing statement along with his signature approving the National Defence Authorization Act. The same piece of legislation approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate as well as the Republican-dominated House of Representatives. The one which contains provisions authorizing and formalizing procedures for indefinite detention without charge, access to a lawyer, or any means through which to redress grievances.
This extra note says he himself will not enforce any of the provisions dealing with indefinite detention. Of course, he can’t speak for any future presidents. And since promises to close Gitmo as well as to repeal the USA PATRIOT Act were pillars of his campaign, exactly how much credibility are we supposed to give his words?
“Trust me,” he says. There’s a saying that “trust me” is Sicilian—or Irish or Russian or Iranian—for “Fuck you”.
The signing statement is a rather meaningless gesture, little more than a “wink, wink”, “nudge, nudge” to the advocates of the police state. Watch what he does, not what he says. He refused to veto indefinite detention. In effect, he gave it his tacit approval.
Maybe it just was a case of him channeling a certain punk rock band, saying with his actions, “Give me expediency or give me death”. You know, allow a tremendous threat to the rights and liberties of American citizens as a bone to the Tea Pot Dome clique currently doing its best to drive our country into the ground. Destroy democracy in order to save it.
Maybe the Dead Kennedys will sue him for copyright infringement.
But even if his stated intentions were any more sincere and carried more weight than the two previous instances regarding the encroaching police state, it’s still subject to the Law of Unintended Consequences. Especially in this case, where those with which this road to hell is paved aren’t about doing what is good but what is convenient. President Obama sold away our rights under several articles of the Bill of Rights in order to pass a defense budget.
Budgets, bucks, and bottom lines.
You know, Mr. Obama, in the future when I’m dying on hunger strike in the prison at Guantanamo Bay or from pneumonia contracted after too many sessions on a water board at a U.S. black site or peritonitis developed after being anal-raped with a billy club one too many times in whatever country I’ve been rendered too, the thoughts and sentiment behind your signing statement should really warm my heart.