Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The great betrayal

I read the following commentary in Raw Story and frankly, I'm speechless. I will go as far as to say I feel utterly betrayed... and have removed my trust from the Obama basket.

No wonder Obama won't investigate the Bush Administration.

I'm remembering, quite rapidly, why I became an Independent in the first place. Both of these parties are simply two sides of the same corrupted coin. Obama is a Democrat. He's part of the great, rotten machine.

Trust is a dangerous thing. But once given, it can be taken back. As Lincoln said: If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. Lincoln also said "Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT, stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong."

As I read this Raw Story below, I heard my confidence in Obama shatter; it sounded like a glass window exploding.

Obama was a Constitutional lawyer; this we have been told. A law professor. I wonder how he makes that work... with this?

Obama Administration quietly expands Bush's legal defense of wiretapping program
John Byrne
Published: Tuesday April 7, 2009

In a stunning defense of President George W. Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, President Barack Obama has broadened the government's legal argument for immunizing his Administration and government agencies from lawsuits surrounding the National Security Agency's eavesdropping efforts.

In fact, a close read of a government filing last Friday reveals that the Obama Administration has gone beyond any previous legal claims put forth by former President Bush.

Responding to a lawsuit filed by a civil liberties group, the Justice Department argued that the government was protected by "sovereign immunity" from lawsuits because of a little-noticed clause in the Patriot Act. The government's legal filing can be read here (PDF).

For the first time, the Obama Administration's brief contends that government agencies cannot be sued for wiretapping American citizens even if there was intentional violation of US law. They maintain that the government can only be sued if the wiretaps involve "willful disclosure" -- a higher legal bar.

"A 'willful violation' in Section 223(c(1) refers to the 'willful disclosure' of intelligence information by government agents, as described in Section 223(a)(3) and (b)(3), and such disclosures by the Government are the only actions that create liability against the United States," Obama Assistant Attorney General Michael Hertz wrote (page 5).

Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is suing the government over the warrantless wiretapping program, notes that the government has previously argued that the government had "sovereign immunity" against civil action under the FISA statute. But he says that this is the first time that they've invoked changes to the Patriot Act in claiming the US government is immune from claims of illegal spying under any other federal surveillance statute.

"They are arguing this based on changes to the law made by the USA PATRIOT Act, Section 223," Bankston said in an email to Raw Story. "We've never been fans of 223--it made it much harder to sue the U.S. for illegal spying, see an old write-up of mine at: http://w2.eff.org/patriot/sunset/223.php --but no one's ever suggested before that it wholly immunized the U.S. government against suits under all the surveillance statutes."

Salon columnist and constitutional scholar Glenn Greenwald -- who is generally supportive of progressive interpretations of the law -- says the Obama Administration has "invented a brand new claim" of immunity from spying litigation.

"In other words, beyond even the outrageously broad 'state secrets' privilege invented by the Bush administration and now embraced fully by the Obama administration, the Obama DOJ has now invented a brand new claim of government immunity, one which literally asserts that the U.S. Government is free to intercept all of your communications (calls, emails and the like) and -- even if what they're doing is blatantly illegal and they know it's illegal -- you are barred from suing them unless they 'willfully disclose' to the public what they have learned," Greenwald wrote Monday.
Here comes the new boss... same as the old boss.

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Anonymous Richard said...

Are you not surprised that an individuals point of view changes once they have all of the facts, facts unavailable to the public. Once Obama took office he was made privy to confidential reports and background information needed to make Presidential decisions.Once he was given the deeper picture he arrived at a similar conclusion to Bush. Is it so surprising that two individuals given the same information come to the same conclusion? You are making assumptions without having all the facts. Obama has the facts. I guess national security trumps all.
Richard Complainary, Publisher

4:00 PM  
Blogger Maire said...

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

Am I surprised that Obama -- who we elected believing that he was a lot wiser than W -- made the same decision? Yes. Should I be surprised by anything I see a politician do these days? Probably not. Should our government be eavesdropping on American citizens without a judge-issued warrant? Our Fourth Amendment says NOT.

Now granted the oath of office was screwed up big time; but I do believe that somewhere in there Obama did swear to uphold the Constitution and defend it. Even from himself. And I believe that oath did refer as well to the 4th amendment. It certainly didn't exclude it.

Bush... couldn't have cared less about that 'damned piece of paper,' but Obama is was advertised as a Constitutional scholar. We expected much, much more of him. Absolutely.

6:54 PM  

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