How did you celebrate your New Year, dear readers?! Barack Obama celebrated by signing the National Defense Authorization Act — the exciting “detain all the fishy Americans the government feels like without trial, forever” bill — into law. Obama decided to wait until New Year’s Eve, when America was already halfway through its second six-pack, to sign this shameful piece of legislation and then pray no one besides the ACLU and a couple handfuls of weary reporters trudging through the holiday weekend shift would bother to notice. To demonstrate that he, a former Constitutional law professor, still felt at least a little bad about signing an unconstitutional bill into law, he also added a contrite signing statement promising not to use his powers for Evil. This would only really be helpful to FREEDUMB, however, if Barack Obama were always going to be President, forever. Does he know something that we don’t?
From the signing statement, via TalkingPointsMemo:
Ultimately, I decided to sign this bill not only because of the critically important services it provides for our forces and their families and the national security programs it authorizes, but also because the Congress revised provisions that otherwise would have jeopardized the safety, security, and liberty of the American people. Moving forward, my Administration will interpret and implement the provisions described below in a manner that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which this country was founded.
Hahaha, he should have just written “SIGH” in the margin next to his signature, since all these other words basically mean nothing. HOW MUCH NOTHING, you ask? Here is newly-elected Barack Obama in 2009, promising not to support this exact kind of criminally insane nonsense:
“We must have clear, defensible and lawful standards for those who fall into this category,” said Obama, speaking of protracted detention. “We must have fair procedures so that we don’t make mistakes. We must have a thorough process of periodic review so that any prolonged detention is carefully evaluated and justified. . . . And so, going forward, my administration will work with Congress to develop an appropriate legal regime.”
Mark D. Agrast, deputy assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, and Brad Wiegman, a principal deputy and chief of staff in the National Security Division who heads an interagency task force on detention policy, told a group of about 15 activists that the government has all the detention authority it needs and will neither propose nor support any new legislation, according to several people who attended the meeting.
OOPS! At least he managed to sign the bill on New Year’s Eve, so that those 68 #OWS protesters that the NYPD arrested at Zuccotti Park on New Year’s Day will be able to enjoy their nice surprise vacation, to Gitmo. [TPM/ ACLU]