Colbert on Obama's signing of bill allowing indefinite imprisonment of US citizens without charges or trial

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55 Responses to “Colbert on Obama's signing of bill allowing indefinite imprisonment of US citizens without charges or trial”

  1. abaris23 says:

    i see no problem here. at least now americans treat themselve as they treat foreigners.

    • travtastic says:

      Well, I do see a problem with people being stripped of their rights. Doing it to American citizens isn’t going to cancel out doing it to foreign nationals.

      And guess what? Those Americans, you know the one who love Guantanamo and torture, and hate due process? This law was not written for them.

  2. Mister44 says:

    Soooo who is really under the Obama suit?

  3. GuyInMilwaukee says:

    The scary part for me is why the media has been so quiet about this. Why would this be in their interest? Habeas Corpus.. how quaint…

  4. alfanovember says:

    It’s a shame they couldn’t call it the “National Victory Defense Auth Act”,   because as it stands,  this is the best I’ve got:

    Never Democrat Again, Absolutley.

  5. GuyInMilwaukee says:

    4th, 5th and 14th amendment:  gone

    “The enemy is just laughing over this, because they will have gotten another victory. There’ll be one more victory. There won’t be any bloodshed or immediate bloodshed, there’s not a big explosion, except in a metaphorical sense, but it is a victory nonetheless for the enemy. And it’s a self-inflicted wound.”
     - Ret. Adm. John Hutson, Judge Advocate General of the Navy and Dean Emeritus of the University of New Hampshire School of Law

    • Shinkuhadoken says:

      Heheh. They will never repeal the 14th.

      That’s the amendment the Supreme Court has said makes corporations people and allows for unlimited, anonymous donations to SuperPACs who can spend the money any way they want. I’ll just let your imagination figure out all the ways that the “spend the money any way they want” part is going to end up working out.

      No politician would ever cut off this money supply, even if they say they hate SuperPACs or automatic citizenship for babies. The 14th is quite safe.

  6. TrollyMcTrollington says:

    Upset?  Prove it and vote against him, even if for a third party.  Until then,  STFU.
    Stop giving him a pass because you hate the GOP more.

      • absimiliard says:

        No, I don’t think you can.

        You can hate Obama more than Republicans, and vote for him.

        Or you can hate Republicans more than Obama, and vote against him.

        -abs is pretty sure that until a viable third party is present in the US that’s pretty much your two choices, enjoy them, -abs will be voting against the President who favors indefinite detention of US citizens without trial unless the Republicans put up Rick Perry (in which case he’ll probably still vote against Obama, but will feel pretty bad about it)

        {edit}edited: because “indefinite” is spelled with three “i”s instead of with two “i”s and an “a”….. ooops. {/edit}

  7. Twilight_News_Site says:

    IMHO, President Obama is not actually in control of major portions of the United States Government, including and especially the military industrial complex.

    • singe_101 says:

      He supports this, it’s consistent with his actions. Gitmo, Bagram, black sites, drone strikes, still going strong. Bradley Manning torture means nothing to him, he said he broke the law (thanks, Judge).

      Retroactive immunity for surveillance was the first red flag. They derogate the “professional left” or base and love banks and insurance giants.He gave some speeches against the Iraq war. Big deal. Even Cheney could give a good sincere case on NOT invading Iraq, with no exit strategy, in about 1994 when he didn’t have that chance and less financial incentive.

    • ialreadyexist says:

      Even if you are correct, that is irrelevant to him putting his signature on this.

  8. mrclamo says:

    Obama: Making Reagan look good since 2008. And this guy is a so-called expert on Constitutional law? On Bizzaro World, maybe. Why would any liberal ever consider voting for him? 

    • Donald Petersen says:

      Distressingly enough, it’s because it seems to be an open question whether or not the alternatives are genuinely worse.  David Sirota’s piece at Salon from Tuesday outlines the progressive priorities that may compel a conscientious liberal to hold their nose and vote for Ron Paul, and the priorities that might compel one to stick with Obama.

      Goddamn, why couldn’t there have been a primary challenge against Obama?  Are we gonna have to reanimate Zombie Nader again?

      Better yet, could someone slip a note under Al Franken’s door and explain to him that a big chunk of Obama’s 2008 supporters would gladly throw their vote to him if he’d step up?

      Christ, bring back Kucinich, or even Dean.  Somebody.

  9. SamSam says:

    Question: If it’s against the constitution, can’t the first American to be detained under this take it up to the Supreme Court and see it struck down?

    People are saying (e.g. GuyInMilwaukee) “4th, 5th and 14th amendment:  gone.” But isn’t this the point of the Supreme Court? Congress gets to pass any stupid legislation it wants, without worrying about whether it’s against the constitution, and then it gets struck down. No?

    • Stonewalker says:

      That’s the idea… but I’ve been following several SCOTUS cases and potential SCOTUS cases for years now on an issue-by-issue basis, there’s so much more strategy and nuance than what you describe (which is, FWIW, exactly how I used to think that it worked).

      Take EFF’s case Jewel V NSA.  That case had been working it’s way through the courts for years before Obama used a secret executive order to throw it out.  It was re-instated in 2011, so we’ll see where it goes.

      That’s just one example.  It takes laser-focus on an issue-by-issue bases to get to the SCOTUS and get a good decision. It takes a dedicated group who are scowering the courts looking for good cases to attempt to bring up to the SCOTUS. One good case is not enough.  Unfortunately, the political make-up of the SCOTUS must even be taken into account.

      I know this is one issue that the BB readership is largely split over, but consider the SCOTUS case Heller V DC, the case the solidified that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, not a collective one – “states don’t have rights”.  This case took **6 years** to get to the SCOTUS, and that’s a relatively short period for such large issues.

      The wheels of justice turn slowly and unfortunately you need be a wheel-engineer in order to succesffully navigate them.  The issue is, with indefinite detention and secret executive orders to throw out such cases – a case may never get to the SCOTUS and the defendants may be locked up forever.

    • singe_101 says:

      There isn’t an initial trial, how would this make it to an appeals court or the Supreme Court?

      War crimes can be admitted on TV (Bush, Cheney) and nothing happens. There’s a clear confession and clear treaties banning ordering torture, evidence that should be used in a trial. They discuss why or how they ordered water torture, and they don’t leave the country, but then not much. It’s like Sandusky giving all the details of child rape, only if he weren’t in custody or facing charges.

      And if they exercise authority to assassinate people and their children, as has been done, then someone causing too many problems will “commit suicide” or die in a mysterious natural gas explosion.

    • noen says:

      “Question: If it’s against the constitution, can’t the first American to be detained under this take it up to the Supreme Court and see it struck down?”

      There is no need to. The NDAA does not in fact allow the arbitrary detaining of American citizens in the way people say it does. You still have all your constitutional rights and freedoms. What it does allow is if you leave the US, go to a foreign country, join a terrorist organization and declare war against the United States then, AND ONLY THEN, can the gov try to stop you, including killing you, without having to go through due process.

      • absimiliard says:

        Citation needed please.

        -abs doesn’t think your interpretation matches anything he’s read that describes the effects of the NDAA on our civil rights

        • noen says:

          “Citation needed please.” — Read the bill. It is publicly available.

          “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”

          “-abs doesn’t think your interpretation matches anything he’s read”

          Abs, you and Mark do not know what you are talking about. The language of the NDAA *does* need to be tightened up to eliminate confusion and loop holes but it isn’t as bad as some would have you believe.

          I mean, you do understand that there are people who misquote, lie and just plain make shit up in order to frighten you because people are more easily manipulated when they are frightened don’t you?

          • Thebes42 says:

            I’ll just trust you over dozens of constitutional scholars and human rights experts then, right?
            ROFLMAO

          • travtastic says:

            “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law…”

            This is funny because, using your logic and analysis, the entire provision is useless owing to how insanely unconstitutional it is.

      • GP says:

        But who watches the watchmen? Who gets to decide wether your indefinite detention by the executive branch of government meets the criteria? That’s right, the executive branch of government. That’s kinda like having a football match refereed by the home team except that in this case calling a foul means you’ll get shot in the head by masked navy seals. 

        The immense power of the executive branch of government must be held in check. Courts do this. Take them out of the equation and the truth is whatever the executive branch says it is.

  10. Stonewalker says:

    BB team, I just want to say I appreciate all the politician/government/candidate stuff you have been running. I *really* appreciate how you all seem to be honest and consistent about a politican’s evil-doings, regardless of the (R) or (D) after their name. One things for sure – if a politician has done something bad worth talking about, no political bias is going to stop it from coming under your ire here.

    In the run-up to Nov 2012, you have mostly posted good things for discussion and thought.  Thanks!

  11. benher says:

    Obama. More wiretaps. Less freedom than a Republican. Lame.

  12. noen says:

    What does the NDAA really do?

    “The language in the bill that relates to the detention authority as far as US citizens and permanent residents are concerned is, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”

    “So it’s simply not true, as the Guardian wrote yesterday, that the the bill “allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil who could then be shipped to Guantánamo Bay.” When the New York Times editorial page writes that the bill would “strip the F.B.I., federal prosecutors and federal courts of all or most of their power to arrest and prosecute terrorists and hand it off to the military,” or that the “legislation could also give future presidents the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial,” they’re simply wrong.

    Still, it would be better if the language was made more clear. But given the current political climate this is perhaps the best that can be hoped for. It would also be helpful if people didn’t contribute to right wing nutjob conspiracy theorists by believing the crap they spew on a daily basis.

    Oh and…. no… the Queen of England is not really a shape-shifing Reptillian who eats human babies for breakfast.

    • Ambiguity says:

      Look neon, I’m not a lawyer or an expert on constitutional law, and I suspect that you’re not either. So it’s useful to see what such experts do have to say about the NDAA. One lucid analysis I’ve found is Joanne Mariner’s (who directs Hunter College’s Human Rights Program):

      http://verdict.justia.com/2012/01/02/the-ndaa-explained

      Here’s a relevant quote that suggests your analysis may be a little too simple (which, agreed, doesn’t mean that a lot of the stuff going on in the media isn’t horribly simplified):

      …Moreover, the provision’s reference to “existing law” begs far too many questions.  It is precisely the scope of existing law that is subject to vociferous debate and continuing litigation.  Under the Bush administration, the law was interpreted to allow the indefinite detention of both citizens and non-citizens arrested anywhere in the world, including the United States.

      While the Supreme Court upheld the military detention of an American citizen captured as part of the armed conflict in Afghanistan, it has  yet to hear an indefinite detention case involving anyone—citizen or non-citizen—picked up in the United States.  Nor has it handled a case involving a terrorist suspect, as opposed to a participant in a traditional armed conflict.  With these fundamental questions still in play, it is disingenuous to say that the law could not be used to detain Americans deemed to be involved in terrorism.

      • noen says:

        “your analysis may be a little too simple” — It isn’t mine, it’s that of Adam Serwer writing for Mother Jones in the article I clearly linked to. I am saying that this doesn’t merit a hair on fire level of alarm from the blogs. That’s all.

        “Graham and his colleagues have made no secret of the fact that they believe the president should (and does) have the ability to detain American terrorism suspects captured in the US indefinitely, and they may even have enough votes in Congress to make it happen some day. At that point, the only defense for Americans will be the Constitution and a Supreme Court willing to read what it says.

        I would encourage people to sit down and think this through.

        1. Some people really do want to take your constitutional rights away.
        2. Barack Obama does not.
        3. Buying into conspiracy theories and hysteria diminishes support for those democrats and republicans (I imagine there must be some) who oppose those in # 1.
        4. Diminished support = loss of votes.
        5. Lost votes = lost elections
        6. The bad guys win.

        It is important to correctly understand the world you are in. There really are people who do not have your best interests in mind but they are not part of a vast conspiracy. They’re just… assholes. But they do know what they’re doing. Why do people like Glenn Beck and Alex Jones pander to people’s fear and paranoia? Because that way people can be stampeded into making bad decisions which will work to their advantage.

        Fear literally stops your mind from thinking clearly. Don’t do that.

    • ialreadyexist says:

      As the Queen of England clearly IS a shape-shifing Reptillian who eats human babies for breakfast, I must dismiss your entire argument.  

      Seriously though, how your or I or whoever you want to quote interprets the law is irrelevant. How the people who grab you off the street and lock you up interpret the law is the important thing. Just ask AG Holder who refuses to explain his current interpretation of existing laws.

      • noen says:

        “How the people who grab you off the street and lock you up interpret the law is the important thing.”

        No, this is false, the rule of law trumps that. If “people” are abducting other people off the street and imprisoning them then they are violating their constitutional rights. It’s called kidnapping and is a felony.

        “Just ask AG Holder who refuses to explain his current interpretation of existing laws.”

        Also false. This is another right wing paranoid conspiracy propagated by Alex Jones. Attorney General Holder is not secretly conspiring with Obama, running guns into Mexico and killing US citizens all in an attempt to TAKE UR GUNS, collapse the economy and declare sharia law in the US.

      • Mark_Frauenfelder says:

        Noen’s M.O. is to belittle people she or he disagrees with by lumping them with the likes of Alex Jones and David Icke. I wonder if he realizes that this behavior makes him appear foolish and mean.

        • noen says:

          I thought it was funny. It’s funny because people are frightened that the government will start rounding people up and sending them to gimo when it says, right in the text of the bill:

          “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”

          If you read the Mother Jones article you know that there are legitimate concerns. I agree. It’s a bad bill. It gives the military too much authority in an area it did not have. It could be abused. But the idea that the courts would still still for the government unilaterally rounding people up is absurd. Almost as absurd as believing Queen Elisabeth is a reptillian.

    • GP says:

      True, she prefers 6 weeks old kittens and the occasional toddler.

  13. Nagurski says:

    It kind of makes for a foolproof re-election strategy, though, doesn’t it? All Obama has to do is indefinitely detain anyone running against him until election day. Eleventieth dimensional chess master for the win, once again!

  14. singe_101 says:

    Please note these exemptions: high-level Saudis who would actually fund terrorists. They are not subject due to their money and influence.
    Contractors, i.e. Xe, who may kill or threaten civilians, trade sex slaves
    Pepper spray cop who opens military-grade spray on people to get them to flee and give up dissent
    Potential terrorist groups:
    Anti-war, peace groups, need more moles to confirm
    Occupy protestors

  15. Roscoe says:

    And just in case you think, as noen apparantly does, that you’re safe from NDAA as a US citizen, don’t worry, Joe Lieberman has a solution for that!  HR 3166, the Enemy Expatration Act, allows the goverment to strip you of your citizenship for ” engaging in or purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the United States”

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-3166&tab=summary

  16. hypersomniac says:

    I vow only to watch Colbert during campaign fever; it’s all a f*cking joke anyway.

  17. paul beard says:

    If only there was some way of checking his power, like a co-equal branch of government, maybe one that controlled the power of the purse… shame the founders never thought of that. 

    • D Wyatt says:

      “maybe one that controlled the power of the purse…”
      Yeah that whole problem didnt arise until 1913 long after the founding fathers died.

      • paul beard says:

        Actually, that was a reference to congress which has the spending authority. It’s part of the idea of checks and balances.

        There are reasons why elections are staggered – 2/4/6 years. If the president heads down a path we don’t approve of, he shouldn’t get far. He could face a new house and 1/3 of a new senate w/in 2 years and they could block him.

  18. It strikes me as interesting that those defending Obama (I called them Obamabots earlier but that was apparently an uncivil way of addressing people defending a president who just gutted the Bill of Rights) on this (because, you know, the republican will be worse, right?) argue that the bill will not change anything as far as US citizens are concerned. The other side, it seems, doesn’t take issue with framing it in that way. Does this mean that there is now a tacit agreement across the left side of the political spectrum that Habeas Corpus and the rest of the Bill of Rights are a privilege of American citizenship? The Bill also speaks of legal residents, of course, but that is clearly not a salient argument when defending it. And what with the rights of short-term visitors and illegal aliens? Surely the Bill of Rights isn’t a bill of privileges for one class of people to good liberal pundits?

    • noen says:

      “because, you know, the republican will be worse, right?”

      Yes we do know that. Have you already forgotten why we are recovering from what was almost a global depression worse than the Great Depression ever was? And an administration that actually practiced torture and actually did pick up an American citizen, on US soil, and imprison him without trial? And that those running for office now want to eliminate social security, Medicare, your right to join a union, public education, environmental protection and on and on. Who also want to go back to the same failed Libertarian economic theories that lead to the total global financial collapse in the first place. Why yes, you’re right, Obama is just like Bush.

      “Does this mean that there is now a tacit agreement across the left side of the political spectrum that Habeas Corpus and the rest of the Bill of Rights are a privilege of American citizenship?”

      Yes, that’s how it has always been and why there are revolutions across the world for just a small taste of the freedoms we enjoy. The countries of the world are in a state of nature with respect to each other. There is no world government and no global police force to enforce those rights.

      “Surely the Bill of Rights isn’t a bill of privileges for one class of people to good liberal pundits?”

      Everyone within the borders of the US is protected by the constitution. Even people here illegally. It has been that way since 1886. The moment you set foot on US soil you are covered by it’s jurisdiction and enjoy free speech and due process. That has not changed.

      What has changed is that where before a US citizen could travel to the middle east and join Al Queda and the US could not touch that citizen without probable cause they now can IF the president declares them an enemy of the state.

      • autc04 says:

        “Yes, that’s how it has always been and why there are revolutions across the world for just a small taste of the freedoms we enjoy.” As a citizen of Austria, I am offended by this statement.

        Ever heard of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? It’s called Universal for a reason. We non-Americans DO have rights, you know. You’re acting like it’s perfectly OK to treat everyone who doesn’t share your citizenship or country of residence as a second-class person.

        I’m pretty sure that an overwhelming majority of French, German or Australian citizens agree that I should have rights regardless of what country I currently reside in and what citizenship I hold.

        What the HELL happened in America that apparently reasonable people seem to not get the “Universal” part? Supporting a law that says that people outside of America have no rights comes close to a declaration of war on the entire free world.

        • UNDHR is not a legally binding document, it doesn’t give rights to anyone anywhere. Non-Americans in the US are entitled to respect for their fundamental rights based on the universal applicability of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution ratione personae not ratione loci (i.e. everyone physically in the US)

      • “Yes, that’s how it has always been and why there are revolutions across the world for just a small taste of the freedoms we enjoy. The countries of the world are in a state of nature with respect to each other. There is no world government and no global police force to enforce those rights.”

        That’s not a response to anything I was saying. The Bill Of Rights has for most of it existence been held to apply to everybody on American soil regardless of citizenship. This new framing for the gutting of the Bill Of Rights, that it’s legitimacy should be judged based on whether Americans are still protected or not is a betrayal of that age-old principle.

  19. deltaverde says:

    One line of thought that I didn’t see covered in the previous comments (pardon if I missed it) is a discussion of the origin and intent of the legislation.  If the actions taken by Obama prior to signing (tranfer of initiating authority from the military to the executive and a signing statement specifically stating that he thought the legislation unnecessary, potentially dangerous and something he promised not to use) a taken at face value, then you have to assume Obama was not behind the creation of the law and not in favor of it.
     
    If that is the case, then it was most likely written by Republican lawmakers not to address a need in our country’s legal system, but to create a politically difficult situation for Obama in an election year.  If Obama’s against it, he can spend political capital vetoing it and give the R’s an “I heart terrorists” button to pin on him, or he can sign it after doing what he can to make it less dangerous and still piss off his supporters who don’t bother to look beyond the immediate signing.

    • ialreadyexist says:

      If Obama were half as politically savvy as everyone makes him out to be, he could EASILY have turned this to his advantage and put it right back in the face of the Republicans.  He didn’t.  He caved.

  20. GP says:

    With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans?

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