Friday, November 25, 2016

Did Obama give Trump the powers of God?

Remember the controversies over Obama's NSA and his use of drones? Back then, cautious people pointed out that expanded powers granted to one president would also go to all other presidents, including the ones you don't like or don't trust.

Well, that unhappy thought has finally hit home.
Many intelligence specialists describe the digital spying barriers standing in the Trump administration’s way as flimsy at best.

“I don't think [civil libertarians’] fears are overblown,” said Mieke Eoyang, a former Democratic congressional aide focused on defense and intelligence policy, who is now vice president for the national security program at the center-left think tank Third Way.

If Trump said, “Hey let's take the gloves off,” added Eoyang, “there are very few people [in government] who can say … ‘This is a problem.’”
Obama came into office vowing to “revisit” many of these powers, but privacy advocates believe he has largely failed to do so. While the president has regularly spoken about the need for greater checks and public oversight of the system, he has defended the powers themselves.

“This may go down in history as President Obama’s most consequential mistake,” Timm said.
I would argue that Obama's most consequential mistake was to advertise himself as a firebrand reformer and then reveal himself, in office, as just another politician. I would say that the hatred which many liberals felt toward Hillary was really -- at least in part -- deflected fury toward Obama.

To paraphrase a joke currently zooming around social media: What more does Trump have to do to prove that he's a Nazi -- steal the Ark of the Covenant?


Michael said...

"I would argue that Obama's most consequential mistake was to advertise himself as a firebrand reformer and then reveal himself, in office, as just another politician. I would say that the hatred which many liberals felt toward Hillary was really -- at least in part -- deflected fury toward Obama."

Of course. Remember, she had positioned herself (with Obama's blessing and help) as his rightful heir. With very few exceptions, Hillary was going to serve out Obama's third term.

In short, she was the establishment candidate, and that's the major reason why she lost. Why do many people have so much trouble understanding that?

Propertius said...

Obama revealed himself as just another politician (actually, as a particularly slimy politician) well before he was elected. Remember when he promised to "filibuster" against immunity for telecom companies that cooperated in illegal surveillance and then flipped and voted for the bill? Remember when he promised to restrict his fundraising to the limits set for public funding (like McCain), but then broke his promise and conducted the most expensive campaign in US history (up to that point)? Remember NAFTA and Goolsbee's "never mind" meeting with the Canadians?

Seriously, anyone who didn't realize that Obama was a pathological liar well before the 2008 election was too stupid to breathe, much less vote.

Anonymous said...

Obama's greatest achievement was to transmit to President Trump the imperial Unitary Executive powers that Bush usurped. He endowed Trump with them not just undiminished from Bush's time, but even augmented. Obama's Justice Department claimed rights of state secrecy in court beyond what Bush's justice department did. Obama claimed the right to wage war on other countries without even any pretense that those countries were a military threat to us, and to do so without informing Congress. Obama claimed the right to assassinate American citizens with no judicial participation, even arguing that deliberations in the Executive Branch fulfilled the requirement of "due process".

Bush turned the Republicans into torturers. Obama turned the Democrats into torturers.

JSL said...

To be honest with all of you, and I sincerely hope that the proprietor (Joe Cannon) does not think any less of me, I need to admit something. I have to get it off my chest. I voted for Hillary Clinton and for every Democrat down ballot. I have been a loyal Democrat for 8 years, which is how long I've participated in voting, not how long I've been voting age eligible. I was inspired to join the ranks of the Democratic Party by FDR (the New Deal), Harry Truman (the Fair Deal) and other Democrats who believe, liked I do, very strongly in Keynesianism. That is to say, I support capitalism, but I am fiercely opposed to the laissez-faire form of capitalism, often called neoliberalism which has dominated the United States since President Carter (a Democrat, no less). President Nixon was truly the last Keynesian President, and he was a Republican, more than that, he was a truly evil and wicked human being. There are recordings, where he is talking to Henry Kissinger, and he says he has no problem killing women and children in Laos and Cambodia, he openly admits he wants to incinerate them to death. You can tell from the intonation of his voice, he has no conscience whatsoever. Yet, for how evil and terrible he was, as a human being, he also tried to pass a capitalist welfare state package (like Scandinavian social welfare) that included basic income. It was killed by Congress, just as Truman's attempted expansion of the New Deal (called the Fair Deal) was likewise killed by Congress. Actually, a great deal of the New Deal itself was killed by Congress and by the SCOTUS.

I have no illusions about FDR as a person, he treated women horribly, he cheated on his wife, he instigated a witch hunt against homosexuals in the Navy, he interned Japanese-Americans and took their property, assets, wealth and estates and sold it to white capitalists. He also inexorably tied the United States to the House of Saud, the monarchy of Saudi Arabia, and helped them crush a Communist revolt that attempted to oust the House of Saud. And for what? The blood of the Earth: petroleum. Everything is about petrol, everything. Yes, money is the God of this age, the God of man, but even money is subservient to petroleum. The money system would collapse completely without petrol, the engine of credit and power.

Regardless, FDR wasn't perfect, but I was a New Deal Democrat (NOT to be confused with a New Democrat) and I am anti-austerity. I believe the State should be the main engine of the free market and that the public sector should always be the controlling interest of the market. I'm a Social Democrat, not a Marxist-Leninist.

Honestly though, I voted for Hillary, but she's a neoliberal capitalist, she's really quite far right. She's further right than Republicans were in the early to mid-1970ies. Yes, Trump is even further Right, on both the economic scale and social scale. But when people are given the choice of voting for a Republican or a Republican, they will always vote for a Republican.

The Democratic Party is so far away from the Party of FDR-Keynes, and they refuse to accept any wrongdoing for this "Red Wedding" of an election loss. They will learn nothing, as Republican control strengthens and expands and the world turns further Right. We'll see how Right-Wing it can get, how far Right can you drive while driving up the cliff of "progress" before you drive off the mountain to a fiery death below?

It's funny, I remember the John Boehner, back in 2010, had said that Obama was trying to destroy the Republican Party. Yet it is the Democratic Party, having become the establishment Party, the Party of business interest, the Party of the Cocktail Circuit, the Party of wealth, that is itself on the brink of oblivion.

prowlerzee said...

Obama was the Trojan Horse. I hope Hillary can be the Thirteenth fairy to mitigate some of the harm, at least at a local level, the way she did when she very progressively ensured passage of SCHIP.

Anonymous said...

PBO should have vetoed the several NDAAs that came his way until they took out the specific language he demurred from ever using himself in his signing statements.

He didn't put that language in there. That was the doing of the R-majority Congress (maybe one time the D-majority Senate involved as well). But he allowed it to become law, and a legal power for future presidents who would not enjoin their use of that section's powers. DFT has this power upon taking office.

The power to hold a person incommunicado indefinitely, without counsel, without speedy trial, without the right of habeas corpus, no right to confront the evidence or witnesses against him, no ability to correct a case of mistaken identity, no notice to family or next of kin.

And it goes further. The power to unilaterally declare someone an enemy combatant without any due process, to strip them of citizenship, and utilize the variety of enhanced interrogation techniques (don't call it torture), or the actual torture DFT has said he wants to do.

I consider PBO's decision not to veto this language out of the NDAAs to have been one of his several impeachable crimes. Of course, the R-majority Congress wouldn't have impeached him for this, because they authored it and favored it.

Right now, all I have said is a lawful power of the POTUS, other than the full on torture part. And who is going to stop DFT from doing that? The military high command, because of their own Constitutional oaths? Even if they would do so, the worst abuses last time were done by the intel community, and rendition to contractors is a further option.