Sunday, January 1, 2012

(D) is for Liar

As we move into another election year, just remember, (D) is for Liar. The Dems will say whatever they think you want to hear. But it doesn't mean they'll do any of it.

No signing statements to nullify instructions from Congress
"While it is legitimate for a president to issue a signing statement to clarify his understanding of ambiguous provisions of statutes and to explain his view of how he intends to faithfully execute the law, it is a clear abuse of power to use such statements as a license to evade laws that the president does not like or as an end-run around provisions designed to foster accountability. I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law."
That's what Obama used to say about signing statements in 2007-8. From quoting Boston Globe.

Compare that to this ... from emptywheel blog

Obama’s signing statement on the defense authorization was about what I expected. He included squishy language so as to pretend he doesn’t fully support indefinite detention. And he basically promised to ignore much of the language on presumptive military detention.

But there was one part of the signing statement I (naively) didn’t expect. It’s this:

Sections 1023-1025 needlessly interfere with the executive branch’s processes for reviewing the status of detainees. Going forward, consistent with congressional intent as detailed in the Conference Report, my Administration will interpret section 1024 as granting the Secretary of Defense broad discretion to determine what detainee status determinations in Afghanistan are subject to the requirements of this section.

Section 1024, remember, requires the Defense Department to actually establish the provisions for status reviews that Obama has promised but not entirely delivered.

There isn't really that much doubt about Congressional intent in Section 1024. Neither in the language nor in the debate. This is later, also from theemptywheel ...

Lindsey Graham (and other bill supporters, both the right and left of Lindsey) repeatedly insisted on this review provision. Lindsey promised every detainee would get real review of his status.

I want to be able to tell anybody who is interested that no person in an American prison–civilian or military–held as a suspected member of al-Qaida will be held without independent judicial review. We are not allowing the executive branch to make that decision unchecked. For the first time in the history of American warfare, every American combatant held by the executive branch will have their day in Federal court, and the government has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence you are in fact part of the enemy force.

And yet, in spite of the fact that Section 1024 includes no exception for those detained at Bagram, Obama just invented such an exception.

Section 1024 was one of the few good parts of the detainee provisions in this bill, because it would have finally expanded the due process available to the thousands of detainees who are hidden away at Bagram now with no meaningful review.

But Obama just made that good part disappear.

Remember, (D) is for Liar. Although, the line about "Obama made the good part disappear" could also be a wonderful description of his whole Presidency.

Remember, when the generation that had fought a long revolutionary war against the British Empire tried to design a government that would protect the unalienable rights that they had fought for and won, they envisioned a weak executive branch who's role was to execute the will of Congress.

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