Burning Down the Constitution … An Update on NDAA 2012

As expected, President Barack Obama backed off  his veto threat and signed the NDAA 2012 into law.  So, as of this moment, it is now legal to detain American citizens indefinitely without access to either a hearing or a fair trial.  On the upside, President Obama would like you to know he has “signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists.” Moreover, he also wants you to know that his  “administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.” Indeed, he believes “that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.”

So here’s my question.  If President Obama has such “serious reservations,” why did he sign this bill in the first place?  Does he, or does he not, have veto power?



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18 Responses to Burning Down the Constitution … An Update on NDAA 2012

  1. mahoneyrm5150 says:

    I don’t know the particulars of this bill and what other items were apart of it, but it is very common for Presidents to sign bills they don’t like because they do not want to veto the other parts of the bill for practical or political reasons.

    • Mahoney … While I agree that Presidents sign bills with “unsavory” items, this is a direct violation of the Bill of Rights. This isn’t about political expediency or compromise. This is about fear and letting the actions of terrorists redefine our core commitments to justice.

      • mahoneyrm5150 says:

        Every violation of the Constitution is based upon fear of some problem. This ain’t the first, and it won’t be the last. Each of the previous violations of the Constitution had some “justifiable” or self-justifying reason that allowed those involved to sleep better at night. But it is because of the creep of government that the framers wrote the 2nd amendment. It is not about hunting or self-defense. It is about the ability of the people to provide as much resistance to tyranny as they can muster.

  2. Brenda says:

    Talking out of both sides of his mouth…so very sad.

    So, I shake my head and wonder how any of us will ever heard by those who say they represent us, but only cause extreme frustration with a statement such as this…both sides of the aisle are guilty.

    May I pose one question? Are our representatives exempted from this aggressive act just as they exempted themselves from the draconian, tentacular Obamacare legislation?

    • “Sigh,” indeed, Carrot.

      • Carrot says:

        There goes his re-election if nothing else. I’d like to know what McCain – the great long suffering POW torture survivor – was thinking when he crafted this. I’ve been watching the protests grow more violent across the globe and would sometimes think that there’d be nothing here that would ever push us to that point. Such things went out with the Civil Rights protests of the 60s.

        It appears that I am wrong. Everyone has failed history and so we are going to repeat it.

        I am disappoint.

  3. Peter Sipes says:

    To me, this is yet another symptom of what’s wrong in America. My politics have been evolving over the last decade from maybe a small-goverment-technocracy libertarian to a full on anarchist. I fully believe that there is no more ability to work within the system: it is fully broken on both sides. It may well be the nature of government. In any case, this bill is certainly another brick in the proverbial wall.

    Here’s what I’m seeing over the last ten years in our government: a decreasing notion that all—by which I mean everyone—are equal in the eyes of the law to an ethic of “some are more equal than others.” Police spray nonviolent protestors with pepper spray and get administrative discipline, while I can get hauled off to prison for not wearing a seatbelt. I’ve seen the police become increasingly militarized—from the sorts that give rise to Chief Wiggum caricatures to guys who look, dress and behave like soldiers. I’ve seen an increasing lionization of military folks—we pray for the military every week in church, which I find deeply ironic given the whole Prince of Peace thing. I’ve seen self-professed Christian leaders flout established procedures (constitutionally declared war) rain hellfire down on innocent people (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) and call it “stand[ing] up for justice.”

    I think we as Christians need to ask serious questions about government. Can we as sinners trust other sinners to wield such extraordinary power? And this power can be as mundane as making sure your car has a proper registration number or as unusual as throwing people into jail without recourse to trial. My feeling is that we cannot.

    • I read your comments, Pete, and I’m reminded of an old lyric by R.E.M. “Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.”

    • Josh The Younger says:

      As much as I feel your disgust, and I really do, I can’t share your reaction to this. I’m not happy about it, but organised government is an essential part of humanity. Human nature gives us two options: anarchy and/or unrestrained tyranny or an organized government and restricted tyranny. Someone’s always going to grab for power, whether that power is contained in the office of president or dictator.

      As for the veto issue… I guess that’s what’s causing me the most disgust really. It’s not that these policies are being implemented, though that’s bad enough. It’s that the same congress that makes the laws, the same president that enacts the laws, and the same courts that uphold the laws are saying one thing and doing the opposite. I’m sad to say that the majority of our politicians have become more concerned with their next election cycle than the future of their country.

      I used to consider myself a Republican. Mr. B officially, though perhaps unknowingly, convinced me to be an Independent a few months back, and now I’m completely assured in that position. What needs to happen is not an overhaul of the American governmental system, but an overhaul of the American political system. New parties anyone?

      This issue more than any other is shaking my faith in my president and my leaders. I’ve rarely felt on the same page as Obama, but I’ve always felt that he at least believed that what he was doing was right. That’s gone.

      Thanks for keeping us updated Mr. Bryant! I’m looking forward to 2014 midterms.

      • Evening Josh … As always, I love it when you chime in. There’s something very genuine and honest about your approach to these sorts of topics.

        So here’s my question for you. If you’re redesigning parties, how are you doing it? What policies and concerns would be central to the party you want to craft. And how would they fund it? Any thoughts?

      • Josh The Younger says:

        Um… can I get back to you in a few years? 😉

        All kidding aside, though, I have no idea how to break it down effectively. I just don’t have the know-how. Maybe college will help with that. My gut feeling is that we really need to fix the economy first, though. If I had to pick a place to start now, that would be my central issue. If the economy collapses, it doesn’t matter what social reforms we make because we can’t pay for them. You know that guy who has one too many credit cards? That’s the U.S., and until we start to pay off our debt, we’re in as much trouble as he is.

      • Peter Sipes says:

        Ok. Here’s one example of what the “essential part of humanity” has done:


        It’s an awful tragedy. I’m sure we can dig up more if we look. The doctors helping this girl and her caretaker are truly doing unto the least of these—I only wish I were so virtuous. You see, I did this to her. I make the doctors and caretakers necessary. I did. I paid for the drone. I paid for the war. I paid the soldiers’ salary. What makes this worse is that I had no choice. Why? Because I cannot opt out of the institutions that do this. I am obligated to pay for it. I am an accomplice to this evil. I cannot in any way square this with loving my neighbor. (I suppose there are things I could do, but they would quickly result in ugly consequences. Anyway.)

        Like you, I agree that human nature leads us to try for unlimited power. I’ll take my chances with anarchy, because I know what tyranny is capable of. Getting rid of governments—at the very least, distant and impersonal governments—makes those power grabs less damaging and effective.

  4. Hey Carrot,

    Totally tracking with the McCain outrage. How can you suffer as a POW and then draft a bill that allows for this. But this isn’t just his and Obama’s bill. 86 senators voted for this. This is a bi-partisan failure. And what I want to know is this. How can you mutually agree on the passing laws that tear down the Constitution, but you can’t agree on a laws that might help us say … balance a budget, or draft a debt reduction plan, you know, things of that sort.

    Greenland. I think Cobain was heading there before he checked out. Care to see if it worth inhabiting?

  5. Pete, if you go missing, we’ll know what happened.

  6. Josh The Younger says:

    Mr. Sipes, again, I really get that sentiment, but I feel that controlled government is the lesser of two evils. If you want an example of the potential evils of anarchy, just look at the Reign of Terror. As tyrannical and evil as government can get, America hasn’t started massacring its people because they’re even vaguely connected to the 1%.

    Even if we were to purge the world of governments and begin a world anarchy, what’s to guarantee that new governments won’t be formed? Those without God and WITH worldly strength are going to nearly instantly rise to the top of their surroundings. We wouldn’t have massive, organized tyranny, at least for a few decades or centuries, but we’d instead have hundreds of miniature tyrannies ruled by narcissistic warlords.

    • Josh, this is why I asked you how you would begin to assemble a party. I know you asked to take a pass (for a few years at least!), but this is why I asked. It is one think to critique a position. But the fastest way for someone to put you on your heels is for them to ask: “How would you do it better?”

      Now bear in mind, I’m not saying that there is no place for critique without solution. There is validity to raw critique. But it is always strengthened when viable alternatives can be put forth. Make sense?

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