Sun Jun 9, 2013, 02:21 AM
TakeALeftTurn (316 posts)
All the Infrastructure a Tyrant Would Need, Courtesy of Bush and Obama
More and more, we're counting on having angels in office and making ourselves vulnerable to devils.
Even if you think Bush and Obama exercised those extraordinary powers responsibly, what makes you think every president would? How can anyone fail to see the huge potential for abuses?
Nobody knows who will be elected in 2017.
Combining the people who didn't trust Bush and the ones who don't trust Obama adds up to a sizable part of the citizenry. But even if all the critics were proved wrong, even if the CIA, NSA, FBI, and every other branch of the federal government had been improbably filled, top to bottom, with incorruptible patriots constitutionally incapable of wrongdoing, this would still be so: The American people have no idea who the president will be in 2017. Nor do we know who'll sit on key Senate oversight committees, who will head the various national-security agencies, or whether the moral character of the people doing so, individually or in aggregate, will more closely resemble George Washington, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, John Yoo, or Vladimir Putin.
What we know is that the people in charge will possess the capacity to be tyrants -- to use power oppressively and unjustly -- to a degree that Americans in 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, or 2000 could've scarcely imagined. To an increasing degree, we're counting on having angels in office and making ourselves vulnerable to devils. Bush and Obama have built infrastructure any devil would lust after. Behold the items on an aspiring tyrant's checklist that they've provided their successors:
A precedent that allows the president to kill citizens in secret without prior judicial or legislative review
The power to detain prisoners indefinitely without charges or trial
Ongoing warrantless surveillance on millions of Americans accused of no wrongdoing, converted into a permanent database so that data of innocents spied upon in 2007 can be accessed in 2027
Using ethnic profiling to choose the targets of secret spying, as the NYPD did with John Brennan's blessing
Normalizing situations in which the law itself is secret -- and whatever mischief is hiding in those secret interpretations
The permissibility of droning to death people whose identities are not even known to those doing the killing
The ability to collect DNA swabs of people who have been arrested even if they haven't been convicted of anything
A torture program that could be restarted with an executive order
Read more at:-
See my previous post about the NSA's Mass Surveillance programs, updated today with the latest articles.
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Replies to this discussion thread
All the Infrastructure a Tyrant Would Need, Courtesy of Bush and Obama (Original post)
Response to MillennialDem (Reply #2)
Sun Jun 9, 2013, 03:34 AM
PSPS (5,059 posts)
4. There's scant difference. Anyone who can wield the levers of tyranny is, in fact, a tyrant.
The concept of a "benign despot" has always been an attractive fantasy. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way in real life.
Response to TakeALeftTurn (Original post)
Sun Jun 9, 2013, 03:00 AM
d_focil (1 post)
3. But we let it happen.
You are right, but unfortunately it is we the citizenry who are ultimately to blame. We have given the politicians the power to all these things in our name, we have asked them to give us safety, security, and prosperty without being there to hold them accountable for how they go about doing things. It is as if you were the owner of a large company and you hired someone to run that company and then never bothered to check if they were doing a good job, and then went about renewing their contract solely based on what they told you they did.
The solution to this and almost all our problems is to get involved in politics, not retreat from it. We must take on the burden of self-government once more.