Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Glenn Greenwald takes a look at a devastating report from the ACLU on civil liberties during the Obama administration. What are we looking at here? It is not hyperbolic to call it W's third term:

But the primary cause of this Bush-Obama continuity is the vigorous embrace by both Presidents of the same theory of war and Terrorism -- the unlimited global battlefield and the President's resulting unconstrained power to act anywhere in the world without limits -- which was once so controversial during the Bush presidency but has now become mainstream, bipartisan consensus.

Which explains quite nicely Obama's assertion that as the executive, he can target an American citizen for execution, far from any battlefield with a complete lack of Congressional or judicial oversight.

Power corrupts:

Either way, this creeping unchecked authoritarianism marches forward unabated, and is now -- rather than the province of the right-wing GOP -- fully bipartisan consensus.  I really don't understand how progressives think they'll be taken seriously the next time there is a GOP President and they try to resurrect their feigned concern for these matters; they'll be every bit as credible as conservatives who pretend to be deficit-warriors and defenders of restrained government only when the other party is in power.  

But even that ultimately matters little: so entrenched is this institutional militarism, secrecy, surveillance and authoritarianism that even if there were greater public debate over it like there was during the Bush presidency, this system would hardly be affected, let alone threatened.  Governments and other power factions -- especially ones threatened by the prospect of social unrest and upheaval -- do not relinquish this sort of authority unless compelled to do so.

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