Scott Horton, the ubiquitous critic/commentator whose primary domain is at Harper's Magazine's "No Comment" blog, doesn't need my help to promulgate his imminently sensible notions, but this piece, from late last week (Apr. 10), both amplifies and explains a point I have made many times since the last Presidential campaign began 18 months ago: No President except Washington ever ceded back to the State/Congress any power arrogated to meet some present emergency:
It’s funny how those who criticize sweeping exercises of presidential power suddenly take a different stance once they become president. Take Barack Obama. As a senator and constitutional law professor, he felt that the government was abusing the state secrets doctrine by using it to shut down litigation that should be permitted to go forward. He also felt the idea of giving telecommunications companies immunity for their collaboration with the National Security Agency in warrantless surveillance was terrible. Here’s what his office said: “Senator Obama unequivocally opposes giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies… Senator Obama will not be among those voting to end the filibuster.”Sovereign Immunity. And State Secrets. And Indefinite Detainment. And Extraordinary Rendition. Maybe the Congress/People don't want 'em back?
That was Senator Obama (who, it should be recalled, might have been lying even then, inasmuch as he eventually DID vote to sustain the Bushevik bail-out for the Telcomsters. W.). Now President Obama not only steps into the shoes of his predecessor, he actually has his Justice Department make still more preposterous arguments in which they insist they are above accountability to the law. Their new mantra is “sovereign immunity,” by which they lose consciousness of the annoying detail that, in America, the people and not the President hold sovereignty. ABC’s Jake Tapper takes a timely look at Barack Obama then and now, and Salon’s Glenn Greenwald continues to report on the issue.
Chris Floyd also attacks the Obamanista's hesitation to abandon the worst excesses of the Busheviks, and to pursue the criminals of the recent past:
It was obvious from the moment that Barack Obama appointed Leon Panetta to head the CIA that there was going to be no serious investigation -- much less prosecution -- of the high crimes of torture committed by the agency at the order of the Bush White House. Panetta, a Clinton retread (who actually began his career in the Nixon administration), has always been a bland, feckless, obedient servant of the Establishment; he has no outside power base, no pull, no heft, no popularity -- nothing that would enable him to grab hold of the CIA with both hands and clean that fetid, blood-encrusted house. And of course, it was precisely this kind of powerless figure that Barack Obama wanted in the post.Smoke and Mirrors, smoke and mirrors, more; lies, deceptions, crimes: Anything to defend the POWER. If you want to stay abreast of the latest examples of the ways that the present Regime will jiggle and dance to avoid having to relinquish some, any (illicit) power, then stay tuned to Horton and Floyd.
The appointment was very typical of the Obama operation. Panetta had made a few very mild statements over the years that would allow him to be passed off as some kind of "progressive" in the witless, substanceless "process stories" that the corporate media do for new government appointees. This would be enough to keep the progressive "base" -- which was overwhelmingly inclined to give Obama every benefit of every doubt -- lulled long enough to get the patsy into the job. Of course, to actually get the job, Panetta had to make it clear to Congress that he wasn't going to stir up any trouble on the torture front, and was willing to play along with anything the Unitary Executive might order him to do. But the corp-media made little of this, concentrating instead on Panetta's rote assertions that "America doesn't torture," and his embrace of the Army Field Manual as the standard for CIA interrogation. (Of course, the vaunted manual also allows practices that any rational human being would consider torture, but that's another story.)
Or my readers (both of them--HI! guys--Happy Equinox) can return here periodically, for up-dates...