If You Think Congress Is Resisting Executive Usurpation, Think Again: Indefinite Detention Re-Affirmed

If you are like me you’ve been watching the battle over Obama’s unwarranted domestic spying with a sense of hope and joy as scandal after scandal breaks out. Benghazi, quite unexpectedly, suddenly resurged into view, and then came the news of the AP phone records grabbed by the Department of Justice. And it kept going. We discovered that a Fox News reporter had been named as a criminal co-conspirator for the deeply sinful and traitorous crime of journalism in order to justify a lengthy time of spying on his email, without allowing him to know about it.

In all these cases, we were seeing the executive branch of government get caught in suspicious behavior, deceitful cover ups, or egregious violations of Constitutional Law (because the First Amendment is really in the Constitution as ratified). And it got better. Suddenly, the public  got a glimpse of the real scope of the governments spying on domestic phone records and then we heard of PRISM.

We have seen some Republican treachery in a few places where we would expect it: Boehner and McCain have practically campaigned for the President on the issue of domestic spying. But in general this has been a refreshing time for anyone in the Tea Party because we get to see some Republicans (and some Democrats) appealing to the Constitution and pushing for limits on the President.

Don’t take it too seriously; it isn’t real.

While I was engaged in the news and chortling at how Dick Cheney and Barack Obama sounded the same, I missed an attempt last week to strip the President of his supposed authority to hold American citizens indefinitely without trial. I say “supposed” authority because, in reality, when Congress claims the President has such power or claims authority to give him such power, they are acting as an organized crime syndicate, not as the Constitutional government of the United States. Still, it is quite clear that, by passing the NDAA law, Congress can make it much harder for the people to restrain the executive branch to its Constitutional limits.

The sponsors of the amendment to deny the President the authority to consign American citizens to indefinite detention included Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), and Justin Amash (R-Mich.). But most of the Republicans were in favor of “empowering” President Barack Obama with the authority to throw Americans into prison without trial. Watch the video to see a Republican Congressmen holding all Constitutional limitations in contempt as nothing but a weakness that supports terrorism. Well, yes, the entire Fourth Amendment could be understood that way, and it would be easier for the government to capture criminals if we didn’t have it. If that is how you think, please move to some other country immediately.

Justin Amash gave a clear critique of NDAA on his Facebook page, concluding:

“The NDAA’s backers succeeded in part because of the bill’s length and complexity.  And I concede that this issue takes time to understand.  Over the next few months, I hope to join others who value our country’s constitutional rights to block the NDAA’s dangerous detention provision.  Once the American public sees for itself what’s included in the NDAA, I’m confident they will demand we do so.”

But in the meantime, any thought that Republicans were overwhelmingly in favor of Constitutional limits and opposed to executive usurpation needs to be forgotten.

They just aren’t that into the Constitution.