President Obama’s Failures: Civil Liberties – Part 2 of 9

This is part 2 of a 9 part series by the entire staff of Pocket Full Of Liberty regarding the failures of President Obama during his time in office.

Senator Obama’s 2008 campaign promises about the Patriot Act are a laughable memory that reaffirm the image of the lying politician. As President Obama, his administration has continued to erode the civil liberties of Americans. The Obama administration has taken the precedents set by previous administrations to flagrantly disregard not only civil liberties, but arguably the very Constitution itself.

If you’re looking for a chuckle, here’s Senator Obama on the campaign trail in 2008 discussing civil liberties. The ironic twist comes at the end of the video, wherein he speaks out against “mock[ing]” the Constitution and condemns the “suggest[ion]” that it is “un-American to abide by [what] the Founding Fathers set up[.]” (At 2:42 in the video)

So much when it comes to protecting the Constitution.

The American people learned that this administration flouts the very rights iterated in the First Amendment. The government undermined freedom of the press by obtaining the phone records of AP journalists. Then there was the State Department tracking Fox News’s James Rosen.

The IRS came out to apologize for targeting conservative political groups for extra scrutiny. Despite apologizing for 2012 in particular, the targeting actually began way before that. The nation’s most feared organization is placing a microscope over associations that people are free to make. These associations are singled out for the common goals and opinions of their members. Freedom of speech and freedom of association are being infringed through the underhanded actions of a government agency that has the ability to take away everything you own.

It’s not only about civil liberties. These past several months have shown that the government is pushing back against guaranteed constitutional rights.

The President’s level of personal involvement in these matters is still under investigation. Yet the fact that Big Brother government has grown under his watch is inexcusable – and blatantly hypocritical given his promises on the 2008 campaign trail. This should be plain to see from both sides of the aisle.

In the video above, Senator Obama shakes his fist against suspending the writ of habeas corpus. Yet under his watch, the CIA has assassinated American citizens overseas. There is no set procedure for making these calls. And at the end of the chain, it is the President himself who has the power to determine who lives and who dies.

These are American citizens being executed for crimes without due process. The system essentially relies on a gladiator-era thumbs up or down from the higher-ups.

This is the sort of thing that Senator Obama would have rallied against, condemning the Bush administration for granting one man so much power.

And of course there will be those who don’t have an issue with strikes against citizens overseas who have denounced their allegiance to the United States. For example, Anwar al-Awlaki had become a high ranking member of one of Al Qaeda’s “most active operational affiliates.” He was operating overseas. For all intents and purposes he no longer considered himself an American. While I believe each and every American citizen has a right to due process, he’s not exactly a sympathetic figure.

But it becomes a little bit more complicated when looking at the case of al-Awlaki’s sixteen-year-old son, Abdulrahman – also an American citizen. There was no intelligence indicating that Abdulrahman was a member of Al Qaeda. He was not engaged in any plots against Americans.

Yet he was executed by drone without any form of due process. Two weeks after his father had already been killed. What’s the point of that?

So according to the Obama administration, the writ of habeas corpus does not apply when Americans are dealing with Americans and the interaction happens to be on foreign soil. If only Senator Obama could look at himself now. Maybe he would put his head in his hand watching his future self undermine the writ guaranteed to Americans in Article 1 Section 9 of the Constitution.

The Constitution that should not be “mocked.”

It’s nearly impossible to explicate all of this administration’s failures in civil liberties in one easily digestible post. There are decades of vaguely-worded legislation that set a precedent for these transgressions, up to and including the actions of the NSA. It’s time to take a hard look at these blatant violations of our constitutional rights – especially in light of all the new information released on the government’s outright attacks on civil liberties.

One of the older defenses for the Patriot Act was the question, “Well, how many people do you know have been affected by the Patriot Act?” The answer is now you, me, and probably almost everyone we know. With the knowledge that the government has granted itself the broad ability to look at whatever you’re doing at basically any time, do you think that suspending the writ of habeus corpus is inconsequential?

Then bring the lens further back and consider the scandals that erupted even before the NSA story broke.

Whoever started what, whatever started when – the government continues to grant itself broad sweeping powers. These powers are sold to the American people as reasonable sacrifices in the name of safety before they become twisted into criminalizing the very people they are meant to protect.

Senator Obama campaigned against this kind of government, but of course President Obama kept it in place. The administration’s penchant for big government solutions et al should give us all some pause, especially when considering how they treat the very people they are meant to represent.