Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Hack of the Day: MSNBC’s Touré excuses presidential crimes

| »

There’s nothing like the recent revelation of the Obama administration’s legal justification for assassinating U.S. citizens suspected of terroristic activity to help expose the more dedicated partisans out there, and MSNBC’s Touré was quick to take the cake:

Maybe I’m growing blind(er) in my old age (*cough*), but I could’ve sworn that reads “Commander in Chief”, not “king”, “emperor”, or “judge, jury and executioner”. The Office of the President is responsible for executing the law and representing the people, not subverting the whole purpose of the separation of powers by declaring who gets to live or die by fiat based on whatever loose interpretation of the law they chose. (Even if that’s what they’ve been doing for a while, now.)

Even President Bush (whose executive overreach Obama has now matched or exceeded in several ways) never dared try to declare himself the sole party responsible for wantonly murdering U.S. citizens. Yet, is there any doubt at all that apologists like Touré would have cried bloody murder if Bush had tried to pull a similar stunt as Obama’s secret kill list? But because it’s a Democratic president who does it, well, it’s just necessary to combat them evil terrorizers, then. (And really, who cares if we even know what they’re accused of, or if we’re even sure they’re the right targets in the first place?)

But that’s not all:

Um … Yes. U.S. citizens do have a fundamentally guaranteed right to due process, regardless of their location or occupation. You don’t get to disagree with this, no matter how much of a noted legal scholar you wish you were. It’s actually included twice in the U.S. Constitution, neither time with anything resembling “except when a person is accused of conducting illegal activities” or “unless a person physically travels or resides beyond U.S. borders”.

I think BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski presents the best summary to this exchange:

Transcript: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []

DAVID FROST: So, what, in a sense, you’re saying is that there are certain situations – and the Huston Plan, or that part of it, was one of them – where the President can decide that it’s in the best interest of the nation, or something, and do something illegal?

RICHARD NIXON: Well, when the President does it, that means that it’s not illegal.

FROST: By definition?

NIXON: Exactly.