John Cusack and Jonathan Turley on Obama’s Constitution

Quoting here from http://is.gd/nhZ58V

All political questions are not equal no matter how much you pivot.

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there’s a great desire of many people to relieve themselves of the obligation to vote on principle

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Under international law, shielding people from war-crime prosecutions is itself a form of war crime. [emphasis mine]

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They have an obligation to cast their vote in a principled fashion. It is, in my opinion, no excuse to vote for someone who has violated core constitutional rights and civil liberties simply because you believe the other side is no better. You cannot pretend that your vote does not constitute at least a tacit approval of the policies of the candidate.

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[The US has] a treaty, actually a number of treaties, that obligate [the US] to investigate and prosecute torture.

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By the way, we’re [in this phone conversation] forgetting [that] to kill even a foreign citizen is against the law. I hate to be so quaint…

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stood there and articulated the most authoritarian policy that a government can have: the right to unilaterally kill its citizens without any court order or review. The response from the audience was applause. Citizens applauding an Attorney General who just described how the President was claiming the right to kill any of them on his sole inherent authority.

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Obama has openly embraced these powers and created formal measures, an actual process for killing U.S. citizens. He has used the terminology of the law to seek to legitimate an extrajudicial killing.

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the framers knew what it was like to have sovereigns kill citizens without due process. They did it all the time back in the 18th century. They wrote a constitution specifically to bar unilateral authority.

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For many civil libertarians it is impossible to vote for someone who has blocked the prosecution of war crimes. That’s where you cross the Rubicon for most civil libertarians.

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one of the most important international principles to come out of World War II was the rejection of the “just following orders” defense.

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when the administration was fishing around for some way to justify not doing the right thing and not prosecuting torture, they finally released a document that said that CIA personnel and even some DOJ lawyers were “just following orders,” but particularly CIA personnel. The reason Obama promised them that none of them would be prosecuted is he said that they were just following the orders of higher authority in the government. That position gutted Nuremberg. [all emphases mine] Many lawyers around the world are upset because the U.S. under the Obama administration has torn the heart out of Nuremberg. Just think of the implications: other countries that are accused of torture can shield their people and say, “Yeah, this guy was a torturer. This guy ordered a war crime. But they were all just following orders. And the guy that gave them the order, he’s dead.” It is the classic defense of war criminals. Now it is a viable defense again because of the Obama administration. [emphasis mine]

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cult of personality

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I always thought the duty of a citizen, and even more so as a journalist, had greatly to do with the idea that intellectual honesty was much more important than political loyalty.

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[the media] uniformly say “enhanced interrogation.”

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And so the result is that the public is hearing a script written by the government that downplays these principles. They don’t hear the word “torture.” They hear “enhanced interrogation.” They don’t hear much about the treaties. They don’t hear about the international condemnation of the United States. Most Americans are unaware of how far [the US has] moved away from Nuremberg and core principles of international law.

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Many reporters buy into these escape clauses that the administration gives them, this is where I think the administration is quite clever.

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The question is, “What has all of your relativistic voting and support done for you?”

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When I talk to people who support the administration, they usually agree with me that torture is a war crime and that the administration has blocked the investigation of alleged war crimes. Then I ask them, “Then, morally, are you comfortable with saying, ‘I know the administration is concealing war crimes, but they’re really good on healthcare?’” That is what it comes down to.

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Enough. We’re not going to blindly support the president and be played anymore according to this blue state/red state paradigm.

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there are certain Rubicon issues that you cannot cross, and one of them happens to be civil liberty.

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So the argument being that if [officials] can get good information, [they] should torture?

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In the end, we have this huge apparatus of the legal system, this huge court system, and all of it has become discretionary because the president can go ahead and kill U.S. citizens if he feels that it’s simply inconvenient or impractical to bring them to justice.

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Yet people have greeted this erosion of civil liberties with this collective yawn.

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I couldn’t really vote for Hillary [Rodham] Clinton because of her Iraq War vote. Because I felt like that was a line, a Rubicon line

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Well, the question, I think, that people have got to ask themselves when they get into that booth is not what Obama has become, but what have we become? That is, what’s left of our values if we vote for a person that we believe has shielded war crimes or violated due process or implemented authoritarian powers.

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We have to recognize that our political system is fundamentally broken, it’s unresponsive. Only 11 percent of the public supports Congress, and yet nothing is changing — and so the question becomes, how do you jumpstart that system? How do you create an alternative? What we have learned from past elections is that you don’t create an alternative by yielding to this false dichotomy that only reinforces their monopoly on power.

Original piece: http://is.gd/nhZ58V

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