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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.”
That was Senator Obama. 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.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Number of Turkish college students detained in the last year for requesting Kurdish-language classes:
Turkey was funding a search for Suleiman the Magnificent’s heart.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”