• Eric Holder is Not a Patriot

    May 15, 2013

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    Posted in: Democracy

    Eric Holder has told us that he “recused” himself from decisions the organization he heads made to help destroy freedom of the press in the United States by seizing the phone records of the Associated Press. He simply said that he was not involved, so please address your concerns somewhere else. The President, Holder’s boss, made similar remarks. The government did things to belittle the Constitution and neither the President nor the Attorney General has much concern or connection with it all. Things happen.

    The pattern is not unique to the phone records, nor to even the nobody-is-responsible actions of the IRS against organizations seeking non-profit status whose political beliefs ran counter to the Obama Administration. Indeed, even as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton claimed that she had no idea of what was going on underneath her in the organization vis-vis Libya, and that counted as a defense. Hell, we fire football coaches when the team loses, even though they don’t punt, pass or kick themselves. Leaders are responsible for what their organizations do. That’s what the job is, not just photo-ops and world travel.

    But for all the recent “-gates” and scandals, let’s take a moment to remember the uber-scandal of the Obama Administration: it’s claim that it may legally kill Americans by drone, with no due process.

    Looking Back

    Historians of the future, if they are not imprisoned for saying so, will trace the end of America’s democratic experiment to the fearful days immediately after 9/11, what Bruce Springsteen called the days of the empty sky, when frightened, small men named Bush and Cheney made the first decisions to abandon the Constitution in the name of freedom and created a new version of the security state with the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, secret prisons and sanctioned torture by the US government. They proceeded carefully, making sure that lawyers in their employ sanctioned each dark act, much as kings in old Europe used the church to justify their own actions.

    Those same historians will remark from exile on the irony that such horrendous policies were not only upheld by Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and professor of Constitutional law, but added to until we came to the place we sadly occupy today: the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, publicly stating that the American Government may murder one of its own citizens when it wishes to do so, and that the requirements of due process enshrined in the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, itself drawn from the Magna Carta that was the first reflowering of basic human rights since the Greeks, can be satisfied simply by a decision by that same President.

    We will thus be remembered as the ones who gave up. No more clever wordplay (enhanced interrogations, “patriot” act, targeted killing, kinetic operations) but a simple declaration that the US Government will kill its own citizens when it wishes to, via a secret process we, and our victims, are not allowed to know or contest.

    Brevity in Our Freedom

    Like most of the Bill of Rights, the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution is beautiful in its brevity and clarity. When you are saying something true, pure, clean and right, you often do not need many words: “…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

    There are no footnotes in the Fifth Amendment, no caveats, no secret memos, no exceptions for war, terrorism, mass rape, creation of concentration camps, acts of genocide, child torture or any evil. Those things are unnecessary, because in the beauty of what Lincoln offered to his audience as “a government of the people, by the people, for the people,” the government would be made up of us, the purpose of government was to serve us, and the government would be beholden to us. Such a government would be incapable of killing its own citizens without care and debate and open trial.

    With the excuse all tyrants proclaim, protecting the nation, on or about September 30, 2011 a US drone fired a missile in Yemen and killed American Citizen Anwar al Awlaki, born in the United States and tragically devoted to al Qaeda. A few days later the US also killed al Zawaki’s 16 year old American Citizen son. The US had shot at the elder al Awlaki before, on May 7, 2011 under Obama’s orders, and under the Bush administration. Before the US government killed his son, attorneys for al Awlaki’s father tried to persuade a US District Court to issue an injunction preventing the government killing of al Awlaki. A judge dismissed the case, ruling the father did not have standing to sue. This was the first time in our nation’s history that a father sought to sue to prevent the government from extra-legally killing his son. The judge in the case surrendered to his post-9/11 fear and wrote that it was up to the elected branches of government, not the courts, to determine whether the United States has the authority to murder its own citizens by decree.

    Fear Shaped by Lies to Compel Compliance

    Attorney General Holder said things no honest man would ever believe would be said by the highest law officer in the United States.

    Holder said “that a careful and thorough executive branch review of the facts in a case amounts to ‘due process’ and that the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment protection against depriving a citizen of his or her life without due process of law does not mandate a ‘judicial process.’”

    Holder thus also declaimed that the victim also has no right to a defense, no right to speak on his behalf, no right to examine and refute the evidence against him and no right even to know his life will be taken under the decision of a few men in Washington. Indeed, Holder made clear that the government’s decision to kill overshadowed the right to self-defense in saying “An individual’s interest in making sure that the government does not target him erroneously could not be more significant. Yet it is imperative for the government to counter threats posed by senior operational leaders of al Qaeda, and to protect the innocent people whose lives could be lost in their attacks.”

    Holder said he rejected any attempt to label such operations assassinations, invoking the same airbrush of lawfulness that fueled the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials and the Holocaust. “Assassinations are unlawful killings. The US government’s use of lethal force in self-defense against a leader of al-Qaeda or an associated force who presents an imminent threat of violent attack would not be unlawful.” In other words, if the President does it, it is no illegal.

    Sluts All

    Historians will look back on us as the people of America who gave up on its experiment with unalienable rights, rights that are natural, not given, rights independent of governments, what our Declaration explained to an unsure forming nation as “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    America was different. We became a country not based on a common language, or religion or anything else except adherence to a common set of beliefs, our Bill of Rights. When you take that away, there is nothing left in common, and dammit Eric Holder and Barack Obama know that.

    The saddest part of a very sad day: the majority of Americans– the consent of the governed– seemingly do not care what Holder said, and are even now bleating on internet forums and likely in comments below to this article about the need to kill more, adding terrified, empty justifications to Holder’s clever statements. We did not have our freedom taken from us, we gave it away. That is real terror.

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  • Recent Comments

    • teri said...


      The news people are finally talking about warrantless wire-tapping and the seizing of records (phone, emails, whatever) because it is happening to them. Where have they been since the Patriot Act and all that assorted shit took away the privacy from the rest of us? Did they think they were exempt because they are “the press”? Funny how upset they are about their loss of rights and how sanguine about our losses. (Matter of fact, a whole slew of these press people have been bleating about terrorism, security, and the necessity of being ever-vigilant for years, and using the old crappy line, “If you have nothing to hide…” Turns out they just never thought anyone would dare to eavesdrop on them. Now, of course, it’s a whole different story.)

      05/15/13 12:44 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      teri- I’m in your corner.

      05/15/13 9:12 PM | Comment Link

    • Oreo said...


      The sad thing is most people don’t see it as murder, burglary, theft, or harassment when the government does it, useful fools the lot of them.

      05/15/13 10:19 PM | Comment Link

    • Michael Murry said...


      America’s War on Southeast Asia — Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos — taught me to understand utterly what Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce meant by the following two entries in his famous Devil’s Dictionary:

      “patriot, n. … The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.”

      “patriotism, n. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of anyone ambitious to illuminate his name.

      In Dr Johnson’s famous dictionary, patriotism is defined as the last refuge of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I submit it is the first.”

      With the above in mind, then, whether Eric Holder (or any other American official) qualifies as a patriot, depends upon what what one means by “patriot.” In my view, following George Orwell, I would advisedly apply the term “corporate nationalist.”

      05/16/13 12:51 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      It might be that the disengagement of the majority of Americans from the machinations of this empire are due to their belief that they have already earned immortality and heavenly paradise via their simple professed belief in Jesus. They believe-therefore they are good and that’s the end of their involvement with a messy world. They aren’t concerned about any malfeasance of their leaders. They don’t worry about losing terrestrial freedoms and rights for there is a better life awaiting.

      05/16/13 2:10 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      “due to their belief that they have already earned immortality and heavenly paradise via their simple professed belief in Jesus.”

      That is just such dishonest bullshit. The imperial powers of the Presidency come from Americans’ worship of power, not Jesus.

      05/16/13 3:35 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      MLCLT. Jesus: Believe in me, worship me, submit to me and I’ll see that you get to heaven- oh, and I’m the only way to get there. Reject my message and you are doomed. Americans easily transfer that arrangement of compliance to faux authority when they are asked to believe the Pentagon has their best interests at heart. The Pentagon: Question our need for continued financial support and you are doomed!

      05/16/13 12:42 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Maybe Obama and Holder believe that Americans should be so appreciative and grateful that their government has recognized certain unalienable rights that we should never challenge or question our government’s actions.

      05/17/13 2:12 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote:”Maybe Obama and Holder believe that Americans should be so appreciative and grateful that their government has recognized certain unalienable rights that we should never challenge or question our government’s actions.”unquote

      If they had it their way, anyone who dared challenge or question our governments actions would end up like 16-year-old American citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. These murdering bastards would kill anyone and everyone who questions them..if they could get away with it. And for all intents and purposes..that is EXACTLY what the kill list is about.

      ya know, if those English Barrons who wrote the Magna Carta could see what is happening here, they’d be rollin on the floor in hysteria should someone suggest we have progressed.

      05/18/13 7:05 PM | Comment Link

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