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Holder: Extra-Judicial Execution of Americans in US "Hypothetically... Appropriate & Necessary"

Updated on March 20, 2013
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I awoke this morning, as is often the case, by sweet sounds chirping the day in from my cell phone - the modern-day rooster.

As per usual, I rub my eyes, flip on Morning Joe, grab my man-phone and head to the man-throne to catch up on the news of the day.

On the television, Mika relates the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Mika & Joe
Mika & Joe | Source

I notice that I missed a few phone calls the night before, while I was on a conference call for an amendment concerning money in politics. Could've had company over. Why didn't I notice last night? Oh, bother.

Cenk Uygur
Cenk Uygur | Source

Mostly I just sat around last night and watched Network. True story, I never caught the end before.

Back on the tele, Mika reminds us that the Dow Jones hit a record high! Willie adds that wages are low. Eugene Robinson notes that low wages & high productivity are a prescription for bloated corporate profit margins and thus, record Dow! Glory be!

Then I check Ye Olde Twitter Machine, and @cenkuygur seems to be quite upset with President Obama & Attorney General Eric Holder, so I follow the link to HuffPo-

Eric Holder: Drone Strike To Kill U.S. Citizen On American Soil Legal, Hypothetically

John Brennan
John Brennan | Source

Seriously?

Keep in mind, this was the obvious question we've been asking ever since the release to David Corn of the infamous 16-page Obama White Paper memos, which outlined US policy on targeted killing of Americans abroad.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) had requested that CIA Director-Nominee John Brennan respond to this line of questioning, and to my great surprise - Mr. Holder asserted in a 4-page letter to Senator Paul that it could "hypothetically" be "necessary and appropriate under the Constitution" for the US government to kill a US citizen on US soil with a US drone.

So why are Joe & Mika going on & on about the Dow & Chavez?

My daily-mornings throne-routine complete, I went to my desk top to see if anyone else noticed the real story of the day. The BBC, CNN & Huffington Post each led with Chavez. My local news paper led with a story about a local "rogue taxidermist" gaining in popularity...

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez | Source

A quick sampling of the nation's leading news -

  • USA Today - DC Snow Storm!
  • Chicago Daily Herald - Educator Pensions
  • NY Daily News - High School Hazing
  • NY Times - Rick Scott's "Left Turn"
  • LA Times - Mayoral Election
  • Seattle Times - Microsoft
  • Miami Times - Chavez
  • Times-Picayune - Sequester!
  • CBS News - Sequester!
  • Fox News - Sequester!
  • ABC News - Jodi Arias
  • MSNBC - Minimum Wage

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To be fair, both HuffPo and Fox News promoted the none-too-proverbial Holder bomb-dropping as secondary headlines.

But where is the outrage? I mean I get it, most conservatives have no issue with government overreach in the name of national security (warrant-less wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, extrajudicial imprisonment, enhanced interrogation) & most Democrats fall in line behind their beloved leader.

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Obama said in his SOTU speech earlier this year -

(W)e must enlist our values in the fight. That's why my administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. And I recognize that, in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we're doing things the right way. So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.

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So here is the glass-half-full optimistically far-fetched theory - Obama overreaches, thus eliciting public outrage, and leading to Congressional legislation reigning in these dictatorial powers from the executive branch.

Obama watching Super Bowl
Obama watching Super Bowl | Source
Senator Paul
Senator Paul | Source

I know, that's not really the case - the President seems to be placing his chips on picking up 14 House seats in the 2014 mid-terms, which would seem to rule out the possibility of causing intentional outrage for goodness' sake. But c'mon people, keep hope alive!

At this point of the morning, I watched 3 hours of Morning Joe, and fast-forwarded through another two hours of MSNBC. I watched an hour and a half of Fox News, and an hour and a half of CNN. Not one solitary mention of Holder's letter to Senator Paul.

President Obama with Robert Gibbs
President Obama with Robert Gibbs | Source
Senator Leahy
Senator Leahy | Source

Finally, after consuming nearly seven hours of cable-news programming, CNN at long last runs a three-minute segment showing Holder in Senate Judiciary Committee hearings this morning, and Senator Paul filibustering the Brennan nomination.

I flip over to MSNBC to see host Alex Wagner along with guests, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele and former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Robust debate commences. Success!

Holder repeatedly said "No", when asked by Senator Cruz whether an American citizen could be targeted and killed in an "cafe...in an American city". Though he said it would be "possible" to imagine a hypothetical scenario.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) insisted that we deserve to know the full extent of these policies and insisted that "It may be brought to head with subpoena...from this committee."

Rep. Gohmert
Rep. Gohmert | Source

Juxtapose Rep. Louie Gohmert, who the day before had proposed a bill that would rescind any and all funds for any possible Obama golf-outings (Secret Service, travel expenses) so long as the sequester is in place. Reminds one of last month, with bunched-panties and brows-furrowed, the media held a stick in their collective craw over not having enough pictures of Obama with Tiger Woods.

As dirty as it may feel to some, real liberals & libertarians share an alliance on this one. While 80-90% of the public fall in line, we are left to alert the masses.

We deserve to know what our government does in our name. We deserve to know when we are charged with a crime, we deserve the option to surrender, and we deserve full judicial review.

In the immortal words of Howard Beale - I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

3/6/13

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