Pay close attention. This is how it happens…
President Obama found a moment of reduced visibility, in an unwatched hour on New Year’s Eve, to sign the latest assault on the Fifth Amendment. In signing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 on New Year’s Eve, Obama knew the nation’s attention would be elsewhere, diverted by revelry, football, New Year’s Day, and a Monday national holiday.
In case you haven't heard, the National Defense Authorization Act allows the government to detain people indefinitely – yes, it includes American citizens who can be taken even on our native soil and imprisoned – merely on the basis of accusations.
The measure is "so radical," says Human Rights Watch, "that it would have been considered crazy had it been pushed by the Bush administration." And although Obama appended a signing statement as he put his name to the act, solemnly assuring the nation that the power he insisted on having won’t be used recklessly, it is a political gesture that has no more force of a law than attaching a little yellow sticky note to the bill. If the clear language of the Constitution itself cannot bind the governing classes, it is hard to imagine a post-it note having much effect on the current or future presidents now that the indefinite detention of Americans without trial has been legislatively countenanced.
There you have it in a nutshell, the new American way: Guilty until proven innocent.
This is how once-free people slip into state tyranny and slide into martial law.
Political figures are always careful to paper over their power grabs with spurious legalities and midnight measures, granting themselves the rights they are appropriating. No matter how flimsy the pretext, no matter how forbidden the act, everything must be formalized and enabled. Overturned rights and the pretext of legality.