John Cusack: -- and these are acts of war, on sovereign countries, and innocents are being killed, right? But we call them suspected terrorists, and butcher them. In reality we don't know who they are -- or who we're killing -- or why.
Jonathan Turley: Yeah, this is another example of this sort of nuanced meaning that we find in the Obama Administration -- what is a drone attack? A drone attack is an assassination. It is targeting an individual to kill them.
John Cusack: That should be underlined in blood -- As you said, your due process is served when your car explodes -
That's interesting, because it's kind of a twisted parallel to what is an Assange -- what is a journalist? All this profound sickness -- people just don't seem to want to acknowledge it and it isn't really even defended -- just routinely ignored -- it isn't just that the excesses of the Bush Administration haven't been righted -- there's an escalation of warrantless wiretapping, an escalation of drones, an escalation of intimidation of whistleblowers. These things are escalating exponentially. Is that a fair statement?
Jonathan Turley: No, it's absolutely fair. But these Democratic leaders have largely abandoned civil liberties. They'll still give rhetorical flourishes about civil liberties. But these are some of the very same people during the Bush Administration that were told about things like the torture programs. Some were the same people that blocked any congressional investigation of these programs.
So they're heavily invested in this national security system that we have. And that's not going to change just because Obama's in his second term. Congress is still heavily divided. These politicians will be looking to the next election in two years, and so will Obama. And they're going to continue the same scripted approach to civil liberties. They are going to continue to give the national security crowd everything that they want.
John Cusack: It's so bizarre, because even when we talk about civil liberties, it sounds sort of like a very fringy issue -- kind of a kitsch, kind of like a thing that collectors of small trinkets do. I like my little Chinese boxes, I like my civil liberty.
What I don't understand is -- and that's why I think maybe it's just racism -- perhaps since it hasn't happened to anyone that we know yet, just those Arabs or brown skinned people from failed states. f*ck em .. It doesn't matter if they can throw Bradley Manning in jail. Doesn't matter if they can throw any Arab in jail or murder them, or their families at a wedding -- If the government can simply say -- we suspect this or these people are terrorists, we can pulverize them -- obliterate them from the face of earth.
Jonathan Turley: Or, more importantly you're going to have the same division. People are still not going to feel that they can oppose Obama, when the Republicans are even further to the right.
And so you're going to have the same dynamic. It's the same echo chamber that exists today. And that's why Obama's been so disastrous for the civil liberties movement. I wrote a column a few years ago, about the death of the civil liberties movement, for the LA Times. And it details how devastating Obama has been to the movement. I don't think his re-election will help, but rather hinder a meaningful movement to crystallize. It's not going to come together.
I think it could have come together if Romney were elected, ironically. I think it would've come together if McCain had been elected because you would have the removal of this very divisive figure, which is Barack Obama. Because many people just cannot fight on these civil liberties issues when they're fighting against this iconic figure.
John Cusack: Kevin, how do you see it playing out politically? Do you see any good news coming down the pike, or is it really just we have the obligation to tell the truth and take the beatings? Or rather watch on as others do -- in reality..
Kevin McCabe: I think we have too many problems at the same time: One. the Congress -- regardless of whether it's Democrat or Republican, the Congress, both the House and the Senate, are bought and paid for by "POLITICS/GOV. Inc. who control it. The commercial, professional consultants/lobbyists/fundraisers/operatives -- they run the business of Washington, DC now. So you have very few openings for anything creative, any alternative, any solution and the public at large is looking for solutions.
Two, Jon makes a great point that I hadn't thought about before. The fact is that there's no 50-50 split. There's a different kind of split. And the reason that Obama has not been as good as he could've been is because he's being enabled. And every day, there's this silent enabling of people who are afraid of being viewed as disloyal -- ooh, don't say that, you can't say that, you can't say that. He's our guy.
Well, the fact of the matter is, politically, if you don't have your supporters pushing you towards an agenda, pushing you to be better, pushing you to a higher plane...you leave it to the ego -- or to Obama's ego, or his vanity, or his narcissism, whatever you want to call it -- we will not benefit. The people at large will not benefit, it is about him, not the people.
So there's this, I believe, unintended, or well-intended, silent enabling by giving him a pass. And it's not just civil liberties.