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“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”—James Madison, often referred to as the father of that antiquated, outdated, document known as the Constitution of the United States, which is now little more than an a la carte menu.

When the president of the United States has the power to order the assassination of an American citizen suspected of terrorist activities but charged with no crime, that is tyranny. And that is exactly the power President Obama is seeking, under the ever-increasing justification of preserving “state secrets.”

“The Obama administration on Friday asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit seeking to stop the government from killing an American citizen [Anwar al-Awlaki] accused of ties to Al Qaeda…In a legal brief, which was filed shortly before midnight, the administration included the contentious argument that litigating the matter could reveal state secrets.”

Glenn Greenwald at Salon:

“…in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate its legality.”

From the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights (remember those?):

“The idea that courts should have no role whatsoever in determining the criteria by which the executive branch can kill its own citizens is unacceptable in a democracy.”

Obstruction of Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller:

“If al-Awlaqi wishes to access our legal system, he should surrender to American authorities and return to the United States, where he will be held accountable for his actions.”

Why would al-Awlaki, who is thought to be in Yemen, surrender to authorities when he has not been charged with, or indicted for, any crime? Sure, give himself up and be on the next plane to Jordan or Morocco or wherever the latest outsourcing torture extraordinary rendition site is, to be tortured and meet an untimely, accidental death. Oops.

But few people will notice and even fewer will care. Republicans don’t care because it’s one of “them” who is being targeted for assassination, never mind that al-Awlaki is a US citizen. He don’t look like a reel ‘Murrican. And they’ll take full advantage of the expanded powers of the Executive Branch the next time a Republican occupies the Oval Office. Democrats don’t care because their guy is in there now and they trust him with this power, for some reason that escapes me. Never mind that they would be screaming about the president shredding the Constitution if George Bush was still in office.

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