Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins continue to push an awful bill that would give the president "emergency powers" to shut down the internet.
Presumably, such powers would only be exercised in a "national cyber emergency."
Or, as Conor Friedersdorf pointed out, they could be exercised anytime the president wants to engage in a wanton abuse of power, because the bill expressly prohibits judicial review.
Remember: The recent history of presidential abuses in the White House is remarkable. Richard Nixon covered up a break-in of the Watergate building and resigned the presidency in disgrace as the House was about to impeach him. Bill Clinton lied under oath about his relationship with a White House staffer and similarly obstructed the ensuing federal investigation. He became the second president in American history to be impeached. And George W. Bush brazenly broke federal wiretapping laws and continues to brag about it.
The introduction of the Lieberman-Collins bill -- especially in the wake of the horrendous theories of executive power created by the Bush administration -- demonstrates a complete and utter ignorance toward the natural proclivities of our elected leaders to engage in gross (arguably criminal) misconduct while in office.
The Lieberman-Collins bill also evinces another terrible excess of the Bush years -- the desire to shield the president from any semblance of judicial review. Under this bill, the president's authority to shut down the internet could not be reviewed by any court in the nation. Bush argued that his "commander in chief" power could not be limited by judicial review, and Dick Cheney argued that the president alone determined the scope of his powers under Article II. Barack Obama's Justice Department has engaged in similar attempts to shield executive power abuses from judicial review, arguing that the president can unilaterally order the assassinations of American citizens abroad, and by using the "state secrets" doctrine as an affirmative defense to any action that challenges the president's conduct of the War on Terror.
And now this? Giving the president the power to shut down the internet?
Coincidentally, we wrote in this space last week about Lieberman's lust-filled obsession with federal power. Whether it's forcing citizens to engage in private enterprise, allowing the president to break federal law without consequence, or giving the president the power to completely shut down the internet, Lieberman's ideal of America has more in common with the Soviet Union than it does the country envisioned by the Founders.
Joe Lieberman is the ultimate enemy of individual liberty.
THIS -- not Obamacare or the scary congressman from Wisconsin who wants to take away your Social Security -- is the ultimate threat to liberty in the 21st century. Anyone who thinks otherwise (Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, House Democrats) is a fool.
Hats off to the likes of Friedersdorf, Radley Balko and the folks at Reason and Cato for highlighting these abuses, and doing the work that the American news media shirks.