Barack Obama

Dear Graduates: Tyranny Is Right Around the Corner

The case of Fox's James Rosen.


A few weeks ago, President Obama advised graduates at Ohio State University that they need not listen to voices warning about tyranny around the corner, because we have self-government in America. He argued that self-government is in and of itself an adequate safeguard against tyranny, because voters can be counted upon to elect democrats (lowercase "d") not tyrants. His argument defies logic and 20th-century history. It reveals an ignorance of the tyranny of the majority, which believes it can write any law, regulate any behavior, alter any procedure and tax any event so long as it can get away with it.


History has shown that the majority will not permit any higher law or logic or value—like fidelity to the natural law, a belief in the primacy of the individual or an acceptance of the supremacy of the Constitution—that prevents it from doing as it wishes.

Under Obama's watch, the majority has, by active vote or refusal to interfere, killed hundreds of innocents—including three Americans—by drone, permitted federal agents to write their own search warrants, bombed Libya into tribal lawlessness without a declaration of war so that a mob there killed our ambassador with impunity, attempted to force the Roman Catholic Church to purchase insurance policies that cover artificial birth control, euthanasia and abortion, ordered your doctor to ask you whether you own guns, used the IRS to intimidate outspoken conservatives, seized the telephone records of newspaper reporters without lawful authority and in violation of court rules, and obtained a search warrant against one of my Fox colleagues by misrepresenting his true status to a federal judge.

James Rosen, my colleague and friend, is a professional journalist. He covers the State Department for Fox News. In order to do his job, he has cultivated sources in the State Department—folks willing to speak from time to time off the record.

One of Rosen's sources apparently was a former employee of a federal contractor who was on detail to the State Department, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. Kim is an expert in arms control and national defense whose lawyers have stated that his job was to explain byzantine government behavior so we all can understand it. When he was indicted for communicating top secret and sensitive information, presumably to Rosen, his lawyers replied by stating that the information he discussed was already in the public domain, and thus it wasn't secret.

Prior to securing Kim's indictment, the Department of Justice obtained a search warrant for Google's records of Rosen's personal emails by telling a federal judge that Rosen had committed the crime of conspiracy by undue flattery of Kim and appealing to Kim's vanity until Kim told Rosen what he wanted to hear. In a word, that is rubbish. And the FBI agent who claimed that asking a source for information and the federal judge who found that the flattering questions alone constituted criminal behavior were gravely in error.

Reporters are protected in their craft by the First Amendment, and the Supreme Court has ruled that they can ask whatever questions they wish without fear of prosecution. If Kim revealed classified information to Rosen—a charge Kim vigorously denies—that is Kim's crime, not Rosen's. The Supreme Court ruled in the Pentagon Papers case that it is not a crime for a journalist to seek secrets, to receive them, to possess them and to publish them so long as they affect a matter of material public interest.

The government's behavior here is very troubling. Government lawyers and FBI agents are charged with knowing the law. They must have known that Rosen committed no crime, and they no doubt never intended to charge him, and they never have. They materially misled the judge, who saw the phrase "probable cause" of criminal activity (taken from the Fourth Amendment) in their affidavit in support of the search warrant they sought, and he signed. The judge should have seen this for the ruse it was. It is inconceivable that a person could conspire to commit a crime (release of classified information) that is impossible for that person to commit, particularly with a Supreme Court case directly on point.

This misuse of the search warrant mechanism by misrepresentation of the status of the target continues the radicalization of federal criminal procedure now typical of this Department of Justice. It has claimed that it can release military weapons to foreign criminal gangs just to see where the weapons end up, and that its agents cannot be prosecuted for harm caused by those who received the weapons. It has held that the serious consideration given in the White House by high-ranking government officials to the identity of persons the president wants to kill somehow is a constitutional substitute for due process and thus enables the president to use drones to kill people uncharged with federal crimes. It has extended the public safety exception to the Miranda rule from the few seconds at the scene of the crime spent securing the prisoner, where the Supreme Court has said it resides, to more than 72 hours.

And now this.

The reason we have the due process safeguards imposed upon the government by the Constitution is to keep tyranny from lurking anywhere here, much less around the corner. Due process is the intentionally created obstacle to government procedural shortcuts, which, if disregarded, will invite tyranny to knock at the front door and sneak in through the back. Justice Felix Frankfurter warned of this 70 years ago when he wrote, "The history of liberty has largely been the history of the observance of procedural safeguards." That was true then, and it is true now.

NEXT: 80-Year-Old Climbs Mt. Everest For Third Time

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  1. I first read that headline as “tyranny is in your corner.” And I have a feeling a good number of graduates feel that way.

    1. As long as the right people are the tyrants….

      1. It’s not tyranny if they are the good guys and are only doing it because they are afraid some other people they disagree with might someday become tyrants. It’s actually tyranny prevention!

        1. Are you SERIOUS? Tyrants almost always convince themselves they are actually the good guys who are holding the line against a takeover by the bad guys. That’s why we always need to focus on the “means” not the supposed ends of leadership. No doubt, even Stalin sincerely believed that jailing or killing off his opponents and starving Ukraine was in the best interests of a stronger and more secure USSR. Come on, man.

          1. I think someone needs to report for recalibration of sarcastometer.

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          2. If you start a comment with “Are you SERIOUS?”, the answer is probably no.

            Unless it’s YouTube.

    2. my classmate’s mother makes $61/hr on the internet. She has been fired from work for six months but last month her payment was $16931 just working on the internet for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more…

      1. She works 70 hours a week? No thanks.

  2. Tyranny is here and now.

    1. It’s tyrants all the way down.

  3. Conspiracy: when the feds can’t change you with an actual crime.

      1. I liked the original construction better. They would certainly change you with an actual crime, if they could.

    1. There are times when the charge is substantiated. Take the NYS Assembly (please, take it), it’s a literal conspiracy. We need a RICO case against the whole body.

      1. No thanks, the SC General Assembly is fucking up my state just fine.

      2. If the same criminal statutes applied to govt agents the President could be executed for his crimes.

        1. “The President SHOULD be executed for his crimes”. There. Fixed it for you.

    2. No that is lying to investigators. Conspiracy is used when they can only charge your friends with an actual crime.

      1. I also forgot obstruction.

        1. And the ever popular “lying to investigators” — because they know you’re lying if you don’t admit what they know you’re guilty of.

  4. And I wish people would stop believing the bullshit 60s myth that the youth are the ones who object to tyranny. The youth of the world have been the earliest and most fervent adopters of every Utopian, tyrannical ideology of the last 300 years.

    1. The Hitler Jungen agree with you One Thousand Year Reich percent!

      1. As do the Occutards.

        1. *uptwinkles*

          1. Until you said that I had forgotten just how vapid and childish those stinky fuckers are.

            Twinkles for fuck’s sake.

    2. Yes, it largely is a myth that the youth are the most likely to object to tyranny (well, at least its onset). The underlying logic is that they have the least to lose. Of course, those arguing that never stop and consider that that’s precisely why they might be in favor of its onset. From what I’ve seen, the most likely demographic to oppose tyranny’s onset are those with the most to lose, middle-aged men.

      1. Unfortunately, those middle-aged men are least able to do anything about it because they’ve got families that they can’t support from prison.

      2. I agree with this wholeheartedly. Some people just can’t understand the error in progressive logic until they see a tax bill come due for their work. Most of the young people who cheer on the progressives probably haven’t had to endure this and consequently don’t understand what everyone else is complaining about.

    3. You know, that’s actually a good point! Many tyrannical movements of the 20th-century began as a successful appeal to idealistic (and often well-educated) youth. There is something to be said for the degree of cynicism and even slight paranoia that often goes along with age. It can have a protective effect by cutting through the nice-sounding B.S. that every charismatic dictator naturally spouts.

      1. “And often MISEDUCATED youth”

    4. The strongest argument against utopian ideas is, “This isn’t new. It’s been tried before and it screwed everything up. It won’t work this time either.”

      The youth of the world don’t remember “before.”

  5. You know who else Godwinned a thread….

    1. Occutards?

      1. No, not just them. You also had the Bolsheviks, the Hitler Youth, the Maoists, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge — all largely made up of idealistic young people.

    2. Just because someone mentions Hitler doesn’t mean they don’t have a good point.

  6. “Due process is the intentionally created obstacle to government procedural shortcuts, which, if disregarded, will invite tyranny to knock at the front door and sneak in through the back. ”

    If kicking the front door in followed by the applause of the progressives is considered knocking, then yes, the president is knocking at the front door.

  7. I’m finally home in the morning and was eagerly looking to get in on some hot morning link action, but I don’t see ’em!

    Did they quit doing them?

    Fuck that shit should be up at 7am. How hard is it to put up some damn links? I think I may have to cancel my (non-existent) subscription.

  8. Hopefully this article will give pause to those who said “oh they got a judge to sign warrants so everything is fine”.

    1. I love your misplaced optimism. Refreshing.

      1. You’ll love my impotent rage then.

  9. Irony: The folks who’ve been saying, “Well, yeah, the IRS probably shouldn’t be doing that. But after all, it’s the Tea Party and…” all of a sudden found a stinkbomb at their front door. And they’re OUTRAGED!!!

    Golden rule of politics: The power you give government to do unto others will be used to do unto you.

    1. Yes, but if this had been done to those pussified, dope smoking Libertarians, well, they’d deserve it!

  10. they need not listen to voices warning about tyranny around the corner

    I wonder how many Jews were told at the time that they need not listen to the rumors of concentration camps.

  11. “. He argued that self-government is in and of itself an adequate safeguard against tyranny, because voters can be counted upon to elect democrats (lowercase “d”) not tyrants. ”

    Which yet again goes to show that Obama just doesn’t get America. Self government was first and foremost about governing *yourself*, not about being able to vote on which of your superiors would convene to decide on how to run your life.

    Self government was the radical notion that the mass of humanity was not made better off by having their “betters” run their lives.

    As usual, Reagan was the last major figure to have it right:

    “This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

  12. According to God (1 Samuel 8:15-17) we are already slaves. God considers a middle class farmer and a middle class rancher slaves when the king takes but ten percent of whatever is considered an increase.

    As far as by Natural Law, it has to be that of God the Creator for that so called daddy of Libertarianism, John Locke, in his Second Treatise of Government, defined the lowest common denominator that rationalists and religionists can agree on is respect for innocent life when he defined said that Suicide cannot be considered Liberty because GOD put us on this earth to LIVE and we are not to quit our station early. This means that freedom is made up of LIBERTY and LICENSE, and the American definition of freedom is LIBERTY or the freedom to do that which is RIGHT in the eyes of God. And why God? Because GOD put us on this earth to LIVE and our innocent lives are worthy for governments to be formed to protect innocent lives. License must be that freedom deleterious to the preservation of innocent life or neutral to that pursuit.

    Jefferson got his idea of inalienable or unalienable rights from the idea that if we do not have a moral right to end our innocent lives before the time, then we cannot delegate such a right over the existence of our innocent lives to another, thus LIBERTY, but one that necessitates the understanding of right being in the eyes of God.

    1. Ten percent tax rates…. those were the days.

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  15. You simpy, ignorant dolts at Ohio State that sat through that delivery of cheap, Marxist drivel, should demand every penny you spent in Columbus to be refunded: You were delivered a defective product.

    But of course, you won’t. Intellectually, you’re lazy. You’re also quite weak and stupid.

    You’ve just been screwed out of 4 years of your life, charged tens of thousands of dollars, and have no idea they didn’t even use any lubricant. Those administrators are laughing at you after they raped you.

    1. But the students are the product. The university is the producer.

  16. 70 years ago woo what an amazing person…

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