Sunday, March 9, 2014

   Think Swiss Annuities Are Safe?       
                Think again!

For countless decades the Swiss Banking and Insurance industry has celebrated a sparkling and sterling image. But that image has recently been severely tarnished and badly shattered? Discover the startling and unsavory dilema of my true story.

What is an annuity?
An insurance company issued annuity is a financial investment that creates some retirement security as the policy matures, and as designed, is structured to return monthly retirement payments to the holder or designated heirs over a period of time as described at the policy’s conception. Annuity Insurance policy funds may be borrowed against, and can be fully redeemable by the policy holder as sated within.
          ________________   .  _________________
                
                A Safe Investment?
That was a simple given as initially agreed. As time passed all was in order, or at least it appeared to be.
But, during the coarse of my active policy maturing period, a Swiss administrator contacted myself and arranged a meeting with me here in the U.S. I was quite impressed that my policy investment of $70,000 was important enough that a high ranking member (V.P.) of the management company would travel to the United States to confer with myself regarding my policy.
  
The Bait & Switch:
Out of sheer curiosity I agreed to meet with the insurance companies (CapitalLiban) Swiss Representative, and following lengthy discussion, was prompted to change my  supposedly outdated standard annuity policy to a multi-asset policy configuration that would be of greater value with greater financial yield at maturity. I was compassionately assured that this change was a safe and sane direction, and the accompanying literature supplied by my Swiss  Rep. boasted of its Asset Protection and Swiss Safety Guarantees. With the reputation and strength that Swiss investments enjoyed, I felt quite assured this was a safe and protected upgraded move.

All seemed in order after this change of policy occurred. And, as the years passed and the policy matured as intended to allocate monthly payments to myself upon retirement at age 72, nothing seemed out of order. After all, as a disabled veteran needing some favorable return, it’s a basic insurance investment providing a typical return on investment at a given age for income supplement.

Troubling signals:
However, approaching policy maturity, 3-4 years ago, I began receiving strange messages from a new policy administration management team.

Enter this new Swiss Financial Group POM (Portfolio Management Team Ltd.), or personally referred to as POMM, the (Portfolio Mis-Management Team Ltd).

Suspicion begins to surface:
As several months passed, I became more and more suspicious of POM as reports of wrong doing within the management team itself surfaced. In addition more disturbing signals arose from various Swiss financial sources that all was not well within this new management group.
After several stressful communications with POMM, I began feeling they exhibited a lack of client concern, one that made me quite suspicious of their competency and integrity.

A frightful decision:
At this point I had a lot at stake over the many years of accumulated financial maturity with my annuity retirement supplement. However, I felt that it would be prudent to surrender my Swiss policy and invest in something more manageable and closer to home. 

My decision prompted anger within the POM Mis-Management group and they soon ordered me to immediately return my original policy before they would consider returning my full investment. I immediately complied, and without any benefit of interest nor dividends distribution from my lengthy monetary pledge, that of which I entered into in good faith and trust. I unfortunately uncovered a scheme of many years in the making as they operated with my money without any compensation to myself whatsoever.

What a shocker:
During my lengthy wait time to be fully reimbursed, I received communications from the POM Mis-Management Team that they would no longer represent me since I surrendered my policy and they were now waiving any responsible nor help for recovering any financial transactions between us. This was a shocker to say the least. 

Eventually, after several more long months, POMM contacted me and asked for my bank acct., and routing number. Shortly afterwards, I received a bank notice that a deposit was recorded I my account from a Swiss Bank. I was overjoyed only to discover that only one-half of my investment had been returned, and without any accounting of the remaining balance, nor interest or dividends for 13 years use of my investment money. 

It became quite clear:
Since it’s now obvious that this policy change was a flawed strategy and largely responsible for providing me with a sense of false security and safety while prompting me into a questionable and destructive policy. We all know the scheme as Bait & Switch that they now claim was not safe and sane as boldly stated in their multi-asset policy literature.

The fraud, theft, and co-conspiracy:
For instance, POM’s recent 2012 refusal to honor my request to disclose and inform me of where my remaining funds (appox. $40,000) were being held, and refusal to fulfill my 2012, & 2013 request for mandatory disclosure of these funds for IRS tax reporting purposes triggering an IRS non-compliance situation for myself.

This alone is self-incrimination of the conspiracy that the POM Mis-Management and theft Team has been engaged in for several years now. And, all the while claiming my remaining funds were non-liquidable. This non-liquid fraud has spanned several years and has taken my retirement investment and rendered this occasion as a dilemma instead of a welcomed return on investment.
After many years of receiving fictitious end-of-year financial statements from POM describing my  investment in full, I no longer receive statements and they claim the balance due of my remaining money has disappeared, and vanished.


Were my investment funds lost in bad investments or were they just appropriated by members of the Swiss cartel? There has never been an accounting of these mis-appropriated funds offered by POM to date.


Others are involved:
My policy has transferred within several banks and Insurance companies since inception. And, now after all this time I’m casually informed half my investment has evaporated in thin air while all along playing and baiting me into belief all is well and my retirement is in place and safe. So far I’ve been able to determine that multiple Swiss companies are party to this overreaching theft of client funds. And, my investment has been well masked and well hidden under the veil of deceit, lies, phony financial statements, half-truths, a possible criminal co-conspiracy, and now possibly embezzlement of client funds.
 
I want to hear your story:
If you have been victimized in the same or similar manor, please contact me by email at ...... pdisme@yahoo.com

I am at this time seeking help identifying a Swiss Govt. Regulatory Agency to file a criminal complaint with, or possible a class action law-suit may be in order if others will step forward. This theft will not go unnoticed, and I encourage anyone that has similar harm to please republish my true story throughout the internet and internationally to anyone and everyone in the worldwide investment, financial, private, or business sector to alert their clients, family and friends of these developing wrong doings, and or possible criminal activities.

If you seek a safe investment haven, keep it within your borders as there is little safety from beyond. Especially not Switzerland with the recent Swiss Banking scandal regarding money laundering and Ponzi activity.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A sorry State of the Union...Judge Napolitano


NAPOLITANO: A sorry State of the Union
Obama has a lot to answer for

By Andrew P. Napolitano
January 29, 2014

What if the state of the union is a mess? What if the government spies on
all of us all of the time and recognizes no limits to its spying? What if
its appetite for acquiring personal knowledge about all Americans is
insatiable? What if the government uses the microchips in our cellphones to
follow us and listen to us as we move about?

What if the Constitution expressly prohibits the government from doing this?
What if the government has written laws that are interpreted in secret by
judges who meet in secret and are applied by federal agents who operate in
secret and their secret behavior doesn't even resemble what the laws say
they can do?

What if the feds have seized the content of every text message, email,
mobile and landline telephone call, utility bill, credit card bill and bank
statement of everyone in America for the past four years? What if no law has
authorized them to capture this?

What if, when asked by members of Congress, in public and under oath,
high-ranking officials, at least one with ribbons on his chest and stars on
his shoulders, lied about what the government is doing?

What if the government's spies have so insinuated themselves into our
computers that they can capture every keystroke we press on all of our
computers before we hit "send"? What if the feds have hacked into the
servers of every major computer-service provider in the country, and they
know what we have typed before we even make corrections?

What if the feds have a copy of what we have deleted? What if our typed
innermost thoughts and even second thoughts that were never sent in emails
nevertheless reside in the government's data bank?

What if the president knows all this and supports what his spies are doing?
What if he secretly authorized all this, but only admitted to some of it
when he got caught? What if he uses his spies to tell him what he wants to
know about those who oppose him?

What if the president sold Congress and the country a Trojan horse called
Obamacare? What if he promised that under Obamacare you could keep the
health insurance you had before Obamacare, and he lied, and he knew it? What
if he promised that under Obamacare you could keep the same physicians who
treated you before Obamacare, and he lied, and he knew it?

What if Obamacare made insurance coverage so expensive that some people lost
their jobs because their employers could not afford to pay for it? What if
under Obamacare more than 6 million Americans lost their insurance coverage
overnight and most haven't gotten it back yet? What if this was the
president's plan all along so that he could orchestrate a government
takeover of the health insurance industry?

What if the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff told the president one night that our consulate in Benghazi was under
attack by organized al Qaeda troops while the attack was taking place?

What if the president did nothing about it? What if the president knew the
truth about the Benghazi attack, but for three weeks claimed that the attack
was just an out-of-control political demonstration by fanatics who were
upset about a cheap, 15-minute, low-grade movie that never made it into
theaters?

What if our ambassador to Libya died in that attack and the president
covered up the facts surrounding his death? What if the president dispatched
our U.N. ambassador to all major TV networks to hide the truth? What if he
tried to promote the lying U.N. ambassador to secretary of state?

What if, in five years, the president has borrowed more than $6 trillion and
spent it all on his favorite industries and risky bailouts and fruitless
wars, and now has nothing to show for it but the debts that will one day
come due? What if the government claims the unemployment rate is 6.7
percent, but so many people have stopped looking for jobs that it is really
10.2 percent?

What if the president alone has increased the number of people on food
stamps and increased the amount of money they each receive? What if half of
the adults in the nation are now receiving material assistance from the
government in the form of money the government has borrowed? What if
generations of Americans as yet unborn will be obliged to pay back the money
the president has borrowed and given away?

What if nearly two-thirds of Americans simply don't trust the president's
judgment? What if the president alone raised the minimum wage to be paid to
workers on federal projects? What if the president has threatened to use his
pen and his phone to operate the government in ways the Constitution
forbids?

What if the Constitution makes clear and the courts have underscored the
truism that the president cannot modify or amend or postpone the effective
dates of federal laws? What if the president has modified and amended and
postponed federal laws so as to help his friends and wound his foes?

What if the president has tried to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to
pay for contraceptive services that they cannot use and that are prohibited
by the Roman Catholic Church? What if the Sisters sued the president and
asked the court to relieve them of the burden of paying for contraception?

What if the president resisted the Sisters' lawsuit and questioned the
sincerity of their religious beliefs? What if the Supreme Court stopped the
president from forcing the nuns to pay for contraception before it even
heard their case?

What if the president has discussed none of this in his State of the Union
address? What if the president thinks that during his second term in office
he answers to no one? What if the president lives and works surrounded by
those who reinforce his beliefs? What if he has rejected his oath of
fidelity to the Constitution? What will he do next? What will we do about
it?


Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is
an analyst for the Fox News Channel. He has written seven books on the U.S.
Constitution.

--------------------------



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Where Is Your Spine, America?


Laura Hollis is an attorney and teaches entrepreneurship and Where is your spine, America ?
Where is your spine, America ?  

November 20, 2013|10:42 am 
  
The unveiling of the dictatorial debacle that is Obamacare absolutely flabbergasts me. It is stunning on so many levels, but the most shocking aspect of it for me is watching millions of free Americans stand idly by while this man, his minions in Congress and his cheerleaders in the press systematically dismantle our Constitution, steal our money, and crush our freedoms.
The President, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid (with no small help from Justice John Roberts) take away our health care, and we allow it. They take away our insurance, and we allow it. They take away our doctors, and we allow it. They charge us thousands of dollars more a year, and we allow it. They make legal products illegal, and we allow it. They cripple our businesses, and we allow it. They announce by fiat that we must ignore our most deeply held beliefs – and we allow it. 
  
Where is your spine, America ? 
  
Yes, I know people are complaining. I read the news on the internet. I read blogs. I have a Twitter feed. So what? People in the Soviet Union complained. People in Cuba complain. People in China complain (quietly). Complaining isn't the same thing as doing anything about it. In fact, much of the complaining that we hear sounds like resignation: Wow. This sucks. Oh well, this is the way things are. Too bad. 
  
Perhaps you need reminding of a few important facts. Here goes: 
  
1. The President is not a king. Barack Obama does not behave like a President, an elected official, someone who realizes that he works for us. He behaves like a king, a dictator – someone who believes that his own pronouncements have the force of law, and who thinks he can dispense with the law's enforcement when he deigns to do so. And those of us who object? How dare we? Racists! 
  
And while he moves steadily "forward" with his plans to "fundamentally transform" the greatest country in human history, he distracts people with cheap, meaningless trivialities, like "free birth control pills"! (In fact, let's face it: this administration's odd obsession with sex in general - Birth control! Abortion! Sterilization! Gay guys who play basketball! -- is just plain weird. Since when did the leader of the free world care so much about how people have sex, who they have it with, and what meds they use when they have it? Does he have nothing more important to concern himself with?) 
  
2. It isn't just a failed software program; it is a failed philosophy. People are marveling thatHealthcare.govwas such a spectacular failure. Well, if one is only interested in it as a product launch, I've explained some of the reasons for that here. But the larger point is that it isn't a software failure, or even a product failure; it is a philosophy failure. 
  
I have said this before: Obama is not a centrist; he is a central planner. And this – all of it: the disastrous computer program, the hundreds of millions of dollars wasted, the lies, the manipulation of public opinion, the theft of the public's money and property, and freedom (read insurance, and premiums, and doctors) -- IS what central planning looks like. 
  
The central premise of central planning is that a handful of wunderkinds with your best interests at heart (yeah, right) know better than you what's good for you. The failure of such a premise and the misery it causes have been clear from the dawn of humanity. Kings and congressmen, dictators and Dear Leaders, potentates, princes and presidents can all fall prey to the same imperial impulses: "we know what is good the 'the people.' 
  
And they are always wrong. 
  
There is a reason that the only times communism has really been tried have been after wars, revolutions, or coups d'état. You have to have complete chaos for people to be willing to accept the garbage that centralized planning produces. Take the Soviet Union , for example. After two wars, famine, and the collapse of the Romanov dynasty, why wouldn't people wait in line for hours to buy size 10 shoes? Or settle for the gray matter that passed for meat in the grocery stores? 
  
But communism's watered-down cousin, socialism, isn't much better. Ask the Venezuelans who cannot get toilet paper. Toilet paper. ¡Viva la Revolución
  
Contrary to what so many who believe in a "living Constitution" say, the Founding Fathers absolutely understood this. That is why the Constitution was set up to limit government power. (Memo to the President: the drafters of the Constitution deliberately didn't say "what government had to do on your behalf.") They understood that that was the path to folly, fear, and famine.) 
  
3. Obama is deceitful. Just as the collapse of the computer program should not surprise anyone, neither should we be shocked that the President lied about his healthcare plan. Have any of you been paying attention over the past few years? Obama has made no secret of his motivations or his methods. The philosophies which inspire him espouse deceit and other vicious tactics. (Don't take my word for it: read Saul Alinsky.) Obama infamouslytold reporter Richard Wolffe, "You know, I actually believe my own bullshit." He has refused to be forthcoming about his past (where are his academic records?). His own pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, told author Ed Klein, that Obama said to him, "You know what your problem is? You have to tell the truth." 
  
Did Obama lie when he said dozens of times, "If you like you plan, you can keep it. Period!"? Of course he did. That's what he does. 
  
4. The media is responsible. And had the media been doing their jobs, we would have known a lot of this much, much earlier. 
  
The press is charged with the sacred responsibility of protecting the people from the excesses of government. Our press has been complicit, incompetent, or corrupt. Had they vetted this man in 2008, as they would have a Republican candidate, we would have known far more about him than we do, even now. Had they pressed for more details about Obamacare, Congress' feet would have been held to the fire. Had they done their jobs about Eric Holder, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS scandal, NSA spying - or any of the other myriad betrayals of the public trust that this administration has committed, Obama would likely have lost his 2012 reelection campaign. (A fact that even The Washington Posthas tacitly acknowledged. Well done, fellas! Happy now?) 
  
Instead, they turned a blind eye, even when they knew he was lying, abusing power, disregarding the limits of the Constitution. It was only when he began to spy on them, and when the lies were so blatant that the lowest of low-information voters could figure it out that they realized they had to report on it. (Even in the face of blatant, deliberate and repeated lies, The New York Times has the audacity to tell us that the President "misspoke.") They have betrayed us, abandoned us, and deceived us. 
  
5. Ted Cruz was right. So was Sarah Palin. The computer program is a disaster. The insurance exchanges are a disaster. What's left? The healthcare system itself. And this, of necessity, will be a disaster, too. 
  
Millions of people have lost their individual insurance plans. In 2015, millions more will lose their employer-provided coverage (a fact which the Obama administration also knew, and admitted elsewhere). 
  
The exorbitant additional costs that Obamacare has foisted on unsuspecting Americans are all part of a plan of wealth confiscation and redistribution. That is bad enough. But it will not end there. 
When the numbers of people into the system and the corresponding demand for care vastly exceed the cost projections (and they will, make no mistake), then the rationing will start. Not only choice at that point, but quality and care itself will go down the tubes. And then will come the decisions made by the Independent Payment Advisory Board about what care will be covered (read "paid for") and what will not. 
  
That's just a death panel, put politely. In fact, progressives are already greasing the wheels for acceptance of that miserable reality as well. They're spreading the lie that it will be about the ability of the dying to refuse unwanted or unhelpful care. Don't fall for that one, either. It will be about the deaths that inevitably result from decisions made by people other than the patients, their families, and their physicians. (Perhaps it's helpful to think of their assurances this way: "If you like your end-of-life care, you can keep your end-of-life-care.") 
  
6. We are not SUBJECTS. (or, Nice Try, the Tea Party Isn't Going Away). We have tolerated these incursions into our lives and livelihoods too long already. There is no end to the insatiable demand "progressives" have to remake us in their image. Today it is our insurance, our businesses, our doctors, our health care. Tomorrow some new crusade will be announced that enables them to take over other aspects of our formerly free lives. 
  
I will say it again: WE ARE NOT SUBJECTS. Not only is the Tea Party right on the fiscal issues, but it appears that they are more relevant than ever. We fought a war once to prove we did not want to be the subjects of a king, and the Boston Tea Party was just a taste of the larger conflict to come. If some people missed that lesson in history class, we can give them a refresher. 
  
The 2014 elections are a good place to start. Call your representative, your senator, your candidate and tell them: "We are not subjects. You work for us. And if the word "REPEAL" isn't front and center in your campaign, we won't vote for you. Period." 
  
And this comes from Notre Dame  What a powerful and true letter! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

“We are no longer the land of the free”


An Objective Comparison of the U.S. to Regimes that Everyone Labels Repressive.

How Does America Compare to China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Other Repressive Regimes?

Top constitutional law expert Jon Turley notes in a must-read Washington Post article called “We are no longer the land of the free” (I have edited slightly to remove parentheses in several places):
Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.
These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country.
The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company.
Assassination of U.S. citizens
[The U.S. assassinates its own citizens.]
Nations such as Nigeria, Iran and Syria have been routinely criticized for extrajudicial killings of enemies of the state.
Indefinite detention
[The U.S. has passed a law allowing indefinite detention of American citizens.]
China recently codified a more limited detention law for its citizens, while countries such as Cambodia have been singled out by the United States for “prolonged detention.”
Arbitrary justice
The president now decides whether a person will receive a trial in the federal courts or in a military tribunal, a system that has been ridiculed around the world for lacking basic due process protections. Bush claimed this authority in 2001, and Obama has continued the practice. (Egypt and China have been denounced for maintaining separate military justice systems for selected defendants, including civilians.)
Warrantless searches
[The U.S. routinely conducts warrantless searches.]
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan operate under laws that allow the government to engage in widespread discretionary surveillance.
***
War crimes
[The U.S. has committed various war crimes, then refused to hold the actors to account.]
Various nations have resisted investigations of officials accused of war crimes and torture. Some, such as Serbia and Chile, eventually relented to comply with international law; countries that have denied independent investigations include Iran, Syria and China.
Secret court
[The U.S. uses secret courts under the guise of national security.]
Pakistan places national security surveillance under the unchecked powers of the military or intelligence services.
Immunity from judicial review
Like the Bush administration, the Obama administration has successfully pushed for immunity for companies that assist in warrantless surveillance of citizens, blocking the ability of citizens to challenge the violation of privacy. (Similarly, China has maintained sweeping immunity claims both inside and outside the country and routinely blocks lawsuits against private companies.)
Continual monitoring of citizens
The Obama administration has successfully defended its claim that it can use GPS devices to monitor every move of targeted citizens without securing any court order or review. It is not defending the power before the Supreme Court — a power described by Justice Anthony Kennedy as “Orwellian.” (Saudi Arabia has installed massive public surveillance systems, while Cuba is notorious for active monitoring of selected citizens.)
Extraordinary renditions
The government now has the ability to transfer both citizens and noncitizens to another country under a system known as extraordinary rendition, which has been denounced as using other countries, such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, to torture suspects. The Obama administration says it is not continuing the abuses of this practice under Bush, but it insists on the unfettered right to order such transfers — including the possible transfer of U.S. citizens.
Professor Turley stresses the fact that it is the ability of powerful men to make arbitrary decisions which defines an authoritarian country:

An authoritarian nation is defined not just by the use of authoritarian powers, but by the ability to use them. If a president can take away your freedom or your life on his own authority, all rights become little more than a discretionary grant subject to executive will.
The framers lived under autocratic rule and understood this danger better than we do. James Madison famously warned that we needed a system that did not depend on the good intentions or motivations of our rulers: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
In fact, we go from the land of the free to tyranny the moment we go from a nation of laws to a nation of powerful men arbitrarily making laws in secret.
Indeed, Bush and Obama have claimed some tyrannical powers that even Hitler and Stalin never claimed.
As I pointed out last month, many American leaders appear to be consciously copying China:
The American copyright bill is modeled after the Chinese system. As I noted Monday:
Given that Joe Lieberman said that America needs an internet kill switch like China, that the U.S. economy has turned socialist (at least for friends of those with control of the money spigot), and that the U.S. government used communist Chinese torture techniques specifically designed to produce false confessions in order to sell the Iraq war, I guess that the bill’s Chinese-style censorship is not entirely surprising.

---------------------------------------------------

Here's the original Turley 1/13/12 article from the Washington Post at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-the-united-states-still-the-land-of-the-free/2012/01/04/gIQAvcD1wP_print.html

10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free
By Jonathan Turley, Published: January 13
Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.
Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?
While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.
These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country.
The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company.
Assassination of U.S. citizens
President Obama has claimed, as President George W. Bush did before him, the right to order the killing of any citizen considered a terrorist or an abettor of terrorism. Last year, he approved the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaqi and another citizen under this claimed inherent authority. Last month, administration officials affirmed that power, stating that the president can order the assassination of any citizen whom he considers allied with terrorists. (Nations such as Nigeria, Iran and Syria have been routinely criticized for extrajudicial killings of enemies of the state.)
Indefinite detention
Under the law signed last month, terrorism suspects are to be held by the military; the president also has the authority to indefinitely detain citizens accused of terrorism. While the administration claims that this provision only codified existing law, experts widely contest this view, and the administration has opposed efforts to challenge such authority in federal courts. The government continues to claim the right to strip citizens of legal protections based on its sole discretion. (China recently codified a more limited detention law for its citizens, while countries such as Cambodia have been singled out by the United States for “prolonged detention.”)
Arbitrary justice
The president now decides whether a person will receive a trial in the federal courts or in a military tribunal, a system that has been ridiculed around the world for lacking basic due process protections. Bush claimed this authority in 2001, and Obama has continued the practice. (Egypt and China have been denounced for maintaining separate military justice systems for selected defendants, including civilians.)
Warrantless searches
The president may now order warrantless surveillance, including a new capability to force companies and organizations to turn over information on citizens’ finances, communications and associations. Bush acquired this sweeping power under the Patriot Act in 2001, and in 2011, Obama extended the power, including searches of everything from business documents to library records. The government can use “national security letters” to demand, without probable cause, that organizations turn over information on citizens — and order them not to reveal the disclosure to the affected party. (Saudi Arabia and Pakistan operate under laws that allow the government to engage in widespread discretionary surveillance.)
Secret evidence
The government now routinely uses secret evidence to detain individuals and employs secret evidence in federal and military courts. It also forces the dismissal of cases against the United States by simply filing declarations that the cases would make the government reveal classified information that would harm national security — a claim made in a variety of privacy lawsuits and largely accepted by federal judges without question. Even legal opinions, cited as the basis for the government’s actions under the Bush and Obama administrations, have been classified. This allows the government to claim secret legal arguments to support secret proceedings using secret evidence. In addition, some cases never make it to court at all. The federal courts routinely deny constitutional challenges to policies and programs under a narrow definition of standing to bring a case.
War crimes
The world clamored for prosecutions of those responsible for waterboarding terrorism suspects during the Bush administration, but the Obama administration said in 2009 that it would not allow CIA employees to be investigated or prosecuted for such actions. This gutted not just treaty obligations but the Nuremberg principles of international law. When courts in countries such as Spain moved to investigate Bush officials for war crimes, the Obama administration reportedly urged foreign officials not to allow such cases to proceed, despite the fact that the United States has long claimed the same authority with regard to alleged war criminals in other countries. (Various nations have resisted investigations of officials accused of war crimes and torture. Some, such as Serbia and Chile, eventually relented to comply with international law; countries that have denied independent investigations include Iran, Syria and China.)
Secret court
The government has increased its use of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has expanded its secret warrants to include individuals deemed to be aiding or abetting hostile foreign governments or organizations. In 2011, Obama renewed these powers, including allowing secret searches of individuals who are not part of an identifiable terrorist group. The administration has asserted the right to ignore congressional limits on such surveillance. (Pakistan places national security surveillance under the unchecked powers of the military or intelligence services.)
Immunity from judicial review
Like the Bush administration, the Obama administration has successfully pushed for immunity for companies that assist in warrantless surveillance of citizens, blocking the ability of citizens to challenge the violation of privacy. (Similarly, China has maintained sweeping immunity claims both inside and outside the country and routinely blocks lawsuits against private companies.)
Continual monitoring of citizens
The Obama administration has successfully defended its claim that it can use GPS devices to monitor every move of targeted citizens without securing any court order or review. (Saudi Arabia has installed massive public surveillance systems, while Cuba is notorious for active monitoring of selected citizens.)
Extraordinary renditions
The government now has the ability to transfer both citizens and noncitizens to another country under a system known as extraordinary rendition, which has been denounced as using other countries, such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, to torture suspects. The Obama administration says it is not continuing the abuses of this practice under Bush, but it insists on the unfettered right to order such transfers — including the possible transfer of U.S. citizens.

These new laws have come with an infusion of money into an expanded security system on the state and federal levels, including more public surveillance cameras, tens of thousands of security personnel and a massive expansion of a terrorist-chasing bureaucracy.
Some politicians shrug and say these increased powers are merely a response to the times we live in. Thus, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) could declare in an interview last spring without objection that “free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war.” Of course, terrorism will never “surrender” and end this particular “war.”
Other politicians rationalize that, while such powers may exist, it really comes down to how they are used. This is a common response by liberals who cannot bring themselves to denounce Obama as they did Bush. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), for instance, has insisted that Congress is not making any decision on indefinite detention: “That is a decision which we leave where it belongs — in the executive branch.”
And in a signing statement with the defense authorization bill, Obama said he does not intend to use the latest power to indefinitely imprison citizens. Yet, he still accepted the power as a sort of regretful autocrat.
An authoritarian nation is defined not just by the use of authoritarian powers, but by the ability to use them. If a president can take away your freedom or your life on his own authority, all rights become little more than a discretionary grant subject to executive will.
The framers lived under autocratic rule and understood this danger better than we do. James Madison famously warned that we needed a system that did not depend on the good intentions or motivations of our rulers: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
Benjamin Franklin was more direct. In 1787, a Mrs. Powel confronted Franklin after the signing of the Constitution and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got — a republic or a monarchy?” His response was a bit chilling: “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”
Since 9/11, we have created the very government the framers feared: a government with sweeping and largely unchecked powers resting on the hope that they will be used wisely.
The indefinite-detention provision in the defense authorization bill seemed to many civil libertarians like a betrayal by Obama. While the president had promised to veto the law over that provision, Levin, a sponsor of the bill, disclosed on the Senate floor that it was in fact the White House that approved the removal of any exception for citizens from indefinite detention.
Dishonesty from politicians is nothing new for Americans. The real question is whether we are lying to ourselves when we call this country the land of the free.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University.