Constitutional liberties, dating back in some instances to Magna Carta, are being jettisoned, ostensibly to protect against terrorism. Through the National Defense Authorization Act, Congress has empowered the president to imprison without charges or trial any American whom he decides, based on secret evidence, is a threat to national security. Barack Obama and his attorney general claim the president has the right to execute summarily anyone in the world — not excluding Americans — without due process of law. The Pentagon has been lending unmanned drones to local and state law enforcement agencies to spy on citizens without search warrants.

The 2008 election was viewed by many as a repudiation of torture and other dangers to civil liberties supported by George W. Bush. Five years later Obama seemingly has doubled down on policies that he had condemned.