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As the felafel guy over at Fox once said:

"I don't know what that means!!"
Empty Wheel reported on Friday that Vice President Joe Biden used a copy of the U.S. Constitution to swear in Brennan  -- written in 1787 -- before the Bill of Rights was added to it four years later.

From the White House:

"Vice President Joe Biden swears in CIA Director John Brennan in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 8, 2013. Members of Brennan’s family stand with him. Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution, dating from 1787, which has George Washington’s personal handwriting and annotations on it."

That means`essentially, when the new CIA Director took his vow, the Fourth, Fifth, or Sixth Amendments were not included, and neither were any of the other Amendments, together, commonly known as the "Bill of Rights" now included in our Constitution. It wasn't until 1791 that The Bill of Rights had become part of our Constitution -- four years after the Constitution was printed that Brennan took his oath on.

More Marcy:

I really don’t mean to be an asshole about this. But these vows always carry a great deal of symbolism. And whether he meant to invoke this symbolism or not, the moment at which Brennan took over the CIA happened to exclude (in symbolic form, though presumably not legally) the key limits on governmental power that protect American citizens.
More from the White House after the swearing in ceremony:
“There’s one piece of this that I wanted to note for you,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters gathered for their daily briefing. “Director Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution that had George Washington’s personal handwriting and annotations on it, dating from 1787. Director Brennan told the president that he made the request to the archives because he wanted to reaffirm his commitment to the rule of law as he took the oath of office as director of the CIA,” Earnest said.
This is probably the historic copy Brennan was shootin' for:

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress Correspondence with Marginal Notes by George Washington, September 12, 1787

Listen, I don't know what to draw from this -- except for the fact that the Obama White House is sometimes lacking the skills for Optics game.

And Marcy is right above when she says that anytime someone is sworn into office; the symbolism is everything. Remember, in 2009, President Obama had to take the oath of office over because Chief Justice John Roberts screwed it up. In addition, Marcy may have been right about the legality of it.

I mean technically how can he take office not having sworn and attested to the greatest example of enumerated rights in the world. Without the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution is mostly just a technocratic blueprint.

Just sayin'

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bad optics... or bad moon rising? lol (4+ / 0-)

    "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

    by markthshark on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:03:43 AM PDT

  •  Awesome. (3+ / 0-)

    Could have been just a mistake. Hard to say, though.

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:14:52 AM PDT

    •  It'd be a stretch to say he did it intentially... (0+ / 0-)

      He did say prior to the swearing-in that he wanted to use a historic copy.

      But, who knows.

      It just didn't look good.

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:21:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Blame the people who wrote the Constitution... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Samer

        ...without a Bill of Rights originally (even though they only managed to get it ratified by the states after promising to get started on a Bill of Rights as soon as the new Congress came into session).

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 08:46:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And suppose he'd used a 1791 copy... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Samer, second gen

        ...with the Bill of Rights attached. Would that have meant that he was symbolically rejecting all the future amendments, thereby signaling that he disagreed with the 13th Amendment banning slavery, the 14th Amendment granting equal protection, and the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote?

        Since the Constitution was most recently amended in 1992, wouldn't his using a Constitution with all of the amendments pretty much rule out the whole "historic copy" thing?

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 08:49:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Specious argument... (0+ / 0-)

          The rights he's supposed to uphold are the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth.

          In his case, those are the ones that pertain to him as far as I know.

          "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

          by markthshark on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 09:11:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He's not supposed to uphold the 14th? (0+ / 0-)

            All Americans don't deserve equal protection under the law from the Director of Central Intelligence?

            That's an odd perspective.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 09:15:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  As important as the 14th is to me (0+ / 0-)

              in this case, I'd say the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th are the most central. Though they would be more pertinent if we were nominating a new Attorney General.

              if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 10:05:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I would think that the 14th Amendment guarantee... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                second gen

                ...that every American, no matter their skin color, national origin, or religious inclination, is entitled to the equal protection of the law, would be a rather significant and pertinent one for those criticizing the President's drone policy as operated by the CIA.

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 10:17:28 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And here I thought it was the Justice Dept (0+ / 0-)

                  doing that.

                  So hard to sort out DHS these days.

                  Look, I love the equal protection clause, and we (both white and black, I'd argue) would be sunk without it. But if you don't believe the law itself has any freaking value, if you think due process is a frivolous genuflecting to the gods of PR, and you believe firmly in might makes right, "equal protection of the law" means "equal protection of a bunch of frivolous BS that doesn't mean anything."

                  if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

                  by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 10:31:50 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, in that case, the BoR is meaningless too. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    second gen

                    If he doesn't think the law has any value, then his swearing an oath to uphold it is in itself the problem, not the contents of his hand-rest while he's doing the swearing-in.

                    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                    by JamesGG on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 10:37:24 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  Reminds me of when (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      markthshark, annecros

      President Obama, he of the war on whisteblowers, received an award for transparency in a ceremony that denied all public access.

      If you put this stuff in fiction, an editor would criticize it for being heavy handed.

  •  The real question is: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, 4mygirls, the fan man, rja

    Does anyone have a stack that includes not only the Constitution as amended and all the Treaties that have modified it in some way?

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
  •  This is a stupid nontraversy (11+ / 0-)

    People swear in on the bible, yet somehow swearing in on a founding document is bad?  

  •  It is very fitting though (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    markthshark, annecros

    bearing in mind the mans dubious history.

  •  Centuries of swearing in (6+ / 0-)

    ceremonies using a book of mythology and this particular one somehow has an optics problem?  One can swear/attest with one's hand on Goodbye Columbus and the oath/attestation would have the same significance.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 07:01:52 AM PDT

  •  Not only that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster

    but I heard he had his fingers crossed behind his back, too!

    Uh oh. That can only mean one thing. No laws will apply to him!!! He can do anything and no one can stop him!!!!!

  •  Yeah, I saw this at Breitbart. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    diffrntdrummr, johnny wurster

    So. . .

    "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

    by second gen on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 07:35:58 AM PDT

    •  Yeah, I saw it originally at Yahoo News... (0+ / 0-)

      So....

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 08:37:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It doesn't even give you pause... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        second gen

        ...that this story is being pushed by right-wing smearmongers looking for any possible excuse, no matter how flimsy, to attack the legitimacy of our President?

        For an act with no actual effect on Brennan's future tenure as CIA director (it's not like he's going to read through the copy he swore on and say "oh, no Bill of Rights in here, we're good to go"), which you yourself are acknowledging is only purely symbolic in its ramifications?

        Criticize Brennan for what he has said or done, or what he says and does as CIA director, but don't join the Breitbart gang and give their petty bullshit any legitimacy by piling on to things like this.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 08:42:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You know, some things are just beyond politics... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annecros
          Criticize Brennan for what he has said or done, or what he says and does as CIA director, but don't join the Breitbart gang and give their petty bullshit any legitimacy by piling on to things like this.
          Marcy Wheeler joining the Breitbart gang too?

          I know damn well if I was allowed to pick the book on which I laid my hand as I was being sworn in to such an important position in which I dealt with the Constitution and upholding citizen's rights everyday... I'd damn sure pick one that included said rights. But I guess that's just me.

          No, it doesn't "give me pause."

          "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

          by markthshark on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 08:57:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think many of the President's critics... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cfm, second gen

            ...from the Left do too often join the right-wing smearmongers in promoting petty bullshit in order to attack the President.

            I know damn well if I was allowed to pick the book on which I laid my hand as I was being sworn in to such an important position in which I dealt with the Constitution and upholding citizen's rights everyday... I'd damn sure pick one that included said rights.
            Curiously, your history on this site doesn't include any pieces attacking the President for putting his hand on the Bible when he was sworn in on January 20. The Bible does not include the Bill of Rights at all, and yet had John Brennan placed his hand on that, I daresay we wouldn't have seen a peep of criticism from you on his choice of hand-rests for his swearing in, as evidenced by your past history of having not raised a peep of criticism when it was done by Brennan's boss. If you would like to dispute that, you're welcome to point me to a piece you authored elsewhere in which you engaged in such criticism.

            Again, criticism of John Brennan for what he actually says and does in his capacity as CIA director is fully appropriate, as is criticism of whatever he has said and done previously that is relevant to his performance in his new post.

            But stupid crap like this only legitimizes the Breitbart set and their constant stream of vitriol and venom directed at our President, anyone else with a D after their name, or anyone who has the audacity to say anything nice about anyone with a D after their name.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 09:04:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  He chose the Constitution... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              annecros

              If he chose the Bible then he would be expected to follow the words and tenants within it -- except for the fact that none of those words apply to his job.

              But he didn't. He chose a version of the Constitution without the Bill of Rights in it, rights he's charged with upholding in the everyday performance of his job.

              It was stupid, in my opinion.

              And callous.

              "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

              by markthshark on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 09:36:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So irrelevant is ok but relevant/historical isn't? (0+ / 0-)
                If he chose the Bible then he would be expected to follow the words and tenants within it -- except for the fact that none of those words apply to his job.
                And yet, not a peep of criticism from you for the myriad elected officials who swear in on a document in which none of the words apply to their job, even though you suggest that by swearing in on that document, they would be expected to follow its words and "tenants" [sic] in their jobs as elected officials. I would think that would raise a much more vociferous objection from you, but not a peep emergeth from thy keyboard. Curious, that.
                But he didn't. He chose a version of the Constitution without the Bill of Rights in it, rights he's charged with upholding in the everyday performance of his job.
                And again, suppose he used a 1791 version... would that mean he didn't think he was charged with upholding the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing equal protection to all Americans under the law? That is quite relevant to the everyday performance of the job of the CIA director, if I'm not mistaken; would you have been as vociferous in your criticism then?

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 09:41:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  For the record. I think putting one's hand on... (0+ / 0-)

                  the Bible's even more stupid than picking the wrong Constitution.

                  "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

                  by markthshark on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 09:55:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And yet, there's a paucity of pieces here by you.. (0+ / 0-)

                    ...attacking elected officials, including Brennan's boss, for putting their hand on the Bible when being sworn in.

                    So one is forced to conclude from your dead silence when other elected officials were sworn in on the Bible, that your criticism of Brennan here is about something else rather than about his choice of hand-rests while being sworn in—something you yourself acknowledge throughout this piece and the comments.

                    So why not make this piece about what you are actually criticizing him for, rather than seizing on the Andrew Breitbart Memorial Ridiculous Petty Outrage Du Jour to attack the guy for swearing on a historical version of the Constitution?

                    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                    by JamesGG on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 10:14:45 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You're a regular bulldog on these non sequiturs... (0+ / 0-)

                      Not once have you addressed the point of the diary: that a man with a dubious past on Constitutional issues was actually sworn in using a draft Constitution that didn't include the Bill of Rights, and the fact that it didn't look good.

                      Somehow, you've got it in your head that because I haven't previously done a diary on Obama's swearing-in ceremony where he used a Bible; somehow precludes me from writing about Brennan's faux pas.

                      That's amusing... but wrong.

                      News flash: the two subjects are mutually exclusive. One has nothing to do with the other.

                      It really must be tough being a John Brennan fan these days.

                      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

                      by markthshark on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 05:29:05 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Who said I was a John Brennan fan? (0+ / 0-)

                        As I mentioned, if your issue is Brennan's "dubious past on Constitutional issues," then write about that. If your issue is what you think Brennan will do running the CIA, then write about that.

                        There's enough relevant criticism to be directed at John Brennan that there should be absolutely no need to stoop to irrelevant criticism that not only sets you up for the obvious rejoinder that you haven't criticized other national leaders for not swearing in on the Constitution with the Bill of Rights, but that also lends credibility to scum like the Breitbart crowd.

                        John Brennan and this administration's stance toward intelligence and the "war on terror" deserve no shortage of criticism. But the existence of Breitbart and a right-wing noise machine whose entire purpose is to engage in any tactic, no matter how low or dishonest, to destroy anyone with a D after their name is also a major problem for this country and our future.

                        The use of Breitbart's irrelevant grounds for criticism of the administration's "war on terror" only emboldens and legitimizes the Breitbart right-wing hate machine, when we should be devoted to delegitimizing and ultimately dismantling that machine.

                        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                        by JamesGG on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 07:07:21 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  What?!? (0+ / 0-)
                If he chose the Bible then he would be expected to follow the words and tenants within it
                No. He wouldn't.

                This is why this is so fucking stupid. It doesn't matter WHAT he puts his hand on, it makes no difference to the actual oath.

                "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

                by second gen on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 01:59:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  So. . . (0+ / 0-)

        Yahoo? You mean right wing troll world?

        I guess you're saying that Keith Ellison is a terrorist? Because that's the same "symbolism" that places like Breitbart and Yahoo imply with him using the Koran.

        "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

        by second gen on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 08:55:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yahoo is mainstream... Breitbart is not... (0+ / 0-)

          Go off on tangential extrapolations much? I didn't imply anything other than it was poor optics, and an even poorer decision/oversight on Brennan's part.

          I guess you're saying that Keith Ellison is a terrorist? Because that's the same "symbolism" that places like Breitbart and Yahoo imply with him using the Koran.
          Funny, I thought this was a reality-based community.

          Not an Obama administration protection racket.

          "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

          by markthshark on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 09:24:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, I thought this was about Brennan, (0+ / 0-)

            thanks for clearing up that it's really about Obama.

            Go figure.

            "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

            by second gen on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 10:17:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Seems like much ado over nothing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    second gen, johnny wurster

    This is no different than bring up American flag lapel pins in an attempt to manufacture controversy over a trivial matter.

  •  Um, Swearing allegiance to the Constitution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    second gen

    includes the Amendments, whether copies of them are in the stack of paper the oath giver is holding or not. This "controversy" is just as meaningful as wanting to know which one of the beatitudes was underlined in the bible Pres. Obama touched while affirming his allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America. In other words, not at all.

    •  I never said this is a "controversy" (0+ / 0-)

      I wrote about this because it amused me.

      It was a stupid move. And it didn't look good.

      That's all.

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 09:45:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, you never SAID it was a controversy. (0+ / 0-)

        You just did your best in helping make it so.

        "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

        by second gen on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 02:00:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  where's the "/ Glenn Beck"? (0+ / 0-)

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