Tag Archives: NDAA

What Speech does the First Amendment Protect?

**WARNING THE VIDEO HAS SOME EXTREME LANGUAGE**

**THERE WILL BE LANGUAGE USED IN THIS ARTICLE THAT SOME MAY FIND OFFENSIVE, THESE ARE THE WORDS OF OTHERS, AND PERTINENT TO THE ARTICLE, I APOLOGIZE IF YOU ARE OFFENDED, THAT IS NOT THIS WRITER’S INTENTION.**

There is a situation happening in our country concerning freedom of speech. Let me first preface my article with this disclaimer, I in no way condone or support the statements made by the persons I am writing about. That being said, we are witnessing an amazing amount of hypocrisy coming from our governmental departments and the main stream press on a few similar statements being made now. We should start with the most recent developments concerning the Ex Marine who started the Facebook group Richmond Liberty Movement,

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Why Repealing Obamacare Is Not Enough

Repeal Now

A recent step in the right direction happened on July the 11th. The house of representatives voted for a full repeal of Obamacare, 244 yeas to 185 nays. Of course the liberal media cried foul, they thought even taking a vote on repealing Obamacare was a giant waste of taxpayer money. Bob Schieffer, of CBS’ Face the Nation, lamented how the house was wasting so much money on a repeal vote. This concern he showed is interesting, because the house has been sending legislation to the senate since the Tea Party takeover of the house in 2010. So far, there has not even been so much as a preliminary vote in committee on any of those bills, however I haven’t seen or heard any news coverage of the senate doing nothing, or wasting taxpayer money. There’s not been any lamenting or hand wringing of any sort over a do nothing senate.

While voting to repeal Obamacare is a commendable and noble thing to do, this is merely not enough. Read more

Rhode Island State Legislator Opposing NDAA Provisions

Rhode Island may become the first state to challenge the recently signed National Defense Authorization Act. This bill, S. 1867/HR1540, provides for defense spending for 2012 and is an annual spending measure designed to provide funds for our military defense. The bill passed by Congress and signed by Barack Obama for 2012 contains provisions that seemingly allow for the detention of American citizens accused of either participating in or providing material support for terrorists.

World Net Daily today reports that one Rhode Island state representative, Rep. Daniel P. Gordon Jr. has drafted a resolution, which if passed by the Rhode Island legislature, would express opposition to the sections of the NDAA “that suspend habeas corpus and civil liberties.”

Rep. Gordon went on to explain:

“Sections 1021 and 1022 of the act, signed into law on New Years Eve of 2011, provide for the indefinite detention of American citizens by the military on American soil, without charge, and without right to legal counsel and right to trial.”

Rep. Gordon expressed his issues with the bill as in the wording of the law. He takes exception to the wording that fails to define the term “belligerent” and exactly who would determine those that would fit into the category. He told WND he has concerns over the possibility of his constituents being whisked away in the dark of night without being given their rights under the Constitution and that he will not stand by and allow this to happen, saying:

“When I took the oath of office, I swore that I would support the constitutions of Rhode Island and the United States. And before one single constituent of mine is snatched up in the dead of night, without due process under our laws, they’ll have to pry those documents from my cold dead hands.”

Rep. Gordon has already begun circulating his resolution to other members of the Rhode Island legislature.

Bob Russell
Claremore, Oklahoma

Letter to Congress: Uphold Your Oath or Resign

January 10, 2012

Sen. Inhofe, Sen. Coburn, Rep. Boren:

I am writing concerning several issues that show a total contempt for the Constitution and We the People of the United States of America by Barack Obama, and more frightening, the Congress of the United States of America. I have just been made aware of S. 1698 which seeks to strip citizenship from citizens “engaged in war against the United States”. I realize the wording is vague and leans towards double-talk on purpose, and that is what I take issue with. It seems members of Congress are systematically stripping We the People of any right to protest, or fight against the tyranny being foisted upon us by our own government, and parsing words to accomplish their sinister task.

This is supposedly aimed at “homegrown terrorists” but we all know the definition of that term today. The only parameter of the Homeland Security profile I don’t fit is that I still have all of my fingers. Their definition of “homegrown terrorist” seems to be aimed at patriotic American citizens not the true terror threats, Islamic radicals. As a matter of fact, I haven’t seen Islamic radicals on their list of dangerous people, so-called “potential terrorists”. I fit the profile but Muslim males 18-35 don’t. Oops, sorry, can’t profile Muslim males 18-35, that is racist. This all seems a bit odd to me since we have been attacked by these nuts several times, and can expect even more attacks, including the possibility of a nuclear attack on one or more of our cities.

This comes on the heels of S. 1867/HR 1540, a bill which blatantly broadens the ability of the president to order the indefinite detention of any citizen without charges, at locations within or outside of the United States. I know it has been said that this does not refer to We the People, but Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. John McCain, and Barack Obama have publicly disputed that notion. Sections 1021 and 1022 are in direct conflict with each other as to the meaning of the wording, which lends a great deal of lee-way towards tyranny if one should be inclined and I tend to think one would be inclined based on the actions I see coming from Washington D. C. every day.

The NDAA also provides for the staffing of the FEMA camps, the ones that have been denied to exist. When I wrote about those camps a couple of years ago I was told they are for victims of natural disasters. No one answered my concerns about the design of the camps to resemble the Nazi concentration camps of World War II. I don’t understand the need for 12 ft. high fences topped with razor wire and barbed wire, just to provide temporary homes for flood, hurricane, or tornado victims. Why are they suddenly being staffed by the NDAA, with bids going to Halliburton recently? Are we expecting an unforcasted natural disaster to crop up any time soon or is it in preparation for the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the Constitution as requested by North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr, Rep. Maxine Waters, and others in congress?

Pile all of this on top of S. 679, legislation that takes any away oversight by Congress in presidential appointments and we have the end game of a dictatorship, ala Venezuela. I see Congress deliberately abrogating their responsibilities under the Constitution and giving this, or any, president the right to do as he wishes regardless of the law. When we have United States Senators saying a president should be allowed to appoint anyone he wants regardless of their intentions regarding upholding the Constitution We the People have every right to be concerned. The extension of the “Patriot Act” wasn’t blatant enough so we have to go with even more. That law alone is so unConstitutional that it takes away the very basis of our Republic.

Today, the 10th Circuit upheld the ruling by Judge Vicki Miles-LeGrange that State Question 755, the anti Sharia and International Law bill, as being unConstitutional. This passed with 70% of We the People voting for it. This is more tyranny based on the whining of CAIR, claiming it is unConstitutional because it bars using Sharia Law in Oklahoma. Any idiot should be able to see Sharia Law goes against the Constitution and is therefore not applicable in America. SQ 755 has nothing to do with religious freedom. I fail to see how this can be ruled unConstitutional in the first place, much less upheld on appeal.

Members of Congress, as do federal judges, swear to uphold and defend the Constitution but I don’t see that happening in Congress or the courts much these days. I see bill after bill, judicial ruling after judicial ruling, coming through that denigrates my freedom and no one up there seems to give it a thought. I know bills don’t get read because of the surprise on the faces and in the words of members of Congress when the provisions come out. The two biggest backers of the NDAA, Graham and McCain, didn’t know about the removal of sodomy and bestiality rules for our military. Is that to accommodate Muslims? After all, they are known for their affection for animals. After it was passed and signed, they feign surprise with, “I didn’t know that was in there”. What else did they, or you, not know is in there?

Gentlemen, WE the People are fed up. We are only going to take so much before your rules are going to fall on deaf ears and we will run our nation without you. You are employees of We the People, not monarchs. We decide what is Constitutional and what is not. Government has grown too big for its britches and needs to take a good look at how our nation was designed. When patriotic citizens of this nation are called terrorists and the real terrorists are called victims of bigotry something is very wrong. Our nation is on the verge of collapse and Congress has its foot on the accelerator running us off a cliff.

It is time for you to stand up and publicly call for the resignations of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. It is time for you to stand up and demand the arrest of Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and Kenneth Melson over Operation Fast & Furious. They should be arrested and held without bond for murder in the death of border patrol Agent Brian Terry, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to violate gun laws, and treason for conspiracy to subvert the 2nd Amendment by their involvement in Operation Fast & Furious.

They should not be allowed to flaunt any law that I am expected to abide by. What do you think would be my fate if I violated the same laws blatantly violated by them? If you are not willing to do this then you have no right to expect me or any other American citizen to obey any law anywhere. You certainly do not have the right to expect us to honor your legislation if you cannot honor the Constitution. Do your duty, your sworn duty, to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and stop playing word games with We the People.

I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.
In God We Trust,

Bob Russell
Claremore, Oklahoma

Hey, let's just blindly trust that Obama will do the right thing

What happened to our healthy distrust of government?

The most basic principle of liberty is that it is impossible to create or maintain a government that protects freedom without understanding human nature.  Despite that, the political class in this country wants us to completely ignore everything we know about the flaws of human nature when it comes to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

For example, it’s in our nature to take advantage of each other and do bad things.  Think of how toddlers play – they don’t have to be taught to steal.  It’s just natural for them to go over to other children and take what they want.  They have to be taught not to steal.

Most of us learn to control those kinds of instincts, but not all of us do.  Because of that, if you give the government an opportunity to grab more power, sooner or later it is going to do it.  To protect against these flaws in human nature, we must write our laws with the assumption that the government is run by bad people who will try to abuse those laws.  That way, when someone comes along who does have bad intentions there are already safeguards in place.

Despite all of this, those in the political establishment have chosen to label anyone who raises a concern over NDAA or SOPA as paranoid conspiracy theorists.  It’s as if they are so preoccupied with sounding “rational” that they’ve lost all common sense.

Side note: Who is the political class or political establishment?  It’s the group of people who arrogantly argue for the status quo as the only reasonable option.  The mainstream media and leadership of both political parties are made up almost entirely of establishment types.

Identifying people with this mindset is simple.  It’s like the old theory on the crazy people in your family.  Everyone has at least one crazy person in their family.  You’re thinking of them right now… and if no one immediately comes to mind, look in the mirror.

If you read my mention of the political establishment, chuckled smugly and said, “What political establishment?”, well…

Is it really that hard to imagine – given all that we’ve seen throughout our history – a crisis happening that allows politicians to point to NDAA to say, “Gosh, we really don’t want to detain American citizens… but we have to for security purposes.”  Never let a good crisis go to waste, right?

Or with SOPA, access to a web site can be blocked simply on the accusation that it is enabling copyright infringement.  Not after it has been proven.  Or after the owner of the site has the opportunity to face his accuser.  The site can be blocked simply based on an accusation.

Is it that hard to imagine that a politician who is dealing with a particularly critical web site during campaign season might find a way to “accuse” that site of enabling copyright infringement in order to get it blocked?

Are these scenarios likely?  No.  But they are certainly plausible.  And that‘s enough to prove that these bills need to be rewritten.

Can there really any question that there are politicians will take every opportunity we give them to abuse their powers at a time when the president is desperately trying to bastardize the term “recess” in an attempt to get around the separation of powers?

This is the same president who recently announced that he was scouring through law books looking for every opportunity he has to circumvent Congress and do what he wants.  So it’s not “paranoid” or “conspiratorial” to believe that politicians will look for loopholes or poorly worded laws that they can exploit for their own benefit.

These two incidents of presidential over-reach ought to serve glaring examples of exactly why we need to be cautious about any power that is granted to government.

Our self-proclaimed intellectual betters in the political class seemed to have forgotten two very important lessons:

1. Politicians who intend to take away your freedom rarely come out and announce it beforehand.  If they did, they would run into a lot of resistance – which would make it tougher for them to achieve their goal.  That’s why they tend to disguise oppressive measures in laws that seem benign on the surface.

Sure, proponents of these bills might claim that they address very worthwhile problems, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be suspicious of them.  It’s always wise to question what the government is doing – especially when it is being given more power.

2. Dangerous legislation is often passed by politicians who have the best of intentions.  Today’s members of Congress may be 100% sincere in their belief that the NDAA and SOPA will be good for the country.  But the fact that this group of politicians plans to use them honorably doesn’t stop the next administration – or the one after that – from exploiting the sloppy way in which these bills were written.

It is for these reasons that – during the Virginia Ratifying Convention in 1788 – William Grayson warned us that:

“Power ought to have such checks and limitations as to prevent bad men from abusing it.  It ought to be granted on the supposition that men will be bad; for it may eventually be so.”

Unfortunately, NDAA and SOPA have been written with the completely opposite mindset.  They seem to assume that politicians will always be good and never try to take advantage of the openings these bills provide for oppressive, political enforcement.

The need to understand human nature didn’t end when the Constitution was finished.  We need to keep it at the front of our minds as we create legislation today as well.  It’s only when we understand the flaws of human nature that we are able to create laws that will protect our freedom in the long run.

Granted, writing laws that take human nature into account and aren’t open to abuse takes a lot of time and effort.  But maybe members of Congress could find the time to do that if they focused on crafting a few good laws each session instead of trying to ram as many 2,000 page monstrosities down our throat as possible.

As it stands, NDAA and SOPA are sloppily written and leave open the possibility for abuse.  In a situation where the penalty for sloppiness is the potential destruction of our freedom, I expect a whole heck of a lot more clarity that what we’ve gotten with these bills.  If the political establishment wants to interpret that concern over the flippant attitude Congress has take toward our liberty, well, that explains a lot about why our country is in the shape it is right now.

The NDAA Power Grab

Much is being made about the most recent power grab by the White House – specifically, Wednesday’s bypassing of the Senate to install three members to the National Labor Relations Board and the appointment of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In order to justify and defend these actions, progressives argue that President George W. Bush made far more recess appointments than has the current White House occupant. While that may be true, it’s completely beside the point. The issue isn’t that occupy Oval Office made recess appointments. It’s how and when he made them. The present occupant acted just one day after the Senate held a session and a recess of at least three days is required before the chief executive has the power to make recess appointments.

As he said Wednesday while speaking before an audience in Shaker Heights, Ohio, “I refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer. When Congress refuses to act and as a result hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.”

Quite understandibly, Senate Republicans were not pleased by this action. Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, declared that the move “arrogantly circumvented the American people.” Yes, it’s easy for members of the Senate to express outrage at this arrogant power grab; one in a long series of steps taken by this White House to marginalize Congress.

But where were the high and mighty principles when you passed H.R. 1540: the National Defense Authorization Act, which expands the battlefield to include the United States and gives authority to the president to militarily detain U.S. citizens indefinitely without charge or trial, on the mere suspicion of being a terrorist? Did passage of this bill not also symbolize where someone “arrogantly circumvented the American people”? This law, which “puts our people at risk”, is a violation of the Fifth (“nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”) and Sixth (“the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial”) Amendments.

In the Senate, 46 Democratic Senators and 40 Republican Senators, including Senator McConnell voted in favor of this violation of the Bill of Rights. For the record, let it also state that in the House, 93 Democrats and 190 Republicans also voted aye.[1][2]

The NDAA is an open assault by government on the Liberties of U.S. Citizens. The very Liberties secured and protected by the document they swore to defend upon their inauguration, the United States Constitution. At this point, every Citizen of these United States of America is clearly obligated to take the government to task for this flagrant violation of their Rights. Each and every House Representative and Senator who voted in favor of this unconstitutional slip into tyranny should be voted out of office.

By the way, this bill was signed into law on December 31, 2011 while the golfer in chief was in Kailua, Hawaii enjoying his family’s 17 day, $4 million dollar vacation.

Happy New Year.


sources:
[1] Senate Web Site: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=1&vote=00230
[2] http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll932.xml

Obama signs defense spending bill despite reservations

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act which includes provisions that allow the detention of U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism or planning act of terror, puts restrictions on interactions with Iran’s central bank and authorizes military spending.

Obama’s reservations were mainly reported to be around the military detention provision and a section that forces the president to consult Congress before releasing information to Russia on missile defense plans.

In the last few weeks Obama had also expressed concerns over the banking sanctions against Iran. Although no other sanctions or diplomacy have proven effective against the militant nation, the president is unsure whether these actions will have any effect on Iran’s desire to possess nuclear weapons.

Obama signed the bill while vacationing in Hawaii and issued a signing statement saying, “The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it.”

Iran Sanctions Bill Sits on Obama's Desk Despite More Aggressive Posturing by Iran

On Dec. 15th the U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which included stiffer sanctions against Iran. The Iran sanctions measure, named the Kirk-Menendez amendment for its sponsors Senator Mark Kirk (R-illinois) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) strengthens existing sanctions and penalizes foreign banks for doing business with Iran. The sanctions are in direct response to reports that Iran has steadily ratcheted up it’s nuclear program towards the manufacturing of weapons that could enable them to wipe Israel off the map and/or start a war in the region that would disrupt oil supplies worldwide.

President Obama could be emboldening Iran even further by his dithering on signing this bill into law that would prevent foreign banks from doing any business with the Central Bank of Iran. The lack of a strong message from the U.S. now has the Iranian Navy doing military exercises in the Straight of Hormuz, which is the transportation route for as much as 1/3 of the oil supply coming out of the region. In an IBT article there is the mention of a possible war right in the title: If Iran Closes Strait of Hormuz, Will It Mean War?

We’ve heard rumblings from Iran before that the ill-eased country might close the Strait of Hormuz. But on Tuesday, Iran’s vice president gave a more meaningful warning, saying his country is ready to close the Strait of Hormuz if Western nations impose sanctions on its oil shipments.

Iran’s top Naval commander also threatened to close the straight on Iran’s English language Press TV Weds. Night, stating, “Closing the Strait of Hormuz for Iran’s armed forces is really easy … or, as Iranians say, it will be easier than drinking a glass of water,” said Commander Habibollah Sayyari. “But right now, we don’t need to shut it as we have the Sea of Oman under control, and we can control the transit.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. 5th fleet which is based in Bahrain countered those statements with a warning that any disruption will not be tolerated. Apparently, the U.S. 5th fleet means business, as today, Dec. 29th, Iran is claiming that the U.S. Aircraft carrier John Stennis and it’s accompanying battle group has, in fact, been spotted in the straight of Hormuz in the exercise zone where the Iranian Navy is currently operating.

In the meantime, President Obama is in Hawaii playing his 90th round of golf during his term as POTUS, while on a 17-day vacation. He could have signed the bill into law before leaving, but expressed reservations and demanded changes to the Iran sanctions amendment. Several changes were added to the bill to give the administration greater flexibility. And then there is this tidbit, that shows just how irrelevant the U.S. Congress has become, at least in the eyes of one Barack Hussein Obama.
The sanctions would not come into effect until six months after the bill is signed, and would allow the president to waive the penalties for national security reasons.

These changes to the Iran sanctions amendment that were demanded by President Obama,and which the U.S. Senate approved, now gives the President the authorization to refuse to enforce the sanctions all together, thereby once again usurping the power of the U.S. Congress and putting it into the hands of the President. Of course that whole conversation becomes moot, as while battleships are squaring off in the straight of Hormuz, threatening a major oil supply route for the entire western world, the NDAA and the Iran sanctions amendment within it… sit on the President’s desk unsigned. And recent polling shows that 47% of American voters today approve of Barack Obama’s dangerous dithering and proven incompetence in running this country. His refusal to take action against Iran, as shown here could very well end up in an interruption of 1/3 of the world’s oil supply, which would result in the “skyrocketing energy prices” he promised Americans when running for President in 2008. To top that off, Obama has now given himself the authority to nullify the Iran sanctions law passed by Congress, thanks to the U.S. Senate.

While Hillary Clinton’s State dept. says Irans threats to close the Straight of Hormuz contain an “element of bluster”, other experts say yes, Iran could very well close off the Strait of Hormuz. Short of all-out war, it’s one of the biggest weapons the country has in its arsenal. And Iran doesn’t appear afraid to use it. Yet war-like tactics would be required to close it, says one expert. Meanwhile Americans await President Obama’s return from his Hawaiian vacation to find out if he can make time to sign the NDAA that contains a strong message to Iran via the sanctions in it. While America needs a decisive President that will take action to prevent a worldwide interruption in oil supplies that will disrupt already distressed economies across the globe, Barack Obama once again seems content with just voting “present” as he mainly did during his short time as a U.S. Senator.

It was sort of fun having a Constitution wasn't it?

“[T]o bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole kingdom.  But confinement of the person by secretly hurrying him to [jail], where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary force.”

William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England

After reading up on the disaster that is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that was recently passed by Congress, I could make a laundry list of the problems with it.  There are so many major problems that I was having trouble coming up with an easy way of presenting them all.  Then it dawned on me – why not create an actual list!  (brilliant, I know)

Before I get to the list, let’s start with a little background.  The NDAA is controversial because its original text had a provision that might… well… destroy our due process rights a little.  That’s kind of a big deal because due process is what protects American citizens from arbitrary imprisonment, politicians using the courts to retaliate against opponents, and all kinds of other things that oppressive, out-of-control governments might do.

In a nutshell, the right to due process guarantees that anytime the government is going to strip you of any portion of your life, your liberty, or your property it has to go through a fair process that justifies why that is an appropriate action and allows you an opportunity to defend yourself.  If the NDAA is signed by President Obama – depending on which lawyer you talk to – it might allow him to use the military to indefinitely detain anyone he suspects of being a terrorist.  Without charging them with a crime.  Without giving them a trial.

If that sounds a little medieval to you, that’s because it is.  And here’s a short list of reasons that the NDAA and the process surrounding it pose a serious danger to our freedom:

1. There should be no ambiguity about violating our rights

“[T]he glory of the English law consists in clearly defining the times, the causes, and the extent, when, wherefore, and to what degree, the imprisonment of the subject may be lawful.”

William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England

There is still a lot of debate over whether this bill strips Americans of their due process rights.  Some members of Congress insist that they amended the language to make sure that American citizens can’t be detained.  But some lawyers still aren’t convinced that final bill is any better.

The fact that there is any confusion at all is completely unacceptable.  When the issue being discussed involves the possibility of destroying the rights of American citizens, no member of Congress should settle for anything less than absolutely unmistakeable clarity that our rights are to be protected without exception.

In this case, not only are our Congressmen accepting the ambiguity, they seem to be creating it intentionally.  When discussing the effect the new amended language would have on the possibility of the NDAA allowing the indefinite detention of Americans, Senator Dianne Feinstein said:

“this bill does not endorse either side’s interpretation, but leaves it to the courts to decide.”

In other words, Congress isn’t going to actually do anything proactive to protect our rights.  They are just going to do what they have to do so that they can get home for Christmas on time and leave all that freedom stuff for the courts to figure out.

We’ve got some real staunch defenders of liberty in Washington D.C. today, don’t we?  Apparently this group of politicians is so cowardly that they can’t even bring themselves to take a stand on whether American citizens should have due process rights.  Unbelievable.

2. It takes more than a law to change the Constitution

It’s extremely frightening that so many members of Congress would take a chance when it comes to protecting our due process rights.  But even more troubling for me is the fact that so many Congressmen believe – and the public is willing to accept – the idea that the Constitution can be over-ridden by just passing a law.

That’s the whole point of having a Constitution – to keep the government from just doing whatever the heck it wants.  The Constitution is the voice of the people declaring exactly what powers the government has permission to use.  A law is basically the voice of the government.  In other words, the people created this government – we are the parent and it is the child.

But if Congress can pass a law that takes precedent over the Constitution, that means the voice of the government is more important than the voice of the people in this country.  That is a situation that would absolutely destroy the idea of limited government and take our freedom with it.

If members of Congress truly feel the need to violate the due process of some Americans, the people of this country gave them a process for amending the Constitution (see: Article 5).  If our Congressmen aren’t willing to go through the amendment process, then they need to remember who is in charge in this country and live by the rules we have laid out for them.

3. Laws that probably won’t be abused aren’t good enough

Most people seem to believe that the Congressmen who voted for the NDAA had honorable intentions and have a hard time imagining that our government would actually start imprisoning people at random.  Because of that, they have a hard time getting too riled up over this bill.

Do I honestly believe that Barak Obama is going to start rounding people up next year and sending them to Guantanamo Bay?  No I don’t.  Then again, I never thought our government would try to run a car company or force me to buy health insurance either.  Sometimes people surprise you.

And that’s the point.  We have no way of knowing who will be running our government in 10, 15, or 20 years.  So passing laws based on what we think our current politicians would do or because we trust a sitting president is extremely dangerous.  We need to pass laws while also considering the flaws of human nature.

William Grayson explained this concept perfectly when the Constitution was being debated in the Virginia Ratifying Convention:

“Power ought to have such checks and limitations as to prevent bad men from abusing it.  It ought to be granted on the supposition that men will be bad; for it may eventually be so.”

So whenever we grant power to the government, we should limit that power as if we thought the people in office were going to try to abuse it.  There will be a lot of people who hold office over the years and eventually we are bound to elect a crook.  When that bad person takes office, if there aren’t proper checks on his power he is going to use it to destroy our freedom.

When you look at it that way, somehow it doesn’t seem like such a good idea to give the president unchecked power to put American citizens in prison without a trial.

During a speech to the House of Representatives in 1807, Representative William Armisted Burwell perfectly demonstrated the mindset our modern representatives should have taken when approached with the idea of indefinitely imprisoning American citizens.  In this case, Burwell is discussing a proposal to suspend habeas corpus, but his arguments would have been just as relevant had he made them in the House earlier this month about the NDAA:

“What, in another point of light, would be the effect of passing such a law?  Would it not establish a dangerous precedent?  A corrupt and vicious Administration, under the sanction and example of this law, might harass and destroy the best men of the country.  It would only be necessary to excite artificial commotions, circulate exaggerated rumors of danger, and then follows the repetition of this law, by which every obnoxious person, however honest he may be, is surrendered to the vindictive resentment of the Government.  It will not be a sufficient answer, that this power will not be abused by the President of the United States.  [I don’t believe President Jefferson would] abuse it, but it would be impossible to restrain all those who are under him.  Besides, [I] would not consent to advocate a principle, bad, in itself, because it will not, probably be abused.”

In other words, it’s never ok for a Congressman to vote for flawed legislation because he’s pretty sure that it probably won’t be abused.  That is an incredibly careless approach to take to a situation that could lead to the violation of someone’s right to liberty.

Think about it, would you feel comfortable walking up to a random person at the mall and handing him the keys to your house along with directions on how to get there?  Of course not.  Sure, chances are that this person isn’t a crook and won’t use the keys to rob your home, but it’s disconcerting just to know that he even has that opportunity.

If it’s that uncomfortable to think about another person being able to take our possessions, why are so many Americans cool with giving the president the opportunity to take away our freedom?

This is why so many of us are furious over the current NDAA.  Remember, we aren’t only giving this power to Barak Obama.  We are also setting a dangerous example for every president that comes after him.  It comes down to common sense – if you go to the mall enough times and give your keys to enough strangers eventually you’re going to come across a crook.  The same is true in government – if you give enough politicians an opportunity to destroy your freedom eventually you’re going to elect one who will actually do it.

Members of Congress need to lose the cavalier attitude and start writing laws in a way that limits the possibility of abuse as much as humanly possible.  It’s unacceptable for them to even allow the opportunity for this section of the NDAA to be misinterpreted in a way that poses a danger to our due process rights.

4. Issues affecting our rights should be debated publicly

If you decided to do something that you knew was wrong, where would you do it?  Probably somewhere private, where no one could see you, right?

That’s why it is very telling that some members of Congress chose to slip this section on indefinite detention into a bill that they thought would pass without much scrutiny.  They are trying to hide something they know is wrong.  After all, if they were proud of this provision and honestly thought that the American people would support it, why not publicize it or even make it a separate bill so everyone can see what a great job they’re doing?

But even a week after it’s passage, a Yahoo search brings up virtually no mainstream media coverage of the controversy surrounding the NDAA so clearly our politicians are making no attempt to inform the American people about it.  This is just one more glaring example of the fact that many members of Congress believe that they are part of a political aristocracy that knows better than the rest of us unwashed masses.

Unfortunately for them, our government was created to serve the people – not the other way around.  Let’s not forget that the people of this country are the source of all the government’s power.  So any time legislation is being considered that could possibly have an effect on our rights or how they are interpreted, Congress has an obligation to have an open and extremely public debate that involves getting feedback from the public.

Nearly everything about the way this bill was handled is shady and endangers our freedom.  As it stands today, Congress passed a law:

  1. that may or may not strip Americans of their due process rights (no one knows for sure),
  2. that absolutely violates the Constitution, and
  3. that might give the President unimaginable power to destroy the liberty of every American citizen (but they’re pretty sure it probably won’t be abused).

No wonder no one in Congress wanted us to know about this.

Senate Approves Defense Bill – Awaits President's Signature

By a vote of 86-13, the Senate voted to approve the $662 Billion Defense spending bill. It passed keeping language allowing for the indefinite detention of suspected terrorist by the military.

For weeks the White House said it would veto the  bill unless the language pertaining to detention was changed. According to Fox News, there were two provisions that caused the most controversy.

“One would require military custody for foreign terrorist suspects linked to Al-Qaeda or its affiliates and involved in plotting or attacking the United States. The suspects could be transferred to civilian custody for trial, and the president would have final say on determining how the transfer would occur. Under pressure from Obama and his national security team, lawmakers added language that says nothing in the bill may be “construed to affect the existing criminal enforcement and national security authorities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other domestic law enforcement agency with regard to a covered person, regardless whether such covered person is held in military custody.”

The attorney general, in consultation with the defense secretary, would decide on whether to try the individual in federal court or by military tribunal. The president could waive the entire requirement based on national security.

The second provision would deny suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens seized within the nation’s borders, the right to trial and subject them to indefinite detention. It reaffirms the post-Sept. 11 authorization for the use of military force that allows indefinite detention of enemy combatants.”

The bill authorizes money for military personnel, weapons, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and national security programs in the Energy Department.

Also decided were tough sanctions aimed at Iran because of their nuclear program. Pakistan as well, to ensure that no transportation and building of improvised explosive devices (IEDs)  is taking place.

One not so covered aspect of the bill gives the National Guard a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Fulfilling a pledge Obama made when campaigning to become president.

The Senate has sent the bill to the President for his signature.

Mitchell & Ray December 8th: Stupid News, NDAA, WTHITTP?

When: Thursday, December 18th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where:Streaming Internet Radio

What: Join independent political commentators Michelle Ray and Rich Mitchell as they discuss the issues impacting Americans.

 

Tonight: Stupid news, the NDAA and where the hell is the Tea Party?


Show Recording: [mp3player width=300 height=75 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml file=http://media2.conservativedailynews.com/shows/mitchell-and-ray/show_12-8-11-M-R.mp3]

and .. the non-flash, iGadget-friendly version:

Eu Bailout, Chris Ashworth and Candidate Sniping

Senate Votes To Keep Indefinite Detention Provision In Military Bill

FILE - In this June 27, 2006 file photo, reviewed by a US Department of Defense official, U.S. military guards walk within Camp Delta military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

Earlier today the Senate voted to keep a provision in S.1253 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 which would give the President authority, using the military, to indefinitely detain suspected terror suspects. This includes not only oversees, but in the United States, to include American citizens.  The provision’s sponsors are Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin.

Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall proposes an amendment to the bill that was intended to remove the detainment provision. It was defeated by a vote of 61-37. In a column written for the Washington Post, Udall made the following argument:

“For example, the provisions would require the military to dedicate a significant number of personnel to capturing and holding terrorism suspects — in some cases indefinitely — even those apprehended on U.S. soil. And they authorize the military to do so regardless of an accused terrorist’s citizenship, even if he or she is an American captured in a U.S. city.”

It was reported that Senator Rand Paul (R. – KY.) and Senator John McCain had an exchange regarding the provision, in which Paul made the following comment: “Should we err today and remove some of the most important checks on state power in the name of fighting terrorism, well then the terrorists have won. [D]etaining American citizens without a court trial is not American.”. To which McCain responded with “Facts are stubborn things. If the senator from Kentucky wants to have a situation prevail where people who are released go back into the fight to kill Americans he is entitled to his opinion.”

The White House has threatened to veto the bill over the provision claiming it will hamper current efforts of “counter-terrorism professionals, including our military commanders, intelligence professionals, seasoned counter-terrorism prosecutors, or other operatives in the field” . In addition, FBI, Pentagon, and the Director of National Intelligence have all criticized the legislation.