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RIP, Constitution. The Second Republic died this week. Of course, we don’t care (that’s why it died).

5 December 2011

Summary:  The Second Republic (under the Constitution) died this week, as the most important of our core protections were stripped away.  In full daylight. What remains in the Constitution has little value without them. Few people care; no protests were made. The Constitution died from neglect. We snooze, we lose.  This post is the sad follow-up to Another bill before Congress pushing the USA further into the dark of endless war, stripping away our liberties.  At the end are links to other posts about The Quiet Coup taking place, and how to reform America.

“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.
— John Philpot Curran, “Speech On the Right of Election” (1790)

Contents

  1. About this key moment in history
  2. About the new law, gutting the Constitution
  3. The votes are in; we lost
  4. Here are some articles about the significance of this event
  5. Other posts about the Constitution

The First Republic, under the Articles of Confederation, ran from 1777 to 1787. This article discusses the Second Republic, under the Constitution.

(1)  About this key moment in history

The birth of a political regime often occurs on a specific date.  Such as 17 September 1787 for the Second Republic, when the Convention approved the Constitution.  Regimes often die slowly, with no specific date of death.

Historians will debate the exact date the Second Republic ended. When did the Constitution die in our hearts?  When did the long slow decay take us from self-rule to oligarchy?  When did we lose so many freedoms so that we were no longer a free people?

I believe that we passed that point this week.  We need to think about our future.  All paths from here lead into darkness of oligarchy; that seems unavoidable.  Some of these paths may go up into the light again.  Perhaps to a revived Second Republic, applying the paddles to shock Constitution back to life.  Perhaps to a Third Republic.

(2)  About the new law, gutting the Constitution

“The health of a people comes only from its inner life — from the life of its soul and its spirit.”
— Words on a granite memorial stone in Berlin marking where Walther Rathenau “fell on this spot by the hand of a murderer.”

(a)  The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution is its core.  Without its protections the rest of document are little but pleasant sentiments.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Congress has in effect repealed these words, allowing the Executive to declare guilt (in secret), and jail indefinitely or execute — using the military.  Be a good quiet peon and you have no reason to worry.

(b)  Here are the words, the anti-Magna Carta:  the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (S.1867), Subtitle D – Detainee Matters:

These provisions authorize by law actions now routinely done by the Executive and allowed by the courts — but without legislative authorization. This law provides the foundation for the next stage of expanding government power. That’s process has been at work for generations, slowly killing the Constitution.

(c)  Senator Carl Levin (D-MI, chairman of the Armed Forces Committee) explains why we must surrender our liberties:  Senate Floor Speech on the Detainee Provision in the Defense Authorization Bill, 18 November 2011.

(3)  The votes are in; we lost

“The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a few essential points … These slogans must be repeated until every last member of the public understands what you want him to understand.”
— From a basic text on government by one of the founders of modern political marketing (Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler)

No political polarization when it comes to perpetual war AND stripping away our liberty!

(a)  An amendment submitted by Senator Feinstein (D-CA) would add the following text to section 1031:

(e) Applicability to Citizens.–The authority described in this section for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain a person does not include the authority to detain a citizen of the United States without trial until the end of the hostilities.
— Senate Amendment (SA) 1126 (source)

Her are here warnings about this bill:  Remarks by Senator Dianne Feinstein on Detention Provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act“, speaking before the Senate on 17 November 2011

It was defeated 45 – 55. Click here to see how your Senator voted.  These 12 Democrats voted against the amendment, giving a bipartisan glow to the anti-Constitutional majority:

  • Begich (D-AK),
  • Blumenthal (D-CT),
  • Inouye (D-HI),
  • Klobuchar (D-MN),
  • Landrieu (D-LA),
  • Levin (D-MI),
  • Manchin D-WV)),
  • Nelson D-NE),
  • Pryor D-AR),
  • Reed D-RI),
  • Stabenow D-MI), and
  • Whitehouse D-RI).

(b)  The House version of the full bill — with its section trashing the key citizen protections in the Constitution — passed on 26 May 2011 by a vote of 322 to 96 (13 not voting).  Click here to see how your representative voted.

(c)  The Senate version passed on 1 December 2011 by a vote of 93-7.  Click here to see how your Senator voted.  See the names of the seven Senators supporting the Constitution:

  1. Coburn (R-OK)
  2. Harkin (D-IA)
  3. Lee (R-UT)
  4. Merkley (D-OR)
  5. Paul (R-KY)
  6. Sanders (I-VT)
  7. Wyden (D-OR)

(4)  Here are some articles about the significance of this event

(a) McCain says American Citizens Can Be Sent to Guantanamo“, The Progressive, 29 November 2011 — Excerpt:

Sen. McCain:

“I think that as long as that individual, no matter who they are, if they pose a threat to the security of the United States of America, should not be allowed to continue that threat.”

There has been some confusion on the Internet as to whether the National Defense Authorization Act really applies to U.S. citizens. But Sen. McCain’s answer should clarify that once and for all.

… Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel of the ACLU, explains the problem.

“The exclusion on Section 1032 only applies to 1032. It doesn’t apply to 1031,” he says. “And that only makes it worse, because any judge is going to say, ‘Of course, members of Congress meant for American citizens to be detained because if they didn’t, they would have put in the exception they put in one section later.’ ”

Anders is troubled by an additional aspect of Section 1031—the part that mentions transferring someone “to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.” The implication, says Anders, is that “if you’re an American citizen and were born somewhere else, you can be sent to the country where you were born, which you fled, which is out to persecute you.”

Anders also noted that Sen. Lindsey Graham, a backer of the bill, has said multiple times on the Senate floor, including on Tuesday, that American citizens should be put into military detention without a lawyer. Here’s what Sen. Graham said in the Senate on Nov. 17 {see C-SPAN}:

“1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”

(b)  Facebook posts by Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) — {Also see his letter to Congress} :

Senators McCain and Levin have teamed up to promote one of the most anti-liberty pieces of legislation of our lifetime, S 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act. This bill would permit the federal government to indefinitely detain American citizens on American soil, without charge or trial, at the discretion of the President. It is destructive of our Constitution.

… A few commenters have suggested that the dangerous provisions in S 1867 (discussed in my previous post) do not apply to American citizens because of this language in Sec. 1032: “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.” This language appears carefully crafted to mislead the public. Note that it does not preclude U.S. citizens from being detained indefinitely, without charge or trial, it simply makes such detention discretionary.

(c)  A conservative attorney writes about the bill

Defense bill will allow President to indefinitely detain American citizens“, David Kopel (Independence Institute), Volokh Conspiracy, 30 November 2011 — Opening:

“H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, has already passed the House, and is currently before the Senate. One section of the bill gives the President the authority to detain indefinitely American citizens, picked up on American soil, because they are allegedly supporting the enemy…”

(d) The Media’s Blackout Of The National Defense Authorization Act Is Shameful“, David Seaman, Business Insider, 1 December 2011 — Opening:

The broadcast media’s ignorance and unwillingness to cover the National Defense Authorization Act, a radical piece of legislation which outrageously redefines the US homeland as a “battlefield” and makes US citizens subject to military apprehension and detainment for life without access to a trial or attorney, is unacceptable.

This is far more important than Penn State’s Disgusting Creep of the Decade, or even Conrad Murray’s sentencing. Call it what you will: a military junta, a secret invalidation of Americans’ civil rights, a Congress gone mad. Whatever it is, it needs to be covered by the press, and quickly.

(e)  As usual, Glenn Greenwald at Salon provides a powerful analysis.  These are must-read articles, IMO.

(f)  Oppression will inevitably and naturally follow, now that we have thrown away the Constitution’s core protections. For more about this see Government Using Anti-Terrorism Laws to Crush Dissent at Washington’s blog:

What do these quotes {about liberty from American history} all have in common? The great Americans who said them would be considered terrorists today.

A 2003 FBI memo describes protesters’ use of videotaping as an “intimidation” technique, even though – as the ACLU points out – “Most mainstream demonstrators often use videotape during protests to document law enforcement activity and, more importantly, deter police from acting outside the law.” The FBI appears to be objecting to the use of cameras to document unlawful behavior by law enforcement itself.

(g)  A reminder of what we once were, and can be again.  It’s all about choice.

The citizen who thinks he sees that the commonwealth’s political clothes are worn out, and yet holds his peace and does not agitate for a new suit, is disloyal, he is a traitor.”
— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889)

(5)  A look at America’s future

For all posts about this see the FM Reference Page America – how can we stop the quiet coup now in progress?

  1. Most important:  Forecast: Death of the American Constitution, 4 July 2006
  2. Our futures seen in snippets of the past, 16 June 2008 — Constitutions are just paper bullets of the mind.
  3. The transition between Imperial reigns: what will it mean for America?, 16 December 2008
  4. US Army – the antidote to US civil disorder, 3 January 2009
  5. A look at America’s future – grim unless we get smart and pull together, 12 March 2009
  6. “The Coming of the Fourth American Republic”, 24 April 2009
  7. More about the tottering structure of the American political regime, 17 August 2009
  8. A third American regime will arise from the ashes of the present one, 30 March 2010
  9. For America to prosper it must first burn, 22 November 2010
  10. The hidden price America pays for its dark deeds (a high price, but not immediately visible), 26 March 2011
  11. Origins of what may become the 3rd American Republic (a plutocracy), 8 April 2011
  12. A warning about what is about to happen, 9 August 2011
  13. A look at the future of America, unlike the expectations of conservatives and liberals, 10 August 2011
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31 Comments leave one →
  1. jonh permalink
    5 December 2011 1:32 am

    Put your money on the young.

    Like

    • 5 December 2011 2:05 am

      The more things change…

      That was frequently said during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The early signs of American decay, putting off responsibility onto the next generation. We’re the next generation; unless we rouse ourselves then the next generation will spend a lot of time cursing us. Rightly so.

      Like

    • jonh permalink
      5 December 2011 4:13 am

      The more things change… the more things change. I think it can be said the 60s and 70s people did significant positive things in their time. They participated and institutionalized the Civil Rights movement. Their work for the environment and creation of the EPA was a boon to our health and nature’s health. And their work behind sexual and religious tolerance has been good too– at least it can be argued so.

      Boomers and their ripple Gen X are not without faults as this site has pointed out, but they did make significant changes.

      I think the various FM posts on the death of the “Second Republic” are very scary and we definitely have an obligation to right the ship. And this may seem weird, and I have no documents or references to back up my feeling, but I think that when then boomers leave the political scene, good things will fall in place. As a member of “gen y”, I just feel that my peers and I see these things as self evident, but we don’t have full political power yet.

      Our generation largely believe in core Western values of freedom, merit, tolerance, and separation of power. I think what keeps us from engaging in politics in a mainstream way is the disgust in the current regime our parents run. Once they retire, I think the mainstream will be much more sane.

      Yes, this is anecdotal. I have no data for support. But I have a good feeling about it.

      Like

    • 5 December 2011 5:19 am

      (1) “I think it can be said the 60s and 70s people did significant positive things in their time.”

      I was more specific, not refering to “people” but to young people (ie, boomers) in the 1965-1975 era. Whatever good the boomers did then as youngsters, we have been a disaster as adults for the Republic.

      (2) “They participated and institutionalized the Civil Rights movement. Their work for the environment and creation of the EPA was a boon to our health and nature’s health.”

      This is not accurate. The great era of civil rights legislation and executive action was mostly over by 1969, and the boomers had only a small role. The EPA was proposed by Nixon in 1969, and again the Boomers played only a small role.

      (3) “but they did make significant changes.”

      Taking the rose-colored glasses off, are the Boomers leaving America in better shape than they inherited it (as of what date? 1985?)

      (4) “I have no documents or references to back up my feeling, but I think that when then boomers leave the political scene, good things will fall in place.”

      Hope is not a plan. This sounds like something Professor Pangloss would say in Voltaire’s Candide. The ship is sinking; relying on hope that things will end well is a self-destructive.

      (5) “Our generation largely believe in core Western values of freedom, merit, tolerance, and separation of power.”

      Nobody cares what sheep believe. Citizens act together, which makes them powerful.

      (6) “I think what keeps us from engaging in politics in a mainstream way is the disgust in the current regime our parents run.”

      If only good excuses made the world better. It would be heaven!

      Like

    • jonh permalink
      5 December 2011 5:48 am

      You make good points, as usual.

      Back to the post’s intent though, I do agree with FM that these are very troubling developments. Along with all the other government’s recent seizures of rights. I don’t want to diminish that. I agree that the warantless wiretapping, searching, detaining, and killing are terrible and we need to fix this problem.

      My point was that unlike “(…the more they stay the same)”, things do get better with time. My admittedly very humble understanding of history provides me with the notion that there is no better time to be alive than now and that we can expect more good things to come.

      Like

    • 5 December 2011 6:19 am

      “things do get better with time”

      Not always.

      1. When did Europe again have a city equal to Rome of 100AD? It depends on the metrics used. 1800? 1900?
      2. The arrival of western explorers from 1492 on was usually a disaster for the people whom they visited. Massive pandemics, conquest, exploitation, enslavement — a centuries-long litney of horrors.
      3. When did Europe again reach a state equal to that of 1914 (including Eastern Europe)? Again, it depends on the metrics. 1950? 1990?

      Like

    • jonh permalink
      5 December 2011 7:05 am

      You say “not always” but then list 3 ways things got better with time. In fact you also pointed tow an accelerated healing process. I took 1000 years to get a city equal to Rome again, hundreds of years to end horrors to indeginous peopels, and decades to repair Europe after 2 World Wars and Depression.

      Perhaps the next/current calamity will be righted in 10 years.

      Like

    • guest permalink
      5 December 2011 3:39 pm

      “When did Europe again have a city equal to Rome of 100AD? It depends on the metrics used.”

      Yes, it depends on the measure. What about Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine empire, after 500 AD?

      Like

    • 5 December 2011 4:19 pm

      That shows my parochialism! I was not thinking of Constantinople as part of Europe.

      Like

  2. Drake West permalink
    5 December 2011 3:15 am

    Can anyone show me how this really changes anything? The president can detain anyone with military arrest, even Americans? So what. I may sound jaded and conspiracy theorist, but I am sure the Presidents have been doing this for a long time. Yes the Constitution is taking a hit, and that needs to be studied, but the application of this Congressional act seems to legitimize actions the government seems to take already. Did you think of that as a motive for a 93% pass rate in the Senate? Wake up folks, the President has been doing this already. Maybe now it will be documented and traceable.

    On the topic of freedom’s lost, I believe the corporations have limited the pursuit of happiness (real happiness, not material happiness) to faceless millions for decades by jamming consumerism and its debt down our throats. The President’s office could not ever make a list long enough to scare me personally in comparison. Our freedom is an expansive prairie without fences. Sooner or later, the horizon gets closer, the barbed wire has to be put up and you are expected to define your happiness with less. It is evolution. We may not physically evolve so much anymore, however, our obesity is possibly considered to be evolution, but we do have to adjust to the current conditions.

    The concept that the 99% should be seeking to tear down the 1% grows tiresome, and ultimately pathetic. We should be trying to make life for the 99% intrinsically better, not seeking to take, or take back, from the 1%. Yes if the 300 American billionaires in this country all sent each unemployed person a check for $5000 it would not hurt that wealth bracket too much, but it would not resolve any problems. My example is crude, but it is really what many complainers are seeking, wealth redistribution.

    Ask the billionaires how the earned it? By finding tax loopholes, doubtful, though those exist, it is not the cause of wealth creation, is make keep 5-7% more in their pockets..not make them rich. The rich to get richer because the masses do not have what it takes. A country with 315 million people cannot have a standard of living top in the world. Not possible. Too many people, too many cultural biases, too many pitfalls.

    America had a time when its weaknesses and fallacies did not overcome its brightest moments. The Greatest Generation was just that, a generation. not a century or forever. Before that generation, America was a wonderful experiment, lucky as hell the have the best piece of dirt in the history of the world and positioned strategically with oceans on each side and much weaker border nations.

    We have also benefited by mixing a damned fine batch of nationalism Kool-Aid whenever necessary and drinking to the last drop. We are no longer that wonderful experiment. We are an overweight, debt ridden and angry middle aged man who feels cheated out of his 1000 year Reich. So we went 225 years and 2 months without a chip on our shoulder, now we have one and it is dragging us down to the dirt we hold so dear.

    Nations do not thrive on the founders ideals, they thrive on the current population’s ability to see the correct course of action. Our government is ours, not made up of ogres and demons. They all seem to think this bill is good for America’s current interests. Are you all so sure it kills our nation?

    Like

    • 5 December 2011 5:22 am

      “The president can detain anyone with military arrest, even Americans? So what. I may sound jaded and conspiracy theorist, but I am sure the Presidents have been doing this for a long time.”

      You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. Unlike movies, people do not disappear without being missed. Politically significant people, even within small groups, especially so.

      The FM website comments are littered with such statements, which I believe are a defensive mechanism to refuse to acknowledge that things are getting worse. That might force us to act, or at least create guilt that we are passively allowing the Republic to die. Much better to spin fantasies that it was always this bad.

      Like

  3. Rcoutme permalink
    5 December 2011 5:11 am

    @Drake West: no, it does not kill this nation.

    The nation I volunteered to fight for (back in 1983) was a different nation; a nation that cared about civil liberties. This nation only ‘claims’ to care about civil liberties. Congress shredded Habius Corpus and nearly nothing was said. The Patriot Act passed with few dissenters even though it would have been laughed out of congress 150 years ago. Just recently a blogger/writer described his (and others) detention at the hands of the Oakland Police Department. The description includes torture and denial of basic requirements. Their hands were bound with plastic so tightly that the writer’s right hand had not recovered feeling by the time he posted. A woman had been crying and begging the police to loosen (not remove) her restraints due to pain. People were left to urinate on their seats on a bus when left for seven hours. Bail (for a misdemeanor offense, thus usually $100 or personal recognizance) was routinely set at $5,000 to $10,000.

    This bill does not kill this nation. Other bills killed our previous nation–the current one is setting up more tools to continue its standard operating procedures. It’s kind of funny, because I have a conservative friend who worried that should Al Gore be elected (in 2000) the government would come and take him away without trial. He worried that he would simply disappear. Now, under a conservative (even if many of the voters are Democrats, the conservative element is what is pushing all of this) government, his fear could come true — but most likely would happen to someone who has opposite views politically than my friend.

    Like

    • 5 December 2011 5:27 am

      I agree. That’s a powerful point. To choose an accurate metaphor — this week’s legislation is not a dagger in the Republic as much as a milestone along the road. It’s a marker showing how far we have gone down this road.

      Like

  4. Terminus Adveho permalink
    5 December 2011 8:01 am

    AGAIN – What part of:
    ” (b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens-
    (1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.”

    Am I missing??????? Where, specifically, does this portion of the bill, sub-title D, Detainee matters, changes the cited portion above???????

    Now, I have made clear in other posts that I do not trust the government, and that I believe that it needs, oh so desperately, to be reined in. BUT, I think that you are misrepresenting the issues with this, and overstating them. That does not help further the debate, as credibility is lost when you do this sort of thing. I am not disagreeing that the 2nd Republic is dead due to extreme indifference on the part of its citizens. It’s just, you make your point with the same sort of extreme “OH MY GOD!” sort of tone that the liberal democrats, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh tend to use.

    And as a logical thought on this: Why would the government even need or bother to put this into law? They’ve already shown with Samir Khan and Anwar Al-Awlaki that THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT THE LAW! Why would they bother writing a justification after they’ve already crossed the line and NO ONE MARCHED ON DC FOR THIS UNCONSTITUTIONAL ACT..

    jonh:
    I have a good feeling too.This republic is starting to crumble in the same manner that a snowball grows more dangerous as it rolls down hill. I WELCOME the coming collapse.BURN THIS MOTHER DOWN! We don’t deserve to continue on. I used to avoid voicing that belief, but no longer. It’s overdue. We are so self indulgent, and self centered that we, as a country, DESERVE what’s coming. I mean, come on, the US Government MURDERS a US CItizen – WITHOUT TRIAL BY JURY – and doesn’t even have the decency to hide it – they ANNOUNCE IT TO THE WORLD! Our government is PROUD of what they did to Khan and Awlaki. I am not saying that these were nice men that should have lived and been given medals. I’m saying that YOU CAN’T KILL CITIZENS WITHOUT A TRIAL BY JURY. SAYS SO IN THE CONSTITUTION!

    And yet we, the undeserving, the indolent, the American Idiots sit fat and lazy in our barco loungers, eating our fast food SQUANDERING our liberties and rights, while people DIE just to try and get the right to vote.

    WE DO NOTHING! So we deserve no favor from those who follow us except their derision. We are no longer governed – we are ruled. And no one but us crack pots seems to give a shit. We deserve what’s coming. MAYBE the next time, we might get it right. I doubt it – we never seem to learn.

    exuro civitas – Long live the State.

    Like

    • 5 December 2011 1:56 pm

      The most interesting aspect of your comment is that this was explained to you in the previous post. It is explained again repeatedly in the articles I cited in that post and again in this post. It’s quite simple and clear. You obviously do not want to hear the message or see the plain language of the words your quote. So we can assume that this explaination too will pass over you.

      The part of the text you quote does not require the military to detain US citizens that the government has declared guilty (without warrant or trial), nor does it prohibit it.

      Like

    • jonh permalink
      5 December 2011 4:53 pm

      Terminus Adveho:
      “jonh:
      I have a good feeling too.This republic is starting to crumble in the same manner that a snowball grows more dangerous as it rolls down hill. I WELCOME the coming collapse.BURN THIS MOTHER DOWN!”

      You’re scary dude. I’m looking forward to sanity someday, not more of the craziness. If nothing else, I think the tone is important for solving problems.

      I think what FM is saying is that the only rational people at the playing table are the ones everyone is mad about. He’s saying that we need to act rationally so we can properly defend our values and make everything peachy.

      Like

  5. 5 December 2011 2:06 pm

    Groan…

    That’s why I wrote a paper titled something like The American National Security Consciousness, Culture and State: Does Alternative Media Matter?…Something like that….People should be reading the novels WE and Insatiability…It is so sad….With the arrest-anyone-for-anything verbiage I wonder if during the coming war with Iran, Russia or everyone on the African continent opposition here becomes zilch for fear of arrest….Damn! What a lousy time for beer prices to be skyrocketing….

    Like

  6. Dash permalink
    5 December 2011 7:46 pm

    While I can’t really go with the whole sentiment of “BURN THIS MOTHER DOWN!”, I do believe that the time has definitely come to make a change to our gov’t. I’m not an avid politics follower, so much was beyond my knowledge (thank God for Google). We have had many great presidents throughout our time, as well as many not-so-great presidents. Someone mentioned earlier about the time frames for “greatness” for Europe, whilst another pointed out some interesting facts about that.

    … The US has been around long enough to have seen multiple govt’s topple and reform (East/West Germany, Czech, Korea , USSR, etc) that (again here comes that wonderful word that does nothing in terms of solving things) HOPEFULLY we will be able to have our revolution and fix it in less time than “100AD – 1900″ took for Europe in Fabius’ example.

    While I was reading all the posts made, the only thing that I could think of that entire time, was an excerpt that I had to do a paper on in college for the Constitution.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    Our founders KNEW that the Constitution would not last forever. It is our duty as a people to take our “destinies” into our own hands and fix what it is that plagues us. This might not be today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually people WILL tire of these incessant changes made to our Constitution that are, well… Un-Constitutional.

    Rcoutme: “The Patriot Act passed with few dissenters even though it would have been laughed out of congress 150 years ago.”

    These things are coming up on a regular basis that are stripping us of our RIGHTS as an American citizen as dictated by our Founding Fathers. Granted, our founding fathers could NEVER have predicted what our country would be like when they wrote the Constitution, but they sure did allow for quite a bit of leeway in terms of how something could be interpreted for the future generations. It’s only when you completely take away these RIGHTS that there are issues.

    I think maybe I’m ranting now and might be far off base. I’d like to learn more and enjoy this discussion mainly in part that nobody has resorted to teenage antics and started name calling.

    Like

    • Rcoutme permalink
      6 December 2011 8:20 am

      You do realize that your quote is not from the Constitution but the Declaration of Independence, right?

      Like

    • 6 December 2011 3:42 pm

      Good point! The Declaration is patroitic poetry. The Constitution is about government.

      Like

  7. 5 December 2011 7:59 pm

    Congress has the power to declare war. I kind of see this bill as a declaration of war on the people of the United States. Looking to 4GW theory, this bill represents another milestone in the hollowing out of the state. It’s legitimacy is being undermined by its own actions as it loses the most important aspect of war (per Boyd), namely the moral. (However, this would not be recognized by most members of the elite as their morality is based on exploiting any and everything to Maximum Advantage–the theory does explain a lot even if it is not very helpful regarding what to do about it.)

    The second republic is long dead, having been replaced by empire some time ago (even if it did retain some of the trappings of the second republic for a time). This brings me to the question of a third republic, which would require national action. I think for this to occur their would need to be widespread recognition that the US is indeed a nation and I see no real evidence of that. Few care about the US constitution (other than a few current and former members of the armed forces) because they feel that they are not part of the US. We are rather a collection of nations, both regional and demographic, which is what one would expect of an empire. The traditions that the US constitution are drawn upon are from a different culture than many people residing in the US. African Americans feel no great veneration for a document that was originally used to justify slavery. For Hispanics, it is not a product of their culture. For native Americans, the constitution was the beginning of the end of theirs as that was the kickoff of westward expansion. It obviously did not apply to Japanese Americans during World War II, so why would Asian Americans care? Young white people are alienated from it (which is unsurprising as it is not taught in schools). Etc. Older conservations claim to support the constitution, but in reality for many it is just a cover for their fascist tendencies–thus alienating others as they equate its false-flag defenders with the document itself via backlash mechanisms. There are therefore too few defenders who actually understand it and that is not going to change. It is therefore dead, and it is not coming back. Once something dies its time to move on.

    As such, I think energy is betting spent creating something better locally or regionally. This would have an advantage of focusing attention on primary loyalties (which is where it is all headed anyway). In other words, go with the flow because you have no choice to do anything else.as we are swept along by historical forces (to who knows where). I myself believe that state and local government represents the future as civilization requires infrastructure (and I have put my money, and my influence in the real world, where my mouth is).

    Like

    • Drake West permalink
      6 December 2011 5:01 am

      This is a great post SRL. Truly capturing the core issue, but wordier. That issue:

      The strong central federal government can no longer control is own tentacles nor the ever increasing need for more tentacles. Basically it is FUBAR. Since the government believes it needs to solve this problem, it will continue to react and broaden its only available strategic goal – ensure more power for itself. Since the enemy of the strong central government is local expression of doubt in the central government’s course, the powers must include power to silence its most damaging adversaries.

      The whole idea that the sheeple are the victims and we must all rise up is nonsense and for a society long since dead on this continent. Where in North America do we see such unity, strength in purpose and willingness to sacrifice? Not in USA, Mexico or Canada. Not even in the corrupt Island nations of the Caribbean.

      The posts above describe the discomfort of those arrested in Oakland, urinating on oneself, painful constraints and costly bail. These are nothing compared to the punishments governments have inflicted on other nations in the last 50 years. I am disgusted at the sensationalism that post tries to sell me. The Casey Anthony trial is much more evocative as is the Sandusky travesty. Please do not try to start the revolution by waving a banner that our handcuffs are too tight. I do not see mainstream Americans hopping off their couches over that one.

      We are so desensitized to cause and effect, there cannot be a massive effect which outdoes September 11th and rights the course of this country. Think about it, how can OWS or whatever comes next make that level of impact? Because rationally, that is the minimum of what we need to wrest control of the future of our great nation from the current strategy of our Federal government.

      Like

  8. ljhs permalink
    5 December 2011 9:05 pm

    Ex Parte Milligan – as modified by Ex Parte Quirin and the recent Hamdan decision – still applies and would seem to require that the provision be struck down in Federal court. SCOTUS was unusually direct in Hamdan in signaling to the Bush administration what the justices viewed as constitutional vs. unconstitutional use of military detention. This flies directly in the face of their recent precedent and even the direction taken by some of the SC most conservative justices in criminal cases the past few terms.

    Like

  9. annanan permalink
    5 December 2011 10:42 pm

    And who will benefit , from making provision for ‘ military detention ? ‘ Who will benefit , from rhetoric about Iran ?
    Could there have been mention of cuts to military budgets , by any chance ?
    Follow the money .

    Like

  10. justanothersilentshout permalink
    6 December 2011 3:31 am

    I agree with you FM and i respect everyone who has replied to this thread. i don’t wanna offend anyone because i want to avoid any degeneration of this thread to the point where someone has to cite Godwin’s Law. what i will say is this: the problem with the “good feeling” and thinking that the next generation will sort shit out is that they won’t. Americans have never seen the process of freedom being killed first hand. I grew up in Africa (South Africa to be exact) and this is exactly how it happens:

    a)Your soon to be dictatorial government offers you a common enemy (in your case Terrorism -.- i still facepalm whenever i realize that that line actually worked)

    b) then they tell you that that enemy hates everything about your country that makes you love your country (your freedom to speech, right to a fair trial, right to privacy, women in bikinis, football, beer, whatever).

    c-1) then they tell you that you can’t even always be sure WHERE the enemy is or even WHO the enemy is by looking at them (and pay attention because this is the part that concerns you right now) so that means that the government needs to be able to keep tabs on anyone/everyone at will a la The Patriot Act (that was the last alarm bell for the citizens of the US, when that went off without a hitch, i was like “welcome to oligarchy folks, hope you like it because you won’t be leaving anytime soon.”)

    c-2) this is usually the point where they curtail media freedom (that’s whats happening in South Africa right now and it happened to Zimbabwe too- look it up and see the similarities) but lets be honest, your media hasn’t been free for a while now. the lack of media coverage of this act is proof enough of that, if you don’t believe me then…well…i don’t know what it would take to prove it to you.

    d) Then we get to the stage where we are now: the indefinite detention of citizens without trial, and remember that this makes evidence redundant, (for those suspected of being “in league with the enemy” during wartime). This is the game-ender. once you pass this point you’re pretty f***cked. Why? simple: because “you can’t always be sure WHERE the enemy is or even WHO the enemy is by looking at them” it could be anyone…especially you. Now, The US as been in a perpetual state of war with “terror” (facepalm) for the last ten years with no improvement. and there never will be because terrorism is not a tangible enemy. it’s a word you use when you want to usurp the freedoms of people abroad and on their own soil. this means that, theoretically, this war may never end and that means that these laws could be in effect permanently getting more and more stringent and Orwellian.

    Take my word on this, i have seen it happen in my lifetime and i am young enough to know it doesn’t take very long, this law is not for the benefit of the American citizen. how can it be? it’s trying to put you away, indefinitely, on a hunch. like I said this process has never happened close to the states and if you aren’t one to keep abreast on the happenings around the world you’ll never know it’s happening, kind of like public executions in China.

    Like

  11. Greg Connolly permalink
    6 December 2011 4:21 pm

    justanothersilentshout …..

    Lotsa good stuff here “Shout”.
    T’was a long and winding Road and now we are here.
    Like the Road Sign that says:
    Road Ends Ahead.
    Or
    Minimum Maintenance, Travel at your own risk.

    See some of you on the Streets someday, the rest of you can watch us on TV!

    Breton

    Like

  12. Taibbi: "Indefinite Detention of American Citizens: Coming Soon to Battlefield USA" permalink
    11 December 2011 10:42 pm

    Indefinite Detention of American Citizens: Coming Soon to Battlefield USA“, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 9 December 2011 — Opening:

    There’s some disturbing rhetoric flying around in the debate over the National Defense Authorization Act, which among other things contains passages that a) officially codify the already-accepted practice of indefinite detention of “terrorist” suspects, and b) transfer the responsibility for such detentions exclusively to the military.

    The fact that there’s been only some muted public uproar about this provision (which, disturbingly enough, is the creature of Wall Street anti-corruption good guy Carl Levin, along with John McCain) is mildly surprising …

    Like

  13. HuffPo: "Indefinite Military Detention Of U.S. Citizens Is A Win For Terrorists, Former Admiral Says" permalink
    14 December 2011 2:52 am

    Indefinite Military Detention Of U.S. Citizens Is A Win For Terrorists, Former Admiral Says“, Michael McAuliff, Huffington Post, 12 December 2011 — Excerpt:

    A measure that Congress will likely pass this week allowing indefinite detentions of Americans by the U.S. military will mark a significant loss in the war on terrorism, says a retired admiral who ran the Navy legal system.

    … To Ret. Adm. John Hutson, who was Judge Advocate General of the Navy from 1997 to 2000 and is dean emeritus of the University of New Hampshire School of Law, the idea that the United States is chipping away at one of its fundamental principles of civilian law enforcement is a win for terrorists.

    “The enemy is just laughing over this, because they will have gotten another victory,” Hutson told The Huffington Post. “There’ll be one more victory. There won’t be any bloodshed or immediate bloodshed, there’s not a big explosion, except in a metaphorical sense, but it is a victory nonetheless for the enemy. And it’s a self-inflicted wound.”

    … Besides Hutson’s 28 years in the military justice system, he counted himself a conservative and Republican who “didn’t vote for a Democrat for dogcatcher” until he became worried about the direction of the country and backed Obama in 2008.

    He thinks Obama should be very concerned about the detainee provisions, and explained why passage of them would be a victory for terrorists, who he argued cannot beat the United States on the battlefield. Instead, he said terrorists have to focus their attacks and violence on getting the United States to beat itself. And infringing on its own liberties is a step in that direction, he said.

    “In this war, the enemy doesn’t have to win,” Hutson said. “They can cause us to do things we wouldn’t otherwise do, such as indefinite detentions, in the name of fighting a war,” he said, noting that the country has already subjected itself to invasive scrutiny that would not have been tolerated before Sept. 11, 2001.

    In the case of the defense bill, the detention provisions would raise key questions about basic legal concepts that have long underpinned guarantees of freedom in America, including the habeas corpus right to contest being jailed and the Posse Comitatus Act passed after the Civil War to limit the military’s role in law enforcement.

    … “As it turns out, our enemies’ greatest weakness is that they are bereft of ideals,” he added. “If we can maintain our ideals, our sense of justice, in the face of this, we can win. What the enemy, what the terrorists want to do — because they know they can’t beat us militarily — [is] they can try to change us. They can cause us to become more like them, and for them, that’s victory.”
    The reason why, he argues, is that if the United States cannot portray itself as the holder of loftier ideals, then it is much harder to convince the rest of the world to stay on its side — and it’s harder to fight wars because even allies are less cooperative.

    “Who’s going to surrender to the United Sates if they think they’re going to be detained indefinitely without a trial? Is anybody going to give up?” he asked. “Who’s going to say, ‘You know, maybe the United States isn’t as bad as we think it is, and maybe it’s al Qaeda and the Taliban who are the bad guys, and I’m going to side with the good guys?’”

    … “It’s going to cost lives.” he said, “it’s going to cost a way of life.”

    Like

  14. Greenwald: Three myths about the detention bill permalink
    16 December 2011 2:46 pm

    Three myths about the detention bill“, Glenn Greenwald, Salon, 16 December 2011 — Excerpt:

    Condemnation of President Obama is intense, and growing, as a result of his announced intent to sign into law the indefinite detention bill embedded in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). These denunciations come not only from the nation’s leading civil liberties and human rights groups, but also from the pro-Obama New York Times Editorial Page, which today has a scathing Editorial describing Obama’s stance as “a complete political cave-in, one that reinforces the impression of a fumbling presidency” and lamenting that “the bill has so many other objectionable aspects that we can’t go into them all,” as well as from vocal Obama supporters such as Andrew Sullivan, who wrote yesterday that this episode is “another sign that his campaign pledge to be vigilant about civil liberties in the war on terror was a lie.” In damage control mode, White-House-allied groups are now trying to ride to the rescue with attacks on the ACLU and dismissive belittling of the bill’s dangers.

    For that reason, it is very worthwhile to briefly examine — and debunk — the three principal myths being spread by supporters of this bill, and to do so very simply: by citing the relevant provisions of the bill, as well as the relevant passages of the original 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), so that everyone can judge for themselves what this bill actually includes (this is all above and beyond the evidence I assembled in writing about this bill yesterday):

    Myth # 1: This bill does not codify indefinite detention …
    Myth #2: The bill does not expand the scope of the War on Terror as defined by the 2001 AUMF …
    Myth #3: U.S. citizens are exempted from this new bill …

    Like

  15. Ruthy permalink
    4 January 2012 11:04 am

    Jeez this was shocking. Didn’t know that Americans where so apthathic, let alone ignorant of what is passed in congress.

    Brilliantly written, thanks for the insight. I think some of the problems that might also lead to this is that although America is one of the most influencial countries in the world (since WW2), its people lacks a worldview. Consequently their pov are narrow and concentrated on their own state and country.

    Knowing what goes on around you is essential (especially in South Africa) and consequently you pay attention to what your goevernment is doing. And also what it tries to do to your human rights.

    Like

  16. Bernard Finel: "The Coming Constitutional Crisis" permalink
    12 January 2012 4:11 pm

    The Coming Constitutional Crisis“, Bernard Finel (Assoc Prof of National Security Strategy, National War College), 12 January 2012 — Opening:

    The Constitution is in crisis and has been for the past decade or more. The perceived exigencies of the “war on terror” have forced us to make some pretty deep compromises with past practice. And while you will always find people to make “the pendulum swings back and forth” arguments, I really do think that in the area of balancing civil liberties and security, we’ve essentially triggered some sort of ratchet. I mean, the idea of military detention is essentially a bipartisan consensus. Same with targeted killings (even of American citizens). Increased domestic surveillance, and so on. I mean, the debate on these issues, to the extent there is one, is still about stuff like torture, or at least what constitutes torture. It wasn’t that long ago that all of these issues were widely considered off-limits.

    But what’s interesting, of course, is that outside a relatively small circle of civil libertarians, no one cares about any of that. You’d think such a dramatic shift in the ability of the government to use coercion and surveillance against citizens would have been a major issue. But, well, it isn’t.

    But that said, even though the “war on terror” lives on without causing a Constitutional crisis, there is still one looming

    Like

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