Another bill before Congress pushing the USA further into the dark of endless war, stripping away our liberties

Summary:  Every month seems to bring yet another assault on the Constitution, another chapter in a slow-mo coup de tat.  Here we examine the most current.  In a larger sense it does not matter if this bill passes or not.  Each assault prepares the way for the next.  In general they create legal precedents, open new avenues of attack, and — most importantly — accustom Americans to the slow loss of liberty.  Those faithful to the Constitution remain on the defensive, fighting the long slow defeat.  Only an aroused people can change this situation.

Contents

  1. ACLU summary of the pending bill
  2. Text of the Bill
  3. White House objections
  4. How government power grows and metastasizes
  5. We are living out the plot of Orwell’s Animal Farm
  6. For more information

Updates appear in the comments.

(1)  ACLU summary of the pending bill

Senators Demand the Military Lock Up American Citizens in a ‘Battlefield’ They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window” Chris Anders, Washington Office of the ACLU, 23 November 2011 — Opening:

While nearly all Americans head to family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday  that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will  be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.

Senators need to hear from you, on whether you think your front yard is part of a “battlefield” and if any president can send the military anywhere in the world to imprison civilians without charge or trial.

The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president — and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens  could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.

The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S.  1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday. The bill was drafted in secret by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ) and passed in a  closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing (source: Washington Post).

(2)  Text of the Bill

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (S.1867), Subtitle D – Detainee Matters, section 1031: Affirmation of the authority of authority of the Armed Forces of the US to detain covered persons pursuant to the authorization for the use of military force:

(a) In General – Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.

(b) Covered Persons – A covered person under this section is any person as follows:

  1. A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
  2. A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the US or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.

(c) Disposition Under Law of War – The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:

  1. Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
  2. Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, US Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111-84)).
  3. Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.
  4. Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.

(d) Construction – Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

(e) Requirement for Briefings of Congress – The Secretary of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application of the authority described in this section, including the organizations, entities, and individuals considered to be `covered persons’ for purposes of subsection (b)(2).

To further stoke the anger of US citizens (ie, those still giving allegiance to the Constitution — not to the Government, or asleep), see section 1032 – Requirement for military custody.

(3)  White House objections

The Obama administration objects to sections 1031 and 1032 for a confused medley of reasons.  Most strongly as this gives broad  and explicit but limited authority, rather than the vague and every growing grey zone of executive authority (see this official statement, 17 November).  They too recognize that this might expand military arrest authority to US citizens on US soil.

(4)  How government power grows and metastasizes

Methods that work for the government get used again.  All that can stop this process is our fidelity to the Constitution, knowledge of history, and willingness to stand together.  Recent history shows us wanting in these things.

The 1964 Tonkin Gulf resolution (see references at Wikipedia) used a poorly understood event to drive passage of vague legislation, used to justify a long and massive war in Vietnam.

The attack on 9-11 used a poorly understood event to drive passage of vague legislation, used to justify a long global war.  Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public law 107-40) on 18 September 2011:

That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Al Qaeda probably does not exist now in as effective foe.  We overthrew the government of Afghanistan and replaced it with a puppet regime.  Still the war continues against purely national insurgents in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Uganda.  With no end in sight, despite these wars having only a tenuous (probably specious) connection with 9-11.

(5)  We are living out the plot of Orwell’s Animal Farm

The rules seem clear, boldly written on the side of the barn.  Slowly they change.  Each revision seems natural, and the previous meaning quickly forgotten.  The end result is a farm far different than the vision, but accepted by the not-so-bright animals.

From Chapter Ten of Animal Farm:

Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer-except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs.

… And yet the animals never gave up hope. More, they never lost, even for an instant, their sense of honour and privilege in being members of Animal Farm. They were still the only farm in the whole county — in all England! — owned and operated by animals. Not one of them, not even the youngest, not even the newcomers who had been brought from farms 10 or 20 miles away, ever ceased to marvel at that.

And when they heard the gun booming and saw the green flag fluttering at the masthead, their hearts swelled with imperishable pride, and the talk turned always towards the old heroic days, the expulsion of Jones, the writing of the Seven Commandments, the great battles in which the human invaders had been defeated. None of the old dreams had been abandoned. … No creature called any other creature “Master.” All animals were equal.

… Benjamin felt a nose nuzzling at his shoulder. He looked round. It was Clover. Her old eyes looked dimmer than ever. Without saying anything, she tugged gently at his mane and led him round to the end of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written. For a minute or two they stood gazing at the tatted wall with its white lettering. “My sight is failing,” she said finally. “Even when I was young I could not have read what was written there. But it appears to me that that wall looks different. Are the Seven Commandments the same as they used to be, Benjamin?”

For once Benjamin consented to break his rule, and he read out to her what was written on the wall. There was nothing there now except a single Commandment. It ran:

All Animals Are Equal
But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

51 thoughts on “Another bill before Congress pushing the USA further into the dark of endless war, stripping away our liberties

  1. Obama = Romney = Perry = Cain = Gingrich = GOP = Democrats. Different puppets, same deceitful/ traitorous Federal Reserve/Bankster masters.

    1. Gingrich, Perry, Romney, Cain = medical care dictatorship, $16-Trillion/bailouts, endless wars/empire, free health/education/food/house/
    2. Gingrich = endless wives, $1.8-Million Freddie-mac bribe.
    3. Cain = Kansas Federal Reserve thug, “Libya swirls in my head”, unauthorized finger in panties.
    4. Romney = abortion, gun control.
    5. Perry = Gardasil for little girls, “ni##erhead” on farm, “oops, whats the 3rd one?”, “Bank-of-America helping him out”.

    End the wars/empire, end the federal reserve/IMF/World Bank/BIS/UN/WTO, end racist quotas, 3rd world welfare, end TSA/DHS/ADL/SPLC and other Orwellian crime syndicates.

    Ron Paul will restore sound money, strong national defense, liberty, free enterprise, local government, strong traditional families, Western Civilization. US forces gave 3-times as much $ to Paul as all other GOP candidates (prostitutes) combined. Paul supports voluntary aid to Isreal.

    Read these 3 books to restore America now:

    1. http://www.amazon.com/dp/145550145X
    2. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0312579977
    3. http://www.amazon.com/dp/9004192484
    1. Ron Paul’s economic views are distilled crackpot ignorance.

      BTW — the US is running a sustained trade deficit, evidence that the US dollar is too strong. The British demonstrated the damage this causes. In 1925 Churchill restored the British pound to its pre-war parity of $4.86, thereby re-establishing the gold standard in Britain, paving the way for a general restoration of the international gold standard, one of the first casualties of war in August 1914. It trashed their exports, initiating a cycle of economic weakness — and a weak pound — that lasted until balance was restored in the late 1970s.

      Ignorance is lethal in economics.

    2. The US dollar is too strong hhahahahha is that why it has lost 98% of it’s purchasing power since the establishment of the federal reserve? The Fed worsened the great depression and must take a lot of blame for the current issues (however wall street takes most of the blame), Keynesian economists are so much more ignorant that Austrian Economists.

      Ron Paul 2012

    3. Economic ignorance is a widespread phenomenon, unfortunately. Ron Paul is a symptom of this. The above statement is wrong on so many levels it would require several thousand words to explain. For other readers’ benefit I will mention just a few points.

      “The US dollar is too strong hhahahahha is that why it has lost 98% of it’s purchasing power since the establishment of the federal reserve?”

      (1) The Federal Reserve was created in 1913. How many times has the economic situation of the US and the world changed since then? Two world wars, a great depression, the cold war, the massive mismanagement of the US economy during the Vietnam and oil shock era (1966-1980), the rise of China and the emerging market. No major power navigated that period well, but the US did better than most.

      (2) During much of that time since 1913 the “stronger currency is better” madness proved highly destructive, esp during 1929-32 (aka “golden fetters”). Nobody began recovery from the Great Depresson with out first going off the gold standard and then monetary expansion.

      (3) Do you decide what to wear today based on the average temperature since 1913? What matters in economic policy is setting policy based on current conditions — and that means recognition of the trade deficit. WWII devestated the world, leaving the US as strongest power. The growth of other nations since then requires that the US dollar revalue vs. them. Currency prices are relative measures of the dollar vs. other nations’, and must vary as conditions change. The alternative is to force adjustment in other factors, such as employments and trade.

      (4) Posts about the gold standard

      1. A top businessman and banker explains our political and economic challenges
      2. Fetters of the mind blind us so that we cannot see a solution to this crisis
      3. Government policy errors as a cause of the Great Depression
    4. Re: US inflation since 1913.

      The US fought WWI, ran fiscal deficits during the global Great Depression, and has been in a permanent war economy since 1940. All of these things are inflationary. Wars are almost always inflationary. Modern wars (since 1914), with their greater intensity, are always inflationary. Blaming these things on the Fed is moronic.

  2. “including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.”

    What does the author mean by directly supported? Would a blog entry that was critical of US government policy and included information that contradicted the government’s case be considered “directly supporting hostilities?”

    Why would Carl Levine (supposedly a level-headed boring Democrat) choose to bring this up for a vote?

    1. Increasing the breath and depth of the government’s power is a bipartisan policy, one of the reasons I say that political polarization is a myth.

      For more about this see Washington’s blog:

      According to Department of Defense training manuals, protest is considered “low-level terrorism”.

      And see this at Fox News, this at the ACLU and this news article.

      And FBI memo also labels peace protesters as “terrorists”.

      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.

    1. My apologies. I did not notice his comments at the end of the post (which looked like a repost of the ACLU article):

      “…I believe the time has long passed when Americans could actually influence legislation, especially an act being railroaded like this one. No one stopped the Patriot Act. TPTB cannot help but get aggressively more repressive. They have to. If they stop, they lose everything anyway.”

      Since it has been a long time since we strongly tried to influence legislation, I am unimpressed with his preemptive despair.

    2. Off topic: Fabius that is Mike Rupperts comments, the one where he talks about the collapse of industrial civilization due to peak oil. Just so you know.

  3. To add to the gravity of the measure in front of Congress:

    On Black Friday – a mythical economic bellwether designed to whore out consumers to both banks and corporations, a sickening display of material worship the following did actually happen in New York City:
    Outside a newly opened Brookstone stone on the Upper East Side, a store sales associate was demonstrating and very cool new toy. This was a hover – camera. A $279.00 device which had 4 small rotors embedded into a plastic housing about 24″ square and was controlled by an iPad app. It could hover in place and be remote controlled via WiFi up to 150′ away from the iPad. It had rechargeable batteries and a color remote camera! Imagine the fun, Imagine the eavesdropping and peeping you could do with such a device, especially in a densely populated hi-rise laden city…Imagine.. This device is all bad for privacy all the time, but still, for sale in many stores this season. Less than $300!!

    Now what happened next was amazing. During this demo, which I stood by mildly amused at the whole idea, an NYPD cruiser pulled up, officers emerged and walked up to the clerk. After a short discussion, the store manager was summoned, more talk. Finally, the device was taken into the store and the demo was terminated.

    I found out later that it is illegal in NYC to privately operate, manufacture or sell any remote control device with a camera. Additionally, RC (radio controlled) devices are strictly banned from the public streets or parks without express permission from the NYPD.

    The comment from the store manager – “The cops made me aware of this law, we were not informed by our district management of this law and they said this device is ‘scary as hell. All we need now is some sicko to put a few ounces of explosives on it and fly it somewhere!’

    Is this what we have come to??

  4. ‘Ignorance is lethal in economics’ and business and it seem this is a global phenomina. the dollar is to strong and this will damage the economic growth in the USA, history has shown this, especially in the UK. However, this is not just one country in trouble, most of the western world is struggling to stabilise their economy, let alone show any real growth. It is time to watch the politicians more closely as it is clear they have not been taking care of things all even the smallest decision or policy can really affect the recovery of a country.

  5. What part of

    (a) IN GENERAL.—Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.

    And section 1032, subsection (b)(1):

    The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

    subsection (b)(2):

    The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States. …

    Did I not understand? The text EXPLICITLY EXCLUDES U.S. Citizens. I am against growth of governmental powers, but FM you do yourself no credit by mischaracterizing bills you don’t like.

    BTW, “…Ron Paul’s economic views are distilled crackpot ignorance. …” kinda stoops to politics of poopyhead. I don’t agree with Mr Paul’s opinions – in fact I agree with your assessment of them. However, you are in effect calling him a crackpot. That does not help the process or enhance the debate. IMHO this all goes to part of the problem – the polarization that DOES exist. In DC in the House/Senate/WH I agree that there isn’t really any polarization. But down at the grassroots level, polarization IS a fact. It is one of the methods they, the PTB, keep us willingly in ignorance, When a Liberal is busy screaming at a Conservative, he/she isn’t using their brain. And name calling is simply another means of screaming.

    1. Re: the national defense bill

      (1) No it does not “explicitly exclude” US citizens from military detention. It says that military detention is not REQUIRED. That’s not much comfort.

      (2) The reference to “as allowed by the Constitution” is black humor, considering how many of the clear Constitutional protections have been shredded.

      1. Congressional authorization before the US can go to war.
      2. Limitations on surveilance.
      3. Torture.
      4. Jail and even xecution without charge, warrant, trial, or sentence.

      (3) The White House statement goes into this in a bit more detail.

      Re: Ron Paul

      These are comments — mostly conclusions, not fully analytical statements. The posts I cite (such as the 3 about the gold standard) go into these matters in more detail, and contain links to longer expert analysis.

      As for “crackpot” — some people are in fact crackpots. Pretending otherwise does not help us. While opinions about the shape of the Earth differ, we are not obliged to pretend they are equally deserving of respect.

  6. yeah that’s an ugly one. However the 5th amendment states:

    “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 be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law … “

    The exception quoted refers to our forces, not enemy forces. As I understand it, please correct me if i’m wrong, previous “enemy combatants” were detained with the justification that they are (1) not US citizens, and (2) the detention is not on US soil, therefore US law and the bill of rights does not apply to them.

    So if you ask me, Congress does not technically have the power to pass this law. hope we still have a Supreme Court.

    1. I am not sure what you are saying.

      (1) “except in cases arising in the land or naval forces”

      This refers to people serving in the armed forces. They are subject to courts martial instead of the civil criminal justice system.

      (2) “when in actual service in time of war or public danger”

      This refers to the milita, not to members of the regular armed forces, and describes when they are subject to courts martial.

      For more about this see the Cornell School of Law Annotated Constitution.

    2. Right, so the bill, which I interpreted as an attempt to treat arbitrarily selected “enemy” US citizens as we have been treating enemy combatants, violates the 5th amendment and is plainly unconstitutional. Supreme court should shoot it down instantly and if it doesn’t run for the hills.

  7. oh yeah and as for the Ron Paul bashing, I’m with the others.

    Substantive criticisms (which you’re plenty good at) are good.
    Sweeping judgements of someone’s sanity? doesn’t strengthen your argument.

    Even though his abolish-the-Fed line is simplistic, and he’s anti-abortion which I personally disagree with, the man has the guts to get up in front of the party that put him in office and call them on their war-mongering lies on national TV, again and again. That alone gets my respect.

    1. I don’t understand your complaint. The three posts cited deal comphresentively with the gold standard, hard money theory. Have you read them? It’s not complex, nor difficult to understand.

      The idea of “hard money” (aka a fixed currency, of which the gold standard is the best known example) has damaged too many nations during the past 100 years. It is Econ 101. This history of repeated failure — up to and including the damage it is doing now to Europe — shows any candidate to be a crackpot who makes it the center of his economic policy.

      As for his other views, I agree with many of them. But cold evaluation of a candidate’s reasoning process is IMO one of the most important criteria for choosing a candidate.

      Carter too sounded great while campaigning. As President he was a wonderful float for the bicentenial festival. Unfortunately we forgot it was a 4 year contract.

    2. I was referring to the “Ron Paul’s economic views are distilled crackpot ignorance. ” line. That’s a flamebait line if there ever was one.

    3. I’ll look in further detail at the links you posted regarding “hard money”, I’m open to adding new ideas and throwing out bad ones.

      In a nutshell I believe the root cause of the current crisis (not trade just trade imbalance) is because of extreme monetary expansion, resulting in reckless lending and ponzi finance. This crap happened in the 1890’s and throughout industrial history. But in the 1990’s it was hugely worsened by deregulation, our blind faith in the financial marktets, also by Japan’s low interest rates for the last 20 years pumping money into the machine. Which did help their exports, yes. I’ll go read before saying more.

    4. There is a large (massive) body of research on this things, coming to totally different conclusions.

      There is also a large body of evidence refuting your conclusions. To mention just one, the excessive expansion of debt occured in many nations — under different monetary and banking regimes.

  8. Senator Rand Paul aims to kill “indefinte detention” section of DoD bill:

    Senator Rand Paul has submitted an Amendment to Senate Bill 1867 (known as the National Defense Authorization Act) which would strike the section of the bill that allows the US government to indefinitely detain individuals without trial or due process. The Amendment is #1062 and would eliminate Section 1031 which says:

    “Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force…includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons…Detention under the law of war without trial”

    This Amendment was submitted by Senator Paul as soon as the bill came forward. There are other similar Amendments too, however none of them completely eliminate the offending section. You can view Senator Paul’s submission of the Amendment here.

    1. Much of his foreign policy is excellent. I’m not familar with it in depth, such as when he considers foreign intervention appropriate — and by what process? The Korean War is a good case study, with its appealing narrative but blatently illegal action by the President (later authorized, however).

  9. “A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the US or its coalition partners […]”

    If one is member of al-Qaeda or associated forces engaged in hostilities against some other country than the USA or coalition partners, then one is not a covered person and therefore off the hook relative to this bill.

    Which reminds me that the USA and coalition partners had no qualms whatsoever in relying upon former and current al-Qaeda fighters in the struggle against Muammar Gaddafi.

    And the notion of “substantial support” leaves plenty of further wiggle room to determine whether a person is “covered” or not.

    Interesting.

    1. More interesting is that the US government gets to declare who is an enemy. AQ does not publish a membership directory, and few of the folks in our gulag were taken on a real battlefield.

      We used to have a process to determine this, even for foes. For citizens it meant a warrant, indictment, trials, etc. Now the government says you are guilty and then bad things happen to you. Sometimes including execution.

      The Britsh “star chamber” was better than this. We gone centuries backwards in protections given to citizens.

      Also — what is “al Qaeada”? As has been obvious for several years, and the government has recently admitted, AQ is almost defunct. The groups we call AQ are nationalist insurgents unrelated to 9-11, and unconcerned with attacking America (ie, except that we are bombing them to support the local government).

  10. Many people seem unclear on the threat posed by this bill. It authorizes by law actions so far done by the executive, allowed by the courts, but without legislative authorization. That will provide the foundation for the next stage of expanding government power. That’s the process at work for generations, slow death for the Constitution.

    A post later this week will discuss this in detail, but the following comments tell the story.

  11. Facebook posts by Representative Justin Amash (R-MI):

    Sens. 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.

  12. “…I believe the time has long passed when Americans could actually influence legislation, especially an act being railroaded like this one. No one stopped the Patriot Act. TPTB cannot help but get aggressively more repressive. They have to. If they stop, they lose everything anyway.”

    Wow, very scary Ruppert. But, mmmm, if the Bs are really so powerfull, then what would they lose by stopping? I’m soooo confused :P

  13. Describing Ron Paul’s bizarre beliefs as “economic ignorance” puts the situation far too kindly.

    Please recognize that this character wants to abolish the IRS and end the federal reserve, eliminate the government printing of what he calls “fiat money,” and let citizens print their own currency.

    To describe this as “rampant lunacy” and “dementia that would send us back to the dark ages before the advent of the first large international banks in the 14th century” hugely understates the level of insanity of Ron Paul’s economic policies.

    1. I didn’t want this thread to become a debate about Ron Paul, but this is too good to pass up: Ron Paul Calls Social Security and Medicare Unconstitutional, Compares Them to ‘Slavery’, ThinkProgress, 15 May 2011. Future generations, when the madness has passed, will see at this video as evidence that we are nuts.

      They’ll be right, of course.

      Also see:

      1. Ron Paul’s “Plan to Restore America
      2. Ron Paul’s phony populism“, Gary Weiss, Salon, 29 November 2011 — “The libertarian presidential candidate is a true friend of the 1 percent”
    2. >>> Ron Paul’s “Plan to Restore America”

      just read the whole thing. I wasn’t aware how severe it is.

      Eliminating corporate tax and extending the bush tax cuts and other tax breaks have him reducing US Gov revenue by 15-25% (ramping up) over 4 years. An even greater (30%? 40%+? doesn’t say) amount of Federal services / transfers to states are cut.

      This would pretty much put a million people out of work right off the bat and bankrupt 5-10 states within a year or two.

      Too bad he’s the only one calling for ending the various wars.

  14. FM remarked: “Many people seem unclear on the threat posed by this bill. It authorizes by law actions so far done by the executive, allowed by the courts, but without legislative authorization.

    I believe this is inaccurate. The Supreme Court explicity refused cert when Anwar Al-Awlaki’s father petitioned to bar the United States government from murdering his son (and American citizen) without a trial and without charges.

    In my view, the Supreme Court’s refusal of cert constituted a clear albeit tacit legitimatization of the practice of the president of the United States ordering the murder of a U.S. citizen without trial and without charges.

    For

    1. I don’t understand what you are saying. I say “allowed by the courts“, you say “tacit legitimzatization” by the Courts. What is the difference?

      Your comment appears to have been cut-off, however.

      You can see the Court’s ruling on Anwar Al-awlaki (the late Anwar al-Awlaki) here.

  15. Viz Economics education/info, I am interested in your opinion of “Basic Economics: A citizens guide to the Economy” and “Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One” both by Thomas Sowell. As I noted, I do not favor RPs economic policies – I believe they are WAAAAAYYYYY too simplistic. Abolish the IRS? Well, I can’t say that in the abstract I would oppose that, but back in the Real World, I am forced to conclude that it is a necessary evil. Return to a Hard Currency? Not really sure just how realistic that is…well actually I am sure that it isn’t realistic.

    But to the point of this bill that we are discussing: What, if anything, can we the people DO? As I read things, it is looking bleak. We seem to be, even if we were so inclined as a people, in a place where we are unable to effect change. There seems to be effectively no restraint on ANY of the three branches.As we swirl deeper down the rabbit hole into Facism and Totalitarianism, I can’t see that we can stop this juggernaut. Who is the Sword and Shield of the Constitution? Who is willing to be?

    Terminus Adveho
    June 17, 1932
    William Hushka Eric Carlson

    1. (1) I am not familar with Sowell’s views of economics, and so unable to comment.

      (2) As for fixing America, the process is simple. We hold elections every two years, so the commonplace view that we are impotent is not correct. It serves as an excuse for inaction, for preemptive surrender. Even peons must be able to look in the mirror every morning with some words that provide self-respect.

      The problem is not that we cannot influence events, but that we are unwilling to work the Constitutional machinery. It’s difficult work, and takes time. Why bother when our elites will run things without bothering us? We might no like the results, but we can bitch and moan to our hearts content.

      The solution is to get involved. Mobilize your friends, coworders, and neighbors. Reclaiming America takes on time and work. The longer we wait, the longer and more difficult the process.

  16. Fabius Maximus proposes that “The solution is to get involved. Mobilize your friends, coworkers, and neighbors.”

    I’m all for that if there is the slightest possibility of its making a difference. Is there such a chance? My friends, coworkers and neighbors amount, in total, to about 50 people. Just conceivably, I could “mobilize” 20 of them.

    Then what?

    Looking at a wide range of web-based and print media, I’m unable to see any effect whatsoever by groups that are too small to have paid organizers, lobbyists and/or propagandists–excepting only the Occupy movement. Leaving out Occupy, it appears to me that grass roots political action is dead. The roots have withered. If they could be revived, they would be revived, and so the absence of any visible revival is evidence that the politics of dollars, sound bites and propaganda has triumphed, and effective grass roots “mobilization” is impossible–excepting the brave but intrinsically limited efforts of the Occupy movement.

    I live in one of the most politically polarized communities in America. If effective grass roots mobilization were possible, my home town probably would be where one would see it first. I’ve been watching, but I’ve seen no successful efforts, just repeated preaching to the choir, followed by inaction.

    I hope I’m mistaken. Can you identify instances within, say, the past ten years, in which “mobilization” of individuals in small groups has made a difference? What were the forms of such mobilizations?

    1. This why we’re weak:

      “My friends, coworkers and neighbors amount, in total, to about 50 people. Just conceivably, I could “mobilize” 20 of them. Then what?”

      Americans have lost the very concept of collective action. It’s not that you become Batman, single-handedly reforming Gotham City. It means that you mobilize 20 people, 5 of them each mobilize 20 — eventually you have changed America. Big things often take time, take much effort, and require sacrafice of ones life, fortune, and honor.

      1. In 1764 Samuel Adams took his first steps to end British. The Revolution ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
      2. In 1774, Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush founded America’s first anti- slavery society. The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868.
  17. A conservative attorney speaks: “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…”

  18. 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.

    The confusion stems from Section 1032, which deals with the military detention of the people the Armed Forces captures “in the course of hostilities.” Part of Section 1032 states: “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.”

    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 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.”

    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.”

  19. An ammendment 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 Ammendment (SA) 1126 (source)

    It was defeated 45 – 55. Click here to see how your Senator voted.

    These 12 Democrats voted against the ammendment, giving a bi-partisant sheen to the anti-Constitutional majority: Begich, Blumenthal, Inouye, Klobuchar, Landrieu, Levin, Manchin, Nelson, Pryor, Reed, Stabenow, and Whitehouse.

    The full bill — with its section trashing the key citizen protections in the Constitution — passed 93-7. No political polarization when it comes to perpetual war AND stripping away our liberty! Click here to see how your Senator voted. The seven remaining 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)

    The House version passed on 26 May 2011 by a vote of 322 to 96 (13 not voting). Click here to see how your representative voted.

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