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Monday, November 28, 2011

The Steady Erosion Of Rights

Nov 28th, 2011
Information on how to act is at the bottom of the post
The U.S. Senate is poised to vote today on S. 1867, the annual National Defense Authorization Act. This year's bill is very different. It is a threat to our fundamental way of life. This is not hyperbole.

There are two provisions contained in the legislation, drafted by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), which would allow the current and all future Presidents to declare a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil an enemy combatant. Any one of us, for any reason, could be arrested, detained and held indefinitely without charge or trial by our own military.

It is an existential moment for our country. We are now faced with the question of whether or not we are still America. It has been long coming. Many of us have argued since the initial passage of the Patriot Act and the launch of our now more than a decade old state of Permawar that the steady betrayal of our founding principles would eventually lead to just this sort of casual dismissal of the most basic guarantees provided by the Constitution.

For a decade, substantial numbers of our elected and unelected leaders have argued that certain truths aren't so self evident; We have been repeatedly told that only some combatants deserve Geneva protections. Warrantless wiretapping has been legitimized. Torture tactics for which we once hanged enemies have been renamed with chilly euphemisms.

The only thing that should surprise anyone is that anyone is surprised.

After last week's GOP debate, Peter Benart wrote:

"Should the United States be permanently at war? Listen carefully to this week’s Republican presidential debate on national security and the answer becomes pretty clear. For most of the major GOP candidates, the answer is yes...

...the major Republican candidates didn’t even bother to explain why. They simply declared that because there is a threat, America remains at war. Sure, there’s a terrorist threat and there always will be, even if Al Qaeda itself goes out of business. But if that’s all it takes for the United States to be at war, the United States will never be a peacetime nation again, which means we’ll never be able to regain the civil liberties we enjoyed before 9/11, or tame a defense and homeland security budget that has grown so massively in the last decade."

This seems to illustrate his point.

Is this our homeland? Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) says no. "America is part of the battlefield." Sen Lindsey Graham explains that S. 1867 will "basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield."

Stephen D. Foster Jr writes:

"This bill was written in secret and approved by committee without a single hearing. Senate Republicans support the bill and enough Democrats support it to give it a great chance of passing. This provision does have opponents. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill and even Ron Paul is concerned enough to bring it up during one of the GOP debates. An amendment called the Udall Amendment has been offered by Democratic Senator Mark Udall that would delete the dangerous provision."

This cannot be allowed. Should this pass, it will mark the next phase of the end of the American Experiment.

Please sign the petitions to stop this violation of our most fundamental Constitutional protections HERE and HERE

Then, call the Senate at 202 224 3121 and the White House at 202 456 1414

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