Okay, here’s the fucking shot!
Two bills are hitting the Senate this week and both are an affront to Democracy as we know it.
The first is the National Defense Authorization Act. In itself, usually not controversial. It’s just re-authorizing funding for the Armed Forces.
But a bill has been slipped into it called The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision. And according to “Mother Jones”, It’s a nut cruncher.
Legislative language that emerged from the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday afternoon would mandate the automatic, indefinite military detention of noncitizens apprehended in the United States who are suspected members of Al Qaeda or associated groups. The wording, which is part of a must-pass bill to fund the military, also appears to allow the indefinite military detention of citizens and legal permanent residents. (Italics Mine. RJ.) The bill would also extend restrictions on transfers of detainees from Guantánamo Bay, though only for one year.
(The galling part of this is that this was co-written by Carl Levin (D-MI.) who has , if his Wikipedia page is correct, has an 84% lifetime rating from the ACLU on Civil Liberties issues. I have a feeling that number is going to take a hit after this.)
If you are have trouble with understanding why this is a bad idea, I suggest you take a quick refresher in Amendments five through nine.
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 offence 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
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The good news is that President Obama has threatened to veto the bill but that’s not enough. We need to make sure those provisions never get a chance to see the light of day.
The other thing is the PROTECT IP Act and….well, see for yourself.
The good news is that there has already been pushback on our side. Nancy Pelosi and Ron Paul have publicly denounced the bill. And one of my Senators, Ron Wyden has promised that he will filibuster the damn thing. And not some namby-pamby procedural Filibuster like thing. He is going OLD SCHOOL on this bitch!
Millions of Americans support Internet freedom. What better way to demonstrate our strength than to ask Senator Wyden to read our names into the record during his filibuster? He’s agreed to read censorship opponents’ names from the floor of the Senate, and to try to enter the rest into the Congressional Record.
Just fill out the form at left to stand with Wyden and ask him to read your name on the floor of the Senate. It will also generate a letter to your own lawmakers, asking them to oppose Internet censorship.
Follow the link above and add your name to Wyden’s filibuster list. Then, for good measure, call your senator and demand that he or she vote no on this bill.
You know, most days I honestly believe that Government can play a role in improving our lives.
Today is not one of these days.