Tag Archives: Constitution

“I don’t have time to play this Constitutional bullshit!”

open quoteA depressed Army reservist who made a phone call for help says dozens of police responded by surrounding his home and arresting him, vandalizing and searching his place without a warrant, seizing his dog and killing his tropical fish.
Matthew Corrigan, who lives alone with his dog, sued the District of Columbia in D.C. Federal Court.
Confronted with a massive police presence after his plea for help, Corrigan says, he denied officers permission to enter his house, but they entered and trashed it anyway, saying, “I don’t have time to play this constitutional bullshit!”close quote (Read more)

NY Times offers Socialist Criticism of Constitution, 2nd Amendment

open quoteSure, it is the nation’s founding document and sacred text. And it is the oldest written national constitution still in force anywhere in the world. But its influence is waning.

. . . .

The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights. The commitment of some members of the Supreme Court to interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning in the 18th century may send the signal that it is of little current use to, say, a new African nation. And the Constitution’s waning influence may be part of a general decline in American power and prestige.

In an interview, Professor Law identified a central reason for the trend: the availability of newer, sexier and more powerful operating systems in the constitutional marketplace. “Nobody wants to copy Windows 3.1,” he said.

. . . .

As Sanford Levinson wrote in 2006 in “Our Undemocratic Constitution,” “the U.S. Constitution is the most difficult to amend of any constitution currently existing in the world today.”

. . . .

Constitution is out of step with the rest of the world in failing to protect, at least in so many words, a right to travel, the presumption of innocence and entitlement to food, education and health care.

It has its idiosyncrasies. Only 2 percent of the world’s constitutions protect, as the Second Amendment does, a right to bear arms. (Its brothers in arms are Guatemala and Mexico.) close quote (Read more)

States Challenging NDAA & indefinite detention

open quoteWND reported when Rep. Daniel P. Gordon Jr. immediately drafted a resolution in the Rhode Island legislature to express opposition to the sections of the NDAA “that suspend habeas corpus and civil liberties.”

Now the Tenth Amendment Center confirms that the resistance to the federal bureaucracy is catching on.

The instruction manual on how to restore America to what it once was: “Taking America Back.” This package also includes the “Tea Party at Sea.”

“Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center say as many as 10 states will consider legislation or resolutions in response to the detention provisions in section 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA,” the organization is reporting. “Lawmakers in Rhode Island and Washington will likely introduce resolutions authored by the Rhode Island Liberty Coalition within the next week. Additionally, local governments, including Fremont County, Colo. and El Paso County, Colo., have passed resolution condemning the detention provisions.”

Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin commented that “federal politicians never seem to repeal federal law.”

“It’s going to take ‘We the People’ in our states to stand up and say, ‘No!’ to this unconstitutional monster,” he said.close quote (Read more)

Alien vs. Predator, and the hypocrisy of Allen West

Originally published on Ad Libertad:

The battle lines are forming in Washington DC. Barring any tricks which the embattled (racist, redneck, kooky, backward, radical, unelectable) libertarian wing of the Republican Party may still have up its sleeve, it seems to be another contest between Marxist-Leninist Socialists who will take everything we have in the name of social welfare, and National Socialists who will take everything we have in the name of national security. Much like in Alien vs. Predator, whoever wins, we lose.

I think we’ve crossed the Rubicon toward tyranny and fiscal ruin long ago, and the important thing now is to brace for calamity. A fiscally conservative friend of mine is appalled by my cynicism. He invokes America’s greatness and my veteran status in an attempt to bring me back to the noble cause of shutting up and blindly supporting the Republican Party. He recently encouraged me to watch Allen West’s speech at CPAC 2012. He wants, presumably, for me to give people like Allen West my time, money, attention and respect, because nothing is more important that defeating Obama (. . . says the Predator about the Alien).

In the speech, Allen West goes on at length about the virtues of the Constitution. He said, “[The founders] laid out in no uncertain terms the types of things government would have the right to do, and the types of things it wouldn’t.” I’d love to hear him reconcile this with his discussion of “a Chamberlin-Churchill moment,” and “kinetic solutions” to Iran’s nuclear research, and “the precipice of World War Three.” Does he know the Constitution requires presidents to seek congressional declarations of war? Or does he, like most politicians, only believes in the Constitution when it foils his political opponents.

He said, “The founders knew that if government were allowed to restrict the freedom of the people . . . freedom would not long survive,” yet he voted in favor of renewing Patriot Act provisions.

He decries reckless spending: “We’ve allowed the federal bureaucracy to balloon out of control,” yet he voted in raise the debt ceiling. When questioned by Young America’s Foundation’s Ron Meyer, he asked for the thing all politicians have always requested: unity and support. Presumably, Allen West’s rapid betrayal of the principles he invoked in his campaign would be remedied if only I gave him more money, time, attention and respect. . . .

Read more from Ad Libertad

Glenn Greenwald: Repulsive progressive hypocrisy

Glenn Greenwald is one of the most honest reporters out there. He reminds me of Henry Hazlitt who worked for the NY Times and had always considered himself a progressive. When FDR’s fascist New Deal came about, he assumed all his colleagues would oppose it. He was wrong.

open quoteDuring the Bush years, Guantanamo was the core symbol of right-wing radicalism and what was back then referred to as the “assault on American values and the shredding of our Constitution”: so much so then when Barack Obama ran for President, he featured these issues not as a secondary but as a central plank in his campaign. But now that there is a Democrat in office presiding over Guantanamo and these other polices — rather than a big, bad, scary Republican — all of that has changed, as a new Washington Post/ABC News poll today demonstrates:

The sharpest edges of President Obama’s counterterrorism policy, including the use of drone aircraft to kill suspected terrorists abroad and keeping open the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have broad public support, including from the left wing of the Democratic Party.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that Obama, who campaigned on a pledge to close the brig at Guantanamo Bay and to change national security policies he criticized as inconsistent with U.S. law and values, has little to fear politically for failing to live up to all of those promises.

The survey shows that 70 percent of respondents approve of Obama’s decision to keep open the prison at Guantanamo Bay. . . . The poll shows that 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats — and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats — support keeping Guantanamo Bay open, even though it emerged as a symbol of the post-Sept. 11 national security policies of George W. Bush, which many liberals bitterly opposed.

Repulsive liberal hypocrisy extends far beyond the issue of Guantanamo. A core plank in the Democratic critique of the Bush/Cheney civil liberties assault was the notion that the President could do whatever he wants, in secret and with no checks, to anyone he accuses without trial of being a Terrorist – even including eavesdropping on their communications or detaining them without due process. But President Obama has not only done the same thing, but has gone much farther than mere eavesdropping or detention: he has asserted the power even to kill citizens without due process. As Bush’s own CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden said this week about the Awlaki assassination: “We needed a court order to eavesdrop on him but we didn’t need a court order to kill him. Isn’t that something?” That is indeed “something,” as is the fact that Bush’s mere due-process-free eavesdropping on and detention of American citizens caused such liberal outrage, while Obama’s due-process-free execution of them has not.

Beyond that, Obama has used drones to kill Muslim children and innocent adults by the hundreds. He has refused to disclose his legal arguments for why he can do this or to justify the attacks in any way. He has even had rescuers and funeral mourners deliberately targeted. As Hayden said: ”Right now, there isn’t a government on the planet that agrees with our legal rationale for these operations, except for Afghanistan and maybe Israel.” But that is all perfectly fine with most American liberals now that their Party’s Leader is doing it:

Fully 77 percent of liberal Democrats endorse the use of drones, meaning that Obama is unlikely to suffer any political consequences as a result of his policy in this election year. Support for drone strikes against suspected terrorists stays high, dropping only somewhat when respondents are asked specifically about targeting American citizens living overseas, as was the case with Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni American killed in September in a drone strike in northern Yemen.

The Post‘s Greg Sargent obtained the breakdown on these questions and wrote today:

The number of those who approve of the drone strikes drops nearly 20 percent when respondents are told that the targets are American citizens. But that 65 percent is still a very big number, given that these policies really should be controversial.

And get this: Depressingly, Democrats approve of the drone strikes on American citizens by 58-33, and even liberals approve of them, 55-35. Those numbers were provided to me by the Post polling team.

It’s hard to imagine that Dems and liberals would approve of such policies in quite these numbers if they had been authored by George W. Bush.

Indeed: is there even a single liberal pundit, blogger or commentator who would have defended George Bush and Dick Cheney if they (rather than Obama) had been secretly targeting American citizens for execution without due process, or slaughtering children, rescuers and funeral attendees with drones, or continuing indefinite detention even a full decade after 9/11? Please. How any of these people can even look in the mirror, behold the oozing, limitless intellectual dishonesty, and not want to smash what they see is truly mystifying to me.close quote

Ron Paul: NDAA ‘descent into totalitarianism’

open quoteGOP presidential candidate Ron Paul warned that the National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by Congress this month, will accelerate the country’s “slip into tyranny” and virtually assures “our descent into totalitarianism.”

“The founders wanted to set a high bar for the government to overcome in order to deprive an individual of life or liberty,” Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas, said Monday in a weekly phone message to supporters. “To lower that bar is to endanger everyone. When the bar is low enough to include political enemies, our descent into totalitarianism is virtually assured. The Patriot Act, as bad as its violations against the Fourth Amendment was, was just one step down the slippery slope. The recently passed National Defense Authorization Act continues that slip into tyranny, and in fact, accelerates it significantly.”

The NDAA is the nearly $670 billion defense spending bill that covers the military budget and funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.close quote (Read more)

The 86 Senators who Voted to Pass NDAA

The 13 Senators that voted Nay on this year’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with 86 voting Yea:
Cardin (D-MD)
Coburn (R-OK)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Durbin (D-IL)
Franken (D-MN)
Harkin (D-IA)
Lee (R-UT)
Merkley (D-OR)
Paul (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Sanders (I-VT)
Wyden (D-OR)

One was apparently too busy to vote: Moran (R-KS)

The lengthy list of the Senators who passed this bill:
YEAs —86
Akaka (D-HI)
Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Baucus (D-MT)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Brown (R-MA)
Burr (R-NC)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Coons (D-DE)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hagan (D-NC)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Inouye (D-HI)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (D-SD)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kirk (R-IL)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lugar (R-IN)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCain (R-AZ)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Menendez (D-NJ) Mikulski (D-MD)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Portman (R-OH)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Rubio (R-FL)
Schumer (D-NY)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Shelby (R-AL)
Snowe (R-ME)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Thune (R-SD)
Toomey (R-PA)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Vitter (R-LA)
Warner (D-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wicker (R-MS)

(Read more)

Obama Lawyers: Killing U.S. Citizens Allied With Al Qaeda is an Executive Decision

open quoteThe U.S. may target and kill U.S. citizens when they take up arms with al-Qaeda, top lawyers in the Obama administration said Thursday.

CIA counsel Stephen Preston and Pentagon counsel Jeh Johnson were questioned at a national security conference about the drone strike that killed American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, but they would not comment on it specifically. They did say U.S. citizens don’t have legal rights when they side with al-Qaeda.

Johnson maintained that only the executive branch, not the courts, can decide who qualifies as an enemy on a battlefield. Unfortunately for U.S. citizens, the secret, peremptory nature of such executive decisions is not up to a review of any kind and do not require that any evidence be put forth proving the individual’s guilt or association with al-Qaeda.close quote (Read more)

***

Here is a list of who voted for this monstrosity in the Senate. The seven no votes came from:

Coburn (R-OK)
Harkin (D-IA)
Lee (R-UT)
Merkley (D-OR)
Paul (R-KY)
Sanders (I-VT)
Wyden (D-OR)

The 93 other senators voted for it. Terror! Terror! Terror! “War is the health of the state.”