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Rights & Liberties Reminder + News

apollina baker

REMINDER:  The claim Americans most proudly and most often make is that we are a Free people and a Free nation.  The Declaration of Independence says, and I paraphrase so that we actually hear the message of the memorized words,  We understand and believe in our hearts and our minds as a matter of fact and of truth that all human beings are born with certain rights that can never be taken away.  We are entitled to Life, to Liberty and to freely Pursue our goals in finding joy, contentment and peace.  We equally possess these rights by the very nature of being alive. No one may interfere with our rights, they are inviolable.  More specifically, the government may not interfere with our rights. 

The government derives its just power from the consent of the governed. In other words, the entire purpose of the government is to secure our fundamental rights; we choose the government and we give it whatever power it does have, not the other way around.  And we retain the right to alter or abolish government when it becomes destructive of our rights and violates its chief purpose to protect those rights. 

Do we even realize any more that we have that kind of power in this country?  I believe the state of our nation is directly attributable to our being content to abdicate this power to the entity of government and neglecting our responsibility for our freedom.  It is our duty and our right to keep our own government in check.  That is what our Constitution, what John Adams called "the greatest single effort of national deliberation that the world has ever seen", is all about.

NEWS:  A law was recently voted on called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which permits the US military to imprison United States citizens with no formal charges and hold them indefinitely with no trial, so long as the government calls them terrorists. 

In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.” (Business Insider)

Last week, those who are in favor of the military detention of Americans -- a measure crafted by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) -- defeated Mark Udall's (D-CO) amendment that would have stripped the dangerous provisions from the bill.

Here is what Senators are saying in opposition to this law:

Congress is essentially authorizing the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge... We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge." -Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
I'm very, very, concerned about having U.S. citizens sent to Guantanamo Bay for indefinite detention.  It's not enough just to be alleged to be a terrorist.  That's part of what due process is -- deciding, are you a terrorist? I think it's important that we not allow U.S. citizens to be taken." Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
 Here is a quote from Sen. Lindsey Graham, a supporter of the military arrest and detention of Americans:
The enemy is all over the world. Here at home. And when people take up arms against the United States and [are] captured within the United States, why should we not be able to use our military and intelligence community to question that person as to what they know about enemy activity?  They should not be read their Miranda Rights. They should not be given a lawyer. They should be held humanely in military custody and interrogated about why they joined al Qaeda and what they were going to do to all of us."
We’re talking about the stripping away of our most basic freedoms. We’re talking about a potential state that can call me a terrorist for writing this blog post and then lock me up and throw away the key.  What’s the line from Batman? The night is always darkest just before the dawn. I like to think that’s true, because times seem awfully dark these days."

There will be a more formal House-Senate conference in the next few days to officially approve this bill and then it will be on the floors of the House and Senate by early next week.  The plan is to move very fast and to jam the NDAA through the House and Senate with as little debate as possible. Tell your members of Congress to vote NO on the NDAA.

It is the citizens of the United States, the Americans, who consent to our own governing.  We must not consent to this.  We must be active and vigilant in preserving our freedoms.  There is never a final victory for democracy.

Further reading:

The Huffington Post:  Senate Votes To Let Military Detain Americans Indefinitely, White House Threatens Veto

Wired: Senate Wants the Military to Lock You Up Without Trial

ACLU:  Behind Closed Doors: Congress Trying to Force Indefinite Detention Bill on Americans

New York Times: President Obama: Veto the Defense Authorization Act

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