Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Knitters, mobilize!

This is going to be another post about government. I don't really think of it as politics per se, because I don't think it's really about a controversial subject. At least, I wouldn't think so. It's more like my first amendment blog post was, a call to protest the loss of our civil liberties. You can think whatever you like - I'm trying to SUPPORT that. As I've said before, personal freedoms are what made this country great. They're the best part of us. We need to defend them.

"The 2012 Defense Authorization Bill" is before the senate this week. (Overseas folk: We each have two senators allegedly representing us, decided by state.) It is bill number S.1867, if you want to look it up yourself. The problem is, they've thrown in some INSANE additions, including, AND I QUOTE, "Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force." Got that? What this boils down to is, the military can pick you up and hold you in 'detention' for as long as they like, without need for evidence, warrants, trial, or any other common legality normally used when arresting someone for a crime.

As far as I can tell - not a constitutional lawyer, but I read a lot - this violates the laws of habeas corpus, covered in the Constitution, "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it." Instead of pushing through revisions to the amendments (which we have processes in place to do), they're making an end run and trying to declare the US a war zone, which would then essentially give them martial law. You thought the Patriot Act was bad? Ha. That's like kindergarten compared to the potential mess this bill would cause. 

They're speaking of America as 'part of the battlefield'. IF (I'm not sure it's in the bill) they do this by declaring the United States a war zone, they could deploy US troops within the United States, against American Citizens. Again, I am not sure that is provided for in the bill explicitly (probably not), but to read senators' comments, this is a step in that direction. (This is discussed in the ACLU article, link directly below.) 

You can read the bill here, and you can read the ACLU's thoughts on the subject, here.

This? This is really fucking bad. I don't care if you're liberal, conservative, GOP or DEM, young or old. This is a massive shit on the Constitution and all it stands for. You should be against this. This could directly impact you and how you live your life.

So, this senator, Mark Udall from Colorado, decided hey, this would create a police state, and that's really not cool. He introduced an amendment to the bill, striking out the parts about making the country an English-speaking version of the Soviet Union. Yesterday, the senate voted on the amendment. It was voted down, 61 against the amendment, 37 in favor.

A friend of mine summed this up with "They're trying to declare American citizens the enemy." I replied, "At this point, we kind of are." Because I'm sure as hell not in favor of this bullshit.

Here is the list of the 61 senators who'd like to make it possible to lock people up without a warrant or legal reason and 'detain' people like they're doing in GITMO, except in the US:

Lamar Alexander [R, TN]
Kelly Ayotte [R, NH]
John Barrasso [R, WY]
Roy Blunt [R, MO]
John Boozman [R, AR]
Scott Brown [R, MA]
Richard Burr [R, NC]
Robert Casey [D, PA]
Saxby Chambliss [R, GA]
Daniel Coats [R, IN]
Thomas Coburn [R, OK]
Thad Cochran [R, MS]
Susan Collins [R, ME]
Kent Conrad [D, ND]
Bob Corker [R, TN]
John Cornyn [R, TX]
Michael Crapo [R, ID]
Jim DeMint [R, SC]
Michael Enzi [R, WY]
Lindsey Graham [R, SC]
Charles Grassley [R, IA]
Kay Hagan [D, NC]
Orrin Hatch [R, UT]
Dean Heller [R, NV]
John Hoeven [R, ND]
Kay Hutchison [R, TX]
James Inhofe [R, OK]
Daniel Inouye [D, HI]
John Isakson [R, GA]
Mike Johanns [R, NE]
Ron Johnson [R, WI]
Herbert Kohl [D, WI]
Jon Kyl [R, AZ]
Mary Landrieu [D, LA]
Mike Lee [R, UT]
Carl Levin [D, MI]
Joseph Lieberman [I, CT]
Richard Lugar [R, IN]
Joe Manchin [D, WV]
John McCain [R, AZ]
Claire McCaskill [D, MO]
Mitch McConnell [R, KY]
Robert Menéndez [D, NJ]
Jerry Moran [R, KS]
Ben Nelson [D, NE]
Robert Portman [R, OH]
Mark Pryor [D, AR]
John Reed [D, RI]
James Risch [R, ID]
Pat Roberts [R, KS]
Marco Rubio [R, FL]
Jefferson Sessions [R, AL]
Jeanne Shaheen [D, NH]
Richard Shelby [R, AL]
Olympia Snowe [R, ME]
Debbie Ann Stabenow [D, MI]
John Thune [R, SD]
Patrick Toomey [R, PA]
David Vitter [R, LA]
Sheldon Whitehouse [D, RI]
Roger Wicker [R, MS]

I have taken the title of "Senator" off all these names. I do not use titles when addressing people for whom I have utterly no respect. Holdover from the military years. Anyone wanting my respect has to earn it. (Otherwise I call people by their last name only. It's considered quite rude in circles where titles are usually used.)

See how every one of those names is a link? It goes directly to the contact page for each senator's personal web site, to make it as easy as possible to leave them a message. It doesn't have to be elaborate - in fact, I'm convinced the longer it is, the lower the odds it will be read. Just leave a message, saying you're appalled by the bill (S.1867, if you want to throw that in so it sounds like you're paying attention - this vote was on the amendment to it). I intend to tell my senators that due to this vote, I'll never vote for them again, for anything. Including dog catcher. A short message will get the job done. There's likely an aide or intern scrolling through e-messages, but if we send enough, the aide will report that they got 50-whatever e-mails that day, pissed about their vote on the bill amendment. It's numbers we need here, not long, eloquent messages. I spent hours putting all these links up, to make it as convenient as possible for everyone. So if you feel strongly about this issue, please, click, fill out the forms, hit send. It won't take long at all and we've GOT to make ourselves heard BEFORE we lose the civil liberty to do that, too. 

It's interesting to cruise so many senate web sites at once. They all are about honoring veterans. Not one mentions wanting to wipe their ass with the constitution. It's also startling, how the vast majority is old white guys. It's horrific. They don't come close to representing the country racially, religiously, in any way. They sure as hell do not represent me, nor do they look like they have any intention of trying.

While you're at it, message the president, and tell him you're worried about this and you really hope he plans to veto it, if it lands on his desk. (He has said he will, but let's still ask. Can't hurt.) There's a petition to sign, as well, if you're so inclined, here.

For youse guys overseas, well. Many argue that 'foreigners' don't have a right to any input on our government. But the rest of the world watches, and takes their cues from US policy, a lot of the time. Recently, the Egyptian government justified crackdowns on protests in Tarhir Square by pointing out that the US government had done the same thing with the Occupy movement. It's a small world. Everyone's watching. I'd e-mail the president, if I were overseas and concerned.

This... this makes me alternately angry and sad. There's no way a bill like this should ever have gotten this far. I am disgusted with my government. 


Roz said...

Thank you.

Mel said...

>>I am disgusted with my government.<<


Nicole T said...

I'm really glad you posted this. Thanks for taking the time and effort to get the message across. I've already e-mailed my senator about it, but I'm going to do it again.

Krysta said...

Linked this post to a friend, who then did a blog post of his own about it.

Ronniie said...

I am from Australia and I this is so very concerning. I have been reading and listening to various "free" media about the US having martial law for some time now and it seems like it you could be one step closer, all the more reason for the people to put a stop to it.

Like you say other countries look at the US. I don't believe any country is exempt from such a thing happening, as I really don't believe many Governments have the interest of the people at heart. The Core of such "evil" Government policies/bills is the push towards a "New World Order".
Do you listen to Alex Jones on

Donna Lee said...

I was sure I wouldn't see my Senator on the list but there he was. I let him know I was not a happy New Jerseyan(?) and was appalled that he would even consider a bill like this.And then I let the President know that this is not my America. This bill is NOT who we are.

Thanks for seeing this and putting it out there.

Barbara said...

Thanks, Julie. I've emailed both of my slacker senators. They should all be ashamed. George and Ben and Thomas and Abe would be ashamed of them all too. What were they thinking????

Kate said...

Oh, Jesus H. Christ.

Thanks for the handy contact link - I just wrote a note to Sen. McCaskill.

I'd thought better of her, before now...

Amy Lane said...

Thank you. I can't believe this even went to the floor.

Silver Phoenix said...

It looks like it was amended before being passed to say they could only detain extra-national terrorists (excluding American citizens, legal resident aliens and others with protected legal status.)

Granted, I'm not sure what the legal definition of "terrorist" is and if it says that anyone suspected of this is automatically stripped of citizenship, but....

Sarah Elizabeth said...

I emailed both senators and signed the petition. Not much gets me up in arms, but this is appalling. The only time anything similar has been done before was actually under A. Lincoln himself; the great emancipator, suspended the writ of habeus corpus and had several people held without trial for some time. Most people don't know this.