Many voices are raising a warning that S 1867 The National Defense Authorization Act bill contains language which grants the executive branch the power to use the military in the U.S. against American citizens, and to allow for indefinite detention of suspected or accused terrorists.
One source, the ACLU, says:
"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.”
The solution is the Udall Amendment; a way for the Senate to say no to indefinite detention without charge or trial anywhere in the world where any president decides to use the military. Instead of simply going along with a bill that was drafted in secret and is being jammed through the Senate, the Udall Amendment deletes the provisions and sets up an orderly review of detention power. It tries to take the politics out and put American values back in.
In response to proponents of the indefinite detention legislation who contend that the bill “applies to American citizens and designates the world as the battlefield,” and that the “heart of the issue is whether or not the United States is part of the battlefield,” Sen. Udall disagrees, and says that we can win this fight without worldwide war and worldwide indefinite detention."
I am very concerned that with the USA Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, basic civil liberties are being traded away for security, and we are duplicating a pattern seen in totalitarian regimes of the past; we are moving further into a harsh police state environment.
I am further concerned that fear of terrorism has spawned a lucrative security-industrial complex which threatens to inhibit the freedoms our Founders fought to free us from--all in the name of increased security. The profit incentives encourage a rising level of fear which may or may not be justified, but which results in an increasingly restrictive and potentially abusive police state.
I for one have less fear of terrorists than I do of a terrorizing Federal government. We have seen the patterns before in such places as Germany, Russia, China, Cambodia, and other places. Let us not go down the path they went; let us not trade our liberty for a secure dictatorship.
Please carefully examine S1867 in light of these concerns, and if appropriate, support Senator Udall's amendment--or introduce your own amendment.
Thank you for defending our liberties.
My recent email to Senator Orrin Hatch:
June 2, 2011
Sir, with some small hope remaining I write to you for what may be the last time. I believe you to be a man of conviction, courage, and experience—and this gives me hope that you will recognize the perils and requirements of our day and rise to meet them with your considerable ability.
I appeal to you with the same plea I made to Senator Bennett on April 19, 2010. Sadly, Senator Bennett would not or could not respond as our perilous times require, and the people recognized that. I and many others could not continue to support him. I am genuinely sorry that after a lifetime of accomplishment Senator Bennett lost the opportunity to emerge as one of the foremost patriots of our day. I hope that you will follow a different path than the one he chose.
From my letter to (then) Senator Bennett:
“I have written you before and I have had dialog with you in open public meetings. I have begged you--yes, begged you--to take the principled positions which would allow and encourage me to support you. I have told you that I want you to be my man in Washington. Specifically, if and when you take an uncompromising, principled, and outspoken position on constitutional principles, I am with you, and I believe a majority of Utahns will join us.
Without a revolutionary about-face, I will no longer be supporting Senator Bennett. This is a time in history for a bold, unconventional and unprecedented restoration of constitutional principles. This is a time to break with the Washington pack and join with Utahns in demanding a constitutional restoration. I urge you with all the force I have to be the James Madison or Thomas Jefferson of our day! Your whole life has led you to this opportunity and you have a choice: be just another player in the tired old bi-partisan band, or go down in history as a principal star in the constitutional fight of our generation. If you truly change and become the constitutional champion of the people of Utah, you will have the support of an awakened, energetic constituency. The Mike Lees and Cheryl Eagers of the campaign will have nothing to offer! You will have excited grass-roots support with cheering supporters at every town meeting you hold. The press won't know what to make of it; ‘Senator Bennett arrives home to hundreds of cheering constituents.’ Wouldn't it be great to have town meetings where you received standing ovations instead of spending two hours defending yourself?
This is your time, Senator, and I pray to our Heavenly Father that you will seize this day and join with "we the people" in our fight to restore the Constitution and its righteous principles. Your immediate, vigorous, passionate, and genuine embrace of constitutional principles above all else will mark the day that Robert Bennett's name was added to the list of the outstanding patriots of the United States of America.’
Senator Hatch, you may feel that you are a staunch defender of the Constitution—in fact, your web site states that you are. Yet you are not because you have allowed to go unchallenged usurpations and concentrations of powers which the Founders clearly intended to prevent, to be taken by the Executive Branch. As an example, I cite your agreement with allowing the President to wage undeclared war in Libya. Perhaps you feel that technically the War Powers Act allows the President to start wars and continue them for 60 days. While I recognize the legitimacy of granting the President use of the military in protecting our nation when attacked, there is no moral or Constitutional justification in waging offensive wars without a Congressional declaration of war. Even declaring a world-wide war on terror does not justify abandoning the Constitution and its principles. If you disagree with me, there is a very broad disconnect between your values and mine-and many of the people I associate with.
I will end this letter in the same manner as I did my letter to Senator Bennett:
“In closing, God bless you and your family. You have made a tremendous effort and sacrifice for our nation. I believe wholeheartedly that you are a good man, and I respect you. In the upcoming weeks, I will monitor your public announcements in the hopes of a profound and revolutionary transformation of the politician to patriot. I do not want to join forces with another candidate, but if you don't hear again from me, it will be because I've done all I can to sway you. I will be supporting the candidate who most strictly honors the oath of office to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.’”
Marty W. Jensen
The following is a copy of the email I sent to my Utah state legislators. I encourage all Utahns to support the efforts of Representative Carl Wimmer in defending our liberties.
Please stand with Rep. Wimmer in principle and action in being a staunch and active defender of our liberties, against the increasing tyranny of the Federal government. Following is a copy of the email I sent to Rep. Wimmer. I hope you feel as I do, for we are most surely in perilous times, and this is no time to by shy in our defense of our liberties.
I read the following statement, which was attributed to you by the Utah Valley Daily Herald:
"The absolute overbearing audacity of the federal government in threatening Texas while Texas is trying to protect their citizens should really offend any red-blooded American."
I agree with you completely. The Federal government is increasingly disregarding its Constitutionally defined duties and restrictions, the result of which is a encroachment on the liberties of the citizens of this nation. The TSA has gone far beyond the reasonable conduct of it's mission, and I fear the spread of Federal government thuggery beyond airport security. I do not want to live in a police state, and I believe that airline travel may be only marginally safer as a result of the TSA. Rather, arm every passenger on board every flight and see how far a hijacker gets. Stripping citizens of their civil liberties will not make them safer.
I applaud and support your introduction of a bill to restrict the TSA's activities. Please continue your courageous leadership in opposing Federal usurpation of states' powers. Please continue to safeguard our liberties on all fronts.
Thank you for all you do,
Marty W. Jensen
Why do we see a constant assault on life, liberty, and Constitutional freedoms? Perhaps this quote by President Ezra Taft Benson, prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the "Mormons") sheds some light:
"I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world." (October 1988)
What we are seeing is the work of those President Benson describes. We must be aware of the agenda of the enemies of freedom, and use the freedom-preserving power of the Constitution to thwart their evil designs.
Your staff tells me you're in favor of military intervention in Libya: I'm not. Allow me to offer you a quote for your consideration:
"There is one and only one legitimate goal of United States foreign policy. It is a narrow goal, a nationalistic goal: the preservation of our national independence. Nothing in the Constitution grants that the president shall have the privilege of offering himself as a world leader. He is our executive; he is on our payroll; he is supposed to put our best interests in front of those of other nations. Nothing in the Constitution nor in logic grants to the president of the United States or to Congress the power to influence the political life of other countries, to ‘uplift' their cultures, to bolster their economies, to feed their people, or even to defend them against their enemies." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 614; see also pp. 682 & 704.)
Who's right? You and your support of military intervention in Libya, or Ezra Taft Benson?