Bravo Rand Paul!

While our elites are laboring to gut civil right back to pre-Magna Carta levels with the passage SB 1867, one heroic senator was at least able to win a small partial victory. Here’s the story:

The bill (which passed) had an amendment aiming to make this horrible assault on our liberties even more ghastly. The bill as it stands will allow Caesar to arrest you without charge and detain you forever without counsel, if he decides to say you are a terrorist or somebody affiliated with terrorists. That is folly enough, but they wanted to attach an amendment which would allow the state to continue detaining you even if you were found not guilty in a civil court. Against this even more egregious assault on our freedom (led, natch, by the now officially insane Republican party, with the bipartisan cooperation of some Dems), Rand Paul sallied forth to do battle and won. The bill still passed but without that final gobbet of mucus hocked up and spat upon Magna Carta and the Constitution by our now thoroughly anti-American elites in the Senate.

Obama *says* he will veto it. However, Obama also just said that the Court has no power to tell him that he can’t murder American citizens on his unilateral royal decree. I’ll believe he will veto this dangerous and treasonous betrayal of the Constitution when I see it.

Meanwhile, huzzah to Rand Paul for doing a heroic thing in opposing the disgusting sovietization of American security that is being led, to their lasting shame, by the Thing that Used to be Conservatism. Every Senator that voted for this should be tried for treason.

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  • US Rep. Justin Amash has posted this, however:

    Here’s the roll call for S 1867, National Defense Authorization Act, which grants the President new statutory authority to indefinitely detain American citizens on American soil, without charge or trial, at his sole discretion. I voted no on the House version of this bill, H R 1540, on May 26, 2011 []. The Senate bill, S 1867, passed 93-7.

    Some have asserted that the defeat of Sen. Sessions’ amendment, S Amdt 1274, means that the egregious detainee provisions have been defeated. That is incorrect. First, logically, the defeat of an amendment cannot change the problematic language in the underlying bill. Second, S Amdt 1274 provides that even if a detainee (American citizen) were to receive a civilian trial and be acquitted, he STILL could be held indefinitely in military custody. In short, it was an effort to make the bill even more destructive of our Constitution. That is all that was defeated.

    Others have asserted that Sen. Feinstein’s amendment, S Amdt 1456, protects the rights of American citizens and preserves constitutional due process. Unfortunately, it does not. It’s just more cleverly worded nonsense to preserve the status quo, which, according to the Obama administration, permits the President to deny constitutional due process to American citizens without having to provide any justification.

    Although the President has threatened to veto this bill, he actually does not object to the most egregious provisions related to the indefinite detention of American citizens, so those provisions are not likely to be removed without further public outcry.

    It sounds like the bill is still bad, just not quite as tyrannical as it almost was.

    • Lindsey Ellickson

      The amendment to the bill was actually vetoed so no other protections were granted to citizens

  • Kudos to Rand Paul! This assault on our liberty must end! God will help us get through these tumultuous times. God Bless.

  • Timbot2000

    Rand Paul, like Gandalf at Khazad-dum,

  • eneubauer

    …and its happening right under our noses. The worst part of this reality is that many are too ignorant to care!

  • TheRealAaron

    Mark, you’re the only person I’ve heard reporting on this. Where is everyone else? Did no one else notice?

    • Timothy of Seattle

      My Twitter feed was on fire about it, but essentially none of the traffic was from the (more typical) conservatives. I imagine because FOX News decided it wasn’t worth reporting on.

      • Timothy of Seattle

        Except for Napolitano apparently…

    • Frank Weathers

      Only the unknowns and powerless like me. St. Pauls’ Roman citizenship? In another small bit of good news, another weak and powerless demographic speaks with their dollars.

  • Peggy R

    FYI–Apparently Andrew Napolitano on Fox has been speaking out strongly against this bill. Andrew McCarthy, former federal prosecutor who tried ’93 WTC bombers, claims that Napolitano’s fears are overwrought. Napolitano was the only person in the media outraged at the assassination of an American citizen.

  • Marthe Lépine

    The Revenge of the 1%, Maybe?
    And maybe FOX News did not cover it for a different reason: not that it was not important enough, but that it was very important that the general public (the 99%) found out about it ONLY after the fact? Of course, I am just speculating: I never watch TV and I am not from the US!

  • Lloyd Petre

    Spitting on old Magna Carta, eh? Durn lucky it had been annulled by Innocent III who found it a “shameful and demeaning agreement, forced upon the King by violence and fear.”

    • Yawn. When even Wikipedia doesn’t support your anti-Catholic nonsense, you’ve got trouble. Innocent III annulled Clause 61 (one small part) of the Magna Carta, the part that allowed barons to overrule the king strip him of his lands if they so chose.

      You can do better than that. Got any sex abuse jokes?

      • Lloyd Petre

        The idea that this was anti-Catholic is idiotic. Sort of thing I’d expect from some one who thinks sex abuse is a joking matter.

      • Lloyd Petre

        Oh, hi. Just got back from wikipedia, miss me?
        The relevant passage: “Distrust between the two sides was overwhelming. What the barons really sought was the overthrow of the King; the demand for a charter was a “mere subterfuge”.[15] Clause 61 was a serious challenge to John’s authority as a ruling monarch. He renounced it as soon as the barons left London; Pope Innocent III also annulled the “shameful and demeaning agreement, forced upon the King by violence and fear.” He rejected any call for restraints on the King, saying it impaired John’s dignity. He saw it as an affront to the Church’s authority over the King and the ‘papal territories’ of England and Ireland, and he released John from his oath to obey it. The rebels knew that King John could never be restrained by Magna Carta and so they sought a new King.
        How the Pope rejecting ANY call for restraints on the King, according to wikipedias’ entry, constitutes non-support is as mysterious to me as the hilarity of sex abuse.

  • Tominellay

    SB 1867 is disgraceful legislation; thanks for posting about it.
    Rand Paul is courageous…comes from a good home…

  • TomC

    “Every Senator that voted for this should be tried for treason.”

    Do you all agree with Mark?

    • Will

      No, because this by no stretch of the imagination does this come within the deliberately narrow definition of treason (enacted after various horrible examples set by the mother country) in the Constitution itself. I guess Mark does not worry about THAT section of the Constitution being undermined.

      (In my GEnie days, we had a kneejerk “liberal” accuse another poster of “treason” for saying “Clinton is not my president.” You think anybody actually READS the Constitution?)

    • Will

      And there is also that pesky little clause about congressional immunity for “any Speech or Debate in either house” which may not “be questioned in any other place” (i.e., courts.)

    • Forrest Cavalier

      We can pretend they just spoke treason, but they VOTED.

      This bill puts into law what the tyrants in beautiful suits figured out in the last 10 years to avoid the constitutional guarantees written by the blood of the founding fathers. Here is that game plan:

      1. Declare a war against an idea, instead of a country. You get all the power that people give to executives in time of war, but you get to define the enemy, the rules of engagement (since ideas might spring up and are hard to quash), the theater (since ideas cross all borders), and the length of the hostilities (since an idea can never cease to exist.)

      2. Avoid the judiciary. Laws are declared unconstitutional through a civilian court appeals process. But this difficulty can be avoided in so many ways: Detainees are not accused at trial. Dead men do not appeal. Military courts are not civilian courts. Combatants who disappear to third party countries and jails are outside the process.

      3. Avoid the electorate. Citizens are outraged when they discover details. They’ll accept in silence when ‘national security interests are at stake.’

      This is insanity. Everyone should read the Constitution and dystopia literature since they were intended as a blueprint and cautionary tales, respectively. Our current consequentialist politicians, however, have found them to be a cautionary tale and blueprints, respectively.

  • si
  • Tominellay

    …Senator McCain was the Republican Party’s presidential nominee only three years ago…

  • Confederate Papist

    “While our elites are laboring to gut civil right back to pre-Magna Carta levels with the passage SB 1867…..”

    Ole Abe Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during his war against Southern Independence….against *Northern* citizens!!! So his actions precipitated the beginnings of big government interference.

    • Timothy of Seattle

      True, and often overlooked these days. It wasn’t just the issue of habeas corpus either — in a wide variety of ways, Lincoln’s actions during the Civil War established the modern shape of federal government in the US.

    • Sure, but at least Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus was later found to be unconstitutional. This would (hopefully) get shot down by the courts so quickly it would make your head spin.

      • SKay

        Then there was FDR and the Japanese detention camps-that lasted until the war was over.

        • Mark Shea

          This war will *never* be over. Ever. It’s a war on a tactic, not a country.

          • SKay

            That “tactic” – used by radical Islamists – killed 3000 innocent American citizens one bright September day—without a trial.
            We are not just at war with a tactic. There are people with idiologies behind the tactics.

            Interesting who the Iranian “students” who “occupied” and looted the British embalssy in Iran(with the best of intentions of course) relate to–

            “Iranian students in a letter to their peers across the world declared that their recent occupation of the British embassy in Tehran was meant to be a move in support of the world 99 percenters, specially the western people who have revolted against the 1% capital holders ruling the world’s unjust system.”

            • The war that is (somewhat) declared is the “War on Terror,” not the “War on Islamists.”

              Regardless of how many died on 9/11, other terrorist attacks, or US “collateral damage,” consequentialism is still error.

              • SKay

                “not the “War on Islamists.”

                You are right-it would have been politically incorrect to say that even then.

                The tactic of terror was used to kill 3000 people by radical muslims who had been welcomed into this country. We were not at war with them until their attack on us within our own borders.

            • Mark Shea

              “Terror” is a tactic. We are at war with it and will be till the end of the world, as long as we talk nonsense. The only thing stupider is gutting habeas corpus and handing our most basic civil rights over to a state that promises to keep us safe. But as long as bellicose “conservatives” tell the Talk Radio crowd that liberals hate it, “conservatives” will cheerfully don chains and call it “victory over Islam”. Absolutely idiotic.

              • SKay

                I don’t necessarily disagree with you on the original post(Rand Paul etc)–I have called and written my Senator for an explanation of his vote. It still has to go to the House-I was told so I will follow that up.
                I think we would be foolish not to listen to what Ahmadinejad is telling us about his plans once Iran has a nuclear weapon.

  • Tammy

    Our “Chicken Little” society seems willing to submit ourselves to anything and give up all liberties in the name of “Safety” and “Security” …and upper middle class suburban moms (my peers) are the worst. We all seem to think if we make this rule or force people to fill out that paper …that we and our children will be “safe”.

    This is LIFE, folks and there is no such thing as “safe” …none of us will get out of this whole experience alive. We are destroying our free society to hand over a police state to our children and when we do, we can assure we did it out of love for them. (What is it they say about the path to Hell is paved with good intentions?)

    • “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

      – Benjamin Franklin, 1755

  • David Davies

    If residents of the U.S. (either citizens or aliens) are actively engaged in terrorism, whatever is the problem with having them arrested and tried for treason? Treason according to the definition in the Constitution. We have the capability to police our own country, unlike some place like Yemen. We don’t need to do a predator strike on some nut in Dearborn.

    The case of the German saboteurs captured on the coast in WW2 is instructive. The government arrested and tried them. Government action against German military personnel was quite different. Nobody tried to arrest the crew of a U-Boat. They just tried to sink it. Which of course killed all the crew.

    Military strikes against identified concentrations of the enemy in the field should not be characterized as ‘assassinations’. Yep, we jumped Yamamoto’s airplane and killed him. He was an enemy combatant in the field, so I hardly think using the word ‘assassination’ is helpful. A person as good with words as Mark Shea should recognize this. Or perhaps he thinks we are not involved in a war with jihadists muslims?

    • David Davies

      I should point out that I find the ‘hold without trial forever’ part of this bill to be unnecessary and unconstitutional. Shame on any politico who voted for it.

    • Forrest Cavalier

      This is a catholic blog. You don’t have to agree with church teaching, but don’t be surprised when you run up against it.

      Your ‘Military strikes against identified concentrations of combatants in the field’ sounds expedient, and powerful, and all, but it seems to me that the very idea goes against a whole bunch of truth about implementing justice…in peace and in war. The implementation can’t be moral if the very idea is not.

      • David Davies


        Attacking enemy units in a just war is …. unjust? This is just incoherent.

        • Forrest Cavalier

          The catholic teaching is clear, not incoherent: the only moral intention in violence (like war) is to protect free will to do God’s will.

          Morally we must be peacemakers, not executioners. Enemy units are not always moral targets, even in a moral war (which I believe catholic teaching indicates this ‘war on terror’ is definitely not.)

          You seem to be changing your example from “concentrations of the enemy” to “enemy unit.” When non-combatants are within and around the concentration, the moral considerations are altered.

          But even in your new example, there are cases when the attack is not moral. Enemy units who are surrendering, or will have no effect on the outcome of the war are not moral targets, ever. In the case of terrorists, there are very often alternatives which take longer, but are safer to get the accused in front of a competent authority. There are many other real-world examples, of course.

        • Martial Artist

          The Rules of War are just the least little bit difficult to apply in a counter-terror situation we face. In order to determine if the people you have detected in the field are “the enemy,” and therefore a legitimate military target, you first must identify them either by their uniforms or by their hostile actions. If you haven’t done that, you are not permitted to attack them. Since the terrorists are not part of a a military force, they don’t wear uniforms, and you are now often left with waiting for them to shoot first to determine if they are hostile. To apply the test you suggest, they “aren’t actively engaged in terrorism” unless you see them attempting a terrorist act. Not everyone in Afghanistan carrying an AK-47 is necessarily a terrorist&some of them could be anti-Taliban civilians armed for their own defense against the Taliban.

          That is what clearly and unambiguously introduces a degree of incoherence into a “war on terror,” the uncertainty at each and every point outside of a firefight or attack as to whether or not you are correct in suspecting those you think are the enemy.

          Pax et bonum,
          Keith Töpfer

  • jacobus

    “If residents of the U.S. (either citizens or aliens) are actively engaged in terrorism, whatever is the problem with having them arrested and tried for treason?”

    Nothing at all. That’s already legal.

    This law gives the government the power to take said resident, shove him into a stockade, deny him access to a lawyer, and just let him rot there without a jury trial. Completely, utterly unamerican.

  • Lindsey Ellickson

    It was actually vetoed by 7 senators who all deserve recognition

    3 Republicans including Rand Paul, 3 Democrats vetoed the bill, and Bernie Sanders, so really bravo to all of them

  • Confederate Papist

    The problem here is that they (the POTUS and congress) get to decide who the enemies are, and constitution be damned!

  • Chris F

    Only 2 Democrats voted against this. More Republicans opposed it than Democrats.

  • VAGreen

    I thought the last lines of our national anthem said something about “The land of the free and the home of the brave”, not “The land of the meek and the home of the safe”.

  • Tom R

    What you have to remember, Mark, is that Congress *predates* the Bill of Rights. The American Republic has never been without a Congress and a President, but for its first four years it functioned without a Bill of Rights.

    And who do you think *wrote* that Bill of Rights that you’re standing there waving? Congress did! James Madison himself drafted the first ten Amendments. Not that bearded crazy guy standing on a street corner ranting about the PATRIOT ACT. His organisation wasn’t even around in 1787-91.

    From which it follows logically that private individuals should not presume to set their own personal judgment against that of the President and Congress as to what the Constitution means. I mean, look how vague the “privileges and immunities” clause is. And everyone has their own opinion as to what is and isn’t “cruel and unusual”. So therefore no private individual has any basis for declaring the Septennial Elections, Hereditary Senate and Presidential Death Warrants Act 2012 (USC 500-302 Title XXIII) to be “unconstitutional”.

    • So therefore no private individual has any basis for declaring the Septennial Elections, Hereditary Senate and Presidential Death Warrants Act 2012 (USC 500-302 Title XXIII) to be “unconstitutional”.

      Yeah, shut up, Mark! All hail Caesar!

    • It just occurred to me that perhaps you were joking. After all, followed its logical conclusion, we might as well just ignore the Bill of Rights altogether. “Congress shall make no law…” Well, forget that, Congress existed first!

      • Mark Shea

        It was a not too subtle jab at the Catholic Church, since Tom, as a Protestant, is unable to tell the difference between an institution founded by Christ and one founded by men.

        • Tom R

          1. Yes, but Mark, even when insitutions are clearly ordained by God (the most obvious examples being the Israelite priesthood as per Leviticus, and civil governments as per Romans Chapter 9), they are not infallible. So other, more tenuous claims to divine establishment cannot partake of a higher degree of infalliblity. Sir Thomas More would have agreed that “submit to the Emperor” was, as they say, “never intended” to extend to plain violations of conscience.

          2. The analogy between Bible/ bishops and US Constitution/ Congress and/or Supreme Court is commonly used by Catholic writers. “What sort of idiot would write down a set of rules and precepts without also setting up an institution with final authority to interpret those rules and precepts?” And, indeed, if there had been a 300-year time-lag between the “miracle at Philadelphia” and the appointment of the first Chief Justice of the United States, this analogy would hold quite closely. Moreover, similar consequentialist arguments for a single centralised power can be mustered in both cases (“Martin Luther/ Martin Luther King may have had a point about the abuses of his time, but his unilateral disobedience to established authority opened the door for all sorts of lunatics and violent fanatics”).

          3. I thought “X was done by God but Y was done by men” was a Protestant error? You know, the way the Southern Baptist Articles of Faith (#XVIII) state that “We hold and teach that the Bible was faxed down from Heaven on 1 January 34 AD”?

          • Mark Shea

            The Israelite priesthood was not ordained as an eternal institution. It was always going to give way to the Church.

  • Joseph

    What Rand Paul did was symbolic, nothing more. They’ll get the other juicy tid-bit a bit later when they sneak it in with some other bill that has nothing to do with it.