House passes NDAA, White House backs off veto threats

[UPDATE - 7:23pm] The United States Senate passed the NDAA this evening by a vote of 86 to 13. It will now head to President Obama’s desk for approval.

As noted yesterday, House and Senate conferees were moving the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) forward to the final action in both chambers with compromise legislation that kept in controversial language that would allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens and legal residents of the United States.

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives passed the NDAA overwhelmingly last night by a vote of 283 to 136. You can see how your representative and the members of your state’s delegation voted here. It now heads to the Senate for final passage.

For those of you that are just now catching up on this, the House basically voted last night to suspend the right to due process, the right to a trial by a jury of an accuser’s peers, and the right to habeas corpus. And now that the so-called “war on terror” has been expanded to include not only al-Qaeda but also the Taliban and other “associated forces.” Given the war on terrorism has become an open-ended war with civil liberties being offered by Congress on the alter of the “national security,” this provision will be no doubt be abused; if not by this administration than the next.

It was also noted that the White House asked for the language, at least according to Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI). So it should come as no surprise that the White House has backed off veto threats of the NDAA:

NDAA: Cracking Freedom’s Foundation

This evening, I spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives against Section 1021 — the indefinite detention language — of the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed this evening. You can read my comments on this provision below the video:

Mr. Speaker,

I rise in opposition to Section 1021 of the underlying Conference Report (H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act).

This section specifically affirms that the President has the authority to deny due process to any American it charges with “substantially supporting al Qaeda, the Taliban or any ‘associated forces’” – whatever that means.

Would “substantial support” of an “associated force,” mean linking a web-site to a web-site that links to a web-site affiliated with al-Qaeda? We don’t know. The question is, “do we really want to find out?”

We’re told not to worry – that the bill explicitly states that nothing in it shall alter existing law.

Lame Duck Alert: Congress may take up the NDAA


Prime your petitions DC. A whole bunch of fights are coming.

It’s looking like Congress will be taking up the NDAA, and possibly other controversial subjects in the lame duck session.

Here’s some other possibly lame lame duck stuff:

Or as John Sununu says, probably not.



King Obama’s curiously timed deal to release senior Taliban officials violated federal law

The prisoner exchange between the Obama administration and the Taliban, in which the United States released five senior Islamist detainees who had been held at the U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay for an American soldier held captive by the Taliban since 2009, has sparked criticism from Republicans.

Some Republicans have slammed the administration for negotiating with terrorists, which, they say, puts Americans at risk. Outside of the foreign policy and national security implications — the merits of which are already being debated by talking heads and pundits on cable news networks — Republicans have also noted that President Barack Obama has, once again, broken the law:

Top Republicans on the Senate and House armed services committees went so far as to accuse President Obama of having broken the law, which requires the administration to notify Congress before any transfers from Guantanamo are carried out.
The law requires the defense secretary to notify relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before making any transfers of prisoners, to explain the reason and to provide assurances that those released would not be in a position to reengage in activities that could threaten the United States or its interests.

Amash seeks to force a vote to end the NSA’s unconstitutional bulk data collection program

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) will try force a vote to end the NSA bulk data collection program through an amendment to the defense authorization bill if House leaders decide to stall on reform or further water down meaningful provisions of the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act.

In a series of tweets on Monday, Amash, one of the fiercest critics of the NSA bulk data collection program, said that he filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that is “materially identical” to the version of the USA FREEDOM Act that cleared the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month. The same version of the measure was also approved House Intelligence Committee.

The National Defense Appropriations Act and the USA FREEDOM Act were both listed for consideration on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) weekly floor schedule. But last minute negotiations with the White House over NSA reform could mean that the USA FREEDOM Act will be further watered down.

The Amash amendment, which is cosponsored by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Rush Holt (D-NJ), is tailored to deny funding to execute a FISA court order for phone records not relevant to an authorized investigation.

Rand Paul seeks to repeal Iraq War authorization

Despite an al-Qaeda resurgence in Iraq, just 25% of voters favor military action in the Middle Eastern country if Islamic radicals take control. That is an example of how much a war weary nation has changed.

Some like, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), have used the escalating violence in Iraq to slam President Barack Obama’s 2011 decision to withdraw from Iraq, which was based on a timeline set by his predecessor, George W. Bush. Others, however, like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), say that it’s time to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq:

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., plans to introduce legislation Friday to repeal the law that green-lighted the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, and which remains on the books two years after President Barack Obama declared that war over, Paul’s office said Wednesday.

Paul’s announcement came one day after Yahoo News reported the White House now favors scrapping the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq, signed into law in late 2002 by then-President George W. Bush.

States fight back against Obama Administration policies

Don't Tread On Me

There has been somewhat of a revival of nullification over the last few years as governors and state legislatures have pushed back against some of the policies pushed by the Obama Administration. While some may scoff at the idea of nullification, citing federal supremacy over states, Washington has passed a number of laws that have passed on heavy costs to states or trample into areas that should left to their control.

Politico recently highlighted the pushback from states on various policies being pushed by the Obama Administration — including gun control, ObamaCare, and REAL ID — and whether it’s an viable tool to buck federal mandates:

Infuriated by what they see as the long arm of Washington reaching into their business, states are increasingly telling the feds: Keep out!

Bills that would negate a variety of federal laws have popped up this year in the vast majority of states — with the amount of anti-federal legislation sharply on the rise during the Obama administration, according to experts.
But critics respond that the flood of legislation to override the feds is folly that won’t stand up in court and amounts to a transparent display of the political and personal distaste for President Barack Obama. And in some cases, the moves in the states have provoked an administration counteroffensive: Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Kansas after it passed the Second Amendment Protection Act threatening legal action if necessary to enforce federal laws.

Obama supporters sign petition to repeal the Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights repeal petition

We’re kidding….but not really.

Mark Dice, a controversial California-based conservative activist, recently visited a boardwalk with a phony petition, stopping bypassers to ask if they would be interested in signing a petition to help President Barack Obama repeal the Bill of Rights. Much to his surprise, many were willing to sign away their civil liberties without question.

This is actually depressing:

H/T: TheBlaze via The Right Scoop

Massie Tells Congress to “Wake Up” to Government Intrusion

Thomas Massie

There has been a lot of outrage and surprise expressed by members of Congress over the mounting scandals coming out the Obama Administration. But perhaps the real scandal is that the Congress is often complicit when Americans liberties are violated by out-of-control administrations.

During a speech yesterday on the House floor, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) pointedly told his colleagues in Washington to “wake up” to the sort of overreach and abuses of civil liberties that are being committed by the government.

“Can’t we see what’s happening? In just the past month we discovered that the NSA is snooping on millions of innocent Americans using the PATRIOT ACT (Congress wrote the Patriot Act!), the IRS is targeting conservative organizations using the tax code (Congress created that tax code), and DHS has 200 million hollow-point bullets stockpiled (Congress funded DHS — just last week!),” explained Massie. “You want me to be surprised? I’m not surprised… I’m outraged! But what’s happening here? In each case of executive overreach, Congress gave an inch, and the executive branch took a mile.”

Massie noted that the outrage from members over the scandals is hypocritical. They complain and investigate then, he said, “Congress turns around and funds and encourages more unconstitutional behavior.”

“If we don’t reverse this trend, we can kiss our civil liberties good–bye,” said Massie.

“The Constitution embodies American principles that men and women have fought and died to protect. We swore an oath to it. Mr Speaker, I encourage my colleagues to reflect on the damage that CISPA, the PATRIOT Act, and the NDAA have wrought on our civil liberties, and implore my fellow members to uphold the constitutional rights they swore to protect,” he added. “Don’t yield one inch.”

Watch Massie’s full speech below:

Did Senator McCain Violate NDAA by Hanging Out with Syrian Rebels?

In case you missed it, Senator John McCain took the opportunity this Memorial Day to cross the Turkey-Syria border and hang out with Syrian rebels. These are the same rebels with ties to Al Qaeda. These are the same rebels cutting out and eating the hearts of dead soldiers. According to reports, Senator McCain wanted to go further into combat but was not allowed.

And he calls us wacko-birds.

The consequences of Senator McCain’s calls to intervene in Syria and meddle further in a civil war could be quite grave, as Russia is sending anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian regime. The use of chemical weapons has been reported – although it’s unsure which side is using them – with more attacks reported over the weekend.

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