NDAA

Justice Department Will Not Try Boston Bomber as an Enemy Combatant

Tsarnaev brothers

Much to the chagrin of Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ), the White House announced yesterday that the Justice Department would not try Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant for his role in the Boston Marathon bombing:

White House press secretary Jay Carney said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was charged Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill three people and injure more than 200, would be tried as a terrorist in the federal court system.

“This is absolutely the right way to go and the appropriate way to go,” Carney said at Monday’s White House press briefing.

Carney said the department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder, as well the entire national security team, support not trying the terror suspect as an enemy combatant.

You can read the complaint against Tsarnaev here and the transcript from the court hearing held in his hospital room yesterday here.

Graham, McCain, and other Senators believe that Tsarnaev should not be read his Miranda rights and instead be held as an enemy combatant so that interrogators can gather more information about any other explosives he may have left, any affiliations with foreign terrorist organizations, and the possibility of other attacks.

ICYMI: Ted Cruz Fires Up Conservatives in CPAC Keynote Speech

Ted Cruz

In case you missed it, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gave fiery, red meat keynote speech last night at CPAC. He started off by talking about Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster, noting that his participation in it was the first time he’d spoke on the Senate floor. He responded to Sen. John McCain’s post-filibuster comments, in which the Arizona Senator called them “wacko birds.” Sen. Cruz declared, “If standing for liberty and standing for the Constitution makes you a ‘wacko bird,’ then count me a proud wacko bird.”

Noting the shift in the narrative over the last few weeks, Sen. Cruz told CPAC, “We’re winning right now.” He then went on to discuss the need to repeal ObamaCare, and slammed Senate Democrats for unanimously voting to maintain funding the law.

Sen. Cruz outlined two things that Republicans need to do. First, Sen. Cruz said, is “Defend the Constitution.” Liberty is under assault from every direction.” He knocked Senate Democrats — with the exception of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) — for sitting out Sen. Paul’s filibuster. Sen. Cruz defended the First Amendment, noting campaign finance laws are pushed by politicians who don’t want to be held accountable for their actions, and Second Amendment. Sen. Cruz defended due process and called for repeal of the NDAA and criticized the indefinition detention provision of the law.

Rand Paul’s New Friends

On Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) made a historic stand filibustering the nomination of John Brennan over the federal government’s claim that it has the right to kill Americans on American soil, redefining “imminence,” “battlefield,” and “war” in general. The nation tuned in to see what I consider to be the most courageous political act in modern American history.

The #StandWithRand hashtag exploded on Twitter, and Rand Paul was ultimately joined by fourteen others in his filibuster: in order, Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Jerry Moran, Ron Wyden (a Democrat), Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, Saxby Chambliss, John Cornyn, John Barasso, Ron Johnson, John Thune, Jeff Flake, Tim Scott, and Mitch McConnell (the Minority Leader).  Every Senator who joined Rand Paul should be congratulated as they gave him both physical and political strength to go longer, and therein make a HUGE stride in advancing the Freedom Movement.

Despite Obama’s second term, there is light at the end of the tunnel

As the presidential inauguration comes upon us today, I can’t help but think that we’re seeing Bush’s fourth term. Barack Obama, while talking up a good liberal game on international peace and social issues, is really quite similar to his Republican predecessor. He has widely broadened the use of drones pioneered with Bush 43. His signing of the NDAA act authorizing indefinite detention is merely a sequel to the PATRIOT Act Bush signed in 2001. And his recent executive orders on guns have elicited much the same outrage from conservatives that liberals had over Bush’s signing statements.

Combined with staying the course on military spending, staying the course on not making any significant reforms to entitlements, staying the course on the War on Drugs, and staying the course on corporate bailouts…

…and I’m wondering if George W. Bush ever left.

Certainly, there are differences. George W. Bush championed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman, while the Obama Administration has just given up on defending the Defense of Marriage Act. Obama is also far more supportive of a woman’s right to choose, while George W. Bush was pro-life (mostly). But on nearly all other issues, ranging from torture, to war, to government spending, our 44th president is little more than an “expansion pack” to our 43rd — doing the same things, only worse.

Sen. Rand Paul on NDAA and indefinite detention

Rand Paul

As noted this morning, a conference committee is expected to remove language passed via the Feinstein-Lee Amendment, protecting Americans against indefinite detention by military without trail.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who voted for the amendment and has been pushing for great protection of civil liberties, just released the following statement. As you can see, Paul does not hide who he blames for the removal of the language protecting the due process rights of Americans:

The decision by the McCain led conference committee to strip the National Defense Authorization Act of the amendment that protects American citizens against indefinite detention now renders the entire NDAA unconstitutional.

The Feinstein-Lee amendment that passed with a 67-29 vote last month was designed to guarantee citizens the right to due process and a jury trial. These are basic and core American legal privileges enshrined in our Bill of Rights and that have been observed since our nation’s founding. Removing these indefinite detention protections now means that NDAA is in violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

I voted against NDAA in 2011 because it did not contain the proper constitutional protections. When my senate colleagues voted to include those protections in the 2012 NDAA through the Feinstein-Lee Amendment last month, I supported this act.

But removing those protections now takes us back to square one and does as much violence to the Constitution as last year’s NDAA. When government can arrest suspects without a warrant, hold them without trial, deny them access to counsel or admission of bail, we have shorn the Bill of Rights of its sanctity.

Amendment barring indefinite detention to be stripped from NDAA

NDAA

Around this time last year, Congress passed and the White House signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. This ordinarily routine house-keeping legislation was controversial for a few different reasons, but shady language dealing with indefinite detention of anyone merely suspected of terrorist activity — including American citizens.

Last month, the United States Senate adopted an amendment to the NDAA offered by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Mike Lee (R-UT) that would have limited the federal government’s ability to detain American citizens.

Unfortunately, the New York Times reported last night that the Feinstein-Lee Amendment, which easily cleared the Senate, will be dropped in the conference committee version of the NDAA:

Lawmakers charged with merging the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act decided on Tuesday to drop a provision that would have explicitly barred the military from holding American citizens and permanent residents in indefinite detention without trial as terrorism suspects, according to Congressional staff members familiar with the negotiations.

Big Boi isn’t a fan of Barack Obama

Big Boi

During a recent interview with a New York-based radio station, Big Boi — one-half of the hip-hop group, Outkast — discussed an incident that took place in an airport just after the election.

Apparently, a “white lady” approached Big Boi, whose real name is Antwon Patton, and congratulated him on his “big win,” referring to President Barack Obama’s re-election. The only problem is that Big Boi didn’t vote for Obama, but rather Gary Johnson:

Honestly, who cares that he voted for Johnson? It’s just absurd that people assume, just because of the color of his skin, that he voted for Barack Obama.

In fact, Big Boi recently ripped Obama in an interview with Pitchfork Media. The Daily Caller notes that Big Boi took issue with the policies that have been implemented by the federal government that infringes on the liberties of Americans:

In a recent interview with Pitchfork Media, the rapper opened up about his dismay that Mary J. Blige chose to use her guest appearance on his 2008 single “Sumthin’s Gotta Give” to praise Obama.

“I didn’t tell her to do that,” Big Boi contended. “On my damn record. I had a problem with it. I’m not pro-government at all, I’m pro-people.”

Rand Paul explains NDAA vote

Rand Paul

Last year, the blogosphere lit up over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contained a provision that could be interpreted by courts to allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens. We covered this White House-backed provision extensively at the end of last year.

Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Adam Smith (D-WA) tried to push through an amendment earlier this year to fix the muddied language, but it was rejected.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the 2013 version of NDAA. This year’s version of the bill included an amendment, a bipartisan effort from Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Mike Lee (R-UT), to clear up the language indefinition detention provision.

Unfortunately, there does seem to be some confusion about the the bill that ultimately passed. In a post today at his Facebook page, Sen. Paul, who voted for this year’s version of NDAA, sets the record straight:

I have noticed that many are confused by my vote for NDAA. Please allow me to explain.

First, we should be clear about what the bill is. NDAA is the yearly defense authorization bill. It’s primary function is to specify which programs can and can’t be funded within the Pentagon and throughout the military. It is not the bill that spends the money—that comes later in an appropriations bill.

Because I think we should spend less, I will offer amendments to cut spending. I will likely vote against the final spending bill. This wasn’t it.

Senators are missing the mark on gun amendment

Oklahoma’s Sen. Tom Coburn has put forth an amendment on the new NDAA (not to be confused with last year’s NDAA that we have written about a lot here at United LIberty).  The proposal deals with veterans gun rights, and it’s definitely churned the waters a bit in the senate:

Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, wants veterans who have been deemed “mentally incompetent” to have their cases adjudicated by a judge — rather than the Department of Veterans Affairs, as happens currently — and argued that veterans who simply cannot support themselves financially are needlessly given the label and, as such, cannot buy or possess firearms.

“We’re not asking for anything big,” Mr. Coburn said Thursday evening on the Senate floor. “We’re just saying that if you’re going to take away the Second Amendment rights … they ought to have it adjudicated, rather than mandated by someone who’s unqualified to state that they should lose their rights.”

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, objected to Mr. Coburn’s proposal once he found out it was part of a package of amendments to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act the body was to vote on.

“I love our veterans; I vote for them all the time, they defend us,” Mr. Schumer said. “But if you are mentally ill, whether you’re a veteran or not, just like if you’re a felon, if you’re a veteran or not, and you have been judged to be mentally infirm, you should not have a gun.”

A Note About that Awesome WeAreChange.org Video

Post image for A Note About that Awesome WeAreChange.org Video

Some Republican friends of mine have been posting and reposting this video from WeAreChange.org. It’s a great idea for a video, really. They go out and find Obama supporters and ask them about Romney policy issues – well, they say they’re Romney policy issues, but the issues are all things Obama has done or supported since he took office.

Obama supporters talk about how crazy the policies are, how they’re an overreach of government, and then they are told the truth. That’s when we get to see the look of shock on their faces, hear the disbelief in their voices, and watch as they try to find words to explain why all of those bad policies are really ok after all as they try to find words to backup their Chosen One.

Classic.

But there’s an important piece here that these Republican friends should be careful not to miss: Mitt Romney also supports those horrible policies.

The PATRIOT Act
“With respect to national security surveillance and investigations, I strongly support both FISA as amended and the PATRIOT Act, and I will ensure that we use the full range of lawful authority to obtain useful intelligence about current or future threats to our country.” – Mitt Romney

Indefinite Detention under NDAA
“The Constitution, U.S. statutes, and the laws of war permit detention of enemy combatants — including U.S. citizens — until the end of hostilities, as has been recognized by the Supreme Court.” – Mitt Romney


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