Liberty must be defended

Frightening. That word says it all.
Mar 29, 2013

 

President Barrack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act in 2012 that allows the federal government to indefinitely detain a United States citizen on U.S. soil without trial or charges if the person has “substantial ties” to a terrorist organization.

This goes against everything that America stands for: Liberty and justice for all.

More specifically, it violates what our great-grandfathers, grandfathers, parents and we have fought to uphold — the U.S. Constitution.

The Fifth Amendment of our Constitution guarantees that no citizen can “be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.”

Deprivation of these rights is exactly what the National Defense Authorization Act seeks to do.

Without a warrant, or charges, our neighbors could be arrested and spirited off to a detention facility. They would have no rights, no justice and no chance to prove their innocence. And in a time when the word “terrorist” has many vague definitions, this is truly frightening power.

While it is true that terrorists have breached our borders, and that some terrorists are homegrown on American soil, so is it true that we must rise above McCarthyism-like fearmongering and allow for the just and righteous due process of law.

So, when the Michigan Senate approved Senate Bill 94 earlier this month, we rejoiced. Democrats and Republicans both joined together to unanimously stand up to federal bullies. They chose to uphold our U.S. Constitution and right to due process of law.

They voted on a bill that would prohibit the Michigan National Guard and Michigan law enforcement officers from detaining a U.S. citizen without a warrant or charges. While the feds can still come in and do their worst, our Michigan brethren will not be a part of it.

There are two hurdles remaining, however, before Michigan would join the other states and communities that have attempted to take the power away from the Act. The Michigan House must approve this measure, and it must be signed into law by the governor.

Call your representative and let them know that we prefer that justice have a chance. Let them know that we will not silently stand by while our citizens are taken into the night. Make it clear to them that we are standing up for our Constitution and our God-given rights of liberty and justice for all.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

roushn

God save us from these government idiots

Wingmaster

Must be Bush's fault or Cheney put him up to it!

Mystic Michael

For once, I am actually in agreement with a Tribune editorial. Not only is the NDAA in violation of the Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process, but even more fundamentally, it is in violation of the right to Habeas Corpus, contained in Article I, Section 9 of the original Constitution.

This is very troubling - evidence that we continue to drift toward becoming a police state. Time for some pushback...

MM

Vladtheimp

For once, I am actually in agreement with an MM comment - well spoken, MM. I think you will agree, looking at the history of "pushback" from a police state, it is impossible without the citizenry protected by another Constitutional Amendment (2nd, of course).

Regardless, it is heartening that people of the left and right can agree that a police state is not the answer!

Mystic Michael

Well before we immediately begin taking pot shots at black helicopters, perhaps a few, more measured responses are in order first. Such as:

* contacting our Representative(s) and Senators, registering our dissatisfaction with the unconstitutional provisions of the NDAA, and insisting that those provisions be rescinded;

* contacting the White House, registering our dissatisfaction with the President's failure to use his line-item veto to disapprove the offending provisions, and insisting that the matter be corrected;

* joining and becoming active in the civil liberties defense organization of your choice;

* becoming and remaining much better informed on civil liberties issues in general;

* sign on as a plaintiff in any citizen-generated class-action lawsuit that seeks to hold government officials accountable for their infringement upon our civil liberties;

* making the effort to organize with like-minded citizens, and speaking out regularly - in word and in deed - against infringement upon our Constitutionally-guaranteed civil liberties, from whatever source(s) that infringement might come

MM

Vladtheimp

Agree with all of your points, except what do you do when those fail? In which police states exactly did those measures work?

The old "Black Helicopters" trope is far less effective in the new world of Obama drones by the way.

Mystic Michael

My point is that if one's very first response is to heed the reckless rabble rousing of imbeciles such as Sharron Angle & Sarah Palin, and immediately "go there" - instead of starting from a more reasonable, less reactionary place - one thereby makes it easy to get discredited as a stupid zealot. It WILL backfire - and for good reason.

IF enough citizens take this issue seriously and begin to take some of the measures I've suggested, it may never get to the point of an actual insurrection - and shooting war. Because we will never entirely morph into a bona fide police state in the first place. In fact, if one presupposes the existence of a police state already - one which has retrogressed from a constitutional democracy - it generally means that not enough citizens took the issue seriously enough, and pushed back hard enough, while there was still time to prevent a police state from taking root. Hence my suggestions.

In the absence of a political culture of dictators and palace coups, police states generally develop slowly & incrementally - they don't suddenly pop up all at once. In our response to such an incremental malignancy, it is just as important to not overshoot the mark, as it is to address it in the first instance. First things first...

MM

Vladtheimp

It's really unfortunate when a reasonably intelligent person morphs into a partisan zealot.

Your "War on Women" mirroring that of Obama and the democrats is so illogical that you apparently fail to see that both Sharron Angle and Sarah Palin did exactly what you suggested citizens should do - they became involved, they put themselves on the line and ran for office (and were elected multiple times), and in the case of Sarah Palin, had a more varied and respectable electoral pedigree than either McCain or Obama.

Do you just set them up as examples of ridicule because they are women? Conservative? Independent Thinkers?

Mystic Michael

Oh please...

Throughout the 2008 general campaign, Sarah Palin's public rallies functioned as a dog whistle for the worst kind of racist thugs and brownshirt mouthbreathers. The thinly-veiled threats of violence had nothing to do with preserving civil liberties. It had everything to do with preserving power for right-wing interests, by inciting the riff-raff to make for their pitchforks and their torches. It was an embarrassment and a disgrace.

Same thing with Sharron Angle. Her not-all-all-veiled threats of "Second Amendment remedies" amounted to nothing more than a flagrant bullying tactic, designed to obtain power through sheer intimidation. All heat, no light.

That's not patriotism. That's fascism.

MM

Wingmaster

...."by inciting the riff-raff to make for their pitchforks and their torches." Care to put up number of arrest at Tea Parties compared to Occupy to quantify your statement!

Mystic Michael

I'm sure I can't excuse the judgement of the authorities in preferring to persecute the encampments of unwashed Lefties for the "crime" of cluttering up our public parks...rather than cracking down on the mobs of gun-waiving haters who posed far more of a real threat to public order and public safety.

I do know that the Occupy protesters posed far more of a threat to the plutocratic political status quo than the goon squad ever did (whose actions actually supported the interests of the corrupt status quo) - so that may very explain most of the extreme police over-reaction right there.

MM

Vladtheimp

Your solutions to avoiding a police state:

* contacting the White House, registering our dissatisfaction with the President's failure to use his line-item veto to disapprove the offending provisions, and insisting that the matter be corrected;

* joining and becoming active in the civil liberties defense organization of your choice;

* becoming and remaining much better informed on civil liberties issues in general;

* sign on as a plaintiff in any citizen-generated class-action lawsuit that seeks to hold government officials accountable for their infringement upon our civil liberties;

* making the effort to organize with like-minded citizens, and speaking out regularly - in word and in deed - against infringement upon our Constitutionally-guaranteed civil liberties, from whatever source(s) that infringement might come

Has a shelf life as long as an Obama promise - I guess your suggestions don't apply to the Tea Party, the NRA, the Heritage Foundation or any grouping that is not democrat and socialist (but I repeat myself).

Mystic Michael

First you tell me that you agree with my suggestions. Now you tell me that every one of them is ineffectual. You're obviously flailing, Vlad. You don't seem to realize when you've been beat, rhetorically speaking...

As for the Tea Party and the NRA, I trust those groups about as much as I trust a crackhead with my wallet.

MM

Vladtheimp

The only ones that hear dog whistles are dogs . . . .

newsblogger

Your constant attacks on the Republicans and Tea Party takes away from anything you may be trying to say as its always the same dribble from you. The left is god-like in your opinion and everyone else wrong regardless of their stance on any subject.

Mystic Michael

As the wise man once said: "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Unless you can decisively refute the accurate information that I've shared here, then you are the one who's dealing in "dribble". Put up or shut up.

MM

Wingmaster

You mean like this dribble...."by inciting the riff-raff to make for their pitchforks and their torches." Care to put up number of arrest at Tea Parties compared to Occupy to quantify your statement.

GHJames

This is a nice gesture on behalf of our state government, but it's just a gesture. The national guard would only participate in such actions if called up on federal title 10 orders. That makes them under the same command as federal troops and takes the state out of the chain of command. Local law enforcement would never be tasked with such detentions, these are purly federal tactics. Everyone needs to put their efforts where this "law" came from and let Washington know we will not give up our rights in exchange for "security".

retired DOC

This might be the time to say never say never.

Lanivan

One must ask why the Our View staff didn't provide a bit more history to explain the trajectory of events leading to the NDAA 0f 2012.

It was President George W. Bush, together with Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and a host of other senior Bush administration officials who took the most radical and important steps toward establishing indefinite detention without trial as a mainstay of the US approach to fighting terrorism. But the Bush administration, preferring to act unilaterally, did not even bother to seek congressional sanction for its indefinite detention schemes. It established Guantanamo on its own, held American citizens without charge in the absence of a legislative mandate to do so, and fought judicial oversight tooth and nail.

In his signing statement of the NDAA of 2012, President Obama said that his administration would interpret the NDAA’s more problematic provisions “in a manner that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which this country was founded.” The statement also promised that the Obama administration would “seek the repeal of any provisions that undermine the policies and values that have guided my Administration throughout my time in office.”

It should also be noted that the NDAA of 2012 was one of the few bills passed with bi-partisan support, with the majority of nays coming from democrats.

Vladtheimp

Ah, Lanivan drags out the twin Boogey-Men, Bush and Cheney to explain how Lord Obama didn't really sign the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 - it was the Boogey-Men's Fault!! Why Lanivan even cites Obama's signing statement (you know, those statements Obama pledged never to use in 2008). Lanivan criticizes the Tribune writers for not providing more history of the NDAA, and then forgets to mention that Bush and Cheney were responding to the cowardly terrorist attack of September 11, where 3,000+ American souls were lost when we were attacked by Moslem extremists. I guess a reminder is in order of a few other anti-liberty Obama actions:

Defended Nixon's FISA Court - got the Supreme Court to agree that targets of Government spying had to have proof they were spied upon before filing lawsuits, even if the government has declared such evidence to be secret;

Unilateral wars - Failed to get Congressional approval, bombed Tripoli and spent more than a billion dollars taking the side of Libyan rebels (CBS News);

Kill Lists - Claims the right to utilize a kill list, including American citizens;

Whistle-blowers - Has used the Espionage Act of 1917 to prosecute twice as many whistle-blowers as any other President;

I guess the Boogey-Men have been even more active than we know. Since their reach is so long and powerful, do they get any credit for the good things Obama has done?

Mystic Michael

My, so many different talking points, from so many spots on the map! How to rein them all in and try to make them coherent & consistent?

First, there's "The Giuliani" - a modern classic. Whenever cornered with evidence of Bush & Cheney's malfeasance and incompetence, invoke the emotional appeal of 9/11 - as if that somehow excuses everything. It's kind of an all-purpose "Get Out of Jail Free" card...although by rights, you should be able to use it only once.

Then there's bitter criticism of the international intervention in the Libyan civil war, one in which US efforts helped to prevent an entire nation from descending into genocide, thereby saving possibly millions of lives - and all without committing a single American soldier to the ground. By all accounts, it was one of the most constructive & humanitarian uses of our military forces to occur in many years.

So what's the beef? My guess is that Vlad is jealous, because Bush's wars lasted nearly 10 years, squandered huge numbers of lives, and cost the taxpayers well over a TRILLION dollars...while Obama's war was over in a matter of weeks, killed mostly just the bad guys, and cost a tiny fraction of the price of either the Iraq war or Afghanistan war.

As for the rest of it, Vlad actually has a point. I'm not any more at ease over these things than he is. But one can't wondering: How loudly did Vlad ever raise his voice while many of these same kinds of things were being perpetrated some eight to 12 years ago?

I guess we'll never know. But Vlad knows...

MM

Lanivan

I guess we'll never know. But Vlad knows...MM

"Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care". T. Roosevelt.

Lanivan

1. I wouldn't drag out Bush/Cheney if there was no compelling reason to do so. Unlike some, I'm not interested in spreading, promoting, and belaboring opinions bereft of veracity, but rather facts.

2. Your characterization of my being critical of the Tribune is not correct. I simply filled in the blanks they left out. It does change the ambiance a bit when the facts reveal the origin of the NDAA of 2012. Otherwise, unsuspecting readers might come to the conclusion President Obama was the originator.

3. I find it more than interesting that you seem to give Bush/Cheney a pass for presidential overreach, constitutional tweaking, the Patriot Act, the unilateral bypassing of congressional and judicial oversight, preemptive wars based on lies and costing this country trillions in debt and death and disability beyond measure ad nauseum, giving it all your blessing because.. "3,000+ American souls were lost when we were attacked by Moslem extremists".

And yet almost 3,000 American souls have been killed from gun violence since Newtown, and even the suggestion of public gun safety policies in the form of universal background checks, a gun registry, stricter gun ownership rules, ammunition limits brings about an unprecedented wave of Constitutional absolutism. I'm interested in your thoughts on this.

I suspect you are correct when you surmise the Boogey-Men have been more active than we know. As hard as some might try, trying to pin the many Bush/Cheney failures on Obama, or giving them credit for Obama's many successes is a fool's errand.

Mystic Michael

Agreed that these policies have their origins in the dark, power grabbing machinations of the Bush/Cheney regime. The signing statement from Obama is encouraging, but allows for no legal recourse - and conspicuously stops well short of a flat-out rejection...thereby keeping the precedent intact.

Apparently it is true that power yields itself up only with the greatest of reluctance. If Obama had had to implement such policies from inception, I doubt that he would have done it. As it is, he seems to regard the extra-constitutional leeway as a gift. But it is a gift that could well come back to bite him - if he doesn't have the good judgement to let it go.

MM

Wingmaster

Seems your twisting yourself into a quite the pretzel trying to give the Messiah wiggly room. Come on man, he's corrupted by the aphrodisiac that is Washington. Call him on it and move on.

Mystic Michael

Very seldom is anything or anybody ever 100% one way, or 100% the other way. It's called "nuance", Wingnutmaster. The real world is full of complexity & ambiguity, so you'd best start getting accustomed to it. Even if it is already late in the game for you, better late than never.

MM

Wingmaster

Your not so Mystic...Michael. Get over yourself. So with that I'll leave you to your name calling as that's about all you have.

Lanivan

My concern is that Obama's promise does not bind future presidents. He has time to repeal, and now that Defense has it's appropriations for 2013, he should do so.

rainbowjoe

Agreed, Wing. Bush and Chaney had their flaws, but they were twice the men and leaders than our current Campaigner-in-Chief and his sidekick. It stuns me that so many seemingly intelligent people are mesmerized by this man, or are content with the direction in which our country and culture are heading.

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