Thursday, December 20, 2012

McCain-led NDAA Conference Committee Strips Right to Jury Trial

Today, Sen. Rand Paul issued the following statement regarding the newly released National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 (NDAA) conference report.

The amendment, introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) and which passed with a 67-29 vote on Nov. 29, was designed to guarantee Americans the right to due process and a jury trial. These are basic and core American legal privileges prescribed in our Bill of Rights, which have been observed since our nation’s founding. Removing these indefinite detention protections now means that the NDAA is in violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution.

“The decision by the NDAA conference committee, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to strip the National Defense Authorization Act of the amendment that protects American citizens against indefinite detention now renders the entire NDAA unconstitutional,” Sen. Paul said.

“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,” Sen. Paul continued. “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 the 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.

“Saying that new language somehow ensures the right to habeas corpus - the right to be presented before a judge - is both questionable and not enough. Citizens must not only be formally charged but also receive jury trials and the other protections our Constitution guarantees. Habeas corpus is simply the beginning of due process. It is by no means the whole.

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Rand Paul Slams John McCain For Stripping NDAA Of Protections Against Indefinite Detention

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) went after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) on Wednesday for stripping a provision from the National Defense Authorization Act that Paul and others have said would have prevented the U.S. government from holding U.S. citizens indefinitely without a trial.

“The decision by the NDAA conference committee, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to strip the National Defense Authorization Act of the amendment that protects American citizens against indefinite detention now renders the entire NDAA unconstitutional,” Paul said in an emailed statement.

“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,” Paul said.

“When the 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.”

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Obama Vows Fast Action in New Push for Gun Control

President Obama declared on Wednesday that he would make gun control a “central issue” as he opens his second term, promising to submit broad new firearm proposals to Congress no later than January and to employ the full power of his office to overcome deep-seated political resistance.

Leading House Republicans responded to the president’s pledge in the aftermath of the Connecticut school massacre by restating their firm opposition to new limits on guns or ammunition, setting up the possibility of a bitter legislative battle and a philosophical clash over the Second Amendment soon after Mr. Obama’s inauguration.

Having avoided a politically difficult debate over guns for four years, Mr. Obama vowed to restart a national conversation about their role in American society, the need for better access to mental health services and the impact of exceedingly violent images in the nation’s culture.

He warned that the conversation — which has produced little serious change after previous mass shootings — will be a short one, followed by specific legislative proposals that he intends to campaign for, starting with his State of the Union address next month.

“This time, the words need to lead to action,” Mr. Obama said. “I will use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Obama Sandy aid bill filled with holiday goodies unrelated to storm damage

President Obama’s $60.4 billion request for Hurricane Sandy relief has morphed into a huge Christmas stocking of goodies for federal agencies and even the state of Alaska, The Post has learned.

The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.

An eye-popping $13 billion would go to “mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms.

Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.

Budget watchdogs have dubbed the 94-page emergency-spending bill “Sandy Scam.”

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Feinstein’s assault weapons ban would abolish the 2nd Amendment

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has vowed to introduce a bill to ban assault weapons nationwide, similar to existing legislation in California. In doing so, she will effectively abolish yet another of the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

To many, Feinstein’s argument might sound very reasonable. She isn’t looking to ban all guns. “The purpose of this bill is to get just what Mayor Bloomberg said, weapons of war off the streets of our cities,” the senator told Meet the Press.

Having weapons of war on the streets is the whole point of the 2nd Amendment. The amendment wasn’t drafted to ensure that Americans could hunt. It wasn’t drafted so that Americans could protect themselves, although the natural right to defend one’s life was never as compromised as it is in the modern gun control era.

Like most of the amendments in the Bill of Rights, the 2nd Amendment was drafted to prevent an abuse of power that American colonists had suffered under the British. The 4th Amendment was passed with Writs of Assistance in mind. Lexington and Concord inspired the 2nd.

The left loves to reduce the American Revolution to one issue: taxation without representation. That works for well for their agenda, because they can then say, “Well, you’re represented, so now we can tax the living daylights out of you.”

It wasn’t that simple, of course. There were many long term and short term causes for the American secession from Great Britain. But the straw that broke the camel’s back, the most immediate cause for armed resistance, was the British attempt to disarm the colonists.

That’s why the British marched to Concord. That’s the only reason the colonists cared where they were marching.

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