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RIP, Constitution. The Second Republic Died This Week. Of Course, We Don’t Care (That’s Why It Died).

Summary:  The Second Republic (under the Constitution) died this week, as the most important of our core protections were stripped away in full daylight. What remains has little value without them. Few people care; no protests were made. The Constitution died from neglect. We snooze, we lose.  This post is the sad follow-up to Another bill before Congress pushing the USA further into the dark of endless war, stripping away our liberties.

“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.
— John Philpot Curran, “Speech On the Right of Election” (1790)

Contents

  1. About this key moment in history
  2. About the new law, gutting the Constitution
  3. The votes are in; we lost
  4. Here are some articles about the significance of this event
  5. Other posts about the Constitution

(1)  About this key moment in history

The birth of a political regime often occurs on a specific date.  Such as 17 September 1787 for the Second Republic, when the Convention approval of the Constitution.  Regimes often die slowly, with no specific date of death.

Historians will debate the exact date the Constitution no longer ruled America.  When did it die in our hearts?  When during the long slow decay did we pass from self-rule into oligarchy?  When did we lose so many freedoms so that we were no longer a free people?

I believe that we passed that pont this week.  We need to think about our future.  All paths from here lead into darkness of oligarchy; that seems unavoidable.  Some of these paths may go up into the light again.  Perhaps to a revived Second Republic, applying the paddles to shock Constitution back to life.  Perhaps to a Third Republic.

(2)  About the new law, gutting the Constitution

“The health of a people comes only from its inner life — from the life of its soul and its spirit.”
— Words on a granite memorial stone in Berlin marking where Walther Rathenau “fell on this spot by the hand of a murderer.”

(a) The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution is its core.  Without its protections the rest of document are little but pleasant sentiments.

 

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Congress has in effect repealed these words, allowing the Executive to declare guilt (in secret), and jail indefinitely or execute — using the military.  Be a good quiet peon and you have no reason to worry.

(b) Here are the words, the anti-Magna Carta:  the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (S.1867), Subtitle D – Detainee Matters:

These provisions authorize by law actions now routinely done by the Executive and allowed by the courts – but without legislative authorization. This law provides the foundation for the next stage of expanding government power. That’s process has been at work for generations, slowly killing the Constitution.

(3)  The votes are in; we lost

“The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a few essential points … These slogans must be repeated until every last member of the public understands what you want him to understand.”
— From a basic text on government by one of the founders of modern political marketing (Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler)

No political polarization when it comes to perpetual war AND stripping away our liberty!

(a) An amendment submitted by Senator Feinstein (D-CA) would add the following text to section 1031:

(e) Applicability to Citizens.–The authority described in this section for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain a person does not include the authority to detain a citizen of the United States without trial until the end of the hostilities.
— Senate Amendment (SA) 1126 (source)

It was defeated 45 – 55. Click here to see how your Senator voted.  These 12 Democrats voted against the amendment, giving a bipartisan glow to the anti-Constitutional majority:

  • Begich (D-AK),
  • Blumenthal (D-CT),
  • Inouye (D-HI),
  • Klobuchar (D-MN),
  • Landrieu (D-LA),
  • Levin (D-MI),
  • Manchin D-WV)),
  • Nelson D-NE),
  • Pryor D-AR),
  • Reed D-RI),
  • Stabenow D-MI), and
  • Whitehouse D-RI).

(b) The House version of the full bill — with its section trashing the key citizen protections in the Constitution — passed on 26 May 2011 by a vote of 322 to 96 (13 not voting).  Click here to see how your representative voted.

(c) The Senate version passed on 1 December 2011 by a vote of 93-7.  Click here to see how your Senator voted.  See the names of the seven Senators supporting the Constitution:

  1. Coburn (R-OK)
  2. Harkin (D-IA)
  3. Lee (R-UT)
  4. Merkley (D-OR)
  5. Paul (R-KY)
  6. Sanders (I-VT)
  7. Wyden (D-OR)

(4)  Here are some articles about the significance of this event

(a) McCain says American Citizens Can Be Sent to Guantanamo“, The Progressive, 29 November 2011 — Excerpt:

Sen. McCain:

“I think that as long as that individual, no matter who they are, if they pose a threat to the security of the United States of America, should not be allowed to continue that threat.”

There has been some confusion on the Internet as to whether the National Defense Authorization Act really applies to U.S. citizens. But Sen. McCain’s answer should clarify that once and for all.

… Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel of the ACLU, explains the problem.

“The exclusion on Section 1032 only applies to 1032. It doesn’t apply to 1031,” he says. “And that only makes it worse, because any judge is going to say, ‘Of course, members of Congress meant for American citizens to be detained because if they didn’t, they would have put in the exception they put in one section later.’ ”

Anders is troubled by an additional aspect of Section 1031—the part that mentions transferring someone “to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.” The implication, says Anders, is that “if you’re an American citizen and were born somewhere else, you can be sent to the country where you were born, which you fled, which is out to persecute you.”

Anders also noted that Sen. Lindsey Graham, a backer of the bill, has said multiple times on the Senate floor, including on Tuesday, that American citizens should be put into military detention without a lawyer. Here’s what Sen. Graham said in the Senate on Nov. 17 {see C-SPAN}:

“1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”

(b) Facebook posts by Representative Justin Amash (R-MI):

Senators McCain and Levin have teamed up to promote one of the most anti-liberty pieces of legislation of our lifetime, S 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act. This bill would permit the federal government to indefinitely detain American citizens on American soil, without charge or trial, at the discretion of the President. It is destructive of our Constitution.

… A few commenters have suggested that the dangerous provisions in S 1867 (discussed in my previous post) do not apply to American citizens because of this language in Sec. 1032: “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.” This language appears carefully crafted to mislead the public. Note that it does not preclude U.S. citizens from being detained indefinitely, without charge or trial, it simply makes such detention discretionary.

(c) A conservative attorney writes about the bill

Defense bill will allow President to indefinitely detain American citizens“, David Kopel (Independence Institute), Volokh Conspiracy, 30 November 2011 — Opening:

“H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, has already passed the House, and is currently before the Senate. One section of the bill gives the President the authority to detain indefinitely American citizens, picked up on American soil, because they are allegedly supporting the enemy…”

(d) The Media’s Blackout Of The National Defense Authorization Act Is Shameful“, David Seaman, Business Insider, 1 December 2011 — Opening:

The broadcast media’s ignorance and unwillingness to cover the National Defense Authorization Act, a radical piece of legislation which outrageously redefines the US homeland as a “battlefield” and makes US citizens subject to military apprehension and detainment for life without access to a trial or attorney, is unacceptable.

This is far more important than Penn State’s Disgusting Creep of the Decade, or even Conrad Murray’s sentencing. Call it what you will: a military junta, a secret invalidation of Americans’ civil rights, a Congress gone mad. Whatever it is, it needs to be covered by the press, and quickly.

(e) As usual, Glenn Greenwald at Salon provides a powerful analysis.  These are must-read articles, IMO.

(f) Oppression will inevitably and naturally follow, now that we have thrown away the Constitution’s core protections. For more about this see Government Using Anti-Terrorism Laws to Crush Dissent at Washington’s blog:

What do these quotes {about liberty from American history} all have in common? The great Americans who said them would be considered terrorists today.

A 2003 FBI memo describes protesters’ use of videotaping as an “intimidation” technique, even though – as the ACLU points out – “Most mainstream demonstrators often use videotape during protests to document law enforcement activity and, more importantly, deter police from acting outside the law.” The FBI appears to be objecting to the use of cameras to document unlawful behavior by law enforcement itself.

(g) A reminder of what we once were, and can be again.  It’s all about choice.

The citizen who thinks he sees that the commonwealth’s political clothes are worn out, and yet holds his peace and does not agitate for a new suit, is disloyal, he is a traitor.”
— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889)

(5)  A look at America’s future:

  1. Our futures seen in snippets of the past, 16 June 2008 — Constitutions are just paper bullets of the mind.
  2. A soft despotism for America?, 22 July 2008
  3. The transition between Imperial reigns: what will it mean for America?, 16 December 2008
  4. US Army – the antidote to US civil disorder, 3 January 2009
  5. A look at America’s future – grim unless we get smart and pull together, 12 March 2009
  6. “The Coming of the Fourth American Republic”, 24 April 2009
  7. More about the tottering structure of the American political regime, 17 August 2009
  8. A third American regime will arise from the ashes of the present one, 30 March 2010
  9. For America to prosper it must first burn, 22 November 2010
  10. The hidden price America pays for its dark deeds (a high price, but not immediately visible), 26 March 2011
  11. Origins of what may become the 3rd American Republic (a plutocracy), 8 April 2011
  12. A warning about what is about to happen, 9 August 2011
  13. A look at the future of America, unlike the expectations of conservatives and liberals, 10 August 2011

This post originally appeared at Fabius Maximus and is posted with permission.

5 Responses to “RIP, Constitution. The Second Republic Died This Week. Of Course, We Don’t Care (That’s Why It Died).”

BreezyOhioDecember 5th, 2011 at 9:24 am

The fact that our legislators were able to hid this bill from view of the press, either thru collusion or deliberate cloaking .. well that tells you that this game is already over really. Every pillar of this society has become a mere shell of monied and power interests.

Welcome to the land of the free .. so would ilk of Martin Luther King have gone to Gontonamo?

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