[Photo by VIC SUEDE]
FROM THE EDITOR: It is indeed a sad day when you have to go knock on the GOP’s door and ask to borrow one of their guys because ‘Hey, he’s our kind of Democrat.’ But alas that day has come…HOLD THE PHONE…what about THIS? Hmmm. Let us get this straight, Dr. Paul: you lent your name to an unnamed foundation and somebody there wrote that ham-fistedly bigoted Archie Bunker mumbo-jumbo under your byline? Hmm. Now don’t get us wrong, we think crucifying the utterer of every blunt, race-freighted remark is just a distraction from the thing that is really tearing America apart: Class. We don’t automatically conflate ignorance with hate. We know the difference between shit-kickin’ redneck racists and garden variety suburban white cluelessness about the realities of black life in the city. However, you sir are running for President, and with all due respect, we are going to have to see some corroborating evidence to back up this story. And while we are at it, a more detailed explanation as to why so many white supremacist groups have endorsed your campaign. These matters have to be resolved before we can muster any more enthusiasm for you candidacy — and, admittedly, we have mustered and expended quite a bit of energy on your candidacy in the last 48 hours. Mostly in the interest of stirring the pot, hopefully spooking the Dems into action, but most importantly giving you a megaphone for your stance on the war in Iraq. Because quite frankly, your stance is our stance: Enough is enough.
On that much we can agree. Also we are with you on the War on Drugs and quite curious about the whole abolish-the-I.R.S. thing, of course. And the whole let’s audit Fort Knox should be raising a lot of questions by the people that get paid to ask questions.
In the mean time, back to the matter at hand. No matter what the outcome of all the above, the document we are about to show you does not lie, nor does it discriminate. Furthermore, we believe that most reasonable people with a working knowledge of the basics of the Constitution would nod in agreement upon reading the following bill submitted to Congress a few weeks back by Ron Paul, Republican dark horse from the Lone Star state, former obstetrician and unapologetic libertarian dressed in GOP clothes. Best we can tell Ron Paul is a Republican because that’s just what it takes to get a libertarian elected in Texas.
Speaking of which, we fail to understand why the Democrats are wasting time mud wrestling with Hillary about whether or not to let illegal immigrants drive cars in New York City — who fucking cares! what does that have to do with anything approaching Presidential-level decision-making? — when they should be fighting this fight tooth and nail, day in and day out. And not just because it would be fighting the good fight and they’d be on the right side of history and all that, and succeeding generations would applaud their courage and moral clarity, but it’s where the mandate is right now. I listen to you guys and some times I think you don’t really want to win. Watching Democrats get elected president is like watching Charlie Brown try to kick the football. Over and over again. Heartbreaking, really.
And here we are 2008, cue the broken record. Read the polls: People are crying out for change, and the Dems are offering nothing more than vague bromides about potential change. People want them to stop the war and the Dems tell them — in sum and essence — “Wouldn’t it be nice.” They pick stupid fights and blow opportunities at every turn to put some actual teeth into all the rhetoric. The broad roll-back of Executive power as espoused in Ron Paul’s bill would, at the very least, dial the White House back from king to just plain old President of the United States, and restore some semblance of constitutional balance, as envisioned by the founding fathers and jealously guarded for some 200 years.
When you put it to middle America like that, how do you think they will react? How would you react? You see, he is acting like a king, but we want to turn it back to a democracy that follows the Constitution, you know, like the good old days? You would be mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. As well you should be, you are an American goddamnit! Stand up and fight for your country already! This is a no-brainer, it’s impeachment for pussies you’ll like it, RUN ON IT DAMMIT! Take the fight to them! I know, I know. Smart money says just shut up and wait to get your ticket punched. It’s a done deal that a Dem is gonna be in the White House in 2008, right? Just don’t rock the boat and let the polls become self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps. But then, I’m pretty sure that’s what the smart money told Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004.
What’s that you say? You’re tired of us going on and on and on about this shit? Yeah, well frankly we are tired of HAVING to go on and on about this shit. But somebody’s gotta. So, let’s all just take a short, refreshing break from reality and relive the closing scene of All The President’s Men in our own minds:
Ben Bradlee: You know the results of the latest Gallup Poll? Half the country never even heard of the word Watergate. Nobody gives a shit. You guys are probably pretty tired, right? Well, you should be. Go on home, get a nice hot bath. Rest up… 15 minutes. Then get your asses back in gear. We’re under a lot of pressure, you know, and you put us there. Nothing’s riding on this except the, uh, first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys fuck up again, I’m going to get mad. Goodnight.
And now, back to reality courtesy of the Library Of Congress…
American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)
HR 3835 IH
To restore the Constitution’s checks and balances and protections against government abuses as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
Full text after the jump. Read through this, it’s worth the time. You may well be shocked by how many things you once took for granted — about privacy, unreasonable search and seizure, due process — are no longer on the table, and will remain off the table unless this bill passes. Learn it, live it, love it. It used to be called America. And it will be on the test, if not your next tribunal hearing.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
- This Act may be cited as the `American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007′.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.
- (a) Findings- Congress makes the following findings:
- (1) Unchecked power by any branch leads to oppressive transgressions on individual freedoms and ill-considered government policies.
- (2) The Founding Fathers enshrined checks and balances in the Constitution to protect against government abuses to derail ill-conceived domestic or foreign endeavors.
- (3) Checks and balances make the Nation safer by preventing abuses that would be exploited by Al Qaeda to boost terrorist recruitment, would deter foreign governments from cooperating in defeating international terrorism, and would make the American people reluctant to support aggressive counter-terrorism measures.
- (4) Checks and balances have withered since 9/11 and an alarming concentration of power has been accumulated in the presidency based on hyper-inflated fears of international terrorism and a desire permanently to alter the equilibrium of power between the three branches of government.
- (5) The unprecedented constitutional powers claimed by the President since 9/11 subtracted national security and have been asserted for non-national security purposes.
- (6) Experience demonstrates that global terrorism can be thwarted, deterred, and punished through muscular application of law enforcement measures and prosecutions in Federal civilian courts in lieu of military commissions or military law.
- (7) Congressional oversight of the executive branch is necessary to prevent secret government, which undermines self-government and invites lawlessness and maladministration.
- (8) The post-9/11 challenges to checks and balances are unique in the Nation’s history because the war on global terrorism has no discernable end.
- (b) Purpose- The American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007 is intended to restore the Constitution’s checks and balances and protections against government abuses as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
SEC. 3. MILITARY COMMISSIONS; ENEMY COMBATANTS; HABEAS CORPUS.
- (a) The Military Commissions Act of 2006 is hereby repealed.
- (b) The President is authorized to establish military commissions for the trial of war crimes only in places of active hostilities against the United States where an immediate trial is necessary to preserve fresh evidence or to prevent local anarchy.
- (c) The President is prohibited from detaining any individual indefinitely as an unlawful enemy combatant absent proof by substantial evidence that the individual has directly engaged in active hostilities against the United States, provided that no United States citizen shall be detained as an unlawful enemy combatant.
- (d) Any individual detained as an enemy combatant by the United States shall be entitled to petition for a writ of habeas corpus under section 2241 of title 28, United States Code.
SEC. 4. TORTURE OR COERCED CONFESSIONS.
- No civilian or military tribunal of the United States shall admit as evidence statements extracted from the defendant by torture or coercion.
SEC. 5. INTELLIGENCE GATHERING.
- No Federal agency shall gather foreign intelligence in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.). The President’s constitutional power to gather foreign intelligence is subordinated to this provision.
SEC. 6. PRESIDENTIAL SIGNING STATEMENTS.
- The House of Representatives and Senate collectively shall enjoy standing to file a declaratory judgment action in an appropriate Federal district court to challenge the constitutionality of a presidential signing statement that declares the President’s intent to disregard provisions of a bill he has signed into law because he believes they are unconstitutional.
SEC. 7. KIDNAPPING, DETENTIONS, AND TORTURE ABROAD.
- No officer or agent of the United States shall kidnap, imprison, or torture any person abroad based solely on the President’s belief that the subject of the kidnapping, imprisonment, or torture is a criminal or enemy combatant; provided that kidnapping shall be permitted if undertaken with the intent of bringing the kidnapped person for prosecution or interrogation to gather intelligence before a tribunal that meets international standards of fairness and due process. A knowing violation of this section shall be punished as a felony punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to 2 years.
SEC. 8. JOURNALIST EXCEPTION TO ESPIONAGE ACT.
- Nothing in the Espionage Act of 1917 shall prohibit a journalist from publishing information received from the executive branch or Congress unless the publication would cause direct, immediate, and irreparable harm to the national security of the United States.
SEC. 9. USE OF SECRET EVIDENCE TO MAKE FOREIGN TERRORIST DESIGNATIONS.
- Notwithstanding any other law, secret evidence shall not be used by the President or any other member of the executive branch to designate an individual or organization with a United States presence as a foreign terrorist or foreign terrorist organization for purposes of the criminal law or otherwise imposing criminal or civil sanctions.