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Ron Paul Calls National Defense Authorization Act “Slip Into Tyranny”

Written by Joe Wolverton, II   
Friday, 30 December 2011 10:48

 

A dictator enjoys unrestrained power over the people. The legislative and judicial branches voluntarily cede this power or it’s taken by force. Most of the time, it’s given up easily, out of fear in time of war and civil disturbances, and with support from the people, although the dictator will also accumulate more power with the use of force.” Those prescient words of Republican presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) are taken from his book Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom. The tyrannical assumption of power by the President and the cession of unheralded power to him by the Congress has taken place precisely as Dr. Paul warned.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is an unprecedented, unconstitutional, and unchecked grant of dictatorial power to the President in the name of protecting the security of “the homeland.” Ron Paul described the bill (soon to be signed into law by the President) as a “slip into tyranny,” one that will almost certainly accelerate “our descent into totalitarianism.”
What of the NDAA? Are there indeed provisions contained therein that so ferociously tear at the constitutional fabric of our Republic?
In a word — yes.
This liberty-extinguishing legislation converts America into a war zone and turns Americans into potential suspected terrorists, complete with the full roster of rights typically afforded to terrorists — none.
A key component of this reconciled bill mandates a frightening grant of immense and unconstitutional power to the executive branch. Under the provisions of Section 1021, the President is afforded the absolute power to arrest and detain citizens of the United States without their being informed of any criminal charges, without a trial on the merits of those charges, and without a scintilla of the due process safeguards protected by the Constitution of the United States.
Further, in order to execute the provisions of Section 1021 described in the previous paragraph, subsequent clauses (Section 1022, for example) unlawfully give the President the absolute and unquestionable authority to deploy the armed forces of the United States to apprehend and to indefinitely detain those suspected of threatening the security of the “homeland.” In the language of this legislation, these people are called “covered persons.”
The universe of potential “covered persons” includes every citizen of the United States of America. Any American could one day find himself or herself branded a “belligerent” and thus subject to the complete confiscation of his or her constitutional civil liberties and nearly never-ending incarceration in a military prison.
In his assessment of the danger inherent in such acts, Paul is in good company. This suspension of habeas corpus, a right central to Anglo-American freedom from despotism for over 500 years, was described by Alexander Hamilton as one of “the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny.”
Congressman Paul eloquently expressed his assessment of such an assault on liberty:
The president’s widely expanded view of his own authority to detain Americans indefinitely even on American soil is for the first time in this legislation codified in law. That should chill all of us to our cores.
As reported by The Hill, in a phone message to supporters, Paul cited the Founders and their intent to bequeath to their descendants a government fettered in such a way as to threaten as little as possible man’s innate freedom:
The founders wanted to set a high bar for the government to overcome in order to deprive an individual of life or liberty. To lower that bar is to endanger everyone. When the bar is low enough to include political enemies, our descent into totalitarianism is virtually assured. The Patriot Act, as bad as its violation against the Fourth Amendment was, was just one step down the slippery slope. The recently passed National Defense Authorization Act continues that slip into tyranny, and in fact, accelerates it significantly.
Adding insult to injury, Congress has stuffed the bill full of funding for illegal and unconstitutional foreign wars so that the American people will pay over $670 billion dollars for the privilege of being deprived of their God-given rights and for the building of the American empire.
This appalling story doesn’t end there, however. The NDAA’s rap sheet of crimes against the Constitution is long. As Congressman Paul explained:
The Fifth Amendment is about much more than the right to remain silent in the face of government questioning. It contains very basic and very critical stipulations about the due process of law. The government cannot imprison a person for no reason and with no evidence presented and without access to legal counsel. The danger of the NDAA is its alarmingly vague, undefined criteria for who can be indefinitely detained by the U.S. government without trial.
While all the foregoing is harrowing and enough to make any reasonable man fear for the future of this Republic, there is another aspect of the law that is perhaps more frightening still. That is the vagueness of the terms. Terms so ill-defined are ripe for the wresting and within the penumbras of these provisions could be found lurking the tools of tyranny. Wrenches that could force anyone into a predetermined “terrorist” hole.
Ron Paul sets forth the source of such chilling concern as contained in the NDAA:
It is no longer limited to members of al Qaeda or the Taliban, but anyone accused of substantially supporting such groups or associated forces. How closely associated, and what constitutes substantial support? What if it was discovered that someone who committed a terrorist act was once involved with a charity? Or suppose a political candidate? Are all donors of that candidate or supporters of that candidate now suspects and subject to indefinite detainment? Is that charity now an associated force?
Despite the bipartisan and bicameral support for the defense budget bill, President Obama originally vowed to veto the measure over his disagreement with the delegation of power over the cases of detainees.
He has since withdrawn his objection and has signaled his intent to sign the bill into law.
The crux of the White House’s opposition to the NDAA was President Obama’s desire that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) should have plenary power over the disposition of issues related to the custody and prosecution of all terror suspects detained domestically.
The Obama administration insisted that cutting out the FBI would reduce the overall effectiveness of investigations, as well as hamstring the efforts of intelligence officers from gathering reliable intelligence from those believed to be fighting against the United States in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Specifically, the White House promised to veto the legislation if it “challenges or constrains the President’s critical authorities to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, [or] protect the nation.”
Such swords disguised as shields are reminiscent of the words of James Madison. The Father of the Constitution warned, “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become instruments of tyranny at home.”
Again, Ron Paul finds himself in the company of the Founders. In his closing remarks, Congressman Paul cited very succinctly the indictment that should be handed down by the American people against the NDAA:
The Bill of Rights has no exceptions for really bad people or terrorists or even non-citizens. It is a key check on government power against any person. That is not a weakness in our legal system; it is the very strength of our legal system. The NDAA attempts to justify abridging the Bill of Rights on the theory that rights are suspended in a time of war, and the entire United States is a battlefield in the war on terror. This is a very dangerous development, indeed. Beware.
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Our Last Christmas in the Old America

Enjoy it while it lasts
by Justin Raimondo, December 26, 2011
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As the world celebrates the birthday of the Prince of Peace, the Lord of War looms large over the land. The shrikes and talking heads are screeching for Iranian blood, and there are ominous signs in the stars. The war god’s acolytes flood the airwaves with “a complex of vaunting and fear,” as an old prophet once put it, and men of peace are disdained as “weak,” “dangerous,” and “extreme.”

Who will save us from the coming slaughter?

There is no Savior, no man on a white horse or divine sacrificial offering who can stop or appease the gathering demons: they will quaff their chalice of blood, have their pound of flesh, these cannibals of the spirit who demand human sacrifice as the price of propitiation. Blood, honor, “national security,” “world leadership,” the “free world” – these are the words they will invoke, the ritual prayers to the great god Mars that will excuse the thousands killed, tens of thousands maimed – and for what?

For Israel – which must be saved at all costs, even at the price of its very soul.

For the authority of the United Nations – a “den of thieves,” as Lenin rightly called it, and Robert Welch agreed.

For the reelection of a failed president – who would gain the opportunity to blame Iran for the economic catastrophe we brought upon ourselves.

In the end, it boils down to pure economics, and the numbers add up to … war. How else to mask the Depression behind the veil of wartime “necessity”? Can you think of a better way to channel the righteous anger of a slowly-awakening people away from the warlords of Washington and toward some foreign Enemy? Before the peasants with pitchforks come marching up the hill, better to put a sign on the road: TRAFFIC DIVERTED – NO ENTRY.

A cowed people will obey it – at least so our rulers hope and pray. That’s the only time they do pray, come to think of it: not even the war-god is honored by their invocations. They worship him in silence, in secret caverns under the earth, accompanied only by the twin devils of hubris and bloodlust.

In public they are advocates of peace, and more: “world peace,” which they mean to impose by force of arms. “World leadership” – which they tout as a divine gift from God. “Benevolent world hegemony” – which they proclaim as a duty, and a destiny. Their delusions are global in scope, along with their sins.

The warlords of Washington don’t thinks small: their vision is Napoleonic – or don’t you mean Satanic? I suppose it all depends on if you’re the victor or the vanquished. Yet all Americans are vanquished by their Pyrrhic “victory.” That’s the irony of our conundrum; in “victory,” the seeds of our impending defeat are sown, as the tendrils of decline creep steadily over the skyscrapers and monuments of our great cities, slowly pulling them down….

It’s a bare-bones Christmas for many in the US: the only ones to get presents are the banks – which have been bailed out and are still being bailed out – and the politically-connected, including especially our old friends of the Military-Industrial Complex, the croniest of the crony-capitalists. Villains prosper while the rest are fired, foreclosed, and foreordained to suffer for the sins of their rulers.

Yet rebellion is in the air. Without bread, Americans will be consoled by circuses for only so long. One more bailout, another high-ranking government official caught with his hand in the till, one more indication that the Marie Antoinettes who inhabit the District of Columbia believe themselves above the law – and then watch out. It could get ugly.

Under these circumstances, the call to bring the troops home may be taken up by some in Washington – who will need them here to deal with another kind of insurgency.

This may well be our last Christmas in the old America – an America untouched by serious civil turmoil since the era of Lincoln, unbowed by the business cycle since the days of FDR. We are living out the very last hours of the American Century, and all of Mitt Romney’s appeals to nostalgia and belligerent nationalism cannot reconstruct what has been lost. The peerless engine of American economic supremacy has run out of gas, and is sputtering on the false fuel of fiat money.

In the end, we will find what we already knew: that we cannot print out way out of debt – not without destroying our currency, and ourselves, in the process. In the end, the only way out is war – or Empire’s end.

The invocation of a wartime” emergency” is precisely what our rulers require at this particular moment in our history: for them, war would be a blessing. Are prices hitting the roof – has inflation impoverished us all – is it getting nearly impossible to live? Well then, we can blame our “leaders” or we can blame some Foreign Devil? Which story will the “mainstream” media be peddling – and on whose behalf? To pose the question is to answer it.

The window is closing rapidly, but we still have a choice of roads: we can reject the path taken by our government, and the leadership of both parties, and venture into the nearly uncharted wilderness, down a little-known trail leading to deflation. This means a radical contraction, in every sense – one that allows us to revamp, retool, and redeem ourselves, while ridding ourselves of the burden of empire and debt. The sins of past profligacy and overweening pride must be paid for: there is no avoiding that. Delaying the day of reckoning will only prolong the pain – and block the path to full recovery. Is there a leader who will tell us what we do not want to hear, and summon the bravery to inspire endurance?

This is a decision our rulers will never make, for reasons I needn’t bother going into: they would sooner commit mass suicide than give up their delusions of grandeur, which infuse the very air of Washington, D.C., and induce hallucinations in its drugged inhabitants. Especially prevalent is the hallucination of “American exceptionalism” – the self-infatuated idea that we, alone among the nations of the world, are exempt from the wrath of the gods, who would normally punish such hubris as ours.

We will learn too late there are no exceptions to the natural laws of morality and economics: that wars of conquest invite “blowback” and that bankrupt empires don’t last long.

It’s your last Christmas in the old, prosperous, untouched America – a benevolent land of plenty, where opportunity was limited only by ambition and the knowledge of tyranny and privation was second-and -third hand. So please, by all means make it a memorable one.

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