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Consequences for Senate Democrats Who Voted To Trash Constitutional Liberty Yesterday

Yesterday afternoon, the Senate voted to keep a Defense authorization bill as is, even though the legislation contains provisions to allow the imprisonment, without time limit, of Americans seized by the government from within U.S. borders, without criminal charge. This provision within the Defense authorization legislation is clearly unconstitutional, yet, when Mark Udall offered an amendment to remove the provision from the legislation, the Senate voted against the amendment.

Senator Udall warned that, “Military officials and national security experts have said these provisions would give the military the power to indefinitely detain accused enemy combatants – including Americans captured on U.S. soil. These changes were written without consulting the Department of Defense or the law enforcement community, and they could amount to an unprecedented expansion of military power inside the United States. This expansion of military authority could limit the flexibility our government needs to combat terrorism by rebuilding walls between agencies that we’ve spent years tearing down, undermining progress we have made over the past 10 years to improve cooperation between military, intelligence and civilian law enforcement officials.”

without criminal chargeFBI Director Robert Mueller said that the provisions establishing imprisonment without criminal charge would harm, not help, counterterrorism efforts, explaining that the legislation “may adversely impact our ability to continue ongoing terrorism investigations before or after arrest, derive intelligence from those investigations, and may raise extraneous issues in any future prosecution” of terrorism suspects.” Yet, the Senate ignored these warnings.

The vote has been cast, and the roll call shows that many Senate Democrats went along with the mostly Republican opposition to Mark Udall’s amendment.

So, what can we do now?

We can show the Democrats who voted to keep powers of arbitrary, unlimited imprisonment in the Defense authorization bill that there are consequences for their abandonment of constitutional freedoms.

The following seven Democrats are among those who voted against the Udall amendment yesterday. They are all up for re-election in 2012. Americans who believe that liberty is worth keeping, and that imprisonment of people without criminal charge is wrong, should withhold their support from these Democrats’ campaigns.

Senator Robert Casey, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator Joe Manchin, Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Ben Nelson, and Senator Robert Menendez.

These Democrats aren’t serving American freedom in the Senate. They’ve violated their oaths of office. It’s time for them to retire back to private life.

10 comments to Consequences for Senate Democrats Who Voted To Trash Constitutional Liberty Yesterday

  • Tom

    As George Carlin says:

    Not supporting these Dimocraps in the next election will do what? Usher in worse Republicans? Usher in a new crop of crony capitalist Democrats?

    There isn’t any third party choice, so that’s out. How about if the OWS movement just leads us into another way of governing BESIDES the broken system that we can’t or won’t fix now? That’s about the only other viable choice.

    “Elections are designed to give you the illusion that you have a choice. You don’t.” G. Carlin

    • Tom, not supporting these Democrats will achieve this: It will make sure that we don’t have these corrupt, anti-constitutional Democrats in office any more.

      Could other bad politicians replace them? Yes. If that happens, then we get rid of the next politicians. In that next election, at least there will be the opportunity to have a worthwhile Democrat running for office.

      If we just keep these current rotten Democrats, then we’re guaranteeing that voters won’t have a good choice. It’s important to keep the long view in politics. In the long view, we need to replace these bad Senate Democrats with better options – either from the Democratic Party or from the Green Party.

  • I don’t feel like I have a choice> Here in Michigan I have Senators Stabenow and Levin and they voted against the Udall Amendment and they voted against the Paul amendment to stop the war in Iraq. I have no alternatives unless I write in a candidate.

    • You do have alternatives, Julie. You just named one: A write-in candidate. If large numbers of write-in ballots were made, that would send a strong message.

      Another alternative you have is to go to the voting booth next November, vote in other elections, but leave the spot for the Senate election blank.

      If you vote for Michigan’s lame Democratic senators, you’ll be rewarding their lameness. If you vote for Republicans to replace these senators, you’ll be taking the electorate in the wrong direction.

      You can show up to vote and vote for none of the senate candidates. You can also make your outrage at Levin and Stabenow – from a liberal perspective – prominent through letters to the editor, You Tube videos and online articles. Politicians do not like bad press.

      In a democracy, there are always alternatives. We’re only limited by the alternatives we have the imagination to perceive.

    • qs

      Don’t worry, I voted for my GOP senators in the past, but I find their votes on this equally disturbing as you find your democrats voting prerogative.

  • qs

    Hi all,

    The John Birch Society has a free online fax system to help oppose this bill although the senate has already passed it…

    Nonetheless please sign up, and let you senators and congressmen know that you oppose it.

    http://www.votervoice.net/core.aspx?aid=972&issueid=26757&atid=20361&siteid=0&app=GAC&isvisited=true

    Takes 60 seconds.

  • qs

    ‘Indefinite Detention’ Bill Set For Final Vote Thursday

    Please call your senators and sign up for that John Birch Society fax service I linked to.

  • Tom

    good job qs!

    Prison America here we come, woo-hoo! Be the first on your block to be “disappeared”! Who needs charges? Just resist getting beaten over the head by uniformed heavily armed thugs for sitting peacefully and chatting with others about a different way to do government and bingo – you’re outta here!

    Yeah, qs – we’ve all come to the conclusion that both parties are the same anymore and neither represents the citizenry (except of course the “new people” – corporations). As for elections and the “long view” – we don’t have the time. Incrementalism won’t work because we need radical change of EVERYTHING – the way we power our economy, financial dealings, the whole concept of money (as debt), jobs, education, health care – it goes on and on and it all needs to be changed so that it works for everyone, no exceptions.

    Incrementalism is what got us into this mess J. Clifford – the steady, slow deregulation, non-compliance, fraud creep, watered down laws (instituted by lobbyists who were former legislators), and crony capitalism that has RUINED democracy. It CAN’T be fixed from within because the whole system is shot through with big-money corruption. Incrementalism is like taking one a day vitamins when you have cancer. Lotta fuckin’ good that’s going to do . . .

    The only hope we have is that this OWS thing goes mainstream and morphs into some kind of new and different way of doing things that doesn’t involve police brutality, debt and the insane way we’re living now (KILLING OURSELVES THROUGH ECOCIDE). We don’t have a lot of time to change things (5 years is what the latest reports said) before they become irreversible. We need GIANT steps, not baby steps or one step forward and two steps back like we’ve been doing for decades now.

  • Tom

    One last thing, off-topic but related (and demonstrates our situation):

    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/11/30/377844/arctic-sea-ice-hockey-stick/

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