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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    Making The President A King

    By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
    Posted on Sat May 28, 2011 at 03:45:57 PM EST
    Tags: H.R. 1540 of 2011 (Section 1034), House Vote # 361, Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, War Powers, Posse Comitatus Act, Bill of Rights, military draft, debt ceiling, Justin Amash, John Conyers, Ron Paul, Michigan Congressional Republicans (all tags)

    Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure.  Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose.  If today he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him?  You may say to him, - "I see no probability of the British invading us;" but he will say to you, "Be silent: I see it, if you don't."

    To provision of the Constitution giving the war making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object.  This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us.  But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.

    The above quote is from a letter written by Abraham Lincoln, while serving in the United States Congress (representing Illinois' 7th District), to his friend and law-partner William H. Herndon on 15 February 1848.  The purpose of the quote, and indeed much of the letter, was that Lincoln was defending his Spot Resolutions and his position opposing the Mexican-American War.

    Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution clearly specifies that the power to declare war is reserved to Congress only.  While the President is indeed the Commander-in-Chief of the U. S. Armed Forces, he does not have the authority to order the military into an offensive engagement without Congress' consent.

    But that's about to change . . . and God help us all if this stands.

    No reasonable person seriously challenges the assertion that the President of the United States, as Commander-in-Chief of the U. S. Armed Forces, has within that position all the authority he needs in order to (a) repel an invasion of America and/or its Territorial Possessions, (b) quash an armed rebellion or insurrection, or (c) defend merchant shipping or overseas outposts (such as embassies or military bases) from attack.  In those three circumstances, but only those three, the president may act without consulting Congress first.  In all other cases, the Constitution clearly requires the president to obtain the permission of Congress before ordering the military into action.

    A formal Declaration of War, approved by Congress and signed into law by the President, has only occurred in the United States five times:  The War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, World War 1, and World War 2.  (There is credible argument that the Declaration of Independence also amounted to a declaration of war, but I don't think that it's been formally recognized as such.)  In twelve other instances, the President sought, and received, congressional approval for extended military engagement, though none of those approvals actually rose to the level of a formal declaration of war.  In either case, the engagement of military forces was sanctioned by Congress before being ordered by the President.

    (The conflict commonly known as the American Civil War doesn't count.  Since the Confederate States of America were never granted full diplomatic recognition as a sovereign nation, President Lincoln didn't require congressional approval to put down an armed and organized rebellion.)

    However, on at least 125 occasions (including action wholly under U. N. Security Council Resolutions), the President has ordered a non-defensive military engagement without prior express congressional authorization, in clear violation of the U. S. Constitution.

    And it's going to get worse.

    H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, is nominally, "To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2012 for military activities of the Department of Defense and for military construction, to prescribe military personnel strengths for fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes."  And that seems to be a real no-brainer to pass, that is until you get to get to Title X (General Provisions), Subtitle D (Counterterrorism), and specifically Section 1034 (Affirmation of armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces).  This is where it gets . . . interesting:

    Congress affirms that -

    (1) the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces and that those entities continue to pose a threat to the United States and its citizens, both domestically and abroad;

    (2) the President has the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force during the current armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note);

    (3) the current armed conflict includes nations, organization, and persons who -
    (A) are part of, or are substantially supporting, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; or
    (B) have engaged in hostilities or have directly supported hostilities in aid of a nation, organization, or person described in subparagraph (A); and

    (4) the President's authority pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority to detain belligerents, including persons described in paragraph (3), until the termination of hostilities.

    Now paragraphs 1 and 2 are fairly straightforward and proper on their face, though I do have a problem with the clause "associated forces," because those "associated forces" are never defined . . . anywhere.  Who are they?  The way this section is laid out, those "associated forces" could be anyone, anyone at all.  Any person or organization, no matter how otherwise legitimate, which is any way connected to either al-Qaeda or the Taliban could be an "associated force."

    But it's paragraphs 3 and 4 that make this so goddamned scary, especially when you combine them with Thursday's four-year renewal of key provisions of the Patriot Act.

    See, Section 1034 provides for a grand total of zero restrictions on the President's authority to prosecute the armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and their "associated forces" . . . and apparently provides him with sole discretion as to what "necessary force" is, who those "nations," "organizations," and "persons" are, what constitutes "substantially supporting" hostilities, who are to be considered "belligerents," and/or when the "hostilities" are considered to be "terminated."

    Please tell me that I'm not the only one who sees a problem with this!!!

    Never mind the separation of powers, forget about checks and balances, and while we're at it to hell with the Constitution!  In fact, let's just take every constitutionally enumerated power delegated to Congress and just sign it over to the President right now.  And while we're at it, we can also kiss good-bye all of our Bill Of Rights protections as well . . . because if Section 1034 survives in the Senate, that is exactly what door this opens.

    • Freedom of religion, speech, press, or assembly?  Not if it would "substantially support" those "associated forces" and "belligerents" considered hostile to the United States.  Ditto for petitioning for redress of grievances.

    • I don't think that the right to keep and bear arms will be considered consistent with the continued prosecution of the War on Terror.

    • Unreasonable search and seizure?  The security of your person, house, papers, and effects will be violated for any or no reason . . . and they won't need no stinking warrant.

    • The protections of due process, double jeopardy, eminent domain, self-incrimination, and grand jury indictment will go out the window.  Likewise for speedy and public jury trial and Miranda Rights protections.

    • I expect that excessive bail and/or fines will become routine, and cruel punishments won't become so unusual.

    • And what's left of other retained rights and state sovereignty will be shredded as fast as the King of America can make it happen.

    Section 1034 gives the President essentially unrestricted "authority to use all necessary and appropriate force" to track, engage, detain, prosecute, and dispose of any "belligerent" nation, organization, and/or person who is considered hostile to the United States or is considered to be directly or substantially supportive of said hostiles.  And that includes doing so within the boundaries of the United States . . . that's right, Posse Comitatus gets thrown into the trash can as well.

    I don't think that it's a stretch to say that anyone who belongs to a group already defined by the Department of Homeland Security as posing a potential threat to national security - to include "rightwing extremist" groups - may, upon any acceptable pretext, be detained indefinitely without indictment, trial, or any semblance of due process until such time as the current hostilities are declared over, if indeed they are ever over.  (All it would take is for someone to be doing legitimate business with someone else who is, unbeknownst to him, funneling profits to one of those "associated forces" for the necessary pretext to exist.)

    Because once the President is permitted to wage war at his discretion, he is also by extension allowed to keep America in a perpetual state of war, based upon any pretext he so chooses.  And if he can't find enough volunteers to serve in the military, then he can always reinstate the draft, because that would be a necessary and proper part of prosecuting the indefinite conflict.  He can also decide to place the entire national economy on a wartime footing for the duration of the hostilities, which will allow him to indefinitely ignore the debt ceiling.  Perhaps doing away with elections might also be useful.

    There would be no end to the constitutional perversions that may be conceived and executed, until such time as the President-King has made beggars and slaves of all but the nation's elites (whomever he might deem them to be), all in the name of, ". . . the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force during the current armed conflict . . . until the termination of hostilities."

    And if by now you're not some combination of outraged and/or scared, then I really don't think that you've been paying attention.

    My congressman (and you have no idea how proud I am to say that), Justin Amash, saw Section 1034 as a problem, and introduced Amendment 50 (with support from Lee, Conyers, Jones, Nadler, and Paul) in an effort to strip Section 1034 out of the legislation.  On the day of the vote, Congressman Amash circulated a letter to his colleagues, warning them of the dangers that Section 1034 would create and urging them to support his amendment on the floor.

    Yeah, that's right.  Both John Conyers and Ron Paul agreed with Justin Amash that Section 1034 is a bad idea.  Any sensible person ought to know that when those two agree on anything, then it probably deserves a closer look.  Ultimately, when Amendment 50 came up for a vote, it failed (187 yea - 234 nay).  What really ought to bug us is that most of Amash's support for his amendment came from Democrats (166), rather than Republicans (21).

    With the exception of Congressman Amash, every single Republican in the Michigan delegation voted "nay" on House Vote # 361,  and every single Democrat in the delegation voted "yea."  I don't agree with MDP on much of anything, but this is one instance where I am truly ashamed to admit that I'm a Michigan Republican.  I honestly never thought that I'd agree with President Obama on much of anything, but he's actually threatening to veto this bill if it lands on his desk as is.  Which, I guess, brings up all manner of "blind squirrel" analogies.

    For what my opinion is worth, everyone who voted "nay" on House Vote # 361 - regardless of party affiliation, regardless of home state, regardless of whether they were supported by the tea party in 2010 - every single congressional representative who voted "nay" on H. V. # 361 absolutely ought to be primaried in 2012 . . . period.  Flush all of the bastards for all I care, just to make a point.  That specifically includes Dan Benishek (MI-1), David Camp (MI-4), Bill Huizenga (MI-2), Thad McCotter (MI-11), Candice Miller (MI-10), Mike Rogers (MI-8), Fred Upton (MI-6), and Tim Walberg (MI-7).

    I will be speaking with the leadership of the Independence Caucus of Michigan this week.  The reason for that conversation will be to discuss stripping Tim Walberg of his endorsement, preemptively denying it to him for 2012, and issuing a press release to that effect.  I'm pretty sure that I won't have too much argument on that, nor do I expect that the District 7 leadership will have an issue with beginning the effort to recruit a viable primary challenger (who can also take down the Democrat in the general).  We'll also be discussing whom we might be able to recruit as primary challengers to the rest of the traitorous bunch.

    The upside of this (if there is any) is that the issue of Section 1034 is not by any means a done deal.  The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 has now moved on to the U. S. Senate for review, amendment, and concurrence.  I suspect that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) will be listening to his father's advice on this matter, and will do what he can to strip Section 1034 from the bill.  But we should probably pay attention anyway . . . just in case.

    < Michigan Redistricting: County Commission Roundup | Memorial Day 2011 >

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    Welcome to the party! (none / 0) (#1)
    by KG One on Sat May 28, 2011 at 06:24:40 PM EST
    Congressional shenanigans like this are nothing new.

    Similar bills have been in effect for a better part of the last century (i.e. Espionage Act and Smith Act) all the way until this week, specifically S. 990 (and this) signed into law by President Robama.

    And when you have establishment politicians like Sen. Reid not only go out of their way to slam any dissent, but hand out an industrial-sized helping of kool aid to the willing sheep in the GOP, people (especially those of us in the Tea Party) had better take notice!

    Nothing new, indeed (none / 0) (#2)
    by Pogo on Sat May 28, 2011 at 09:51:54 PM EST
         Back when the ink was hardly dry on the Constitution, congress passed a law in 1798 making it a crime to criticize the government (the Sedition Act). It wasn't just a paper technicality either- the administration put it to use immediately to silence political opposition. (See  [http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/sedition ] for a brief summary.)
         These sorts of things seem to come and go, instigated by fervent patriots who believe they know best, and are doing great things for their country. Individuals suffer during these phases, but somehow the nation recovers each time without permanently canceling the Constitution.

    Your concerns are valid. They are setting the... (none / 0) (#4)
    by pauldpeterson on Mon May 30, 2011 at 08:44:51 AM EST
    ...table. The following is not a criticism of you, but what we've become as a nation. I'll try to be short, yet not terse (I hope).

    I, for one, tire of the notion that whatever the Feds pass trumps anything else simply because it has a new date on it. The Constitution is the Highest Law of the Land. ANYTHING that contradicts it, simply is not law, merely a waste of paper, and everyone from the citizenry to the states is not obligated to obey it. If a law is not specifically carrying out general principles found in the Constitution, it is simply not law, and the States are obligated to employ Nullification Doctrine.

    We need to stop acting like we live under centralized rule. It starts with not debating as if that assumption exists. So they pass it. Sorry, it cannot trump the big C. Constitutional rights cannot be legislated away. Any such legislation is null and void to begin with. I don't know how many ways I need to state it for people to start "getting it". I know you get it, Kev, but how many do not?

    It's always good to see... (none / 0) (#7)
    by rdww on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:25:48 AM EST
    ... Honest Abe taken down a notch... especially with his own words, which he chose to ignore less than 15 years later.

    • Umm . . . by Kevin Rex Heine, 05/31/2011 09:35:32 PM EST (none / 0)
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