One step forward, two steps back. During a recess appointment today, President Obama elevated Richard Cordray to the much-needed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray’s bona fides are pretty darn good, he’s served for both Republican and Democratic presidents, but congressional Republicans were blocking his nomination and refusing to cooperate with the idea of the CFPB in general—to the point of threatening a Constitutional lawsuit over the timing on the appointment.
Of course, none of this changes the fact that NDAA has already been signed into law, including the provision on indefinite military detention of American citizens that Obama double-pinkie swears he, personally, won’t use, but after that you’re kinda on your own.
And on that timely note, here is Thomas Drake’s acceptance speech from the 2011 Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence award that he won. Drake turned whistleblower on the NSA, exposing (to quote The Real News) “massive NSA mismanagement and the agency’s use of a data collection program that was more costly, more threatening to American citizens’ privacy rights, and less effective than a readily-available alternative. For his actions, Drake’s house was raided, and he was subsequently charged under the Espionage Act, facing 35 years in prison.” His speech, titled “Is This the Country We Want to Keep?”, is a passionate plea against the pit of oligarchy and authoritarianism our country seems to be sliding into.
Two days into 2012, and already much has happened and is happening regarding the Occupation. Here is a selection of stories:
- The Rose Parade went off without a hitch, despite mass speculation and fearmongering. What was the fearmongering about? The Occupy protest that took up the rear.
- Obama is concerned about the restrictions some people in Congress want to put on governmental power to apprehend terrorists! By which he means he doesn’t like the negative attention the problematic parts of the NDAA bill (which he just signed into law, problems and all) are getting.
- For more cheerful news, Occupy Our Homes is helping to push back against the banks…
- … and Interoccupy is coordinating between the Occupy groups to facilitate coordinated action!
- While the Daily Beast is hardly quiet about the Occupy protests, this little article gives yet another perspective on the lead up to these days, and the fight ahead.
- And here’s another article along the same veins from Truth Out, focusing this time on the similarities between Occupy and the populist movement of 1877.
- And just to wrap this up, if you really think concerns about NDAA are out there… well.
Remember, feel free to submit articles and news!
Things are a little slow due to the holidays, but here’s some items to tide you over for the new year!
- South Bend: Occupy South Bend is officially rolling. Welcome them into the movement by checking out their website here.
- Berkley: As of Thursday, Occupy Berkley’s camp is no more. Read the details from an eyewitness here. Mercifully, the removal seems to be free of the brutality other camps have faced.
- Montana: Courtesy of Daily Kos, Montana citizens have decided to reward Sens. Max Baucus and Jonathan Tester for their vote for the NDAA “indefinite detention” bill by organizing a recall for both senators. The money quote? “[I]n a New York Times op-ed piece by two retired four-star U.S. Marine generals, Charles Krulak and Joseph Hoar, Krulak and Hoar said that ‘Due process would be a thing of the past.’” Yikes. If you’re similarly outraged, the article has a great place to start to force a recall of your own senator(s).
- Belgium: Finally, Business Insider reports that, after a huge bailout that left Belgium’s entire economy reeling, the parties responsible are finally facing legal action, albeit of the tort variety. Both Dexia SA and former CEO of Dexia, Pierre Mariani, are accused of “‘spreading false and misleading information’ and ‘market manipulation.’”
If you haven’t been made aware, the latest national defense bill contains a nasty provision allowing indefinite military detention for some targets and, in blatant disregard of the 5th Amendment, does not include an exemption for American citizens. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced a counterpart in the Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011, which would directly strip this power. From Feinstein’s website:
The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 amends the Non-Detention Act of 1971 by providing that a Congressional authorization for the use of military force does not authorize the indefinite detention—without charge or trial—of U.S. citizens who are apprehended domestically.
The Feinstein bill also codifies a “clear-statement rule” that requires Congress to expressly authorize detention authority when it comes to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The protections for citizens and lawful permanent residents is limited to those “apprehended in the United States” and excludes citizens who take up arms against the United States on a foreign battlefield, such as Afghanistan.
Feinstein said: “The argument is not whether citizens such as Yaser Esam Hamdi and Jose Padilla—or others who would do us harm—should be captured, interrogated, incarcerated and severely punished. They should be.
“But what about an innocent American? What about someone in the wrong place at the wrong time? The beauty of our Constitution is that it gives every citizen the basic due process right to a trial on their charges.”
While the sponsors are predominantly democrats, notable is the support of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). At any rate, it’s certainly reasonable for American citizens to expect due process without threat of indefinite military detention.
It’s something. We’ll see if it gets anywhere, of course, and it’s not a full fix but it is definitely a good step. -ed.