Insist that Obama and Clinton Take a Stand on "Homegrown Terrorism"

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People in states that have yet to hold primaries should insist that Clinton and Obama take a stand on the frightening Homegrown Terrorism Bill before they give either candidate a vote.

All the Michigan/Florida controversy and Superdelegate issues aside, it seems like forcing the Democratic contenders to fight for their right to represent is better for all of us than the early anointing that generally happens. If they address actual issues, rather than engaging in irritating "red phone" banter, that is. They don't have so many differences (on Iraq, health care, the economy) that will affect our everyday lives, but their willingness to address our civil liberties emergency - or not - will reverberate for generations.

Right now, the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee is mulling over the Homegrown Terrorism Act. Obama is on the Committee and as of late last year had not taken a position on this bill that will create vast new arenas for the monitoring of U.S. citizens.

After nearly eight years of unchecked lawlessness and abuse of executive privilege, it's time make sure the next president knows that we will watch him or her like hawks, not grant extended powers in our already endemic surveillance society for monitoring everyday people who oppose a given administration's policies. Essentially, these candidates, who have pledged their lives to public service, are agreeing to be monitored by us and it's our job to do so.

Right now, the most important questions to many are, "Will you take the lead in repairing our looted and vandalized systems of government?" "Will you restore the rule of law?" "Will you resurrect our image in the eyes of the world?"

I am looking at both Obama and Clinton right now, and though Obama seems more promising, and had the mettle to take a stand on telecom immunity, I'm still not convinced that he is prepared to lead us out of our civil liberties emergency.

Rather than simply giving candidates our support or not, we could hold to the notion that it is our job not just to get excited by a speech, go to a voting booth, and cling to a fantasy that vacant campaign promises will become policy. Rather, with our vote we are giving them permission to be accountable to us.

We can promise the candidates that we will remain active stewards of democracy. We will insist that basic Constitutional safeguards remain in place. We are not afraid to press for impeachment, to protest, to create new parties whose representatives - unlike Congressional Democrats - will do what they were voted in to do.

If your state hasn't voted, contact Clinton and Obama's campaign offices and ask whether or not they will at the very least ensure that the vague language that could threaten first amendment rights is removed from the Homegrown Terrorism Bill and that independent civil liberties oversight of the commission is provided.


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jimmyb207 said:

Those questions should definitely be asked. But strangely enough, they are not. It's kind of like Iraq, if one of the candidates mentions it, it is for a very brief moment. Kind of like the standard tax question, They always say with a blank emotionless face,"yes I will lower taxes(lie), next question please."
The erosion of our civil liberties seems to be even farther from the 'selected' candidates minds. Why?? I don't believe American citizens civil liberties have ever been in more danger of being lost than they are right now. The Homegrown Terrorism Bill, the Patriot Act, The Protect America Act, S1959 which actually seems to be bordering on making thoughts a crime, Military Commissions Act of 2006 which strips a person of habeas corpus and all the executive orders that Bush has signed means that we are being set up. Everything is in place. All they need is one more "event".
We all should be holding the candidates feet to the fire an start demanding some answers that they can be held accountable for.

Kyeann said:

Jim -- All the legislation you mention is very frightening. I can say that I wasn't paying enough attention when the Military Commissions Act was passed, and did not know about the House version of S1959 (The Homegrown Terrorism Bill). So -- I'm just as culpable as anyone. I don't think the majority of Americans understand just how much we have given up and that, as you say, it's just one "event" that is needed to perhaps irreversibly shift our democracy into something unrecognizable.

Wait, there's more. "A new intelligence institution to be inaugurated soon by the Bush administration will allow government spying agencies to conduct broad surveillance and reconnaissance inside the United States for the first time. Under a proposal being reviewed by Congress, a National Applications Office (NAO) will be established to coordinate how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and domestic law enforcement and rescue agencies use imagery and communications intelligence picked up by U.S. spy satellites."

wingtip said:

……Congress, under the Speakership of Ms. Pelosi has done nothing but protect the status quo of the corporate elite and, in fact, since she has been the Speaker, the situation in the Middle East has grown far worse, with Congress’ help, and recently more of our essential freedoms were given to BushCo by Congress. That is not what we elected them to do!

A great majority of citizens in California’s 8th Congressional district believe Ms. Pelosi has lost touch with the people of this district and America and it’s time for our reps that aren’t doing their jobs by upholding their sworn oaths to the Constitution to receive a wakeup call!

I agree that with over 45 million American uninsured, we need universal health care….. I agree that the people in the administrative branch are corrupt, as are many members of Congress…….

Cindy Sheehan

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Six Hours A Week Is:

A coping strategy, advocacy outlet, and form of protection. My life has been nearly destroyed by the unconstitutional practices of politically/socially-motivated private intelligence contractors and the corruption and cronyism that allow them. Apparently because I speak out in ways that prioritize the little guy and human and environmental health above gargantuan profit margins, and believe that facts are as important as PR spin, I was someone who had to be completely discredited. In 2007, after a few months of a surreal and relentless invasion of privacy and dignity, I started to spend six hours each week researching, communicating about, and advocating legal and ethical responses to assaults on our shared democratic and republican ideals. For most of that time I was writing from the perspective of someone whose life was manipulated into a constant state of terror and emergency. In 2010, many of the array of entrapment attempts seem to have failed and it seems no longer possible to get away with such excessive, obvious harassment and overt interference. As we take more practical steps to address what has been allowed to happen to my family, we do expect to see some more harassment and intimidation. But I should be able to chronicle it from a more measured perspective, rather than that of someone in constant fear. Part of me would like to go back and delete earlier posts, because even I find them hard to relate to in some ways. But this blog has been one of our only forms of protection as everyone in any official capacity ignored the truth and tried to spin and frame us into the troublemakers and perpetrators of one form or another. So I leave it up as a form of protection, a record of what has occurred, and (with luck) the account of our way back to credibility and some form of legitimate justice. All content on this site is property of Kyeann Sayer. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyeann published on March 6, 2008 1:33 AM.

Making Sense of the Competing Surveillance Bills was the previous entry in this blog.

5 Worst Aspects of Being Under Surveillance/Investigation is the next entry in this blog.

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