Posts tagged Amendment
Posted by Judy Morris
Rep. Peter King Blasts Rand Paul For ‘Apologizing For America’: ‘Fringes’ Will ‘Destroy’ GOP
Congressman Peter King appeared on CNN’sState of the Union on Sunday morning and warned that Senator Rand Paul’s “isolationist streak” will destroy the GOP in much the same way the anti-war movement crippled the Democrats in the 1970s and 80s.
“To me the overriding concern here has to be national defense, national security, and not be apologizing for America,” King said. “When you have Rand Paul actually comparing [Edward] Snowden to Martin Luther King, Jr., or Henry David Thoreau, this is madness. This is the anti-war left wing Democrats of the 1960s that nominated George McGovern and destroyed their party for almost twenty years. I don’t want that happening to our party.”
King, a vocal proponent of robust national security measures, was revved up over this week’s vote on an amendment to defund the NSA surveillance program.
“I thought it was absolutely disgraceful that so many Republicans voted to defund the NSA program, which has done so much to protect our country,” King said. “This is an isolationist streak that is in our party. It goes totally against the party of Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush. We are party of national defense, we’re a party who did so much to protect the country over the last few years.”
Host Candy Crowley asked King if he thought the divide between the neo-conservatives and the newly-resurgent libertarian wing led by Paul signalled a serious schism in the GOP.
“I want the Republican Party to be the party of strong national defense, and a party, for instance, which can reach out to labor unions, such as construction unions, police officers, firefighters,” King said. “These are people who are socially conservative and want to agree with us, and too many people in our party drive them away.”
Read the rest at Mediaite, here.
Posted by Judy Morris
Democratic establishment unmasked: prime defenders of NSA bulk spying by Glenn Greenwald
One of the worst myths Democratic partisans love to tell themselves – and everyone else – is that the GOP refuses to support President Obama no matter what he does. Like its close cousin – the massively deceitful inside-DC grievance that the two parties refuse to cooperate on anything – it’s hard to overstate how false this Democratic myth is. When it comes to foreign policy, war, assassinations, drones, surveillance, secrecy, and civil liberties, President Obama’s most stalwart, enthusiastic defenders are often found among the most radical precincts of the Republican Party.
The rabidly pro-war and anti-Muslim GOP former Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter King, has repeatedly lavished Obama with all sorts of praise and support for his policies in those areas. The Obama White House frequently needs, and receives, large amounts of GOP Congressional support to have its measures enacted or bills its dislikes defeated….
In reality, the fate of the amendment was sealed when the Obama White House on Monday night announced its vehement opposition to it, and then sent NSA officials to the House to scare members that barring the NSA from collecting all phone records of all Americans would Help The Terrorists™.
Read the rest at The Guardian, here.
By Mark M. Jaycox
In a Close Vote, Congress Shamefully Defeats Amendment That Sought to Curtail NSA Surveillance
The US House of Representatives came within a few votes of passing a novel amendment that attempted to strike out funding for the highly contentious NSA calling records surveillance program. Under this program, the NSA acquires the records of who you called, when you called, and how long you spoke—for all calls made within the United States, including international, long distance, and even local.
The amendment was part of the Defense Appropriations Bill (basically, the budget for the Department of Defense, of which NSA is a part), and was eloquently supported by a bipartisan coalition of Reps. Justin Amash, John Conyers, Jr., Thomas Massie, Mick Mulvaney, and Jared Polis. The push by Rep. Amash was a great step forward and comes in the wake of a combative House Judiciary hearing during which many members voiced opposition to unconstitutional NSA spying.
Unfortunately, Congress was unable to muster the votes to pass this important amendment. The amendment failed, with an extremely close vote of 205 to 217.
“This amendment reflected the deep discomfort of Americans who don’t want the government collecting data on them indiscriminately. This type of surveillance is unnecessary and unconstitutional, a needless return to the general warrants that our country’s founders fought against,” said Kurt Opsahl, EFF Senior Staff Attorney.
The principal author of the PATRIOT Act in 2001, Rep. Sensenbrenner, was among the strongest supporters of the Amash amendment, urging his fellow Congress members to support this effort to rein in NSA: “The time has come to stop it and the way we stop it is to approve this amendment.”
“We were heartened by the many supporters from across the country who called their representative to support the amendment, laying the foundation for further Congressional action to investigate the NSA spying and enact greater privacy protections,” said Rainey Reitman, EFF Activism Director.
Congress may not have stood up against the mass spying today, but the fight is not over. Earlier this month, EFF filed First Unitarian v. NSA to stop the spying and get the judiciary to rule that the call records program is illegal and unconstitutional. And earlier this month, a federal court rejected the government’s assertion of the state secrets privilege in Jewel v. NSA, allowing that case to continue.
EFF will continue to push Congress to rein in unconstitutional surveillance. Please add your name to our campaign by signing Stopwatching.us.
Image credit: http://www.activistpost.com
NSA holds emergency hearing to fight off anti-surveillance amendment in Congress
The National Security Agency has invited certain members of Congress to a top secret, invitation only meeting to discuss a proposed amendment that could end the NSA’s ability to conduct dragnet surveillance on millions of Americans.
A letter circulated only to select lawmakers early Tuesday announced that NSA Director General Keith B. Alexander would host a question and answer session with members of Congress in preparation of a Thursday vote on Capitol Hill expected to involve an amendment introduced last month by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan).
That amendment, a provision tacked along to a Department of Defense Appropriations Act along with nearly 100 others, aims to greatly diminish the NSA’s domestic spying powers in the wake of disclosures attributed to Edward Snowden, a 30-year-old former employee of Booz Allen Hamilton currently fighting extradition to the US where he faces charges of espionage for his role in leaking state secrets.
One of the leaked files released by Snowden to the UK’s Guardian newspaper details how the government’s interpretation of the PATRIOT Act’s Section 215 has allowed the NSA to collect call logs and other so-called “telephony metadata” pertaining to millions of Americans on a regular basis. If the Amash amendment is approved, it would end that authority.
The amendment, as it appears on the House of Representatives Committee on Rules website, “Bars the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215.”
“It’s not a partisan issue. It’s something that cuts across the entire political spectrum,” Amash told the Rules panel. “In order for funds to be used by the NSA, the court order would have to have a statement limiting the collection of records to those records that pertain to a person under investigation,” Amash said, according to Politico. “If the court order doesn’t have that statement, the NSA doesn’t receive the funding to collect those records.”
Amash’s suggestion isn’t unheard of in the wake of a massive public backlash caused by Mr. Snowden’s disclosures, but it certainly isn’t sitting pretty with the NSA. According to Huffington Post, a letter circulated on Tuesday only hours after the Amash amendment was confirmed to be in order and expected to go up for vote this Thursday.
“In advance of anticipated action on amendments to the DoD Appropriations bill, Ranking Member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of the House Intelligence Committee invites your Member to attend a question and answer session with General Keith B. Alexander of the National Security Agency,” HuffPo quoted from the invitation.
The meeting, added journalist Ryan Grim, was scheduled to be held at a security level of top secret/SCI and was only open to certain lawmakers, echoing the secrecy involved in the very programs Amash aims to shut down.
In preparation for Amash’s amendment going up for vote, the activism group Demand Progress has http://act.demandprogress.org/letter/nsa_amash/a campaign in hopes it will encourage Americans to ask their representatives to vote in favor of the bill.
“As the NSA spying revelations continue to unfold, we increasingly find ourselves facing the reality that — at any moment — the federal government could be listening to our phone calls, watching our email traffic, keeping tabs on our Internet browsing, or worse,” the website reads. “But now we have our first real chance to fight back.”
Speaking to Huffington Post, Demand Progress executive director David Segal said, “To invoke that expert on surveillance George W. Bush: After this vote we’ll finally know who is with us in the cause to protect civil rights — and who is against us.”
A spokesperson for Rep. Amash told TIME Magazine on Tuesday afternoon that debate over the amendment is scheduled for Wednesday evening, with lawmakers expected to move for a vote the following morning. The amendment is being cosponsored by Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat from Amash’s home state of Michigan.
On November 6, 2012, Chattanooga voters opted to amend their city charter by repealing one section and inserting new language having to do with recalling an elected official.
Or, put another way, Chattanooga voters simply made official what a state appellate court has already decided: that the requirements pertaining to validation of petition signatures have been set by the Legislature.
Several provisions in Chattanooga’s recall procedure were out of line with state law, but the one change that motivated this amendment—from requiring 50% of the number of voters in the last election to requiring 15% of registered voters—is one of two* pieces the state statute leaves flexible. Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-5-151 (j) carves out the ability for qualified municipalities to set their own numeric thresholds, if they enact or amend charters after June 1997.
Do you feel like you just went in a circle? Hold tight and get something to clench your teeth on, because this post is going to get wonk-y.
The process for a voter-initiated recall effort starts in the same way as for a voter-initiated ballot measure (referendum or initiative). At least one registered voter composes a question that voters would answer in a general election. That voter or group of voters then submits the question to their county election commission, who approves the wording.
Recall petitions have an extra requirement beyond the question: they must state at least one reason that the official should be removed.
The Chattanooga City Charter, until the recent amendment was approved, was not clear on the guidelines for creating the actual petition. If you followed its language and mapped it out as a process diagram, well…first you’re a nerd, and second, you’d see that it was a bit murky until the step in the process where the petition comes back to the election commission full of signatures.
But now, the petition process itself is very clear, and quite easy to follow. (My eight-year-old was able to navigate it, with a couple of hints.)
And you thought I was kidding about the swimlanes.
In summary, the items gained or clarified by opting to follow state law are:
- A petition question validation process (30 days) by the election commission, before signatures are gathered
- A chance (15 days) to amend a rejected petition and resubmit for election commission approval (15 days) before it gets circulated
- A specified time period (75 days) for gathering signatures
- Corrected the timing of when the question can be put on an election ballot
A couple of things went away when we replaced the former Chattanooga City Charter § 3.18:
- A chance to amend a rejected petition post-circulation (i.e., get more signatures)
- The ability to use the most recent election’s turnout as a basis for the signature threshold
But all that is only about creating, filing, circulating, and verifying the petition for recall. What is supposed to happen upon and after the election? For that matter, what is the very nature of the election?
After doing a bit of reading, it seems quite clear to me that the election that gets triggered by a certified petition is not one in which candidates vie for office. Well, not technically.
Just days before Thanksgiving, the US Senate was planning on taking a vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, but there has been a slight delay. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has proposed an amendment halting the vote. In it, Paul reaffirms the sixth amendment guaranteeing a fair a speedy trial to all Americans which has been threatened by the NDAA. Brian Doherty, senior editor for Reason.Com, give us his take on the latest development.
The defense bill that lets the government indefinitely detain any US citizen without charge or trial wasn’t mentioned once during the three presidential debates, but that didn’t stop activists from sounding off: #StopNDAA went worldwide Monday night.
A campaign aimed at drawing awareness to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 and a draconian provision that provides the government the power to lock-up any person on mere suspicion of terrorist ties succeeded during Monday’s third and final presidential debate. “#StopNDAA” was among the most popular hashtags included in messages sent over Twitter Monday night, at one point entering the list of top worldwide trends.
The action was coordinated thanks in part to a grassroots campaign orchestrated by Revolution Truth and Demand Progress, among others, advertised through StopNDAA.org and endorsed by thousands of activists across the globe.
“Both parties are colluding in denying you your First and Fifth amendment rights under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, and both candidates refuse to discuss this bipartisan assault on civil liberties,” a message posted on the Stop NDAA website reads.
Elsewhere on the site, examples of sample tweets were included alongside information about the annual Pentagon spending blueprint that was drafted last year to include a provision, Section 1021, that affirms that the president can use military force to imprison any person considered to have “substantially supported” a terrorist group engaged in hostilities against the US or its allies. Under the law, though, the commander-in-chief can also lock-up any individual until a vaguely defined “end of hostilities” without ever being required to try them in a court of law.
By John Glaser
Via Mike Riggs at Reason, Michael Hastings reports at BuzzFeed that an amendment has been inserted into the latest version of the NDAA that would nullify the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987, both of which ban domestic propaganda. It is being sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State.
The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee’s official website.
…The new law would give sweeping powers to the State Department and Pentagon to push television, radio, newspaper, and social media onto the U.S. public. “It removes the protection for Americans,” says a Pentagon official who is concerned about the law. “It removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false.”
According to this official, “senior public affairs” officers within the Department of Defense want to “get rid” of Smith-Mundt and other restrictions because it prevents information activities designed to prop up unpopular policies—like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Do you like eating natural, raw, or unprocessed food?
Republican Senators Corker and Alexander in Tennessee have just voted against food freedom by allowing the FDA to raid farmers, natural food stores, and people who sell/posses raw unprocessed foods at gunpoint!!!
Small-government Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky offered an amendment which would prevent the FDA from carrying firearms or making arrests during raids without a warrant. Senators Corker and Alexander voted AGAINST Rand Paul’s amendment by voting to table it.
Senators Corker and Alexander must think it is ok for the FDA to point a gun at you if you like eating healthy food.
If you want more details read these two blog posts:
Watch Senator Rand Paul’s speech on the FDA and raw foods:
Here are videos of actual raids that have taken place by the FDA – don’t think it can’t happen to you:
Reason.tv: Rawesome Foods Raided… Again!
Zach Weissmueller | August 4, 2011
A little more than a year ago, Rawesome Foods, a health food co-op based in Venice, California was the target of an armed raid by several agencies, and the resulting video went viral.
On August 3, 2011, Rawesome experienced another multi-agency raid, but this one resulted in the arrest of the establishment’s owner James Stewart.
Stewart, and Sharon Palmer, the farmer who supplies him with raw goat milk, are being held on bails in excess of $100,000 and are each charged with four felonies and several more misdemeanors. Some examples of the charges are “processing unpasteurized milk,” “improper labeling of food,” and “improper egg temperatures.”
The government has kept pursuing Stewart and his club for years, despite a lack of any reports of illness or injury from consumption of his foods. Rawesome members argue that they are part of a private club, not subject to government regulation, and that they are being persecuted for their alternative lifestyles.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office would not comment for this video, but offered this press release and also released a list of the charges against Stewart and Palmer.
Reason.tv covered the first Rawesome raid shown below.
Reason.tv: Raw Foods Raid – The Fight for the Right to Eat What You Want
Zach Weissmueller | November 17, 2010
This summer armed government agents raided Rawesome Foods, a Venice, California health food co-op. What were the agents after? Unpasteurized milk, it turns out.
Raw milk raids are happening all over the United States. The Food and Drug Administration warns that raw milk consumption can cause health problems, but a growing community of raw foods enthusiasts are ignoring government recommendations and claiming that they are getting tastier, more nutritious food by going raw.
Reason.tv visited Rawesome to examine the circumstances of the raid and discovered that this particular raw foods case stretches across county lines and involves at least five separate government agencies, despite the fact that not a single member of Rawesome has complained or been harmed by the raw foods. In fact, members have to sign a contract stating that they understand and accept the risks of consuming raw foods before they are allowed to step inside.
If members of a private club sign a waiver stating that they want to drink a certain type of milk, why is the government getting involved? As Jarel Winterhawk, a manager at Rawesome, puts it, “This is America. How are you going to tell me what I can and cannot eat?”
Though no charges have yet resulted from the raid, Rawesome is threated with shutdown due to the involvement of yet another government agency, Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, and the club’s raw goat milk supplier, Healthy Family Farms, has had its dairy license suspended.
“Raw Foods Raid” is written and produced by Zach Weissmueller. Camera by Alex Manning and Weissmueller. Senior Producer is Ted Balaker. Music by Jami Sieber, Five Star Fall, and Kammen and Swan (Magnatune Records).