Posts tagged hostile
Is Washington Hostile to Citizen Input?
Published by NextNewsNetwork
WASHINGTON DC | Today’s DC Report is an exclusive about several activists appearing in federal court rooms this week for protesting the drone policies of the United States.
Four of those activists were sentenced in Sacramento, Calif. yesterday. On Friday, five more anti-drone activists will appear in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va.
But this story carries an important twist: These activists have been going to Congress for years to try and get elected officials to consider stopping the targeted killings carried out by U.S. Predator and Reaper drones. But their concerns have fallen on deaf ears in Washington.
These activists maintain that the drone hits are war crimes in violation of international law. They stress that scores of innocent men, women and children are being systematically killed on a virtually daily basis.
They add that the drone hits are taking place in nations with which the U.S. is not even at war. The impacted nations include: Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. The activists point out that Congress never officially declared war on Afghanistan and Iraq as the Constitution requires.
Activist Toby Blome’ (Blo-May) is one of the four activists sentenced with community service and probation yesterday in Sacramento. The activists were arrested for blocking the entry road into nearby Beale Air Force Base for over an hour on April 30, 2013. However, Blome said that staging protests is not necessarily the favored tactic.
Instead, the protests are actually a last-ditch effort to be heard. As Blome told WHDT: “We were resolved to blocking that road that morning [because] our elected officials just won’t listen.”
While blocking the road, the activists tried to get a letter delivered to the Beale air-base commander to protest U.S. drone policies. Beale is a key base from which Global Hawk surveillance drones are remotely controlled. These distant drones pinpoint foreign targets that armed Predator and Reaper drones use to kill suspected terrorists. But scores of noncombatants are killed in the process.
The Beale base commander shot a letter back to the four Sacramento activists, saying that if they carry out the same activities again, the consequences will be more severe than community service and probation. But these and other activists are determined to carry on. They want the general public to know which domestic Air Force bases remotely control drone missions on the other side of the globe.
The underlying theme is that in the modern-day United States, it’s becoming nearly impossible for concerned citizens to be heard by the federal government.
When asked about visiting the offices of members of Congress, Sacramento activist Martha Hubert replied that Rep. Nancy Pelosi and her staff act like the activists don’t exist.
Hubert said: “We try to talk to her in Washington and in California. Her staff says they’ll give her the message but they never did. No meetings with her have ever been arranged.”
Hubert’s fellow activist Robin Ryan added: “We, the defendants, were denied a trial by jury. Had that not been denied, we would have been able to shed more light on the reasons behind this [protest]. We were able to speak only after we had been found guilty.”
On Friday in Virginia, additional protestors are appealing their trespass conviction at the Central Intelligence Agency in June, 2013. They attempted to seek a meeting with CIA Director John Brennan concerning CIA drone hits that allegedly violate international law. The activists carried with them a letter related to what they call “illegal targeted drone killings.”
At this juncture, this issue raises troubling questions about whether our government in Washington is really our government at all. If this is what it takes to try and be heard, then the freedom that the military thinks it’s defending may be clinically dead.
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Writes Philip Klein at The Washington Examiner:
Nobody expects the Republican presidential nominee to be a libertarian purist, but it helps if he or she at least has a libertarian streak. In Rick Santorum’s case, he’s actively hostile toward libertarianism…
(Santorum’s) been coming under fire for his many votes to expand government. He took earmarks, voted for the Medicare prescription drug plan and backed No Child Left Behind. He pushed dairy subsidies, steel tariffs and sided with unions over workers.
As Cato’s Gene Healy noted in his Washington Examiner column on the topic this week, Santorum explicitly declared, “I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement.”
This is a stark departure from Ronald Reagan, who had this to say to the libertarian Reason magazine in a 1975 interview:
If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism… The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.
Ever since that time, Republicans have gotten into trouble when they have veered too far from libertarianism. If Santorum had a modicum of respect for libertarian philosophy, he would have been reluctant to embrace big government Republicanism during the Bush era. Instead, he cast votes that will make it harder for him to consolidate conservative support in the weeks and months ahead as his record undergoes more scrutiny…
Now more than every we need the Champion of the Constitution!
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