Report says Senator Rand Paul is planning to force a Senate vote on his NDAA jury trial amendment

(Posted by Bryana Johnson on November 18, 2012)

Congress has been in session all day and, as Mark Twain would warn, “no man’s life, liberty, or property is safe.” Fortunately for Americans concerned about civil liberty, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has made some ambitious plans to force a vote on an amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, and hopes to restore the right to trial by jury for American citizens detained under charges of terrorism.

The National Defense Authorization Act ( NDAA) is a federal law that is passed every year, specifying the budget and expenditures of the US Department of Defense, although each year's act also includes other provisions. The explosive 2011-2012 NDAA bill included a wildly unpopular clause in Section 1021 which provided for the indefinite detention without trial of American citizens judged to be involved in terrorism or “belligerent acts” against the US.

Both Rand Paul and his father Ron Paul have been vocal opponents of the 2011-2012 NDAA bill. Earlier this week the younger Paul spoke out against the detention provision in a video, expressing his view that the nightmare reality of George Orwell’s dystopian 1984 is unfolding before our eyes.

In the video entitled, “Is 1984 Now?,” Paul referred to the Senate vote on the NDAA. “ Amendments were offered to say that no US citizen could be detained without jury trial,” he explained.  “The senate voted 55 to 45 to allow indefinite detention of US citizens without jury trial. We have become Orwellian without even knowing it.”

According to a report from Roll Call, Senator Paul is planning to introduce an amendment that would
give American citizens in military detention the right to a fair trial with a jury of peers and the right to confront the witnesses against them.

The amendment reads,

“A citizen of the United States who is captured or arrested in the United States and detained by the Armed Forces of the United States pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40) shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”

Roll Call reports Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), and Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain are working behind the scenes to limit debate on the sprawling 2013 NDAA in order to ensure that it receives floor time during the lame-duck session.

Sen. McCain, who has opposed Sen. Paul’s initiatives on the floor of the Senate before, stated, “Sen. Paul has some demands, as usual.” Paul responded on his official Facebook page, saying, “Yes, I do. Follow the constitution. Stop indefinite detention. My amendment simply puts the language of the 6th Amendment into the NDAA. That is apparently not acceptable to some of my colleagues.”

In his video that was released Tuesday, Paul lamented, “The right to trial by jury was lost not in some grand battle, no cinematic final stand, but with a whimper and barely a murmur. It took hundreds of years to force monarchs to allow trial by jury and now it is vanishing with barely a fight.”

Knowing his colleagues as he does, Paul must certainly understand that his amendment to restore the right they voted to do away with just months ago will meet with heavy resistance on the Senate floor.  However, he may be counting on the widespread public hostility which has been unleashed towards the 2011-2012 NDAA bill to swing some senators over to his side.

Regardless of the result of this vote, it is to be hoped that American citizens will be tuning in to C-Span over the next few days to watch the proceedings in the Senate.  If nothing else, at least they will be able to find out whether their own senators stand with them on the side of liberty or against them on the side of legislated tyranny. 

Disappointed GOP Candidate Mitt Romney

There are five lessons the Republican Party needs to learn from the catastrophic re-election of President Obama

(Posted by Bryana Johnson on November 9th, 2012)

On Wednesday morning, half of America woke up to the grim realization that Barack Obama is still President and will be for another four years. Despite months of frantic and tireless work, the Republican party came up short of ousting the President, and to top it all off, they not only failed to gain a majority in the Senate, but instead lost three Senate seats. This means that the near future of government in America is four more years of political stalemate – if we’re lucky. If we’re not, it’ll mean an aggressive assault on the civil liberties of American citizens and a dramatic extension of government dependency and the welfare state.

Unfortunately, the blame for this massive failure falls squarely on the shoulders of the Republican Party itself, primarily GOP leadership that should have known better. These leaders refused to take a warning from history and plugged their ears to the voices of the loud and dedicated mass of citizens known as the grassroots. Indeed, the party repeatedly turned a cold shoulder on these activists, who tend to be zealous social conservatives or libertarians concerned about their eroding civil liberties. The GOP failed to realize that these grassroots supporters form the base of the party. They are the momentum and they are passionate because of ideas. The GOP failed to elect a suitable candidate to represent these ideas. Consequently, they lost.

People didn’t come out for Romney like they were supposed to. Although most of the talking heads are not discussing this fact, well over 2 million American voters voted for someone other than Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. That’s around 1.8%. To make matters worse, preliminary reports are suggesting that voter turnout was considerably lower this year than in 2008. And Romney received less votes than John McCain got four years ago – over 2.5 million less. In short, a lot of people who voted for McCain in 2008, didn’t vote for Romney this year. And way too many Republicans didn’t turn out at all.

Let’s hope that this costly defeat won’t be wasted, but will serve to transform the Republican Party into a mighty and dynamic force for the future – and an honorable one. If this is to happen, there are five things the party needs to learn:

1. Moderate, big-money candidates rarely excite the base enough to beat suave, charismatic, liberal candidates. Remember Bob Dole? John McCain? The Republican base cherishes some basic principles of conservatism. Nominate a candidate who violates these or fails to display his dedication to them, and you automatically lose an important portion of voters. Even when the stakes are high, and even when the Democratic candidate is as polarizing and disliked as President Obama.  

2. Play fair. The fraud that occurred at the RNC, at various state conventions, and during the primary elections/caucuses in states like Maine and Iowa, put a serious kink in Romney’s electability among droves of Republicans. People don’t want to vote for someone whom they suspect is dishonest and mercenary. If you cannot win your own party’s nomination ethically, you should not expect them to come flocking to your aid in a general election.

3. Don’t sacrifice ideals for the myth of electability. Electability is determined at the ballot box. It cannot be decided in advance by political analysts. Indeed, talking about it usually helps to shape it – for better or for worse. Republican voters in this election were pressured from the beginning of the primary season to vote for Romney because he was “the only electable candidate,” and “the only one who can defeat Obama.” This fear-mongering refrain did much to boost Romney’s numbers in the polls and edge out more popular candidates. But now that the big election is over, we see that all the talk about electability only served to land us with a lousy and uninspiring candidate who didn’t beat Obama. Conservative voters would have done better to heed the advice of former President John Quincy Adams:

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”

4. Don’t nominate a candidate who is ashamed of conservative values. Unfortunately, Romney made it very evident that he never wholeheartedly embraced the principles upon which conservatism rests. He utilized a few of our talking points, and slipped in some of our stats and arguments when the time seemed opportune, but his policies were not based on the formal principles of liberty. They were based on political expediency. Although the examples of this are numerous, a representative situation is the ad campaign he ran in the swing states of Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia, touting his “balanced” stance on abortion. It’s also interesting to note that during his debates with President Obama, he warred on the turf of the welfare state and not on the groundwork of liberty. Rather than referencing the constitution to show that President Obama’s policies were entirely contrary to US law, he seemed determined to demonstrate that he didn’t want to do nearly as many conservative things as the Democrats said he did.

Additionally, Romney did not address the authoritarian nature of Obama’s presidency, the numerous executive orders that the president has signed, the wildly unpopular National Defense Authorization Act, the drone wars, the Federal Reserve, or inflation. Most liberty-loving voters are uber-concerned about these issues, and they took his silence on them as a signal that he intended to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor – a wise call on their part, perhaps.

5. Nobody owes you their vote. You must respect them and earn it.
After souring the mood of much of the voting bloc, the GOP tried to rouse the base by acting like conservatives had no choice but to vote for Romney, ridiculing anyone who considered a third-party vote. This served to further alienate many voters who were already leaning towards leaving their Republican affiliation altogether and going completely independent. The party bosses will have to fight hard to recover these voters for 2016. Perhaps they should start by clothing themselves with a little humility and apologizing to the values voters they left behind in their mad dash for the White House.

From the notorious RNC Power Grab in August to the nomination of the liberal-leaning Mitt Romney, in the months leading up the 2012 elections, GOP party bigs repeatedly conveyed to grassroots supporters the message that the philosophical principles of conservatism are not important to the Republican Party. The only thing that mattered was to win, to defeat Barack Obama, to put anyone else in his place. Unfortunately, in order to bring about this objective they cheated, lied and engaged in shockingly unethical behaviors. Now that their pragmatic scheme has failed utterly, it’s only fair that the so-called ‘idealistic’ conservatives should be invited back in to rebuild the languishing party on a solid foundation of ideology – if they’ll come.

(This article was first posted at The College Conservative.)
Elisa Bauer of Washoe County

Social services in Washoe County, Nevada are trying to force a mentally disabled woman to undergo an abortion and sterilization against her will and the will of her legal guardians.

(Posted by Bryana Johnson on November 5th, 2012)

Elisa Bauer of Washoe County, Nevada is a 32-year-old woman who suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome. Adopted by William and Amy Bauer in 1992, Elisa is an epileptic and is said to have the mental and social capacities of a six-year-old. She has continued to live under the guardianship of her parents since turning 18 in 1998, and they have legal authority to make final decisions concerning her welfare and health.

Unfortunately, while living in a group home away from her parents in Reno, Nevada, Bauer has been engaging in sexual activity that has resulted in pregnancy. Family members say they don’t know the circumstances of her unborn child’s conception, but Bauer insists that she wants to carry her baby to term. Now nearing the end of her first trimester, she understands that she will not be able to care for her child, but her parents, who support her in her decision, have lined up six qualified couples who are hoping to be able to adopt the baby, even if he or she is a special needs child. William and Amy have also been providing Bauer with appropriate prenatal care for a high-risk pregnancy.

So far this sounds like an unusual but not absurd story, albeit a sad one. It is a tale of the unfortunate consequences of alcoholism and a crumbling family structure, but one with the possibility of a happy ending – at least for one couple of hopeful adoptive parents and one child whose family has decided to choose life.

Enter Washoe County Social Services, who recently appeared on the scene to request a Court hearing regarding Elisa’s pregnancy. The social services department has expressed their concern that Bauer’s pregnancy will be detrimental to her health and that of her unborn child and are currently suggesting that she be forced to undergo an abortion and be involuntarily sterilized. A hearing was scheduled for this afternoon.

The outcry surrounding this news of a potential court-approved forced abortion has been significant since the story was reported by LifeNews.com yesterday. A facebook page for Elisa’s supporters has garnered over 1,500 “likes” since yesterday and a petition had been signed by almost 1,000 people in just a few hours. Not all of these supporters identify as pro-life, either. Facebook user Christopher Medina wrote,

“I'm def[initely] pro-choice, but this is just ridiculous. Our government is getting out of hand. She obviously wants to have the child but recognizes she isn't capable of taking care of it, yet willing to give it up for adoption to worthy couples. Where is the problem?”

After LifeNews broke the story on Wednesday, LifeSiteNews pursued it further, speaking with Bauer’s adoptive mother Amy to get more details about the events surrounding Elisa’s pregnancy. Amy said that she tried to switch doctors because Elisa’s doctors were pushing for an abortion, but was told by the judge that she could not do that until the case was over.

However, other medical professionals have weighed in on the Bauers’ side. LifeSiteNews explains,

Elisa’s pregnancy is high risk because infants born to mothers on anti-seizure medication have a higher rate of birth defects than the general population.  But the vast majority of epileptic women have healthy babies, says Dr. Michel Czerkes, an OB/GYN at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine. “Monitoring and screening in pregnancy is the recommended course of treatment in pregnancy for a baby who has been exposed to an anti-epileptic medication,” he says, “not abortion.”    

Amy says she and her husband also tried to bring their daughter back home to live with them so that they could monitor her more effectively, but the judge again blocked them.

Now the Bauers are concerned that the court is working to revoke their guardianship over their adopted daughter. When questioned on this point, Deputy District Attorney Dania Reid replied, “ That is not what this order says.” When Reid was asked by LifeSiteNews whether Elisa could be forced to have an abortion against the wishes of her legal guardians, Reid reportedly told them that the court “will be the ultimate arbiter” in determining whether Elisa will be permitted to keep her baby.

According to the Bauer’s attorney, Jason Guinasso, Judge Egan Walker asserted, “ I have inherent authority to [override the wishes of Elisa’s parents] because the court appointed the guardians and they are agents of the court.”

A second hearing has been set for November 6, 2012.

(This article was first posted at the Washington Times Communities.)

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