Saturday, January 14, 2012

" Can we toss around the idea that Congress has broken its oath by not collecting the people's revenue

as that is their primary job? And, given the results of this dereliction of duty, why wouldn't this negligence be considered treasonous against the interest of the American people? And also, given that borrowing money with interest is not in the best interest when revenue can be collected by liens against property and cash, wouldn't it be prudent to discern if the members who brought this action to create debt instead of collect revenue, aren't actually shareholders of the Federal Reserve Board, collecting 6% income on our debt? Is anyone paying attention to these particular details? And can we not make a case and prosecute? And isn't death a likely sentence of treasonous acts against the best interest of the public? Where am I going wrong in this logic, if at all? "

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Jonathan Turley: Losing our liberties

Jonathan Turley
Friday, Jan 13, 2012
Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.

Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?

While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.

These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country.

The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company.

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Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University.