By: Brian Ryman
Having been saddled by our representatives, with a failing economy, runaway regulation and dwindling rights it is no wonder that satisfaction with Congress is at a historical low. US citizens are tired of Congress riding rough shod over our liberties and saddling us with an exorbitant bill to pay for the privilege.
The majority of patriotic Americans… from the Left, or Right… conservative, liberal, or libertarian… desire change. Howard Philip “Buck” McKeon embodies all that must be changed.
“Buck” McKeon has voted with the majority in congress more than 95% of the time. Among his legislative “gifts” is the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 which he sponsored in the House. The NDAA has been called by some constitutionalists, “the most onerous piece of legislation since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 or the Espionage Act of 1917.”
While our representative, Buck McKeon has claimed that with passage of NDAA 2012 “we have ensured that as we fight terrorists around the world, we also protect the civil liberties of Americans at home”, his understanding of what constitutes “civil liberties” is questionable.
Lindsey Graham conceded when he said on the Senate floor that “the statement of authority to detain [included in NDAA 2012], does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.” This is further clarified in an exchange between Senators Rand Paul and John McCain:
Sen. Paul: “My question would be under the provisions would it be possible that an American citizen then could be declared an enemy combatant and sent to Guantanamo Bay and detained indefinitely.”
Sen. McCain: “I think that as long as that individual, no matter who they are, if they pose a threat to the security of the United States of America, should not be allowed to continue that threat.”
Apologists for the NDAA hold that an amendment sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein which reads: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”, would protect American citizens from indefinite detention. The Obama Administration as well as Senators John McCain and Carl Levin know that it does not. “Current law concerning US citizens” as stated by Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor in her ruling in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld holds that “[t]here is no bar to this Nation’s holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant”.
Further, the Obama Administration made clears its understanding of “existing law” in a “Respondents’ Memorandum Regarding The Government’s Detention Authority Relative To Detainees Held At Guantanamo Bay” dated March 13, 2009:
The President has the authority to detain persons that the President determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and persons who harbored those responsible for those attacks. The President also has the authority to detain persons who were part of, or substantially supported, Taliban or al-Qaida forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act, or has directly supported hostilities, in aid of such enemy armed forces.
Since definitions of terms such as “substantially supported” are determined by the president, the law can be applied to US citizens of all stripes.
Either McKeon didn’t understand what he was voting for, OR he willfully misrepresented his vote to his constituents. In either case, can he be trusted to serve as our representative?
The NDAA of 2012 was not McKeon’s only betrayal of his oath of office or of his pledge to his constituents..
With his sponsorship of the NDAA 2012, McKeon has shown his contempt for the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. But there is more of the Bill of Rights that McKeon desires to destroy.
On April 26th, 2012 the House of Representatives passed a Bill cosponsored by Congressman McKeon. That bill was the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act or CISPA. CISPA, a bill described by privacy advocates as “SOPA’s cousin who works for the CIA”, gives the government authority to compel internet service providers, search engines and social media sites to surrender information about their clients. All without a warrant! So much for the Fourth Amendment.
But wait… there’s more!
• In December of 2005 McKeon voted to make the repressive Emergency measures of the Patriot Act permanent.
• In April 2006 he voted against civil oversight on intelligence gathering.
• In September of 2006 he voted to allow electronic surveillance without a warrant.
• In February of 2011 he voted YES on extending the PATRIOT Act’s roving wiretaps.
• In March of 2008 he voted to allow DOMESTIC warrant-less wiretaps under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
• Also in March of 2008 he voted NO on Congressional oversight of CIA interrogations.
• AND in March of 2001 AND June of 2003 McKeon voted for a Constitutional Amendment to limit political expression as protected by the First Amendment.
It seems that there is not a Constitutionally protected Right that Howard Philip “Buck” McKeon doesn’t wish to destroy.