I’ve spent the last two days digging deep into this story. Yesterday on the Randi Rhodes Show, I interviewed Congressman Raul Grijalva and Congressman Keith Ellison, both of whom expressed concern over the provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act that allow for indefinite detention of anyone suspected of being a terrorist .. or even a terrorist sympathizer. That applies to both citizens and non-citizens.
I also spoke with Politico’s Josh Gerstein who had posted “On National Defense Authorization Act, Obama Pulls Veto Threat” while the show was in progress.
On the House floor Wednesday afternoon, lawmakers disputed the impact of the bill. Some Democrats said the bill authorized a kind of permanent war and could lead to U.S. citizens being detained without trial. Republicans and a group of Democrats from the House Armed Services Committee said those fears were unjustified.
“This legislation erodes our society and our national security by militarizing our justice system and empowering the president to detain anyone in the United States, including American citizens without charge or trial, without due process,” Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said. “If this is going to continue to be the direction of our country, we don’t need a Democratic Party, a Republican party, an Occupy Wall Street party or a Tea Party. We need a Mayflower party….this legislation goes too far.”
This morning, I was joined by both Marcy Wheeler and Jason Leopold to discuss the issue further. Marcy has been doing an amazing job covering the controversy surrounding this bill at Emptywheel.net. Just this morning, she wrote
There are two explanations for why Obama backed off his veto threat on this point, then. First, we know the Administration did make a request regarding the language in the AUMF clause, though before it issued its veto threat.
As I reported last month, the big change between the original language and the Senate bill in this clause was the removal of the language exempting US citizens from indefinite detention. And that was a change made at the request of the Administration.
The initial bill reported by the committee included language expressly precluding “the detention of citizens or lawful resident aliens of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.” The Administration asked that this language be removed from the bill.[my emphasis]
If you want more on that, scroll down to the video in yesterdays post of Senator Carl Levin explaining just that!
Of course, I spent an hour or so after today’s show defending myself from supposedly progressive trolls on twitter excoriating me for my concern that our civil liberties are at stake here.
As I discussed with Jason Leopold this morning, even if US citizens were not included in the act – the idea that anyone should be imprisoned by the US indefinitely without any chance of a trial or eventual release is an atrocity and something this nation is supposed to be above.
But the twitter bots attacked! People who call themselves progressives actually went on the attack against me for daring to point out that this is mighty dangerous territory! I’m waiting on the threatened malicious blog post (OMG!) and the “chirpstory” (whatever the fuck that is).
What a shame these people don’t have anything better to do than attack others who are looking out for them!
In the second hour of today’s show, I was joined by my friend Jeremy Koulish of Main Street Insider to talk about this week’s 90 Second Summary. This week, it deals with Congressman Ted Deutch‘s OCCUPIED amendment…
And we wrapped up the day (and my one-day back on the show this week) with John Fugelsang to lighten things up a bit. We talked about the Sexy Liberal Tour that I had the pleasure of seeing last weekend!
BTW, if you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift for your favorite liberals, the Stephanie Miller Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, Vol. 1 is now available via iTunes!
I’ll be back Monday – all week long! Sorry for my extended absence. I’ll try not to let it happen again!