Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.


- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Thursday, June 28, 2007

American Freedom Agenda

The following was written by a group of conservatives that includes Bruce Fein (associate deputy attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, and a member of the ABA Task Force on presidential signing statements,) who just wrote a devastating indictment of Dick Cheney in Slate.

These guys are right on the money. I want every candidate to sign off on this, and I want my congressman to uphold it. This is the American way... this is what we have always believed, the very principles on which our nation was founded.

Yes -- this is a description of being American. I don't know what those other people are, but this is an agenda that should have been sacred; and so ingrained that it feels unreal to be discussing it.

The American Freedom Agenda 'Freedom Pledge:'

I, (candidate), hereby pledge that if elected President of the United States I will undertake the following to restore the Constitution’s checks and balances, to honor fundamental protections against injustice, and to eschew usurpations oflegislative or judicial power.These are keystones of national security and individual freedom:

1. No Military Commissions Except on the Battlefield. I will not employ military commissions to prosecute offenses against the laws of war except in places where active hostilities are ongoing and a battlefield tribunal is necessary to obtain fresh testimony and to prevent local anarchy or chaos.

2. No Evidence Extracted by Torture or Coercion. I will not permit the use of evidence obtained by torture or coercion to be admissible in a military commission or other tribunal.

3. No Detaining Citizens as Unlawful Enemy Combatants. I will not detain any American citizen as an unlawful enemy combatant. Citizens accused of terrorism-linked crimes will be prosecuted in federal civilian courts.

4. RestoringHabeas Corpus for Suspected Alien Enemy Combatants. I will detain non-citizens as enemy combatants only if they have actively participated in actual hostilities against the United States. I will urge Congress to amend the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to permit any individual detained under the custody or control of the United States government to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in federal courts.

5. Prohibiting Warrantless Spying bythe National Security Agency in Violation of Law. I will prohibit the National Security Agency from gathering foreign intelligence except in conformity with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, and end the NSA’s domestic surveillance program that targets American citizens on American soil for warrantless electronic surveillance.

6. Renouncing Presidential Signing Statements. I will not issue presidential signing statements declaring the intent to disregard provisions of a bill that I have signed into law because I believe they are unconstitutional. Instead, I will veto any bill that I believe contains an unconstitutional provision and ask Congress to delete it and re-pass the legislation.

7. Ending Secret Government by Invoking State Secrets Privilege. I will not invoke the state secrets privilege to deny remedies to individuals victimized by constitutional violations perpetrated by government officials or agents. I will not assert executive privilege to deny Congress information relevant to oversight or legislation unless supreme state secrets are involved. In that case, I will submit the privilege claim to a legislative-executive committee for definitive resolution.

8. Stopping Extraordinary Renditions. I will order the cessation of extraordinary renditions except where the purpose of the capture and transportation of the suspected criminal is for prosecution according to internationally accepted standards of fairness and due process.

9. Stopping Threats to Prosecuting Journalists under the Espionage Act. I will urge Congress to amend the Espionage Act to create a journalistic exception for reporting on matters relating to the national defense. As a matter of prosecutorial discretion, until such an amendment is enacted I will not prosecute journalists for alleged Espionage Act violations except for the intentional disclosure of information that threatens immediate physical harm to American troops or citizens at home or abroad.

10. Ending the Listing of Individuals or Organizations as Terrorists Based on Secret Evidence. I will not list individuals or organizations as foreign terrorists or foreign terrorist organizations for purposes of United States or international law based on secret evidence.

I will issue a public report annually elaborating on how the actions enumerated in paragraphs 1-10 have strengthened the ability of the United States to defeat international terrorism, secure fundamental freedoms, and preserve the nation’s democratic dispensation.

___________________________

(Candidate)

Date: ______________________

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2 Comments:

Blogger Bedeo said...

Maire,

I've been reading your blog for some time now, and I just wanted to comment on how articulate and intelligent your arguments are. Your post above is -to use your term- right on the money.

I first came across your blog via the Aaron Hall article on daily kos, and did my best to write about it and get it out there.

I've blogrolled you, hope you don't mind.

Keep up the good work.

P.S
If you have the time, I'd love to hear how you keep so current on things and write so much. Just starting out my own blog, which I guess you can see from my username. So any adivce much appreciated!

7:25 PM  
Blogger Maire said...

Thanks! I will have to mind my editing a little better (just found some glaring errors in a couple of stories I wrote while on the road, but then I had a terrible time on that tiny laptop keyboard.)

I originally planned to be a journalist - back in the days when this meant something (like reporting the news.) I went to a very good journalism school and received a great education there, but by the time I graduated the business was already changing into something I didn't recognize and couldn't stomach. Its so much worse now... you will find my attempt at impartiality completely dissolves when I write about today's mainstream, corporate media. It is appalling -- it is doing a great disservice to our nation, and causing huge divides while failing to deliver real news.

Anyway, I finally couldn't stand it anymore (seeing and not speaking out,) so I started blogging, but I try to approach it using the skills I learned in school, as much as I can after having been away from it for years while I was working in IS. I subscribe to many RSS feeds (this helps me get breaking news quickly) and I try to sit back and think about the things that happen, taking a 'big picture', wide lens view before I write, drawing comparisons between various different stories if possible, or looking for new angles.

Mostly I keep my eyes open, and try to think deeply about things and watch closely. I am trying to lose any residual partisanship, where possible, so I can see clearly -- because I think that is critical in finding 'truth'. Partisan posturing keeps people from finding much common ground that is definitely there to be found. I am still devoted to Gore, Russ Feingold and Dennis Kucinich, because of their honor, courage and unfailingly dependable stances on climate, the Constitution and the war. But I also cheer Senator Specter, who battled on behalf of our Constitution before the Democrats came into the majority, Senator Hagel for his early stance against the war, and Senator McCain (who while he supports the war, speaks out strongly and consistently against torture.)

Perhaps because I have had many conservative friends throughout my life, I am able to find common ground and work with that, rather than refusing to talk to anyone who isn't eye to eye on every issue. I truly don't believe we can fix the massive problems in our government unless both parties work together, and they can't in this partisan environment. There are good people on both sides, and very corrupt people on both sides as well -- and they are gumming up the process.

Please feel free to comment any time you see any glaring typos or editing glitches -- I am terrible at editing my own work (I usually find the problems days later!)

Maire

1:58 AM  

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