Yesterday Congressman Charles Dent, the incumbent in my congressional race, offered a comment to the Associated Press: "I suspect it'd be easier to launch a Hellfire missile at a non-citizen than a citizen."
Charlie Dent, a sitting member of the Department of Homeland Security, was referring to his newest bill that would strip an American citizen of citizenship by an act of Congress instead of a trial by jury. He wants to use the classified CIA Predator drone assassination program that Bush started - and Obama has continued - to carry out state-sponsored killings of suspected terrorists. However sensational and however strong the appeal to those who wish to be protected from the hobgoblin of terrorism, Dent neglects the rule of law and his oath to the Constitution. Specifically:
“The Trial of all Crimes... shall be by Jury.” - Article III, Section 2
“The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.” - Article IV, Section 2
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury... nor shall any... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” - From the Fifth Amendment
“Due process” is NOT a Hellfire missile. Even if overwhelming evidence is gathered against an individual, as Americans we should always respect our rule of law, and attempt to capture the criminal and offer them a trial by jury. Citizenship cannot be stripped by an act of Congress.
As a society, we should not follow our Constitution just when it is popular. The rule of law should be especially respected when it is NOT popular, for this is when its protections are most gravely needed. A government based on hypocrisy becomes tyrannical and society will not survive intact. Just because a career politician wishes to stomp on individual rights does not make it ethical or legal under our form of law.
Dent's comment was not a slip of the tongue. In January, Dent visited Guantanamo Bay to look at accused terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and said, ''You see him and you realize he's an absolute monster of a man who is driven by his hatred and is completely unrepentant. You see him and recognize him for what he is: a cold-blooded killer with warped ideology.''
While I do not wish to dwell on Mr. Mohammed's guilt and alleged heinous crimes, anyone who has ever read the 9/11 Commission Report from pages 145-169 would agree that the United States claims it has enough evidence to drown him in a sea of it. However, Mohammed WAS tortured repeatedly and confined for years without trial. It should go without saying that evidence collected by torture is inadmissible in a court of law, and Mohammed should have been tried by jury in a court years ago when he was first captured.
Perhaps Dent's bill is intended to cause a controversy. Even if Congress decides to defecate on the rule of law and passes his bill, so what? The citizen Dent wishes to kill is in a different country. The proper way to treat an American citizen such as this cleric is as a criminal matter requiring a law enforcement response. Individuals who have committed these acts of violence like 9/11 should be placed on trial and given their day in court.
Fortunately, the founders of this country foresaw this issue and in Article I, Section 8 granted Congress the power to issues constitutional Letters of Marque and Reprisal to address the threat of rogue enemies by granting special warrants and bounties for marked terrorists to be brought to justice. I refer to this in the campaign's Afghanistan War plank and in The Guantanamo Problem – Part 2.
While I do not question Dent's motive to protect the American people, I do oppose not only his actions but also his ineffective solutions. Our country's leaders have not only plunged our nation into expensive, preemptive, and unjust wars for the past decade, but have embarked on a vast extension of a modern-day police state via the PATRIOT Act - where Dent is a staunch supporter. It is the duty of every citizen to question whether these new restraints over our lives are, in fact, beneficial. I view the infringement of civil liberties that are protected by our Constitution as not only illegal but unnecessary and immoral.
Addressing the threat of suicide terrorism by the use of occupational, conventional armies has only worsened the situation at the extreme cost of hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives. To defeat suicide terrorists one must capture the current generation and prevent the next generation from being created from collateral damage and blowback. Our armies in Iraq and Afghanistan are creating more future terrorists and aggression against our country. Letters of Marque and Reprisal would be extremely cost-effective – or we can choose to let the “War on Terror” grind on for another 9 years as our economy crashes as I noted in the below video. The annual $1+ trillion military spending is not economically sustainable.
However, as a nation we must be practical about our resources. Take the NYC attempted bombing by a fellow who was so bright he couldn't figure out how to explode a propane tank, and left both his getaway car and apartment keys with the bomb versus the financial mayhem on the stock market yesterday possibly caused by high frequency traders. Our country is heading for a currency crisis unrivaled in our history over the past century. What about all of the government's bailouts, money-printing, and vastly expensive multiple wars? (FYI Dent voted for the mortgage and banker bailouts, most of the spending, and approves of both wars.) Even if the bomb had tragically killed Americans, Congress should be directing the majority of their time towards ending the wars and stopping the senseless spending.
On Monday I reported on all of the House floor bills from last week and compared my votes with Dent's. See here, here, and here. Not to my surprise, I voted against both parties on almost every vote, and against Dent on all major votes besides HR 5146. Most importantly, I listed the reasons WHY I voted each way which is just a small part of my novel-yet-simple Our Open Office plan to deliver transparency and accountability in government. Perhaps Congressman Dent should pay more attention on being accountable to the people and solving the problems our country faces.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Did you know that more voters are registered independent, third party, or are unregistered than are in EITHER major party? (Source) If you subtract all those that register with the Republocrats just to vote in primaries, then those that are deluded into believing that the Republicans are the “small-government-party-that-defends-economic-liberties” or the Democrats are the “peace-party-that-protects-civil-liberties,” you will discover the truth. The entire political system with 22.5 million employees is controlled by a small minority that controls the printing presses, writes the laws, grants special privileges to special groups, and plunders everyone else.
Although all of us were born into this system, we have the power in us to change the system.
For Liberty and the Constitution,
P.S. Always looking for more help at the polls gathering signatures on May 18th!! Contact the campaign at email@example.com or visit here.
May 7, 2010
Inscription: History repeats itself. The robber barons of the middle ages, and the robber barons of today.
The people bowing before the combination of bankers and politicians, bearing the sword of legislation.
(Source, copyright expired)
Jake Towne is running for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania's 15th District in the 2010 election as a citizen unaffiliated with any political parties.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
As always, unlike the NFL, the author grants full permission to allow any accounts of, rebroadcasts, retransmissions, repostings of this article to your blog or anywhere else in order to promote the Restoration of our Republic.
Veritas numquam perit. Veritas odit moras. Veritas vincit. Truth never perishes. Truth hates delay. Truth conquers.
Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito. Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.
Disclosure: No positions