Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Dividing Line: HR 3835, The "American Freedom Agenda Act"

Reporter: Mr. President, following up on Vladimir Putin for a moment, he said recently that next year, when he has to step down according to the [Russian] constitution, as the president, he may become prime minister, in effect keeping power and dashing any hopes for a genuine democratic transition....

Bush: I've been planning on that myself.

Mr. Bush's latest thigh-slapper about formally assuming dictatorial powers, from an October 17 White House press conference.*

It really is this simple: Members of Congress either support the Constitution -- including all of that troublesome stuff dealing with checks and balances and non-negotiable guarantees of individual rights -- or they support some form of executive dictatorship.

How do we find out which Tribunes of the public weal (OK, I'll wait for derisive laughter to subside) take their constitutional oaths seriously and support the rule of law? And how do we ferret out those who support
fuhrerprinzip, either actively or by default?

Dr. Ron Paul has assessed this problem with the trained eye of an accomplished surgeon, and he has cut to the essential question with the incisiveness of an artfully wielded scalpel: On October 15 he introduced
H.R. 3835, the "American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007" (.pdf) which -- if passed by Congress and signed into law -- would demolish several key pillars of the executive dictatorship created by Bush before that edifice is completed.

Yes, I know: The chances of the measure passing are either "Slim" or "None," and "Slim" is saddled up and digging spurs into his mount.

Even if the craven and dishonest collectivists in the Democratic congressional leadership -- people just as disfigured by power-lust as the Republicans, but nowhere near as efficient in accumulating and exercising it -- were to permit that measure to reach the floor, they would never permit it to be passed. And if it somehow won congressional approval, the chances of it winning Bush's signature reside somewhere south of the possibility that the tangle-tongued little tyrant will repudiate his reign and start expatiating on the doctrines of liberty with the eloquence of Cicero.

But the point served by Rep. Paul in submitting that bill, and by liberty-supporting Americans in demanding that their representatives co-sponsor it, is not necessarily to see it enacted. We'd take that result gratefully, of course.

But something very useful can be accomplished merely by making it the focus of a nation-wide citizen campaign.
The text of the bill describes its intention as that of restoring "the Constitution's checks and balances and protections against government abuses as envisioned by the Founding Fathers."

Point by point, the measure describes how the Bush Regime has made war on the Constitution -- through the creation of extra-constitutional military commissions; the presidential designation of U.S. citizens as "unlawful enemy combatants" devoid of due process rights; the effective abolition of the fundamental due process guarantee, the writ of habeas corpus; the institutionalization of the demonic practice of torture; the use of "extraordinary rendition" to outsource torture of detainees to terror states abroad; the employment of presidential "signing statements" to nullify laws; the practice of warrantless wiretapping....

The Bill of Particulars presented in the act is detailed, but not exhaustive. However, by addressing those specific abuses, and reversing the policy perversions that created them, the measure would bring our nation several important steps away from the abyss.
Just as importantly, by putting congressmen on record about these matters, the bill will provide the public with a priceless tutorial regarding the true nature of our national representative body. A large-scale activist campaign based on this one piece of legislation could transform the Ron Paul presidential campaign -- whatever its outcome -- into a peaceful trans-partisan rebellion against Leviathan.

Consider this endorsement of the "American Freedom Agenda Act"(AFA) from Naomi Wolf, a former campaign adviser to Al Gore:

"Ron Paul was the first of all the presidential candidates, red or blue, to step up in this way -- and all credit is due to him for getting there first. May the others of both parties race to follow his lead.... A groundswell of millions of Americans of all parties rising up to insist on passage of the AFA legislation means that we are awake -- we get it -- and that we assert that an alert citizenry, not a whipped-dog Congress or a violently abusive executive, decides what happens in this nation still.

I am not a voter on his side of the ballot -- but I will move heaven and earth to support the passage of this lifesaving agenda.... There is no way to overstate how crucial this piece of legislation is. We are at a turning point, and without the restoration of the rule of law the `blueprint' for what I have called a `fascist shift' -- the closing down of democracy -- calls for scarier recriminations against citizens, greater tightening of social controls.... Without the rule of law we will be powerless as each of these assaults on liberty continue to escalate. With it we can fight back.

This is the answer both to those who say `What we can do?' and to those who claim (actually, sometimes whine) `there is nothing we can do.' And if we don't act on this now we will get the democracy we deserve -- which is no democracy at all.

Put aside your partisan ideal world -- sometimes issues simply transcend partisanship -- and if ever there is an issue that is above and separate from party politics, it is the restoration of the democratic system we inherited. There are good people and passionate patriots across the political spectrum."

There is nothing on the congressional agenda more important than the AFA, because if the "fascist shift" correctly discerned by Wolf is completed, our ability to change government policy, or mitigate its abuses, will be gone.

With the possible exception of the closely related struggle to end the abhorrent war in Iraq, there is no political issue more important than arresting and reversing our nation's descent into unalloyed executive dictatorship.

Get in touch with your Representative by e-mail, fax, phone, letter, semaphore, carrier pigeon, or telepathy -- or, preferably, all of the foregoing.

Hound him or her incessantly about HR 3835; hector, pester, harangue, persecute, brow-beat, upbraid and remonstrate with that public servant until he or she either co-sponsors the AFA or provides a formal statement explaining why it is supposedly unworthy of support. Make it clear that this is a strictly binary, either/or proposition: Either one supports the Constitution or an extra-constitutional executive dictatorship -- there is no via media, no "third way," no other choice on the menu.

Nothing cuts sharper than a clearly and cleanly articulated set of principles. It's high time that Congress felt the keen edge of the people's blade -- and Dr. Paul has put just the right implement in our hands for the job. Let's get to work.

Be sure to visit The Right Source and the Liberty Minute archive.
Dum spiro, pugno!

*Thanks to


liberranter said...

Would that this nation of benighted, apathetic sheeple realized the urgency behind this bill and rallied to its defense, hounding their congresscreatures to endorse it. Would also that anything resembling a majority of the self-centered, power-mad creatures inhabiting the legislature give it even a second look, let alone an endorsement. Worse still, for all of the crucial symbolism behind Ron Paul's introduction of this key piece of legislation, the effort will fall flat precisely because of the average Amoricon's apathy, ignorance, or outright hostility toward the concept of restoring republican government, citizen rights, and the rule of law. In the end we will see just how uninformed and apathetic John Q. Public has been conditioned to be by institutions of the State. Neither the mainstream press now nor, years from now, the establishment's history textbooks will ever even mention this piece of legislation, the last, futile attempt by a sickly and malnourished skeleton of liberty to stop a 300-ton freight train of tyranny roaring ahead at full speed.

Much as my own cynicism pains me, the reality, Will, is exactly as you pointed out: HR 3835's chances of even getting out of committee alive are "slim", and "none", with "slim" having long since rode off into the sunset.

How far we have fallen in 220 years, when a bill of this nature would have been unimaginable to those who bequeathed us this republic that we have been incapable of keeping. I think we are now about to be faced with the raw, ugly truth behind that tired old saw that tells us that we get the government that we are willing to tolerate and thus deserve. As H.L. Mencken famously observed, we deserve to get it good and hard.

zach said...

Unfortunately, it's the "people's" fault we are in this situation. Most don't care, or are contemptuous of liberty. I think all is lost, and the "people's blade" no sharper than a butter knife, or maybe a plastic spork. Nevertheless, I'll write my representatives.

Anonymous said...

Dammit!!!! How can I have rights under a constitutional republic if you can vote them away under a democracy? We don't live in a democracy (de jure) we live in a demacracy (de facto) as long as the majority, no matter how incorrect they may be, thinks we are a democracy, we will live under the rule of man and not the rule of law.

Anonymous said...

Cheer up, fellas, it is "telos" of ignorance to implode, necessarily; look around at the over-whelming potential for enlightenment! See that Truth shatters denial even as we peel away unto death. For we are in our death-throes... but there are still signs of the beloved "kamikazi:" Ron Paul, Alex Jones, mySelf, f*ck you.

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful and brilliant of Ron Paul. We must pass this info
onto everyone and hopefully, the rest of Congress will support this bill. Yes, the American people are apathetic because of health problems, money problems and working two to three jobs to make ends meet. This is part of the plan of the Elite to continue on their path to destruction of our
Democracy. So, we must spread the