California Action Alert: Pass AB351, Help Stop “Indefinite Detention”

Tim Donnelly’s AB351, a bill which starts the process of stopping “Indefinite Detention” under the NDAA and other so-called federal “laws,” has passed the State Assembly and is up for an important State Senate committee hearing and vote on June 25th. Your action is needed right now to help this bill move forward!

ACTION STEPS for California Residents:

1. Contact ALL the members of the Senate Public Safety Committee. Let each of them know – strongly, but respectfully – that you want to see a YES vote on AB351.

Senator Loni Hancock (Chair) (916) 651-4009
Senator Joel Anderson (Vice Chair) (916) 651-4036
Senator Marty Block (916) 651-4039
Senator Kevin de León (916) 651-4022
Senator Steve Knight (916) 651-4021
Senator Carol Liu (916) 651-4025
Senator Darrell Steinberg (916) 651-4006

2. Contact your state senator.  California residents are strongly encouraged to contact their state senators immediately to request support for AB351.  (contact info here)

3.  Share this information widely.  Please pass this along to your friends and family.  Also share it with any and all grassroots groups you’re in contact with around the state.  Please encourage them to email this information to their members and supporters.

4. Join the NDAA activist group on Facebook. Connect with others, plan strategy, build a coalition, and help get AB351 passed!
http://www.facebook.com/groups/nullifyndaacalifornia/

BILL INFORMATION

If passed into law, AB351 would make it state policy to reject “indefinite detention” powers from the federal government.   It reads, in part:

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Separation of Constitution and State?

It seems we have reached a new point of inversion.

Are we at a point where references to the Constitution are now censored by the public education system? The curriculum has long been compromised with Constitutional half-truths, but are we now censoring student’s speeches that reflect on the Constitution? Is it too controversial, or just too obviously true, to allow a valedictorian to point out that the federal government is trampling rights?

According to reports, a North Texas valedictorian’s microphone was recently shut off mid-speech when his speech varied from the submitted script. The speech varied and “…he was talking about getting constitutional rights getting taken away from him.” the microphone was cut off. In fairness to the school, there was a policy in place that microphones would be shut off if the speech went off-script.

However, this trend to micromanage the speech of those that have earned the highest academic position available is problematic. What prompts the school to implement such authoritarian measures of censorship of a valedictorian’s speech? Who’s speech is it anyway?  Why did this valedictorian feel the need to remove references to the Constitution in the draft submitted to the school censors?

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Striking at the Root

Here in the northwest, there proliferates a climbing plant known to many people far and wide as Morning Glory.  Though there are different kinds of Morning Glory, they have in common creeping vines, and flowers that bloom at night, or through the early morning.The flowers can be quite lovely, and because they climb so nicely, are often used to cover patio trellises and fencing. The same vines that creep up, also creep out in a vast ground cover.

Unfortunately, all that flowers does not a happy gardener make. Morning Glory is highly invasive with a complicated root system that makes it very difficult to get rid of. “Very,” as in, I am pretty sure the cockroaches will be vacationing in it post nuclear fallout.

Every broken piece of Morning Glory will root and form it’s own plant. It can’t be composted, but rather must be thrown away or burned. The rototiller and the hoe are only helping it to achieve world domination. Weedkiller will take care of it temporarily, but do you want to spray weedkiller in your vegetable garden? The only real way to take it on is to dig up the root system everywhere you can, cover up your garden with black plastic all year (instead of growing anything) in order to burn it out with the sun, and/or just be prepared to be pulling it up constantly… for the rest of your life.

Sitting in my garden, pulling up Morning Glory, I was pondering the recent revelations in regard to the ever growing surveillance state. A local news station posed the question over Facebook of whether or not members of our community felt that Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, deserved to be tried for treason. Some of the answers disturbed me, and the split was much more even than I would have hoped.

You see, quite many people still see the intelligence community as more interested in our freedom and protection than anything else. It hasn’t occurred to them that it’s power could be (and is being) abused. If it has occurred to them, they have quickly discarded it and gone back to life as usual. I think there are many reasons for this, and I am even willing to say that some of those reasons stem from a habit of looking on the bright side. Obviously there are many more negative reasons as well, but for the moment I am giving people the benefit of the doubt. They want to believe that our government has our best interests at heart. They are good people, their friends and family are good people, certainly the men and women working in our government are at heart, good people. But is this outlook naive? At best.

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Government Spying a Bipartisan Affair

While the fervor created by revelations that the U.S. Department of Justice recently wiretapped American journalists, and IRS agents targeted Tea Party and conservative groups raged, an online anti-war magazine quietly filed a lawsuit indicating these federal government abuses of power go deeper and reach much further back than most Americans realize.

On May 22, Antiwar.com managing editor Eric Garris and longtime editorial director Justin Raimondo filed a federal suit against the FBI demanding the release of records apparently compiled on them and the 17-year-old online magazine. Filed by the ACLU of Northern California on behalf of Garris and Raimondo, the suit also demands the FBI stop collecting records of constitutionally protected speech.

A heavily redacted FBI memo released after a 2011 Freedom of Information Act reveals the FBI began spying on Garris and Raimondo as early as 2004.

“It’s easy to blow these recent scandals off as some kind of partisan, anti-Obama witch-hunt,” Raimondo said. “But clearly, this total disregard of basic constitutional rights and gross abuse of power go back to the Bush administration, and probably further than that. This is not a partisan problem. This is a systemic problem. The FBI pretty much does whatever it wants, whenever it wants in the name of ‘fighting terror,’ and has been for a long time – the Constitution be damned.”

According to the suit, the ACLU made several futile attempts to obtain the FBI records after release of the memo. The documents indicate the FBI has files on Garris and Raimondo, and at one point the FBI recommends opening a preliminary investigation of Antiwar.com “…to determine if [redaction] are engaging in, or have engaged in, activities which constitute a threat to national security.”

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