Mason County News
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Congress
Letter to the Editor
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 • Posted December 21, 2011

Congress is currently in the process of passing a bill that will be more damaging to our Constitution’s Bill of Rights than the Patriot Act.The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 has been passed in the Senate and the House. This act approves the U.S. military budget for 2012.Included in the bill is language that takes precedence over the 6th amendment to the Constitution which states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”This NDAA bill, when signed signed by President Obama, will make it legal for the U.S. military to arrest U.S. citizens in this country without showing due cause and imprison them indefinitely without trial. In other words, if someone in a government position decides they think you may be aiding terrorists, they don’t have to prove it. They can submit your name to the president and if he agrees that you may be a suspect, you can be arrested, sent to a foreign prison and held without trial indefinitely.Why would our elected representatives want to make it possible for you or I or anyone else in this country to be arrested and imprisoned without providing any evidence of guilt? Our Constitution has protected us from this tyrannic practice for over 200 years. Our courts have been very successful in prosecuting crime. Our overflowing prisons attest to that. The Tea Party Movement and Occupy Wall Street are now legally protesting our government’s policies. Under the changed law, what would stop our government from claiming protesters are terrorists? They won’t have to supply proof.Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson , General Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, says that the bill is a big step toward tyranny in America. Congressman Ron Paul says that it will establish martial law in America.93 of our senators voted against our Constitutional rights. Seven senators supported our Constitutional rights and voted against the bill. Texas Senators Cronyn and Hutchison joined the vote against our Constitutional rights. 283 members of the House voted against our Constitutional rights. 136 supported our Constitutional rights, voting against the bill. 14 other House members voted against our Constitutional rights by abstaining. President Obama will finish destroying the Bill of Rights when he signs this bill.

Larry Payne

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