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River Cities' Reader - Issue 800 - March 15, 2012

River Cities' Reader - Issue 800 - March 15, 2012

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Published by: River Cities Reader on Mar 14, 2012
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River Cities’ Reader 
• Vol. 19 No. 800 • March 15 - 28, 2012
Business • Politics • Arts • Culture • Now You Know • RiverCitiesReader.com
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River Cities’ Reader 
• Vol. 19 No. 800 • March 15 - 28, 2012
Business • Politics • Arts • Culture • Now You Know • RiverCitiesReader.com
“We The People” Solutions: PeacefulParticipation to Save the Bill of Rights
o any of us really believe it is a coincidence thatCongress and the president are fast-trackingspecific legislation and executive orders that,when viewed in their entirety, destroy the Bill of Rights?Three months ago, Congress passed the alarming NationalDefense Authorization Act (NDAA), allowing indefinitedetention of U.S. citizens without due process – meaningwithout probable cause, criminal charge, benefit of counsel, or a trial. This treatment of U.S. citizens wasoutlawed after the Civil War, only to resurface now in aneven more egregious manner, especially since back then,citizens had to at least be charged with a crime.In the shadow of this shocking legislation, last week Congress almost unanimously passed another horrifyinglaw that criminalizes protesting on or near any federalproperty, or merely being in the vicinity of either (a) anevent of national significance, or (b) a person under theprotection of the Secret Service. The Federal RestrictedBuildings & Grounds Improvement Act repeals our rightto peacefully assemble and petition the government withour grievances. In fact, it is now illegal to assemble in frontof Congress if even one member might be inside.Three hundred eighty-eight congressmen voted infavor of this attack on the First Amendment, includingevery Iowa legislator. This unconscionable betrayal by Representative Bruce Braley (D) and Senators Chuck Grassley (R) and Tom Harkin (D) requires that thesepoliticians answer for abdicating their oaths of office onsuch a fundamental level. Come November 2012, votershave an opportunity to unseat Braley, but Grassley andHarkin need recall proceedings, if nothing else. Thecombination of offenses is over the top and points to anunprecedented breach of trust, let alone of law.Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Joe Lieberman(I-Connecticut) co-sponsored the NDAA and are nowseparately introducing cyber-security bills: the SECUREIT Act and the Cybersecurity Act, respectively. Bothare highly intrusive, and have no measured applicationother than to “encourage” private Internet companiesto “share” any citizens’ information with military spy agencies, including the National Security Agency, if thereis a perceived threat to cyber-security. What qualifiesas a “cyber-threat” is wide open for interpretation. TheInternet companies, which are currently obliged by law toprivacy standards, will be given immunity for breachingthose standards. Again, the government is looking to spy on U.S. citizens with the the help of the private sectorwithout cause or due process. A “good-faith belief” is allthat is required to spy on any one of us. (See RCReader.com/y/cybersecurity.)Last week during a Senate budget hearing, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta openly admitted that the presidentand defense agencies no longer seek congressionalapproval for military engagement, but instead look to international law and the United Nations for theirpermissions. It was a stunning revelation, leaving Senator
Continued On Page 17 
Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) visibly shaken. (See RCReader.com/y/panetta.) Just days later, House ConcurrentResolution 107 was introduced in committee that wouldmake it a treasonous act and an impeachable offense forthe president to engage in military actions without theexpress approval of Congress. It’s about time someonestepped into this issue and retrieved the constitutionalauthority for taking America to war!Meanwhile, just this week, yet another nonlethalweapon was unveiled to the Pentagon that arguably hasfew uses in military combat but would deploy moreeffectively as a crowd-control device: the Active DenialSystem, which emits an extremely painful 95-gigahertzheat ray from as far away as 0.6 miles. (A microwave is onegigahertz.) The heat-ray gun boasts an automatic turn-off safety feature to limit the shooter’s ability to accidentally seriously harm victims. (See RCReader.com/y/heatray.)Add this to the an ever-growing list of crowd-controlweapons that can be found in police departments’ arsenals– including debilitating sound canons, excruciating Tasers,toxic gases, and drones that can spy on (and, in the future,shoot preprogrammed) targets – and a community’s policedepartment becomes a fully armed domestic military force, specifically prohibited by the U.S. Constitution butsummarily being ignored by the very people who took oaths to protect it, including lawmakers, judges, and law-enforcers. Are you getting the picture yet?Based on the rubber-stamping that characterizes theentire Scott County Board of Supervisors, residents betterpay attention to budgets and spending to make sure suchweapons are not being purchased in our county. This samecaution holds true for all our Quad Cities, because eachhas its own police force.Please
the laws that permit these dangerousconstitutional breaches by allowing for the use of suchweapons against Americans. Somebody needs to, becauselegislators, whether local, state, or federal, are on-the-record freely admitting that they certainly don’t. We’veall seen or heard the numerous media clips confirmingas much.Even Scott County Board of Supervisors ChairTom Sunderbruch admitted, prior to a public hearingon the county’s $83-million budget, that (a) the actualbudget figures are not published online until after they are approved, and (b) “We have budget analysts wholook at this stuff for us.” (Watch
Publisher ToddMcGreevy questioning the board during the publichearing at RCReader.com/y/countybudget.) Since whendid taxpayers agree to pay for advisors to do the work weelect – and pay – supervisors to do? Attend or view online(YouTube.com/scottifatv) one county-board meeting, andyou will see for yourself the typical lack of engagement thatfollows bureaucrats and politicians who are ceremonial versus effective stewards.What I seem to consistently underestimate is folks’
by Kathleen McCarthykm@rcreader.com

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