Sunday, December 4, 2011

Senators Bingaman, Udall Vote For Police State
"Deranged" Senate approves alarming bill 93-7

It's actually much easier to list the senators who voted against the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, the one that contains, as Andy Worthington notes, "a number of astonishingly alarming provisions" such the mandatory indefinite detention without trial of terrorism suspects by the military in, most likely, the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which facility the act makes virtually impossible to close.

President Obama, who as my last post demonstrates has taken every opportunity to make America more like a police state, has threatened to veto this bill for the simple reason that it usurps some of his powers, although the addition of an amendment that would allow him to transfer detainees to civilian prisons, and his habit of backpedaling and flip flopping after first taking high sounding, principled positions, as well as the upcoming elections, make it unlikely he will muster up the courage to actually use his veto. 

Voting against the bill:

Tom Harkin, D, IA
Rand Paul, R, KY
Tom Coburn, R, OK
Jeff Merkley, D, OR
Ron Wyden, D, OR
Mike Lee, R, UT
Bernie Sanders, I (socialist), VT

Every single other senator voted for it.



  1. I was wondering how our Senators came down on that bill. Disappointing. Why was it coupled with appropriations legislation I wonder? I mean, how did Reid let a crap bill like that get out of committee tied to appropriations legislation? I could understand a bill like this coming out of the House but not the Senate. It seems like there is more to this story.

  2. That's a good question, and I can't give what I would consider a definitive answer at this point. The bill has a history going back months, but only the highlights have been covered by the media. Many amendments ended up being attached to the bill and there was back and forth on many of those. Reid did manage to get appeals of the Don't Ask Don't Tell and the Dream Act removed from the bill, and got some language in the bill softened. It appears to me that election year politics and time constraints had a lot to do with it finally going through. The Democratic senators who voted for some of the worst provisions, and against some provisions that would have ameliorated the bill, are up for re-election.

    This amendment, co-written by John McCain and Carl Levin, a Democrat, was wanted by the Republicans who think Obama has not come up with a clear strategy for detention of terror suspects. Recall they prevented him from bringing them to New York for trial, and forced him into keeping Guantanamo Bay open. It is getting near the end of the year and Reid has a big battle coming up, the next phase of deficit reduction legislation. The R-controlled House and D-controlled Senate will pass two versions of that and he and John Boehner will have to negotiate a compromise, all before Christmas.

    The opponents did manage to get a provision into the bill saying it would not change existing law, and Levin has pointed out repeatedly that the Supreme Court, in its Hamdei decision last summer, said the US can detain US citizens indefinitely. Perhaps Reid thought those were enough and it was better not to give the Republicans a campaign issue.

    He wants Dems to retain control of the Senate, not least because he wants to retain his perks and privileges as majority leader.

  3. I should have said "reinstating Don't Ask Don't Tell," not repealing it.