BRYCE DOT VC: Actions Speak Louder Than Avatars
What does matter is taking real action.
There are many in our community who know executives at the companies that support SOPA. Call them. Explain why they’re wrong. Burn a bridge if you have to.
There are many in our community who have have donated to Senators who are supporting SOPA. Call them and explain why they’re wrong. Threaten to divert your dollars and votes to their competitors if you have to.
Put yourself out there.
Senate will vote on bill to significantly expand military’s ability to imprison civilians, indefinitely and without charges or trial, in the United States and abroad. ACLU and Senator Udall (D-Colo.) oppose the bill.
On Monday or Tuesday the Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself, and would permit the military to imprison civilians without charge or trial.
The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.
The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday. The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.
I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?
The answer on why now is nothing more than election season politics. The White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General have all said that the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act are harmful and counterproductive. The White House has even threatened a veto. But Senate politics has propelled this bad legislation to the Senate floor.
But there is a way to stop this dangerous legislation. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is offering the Udall Amendment that will delete the harmful provisions and replace them with a requirement for an orderly Congressional review of detention power. The Udall Amendment will make sure that the bill matches up with American values.
In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”
The solution is the Udall Amendment; a way for the Senate to say no to indefinite detention without charge or trial anywhere in the world where any president decides to use the military. Instead of simply going along with a bill that was drafted in secret and is being jammed through the Senate, the Udall Amendment deletes the provisions and sets up an orderly review of detention power. It tries to take the politics out and put American values back in.
In response to proponents of the indefinite detention legislation who contend that the bill “applies to American citizens and designates the world as the battlefield,” and that the “heart of the issue is whether or not the United States is part of the battlefield,” Sen. Udall disagrees, and says that we can win this fight without worldwide war and worldwide indefinite detention.
The senators pushing the indefinite detention proposal have made their goals very clear that they want an okay for a worldwide military battlefield, that even extends to your hometown. That is an extreme position that will forever change our country.
Now is the time to stop this bad idea. Please urge your senators to vote YES on the Udall Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
My father taught me the importance of activism at a young age. He was on the national board of the ACLU and my first internship was at the ACLU office in Kansas City, MO. My father protested the Vietnam War and was expelled from the University of Kansas for participating in protests. He wasn’t afraid of being a troublemaker. It’s one of the reasons he’s my hero. He had a way with words and always encouraged non-violence. He was a pacifist, but also a black belt in karate. He had guns. He worked out almost every day of his life. I remember asking him why he worked out all the time. There were the obvious health-related reasons, but he also said something that stuck with me. He told me he worked out all the time to be prepared for anything. And I trust that he wasn’t messing me. I know he wasn’t. I know he would have a lot to say about the Occupy movement and I imagine us traveling somewhere together to participate.
I’ve been following the Occupy movement since it began. I’ve done my share of protesting in my life and tend to write a lot of letters to people. I call my representatives on a pretty fairly regular basis. The Occupy movement has me pretty angry though. The violence and brutality against peaceful protesters is absolutely disgusting, maddening and extremely upsetting. It’s really been bothering me a lot lately. I feel somewhat helpless. The fact that the mainstream media isn’t covering the events is inexcusable, though not surprising. I’ve written President Obama asking that he publicly stand against the brutality just like the administration did against similar police activities that happened in Egypt and other countries in the Middle East.
This is America! We have fundamental rights and we’re pissed off! My hunch is that if the brutality doesn’t stop, we’ll see citizens taking up arms. Something has to give. My hope is that the police don’t kill anyone, but it just might take a death to bring attention to the Occupy movement. Until then, if you’re mad about what’s happening to our fellow citizens and want to support them, talk about it. Talk about it with your friends and family. Send emails, sign petitions and make phone calls to officials. It took me all of 15 minutes to send an email to Lt. John A. Pike, the officer that pepper sprayed the UC Davis students and another to Chancellor Katehi. Stop wondering what you can do, and just start taking action. You have time and it’s not difficult.
Some resources to follow and read if you want to keep up with what’s not being covered in the mainstream media:
– Follow Xeni Jardin, John Perry Barlow, Democracy Now! and Greg Mitchell on Twitter
– Read This Is Why We Are Protesting on Tumblr
– Track the #occupy tag on Tumblr
THE BEST VIDEO ON “OCCUPY THE WORLD” (by scottmcfann)