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What The NDAA Is And Isn’t

President Obama finally arriving in Hawaii for Christmas

President Obama probably thought he could never sign anything as controversial as the Affordable Care Act. He underestimated the power of the right wing to make mountains out of anthills.

The National Defense Authorization Act is the $662 billion law that authorizes the Treasury Department to fund the Defense Department. It’s the bill that pays our soldiers’ salaries, buys their ammunition and equipment, pays our contractors, the whole nine-yards. It is an absolute, must-have bill. So, naturally, the Republicans added a nasty little provision that made the President quake in his wing-tips.

The bill sort of suspends all Constitutional rights for American citizens if they are declared to be involved in plotting or carrying out terrorist acts. Originally, President Obama threatened to veto the whole bill if that portion wasn’t removed. So, the Republicans made a few minor adjustments. They didn’t make the provisions any less heinous. They did, however, forget one important thing. Our President used to teach Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago.  He didn’t veto it.  Instead, the President signed the bill in Hawaii, where he is vacationing for Christmas.

The provisions, if actually put into use, are unconstitutional. Period. They deny basic rights guaranteed under the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments. Even the Roberts Court could not pass on these provisions. The provisions are useless, a political exercise designed to “prove” to the sheep that our President aspires to dictatorship.

If our President is as politically savvy as everyone says he is, he will find some way to challenge these provisions in court and have them removed. That would be the smart way to diffuse this political bomb before it does any real damage.

The bill also removed from the President the decision about sanctions against Iran. It began the process of making foreign financial institutions choose between doing business with America or doing business with Iran’s Central Bank. It gives the administration a waiver that it can use for “national security” if it is determined that the sanctions against Iranian oil would jeopardize world supplies. The administration opposes this abuse of Congressional power because Congress is threatening the choices and decisions of the international coalition that is dealing with Iran. It is another potentially unconstitutional provision. The Constitution does not grant diplomatic authority to Congress.

There are, however, some very good things in the bill, besides making sure our military personnel get their paychecks. It deals with the problem of sexual abuse, rape and sexual harassment of female service members at our military academies and in the services.

Marine Lance Cpl Maria Lauterbach

The impetus behind these changes in military policy is the murder of Marine Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach in 2007. She was eight months pregnant as a consequence of a sexual assault by fellow Marine Cesar Laurean. After filing charges against Laurean, Lauterbach was denied a base transfer. She disappeared on December 14, 2007 and her charred remains were found in a shallow pit in Laurean’s backyard in Jacksonville, North Carolina, on January 11, 2008. Laurean is serving a life sentence for her murder, but has petitioned for a new trial on the grounds that the jury was not given the option of a second-degree murder charge.

The NDAA includes provisions for legal counsel for sexual assault victims and the right to request a base transfer. U. S. Representative Mike Turner (R-Ohio) explained his crusade to get these provisions. “In civilian life, you have complete control of your movements, and if you’re in an unsafe situation, you can remove yourself. In military life, the victim needs permission to take even basic self-preservation actions.” The Defense Department is taking a lot of criticism lately over sexual abuse cases, the failure to investigate and prosecute rape cases, the inability of military personnel to get abortions after rapes, and the every increasing incidents on military bases and in our academies. These provisions in the NDAA are a first step to providing the needed protection and care for our personnel.

Here is Part 2




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18 Responses to What The NDAA Is And Isn’t

  1. F

    January 14, 2012 at 2:05 am

    @sick of voter stupidity

    Please move to another country, ASAP, where you can listen your government sanctioned “scholars” who will do all of your reading for you. There, you can be happy with your minimal education and secure that everyone else, who knows more than you as a matter of common sense (according to you), will guide you and look after your well being. Also, you can act out your Freudian mommy/daddy/child paradigm that you take with other adults. Forget thinking, education, and reason for the common man. Hell, due process is for Liberals! I’ve got to say that your mode of thought is both the most dangerous and retarded that I’ve yet encountered. Conservatism is not the surrender of your rights – it’s the converse.

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  3. Thomas Jefferson

    January 2, 2012 at 6:07 am

    @ sick of voter stupidity. I hope I am not alone in HOPING you don’t or can’t vote. Wait for them to work it out? You are a phucking moron. You should live in Cuba or Russia so you can be safe. Please let us stupid people be free of tyranny and be killed by the boogie man.

    • Sambo

      January 3, 2012 at 3:38 am

      Thomas Jefferson, common, don’t stoop down like that. personal insults do nothing positive. the truth speaks for itself.

  4. Scott Merrill

    January 2, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Hey Lezgetreal,
    Speaking of which, On December 31, Obama handed the NDAA regulation which loads of people young and old oppose considering it confiscates our suitable to a trial and our Miranda legal rights. I presume Obama’s actions are ridiculous and my vote will be casted to Ron Paul, hoping he will repeal this legislation. Does this impact your cast on voting?

  5. Sambo

    January 2, 2012 at 3:43 am

    I can’t believe the narrow minded, blind, & staunch bias in this article. I see this in both liberals and conservative and it’s getting rather old. Does the author know that this bill had bipartisan support and that, originally Obama threatened a veto because it restricted the dictatorial control that it gave him, the rest of the executive branch and the military?

    My sentiments are essentially the same as the opening line in Kelly’s comment.

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  8. Sarah

    January 1, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Okay. So if Obama didn’t agree with the bill as a whole couldn’t he just veto it? It would have been overridden but at least the less-than-aware people wouldn’t be as confused and looking at him to blame.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      January 2, 2012 at 12:16 am

      Political theater Catch 22…if he had, they would have accused him of hating the military, if he hadn’t, he has this.

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  10. Kelly Fuk

    January 1, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Wow, what BULLS*IT propaganda this “article” is.
    FACT: NDAA, as Obama signed it, authorizes indefinite detention of American citizens.


    • sick of voter stupidity

      January 1, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      kelly and anon, actually you’re both wrong. You, we need to wait for this bill to be worked out and fine tuned. Let the constitutional lawyers fully detail this for us not right wing or left wing driven agenda blogs which is what’s happening.

      you can view what there is of the info here so far:

      Please ppl, don’t be stupid enough to think YOU know exactly the details of these bills and understand them, or that any war blog or right wing blog can know and detail what it all means.. ONLY the scholars can fully vet the bill

      and keep in mind it was NOT Obama who made this bill, it was congress.

      stick to facts lil ones.. stick to facts.

    • feralferal

      January 2, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      Sick of Voter Stupidity—— YOU don’t need to wait to see what the NDAA means. The language is clear. The military can detain american citizens domestically and hold them indefinitely without trial. The language is quite clear in this (and quite vague with regards to what a ‘domestic terrorist,’ is). It was passed with overwhelming majority and the Obama admin supported the language (read his addedum added as a response to the signing – he believes this was already within the power of the president).

      Game – Set – Match…don’t worry they won’t use these laws unless if you get out of line

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  13. Anonymous

    January 1, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    You are wrong.

    Obama is the one that wanted to inclusion of citizens as he would veto if it didn’t.

    There is your proof. BUT if you read the bill right you would know that he can also assassinate any citizen. No evidence or explanation is needed to justify their actions.