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Sen. Franken writes: "I think that denigrates the very foundations of this country. It denigrates the Bill of Rights. It denigrates what our Founders intended when they created a civilian, non-military justice system for trying and punishing people for crimes committed on U.S. soil. Our Founders were fearful of the military- and they purposely created a system of checks and balances to ensure we did not become a country under military rule. This bill undermines that core principle, which is why I could not support it."

Portrait, Senator Al Franken. (photo: Jeffrey Thompson/Getty Images)
Portrait, Senator Al Franken. (photo: Jeffrey Thompson/Getty Images)

Why I Voted Against the Homeland Battlefield Bill

By Sen. Al Franken, Reader Supported News

17 December 11


esterday, the Senate passed a bill that includes provisions on detention that I found simply unacceptable. These provisions are inconsistent with the liberties and freedoms that are at the core of the system our Founders established. And while I did in fact vote for an earlier version of the legislation, I did so with the hope that the final version would be significantly improved. That didn't happen, and so I could not support the final bill.

The bill that passed on Thursday included several problematic provisions, the worst of which could allow the military to detain Americans indefinitely, without charge or trial, even if they're captured in the U.S.

At their core, these provisions will radically alter how we investigate, arrest, and detain individuals suspected of terrorism. What's more, they could undermine the safety of our troops stationed abroad, and they introduce new and unnecessary uncertainty into our counterterrorism efforts.

But before I get into the details of why I opposed these detainee provisions, I think it is important to recognize that September 11th irrevocably and unalterably changed our lives. I was in Minnesota that terrible day. A number of Minnesotans died - in the towers, in the air, and at the Pentagon. In New York in the months following the attacks, I attended the funerals of brave firefighters and law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives to help rescue Americans from the towers. I can't shake those images from my mind, and I am guessing like many of you, I won't ever be able to erase the horrors of September 11th from my head.

But it is exactly in these difficult moments, in these periods of war, when our country is under attack, that we must be doubly vigilant about protecting what makes us Americans.

The Founders who crafted our Constitution and Bill of Rights were careful to draft a Constitution of limited powers - one that would protect Americans' liberty at all times - both in war, and in peace.

As we reflect on what this bill will do, I think it is important to pause and remember some of the mistakes this country has made when we have been fearful of enemy attack.

Most notably, we made a grave, indefensible mistake during World War II, when President Roosevelt ordered the incarceration of more than 110,000 people of Japanese origin, as well as approximately 11,000 German-Americans and 3,000 Italian-Americans.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Non-Detention Act to make sure the U.S. government would never again subject any Americans to the unnecessary and unjustifiable imprisonment that so many Japanese-Americans, German-Americans, and Italian-Americans had to endure. It wasn't until 1988, 46 years after the internment, when President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act, that the government formally acknowledged and apologized for the grave injustice that was done to citizens and permanent residents of Japanese ancestry.

These were dark, dark periods in American history. And it is easy today to think that is all behind us.

But I fear the detention provisions in the bill forget the lessons we learned from the mistakes we made when we interned thousands of innocent Japanese, Germans, and Italians.

With this defense authorization act, Congress will, for the first time in 60 years, authorize the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without charge or trial, according to its advocates. This would be the first time that Congress has deviated from President Nixon's Non-Detention Act. And what we are talking about here is that Americans could be subjected to life imprisonment without ever being charged, tried, or convicted of a crime, without ever having an opportunity to prove their innocence to a judge or a jury of their peers. And without the government ever having to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

I think that denigrates the very foundations of this country. It denigrates the Bill of Rights. It denigrates what our Founders intended when they created a civilian, non-military justice system for trying and punishing people for crimes committed on U.S. soil. Our Founders were fearful of the military-and they purposely created a system of checks and balances to ensure we did not become a country under military rule. This bill undermines that core principle, which is why I could not support it.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, and this wasn't the way to mark its birthday. your social media marketing partner


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+169 # AMLLLLL 2011-12-17 13:25
Two words: GO, AL !!!!
+81 # Rita Walpole Ague 2011-12-17 14:34
Yes indeed, GO, AL !!!! 'Terrorists' now include anarchists (a.k.a. justice and peace peaceful protestors, such as the Occupy Wall Streeters). I, with a Dem. pres. hanging in my family tree (Andrew Jackson), nearly threw up when reading the official's speech given at the Northern Command Center, which detailed what and who are now considered 'terrorists'.

+26 # TGMisanthrope 2011-12-19 01:05
I'm not ashamed to be an American, I'm ashamed of my government.
+99 # capnDave 2011-12-17 13:51
Good going Al. I so enjoyed your program on NPR.
You really did your homework. And you still are.
+39 # grouchy 2011-12-17 13:59
+63 # Rita Walpole Ague 2011-12-17 14:40
I'm grouchy too. And.....

ASHAMED TO BE AN AMERICAN (and an about to be no longer registered Dem., since it's clear that not only the G.O.P. but also the Dems. have been taken over by the evil villainaire, fascist rulers)

Let's OCCUPY LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL, and fight bravely and determindly, and not give up 'til we...UNDO THE COUP!
+84 # mjc 2011-12-17 13:59
There doesn't need to be ANY sadness about voting against this bill. Franken talks way too emotionally about 9/11 as if it explains some of the feelings about terrorists and the military detainees. We've had more than one day of total tragedy in this country. Being able to cope with such huge layers of horror is something we learned to do on December 8,1941 Having enemies doesn't mean that we must abandon our rule of law or Constitutional guarantees. This country was formed following a revolution, one supported mostly by one-third of the colonists. Those folks wanted to make sure that their experience would help a new nation with future enemies. Obama seems to have allowed our enemies, present or future, know how scared we are and how willing we are to do ANYTHING to foil their operations.
+84 # panhead49 2011-12-17 15:34
I'm not so sure it has to do with showing 'how scared we are' as much as it has to do with planetary corporatocracy and consolidation of weath/power.

Love ya Al - keep up the good fight.
+11 # steve98052 2011-12-19 05:23
Exactly. Senator Franken has no explaining to do. His vote is the right thing to do.

The people who need to explain their vote are the ones who voted _for_ the Homeland Battlefield provisions, then voted for the bill that included them.

Those who voted for the Homeland Battlefield amendments have no _good_ excuse, because there are no good reasons to vote for them, but it would be interesting to hear their bad excuses.

Those who voted for the bill as a whole, but didn't vote for the amendments, are the ones with the most explaining to do. Did they think the bill was too important to block, even with a poison pill amendments mixed into it? Did they think that the amendments didn't really matter, perhaps because the Supreme Court would find them unconstitutiona l anyway? Did they think that it would be impossible to remove the amendments?
+124 # George Kennedy 2011-12-17 14:04
Thank God for the integrity of people like Al Franken and Bernie Sanders, without which the Senate would sink even further in the muck of timidity, cowardice, avarice, and fair-weather integrity.
+30 # unitedwestand 2011-12-18 02:28
Yes and we need to elect a few more line them, Elizabeth Warren.
While we're at it, let's replace the know-nothing, naive, Tea Party ist terms, who have made the House look like the Cuckoo's Nest.
+66 # Servelan 2011-12-17 14:11
A pox on the lot of those who voted for fascism; they will reap what they have sown, and what they have sent out into the world will come back to them thricefold.
+69 # John Gill 2011-12-17 14:23
The giant that has been sleeping for a very long time, dreaming the dream of a free and righteous USA, has begun to stir, and will soon come fully awake, and tear from its limbs and from its body the chains that bind it. Already, the PEOPLE have begun questioning the status quo. Is it merely coincidental that our government passes a bill which will enable them to name activists "terrorists," to arrest them using our military, and detain them without trial? This is what happens in Egypt, in Syria, when the one percent begin to imagine they can see the glimmer of torchlight on pitchforks, smell the reek of boiling tar and the feathers start tickling their noses, when they begin to imagine they can hear the thundering voice of the people raised up in outrage against them. This is what happens when the one percent begin losing control of the sleeping giant. Best of luck to us all.
+35 # Cassandra2012 2011-12-17 18:57
Yes, and it certainly did not begin with Obama... In 2004, there were 1.3 million peaceful marchers "for women's lives" on the DC mall... totally non-violent, men, women, children ... reported only by the Washington Post, but Bush's female stooge told the mainstream media that we were "all 'terrorists'"!
(Speakers included Hillary, Cathryn Mannheim, Whoopi Goldberg,Susan Sarandon, and so on... but Bush was out on his pseudo-'ranch' clearing brush and had nothing to say about 1.3 million people from every state in the union...
His response was to ignore all of us. (Like Darth Cheney, whose response to any protest, or criticism was to say, 'so what...who cares!)
Expecting 'justice' is futile...
+13 # universlman 2011-12-18 14:43
"it certainly did not begin with Obama..."

perhaps not, but by his first promising to veto this terrible legislation, he blunted the efforts and words of those honest members who might have fought harder against it

his "waffling" bait-and-switch tactic from this "constitutional scholar" shows how his principles crap out under the pressure of reelection - like bush's decision to attack iraq, this sad action will blow up in all our faces
+61 # Byronator 2011-12-17 14:29
So, taken one step further, this bill would allow the military (and its corporate puppeteers) to arrest and detain any member of Congress or even the President on unfounded suspicions of assisting terrorism? Comment on dit coup d'etat? Shame forever on the corrupt initiators of this bill and those who failed to protect habeas corpus, a key precept of any healthy democracy.
+56 # JoeElmore 2011-12-17 14:53
You voted right! Thanks, and thank you
for your explanation of the vote.
+62 # lisamoskow 2011-12-17 14:56
Thank you. There are still a few politicians with principles. You are
one of them.
+55 # noitall 2011-12-17 14:59
Maybe its because you have integrity, because you are there to SERVE the PEOPLE, you haven't completely sold out to corporate interests and their trillions of dollars effort to overthrow the American system of democracy. Go Al! we've go your back.
+54 # latebloomer 2011-12-17 15:10
this is a sad and scary day in american history.

there are already too many people locked away behind bars in this country.

can this bill ever be overturned?
+65 # my2cents 2011-12-17 15:14
As Warren Zevon and Hunter S. Thompson once wrote "You're a Whole Different Person When You're Scared." Stand up and VETO this abomination, Mr. President.
+37 # noitall 2011-12-17 15:16
Our long-term security will not come from compromising those tenets that have enabled this country to survive many perilous times. Our long-term security and our rebuilding of our faith in ourselves and our country will come from an honest start to repairations, from a foundation based upon sincere intent to heal a ravaged country and culture; one with a focus on TOTAL recovery where profits from recovery work go to the Nationals not the Multi-national corporations; where recovery is determined by the Iraqis based upon THEIR priorities; where their infrastructure and their resources are FOR Iraq and not for easy exploitation of Multi-national corporations. The likes of Haliburton should not make a single cent from this day forward but their vast profits from their criminal war profiteering should be taxed accordingly to contribute to repairations. Anything short of that is just another form of attack. Like our Native populations in all the countries that our ambassadors, the Multi-national corporations, have raped and pillaged in the past, they will remain third world in spite of their natural resources. Our work, in a good way, will be the security from our fear of "terrorists". We should know now that the true terrorists are the Multi-National Corporations and their government shills. It is clear to see.
+47 # Cassandra2012 2011-12-17 19:01
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin
+38 # larrypayne 2011-12-17 15:16
Al, you say you can't shake 9/11 images from your mind. I have the same problem.
I can't get those videos of the buildings falling out of my mind. We are told they collapsed from fire but the videos show the buildings being blown up with explosives. I have watched the videos many times and there is no question in my mind that this is what is happening. At least 1600 professional architects and engineers agree with me.
Have you talked to any of these brave people? Do you have any questions about the official conspiracy theory?
+28 # mjc 2011-12-17 18:28
My take on Al Franken's stuff about 9/11 is that he finds it was terrorists attacking from ??, certainly not Afghanistan or Iraq but no indication that he thought those buildings were rigged to blow when the plane(s) hit them. But larrypayne there is so much not completely explained about the Bush administration' s actions on that day and on the few days before and after, i.e., the long story in Florida kindergarten and a plane going about on 9/12 and 9/13 picking up bin Ladens.
+40 # Gord84 2011-12-17 15:31
Al Franken for president in 2012!
+69 # ptrprkr 2011-12-17 15:35
We would be well served to realize that fascism rarely arrives in a single day. In the United States, it occured gradually, step, by unnoticed step. The grip of corporate fascism is now almost complete, with its noose tightening around our necks. Oh, sure...We'll still have elections that don't mean anything. We'll continue to weigh in on important issues, but our opinions will be ignored, and continue to be falsified, spun, and subverted by our corporate controlled media. Our politicians will cast votes that do not represent our interests, using the excuse that their vote was a "compromise", or some elaborate strategy, used to protect us against the bad nature of the opposition party. Corporate control will continue, along with huge piles of corporate cash to the puppet politicians doing the corporate bidding. The goal is to buy out our "public square", for their private profits, benefitting an elite few. If you think this is bad now, expect it to get much, much, worse. The Democrats will not save us. One more election, where this time Mr. Obama really means what he says, will not save us. We must save ourselves. We must stand-up, and resist. Support the 99%...Get active.
+56 # fredboy 2011-12-17 15:36
This bill simply and quite clearly reflects the collapse of American justice, the most revered of our national assets. We are now shifting to Jack Boot Nation, like some futuristic horror movie (see the latest Captain America trailer). What's next: rounding up journalists who ask "inappropriate" questions? We are becoming what we once allegedly despised.
+29 # mas 2011-12-17 19:21
When the powers-that-be were clearing the OWC site, journalists were already arrested unless they stayed, where they were told to stay--away from what the police were doing during their raid on the encampment.
+39 # Beckmesser 2011-12-17 15:45
This was the last straw as far as my possible support of Obama is concerned. How do you justify voting for someone who has so completely turned his back on a couple centuries of American tradition, and that from a former law professor! He is either morally blind or a complete fraud, and probably both.
+36 # shortonfaith 2011-12-17 15:53
Once you removed the rights of the citizens to be free you allowed your enemy his entire victory. We have now created a public society that needs to live in fear of it's political & military leaders. Any citizen can be thrown in jail for any reason without justification. For those who say this will never happen, I bring you Citizen's United. Where corporations have become people that can murder & pollute without fear of internment. Soon all those not working for Military contractors will be expendable. If you're not scared now you'd better get that way soon. America is a country that already has more citizens in jail than any other country on earth. Even communist China, who places citizens in jail to obtain workers for their factories, doesn't have close the % the US has. All the 99ers can now be taken off the streets immediately & placed in permanent work camps. Although against the laws, Military contractors already use prison labor in the U.S. Now, labor just got cheaper & stock in jails is going up. Welcome to the New Order of the Homeland.
+18 # BishopAndrew 2011-12-17 15:55
My question then becomes Senator how can you support the President for re-election! I and many other Progressives cannot!
+2 # Nell H 2011-12-20 20:02
To Bishop Andres: If you do not support President Obama, you will be supporting the Republicans. Please don't do that. Our country can be destroyed by a Tea Party Congress together with a Republican president.

If you love your country, support President Obama.
+20 # oakes721 2011-12-17 16:00
Does this mean that a congressmen and senators can now be snatched up and put away forever without a chance to buy their way out of it ~ when they're now viewed as unwanted witnesses and accessories to the corruption that put this law in place ~ to protect the guilty?
+20 # Dale 2011-12-17 16:03
This goes back for more than a decade, 9/11 just an excuse to move an essentially fascist ambition a step further. With Bush the ambition galloped forward, now with Republican Zombies and Obama and the Democrats complicity it continues. Franken just plays the game with eulogies for the 9/11 victims. The War on Terror is bullshit, Homeland Security is billions down the drain. Dems try a nominating and electing those who know bullshit when they see it and hear it. Listen to the Occupiers.
+36 # ptrprkr 2011-12-17 16:06
Benito Mussollini was one of the world's great fascists during the WWII era. (I do not mean "great" in the flattering way.) To paraphrase old Benito, 'The most efficient, best form of fascism, is corporate control over government'. Corporations, and their wealthy shareholders, have the most to gain from taking control of our government, subverting the public square, into the private profits of a very few. As fascism takes control, the mechanisms that allow them unchallenged power will be put into place. Increasingly, individual rights once enjoyed, can be subverted, using the excuse of national security, or "enemies of the state". Increasingly, the nation will come to be a police state, where citizens are jailed, and punished severely on "suspicion", without a redress of the charges levied agains them. Other symptoms of fascism include a renewed sense of nationalism, with a powerful military entity, and a need to identify "enemies", and create villains for the citizenry to be angry at. (Although these symptoms are often present in any dictatorship, fascist, or not, they are always present in a fascist state.)
+31 # Jerry 2011-12-17 16:11
Why didn't you, or any other Senator put the bill on hold? I've read that any Senator can do so.
+13 # Cabbagehead 2011-12-17 17:24
Gee, Al, this is the first squawk I've heard from you since you were elected. Thought you were in bed with all the other comatose Dems. You don't need so much preamble to do the right thing, but I'm heartened to think there may be five Eems in Congress to the left of Obama, who defrauded a majority of the country.
However, don't make me wait another year or two to hear your dissent.
+24 # rradiof 2011-12-17 17:27
Thank you from one of your constituents. Now do the right thing and remove your support from the Senate's version of the Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
+29 # michelle 2011-12-17 17:43
They scream and froth at the mouth over their god-given "freedom" to buy 100-watt light-bulbs, but then they propose and vote for THIS?
+37 # redjelly39 2011-12-17 17:46
When I served in the military 76 thru 79, I was sworn to defend the US but I no longer know what the US is anymore. This is not MY country as per our constitution so I suppose I need to defend our constitution from the corrupt Gov't officials & Wall St/Mega-Corps that are destroying it. This is what Occupy is all about and if you are not part of the 99@ then I dont know you as a countryman either. The time has arrived for us all - We must stand together with One Voice and scream that the Status Quo is unacceptable and can no longer be tolerated.
I agree with others that Obama/Dems are no different than the other side but why only 2 sides ? Well that is by design as well. Maybe we need to completely throw out our government and start with something new that will speak for all of We the People.
I was ashamed a long time ago - I am pi$$ed off now.
Occupy and vote em all out of office.
0 # universlman 2011-12-20 16:26
Quoting redjelly39:

but why only 2 sides ?

hey red, lets look at 4 sides, just give each side one more party - give the reps a tea party and the dems a 99 or a green party
+27 # Olenska 2011-12-17 18:09
Thank you for your courage. I have a question. What is the legal definition of "a belligerent act" as used in this legislation? Is there a definition or was it chosen for its ambiguity and applicability to peaceful American protesters? We now know that no American can make a donation to any international NGO in the future without risking being imprisoned for supporting "associated groups". But how do Americans avoid being accused of being "belligerent"? The last time I saw that word it applied to unruly school children.
+17 # ruralhorseman 2011-12-17 18:35
Thanks AL !!! But I want to bring up a critical point in the upcoming campaign season and election in Nov. of 2012. Unless there is a politically experienced, charismatic, shrewd 3rd Party candidate hiding in the wings somewhere, in short liberals, progressives, democrats and disenfranchised republicans MUST vote a STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC ticket. Hold your noses but don't close your eyes to what will happen If you don't vote or if you split the vote with a "nader" vote. The Supreme Court has three openings coming up within the next 4-6 years. We must put fairness and critical thinking back into the court or forever be held down by corporate power. Next, with current polls giving Democrats the edge in elections we have a good chance of obtaining a veto proof 60 Senate seats if the DSCC, the DNC and DCCC don't throw the game,that is not fund candidates for office properly. It is obvious from polls that the Republican voter blames the Republican congress for obstructing progress on jobs, energy, the environment, etc., so we may be able to kick the know-nothing Tea Party Brats out of the House and get some reason back in with the newly elected. With that in place, if the President vetoes what we need, he can be defeated with 67 votes. We can force the President's hand if we work for it. No doubt, Obama is a huge disappointment but Hillary might be his V.P. choice for '12 and she Pres. for another 4-8 years. That would give the people 12 years to take this country back Please Think!
+21 # Ondaz 2011-12-17 18:48
I would like to first thank you for your vote. Second, I would like to remind you that Native Americans have been, and continue to be held in large interment camps. These camps were named prisoner of war camps, currently referred to as reservations. Al Franken, you serve on the Committee for Indian Affairs. Please learn the history of the people you represent
+1 # Fight the Reich 2011-12-17 19:32
+19 # Gran44 2011-12-17 19:40
Isn't the law unconstitutiona l, even if the President signs it?
+23 # Texas Aggie 2011-12-17 22:29
Unconstitutiona l is whatever the Supreme Court decides. And does anyone think the present SC is going to decide that this bill is unconstitutiona l?
+7 # Olenska 2011-12-18 04:33
they already did. twice. See the history of SCOTUS decisions under Bush in Political Washington Abolishes Due Process Protections by Stephen Lendman at opednews. Bush backed down before the decision came down and tried them in civilian court. This law will be tested in the courts but it will take a long time. that is what is scary.
-15 # PBerg 2011-12-17 19:49
AL-That is NOT what MOther Jones says:
"So it's simply not true, as the Guardian wrote yesterday, that the the bill "allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil who could then be shipped to Guantánamo Bay." When the New York Times editorial page writes that the bill would "strip the F.B.I., federal prosecutors and federal courts of all or most of their power to arrest and prosecute terrorists and hand it off to the military," or that the "legislation could also give future presidents the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial," they're simply wrong.

The language in the bill that relates to the detention authority as far as US citizens and permanent residents are concerned is, "Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States."
+29 # Olenska 2011-12-17 20:17
You are mistaken. Please read the analysis of Glenn Greenwald, constitutional attorney, at salon. He explains the ramifications of the bill very clearly. And yes, Americans can be arrested on US soil and detained for life, if found to be supporting "associated groups" hostile to the US or found to be guilty of "a belligerent act", whatever the hell that is.
+35 # Scott479 2011-12-17 21:03
"a belligerent act" will soon be many of our comments made here....
+7 # Olenska 2011-12-18 05:21
Now see the phrase "existing law" is the problem. The R's are claiming that existing law allows the president, any president, to indefinitely detain any person anywhere. The SCOTUS never ruled on it, since Bush backed down before it ruled.
But you must consider that Congress' rejection of four amendments that spelled out the constitutional right to habeas corpus and trial by jury for American citizens means that we no longer have those rights. If we were intended to have those rights, those amendments would have been included. According to Congressman Nadler, the D's in the House split almost 50/50 on this bill, but not in the Senate, where both parties voted overwhelmingly to reject all four amendments. Feinstein's office claims that the "existing law" phrase, added later, takes care of the problem, but clearly it does not, since all constitutional lawyers find all language in this bill too muddy to constitute any protection for US citizens.
+2 # larrypayne 2011-12-18 09:38
Rachel Maddow has a segment on this issue that everyone should see. Obama's explanation of the language in the bill is scary.
+25 # propsguy 2011-12-17 20:29
how sad is it that Nixon must be considered a liberal compared to what we've got today
+29 # Scott479 2011-12-17 20:45
Thank you Al Franken-you are worthy of the title Senator, now if we could only find a few hundred more of your caliber for the rest of our govt. oh, and the White House in particular.
+15 # tomo 2011-12-17 20:57
This bill is very serious, very bad. Because Obama is a man without any moral center (for him, all things are negotiable, and anything deemed likely to promote his re-election is judged to be obviously good), it will not surprise me at all if Obama signs this into law. If you wonder about which way this weather vane turns, look to his hiding the photos of CIA torture, look to his non-prosecution of the bankster schemers who have brought the world economy very nearly to its knees, look to his PERSECUTION of Bradley Manning. This fellow in the White House is the Male Escort of the oligarchy that controls our American justice system.
+22 # cypress72 2011-12-17 21:38
Thank you Senator Franken for an excellent article and for your NO vote on this, one of the most unconstitutiona l pieces of Legislation to have ever passed the Senate. Now we truly know who the Patriots are, and where the line has been drawn. God save what's left of the United States of America.
+15 # angelfish 2011-12-17 22:04
BRAVO,Al! God Bless you for your stance, you are a TRUE American! The President should take a page out of YOUR book and try to remember what that be a TRUE American, that is! As a Constitutional Scholar, he has fallen FAR short of the mark, so far! Hey, Barry! STOP caving to the THUGS, will you PLEASE?! Stand up and BE the American your daughters think you are and want to read about in the History books some day!
+13 # sfnativecrone 2011-12-17 22:28
As Tom Hartmann says, "Good on you, Al!". Thank you.
+6 # unitedwestand 2011-12-18 02:39
You said it Al. We are headed toward dangerous lands with this bill. What scares me. What if we ha a Cheny-like person as president again, the Constitution would be used for fireplace fuel.

Thank you Al. You are the best. I love reading your emails to me.
+5 # Hikerdudette 2011-12-18 05:43
Go here and see who suppports the Bill of Rights.

Senator Feinstein offered an amendment to remove American citizens from unlawful detainment. Check out who voted against.
+9 # WaldenPond 2011-12-18 09:19
Why is it that only US comedians see what is happening in America? Franken, Stewart, Cobert, Letterman. Comedy holds up reality, and shows it to us in a way that we had not noticed. And the laughter is about us realizing that we had not been seeing reality. For marriages, school memories, work place, etc., that is funny. It is also funny in politics. In the 2012 primaries and elections, maybe we need to all vote for comedians.
+4 # larrypayne 2011-12-18 14:47
The comedian who had more wisdom and courage to say what he thought than any of those mentioned died in 2008. When asked if he thought there would ever be a legitimate investigation of 9/11, he said, "governments don't investigate themselves."
+5 # bruceleier 2011-12-18 09:54
Thank you Al. Now clean out the chinese-regime- like provisions from your internet piracy bill.
+3 # DrW 2011-12-18 10:33
Glad we got OUT of the U.S. in 2004 and are now Canadian citizens. It was OBVIOUS way back then that the government was paying NO ATTENTION to the documents that should govern its actions.

When that hideous pharmaceutical bill was up for vote in the House, I sat up ALL NIGHT watching with amazement that a vote supposed to be limited to 15 min stretched out for HOURS until the admin. got the result it wanted! It was INCREDIBLE to watch CNN cameras following representatives around and the representatives not being at all embarassed to be seen negotiating for changing their original vote!

My ancestors came to the New World with a land grant from William Penn, but it is CLEAR to me that America as we knew it is OVER. So as the old saying goes, "Don't BITCH, TRANSFER!!!'
+8 # DrW 2011-12-18 10:55
Note to Sen Franken -- (could not find anyplace on your web site to SEND you a note.)

We are dual citizens (Canada and U.S.) but LIVE In Canada so cannot vote for Franken in local elections. However, we can contribute GENEROUSLY to your campaigns and just signed up for your email list so KNOW that we will receive the appeals.

The U.S. would have some HOPE if there were more like YOU!
+8 # jjc71538 2011-12-18 11:04
Paul Wellstone spirit is forever alive.
Great going Al!
+7 # Paul Scott 2011-12-18 12:36
For 232 years there have been a few, in congress, who had the wisdom to understand the "concept" of the United States Constitution was a government that could not prey upon its own people. You're vote, Al; and your reasoning tells me that you are among those with that wisdom.
+6 # universlman 2011-12-18 14:19
like provisions in the "patriot" act, someone captured by the system has no voice - the person could be disappeared from their home, and anyone protesting could be made to join them

this is the exact situation that was covered and is now being stricken from our bill of rights

we need more franken and less obama - so mad at this terrible abusive law
+5 # heraldmage 2011-12-18 15:49
To bad there aren't more Senators & elected officials who remember their oath of office. It is to preserve & protect the Constitution of the USA, not to see how much wealth they can accumulate & how they can use their position for personal profit while pretending to hide their assets in blind trusts.
We must change the system now. Its time to make the Green of the Green Party stand for freedom, and saving not just the planet but the country & democracy. We need 50 state ballot access & at this late date the Green Party ballot assess is the only option.
We much stop being drawn into Presidential politics and stick to replacing every member of Congress, State & local government up for election replace them with candidates who place their signature on the 99% New Green Party Platform.
It is Congress not the President that has the power & makes the policy. The President is held hostage by not having a veto proof Congress. But he could use the signing statement to indicate that he will not implement this or any legislation that erodes the Constitutional rights of Americans.
Than leave it up to the People to assure no President is ever elected who will implement this legislation. For the People to elect a president who as a candidate promises in writing to sign legislation repeal these provision & any other legislation that erodes the Constitutional & human rights of the people.
It is time for grass roots 99% people power to take control of this nation.
+6 # billhabedank 2011-12-18 17:10
Thank you Senator Franken for this vote which is the only way an American who believes in the Bill of Rights could vote.
What is so sad however is that 87 other Senators couldn't and most likely the President will not either.
Our soldiers must really be angry to see the freedoms they supposedly fought for are disappearing.
+2 # mgurney 2011-12-18 21:52
Passage of NDAA could put many authors who post here at risk…
Couple the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with The Patriot’s Act and the Military Commissions Act we have some really scary stuff. There is virtually no public discourse or corporate media talking about NDAA…
America had better wake up….it may be too late already…
Plus keep an eye on SOPA - Stop Online Piracy Act
+5 # Above God 2011-12-18 22:48
What ever happened to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878? The Act that prevents the military from being a police force against US citizens. The time for BS is over and the citizens need to move on to the 2nd Amendment and form militias well regulated from within. The 1st Amendment right to freedom of peaceful assembly has been made null and void by our fascist leaders. Why was all that ammo hoarded when Obama was elected if you don't plan to use it?
+4 # mwd870 2011-12-19 10:17
"The Founders who crafted our Constitution and Bill of Rights were careful to draft a Constitution of limited powers - one that would protect Americans' liberty at all times - both in war, and in peace."

Thank you for voting against the bill. We need Senators who understand the consequences of bad law. Your quote above is exactly why people question whether this bill is constitutional. Is it being challenged in the courts? If the Supreme Court were to decide this is law legal, it would still not be constitutional.

Newt Gingrich is speaking out against the courts having more power than the other branches of government, but I don't believe for a minute he is referring to the right-wing Supreme Court in power now.
+2 # wolfhounds27 2011-12-19 12:21
I wish both Al Frankin & Bernie Sanders were my U.S. Senators.
Instead I'm stuck with Durbin, and the clown who was caught LYING about his military service...Kirk.
+2 # motamanx 2011-12-20 05:35
CHANGE your senator to someone more like Al and Bernie.
+4 # johnjgoddard 2011-12-19 12:27
There wouldn't be as much of a problem with the bill if there was an actual legal definition of 'terrorism'. There isn't. Terrorism has not been defined, and that's why the bill is so dangerous.
+3 # wauhoo 2011-12-19 18:42
Thank you Al. Never thought that I would say that, but Ron Paul has opened my eyes and I find myself in frequent agreement with Bernie Sanders and others that I never dreamed that I would. Liberty is a magic force that brings all Americans together.
-1 # Electricrailwaygod 2011-12-19 23:28
I had warned about this for a very long time, and now it has f***ing HAPPEWNED! There is no longer a UNITED States of America, But A Fascist Corporate Police State of Amerika! So damnably sad! Both Benito and Adolf would have been VERY PLEASED! The Axis in effect of all these decades past actually WON after all!

I don't realy know if there is much hope of humanity the path it is currently going, I only hope that perhas through the correct practice of BUDDHISM (Nichiren) could turn the tide! Maybe it is our only hope!
+2 # motamanx 2011-12-20 05:34
I believe President Obama was poorly advised to decide not not to VETO this unconstitutiona l bill.
-1 # Fight the Reich 2011-12-20 18:55
President Obama is "just" a key figure leaning right in the M.I.C. / Amairka Inc's / fascist Fourth Reich. How far right can a President lean before he meets the fate of JFK, RFK and MLK when a fully developed Fourth Reich was still an aspiring dream for those that implemented taking out those wonderful Patriot Leaders bent on uprooting and deposing the M.I.C. before the M.I.C.'s Fourth Reich could be established. I wish someone could find documents that President / General Eisenhower surely secreted away as life insurance when he was elected to dismantle the M.I.C. ~~~ The Homeland Battlefied Bill just makes officially legal what the Fourth Reich already does anyway; And Obama has made it clear that he isn't suicidal. If Bradley Manning didn't have brave (and probably very capable) witnesses to whatever he might have done; And if "he" hadn't taken out the "insurance policy" of excellent planning in making some really bad sh_t public, ...and probably stashed away some really REALLY bad sh_t for extra insurance; We can bet very high odds that his young butt would be rotting in some Fourth Reich foreign rendition hell hole ....if not 6 feet deep in desert sand.
+2 # barker13 2011-12-21 15:59
So... Rand Paul, Al Franken, and myself are all in agreement. We've gotta be right!

Seriously, folks... this CLEARLY isn't ideological. This is a question of: Do you support the Constitution or don't you.
0 # steed 2012-01-15 10:59
I checked everywhere, and I can only find 7 senators who voted against s1867 Al Franken is not one of them. you can check the final vote here.

Don't blow smoke up my ass Al.

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