Burch: We are no longer free or equal

Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Tennesseans believe they are free and equal, thanks to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. But if our government ignores those sacred documents, are we really free and equal?

I woke up on a sunny New Year’s Day morning with a positive attitude and bright hopes for the future. Then to my shock and dismay I learned that President Obama had just signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law. With a whisk of his presumptuous pen, he whisked away the most basic human rights and freedoms of 300 million Americans. The NDAA seems to allow American citizens to be arrested without charges, then transferred to foreign prisons where they can be held indefinitely without hearings or trials.

The NDAA is just the latest dangerous gambit of politicians who use fears of terrorism and the buzzword “security” to justify what can never be justified: robbing American citizens of their Constitutional rights. It’s easy enough to understand what our “protectors” have been doing, if we examine the facts.

As reported by Reuters on Oct. 5, an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, was targeted for extrajudicial murder via a “kill or capture list” created by a “secretive panel of senior government officials.” Awlaki was later killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen along with another American citizen, a magazine editor named Samir Khan. According to government officials, “Khan was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, concurred, calling Khan’s death “collateral.”

According to Reuters, the secret panel is a subset of the White House's National Security Council. Ruppersberger explained how it works to reporters: the NSC “does the investigation, they have lawyers, they review, they look at the situation, you have input from the military, and also, we make sure that we follow international law.” But what about following the Constitution, which gives Americans the right to due process before they’re imprisoned for life, or executed?

Ironically, after Obama sternly criticized the Bush administration for issuing legal memos justifying torture, his own administration upped the ante by endorsing the extrajudicial capture and killing of American citizens without due process.

Yes, al-Awlaki was fiercely critical of our government, but so are many freedom-loving American peace activists who question the wisdom and justice of both wars. What if al-Awlaki was more right than wrong? Even if he was wrong, what about his right to speak freely and dissent, as an American citizen?

According to Reuters, “officials acknowledged that some of the intelligence purporting to show Awlaki's hands-on role in plotting attacks was patchy.” Should our government and military go around murdering American citizens on hearsay?

The NDAA, which nullifies (or at least ignores) critical parts of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, seems eerily similar to certain acts used by the Nazis to imprison ordinary German citizens indefinitely or execute them, based on suspicion alone, without ever bringing forth charges or having a fair trial.

76 Comments on this post:

By: dargent7 on 1/13/12 at 6:25

Nazis? That was then, this is now.
Look what The Patriot Act can do to American's "rights".
Look what the NTSA is doing to any traveler going from Nashville to Chicago.
I think Bush started the "warrantless wiretaps" program.
Look no further than Gitmo. No habeous corpus, whatever that means.
No "speedy trail". "
Labeled as "enemy combatants". No Geneva Convention rules.
The USA has lost it's soul.
But, this planet has become UN-inhabitable to law abiding citizens.
I'm sure Obama ran his signature law thru 15 layers of lawyers before signing.
He's not King, yet, and vets out "legalities" beforehand.
One thing about Obama is he's NOT stupid.

By: yogiman on 1/13/12 at 6:32

I'm glad you woke up on New Years day, Mike. Hopefully you've learned more about the people now sitting in DC. And that includes not only usurper Barry Soetoro but all members of congress as well.

I read where the Senate passed that bill 93-7 and it was 85% in the House. I read that Alexander and Corker agreed with it, but I couldn't find out about our House members.

Congress has decided they are now our masters instead of our servants. That also includes our [inferior] Supreme Court who made the decision corporate giants could finance the Oval Office with unwilling investors money.

If your haven't noted it, I posted a site to look into last evening: freedom21.org. Their latest message was at www.freedom21.org/newscenters/nl-2012/index.html. It says a lot.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 6:37

Good morning, Nashville.

Mike Burch has penned another great letter here...he is one of a handful of American journalists who dare to question the myths, lies and half-truths that underpin the "global war on terror". Mike's honesty could have negative consequences for him personally...Helen Thomas explained why that might be so. Mike is showing great personal courage by writing these critiques of US foreign and domestic policy.

President Obama is a complete and utter failure, when it comes to reigning in the neocons...he has effectively gone over to the other side...he has to go in November...he has reneged on every major issue of importance to his base, IMO. Obama spent 743 million dollars to win the presidency...that should tell you that he is beholden to his donors, not the US public.

I hate to admit it, but I was fooled by this smooth-talking Chicago-based politician in 2008. I can now plainly see that the new boss is the same as the old boss.

By: yogiman on 1/13/12 at 6:39


Blame Bush all you wish. He wasn't that much different than Barry Soetoro is now in placing this nation under the UN control. And it isn't just Bush before Soetoro. Go on back to Clinton and George H. W. Bush also. They want a one world government.

Take that on back to FDR who started forming the United Nations. He died before he could get it finished and Harry Truman finished it for him.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 6:44

You are right, Darge, Obama is not stupid...that is why he is acting as Bibi Netanyahu's lap dog lately...the Zionists have put Obama on notice...one more "screw up" and they will back his opponent in November...the threats have certainly paid off for Israel and the Israeli agents in the US Congress.

Again, check out the extent of the bribery:


And it is all perfectly legal folks...Israel has the best US Representation that money can buy....now, we can see why all the pro-Israel votes are unanimous...everybody in Washington takes Israeli money.

BTW, the US has no reciprocal influence over the Israeli Knesset...the Israelis would never tolerate that.

By: Ummm... on 1/13/12 at 6:45

Ben Franklin is quoted as saying, "People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both."

We ahve been sliding down this slippery slope ever since the institution of the idiotic "Bush Doctrine," and his subsequent push for the inappropriately named "Patriot Act." Bush's "war on terror" is destined to have the same success as the "war on poverty" and the "war on drugs."

By: yogiman on 1/13/12 at 6:47


"Obama" fooled enough people and was elected because of one reason only in 2008. Simply put, because he was to be the first black president of the USA. Question: Would you have voted for him if he had been running as a white man with his obvious usurpation?

And was he really "elected"? It may show he was, but too many dead people were shown on the ballots. Too many states found more votes on their ballots than registered voters in their books.

Actually elected? I question it.

By: yogiman on 1/13/12 at 6:51

Ben Franklin made some good quotes, Ummm. Abraham Lincoln did also when he stated: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."

Hopefully all of the people have woke up.

By: dargent7 on 1/13/12 at 6:55

Great. Just great. We have the "master masturbator" weigh in on the "usurpation" argument. Now it's "obvious".
Obama didn't FOOL anyone. He came after 8 nightmarish years of the Chimp-in-Chief, GW Bush. "Faulty "intel", "the CIA got it wrong", the CIA lied to me".
15 seconds of sitting in a 4th grade classroom stone faced when told twice, "the US is under attack".
Andy Card had to pick the ventriloquist dummy up from his stool to get out of the room.
Everyone knew right there the kind of man Bush was. Or, wasn't.
Obama is 10x the man,...black, or half white.

By: Ummm... on 1/13/12 at 7:03

dargent7, despite his protestations to the contrary, it's pretty obvious that this "usurper" argument is racially motivated. Many older citizens simply can't overcome their years of conditioning when it comes to racial issues. I know it is difficult when presented with such wrong-headed babble, but the best thing to do is just ignore it.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 7:20

Birthers are racists...no more mysterious than that.

Obama is legit...but he has reneged and caved too often.

I voted for Obama partly because McCain and Palin were such awful alternatives. Obama is a smooth talker and well, I just wanted to believe that there was hope for change....I was fooled.....by a pro....no more!

By: yogiman on 1/13/12 at 7:22

No, Ummm,

This usurper argument has nothing to do with race. It has to do with Constitutional eligibility for that office. Why do you think our founders put that particular phrase as the requirement for that office? And a man with a Kenyan father is not a natural born citizen even if he was born in Hawaii as he has said he was but refuses to prove it.

You don't know me, but I don't give a damn if the man is black, white, red, yellow, pink, purple doted or striped. It's only a matter of being legal for that office, which he obviously isn't.

And as I have stated before, more on the matter is congress allowing it to happen.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 7:32

Since yogi has reverted to is usual troll status, schlepping out the racist birther BS, I am going to ignore him for the rest of the day..if he shuts his pie-hole on that issue, I may respond to his posts in the future...but right now, Yogi is yankin' our chains in an effort to draw attention. Ignoring a troll is the only way to deal with a troll.

By: govskeptic on 1/13/12 at 7:35


After disagreeing with many of your letters, I want to congratulate you on
this one. I couldn't agree more. What is frustrating is the lack of truth
from both the President and all supporting members of congress that
signed on to this portion of the bill. The pretense by most that it doesn't
really mean what it says or that portion pertaining to American Citizens
would never be actually used is false attempts at a pass for their actions!

Whether a voter is Democratic, Republican, Progressive, or Conservative,
all should be very concerned to the point of action to see that this measure
is removed. Actually, I disagree with most of the bill, but mostly this
Unconstitutional portion!

By: yogiman on 1/13/12 at 7:48

Obama exposure #10.
Despite growing skepticism toward the unproven theory of global warming, Obama will codify a carbon regime into law, costing taxpayers billions of dollars and placing an enormous burden of the strained economy.

By: dargent7 on 1/13/12 at 7:48

Numb-Nutz: Not racially motivated?
Mitt Romney: Born Willard Romney in Detroit. Father was born in Mexico City.
Not eligible.
Newt Gingrich: Born Newton McPherson. Changed his name to his mother's 2nd husband.
Something's fishy there.
Not eligible.
Let's just see how many of you forensic "birthers" take on these white guys.
My bet: NONE.
No racial undertones, right Pauly Wade?

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 7:53

Darge, you can do as you wish, of course, but addressing the troll only encourages him...ignoring him is the only way to deal with him...other than the NCP finally throwing the bum out....and I do not like the idea of posters being banned...but yogi has certainly abused his posting privileges, IMO....he posts here simply to bug us and to discourage folks from posting here.....he's an A-hole.

By: dargent7 on 1/13/12 at 8:11

L'ner: Calling "yogi" an A-Hole insults A-holes.
The real problem I have with these retards is when you present them with categorical, concrete evidence, they still proceed and yammer on.
My personal favorite is the Tennessean's gaggle of morons who still, to this day, say, "Obama says think's there's 57 states..."
You tell them, it's "The United States of America, it's colony's and possessions.."
ie., The US Virgin Islands (3), America Samoa, Puetro Rico, Guam, Midway Islands.....
And when faced with this factual data, these complete idiots STILL come back with, "Obama thinks there's 57 states..." Ha, Ha, He, He, Ha...Morons. Pure & Simple.

By: yogiman on 1/13/12 at 8:24

Sorry, dargent7, Loner's calling me an A$$hole simply shows his actual intelligence... and it ain't good.

For you people to vote for someone whom you know nothing about tell all I need to know about your stupidity, and I call it pure ignorance.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 8:25

True that, Darge, A-holes have a purpose....the troll's only purpose in life is to harass, provoke and annoy. Yogi is well below A-holes, on the list of generators of excrementitious material. But we are encouraging him just by discussing him and his "input".

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 8:28

Actually, Yogi is well above anatomical A-holes, on the list of generators of excrementitious material.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 8:31

This NCP group of regulars seems to be shrinking everyday....some would argue that it is the lone one, who is driving away the posters and there may be a grain of truth in that...few right-wingers come around anymore.

Others argue that our troll is driving away serious commenters.

Maybe its time for us both to get thrown out?

By: Mike Burch on 1/13/12 at 9:16


That you don't believe in global warming and that you do believe that President Obama is not an American citizen says a lot. It would be better to believe in actual facts, than to invent them, in my opinion.


By: Captain Nemo on 1/13/12 at 9:20

Why is so much time and energy being spent on a waste of time?

By: Mike Burch on 1/13/12 at 9:28


I am as disappointed as anyone with certain aspects of the Obama administration. In particular:

(1) Warmongering while not being honest with the American public about the real reasons for 9-11 and the wars.

(2) Support of the Israeli Injustice Machine, to the tune of billions of dollars per year, while American children die as surrogates for Israel in avoidable wars, while the Israeli tail wags the American lapdog (our government and military).

(3) The creation of an autocratic regime that ignores the Constitution in the name of "security," when in truth both wars make us less secure.

However, other than Ron Paul, it seems likely that all the Republican candidates for president will be worse on all three counts, and also worse on many others. And while Ron Paul would hopefully keep us out of wars and reduce our insane spending on the military, who knows what his domestic policies would do to our nation.

We may have no real choice, but to choose between the lesser of two evils, and use our voices and our votes to put pressure on President Obama to reconsider his policies. I think he's an intelligent person and a patriot, who wants what's best for the country and the world. He has a very tough job. But he does seem to have a neo-con-inspired belief that having a "big stick" and using it abroad is more important than less expensive things like acting with justice and keeping our nose out of other people's business. That is costing Americans lives and money, and could lead to war with Iran and perhaps World War III.

The bottom line for all thinking Americans is that we have to use our freedom of speech while we still have it, and our votes to put pressure on politicians to change their tunes. And we have to be realistic. What would a Republican president do?


By: BenDover on 1/13/12 at 9:31

All the firebrand rhetoric against Bush when there was really nothing unprecedented to it institutionalized the idea that government was already over the top. Now Obama sweeps in and actually does the deed and there is little fan-fare at all. Bush was crucified because his critics charged him with outrageous acts that amounted to enhanced interrogation of a couple of high level al Qaeda terrorists and listening in on international phone calls from bin Laden and co.; but now Obama actually steps in and brings the war on terror to US citizens. (this is most likely just cover for things he's already done, btw, because we know he's never been one to let the law stand in the way of anything he does).

It's just like TARP. Bush prevented a run on the banks and gets the blame for spending $500,000,000,000 to do so. But the outrage was for naught, because there was an offsetting receivable that was, in fact, repaid. Obama, though, took the repayment and blew it like a drunken doughboy and also upped the year over year spending by at least as much; yet no one notices. After 3+ years it's still all Bush's fault.

This guy's media spin machine is slinging it like a centrifuge and everyone just says gimme more, gimme more... Thanks Burch, this time, for not being just another cog.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/13/12 at 9:39

Who is the responsibility for letting this happen, Mike; the leadership, media, the people, all of the above?

By: Captain Nemo on 1/13/12 at 9:52

So you prefer Paul?

Paul would have No Taxes and No Fire Department. “Libertarians believe that taxes should be abolished along with all the programs and departments that taxes fund. Libertarians don’t believe in Medicare. Libertarians don’t believe in Social Security. Libertarians don’t believe that there should be fire departments, police departments, public transportation, grants for education, unemployment, disability, food stamps, and every other type of government system and assistance that you can think of.”


By: BenDover on 1/13/12 at 10:01

I don't think you can make these promises to people and not keep them Nemo. I simply think we should stop making the promises in the first place. That would be a good place to start.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 10:07

The sordid case of the CIA's handling of Binyam Mohamed suggests that Bush-Cheney and Blair are, in fact, war criminals. Ben Dover, my old friend, you are giving Bush-Cheney a free pass on stuff like this:


After 18 months of interrogation in Pakistan, the CIA secretly transported him (Binyam Mohamed) to Morocco as part of the Bush Administration's "extraordinary rendition program," according to Mohamed's lawyers, a claim that appears to be corroborated by the flight records of the CIA-chartered planes. He was later taken to Guantanamo.

The CIA has never admitted that Mohamed, an Ethiopian-born British citizen, was ever held in Morocco, and has routinely denied all allegations of torture.

An American military lawyer who represented Mohamed has said that the torture he endured makes waterboarding "look like child's play."

While being interrogated, Mohamed was hanged from a wall with his feet unable to reach the floor, according to his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, director of Reprieve, a London-based human rights non-profit. Then, naked women were paraded before him.

On more than one occasion, Mohamed says, men in black masks and military trousers made cuts on his chest and genitals with a razor.


I guess they used the naked women to arouse the guy, so that they could carve their initials into his erect penis?

Go ahead, defend Bush and the neocons, Ben, but in your heart you know this is sick stuff and beneath the USA.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 10:12

If Obama had not re-invested the paid TARP money, the recession would have been a full-blown recession, Ben...besides, with a GOP House, the blame must be equally shared...Congress appropriates the money, not the Executive Branch, if I recall my civics lessons accurately....the GOP controlled House was impotent and could not stop the spending? I don't buy that canard, Ben.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 10:19

Typo-brainfade....s/h/b: "If Obama had not re-invested the paid TARP money, the recession would have been a full-blown depression."

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 10:30

Israeli President, Shimon Peres, is claiming that "to his knowledge" the Israelis had "nothing to do" with the murder of that young Iranian professor and his driver and the collateral damage this week....that's world class chutzpah. Apparently the Israeli Prime Minister kept the President in the dark, so that Peres could have plausible deniability.

Any bets that both Netanyahu and Peres would confess to the killings, if they were about to have their penises sliced up with a razor? They would confess to everything...from killing JFK to orchestrating the 9-11 attacks.

As I said, Blair, Bush & Cheney should be facing war crimes charges....not earning big fees for speaking at Commencements etc.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 10:33

Here's a link to a JPost comment board for the story about Peres' denial of Israeli involvement in the assassination of the Iranian scientist.


I had posted some comments there this morning...I drew the wrath of the other posters and the JPost censors as well....it's interesting reading, IMO...it shows the Israelis for what they truly are...not the sanitized CNN version....very bellicose and filled with hate.

By: BenDover on 1/13/12 at 10:45

The Pelosi Reid house was at full tilt during Obama's first two years, lone one.

By: BenDover on 1/13/12 at 10:45

shb -> Pelosi Reid house and senate.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 10:48

Ben, was that last comment on the JPost from you? The comment by savedbyajew sure looks like one of your "pranks".

The appeal to Israel's Divine Right To Exist was trotted out and I was advised to find the "L-rd". Devout Jews hyphenate any reference to the supreme being, as you are fully aware...was that a stealthy Dover post?

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 10:56

The House was in Democratic hands until the 2010 elections, same for the Senate, Ben, that is true, but, as I recall, the additional spending occurred when the GOP was in full control of the House...please disabuse me of that notion, if I am mistaken.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/13/12 at 10:56


I don’t care who the candidate is, the one catchphrase that will keep me from voting for them is that they will not raise taxes. They have just handcuffed themselves into not being able to adjust to any situation that may come up in the future. Unless they have a guarantee to what the future has laid out, I consider them to be a fool and not having the best interest for the public.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 11:09

Ben, I just went over the Wikipedia entry on the TARP deal...can't see where what you claim is substantiated in the lengthy and credible entry.

I did find this:

During 2008, companies that received $295 billion in bailout money had spent $114 million on lobbying and campaign contributions.[70] Banks that received bailout money had compensated their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in 2007, including salaries, cash bonuses, stock options, and benefits including personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships, and professional money management.[71]

Half the bailout money went back into the corrupt political system in the form of "donations" and "lobbying" efforts? Yeah, the nation's electoral process has serious flaws....deadly flaws....this cannot go on forever, folks.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 11:12

My bad again...114 million is not half of 295 billion....but still, that's not chicken feed....but then again, if Obama spent 743 million to get elected, maybe 114 million really is chicken feed these days.

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 11:47

It's snowing hard right now...gotta fire up the snow thrower....got my Cross-Country skis ready to go...the bubble has burst and the reality of January in New York is setting in...I keep telling myself that the days are getting longer, but that's not of much value when the cloud cover is thick and dense and the air is filled with snowflakes.

By: yogiman on 1/13/12 at 12:28


As an old retired weatherman, no, I don't believe in global warming. And I don't believe I have ever 'said' Obama wasn't an American citizen. I have claimed, and based on all I have read and seen, I will continue to claim he is not a natural born citizen.

I'll suggest once again; read his autobiography. Read the laws of 1961. Explain why he refuses to show his real birth certificate and his school papers.

I have simply presented facts and many questions but none of you seem to have an answer except "he was born in Hawaii".


By: brrrrk on 1/13/12 at 12:32


"It's just like TARP. Bush prevented a run on the banks and gets the blame for spending $500,000,000,000 to do so. But the outrage was for naught, because there was an offsetting receivable that was, in fact, repaid. Obama, though, took the repayment and blew it like a drunken doughboy and also upped the year over year spending by at least as much; yet no one notices. After 3+ years it's still all Bush's fault."

Ben, just curious.... Bush was in office for 8 years.... is he responsible for ANYTHING?

By: Loner on 1/13/12 at 12:34

I see that the troll has fired up his snow thrower too...brown snow? Same old BS...flinging it again...white snow doesn't stink, the brown snow stinks up the place...I gotta go...see ya!

By: BenDover on 1/13/12 at 12:39

You are disbused, loner. Pelosi and co. took over the house in '06.

Not me on the savedbyajew post. Too busy these days for any of the old prankster stuff.

Between $400 and $500 Billion of TARP is attributed to the fiscal year in which Bush left office Loner. Almost all of those disbursements have been repaid with interest and respent by the Obama administration.

What should have been a half trillion dollar windfall of the repayments was eaten up by this administration and the Pelosi / Reid congress in addition to a $750,000,000,000 'stimulus' reelection fund they passed in the first months of Obama's presidency.

Sadly they have orchestrated it all into a new normal increasing the year over year deficit by over $500,000,000,000 in spite of the peace dividend we should be seeing right now in our draw-down in Iraq.

How anyone can look at this and just repeat the meme, "It's all Bush's fault" is just astounding to me.

By: Ummm... on 1/13/12 at 12:49

Ben, why are you looking for a "peace dividend?" Paul Wolfowitz and other Bush cronies claimed the Iraq war of aggression would "pay for itself." Don't tell me it didn't?

By: Captain Nemo on 1/13/12 at 1:10

Loner you give it too much attention. Ignore it all together

By: dargent7 on 1/13/12 at 1:11

Anyone wonder why the USA is in the tank?
Because you've got nim-rods walking around America, scratching their bald heads, as to why on God's green earth, Obama doesn't want to be the FIRST sitting American President showing his, "papers": birth cert., and High School, college transcripts to "birther" movements. Which are just a slick cover for KKK rejuvenation assemblies.
As if he doesn't know he's half black. I guess he all forgot about that discrimination and it slipped his mind.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/13/12 at 1:19

I voted for the half that was born in America. Not the other half that was born in Kenya and Indonesia. lol