Dianne Feinstein

Senators introduce the Due Process Guarantee Act

A bipartisan group of Senators have wasted no time in trying to apply a legislative fix to the “indefinite detention” language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was passed last night. The Due Process Guarantee Act (full text below), sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, would ensure the protections that the NDAA would seemingly erase:

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, today introduced the Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011, legislation that states American citizens apprehended inside the United States cannot be indefinitely detained by the military.

The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 amends the Non-Detention Act of 1971 by providing that a Congressional authorization for the use of military force does not authorize the indefinite detention—without charge or trial—of U.S. citizens who are apprehended domestically.

The Feinstein bill also codifies a “clear-statement rule” that requires Congress to expressly authorize detention authority when it comes to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The protections for citizens and lawful permanent residents is limited to those “apprehended in the United States” and excludes citizens who take up arms against the United States on a foreign battlefield, such as Afghanistan.

Senate reverses course, repeals ethanol subsidies

Just two days removed from a failed vote to repeal ethanol subsidies and protectionist tariffs for the rent-seeking ethanol industry, the Senate wound up passing the measure in a 73 to 27 vote:

The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to eliminate billions of dollars in support for the U.S. ethanol industry, sending a strong message that the era of big taxpayer support for biofuels is ending.

The 73-27 vote may ultimately be symbolic since the White House has vowed not to repeal ethanol subsidies fully and the bill the repeal language is attached to is not expected to make it into law. But it underscores the growing desperation to find savings in a budget crisis that is forcing both sides of the aisle to consider sacrificing once-sacred government programs.
[…]
The increasingly hostile attitude toward federal ethanol support has added fuel to a steep fall this week in the price of corn, from which most U.S. ethanol is made.

The Senate vote shows the odds are diminishing that the 45-cent-a-gallon subsidy the government gives refiners and the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol — both targeted in Thursday’s vote — will be extended at current rates beyond their scheduled expiration at the end of this year.

Repeal was backed by fiscal conservatives like Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) and hardcore liberals like Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the chamber’s only professed socialist.

United States v. WikiLeaks (and the First Amendment)

Over at the Washington Examiner, Gene Healy, author of Cult of the Presidency, unloads on the campaign by Washington to punish Julian Assange and WikiLeaks by undermining the First Amendment:

Anyone who values the First Amendment ought to oppose the campaign to “get” Assange by any means necessary. In a free society, you can’t just “change the law” to persecute someone you don’t like, and you can’t abuse your position to silence speech you oppose.

Last week in the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., demanded that Assange be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act. After all, she wrote, the First Amendment isn’t “a license to jeopardize national security,” any more than it’s a license to “yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater.” A poor choice of metaphor: It comes from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ 1919 opinion in Schenck v. United States, when the Supreme Court allowed the Wilson administration to imprison a man for the crime of publicly arguing that the draft was unconstitutional.

We’ve since done a much better job protecting the First Amendment. In 1971’s New York Times v. United States, the Supreme Court rebuffed the Nixon administration’s attempt to stop the paper from publishing classified documents showing that the government had lied America into the Vietnam War.

Feinstein to 85,000 Callers: “You’re Confused”

During this evening’s Senate vote, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) took the podium to explain her position on the proposed bailout package. In her statement, she explains that she received 91,000 calls and emails, with 85,000 of them opposed to the measure. Even armed with the knowledge that 93% of her constituents passionate enough to contact her office pleaded for her to vote “nay”, she votes in favor of the bill, claiming that “there is a great deal of confusion out there” and these people “don’t understand” the situation.

See the video below:

A Letter from Dianne Feinstein: But Where Do You Stand Now?

Below is the entirety of my correspondence from Senator Dianne Feinstein. I know she wrote this letter and gave this speech prior to the vote this morning. So now Dianne, with all you know about our opposition, and the congress shooting the bill down, where do you stand?

Now is your chance to turn things around and oppose the bailout.

Dear Mr. Avila:

Thank you for your letter expressing concern about Congress’ consideration of a plan to meet our Nation’s credit crisis with financial help from the Federal Government. This is a difficult situation for which there are no perfect solutions, and I would like to share my thoughts and concerns about this issue with you.

On September 19, 2008, Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson, Jr. announced a legislative proposal to use $700 billion to purchase illiquid mortgage-related assets from ailing financial institutions. Secretary Paulson’s three-page proposal was a non-starter, and without critical changes it has no chance of approval from Congress.

This proposal would have given a blank check to an economic czar who would have been empowered to spend it without administrative oversight, legal requirements, or legislative review. Decisions made by the Treasury Secretary would be non-reviewable by any court, agency, or Congress. The proposal also lacked a requirement for regular reports to Congress on the status of the program. This was simply untenable.


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