Category Archives: Rule of law

Out of Many, One!

The one is made up of all things, and all things issue from the one. ~ Heraclitus’s 10th fragment

Gentleman’s Magazine Flowers Motto. America was originally likened to a bouquet of different flowers, where unity and individuality coexisted.

In 1782, the Great Seal of the United States said E Pluribus Unum – “Out of Many, One”.

I’ve always liked that a lot. Solidarity is what perpetuates the rule of the American people.

“Divided we fall” is pretty basic and understandable.

Then in 1956, Congress passed and President Eisenhower approved of a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress declaring “In God We Trust” the national motto of the United States. However you feel about the intention to erect a wall of separation between church and state, on that day it went legislatively and divisively over the dam.

But here’s the thing: In 2011, our lawmakers (Forbes, R-VA) wasted all the time it takes and taxpayer dollars to reaffirm “In God We Trust‟ as the official motto of the United States. Why did they do that when it was already a law on the books? They were pandering to a voting bloc – the religious right. It served no other purpose.

Laws without cause are a rip off and they’re dangerous. If there’s no realistic purpose for a bill, it should go to File 13 and the bill’s sponsors should go with it. There’s too much else that needs to be done for us to put up with dubious bills and legislators with hidden agendas. Examples of that are so prevalent today it’s sickening. And meanwhile, needed legislation is ignored.

Iris Scanning – As Occupy Arrestees Arraigned, Iris Scans Affect Bail

Protesters “and their legal advisers were surprised yesterday to learn that the size of their bail was being affected by whether defendants were willing to have the distinctive patterns of their irises photographed and logged into a database.”

There is no law on the books for the ongoing use of Iris Scanning. Peaceful, non-violent, Occupy protesters in New York have once again been arrested and are being subjected to a hand-held scanning device that photographs and collects distinctive biometric information to be logged into a national database.

According to Paul J. Browne, chief spokesman, “a legal review by the department had concluded that legislative authorization was not necessary.”

Really?

In America, if there’s no law on the books, there can be no penalty for non-compliance. When someone hasn’t been charged with a crime, much less convicted, it seems to me that a “policy” leveraging the amount of the people’s bail and time spent in jail would be considered an issue worthy of the time and resources necessary for lawmakers to do their jobs and determine its legality.

The voting bloc for that is all the American people.

“This is an unnecessary process,” Mr. Banks said. “It’s unauthorized by the statutes and of questionable legality at best. The statutes specifically authorize collecting fingerprints. There has been great legislative debate about the extent to which DNA evidence can be collected, and it is limited to certain types of cases. So the idea that the Police Department can forge ahead and use a totally new technology without any statutory authorization is certainly suspect.”

Suspect? The NYPD is the world’s seventh biggest army! With that kind of power, I would have to say this policy is more than suspect, and that it needs to be yanked until legislated and the American public can catch up with the massive shift in private data handling that is progressing at an uncanny pace without public debate.

“Out of Many, One” is a fearful concept for those who would deem the power of the people a threat. We, all together, are the voting bloc that counts – and the one lawmakers and police departments are expected to protect and serve.

The many ways in which we’re being divided into subgroups as election pawns is counterproductive to our freedoms, our rights and true national interests.

“Divided we fall” is pretty basic and understandable.
DCKennedy

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Bated Breath

On Tuesday night, as if Thomas Jefferson had been waiting to exhale for 235 years, we seem to have won a debate that would give him the go-ahead. The question posed was: Is the US Declaration of Independence illegal?
In the winning argument, American lawyers concluded:

Under basic principles of “Natural Law”, government can only be by the consent of the people and there comes a point when allegiance is no longer required in face of tyranny.

The legality of the Declaration and its validity is proven by subsequent independence movements which have been enforced by world opinion as right and just, based on the fundamental principles of equality and self-determination now reflected in the UN Charter.

For this century, though, a better question might be: How is independence declared at all, and especially in a way that does not involve violence?

Resulting from a deportation conflict with the U.S. government in 1972, John Lennon and Yoko Ono tried it this way:

Looking back at their agenda and the motive behind the deportation effort, uncomfortable thoughts of negligence and procrastination came to mind and I wondered if anything has changed at all.

Injustices around the world prompted Lennon to use “his popularity for fund raisers, voter-registration drives, and anti-war rallies and concerts. These activities were planned to take place in many of the presidential primary states in 1972, and this deeply troubled Richard Nixon and the Republican Party. Consequently, many Republicans feared that Lennon, through these motivated activities, would jump-start the anti-war movement, resulting in the majority of young Americans voting against Nixon in the upcoming election.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, it was revealed that on February 4, 1972, Senator Strom Thurmond wrote a memo, classified as secret, citing Lennon as a danger to the Presidents’ 1972 reelection campaign. So what could the Republicans do to prevent this? Easy they thought – just revoke Lennon’s visa. Thurmond said further that “if Lennon’s visa is terminated, it would be a strategy counter-measure.” He further advised that “caution must be taken with regard to the possible alienation of the so-called 18-year-old-vote if Lennon is expelled from the country.”

[…] Was John Lennon successfully deported – no. However, in 1975, the chief counsel of the INS resigned, and after doing so, publicly stated that the United States government, i.e., the Republican Party, spent millions of tax dollars, and conducted a more vehement attempt to deport John Lennon than it did in trying to throw out Nazi war criminals. It should be noted too, that all activities involving Lennon, or his intended activities, were protected under the First Amendment, which extends this protection to both citizens and non-citizens alike. John Lennon broke no laws in trying to fight for the many injustices he believed in. ~by John T. Marck, I Am The Beatles, John Lennon the Immigrant


(click to enlarge FBI files)

So … in spite of taxpayer-funded dirty tricks, they were actually successful – a comparatively irrelevant gain, though, ending in the tragic loss of a dearly precious life. But can we conclude that John Lennon’s deportation experience and the declaration of Nutopian independence demonstrate that standing symbolically and nonviolently against injustice, corruption, secrecy and abuses of law enforcement is a noble endeavor worthy of us all? I believe so. And I think we’re headed in the right direction.

But what about entire nations declaring independence? According to one American historian:

The source of the powers of congress is to be sought solely in the acquiescence of the people, without which every congressional resolution, with or without the benediction of popular conventions or state legislatures, would have been a mere brutum fulmen; and, as the congress unquestionably exercised national powers, operating over the whole country, the conclusion is inevitable that the will of the whole people is the source of national government in the United States, even from its first imperfect appearance in the second continental congress.. Cyclopædia of Political Science. New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co., 1899.

In theory, then and now, the people rule collectively – at least in America. As surely as the American lawyers argued Tuesday night, “Under basic principles of “Natural Law”, government can only be by the consent of the people….” We either legitimate our congress, our popular government, or their decisions are mere inert thunder.

That’s a nice theory, but unfortunately somewhere along the line, and especially with corporate personhood, the rule of the people was given over to the rule of the money, and inert thunder is accepted as the law of the land.

Looking to the Tibetan people’s struggle for independence (a people who have positively moved in the direction of non-violence), returning to an independent sovereign state has proven to be a futile effort in the “principles of equality and self-determination” that validate a Declaration of Independence – this also argued by our lawyers.

“China’s policy of occupation and oppression has resulted in no more or less than the destruction of Tibet’s national independence, culture and religion, environment and the universal human rights of its people. But having no representation in the United Nations, the world largely stood by and allowed China’s occupation and destruction to happen.” Issues facing Tibet* today describes the human rights and environmental atrocities that afflict a nation of once proud and self-determining people – and frankly, some of it is way too close to home.

And so, our lawyers argued for validity on the basis of “subsequent independence movements which have been enforced by world opinion as right and just”, and are “now reflected in the UN Charter”, but that was more or less a convenient and exclusive argument reserved for the elite nations backed by a document that is neither abided by nor enforced by our own government. It was certainly not a point inclusive of what is “right or just” for the people of Tibet.

When people’s rights, values and money are consumed by states and corruption, of course the pattern for violence is more concentrated in recovery efforts well after the fact than in efforts to regulate and prevent a corrupt government’s economic and legislative overreach.

Of the many examples of violent recovery efforts from such overreach, the people of Southern Sudan have been plagued with civil war on and off since 1955. Two million are dead and four million have been displaced since 1983, resulting overall in the mass destruction of a lovely people and culture. Whether or not nonviolence will last in a nation fraught with war for generations of citizens is questionable, as also exemplified in areas like Israel and Palestine. Attrition ensures that the people themselves have no standard for living in peace. Chronically bad situations during the prolonged catastrophe of war with its societal disorganization, malnutrition and disease, crime and overwhelming fear, often result in a people characterized as living almost for safety alone. The natural rhythm and balance afforded a life in peace and safety is unrealized, and even after the danger subsides, our human preference for the familiar tends to render the people of those war-torn nations as unsafe children in their desire for safety, and in that way they remain vulnerable, abused children of violence and war.

On the other hand, and more recently, a better result will come for the people of Iceland, who have been standing up together to face the economic and social injustices brought on by their corrupt state. Being progressive, they’ve taken “the bull by the horns”, and their noble and nonviolent correction is ending that economic injustice and the ruining debt imposed on the nation’s people in a way that will serve and protect generations to follow. And the Icelandic people have written a new constitution, independent of their parent country, Denmark.

When social and economic injustice come to the people of a nation and they do not stand together and act to correct it, if inequality results in abuses and the exploitation of social weaknesses, if the flow of information is controlled, if the validity of elections is questionable, if the allegiance of elected officials can be purchased, … and all while knowing that violence and war can be the default result of the people’s negligence and procrastination in facing those abuses, then generations to come, tomorrow’s children and theirs, are not being given a fair opportunity to live in peace … whether or not a congress or a declaration of independence is legal or approved by the oppressors.

DCKennedy

“Communist-Trained” Obama’s “Massive” “Conspiracy”: Extremist NRA Goes Over The Edge | Media Matters for America

President Obama, when will you get it through your ivy league educated head that these people hate you and will never be appeased, no matter how far you slide towards them and away from your base and your values.  It is the great tragedy of the modern Democratic Party that it seems to crave the approval of those who despise its basic tenants and despise those who support them.

NRA President Wayne LaPierre:

LaPIERRE: “[I]n public, [President Obama will] remind us that he’s put off calls from his party to renew the old Clinton [assault weapons] gun ban, he hasn’t pushed for new gun control laws, and he’ll even say he looked the other way when Congress passed a couple of minor pro-gun bills by huge majorities. The president will offer the Second Amendment lip service and hit the campaign trail saying he’s actually been good for the Second Amendment.”

via “Communist-Trained” Obama’s “Massive” “Conspiracy”: Extremist NRA Goes Over The Edge | Media Matters for America.

http://cloudfront.mediamatters.org/static/flash/pl55.swf

Real power is always expressed obliquely.

This is how it works.  You don’t need Bull Connor and his police dogs and fire hoses to suppress the vote, you just make it incrementally harder and harder for poor people to exercise their rights.  This isn’t about withholding the franchise from every poor or black or young person, it’s about the ruling class putting their thumb on the scale just a little bit every time… just enough in a country where half the population is already so disheartened or distracte or bored or fed up with the lack of choices to vote. It only takes a few percentage points here and there and an angry, resentful, self-pitying minority can retain power.

Just remember, real power is always expressed obliquely. SP

Few ask for rides to get voter ID – Local / Metro – TheState.com.

Joe Walsh – Who let him in?

Rep. Joe Walsh wants ex-wife sanctioned in child support case

All American homes have a balanced budget? Is that what he said?

Joe Walsh’s refusal to pay child support is not an issue that should be considered private. His willful disobedience of the law deserves at least as much “exposure” as sending underwear pictures across the Internet.

And it’s not partisan; it speaks directly to the integrity of those in powerful government positions – something we should pay close, objective attention to without hesitation. His choice to conveniently side-step a court order that binds him to an obligation is, I think, highly indicative of a character flaw that could affect any decision he makes in Washington.

How embarrassing this must all be for the Tea Party’s fiscal responsibility champion of Congress!

Now that he earns $174,000 per year (putting him in the top five percent of our salaried U.S. servants), and has amassed $600,000 in a re-election fund, he’s revising his child support order. But that he chose to disregard the judge’s order up to this point, and that he waited until after he was publicly outed as a Deadbeat Parent is despicable.

Cut spending! Balance the budget! Garnish wages!

Since shortly after his divorce in 2002 when he started a new family and began defaulting on his payments, he’s racked up $115,294 in arrearage by pleading poverty. He loaned $35,000 to his campaign, but was sued by his campaign manager for $20,000 in non-payment. He lost his home to foreclosure, while vacationing in Mexico, Italy and Nicaragua. His ex-wife has sought to suspend his driver’s license for failure to pay, but it’s already been suspended twice in the past three years for driving without insurance. She also tried to garnish his wages to no avail until finally “he started making payments of $2,164 a month — after [her lawyer] contacted the congressional office to advise the office of a court order to withhold that amount from his paycheck.”

So how in the world did Walsh get elected?

At the time, much of the above was public information. “Despite disclosures about a 2008 home foreclosure, his divorce, traffic citations for not having car insurance, bounced checks and a lawsuit by a former campaign manager who alleged Walsh owed him $,20,000, Walsh was elected to Congress” anyway!

**He campaigned that his trials had made him more aware of the needs of average American voters.**

I can not believe the people of Chicago, Illinois’s northwest suburban 8th congressional district fell for that trick! It seems like someone (democrats) would have been red flagging this guy from the rooftops. He won by less than 300 votes. If someone had just done their homework thoroughly enough to access the court documents and inform the public about his Deadbeat status, it’s most likely he would not have been elected in spite of the other examples of irresponsibility that made him feel more “in tune” with the American people. We can do better than this ….

Joe Walsh Child Support: Wife Laura’s Court Filing Released

All you have to do is watch this video to know that we dropped the ball in a big way. Vetting all candidates before the 2012 elections in November is going to be serious business. The Freedom of Information Act provides for requested court records to ensure that child support payments are made as determined by the courts.

DCKennedy

SEC Cover Up

Matt Taibbi covers the bases in this Rolling Stone Politics article by addressing the continued good efforts by our whistleblowers, the disintegrating rule of law in America and an SEC cover up scheme that makes Watergate seem tame. Where at one time corruption in the news was startling, this is just this week’s best article on “bad behavior”.

Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes?
A whistle-blower claims that over the past two decades, the agency has destroyed records of thousands of investigations, whitewashing the files of some of the nation’s worst financial criminals.

Unsinkable Ship

. . . a money class fleeces the banking system, while the very trunk of the national tree is permitted to rot and crash.
~Christopher Hitchens

A long time ago, someone handed me a fire extinguisher, doused and lit my English saddle, and suggested I aim at the base of the fire if I wanted to save it. Details aside, that’s what I thought of this morning when I re-read Vanity Fair‘s article by Christopher Hitchens, America the Banana Republic.

When it was reprinted all over the world in 2008, this article was not just a wake-up call … it was an alarm: a dire warning for the people of America, and its undeniable truth smacks even harder today. Nearly three years later, what have we done to reverse the course of a trend that was threatening “to put the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave on a par with Zimbabwe, Venezuela, and Equatorial Guinea”?

Corporations still own the media and are now taking over the Internet. Free access to information, ideas and opinions is essential to Democracy, and the Internet was our alternate source.

The rule of law, a hallmark of Democracy, still doesn’t apply to persons of wealth and power or our government officials.

The Citizens United decision has corrupted the democratic process with corporate personhood.

We are still using electronic election equipment without verifiable results.

As I see it, the media, the rule of law and election integrity are so fundamental to democracy that without them, we are no longer a Democratic American Republic – and if we can’t maintain our own foundation of principles, it’s beyond arrogance to be forcing our system on other nations. It’s not enough anymore to say “our system isn’t perfect, but it’s the best there is to offer”. We’re dangerous. The world’s grandest banana republic also has the most powerful military in the history of the world and the people of America have lost all control over its expansive use.

Some simple truths need to be stated in every venue left for the people to see, and we need to heed the warnings and act now to change the course of history and the future of America.

Where do we go from here? If it were up to me, I would aim at the base of the fire and try to hit some of the above failures. One of the surest ways is to align ourselves with a grass-roots organization willing to work for American values.
DCKennedy