November 25th, 2010
The recent conviction of terrorist Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani proved that citizens can effectively implement justice in a system intended to be managed by civilians, preventing the military from ever taking supremacy over a government, “…of the people, by the people, for the people.”. The question remains why this normal judicial process was so long delayed.
One of the major reasons for my support of candidate Barack Obama for president, was that he taught constitutional law. I had my doubts that the other candidates had both read and understood that document. It’s easy to slap a bumper sticker of an American flag on an SUV, but that doesn’t turn us into educated citizens, aware of our privileges and responsibilities. Love of country isn’t enacted through the repetition of mindless slogans or assumptions based upon frequently expressed opinions. It takes effort, just as the love of family drives Americans to work more hours than other industrialized nations. It takes logic, which is entirely lacking when members of the Supreme Court convening to protect the constitution, permitted its privileges to be extended to non-human constructs called corporations back in the 19th century. Conferring the rights of ‘personhood’ upon them, separate and apart from the rights of their owners, created a new class of citizenship. In deciding the recent Citizens United case, a modern Supreme Court allowed the constitution to be turned into a prospectus. Justice Steven’s dissenting opinion eloquently details how that decision placed our elections in the hands of businesses (corporate persons), which do not even pay taxes or have any allegiance to the U.S. That decision ratified the transition of this country from an independent nation called the United States, into America, Ltd. Businesses were now allowed to sway our political system from foreign shores and leave the public ignorant of which ‘paper citizens’ were making such an investment in our government.
Competition used to be for the betterment of business entities, trying to outdo each other in building a better ‘mousetrap’, and capturing the largest market share of consumers at home and around the globe. This turned into a competition among states for who could get the largest piece of the federal ‘pie’, while denying the importance of the other states contributing the monies to bake it. Montana’s Representative Baucus noted how his state depended upon the federal funding of special projects (earmarks) to cover close to half of that state’s annual budget despite professed concerns about the deficit. Our ‘union’ has become dis-united because of a misconception that competition, the basis of capitalism, somehow dictates the nature of nationhood. George W. Bush had referred to himself as the CEO of American Ltd., although the members of his board remained in the shadows, meeting in secret with his COO, Cheney.
We can’t be governed by people who have no idea how the United States of America works, yet they appear to be in the majority. The change in government two years ago was largely a reaction to the loss of jobs and health care benefits. Concern was also rising about deficit spending due to our involvement in a war and the enrichment of select corporations through expensive reconstruction contracts.
Back home, the phrase ‘secure employment‘, became an oxymoron while health care insurance costs spiraled out of control for the unemployed and those working for small businesses. Large companies saw no reason to reduce the incredible salaries and bonuses given to executives in order to fairly compensate a disposable workforce. Like so many broken toasters, it is cheaper to replace a worker than to offer raises in a culture which has labeled workers as commodities (much like health care). Why pay higher premiums for workers who will need to use their health care plans as they age? Americans are routinely classed as laborers, patients and consumers. It is time to return to our legal status as citizens. Why worry about illegal immigration when those of us who are legal residents aren’t exercising our rights and responsibilities?
While industry fuels the fears of unemployed Americans that any regulation of commerce will restrict job growth, the public should be able to see through such ploys when the justice system itself is taken out of citizen’s hands. NAFTA attempted to place business interests in the hands of corporate tribunals while the crimes of terrorists were removed from our jurisdiction into the hands of the military. The New York Times has been following the failure of government to support the constitution through the avoidance of jury trials for terrorists. They’ve described the obstruction of legislative activity by elected officials who boast they can shut down our government—merely to discredit a sitting president‘s historical record. And they can, in ways that damage progress in addressing the financial infrastructure that led to our economic meltdown.
Obstruction of justice and refusal by salaried officials to govern. This brings to mind the old saying, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”. I posted the following comment on the New York Times editorial praising the results of the first civilian trial of a terrorist who had been detained at Guantanamo. No matter the rhetoric of extremists, the constitution triumphed.
135. HIGHLIGHT (what’s this?)
November 19th, 2010
The disrespect for citizens is what has brought us to our current status quo. In America, legislators defraud their constituents by refusing to govern. They hold the government hostage in defiance of their sworn duty to protect and defend the constitution. Jury trials are a constitutional right. If we don’t protect the constitution by honoring its provisions, there is no America.
We are not a democracy but a constitutional republic which elects politicians to make our decisions and laws FOR us. Presidents are made by electoral colleges so the “One Person, One Vote” system doesn’t exist. The right of non-corporeal entities (businesses) to infuse unlimited funds to sway those elections means political campaigns spend (your) millions of contributed dollars merely to counteract messages funded by corporations. Of course they don’t want juries to make these decisions. We don’t make any of the others. Didn’t we demand health care which our ‘leaders’ now swear to dismantle? So much for citizenship.
This jury deserves a congressional medal of honor. They put away a criminal (probably for life – how many convictions do you need?), using legal methodology. Legislators need to stop twisting the purpose for having a military. They guard citizens so we can promote justice.
Thank you NY Times editors.