Conventional collectivist created authority is a deception in consciousness. You are your own Authority!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Seventy-five Percent Solution

France is a nation of approximately 66 million citizens, only 3,000 of whom earn over 1 million Euros per year. These poor slaves are now targeted by the have-nots and will soon be taxed on that income at the staggering rate of 75%.
This is the culmination of a campaign promise made by newly elected French President Francois Hollande who has said he doesn't like the rich.
The people love it. It has massive public support even though it is largely symbolic and won’t do much to boost the flagging economy. French auto workers said they favored the rich paying more. “It’s not all, AT ALL, sufficient,” Union Leader Jean-Pierre Mercier said. “We should take more of their wealth.”
"It's a good idea. If you have money, you can pay taxes," said one woman among residents around the posh Place Vendome area. Even there it is hard to find anyone against the tax.
“I think it’s a good thing. In France we have to do a lot of very strong and very huge fiscal efforts to be able to respect our commitments, our European commitments to a 3 percent of GDP deficit,” said Gilbert Cette, a French professor of the economy.
This is the major problem with democracy as I see it. The have-nots will always possess more votes than the halves so at crunch time all they need to do is vote to force the halves to pay more taxes. If it can happen in France it can just as easily happen in America.
If I were a rich person in France, I would stop working. If I were a rich person in France, I would leave. Opposition lawmakers say that this tax has already sent that signal to the rich.
"If you want to succeed, if you want to be an entrepreneur, and work very hard, then go away,” Former French Budget Minister Valerie Pecresse declared. The tax sends a bad signal to the youth of France. She and others have said the move stigmatizes the rich, and that its almost more the attitude towards wealth that hurts than the extra tax itself.
Now the news is that Bernard Arnault, France's wealthiest man and founder of the luxury goods empire that includes Louis Vuitton, had applied for Belgian citizenship. This has prompted the French savages to accuse him of treachery.
If a man complains about a pickpocket’s hand in his coat he’s guilty of treachery in France.
This is the end of democracy in France explains Jerome Barre, who advises the wealthy on tax matters. Half of his clients were thinking of fleeing France he says. "It's an insult. They consider they are good taxpayers. They have companies, businesses and they are working hard. The context is difficult, but they are not the source of the crisis," Barre said.
The wealthy French are already paying more than 50% so this just adds injury to insult. I’m surprised that they didn’t all leave long ago. While most French citizens' taxes are about to go up, those hit with the biggest increase want to know why the government doesn't spend less rather than tax its citizens more.
Why should they try to spend less when they’ve found the seventy-five percent solution?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Braying Barnyard Ass

Why has the United States of America become the most reviled nation on planet Earth over the last several decades? Let me count the ways.
First and foremost it is because of imperialistic statist American politicians like Paul Ryan and so many others who behave like asses braying out in the barnyard. They loudly and constantly portray the United States as a nation which is far superior in all ways to every other nation and must remain so at all costs no matter what.
“We’re number one!” “We’re number one!” “USA!” “USA!” “We are the leaders of the world!” “We have the most powerful economy!” “We have the greatest and mightiest military!” “We have the most bullets, missiles, and bombs!” “We are the policemen of the planet!” “We rule the ocean seas!” “All must bow to our imperial strength!” “All must recognize us as the greatest nation on Earth!”
The leaders and politicians of no other nations do that. It’s arrogant. It’s embarrassing. Every time I witness it from a politician I want to cringe. That’s because I know that we are actually considered as ugly Americans my most of the world’s peoples and rightly so.
"China may someday be looking down on us from the Moon. That's unacceptable,” declared Paul Ryan on the campaign trail recently.
Why on Earth should that be unacceptable? If the Chinese government wants to waste its money by sending a man to the moon what possible harm would that cause to the people of America? We’ve already been there and done that 43 years ago. There was nothing worthwhile up there then and there is nothing worthwhile up there now.
Does the moon belong to Americans too? Do all of space the entire cosmos and universe belong to the USA? No other nation can aspire to explore space? No other country can seek to compete with the great Satan of America? Listening to the braying asses in the barnyard one would think so.
President Obama has "presided over a dismantling of the space program over the last four years." “Mitt Romney and I believe that America must lead in space. Mitt Romney and I believe we need a mission for NASA, a mission for a space program, and we also believe that this is an integral part of our national security," proclaims the braying ass.
"We are near the space coast, I think it's important that we have a space program that has a clear space mission, a space program that we know where we are heading in the future, and a space program that is the unequivocal leader on the planet in space travel and space research," Ryan said at an event at the University of Central Florida. "We don't have that right now."
The president has put the "space program on a path where we are conceding our global position as the unequivocal leader in space… Today, if we want to send an astronaut to the space station, we have to pay the Russians to take him there," Ryan said to boos from the crowd.
Ryan is critical of Obama’s decision to scrap the goal of sending more astronauts to the moon in favor of Mars explorations. They both want to continue wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on space odysseys to nowhere; it’s just a question of how and on what to spend it.
Republicans as well as former astronauts like Neil Armstrong, who passed away last month, were highly critical of the president's plan. Armstrong called it "devastating" and there has been high joblessness in the space coast area. The jobs they’re talking about amount to little more than digging holes in the ground and then filling them back up again – space jobs are a complete waste of money.
Spending outlandish sums of money on space exploration is not the purpose of government. As Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, the only purpose of government is to secure the rights of the people and space exploration does nothing to further that purpose.
Paul Ryan and the braying asses of the barnyard should be thinking of better ways for the American government to secure our fundamental rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness instead of trying to endlessly compete with other nations for the right to be considered number one.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Biting the Hand that Feeds Them

Churches in America, along with a multitude of other recognized religious, non-profit, and charitable organizations, enjoy a complete exemption from federal, state and local taxation since they are considered by the government to serve public purposes.
The result of this generous government largess particularly favoring religion is that many churches and pastors have become filthy rich while paying absolutely no taxes on contributions, real estate, personal property and income on investments. The Catholic Church in America, and many Protestant denominations, for example is exceedingly wealthy because of its tax exempt status.
But there are certain reasonable requirements for such organizations to acquire tax exempt status; each organization must apply for the privilege and agree to abide by a few simple rules. Churches in particular, in order to keep their tax exempt status, must not conduct political campaign activities or intervene in elections for public office.
Of course, churches and pastors have the same First Amendment free speech rights as the rest of us taxpaying slaves but we don’t enjoy tax exempt status. If pastors want to conduct political activities in their churches they certainly can, but in that event they should in all fairness become just like you and me – tax payers.
If churches can become political entities and retain their tax exempt status, then perhaps all of us should enjoy that status.
But many churches and pastors want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to play politics from the pulpit and keep their tax exempt status. They aren’t satisfied unless they have it both ways.
They’re going to bite the hand that feeds them.
More than 1,000 pastors are planning to challenge the IRS next month by deliberately preaching politics ahead of the presidential election despite a federal ban on endorsements from the pulpit. They hope their deliberate defiance of the rules will prompt the IRS to enforce the 1954 tax code amendment that prohibits tax-exempt organizations, such as churches, from making political endorsements.
Alliance Defending Freedom said it wants the IRS to press the matter so it can be decided in court. The group believes the law violates the First Amendment by “muzzling” preachers. “The purpose is to make sure that the pastor -- and not the IRS -- decides what is said from the pulpit," explains their spokesman, Erik Stanley. “It is a head-on constitutional challenge.”
He said pastors attending the Oct. 7 “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” will “preach sermons that will talk about the candidates running for office” and then “make a specific recommendation.” The sermons will be recorded and sent to the IRS.
“I’m very concerned about the spiritual side of this,” said San Diego pastor Jim Garlow. “There’s a phenomenon occurring in America and that’s a loss of religious liberty… If I would have said 50 years that ‘Tearing up a baby in the womb is a bad thing people would have said ‘Of course it is’… But If I said that today, people would say ‘Pastor, you’re being too political.”
What a load of bull.
Pastors can talk about the “evils” of abortion from their pulpits until the moon falls out of the sky and not risk the loss of their tax exempt status. They can talk about anything they want. But if they want to keep that precious status which the rest of us cannot have then they can’t exhort their congregations to vote for candidate X instead of candidate Y, or use church contributions to contribute to political campaigns.
In any case they do not lose their First Amendment rights.
Personally, I sure hope they follow through on their IRS challenge. I hope the IRS cancels the tax exempt status of every church and every pastor who participates. I hope their congregations scream to the rafters when their organizations now have to pay taxes like the rest of us poor slobs. And I hope they lose their case in court because it is as baseless, meritless, and frivolous as any court case I’ve ever heard of.
It’s about time that religious organizations in America are taught a lesson not to bite the hand that feeds them.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cereal Box Justice in Kentucky

I’m always appalled when I hear stories about ordinary people elected to the important office of judge who put on a black robe and suddenly think that they can make up all the rules as they go along with criminal defendants in their court.
It’s like cereal box justice – reaching into a box of corn flakes for the prize of the day and applying the half backed result to individuals without any deference to the rule of law – especially when fundamental constitutional rights are involved.
That was the story this week in a Kentucky courtroom where a hare brained judge got it into her mind that she could order a teenager to delete her Facebook account for exercising her constitutional First Amendment rights in her own home entirely out of the presence of the judge.
The defendant was ticketed and charged with Driving under the Influence (DUI) after causing an accident. Afterward, she wrote a status update on her Facebook page to her friends saying: "My dumb (expletive) got a dui and I hit a car…lol."
The parents of four other teens injured in the crash asked District Judge Mary Jane Phelps to have the offending Facebook page removed and the judge agreed. She ordered the defendant to delete her entire account.
The defendant apologized to the court and the parents but refused to delete the account. So the judge sentenced her to a two-day jail sentence for contempt of court. No specific law was cited in the sentencing order, which is hardly surprising since this judge had absolutely no legal authority to put the girl in jail for conduct with occurred outside her presence and was merely an exercise of her First Amendment rights to free speech and free association under the United States Constitution.
And where was her attorney while all this was going on? She either didn’t have one, in which case the judge had no authority to put her in jail, or he just stood by with this thumb up his ass like an incompetent fool
Suppose, for example, that the girl made the offending statement at church to the congregation. Would the judge have the legal authority to order her to cancel her membership in the church?
But these questions hardly matter to a judge who puts on a black robe and believes it gives them unlimited power over others.
It’s just one more example of cereal box justice in America

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dying for Country?

There’s an epidemic among American combat troops after eleven years of unnecessary, fruitless and non-stop conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it’s not caused by a bacteria or virus.
Our active duty soldiers are committing suicide at the rate of more than one individual every day. The Pentagon is facing a record year of suicides, averaging 33 deaths per month so far this year, according to data through Sept. 2.
The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines are all reporting record increases this year in suicides. The Marine Corps has averaged about two suicides a week in recent months.
But the Army has suffered the highest numbers, tripling its suicide rate from 9.7 cases-per-100,000 in 2004 to 29.1-per-100,000 last month. In July, a record 38 soldiers killed themselves, according to service data.
At the rate they are committing suicide now it appears that more U.S. soldiers are dying by their own hand than by those of enemy combatants.  
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says military leaders should be held accountable for whether they succeed in helping desperate troops avoid choosing suicide. "What I've tried to do, very frankly, is to make sure that not only the secretary (of Defense), but all of the military leadership kick ass on this issue," said Panetta. "Leaders ought to be judged by how they lead on this issue."
Panetta added that the last decade of fighting two wars holds "lots of lessons" to be learned about "the human side of this prolonged warfare and how do we get a handle" on problems such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. He said the military is still searching for answers to what's happening.
Obviously the Pentagon, in Panetta’s words, hasn’t “kicked much ass on this issue” during the last 60 years, having learned no lessons at all in Korea and Vietnam, despite all the ass kicking which went on there. Ass kicking seems to be the problem, not the solution.
Only in the last decade of fighting two totally unnecessary wars has the military “learned lots of lessons,” and only now has it dawned on the big brass that there might be a “human side of this prolonged warfare” that needs getting a “handle” on.  
Yes, Mr. Panetta, there is indeed a human side to all of this that you and the United States government simply will never understand no matter how hard you search.
I’ll call it ‘clusterfuck’ for lack of a better term. When soldiers are subjected to more than a decade of clusterfuck, in which nothing whatsoever is accomplished except the sacrifice of thousands of their friends for no purpose, some of them begin to unravel upstairs and decide that they might be better off just killing themselves than enduring one more minute of it.
"I want to make sure that we are aware of how tragic this problem is and how urgent it is for us to try and address it," Panetta said. "We're talking about men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect this country. We have to do everything possible to try to make sure we protect them."
He wants to make sure that we are aware how tragic the problem is, which tells me that up until now he’s been unaware and has done nothing substantial to address it.
No, Mr. Panetta, we’re not talking about men and women putting their lives on the line to protect this country. Far from it – they are certainly doing nothing in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect their country and they know it – that’s the meaning of clusterfuck. They know they are wasting their time, effort and lives on a worthless cause which is only exacerbating the political and diplomatic problems in the Middle East.  
"Part of it, I think, is due to a nation that's been at war for over a decade," said Panetta. "You have repeated deployments and sustained combat exposure to enormous stresses and strains on our troops and on their families that produced a lot of seen and unseen wounds that contribute to the suicide risk."
Well, duh!  Do you think that’s part of it, Mr. Secretary?
Panetta said he also believes the military population is sensitive to issues that plague society at large -- substance abuse, financial distress and relationship problems. Yes, Mr. Panetta, clusterfuck is plaguing society at large too, and all you are doing is paying lip service to it.
The answer to this problem is simple and Ron Paul has been harping on it for years mostly to deaf ears in the Pentagon and U.S. government.
Stop the Wars. Stop the military buildup. Stop the clusterfuck.
Those poor soldiers are not dying for country.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Bush in Sheep’s Clothing

Mitt Romney has been slipping a bit in the polls these days so he’s apparently decided to make things even worse for himself by invoking God and religion on the campaign trail at every opportunity just like his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, used to do while he was in office.
Romney is proudly showing himself up as a Bush in sheep’s clothing.
He’s ratcheting up the God rhetoric just as one would expect from a clone of G.W. If elected president, he will emphasize the role of God in American society. He will not “take God out of the public square,” he likes to emphasize at his campaign stops now.
Candidate Romney is trying to create a contrast with the Democratic Party and its recent convention struggle to keep God in the platform, According to Mark DeMoss, Romney’s adviser to the evangelical community.
“I will not take God out of my heart, I will not take God out of the public square, and I will not take it out of the platform of my party,” Romney has been trumpeting lately. “We are nation under God.”
Last week Romney pledged to keep God on U.S. currency, as if there is any chance in Hell that the government deity will ever be removed from U.S currency and coins.
“Our pledge says ‘under God,” he proclaims to the crowds. “I will not take God out of the name of our platform. I will not take God off our coins. And I will not take God out of my heart.”
He might just as well be saying: “I’m the clone of G.W. Bush. I will not preserve protect and obey the First Amendment Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.”
On the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Romney tweeted, "On this most somber day, America is united under God in its quest and freedom at home and across the world."
 “When [Republicans] get nervous about a loss, they go into base-whip-up stage,” says Jacques Berlinerblau, a Georgetown University professor with an expertise in religion and politics. “They try to energize the base even more.”
Of course, this is all red meat to the religious fanatics of the Republican Party base, who yearn for an American theocracy, but it surely won’t play very well with on the fence Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, and more moderate Republicans.
In short, if he keeps it up, Mitt Romney is going to hurt his already precarious chances to become the next president.
 “They are totally getting off-script,” Berlinerblau said. “We hear that this election is all about the economy, but now we are talking about religion and faith issues.”
"We need a president who shares our commitment to conservative principles and our respect for traditional values," said Romney recently, invoking his former primary challenger and unabashed religious extremist, Rick Santorum, in a message to the Values Voter Summit, an annual conference organized by the socially conservative Family Research Council.
"We will uphold the sanctity of life, not abandon it or ignore it, and we will defend marriage, not try to redefine it," he declared.
With all due respect to Mr. Romney, while this rhetoric might have helped him get his party’s nomination from the foaming at the mouth right wing Bible thumpers, it is surely not the kind of divisive message which will be effective against president Obama and the Democrats in the general election.
Romney is just sounding more and more like George Bush warmed over. That’s exactly what the Democrats have been waiting for, and exactly how they will portray him in the crucial last days of the 2012 presidential campaign.
Another Bush in sheep’s clothing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why Don’t They Hate Mexicans?

In the aftermath of the September 11 Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi Libya, the murder of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and the siege of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo Egypt on the same day, the big question arises once again:
Why America and Americans?
Why don’t they hate Mexico?
The U.S. government and mainstream media are fond of attributing the militant Muslim hatred for America and Americans to our “freedom.”  The war on terror is being waged to preserve our “freedom” is the common mantra. The terrorists hate us because we are “free.” They want to destroy us because we are “free.”
But Mexico and the Mexicans are, for the most part, just as free as we Americans. Brazilians enjoy freedom. There are lots of nations on this planet in which the population enjoys just as much or more freedom as Americans.
Why aren’t the militant Islamist’s and Al Qaeda terrorists hating and attacking them? Why aren’t they storming the Mexican embassy and murdering the Mexican Ambassador? Why aren’t they attacking the Thai embassy and burning their flag? Those people are free.
According to Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani medical doctor who helped the U.S. government find Osama bin Laden, his nation is openly hostile to and regards America as its “worst enemy.” Its cooperation with the U.S is a sham for the purpose of extracting billions of dollars annually in American aid, he added, referring to the $23 billion Pakistan has received largely in military aid since 9/11.
“They said ‘The Americans are our worst enemies, worse than the Indians,’” Afridi told Fox News in an exclusive interview from inside Peshawar Central Jail as he recalled the brutal interrogation and torture he suffered after he was initially detained. “I tried to argue that America was Pakistan’s biggest supporter – billions and billions of dollars in aid, social and military assistance -- but all they said was, ‘These are our worst enemies. You helped our enemies.’”
The U.S. government was ostensibly on the side of the Libyan rebels who eventually overthrew the government of Muammar Gaddafi, but now a human rights organization says it has collected evidence of two previously unreported cases in which U.S. agents used water boarding or a similar harsh interrogation technique on Libyan militants held by American forces in Afghanistan.
In a report released on Thursday, Human Rights Watch also says it acquired new evidence of the extent to which the United States and some of its allies, including Great Britain, allegedly detained exiled opponents of late Libyan leader and forcibly transferred them back to Libya.
Documents found in the archives following the collapse of Gaddafi's regime included classified correspondence between top Libyan officials and officials from the CIA and Britain's spy agencies MI5 and MI6.
They illustrate how, between late 2003 when Gaddafi agreed to give up his weapons of mass destruction programs, and the 2011 Libyan revolution, Gaddafi and Western intelligence agencies quietly cooperated in battling Islamic militants.
"Not only did the U.S. deliver Gaddafi his enemies on a silver platter, but it seems the CIA tortured many of them first," Laura Pitter, a counter terrorism expert at Human Rights Watch and author of the report, said in a written statement. "The scope of Bush administration abuse appears far broader than previously acknowledged and underscores the importance of opening up a full-scale inquiry into what happened," she said.
The Pakistani’s hate Americans; the Iraqi’s hate Americans; the Afghani’s hate Americans; the Iranian’s, Egyptians, Libyan’s, Syrian’s and virtually the entire populations of all the nations in the Middle East hate our guts despite the fact that we lavish their governments with billions of our taxpayer dollars annually in foreign aid.
Obviously it has nothing to do with American “freedom” and everything to do with Americans meddling into their affairs. Again and again we learn that the U.S. government has had it both ways when it comes to meddling into the internal affairs of several Islamic nations. We don’t just take sides – we take both sides – all sides -- and then, like a slimy snake, ultimately betray whichever side we like according to what is deemed our “best interests” at the time.
Is it any wonder why these people regard Americans as devils?
The Mexicans do not do with them as we do.
That’s why they don’t hate Mexicans.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

More 9/11 Histrionics

Another anniversary of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center disaster is upon us and the elaborate enormously expensive shrine being built at the site of the catastrophe would surely make Osama Bin Laden and his small ragged band of Al Qaida disciples beam with pride.
No doubt they all have framed photographs of the massive ground zero memorial hanging prominently on their living room walls in fond remembrance of their triumph. This memorial, and the annual American hyperbole surrounding the 9/11 event, will amount to a magnificent tribute to their hero forever.
Most Americans just don’t understand this fact because they are blinded by their emotional reactions to what happened on 9/11. Those who are gratified by the chaos and destruction of that day are laughing at the Americans' futile efforts to cope with it all by attempting to find some meaning in its aftermath.
The National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center is actually intended as an awesome spectacle of the event with huge reflecting pools surrounded by waterfalls where the Trade Center buildings once stood and a cavernous underground museum honoring those who tragically lost their lives.
All of this will come at a staggering cost – much of it to taxpayers – of at least $700 million, and is expected to cost another $60 million a year just to operate. By comparison, the National Park Service budgeted $8.4 million this year to operate and maintain Gettysburg National Military Park and $3.6 million for the monument that includes the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Running Arlington National Cemetery, which has more than 14,000 graves and receives 4 million visitors a year, costs $45 million annually.
Just operating the two massive fountains that mark the spots where the twin towers once stood will cost another $4.5 million to $5 million annually, said the foundation's spokesman, Michael Frazier. The foundation and several elected officials have proposed that the American public pick up one-third of the operating costs. Our federal government has already spent $300 million on the project.
Should there be a 9/11 memorial?
Of course there should.
A suitable wall with the names of the victims carved in marble would be appropriate together with a fountain perhaps in a quiet park like atmosphere with trees and flowers; something somber, simple and elegant.
Should the memorial be a monstrosity, cost $700 million and $60 million more every year to operate?
Hell no!
But Americans have a bad habit of overdoing things at the expense of the taxpayers and this extravagant show of unnecessary histrionics is no exception.
Why, for instance is there going to be a huge museum to honor the victims? They’re not historical figures, but simply average Americans who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
While visitors will be allowed into the above-ground portions of the memorial for free, the foundation plans to charge people to descend into the museum's exhibition space, where they will see portraits of the nearly 3,000 victims, hear oral histories of the tragedy and view artifacts such as the staircase World Trade Center workers used to flee on 9/11.
There plainly won’t be any artifacts of historical significance in this museum.
And why emphasize the exact spot where the World Trade Center Towers once stood with massive gaping holes which can only serve to remind the world what Osama Bin Laden was able to accomplish against the mighty United States devil?
At least one fifth of the operating budget or around $12 million per year will be squandered on private security because of terrorism fears. Visitors to the memorial plaza must pass through airport-like security, and armed guards will patrol the grounds.
"The fact of the matter is that this was a place that was attacked twice," said Joseph Daniels, the foundation's president and chief executive.
Once again: Thank-you Osama Bin Laden.
After all, he and all the scumbags who followed him are the true beneficiaries of the annual American 9/11 histrionics.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Are Rights God Given?

The recent Republican National Convention featured one speaker after another declaring with the utmost certainty and positive conviction that the rights of all Americans come from God; in particular the Christian God.  
Is that so?
Where do they get that knowledge?
Are human rights God given?
Certainly not!
None of these Republican politicians are recognized as religious authorities, messiahs or prophets by any stretch, nor do any of them have the audacity to claim a direct pipeline into the mind of God.
They must ultimately, therefore, obtain their knowledge of God’s word and works from the only universally recognized source of religious authority available to Christians and Jews: The Holy Bible.
But strangely these God given rights advocates never rely on the Bible to support their claims.
 Instead, they always quote Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”
Thomas Jefferson? This man was not a man of God – certainly not a Christian -- nor was he a Jew, but rather a Deist clearly espousing a Natural Rights philosophy in the late 18th century Age of Reason and Enlightenment.
Yet the Republican Christian conservatives can’t resist latching on to the word “Creator” as if that were some sort of mystical proof that the rights of all Americans are God given.
Thomas Jefferson believed that basic fundamental human rights are derived from nature. He was most definitely not referring to the Christian God of the Holy Bible and that fact is obvious from the context and content of his words.
Natural rights philosophy is the antithesis of divine rights philosophy. It has its origins in the works of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Thomas Paine, among others, who believed that the most fundamental rights of man are derived from natural law and include life, liberty and property. Thomas Jefferson added to this list “pursuit of happiness.”    
Each of these so-called natural rights share one thing plainly in common: they are found nowhere within the many pages of the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible. Neither God nor Jesus Christ ever declared that human beings have fundamental rights to life, liberty, property or the pursuit of happiness, or, for that matter, any rights at all.
Instead both God and Jesus proclaim emphatically that human beings belong to God. They are supposed to live only for god and not themselves. They are not free. The pursuit of happiness is referred to over and over in the Bible as a sin.
To God and Jesus, man is an object of sacrifice – not a beneficiary of rights.
In the final analysis, it is clear that the rights of man are neither divine nor natural. They don’t simply exist independent of human interaction. They aren’t inalienable. They are the product of consciousness and a civilized social contract.
We are not born with natural or God-given rights. Rights are part of a common and recognized social agreement among civilized men. Rights are what are recognized as rights by other human beings.
Without that agreement among human beings there are no rights.
Once again the ultra-right-wing religionists have it wrong:
There exist no God given rights.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fourth Amendment: RIP

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is, for all practical purposes, dead and buried on the streets of New York City.  Police are doing things today to the citizenry there that they wouldn’t have dared to even think about doing only a few years ago.
One no longer enjoys the basic fundamental constitutional right of personal security against unreasonable searches and seizures while simply walking down the street. New York City Police officers are randomly searching people without reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a crime has been committed or that a subject has committed a crime.
I’m not talking about people at airports boarding airplanes that might have bombs or guns in their handbags. This is about innocent pedestrians taking their dirty clothes to the Laundromat or returning home from the grocery store.  
“I was coming home from the Laundromat and I was stopped by the police officer. Asking me, ‘Let me see your ID. ‘Where are you from?’  ‘Do you live around here?,” says Chris Bilal, a black man who was simply walking down the street in his Brooklyn neighborhood when he was stopped by a police officer for no reason whatsoever.
The cop then rummaged through Bilal’s bag of freshly cleaned and folded laundry to see if he was carrying anything illegal. He wasn’t. “They were searching for drugs. The funny thing was that it was a mesh laundry bag. I’m not sure what I could hide,” Bilal said.
Since arriving in the city a little over a year ago, he’s been repeatedly stopped on the street, asked what he’s doing, where he’s going, and often being frisked. “I feel guilty all the time,” he explained. “I feel like I’m being watched and targeted all the time.”
Bilal is the frequent victim of the NYPD’s policy of Stop, Question and Frisk, in which officers randomly stop a person to determine if they are up to any wrongdoing or possess weapons and contraband items. In 2011, the New York City Police Department stopped 685,724 people wholly without probable cause of whom an overwhelming 88 percent were deemed innocent.
Statists who justify an American police state say the policy is an effective tool for deterring crime. “Stop and Frisks are a necessary evil,” said Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, an NYPD union. “A lot of times it’s hard for the general public to understand.”
Yes, I suppose it is a very effective policy for deterring crime. Random searches of citizens’ homes would be equally effective but the only problem with that -- it blatantly violates the Fourth Amendment:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
With policies like this it is only a matter of time before random searches of persons and places are the rule and the Fourth Amendment is just a distant memory of a time when people were actually free in America.
“It’s not ‘Stop and Frisk’ that’s happening, and it’s not in that order,” said Jose Lopez, who works as a community outreach leader for Make the Road NY, a Brooklyn-based community advocacy group. “We are not getting stopped, questioned and frisked. We are getting searched. There’s a difference… Every time I get stopped, I’m not getting questioned first. I’m usually stopped, then searched. I’m usually questioned after they find nothing.”
So much for the Fourth Amendment in New York City: RIP

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Torture: It’s Legal Now

The CIA now has a de facto U.S. government license to torture prisoners to death.  
No criminal charges will be filed and no one will be prosecuted or otherwise held accountable for the brutal torture deaths of two prisoners held in secret CIA prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq declared Attorney General Eric Holder last week.
Gul Rahman, a prisoner suspected of being a militant, died in 2002 after being shackled to a concrete wall in near-freezing temperatures at a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan known as the Salt Pit. Manadel al-Jamadi, another hapless prisoner died in CIA custody in 2003 at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where his corpse was photographed packed in ice and wrapped in plastic.
Holder had earlier ruled out any criminal charges for CIA water boarding incidents and other torture tactics. No one will be held accountable and a three-year Justice Department investigation will be closed. The end of the criminal investigation, though, should not be seen as a moral exoneration of those involved in the prisoners’ treatment and deaths, he suggested with tongue in cheek.
In November 2010, the Justice Department said there would be no charges in the destruction of the videotapes of CIA interrogations, and in June 2011, Holder said that of more than 100 prisoners whose treatment had been reviewed, only the final two cases remained under investigation.
The investigation, he admits: “was not intended to, and does not resolve, broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct.”
He knows it’s wrong and he’s not going to do a damn thing about it.
It’s a flashing green light for the U.S. government to torture prisoners at will and a victory for Osama Bin Laden who has exposed the ugly underbelly of American justice.
We are now officially a torture nation and the only question left is when torture methods will be sanctioned for criminal suspects at the local police station in Heartland America.
President Obama, who denounced what he called torture and abuse of prisoners under his predecessor, promised to rectify the unconstitutional counter terrorism programs carried out under President George W. Bush.
He failed.
“It is hugely disappointing that with ample evidence of torture, and documented cases of some people actually being tortured to death, that the Justice Department has not been able to mount a successful prosecution and hold people responsible for these crimes,” said Elisa Massimino, president of Human Rights First. “The American people need to know what was done in their name.”
Holder and Obama are going to let the tortures go, but John C. Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer who spoke publicly about water boarding, is awaiting trial on criminal charges that he disclosed to journalists the identity of other C.I.A. officers who participated in the interrogations.
That’s the kind of upside down justice we practice in America today.
“As intelligence officers, our inclination, of course, is to look ahead to the challenges of the future rather than backwards at those of the past,” said CIA director, David H. Petraeus of Holder’s decision.
Translation: Oops, we tortured some people to death but now it’s time to forget about it and think about future abuses.
“I am pleased that the attorney general’s re-examination of these cases has come to a close and that he recognizes that filing criminal charges in these cases is inappropriate,” said Michigan Republican Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “These intelligence officers can now continue to focus on the hard work at hand, protecting our national security.”
He means the “hard work” of torturing prisoners and violating their due process rights.
Last June the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a case examining whether government officials who order the alleged torture of a US citizen on American soil can be sued for violating the citizen’s constitutional rights.
So, former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in the case of American citizen Jose Padilla, got a free pass to order the torture of Americans in America.
“The Supreme Court’s refusal to consider this case leaves in place a blank check for government officials to commit any abuse in the name of national security, even the brutal torture of an American citizen in an American prison,” said Padilla’s lawyer, Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union. “To date, not a single victim of the Bush administration’s torture regime has received his day in court.”
“It is precisely the role of the courts to ensure that allegations of grave misconduct by executive branch officials receive fair adjudication,” Wizner added. “That vital role does not evaporate simply because those officials insist that their actions are too sensitive for judicial review.”

That used to be the law in America but not anymore.
Torture: It’s legal now.