Thursday, December 20, 2012

Due Process Nearly Dead

The US government is now making efforts to undo about 800 years of legal precedent, going back to the Magna Carta, that says a person accused of a crime has a right to know what he's been charged with and make an effort to refute the charge.  That's enshrined in the 5th amendment of our Constitution.  Both houses of Congress passed similar measures, which are now being reconciled in committee.  There was a provision in the legislation that protected 5th amendment rights for citizens.  That's bad enough.  Non-citizens are not animals.  They deserve a chance to rebut charges against them.  But the committee has apparently stripped that provision from the reconciled law.  If this passes US citizens likewise can be detained indefinitely without charge.

The Constitution is the document that restrains the government.  It was an effort to prevent tyranny.  You don't just throw people in jail forever without giving them the opportunity to prove their innocence.  What does it say about a government that now wants to have all constraints on it's power to imprison and punish people removed?  Troubling times ahead.


HispanicPundit said...

Agreed. Same can be said of private property, free speech, gun rights, etc.

4tomic said...

I agree with Jon.

I don't think it's the same as gun rights at all. I'd be much happier having the government say I can't have an semi-automatic weapon than I would if they said "we can legally assassinate or arrest anyone we like whenever we want".

With the absence of state militias, the size of the US central army, and the creation of weapons of mass destruction, I feel the 2nd amendment is quite mute.... its intent and purpose is no longer served.

Examinator said...


Examinator said...

Jon if you want proof read this article carefully(not that you really do )....note the numbers involved then note the US government's get out of jail card.

"Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, Torture Superpower"

Jon said...

Why do you think property rights are threatened? Seems today property rights are just about as secure as they have ever been.

HispanicPundit said...

Eminent Domain.

Jon said...

So you mean like personal possessions, not private property in the sense of the control of the means of production. So like you could lose your house to investors that want to build a shopping mall. That could be a problem. When I think of private property I think of investor rights, and I think those are very secure. In other words capitalistic property relations are as safe as they've ever been, however your personal possessions are not safe (often because capitalists want them.)

4tomic said...

@ Examinator

Thanks for sharing that article. The following quote just chilled my bones:

"The obsessive debate in this country over the effectiveness of torture rings eternally false: torture does indeed work. After all, it’s not just about eliciting information -- sometimes, as in the case of the two men I met, it’s not about information at all. Torture is [...] invariably about shame and vengeance, humiliation, power, and control."

Examinator said...

Sorry but your argument is more emotion than objective in principle.
HP and his republican ilk have simply abrogated any real in-depth reasoning in favor of the myopic self.
By that I mean that the whole purpose of our 'social' underpinning as a species is summed up in the etymology of the word COMMON(-)WEALTH which USA is one.
Any anthropologist/sociologist/ ethnologist/ political scientist/ philosopher....will tell you that it is impossible for any society to exist/function without an underpinning of whole benefit.
Simply put societies collapse when the have nots (the bulk) get to a point where by there is no real advantage for them to participate in that society or there is greater advantage for
them outside that society.

Common sense /reason tells you that ALL "RIGHTS" must therefore be modified (limited) for the good of society as a whole.
As I said to Chad there is no such a thing as ABSOLUTE rights.

Eminent Domain really refers to land etc. However in a society like the western ones (in their own country) it comes with caveats i.e. the government can forceably acquire 'your' land but must compensate you for that.
The emotional issue here is really about the 'owner's' idea of HOW MUCH compensation.

The biggest damage the west has and still does is when it forces those people who don't see their land as a commodity but as part of them to change.
This is often the death of viable cultures/ races/ languages and inbuilt controls.
( Indigenous people often see land and themselves as part of the same cycle... we are created from clay (old testament stuff) by a god(s) aka spirits. We live as custodians of the spirit land and environment trees, rocks, rivers animals etc and when we die we return to to the land etc.
In this concept they ARE part of the land and it is as silly to suggest selling it or abusing it as it would be to sell your heart head. The land IS their mother and ancestors.

As what ever it is that I am philosophically, I have no deep sentimentality to a block of dirt and house least of all in suburbia. My view is the compensation is enough to buy elsewhere ...I no longer fret about the profit that might have been (injurious Affection) a sue-able concept in Queensland the state in which I live..the only state in Australia that recognizes that.

Clearly there are some incredible manipulation and abuses of the government purse (taxes) by the rich.

Thus compensation for government acquired non real estate property also exist, in fact a 1960's movie was based on one such a case whereby a number of horses were acquired by the US continental army. The requisition lay in an attic until the 1950 where it was discovered and the US paid millions (exgracia to uphold the principal) including interest.

Now the other way government can acquire property is by confiscation (proceeds of a crime(s)).

The capitalists/plutocrats have over time created laws that if abused (in intent although within the letter of the law) can acquire ones property loan default etc.

In principal the law is intended to be part of checks and balances to ensure 'equity' (fairness).

It can be argued that it doesn't always work like that but that is because of the power of the Plutocrats and the wannabes not the 'liberals. Blaming the liberals "socialism by stealth" is a whopping con job (implying that anyone can join their ranks...which they can't because of Plutocrat created structural barriers) trying to maintain their disproportionate advantages.

Examinator said...

In shot Jon, HPs assertion is greatly and emotionally confected and in principal has little substantive basis as his and Chad's assertions that it's the liberals fault or that they're trying to take their money, property or rights.

Examinator said...

thanks for that I must admit my blood ran cold by the entire disturbing argument.
I have some difficulty aligning this With Steven Pinker' latest book in which he 'broadly speaking' argues that we (humans) are becoming less violent.
Mind you he is talking in statistical sense rather than absolutes or specifics.worth the read.
Given his qualifications, specialisation and what neuro psychology research indicates it has long been a thought of mine that we are the only species that can potential direct our(species) evolution.
i.e. we can breed out our own lessor instincts as we have bred out some of our physical traits (phenotype/genotype).

fascinating stuff really but all this is predicated on the assumption (a big if) we or some natural cataclysmic (see KT comet)event doesn't terminate us first. cheery beast aren't I ?

rajni said...
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