Friday, April 26, 2013

"Does the Law Only Work For Certain People?"- The Sunday Collage

In a day or two early. Traveling with little hope of connectivity.

Many years ago, we had this poor senile old woman who generated call after call to our police department. (We never really knew how to deal with the mentally ill back then- truth is- I'm not sure it's much better now) Gertrude believed that her ex husband was breaking into and sneaking throughout her house each night. Her solution for all of this- was to grease all of her door knobs and hang pots and pans using fishing line- on the inside of her door knobs. She would then shut all of the doors and go to sleep. If she heard any noise whatsoever- she would call the police.

The problem with this was twofold. She always heard noises. The other problem was that she had it fixed in her mind that her ex-husband, Frank, was breaking in and that somehow we were simply ignoring her pleas for help and letting Frank go. I cannot tell you how many times we had spoken with poor Frank- often waking him up in the middle of the night. This situation went on for 18 months until finally- we talked the family into putting Gertrude into an assisted living home.

I have never forgotten Gertrude. I must have gone on 25 calls to her house. Time and time again, she would plead with me when we refused to arrest Frank. "Does the law only work for certain people?" Gertrude would ask.

Of course Gertrude was right. The law doesn't apply equally to every one. The law is often applied only after a number of filtering agents or gatekeepers- first the cops, then the prosecutors and judges, a few different court proceedings including grand juries, maybe even a a trial with a jury.

Look at our chief executive, Obama, turning a blind eye on the greatest banking fraud ever and giving free passes to his friends, Jon Corzine- the great MF Global thief.

In America, we don't play fair- we never have. I think most of us know that. OJ Simpson's murder trial was an excellent example of just how screwed up our system  can be. But it was designed that way- so that if error was made- the accused was the beneficiary.

I have a couple of blogger friends who think they are some tough shit. I always giggle when I read their blogs- they talk about how they are great patriots yet I don't see them taking any stand on the injustices that are going on every day. Sure I hear some whining and sniveling but when it comes right down to it- they are just bluster and blather. Full of shit.

I'll tell you why in just a moment. First some examples.

Eighty years ago this month, the great socialist FDR, stole America's gold. Every gold possessing citizen was forced to turn in their gold or face a 10,000 dollar fine or 10 years in jail. This seizure of personal property occurred without any due process. They labeled it "hoarding." As soon as they paid Americans for the gold and the government had it all- they promptly re valued it at a price far greater than what they had paid our citizens. This allowed the banking cartel to loan out even more money as our government tried to get out from under the boot of deflation during the Great Recession.

About ten years later, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Almost instantly, Japanese Americans lost their civil rights. They were uprooted and placed in "relocation camps." They lost their homes, businesses, and in some cases, their lives. Of course, they were denied due process- and I have gotten in some very vigorous arguments with self styled "American Patriots" over just how that sham was allowed to take place.

Guantanamo Bay. Kidnapping alleged terrorists from all over the world, the American military decided to embark on this seemingly world wide anti terrorist crusade. Kidnapping foreign terrorists- sometimes on mere heresay alone and declaring them enemy combatants- has allowed the government to operate and keep Guantanomo Bay open. The people housed there are not entitled to any due process and in fact, may not have any civil rights at all. It's not like they asked to be kidnapped and taken here- indefinitely. Of course they are not boy scouts- but neither was OJ Simpson.

The latest case? The kid bomber. The FBI called him some sort of terrorist so that they could interrogate him for 48 hours without giving him a Miranda warning. Once again- we see how the government suspends our "rights" whenever they deem it necessary. Since public opinion is virtually 100% against this terrorist act- the Feds operate with impunity. I mean, who is going to protest? Thankfully, one judge did.

I am not even going to mention all of the legislation from the Patriot Act forward which are simply intrusions onto our civil rights. The NDAA, Obamacare, gun control, it's a virtual avalanche of legislation which seizes our property and rights under color of law.

So just where are all of those freedom and civil rights loving patriots? These tough guys who talk a mean game of patriotism yet never show up if they are on the minority side of an issue like this bomber kid? Does this kid have any rights or are we going to suspend them because we don't like him? Do the "patriots" rationalize or find an excuse for every instance of government intrusion?

Because if they do- they aren't really patriots at all. Nationalists maybe, patriots, no.

In the end, it is really a divide and conquer sort of issue. What happens, is that some minority is targeted  for the suspension of rights. Maybe it's prisoner/convicts not receiving decent living space or some Hitler youth marching through a Jewish neighborhood. Since we don't like convicted criminals or Hitler very much- we don't feel like extending rights to criminals or Hitler supporters. Since most of us don't fall into those two groups- we are exempted. So we are really "OK" suspending the rights of or the rule of law for OTHERS depending on the circumstances.

The patriots only get concerned when THEIR rights get trampled. Only when they are effected by let's say, gun control, do the "patriots" howl and whine.

On a personal level- I have always been a supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union. You want people to hate you? Just tell them you support the ACLU. I understood long ago that we must protect everyone's rights- even when we don't like them- because sooner or later you are going to be a part of some minority on the verge of losing your rights. Most recently, gun control. For now, I think the gun grabbers have been beaten back.

This is the erosion of rights as the government passes more and more laws and chooses when and where to enforce them. Divide, conquer, and sequester. Pick out minority held positions- and target them. The vast majority of people won't offer any opposition to some smaller group losing their rights unless they are effected themselves- personally. The "patriots" will certainly offer up rationales and reasons why OTHER people should have their rights suspended just so long as their rights remain intact.

"Does the law only work for certain people?" Yes Gertrude, unfortunately it does. The law only works for those in government, the elite, and whoever else the majority of us dislike. Historically, that's the way it has always been.


Anonymous said...

While I do sympathize with you in general, your example of Miranda notice for Tsarnaev is misguided.

There is no 'right' to hear the Miranda notice nor do your rights come and go based on that reading. They are there before and after the reading. The only thing that changes is that *before* the reading, the government has a very high bar to clear if it wants to use your testimony against you in court. That is to say, the suspect's case is strengthened in the absence of a Miranda notice even if they are entirely ignorant of those rights (ignorance which would be almost impossible to believe for someone over the age of 10).

Anonymous said...

For those with the power, law has been elastic since the days of the Alien and Sedition Act.

Jim at Asylum Watch

Marcus said...

The ACLU sometimes rubs me the wrong way, like for example when they champion the rights of gay whales or some other stupid shit, but I grudgingly recognize the need for such an organization. If we choose live in a society that starts picking favorites (whose favorites, by the way?) rather than one based on the rule of law, then we're all seriously fucked.

Brian said...

Good point. It is still labeled miranda "warning" in my billfold.

Brian said...

That's all the ACLU does- is ensure that we have a rule of law. In light of that, I put up with all of their seemingly worthless or wasted forays and crusades.